Masson, Charles; (James Lewis); Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, and the Panjub; including a Residence in those Countries from 1826 to 1838. London, Richard Bentley, 1843.
Three volumes, small quarto, vol. 1 pp. xxvii, 2, 471, tinted frontispiece, 1 additional plate, woodcuts. Vol. 2 pp. xvi, 464, tinted frontispiece, 1 additional plate. Vol. 3 pp. xvi, 496, tinted frontispiece, 1 folded plate.
The set is complete and in a contemporary full calf with gilt ruled edges, five gilt ruled spine bands and gilt titles. Gilt armorial stamp on covers and marbled text block edges. Bindings are tight, light shelf wear scuffing to boards, texts and plates are exceptionally clean. In very good condition.
Charles Masson (1800–1853) was the pseudonym of James Lewis, a British East India Company soldier and explorer. He was the first European to discover the ruins of Harappanear Sahiwal in Punjab, now in Pakistan. Masson had lived in Afghanistan for some time after deserting from the army. Between 1833 and 1838, Masson excavated over 50 Buddhist sites around Kabul and Jalalabad in south-eastern Afghanistan, amassing a large collection of small objects and many coins, principally from the site at Bagram (the ancient Alexandria on the Caucasus), north of Kabul. He was eventually officially pardoned and employed as a government agent in Kabul. Masson was the first European to see the ruins of Harappa, described and illustrated in his book "Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and The Panjab". He also visited the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan, serving as an agent of the East India Company. His narratives and observations of his travels remain some of the most detailed writings of the period leading up to the Afghan Wars.