Lawes and Ordinances of Warre, For the better Government of his Majesties Army Royall

Newcastle, Robert Barker, 1639


FIRST EDITION. 4to. Pp. (ii) 28. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut of royal arms preceding tp, woodcut initials and ornaments. Label of George Dunn (1864-1912) on same (a bit creased with small tears), contemporary ms ‘Earl of Arundel’s Ordinances of Warre’ and ‘11’, repeated in different hand on verso. Accompanying letter from William H. Robinson Booksellers to Lord Cottesloe Dec 2nd 1922 detailing his purchase and information about the book and Lord Cottesloe’s description. An attractive combination. Slight age yellowing. Unbound, in folding box.

First edition of this focal work from Charles I’s expedition against the Scots in 1639. Rarer than the London reissue, this Newcastle edition was the second book printed in Newcastle. This pamphlet was produced during the Bishops’ Wars of 1639 and 1640, when the Scots had opposed the bishops appointed by the king, instead favouring a Presbyterian kirk (church), where a more localised and democratic form of election to power was common. Charles attempted to impose bishops on the Scots, leading Scots to expel them from the kirk. Charles responded by marching 20,000 English soldiers up to Edinburgh as well as sailing 5,000 naval troops to Aberdeen. The king chose to fund the mission with his own resources rather than Parliament’s. This book was created when the army had marched as far as Newcastle, en route to Berwick-upon-Tweed where they were planning to muster. It sought to instruct the mainly untrained conscripts the complexities and correct practices of war and was distributed and read out to the soldiers.

Key emphasis is given to correct moral and religious behaviour, i.e. no blasphemy, gambling, ‘whoredom’, nor drunkenness. Charles insists on soldiers behaving like gentlemen, and any that engage in “notorious crimes” like “willfull murders, rapes, burning of houses, thefts, outrages, unnatural absues” and so on will be mortally punished. Attention is paid to the respectful treatment of women and children, with no dishonest touching permitted. Treachery, mutinies, disrespecting authority, cowardice, deception and idleness have the appropriate punishment for each described. The detail reveals the inexperience of the army Charles was heading.

The 14th Earl of Arundel, Thomas Howard (1586-1646), is described as the general of Charles’ armed forces. Howard was a lover of the arts and travel, and his appointment to this role baffled the aristocracy including Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, who stated “he had nothing martial about him but his presence and looks.” Howard was not enlisted to lead any forces during the second Bishops’ War of 1640. The printer, Robert Barker (c. 1570-1643), had a long and complex career. He had served James I and had printed both the King James Bible and the infamous ‘Wicked Bible’. Barker was called to the press during Charles’ march northwards, and arrived to serve the King around May 8th 1639. Having published a proclamation about butter and a printing of Bishop Morton’s sermon, Barker produced the Lawes and Ordinances of Warre, which was allegedly read aloud “in a miserable cold morning with hail and snow.” Perhaps this, along with the disorganisation of Charles and his army, the ineptness of Howard as a military leader, and the untrained and unruly soldiers, explains why the first Bishops’ War was concluded with favour to the Scots.

From the libraries of George Dunn of Woolley Hall (1864-1912) and Thomas Francis Fremantle, Lord Cottesloe (1862-1956). George Dunn was a prolific collector of books and a keen student of palaeography and early printing. He accumulated a fine library at Woolley Hall, near Maidenhead, consisting of English law books, medieval manuscripts and early stamped bindings. Lord Cottesloe acquired one of the most complete collections of military books.

ESTC S101120; STC 9335; Cockle 144.
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