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Afghanistan and its dependencies in Persia, Tartary and India, with 14 hand-coloured plates, in original wrappers

ELPHINSTONE, Mountstuart.
Tableau du royaume de Caboul, et de ses dépendances, dans la Perse, la Tartarie et l'Inde, offrant les moeurs, usages et costumes de cet empire, ... traduit et abrégé de l'anglais, par M. Breton.
Paris, Nepveu, 1817. 3 volumes. 18mo. With 14 engraved plates depicting various costumes, lords on horseback, etc., all beautifully coloured by hand. Original publisher's printed wrappers, each volume with wood engraved illustrations on front, back and spine. Preserved in a modern gold-tooled green morocco box. XLIV, 189 [3]; [4], 222, [2]; [4], 223 [1] pp.
€ 4,950
First edition of the French translation of one of the first exhaustive works on the kingdom of Kabul, now known as Afghanistan, and its dependencies in Persia, Tartary and India. First published in English in 1815, it was written by a British official, Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859). Elphinstone was sent to the kingdom of Kabul by the rulers of British India in 1808, to discuss with the Shah the possibilities of a mutual defence against Napoleonic France. Elphinstone, as a consequence, was the first Englishman to visit Peshawar, the traditional winter residence of the rulers of Kabul, which was also the terminus of all trade routes from east to west. The meeting was concluded by a treaty of friendship (7 June 1809), the Shah promising to oppose the passage of foreign troops through his country. Before this could be ratified, however, the Shah was driven off the throne by his brother.
The book opens with a short history of Afghanistan that ends with the coming of the English in 1809. It gives a good impression of Afghan society at the beginning of the 19th century, when Afghanistan was still virtually unknown in Western Europe.
Some foxing in text, otherwise in good condition and wholly untrimmed. Wrappers have only some minor wear to the ends of the spines and some very slight soiling, but are still very good. Chadenat 822; Colas 961; Lipperheide 1483.
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