Isaacs (Nathaniel)

TRAVELS AND ADVENTURES IN EASTERN AFRICA

Descriptive of the Zoolus, their manners, customs with a sketch of Natal

Published: Edward Churton, London, 1836

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Two volumes, 345 + 402 pages, lithographic frontispiece in each volume, 2 lithographic plates including one of 'Chaka King of the Zoolos', folding chart of Port Natal, bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in half green morocco with green buckram cloth sides, titled gilt on the spines, top edges gilt. The spines are slightly faded but overall this is an unusually good and bright copy.

'What is known of the life story of Nathaniel Isaacs presents a strange contrast to the background of respectable, bourgeois, Anglo-Jewish families of Kent whence he issued. Natal pioneer and explorer, ivory hunter and trader, temporary subject of Chaka, and courtier at the Great Kraal, this would-be empire builder begins a fresh career at the age of 24 on the west coast of Africa. There as merchant and shipper and proprietor of a tiny island, his activities, not all creditable, are hardly less remarkable; and in the end, he retires and settles down in England two years before his death as “Nathaniel Isaacs of Kentville, Egremont, in the County of Chester, Gentleman.”’ Louis Herman.

Mendelssohn (Sydney) South African Bibliography, volume 1, page 761, Mr. Isaacs left England at the age of fourteen for St. Helena, where he arrived in October 1822. In 1825 he joined Lieutenant King, and proceeded with him to Natal in search of Farewell, but, on their arrival at the coast, they were wrecked in crossing the bar; they escaped with their lives, however, and soon came in contact with Lieutenant Farewell. The latter had established himself in Natal, having been granted a large tract of land by Chaka. Soon after the shipwreck, Mr. Hatton and some of the crew commenced to build a vessel to assist them in escaping from the country, and the ship was finally launched three years after, on March 10, 1828, and Messrs. Farewell, King, Hatton, and an embassy from Chaka, embarked on May 1st for Algoa Bay, where they arrived three days later. The chiefs were dissatisfied at their reception, owing to the attitude of Major Cloete, and finding out that the British Government intended to protect the native tribes from the Zulu king, the envoys clamoured to return, and they were sent back in H.M.S. Helicon, with some insignificant presents for the king. On the voyage, Lieutenant King fell ill, and on his arrival gradually got worse, expiring in September 1828. Chaka is described as being “about thirty-eight years of age, upwards of six feet in height, and well proportioned,” but “a savage in the truest sense of the word, though not a cannibal. Soon after the arrival of the Helicon, Chaka was assassinated by Dingan, who succeeded to the throne, and who, according to the author, was “a despot,” with “many redeeming qualities.” The volumes contain a history of the reigns of Chaka and Dingan, with valuable notes on the country, its language, population, and customs of the natives.’

  • Overall Condition: A Very Good Copy
  • Size: 8vo (195 x 125 mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA


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