The Naval Chronicle Vols. 1-40

The Capture of the William Tell

The Naval Chronicle was a British periodical published in forty volumes between January 1799 and December 1818. It was the most influential maritime journal of its day, published during a turbulent period when the Royal Navy was involved in the French Revolutionary Wars (1793–1801), the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) and the War of 1812 against the United States. It’s wide ranging subject matter covered accounts of naval battles, expeditions, shipwrecks, notices of promotions, retirements, marriages and deaths, reports of court martials and privateers, essays on the latest technology, as well as biographies, letters, ballads and poetry. Many of the reports that appeared in The Naval Chronicle were first-hand accounts by naval officers, including one by Lord Horatio Nelson and one allegedly written by Napoleon on St Helena in 1818. The Naval Chronicle also contained detailed engraved illustrations of naval battles and views of foreign ports, many by noted maritime artist Nicholas Pocock, as well as portraits, charts and maps.

The Naval Chronicle is a fascinating contemporary account of the Royal Navy when it was the world’s most powerful naval force and could legitimately be said to “rule the waves”. Not only is it a key source for British maritime and military history, but due to the variety of information it contains it is also a valuable resource for those researching family histories.

Notably Layton’s copy of volume 2 of The Naval Chronicle includes a bookseller’s letter stating that this particular volume once belonged to Lady Nelson, wife of British admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.

Dr. Nicholas Tracy (1998) “Introduction” in The Naval Chronicle: Volume 1: Contemporary Views of the War at Sea, Chatham Publishing

Bunney and Gold: London (1799-1818) Layton 16720


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