(London: The Roxburghe Club, 1999).
AN EXCITING COLLECTION OF LETTERS NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED TOGETHER IN ONE VOLUME, PRODUCED EXCLUSIVELY FOR MEMBERS OF THE ROXBURGHE CLUB. This collection of letters spans the years between 1854 and 1864 and documents an important and dramatic chapter in the quest to solve the mystery of the Nile River. The letters also chronicle the decline in the relations between the two explorers, culminating in Speke’s tragic death the day before he and Burton were to participate in a public debate. These two explorers were the first to make a dent in mapping out the “uncharted void” of the Nile’s source, and disagreed to the bitter end in their conclusions on this matter.
Many of these letters have been directly transcribed from Burton’s East African “Letter Book,” which he used to draft all his official correspondence from Somalia, Zanzibar, and the lake regions of central Africa between 1854 and 1859, to keep notes on his travel arrangements and supplies, as well to file official communications from his sponsors, the East India Company and the Royal Geographical Society, together with originals of letters of introduction and correspondence from friends and traders. Burton was known to have kept a number of these books, but the East African one is the only one that has survived. To have all these letters published together in this format allows for a unique opportunity to read Burton’s correspondence from this period in sequence. A fine copy of this important work. Item #28268
First edition, LIMITED, dedicated and presented to the members of the Roxburghe Club by Quentin Keynes. This is one of only 80 copies of the second and scarcer issue, the first issue consisting of 400 copies. The second issue is from the same print run as the first and is only distinguished by a 2002 notation on the colophon page at the end of the work. With a tipped in photo of Burton as frontispiece, a tipped in reproduction of a letter from Speke to Burton and a folding map. 4to, publisher’s original dark green cloth, with covers and spine decorated in blind, gilt lettering on the spine and a gilt native vignette on the upper cover. xxxi, 207 pp. A pristine copy, as mint.