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Narrative of a Mission to Bokhara, in the Years 1843-1845, to ascertain the Fate of Colonel Stoddart and Captain Conolly [...]
London: Published for the Author by John W. Parker, 1846. Fourth edition. 8vo. pp. xxvii, [i], 515, [i] + portrait frontis. Modern quarter calf over marbled boards. Effusive full-page inscription on half title to John Browne (of Chiseldon House, Wiltshire), with blessings in English, Arabic and Hebrew, possibly written on separate occasions as the first is addressed to John Browne Esq and the second (in a slightly freer hand, after dinner?) is addressed to ‘my [or Mrs?] John Browne’ and dated 1 May 1847; it’s entirely possible that Wolff gallantly offered to add a further inscription to Brown’s wife. Stoddart, a soldier rather than a diplomat, was sent to Bokhara in 1838 - chiefly to curtail any Russian influence. His imprisonment seems to have arisen from a series of gaffes and the Emir’s natural suspicion of foreign ‘spies’. Conolly, who was well versed in the ways of central Asian diplomacy (and is credited with coining the phrase ‘the great game’) attempted to negotiate his release but instead shared Stoddart’s fate. They were executed when British prestige plumbed new depths in the aftermath of the First Afghan War. News reached Britain by way of one of Conolly’s Persian servants, but Wolff volunteered to journey to Bokhara himself to confirm thir fate. Peter Hopkirk (‘The Great Game’) describes him as “a brave but highly eccentric clergyman” and recounts how he “was lucky to escape with his own life, only doing so, it is said, because his bizarre appearance in full canonicals, made the unpredictable Emir ‘shake with uncontrollable laughter’”.
      [Bookseller: Tim Bryars Ltd]
Last Found On: 2013-10-01           Check availability:      Biblio    

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