Regulations and Instructions relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea.

Established by His Majesty in Council.

[London: The Admiralty,] 1806 Stock Code: 62707


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First issued in 1731, these are the fundamental regulations governing "the organization and discipline of the British Navy" (Uden & Cooper, A Dictionary of British Ships and Seamen), this edition published the year following Trafalgar. "Up to 1731 every commander-in-chief had issued his own code of instructions to his ships, but in that year appeared the first set of King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions, to be followed by many others as they were periodically revised." All of the 18th- and early 19th-century issues are uncommon, Library Hub recording just two copies of this significant edition; NMM have it amongst their near complete run, with WorldCat adding just another eight copies worldwide.

This copy with the bold ownership inscription of "Lieut. Thomas Sykes, Swiftsure" to the imprimatur leaf. Sykes was a member of a distinguished naval family and first joined the Navy as an able seaman in 1789, serving for the next two years in the Channel "part of the time in the capacity of midshipman" (O'Byrne). He had a long and eventful career, rising through the ranks to become commander in 1814. At Algeciras on 6 July 1801, following the action between Sir James Saumarez and Admiral Linois, he took boats from the Calpe to assist the ailing Hannibal, aground and under fire from the enemy. The crew of the Hannibal were forced to surrender and Sykes was taken prisoner. He was however included in the division of prizes following the Gut of Gibraltar victory of 12 July, and qualified for the clasp to his NGS. In 1805 "in the Swiftsure Mr. Sykes shared, as second-lieutenant in the glories of Trafalgar. During the memorable gale which succeeded the battle, it being observed that the French 74-gun ship Redoutable, which the Swiftsure had taken in tow, was rapidly sinking, Mr. Sykes after every effort had been apparently made by the boats to rescue the crew implored his captain, Rutherford, that he might be allowed one more trip." With night upon them, Sykes and Commander Thomas Read of the Swiftsure's pinnace succeeded in bringing off as many men as was possible; "nor did the two desist in their humane endeavours until their boats were full." Sykes's later exploits included extinguishing a fire caused by lightning in the Swiftsure's rigging, eliciting a letter of commendation from Sir Sidney Smith, who had witnessed the event; a raid near Bergen in 1808 when serving as senior lieutenant on the Tartar, in which his captain was killed and he had to navigate the ship back to sea by using spars as levers in a narrow passage; and being shipwrecked in his final command, the Fantome. An attractively provenanced copy of these uncommon regulations.

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Quarto (266 x 206 mm). Contemporary sprinkled calf, red morocco label, compartments formed of a single gilt beaded roll.


Large folding table, examples of forms to the appendices.


A little rubbed and stained on the boards, joints and headcaps skilfully restored, light browning, but overall very good.


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