Observations on Mr. Stedman's History of the American War


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CLINTON, Henry. Observations on Mr. Stedman's History of the American War. London: for J. Debrett, 1794. Quarto, unbound, contemporary stitching, uncut; pp. (1), ii, 34.

First edition of Lieutenant-General Clinton’s detailed criticism of Stedman’s History, published in the same year as that work. An unbound, uncut copy.

Stedman's History of the Origin, Progress and Termination of the American War (London, 1794) was based on his involvement during the war as interpreter with the Hessian auxiliaries and as commander of a rifle corps of colonists from the Palatinate. At the conclusion of the war he was appointed to examine and settle the claims of the American loyalists. Stedman's work became a standard authority; Clinton's Observations impugn Stedman's accuracy on minor points, "but these strictures appear to have been prompted mainly by personal feeling" (DNB). Try as he might to defend his reputation against perceived attackers such as Stedman and Cornwallis, history tends to view Clinton as a capable officer but a fatally flawed commander-in-chief of the British forces in the Revolutionary War: "He clearly understood the war as a whole… Yet he could not translate his insights into British victory. Nor could he avoid being blamed for Lord Cornwallis' climactic defeat at Yorktown. Clinton was a brave, knowledgeable officer who was unsuited by temperament to high command—especially in the long, difficult American War of Independence" (ODNB). Sabin 13753. Howes C-498. Stevens Rare Americana 54.

Text clean, a few leaves with minor creasing, minor expert repairs to a few leaves; small ink stains to title page, not obscuring letterpress. An excellent uncut copy.

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