“WITH THE BEST WISHES OF DAVID LIVINGSTONE”: RARE PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION OF LIVINGSTONE’S MISSIONARY TRAVELS IN SOUTH AND CENTRAL AFRICA, INSCRIBED BY LIVINGSTONE A MONTH AFTER PUBLICATION
LIVINGSTONE, David. Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa; Including a Sketch of Sixteen Years’ Residence in the Interior of Africa. London: John Murray, 1857. Thick octavo, publisher’s brown cloth gilt. Housed in custom half morocco clamshell box.
First edition, early issue, of Livingstone’s first book, a scarce presentation copy inscribed by the author a month after publication a leaf tipped-in before the frontispiece, “To Wm. Howard with the best wishes of David Livingstone, London, 26th Nov. 1857.” Splendidly illustrated with 24 full-page engraved plates including folding wood-engraved frontispiece, numerous in-text woodcuts, folding elevation chart and two folding maps with Livingstone’s routes hand-colored.
The London Missionary Society ordained Livingstone in 1840 and sent him to South Africa. This extraordinary book documents his first South African expedition during which “he explored vast regions of central Africa, many of which had never been seen by white men before. He first discovered the Zambesi River at Secheke and followed it northwards, eventually reaching the west coast of Africa at Luanda, Angola, and the east coast at Quelimane, Mozambique. In 1855 he discovered the great falls of the Zambesi and named them the Victoria Falls. He explored the Zambesi, Shire and Ruyuma rivers and found the salt lake Chilwa and Lake Nyasa… During his travels Livingstone was appalled at what he saw of the terrible effects of the slave trade (mainly carried on by Arabs) on African life. He followed the principles of Wilberforce and became a protagonist in the fight to abolish slavery. The geographical results of his journeys were of supreme importance, and made it possible to fill in great stretches of the maps of Central Africa which hitherto had been blank” (PMM 341). First published in October 1857. Early issue, with folding frontispiece being an uncolored wood engraving signed by J.W. Whymper, as is plate 8. Abbey surmises, based upon the copy received by the British Museum in 1857, that this issue with uncolored wood-engraved frontispiece is first; however, it is now widely accepted that the first issue had a colored lithographic frontispiece and lithographic tinted plates. Publisher’s catalogue dated November 1, 1857. Abbey Travel 347. Cole, 124. Hosken, 126. Mendelssohn I, 908. Norman 1377. It appears Livingstone first dated his inscription the 27th before amending it to the 26th by altering the second digit. Bookplate of British archaeologist Gerald Clough Dunning laid in.
Interior generally fine, original cloth bright and beautiful with only most minor wear to spine ends. Rare and desirable inscribed by Livingstone and in such fine condition.