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GRIFFIN, Lepel H., & Charles Francis Massy.

Collection of three works on the rulers of the Punjab, handsomely bound in matching style.

Being the History of the Principal States in the Punjab and their Political Relations with the British Government.

Lahore and Allahabad,, Printed by the Punjab Printing Company, Limited, 1870 - 1890 Stock Code: 140157
£12,000.00

Rare studies of the ruling families of the Punjab

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Notes

A genuinely rare opportunity to acquire these three highly elusive monographs on the ruling families of the Punjab, each a remarkable work of exhaustive research written or inspired by Lepel H. Griffin, one of the most colourful officials in nineteenth century British India, the man described by his fellow Indian administrator, Sir Walter Lawrence, as "the best known Civilian of his time, able, brilliant, and scornful" (The India We Served, 1928, p. 17). None appear on auction records, with the sole exception of a first edition of The Panjab Chiefs, which went through the rooms in 1973.

The collection comprises:

GRIFFIN, Lepel H. The Rajas of the Punjab: being the History of the Principal States in the Punjab and their Political Relations with the British Government. Lahore: Printed by the Punjab Printing Company, Limited, 1870

First edition of this important and highly scarce monograph, produced under government auspices and giving much detail on the rajas of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Kapurthala, Faridkot, as well as the Bhadaur chiefs and the minor families of Phulkian. In his Preface, Griffin writes, "the delay which has taken place in the publication of the present work is owing to the enormous mass of materials in the shape of official correspondence which it was necessary to examine. The political records of Government and of the Agencies of Delhi, Ambala and Ludhiana are exceedingly voluminous, and it has literally been the labour of years to index them and master their contents although the Chiefs concerned have placed their whole family and State records at my disposal and have facilitated my enquiries in every possible way".

GRIFFIN, Lepel H. The Panjab Chiefs. Historical and Biographical Notices of the Principal Families in the Lahore and Rawalpindi Divisions of the Panjab. New Edition, bringing the Histories down to date, by Charles Francis Massy. Lahore: "Civil and Military Gazette Press", 1890

First edition thus, expanded by Charles Francis Massy, then a major in the Bengal Staff Corps, from the first of 1865 (Lahore: T.C. McCarthy). It was "the result of a commission by Sir Donald McLeod's predecessor, Sir Robert Montgomery, to prepare historical and biographical accounts of the principal families and princes of the Punjab". Massy (1846-1915) originally served with the 92nd Foot (Gordon Highlanders) before transferring to the Bengal Staff Corps in October 1870, completing his service with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. His correspondence, and that of his wife Alice, are held at the National Archives.

MASSY, Charles Francis. Chiefs and Families of Note in the Delhi, Jalandhar, Peshawar and Derajat Divisions of the Panjab. Allahabad: Printed at the Pioneer Press, 1890

First edition. "The Panjab Chiefs, written more than quarter of a century, dealt with the histories of the leading men in the districts between the Bias and the Indus, now known as the Lahore and Rawalpindi Divisions. A new edition has been recently prepared by me, in which these histories have been brought down to date. The present work practically completes the biographies of the families of note in the Province" (Preface).

Sir Henry Lepel Griffin (1838-1908) was what was referred to as a "competition wallah", someone who passed the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, in his case in 1859; he was then posted to Lahore the following year. However, Griffin was no dry, desk bound pen-pusher. Historian of India Katherine Prior, writing in ODNB, notes that "even as a probationer Griffin stood out from his fellow civilians. He was a dandyish, Byronic figure, articulate, argumentative, and witty. Anglo-Indian society was at once both dazzled by and scornful of his languid foppishness and irreverent tongue, an ambivalence captured in Sir Henry Cunningham's half-admiring, half-mocking satirization of Griffin as the brilliant, flirtatious administrator Desvoeux in The Chronicles of Dustypore (1875). All recognized in him rare abilities, but some were repelled by his flamboyant self-regard and overt disdain for modesty". Griffin was outspoken in print and was fortunate to come under the protective wing of the lieutenant-governor of the Punjab, Sir Donald McLeod. At this point he befriended "another local polemicist" (ibid.), Dr G. W. Leitner and together the two men "mounted a passionate campaign for the establishment of a university college which would teach in the vernacular rather than in English, and would encourage in Indian students respect for oriental literature". With the aid of McLeod this opened in 1870, the forerunner of Punjab University. Promotion followed and Griffin was confirmed as chief secretary to the Punjab government in 1878. Two years later he was drafted by Lord Lytton, the troubled Viceroy of India, to assist with affairs in Afghanistan and this was to be the high point of his career, winning him "recognition as the man who elevated Abdur Rahman, grandson of Dost Muhammad, to the amirship, and ushered in the era of Britain's most fruitful alliance with Afghanistan" (ibid.). After Afghanistan, Griffin was appointed agent to the governor-general in central India but found the posting lonely and boring, with the result that his newspaper articles brought him censure and cost him the job of British commissioner on the Russo-Afghan boundary mission of 1884-6. Matters did not improve and further promotion was not forthcoming. "Many of Griffin's friends believed that his career had faltered because of his unfashionable outspokenness, but his chief impediment to success was his unassailable self-confidence" (ibid.). He resigned from civil service in January 1889 and back in England carried on in business while dabbling in politics. "Once removed from India and personally untroubled by a hostile vernacular press, Griffin found it much easier to be a friend to the Indians. In 1907 he launched an energetic, influential campaign for the better treatment of Indians in the Transvaal, a cause attracting considerable attention in India, Africa, and Britain because of the leadership by M. K. Gandhi of the Indians' struggle for rights as imperial citizens" (ibid.).

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Description

3 works in 4 volumes, octavo. Recent dark blue half morocco by Aquarius, lettered direct in the second and fourth compartments, sides and corners trimmed with a single gilt fillet, gunmetal-grey cloth sides, blue-grey-coated endpapers.

Condition

Rajas: neat embossed library stamp to head of prelims of the Royal United Service Institution. Panjab Chiefs and Chiefs and Families of Note: letterpress lightly toned. All three works in very good condition and handsomely bound.

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