Broomfield was a 19th-century British adventurer who made his own way.
I left Greencock by the sailing vessel Mary Ann in June 1868 to go to the Zambesi river to explore, shoot big game, and trade ivory or anything worth trading. I took muskets, powder, caps and lead, and a few lines of calico prints and blankets with me, as well as my own private rifles, guns, and revolvers.
By turns, he made his living as an ivory hunter, prospector, specimen collector, pioneer, pearl fisher and doctor of medicine. Also, we was always ready for a righteous fight. At one point in Africa he organized and lead a group of natives against a gang of Arab slave traders. He tracked the Arabs, who were driving their captured slaves ahead of them, for sixty miles.
It was near sundown when I took a steady shot at one of the bearded chaps, and a snap shot at another. … The scap was on now. After about five minutes my position was rushed, about twenty coast men and a bearded Arab leading. I baged him and one other. Fighting became a bit mixed. I stopped one in my leg and found myself sitting on the ant heap using my two cap and ball Colt revolvers.
Broomfield’s military organization worked.
Our loss was forty-eight killed and seventy-one, including myself, wounded. The Arabs lost sixty-three killed, and seventeen slaves lost their lives: eleven women, two girls about twelve years of age, and four young children.
This book covers four of his wanderings: East Africa in 1868-1869 and again in 1872-1874, then on to Southern Asia and the Dutch East Indies in 1874-1875, and finally in New Guinea in 1875-1876.
The pace leaves us breathless. Like Sir Richard Burton and T. E. Lawrence, Broomfield had a eye (and a taste for) local culture that many thought improper at the time. We’re glad he dallied.