Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chamier, Frederick

CHAMIER, FREDERICK (1796–1870), captain in the navy, son of John Chamier, member of council for the Madras presidency, by Georgiana Grace, eldest daughter of Admiral Sir William Burnaby, bart., entered the navy in June 1809, on board the Salsette, in which he served on the Walcheren expedition. He was afterwards midshipman of the Fame and of the Arethusa in the Mediterranean, and from 1811 to 1814 was in the Menelaus with Sir Peter Parker, and was on shore with him when Sir Peter was killed at Bellair on 30 Aug. 1814. On 6 July 1815 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and continued serving in the Mediterranean, on the home station, and in the West Indies till 9 Aug. 1826, when he was promoted to the command of the Britomart sloop, which he brought home and paid off in 1827. He had no further employment, and in 1833 was placed on the retired list of the navy, on which he was promoted to be captain on 1 April 1856.

On his retirement Chamier settled in the neighbourhood of Waltham Abbey and devoted himself to literary pursuits. He was the author of several novels, which, humble imitations of Marryat's, had at one time a considerable popularity, though now almost forgotten. Amongst these may be named 'Life of a Sailor' (1832); 'Ben Brace' (1836), 'The Arethusa' (1837), 'Jack Adams' (1838), 'Tom Bowline' (1841). Of greater real value was his work of editing and continuing down to 1827 James's 'Naval History' (1837), in the introduction to which he cleverly and good-humouredly disposed of some disparaging criticisms on the original work which had been made by Captain E. P. Brenton [q. v.] In 1848 Chamier was in Paris, and in the following year published an account of what then took place under the title 'A Review of the French Revolution of 1848.' A few years later he published 'My Travels; an Unsentimental Journey through France, Switzerland, and Italy' (3 vols. post 8vo, 1855). The narrative of this journey, taken in the company of his wife and daughter, is apparently meant to be autobiographical; but it is written throughout in such a detestably would-be facetious style that it is difficult to say what part of it is true and what is only meant to be funny. He died in October 1870. He married in 1832 Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. John Soane of Chelsea, and grand-daughter of Sir John Soane.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Times, 2 Nov. 1870.]

J. K. L.