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JACOB, George Le Grand.

Western India before and during the Mutinies:

Pictures drawn from Life. Second edition.

London: Henry S. King & Co., 1872 Stock Code: 140775
£750.00
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Presentation copy with compelling authorial footnotes by a leading critic of the Raj

Second edition, following the first of the previous year; presentation copy from the author, inscribed on the half-title "A little Christmas present from Major General & Miss Jacob, to Mr Poole. Dec. 24. 1879" and with two lengthy, fascinating and carefully-written authorial footnotes at pages 177 and 262.

The first of these refers to the actions of Charles Forjett, whom Jacob describes in the published version as "the excellent and energetic Superintendent of Police" at Bombay during the Mutiny. In his footnote Jacob revises his opinion of Forjett, noting that his book Our Real Danger in India (1878) is "so full of misstatements & inaccuracies as to have led me to institute inquiry into the proceedings here referred to" and that the papers of Major General J. M. Shortt reveal a "want of judgment on Mr. Forjett's part & failure to ascertain the extent of the conspiracy" at Bombay, where Forjett, by his "energetic action, in Sep. 1857, stopped a contemplated sepoy outbreak" (Buckland, Indian Biography, p. 150). The note at page 262 (dated from his London home on 1 January 1874) refers to Lord Ellenborough's proclamation over the return of the Somnath Gates to India during the First Afghan War and that the "mis-statements" of the Anglo-India Press were "great and mischievous". Jacob concludes, "Christianity is injured not advanced by such means". The "Miss Jacob" of the presentation inscription is the book's dedicatee and the author's "niece and adopted daughter Gertrude L. Jacob, without whose help a blind and infirm old man could not have attempted even this partial record of a trying public life". The "Mr. Poole" of Jacobs's inscription may be the numismatist and Egyptologist Stuart Poole (1832-1895), who in the 1880s acquired for the British Museum the celebrated Indian coin collections of Sir Walter Elliot and Sir Alexander Cunningham.

An elusive and interesting work - Jacob (1805-1881) was an officer in the East India Company and he comments in chapter one that "I have met with no work giving full insight into the duties and responsibilities of Indian Political officers, a body of men who uphold British supremacy or British interests over some fifty millions of human beings, and whether Residents at native Courts, or under titles of Commissioner, Agent, or Superintendent, with their respective Deputies and Assistants, control, with more or less of diplomacy or of direct power, both kings and people". Jacob attempted to make amends for this in the present autobiographical work which represents "thinking outside the mainstream of political thought of mid-nineteenth century British India... His remarks object to the high level of British insensitivity to native needs and interests" (Riddick).

From the collection of Samuel Barrett Miles (1838-1914), British Arabist, colonial agent and explorer of inland Oman, subsequently bequeathed by his wife to Bath Public Library, with their bookplate, pressmark in white to spine, inoffensive blind library stamp at head of a few leaves, and neat, almost imperceptible, accession numbers to front pastedown.

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Description

Octavo. Original green fine pebble-grain cloth, gilt lettered spine and front cover within panelling in black, drab reddish-brown coated endpapers.

Condition

Contemporary bookseller's ticket of Goad's, Bath. Spine cocked, binding just a little rubbed, scattered foxing. A very good copy, with the publisher's 30-page catalogue at the end.

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