William Cornwallis Harris

Narrative of an Expedition into Southern Africa (True First "Bombay" Edition, 1838)

Published: The American Mission Press, Bombay, 1838

Edition: First Edition

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'Narrative of an Expedition into Southern Africa, during the years 1836, and 1837, from the Cape of Good Hope, through the Territories of the Chief Moselekatse, to the Tropic of Capricorn, with a Sketch of the recent Emigration of the Border Colonists, and a Zoological Appendix.'

Publisher's original cloth binding with remnant of label still on spine. Edges are worn. Part of spine is detached but still present. Contents clean except for prelims where there is a stain on the top corners. The last pages are also stained along the hinges as per photos. Recent bookseller's rubber stamp on recto of frontispiece plate of Moselekatse.

Former owner's name "Eric Stockenström" on top of title page. Stockenström was a South African author, hunter and gun collector. He was also a direct descendant of Sir Andries Stockenström (Cape Colony army officer and politician). Some of the guns in Stockenström's collection were referenced in F.V. Lategan's book Die Boer se Roer (The Boer's Gun) which has become one of the standard references on the subject.

xviii + 406pp. Plates correctly bound according to the binder's instruction at the bottom of page x. 

COLLATION: 2 blank leaves followed by half-title page, frontispiece, title page, dedication (v-vi), contents (vii-x), introduction (xi-xvi), post script (xvii-xviii), text of 37 chapters (1-367), appendix (369-396), Prospectus of Captain Harris's African Views (397-398), list of subscribers (399-406), followed by two terminal blank leaves.

All four plates credit W.C. Harris as the engraver. All four plates have their original tissue guards.

Three issues of the first edition are known. This copy matches the description for the first issue in the South African Bibliography Vol. II, page 506.

The second edition (known as the "First London Edition") was published in 1839 and had a different title The Wild Sports of Southern Africa. This title remained with subsequent editions.

This copy, like many others, no longer has the map which was bound in opposite page 1.

Despite the condition, this is a very rare and important work. The list of subscribers at the back contains 409 names, for a total of 430 copies only.

'The first edition of this well-known and valuable work. The author states, in his Introduction, that from his boyhood upwards he was affected with "shooting madness," in consequence of which he was considered by his "partial friends to be fitting food for shot and powder." Accordingly he was entered at the Military College, and at sixteen was already an officer in the Engineers. In the course of his military career in India the Bombay Medical Board ordered him to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope for two years, with a welcome recommendation to travel, a hint which he immediately accepted, determining to use his opportunities of contributing to the geography and natural history of the countries he intended to explore, as well as of enjoying the incomparable hunting then to be obtained in South Africa.

He arrived at the Cape when the Great Trek was the burning topic of the day, the subject of severe strictures, as well as of sympathetic approval an event without parallel in our colonial history, and he was enabled to give some reliable and interesting details with regard to the proceedings of the emigrant farmers, together with a careful and unbiased account of the motives and grievances which led to their perilous and adventurous expatriation. The author sailed from Bombay on March 16, 1836, and on board made the acquaintance of Mr William Richardson, who agreed to join in the expedition; and on their arrival in Cape Town they met Dr. Andrew Smith, from whom they received valuable information as to their journey.….There are two chapters on the "Great Trek," and in the Appendix there is a description of South Africa "Ferae Naturae." There is also an interesting map (no longer present in this copy) "exhibiting the relative positions of the emigrant farmers and the native tribes." ' - Mendelssohn Vol. I, pages 686 - 688

  • Binding Condition: Poor
  • Overall Condition: Fair to Good
  • Size: 8vo.
  • Sold By: Rare Paper
  • Contact Person: Armandt Marais
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 0741235861
  • Preferred Payment Methods: EFT, Bank Deposit. For International Customers: Paypal with 6% surcharge, International Transfer
  • Trade Associations: A. A. Approved


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