London: John Murray, 1872. Fifth edition. Hardcover. 12mo (7 x 4 3/4"). viii, , 366pp. Rebound in modern 3/4 calf over marbled paper covered boards, with gold lettering to spine. Raised bands. Engraved frontispiece, and engraved vignette to title page.
Originally published in 1855, this engaging compendium of advice ('shifts and contrivances') to travellers and explorers 'in wild parts' went through many editions. Francis Galton collected in it both his own practical experiences, gathered while travelling in South-West Africa, but also those of other travellers, continually improving it as new material became available.
From the author's Preface: "The idea of the work occurred to me when exploring South-western Africa in 1850-51. I felt acutely at that time the impossibility of obtaining sufficient information on the subjects of which it treats ; for though the natives of that country taught me a great deal, it was obvious that their acquaintance with bush lore was exceedingly partial and limited. Then remembering how the traditional maxims and methods of travelling in each country differ from those of others, and how every traveller discovers some useful contrivances for himself, it appeared to me, that I should do welcome service to all who have to rough it,-whether explorers, emigrants, missionaries or soldiers, by collecting the scattered experiences of many such persons in various circumstances, collating them, examining into their principles, and deducing from them what might fairly be called an "Art of Travel." To this end, on my return home, I searched through a vast number of geographical works, I sought information from numerous travellers of distinction, and I made a point of re-testing, in every needful case, what I had read or learned by hearsay.
It should be understood that I do not profess to give exhaustive treatises on each of the numerous subjects comprised in this volume, but only such information as is not generally known among travellers. A striking instance of the limited geographical area over which the knowledge of many useful contrivances extends, is that described as a ' Dateram,' p. 164, by which tent ropes may be secured in sand of the loosest description. Though tents are used over an enormous extent of sandy country, in all of which this simple contrivance would be of the utmost value on every stormy night, and though the art of pitching tents is studied by the troops of all civilised and partly civilised nations, yet I believe that the use of the dateram never extended beyond the limits of a comparatively small district in the south of the Sahara, until I had described it in a former Edition ; and further, my knowledge of that contrivance was wholly due to a single traveller, the late Dr. Barth."
This work is illustrated with numerous in-text engravings and charts.
Slight discoloration to fraont cover. Minor and sporadic foxing to the very first pages. Binding and interior in good+ to very good condition. g+ to vg. Item #46244