7 - 8 April 2004
[BURTON, Richard Francis]. Correspondence Respecting the Murder of Professor E.H. Palmer, Captain Wm. Gill, R.E., and Lieutenant Harold Charrington, R.N. Presented to both Houses of Parliament. [and:] Supplementary Correspondence respecting the Murder of Professor E.H. Palmer,... London: Houses of Parliament, 1883. 2 parts 2°, (340 x 217mm). Original printed blue wrappers and stitched as issued, violet cloth box with gilt calf label.
A REMARKABLE ARCHIVE ON THE MURDER OF EDWARD H. PALMER IN THE SINAI DESERT IN 1883 AND BURTON'S ROLE IN THE INVESTIGATION, WITH A THREE-PAGE MANUSCRIPT LIST AND TRANSLATION BY BURTON. With two ms. lists by Burton containing 'Names of those implicated' (in Arabic) and their names in English and note of their role. Also with a 'Copy of translation of agreement made in Arabic between Col. Warren, R.E. and Sheikh Salami Shedid. 25th November 1882 at the Suez Hotel' in which the Sheikh agreed to take part in the search, capture the persons mentioned 'by means of our own Bedouin methods and fashion' within thirty-one days and provided the names on the accompanying lists.
[Together with:] War Office instructions to Lieut. E.M. Burton, R.E. to report to Col. Charles Warren in Egypt to assist in the search for Palmer and his party. [and:] War Office letter, Royal Engineers, to Lieut. E.M. Burton thanking him for his assistance to Col. Warren, 9 June 1883, both with their original envelopes. [and:] Copy letter to Col. Warren from Admiral Seymour congratulating him on a successful mission, 27 November 1882 [and:] Receipt from the 3rd Officer, P.O. Transport 'Nepaul' acknowledging receipt of the remains of the Palmer Expedition Party from Col. Warren [and:] Various contemporary news cuttings.
Palmer and Tyrwhitt Drake were with the Palestine Exploration Fund in Syria 1870 when Burton met them. Finding them good company and 'in the finest travelling condition' he invited them to ride to Baalbek, Palmyra and the Cedars of Lebanon. When Burton was recalled from his Damascus post it was Palmer who spoke out in his defence. Their last meeting was in the Midian in 1880 where Palmer was on a Secret Service mission and Burton's next news of him was from the Foreign Office in 1882 who wished 'to avail themselves of your knowledge of Bedouins and the Sinai to assist in the search for Professor Palmer.' The bodies of Charrington and Gill had been found and Burton was directed to 'proceed to Ghaza.' His response was: 'If there is any chance of saving dear old Palmer, I will go anywhere and do anything.' Palmer had been carrying a large sum of cash to buy support from the Bedawi to put down an Egyptian rebellion against British control of Suez. Burton's adventure was aborted by a Foreign Office telegram. Col. Warren seemed to have control of the situation and Burton was ordered back to Trieste. He felt he'd been badly used and hoped 'soon to throw up their rotten Consulate & to start life free.' (6)
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