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HÜGEL, Carl Freiherrn von.

Travels in Kashmir and the Panjab,

containing a Particular Account of the Government and Character of the Sikhs, from the German of... with Notes by Major T.B. Jervis. Published under the Patronage of the Honourable the Court of Directors of the East India Company.

London: John Peterham, 1845 Stock Code: 139471
£3,500.00
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The finest study of the region of the nineteenth century - "a repast of no ordinary richness and variety"

First edition of this English translation, a narrative travelogue from the finest and most detailed study of the region made during the nineteenth century. Possessed of a short but select list of subscribers, including Mountstuart Elphinstone, Capt. Beaufort, Pottinger, Prinsep, Claude Wade, Malcolm, and Vigne, this work is uncommon on the market, just four copies at auction in the last 50 years, and particularly so in such excellent condition.

Born in Ratisbon in 1795, Hügel was destined for a life at court, but his studies were disrupted by the War of Liberation in which he served with some distinction as a hussar in the Austrian army, subsequently carrying out diplomatic duties in Italy. Following his return home, his life was further disordered when he was crossed in love, and he left Austria for six years, 1830-7, undertaking a series of expeditions which took him from the Levant to Australasia and back via the Cape, amassing a vast collection of ethnographical and historical items of considerable importance, this alongside the botanical collection which was his first love, and which established his most lasting fame. Hügel was awarded the RGS Patron's Medal in 1849 for the present expedition.

This timely translation was undertaken by Thomas Best Jervis, Bombay Engineers, probably best remembered for his work in establishing the Survey of India and for his evangelicalism, but here putting forth the first, and only, textual manifestation of his proposed "popular and philosophical digest of the geography and statistics of Asia". It is taken from volumes 1 and 3 of Hügel's Kaschmir und das reich der Siek (Stuttgart, 1840-1), which "comprise the entire narrative, or journal" (p. iv). "The German original of the present publication has deservedly procured for its illustrious author the reputation of a diligent and faithful observer of nature, who possesses the happy talent of expressing his thoughts with a taste and perspicuity which imparts peculiar interest to his narrative. Independent of the entertainment which is derived... from the varied incidents of personal adventure and foreign travel, the appearance of the work thus recommended, is calculated at the present moment to throw great light on the important question which now occupies the public mind, as to the proper line of policy to be pursued by the Government of India, in relation to the Panjáb..." (p. iii).

Probably the most detailed survey of the region to date, the Calcutta Review promised readers "a repast of no ordinary richness and variety" (II, 1844, p. xvii); Chopra more recently commended Hügel as "a rich source of information about the Punjab of the nineteenth century".

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Description

Octavo. Original dark green fine combed cloth, title gilt to the spine, publisher's device gilt to the front board within frame of drawer-handles, banderolles and floral sprays in blind, similar frame to the back board, pale cream surface paper endpapers, the rear free renewed.

Illustrations

Engraved portrait frontispiece with facsimile signature, engraved title page vignette, 4 plates, two engraved, two electrotyped, lithographic series title bound after the title, folding lithographic route map by Wyld coloured in outline in end-pocket.

Condition

Neatly rebacked with the original spine laid down, some foxing to the plates, pale toning to the text, a few splits on the folds of the map, archival tape repairs, a very good copy.

Bibliography

Chopra, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his Times, p.37; Henze II, 648 for the German first.

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