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THORN, William.

Memoir of the War in India,

Conducted by General Lord Lake, Commander-in-Chief, and Major-General Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington; from its Commencement in 1803, to its Termination in 1806, on the Banks of the Hyphasis. With Historical Sketches, Topographical Descriptions, and Statistical Observations.

London : for T. Egerton, 1818 Stock Code: 143003
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Handsome copy in contemporary Russia

First edition. A well-provenanced and superbly bound copy of this handsomely and uncommon account of Lord Lake's expedition against the Maratha chief Jasvant Holkar Rao, the Second Anglo--Mahrata War, an early campaign of British Empire building in India. The author was "an avowed military man and a constant traveller... witness to some of the most important campaigns" in Asia, he had intimate knowledge of the region and the present "account reads like a travelogue through the southern part of the Punjab". (Madra & Singh (eds.), Sicques, Tigers or Thieves, p. 207). German-born Thorn used his undoubted military, literary and cartographic skills to advance himself into the ranks of the British establishment.

Thorn (1780-1843) "began his military education in England, purchasing a cornetcy in 1799 in the 29th light dragoons and joined the regiment in India. Promoted lieutenant in 1801, he saw much action in the Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-6) and distinguished himself in 1803 at the Battle of Laswari in which he was also wounded. He was promoted captain in 1807 and was brigade major to the cantonment of Bangalore, Mysore, until in November 1810 he accompanied the expedition against French-held Mauritius, where he saw action before returning to India in 1811" (ODNB). Thorn wrote this memoir after he had retired to Germany on half-pay having served in the aftermath of Waterloo. Editions in French and German followed. From the library of Charles William Vane-Stewart, third marquess of Londonderry, who campaigned in the Netherlands and Germany in the 1790s and throughout the Peninsula War, and whose advantageous marriage to the countess of Antrim enabled him to accumulate an impressive library. Londonderry's half-brother, Lord Castlereagh was President of the Board of Control (of the East India Company) and Secretary of State for War and the Colonies during the period under review here. An exceptionally large and attractive copy of this important record.

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Quarto (301 x 235 mm). Contemporary Russia, title gilt direct to the spine, low narrow bands with a single fillet gilt, compartments ornately gilt with floral and foliate tools gilt and blind, wide gilt palmette and tulip roll panel framed within triple fillets, enclosing central foliate panel in blind, edges with diagonal milling worked in fine dots, edges marbled, wide turn-ins with finely worked geometric panelling, floral corner-pieces, blue on blue Romantic pattern marbled endpapers, edges marbled blue, moderate blue silk page-marked intact.


Folding engraved map frontispiece, hand-coloured in outline, further uncoloured map, 6 engraved battle plans and order of battle with the dispositions hand-coloured.


Unobtrusively rebacked with the original spine laid down, minor scuffing, a little bumped at the corners, text and plates clean and sharp, wide-margined in an elegant Regency binding carefully restored, an excellent copy.


Bruce 4187, Cockle p. 16.


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