Bound for Sultan Abdulaziz
Memoir on the Euphrates Valley route to India; with official correspondence and maps.
[with:] Report on the Euphrates Valley Railway. [and:] European Interests in the Euphrates Valley Route. A Compilation. [and:] From London to Lahore. [and:] The Highways to the East. [and:] Opening of the Meerut and Umballa section of the Delhi Railway. [and:] Remarks of the press on works on Indian railways by W. P. Andrews, Esq. London Wm. H. Allen & Co., et al 1857-69
First editions, 8vo, seven works bound in one volume; pp. xvi, 249, [1, blank], 2 folding maps, coloured in outline; 20, 7, [1, blank]; 36; 32, 1 folding map; 12; 46, ; 7. Bound in contemporary red morocco, boards elaborately gilt, spine with raised bands, gilt compartments, and title; white moire endpapers; all edges gilt; small area of discolouration to lower board. Gilt tughra of Sultan Abdulaziz (1830-1876) to upper board.
A comprehensive set of works promoting the construction of a railway along the Euphrates to the port at Basra, as an alternative route to India, almost certainly bound for the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz in 1869 at the behest of William Patrick Andrew, chairman of the Scinde Railway Company. Andrew was a staunch supporter of the Euphrates route, but the proposed railway never received consistent support from the British government, and was doomed by the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869. The Euphrates route was first proposed in the 1830s as a more direct route between India and Britain. An initial British expedition in 1836 suggested that the Euphrates was navigable by steamship, but a subsequent expedition in 1841 established that seasonal fluctuations of the river's depth made it an impractical course. Advocates of the Euphrates route, such as Francis Chesney, turned to rail as an alternative. A concession for the railway had been obtained from Sultan Abdulmecid I by 1857, but the British government would not fund the scheme and it collapsed. This bound set accompanied Andrew's final efforts to revive the scheme and obtain a new concession: they demonstrate more than a decade of continuing advocacy for the Euphrates route. The seven works are all written for a European audience, and include references to Turkey as the "sick man of Europe" - the Sultan, it seems, was expected to admire his own tughra and ignore the text.