July 27, 2016

Personal Narrative of the Campaigns in Affghanistan, Sinde, Beloochistan, etc., Detailed in a Series of Letters of the Late Colonel William H. Dennie

William Henry Dennie (1789–1842) was a British army officer who took part in the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839–42. During the Anglo-Indian occupation of Kabul in 1840 he was sent with a small force against the army of Dost Mohammad Khan (1793–1863), the former Afghan amir whom the British had overthrown, which he defeated in an engagement at Bamian on September 18. Dennie later succeeded to the command of Sir Robert Sale (1782‒1845) when Sale was wounded in action against Afghan insurgents in October 1841. Dennie himself was wounded in an engagement on April 7, 1842, and died shortly thereafter. Personal Narrative of the Campaigns in Affghanistan, Sinde, Beloochistan, etc., Detailed in a Series of Letters of the Late Colonel William H. Dennie consists of letters written by Dennie between November 11, 1838, and December 5, 1841, and published after his death. Dennie was a fighting soldier, known for his courage and military skills, and the letters are mainly interesting for the first-hand accounts they offer of battles in which he led British and Indian troops. The appendices contain the texts of official dispatches by Dennie and correspondence with the government of India, including those related to the victory over Dost Mohammad. The book was edited by William Steele, a relative of Dennie’s, and includes a preface and an introduction that traces the history of the Afghans from biblical times to the early 19th century. The book contains a fold-out map, on which the lines of march of the units commanded by Dennie are hand colored.

A Journal of the Disasters in Affghanistan, 1841–2

Lady Florentia Wynch Sale (1790–1853) was the wife of Sir Robert Henry Sale (1782–1845), a British army officer who served in India and Burma and participated in the ill-fated Anglo-Indian invasion of Afghanistan that triggered the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–42). The objective of the invasion was to overthrow the amir of Afghanistan, Dost Muhammad Khan, and replace him with Shah Shujaʻ, a former ruler thought to be more pro-British. The Anglo-Indian force that entered the country quickly overcame resistance and occupied Kabul and other major cities. Lulled into believing that the Afghans had been pacified, Sale, like other British officers and civilian officials, sent for his wife to join him, first in Jalalabad and then in Kabul. Following a violent uprising that began on November 2, 1841, the British and Afghan governments concluded a treaty under which the occupying Anglo-Indian force agreed to evacuate the country and was assured safe passage on its return to British India. The new amir, Akbar Khan (1816–45, ruled 1842–45), the son of Dost Muhammad, disregarded the terms of the treaty, and in January 1842 Lady Sale and her daughter, Alexandrina, were taken hostage, along with British officers and soldiers and other women and children. A total of 63 hostages were held, several of whom died in captivity. The prisoners finally were released after nine months of captivity, when they offered to pay a large bribe to their Afghan jailer. Lady Sale, who was wounded in the initial fighting and had a bullet in her wrist, managed to keep the diary that she had begun in Kabul in September 1841, making frequent entries right up to her release in September of the following year. Along with Lieutenant Vincent Eyre’s The Military Operations at Cabul, which Ended in the Retreat and Destruction of the British Army, January 1842, Lady Sale’s A Journal of the Disasters in Affghanistan, 1841‒2 is one of two first-hand accounts of the ordeal of the British hostages. Both books were published in London in 1843. The author recounts the hardships endured by the prisoners, encounters with Afghans both friendly and hostile, battles that she witnessed, and the negotiations for release of the prisoners. The book contains a glossary of “Persian, Hindostani [Hindi] and other Oriental Words” used in the text and a fold-out plan of the cantonments around Kabul. The appendix contains the text of the treaty between the British and Afghan authorities concluded on December 11, 1841, regarding evacuation and safe passage. Following publication of her journal, Lady Sale was widely hailed as a heroine in Britain.

Russian Projects against India from the Czar Peter to General Skobeleff

Henry Sutherland Edwards (1828–1906) was a British author and journalist who over a long career worked in a wide range of genres, producing dramatic pieces, fiction, and serious journalism. In 1856 he went to Russia as correspondent of the Illustrated Times to cover the coronation of Tsar Alexander II. He remained in Moscow to study the language and married the daughter of a Scottish engineer who had settled in Russia. Sutherland developed a lifelong interest in Russian subjects, and wrote numerous essays and articles and several books on Russian themes. Russian Projects against India from the Czar Peter to General Skobeleff is a history of Russian interest in and expansion into Central Asia from the time of Peter the Great (1672–1725) to the late 19th century. Echoing what was a widely held view in Great Britain at the time, Sutherland writes in the preface: “Russian expeditions in Central Asia (supported at critical moments by intriguers in Persia and Afghanistan) have always been undertaken, not with a view to an improved frontier, the Russian frontier on the Central Asian side never having been threatened; nor for commercial purposes, the exports and imports between Russia and the Khanates being of the most trifling value, and quite out of proportion to the cost of occupying and administering the Russian possessions in Central Asia: but simply in order to place Russia in a position to threaten and, on a fitting opportunity, attack India.” Among the Russian expeditions covered in detail by Sutherland are General Vasily Alexseevich Perovsky’s expedition of 1839 to Khiva; Colonel Nikolai Pavlovich Ignatiev’s mission of 1858 to Khiva and Bukhara; and General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman’s expedition to Khiva of 1872‒73. The concluding chapter, “Projects for the Invasion of India,” discusses several different schemes put forward by Russian military writers in the second half of the 19th century for Russian advances on India through Afghanistan. The book contains a fold-out color map of the Russo-Afghan frontier.

History of the Afghans

Joseph Philippe Ferrier (1811‒86) was a French soldier who served as a military instructor in the army of Persia (present-day Iran) in 1839‒42 and again in 1846‒50. He was sent on a diplomatic mission to Europe by the Qajar ruler Muhammad Shah (1808-48, reigned 1834‒48), but later fell out of favor with the shah and was forced to leave Persia. He returned to the Persian service in 1846, after undertaking a dangerous overland journey through Afghanistan and Persia in 1844‒46. While working for the Persian army, Ferrier reported to the French government and sought to promote French interests in the rivalry with Great Britain and Russia for influence in the country. Ferrier produced two major books based on historical research and his personal observations. Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkistan and Beloochistan was published in London in 1857; the French edition, Voyages et aventures en Perse, dans l’Afghanistan, le Beloutchistan et le Turkestan appeared only in 1870. The book presented here, History of the Afghans, was published in London in 1858 and is an English translation of the manuscripts of Ferrier made by a British officer, Captain William Jesse. A French edition of the book was never published. The work is a history of the Afghans from ancient times to 1850. Ferrier chronicles the rise of British power in South Asia, which from a French perspective he regrets. In the final passage of the book, he notes that possession of Peshawar in the north and Shikarpur in the south had given the British control of the Indus River, and concludes: “These are the têtes-de-pont [bridgeheads] which command the passage of that river, and give the Anglo-Indian government the power of exercising the greatest influence over the policy of the chiefs of Kandahar and Kabul—may Europe never have cause to repent that she has permitted those conquests which will render Great Britain and Russia all-powerful over this planet.” The book contains a detailed fold-out map.

History of the War in Afghanistan

In 1851, Sir John William Kaye (1814–76) published a two-volume History of the War in Afghanistan. Presented here is the “revised and corrected” edition of the same work, published in three volumes in 1857‒58. As explained by the author in the preface, the second edition largely follows the first, but it contains corrections and better organization based on additional research and on information provided by readers of the first edition. Kaye also notes that the presentation of the same material in three rather than two volumes is in his view a major improvement: “I doubt whether there is a series of events in all history, which falls more naturally [than the First Anglo-Afghan War] into three distinct groups, giving the epic completeness of a beginning, a middle, and an end to the entire Work.” Kaye was a onetime officer in the army of the East India Company who resigned in 1841 to devote himself full time to the writing of military history. His other works include a novel based on the war, Long Engagements: a Tale of the Affghan Rebellion (1846), and several other major historical works, including The Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir John Malcolm (1856), and his magnum opus, the three-volume The History of the Sepoy War in India, 1857–8 (1864–76).

Akbar and the Jesuits, An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar

Akbar and the Jesuits, An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar is a partial translation of a work written and compiled by the Jesuit priest Father Pierre Du Jarric and published in France between 1608 and 1614. The complete title of Du Jarric’s magnum opus is Histoire des choses plus memorables advenves tant ez Index Orientales, que autres païs de la descouverte des Portugais, en l’establissement et progrez de la foy Chrestienne at Catholique: et principalement de ce que les Religieux de la Compagnie de Iésus y ont faict, & endure pour la mesme fin;depuis qu’ils y sont entrez iusqu’à l’an 1600. Du Jarric himself was not a traveler or missionary; the work is compiled from other sources, including books, letters, and reports in Portuguese, Spanish, Latin, and French. Du Jarric’s Histoire is in three parts (volumes), each of which has two books, and covers Jesuit missions to India and Southeast Asia, Africa, Brazil, and the Mughal Empire. The translation presented here is from the original Book IV of Part II and Book V of Part III, dealing with the Mughal Empire, and specifically events during the life of the Emperor Akbar, including the three Jesuit missions to his court made before 1600. Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar (1542–1605), also known as Akbar the Great, was the Mughal emperor who ruled India from 1556 to 1605. Born and raised as an orthodox Sunni Muslim, Akbar nonetheless practiced religious tolerance, curbed the power of the Islamic clergy in political and legal matters, and opened discussions of religion to a variety of Muslims, including Shiite scholars and Sufi dervishes, as well as eventually to Hindus, Jains, Parsees, and Christians. Du Jarric recounts numerous conversations between Akbar and the Jesuit fathers, and their hopes, which in the end were disappointed, that he would become a Christian. The book contains detailed notes to the chapters and is illustrated with black-and-white paintings from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The book was part of The Broadway Travellers, a series of classic travel accounts published by George Routledge & Sons, London, between 1926 and 1937. This American edition was published in New York by Harper & Brothers.