Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/333

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ler, and by Burton and McQueen in their joint production, ‘The Nile Basin’ (1864). Great public interest was taken in the matter, and it was arranged that Speke should meet the most formidable of his critics, Captain Burton, and debate the subject with him at the meeting of the geographical section of the British Association at Bath on 18 Sept. 1864. Unhappily on the morning of the day fixed for the discussion Speke, who was stopping with his uncle-in-law, John Bird Fuller, at Neston Park, near Bath, accidentally shot himself fatally when partridge-shooting. He was buried on 26 Sept. in the church of Dowlish-Wake.

The importance of Speke's discoveries can hardly be overestimated. In discovering the ‘source reservoir’ of the Nile he succeeded in solving the ‘problem of all ages’ (Sir R. Murchison's Address to the Roy. Geogr. Soc. 25 May, 1863). He and Grant were the first Europeans to cross Equatorial Eastern Africa, and thereby gained for the world a knowledge of rather more than eight degrees of latitude, or about five hundred geographical miles, in a portion of Eastern Africa previously totally unknown. Though no great linguist, Speke was by nature thoroughly qualified as an explorer, possessing remarkable courage, an unflinching perseverance, and a rare aptitude for dealing with the savage rulers with whom he came into contact. While not altogether scientific in his geographical method, he was a good astronomer, and on the whole his reckonings were remarkably accurate. He possessed a curious geographical instinct, guiding him to correct conclusions on slender evidence. His knowledge of natural history and his skill as a sportsman proved of great service to him during his travels. By Baker he was described as a ‘painstaking, determined traveller who worked out his object of geographical research without the slightest jealousy of others—a splendid fellow in every way’ (Sir S. Baker: a Memoir, p. 97).

There is an engraving of Speke, by Mr. S. Hollyer, after a photograph, prefixed to the ‘Journal of the Discovery of the Source of Nile;’ and an oil painting of Speke and Grant is in the possession of Sir John Dorington; a bust, taken after death, stands in the Shirehall, Taunton; and a bust in plaster, modelled by Pieroni, is in the possession of the Royal Geographical Society. A portrait by Waterhouse, belongs to the family. A granite monument was erected by public subscription in Kensington Gardens. In 1875 an arm of the lake Victoria Nyanza was named ‘Speke Gulf’ by Mr. H. M. Stanley.

In recognition of Speke's services his family were granted an augmentation of arms with the use of supporters by royal license in 1867. Speke wrote: 1. ‘Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile,’ Edinburgh and London, 1863. 2. ‘What led to the Discovery of the Source of the Nile,’ Edinburgh and London, 1864.

[Speke's publications; Times, 19 Sept. 1864; Roy. Geogr. Soc. Proceedings, 1857–63; Hitchman's Richard Burton, ii. 37, 40; Lady Burton's Life of Sir Richard Burton; Sir Samuel Baker, by T. Douglas Murray; Beke's Sources of the Nile; Speke's original maps in the possession of the Royal Geogr. Soc.; Brown's Story of Africa (1892), ii. 50–115; Lugard's Rise of our East African Empire (1893); Sir H. H. Johnston's British Central Africa, 1897, pp. 63 seq.]

W. C.-r.

SPELMAN, CLEMENT (1598–1679), cursitor baron of the exchequer, was fourth and youngest son of Sir Henry Spelman [q. v.], by his wife Eleanor, eldest daughter and coheiress of John L'Estrange of Hunstanton. Sir John Spelman (1594–1643) [q. v.] was his eldest brother. He was born in 1598, and baptised at Sedgeford in Norfolk on 4 Oct. 1598. He was entered at Gray's Inn on 20 March 1613, and was admitted pensioner of Queens' College, Cambridge, on 16 Sept. 1616. In 1624 he was called to the bar, but appears in the first instance, after the manner of his family, to have devoted himself to antiquarian pursuits rather than to his profession. He apparently lived in London. On 24 Feb. 1635 he was one of the performers in a masque at the Middle Temple (Wood, Athenæ, vol. iii. 807 n., ed. Bliss). He was appointed on 22 Aug. 1638 member of a commission to inquire into breaches of the statute of 31 Eliz., which directed that to every cottage erected four acres of land should be attached, and at the same time he took part in another commission to inquire into breaches of the laws against usury (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Charles I, 22 Aug. 1635).

Spelman wrote a long preface, which is a kind of abstract of the ‘History and Fate of Sacrilege,’ to the edition of his father's treatise ‘De non temerandis Ecclesiis’ (Oxford, 1646); and in 1647 published anonymously a tract entitled ‘Reasons for admitting the King to a Personal Treaty in Parliament and not by Commissioners.’ The following year he wrote and published ‘A Letter to the Assembly of Divines concerning Sacrilege.’ He was also probably the author of ‘A Character of the Oliverians’ published in 1660 (Wood, Athenæ, iv. 7). The name of Clement Spelman appears in a list of sequestered delinquents on 24 April 1648, but there was another member of his family of