MACDIARMID, John, of Weem.

An Enquiry into the Principles of Civil and Military Subordination.

London: C. and R. Baldwin and Thomas Egerton, 1806 Stock Code: 139663

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Rare first and only edition of this investigation into "natural" and "artificial" subordination, and in particular into the specifically military institutions of the latter and their possible improvement. From the library of the marquess of Londonderry, an attractive copy with an excellent military provenance.

Macdiarmid's (17791808) father was a minister, and his mother the only daughter of a minister. He received basic schooling at home before studying at Edinburgh and St. Andrews. In 1801 he came down to London were he established himself as a journalist and edited the St. James Chronicle, conducted largely by Charles Baldwin, son of the founder, who appears as publisher here, along with his uncle Richard, and military publisher Thomas Egerton. "When war with France broke out in 1802 he especially studied the subject of national defence, and in 1805 published, in two volumes, An Enquiry into the System of National Defence in Great Britain, deprecating the substitution of volunteers for a strong standing army. In 1806 appeared his Enquiry into the Principles of Civil and Military Subordination, soon after which he suffered a paralytic stroke" (ODNB).

This copy is from the library at Mount Stewart, co. Down, the Londonderry seat of Major-General Sir Charles Stewart, with engraved bookplate. Charles William Stewart (1776-1854), later Vane Stewart, third Marquess of Londonderry, served in the Corunna campaign during which he commanded a cavalry brigade. After the retreat to Corunna and the death of Sir John Moore, the army returned to the Peninsula under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the duke of Wellington, who appointed Stewart as his Adjutant-General, an administrative job not much to Stewart's liking. However, he did see action at Talavera in July 1809, and for this service he received thanks of parliament in February 1810. He also distinguished himself at the Battle of Bussaco in September 1810, and at Fuentes de Onoro in May 1811 where he took a French colonel in single combat.

An extremely uncommon title, with just six locations recorded world-wide, only two in the United States.

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Octavo (210 x 127 mm). Contemporary half lightly sprinkled calf, black and red shell pattern marbled boards, red morocco label, single gilt ruled compartments, edges sprinkled blue.


Just a little rubbed, spine, rather appealingly, with two small pre-binding patches, corners bumped, tan burn to the endpapers, otherwise lightly toned, a very good copy.


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