Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical Society.
To Her Most Gracious Majesty
I dedicate, with Her permission,
Containing the Story of the Discovery of the Great Lake
From which the NILE ultimately flows,
As connected so intimately,
As a NILE SOURCE, with the VICTORIA LAKE,
I have ventured to name
"THE ALBERT N'YANZA,"
In Memory of the Late Illustrious and Lamented
In the history of the Nile there was a void: its Sources were a mystery.
The Ancients devoted much attention to this problem; but in vain. The
Emperor Nero sent an expedition under the command of two centurions, as
described by Seneca. Even Roman energy failed to break the spell that
guarded these secret fountains. The expedition sent by Mehemet Ali
Pasha, the celebrated Viceroy of Egypt, closed a long term of
The work has now been accomplished. Three English parties, and only
three, have at various periods started upon this obscure mission: each
has gained its end.
Bruce won the source of the Blue Nile; Speke and Grant won the Victoria
source of the great White Nile; and I have been permitted to succeed in
completing the Nile Sources by the discovery of the great reservoir of
the equatorial waters, the ALBERT N'YANZA, from which the river issues
as the entire White Nile.
Having thus completed the work after nearly five years passed in Africa,
there still remains a task before me. I must take the reader of this
volume by the hand, and lead him step by step along my rough path from
the beginning to the end; through scorching deserts and thirsty sands;
through swamp, and jungle, and interminable morass; through
difficulties, fatigues, and sickness, until I bring him, faint with the
wearying journey, to that high cliff where the great prize shall burst
upon his view - from which he shall look down upon the vast ALBERT LAKE,
and drink with me from the Sources of the Nile!
I have written "HE!" How can I lead the more tender sex through dangers
and fatigues, and passages of savage life? A veil shall be thrown over
many scenes of brutality that I was forced to witness, but which I will
not force upon the reader; neither will I intrude anything that is not
actually necessary in the description of scenes that unfortunately must
be passed through in the journey now before us. Should anything offend
the sensitive mind, and suggest the unfitness of the situation for a
woman's presence, I must beseech my fair readers to reflect, that the
pilgrim's wife followed him, weary and footsore, through all his
difficulties, led, not by choice, but by devotion; and that in times of
misery and sickness her tender care saved his life and prospered the
"O woman, in our hours of ease
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou!"
In the journey now before us I must request some exercise of patience
during geographical details that may be wearisome; at all events, I will
adhere to facts, and avoid theory as much as possible.