CAMERON, Verney Lovett. Across Africa. London, Daldy, Isbister & Co., 1877.
Two volumes, 8vo. Original blue cloth gilt, map of Africa in gilt to upper covers; pp. xvi, 389, [4, advertisements]; xii, 366, 8 [advertisements]; numerous wood-engravings. including 29 full-page, 4 tinted facsimile letters including 3 folding, 1 large folding map in rear pocket to volume one; very light rubbing to binding; a beautiful set; contemporary ownership inscriptions to titles.
First edition. A superb account of Cameron's journey from the east to the west coast of Africa, relating details of the customs and manners of the indigenous people encountered along the way. Cameron's route across Africa, from the mainland opposite Zanzibar to Benguela in Angola, is clearly illustrated on the large and detailed folding map. Cameron had begun his career in the Navy and served in the Red Sea in the 1860s in order to suppress the slave trade, where he learned Swahili and some Arabic. In about 1870 Cameron was appointed to the steam reserve at Sheerness, from where he began an active campaign to convince the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) to send him as part of a search expedition to find David Livingstone in central Africa. He was not chosen to participate on the expedition under L. S. Dawson that the RGS eventually sent, but the news that Henry Morton Stanley had found Livingstone caused that expedition to be abandoned even before it left Bagamoyo, on the east African coast. This proved a boon to Cameron, who, after continuing to offer his services to the RGS, was finally selected to lead a further expedition to find Livingstone - then thought to be somewhere south of Lake Bangweolo - and thereafter to give the explorer any relief required and to assist him in completing his discoveries.
In 1876 he attended, at the invitation of Leopold II, the Brussels Conference on Africa. Across Africa (1877), his tale of his African adventures, became a popular and acclaimed work.