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Details & Cataloguing

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

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Capper, Col. James
ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST ANGLO-MARATHA WAR, ADDRESSED TO LORD NORTH
copy manuscript, in a scribal hand but signed and dated by the author, labelled "Duplicate", loose in 31 numbered bifolia, 122 pages, 4to, Lisbon, 26 November 1781, creased
[with:] 16 letters signed by Capper, to Lord Clarendon, on Indian affairs, including the progress of the Anglo-Maratha War and his disputes with the East India Company, c.58 pages, various sizes, Madras, Fort St George, and other locations, 1774-81, creased
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Provenance

This is one of 22 lots that have been removed from Holywell House, Hampshire, the home of the Villiers family, Earls of Clarendon. They chiefly relate to the life and careers of two contemporaries: Henry Hyde, Viscount Cornbury (1710-53), and Thomas Villiers (1709-86), created successively Baron Hyde of Hindon (1756) and Earl of Clarendon (1776).

Cornbury was the last heir to the Earldom of Clarendon that had been created for the statesman and historian Edward Hyde (1609-1674). Cornbury had Jacobite sympathies but was MP for the University of Oxford – with which his family had powerful connections – from 1732 until 1751. He became disillusioned with politics in the later 1740s and spent his final years in France. Cornbury counted Pope and Swift amongst his friends, and was himself the author of pamphlets and at least two plays (see lots 6 and 7). He died, unmarried, in Paris in 1753. Most of Cornbury’s property was inherited by his niece, Charlotte (née Capel). Thomas Villiers, second son of the Earl of Jersey, was her husband. Villiers had spent the 1730s and ‘40s as a diplomat mostly in the German-speaking world (none of his diplomatic papers are included in this offering) and, following his retirement from the diplomatic service, he entered government in the 1760s. As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1771-82 and 1783-86), Clarendon was in Cabinet during the American War of Independence (see lots 14-19).

Catalogue Note

"...Our conquests in India have long made the Country powers believe that an alliance with us must ensure success to the most desperate cause, & therefore, when an ambitious Man has any real or pretended Claims to Sovereignty & wants either money or troops to support these claims, he naturally turns his eyes towards us for assistance & I am afraid it may be said, that with money properly applied, a tolerable decent Cause & liberal promises of gratitude to the British nation, scarce any person has failed of gaining Us over to his party..."

A DETAILED NARRATIVE OF THE FIRST ANGLO-MARATHA WAR, in which the British supported a pretender to the Maratha Empire and suffered a number of military defeats. James Capper (1743-1825) was an officer in the Madras Army and his critical analysis is founded on first-hand knowledge, with extensive quotation from contemporary letters and documents. Capper left Madras in February 1781 and wrote his narrative before the war was concluded with the Treaty of Salbai, signed on 17 May 1782.

English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations

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London