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Book Description

2 volumes, duodecimo (186 x 112mm), pp. I: [iii]-xxiii, [1 (illustrations and errata)], 310; II: vi, 293, [1 (blank)]. Engraved portrait frontispiece by T.A. Dean after W. Bagg and wood-engraved illustrations in the text. (Some light marking and occasional light marginal damp-marking, light offsetting from portrait onto vol. I title, bound without half-titles and final advertisement l. I, O12 and final [?blank or advertisement] l. II, O4.) Late 19th-/early 20th-century French half maroon crushed morocco gilt over patterned boards, neatly rebacked with crushed red morocco spines divided into compartments, gilt leather lettering-pieces in 2, [?later] marbled endpapers, all edges with earlier marbling. (Some darkening of morocco, extremities somewhat rubbed, scuffed and bumped causing minor surface losses.) A very good set.
Dealer Notes

First edition. In the early nineteenth century British interest in West Africa – specifically Timbuktu and the river Niger – resulted in several expeditions to the region. In 1822 Hugh Clapperton (1788-1827) joined Dixon Denham and Walter Oudney in an attempt to explore the Niger with a view to commercial possibilities, and Clapperton’s success in reaching Kano and Sokoto in modern Nigeria led to a second expedition in 1825, during which he was accompanied by Richard Lander as his attendant and three other Europeans. The expedition disembarked at Badagri on the Nigerian coast and travelled inland, but only Clapperton and Lander survived the journey to Sokoto, where Sultan Belloo forbade them to proceed to the Niger; however, Clapperton, who had previously contracted dysentery, died before any further progress could be made. Lander returned to the coast, and thence to England with the expedition journals, which he edited for publication while unwell. The narrative was published as Journal of a Second Expedition into the Interior of Africa, from the Bight of Benin to Soccatoo (London, 1829), but haste and ill-health meant that the book was, in the author’s own words, ‘incomplete, and in many instances carelessly express’ (I, p. x), an opinion shared by an obituarist, who judged it ‘rough and unfinished’ (The Annual Biography and Obituary 1835 (London, 1835), p. 152).

The following year Lander prepared a new edition of the journals with the assistance of his brother John Lander, a writer and printer, which was published as Records of Captain Clapperton’s Last Expedition to Africa and provided a more personal view of the expedition, augmented with details of Lander’s own life and of his experiences on the return journey from Sokoto to Badagri. As the author states in a note dated December 1829, which is inserted after his introduction, the Government decided to fund a new expedition by Richard and John Lander to trace the route of the Niger; the Landers departed in January 1830 and during this expedition they successfully followed the river’s course to the Atlantic – a discovery ‘hailed by contemporaries as an event of cardinal importance since it opened up the whole of central Africa to commerce and ultimately to settlement’ (ODNB). On their return to Britain in 1831 the brothers (especially Richard) were feted, and Richard Lander was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s first Gold Medal.

Author LANDER, Richard Lemon.
Date 1830
Publisher London: J.B. Nichols and Son for Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley.

Price: £400.00

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