The History of the Reign of Shah-Aulum,
the Present Emperor of Hindostaun. Containing the Transactions of the Court of Delhi, and the Neighbouring States, during a Period of Thirty-Six Years: interspersed with Geographical and Topographical Observations on Several of the Principal Cities of Hindostaun.London: Printed for the Author, and sold by R. Faulder, J. Hatchard, F. and C. Rivington (and 2 more in London), 1798 Stock Code: 140891
The mutable career of Shah Alam IIFirst edition of this uncommon account of the eventful if mournful reign of Shah Alam II (1728-1806), one of the last of the Mughal emperors, restored to his throne by the Marathas in 1788. Having been defeated decisively by the East India Company's forces at the Battle of Buxar in 1764, Shah Alam sought the protection of the British and signed the Treaty of Allahabad the following year.
The author, William Francklin (1763-1839), joined the army of the HEIC as a cadet at the age of 19 and served with the 19th Bengal Native Infantry until 1815 when he had risen to Lieutenant-Colonel of both his regiment and the army. "A distinguished officer, Francklin also enjoyed considerable reputation as an oriental scholar" (ODNB). He remarks in his preface that "a long residence in India has afforded the author frequent opportunities of acquiring much local information; and most of the geographical remarks were obtained on the spot, while on survey, ordered by the Bengal government".
Well represented institutionally, this is a rather scarce work commercially; the list of subscribers, which includes Sir Joseph Banks and Warren Hastings, runs to some 295 individuals taking 392 copies, the Court of Directors of the East India Company, not surprisingly being the dedicatees, subscribing for 50 copies.
Quarto (260 x 210 mm). Contemporary tree calf neatly rebacked and corners consolidated, red morocco label, speckled edges.
Folding map frontispiece engraved by J. Walker after James Rennel, and 4 engraved portrait plates, Shah Aulum, Mirza Nujuff Khan Zulficar al Dowlah, Mujud al Dowlah, and Madhajee Sindiah (all but one with tissue guards).
Inner hinge cracked after title page but perfectly sound, a few old scratches to binding professionally refurbished, slight offsetting from map to title page, old tide mark in blank lower margin of plates and in gutter at head of a few gatherings, yet this remains a very good, wide-margined copy that presents well on the shelf.
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