Drawing on a remarkable collection of family material, augmented by other sources, Sailors, Settlers
& Sinners also reveals Britain’s maritime history during the age of sail, as voyages move from Hull to
Hamburg, the Baltic, Mediterranean and Russia; from Liverpool to North and South America; from
London to India, Australia and New Zealand.
An escape on foot from captivity in France in 1810, the attempted murder of a young wife in New Zealand and a heroic death in the Transvaal in 1880 are just three of the extraordinary stories recounted in Sailors, Settlers & Sinners. Beginning in the port of Hull in East Yorkshire during the French Revolution, Moira traces the life of
George Hall, a mariner captured during the Napoleonic Wars in France, his six years of captivity and his daring escape, as well as the maritime careers of his two sons, George and Thomas, when Britain
was expanding as a maritime and colonial power. Drawn into their tale of human enterprise in the face
of heart-breaking and devastating set-backs, this impeccably detailed and beautifully written account
is proof of courage and determination as a route to worthwhile achievements.
The author, Moira Taylor (née Hall), is the great-great-granddaughter of Captain George Hall who
escaped from France in 1810, the great-granddaughter of Captain Thomas Williamson Hall, who
settled as a pastoralist in Timaru, New Zealand, and the great-great niece of Sir John Hall, the former
New Zealand premier who advocated for and assisted women to get the vote in 1893.
Private letters and personal journals bring to life the hopes and aspirations, trials and despair of this rich parade of characters and their stories of adventure, false identity, primitive surgery, adultery, drug abuse, high political achievement and low political manoeuvring. Settings and scenes range from parties in the port of Hull to the plague-ridden streets of Constantinople, from fur-trapping in Vancouver to high-country sheep farming and early government in New Zealand. Packed with incident and telling detail and lavishly illustrated with portraits, photographs, documents and maps,Sailors, Settlers & Sinners will appeal to anyone interested in family, maritime and political history.