Henry Morton Stanley
|Henry Morton Stanley|
Stanley in 1872
28 January 1841
Denbigh, Wales, UK
|Died||10 May 1904
London, England, UK
|Awards||Vega Medal (1883)|
Henry Morton Stanley GCB (born John Rowlands; 28 January 1841 – 10 May 1904) was a Welsh-American journalist and explorer who was famous for his exploration of central Africa and his search for missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley reportedly asked, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Stanley is also known for his search for the source of the Nile, his work in and development of the Congo Basin region in association with King Leopold II of the Belgians, and commanding the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition. He was knighted in 1899.
- 1 Early life
- 2 New country, new name
- 3 Journalist
- 4 Finding David Livingstone
- 5 Mapping the central African Lakes and navigating the Congo River
- 6 Claiming the Congo for the Belgian king
- 7 Emin Pasha Relief Expedition
- 8 Later years
- 9 Charges of racism and cruelty
- 10 Modern media
- 11 Posthumous honours
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Henry Stanley was born in 1841 as John Rowlands in Denbigh, Denbighshire, Wales. His mother Elizabeth Parry was 18 years old at the time of his birth. She abandoned him as a very young baby and cut off all communication. Stanley never knew his father, who died within a few weeks of his birth. There is some doubt as to his true parentage. As his parents were unmarried, his birth certificate describes him as a bastard, and the stigma of illegitimacy weighed heavily upon him all his life.:17–19, 356
The boy John was given his father's surname of Rowlands and brought up by his maternal grandfather Moses Parry, a once-prosperous butcher who was living in reduced circumstances. He cared for the boy until he died, when John was five. Rowlands stayed with families of cousins and nieces for a short time, but he was eventually sent to the St. Asaph Union Workhouse for the Poor. The overcrowding and lack of supervision resulted in his being frequently abused by older boys. Historian Robert Aldrich has alleged that the headmaster of the workhouse raped or sexually assaulted Rowlands. When Rowlands was ten, his mother and two half-siblings stayed for a short while in this workhouse, but he did not recognize them until the headmaster told him who they were.
New country, new name
Rowlands emigrated to the United States in 1859 at age 18. He disembarked at New Orleans and, according to his own declarations, became friends by accident with Henry Hope Stanley, a wealthy trader. He saw Stanley sitting on a chair outside his store and asked him if he had any job openings. He did so in the British style: "Do you need a boy, sir?" The childless man had indeed been wishing he had a son, and the inquiry led to a job and a close relationship between them. Out of admiration, John took Stanley's name. Later, he wrote that his adoptive parent died two years after their meeting, but in fact the elder Stanley did not die until 1878. This and other discrepancies led John Bierman to argue that no adoption took place. Tim Jeal goes further, and, in Chapter Two of his biography, subjects Stanley's account in his posthumously published Autobiography to detailed analysis. Because Stanley got so many basic facts wrong about his 'adoptive' family, Jeal concludes that it is very unlikely that he ever met rich Henry Hope Stanley, and that an ordinary grocer, James Speake, was Rowlands' true benefactor until his (Speake's) sudden death in October 1859.
Stanley reluctantly joined:50 in the American Civil War, first enrolling in the Confederate States Army's 6th Arkansas Infantry Regiment and fighting in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. After being taken prisoner at Shiloh, he was recruited at Camp Douglas, Illinois, by its commander Colonel James A. Mulligan as a "Galvanized Yankee." He joined the Union Army on 4 June 1862 but was discharged 18 days later because of severe illness.:61 After recovering, he served on several merchant ships before joining the US Navy in July 1864. He became a record keeper on board the USS Minnesota, which led him into freelance journalism. Stanley and a junior colleague jumped ship on 10 February 1865 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in search of greater adventures.:63–65 Stanley was possibly the only man to serve in the Confederate Army, the Union Army, and the Union Navy.
Following the Civil War, Stanley became a journalist in the days of frontier expansion in the American West. He then organised an expedition to the Ottoman Empire that ended catastrophically when he was imprisoned. He eventually talked his way out of jail and received restitution for damaged expedition equipment.:71–73 In 1867 Stanley offered his services to James Gordon Bennett Jr. of the New York Herald as a special correspondent with the British expeditionary force sent against Tewodros II of Ethiopia, and Stanley was the first to report the fall of Magdala in 1868. An assignment to report on the Spanish Civil War followed.
Finding David Livingstone
In 1869 Stanley received instructions to undertake a roving commission in the Middle East, which was to include the relief of Dr. David Livingstone, of whom little had been heard since his departure for Africa in 1866 to search for the source of the Nile.
Stanley travelled to Zanzibar in March 1871, later claiming that he outfitted an expedition with 192 porters.:68 In his first dispatch to the New York Herald, however, he stated that his expedition numbered only 111. This was in line with figures in his diaries.:13 Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald and funder of the expedition, had delayed sending to Stanley the money he had promised, so Stanley borrowed money from the United States Consul.:93–94
During the 700-mile (1,100 km) expedition through the tropical forest, his thoroughbred stallion died within a few days after a bite from a tsetse fly, many of his porters deserted, and the rest were decimated by tropical diseases.
Stanley found Livingstone on 10 November 1871 in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania. He may have greeted him with the now-famous line, "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?" It may also have been a fabrication, as Stanley tore out of his diary the pages relating to the encounter. Neither man mentioned it in any of the letters they wrote at this time. Livingstone's account of the encounter does not mention these words. The phrase is first quoted in a summary of Stanley's letters published by The New York Times on 2 July 1872. Stanley biographer Tim Jeal argued that the explorer invented it afterwards to help raise his standing because of "insecurity about his background".:117
The Herald's own first account of the meeting, published 1 July 1872, reports:
Preserving a calmness of exterior before the Arabs which was hard to simulate as he reached the group, Mr. Stanley said: – "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?" A smile lit up the features of the pale white man as he answered: "Yes, and I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you."
Stanley joined Livingstone in exploring the region, finding that there was no connection between Lake Tanganyika and the Nile. On his return, he wrote a book about his experiences: How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa.
In 1874, the New York Herald and Britain's Daily Telegraph financed Stanley on another expedition to Africa. His objective was nothing less than to complete the exploration and mapping of the central African lakes and rivers, in the process circumnavigating Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika and locating the source of the Nile. Between 1875 and 1876 Stanley succeeded in the first part of his objective, establishing that Lake Victoria had only a single outlet – the one located by John Hanning Speke on 21 July 1862. If this was not the Nile's source, then the massive northward flowing river called by Livingstone, the Lualaba, and mapped by him in its upper reaches, might flow on north to connect with the Nile via Lake Albert and thus be the primary source.
It was therefore essential that Stanley should trace the course of the Lualaba downstream (northward) from Nyangwe, the point where Livingstone had left it in July 1871. Between November 1876 and August 1877, Stanley and his men navigated the Lualaba up to and beyond the point where it turned sharply westward, away from the Nile, identifying itself as the Congo River. Having succeeded with this second objective, they then traced the river to the sea. During this expedition, Stanley used sectional boats and dug-out canoes to pass the large cataracts that separated the Congo into distinct tracts. These boats were transported around the rapids before being rebuilt to travel on the next section of river. In passing the rapids many of his men were drowned, including his last white colleague, Frank Pocock. Stanley and his men reached the Portuguese outpost of Boma, around 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the mouth of the Congo River on the Atlantic Ocean, after 999 days on 9 August 1877. Muster lists and Stanley's diary (12 November 1874) show that he started with 228 people:163, 511 note 21 and reached Boma with 114 survivors, with he being the only European left alive out of four. In Stanley's Through the Dark Continent (1878) (in which he coined the term "Dark Continent" for Africa), Stanley said that his expedition had numbered 356,:65 the exaggeration detracting from his achievement.
Stanley attributed his success to his leading African porters, saying that his success was "all due to the pluck and intrinsic goodness of 20 men ... take the 20 out and I could not have proceeded beyond a few days' journey". Professor James Newman has written that "establishing the connection between the Lualaba and Congo Rivers and locating the source of the Victoria Nile" justified him (Newman) in stating that: "In terms of exploration and discovery as defined in nineteenth-century Europe, he (Stanley) clearly stands at the top." 
Claiming the Congo for the Belgian king
This is the NEDM Vandal speaking. I have returned for this very special day.
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Emin Pasha Relief Expedition
Main article: Emin Pasha Relief Expedition
In 1886, Stanley led the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition to "rescue" Emin Pasha, the governor of Equatoria in the southern Sudan. King Leopold II demanded that Stanley take the longer route via the Congo River, hoping to acquire more territory and perhaps even Equatoria  After immense hardships and great loss of life, Stanley met Emin in 1888, charted the Ruwenzori Range and Lake Edward, and emerged from the interior with Emin and his surviving followers at the end of 1890. But this expedition tarnished Stanley's name because of the conduct of the other Europeans — British gentlemen and army officers. Army Major Edmund Musgrave Barttelot was shot by a carrier after behaving with extreme cruelty. James Sligo Jameson, heir to Irish whiskey manufacturer Jameson's, bought an 11-year-old girl and offered her to cannibals to document and sketch how she was cooked and eaten. Stanley found out only when Jameson had died of fever.
The spread of sleeping sickness across areas of central and eastern Africa that were previously free of the disease has been attributed to this expedition. But this hypothesis has been disputed. Sleeping sickness had been endemic in these regions for generations and then flared into epidemics as colonial trade increased trade throughout Africa during the ensuing decades.
In a number of publications made after the expedition, Stanley asserts that the purpose of the effort was singular; to offer relief to Emin Pasha. For example, he writes the following while explaining the final route decision.
"The advantages of the Congo route were about five hundred miles shorter land journey, and less opportunities for deserting. It also quieted the fears of the French and Germans that, behind this professedly humanitarian quest, we might have annexation projects."
However, Stanley's other writings point to a secondary goal which was precisely territorial annexation. He writes in his book on the expedition, about his meeting with the Sultan of Zanzibar, when he arrived there at the start of the expedition, and a certain matter that was discussed at that meeting. At first, he is not explicit on the agenda but it is clear enough.
"We then entered heartily into our business; how absolutely necessary it was that he should promptly enter into an agreement with the English within the limits assigned by Anglo-German treaty. It would take too long to describe the details of the conversation, but I obtained from him the answer needed."
A few pages further in the same book, Stanley explains what the matter was about and this time, he makes it clear that indeed, it had to do with annexation.
"I have settled several little commissions at Zanzibar satisfactorily. One was to get the Sultan to sign the concessions which Mackinnon tried to obtain a long time ago. As the Germans have magnificent territory east of Zanzibar, it was but fair that England should have some portion for the protection she has accorded to Zanzibar since 1841 .... The concession that we wished to obtain embraced a portion of East African coast, of which Mombasa and Melindi were the principal towns. For eight years, to my knowledge, the matter had been placed before His Highness, but the Sultan's signature was difficult to obtain."
The records at the National Archives at Kew, London, offer an even deeper insight and show that annexation was a purpose he had been aware of for the expedition. This is because there are a number of treaties curated there (and gathered by Stanley himself from what is present day Uganda during the Emin Pasha Expedition), ostensibly gaining British protection for a number of African chiefs. Amongst these were a number that have long been identified as possible frauds. A good example is treaty number 56, supposedly agreed upon between Stanley and the people of “Mazamboni, Katto, and Kalenge”. These people had signed over to Stanley, “the Sovereign Right and Right of Government over our country for ever in consideration of value received and for the protection he has accorded us and our Neighbours against KabbaRega and his Warasura.”
On his return to Europe, Stanley married Welsh artist Dorothy Tennant. They adopted a child named Denzil who donated around 300 items to the Stanley archives at the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium in 1954. He died in 1959.
Stanley entered Parliament as a Liberal Unionist member for Lambeth North, serving from 1895 to 1900. He became Sir Henry Morton Stanley when he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1899 Birthday Honours, in recognition of his service to the British Empire in Africa.
He died in London on 10 May 1904. At his funeral, he was eulogised by Daniel P. Virmar. His grave is in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels' Church in Pirbright, Surrey, marked by a large piece of granite inscribed with the words "Henry Morton Stanley, Bula Matari, 1841–1904, Africa". Bula Matari translates as "Breaker of Rocks" or "Breakstones" in Kongo and was Stanley's name among locals in Congo. It can be translated as a term of endearment for, as the leader of Leopold's expedition, he commonly worked with the labourers breaking rocks with which they built the first modern road along the Congo River. Author Adam Hochschild suggested that Stanley understood it as a heroic epithet,:68 but there is evidence that Nsakala, the man who originally coined it, had meant it humorously.
Charges of racism and cruelty
Stanley has been accused of indiscriminate cruelty against Africans. Some of the modern accusations can be explained away as journalistic exaggerations, although some of his contemporaries also brought the same charges, including men who served under him or had first hand information.
Stanley acknowledged that "[m]any people have called me hard, but they are always those whose presence a field of work could best dispense with, and whose nobility is too nice to be stained with toil.":12
About women, Stanley wrote that they were "toys to while slow time" and "trifling human beings".:69 He had been speaking of society women. When he met the American journalist and traveller May Sheldon, he was attracted because she was a modern woman who insisted on serious conversation and not social chit-chat. 'She soon lets you know that chaff won't do,' he wrote. The authors of the book The Congo: Plunder and Resistance argued that Stanley had "a pathological fear of women, an inability to work with talented co-workers, and an obsequious love of the aristocratic rich",:18 Stanley's intimate correspondence in the Royal Museum of Central Africa, however, between him and his two fiancées, Katie Gough Roberts and Alice Pike, and between him and the American journalist May Sheldon, and between him and his wife, Dorothy Tennant, shows that he enjoyed close relationships with these women,:74–5, 78–89, 157–9, 267–69, 300–12, 388–90, 392–95, 404:26, 30–31, 96–7, 216–17, 306 although both Roberts and Pike ultimately rejected him when he refused to abandon his protracted travels.:69  When Stanley married Dorothy, he invited his friend Arthur Mounteney Jephson to visit while they were on their honeymoon. Dr Thomas Parke also came because Stanley was seriously ill at the time. Stanley's good relations with these two colleagues from the Emin Pasha Expedition shows that he could get on with colleagues.:70  If Stanley was a lover of the aristocratic rich, it is strange that his closest male friends were a journalist and a former warehouseman, and that his lecture agent stated that his client disliked grand social occasions and preferred being with old friends.:82:341–2
Having survived for ten years of his childhood in the workhouse at St Asaph, Stanley needed as a young man to be thought of as harder and more formidable than other explorers. This made him exaggerate punishments and hostile encounters. It was a serious error of judgement for which his reputation continues to pay a heavy price.:113, 201–202
Professor Norman R. Bennett of Boston University, who edited the 1970 book Stanley's Dispatches to the New York Herald, said the following in his introduction to the book: "Stanley remains one of the most controversial of the major European explorers of Africa. His often turbulent career and the internal stresses of his personality help to explain this fact. Nonetheless, there is no apparent reason why, more than three-quarters of a century after his last venture, Stanley should continue to be singled out for his supposed excesses in Africa, while other European explorers, often responsible for far more loss of life than Stanley, receive sympathetic treatment.":xiii For example, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, who was revered in France, had shot Africans in self-defence, but unlike Stanley, never spoke of it. Samuel Baker killed far more Africans than Stanley did and in 1873 was mauled in the press for "cold blooded murder".:84, 121 David Livingstone shot dead several African Yao slave traders in 1861 when they attacked the mission at Magomero.:50
General opinion about Africans
In Through the Dark Continent, Stanley wrote that "the savage only respects force, power, boldness, and decision.":216
Yet in How I Found Livingstone, he wrote that he was "prepared to admit any black man possessing the attributes of true manhood, or any good qualities ... to a brotherhood with myself.":10 Stanley also hit Shaw, a racist colleague on his Livingstone expedition.:159–160 Stanley insulted and shouted at William Grant Stairs and Arthur Jephson for mistreating the Wangwana.:331 He also described the history of Boma as "two centuries of pitiless persecution of black men by sordid whites".:240 :11
Opinion about mixed African-Arab peoples
In one of his books, Stanley said about mixed African-Arab people: "For the half-castes I have great contempt. They are neither black nor white, neither good nor bad, neither to be admired nor hated. They are all things, at all times.... If I saw a miserable, half-starved negro, I was always sure to be told, he belonged to a half-caste. Cringing and hypocritical, cowardly and debased, treacherous and mean ... this syphilitic, blear-eyed, pallid-skinned, abortion of an Africanized Arab.":6
When Stanley first met a group of his Wangwana assistants, he was surprised that, "They were an exceedingly fine looking body of men, far more intelligent in appearance than I could ever have believed African barbarians could be.":30
These Wangwana of Zanzibar were of mixed Arabian and African ancestry - "Africanized Arabs" in Stanley's words. They became the backbone of all his major expeditions and were referred to as "his dear pets" by sceptical young officers on the Emin Pasha Expedition who resented their leader for favouring the Wangwana above themselves. "All are dear to me," Stanley told William Grant Stairs and Arthur Jephson, "who do their duty and the Zanzibaris have quite satisfied me on this and on previous expeditions.":331 Stanley came to think of an individual Wangwana as "superior in proportion to his wages to ten Europeans."
Alleged cruel treatment of Africans
Writer Tim Jeal has argued that during Stanley's 1871 expedition, he treated his indigenous porters well under the standards existing then. Three-quarters of his African assistants on his third expedition had enlisted with him on an earlier journey.:239
Richard Francis Burton, however, claimed that "Stanley shoots negroes as if they were monkeys". Burton wrote this in a letter to General Charles George Gordon, who replied that Stanley's killing in self-defence had been permissible. "These things may be done," he wrote, "but not advertised." On the subject of self-defence, Stanley wrote: "We went into the heart of Africa uninvited, therein lies our fault, but it was not so grave that our lives [when threatened] should be forfeited."
Immediately after one of Stanley's expeditions in 1877, Reverend J. P. Farler met with African porters who had been part of the expedition and wrote, "Stanley's followers give dreadful accounts to their friends of the killing of inoffensive natives, stealing their ivory and goods, selling their captives, and so on. I do think a commission ought to inquire into these charges, because if they are true, it will do untold harm to the great cause of emancipating Africa. ... I cannot understand all the killing that Stanley has found necessary."
In 1877, Augustus Sparhawk, a trader with a United States company on Zanzibar, alleged in writing that John Kirk, who detested Stanley for blackening his character,:135–136 had bribed two of Stanley's assistants, Manwa Sera and Kacheche, to tell missionaries and others that Stanley had behaved brutally in Africa.:245:223
The Baptist missionary Thomas J. Comber wrote differently about Stanley saying that, "by constant daily exercise of his tact and influence over the people ... Stanley has succeeded in planting his station at Stanley Pool without a fight", despite being faced by Africans "who are very fond of fighting and can muster 3000 guns."
Stanley wrote with some measure of satisfaction when describing how Captain John Hanning Speke - the first European to visit Uganda - had punched in the teeth for disobedience Mbarak Bombay (a caravan leader also employed by Stanley), causing Stanley to claim that he would never allow Bombay to have the audacity to stand up for a boxing match with him.:28 In the same paragraph, Stanley described how he several months later administered punishment to the African.:28 Later in life, Stanley rebuked subordinates for inflicting needless corporal punishment. For beating one of his most trusted African's servants, he told Lieutenant Carlos Branconnier 'that cruelty was not permissible', and that he would dismiss him for a future offence, as indeed he did.
William Grant Stairs found Stanley during the Emina Pasha expedition to be cruel, secretive, and selfish. This, however, was after Stanley had come across a letter from Stairs to another officer, in which Stairs said that he (Stanley) was spying on his officers and meanly cheating them out of their fair share of food. As a result, the two men fell out. Unknown to Stanley, when he was away searching for Emin Pasha, Stairs and Thomas Heazle Parke had murdered at least a dozen pygmies (including women and children) whom they had caught stealing from the expedition's temporary vegetable garden at Fort Bodo near Lake Albert.:359–360
Stanley was admired by Arthur Jephson, whom William Bonny, the acerbic medical assistant, described as the "most honourable" officer on the expedition. Jephson wrote: "Stanley never fights where there is the smallest chance of making friends with the natives and he is wonderfully patient & long suffering with them."
John Rose Troup in his book about the Emin Pasha expedition said that he saw Stanley's self-serving and vindictive side. "In the forgoing letter he brings forward disgraceful charges, that really do not refer to me at all, although he blames me for what happened. The injustice of his accusations, made as they are without documentary or, as far as I can learn, any evidence, can hardly be made clear to the public, but they must be aware, when they read what has preceded this correspondence, that he has acted as no one in his position should have acted." Stanley had angered Troup and his colleagues in the Rear Column by accusing them of lacking the courage to prevent the deranged Edmund Musgrave Barttelot from committing murders.
Possible inspiration for Heart of Darkness
The legacy of death and destruction in the Congo region, and the fact that Stanley had worked for King Leopold II of Belgium, is considered by author Sherry Norman to have made him an inspiration for Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
Conrad, however, had spent six months of 1890 as a steamship captain on the Congo, years after Stanley had been there (1879-1884) and five years after Stanley had been recalled to Europe and ceased to be King Leopold's chief agent in Africa. By 1890, forced labour was being used to coerce Africans into collecting rubber. But when Stanley had been there, the inner tube for bicycle tyres had not yet been invented and there had been little demand for rubber.:449, 452