William Dalton (author)

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William Dalton 1821-1875.jpg

William Dalton (1821–1875) was a Victorian-era British author of adventure stories for youth set in exotic locations such as China, Japan and Peru.[1] He wrote most of his books during a seven-year period between about 1857 to 1864. He was also chief Editor of the London Daily Telegraph for some time.[2]

Dalton was the first among many authors to novelize the true story of William Adams, who was the first Englishman to reach Japan in the 17th century.[1] His "romantic biography" is called Will Adams, the First Englishman in Japan (1861).[1] It is not an accurate history - Dalton never went to Japan, he relied on old sources and fictionalized the story - but it is an accurate reflection of 19th century British stereotypes of Japan and Asia.[1] Later authors would also novelize the Adams story, the best known is James Clavell's Shōgun (1975) and subsequent 1980 film.[1]



  • "Is Killing Murder?" A key to the adulteration of our daily food. Compiled from the evidence given before the committee of the House of Commons in the years 1855-6. London, E. Marlborough & Co., 1857.
  • The Wolf Boy of China; or, Incidents and Adventures in the Life of Lyu-Payo. Bath, Binns & Goodwin, 1857; Boston, J. Munroe & Co., 1859; as John Chinaman; or, Adventures in Flowery Land, Boston, Crosby & Nichols, 1858.
  • The English Boy in Japan; or, The Perils and Adventures of Mark Raffles among Princes, Priests, and People, of that singular empire. London, T. Nelson & Sons, 1858.
  • The War Tiger; or, Adventures and Wonderful Fortunes of the Young Sea Chief and His Lad Chow. A tale of the conquest of China, illus. H. S. Melville. London, Griffith & Farran, 1859; New York, W. A. Townsend, 1861.
  • The White Elephant; or, The Hunters of Ava and the King of the Golden Foot, illus. Harrison Weir. London, Griffith & Farran, 1860; New York, W. A. Townsend, 1860.
  • Lost in Ceylon. The story of a boy and girl's adventures in the woods and the wilds of the Lion King of Kandy, illus. Harrison Weir. London, Griffith & Farran, 1861.
  • Will Adams, the First Englishman in Japan. A romantic Biography. London, A. W. Bennett, 1861; New York, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1861.
  • Cortes and Pizarro. The stories of the conquests of Mexico and Peru, with a sketch of early adventures of the Spaniards in the New World, illus. John Gilbert. London, Griffin, Bohn, and Co., 1862 [1861].
  • Phaulcon the Adventurer; or, The Europeans in the East. A romantic biography. London, S. O. Beeton, 1862.
  • The Nest Hunters; or, Adventures in the Indian Archipelago. London, Arthur Hall & Co., 1863; as A Royal Smuggler; or, The Adventures of Two Boys in the Indian Archipelago, Chicago, M. A. Donahue, 1902.
  • The Tiger Prince; or, Adventures in the Wilds of Abyssinia. London, Virtue Bros. & Co., 1863; Boston, Roberts, 1865.
  • The Wasps of the Ocean; or, Little Waif and the Pirate of the Eastern Seas. A romance of travel and adventure in China and Siam. London, E. Marlborough & Co., 1864.
  • Lost Among the Wild Men. Being incidents in the life of an old salt. London & New York, George Routledge & Sons, 1868.
  • The Powder Monkey; or, The Adventures of Two Boy Heroes in the Island of Madagascar. London, James Blackwood & Co., 1874.
  • The Persian Chief. A tale of the manners and customs of Persia. London, James Blackwood & Co., 1882.


  1. ^ a b c d e Henry Smith, editor. Learning from Shogun: Japanese History and Western Fantasy, Program in Asian Studies University of California, Santa Barbara, 1980. Pg. 7-10
  2. ^ a b John Foster Kirk. A Supplement to Allibone's Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors, Volume 1, 1899. See "Dalton, William" on pg. 443.

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