By Jamie Bruce Lockhart
Clapperton was once born in Annan within the Scottish borders in 1788. Like many Scots of his iteration, he observed carrier at sea because the route to repute and riches within the British Empire. through the Napoleonic Wars he served within the Mediterranean and the East Indies, and at the nice Lakes of Canada within the struggle with the U.S..
After his discharge as a lieutenant in 1817, boredom and thirst for experience spurred him to exploration in Africa. He participated in expeditions to map the Niger and the large unexplored hinterland of the Guinea coast, and had command of the second one of those - an entire scale diplomatic project to a area of big significance to Britain's burgeoning political and advertisement imperial pursuits.
Jamie Bruce Lockhart has retraced Clapperton's footsteps and takes the reader via woodland, desolate tract and extremes of weather. during this bright and sympathetic biography the reader witnesses Clapperton's adventures, hopes, fears, misfortunes and his finally lonely fate.
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Additional info for A Sailor in the Sahara: The Life and Travels in Africa of Hugh Clapperton, Commander RN
3 One month later Renommee and Grasshopper drove a 12‐ gun Spanish brig‐of‐war, San Josef, on shore under Cape Negretta. 4 Such operations brought him his first experience of leadership in close‐quarter fighting – his physique and disposition particularly suited him for cutlass work. On 11 June 1808 Hugh Clapperton was officially discharged to HMS Venerable, newly built that very year, a Third Rate ship‐of‐the‐line and effectively twice the size of Renommee. The Clapperton family turned to old friends to help secure the patronage necessary for Hugh’s continued advancement.
When Clapperton sailed with her from Spithead, she had been assigned to patrol duty with the Channel Fleet and in May took up station at the Nore on the broad mouth of the Thames estuary. Nor was there any prospect of action to relieve the tedium of sluggish patrols in the grey‐brown chops of the English Channel, where conditions varied in winter from dank mists and drizzling rain to icy gales. He had a very good notion of his own worth and suddenly to have become a mere nonentity among a vast and anomalous company of men, virtually confined to the din and squalor of the bowels of the ship, was not at all to his taste.
The master’s mate on board was accountable for all such tasks. And in an overwhelmingly inhospitable climate, commanding men on and below deck during lengthy unbroken periods at sea was not for the faint‐hearted. Tropical fevers were rife, yellow fever amongst them, and internal disorders commonplace. The crews perforce bore those risks and other attendant miseries as stoically as they might. For two months, on constant alert for Ladrones (pirates from the eponymous islands), Briggs patrolled the coast and moved between Macao and the Canton river, to press and allocate men among naval ships and to assist the East Indiamen in their cooperation with powerful Company officials at Whampoa.
A Sailor in the Sahara: The Life and Travels in Africa of Hugh Clapperton, Commander RN by Jamie Bruce Lockhart