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LESTOCK, Richard, & Thomas Mathews.

[Collection of 10 pamphlets relating to the controversy concerning the battle of Toulon.]

Published: London: various publishers, 1744-5

Stock code: 67755

Price: £3,000

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First editions. An interesting selection of publications offering insight into this perfect exemplar of the eighteenth-century naval controversy, questions of ship-handling, the interpretation of signals, and personality clashes, all overlaid by matters of patronage. “Lestock’s name will always be connected with the battle of Toulon (11 February 1744). By adhering to a restrictive interpretation of the fighting instructions and declining to take any initiatives he contributed to a monumental naval failure” (ODNB). Lestock and his direct superior Admiral Thomas Mathews had had previous contretemps, and in the aftermath of the battle, a virulent pamphlet war flared with Lestock throwing “blame on various captains not in his division and especially on Mathews, whom he charged publicly.” Public opinion was against Lestock, but Admiral Byng’s “interest” ensured that a parliamentary enquiry, and subsequent court martial were managed in Lestock’s favour, “There is every sign that the exoneration of Lestock was arranged. The court, in fact, carried it to an extreme, for in every way conceivable the members found no possible fault in Lestock’s conduct. Subsequently, the same court cashiered Mathews … The public was not convinced. As a naval historian writing in 1758 observed, the ‘nation could not be persuaded that the vice-admiral ought to be exculpated for not fighting’ and the admiral cashiered for fighting (Barrow, The Naval History of Great Britain).” The ten pamphlets are as follow; [Mathews], A Narrative of the Proceedings of His Majesty’s Fleet in the Mediterranean (1744); Original Letters and Papers between Adm——–l M———ws, and V. Adm——-l L———k (1744); Admiral Matthews’s Account of the Action in the Mediterranean (1745); Vice-Admal Lestock’s Recapitulation … (1745); Admiral Mathews’s Charge against Vice-Admiral Lestock Dissected and Confuted (1745); Ad——l M——ws’s Conduct In the Late Engagement Vindicated (1745); An Impartial Review of the Conduct of the Admirals M—ws and L—-k (1745); Minutes taken at a Court-Martial assembled On Board His Majesty’s Ship Torbay … (1745); Appendix to the minutes taken at a Court-Martial … (1745); Captain Opie’s Appeal against the Illegal Proceedings of Vice-Admiral Mathews (1745)

10 octavo pamphlets, all uncut, most unopened, sewn in original wraps as issued. Housed in a black cloth solander box. 4 folding maps and a folding table to the first item. Wraps a little tattered in some case, one upper wrap detached, and two lacking, but overall very good indeed.

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