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YATES, William Holt.

The Modern History and Condition of Egypt, its Climate, Diseases, and Capabilities;

exhibited in a personal narrative of travels in that country: with an account of the proceedings of Mohammed Ali Pascha, from 1801 to 1843; interspersed with illustrations of scripture history, the fulfilment of prophecy, and the progress of civilization in the east.

London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1843 Stock Code: 146193
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A talented Scottish medic in Egypt

First edition of this spirited and engaging account, illustrated with simple but appealing illustrations, lithographed by Hullmandel from Yates's own sketches. "A very interesting work by a medical man who travelled extensively in Egypt c. 1840 Yates also provides an extensive general commentary on political events in Syria, Crete and Egypt in addition to the ordinary account of his travels" (Blackmer).

The Scottish doctor William Holt Yates remains a frustratingly shadowy figure. We do know that he was a member of the Royal Asiatic Society (admitted 1834) and president of both the Royal Medical and Royal Physical Societies of Edinburgh, and senior physician to the General Dispensary at Aldersgate in the City, during a time when the young David Livingstone was taking extracurricular studies there. The publication of his book was timely as there was growing interest in Egypt following the Oriental Crisis of 1840, when European powers intervened following Muhammed Ali Pasha's attempt to establish a personal empire in the Ottoman province of Egypt, subsequent to his defence of Syria from Ottoman aggression. The British and Austrian navies blockaded the Nile delta and shelled Beirut; Muhammed Ali agreed terms, ratified at the Convention of London (15 July 1840). Yates would having been travelling in Egypt hot on the heels of fellow Scot David Roberts, who visited the country in 1838-39. His books is well represented institutionally but decidedly uncommon commercially. This copy is presented in bright examples of the attractive original cloth bindings and extra illustrated by the addition of two engraved folding maps hand-coloured in outline and mounted on stubs at the end of volume I, depicting Egypt and Classical Egypt (Chapman & Hall, 1831); these were originally issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, under the auspices of the classical scholar and educational radical, George Long.

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2 volumes, octavo. Original green fine diaper-grain cloth, spines gilt lettered and blocked with Egyptian motifs, covers with blind ornamental panelling, yellow coated endpapers.


Lithograph portrait frontispieces of Mohammed Ali and Ibrahim Pasha, 12 tinted lithograph plates (8 views), one wood engraving in the text.


Spines just a little sunned, couple of glancing dents to fore edges of covers, those of vol. II slightly discoloured at fore edge, old ownership stamp erased from centre of title pages with neat paper patch repair on verso. A very good copy, sound, clean and bright.


Not in Abbey; Blackmer 1853; Hilmy II pp. 345-47 (also listing an abridged version of 1842 issued by Bohn, which appears to be a ghost); not in Weber (Voyages and travels in the near east during the XIX century).


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