Garston, Edgar, 1800—1873
by Benjamin Colbert
Edgar Garston was born in Chester. In early life he travelled widely in Europe and Asia, becoming proficient in French, Italian, and Modern Greek. In 1820, his linguistic skills earned him a place as French interpreter for Queen Caroline's counsel during the divorce proceedings in the House of Lords (the Bill of Pains and Penalties), and he interpreted the testimony of Louise Demont, the prosecution's chief witness. He managed to obtain and translate Demont's Journal (1821), publishing first his translation and, a few days later, the original with T. and J. Allman. Since the journal contained Demont's loyalist sentiments before she had been allegedly suborned as a witness, the publication appears to have been part of a campaign to rehabilitate the Queen's reputation at Demont's expense.
In 1825-26 Garston witnessed the Greek Revolution firsthand and appears to have fought as a volunteer, earning honours from the Greek government after the war. By his own account, he was brought low by a fever and forced to quit the country. His name next appears in August 1830 on a list of Liverpool citizens published in the Liverpool Mercury soon after the July Revolution, sympathising with the French defenders of 'Constitutional Rights', and thereafter his name is associated with charitable causes as a leading merchant and bank director in that city. He toured Greece and Egypt in 1840 and published a partly retrospective account, Greece Revisited and Sketches in Lower Egypt in 1840 with Thirty-Six Hours of a Campaign in Greece in 1825 (1842). Also in 1842 he married Mary Ann Isabella, née Grey (1821-1893), elder sister of the women's rights activist Josephine Butler (1828-1906; ODNB). From 1867, he served as one of 3 men on the 12-member 'North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women' (NECPHEW) under the Presidency of this sister-in-law. In later life, he continued to enjoy commercial success and to contribute to civic causes.
Butler, Josephine E. Recollections of George Butler. Bristol: J. W. Arrowsmith, [n.d.]. 251-53. Print.
‘Death of a Notable Liverpool Merchant’. Liverpool Mercury, no. 8038 (Friday, 24 Oct. 1873). Gale Primary Sources: British Library Newspapers. Web. 16 Dec. 2020.
Garston, Edgar. Greece Revisited and Sketches in Lower Egypt in 1840 with Thirty-Six Hours of a Campaign in Greece in 1825. London: Saunders & Otley, Conduit Street, 1842. Print.
Hansard, T. C., ed.Parliamentary Debates. New ser. Vol. 2. London: T. C. Hansard, 1821. Print.
‘Marriages, Births, and Deaths’. Liverpool Mercury, no. 1638 (Friday, 30 Sept. 1842): 319. Gale Primary Sources: British Library Newspapers. Web. 16 Dec. 2020.
‘Public Meeting. Liverpool, August 5, 1830’. Liverpool Mercury, no. 1006 (Friday, 13 Aug. 1830): 261. Gale Primary Sources: British Library Newspapers. Web. 16 Dec. 2020.
|Journal of the Visit of Her Majesty the Queen, to Tunis, Greece, and Palestine||1821||Translator|