BURROW, John (1816-1873?). Autograph manuscript entitled 'A rough Sketch of a Journey through Cis-Gariepine Africa [Africa on this side of the Orange River] by a member of the Expedition of 1834-36', written mostly from recollection, in ink mostly on recto, watermark of 1836, approximately 130 pages, 4to (numbered 1- 245), including a list of the members of the party, sketches in pen and ink on 22 pages and in pencil on 10 pages, and 7 maps and plans, most on facing versos and sometimes within text, an appendix, blanks, original cloth-backed boards (a few gatherings detached); together with a collection of 14 sketches (some signed 'I.B.[John Burrow]') in ink and in pencil of subjects including the expedition and the area of Simonstown, some dated (9 August 1831 - 7 November 1833), on 14 pages, 4to (the first inscribed 'Travels in the Wilds of Africa'), and one page, 8vo.
A SPLENDIDLY READABLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD ACCOUNT BY A YOUNG SCIENTIFIC ASSISTANT ON THE EXPEDITION CONDUCTED BY SIR ANDREW SMITH INTO THE NORTHERN AREAS OF SOUTH AFRICA IN 1834-36, offering a personal view of the vicissitudes and excitements experienced by its members. Burrow's crisp and vivid sketches record their adventures and the features which particularly caught his interest, depicting members of the party (in one Burrow with his sextant ascends a mountain peak), and their wagons and guides; African weapons, tools, and clothing; warriors of different tribes; houses, huts and kraals; wild life including eland, springbok, rhinoceros, and a particularly imposing wildebeast; 'Mr [Robert] Moffat's house' at Kuruman and the mission settlement; the river boundary [of the Colony]; the travellers at the junction of the rivers forming the Limpopo; the appearance of the wagons on returning to the colony on 7 January 1836. Maps and plans show the residence of 'Moschesh, King of the Basoota', the road to 'Masulikatsi, Chief of the Matabeeles', the Matabele country and kraals.Three of the unbound sketches show the area of Simonstown a year or so earlier.
'October 22nd. Agreeably to an invitation from Moschesh we arrived at his mountain residence, apropriatly [sic] called "Tababosu" or Mountain of Darkness. "Tabu" being the Basuta for mountain. We outspanned by his order immediately under it. The Basutas were unlike any tribe we had as yet seen both in appearance and customs. They wore their hair long, ivory rings round their arm, enormous copper rings of several lbs weights round the neck. [They] greased their bodies and heads with butter and wore whole sheep skins round the middle. They hunted on horseback without saddles or skins. Indeed they are the only tribe I ever saw that hunted with horses, and it was a beautiful sight to see them galloping after the Quaggas etc with long assagais until they came alongside the one they had singled out, when they generally brough them down with 2 or 3 stabs'.
'The Matabeele kraals are larger [and] more regular and the huts better built than the other tribes. The huts are built round the kraal sometimes in a double line but so arranged that there shall be abundance of spare room round each and that everyone shall have his own fireplace ... The Matabeeles are divided into four classes, Toonahs or Captains, Married men, Machaka or soldiers unmarried, and Matutu, boys ... All the women in the country are considered as [the Chief's] wives'.
'Here [on the Marico] we shot the first Rhinoceros, a white one. We saw him first trotting through the bushes near our encampment ... The Matabeele stood at some distance, amazed to see what they had imagined to be an impenetrable beast so completely taken aback and peppered ... Of the Rhinoceros there are now by our discovery three different kinds. First, the Black. This has been for ages the only one known in Africa until Burchell saw the White ... With ourselves lies the merit of the discovery of an entirely new sort ... having two horns of equal length'.
John Burrow was only eighteen when he accompanied Sir Andrew Smith's expedition in 1834-36, as surveyor and (with, as he describes, some tuition from the Astronomer Royal, Thomas Maclear, in Cape Town) as the expedition astronomer. The son of the Revd. E.J. Burrow, the scholarly Chaplain to the Garrison at Cape Town from 1831 - 1834 who supported Smith's plans, he was later ordained at Gibraltar. On returning to England for some years before his death he was curate of Ilfracombe and then rector of Lee, in Devon. After Quentin Keynes acquired Burrow's manuscript in 1967, it was published by Percival Kirby (Travels in the Wilds of Africa, Cape Town, 1971).
Sir Andrew Smith (1797-1872), pioneer in the collection of natural history specimens for the South African museum, arrived in the Cape as a military doctor in 1820. After his Zululand expedition of 1832, he worked on a synopsis of African zoology before embarking on his ambitious scheme to explore scientifically the northern areas beyond the boundaries of the colony. His party of about 40 set out from Graaff-Reinet in August 1834, reached Philippolis, but was forced by drought to turn eastward to Basutoland, then to Kuruman and on to the Matabele king, Mzilikazi, and into the area which was to become the Transvaal. Smith's own diary was published only in 1939-40. (2)