Monday, December 6, 2010
Explorer - Sir Henry Morton Stanley
Dr. Livingston I presume? are the famous words of H.M. Stanley which he used upon meeting the Elusive Dr. Livingston. Since I am currently in The Sudan, and will be exploring the Nile river over the next few days. I decided to post a little info via wikipedia on Mr. H.M. Stanly the famous African explorer who was responsible for discovering the source of the Great Nile river.
Check it out, I think you will find it interesting.
Tomahawk - Scouts out!
Sir Henry Morton Stanley, GCB, born John Rowlands (28 January 1841 – 10 May 1904), was a Welsh journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of Africa and his search for David Livingstone. Stanley is often remembered for the words uttered to Livingstone upon finding him: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?", although there is some question as to authenticity of this now famous greeting. His legacy of death and destruction in the Congo region is considered an inspiration for Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, detailing atrocities inflicted upon the natives.
Henry Morton Stanley, 1890
Stanley was born in Denbigh, Wales. At the time, his mother, Elizabeth Parry, was 19 years old. According to Stanley himself, his father, John Rowlands, was an alcoholic; there is some doubt as to his true parentage. His parents were unmarried, so his birth certificate refers to him as a bastard and the stigma of illegitimacy weighed heavily upon him all his life. He was brought up by his grandfather until the age of five. When his guardian died, Stanley stayed at first with cousins and nieces for a short time, but was eventually sent to St. Asaph Union Workhouse for the poor, where overcrowding and lack of supervision resulted in frequent abuse by the older boys. When he was ten, his mother and two siblings stayed for a short while in this workhouse, without Stanley realising who they were. He stayed until the age of 15. After completing an elementary education, he was employed as a pupil teacher in a National School. In 1859, at the age of 18, he made his passage to the United States in search of a new life. Upon arriving in New Orleans, he absconded from his boat. According to his own declarations, he became friendly with a wealthy trader named Stanley, by accident: he saw Stanley sitting on a chair outside his store and asked him if he had any job opening for a person such as himself. However, he did so in the British style, "Do you want a boy, sir?" As it happened, the childless man had indeed been wishing he had a boy of his own, and the inquiry led not only to a job, but to a close relationship. The youth ended up taking Stanley's name. Later, he would write that his adoptive parent had died only two years after their meeting, but in fact the elder Stanley did not die until much later in 1878. In any case, young Stanley assumed a local accent and began to deny being a foreigner.
Stanley participated reluctantly in the American Civil War, first joining the Confederate Army participating in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. After being taken prisoner he promptly deserted and joined the Union. He served in the Navy but eventually deserted again.
Following the Civil War, Stanley began a career as a journalist. As part of this new career, Stanley organized an expedition to the Ottoman Empire that ended catastrophically when Stanley was imprisoned. He eventually talked his way out of jail and even received restitution for damaged expedition equipment. This early expedition may have formed the foundation for his eventual exploration of the Congo region of Africa.
In 1867, Stanley was recruited by Colonel Samuel Forster Tappan (a one-time journalist) of the Indian Peace Commission, to serve as a correspondent to cover the work of the Commission for several newspapers. Stanley was soon retained exclusively by James Gordon Bennett (1795–1872), founder of the New York Herald, who was impressed by Stanley's exploits and by his direct style of writing. This early period of his professional life is described in Volume I of his book My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia (1895). He became one of the Herald's overseas correspondents and, in 1869, was instructed by Bennett's son to find the Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, who was known to be in Africa but had not been heard from for some time. According to Stanley's account, he asked James Gordon Bennett, Jr. (1841–1918), who had succeeded to the paper's management after his father's retirement in 1867, how much he could spend. The reply was "Draw £1,000 now, and when you have gone through that, draw another £1,000, and when that is spent, draw another £1,000, and when you have finished that, draw another £1,000, and so on — BUT FIND LIVINGSTONE!" In actuality, Stanley had lobbied his employer for several years to mount this expedition that would presumably give him fame and fortune.
Stanley traveled to Zanzibar in March 1871 and outfitted an expedition with the best of everything, requiring no fewer than 200 porters. This 7000-mile expedition through the tropical forest became a nightmare. His thoroughbred stallion died within a few days after a bite from a Tsetse fly, many of his carriers deserted and the rest were decimated by tropical diseases. To keep the expedition going, he had to take stern measures, including flogging deserters. Many missionaries of the day practiced tactics no less brutal than his, and Stanley's diaries show that he had in fact exaggerated the brutal treatment of his carriers in his books to pander to the taste of his Victorian public. Some recent authors suggest that Stanley's treatment of indigenous porters helps to refute his reputation as a brutal criminal. However, statements by contemporaries of Stanley like Sir Richard Francis Burton, who claimed "Stanley shoots negroes as if they were monkeys," paint a very different picture. Stanley found Livingstone on 10 November 1871, in Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania, and may have greeted him with the now-famous, "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?" This famous phrase may be a fabrication, as Stanley tore out of his diary the pages relating to the encounter. Even Livingstone's account of the encounter fails to mention these words. However, a summary of Stanley's letters published by The New York Times on 2 July 1872, quotes the phrase. However, Tim Jeal argues in his biography that Stanley invented it afterwards because of his 'insecurity about his background.'
The Herald's own first account of the meeting, published 2 July 1872, also includes the phrase: "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 hale white man as he answered: `Yes, that is my name' ..."
Stanley joined Livingstone in exploring the region, establishing for certain that there was no connection between Lake Tanganyika and the River Nile. On his return, he wrote a book about his experiences : How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa. This brought him into the public eye and gave him some financial success.