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TANSKI, Joseph.

Tableau statistique, politique et moral de système militaire de la Russie.

Published: Paris: Heideloff et Campé, 1833

Stock code: 88287

Price: £1,500

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First edition, a presentation copy inscribed by the author, exiled Polish soldier, patriot, and poet Jozef Tanski (1805-88), ” à Monsieur le Général Langermann hommage de l’auteur”; autograph letter signed tipped in before the title in which Tanski presents this work on our “shared enemy, which by its subject cannot fail to be of interest to a military man as distinguished as yourself, and one who is moreover a Polish patriot”; Langermann’s ownership stamp to the title page. An uncommon – just 13 copies on OCLC – and important book. Tanski was exiled from his homeland following his participation in the November Uprising of 1830-1, he later served in the French Foreign Legion in the Crimea. A detailed study of the organisation, equipment, and morale of the Russian Army, described by William C. Fuller in his study of Strategy and Power in Russia 1600-1914, as “undeservedly obscure [and] extraordinary not least because it is the work of a former Polish officer who knew the Russian military system of the time from the inside”. The recipient’s story is still more extraordinary, Langermann was in fact a Finn of Swedish extraction, Alexander Maximillian Myrhberg, described in his obituary in the Pall Mall Gazette as “a man who had been for half his life a knight errant of freedom. For 30 years of the last half century Major Myhrberg was to be found fighting wherever the cause of liberty appealed to the sword”. In 1823 he had served in Spain in the revolt against Ferdinand VII, but was captured and deported to France. In 1825 he joined the struggle for Greek independence, wounded several times he was described by Thomas Gordon as “the best and bravest of the Philhellenists”; and in the November Uprising of 1830 as Langermann “he commanded a brigade in Rubinski’s division of the Polish army, and took part in all desperate and hazardous enterprises of the war. Mieroslawski lauds enthusiastically the behaviour of Langermann’s brigade in the fatal battle of Ostrolenka. Myhrberg had two horses killed under him and his sabre shattered by a musket shot” (Pall Mall Gazette). Captured by the Russians and sentenced to exile in Siberia, he escaped en route and was rumoured to have joined the Carlists in Spain. In later life he received a pension from the Swedish government, and served in the administration of the Antilles. He died 1867. Attractively provenanced copy of an uncommon, and extremely interesting book.

Octavo (200 124 mm). Contemporary green diced half Russia, matching paper-covered boards, title gilt direct to the spine, mid-blue endpapers, edges sprigged in red. Folding table, tables to text. A little rubbed, through at the corners, front front hinge a little cracked, light browning and a scatter of foxing, but a very good copy.

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