Speke, John Hanning - JOURNAL OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE SOURCE OF THE NILE
Speke, John Hanning. JOURNAL OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE SOURCE OF THE NILE. Edinburgh and London, 1864, William Blackwood and Sons, Second U.K. Edition. Xxxi, 658 pp, adverts, folding map in rear pocket, engraved frontispiece of Speke, 24 engraved plates and 50 other illustrations. Account of Speke's third and final expedition to Africa in 1860, with his fellow Indian army officer James Augustus Grant (1827-1892). Their expedition was organized by the Royal Geographic Society and supported by the British government, with the purpose of exploring the Victoria Nyanza area and to confirm Speke's earlier view that the lake was the source of the White Nile. After numerous delays and a serious illness suffered by Speke, the two men separated. Moving north between lakes Tanganyika and Victoria, Speke reached the point where the White Nile left Lake Victoria, naming it Ripon Falls-and establishing in his mind the veracity of his claim that the river began there. Ultimately, the expedition reached Gondokoro on 15 February 1863, where Sir Samuel White Baker, coincidentally on his own self-funded mission up the Nile, was able to offer needed assistance. Back in England, Speke was showered with honors and feted by the Royal Geographical Society. But doubts of his claim surfaced, voiced particularly by African explorer Richard Francis Burton, primarily because Speke had not followed the Nile from Karuma Falls to Gondokoro. (Using Speke's maps, Baker would discover what Speke had thereby missed: Lake Albert). A debate with his former friend-turned-nemesis Burton was arranged for 16 September 1864 to settle the matter; however, on that morning word arrived that Speke had died in a gun accident. Some thought it was a suicide, for he was known as an accomplished sportsman and hunter. Speke and Grant's successes are undisputed, however: they were the first Europeans to cross equatorial eastern Africa, and their explorations added much to the known geography of the area. And today Lake Victoria and its feeder streams are considered the sources of the White Nile. Uncut pages in Appendices. Professionally recased preserving original cloth, new endpapers. Red cloth, faded brown to spine and extremities, with gilt decoration of native with spear and dog on front cover, gilt lettering on spine. Handsome volume and fascinating story of exploration, scarce. Decorative Boards, VG.