FINE CONTEMPORARY MOROCCO

Animadversions of warre

John Dawson, [ Thomas Cotes, Richard Bishop] London, 1639

£5250

FIRST EDITION, second issue. Folio. pp. [xxviii] 90 [2], 91-394, [2], 101, [vii]. Roman letter. Sep. pr. t-p to each part within double-ruled borders, woodcut ornament on first,  early autograph inked over above, printer’s device on second. Splendid engraved general title by William Marshall (Johnson 64), depicting mounted knight on pedestal; Roman soldier left side, his foot on a cherub, right side, woman in armour holding book, woodcut illustrations and extensive diagrams (3 folding), woodcut initials and ornaments, slightly later autograph ‘Lilly’ with shelf mark to fly. Light age yellowing, the rare marginal mark or dust stain. A fine, well margined copy, in contemporary black morocco, covers triple gilt ruled with gilt dentelle rolls to a panel design, large fleurons gilt to outer and inner corners, large central gilt stamped arabesque, spine triple gilt ruled in compartments with central fleurons, small expert repairs to joints at head and tail of spine

Subtitled: “Composed of the most refined discipline, and choice experiments that these late Netherlandish, and Swedish warres have produced. With divers new inventions, both of fortifications and strategems” this manual of 17th C warfare by an experienced soldier provides an insight into all matters military, including the latest technologies, e.g. hand grenades: “Earthen Bottels to be made of a round fashion … halfe full of Serpentine powder, or somewhat more, there is to be mixt with it a quantity of Hogges of Stone, Brimstone, Saltpeeter twice refined, Aqua Vitae, Pitch …” Divided into 22 sections, it describes first how to make provision for war, the stockpiling of provisions, preparation of armour and weapons, provision of money, shipping and soldiers; then all aspects of fortification in geometrical terms, how to fortify a hexagonal figure with flanks or irregularly shaped fortifications, and evaluates construction methods employed in different parts of Europe. There follows a detailed discussion of the use of artillery, especially in forts. Other sections explain how to send messages out of fortified places and lay mines, and discuss the duties and valour of soldiers in field and fort, closing with a debate on duels. The duties of different ranks are considered, concluding with the discussion of the ‘Council of Warre’. Next examined is the art of drilling, both with infantry and cavalry specifying how an officer should conduct himself, followed by a discussion of ‘politicke’ stratagems or ploys with examples of their successful use. A description of a diverse selection of instruments of war, engines, the use of grenades, fireballs, bombs and powder pots concludes the first book. The second discusses the requirements of generalship and the principles to observe when marching and encamping an army. There is a disquisition on military law and precepts a general should follow before going into battle. The work concludes with a detailed survey of battle formations depending on the number and proportion of horse and foot respectively. A very comprehensive work.

Robert Ward was a ‘Gentleman and Commander,’ but we have not been able to trace any further details of his life.

‘A book of reference on nearly all branches of the military art this will be found of the greatest value, the author having gone for his information to the best sources available, adding, besides, excellent observations of his own. It has been much quoted by modern writers on military antiquities’ Cockle 147.

STC 25025. Spaulding and Karpinski 129. Lowndes 2838.

L2268

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