Title: Oriental Fragments
Author: Edward Moor
Publisher: Smith, Elder & Co, 1834. First edition.
Condition: Hardcover, decorative cloth copy of a scarce book. An ex-library copy with a few library marks and stamps, but no stickers. Some fraying and wear to spine, minor staining to endpapers and fly leaves. Book has been repaired. Binding sound, text clean.
About the book:
An extremely hard-to-find first edition copy of Oriental Fragments, an 1834 work by the author of The Hindu Pantheon, the first detailed work on Hindu deities. This book is a collection of articles about many India-related topics, including the seals used in the Mughal empire, a comparison of Hinduism and the Papacy, and Sanskrit-derived European names. A short review of this book, published in 1834 in Court Magazine, states:
“The present volume contains a great deal to interest the philologist and to amuse the general reader. The chapters that trace the existence of Sanscrit names in Greece, Africa, England, Ireland, South America, New Zealand, and the Sandwich Islands, is particularly interesting.
The volume, which we recommend to the notice of our readers, is embellished with several curious plates, among which are representations of the great seal that belonged to Dowlut Rao Sindeah, and a remarkable Indian shield made of rhinoceros’ hide and elaborately ornamented.”
About Edward Moor:
MOOR, EDWARD (1771–1848), writer on Hindoo mythology, born in 1771, was appointed a cadet on the Bombay establishment of the Hon. East India Company in May 1782, and sailed for India in the September following, being then under twelve years of age. In consequence of adverse winds the fleet in which he sailed put into Madras in April 1783, and Moor was transferred to the Madras establishment. He was promoted lieutenant in September 1788, and three months later adjutant and quarter-master of the 9th battalion native infantry. Though then but seventeen, his ‘very great proficiency’ in the native tongue was noticed in the certificate of the examining committee. On the outbreak of war in 1790 Moor resigned his adjutancy, and proceeded in command of a grenadier company of the 9th battalion to join the brigade under Captain John Little, then serving with the Mahratta army at the siege of Dharwar. He was of the storming party on the assault of that stronghold on 7 Feb. 1791, and on 13 June he was shot in the shoulder while heading the leading company in an assault of the hill fort Doridroog, near Bangalore. He rejoined his corps within four months, and on 29 Dec. 1791 led the two flank companies of the 9th battalion at the battle of Gadjmoor, where the enemy, though vastly superior in numbers, were totally routed, and Moor was specially complimented on his gallantry in renewing the British attack on the right. In this engagement Moor received two wounds, and was eventually compelled to return home on sick leave. During his consequent leisure he wrote ‘A Narrative of the Operations of Captain Little’s Detachment and of the Mahratta Army commanded by Purseram Bhow during the late Confederacy in India against the Nawab Tippoo Sultan Bahadur’ (London, 1794, 4to). Moor re-embarked for Bombay in April 1796, with the brevet rank of captain, and in July 1799 he was appointed garrison storekeeper (commissary-general) at Bombay, a post which he held with credit until his departure from India in February 1805. In 1800, at the request of Governor Duncan, he made a ‘Digest of the Military Orders and Regulations of the Bombay Army,’ which was printed at the expense of the government. The latter, on 14 Sept. 1800, awarded the compiler ten thousand rupees for the original work, and two thousand more for the additions subsequently made to it. The state of his health precluding his return to India, Moor retired from the company’s service in 1806, receiving a special pension for his distinguished service in addition to his half-pay.
In 1810 Moor published his ‘Hindu Panheon’ (London, roy. 4to), a work of considerable value, which for more than fifty years remained the only book of authority in English upon its subject. A collection of pictures and engravings of Hindu deities formed the nucleus of the book. Round these the author accumulated a mass of information, partly gathered by himself, but largely derived from correspondents, and supplemented from the works of Sir William Jones and other orientalists. Though prolix and heavy in style and overweighted with classical parallels and irrelevancies, its intrinsic value carried the book through several editions. A beautiful series of illustrative plates (engraved by J. Dadley after drawings by M. Houghton) was edited by the Rev. A. P. Moore in 1861, London, 4to, and another edition with fresh plates appeared at Madras in 1864. Moor’s other works on Indian subjects were ‘Hindu Infanticide; an Account of the Measures adopted for suppressing the Practice’ (London, 1811, 4to), and ‘Oriental Fragments’ (1834), comprising descriptions of gems and inscriptions and general reflections upon Hindu mythology and religion. During his retirement at Great Bealings in Suffolk he also wrote ‘The Gentle Sponge’ (1829, 8vo), a proposal for reducing the interest on the national debt, and a collection of ‘Suffolk Words and Phrases’ (1823, 12mo), containing many elaborate articles (e.g. cantle and sibrit) of some interest, but little etymological value, besides several pamphlets. He also contributed Indian articles to Rees’s ‘Cyclopædia.’
Moor died at the house of his son-in-law in Great George Street, Westminster, on 26 Feb. 1848. He married, on 10 July 1794, Elizabeth, daughter of James Lynn of Woodbridge, surgeon. By her (she died on 13 Dec. 1835) he had issue a son, Edward J. Moor, who became rector of Great Bealings, and a daughter, Charlotte, who married William Page Wood, son of Sir Matthew Wood, bart.
Moor was elected a member of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta in 1796, a member of the Royal Society in 1806, and of the Society of Antiquaries in 1818. He was also a member of other learned societies in India, England, and France.
[Gent. Mag. 1848, i. 549, 550; East India Military Calendar, 1823, pp. 339, 349; J. Grant Duff’s History of the Mahrattas, 1873, p. 492; Allibone’s Dictionary of English Literature; Moor’s Works in British Museum Library.]
Taken from: Thomas Seccombe. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38