Winds and the weather in the coast of India and the Arabian Gulf: first edition of a rare meteorological work

Capper, James. Observations on the winds and monsoons; illustrated with a chart and accompanied with notes, geographical and meteorological.

London, C. Whittingham, 1801.

4to. XXVIII, 29-234 pp. With 1 folding engraved map of the world depicting all the world-wide seas and waters and several tables printed within the text. Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, gold-tooled spine.


First edition of a rare geographical and meteorological treatise on the winds and the weather in different places in the world, written by James Capper (1743-1825). Capper was a formerly colonel in the East India Company, but after his return to England, he devoted much of his time to meteorology. In his Observations of the winds and monsoons, Capper especially concentrates on the winds and weather of the East Indies, the coast of India and the Arabian and Persian Gulf, using information he obtained by his own observations, some ships' logs and earlier publications. Also the meteorology of the Mediterranean is discussed by Capper, for example Greece and the climate between the Adriatic and the Archipelago. He describes in a very scholarly manner several kinds of winds, such as monsoons, hurricanes or the so-called 'Sumyel', which is a east-wind. and the 'Harmattan', which is a land-wind which also blows, according to Capper, in the Gulf of Guinea and the other the western coasts of Africa. He discusses their effect on the climate and the weather. Although he acknowledges in his preface that he borrows some information from other intellectuals, such as Bacon, Franklin, Bishop Watson, Kirwan "and other eminent philosophers", Capper also introduces a new hypothesis in this work, namely that hurricanes were a type of whirlwind. Therefore Capper's Observations on the winds and monsoons can not only be seen as a survey work of the hitherto knowledge on winds and weather in different parts of the world, supplemented with his own observations, but also as a work in which - due to his own travels with the East India Company - new hypotheses are proposed. Furthermore it can be seen as an lively and extensive account of the currents of the wind and the climate of different parts of the world and in more detail of the Indian coasts and the Arabian Gulf.

With the bookplate of Marcus Somerville on the front pastedown and his owner's inscription on the title-page. Binding slightly worn around the edges, corners bumped, some minor stains (not affecting the text), with a tear in the folding plate (not affecting the plate), otherwise in good condition.

Lowndes, p. 369.