Maggs Bros Ltd

A Military Course for the Government and Conduct of a Battalion,

SIMES Thomas (1777)

£850.00  [First Edition]

Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

designed for the Regulations in Quarter, Camp, or Garrison; with useful Observations and Instructions for their anner of Attack and Defence. Ornamneted with a Frontispiece and twenty copper-plate plans.

First Edition., 8vo., [32 (subscribers list has been bound before the text rather than at end end)], 286, [2 (advertisement)]., with the hand-coloured frontispiece and seventeen hand-coloured engraved plans at the end. Contemporary speckled calf, spine rule in gilt, black morocco label in the second panel (Very lightly rubbed, small chip to the upper headcap, small scuff to a couple of corners).

London: printed for the Author, and sold by Almon [...], Hooper [...], Richardson [...], Urquhard [...] and Walter,

A very beautiful copy of the much scarcer first edition of Simes's illustrated military manual.

A Military Course for the Government and Conduct of a Battalionis the third of five books published by Thomas Simes in the 18th century. The first three -The Medley(1767),The Guide(1772), andThe Course(1777) - are described by Houlding, in his study of the eighteenth century training texts of the British Army,Fit for Service,as "massive but ill-organized compendia of material dealing with all aspects of regimental administration and routine, together with reprints of all current regulations and reproductions of most of the regular printed administrative forms (such as muster rolls and the like) used throughout the army" (p.219). These three publications, however, do not "differ much, one from another, in the contents; each was essentially a rehash of the volume preceding it, though distinguished by a steadily improving format" (ibid). Regardless, "Simes's publications represented the most voluminous collection of basic material on regimental administration and daily routine to be prepared by anyone - private or public - during the century" (ibid) and enjoyed considerable popularity at the time of its publication. A great deal of the books success, however, can be attributed to its timely publication, coinciding with the American Revolution; as even Simes notes in his second dedication, "To the officers of the Army, From the rebellious conduct of the Americans it appears to me there is a great necessity of publishing something of this kind, for the instruction of the young and unexperienced officer...". Although, Houlding was highly critical of Simes's value as a writer, branding him "at best merely derivative and at worst an outright plagiarist" and describing his success as "undeserved" he did concede his works fulfilled their purpose: "Although his works were heavy-handed affairs, it must be admitted that they served their purpose of providing young officers with a fairly complete catalogue of their duties. Even [Col. Edward] Harvey, though unimpressed, acknowledged the trouble Simes had put himself to in 'Collecting Several Regulations & Forms of Returns etc & publishing them together'; and he knew this to be 'of Some Convenience to Young Officers'". This view is reflected in the extensive subscribers list, which spans fourteen pages in this edition, including some impressive names of the day.

Stock Code: 63422