William Henry Giles Kingston bigraphy, stories - British translator

William Henry Giles Kingston : biography

28 February 1814 - 5 August 1880

William Henry Giles Kingston (28 February 1814 – 5 August 1880), often credited as W. H. G. Kingston, was an English writer of boys' adventure novels.


William Henry Giles Kingston was born in Harley Street, London, on 28 February 1814. He was the eldest son of Lucy Henry Kingston, and grandson by his mother's side of Sir Giles Rooke, Knight Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. His father was in the wine business in Oporto, and Kingston lived there for many years, making frequent voyages to England and contracting a lifelong affection for the sea. He entered his father's business, but soon indulged his natural bent for writing. His newspaper articles on Portugal were translated into Portuguese, and assisted the conclusion of the commercial treaty with Portugal in 1842, when he received from Donna Mariada Gloria an order of Portuguese knighthood and a pension.

His first book was The Circassian Chief, a story published in 1844, and while still living in Oporto, he wrote The Prime Minister, an historical novel, and Lusitanian Sketches, descriptions of travels in Portugal. Settling in England, he interested himself in the emigration movement, edited in 1844 The Colonist and The Colonial Magazine and East India Review, was honorary secretary of a colonisation society, wrote in 1848 Some Suggestions for a System of General Emigration, lectured on colonisation in 1849, published a manual for colonists, How to Emigrate, in 1850, and visited the western highlands on behalf of the emigration commissioners. He was afterwards a zealous volunteer and worked actively for the improvement of the condition of seamen. But from 1850 his chief occupation was writing books for boys, or editing boys' annuals and weekly periodicals. The Union Jack, a paper for boys, he started only a few months before his death. The best known of his stories, which numbered more than a hundred, are:

Cover of In the Rocky Mountains written by W. H. G. Kingston

  • Peter the Whaler, 1851
  • Blue Jackets, 1854
  • Digby Heathcote, 1860
  • The Cruise of the Frolic, 1860
  • The Fireships, 1862
  • The midshipman Marmaduke Merry, 1863
  • Foxholme Hall, 1867
  • Ben Burton, 1872
  • The Three Midshipmen, 1873
  • The Three Lieutenants, 1876
  • The Three Commanders, 1876
  • The Three Admirals, 1878
  • Kidnapping in the Pacific, 1879
  • Hendriks the Hunter, 1884

He travelled widely on the ordinary routes of travel, and described his experience for the young in:

  • Western Wanderings. Or, a pleasure tour in the Canadas, 1856
  • My Travels in Many Lands, 1862 (France, Italy and Portugal)
  • "In The Eastern Seas", 1871
  • The Western World, 1874
  • A Yacht Voyage round England, 1879

His popular records of adventure and of discovery included:

  • Captain Cook: His Life, Voyages, and Discoveries, 1871
  • Great African Travellers, 1874
  • Popular History of the Navy, 1876
  • Notable Voyages from Columbus to Parry, 1880
  • Adventures in the Far West, 1881
  • Adventures in Africa, 1883
  • Adventures in India, 1884
  • Adventures in Australia, 1885
  • Travels of Dr. Livingstone's Travels, 1886
  • Travels of Mungo Park, Denham and Clapperton, 1886

He published translations of several of Jules Verne's stories from the French (see below on the actual translator), and wrote many historical tales dealing with almost all periods and countries, from Eldol the Druid, 1874, and Jovinian, a tale of Early Papal Rome, 1877, downwards, and undertook some popular historical compilations like Half-Hours with the Kings and Queens of England, 1876.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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