(London: Deputies of Christopher Barker, 1593). 185 x 140 mm. (7 1/4 x 5 1/2"). 12 p.l., 328, 327-342 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, flat spine with later red morocco label. Inside front cover with ink owner's inscription of George Wilson, dated November 1, 1854; front flyleaf with engraved armorial bookplate of Thomas Francis Fremantle; early pen trials to title page, old mathematical calculations on rear endpaper. Cockle 57; STC 23468; ESTC S117986; Heuser, Beatrice, "Strategy Before Clausewitz: Linking Warfare and Statecraft, 1400-1830" (2017), chapter 5: "A National Security Strategy for England: Matthew Sutcliffe, the Earl of Essex, and the Cadiz Expedition of 1596." ◆Vellum a bit soiled, half-inch chip to head of spine, two-inch crack to fore edge of front cover, title page with small ink stain and light soiling, other trivial imperfections in the text, but still an excellent copy, clean and fresh internally, and in a sound binding.
This rare treatise addressing all aspects of war has been cited by military historian Beatrice Heuser as perhaps a unique example of a case "in which a civilian, an 'armchair strategist', published a book containing a comprehensive concept for how to conduct a war with a specific enemy that was applied in practice." According to Heuser, Sutcliffe penned "a national security strategy for England," and one that Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, to whom the work is dedicated, put into practice in the country's ongoing conflicts with Spain, leading to the operation that resulted in the successful capture of Cadiz in 1596. Sutcliffe had met Essex at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he had likely served as one of the young earl's tutors. DNB observes that Sutcliffe, who studied law before becoming a doctor of divinity, applied his legal training to this work, in which he examines not only fortifications, aggressive and defensive tactics, and the practical considerations of recruiting, paying, feeding, and housing armed forces, but also discusses laws and regulations governing the military. Cockle notes that the work "was well known both at home and abroad," and that it "urge[d] the importance of military studies." Following this consequential work, Sutcliffe restricted his writings to theological subjects, and enjoyed a 40-year career as dean of Exeter Cathedral. This work is rare in the marketplace: ABPC and RBH find just three other copies at auction in the past 40 years. (ST15853)