HANWAY, Jonas. An Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea. With the Author's Journal of Travels from England through Russia into Persia; and bac….

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HANWAY, Jonas. An Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea. With the Author's Journal of Travels from England through Russia into Persia; and back through Russia, Germany and Holland. To which are added, the revolutions of Persia during the present Century, with the particular History of the Great Usurper Nadir Kouli [volume II:] The Revolutions of Persia … Second Edition, revised and corrected. London, Printed for T. Osborne et al., 1754.

Two volumes, 4to. Contemporary full sprinkled calf, spines with raised bands and gilt-stamped lettering-pieces, volume numberes lettered directily in gilt, borads with gilt-ruled double-fillets; pp. xxvii, 460, [8]; xx, 460, [20], two engraved frontispieces, numerous engraved plates, vignettes and folding maps; extremities a little worn, one plate and two leaves of text with clipped corners, not affecting printed surface, maps with repaired tears, contemporary ownership inscription to the first fly-leaf; otherwise a very clean and fresh set.
'Hanway was a well-known traveler and philanthropist, popularly remembered as the pioneer user of the umbrella. Readers of Boswell will recall Johnson's severe criticism of his essay attacking tea-drinking. As a partner of a St. Petersburg merchant, he made a journey in 1743 down the Volga and by the Caspian Sea to Persia with a caravan of woolen goods, and returned in 1745 by the same route after many perilous adventures. He reached London in 1750. He later filled several public positions, and had a street named after him in London and a monument erected to him in Westminster Abbey' (Cox I, p. 255) After having lived as a merchant on the Iberian Peninsula for 12 years 'on 18 February 1743 he joined the Russia Company as junior partner with Charles Dingley and Henry Klencke, and took ship for Riga in April, and thence travelled overland to St Petersburg, where he was soon engaged in fitting out an expedition to Persia by way of the Caspian Sea. Hanway's mission was to sell English broadcloth for Persian silk and to evaluate the potential of trade with Persia, then ruled by the last great steppe conqueror, Shah Nadir Kuli Khan (1688–1747). A trans-Caspian trade had been pioneered by the Muscovy Company in 1566, but it was a tenuous link, dependent on political stability in central Asia and the co-operation of rulers in both Persia and Russia—both of which were distant hopes in Hanway's time. With only an English clerk, a Russian menial servant, a Tartar boy, and a Russian soldier, Hanway travelled to Moscow and thence to Astrakhan, where he boarded a British ship, the Empress of Russia, which conveyed him across the Caspian to Langarud. His destination was Mashhad, but his caravan was captured on the way by rebellious Khyars, allied to Turkomans from the steppes to the north. Robbed of his goods, and forced to flee in disguise along the bleak southern shores of the Caspian, he was rescued by merchant colleagues. He was later partially compensated by Nadir Shah, who desired cordial relations with the British in order to enlist British artisans to construct a Persian navy for the Caspian. However, Hanway, and those who sent him, had underestimated the insecurity of the route while exaggerating the potential of the trade. In retrospect he concluded that the trade held no great promise, for Persia was too poor and Russia was wholly disinclined to see the expansion of Persian power on its southern frontier. From these adventures he derived his motto in later life, 'Never Despair'. Hanway spent the next five years in St Petersburg, trying to revive his trade and reputation, before he returned to Britain via Germany and the Netherlands, in October 1750' (ODNB).

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