Calton, Robert Bell.


1st.ed., 1852. Viii 220 pp., frontis (lithograph) & engraved vignette title. Brown cloth; gilt; edges uncut. 20 x 13cm. V.G.+. An early Victorian account of the French port and town of Calais which played such an intrinsic role in English history. The author opens with an account of the Siege of Calais by Edward III in 1346-47, and examines its remarkable transformation into an English borough and provides a detailed study of the English occupation of the town whose port, as a naval station, was used as a means of protecting our early navigation in the Channel. The book abounds with anecdote and also provides an account of the émigré notabilities of Calais. Of special interest is the final chapter containing the ‘Memoir of Lady Hamilton’. The author inserts this note. Amongst the many sources from whence we have derived information, whilst compiling our own glimpse at Calais, was a volume of fragments put into our hands by Monsieur de Rheims, bearing reference to the town, in which we met with (in French) the legend of the English archer, Lancaster, given in the ‘Surprise of the Chateau of Guisnes,’ and an ‘Account of Lady Hamilton,’ extracted, apparently, from some ‘sketchy memorial’ of the hour, penned long antecedently to any of the biographical notices that have since made their appearance. And this is what makes the ‘Memoir’ so interesting. It begins with a transcript of the entry in the official register of births & deaths at Calais. Her birthplace is later erroneously referred to as ‘Preston, in Lancashire’. This, in the compiler’s opinion, is the information that Emma herself wanted those who would enquire after her, to believe. She was anxious to lead biographers away from the true origins of her birth at Ness, in Cheshire. Here too is to be found the story of Mrs Hunter, an English woman living in Calais in 1815 who claimed to have given aid to Lady Hamilton as she lay on her bed of poverty approaching death HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH OCCUPATION OF CALAIS AND AN EARLY MEMOIR OF LADY HAMILTON. SCARCE.

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