Little is known about the early life of Charles MacFarlane (1799–1858), a Scottish author and traveller of staunch conservative views. From 1816 to 1827 he lived and travelled in Italy, where he met the Shelleys and frequented court circles at Naples. In 1827 he visited Constantinople for sixteen months. In 1829 he moved to London and began to support himself by writing, developing a wide range of literary and publishing acquaintances. In the same year he published Constantinople in 1828, which was followed in 1830 by The Armenians: A Tale of Constantinople, the first of several historical novels. Shortly afterwards, he began to work for the publisher Charles Knight (1791–1873), contributing a volume entitled Civil and Military History of England to his Pictorial History of England (1838–44), a cheap serial publication which went through several editions. In later life MacFarlane wrote biographies of military figures.