BOURKE, Richard Southwell. St. Petersburg and Moscow: A Visit to the Court of the Czar. Two volumes.
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London: Henry Colburn, 1846. 12mo. pp. (1) xvi, 274, (2) x, 276. With half-titles. Original publisher’s blind stamped cloth, titled in gilt, Arms of The Tsar in gilt on upper cover. From the Parsons of Birr Library. Cover faded. A very good set. Rare.
COPAC locates 9 copies only. NSTC 2B42816 2M22139. Richard Southwell Bourke, one of seven sons, was born in Dublin, in 1822. His family were descended from Sir Thomas Bourke, son of Edmund Albanach. Walter Bourke, son of Sir Thomas, who was MacWilliam Iochtar (Chief of the Mayo Bourkes) from 1401 until his death in 1440. From his son John were descended numerous BurkeBourke families in Munster, but not the Castleconnell or Brittas families.
Richard was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he took his B.A. in 1844 and M.A. in 1851 and LL.D. by diploma in 1852. He travelled to Russia in 1845 and wrote this work, an account of his experiences, which sold very well. On his return from his Russian travels he farmed progressively in County Kildare and in 1847 learned his first lessons in public administration in famine relief in the county. He was elected MP for Kildare (1847-52), Coleraine (1852-7) and, through marriage to a Wyndham, for Cockermouth in Cumberland (1857-68). He was thrice appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland – in 1852, 1858 and 1866 – and in 1869 he became the fourth Viceroy of India where he was locally often referred to as “Lord Mayo”. His residences were the family seat at Palmerston, Straffan, Co. Kildare, and a town house at 3 Stratford Place, Westminster. A genial and popular man, he was tall and powerfully built, keenly interested in sports, a fine rider, a good shot, and a strong swimmer; he was particularly successful as master of the Kildare foxhounds Three years previously he had been created Lord Naas.
Lord Mayo became viceroy of India in January 1869 and in March received Shīr ʿAlī Khān, emir of Afghanistan, at Ambāla to negotiate a closer alliance that would decrease Russian influence. Generally maintaining domestic peace, he sanctioned an expedition against the raiding Mizo tribes of the northeastern border in 1871-72. He initiated the policy of decentralization of finances and promoted the development of public works, railways, forests, irrigation schemes, and port defences. The Europeanoriented Mayo College at Ajmer was founded for the education of young native chiefs, with £70,000 being subscribed by the chiefs themselves. In 1869-70 he hosted the Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Victoria's second son). On the 8th of February, 1872, while on an inspection tour of the convict settlement in the Andaman Islands, he was stabbed to death by an Afghan prisoner, Shere Ali, who was hanged five weeks later for the crime. Fifty years to the day and month of his birthday, his body was carried in procession through Calcutta and received on board the Daphne. His remains were brought back to Ireland where he was received with military honours at Dublin and later buried in the family tomb near Naas. The traditional Irish march “Lord Mayo” (Tiagharna Mhaighe-eo) was named after him; according to tradition, it was composed by his harper David Murphy to appease Mayo after Murphy angered him.This work of acute observation, met with considerable success and seldom appears on the marketplace.
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