RELIC OF LIVINGSTONE'S ZAMBESI EXPEDITION
FIRST EDITION, bound without half title, lxviii + 908 pp. wood-engraved frontispiece, numerous wood-engraved illustrations, numerous markings in ink and pencil, occasional notes in ink or pencil, occasional light soiling or staining, pp.803/804 with a small burn-hole with loss of a few characters, 8vo. 8 ½ x 5 1/4in; 216 x 133mm. contemporary calf by Henderson & Bisset of Edinburgh, for publishers/retailers Edmonston & Douglas, covers with blind triple fillet border, the spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second compartment, marbled endpapers, aeg, expertly rebacked using the original spine, preserved in a solander envelope box,
The work is inscribed by David Livingstone (1813-1873) with his signature on the title and again on the front free endpaper. It is also inscribed by Dr. John Kirk (1832-1923) on the title "Dr.John Kirk M.D. / British Hospital / Dardanelles/ 1856" and on the front free endpaper "Dr.Kirk / Zambesi Expedition 1858". There are also his notes in pencil on p.169, 288, 665 includes 'not on the Zambezi', & 673, and in ink from his time in the Crimea on p.309, 411 (including Arabic), 440, & 581. Dr. John KIRK (1832-1923) worked as an Assistant Physician in the Crimea in 1855 and 1856. On his return to England studied botany under the guidance of Sir William Hooker at Kew. Hooker then recommended him to Livingstone as Botanist to the Zambezi expedition in 1857. From 1858 to 1864, John Kirk, worked with Dr David Livingstone on the Second Zambezi Expedition during which he discovered the Victoria Falls. In September 1859 he accompanied Livingstone up the Shire River to Lake Malawi, which they explored by boat. Livingstone's determination to get the boats through every shallow forced Kirk (who in February had declared him 'always very good company') to conclude that "Dr L. is out of his mind … he is a most unsafe leader" (Zambesi Journal … of John Kirk, 567, 475, 482). Livingstone himself was aware that such frantic activity was a means to keep grief at bay.
Mary Livingstone had died on 27 April 1862 from malaria, and with the many other set backs and disasters, Livingstone and his team were close to breakdown. Kirk is now best known for his photographs, but his original intention seems to have been to employ photographs as aides in his work as the expedition botanist. The photographs appear to have been produced outside his official duties. Many were for Kirk's own use, "I have a lot of photographs (negatives) in my trunks which are my own things entirely. They illustrate the botany only and would be of use with the Herbarium." Letter to Alexander Kirk, 2nd May, 1860) or sent to his family and other friends and colleagues at home. The expedition as a whole was castigated as a failure in many British newspapers of the time, and Livingstone experienced great difficulty in raising further funds to explore Africa. Nevertheless, the scientists appointed to work under Livingstone, John Kirk, Charles Meller, and Richard Thornton did contribute large collections of botanic, ecological, geological and ethnographic material to scientific institutions in the London. Along with Baines's oils and field sketches, Kirk's photographs remain the only substantial visual records of the expedition.
Stock ref: 14687