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HOUGH, William.

A Brief History of the Bhopal Principality in Central India.

From the Period of its Foundation, about One Hundred and Fifty Years ago, to the Present Time.

Calcutta: printed at the Baptist Mission Press, 1845 Stock Code: 122391
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First edition of this conspicuously uncommon history of Bhopal - at the time of publication under the protection of the presidency of Bengal - consolidating "all the information to be obtained in printed works" (p. v); Library Hub cites copies at just five British and Irish institutional libraries (BL, Manchester, SOAS, Oxford, Southampton), WorldCat adds another seven world-wide; no copies traced on auction records. The lettering on the front cover, rendered in English from the Hindi, "Maha Muratib" ("Dignity of the Fish") and "Futteh Jung", were both honorary titles awarded to the Nawabs and Begums of Bhopal. From 1819 until 1926 Bhopal was a matriarchy ruled by the Begums. However, during the 1840s there was a dispute over the succession, with the British Political Agent, Lancelot Wilkinson, opposing the rule of women. After various machinations the six-year old Sultan Shah Jehan was finally installed under the regency of her mother Sikandar Begum. "Events had fully vindicated the Begums as they returned to Bhopal to a tumultuous welcome from the people" (Shaharyar M. Khan, The Begums of Bhopal: A Dynasty of Women Rulers in Ray India, 2000, p. 85).

William Hough (1789-1865) was an officer in the 48th Bengal Native Infantry, commissioned in 1805, he served in the Nepal War (1814-16), the Third Maratha War (1817-18) and the First Afghan War (1839-42), and was an "authority on military law" (Peter Stanley, White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India, 1825-1875, 1998, p. 38 note a). His Political and Military Events in British India (1853) became the standard textbook on Company rule; he also wrote A Narrative of the March and Operations of the Army of the Indus (Calcutta, 1840) and Hints Regarding the Reorganisation of the Bengal Army (1857).

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Octavo in half-sheets (207 x 130 mm). Contemporary (possibly presentation) russia (front cover lettered in gilt "Bhopal, Maha Muratib, Futteh Jung"), spine with gilt-tooled low raised bands, ruled in gilt and blind, sides with three-line blind tooled border and corner rosettes, blind roll tool turn-ins, drab pale brown endpapers, speckled edges. Housed in a custom made yellow cloth solander box.


From the library of the Lords Elphinstone, with their Carberry Tower Library label to front pastedown; the most distinguished scion of that house was Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859), administrator in India. Chipped at head and tail of spine, some repair to joints, some scuffs, light scratches and wear to extremities. A very good copy, with the terminal errata leaf.


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