‘the spoiled child has waxed fat and kicked…against the foreign pricks’

Abeokuta and the Camaroons Mountains. An exploration …

London, Tinsley Brothers, 1863.

2 vols, 8vo, pp. xvi, 333, [3 (ads)], frontispiece with mounted photographic portrait of author (after a painting) with facsimile signature below, 1 plate; v, 306, [2 (ads)], frontispiece, 2 plates, 1 folding map; staining to fore-edge of vol. 1 frontispiece, and chips to fore-edges of first quire, occasional light marks; overall good in original pebbled green cloth, spines lettered in gilt; vol. 1 rebacked with spine laid down, some wear to extremities, endpapers renewed; ‘Church Missionary Society Library’ stamps to titles with cancelled stamps, library shelfmarks in white ink to spines.


US $506€472

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First edition, in two volumes, recounting Burton’s travels to the city of Abeokuta (south-west Nigeria), as well as his subsequent voyage to Mount Cameroon volcano. Burton left Lagos for Abeokuta, the capital of the Egba Yoruba tribe, in October 1861, arriving on the first of November. Although he spent only one week in Abeokuta, the first volume of this work is dedicated to his stay there, and describes Burton’s presentation at the court as well as the religious, social, and cultural customs of the Egba people. Of particular interest to Burton is the future of British relations with the Yoruba lands, given Britain’s acquisition of Lagos, some 60 miles south of Abeokuta, in the 1861 Lagos Treaty of Cession. ‘We have aroused’, writes Burton in his preface, ‘the ever wakeful suspicions of the barbarian, and he has not been slow in entering upon energetic measures’. As a result, Burton’s account is filled with his own suggestions (‘simple measures’) which, he believes, ‘will secure our influence upon the sea-board of Yoruba’ (pp. vii-viii).

The second volume is primarily dedicated to Burton’s expedition to the ‘Camaroons Mountains’, a series of volcanoes in the southwest of what is now Cameroon, in the winter of 1861-2. A number of appendixes provide additional historical, ethnographic, biological, and meteorological information relating to both the area itself and to the history of European exploration in the region. A detailed folding map indicates the route Burton took on his way to the summit of Mount Cameroon.

Hosken, p. 34; Penzer, pp. 70-71.

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