Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi, and its Tributaries; and the Discovery of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa 1858-1864

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Author: Livingstone, David (1813-1873) and Charles Livingstone

Year: 1865

Publisher: John Murray

Place: London


xiv+[2]+608+[32 ads]pp folding frontispiece with 12 plates and 22 illustrations, folding map. Royal octavo (9" x 6 1/4") Issued in reddish brown cloth with gilt lettering to spine and gilt pictorial on cover. First edition.

The British government agreed to fund Livingstone's idea and he returned to Africa as head of the Second Zambesi Expedition to examine the natural resources of southeastern Africa and open up the Zambezi River. However, it turned out to be completely impassable to boats past the Cahora Bassa rapids, a series of cataracts and rapids that Livingstone had failed to explore on his earlier travels. The expedition lasted from March 1858 until the middle of 1864. Expedition members recorded that Livingstone was an inept leader incapable of managing a large-scale project. He was also said to be secretive, self-righteous, and moody, and could not tolerate criticism, all of which severely strained the expedition and which led to his physician John Kirk writing in 1862, "I can come to no other conclusion than that Dr. Livingstone is out of his mind and a most unsafe leader". Artist Thomas Baines was dismissed from the expedition on charges of theft (which he vigorously denied). The expedition became the first to reach Lake Malawi and they explored it in a four-oared gig. In 1862, they returned to the coast to await the arrival of a steam boat specially designed to sail on Lake Malawi. Mary Livingstone arrived along with the boat. She died on 27 April 1862 from malaria and Livingstone continued his explorations. Attempts to navigate the Ruvuma River failed because of the continual fouling of the paddle wheels from the bodies thrown in the river by slave traders, and Livingstone's assistants gradually died or left him. It was at this point that he uttered his most famous quotation, "I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward." He eventually returned home in 1864 after the government ordered the recall of the expedition because of its increasing costs and failure to find a navigable route to the interior. The Zambezi Expedition was castigated as a failure in many newspapers of the time, and Livingstone experienced great difficulty in raising funds to further explore Africa. Nevertheless, John Kirk, Charles Meller, and Richard Thornton, the scientists appointed to work under Livingstone, did contribute large collections of botanical, ecological, geological, and ethnographic material to scientific Institutions in the United Kingdom.


Ex-library with call number on spine, perforated library stamp on title and dedication page. Spine ends chipped, corners bumped and rubbed through, shelf wear, hinges rubbed. Over all a better than good copy.

SOLD 2018

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