URQUHART, David. The Lebanon: (Mount Souria.) A History and a Diary. London, Thomas Cautley Newby, 1860.
Two volumes in one, as issued. 8vo. Original brick red cloth, gilt, all edges gilt; pp. ix, 402, iv, 455; steel-engraved frontispiece to each volume (by Bartlett; Mount Lebanon views); expertly rebacked, new endpapers, occasional spotting or embrowning only to beginning and end of the massive volume, engraved armorial bookplate inside front cover, else a very good copy of a book usually found in poor condition and not in the beautiful publisher's binding.
Very rare first edition. Urquhart was a British politician and diplomat, as well as the author of several books on Turkey, the Middle East and the Great Game. The present work offers details of a journey made in the Lebanon in 1849-50; the initial 180 pages of the first volume is a history of the Druses and the Maronites, the rest of the work is Urquart's Lebanon travel diary. With geopolitics always in mind, and Russia seen as as an expansionist threat, Urquhart observed the state of the Ottoman administration, taxation and army in the country, as well as sectarian tensions, the Maronite connections with France, attempts to restore ancient infrastructures (harbours and waterworks); in general, he gives a complete assessment of the region, economic, cultural and political. 'Urquhart was an excellent observer and writes well. He was interested in the antiquities, the life of the people, especially the Maronite Christians. He visited the Jumblat family which still plays a prominent role in Lebanese affairs' (advertisement for a 1969 edition, pasted onto rear endpaper).
Weber I, 580, Röhricht 497, Blackmer 1708.