BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA. HOLWELL, JOHN ZEPHANIAH. 1711-1798. A Genuine Narrative of the Deplorable Deaths of 123 English Gentlemen and Others.... London: A. Millar, 1758.

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Lot 288
BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA.
HOLWELL, JOHN ZEPHANIAH. 1711-1798.
A Genuine Narrative of the Deplorable Deaths of 123 English Gentlemen and Others.... London: A. Millar, 1758.

Sold for US$ 765 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

13 Jun 2019, 13:00 EDT

New York

BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA.
HOLWELL, JOHN ZEPHANIAH. 1711-1798. A Genuine Narrative of the Deplorable Deaths of 123 English Gentlemen and Others.... London: A. Millar, 1758.
8vo (180 x 110 mm). Half-title. 20th century quarter black calf and marbled boards. Shelfwear, half-title smudged and creased, small 4 mm tear to edge of both half-titled and title pages in margin.

FIRST EDITION, reprinted in 1804, 1825 and 1849. Holwell, a civilian administrator of the British East India Company, was among those held in the prison at Fort William after the fort was captured by the troops of the Nawad of Bengal. The so-called "Black Hole of Calcutta" was a jail cell approximately 14 x 18 feet, in which an unknown number of people (around 164 according to Holwell) were incarcerated overnight without adequate water or food. Approximately 143 of them died from suffocation before they were released the next morning.
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