Through the Dark Continent - or - The Sources of the Nile Around the Great Lakes of Equatorial Africa and Down the Livingstone River to the Atlantic Ocean - Henry M. Stanley 1879 - Harper &, New York - Second American Printing [First Edition 1878] Two volumes in particularly bright and sharp pictorial boards. Illustrated throughout, with 150 full-page and in-text wood engravings. Two large folding maps in pockets at rear of each volume Eastern Half of Equatorial Africa and Western Half of Equatorial Africa; together with folding maps of Stanley and Livingstone falls, double page map of Lakuga Creek, and five full page maps, all highlighted in colour.

‘In August 1874, Stanley left London for Zanzibar. There he engaged over 300 porters, who were each to carry 60 pounds of goods, arms, and supplies, making it the largest African expedition ever seen.... ‘

By July 1875 he had lost 181 men but gained further support and his ‘armada’ was now 685 men and women strong. In Zanzibar on November 1877 at the end of Stanley’s legendary exploration of the great lakes of Equatorial Africa there were 114 survivors. Stanley returned to England and published ‘
Through the Dark Continent’, ‘finally dispelling Livingstone's notion that the Lualaba was the source of the Nile and vindicated Speke's claim that the lake seen on his expedition with Burton was indeed one of the sources’. – R. J. Howgego, Continental Exploration.
  ‘... On 12 November the expedition left Zanzibar for the mainland, Stanley being accompanied by three young British volunteers, Francis and Edward Pocock, the sons of a Kentish sailor, and Frederick Barker, a clerk at the Langham Hotel in London (all three of his companions were to die in Africa). At this stage his hopes were concentrated on east Africa, as he aimed to settle conclusively the long-running controversies over its lakes and rivers. Travelling towards Lake Victoria, he soon became involved in violent encounters with local inhabitants which, together with the effects of disease, soon diminished the size of his party.

The difficulties of this amazing march were prodigious. Stanley triumphed over them by the exercise of that indomitable resolution, invincible patience, and sagacious judgement which entitle him to a place in the very front rank of the world’s greatest explorers. This journey of 1874-77 left an enduring impress upon history: for out of it grew the Congo State and the Anglo-Egyptian dominion on the Upper Nile. Incidentally Stanley solved a geographical problem of the first importance, and revealed the estuary of the Congo as the entrance to one of the mightiest rivers of the earth’. [DNB]

Provenance: Sacred Heart School of Education, Massachusetts, with remnants of their bookplates.

References: Howgego,
Continental Exploration, S59.

Two thick octavo volumes (book size 23 x 16 cm) pp. [4] xiv 522 [4]; [4] ix [1] 566, 2 (publisher’s advertisements) [2]. In publisher’s green cloth, spines and front boards lettered in gilt, wrap around illustrations in black red brown and gilt to boards and spine, brown coated endpapers, green cloth folders to rear for maps.
  Condition: Near fine, remnants of bookplates, cloth fine sand bright, light rubbing to corners and spine ends.right and clean pictorial boards. Map folds toned, and with some wear.   Ref: 111889   Price: HK$ 6,000