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KAYE, John William.

The Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir John Malcolm;

from unpublished letters and journals.

Published: London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1856

Stock code: 112004

Price: £450

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First edition. Sir John William Kaye (1814-1876) had himself served in the Bengal Artillery before joining the civil service of the East India Company; he wrote extensively on India, his best known work being the valuable The History of the Sepoy War in India, 1857-8 (3 volumes, 1864-76). This remains the primary source of information on Sir John Malcolm (1769-1833); “What distinguished Malcolm throughout most of his career was an ability to work with people and to inspire trust. Ambition, sensitivity, and self-confidence, sometimes excessive, accounted for many diplomatic successes. Influence in moulding policies undergirding imperial structures in India cast him as one the most able officers ever to have served the East India Company and the rising Indian empire. In the words of Malcolm Yapp, ‘he was the ideologue par excellence of British India … His insight, his imagination, his willingness to think outside accepted patterns, and, above all, his capacity to bring in a range of considerations far beyond that of which others were capable, all mark him out as a man of real intellectual genius’ (Yapp, Strategies of British India: Britain, Iran and Afghanistan, 1798–1850, 1980, p. 53)” (ODNB).

2 volumes, octavo (213 x 130 mm). Contemporary half calf, decorative blind-tooled spines, brown cloth sides, red edges, marbled endpapers. Engraved portrait frontispiece of Malcolm by Armytage after Sir George Hayter. Twyford House bookplates and ownership inscription on title pages (dated 1858) of Conway Mordaunt Shipley (1824-1888), a naval officer and accomplished artist who visited India, China, the Philippines, and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. A few scrapes to bindings, frontispiece foxed. A very good copy.

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