MILITARY, ADMIRALTY & PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS RELATING TO THE LATE EXPEDITION TO THE SCHELDT IN 1810, PRESENTED BY HIS MAJESTY'S COMMAND TO BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT. COMPRISING OF : MILITARY (M1) JOURNAL OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE ARMY UNDER THE COMMAND OF L

Anonymous.


£2,500.00




House of Commons, 1st edition, 1810, 2 Vols., (various dates that year). BOOK. COPY No. 1. M1 : 30 pp. + large map (hand-coloured & fldg.). M2 : 40 pp. M3 : 48 pp. M4 : 30 pp. M5 : 20 pp. M6 : 28 pp. M7 : Viii + pp. 5 to 128. M8 : 78 pp. N1 : 64 pp. N2 : 32 pp. N3 : 68 pp. N4 : 37 pp. N5 : 22 pp. P1 : 390 pp. P2 : 12 pp. P3 : 36 pp. (Total : 1,066 pp., + coloured folding map). Plus 4 copies of The Morning Chronicle 27th, 28th, 30th & 31st March 1810 very neatly bound in at rear - 4 pp. each - all with Tax Stamps. Contemporary half-calf ; 5 raised bands ; red calf title-piece to spine ; marbled boards ; speckled edges. 33 x 21 cm. Re-backed (not recent) with original spine laid down. Binding rubbed & worn at extremities but an exceptionally clean, tight & sound copy & V.G.+. Ephemera tipped in : (A) : 3 MS. letters in a fine hand, with total of 5 pp., + address panels. Downs, 15 & 28 July 1809 ; Flushing, 26 October 1809. Repairs at folds ; GOOD/V.G. (B) : 2 copies of The Edinburgh Evening Courant 10th & 24th August 1810. 4 pp. each : [i] Flushing invested, rest of the island of Walcheren taken. (66 column inches). [ii] Flushing Capitulates to British Forces (133 column inches). Slight trimming of edges (having been bound in somewhere at one time) o/w V.G. (C) : Hand-Coloured caricature by Thomas Rowlandson, published London : March 30th 1810. 36 x 25cm. Professional (almost invisible) repairs to upper edge, o/w fresh, colours, crisp & FINE. BOOK. COPY No. 2 : Approx. 993 pp., fldg. map (but not cold. as in Book 1) ; same binding & condition. Both Books contain the armorial bookplate (with motto : Vincit Veritas – Truth Prevails) of Sir Eyre Coote (1759-1823). There are a number of annotations & marginalia in his hand. Eyre Coote was an army officer and colonial administrator who had fought during the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars. He served as second-in-command to John Pitt, second Earl of Chatham, during the Walcheren Island campaign in the Scheldt in 1809 (see M4), with tactical command of the army's left wing. Coote commanded the siege of Flushing while Chatham advanced on Antwerp. Coote was relieved in October 1809 owing to his erratic and eccentric behaviour (thought to have been due to a tropical malady he had picked up during his distinguished service in the West Indies). He was promoted General in 1814 and received a GCB in 1815. In July 1809, the largest British expeditionary force ever assembled weighed anchor from off the Kentish Downs and sailed for the mouth of the Scheldt and the island of Walcheren in its estuary. Two months earlier the Admiralty had announced its determination to adopt an offensive naval policy, to seize the mouth of the Scheldt, and to take or destroy the French fleet before it could leave port. In some respects the expedition was doomed before it began as Napoleon had consolidated his grip on the Continent by defeating the Austrians at Wagram in early July. The preparations for what was to be a ‘combined operation' with the army was a ponderous affair. It should also have been kept secret but the newspapers were full of it, and as the cream of the army was fighting in Portugal and Spain, it was not easy to assemble enough troops of the right calibre. The French, therefore, knew the British were coming - and in some force - and had time to prepare its defences. The overall British commander was John Pitt (Lord Chatham), elder brother to the late Prime Minister, William Pitt. Chatham took along his pet turtles for company. He was destitute alike of energy and of military capacity. Among the naval force was Sir Home Popham, no stranger to controversy and at times highly eccentric, although Popham - responsible for the signal system used by the Royal Navy at Trafalgar and by the East India Company - was nobody's fool. His superior on this occasion was Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan who was an excellent officer but happier with deeper water under his keel than the Scheldt


Share this book