PALGRAVE, William Gifford. Personal Narrative of A Year's Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862-63) ... New Edition, in One Volume. London, Macmillan and Co., 1868.
8vo. Original publisher's green gilt-stamped pictorial cloth; pp. vi, , 421, [2, advertisements], folding map with outline in hand-colouring; minimal rubbing to hinges, very light spotting initially, otherwise very good; provenance: Sir Henry Doulton's copy, with the pottery manufacturer's armorial bookplate inside front cover.
This book is the result of Palgrave's travel from Syria, frequently disguised as a Syrian doctor, so that he could visit those parts of Arabia closed to travellers from the West. It was a fact-finding mission for Emperor Napoleon III to investigate Arab attitudes towards France and a mission to gather information on how to obtain pure Arabian blood-stock for horse breeding purposes. Palgrave was 'the first westerner to cross Arabia by an approximately diagonal route (from the north-west to the south-east). Travelling among the Wahabbis, he was in considerable danger, should he be detected as a European. Once, at Ha'il, he was recognized as having been seen at Damascus, and at Riyadh he was suspected and accused of being an English spy, but his skill at disguise, coupled with his presence of mind and good fortune, secured his safety. Palgrave returned to Europe in late 1863 and wrote [this work], a classic of Arabian travel literature, though its veracity has been attacked by several distinguished orientalists' (Oxford DNB).
See Gay 3696; Wilson p. 165.