JAMES GRANT LUMSDEN,
MEMBER OF COUNCIL, ETC. ETC. BOMBAY.
I have ventured, my dear Lumsden, to address you in, and inscribe to you,
these pages. Within your hospitable walls my project of African travel was
matured, in the fond hope of submitting, on return, to your friendly
criticism, the record of adventures in which you took so warm an interest.
Dis aliter visum! Still I would prove that my thoughts are with you, and
thus request you to accept with your wonted _bonhommie_ this feeble token
of a sincere good will.
Averse to writing, as well as to reading, diffuse Prolegomena, the author
finds himself compelled to relate, at some length, the circumstances which
led to the subject of these pages.
In May 1849, the late Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Malcolm, formerly
Superintendent of the Indian Navy, in conjunction with Mr. William John
Hamilton, then President of the Royal Geographical Society of Great
Britain, solicited the permission of the Court of Directors of the
Honorable East India Company to ascertain the productive resources of the
unknown Somali Country in East Africa.  The answer returned, was to the
"If a fit and proper person volunteer to travel in the Somali Country, he
goes as a private traveller, the Government giving no more protection to
him than they would to an individual totally unconnected with the service.
They will allow the officer who obtains permission to go, during his
absence on the expedition to retain all the pay and allowances he may be
enjoying when leave was granted: they will supply him with all the
instruments required, afford him a passage going and returning, and pay
the actual expenses of the journey."
The project lay dormant until March 1850, when Sir Charles Malcolm and
Captain Smyth, President of the Royal Geographical Society of Great
Britain, waited upon the chairman of the Court of Directors of the
Honorable East India Company. He informed them that if they would draw up
a statement of what was required, and specify how it could be carried into
effect, the document should be forwarded to the Governor-General of India,
with a recommendation that, should no objection arise, either from expense
or other causes, a fit person should be permitted to explore the Somali
Sir Charles Malcolm then offered the charge of the expedition to Dr.
Carter of Bombay, an officer favourably known to the Indian world by his
services on board the "Palinurus" brig whilst employed upon the maritime
survey of Eastern Arabia. Dr. Carter at once acceded to the terms proposed
by those from whom the project emanated; but his principal object being to
compare the geology and botany of the Somali Country with the results of
his Arabian travels, he volunteered to traverse only that part of Eastern
Africa which lies north of a line drawn from Berberah to Ras Hafun,--in
fact, the maritime mountains of the Somal.