by A F.R.G.S. [Richard Francis Burton]
First edition of 1863 in two volumes.
Tinsley Brothers: London.
A no less authority than Baron von Humboldt has declared, in his "Personal Narrative,"* that, "from every traveller beginning the account of his adventures by a description of Madeira and Tenerife, there remains now scarce anything untold respecting their topography." And after this dictum the great philosopher proceeds to evidence in proprid persond, the fact that no account can be so correct but that it may be made exacter still
I was induced to put my notes into the form of pages by the consideration that however well trodden be the path of which they treat, there is no single volume that can be taken with him by the outward- bound. Each separate station of the "African Steam Ship Company" has a small literature of its own : the line however lacks the idea of a handbook. And as for correctness the " West African Pilot" himself requires revision.
In writing these pages, then, it has been my object to lay down what a tolerably active voyager can see and do during the few hours allowed to him by the halts of the mail packet.
To relieve the dryness of details I have not hesitated to indulge in such reflections as the subject suggested, and to sketch the types, not the individualities, of fellow-travellers.
The reader will observe that I left England with a determination to investigate the subject of West African mortality. My conviction now is, that the land might be rendered not more unhealthy than the East or the West Indies, whereas it is at present deadly, a Golgotha, a Jehannum. The causes of its fearful mortality—principally the bad positions of the settlements—will be found duly indicated. In taking leave of the gentle or ungentle reader, I may be allowed to remark, that amidst an abundance of greater there is doubtless a crowd of minor blemishes, which those charitably disposed will attribute to the effects of a " single revise."
WEST AFRICA, December, 1862.
* Bohn's ed., Vol. I., p. 48.