The Sultan and His People – C. Oscanyan (1857) (1st ed)


The Sultan and His People – C. Oscanyan (1857) (1st ed)


Title: The Sultan and His People

Author: C. Oscanyan

Publisher: Derby & Jackson, New York, 1857. First edition.

Condition: Hardcover, reading copy only. Spine scuffed and worn, with 1/2 inch of cloth torn off. Newspaper cutouts stuck all over endpapers and empty spaces of the book; all contemporary articles relating to Turkey and the Sultan, themselves containing interesting content. A valuable book. Binding sound, with some tanning. 456pp.

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A valuable and important work on all aspects of the Ottoman Empire, with plates and in-text illustrations, which was a bestseller in its day. The author established the first Armenian-language newspaper in Turkey, which was short-lived, and later became the private secretary to the Sultan’s son-in-law.

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Christopher Oscanyan (28 April 1818 in Constantinople, Turkey – 1 August 1895 in Brooklyn, New York) was an American-Armenian writer.

His parents, who were Armenians, christened him Hatchik, which he later changed to Christopher. He learned from private tutors the Armenian, Turkish, and modern Greek languages; to these he soon added Italian and French, and, having heard English spoken, he wished to learn it also. To this end he made the acquaintance of the American missionaries that had then lately arrived in Turkey. One of these, Harrison G. O. Dwight, took an interest in him, and after the death of Oscanyan’s mother enabled him to go to the United States to obtain a liberal education.

Returning to Constantinople in 1841, he established the first newspaper that was published there in Armenian, the Astarar Püzantian (Byzantine Advertiser). But the authorities would not tolerate the expression of liberal opinions, and he was soon compelled to abandon the undertaking. In 1843 he became the private secretary of Fethi Pasha, son-in-law of the sultan, and minister of ordnance. While he was thus engaged he was appointed special agent to purchase the trousseau of Adilé Sultana, who was about to be married to Mehmed Aali Pasha, and in this capacity he frequently visited the palace.

n New York, Oscanyan wrote and published The Sultan and His People (New York, 1857), 16,000 copies of which were sold in four months. In 1868 Oscanyan was made Turkish consul general in New York City, and he held the office until 1874. Having occasion to visit Constantinople in 1872, he was assigned by the porte as the representative of the sultan in entertaining Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman during his visit to Turkey.