By Jamie Bruce Lockhart
Clapperton used to be born in Annan within the Scottish borders in 1788. Like many Scots of his new release, he observed provider at sea because the route to status 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 battle with the U.S..
After his discharge as a lieutenant in 1817, boredom and thirst for event spurred him to exploration in Africa. He participated in expeditions to map the Niger and the sizeable unexplored hinterland of the Guinea coast, and had command of the second one of those - a whole scale diplomatic undertaking to a sector of massive value to Britain's burgeoning political and advertisement imperial pursuits.
Jamie Bruce Lockhart has retraced Clapperton's footsteps and takes the reader via woodland, wilderness 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
Convicted of smuggling and given the option of imprisonment or impressment, he chose the latter and, on 8 February 1806, was duly bound over to serve in His Majesty’s navy. Two weeks later he was sent to Spithead on board a crowded naval transport. He could not accept that his actions had in any way constituted a crime; he had simply been doing his landlady a kindly favour and he considered the sentence handed down to him to be not only unwarranted but manifestly inappropriate. Once entered, naval service was for life; there were only three ways out of the Navy: death, discharge or desertion.
Clapperton’s new shipmates had recently been in action off the coasts of Spain and Majorca; all operations had been carried out without loss of life and with few men wounded, prize money had been won and morale on board was high. In May 1807, Clapperton finally got his chance to see action when the frigate participated in the capture of a Spanish brig; and a few days later she seized a number of Spanish fishing boats. The dash and clash of cutting‐out actions in company with other British ships, and the pride and satisfaction afforded by swift, well‐executed manoeuvres in the relatively calm waters of the Mediterranean littoral were exhilarating experiences for the young Scottish able seaman.
Clapperton himself had sixteen general hands directly under him. Prolonged patrols in the South China seas would provide practical experience of command and serve to put on a solid, long‐term footing the vital patronage first conferred through family endeavours and since earned in action with Thomas Briggs. Because of the distances involved and all the difficulties in obtaining supplies en route, it was standard practice to refit and reprovision for remaining at sea for months on end. The master’s mate on board was accountable for all such tasks.
A Sailor in the Sahara: The Life and Travels in Africa of Hugh Clapperton, Commander RN by Jamie Bruce Lockhart