James Augustus Grant bigraphy, stories - Scottish explorer

James Augustus Grant : biography

11 April 1827 - 11 February 1892

James Augustus Grant, CB, CSI, FRS, FRGS (11 April 1827 — 11 February 1892) was a Scottish explorer of eastern equatorial Africa.

Grant was born at Nairn in the Scottish Highlands, where his father was the parish minister, and educated at the grammar school and Marischal College, Aberdeen. In 1846 he joined the Indian army. He saw active service in the Sikh War (1848–49), served throughout the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and was wounded in the operations for the relief of Lucknow.

He returned to England in 1858, and in 1860 joined John Hanning Speke in the memorable expedition which solved the problem of the Nile sources. The expedition left Zanzibar in October 1860 and reached Gondokoro, where the travellers were again in touch with what they regarded civilization, in February 1863. Speke was the leader, but Grant carried out several investigations independently and made valuable botanical collections. He acted throughout in absolute loyalty to his comrade.

In 1864 he published, as supplementary to Speke's account of their journey, A Walk across Africa, in which he dealt particularly with "the ordinary life and pursuits, the habits and feelings of the natives" and the economic value of the countries traversed. In 1864 he was awarded the patron's medal of the Royal Geographical Society, and in 1866 given the Companionship of the Bath in recognition of his services in the expedition.

Grant served in the intelligence department of the Abyssinian expedition of 1868; for this he was made C.S.I. and received the Abyssinian medal. At the close of the war he retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

Grant had married in 1865, and he now settled down at Nairn, where he died in 1892. He was buried in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral.http://www2.royalsociety.org/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqDb=Persons&dsqSearch=%28Surname=%27grant%27%29&dsqPos=2

He made contributions to the journals of various learned societies, the most notable being the "Botany of the Speke and Grant Expedition" in vol. xxix. of the Transactions of the Linnaean Society.

Burton and Speke (1857–1858) and Speke and Grant (1863).]]


Grant's gazelle, one of the largest and handsomest of that family in Africa, was named in his honor.New International Encyclopedia

Grant's Illness in Africa (John Hayman MD)

In his book, "A Walk across Africa" 20, Grant gives the following description of his illness, which broke out when they reached the native kingdom of Karague, on the western side of Lake Victoria in December 1861.

(page 151): "The following account of my own ailments I give, not with a wish to parade them, but in order to convey information:- Having had fevers twice a month, in December my usual complaint assumed a new form. The right leg, from above the knee, became deformed with inflammation, and remained for a month in this unaccountable state, giving intense pain, which was relieved temporarily by a deep incision and copious discharge. For three months abscesses formed, and other incisions were made; my strength was prostrated; the knee stiff and alarmingly bent, and walking was impracticable. Many cures were attempted by the natives, who all sympathized with me in my sufferings, which they saw were scarcely endurable; but I had great faith – was all along cheerful and happy, except at the crises of this helpless state, when I felt it would have been preferable to be nearer home. The disease ran its course, and daily, to bring out the accumulated discharge, I stripped my leg like a leech. Bombay (an interpreter) had heard of a poultice made of cow-dung, salt, and mud from the lake; this was placed on hot, but merely produced the effect of a tight bandage. Baraka (another interpreter) was certain a serpent had spat upon my leg- "it could not have been a bite". Dr. M'nanagee, the sultan's brother, knew the disease perfectly; he could send me a cure for it – and a mild gentle peasant of the Wanyambo race came with his wife, a young pleasing like person, to attend me. With the soft touch of a woman he examined the limb, made cuts over the skin with a penknife, ordered all lookers-on outside the hut, when his wife produced a scroll of plantain-leaf, in which was a black paste. This was moistened from the mouth and rubbed into the bleeding cuts, making them smart; afterwards a small piece of lava was dangled against my leg and tied as a charm round the ankle. .....
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