Afghanistan in prize bindings
Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkistan, and Beloochistan;
with Historical Notices of the Countries lying between Russia and India. Translated from the original unpublished manuscript by Capt. W. Jesse. Edited by H.D. Seymour. [With] History of the Afghans. Translated from the original unpublished manuscript by Captain William Jesse. London John Murray 1857; 1858
Second edition pp.xxii, 534, 3 plates, folding map; First edition, pp.xxi, 491, 2 engraved maps, 1 folding. A near fine pair in contemporary full calf, gilt decoration to spine and boards, red morocco lettering piece, gilt and blind rolls to board edges and turn-ins, end-papers and all page edges marbled. Very slight rubbing to boards, light spotting to first couple of leaves in each volume. Both with an inscription to "Lea Priestley Edwards... On his leaving Eton Xmas 1864", the first signed by Charles G. A. Brayhem, the second by George W. Swiming
A fabulous pair of important works that combine as the life's work of Josephe-Pierre Ferrier (1811-1886) in matching lavish Eton presentation bindings. The first work, Caravan Journeys, is a gripping account of the travels of the author in Central Asia, in particular across Afghanistan. Punctuated with pithy commentary with a rare anti-British sentiment, it provides an outside perspective on Britain's activities in Asia and Ferrier shows particular affinity for the rich history and tradition of the peoples he encountered. The second work, History of the Afghans, chronicles the history of the Afghans from their "origins", around 200 BCE, to around 1850. It is particularly important as it recounts the history of British involvement in the region from a French perspective, and concludes with the author admitting the great influence Britain exerted over the region by 1850. The work is full of personal and anecdotal evidence, particularly towards the later stages, because Ferrier either experienced or was in direct contact with much of what happened in Afghanistan during his lifetime. He includes Persian and Indian documents, with their translations, that were his initial source of news for events he did not witness. Josephe-Pierre Ferrier (1811-1886) was a French soldier whose innate talents and skills never translated to the career success that he warranted. He served in Persia, 1839-43, and then sought employment with the Sikh government in Lahore. He attempted the overland route through Afghanistan during the extremely difficult conditions of the first Anglo-Afghan war (1838-42). He spent a year in Afghanistan, including a period in captivity, before being forced to go back to Tehran. All the while he was pestering his superiors for money in return for vague and intangible returns. These present works were both written after he was financially ruined by a failed agricultural scheme in Rhodes, and was salvaged by the rear-admiral Verninac de Saint-Maur, delegate for the French settlements in India, who managed to obtain for him the position of Mayor at Pondicherry in 1853, where he stayed until 1876, at which point he retired to Marseille. It is interesting that these works were first published in English for a British audience: Caravan Journeys was only published in French in 1870 and History of the Afghans never was.