Important acquisitions

[Manuscripts and printed works on the Suez Canal project collected by the Scottish Suez canal pioneer, James Vetch]

Author Vetch, James
Title [Manuscripts and printed works on the Suez Canal project collected by the Scottish Suez canal pioneer, James Vetch]
Imprint
Date of Publication 1842-55
Language English
Notes James Vetch (1789-1869), was born at Haddington, East Lothian. He had a notable career, serving in the Royal Engineers, and then working for the Ordnance Survey, including a period surveying the Scottish islands. He also worked on the development of mining in Mexico and on the English railways, before turning his attention to the question of a canal between the Mediterranean and Red seas. "In 1843 Vetch published an Enquiry into the means of establishing a ship navigation between the Mediterranean and Red seas, after having worked on the problem since 1839. The work ran through several editions and attracted much public attention, but the government, and especially Palmerston, opposed the plan as contrary to the political interests of the country. Twelve years later Ferdinand de Lesseps, a former French diplomat who is usually credited with being the inspiration behind the Suez Canal, which opened in 1869, published his scheme, printing Vetch's opinions as an appendix to his work" (Oxford DNB). Vetch spent much of the rest of his career working on sewers and drains. The collection contains the autograph manuscript of his pioneering article, together with a collection of the early reports and pamphlets on the scheme, collected and partly annotated by Vetch. The manuscript of the Enquiry (or Report, as it was first called) contains several emendations and deletions, and can be compared directly with the first printed edition of the work, which is present here. Also loosely inserted into the second volume is the orginal "Form of requiring entry of proprietorship" (for copyright purposes) made out by Vetch himself. There is also a marked-up proof copy of Vetch's entry in the old DNB. The bound collection appears to have been brought together roughly contemporaneously with publication of Lesseps's Isthmus of Suez, the latest dated work here. All these items are collected into two volumes bound in nineteenth-century blue half calf. Contents: I. a. VETCH, James. Report on the means of establishing a ship navigation between the Mediterranean & Red seas. [London] "1 Clifford's Inn, 20th January 1842." Manuscript, pp. 39, preceded by an engraved map. b. MACLAREN, Charles. "Account of the ancient canal from the Nile to the Red Sea" [excerpted from the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, October, 1825.] pp. [274]-291. NOT IN NLS c. Manuscript notes: 1p. being estimates of the population of Israel at the time of the crossing of the Red Sea, from Biblical sources d. [Report from the Select Committee on Steam Navigation to India, with the minutes of evidence, 1836.] pp. 342-392. e. Manuscript notes: 2 pp. on the geography of Egypt. II. a. VETCH, James. Inquiry into the means of establishing a ship navigation between the Mediterranean & Red seas. London: Pelham Richardson, 1843. pp. 34, folding lithographed map, routes added in contemporary hand colouring. NOT IN NLS b. ANDERSON, Arthur. Communications with India, China, &c. Observations on the practicability and utility of opening a communication between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1843. pp. 48. c. CLARKSON, Edward. The Suez navigable canal, for an accelerated communication with India. second edition. London: T. Hookham and others for the British and Foreign Agency Office, 1843. pp. 16 + 8 (British and Foreign Institute Prosepectus). NOT IN NLS d. GALLOWAY, John Alexander. Communication with India, China, &c. Observations on the proposed improvements in the overland route via Egypt. London: John Weale, 1844. pp. 24, large folding lithographed map. e. [WALKER, William.] A plan for improving the transit of passengers and goods across the isthmus of Suez [drop-head title]. [May 1847]. pp. 15, [I], [2] (Appendix). NOT IN NLS f. LESSEPS, Ferdinand Marie de. The Isthmus of Suez question. London: Longman, 1855. pp. 223, [I} (blank), 3 folding engraved mnps, one printed in colour.
Shelfmark Acc.12648
Acquired on 20/06/06
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