Memoirs of Elijah Impey, F.M. Lord Birdwood’s copy


Impey, Elijah Barwell: MEMOIRS OF SIR ELIJAH IMPEY, Knt., First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court… at Fort William, Bengal, with anecdotes of Warren Hastings, Sir Philip Francis, Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, Esq. and other contemporaries, compiled from authentic documents in refutation of the calumnies of the Right Hon Thomas Babington Macaulay. Simpkin, Marshall, and Co [London] 1846 1st edition 8vo.  RESERVED 31st January 2024

Portrait frontispiece, xxxi. [2pp appendix & errata], 438pp, 1p publisher’s ads. Re-cased in the original blind stamped cloth gilt, most of original cloth spine laid to new spine, bumped and rubbed at extremities. A rather uncommon work. This is an interesting association copy which belonged to Field Marshal Sir William Birdwood, Commander in Chief in India [later 1st Lord Birdwood]. The original front free endpaper has a somewhat difficult to read presentation inscription from the author. The reverse of the frontispiece and the facing page have notes including a sketchy family tree in a bold hand [possibly Birdwood’s] in ink. Loosely inserted is a sheet of writing paper with Birdwood’s notes about the book and his attempts to connect Sir Elijah Impey with his own ancestor, This is signed and dated W R B 1.6.33 and is on printed paper ” From the Master, Peterhouse, Cambridge”, a post to which he was elected after his war service and stint as Commander in Chief India. There are three other letters, all typed on sheets of embossed paper from the India Office and one on two pages of paper embossed in red from Government House Darjeeling. These are all dated 1933 and responses to largely abortive attempts by archivists and librarians to establish the ancestral connection. Another letter, partly typed and partly hand written, on the same subject is from the offciaiting Archdeacon of Calcutta. Birdwood’s great grandfather was Surgeon Elijah Impey in India in the 1770s and his grandfather was christened Elijah George Halhed Impey. This book’s provenance is by direct family descent until recently sold.        aug14/1