Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/208

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Marryat
Marryat
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was employed on the St. Helena station till the death of Napoleon, when he was moved into the Rosario and sent home with the despatches. The Rosario was afterwards employed in the Channel for the prevention of smuggling, and was paid off in February 1822. In March 1823 he commissioned the Lame for service in the East Indies, where he arrived in time to take an active part in the first Burmese war. From May to September 1824 he was senior naval officer at Rangoon, and was officially thanked for 'his able, gallant, and zealous co-operation' with the troops. The very sickly state of the ship obliged him to go to Penang, but by the end of December he was back at Rangoon, and in Februarv 1825 he had the naval command of an expedition up the Bassein river, which occupied Bassein and seized the Burmese magazines. In April 1825 he was appointed by the senior officer to be captain of the Tees, a promotion afterwards confirmed by the admiralty to 25 July 1825. He returned to England in the Tees in the beginning of 1826, and on 26 Dec. 1826 he was nominated a C.B. In November 1828 he was appointed to the Ariadne, which he commanded on particular service in the Atlantic, at the Azores or at Madeira till November 1830, when he resigned on the nominal grounds of 'private affairs,'

Marryat had been hitherto known as a naval officer of good and, according to his opportunities, of even distinguished service, lie had won a C.B. by his conduct in Bur- mah ; he had been awarded in 1818 the gold medal of the Royal Humane Society for his gallantry in saving life at sea, in addition to which he held certificates of having saved upwards of a dozen, by jumping overboard, often to the imminent and extreme danger of his own life. He had also been elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1819, mainly in recognition of his adaptation of Sir Home Popham's [q. v.] system of signalling, to a code for the mercantile marine (1817), which also won for him some years later (19 June 1833) the decoration of the Legion of Honour, conferred by the king of the French, 'for services rendered to science and navigation.' In the meantime, while still in the Ariadne, he wrote and published a novel, under the title of 'The Naval Officer, or Scenes and Adventures in the Life of Frank Mildmay,' 1829, 3 vols. 12mo, for which he received an immediate payment of 400l. The brilliant and lifelike narrative of naval adventure, most of which he had seen or experienced, took the public by storm ; the book was a literary and financial success. He had already written 'The King's Own,' which was published in 1830, and settling down to his new profession of literature, he produced with startling rapidity 'Newton Foreter,' 1832 ; 'Peter Simple,' 1834 ; 'Jacob Faithful,' 1834 ; 'The Pacha of Many Tales,' 1835 ; 'Mr. Midshipman Easy,' 1836; 'Japhet in Search of a Father,' 1836; 'The Pirate, and the Three Cutters,' 1836; 'Snarleyyow, or the Dog Fiend,' 1&37; 'The Phantom Ship,' 1839; 'Poor Jack,' 1840; 'Joseph Rushbrook, or The Poacher,' 1841 ; 'Percival Keene,' 1842 ; 'The Privateer's Man,' 1846 ; and 'Valerie,' published, after his death, in 1849.

But novel-writing was not his only literary work. From 1832 to 1835 he edited the 'Metropolitan Magazine,' and kept up a close connection with it for a year longer. In it most of his best novels first appeared : 'Newton Foreter,' 'Peter Simple,' 'Jacob Faithful,' 'Midshipman Easy,' and 'Japhet,' and besides these, many miscellaneous articles, afterwards published collectively, under the title 'Olla Podrida,' 1840, as well as others which were allowed to die. In 1836 he lived abroad, principally at Brussels, where he was popular, speaking French fluently and being' full of humorous stories ; 1837 and 1838 he spent in Canada and the United States, his impressions of which he gave to the world as 'A Diary in America, with remarks on its Institutions,' 1839, 3 vols. 12mo, and part second, with the same title, 1839, 3 vols. 12mo. After his return from America in the beginning of 1839 he lived principally in London or at Wimbledon till 1843, when he finally settled at Langham, a house and small farm in Norfolk, which had been in his possession for thirteen years, bringing in very little rent. Notwithstanding a considerable patrimony and the large sums he made by his novels, he seems at this time to have been somewhat straitened in his means, owing partly to the ruin of his West Indian property, and partly to his own extravagance and carelessness. When the readiness with which he had poured out novels of sea life at the rate of two or three a year began to fail, he found a new source of profit in his popular books for children. To these he principally devoted himself during his last eight years. The series opened with 'Masterman Ready, or the Wreck of the Pacific,' 1841, and continued with 'Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet in California, Sonora, and Western Texas,' 1843 ; 'The Settlers in Canada,' 1844; 'The Mission, or Scenes in Africa,' 1845; 'The Children of the New Forest,' 1847 ; and, , published after his death, ' The Little Savage,' 2 pts., 1848-9.