The wind plays on those great sonorous harps,
the shrouds and masts of ships.
LONGFELLOW: Hyperion, Book I, chap. vii
Frederick Marryat, naval officer and novelist, was born in Westminster, England, July 10, 1792. His father, Joseph Marryat, was a member of Parliament and colonial agent for Granada. His mother†, Charlotte von Geyer, was the daughter of a German settler in from Boston. Frederick was educated at Ponders End School, from which he tried to run away to sea three different times. Finally his father entered him in the naval service as midshipman in September, 1806. He was made Lieutenant in 1812, and served during the war with America from 1812 to 1815. In the latter year, when he was 23 years of age, he was made Commander. In 1819 he married a Miss Shairp, but he continued in the service. His first novel, "Adventures of a Naval Officer," was published in 1829 and was a great success. In November, 1830, he resigned from the navy and thereafter devoted himself to literature, settling at Hammersmith. From 1832 to 1835 he was editor of the Metropolitan Magazine, and in it published five of his novels. Because of rather personal remarks about the author in a review of N. P. Willis' "Pencillings by the Way," Willis challenged him to a duel and they exchanged harmless shots. In 1837 he visited America and remained two years, publishing his observations in his rather uninteresting "Diary in America." Much of the material for the diary was taken from Gregg and Kendall. In 1843 he removed to Langham, Norfolk, and died there August 9, 1848. The novels published before his American visit are by far his bestónot that the visit had anything to do with this, however, but the freshness and youthful humor was gone. Marryat's familiarity with sailor life make his novels of historical value on account of their pictures of sea life in Nelson's time. The two novels issued by Beadle are, respectively, his worst (Valerie) and his best (Midshipman Easy).
REFERENCES: Allibone, Dict. Eng, Lit; II; Appleton's Cyc. Amer. Biog.; Kumtz and Haycrait, British Authors, 415ó17, with portrait; D. Hannay, Life of Frederick, Marryut; Florence Marryat, Life and Letters of Captain Marryat; Bookman (New York), XIII, 1901, 59, portrait; Ibid., XIV, 1902, 468, portrait.
Fireside Library. No. 121
Stair's New York Library. No. 11
Dime Library. No. 11
Waverley Library (quarto). No. 226
† Correction made as per Volume 3.