MUNGO PARK (1771-1806)
Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa performed under the direction and patronage of the African Association in the years 1795, 1796, and 1797. London: W. Bulmer and Co. for the author, and sold by C. and W. Nicol, 1799. 8pp. list of subscribers, postscript leaf between p.xxviii and p.1. Engraved portrait frontispiece by T. Dickinson after H. Edridge, 5 engraved plates, two folding, three folding maps (one hand-coloured in outline), and two leaves of engraved music. (First map and second plate shaved with slight loss, second map torn at folds, occasional light spotting or browning, some offsetting from both maps and plates, lacking half-title.) [with:] M. PARK. The Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa ... Together with other documents, official and private, relating to the same mission. To which is prefixed an Account of the Life of Mr. Park. London: printed for John Murray by J. Bulmer & Co., 1815. Half-title. One loosely-inserted folding engraved map, with routes marked in colours by hand, backed onto linen and held in place by a red silk ribbon, numerous wood-engraved illustrations. two works in two volumes, 4° (268 x 208mm). Bound to match in near-uniform contemporary green marbled calf, covers with double-fillet gilt borders, the flat spines divided into six compartments by fillets and roll tools, red morocco lettering-piece in the second compartments, the others with repeat decoration in gilt, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, marbled edges (some scuffing spine of the first work rubbed, small splits to joints).
FIRST EDITIONS of both of Park's most important works: the first an original subscriber's copy of this classic of travel literature, the second published posthumously. Both concern Park's exploration, with the backing of the African Association, of the interior of Africa and the river Niger in particular. The first work ends with Park's return to England in December 1897, and is particularly valued for its abundance of incident and unaffected style. His narrative of the journey forms both a great travel book and a work which is valued 'for its scientific obervations on the botany and meteorology of the region, and on the social and domestic life of the negroes.' (PMM). The second work describes Park's attempt to follow up on the success of the earlier journey, but finishes with an eye-witness account of his death at Bussa during an attack by natives. It also includes John Whishaw's biography of Park. PMM 253 (first work). (2)