SERINGAPATAM. A contemporary account of operations, printed in Calcutta in 1793


A SKETCH OF THE WAR WITH TIPPOO SULTAUN; or, A Detail of Military Operations from the Commencement of Hostilities at the Lines ofTravancorein December1789, until the Peace concluded bfore Seringapatam in February1792. In Two Volumes. By Roderick Mackenzie, Lieut. 52nd Regiment. Vol I Printed for the Author [Calcutta] MDCCXCIII [1793]. Quarto [11 x 9ins]. Original printer’s blue paper covers with remarable printed label pasted to front cover: Imported by JOHN SEWELL, No 32, Cornhill, LONDON, 1794. The Second Volume of this interesting work is expected in the ships arriving this season. xxvi, 232pp, 148pp Appendix. This remarkable survival is in the original condition as sent to the London bookseller / binder. The pages are uncut, untrimmed and stab sewn eady to be put into a leather binding. The front pastedown has the contemporary name Duke of Buccleuch in ink in a secretarial hand suggesting that may have been the original intended recipient. The covers are rather chipped at the edges but the book is in excellent sound condition and printed on strong, rather thick, hand laid paper.

Books of this age printed in Calcutta are scarce as it was easier to reprint in London. Shaw: Priting in Calcutta to 1800 228 describes the book and records that the second volume was printed in 1794. A glossary of Indian terms precedes the text and there are 21 appendices, mainly texts of treaties between the HEICo and rulers including Tippoo but there are also casualty returns which name individual officers killed, wounded, or missing, but merely numbers of rank and file, Indian officers, and horses. The Calcutta Chronicle of December 1792 announces “This review of military operations, written chiefly in the field, amidst the scenes it describes, attempts at placing the exertions of the several actors in their proper point of view without influence from favour or fear…as it is not intended for sale in India, subscribers only,(a list of whom will be subjoined)can be furnished with copies.”  This is probably the earliest account of the long running campaign in Mysore based on personal experience. The label on the cover is both interesting and evocative as it brings home to us just how distant India was and how dependent government and people were on the precarious line of supply with its annual fleet of East Indiamen risking storms and enemy ships to transport goods and men between London and Calcutta. How many books must have been lost in those days is only occasionally recorded but maps and reports that the Company especially valued were sometimes divided between ships to ensure some arrived.  SOLD 10th February 2019

Henry Scott [later Montagu-Douglas-Scott], 3rd Duke of Buccleuch -1746-1812, K.G & K.T. succeeded to the title in 1751. He was Captain of the Royal Company of archers and in 1778 successfully raised a regiment of Fencibles.