An English radical in Syria & Iraq
Travels in Mesopotamia.
Including a journey from Aleppo, across the Euphrates to Orfah, through the plains of the Turcomans, to Diarbekr, in Asia Minor; from thence to Mardin, on the borders of the great desert, and by the Tigris to Mousul and Bagdad: with researches on the ruins of Babylon, Nineveh, Arbela, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia. London Henry Colburn 1827
Second edition. Two volumes, 8vo (21.5 x 14 cm), pp.xx, 479, [1, blank]; (iii)-vi, 538, 28 plates (1 double-page), double-page plan, folding map. A very good set bound in contemporary straight-grained green morocco, spines with red morocco labels and raised bands, all elaborately gilt. Bound without half-titles. Contemporary bookseller's tickets of George Gregory, Bath, and ownership signatures of Mary Foulkes, Jesus College, dated 1828.
Atabey 163, Blackmer 233 (4to edition)
A classic account of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, written by James Silk Buckingham (1786-1855), sailor, journalist, and first M.P. for Sheffield, who travelled extensively in the Middle East from 1813 to 1818, en route to India, where he founded a newspaper, the Calcutta Journal. The East India Company, incensed by Buckingham's unrestrained criticism, suppressed his newspaper and expelled him from India in 1823. Buckingham successfully published his Travels in Palestine in 1821. After his expulsion from India he published further travelogues to fund his lawsuits against the East India Company. Whether writing on the social consequences of passing wind among Arabs, the differences between Turcoman and Arab tents, or Gothic windows in a Crusader castle, Buckingham wrote knowledgeably and with an open, enquiring mind. Mary Foulkes, née Houghton, was the wife of Henry Foulkes (1773-1857), Principal of Jesus College, Oxford. Buckingham's radical politics and controversial reputation suggest a woman with reading tastes which stretched well beyond collegiate bounds.