8vo, pp. xv, [i, blank], 221, [1, blank], [200, with erratic Arabic pagination], text in English and Hindustani, with a coloured frontispiece (offset onto title); a very good copy in contemporary speckled calf; extremities rubbed, rebacked to style; from the library of the King’s Inns, Dublin, with its stamp on verso of title and on Hindustani title.
US $487 €396
First edition. A first-hand account of eighteenth-century intrigue and court politics, involving George III, the Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, and a motley cast of supporting characters. Al-Din, initially an employee of various Britons, undertook a mission to Britain between 1766 and 1768. The embassy itself was headed by a Scot, Archibald Swinton, and from the outset doomed by Mughal misconceptions of British court politics. The emperor sought British military intervention, in the face of the East India Company’s firm opposition, an unlikely outcome rendered still more improbable by the combination of Al-Din’s lack of English and Swinton’s rather relaxed approach to his diplomatic mission.
Despite the forlorn nature of the embassy, Al-Din provides a thoughtfully observed account of England and France from the perspective of an educated Muslim courtier, covering everything from the challenges of keeping halal to the merits of Georgian architecture.
Alexander, a young army officer when he made these translations, provides both Hindustani and English abridgements of Al-Din’s account. The parallel texts are intended both for Indian and English readers, and their dual-printing is a fine example of the cultural mélange the later Raj produced.
Wilson p. 5.
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SCIENTIFIC AGRICULTURE [YOUNG, Arthur].
A Six Weeks Tour, through the Southern Counties of England and Wales. Describing, particularly, I. The present state of agriculture and manufactures. II. The different methods of cultivating the soil. III. The success attending some late experiments on various grasses, &c. IV. The various prices of labour and provisions. V. The state of the working poor in those counties, wherein the riots were most remarkable. With descriptions and models of such new invented implements of husbandry as deserve to be generally known: interspersed with accounts of the seats of the nobility and gentry, and other subjects worthy of notice. In several letters to a friend. By the author of the Farmer’s Letters.
First edition. ‘Young’s own estimate of this book is that it is one “in which for the first time, the facts and principles of Norfolk husbandry were laid before the public”, but important as these facts were ... the book is more valuable than Young would have us believe. It laid before the public “the fact and principles” of the husbandry of a line of country from Bradfield to London and from London to South Wales, and the details given were quite all-inclusive. They comprised the crop rotations, the implements used, the cost of labour and provisions, which often varied surprisingly in a few miles, the size of farms, and the horses or oxen employed on holdings of different sizes ... Passing reference is [also] made to local industry, such as the manufacture of Witney blankets, and useful facts and figures about it are mentioned’ (Fussell).
First edition, signed by Weber in black pen on the title-page.