Milburn, William. Oriental Commerce; or the East India Trader's Complete Guide; containing a Geographical and Nautical Description of the Maritime Parts of India, China, Japan, and the neighbouring Countries, including the Easter Islands, and the Trading Stations on the Passage from Europe; With an Account of their respective Commerce, Productions, Coins, Weights, and Measures; their Port Regulations, Duties, Rates, Charges, &c.

London, Kingsbury, Parbury and Allen, 1825.

Large 8vo. (6), 586 pp. With 21 folding engraved maps. Contemporary full calf with gilt-ruled covers, spine ornamented in gilt and with gilt-stamped black morocco lettering-piece.


Second edition of this extremely rare work on the practicalities of naval commerce between Britain and the coastal societies east of Africa, edited and in some parts also expanded by Thomas Thornton from Milburn's 1813 two-volume edition. Includes a substantial section on the coasts of Arabia and the Gulf: "Ras el Khima" ("the capital of the Pirate Coast, [...] stands on a sandy peninsula [...] There are several castles, one of which is the residence of their Chief"); "Bahreen Islands" ("Manama [...] is large and populous, the buildings are well constructed, and the appearance of it more decent than any in the Gulph [...] The Saikh of Bahreen refuses to acknowledge the supremacy of Persia, and suffers none of the coin in the Islands to bear the titles of the Persian Sovereign"), "El Katif" ("is said to be a good harbour, and a place of trade, but is seldom visited by Europeans"), etc. Kuwait was named "Grane" then, and Milburn, a sea captain serving the East India Company, writes a lengthy section on articles procurable in the Arabian Gulf, ranging from arsenic and lapis lazuli to pearls ("the oyster banks have from 15 to 30 feet water on them [...] The pearls produced here are not so much esteemed in Europe as those of Ceylon, having a yellowish hue; but the natives of India prefer them. They say they always retain their original colour: whereas the white will in a few years become darker, from the heat of the weather, and that of the person wearing them").

Binding rubbed; extremities with some wear. Scattered brown spotting; contemporary ownership inscription cut from upper margin of the title. Rare; the last copy on the market appeared at an auction in 2008.

OCLC 6878156. Cf. Carter, Sea of Pearls, 341 (1st ed.).