Maurice J. D. (Maurice James Draffen) Cockle.

A bibliography of English military books up to 1642 and of contemporary foreign works online

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? ONE know so well the value of a good Bibliography
as those who have had to work at the same time
on two topics, one of which has and the other has
not been dealt with by a competent bibliographer.
In the first case the student knows the obvious
books, but he is fully aware that others exist, and
it is his duty to find them. The preliminary labour of so doing is
often enormous : I have known would-be authors who found it so
engrossing that they have finally produced nothing more than a
list of sources, where they had intended to write a book. Those
who are not so faint-hearted, and who have got well to work on a
hitherto neglected subject, are always finding new authorities con-
taining facls which make it necessary to delete whole pages of
their manuscript. It has always seemed to me that, by some
special perversity of fate, a trad: of importance, which has hitherto
escaped notice, invariably turns up just as the author has despatched
the second revise of his proofs to the press.

It is impossible, therefore, to exaggerate the debt which the
specialist owes to those who are good enough to make his way
clear for him, by searching out all the scattered materials bearing
on his subject. As one who, after working through the military
annals of the Middle Ages, is about to analyse the far more com-



plicated Art of War of the Renaissance, I am myself bound to
express my personal obligation to Mr. Cockle for his diligence and
care in compiling this bibliography of English works bearing on
War. A glance through his proofs was sufficient to show me
dozens of interesting books which had not before come under my

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the English had a
school of war of their own, entirely dependent on the use of their
great national weapon, the long-bow. From the day of Falkirk to
that of Flodden the archer, when properly handled by his com-
manders, discomfited all who, on horse or on foot, came up against
him. Unfortunately the tactics of this invincible English archery
were not committed to paper by any scientific soldier : they have
to be gathered from the chroniclers, who were generally clerics, and
often unable to describe with clearness or accuracy the fights of
which they have to tell. Just as laymen and professional soldiers
began to write, the predominance of the long-bow was ceasing.
Roger Ascham's " Toxophilus " (1545) has already to take the
defensive against the incoming of firearms, and Sir John Smythe
(1590), when he enlarges on " the great sufficiency, excellency, and
wonderfull effects of archers " in his " Discourses," is the champion
of a cause that had already been lost. Though many of the
militia who had been called out against the Armada in 1588 were
still armed with the bow, yet before 1600 Sheriffs and Lords-
Lieutenant had begun to refuse to put into the ranks any man
bearing the old national weapon. Roger Williams and Barwick
had demolished all Sir John Smythe's old-fashioned theories.

It is a thousand pities that we have not any literary survivals
from the earlier contentions between the advocates of the bow and
the arquebus, which must have begun a full century before Smythe
and Williams engaged in their controversy. The smaller firearms
had been seen in England ere the Wars of the Roses came to an
end: they had figured at the second battle of St. Albans and at
Stoke Field. Yet they failed to make much way on this side of
the Channel till the reign of Henry VIII. was far advanced.


Their advocates must have argued in vain, for two generations,
against the conservatives who trusted in the clothyard shaft alone;
but not a word of the dispute has descended to us.

By the time that the English soldier began to commit his
experiences and his theories to paper, the old school of national
tadtics was moribund. The men who wrote in the age of Elizabeth
had seen all their service in Flanders and France, and were set on
teaching their fellow-countrymen the Art of War that had been
developed by Spanish and Italian captains since the commencement
of the great struggle between Charles V. and Francis I. The
military books of the period which Mr. Cockle's bibliography
covers are very largely compilations from the continental authors.
When they are original compositions, they are still mainly inspired
by foreign experience and foreign necessities. England was not
destined for many generations to develop a new national system of
tactics. This was not unnatural : the country was fortunate enough
to escape the sight of battle within her own borders from the day of
Solway Moss to that of Edgehill. Between 1542 and 1642 English
troops often fought on the continent, but it was generally in small
numbers, and as the mere auxiliaries of foreign allies. The only
force of really formidable strength that was ever sent abroad was
the army that sailed in 1589 to the ill-managed and unlucky
" Journey of Portugal." Moreover, all the expeditions which were
despatched to the continental wars consisted of men raised for the
occasion, and disbanded on their return. There was no standing
army in which the professional soldier could find a regular liveli-
hood and a fixed position. He never got the chance of training
a full army of Englishmen embodied for permanent service: the
only bodies of his countrymen which were held together long
enough to become veterans, were the regiments which were hired
by the Dutch for their struggle with Spain, and afterwards by the
German and Swedish princes during the Thirty Years' War. These
corps were mere auxiliaries, and were naturally trained and exercised
on continental and not on English methods. We were never to
have a professional army of our own till Fairfax and Cromwell


embodied and disciplined the famous " New Model " in the spring
of 1645.

It is natural, therefore, that all our early English military books,
with very few exceptions, are echoes from the great wars of the
continent. We need only except the works of the last advocates
of archery, such as Sir John Smythe and William Neade, the
author of that fantastic publication, " The Double-armed Man "
(1625). All other writers sought their inspiration from the conti-
nent, and Mr. Cockle has therefore compiled a bibliography of
foreign authors on the Art of War, in whose works the original
material of books published on this side of the Channel is so often
to be found. Any survey of the history of English warcraft would
be incomplete without a notice of them. The labour involved in
this part of the work is not less than that required for the construc-
tion of the English section : it is true that in the latter Mr. Cockle
had no forerunners and was compelled to begin ab initio^ whereas
several good continental bibliographies already exist. But, on the
other hand, the bulk of the foreign works is considerably larger, and
the British Museum Library, in spite of its wealth, is naturally not
so complete in its collection of books published overseas as in that
of our national authors.


Oxford, July, 1900.



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'HE first steps in the study of a subject are often
bibliographical. So well did Hulsius 1 understand
this that for the benefit of his readers he made a
list containing the short titles of the works used
in preparing his treatises " Der Mechanischen
Instrumenten" (Franckfurt-am-Mayn, 1604, 4),
prefixing it to Part I. Twenty, at least, of the hundred works
mentioned may be classed as military ; and starting from this index,
with its recognition of the fact that some acquaintance with what
had already been written should be a prelude to research, it will
not be out of place to inquire here what further assistance has been
given from time to time in this respect to the student of the art of
war and its history. A brief notice of the books actually seen will
suffice, for the ground has been covered already by Doisy, 2 who
mentions about fifty lists, most of them very short, however, and
occurring in general catalogues, or at the end of other works.

The " Syntagma de Studio militari " of Gabriel Naude (Rome,
1637, 4) 3 is commonly called the earliest military bibliography,
but it is not correctly so described. It is, rather, a compendium,
pointing out to the military student what books he should consult,

1 See No. 945.

* "Essai de bibliologie militaire", Paris, 1824, 8.

' This ed. is not in the British Museum.

ix b

those being recommended which had been written by successful
generals. First there comes a short account of ancient military
writers, and of the libraries in which certain MSS. in the Greek, Latin,
Arabic, and other tongues, are to be found. Next, some modern
authors are mentioned, who are divided into two classes, those who
had written on the ancient, and those who had written on the
modern discipline. Titles are rarely given, and dates never. Part
of the essay was reprinted by Schubert at Jena, 1683, 12; and
Crenius has included it in his collection, " De eruditione com-
paranda . . . tractatus" (Leyden, 1699, 4), enriching it with notes.

In 1697, Saint-Remy, in his "Memoires d'artillerie " (Paris, 4 ), 1
printed a list of the twelve books on artillery that he considered
most necessary for study. It has most remarkable omissions.

Leonhard Sturm, in the " Vade Mecum architectonicum "
(Amsterdam, 1700, 8), gives a list of books on fortification, in
alphabetical order, under author's names, with short titles, place of
printing and date, but not editions.

In 1738 appeared the first English list. 2 It was added by
William Horneck to his translation of Bernard's "Nouvelle maniere
de fortifier les places" (London, 1738, 4), under the heading,
"An account of the rise and progress of Fortification from its
Infancy to this June, and of the most noted Engineers who have
wrote on that subject."

Next came Loen's " Bibliotheque Militaire" (Frankfort, 1743,
8), in two parts, historical and technical. The latter (pp. 1 25-1 67)
is in eighteen sections, each subdivided according to language.

The first Spanish military bibliography to be printed was Garcia
de la Huerta's " Biblioteca Militar " (Madrid, 1760, 8). Huerta,
however, seems only to have published a manuscript which he
found in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, while librarian there.

F. von Nicolai, in 1765, issued the first number of " Nach-
richten von alten und neuen Kriegs-Buchern " (Stuttgart, 8) ; it

1 Reprinted, Paris, 1707 (La seconde Ed.), La Haye, 1741 (La quatrieme Ed.),
and Paris, 1745, 4 08 . A pirated ed. of Amsterdam, 1702, 4.
3 Doisy. I have not seen the work.

was to have been in six parts, but the others were never printed. 1
The first part contains a list of writers on tactics, ancient and
modern, with brief notices of some of them ; short titles, and, in
some cases, editions are given. The plan is far more extensive
than Loen's, and it is to be regretted that the other parts were not

Not a bibliography, strictly speaking, is the admirable " Dis-
curso sobre los illustres autores e inventores de artilleria" (Madrid,
1767, 1 2, pp. 144) of Vincente de los Rios. Six authors, Tartaglia,
Alaba, Collado, Lechuga, Ufano, and Firrufino, are treated of at
length, while other writers on the subject are mentioned briefly.

An attempt at a general military bibliography was made by
Conrad Walther in i783,"Versuch einer vollstandigen Militair-Bib-
liothek" (Dresden, 8, pp. 376). This catalogue, in sixteen parts, is
arranged according to subject, with an index to authors and subjects
at the end. Though it is the most complete and best arranged
that had so far been printed, on account of the confusion of titles
and of the large number of printer's errors, mistakes in names,
dates, etc., little dependence can be placed on it.

Hover's " Geschichte der Kriegskiinste [und Wissenschaften] '
(Gottingen, 1797-1800, 8) is in seven parts. At the end of
parts v., vi., and vii. are lists of military books printed between
1651 and 1798, the earlier writers being given in footnotes. 2

The first Italian military bibliography is Guarnieri's " Breve
biblioteca dell' architettura militare" (Milan, 1797 and 1803,
4 08 ). This was amplified by Marini in his preface to the splendid
reprint of Marchi's "Architettura militare" (Roma, 1810, fol.).

Rumpf s " Allgemeine Literatur der Kriegswissenschaften "
(Berlin, 1824, 8) is the best known of the German bibliographies.
It is arranged chronologically according to subjecl:, in sections, and
these again split up according to size. Rumpf has based his cata-
logue on Walther, whose inaccuracies he has transported into his

1 MS. note in B.M. copy.

* Hoyer wrote also : " Litteratiir der Kriegswissenschaften und Kriegsgeschichte "
(Berlin, 1832, 1840, 8).


own work, adding countless others thereto. In a word, he is not
to be relied upon.

General Mariano Ayala used Guarnieri's work as the basis of
his " Bibliografia Militare Italiana " (Turin, 1854, 8). Of this
work, as of Almirante's, one can scarcely speak too highly. Where-
ever I have had an opportunity of checking descriptions with the
books themselves, I have found them almost invariably accurate ;
and if here and there some evident discrepancy makes it as well to
verify a date, it is probably the printer who is in fault. This
bibliography, which includes MSS., is divided into seven parts ac-
cording to subject ; the number of each might with advantage
have appeared in the margins to facilitate reference.

The " Bibliografia Militar de Espana" (Madrid, 1876, 8) of
Almirante is founded on the general Spanish bibliography of
Antonio Nicolas (Rome, circa 1670), and on Huerta's catalogue.
Almirante is accurate, and invariably gives his authorities for a
book not seen by himself. The titles, with occasional notes, occupy
more than nine hundred pages, and it would, perhaps, have been
better had he separated the historical works, which take up the
greater part of the book, from the technical. He admits, besides,
many works that are not Spanish and many that have but a remote
connection with the subject, and this, combined with the system of
indexing, causes much unnecessary trouble.

I know of no French military bibliography. Brunet has an
incomplete list, and Bardin's "Dictionnaire de I'armee" (Paris, 1841,
8), under the heads, "Auteurs militaires " and " Noms propres,"
includes writers of all nations.

None of these bibliographers make much account of English
works ; Sturm has two upon his list, which Loen, coming after
him, has taken. Walther catalogues about fifty, 1 and these Hoyer
and Rumpf borrow, generally without corrections, adding a few
more of their own finding ; and as no Englishman has attempted
to index them as a whole, the bulk of them remains, except in
library catalogues and catalogues of recent books, quite unchronicled.

1 This number does not include histories, etc.

But, although we have no general bibliography of English military
books, we have several catalogues of works in all languages, on
special branches, in which they figure ; notably, Colonel Lefroy's
list of works on Artillery, 1 Wirt Gerrare's " Bibliography of Guns
and Shooting ", 2 Capt. F. H. Huth's " Works on Horses and Equita-
tion ", 3 and Major Elliot's "Cavalry Literature." 4 Lefroy's list
has few English books. Elliot's, however, has a section entirely
devoted to them, with occasional notes of value to the military
student, for whom the catalogue is intended. But the spelling
of title-pages, which are rarely given in full, is not closely followed,
nor is there any indication as to size or form ; while many of
the nine hundred works in English and French mentioned are taken
from Huth.

In this catalogue I have included only the more important of
the historical pieces, such as Hugo's " Siege of Breda", Grimston's
" General History of the Netherlands ", and Williams's " Wars of
the Low Countries", which, though not technical, were too im-
portant to be omitted. The Wars of the Netherlands, the Civil
Wars in France, and the Thirty Years' War, gave rise to a quantity
of literature both in this solid form and in the more ephemeral
form of pamphlets. The latter, which help to illustrate the
technical writings, are, in many cases, letters written from the seat
of war, sometimes dashed off between one engagement and another,

1 Proc. Roy. Art. Inst., vol. ii., pp. 4-12.

a Westminster, 1895, 8.

3 London, 1887, 4.

* Calcutta, 1893, 8 - Mr. B. H. Soulsby has in progress a " Catalogue of English
Military Books published by the British Government." Vol. I. appeared London, 1894,
8. The aim and objeft of catalogues of recent military books have been so fully
stated by Major-General Maurice [" War ... to which is added an Essay on Military
Literature, and a list of books", etc. Macmillan & Co., London, 1891, 8], and by
Colonel von Gyzicki [" Ueber Kriegsgeschichte Studien ", Berlin, 1881, 8], that it is
unnecessary to add anything upon that head.


and the writers would seem to have been employed by certain
printers, John Wolfe in particular in the sixteenth century, and
Butter and Bourne in the seventeenth, as war correspondents.
Much of the importance of these slight productions lies in the fact
that names of persons and details concerning actions are often to be
found in them which may be sought for in vain elsewhere.

In the first instance I had intended to include all such histories
and pamphlets bearing on military affairs ; and finding how large a
number of them was issued during the Civil Wars in England
thirty thousand, Oldys says, 1 on various subjects, but many of them,
no doubt, relating to the wars in progress I determined to break
off at 1642. I see now that the list might have been better carried
up to 1660, the date of the institution of the Standing Army, and
of the final merging in it of the feudal militia.

Although the intention of the compilation was originally only
to furnish an index of works treating of the art of war as practised
by the English people, I soon found that a parasite such as our
military literature was in its first period could not be reviewed
independently and at the same time efficiently. Therefore I added
the contemporary foreign works, arranged like the English in
chronological order, but, unlike them, having this order subordi-
nated to a classification according to subject, in order that the
student, examining an English book, may see at a glance what was
being written abroad, about the same time, on the same branch.
This divergence in the plan is rather significant of the difference
both in quality and number between native and foreign productions.
The former do not lend themselves to subdivision until quite the
close of the sixteenth century ; with few exceptions they are
nothing more than compendiums from some bulky foreign treatise,
and, not content to confine himself to one branch, the English
writer in one volume travels over the whole ground of the art,
filching and plagiarizing without scruple, and without acknowledg-
ment. An exact translation was not to his liking. In the century
and a half between the English renderings of Christine de Pisan
1 "Dissertation upon Pamphlets", London, 1731, 4.


and de Rohan, I have found less than a score of translations of
strictly technical works. Unwilling to forego the honours of
authorship, he put together his patchwork with more or less skill,
unhesitatingly claiming it on the title-page as his own entirely.
Punishment sometimes followed in the shape of criticism from
succeeding writers, but as a rule the practice seems to have been
considered excusable. For at this period, a widely-diffused know-
ledge of Italian and Spanish among the class to whom these works
were chiefly addressed, men who not only commanded the trained
bands at home, but officered the bands of volunteers abroad, rendered
mere translation to some extent superfluous. Then, again, what
the Englishman wrote of was matter of common knowledge ; and
as he was usually a soldier whose professional training had been
carried out entirely abroad, it would not be surprising if he should
have confused the contents of the famous foreign text-books, and
the lessons derived directly from them, with his own practical
experiences, and have brought out the combination as wholly his
own. At any rate, we have nothing so gross as the fraud of de
La Treille, who, in 1556, published at Lyons a translation of
Zanchi, pretending it was original, and who long continued to
receive credit for another man's work. 1 Yet a slight acquaintance
with the subject is sufficient to show that, however they might
imitate foreign authors, the English writers were considerably
behind the times, as is proved also by a comparison of the dates of
originals and translations ; a book might be in continual use on the
continent for a quarter of a century and more, before it was thought
necessary to " do it into English." It was not till their fighting
days were over, that men found time and inclination to write for
the instruction of their countrymen ; thus, while the continentals
were treating of things as they actually were, Englishmen were
treating of things as they had been years before.

It is quite in keeping with all this that, while English writers
were borrowing from the Spaniards, Italians, French, and Germans,

1 Robins classes him with Alghisi, Marchi, Pasino, and Speckle ("New Prin-
ciples", London, 1742, p. ix).


both by direct translation and by unacknowledged plagiarism, not
a single English military book was thought of sufficient importance
to be translated into a foreign tongue. The existence, even, of the
English books seems to have been overlooked. 1 This was due, no
doubt, in great part, not to an entire lack of merit in our writers,
but to our isolated position, and also to English being a tongue
almost unknown outside its own coasts. But these difficulties were
not insuperable ; indeed, we find that there was a work on military
jurisprudence, SutclifFe's " Practise, Proceedings and Lawes of
Armes", which succeeded in overcoming them, and was studied in
the original by the learned, at least, among foreigners.

Clearly then, the attempt to survey the military antiquities and
military history of England without close reference to foreign
works would be futile; and equally futile would be the study of
the military antiquities of the continent, but above all of Italy,
without recourse to the early manuscripts. For at first writers
especially Italian writers on artillery and fortification, unwilling
that the secrets of their arts should become public property, did
not send their works to the press. In the printed books of the
fifteenth century, and the first part of the sixteenth, particularly when
the authors are touching on destructive weapons, such a remark as
the following is often to be met with : " I could say such and such
a thing, but refrain for fear the infidel [the Turks, who in those
days hung threateningly over Christendom] should profit by it " ;
while certain Italians altogether condemned the practise of writing
on fortification on the ground that foreigners, if they were left
untaught in that art, would be forced to employ Italian engineers. 2
Thus information concerning the germ of these sciences remains
locked up in the original manuscripts.

1 Malthus and Davelourt, the only English-speaking military writers of this
period entered in the foreign catalogues up to Walther's time, published their works

Online LibraryMaurice J. D. (Maurice James Draffen) CockleA bibliography of English military books up to 1642 and of contemporary foreign works → online text (page 1 of 24)