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Journal d'un Voyage a Temboctou et a Jenné, dans l'Afrique Centrale, précédé d'Observations faites chez les Maures Braknas, les Nalous et d'autres Peuples; pendant les Années 1824, 1825, 1826, 1827, 1828; avec une Carte Itineraire, et des Remarques Géographiques, par M. Jomard, Membre de l'Institut.
Paris: à l'Imprimerie Royale, 1830 - 3 text volumes in octavo (204 × 124 mm), quarto atlas volume (298 × 230 mm). Later nineteenth-century black hard-grain morocco-backed marbled boards, title gilt to spines, edges lightly sprinkled black, original wraps of the atlas volume bound in front and back. Light shelf-wear, some foxing and browning, but overall a very good set. Stipple-engraved portrait frontispiece to vol. I, large folding route map and 5 plates on 3 sheets to the atlas. First edition. Caillié (1799-1838) was a very unlikely explorer indeed. The son of a baker, left alone in the world at the age of 11 when his mother died and his father was imprisoned, he was inspired by his reading of Robinson Crusoe to become an independent traveller in Africa. His first trip out to Senegal, and his attempt to join William Gray's expedition in the footsteps of Park ended in failure. However, after a sojourn in Guadeloupe, where a reading of Park's Travels convinced that his fortune lay in Africa, and a period as a clerk for a wine merchant in Bordeaux, he returned to Senegal determined to be the first European of the modern era to reach Timbuktu. Adopting the guise of an Egyptian carried off by Bonaparte's army to France, he spent eight months with the Brakna Moors, familiarizing himself with their customs and language, and when in 1826 the Société de Géographie offered a 10,000 franc reward to the first Frenchman to reach the desert city, he converted his meagre savings into gold, silver and trade goods and set off to claim his reward. He joined a Mandingo caravan and accompanied them as far as Timé, where he had to rest suffering from fever and scurvy, then early in 1828 joining "a caravan bound for Djenne to sell kola nuts" (Howgego). Reaching there in March, he proceeded by boat, reaching Kabara, the port of Timbuktu in April. "Caillié was sorely disappointed with what he saw; a dreary, sleepy little town on the edge of the desert, having none of the excitement or commerce that its fame had suggested." Leaving after just two weeks, he joined a 1,400 camel caravan for Morocco and finally reached Tangier in August, but found "some difficulty in convincing the French consul both of his story and his nationality" and had to be smuggled on board a sloop for home. With some effort he convinced E. M. Jomard and the six-man committee of the French Geographical Society of the authenticity of his story, and was eventually awarded the 10,000 franc reward, was a made a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur and given a pension of 6,000 francs. His narrative was finally published, at public expense, in 1830, and proved to be better received in Britain than in his native land where "the French were forever to entertain doubts about the veracity of [his] travels." Two contemporary clippings from the French press arguing his case are tipped-in on the endpapers of the first volume of this set. In 1833 Caillié's pension was discontinued and he died penniless at Saint-Symphorien-du-Bois in 1838, never having returned to Africa. He probably paid the price for his honesty: he described the Timbuktu that he found, not the city of riches of the fabled past. An excellent set of this uncommon narrative, well-presented and with the superb large route map, often missing. Howgego, II, C2. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2014-10-10           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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