London: John Murray, 1826.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. 4to - over 9" - 12" tall. Two volumes in one. lxvii, 335; 269 pp, complete with 38 engraved plates (1 colored) and maps (1 folding), 6 wood-engraved vignettes in the text. Rebound in red buckram with leather spine label, date erroneously printed as 1836 at foot. Occasional minor foxing and offsetting, one closed tear to map.In hopes of tracing the course of the Niger River, Denham's expedition crossed the desert along the long-established Sahara trade route to the kingdom of Bornu (later Nigeria), a route littered with the skeletons of thousands of slaves abandoned there over the centuries. They sighted Lake Chad and reached the capital of Bornu, where they were welcomed by a spectacular array of some five thousand horsemen sent by the Muslim prophet who ruled Bornu in the king's name. Though delighted to meet them, he refused to let them continue their explorations, lest they meet some misadventure for which he would be blamed. Ultimately, the expedition returned to England having failed to find the Niger, but having opened much of north central Africa to European knowledge. Written in a lively style, and embellished with engravings of Denham's own sketches, this account became one of the classics of its genre (DNB). Denham was later appointed lieutenant-governor of the colony of Sierra Leone, where he died of the African fever in 1828.