Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde; Accompanied by a Geographical and Historical Account of those Countries.

London: A. Strahan for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1816.

4to (272 x 213mm), pp. xxx, 423, [1 (blank)]; hand-coloured aquatint frontispiece and folding engraved map by Thomson & Hall, hand-coloured in outline and with routes added by hand; a few light marks, occasional marginal tears or creases, some light offsetting, short, skilfully-repaired tears on map; contemporary half calf over marbled boards, the flat spine gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-piece in one, others with central flower tool, all edges speckled, modern calf-backed cloth solander box; extremities lightly rubbed and bumped, skilful repairs on joints, nonetheless a very good, clean copy; provenance: Peter Hopkirk (booklabel on upper pastedown; his sale, Sotheby’s London, 13 October 1998, lot 325).


US $7033€6487

Make an enquiry

First edition. The distinguished traveller, soldier and colonial governor Pottinger (1789-1856) went to sea when he was twelve, and travelled to India in 1803 to join the marine service there. The following year, this position was exchanged for a cadetship in the East India Company’s army; in the meantime, ‘he studied in Bombay, and acquired a knowledge of Indian languages. He worked well, became an assistant teacher, and on 18 September 1806 was made an ensign, and promoted lieutenant on 16 July 1809’ (ODNB). In 1808 Pottinger was sent to Sind with a mission led by Nicholas Hankey Smith, the British political agent at Bushehr, and the following year, after Sir John Malcolm’s mission to Persia had been postponed, Pottinger and his fellow-officer Captain Charles Christie made a proposal to explore the lands between India and Persia, with the purpose of acquiring accurate intelligence on the little-known area. Their proposal was accepted by the government, and the two soldiers left Bombay on 2 January 1810 disguised as Indians, and travelled by boat to Sind and then overland to Kelat. From there they journeyed to Nushki, where they took separate routes: Christie went north to Heart and then to Esfahan by way of Yazd, while Pottinger travelled west through Kerman to Shiraz and thence to Esfahan, where the two men were re-united, having completed a remarkable, audacious, and most perilous journey of more than 2,000 miles through terrain that was frequently extremely inhospitable and uncharted.

This copy was previously in the celebrated travel library of Peter Hopkirk, the bibliophile, sometime Middle Eastern correspondent of The Times, and author of The Great Game (London: 1990), and a number of other works on Asia and the Middle East, who wrote in the preface to the auction catalogue of his collection, ‘without my own private library around me, I know that I would never have written my six books on Great Power rivalry in Asia’. Chapter 3 of The Great Game (‘Rehearsal for the Great Game’) is dedicated to Pottinger and Christie’s expedition. Hopkirk writes of Pottinger’s solo journey, ‘[w]ithout a map to guide him (none then existed), the 20-year-old subaltern had set off on a 900-mile journey across Baluchistan and Persia. He chose a route which for a further century no other European was to attempt, though earlier invaders had passed that way. The journey was to last three months and take him across two hazardous deserts, with only local guides to steer him between wells and the bands of murderous brigands. Despite sickness and other hardships, he maintained a surreptitious but detailed day-to-day record of all he saw and heard which could be of value to an invading army [...] In addition, he secretly charted his route on a sketch map, which later was turned into the first military map of the approaches to India from the west’ (Oxford: 2001 ed., pp. 43-44).

Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde is Pottinger’s account of a journey which bought recognition and fame to the two young men: ‘their enterprise and courage did not go unrecognised by their superiors who were delighted by the valuable intelligence they had brought back. Both were now earmarked as young officers of outstanding enterprise and ability. Lieutenant Pottinger, who was not yet 21, was destined for rapid promotion, a long and distinguished role in the coming Great Game, and eventually a knighthood’ and Pottinger’s book ‘thrilled readers at home, and [...] is today still sought after by collectors of rare and important works of exploration’ (op. cit. p. 56).

Ghani p. 305; Lowndes pp. 1932-1933 (‘A valuable and very interesting contribution to Asiatic geography’); Wilson p.178.

You may also be interested in...

BOUGAINVILLE, Louis Antoine de, comte.

A Voyage round the World ... In the years 1766, 1767, 1768, and 1769 ... Translated from the French by John Reinhold Forster. London: J.

First English edition. The first French circumnavigation, undertaken by Bougainville, who had instructions to hand over the Falkland Island, which he had colonised in 1764, to Spain (currently France’s ally), and then to proceed towards China via the Straits of Magellan and the South Sea, investigating the islands or continent lying between the Indies and the western seaboard of America (cf. John Dunmore, French Explorers in the Pacific (Oxford: 1965), I, p. 67). Unaware of Wallis’s visit less than a year before, Bougainville claimed possession of Tahiti, and then reached the New Hebrides archipelago and ‘La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo’, which had been discovered by Quiros in 1606 and was believed to be part of the supposed Southern Continent. The only way to determine this, Bougainville resolved, was to sail westward a further 350 leagues in the hope of sighting the eastern coast of New Holland. ‘This he did, only to be impeded by the Great Barrier Reef and, although several of his crew claimed to have sighted land, this was not confirmed and the ships were headed to the N. Nevertheless, Bougainville concluded that he was close to some extensive land and, in running westwards from Espíritu Santo, he had dared to face the risk of the legendary lee-shore of New Holland and New Guinea, even though prudence, shortage of food and the condition of his vessels would have justified his heading northwards at an earlier date’ (Colin Jack-Hinton, The Search for the Islands of Solomon (Oxford: 1969), p. 256); G.A. Wood, The Discovery of Australia (London: 1922) observes that had Bougainville persevered ‘he would have come to the Australian coast near Cooktown, and would, likely enough, have been wrecked where Cook was wrecked two years later’ (pp. 369-379).

Read more


Six Years in Seychelles; with Photographs from Original Drawings.

First edition. Following a period in the army, Estridge (1837-1902) was appointed Collector of Customs at Mahé in the Seychelles (probably in 1880), and held the position until 1885, when he returned to England. In 1886 he took up the position of Receiver and Accountant-General, British Bechuanaland (and was elected a fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute in the same year), remaining in the country until 1888, when he retired to England.

Read more