Fellow of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow;
Corresponding Member of the Geographical and Statistical Society of New York;
Gold Medalist and Corresponding Member of the Royal Geographical Societies
of London and Paris F.S.A., Etc., Etc.
SIR RODERICK IMPEY MURCHISON,
President Royal Geographical Society, F.R.S., V.P.G.S.,
Corr. Inst. of France, and Member of the Academies of St. Petersburg,
Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Etc.,
is affectionately offered as a Token of Gratitude for the kind interest
he has always taken in the Author's pursuits and welfare;
and to express admiration of his eminent scientific attainments,
nowhere more strongly evidenced than by the striking hypothesis
respecting the physical conformation of the African continent,
promulgated in his Presidential Address to the Royal Geographic Society
in 1852, and verified three years afterward by the Author of these Travels.
London, Oct., 1857.
When honored with a special meeting of welcome by the Royal
Geographical Society a few days after my arrival in London in December last,
Sir Roderick Murchison, the President, invited me to give the world
a narrative of my travels; and at a similar meeting of the Directors
of the London Missionary Society I publicly stated my intention of sending
a book to the press, instead of making many of those public appearances
which were urged upon me. The preparation of this narrative* has taken
much longer time than, from my inexperience in authorship, I had anticipated.
* Several attempts having been made to impose upon the public, as mine,
spurious narratives of my travels, I beg to tender my thanks
to the editors of the `Times' and of the `Athenaeum' for aiding
to expose them, and to the booksellers of London for refusing to SUBSCRIBE
for any copies.
Greater smoothness of diction and a saving of time might have been secured
by the employment of a person accustomed to compilation;
but my journals having been kept for my own private purposes,
no one else could have made use of them, or have entered with intelligence
into the circumstances in which I was placed in Africa,
far from any European companion. Those who have never carried a book
through the press can form no idea of the amount of toil it involves.
The process has increased my respect for authors and authoresses
I can not refrain from referring, with sentiments of admiration and gratitude,
to my friend Thomas Maclear, Esq., the accomplished Astronomer Royal
at the Cape. I shall never cease to remember his instructions and help
with real gratitude. The intercourse I had the privilege to enjoy
at the Observatory enabled me to form an idea of the almost infinite
variety of acquirements necessary to form a true and great astronomer,
and I was led to the conviction that it will be long before the world
becomes overstocked with accomplished members of that profession.
Let them be always honored according to their deserts;
and long may Maclear, Herschel, Airy, and others live to make known
the wonders and glory of creation, and to aid in rendering
the pathway of the world safe to mariners, and the dark places of the earth
open to Christians!
I beg to offer my hearty thanks to my friend Sir Roderick Murchison,
and also to Dr. Norton Shaw, the secretary of the Royal Geographical Society,
for aiding my researches by every means in their power.
His faithful majesty Don Pedro V., having kindly sent out orders
to support my late companions until my return, relieved my mind of anxiety
on their account. But for this act of liberality, I should certainly
have been compelled to leave England in May last; and it has afforded me
the pleasure of traveling over, in imagination, every scene again,
and recalling the feelings which actuated me at the time.
I have much pleasure in acknowledging my deep obligations
to the hospitality and kindness of the Portuguese on many occasions.
I have not entered into the early labors, trials, and successes
of the missionaries who preceded me in the Bechuana country,
because that has been done by the much abler pen of my father-in-law,
Rev. Robert Moffat, of Kuruman, who has been an energetic and devoted
actor in the scene for upward of forty years. A slight sketch only
is given of my own attempts, and the chief part of the book
is taken up with a detail of the efforts made to open up a new field
north of the Bechuana country to the sympathies of Christendom.
The prospects there disclosed are fairer than I anticipated,
and the capabilities of the new region lead me to hope
that by the production of the raw materials of our manufactures,
African and English interests will become more closely linked
than heretofore, that both countries will be eventually benefited,
and that the cause of freedom throughout the world will in some measure
Dr. Hooker, of Kew, has had the kindness to name and classify for me,
as far as possible, some of the new botanical specimens which I brought over;
Dr. Andrew Smith (himself an African traveler) has aided me in the zoology;
and Captain Need has laid open for my use his portfolio of African sketches,
for all which acts of liberality my thanks are deservedly due,
as well as to my brother, who has rendered me willing aid as an amanuensis.
Although I can not profess to be a draughtsman, I brought home with me a few
rough diagram-sketches, from one of which the view of the Falls of the Zambesi
has been prepared by a more experienced artist.