James Miller's A treatise on backsword, sword, buckler, sword and dagger, sword and great gauntlet, falchon, quarterstaff.

Published: 1735

My Lord,
Had not my King and Country demanded my Service abroad, my Intention was, to have given the Public a short Treatiſe of the Gladiatory Art of Defence (a Subject that few have handled) & to have all along Illuſtrated it with proper Sculptures and Figures. To have trac'd its first Riſe and Origin, & pursued it through the several Degrees of its Advancement until it came to have Schools establish'd, Amphitheatres built, Stipends settled and Laurels and Largeſses given to the Victors. To have specified and described the several Kinds of Weapons, and Arms, which Combatants, in different Ages, were wont to make use of, and by what Skill and Manner of Address they might best be enabled to defend themselves, and annoy their Adversarys. But above all to have shown by very convincing Proffs and Arguments the great Uſefulneſs of this Science and the manly Exercises depending on it to every brave and warlike Nation; That Courage (under God) cannot be wanting, nor Conquest become a Stranger to such People, as take delight in the Cultivation of the Sword, but being ordered into another Country, I thought it not improper to present your Lordship with the Designs I have already made, and explained on the Side of this Sheet; as of Use to instruct the Learner, and remind the Proficient in this Art, and while I am gone, a small Memorandum of
My Lord,
Your most devoted Servant
James Miller.


  • Plate I

    shows you the Outſide-Guard, which covers the outſide of the Body from Head to Toe, & to put yourſelf in a true Poſition, your Sword Hilt muſt be in a perpendicular Line with your right Toe, your right Heel in a Line with your left, and your Body reſting a little upon the left Leg, the back part of your left Hand muſt be within half a Span of the left Side of your Face with your Sword Arm a little bent and the diſtance between your Feet about 12 or 14 Inches, in proportion to your Stature or Accommodation to your Eaſe.

  • Plate II

    is the Inſide-Guard which covers the Inſide of your Body and the Poſition is much the ſame with the firſt Plage only your right Heel muſt be in a Line with the middle of your left Foot, and the back part of your left Hand half a Span from the upper part of your Face, these are the two Guards upon which the whole Art depends.

  • Plate III

    is the Medium-Guard, which is not accounted so ſafe and therefore ſeldom or never practiced except by very expert Maſters.

  • Plate IV

    is the Hanging-Guard, which is done by dropping y Point on a ſudden clapping your Head to your Sword-Arm, looking directly under your Sword, and inclining a little towards your Adversary. This Guard is of excellent Use, when you are either pressed very hard, or have more than one to contend with.

  • Plate V

    is St George's-Guard, of singular Uſe on Horſe back, and the only one indeed, that is proper upon that Occasion.

  • Plate VI

    is the Sword and Dagger, which (together with the reſt of the double Weapons) depends altogether on your Skill in the Back-Sword, only, in the time of engaging, you are to look under your Guard without ſtooping, and keep your Sword behind your Dagger, on which you are to catch your Adversary's Throws, while at the same time, you are annoying him with your Sword.

  • Plate VII

    is the Sword and Buckler, which differs only in this, that, while you are engaged, you muſt look above your Buckler and conſequently be more exposed.

  • Plate VIII

    is the Sword and Gauntlet, which admits of the ſame Directions with Plate 6.

  • Plate IX

    the Falchion or Hanger, the ſame with Plate 1.

  • Plate X

    the INſide Falchion, the ſame with Plate 2.

  • Plate XI

    is the Quarter-Staff, which muſt be held between your Fore-Finger and Thumb very looſely, for the Convenience of slipping, but high enough over your Head to cover it, having y right Foot a little more forward than y left you are to look under your Guard without ſtooping, and, when you throw at y Adverſary, graſp y Weapon.

  • Plate XII

    is the Quarter-Staff reversed which varies from the former, only that your left Foot muſt be more forward than right, & left Hand uppermoſt.

  • Plate XIII

    is the Figure of a cut on the outſide of the Sword Arm.

  • Plate XIV

    is the Figure of a Design to Cut the inſide of the Head.

  • Plate XV

    the Figure of a Cut on the outſide of the Leg.