[WILLIAM WATTS OR SIR THOMAS ROE] The Svvedish discipline, religious, civile, and military, 3 parts in 1

London, John Dawson for Nath: Butter and Nich: Bourne, 1632



[MILITARY]. The great and famous battel of Lützen, fought between the renowned King of Sweden and Walstein; wherein were left dead vpon the place between 5 and 6000.

N.pl.,n.pr., 1633.


FIRST EDITIONS THUS. Small 4to. 2 works in one. Pp. (viii) 90, 44; (vi) 40. Roman letter, some Italic. Some woodcut head-pieces and initials. In first work four folding woodcuts; one folding woodcut in second. Marginal sale stamp on title page of H.M. Stationary Office, armorial bookplate of Royal Military College on front pastedown, armorial bookplate of Thomas Francis Fremantle on end paper. Light yellowing, small repair to upper margin of title page, good margins. In C19 morocco, gilt edging to covers, aeg, spine with gilt bands and title.

The Svvedish Discipline is the first English translation, by William Watts or Sir Thomas Roe, of a German original by chronicler Johann Philipp Abelin (1600-1637). The second work is an English translation of a lost French account by an anonymous author. These volumes both describe to the English speaking reader the tumultuous political events occurring contemporaneously between, among others, Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years War. The first work forms the first of a series of fifteen popular pamphlets about different elements of the war published by Butter and Bourne between 1632 and 1639. Cockle 125 describes a copy in the BM which bears an inscription “By Sir Thom Roe” in a contemporary hand. Roe had been ambassador to the Sultan from 1621-28, was sent in 1629 to the Swedish King, to whom he suggested an invasion of Germany. The possible authorship of William Watts comes from a 1639 letter to Edward Viscount Conway from Edward Rossingham which ascribes the author’s hand to Dr Watts. Watts was Chaplain to the General of the Forces in the Scotch Expedition of 1639.

The Thirty Years War was fought in Central Europe between May 1618 and May 1648. It resulted in almost 10 million deaths and destroyed 20% of Germany’s population. Initially sparked by friction between Protestants and Catholics, it evolved into an international power struggle between the major European states including the House of Habsburg and the Kingdom of France. Out of this thirty-year long uproar Sweden established itself as a major new European power, in great part thanks to the leadership of King Gustavus Adolphus. Swedish troops formed the largest portion of the anti-Habsburg side, numbering 149,000 in 1632. Gustavus came to the aid of the German Lutherans with the aim of combating the force of the Holy Roman Empire as well as obtaining economic purchase in the Baltic Sea. He accumulated an army on top of his own forces made up of German mercenaries and about 30,000 Scottish troops. Gustavus succeeded in a number of decisive victories, but came to his end at the Battle of Lützen in 1632. Despite his sudden death, Lützen was a Protestant victory. An impressive pull-out woodcut in the second book demonstrates the sheer extent of Swedish victories across Germany, naming cities such as Köln and Frankfurt. Woodcuts in the first book include a way to draw up a brigade, a Camp Royale, and the battle arrangement at Leipsich, This quasi-propagandist book champions the Swedish army and its pursuits across Central Europe.

The bookplates identify the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and Thomas Francis Fremantle, Lord Cottesloe (1862-1956). Lord Cottesloe acquired one of the most complete collections of military books. Over the course of his long life he continuously sought rare military literature eventually numbering many hundreds. The Royal Military College bookplate demonstrates the continuing interest English forces took in Gustavus’s activities during the Thirty Years War. Indeed, his battle tactics were used during the English Civil War.

ESTC S118094; STC 23520; Cockle 125; Lowndes 2555ESTC S103558; STC 12534; OCLC 55584113.

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