MAHMOUD RAÏF (fl.1793-1809). Tableau des nouveaux règlemens de l'Empire Ottoman. Istanbul: Imprimerie du Génie under the direction of Abdurrahman, Professor of Geometry and Algebra, 1798.
2° (318 x 210mm). 27 etched and engraved plates, plans and diagrams, 16 double-page, title and text with woodcut type-ornament border, woodcut head- and tailpieces, one plate and one tailpiece partially hand-coloured. (Light waterstaining affecting plates, though mainly marginal on text leaves, one plate trimmed touching border, another with small flaw on image, ink spots on E6r.) Contemporary mottled sheep, covers with double blind rule, gilt spine compartments, blue-speckled edges, patterned pastedowns printed in brown ink (extremities rubbed, covers a little waterstained). Provenance: Nikolaos K. Negri (18th-century Greek inscription on title) -- occasional early annotations on text and pastedowns, and manuscript shading on one plate.
FIRST AND ONLY EDITION, PRINTED AT THE SECOND TURKISH PRESS, OF 'A RARE AND VERY INTERESTING WORK OUTLINING THE MILITARY REFORMS AND THE REGULATIONS FOR THE NEW TROOPS ESTABLISHED BY SELIM III IN 1796-7' (Blackmer). The author, Mahmoud Raïf, was a member of the reform movement instigated in Turkey by Sultan Selim III (1761-1808), who tried to change the traditional political structures of the Ottoman Empire, and replace them with a political state that owed much to his youthful contact with Europe, and more particularly, the influence of the French Revolution. After his succession in 1789, Selim took steps to establish a new state under the nizam-jedid ('new order') regulations -- from which the present work derives -- underpinning his state with the formation of a new army and military infrastructure. Among moves towards 'Europeanisation' were the installation of printing presses at the military engineering school (where the present work - the first from the press in roman types - was printed), and the establishment of Ottoman embassies in the capitals of Europe, including London, where Mahmoud Raïf served as secretary to the Ottoman Ambassador in the mid 1790s. As outsiders feared, the very reforms which are the subject of his work, led to Selim's murder in 1808, while the author himself was 'cut to pieces' by the enraged Janissaries whose elite position had been threatened. Blackmer notes the rarity of the book, and the Blackmer copy is, in fact, the only one sold in Anglo-American auctions in more than 25 years. Atabey 752; Blackmer 1060.