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TRAVELS OF MIRZA ABU TALEB KHAN, in Asia, Africa, and Europe, during the years 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, and 1803. Written by himself, in the Persian language. Translated by Charles Stewart.
London, printed by R. Watts, Broxbourn, Herts: and sold by Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, London, 1810.. FIRST EDITION 1810, translated by Charles Stewart, 2 volumes, complete set. 8vo, approximately 230 x 140 mm, 9 x 5½ inches, engraved portrait frontispiece of the author by W. Bond after J. Northcote, R.A., pages: (2), viii, (16), 320; (2), 418, (2) - adverts, complete with half-titles, bound in modern morocco, gilt lettering and decoration to spines, cloth boards with dividing gilt decoration, new endpapers. Portrait lightly foxed in margins, offset onto title page, light brown spotting and light staining to margins throughout, very occasionally affecting text, but in no way obscuring it, 2 lower corners torn off, no loss of text, small closed tear to 3 margins, 2 leaves in Volume II chipped and worn at fore-edges, not affecting text. A good copy. Abu Taleb Khan (1752-1806) was born in Lucknow after his father, a Turk born in Isfahan, had fled the tyranny of Nadir Shah of Persia and taken refuge in India. After problems with his employment in Calcutta, Abu Taleb is encouraged by an English friend to accompany him on a trip to England. This he does setting off in 1799, stopping off at the Cape of Good Hope on the way and landing first at Cork and taking lodgings in Dublin. Next he settles in London and in 12 chapters describes at length the city, England, the English and their character, manners and customs, government, system of justice, recreations, entertainments, finances (deploring the National Debt), science and the arts, he also relates the rise of Napoleon and Nelson' s successes. He has many aristocratic friends who offer him hospitality as a "Persian Prince", he attends the Lord Mayor's Feast, and is presented at court to George III and Queen Charlotte. In 1803 Abu Taleb returns to India spending some time in Paris and Lyon, describing both and disparaging French cuisine. He goes by ship from Marseilles to Genoa and then to Livorno where he narrowly escapes assassination. Finally he reaches Turkey via Malta, and is received graciously by the British Ambassador in Constantinople. The last 6 chapters recount his overland journey from Turkey, through Iraq visiting many towns including Baghdad and making pilgrimages to the Shia shrines at Kerbela and Nejif. Finally he takes a ship from Basra down the Persian Gulf to Bombay where he is received by the Governor who arranges his passage to Bengal. On this prolonged journey home he still describes in some detail the manners and customs of people he meets, the towns and cities he visits, his voyages by river and sea, often enlivened by anecdotes or brief histories such as that of the Wahhabis. Cox, Travel, Volume III, page 108: "He was amazed and delighted with Ireland, and no less pleased with the 10,000 oriental MSS at the Bodleian. The curiosities at the British Museum received careful attention as well. He notes with disapproval the fact that in London prostitutes lived on streets with such virtuous names as Providence Street, Modest Court... He greatly admired England's progress in manufactures." MORE IMAGES ATTACHED TO THIS LISTING, ALL ZOOMABLE. FURTHER IMAGES ON REQUEST. POSTAGE AT COST.
      [Bookseller: Roger Middleton]
Last Found On: 2017-03-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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