About this time, too, he was unfortunate enough to lose all his oriental manuscripts and other collections through a fire at the warehouse where they had been stored.
Burton spent four years on the west coast of Africa, ‘the white man’s grave,’ whither his newly married wife was unable to accompany him, though she occasionally took up her residence at Madeira. His headquarters were at the Spanish island of Fernando Po, but his jurisdiction stretched for some six hundred miles along the Bights of Biafra and Benin, including the mouths of the Niger. He performed his duties as British consul with vigour and popularity. He found it easy to get on with Spanish and French officials, with traders from Liverpool, and with the indigenous negro—perhaps not so easy to get on with missionaries of all sorts, though his troubles with these have been exaggerated. His explorations extended beyond his consular jurisdiction. He was the first to climb the Cameroon mountains and point out their value as a sanatorium for Europeans. He ascended the Congo river as far as the Yellala falls. He visited the French settlement of Gaboon, then famous by the relations of Du Chaillu, but he failed in his ambition of bagging a gorilla. He also paid visits to Abeokuta and Benin, where he searched in vain for the bones of Belzoni. Twice he went to the capital of the king of Dahome, the second time on an official mission from the British government. Some account of what he did and saw may be read in half a dozen books: ‘Wanderings in West Africa’ (1863, 2 vols.), ‘Abeokuta and the Cameroons’ (also 1863, 2 vols.), ‘A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome’ (1864, 2 vols.; new edit. 1893), ‘Wit and Wisdom from West Africa: a Collection of 2,859 Proverbs, being an Attempt to make the Africans delineate themselves’ (1865), and ‘Gorilla Land, or the Cataracts of the Congo’ (1875, 2 vols.) But a good deal of what he wrote at this time appeared only in the transactions of learned societies or still remains in manuscript. In 1864 he visited England to attend the meeting of the British Association at Bath. In April 1865, when again in England, he was entertained at a public dinner in London, over which Lord Stanley (afterwards Earl Derby) presided. Later in the same year he was transferred to the consulship of Santos, the port of São Paulo in Brazil, where his wife could live with him.
Another period of four years was spent in South America. There was a vice-consul at Santos, so that Burton was free to roam. In company with his wife he visited the gold and diamond mines of inland Brazil, returning alone to the coast by an adventurous voyage of fifteen hundred miles down the river São Francisco. With a semi-official mission from the British government, he was on two occasions (1868 and 1869) a witness of the desperate struggle maintained by Lopez, dictator of Paraguay, against the allied armies of Brazil and the Argentine Republic. He crossed the Andes to see Peru and Chile, returning through the Straits of Magellan, At Lima he had heard the welcome news of his appointment to the consulship at Damascus, and he hurried home to England. This South American period was comparatively unimportant in Burton’s life, except for bringing back to him the language of Camoeus. It resulted in two books: ‘Explorations of the Highlands of the Brazil’ (1869, 2 vols.) and ‘Letters from the Battlefields of Paraguay’ (1870). Somewhat later he edited ‘The Captivity of Hans Stade among the Wild Tribes of Eastern Brazil’ for the Hakluyt Society (1874), and translated ‘Gerber’s Province of Minas Geraes’ for the Geographical Society (1875).Damascus had been the goal of Burton’s ambition since first entering the consular service, as restoring him to his beloved East and perchance leading to higher things. He was fated to stay there less than two years, and then to leave under a cloud. He arrived in October 1869, being followed three months later by his wife. At first all went well. Both of them enjoyed the free life of Syria, as if on a second wedding tour. They fixed their residence in a suburb of Damascus, which supplied a model for Lord Leighton’s oriental court at Kensington. Their summer quarters were in a village on the slope of the Anti-Libanus, about twenty-seven miles from the city. Together they roamed about the country in oriental style, visiting Palmyra and Baalbek, and making a long stay at Jerusalem. Burton’s more scientific explorations were conducted in company with Tyrwhitt Drake and Edward Henry Palmer [q. v.], in the course of which were discovered the first known Hittite antiquities. This idyllic life was suddenly cut short in August 1871 by a letter of recall. The true cause why Burton was superseded remains hidden in the archives of the foreign office. It is easy to conjecture some of the contributory reasons. He had made enemies of the Damascus Jews, who claimed to be British subjects, and had powerful supporters among their co-religionists in England. He had got into an awkward scuffle with some Greeks at Nazareth. He had failed to get