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The Field of Mars: being an alphabetical digestion of the principal naval and military engagements in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. Particularly of Great Britain and her allies, from the ninth century to the present period ... Selected from the best historians and journalists, and adjusted from the greatest authority ... To which is prefixed an essay on the art of war, and a comprehensive system of military and naval discipline
London: printed for J. Macgowan, 1781. 2 volumes, quarto. (10 3/8 x 8 1/4 inches). Unpaginated with text in double columns, half-titles, 4pp. list of subscribers at the end of the text in vol.II. 2 emblematic frontispieces (one after Thomas Stothard), 59 engraved plates, plans and maps (3 folding). (Light worming, generally to the lower blank margins). Contemporary calf (rebacked, later endpapers, joints and spines worn, later endpapers). A work of its time which offers a combined survey of historical and contemporary military and naval events in an effort to direct the "dauntless spirit inherent in the breasts of the Sons of Albion and Hibernia" against France, Spain, Holland and the newly-independant United States of America First edition. Sabin mentions an edition of 1780 (without engravings) but this is probably an error: Lowndes mentions only the present edition and there are no OCLC records or auction records for a 1780 edition. There does not seem to have been any single required number of engravings for this edition: copies are listed as having sold with 52, 57, 70, and 58 engravings: the present example contains a total of 61 with no sign of anything having been removed. The preface starts well, mentioning that it is "the province of every Historian " to "preserve a perfect impartiality" but the editors swiftly show their true colours pointing out that in 1780 Britain was in conflict with not only "her Natural Enemies, France and Spain, but [also] with her late Unnatural Allies the Dutch, and her refractory North American Subjects, who ... have set up an Independence, under the protection of the united powers of their avowed Enemies, the French and the Spaniards, and [with] the concurrence of the treacherous and time-serving States of Holland, who ... now dare to support a contest the most unhappy that England was ever engaged in". In an apparent effort to raise moral, the work includes numerous historical entries for North American battles, seiges and military and naval engagments from the Seven Years' War and earlier (Annapolis Royal; Beauséjour; Fort Frontenac; Louisburg; Fort Necessity; Fort Niagara; Fort Pitt or Pittsburg; Quebec; The American Revolutionary War references include Bedford; Brandywine-Creek; Lake Champlain; Charlestown (in 1776 and 1780); Newhaven; Paulus Hook; Peeks-Hill; Penobscot; Saratoga; Ticonderoga (1758 and 1777); New York; etc. The title mentions a "prefixed ... essay on the art of war, and a comprehensive system of military and naval discipline": in reality the work includes an appended essay on fortification, as well as two alphabetical sections explaining naval and military terms. Cf. Lowndes I, p.796 (1801 edition); cf. Sabin 24297 (incorrectly dated 1780?, with no mention of plates, and mentioning the edition of 1801)
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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