1867 - 1921 ORIGINAL, SIGNIFICANT ARCHIVE OF TEN [10] MANUSCRIPT DIARIES HANDWRITTEN BY A VICTORIAN ERA CAREER OFFICER IN THE ROYAL NAVY LITTERED WITH FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS OF NAVAL HISTORY INCLUDING THE SINKING OF THE HMS VICTORIA BY THE HMS CAMPERDOWN

By: LIEUTENANT ALBERT SMITH

Price: $8,255.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a superb group of original manuscript diaries handwritten by Lieutenant Albert Smith, of the Royal Navy, describing in vivid detail many important and historically significant scenes in British colonial and naval history, over the course of 50 or so years in the Royal Navy, from 1867 to 1921, as well as offering an intimate portrait of Lieutenant Smith through his lifetime. A dedicated diarist Lt. Smith chronicles his career over 10 notebooks totaling more than 1000 pages. Each diary is numbered accordingly, from books 2 through to 18, [1, 7 and 12-17 are absent]. The diaries give first-hand accounts of Lieutenant Smith's travels in the Royal Navy through England, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East over the course of his naval career. Born in 1944, he was the child of Charles Smith and his wife Ann (born Duffett) of Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire. [Historians, collectors and researchers of the genre will delight in Smith's eye for detail providing specifics even in his genealogical notes on his nuclear and extended family, down to the time of birth of each of his siblings and seven children!] Fascinatingly the first volume of the diary tells of Albert's concerted efforts to find himself a wife. He writes that he has been in love with the daughter of a Mr. Gortley, head of the Jews' Orphan School, for three years. He also speaks of a 'Lizzie' and 'my little Jewess', and once again declares his love to a woman, this time a 'Miss Hyde', but is rejected. Keeping with Smith's detailed diaries, he gives the text of his letter to her. Smith eventually marries Elizabeth (referred to as 'E B') on December 31, 1870. Smith was a devout Christian, and his religious sympathies and convictions are a common thread throughout all diaries. He describes himself often as a follower and believer in Jesus Christ and calls God, "The Eternal Lord The First Cause The Father in Truth and Love." Despite his convictions, Smith was also interested in unorthodox pursuits such as phrenology, and astrology. The diaries also abound with passages of spiritual reflections and self-examination. The diaries commence on May 20, 1867, off the coast of Algiers. Smith, only 23 years old, is serving on HMS Victoria (the same HMS Victoria that he would see sink and take the lives of hundreds). The diaries begin on the day it sails from Malta for England. Smith then serves on the 'Boscawen training ship for Boys'. After serving on the ship, he settles on the Island of Portland, in Dorset, until 1872, when he is promoted to Warrant Officer, and assigned to the HMS Excellent. On the HMS Excellent, Smith goes on tours of the East African Coast and the Mediterranean, where on December 22, 1892) he is promoted from Gunner to Chief Gunner. Also in 1892, during a tour in the Mediterranean, Smith's ship the HMS Camperdown accidently rams into the HMS Victoria, causing serious damage to the Camperdown and sinking the Victoria. The Victoria sinking causes the death of 21 officers and 348 men. The news of the accident caused a sensation and appalled the British public at a time when the Royal Navy occupied a prime position in the national consciousness. Smith's entry on the accident contains a two page printed clipping from some Naval publication which states, "It is with an overwhelming sense of sorrow that we have to record the awful disaster that has happened to the 'Victoria.'…on Thursday afternoon, June 22nd, whilst manoevering off Tripoli the 'Victoria' and 'Camperdown' collided. The 'Victoria' sank 15 minutes afterwards, bottom upward, in 80 fathoms of water. It is computed that twentytwo Officers, including the Commander-in-Chief, and about 348 men were drowned.' The clipping records the names of the officers drowned and a list of the men 'invalidated' and currently recovering in a Royal Naval Hospital. Smith writes that he lying in his cabin on the 22nd, reading a 'tale of a young lady who has months after marriage died of consumption nursed carefully by her husband who never left her - her husband had received a letter saying that his brother…had gone down in a ship (?) off Smyrna and all hands perished when all at once I heard a commotion as tho the ship had grounded on shore. I hastily put on a coat left my cabin and rushed up the (?) round the upper deck, saw the life boats all carried…We had run into the flag ship Victoria - at least we collided she crossed our bows we were going astern with our Engine but still had headway on the ship. I went down to the fore camp astrident - the water was pushing in fast. I then changed coat & cap put my watch in my pocket, went on bridge asking that boats might be lowered & told the flag seat that we were making water fast, I then went to my station general …all at once she suddenly heeled over the sides of the ship was crowded with human beings struggling jumping hurrying to save their lives some jumped into the seas some ran down the bottom of the ship, and some jumped over the quarter rail - on to the propeller which was now revolving with rapid rate out of the water. We were all staggered in a minute - she turned over went down bow first and left nothing but a mass of debris and struggling humanity in the water." Smith then writes of the lifeboats frantically trying to save as many men as possible and the carnage and horror that he witnessed as a result of this horrible collision. "Number missing 380 - saved 260." Smith writes another few pages on the cause of the crash, and takes up a third of a page with a rough sketch of the Victoria's and Camperdown's actions that lead to the collision. The next few day's entries deal with the aftermath of the event, including repairs on the Camperdown and the mourning for the lost men. "June 24 - a funeral procession passed by I shed tears over the brave fellows sunk beneath the waves" There are also pages describing Smith's time in the 'Malta Dockyard' as the boat is being fixed. Inventory: (Diary 2) 15 May 1867 to 1 September 1868; (3): 4 September 1868 to 19 September 1870; (4): 20 September 1870 to 7 September 1872; 'A diary written by "Albert Smith" G.M. & G.S. now serving on board HMS "Boscawen"; (5): 8 September 1872 to 27 November 1877; (6): 24 September 1877 to 31 October 1879; (8): 1 March 1883 to 31 December 1884; (9): 1 January 1885 to 15 March 1890; (10): 1 September 1892 to 7 June 1894; (11): 1 June 1894 to 31 December 1897; 'Work Book' while 'Serving as Chief Gunner on board HMS Camperdown Mediterranean Fleet Salonika ancient Thessalonika'; (18): 1 November 1914 to 16 February 1919; 'Diary of HM Lieutenant Albert Smith commenced at Dorking Surrey 1st November 1914 The Year of the Great War'. Overall G.

Title: 1867 - 1921 ORIGINAL, SIGNIFICANT ARCHIVE OF TEN [10] MANUSCRIPT DIARIES HANDWRITTEN BY A VICTORIAN ERA CAREER OFFICER IN THE ROYAL NAVY LITTERED WITH FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS OF NAVAL HISTORY INCLUDING THE SINKING OF THE HMS VICTORIA BY THE HMS CAMPERDOWN

Author Name: LIEUTENANT ALBERT SMITH

Categories: 19th Century Manuscript, Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 19th Century Diary,

Publisher: ASEA/ENGLAND, 1867

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall

Seller ID: 0002583

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, LIEUTENANT ALBERT SMITH, ROYAL NAVY, EAST AFRICA, THE SINKING OF HMS VICTORIA, HMS CAMPERDOWN, PLYMOUTH BROTHER, QUAKER, NAVAL, NAUTICAL, VICTORIAN ERA NAVAL OFFICER, MARINE, MARINER, HORNBLOWER, O'BRIAN, JACK AUBREY, HANDWRITTEN, MA