Published by MacMillan, London in 1876 a new single volume edition. Octavo, 499 pages, plus publishers catalogue. With a general map of the Country and Nile Basin, numerous illustrations some full page. Original green cloth covered binding with embossed design in black to front, gilt titles and design to spine. A few knocks but looking pretty good. Internally patches of foxing, some pages a little loose, original chocolate end paper, still a good copy.
Samuel Baker was another one of those remarkable Victorian era individuals. This account represents one of the most important written on the Nile River. Speke and Grant had already proclaimed the Southern shore of Lake Victoria as the source of the White Nile. Baker accompanied by his second wife had commenced his own expedition whilst Speke was still active in the area. They met, and Speke gave Baker a rough map designed from reports by natives showing a possible large lake to the east. Baker explored in that direction and after finding and naming the magnificent Murchison Falls came across the western bank of a new massive lake which he named Lake Albert. He discovered that Lake Victoria emptied into Lake Albert before progressing north as the White Nile. Consequently, other inflows into Lake Albert were in themselves “sources” of the Nile. After a long period in the interior Baxter made his way north and eventually reached Khartoum in May 1865. On return to England this book was published in a two volume form with extra map etc. His writing style is well regarded as being very readable and his adventures reflect quite extraordinary circumstances and a quite extraordinary individual.
Baker’s earlier years are worth understanding. He was brought up in a relatively wealthy family, including private tuition and finishing in Germany. His first job was a civil engineer in Eastern Europe working on rail and bridges. He married young and his bride went to the Seychelles to manage the family plantation. After a couple of years, they went to Ceylon and started what was to be a successful mountain retreat. His wife had seven children and died at 32 from typhoid. By this time Baker had become a renowned hunter and already published books on the subject. On return to the England he organised a hunt in eastern Europe for the Maharajah Duleep Singh. Out of interest he took the Maharajah to the Vidin slave market. There, he fell in love with a girl destined for the harem and bought here freedom. They were to marry (but much later on return form Africa) and she went by the name Florence Baker. She accompanied Baker everywhere and she features throughout these volumes on the source of the Nile. Baker was given the Gold Medal of the RGS for his achievements and similar honours overseas. He was knighted, although Victoria refused to meet him due to the circumstances of his marriage and possibly because of an age discrepancy as Florence may have been rather young when they got together. Baker went on to big things politically becoming the first Englishman to sit in high office in Egypt.
The single volume edition of an important African journey.