Kingston, William Henry Giles
KINGSTON, WILLIAM HENRY GILES (1814-1880), English novelist, son of Lucy Henry Kingston, was born in London on the 28th of February 1814. Much of his youth was spent at Oporto, where his father was a merchant, but when he entered the business, he made his headquarters in London. He early wrote newspaper articles on Portuguese subjects. These were translated into Portuguese, and the author received a Portuguese order of knighthood and a pension for his services in the conclusion of the commercial treaty of 1842. In 1844 his first book, The Circassian Chief, appeared, and in 1845 The Prime Minister, a Story of the Days of the Great Marquis of Pombal. The Lusitanian Sketches describe Kingston's travels in Portugal. In 1851 Peter the Whaler, his first book for boys, came out. These books proved so popular that Kingston retired from business, and devoted himself to the production of tales of adventure for boys. Within thirty years he wrote upwards of one hundred and thirty such books. He had a practical knowledge of seamanship, and his stories of the sea, full of thrilling adventures and hairbreadth escapes, exactly hit the taste of his boy readers. Characteristic specimens of his work are The Three Midshipmen; The Three Lieutenants; The Three Commanders; and The Three Admirals. He also wrote popular accounts of famous travellers by land and sea, and translated some of the stories of Jules Verne.
In all philanthropic schemes Kingston took deep interest; he was the promoter of the mission to seamen; and he acted as secretary of a society for promoting an improved system of emigration. He was editor of the Colonist for a short time in 1844 and of the Colonial Magazine and East Indian Rniew from 1849 to 1851. He was a supporter of the volunteer movement in England from the first. He died at Willesden on the 5th of August 1880.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)