7 - 8 April 2004
BEKE, Charles (1800-1874). Four autograph letters signed, comprising two to Sir Richard Francis Burton (one enclosing a further draft letter), n.p., 15 [and 16] January 1861; the remaining letters to 'Mr Sub-Warden', 1 June 1865, an invitation to dinner, and to Mr Tonsley, 11 September 1873, concerning some 'Pamphlets to be sent to Bradford'; altogether 14 pages, 8vo; with two pamphlets by Charles Beke, comprising Reasons for returning the gold medal of the Geographical Society of France, 1851, inscribed 'David W. Nash Esq From the Author', and 'A lecture on the sources of the Nile', 1864, inscribed 'Thomas Wright Esq F.S.A. From the Author'.
The letters to Burton ask for his comments on a draft letter, which Beke encloses. The draft is of a furious letter to an unidentified critic in Zanzibar: 'A person who could act as you have acted must be held by everyone to be beneath the notice of any honourable man ... You have addressed a virulent attack on me to a quarter in which you had hoped it would prove deeply injurious to me'; Beke defends his record, offering the medals of the English and French Geographical Societies, and 'the success of all my explorations' as evidence.
The 'virulent attack' may possibly have been provoked by the publication in the previous year of Beke's The Sources of the Nile, which pointed out that Beke's early proposals on the subject had been proved to be true by the explorations of Burton and Speke. (6)
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