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BEATSON, Robert.

Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain,

from the Year 1727 to 1783.

Published: London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, W. J. and J. Richardson; A. Constable and Co., Edinburgh; and A. Brown, Aberdeen, 1804

Stock code: 70850

Price: £2,250

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Second edition, the first, published in 1790, was in three volumes, this continues the account down to the conclusion of the War of Independence, “Particularly useful for the army’s campaigns in America” (Bruce). Beatson saw early service at Rochefort in 1758, and at Martinique and Guadeloupe. On his father’s death he came into an inheritance and concentrated on a literary career. “He was befriended by Adam Smith, and benefited for several years from Smith’s conversation and library. Smith encouraged Beatson to write; Beatson dedicated his [first work] Political index to the histories of Great Britain and Ireland to Smith, who advised on its contents” (ODNB) The preface states that the present work relates to “Military Transactions … such as have a relation to maritime affairs, or are connected with naval services” and contains detailed accounts of naval engagements “with considerable use of official reports, particularly in the appendices. It was well received by critics.”

6 volumes, octavo (208 129 mm). Contemporary red morocco, title gilt direct to flat spines, compartments formed by Greek key rolls containing foliate devices, single gilt floral rolled panel to the boards, all edges gilt, beaded roll to the turn-ins, marbled endpapers. Spines sunned, and with some chipping at the head and tail caps, upper joint of volume I just starting, contents variably browned, remains a very good set. Contemporary armorial bookplates of Acton Chaplin to the front pastedowns.

Bibliography: Bruce 2844; NMM, V, 1213; Sabin 4145.

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