7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Richard Francis and Verney Lovett CAMERON. To the Gold Coast for Gold. A Personal Narrative. London: Chatto & Windus, 1883.
2 volumes, 8° (197 x 133mm). Coloured lithographic frontispiece, 2 folding maps. Original red cloth gilt, covers and spines decorated in black and gilt, (spines very lightly faded); together with
FIRST EDITION WITH AUTOGRAPHED LETTERS FROM THE AUTHOR AND ISABEL BURTON to the publishers. Both letters are from Trieste, December 1882 and request the publishers to send copies of this book to particular people. Burton asks that they be sent at his expense to Cristoforo Negri and to Guido Cora, editor of Cosmos, both of Turin. Isabel asks that they be sent as presents to The Earl of Derby, Lady Stisted and Miss Bird, reminding the publishers that her husband had an agreement with Cameron to draw a £50 advance and also asking that all the reviews of the book be sent to her. This was Burton's last real expedition, made with a kindred spirit. In 1875 Cameron had completed the first crossing of Central Africa, explored the Kong Mountains and searched for gold in the Ancobra River valley. Through their shared interest in gold they were commissioned by James Irvine of the Guinea Coast Gold Mining Co. to survey and report on his mining concessions. Although they did, indeed, find gold and Burton recommended the one way of extracting it, their report was passed over for that of a less enthusiastic engineer. What links Burton had with Cristoforo Negri are not known but in 1881-1882. Negri was involved in what would have been Italy's first Antarctic expedition, led by Giacomo Boci. Only a Prospectus was published and they reached no further than the Falkland Islands. The Burtons' association with Irvine continued long after Richard's death. Penzer p. 106-107. Casada 65. Spink 71.
Richard Francis BURTON. A.L.s. to James Irvine from Geneva, Nov. 4 , 1p 8vo, on his embossed notepaper, inquiring if he is 'still prepared for pushing forward the F[ernando] Po scheme.' Tipped-in on paste-down of Vol. I of 2-volume 'Os Lusiadas' 1880 and inscribed by the author 'To my friend James Irvine' on endpaper. Burton first met Irvine in West Africa in the 1860s and in 1881 he contacted him again and was invited to make this survey with Cameron, leaving for the Gold Coast shortly after writing this letter. Biographers in the past have noted that all the correspondence between Burton and Irvine about this business venture was through Isabel so as not to conflict with consular regulations. (4)
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