Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India. Compiled in the Intelligence Branch of the Divisions of the Chief of the Staff Army Head Quarters India. In six volumes. For official use only.
8vo. 8 vols. (6 volumes & 2 supplements): v. 1. Tribes north of the Kabul River. 1907. (4), IV, XIX, (1), 591, (1) pp. With 8 plans and 2 separate maps in both cover pockets.
v. 1, suppl. A. Operations against the Mohmands (including operations in the Khaiber, 1st-7th May) 1908. 1910. (4), II, (2), 60, LVIII pp. With 2 maps in lower cover pocket.
v. 2. North-west frontier tribes between the Kabul and Gumal Rivers. 1908. (4), III, (1), 461, (1) pp. With 6 folding plans and 1 separate map in lower cover pocket.
v. 2, suppl. A. Operations against the Zakka Khel Afridis 1908. 1908. (8), 49, (1) pp. With 3 maps in lower cover pocket.
v. 3. Baluchistan and the First Afghan War. (6), VII, (3), 466 pp. With 2 folding tables, 2 plans (1 folding), and 4 separate folding maps in lower cover pocket.
v. 4. North and north-eastern frontier tribes. 1907. (4), IV, 249, (1) pp. With 7 maps and plans and 1 separate folding map in lower cover pocket.
v. 5. Burma. 1907. X, (6), 468 pp. With a folding map in lower cover pocket.
v. 6. Expeditions overseas. 1911. (4), X, (2), 515, (1) pp. With 14 maps (many folding) and 5 separate folding maps in lower cover pocket. Uniformly bound in contemporary quarter calf over green cloth covers with giltstamped spine labels.
An excessively rare counterpart to Lorimer's simultaneously published Gazetteer of the Gulf: like it, classified at the time of its issuing as a confidential British government document and still well-nigh unobtainable in the original printing, this third and last issue of Paget's and Mason's "Frontier and Overseas Expeditions" remains the most important single source on Raj-based military frontier operations carried out up to the First World War. The work was first compiled in 1873 by Colonel W. H. Paget as "A Record of Expeditions against the North-West Frontier Tribes", with the intention of providing a "valuable guide" to such British commanders and policymakers as "might have future dealings with these turbulent neighbours". It was revised in 1884 by A. H. Mason of the Royal Engineers. Three decades later, the frontiers of British influence had vastly expanded: they now reached to the borders of Afghanistan and Persia, and a newly compiled record of expeditions was urgently required. Under the editorship of Lieutenant C. F. Aspinall and Major R. G. Burton, the work known as "Paget & Mason" was thoroughly overhauled and expanded to six volumes, replete with maps and each dealing with a distinct geographical division, with two supplements. Only a few hundred copies would have been printed for circulation to British government departments, regimental libraries, and agencies. The present set, issued to the 7th Division Military Society in 1908 (later the Bareilly Brigade Military Library), bears the giltstamped copy numbers 217, 220, 221, 222, 258, 262, and 1134 (supplement).
The sixth volume deals in depth with "The Arabian Peninsula and the Islands of Perim and Socotra". It includes a sketch of the geographical situation before discussing in more detail the First Expedition to Ras-al-Khaimah in 1809 ("political causes - composition of the force - arrival at Masqat - arrival at Ras-al-Khaimah - description of Ras-al-Khaimah - landing of main body - capture of Ras-al-Khaimah - bravery of enemy - burning of pirate vessels - losses - Lingeh - repulse of the troops - re-embarkation - daring action by Lt. Hall, I.N.
attack on Shanas - desperate resistance"). It is noteworthy that the British officers here felt compelled to record the military gallantry of the al-Qasimi in their resistance to the British forces. Similarly, the Second Expedition to Ras-al-Khaimah in 1819 is treated, as is the Bani-Bu-Ali Expedition of 1810 (mentioning the results of "bad diplomacy" and "bad tactics", and citing the bravery of an Imam who displayed "great personal courage" while endeavouring to save an artilleryman). Further sections are given over to the islands of Perim (occupied in 1799 and again in 1856) and Sokotra, of which British infantry took possession in 1834 after "the Sultan would not come to terms". Additional chapters treat the Persian side of the Gulf and military expeditions to the same.
Corners somewhat bumped, but altogether a tightly bound, handsome and well-preserved set. 1910 and 1911 stamps of the Bareilly Brigade Military Library to most volumes (but stamp of W. B. Salmon to the supplement to vol. 2). Warning "For Official Use Only" stamped in gilt to spine labels throughout, with most title-pages being correspondingly imprinted (in red ink up to vol. 2). As the publisher's original inserted slip advises, the General Map of Afghanistan called for in the list of maps to volume 3 was not, in fact, completed and therefore was never issued with the set. Of the utmost rarity: not reproduced within the Cambridge Archive Editions series, although incomplete reprints appeared in Quetta in 1979 and in Delhi in 1983.
Provenance: 1) 7th Division Military Society, 1908; 2) Bareilly Brigade Military Library, 1910/11; 3) U.S. private collection.