Andrew Steedman


Steedman's travels spanned the 1820s through the early 1830s

Longman & Co., London, 1835

First Edition, First Printing. 2 volumes: 8vo; 23 cm.; 9 inches tall; xii, 330; v, 358 pages. Illustrated with 12 steel engravings and a folding map at the end of volume 1. Each volume has a tissue-guarded frontispiece and engraved title page.

An account of Steedman's travels during his ten years of residence in the Cape during which he explored most of the Cape Colony and Kaffraria. The work also gives an overview of many early expeditions in South Africa with sketches of native races and their history and wars, the pioneer colonists of Natal. Steedman was a keen collector and naturalist, his name being given to a species of meerkat: Cynictis Steedmanii (the frontispiece for the second volume)

Andrew Steedman came to the Cape Colony from England as an independent 1820 Settler, arriving on the last of the settler ships, the Duke of Marlborough. He subsequently settled in Cape Town and ran a general fitting-out warehouse. The business must have been successful, for it enabled him to undertake three major journeys into the interior in search of natural history specimens. Steedman's first journey took him to Port Elizabeth by sea and from there to Grahamstown, where he obtained permission from the military to travel beyond the Keiskamma River (into the Ciskei). Travelling on horseback he visited Fort Wiltshire (some 20 km south of present Alice), visited various local chiefs down to Wesleyville (some 30 km south of present King William's Town), and returned to Port Elizabeth by more or less the same route. On 18 February 1829 Steedman married Kate P. Rose in Cape Town and remained there for over a year before he set out on his second journey in September 1830. By ox-waggon he travelled to the Great Karoo via the Hex River Valley, on to Beaufort West and Graaff Reinet, and from there via the Kompasberg to Colesberg. After nearly drowning in an attempt to cross the swollen Orange River he returned to Colesberg where he attended the laying of the foundation stone of the Dutch Reformed Church. From Colesberg he proceeded to Cradock and via Glen Lynden (on the Baviaans River east of Somerset East) to Grahamstown. After spending some time there he once again visited the Ciskei, reaching Tyume mission station and re-visiting Fort Wiltshire, where he obtained much information about the local people and their customs from assistant staff-surgeon Nathaniel Morgan. From Grahamstown he returned to Cape Town overland by the established route. Steedman set out on his third journey in September of 1831 with the intention of reaching Lattakoo (now Dithakong, some 60km north-east of Kuruman), chief town of the Tlhaping, the southernmost Tswana. He sent his ox-waggon on its way and first accompanied a friend to Beaufort West on horseback. From there he travelled to the mission station at Griquatown. Illness prevented him from continuing on to Lattakoo and after recovering he returned to Cape Town in November 1831. During his travels Steedman collected over 300 animals, including some that had not yet been described, as well as ethnographic specimens. In 1833 he returned to England and arranged an exhibition of his animals in the Colosseum, Regent's Park, London. Mendelssohn 432 

The appendix includes an account of the wreck of the Grosvenor in 1782. The narrative contains much information respecting the wreck of the vessel, the expeditions in search of the survivors, the descendants of shipwrecked Europeans on the Kaffrarian Coast. There is also a steel engraving of the disaster, from a painting by Smirke. [Mendelssohn: I, 654]

The Appendices, which extend to 213 pages, also include a letter and journal by Mr. A. G. Bain, who accompanied Dr. (afterwards Sir A.) Smith's expedition into the interior as far as Philippolis, and gives an account of the journey, an interesting narrative of the wreck of the Grosvenor, and much valuable matter respecting the Kat River and other settlements in Kaffraria, and the Kafir outbreaks and wars up to this period. REF: Mendelssohn II, p431/2. & Mendelssohn: I, 654; Royal Geographical Society of London, 1835 Volume V. 322. 

Frontispiece in Volume 1

Title-Page in Volume 1

Frontispiece in Volume 2

Title-Page in Volume 2

My 2-volume set is for sale at $375.           Contact Me if you are interested.