Researches on the Jeynes and Boodhists;
conjectured to be the Brachmanes of Ancient India. In which is introduced a Discussion on the Worship of the Serpent in Various Countries of the World.
First edition. A work of speculative philology by the author of Military Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas and The History of the Reign of Shah-Alum. Francklin (1763-1839) was the son of the classical scholar and dramatist Thomas Francklin. He was educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge, before being commissioned ensign in the Bengal Army and posted to the 19th Bengal Native Infantry in 1783, rising by 1814 to lieutenant-colonel both in his regiment and in the Army. “A distinguished officer, Francklin also enjoyed considerable reputation as an oriental scholar. In 1786 he made a tour of Persia, in the course of which he lived at Shiraz for eight months as the close friend of a Persian family, and was thus able to write a fuller account of Persian customs than had before appeared … His publications also include a compilation of the memoirs of George Thomas, the military adventurer in India; translations from Persian; archaeological remarks on the plain of Troy, seeking to corroborate the existence of an ancient city there; historical, political, geographic, economic, and religious essays on parts of India. His religious writings include a discussion of the worship of the serpent in various parts of the world. He also maintained a learned correspondence with William Vincent … and was one of the few people to whom Dean Vincent acknowledged obligations in the preface to the Periplus” (ODNB). Francklin was a member, librarian and Member of the Council, of the Royal Asiatic Society, and was also a member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Contemporary reviews were somewhat wary of some of Francklin’s wilder forays into comparative religion, but the reviewer in The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany did concede that “he has the unquestionable merit of patient, we might even say enthusiastic research; and he has been so far successful, that many interesting descriptions of the cavern and rock temples, the colossal figures and sacred mountains of the Hindoos, are to be found in his book. He has also a long chapter on the serpent worship in various parts of the world … He has followed Vossius in his leading illustrations; but though the information he affords us is less elaborate, it is certainly more pleasing to the general reader than that contained in the celebrated treatise De Origine et de Progressu Idololatriae [, 1641] or even in that of Faber [Origins of Pagan Idolatry, 1816]”.
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Quarto (270 208 mm) Recent blue half straight-grained morocco, marbled boards, by Trevor Lloyd, title direct to the spine, flat bands with an attractive foliate roll, fleurons gilt to the compartments, double gilt fillets to the spine and corner edges, 6 lithographic plates. Some browning throughout, but overall a very good copy in an attractive modern pastiche binding.