PARK, Mungo.

Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa:

performed under the direction and patronage of the African Association, in the years 1795, 1796, and 1797. [Together with:] The Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa in the year 1805. The second edition, revised and corrected, with additions.

London: Printed by W. Bulmer and Co. for the Author; and sold by G. and W. Nicol, [Second work:] John Murray, 1799 & 1815 Stock Code: 132557
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"A classic of travel literature"

First edition of the first work, second and best edition of the posthumous Journal of a Mission (same year as the first). "Until the publication of Park's book in 1799 hardly anything was known of the interior of Africa, apart from the north-east region and coastal areas... Having sent out four expeditions to the Niger, all of which had failed, the African Association in 1795 charged Mungo Park with the task. Park, a Scot... set sail on 22 May 1795 to find and explore the Niger. Travelling eastward from the English factory at Pisania (where he learned the Mandingo language a vocabulary is printed here along the River Gambia, Park reached the Niger at Segou and followed its course for about one hundred miles to Sulla, where difficulties forced him to turn back and on being taken ill he returned to England in 1799... After the publication of his book Park withdrew to a country medical practice at Peebles. He soon got bored with the quiet life; and in 1805 he set out on another voyage to the Niger. This time he actually travelled on the river in a canoe, hoping to follow it to its mouth. But he met great hardships, lost a number of his men... and finally perished in a fight with natives. Fortunately, he had earlier sent back his journals to Gambia and they formed the basis of a second account of his voyages issued by the African Association... Park's Travels had an immediate success and was translated into most European languages. It has become a classic of travel literature, and its scientific observations on the botany and meteorology of the region, and on the social and domestic life of the negroes, have remained of lasting value. Park's career was short but he made the first great practical advance in the opening-up of Central Africa. Park did not solve the problem of the Niger: he believed it to be a tributary of the Nile or to be really identical with the Congo; but he set the further exploration of the region in the right direction" (Printing and the Mind of Man).

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2 works bound in one, quarto (274 x 212 mm). Contemporary russia sometime neatly rebacked with the original decorative gilt spine laid down, gilt French fillet border to sides with corner rosettes, gilt double fillet edge roll, gilt foliate roll to turn-ins, Gloster marbled paper edges and endpapers.


Fine stipple-engraved portrait frontispiece of Park by Dickinson after Henry Edridge, 4 engraved maps, 5 engraved plates, 2 engraved pages of music.


Bound without the half-titles and Rennell's 92-page Appendix to the first work (although the accompanying folding map is present). Binding professionally refurbished, a few old abrasions and marks to binding, one map backed with fine linen, professional repairs to folds of map of North Africa, offsetting from portrait to title, prelims with dark stain at head of gutter, old library pressmark to first title (partially erased), tear (with loss) to vol. I p. 355, some gatherings toned, scattered foxing, offsetting from plates, yet this remains a good, sound, well-margined copy.


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