Memoirs of Capt. George Carleton, an English officer; including anecdotes of the war in Spain under the Earl of Peterborough, and many interesting particulars relating to the manners of the Spaniards in the beginning of the last century. Written by himself. Edinburgh, James Ballantyne & Co.

for Archibald Constable & Co., and London, John Murray, 1808.

8vo, pp. [ii], xxiii, 463; without the half-title; title and a few other leaves spotted; contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt and with red morocco lettering-piece; slightly rubbed; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).

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Memoirs of Capt. George Carleton, an English officer; including anecdotes of the war in Spain under the Earl of Peterborough, and many interesting particulars relating to the manners of the Spaniards in the beginning of the last century. Written by himself. Edinburgh, James Ballantyne & Co.

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First published in 1728. This is the first edition to be edited by Sir Walter Scott, who has also added a preface. This is the ordinary paper issue; copies printed on large paper are also known.

George Carleton (1651/2?–1728x30) ‘claimed to be closely related to Sir Dudley Carleton, secretary of state to Charles I. However, until the late 1920s nothing was known about him other than what appears in the memoirs of military life ascribed to his name which was first published in 1728. As this work appeared in the lifetime of Daniel Defoe, and in style and structure closely resembled narratives written by him, he was for a long time assumed to be one of Defoe’s fictional characters. However, evidence published in the 1920s suggests that Carleton was indeed a real person . . . . After the revolution of 1688 [Carleton] served with distinction in Scotland, and then in Ireland. Rather than go to the West Indies, he joined the army about to go to Spain, and was present at the capture of the citadel of Monjuich. However, he was no ordinary soldier, serving as a military engineer at a number of important sieges, including that of Barcelona. He was unfortunately a member of the garrison of Denia, which was forced to surrender to the Spaniards in 1708, and he remained a prisoner until the peace treaty which ended the War of the Spanish Succession in 1713 . . . . It is clear from internal evidence that the book was completed between 1726 and 1728. The work was reprinted in 1741, and again in 1743.  James Boswell noted that Dr Johnson read it avidly and “found in it such an air of truth, that he could not doubt its authenticity” . . . . Boswell added that Carleton “had obtain’d, by his long service, some knowledge of the practick part of an engineer”. Another edition, edited by Sir Walter Scott, appeared in 1808. The memoirs were extensively used as a source by the fifth earl of Stanhope in his history of the War of the Spanish Succession published in 1832’ (Oxford DNB).

‘Issued on the occasion of Wellington’s Peninsular War . . . . [Scott’s] preface is primarily concerned with a biographical sketch of General Peterborough, whose victories in Spain are celebrated in the Memoirs, and who is remembered again in 1829 when Scott announced the imminent publication of a full-scale Life of this military hero’ (Todd & Bowden).

Alberich 543; Todd & Bowden 31Aa. Palau 44234 records the second edition (1809).

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