A history of the late siege of Gibraltar. With a description and account of that garrison, from the earliest periods . . . . Fourth edition.

London, T. Spilsbury & Son for J. Johnson, T. and J. Egerton, and J. Edwards, 1790.

4to, pp. xxiv, 356, with an engraved vignette on title, a folding engraved frontispiece-map, three further folding engraved maps and six folding engraved plates; two gatherings lightly toned, plates and maps variably foxed, but a good copy in contemporary straight-grain red morocco, gilt, edges gilt; extremities rubbed, one or two minor scratches, spine faded; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).


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A history of the late siege of Gibraltar. With a description and account of that garrison, from the earliest periods . . . . Fourth edition.

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First published in 1785. The present edition prints the text of the corrected second edition (1786). ‘In 1777, aged fifteen, Drinkwater [1762–1844] joined as ensign a regiment of volunteers raised in Manchester, at a time of indignant excitement produced by the news of General Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga. The Manchester regiment or, more properly, the 72nd regiment or Royal Manchester volunteers, was not, however, sent to America, but to Gibraltar. The garrison was besieged in June 1779 by a Franco-Spanish force. Throughout the siege, which lasted until February 1783, Drinkwater kept a careful record of events. Thereafter the 72nd, in which he had become a captain, was ordered home and disbanded. From his memoranda Drinkwater compiled A history of the late siege of Gibraltar . . . dedicated by permission to the king. It went through four editions in four years’ (Oxford DNB).

‘The late siege of Gibraltar afforded many instances of very singular exertions in the art of attack and defence, the minutiae of which cannot be without their utility to those officers who make a science of their profession; and they must be sensible, that without pointed exactness, this design could not have been accomplished – in short, it must be remembered that the history of this siege is not that of a month, or of a year, but that it embraces a period of near FOUR YEARS, exhibiting a series of operations perhaps unparalleled’ (preface).

Provenance: John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick, Northwick Park, Gloucestershire (1769–1859), with bookplate. Rushout was one of the most distinguished British connoisseurs and antiquaries of the era. As a young man he had spent a year travelling in Spain, and he then moved to Italy in September 1793, where he lived until 1800, when his father’s death brought him back to England.

ESTC T134653; Palau 76215.

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