Six years in Biscay: comprising a personal narrative of the sieges of Bilbao, in June 1835, and Oct. to Dec., 1836. And of the principal events which occurred in that city and the Basque Provinces, during the years 1830 to 1837.

London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1838.

8vo, pp. [ii], viii, 478, with a folding frontispiece-plan of Bilbao and four double-page lithographed plates; plates and map slightly foxed, some minor foxing or spotting elsewhere; original brown cloth; slightly rubbed, spine soiled at head and foot; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).


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Six years in Biscay: comprising a personal narrative of the sieges of Bilbao, in June 1835, and Oct. to Dec., 1836. And of the principal events which occurred in that city and the Basque Provinces, during the years 1830 to 1837.

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First edition; scarce. The author was an English diplomat who was present in Spain from the beginning of 1830 until May 1837. He spent five years of this time in Liberal Bilbao, and gives a detailed account of the siege of the city in 1835. In a wide-ranging introduction he identifies what he believes to be the causes of the war, and is notably hostile towards the Carlists: ‘in the following narrative, it will be my task to make manifest that the rising of the Basque provinces was wholly unconnected with their fueros; that they proclaimed the pretender king of Spain, before even a voice had been raised, or a line written against their privileges – I shall have to show that this “much injured people”, were the most unjust aggressors, and that their bands over-ran Castile, even to the gates of Burgos, long before the forces of Isabel crossed the Ebro; that it was only afterwards, when their own territory was invaded, and their hopes of a simultaneous rising all over Spain disappointed, that they began to assume the character of a virtuous race struggling for their ancient laws and liberties’ (p. 126).

The subjects of the four double-page plates are: ‘View in the town of Bilbao, with the Morro hill in the distance’, ‘The Puente Nueva with the mountains of Ollargan and the peña from the Paseo de Miraflores’, ‘Ruins of S. Augustine, and of the principal defences of the town, taken after the siege’, and ‘The pass of Luchana with the convent of El Desierto in the distance taken from under Montecabras’.

Alberich 1042; Palau 21606.

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