The first printing of Modi script in Britain
A grammar of the Mahratta language.
For the use of The East India College at Hayleybury. Edinburgh lithographed by J. Hall [and the author] 1839
First edition. 4to, 29 x 23 cm; pp.[iv], 52. Lithographed. Original embossed cloth, printed label to upper board; a few closed tears to spine, but a very good copy.
An elementary grammar of Marathi, lithographed in Modi, the cursive script employed in business and official correspondence in western India; the first British publication in Modi. The present work, like Ballantyne's Braj Bhakha and Hindi grammars of the same year, was meant for the use of students at the East India Company's Haileybury College, which had recently added Marathi to its curriculum. It was intended to replace William Carey's Marathi grammar (Serampore, 1805), which Ballantyne felt was insufficient and, in any case, no longer readily obtainable. Ballantyne lacked the Modi types available to Carey at Serampore, however, and Joseph Hall, the lithographer who executed the elegant English text, was unable to produce the Modi characters. Ballantyne describes the frustration of copying out the Modi characters himself with lithographic ink – despite the self-deprecation of his preface, the Modi text is well-executed and consistent.