Black Charlie – A life of Admiral Sir Charles Napier KCB 1787 - 1860
by Priscilla Napier. First published in 1995 by Michael Russell Ltd., Wilby Hall, Norwich, NR16 2JP
ISBN: 0 85955 209 8
This book tells the story of Admiral Sir Charles Napier. He was born at Merchiston Hall near Falkirk on 6th March 1787 and his father was also called Charles, the fifth son of the 6th Lord Napier. He was called 'Black Charlie' by his young naval colleagues because of his jet black hair and swarthy skin. He persuaded his father, a retired naval captain, to let him go off to sea at the age of 13 and thus began his life of adventure. He fought in the Mediterranean, the Channel, the Atlantic and up the Potomac river. When He anchored his 3-decker off Alexandria with treaty terms Mohammed Ali, Pasha of Egypt asked, "What are your credentials". He replied, "My credentials are the double-shotted guns of the Powerful and the honour of an Englishman". He won through but his wife asked, "What will they say at home?". "I shall be hung or made a bishop" he said.
Charlie argued incessantly with the Admiralty, in favour of ironclads and steam and he argued against flogging and the press gang. Yet another brilliant and spirited Napier - with knobs on!