2 vols., 8vo; pp. vii, [i, blank], 420; vii, [i, blank], 511, [1, blank]; both volumes with engraved frontispieces; gilt edges; the frontispieces of both volumes somewhat foxed, loose, and likely from another set; otherwise a good set in grey cloth, gilt title to spine; rebacked in tan cloth, heads and feet of spines slightly worn; vol. I with a dedicatory inscription to George Fardell from Strettell and Thomas Seddon, “on his leaving Eton. Xmas. 1850” to the front endpaper.
US $636 €515
First edition. A classic tale of the Great Game, presented as an epistolary travelogue. Alarmed by Russian manoeuvring in Central Asia, the Foreign Office despatched Fraser to Tehran. From there, he made his way to Tabriz. These volumes do not describe his return journey, but his ten-thousand mile expedition across Europe and the Near East is meat enough for a single edition. It opens with the eager Fraser, loosed from Pall Mall, making his way across Europe, and closes with his exhausted arrival upon the doorstep of the British consul at Tabriz. In the pages between, he addresses the state of the Persian kingdom, and its nobles, the inclemency of the weather, the unreliable nature of his Tatar, and the perfidious Potemkin taxation policies enacted by Russia along her borders with Persia. Concise, but not clipped, Fraser’s letters provide a wealth of detail, and stories of postmasters, peasants, and princelings alike.
Weber 272; Wilson, p. 75.
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