[MINTURN]. - SLEEMAN Rambles & Recollections 2vol 1844
Offered for sale by Adam Langlands of 'Shadowrock Rare Books' - for more information please contact him via email at email@example.com
Minturn’s copy: ‘It now only remains that I should acknowledge the very valuable assistance that I have derived from many previous writers on this subject, especially Colonel Sleeman’
Robert Bowne MINTURN Jr. (1836-1889, author & shipping magnate). – Maj. Gen. Sir William Henry SLEEMAN (1788-1856).
Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official. London: J. Hatchard & Son, 1844. 2 volumes, large octavo (9 1/8 x 6 1/4in; 232 xc 159mm). Including final publisher’s advertisement leaf at the end of vol 1, 32 chromolithographed plates (including a frontispiece to each volume). (Some light toning, but generally very clean.) Contemporary half morocco (worn, covers detached, spines detached, endpapers detached).
Provenance: Robert Bowne Minturn, Jr.(1836-1889, inscribed on the title of vol.I: ‘R.B. Minturn Jr / Bombay. March. 12-57.’); by descent.
R.B. Minturn’s copy of the first edition of Sleeman’s most insightful work. Minturn wrote an account of his travels, including the places he visited in India and acknowledged his debt to this book in the preface to his own work (see below).
“While Sleeman maintained a steadfast belief in the superiority of British culture, he simultaneously held an insatiable curiosity about the people and cultures of India and demonstrated some uncommonly liberal views for a European of his time. … When travelling, Sleeman made a point of meeting the local peoples in each city or district to understand their customs and opinions – including regarding British rule. Sleeman also developed an abiding sympathy and respect for "respectable peasants" who he described as "some of the best men I have ever known"’ (wikipedia).
This copy was purchased by American shipping magnate, Robert B. Minturn, Jr. , in Bombay on 12th March 1856 at the end of his tour of India and shortly before he sailed for Port Said and shortly before the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny.
Minturn ‘…graduated from Columbia University in 1856, and joined his father's shipping firm, Grinnell, Minturn & Co., which is best known as being the owners of the clipper ship Flying Cloud. He is the author of New York to Delhi: by way of Rio de Janeiro, Australia and China (New York, 1858), an account of his voyage in connection with his work. In the preface Minturn acknowledges the debt he owed to the present work: …’ It now only remains that I should acknowledge the very valuable assistance that I have derived from many previous writers on this subject, especially Colonel Sleeman and M. de Valbezen, whose very words I have, in several instances, followed.’ (R.B. Minturn. From New York to Delhi… second edition [N.Y.: 1858], ‘preface’ pp. iv).
Minturn, despite not spending long in India, was quite prescient, noting that ‘The following work has grown out of a six months’ tour of India, just before the outbreak of the recent mutiny. … I have been induced to give my observations… both on account of the interest which has been excited in the subject by the events of last year, and because, considering the size and population of the Indian peninsula, its immense capabilities of production, and the important position that it may hereafter hold in the economy and commerce of the world, it certainly has not hitherto attracted in …[the United States]… its due share of attention. (R.B. Minturn. From New York to Delhi… second edition [N.Y.: 1858], ‘preface’ pp.[iii]).