James Bruce stands out as being more intimately involved with British politics than many of the other 18th century explorers. During his time in London, Bruce developed close relations with powerful men in the Government, and used these connections to achieve the position of Britain’s Consul-General of Algiers. However, he was eventually fired and consequently embarked on an exploration of the Nile River .
To uncover the political considerations of James Bruce during his time as an explorer, I looked at the letters that he wrote to his legal advisor, John Mackenzie.
These letters, and the commentary written about them, suggest that Bruce’s interactions with the government were motivated by a desire for self-betterment and the prospect of being given a “title” or “preferment.” 
Excerpt from a letter written on 9 May 1766:
I did myself the pleasure of writing you upon my leaving Algiers of my intention of beginning a very Long Journey which now is nearly happily finished. I told you then of my Motives which induced me to it, namely the intire Ignorance the world was in as to the Interior parts of this Country. The shame it would be to me if any other person should attempt what with all advantages I had not entered upon; above all the advice of Mr. Wood and my friends in England not to omit so favourable an opportunity of distinguishing Myself and recommending Myself to The King . . . 
Consequently, he utilized his written narrative to do just that.
Excerpts from his dedication to King George III in his Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773:
Access his entire dedication here 
However, despite the patriotic sentiments that he set down in his dedication to the King, Bruce did not seem to have internalized Britain’s international political rivalries, and in fact developed close bonds with the French.
Excerpt from a letter written on 20 May 1773:
I am alarmed at trifles and have no longer any Ambition or desire for anything but rest and Quiet. I have been carried I may say in Triumph thro France and Italy and have had more honours and distinction shewed me than Ever British Subject had .
 Duncan Cumming,“Seven Unpublished Letters of James Bruce of Kinnaird” The Geographical Journal 137, no. 1 (1971): 43.
 Ibid, 48.
 Bruce to Mackenzie, 9 May 1766 in Duncan Cumming,“Seven Unpublished Letters of James Bruce of Kinnaird” The Geographical Journal 137, no. 1 (1971): 43
 James Bruce, Dedication to Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771,1772 and 1773 (Edinburgh, G. G. J. and J. Robinson: 1790).
 Bruce to Mackenzie, 20 May 1773 in Duncan Cumming,“Seven Unpublished Letters of James Bruce of Kinnaird” The Geographical Journal 137, no. 1 (1971): 47.