E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Reculer pour Mieux Sauter.
To run back in order to give a better jump forwards; to give way a little in order to take up a stronger position.
Where the empire sets its foot, it cannot withdraw without much loss of credit, whereas reouler pour mieux sauter must often be the most effective action in that tide of European civilisation, which is slowly, but surely, advancing into the heart of the Dark Continent.Nineteenth Century, December, 1892, p. 990.