HORNEMAN, or HORNEMANN, Frederick The Journal of Frederick Horneman's Travels, from Cairo to Mourzouk, the Capital of the Kingdom of Fezzan, in Africa. In the years 1797-8.

London, W. Bulmer and Co., 1802.


4to. Contemporary speckled calf, covers gilt-tooled with floral borders, rebacked, retaining original lettering-piece; pp. iv, xxvi, 188, 188* [one leaf Postscript], 189-195; 3 maps (2 large folding one with hand-coloured routes); edges of the boards a bit worn, one map with repaired tear along fold, otherwise very clean and fresh; bookplate Arthur Kelly Kelly inside front cover.

First English edition. Hornemann was selected by the African Association to explore westward in a search for the source of the Niger from Cairo, thus complementing Mungo Park's travels eastward from the river Gambia. To this end, in September 1798 he joined at Cairo a merchant caravan travelling from Mecca and by this means crossed the Libyan desert to reach Mourzouk (Murzuk), the capital of the Fezzan. No more was heard from him after January 1800 after setting out in disguise from Tripoli across the Sahara for Bornu. His published journal includes several appendices, including observations on the travels by William Young (Secretary of the African Association), James Rennell and William Marsden. The two folding maps by Rennell show Hornemann's route and a more general map of North Africa which compares the travels of Hornemann, Park, Bruce and Browne and illustrates the extent of European knowledge of the area.

Hornemann 're-discovered the oases of Siwa and Aujila, famous during Classical times and was the first white person to cross the lava desert of Harudj-el-Asued on the pilgrims' route to Timbuktu. When Heinrich Schiffer visited Hornemann's route in 1957 he realized how accurate Hornemann's observation had been. Murzuk, the large trading place on the way to Bornu and the largest slave market of the Sahara was at that time already in decline … Hornemann probably spotted Lake Chad and arrived on the river Niger, where he succumbed to murder or a fever. Johann Ludwig Burckhardt was determined to accomplish Hornemann's task as explorer, but died before the Fessan caravan set off in 1817' (translated from NDB).

Cox I.298; Ibrahim-Hilmy I.309; Gay 354; Playfai,r Bibliography of the Barbary States 126.