Skip to content

The narrative of Robert Adams,

a sailor, who was wrecked on the Western coast of Africa in the year 1810, was detained three years in slavery by the Arabs of the Great Desert, and resided several months in the city of Timbuctoo.

Stock Code 93743

London, John Murray, 1816

Original price $2,905.00 - Original price $2,905.00
Original price $2,905.00
$2,905.00 - $2,905.00
Current price $2,905.00
Robert Adams was an American seaman, the son of a New York sail maker and an Afro-American mother. His real name was Benjamin Rose. Having set sail from New York he was taken prisoner after the wreck of his ship, the Charles. He was fortunate to survive his experiences as a slave, but after three years the British consul at Mogador, Joseph Dupuis, managed (via an agent) to buy back Rose from his then owners and sent him on to the American consul-general at Tangier. Supposed to have travelled back to America from Cadiz, Rose somehow contrived to miss the boat and took ship instead with a British vessel bound for Liverpool. Discharged in Wales as being too sick to work, he managed to beg his way to London and though he was by this time using the name of Adams - perhaps because America would have regarded him as a deserter after all the efforts made to secure his release. He roamed the streets of London like other homeless destitute sailors until he was recognised by someone he had met in Cadiz and taken to the offices of the company of Merchants Trading to Africa. It was there that he related his Narrative to a Mr. Cock, after which the company paid for his passage back to America and his family. Since Adams was unable either to read or write, his narrative was taken down from interrogation.

This book was the first to describe Timbuktu as a dull squalid place, boasting none of the glories of old, and this led many to disbelieve his story - though some of those who poured scorn on the book may have had a vested interest in the notion that the legendary West African city was still a thriving metropolis. See Howgego Encyclopaedia of Exploration.

4to; [1], xi-xxi, [1], xxxiii-xxxiv, [6], 6-231, [1]pp.; with large folding map as frontispiece; later half calf gilt by Winstanley of Manchester, morocco lettering piece, a fine example.


We offer secure and express delivery on all local and international orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website.

About us

Shapero Rare Books is an internationally renowned dealer in antiquarian & rare books and works on paper.

Our Bookshop and Gallery can be found in the heart of Mayfair at 106 New Bond Street, where most of our stock is available to view and on public display.

We exhibit at major international art fairs, including TEFAF (Maastricht and New York), Frieze Masters, Art Miami and Masterpiece London, as well as antiquarian & rare book fairs including New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

Read more

Ask us a question


An exceptional experience in the heart of London’s Mayfair for not only seasoned collectors but those considering purchasing their first rare book or print.

Guaranteed Authenticity
International Delivery
Meet Our Booksellers
Free Gift Wrapping