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SOUTHEY, Robert.

A Summary of the Life of Arthur Duke of Wellington...

from the Period of his First Achievements in India, to his Invasion of France, and the Decisive Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815.

Availability: In stock

Published: Dublin printed for George Mullens [sic], 1816

Stock Code: 111638



First and only edition of this uncommon Southey title - only 6 locations on Copac, and a just a single copy recorded at auction - here offered a large paper copy in a handsome, and highly appropriate Regency morocco presentation binding. This was a piece which stirred some controversy. Originally published in the Quarterly Review - the Tory periodical on which "Southey lived from 1809 onwards, writing for every number" and sometimes receiving as much as 100 for an article (William Wallace, Critical Introduction to Robert Southey, in Craik, English Prose) - the essay was subject to "censorship" directed by none other than Wellington himself in his efforts to dictate the authorised version of his great victory. Southey had accepted the Duke's assertion that "the battle was won before the weight of Prussian numbers became significant", however, he did "dare to suggest that the Duke had been caught somewhat off-guard on 15 June and that the Prussians had contributed materially to the day" (Foster, Wellington and Waterloo: The Duke, The Battle and Posterity 1815-2015). Through his "agent" John Wilson Croker, Wellington brought pressure to bear on the Quarterly's editor William Gifford, to bring the narrative in line, and Gifford "welcomed the changes and resisted Southey's efforts to reverse Croker's edits" (Cutmore, Contributors to the Quarterly Review: A History, 1809-25, p.70). This elegant production, which was never published in London, was perhaps produced as a rejoinder to Wellington's lordly interference. It is interesting to note that the title of the map refers to the battle as La Belle Alliance, a nomenclature much resisted by Wellington for its implication of Prussian partnership in victory, with one of Croker's interpolations to Southey's text specifically addressing this.brbrThe superb binding is by George Mullen, perhaps the leading Dublin binder of his time, the tooling precisely matching that of the University of Missouri's red morocco copy, and perhaps just slightly surpassed by the BL's copy, where the shamrock corner-pieces of the border are replaced by a combined rose, shamrock and thistle "posy", and the blind panelling reduced in size for the inclusion of large gilt corner-pieces with scrolled foliate and floral tools on a pointillé background. The present copy has the ownership inscription of "D: Normanton" - perhaps Diana, Countess of Normanton, daughter of George Augustus Herbert, 11th earl of Pembroke, and daughter-in-law of Charles Agar, Archbishop of Dublin - on blank preceding the map, bookplate removed from front pastedown.

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Octavo (235 x 185 mm). Contemporary green straight-grain morocco by George Mullen, title gilt direct to the spine, low flat bands, gilt, large device composed of floral tools gilt to the compartments, both boards with broad gilt border with twined oak leaves and shamrocks, large shamrock corner tools, enclosing strapwork panels in blind, turn-ins gilt, green morocco hinges, drab paper doublures and free endpapers, all edges gilt, dark blue silk page-marker still intact.


Hand-coloured engraved folding battle plan of the Battle of Waterloo by Gonne Brocas, Dublin, text in French, based on that issued by Jouvenel in Brussels, 1815.


Lightly rubbed, spine gently sunned, very good indeed, light browning, a scatter of pale foxing, but a very good copy indeed.


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