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MONRO, Robert.

Monro, His Expedition with the Worthy Scots Regiment (called Mac-Keyes Regiment) levied in August 1626.

by Sr. Donald Mac-Key, Lord Rhees, Colonell for His Majesties Service of Denmark, and reduced after the Battaile of Nerling, to one Company in Sept. 1634 at Wormes in the Paltz. Discharged in severall Duties and Observations of Service; first under the Magnanimous King of Denmark, during his Warres against the Emperour; afterward, under the Invincible King of Sweden, during his Majesties Life Time; and since, under the Directour Generall, the Rex-chancellor Oxensterne and his Generalls. Gathered together at Spare-houres, by... To which is annexed the Abridgement of Exercise, and divers practicall Observations...

London: Printed by William Jones, 1637 Stock Code: 143752
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The first regimental history in the English language and a commemoration of the "services and sufferings of Scots soldiers abroad"

First edition of this uncommon work, putatively printed at the sole expense of Donald Mackay, first Lord Reay, who raised the regiment in which Monro served. It "has several things to recommend it: it is the first regimental history, it contains a store of information, and it is highly readable" (Cockle); this copy with a fine chain of Scottish ownership

Provenance: near contemporary ownership inscription at head of title page, "Captain John ?McHorn"; Martin's Caledonian Circulating Library, with their attractive early 19th century stamp to B1; engraved armorial bookplate of Henry Cockburn, Lord Cockburn (1779-1854), author and judge, best known for Memorials of His Times (1856) which "gives a vivid account of literary circles in Edinburgh" (Drabble, OCEL, p. 209),with a couple of marginal annotations, perhaps in his hand; Cockburn's library was sold shortly after his death, although this volume apparently was not included in that sale, so may have passed to: Thomas McLauchlan, whose ownership inscription ("Thos. McLauchlan, Edin. 1855"), is on the front free endpaper, possibly the Church of Scotland minister and author (1814-1888); armorial bookplate of Clan Scott (stag trippant, motto "Amo"); from the Fox Pointe Manor library of Howard and Linda Knohl, with bookplate to rear pastedown, an impressive collection assembled in Southern California.

Military bibliographer Maurice Cockle summarises Monro's career and the salient points of his work: "Robert Monro... had in his youth served in the Scots Guards of the King of France. In 1626, the ninth year of the Thirty Years' War, he took service with the Scots Regiment under Christian IV of Denmark. He quitted it in 1633 to beat up recruits in England, but before his return the regiment had been cut to pieces at Nerlin. Included in the "Practical Observations" are some remarks on regulations to be observed in a garrison town, on treaties, and on artillery. In the chapter on artillery is a list of books in which references to gunpowder and cannon are to be found. Sigs. O2-P4 contain a list of the British Officers in the service of Gustavus Adolphus in the year 1632, and an itinerary of the marches of the forces under them during seven years". Two of the preliminary commendatory Latin verses are addressed to Monro, one commemorating his staunch defence of Schivelbein (1630); the other three being epitaphs: to John Sinclair, illegitimate son of George, fifth earl of Caithness, who distinguished himself at Trepto (Treptow), where, in Monro's words, he made "a faire shew of a bad game", sallied out of the town with fifty musketeers against a thousand and "skirmished bravely and orderly with the enemy, and returned againe with credit" (pp. 24-5); Robert Monro of Foulis (who served the Swedish crown as colonel of two Dutch regiments); Colonel John Monro, second of Obsdale, killed at Wetterau on the Rhine in 1633, while in the Swedish service, a kinsman to the author. These verses are by the Dutch physician and Neo-Latin poet Johannes Narssius (1580-1637), who was briefly physician and historiographer to Gustavus Adolphus.

With the support of Charles I, Monro hoped to open a hospital for old and wounded soldiers; however, "nothing came of the plan, but Monro's strong sense of the services and sufferings of Scots soldiers abroad led him to commemorate them through an account of the campaigns in which he had taken part: Monro his Expedition with the Worthy Scots Regiment" (ODNB). His book was reissued during the Civil Wars as The Scotch Military Discipline Learned from the Valiant Swede (London: William Ley, 1644), and award-winning historian Geoffrey Parker notes that "since the 1,500 copies printed in 1637 were not all sold, it was evidently hoped that a title more appropriate to wartime would shift the rest" (The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800, p.25).

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Small folio (291 x 183 mm). Contemporary plain ruled calf sometime neatly rebacked and corners refurbished, new dark red label to style, red edges.


Typographical and woodcut ornaments, woodcut initials.


Some wear to binding, bound without the final blank, light foxing and staining to title and following two gatherings, occasional foxing and browning, leaves 3G2 and 3G3 transposed.


Cockle 138; STC 18022; not in White.


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