A Walk Across Africa or Domestic Scenes From My Nile Journal
A Walk Across Africa or Domestic Scenes From My Nile Journal

GRANT, James A. A Walk Across Africa or Domestic Scenes From My Nile Journal.

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'a monumental work of exploration' (czech).

GRANT, James A. A Walk Across Africa or Domestic Scenes From My Nile Journal. London, William Blackwood and Sons, 1864.

8vo. Original cream cloth, with gilt-stamped spine, title and front cover decoration of a M'Ganda warrior saluting, dark green endpapers; pp. xviii, 452, [2, Appendix B and advertisment on verso], [30, advertisments], folding map in rear pocket with the route from Zanzibar to the Mediterranean in red; covers somewhat darkened, as ususal, the large folding map a little toned and spotted, internally, apart from very few and light spots, a very good copy.
First edition, presentation copy, inscribed on half-title, together with a loosely inserted ALS by Grant. Rare account of travel across eastern equatorial Africa, by James Augustus Grant (1827-1892). Grant joined the explorer John Hanning Speke on his second journey to discover the source of the Nile in 1860. Unfortunately for Grant, he fell ill shortly after commencing the journey, which led to the explorers separating and leading quite individual escapades. Grant intended his book to work as a supplement to the journals of Speke, though it stands on its own merit, particularly due to the prolific amount of anthropological information. In his own words, it contains 'the ordinary life and pursuits, the habits and feelings of the natives'. He was presented with the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1864, one of two highest accolades the organization awards. In addition, Grant was a keen natural historian, and made several botanical observations that would eventually make their way into Botany of the Speke and Grant Expedition in vol. xxix. of the Transactions of the Linnaean Society.
'In 1852 Grant had spent some time shooting tigers with his friend and fellow Indian army officer, John Hanning Speke, who in 1859 invited his companion to join the Royal Geographical Society Nile expedition. Speke hoped to prove his contention that Lake Victoria, which he had discovered in 1858, was the source of the Nile. The two explorers and their porters now embarked on the ‘long walk’ on which Palmerston was later to remark and so provide Grant with the title of his book, A Walk across Africa (1864). It took them inland from the east African coast to Tabora and then northwards around the western shores of Lake Victoria to the kingdom of Buganda and ultimately down the Nile valley to Egypt. Grant himself had been delayed by a badly ulcerated leg in Karagwe for some months and did not reach Buganda until May 1862. There had been other delays and separations of the travellers, for they had been moving through a region much disturbed by the effects of demands from the outside world for its products—principally ivory and slaves. Arab and Swahili traders, petty or great African rulers, all vied with one another in trying to take advantage of the situation and the explorers' caravan inevitably became caught up in the intrigues and hostilities. For most of the time they were strong enough not to be completely at the mercy of those they met, but they were rarely strong enough to dominate any situation. Obtaining porters was always difficult and Grant, who was in independent command of sections of the expedition on several occasions, learned patience and tact' (ODNB).
Provenance: The inscription on the half-title reads To Lady Macguign, with the kind regards of the author - her kinsman. Augustus Grant, dated in a St. James club, May 22, 1865. The ALS is a six-line note to one Stewart Gladstone, dated 1889.
Czech p. 66.