MEMOIRS OF RUSSIA, FROM THE YEAR 1727 TO THE YEAR 1744.

(London: Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, 1773). 275 x 211 mm. (10 7/8 x 8 1/4"). xxvi, 416 pp., [4] leaves. Edited by David Hume. Second Edition, "carefully corrected throughout, and greatly improved."

Fine early 19th century speckled calf, smooth spine gilt in panels divided by multiple plain rules and decorative roll, sunburst ornament at center, red morocco label, all edges yellow. With 10 folding engraved maps and battle plans. Front pastedown with engraved armorial bookplate of Marcus Gage. Atabey 758 (first edition); ESTC T122590. Trivial scuff near foot of front board, a touch of rubbing to joints and extremities, occasional minor foxing, more noticeable on one quire, about half a dozen leaves somewhat dust-soiled and frayed at head or tail edge (defects no doubt incurred while awaiting a permanent binding), but A FINE AND MOST ATTRACTIVE COPY, internally clean and fresh, with ample margins and particularly well-preserved plates, in a lustrous binding with few signs of wear.

This is an insider's account of intrigue at the Russian court and campaigns of the Russian military by a Prussian who served during the reign of Tsarina Anna, niece of Peter the Great, and who was involved in the succession infighting following her death. Born in St. Petersburg, the son of a Russian military officer, Manstein (1711-57) received his military training in Prussia, before returning to serve as a captain in the St. Petersburg regiment. He fought in the Crimean campaign against the Turks in 1735, distinguishing himself in battle and rising to rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the time peace was declared in 1739. In the present work, he documents this conflict, as well as ongoing hostilities with the Tartars, providing maps of contested areas and plans of battle formations. The childless Anna died in 1740, and Manstein provides us with an inside view of the succession struggle that followed, resulting in the ouster and arrest of the infant nephew who was Anna's designated successor in favor of Elisabeth, legitimized daughter of Peter the Great. Manstein left Russian service in 1745 to become an adjutant general to Frederick the Great. A soldier to the end, he was killed in battle while serving in Bohemia. Prepared from Manstein's French manuscript, this memoir first appeared in English in 1770, with French and German editions issued the following year. Our copy apparently spent a couple of decades unbound or in publisher's boards before being acquired and bound by collector Marcus Gage in the early 19th century. It is little changed from the day it entered his library.
(ST15928)