25 September 2008
JOHN HANNING SPEKE (1827-1864)
Autograph letter signed ('J.H. Speke') to Sir Roderick [Murchison], n.p. [London], 'Tuesday' [summer 1859], 4 pages, 8vo, bifolium (some light soiling). Provenance: Sotheby's sale, 24 July 1978, lot 187; the Spiro Family Collection.
Speke lobbies for his second Nile expedition. The letter begins by introducing Major Hay, 'a very old friend of mine -- the man who first induced me to become a geographer ... He like myself has travelled all over the Himalayas and Thibet', recommending his knowledge and collections. Meanwhile, 'Captain Rigby & the residents Zanzibar have expressed an earnest desire for my returning to their country, this making me doubly anxious, as you may imagine, to return there as early as possible whilst all those good folks are yet in their places'.
The Government grant for Speke's second expedition to the Nile was applied for in May 1859; £2500 was granted in November of the same year, and the expedition left the east African coast for the interior in September 1860; the discovery of Ripon Falls took place on 28 July 1862.
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