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LEWIN, Thomas H.

A Fly on the Wheel.

Or, How I Helped to Govern India.

Published: London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1885

Stock code: 110906

Price: £125

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition. “Intelligent and eloquent, Lewin’s memoirs contain valuable insights on Burmese social and cultural characteristics and the British administrative response to them” (Riddick). Thomas Herbert Lewin (1839-1916) joined the Bengal Establishment as an ensign in 1857, serving in the Mutiny at the Defence of Cawnpore and at the Siege of Lucknow before turning to police work on India’s north-eastern frontier. “Here he found a larger field of satisfying action in the civil administration of the hill tribes of the Chittagong from 1866 to 1873. His memoirs correctly reflect a pride in his negotiations with the Lushai and Howlong tribes which brought a peaceful settlement to the area and the release of nearly one hundred British subjects” (idem). A model of the pioneer soldier-administrator, he was also a practised linguist and anthropologist, his other works including A Manual of Tibetan (1879) and The Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the Dwellers Therein (1879).

Octavo. Contemporary “native”-style binding of quarter roan dyed black, black label lettered in gilt to spine, black grosgrain cloth sides, marbled endpapers. Engraved frontispiece and 3 similar plates, folding map, sketch-map and 5 illustrations to the text. Craquelure to roan, tape-repair to folding map verso, contents toned, marginal finger-marking and the occasional crease to upper outer corners. A good copy.

Bibliography: Riddick, Glimpses of India, 379.

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