WALLS, Thomas.

WALLS, Thomas. Journal de l’expedition anglaise en Egypte

Paris, J-A-S Collin de Plancy, Rue de Montmartre, 1823.


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. pp. [8] (xlviii) 363 [3], including original printed paper wrappers. Roman letter. 4 foldout plates (battle maps), 4 original full page, hand-coloured aquatints depicting local inhabitants, following original engravings of Samuel John Neele (1758-1824) after Thomas Walls, all in good impression. Some foxing, well-margined, contemporary mottled calf, some wear around at edges and gilt spine.

First French translation, by Alfred Thiery (1794-1853), of Captain Walls’ original 1803 monograph ‘Journal of the late campaign in Egypt’, a first-hand account of the British military expedition to Egypt around 1800, which aimed to oust Napoleonic forces, featuring original illustrations.

The edition begins with a detailed introduction to Egypt’s history and splendour, an account of its triumphant French military past, and the ambitions of the English, by Joseph Agoub (1795-1832), who wrote extensively about the country. The official papers of the original English version are included in the appendix, also translated into French.

Walls’ account is recorded in journalistic style and initially follows his journey through the Mediterranean, describing the landscapes and towns of Gibraltar, Minorca, Macri, Marmorice and Malta, on the way to Egypt. Next, he relates his landing in Africa and his battles, accompanied by foldout maps showing the position of each army. The battles of Mandara and Alexandria are treated in especially fine detail. The former ended inconclusively, while the latter saw British success, but at the tragic cost of lieutenant-general Ralph Abercromby, who received a musket ball to the thigh, resulting in septicaemia.

Walls briefly discusses elements of local culture, including Mamluk history and dress, before returning to operations around Alexandria, and relating the history of the city. The account provides in-depth battle chronology and contextualises the surrounding country by way of history and culture, illustrated in its coloured plates.

Thomas Walls was the captain of England’s 93rd regiment of foot and the aide-de-camp to Major General Sire Eyre Coots during Abercromby’s expedition to Egypt, sent by the British government to liberate the country from French occupation.

Blackmer Sale Cat. 1078 (English version). Brunet 1410.