JOURNAL OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE SOURCE OF THE NILE

JOURNAL OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE SOURCE OF THE NILE

(Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1864).

HIGHLY IMPORTANT AFRICANA BOUND IN PLEASING FULL STRAIGHT GRAIN MOROCCO OF THE TIME. THE SCARCE LANDMARK WORK OF AFRICAN EXPLORATION FROM THE FIRST EXPLORER TO DISCOVER ONE OF THE MAJOR SOURCES OF THE NILE. Speke had apparently, at the end of the Punjab campaign in 1849, developed the idea to explore Central Africa with a view to collecting hitherto unknown species of fauna. At the same time the Bombay government was organizing an expedition to Somaliland under Lieutenant Richard Burton. Speke had originally planned to travel into Africa alone--a very unwise proposal--and James Outram, the political resident at Aden, at first forbid him. Outram then suggested that Speke join Burton's expedition, which he did.
After the expedition into eastern Africa in the company of Sir Richard Burton, Speke returned to England to announce his hypothesis that the Nile issued from Lake Victoria Nyanza. However, his fellow geographers, including Burton, were skeptical of this claim. Under the sponsorship of Sir Roderick Murchison, President of the Royal Geographical Society, Speke went back to Africa and Lake Victoria Nyanza, and when he returned home he claimed that this time he had found conclusive evidence that the lake was indeed the source of the great river.
This work is his published account of that expedition. It details his day-by-day adventures in his search for the source of the Nile, including myriad accounts of travel experiences such as his enjoyment of courtly life in the native palace in Uganda, expeditions of big game hunting, and, of course, the momentous ascent to the juncture of the lake and the river. For discovering “conclusive proof” that the Nile issued from Lake Victoria Nyanza, he was awarded a gold medal from the Royal Geographical Society.
His claims, however, were still widely disputed. In 1864, Burton and James McQueen published jointly THE NILE BASIN which firmly disagreed with Speke’s conclusions. Speke and Burton planned a debate on the issue, but the day prior to the meeting Speke was killed in an untimely hunting accident. His work remains a landmark in Africana literature and an enjoyable reading adventure. Item #29740

Second issuance printed in the year following the first, with the large folding map in first state and dated 1863 as for the first issuance of the book. Illustrated with numerous black and white plates, illustrations in the text, fine engraved portraits of Speke and Grant and the large folding map that was issued with the first printing of the book. 8vo, handsomely bound at the time in honey-brown straight grain morocco, the covers gilt fillet ruled at the borders, the spine with panel designs incorporating border rules, tooling and central decorations gilt, the compartments separated by raised bands gilt stopped, dark morocco lettering label gilt, all edges marbled, marbled endleaves. xxxi, 658 pp. A very fresh, clean and bright copy internally, the binding also in good order with no repairs or restoration done, hinges firm and strong, the binding still tight and sound. Only light mellowing or age evidence. A pleasing copy of this increasingly difficult book to find in collectable condition.

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Price: $1,250.00