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In Eastern Seas Or, the Commission of H.M.S. 'Iron Duke,' flag-ship in China, 1878-83   By:

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In Eastern Seas takes readers on a captivating voyage through the vast oceans of the East, capturing the imagination with its rich historical context and vivid storytelling. Written by J. J. Smith, the book delves deep into the experiences of the crew aboard the H.M.S. 'Iron Duke,' the flagship that sailed through the waters of China between 1878 and 1883.

Smith's attention to detail and meticulous research is evident throughout the book, making it a valuable historical record and an engrossing read for maritime enthusiasts. Through his well-crafted prose, the author vividly conjures up scenes of naval battles, diplomatic negotiations, and explorations of the unfamiliar territories of China, immersing readers in a world filled with adventure and discovery.

One of the book's standout qualities is the way Smith delves into the personal lives and struggles of the crew members. By weaving their individual stories into the larger narrative, he provides readers with a deeper understanding of the daily challenges they faced, both on and off the ship. This human element adds a relatable layer to the story, allowing readers to empathize with the characters and forge an emotional connection with their experiences.

Moreover, Smith's thorough exploration of the geopolitical landscape of the time brings a sense of context and relevance to the events described. He delves into the complexities of Sino-British relations, shedding light on the political dynamics that shaped the interactions between the crew and the Chinese people. This dynamic blend of history and personal anecdotes allows the reader to gain a comprehensive understanding of the era and the significance of the expedition.

One of the book's few drawbacks is that at times, the level of detail becomes overwhelming, potentially alienating readers who may prefer a more concise narrative. However, for those with an interest in maritime history or the intricate dynamics of colonialism, this meticulousness will be a welcome attribute.

In Eastern Seas is an enthralling book that offers a compelling account of the adventures, challenges, and triumphs of the crew of the H.M.S. 'Iron Duke' in China. Smith's impeccable research and engaging storytelling paint a vivid picture of life at sea and the international complexities of the late 19th century. This book is a must-read for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking a captivating exploration of a lesser-known chapter in naval history.

First Page:

[Illustration: O'Kosiri, 1880.

Iron Duke. Themis. Raiden. Kerguelen. Champlain. Modeste. Naezdnik.


IN EASTERN SEAS; OR, THE COMMISSION OF H.M.S. "IRON DUKE," Flag ship in China , 1878 83.



To my late Shipmates IN H.M.S. "IRON DUKE,"

The following pages are respectfully inscribed.

Those who voyage beyond sea change their climate often, but their affections never.


To write something which shall please one's own friends is one thing; to undertake the task of pleasing anybody else is another; and, I take it, a far more difficult one. The writer of the following pages never sought to sail beyond the peaceful and well marked area of the first, until induced at the suggestions of his shipmates, though against his better judgment to venture on the dark and tempest swept ocean of the second.

The only originality claimed for the narrative is that of introducing such a manifestly inferior production to your notice.

Shipmates, my little bark is frail; deal gently with her, and let me ask it as a special favor do not blow too fiercely on her untried sails.

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