OLIPHANT, Laurence (1829-1888). Two autograph letters signed, the first to Miss Ingilby, Mount Street [London], 9 March n.y. , sending 'a small collection of autographs' including 'one from Speke the African traveller' and saying that he will not go out to China with Lord Elgin, 3½ pages, 8vo, on mourning paper, autograph envelope; the second to [John] MacGregor, Athenaeum Club, n.d. ('Monday'), reporting a conversation with Gladstone about 'the scheme', proposing arrangements for his correspondent to meet the Duke of Sutherland, and mentioning a 'school for swimming boys', 4 pages, 8vo (contemporary endorsement on 1st page); and a cut signature of J[ohn] H[anning] SPEKE, dated '26th February 1863'.
Laurence Oliphant, traveller, writer and diplomat, had travelled out to Constantinople with Speke in 1855, and met him again at Aden in 1859 when, leaving Burton there to recover from fever, he returned with Speke to England. He may have encouraged him to confront the Royal Geographical Society with his account of the discovery of Victoria Nyanza as soon as he reached London, in breach of Speke's undertaking to Burton at Aden. He introduced Speke to John Blackwood, recommending that his Journal be published in Blackwood's Magazine, and in 1864 accompanied him to Paris and introduced him to the ambassador to further Speke's bid for French support for his African colonisation scheme. John MacGregor, traveller and philanthropist, was a supporter of Lord Shaftesbury's 'Ragged Children Schools', and supported many projects for destitute children, of which the 'school for swimming boys' was presumably one. (3)