This obituary for Sir Henry Morton Stanley appeared in The Times on May 11, 1904.

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Sir Henry Morton Stanley

We much regret to announce the death of Sir Henry Morton Stanley, the famous explorer, which occurred peacefully at his town residence, in Richmond-terrace, Whitehall, at 6 o'clock yesterday morning. He was quite conscious to the last, and, although he did not speak during his last moments, he was able to recognize his wife and sister-in-law, who remained with him throughout the night. Sir Henry, who had not been well for some months, contracted a chill about ten days ago, while out driving, and pneumonia and pleurisy supervened.

Before he died he expressed a wish that he should be buried at his country seat, Furze Hill, Pirbright, but up to the present nothing has been definitely settled. The Dean of Westminster has expressed his willingness to have the first part of the funeral service in Westminster Abbey. A large number of telegrams of condolence have been received by Lady Stanley, who has been in constant attendance upon her husband, nursing him with the utmost devotion and care during the whole of his illness.

By the death of Sir Henry Stanley we have lost one of the greatest pioneer explorers and one of the most striking figures of the nineteenth century. Stanley's original name was John Rowlands, and he was born in Denbigh of humble parentage about the year 1840. He received a good common school education, which he improved by private reading. When about 15 years of age he left England, it is said, as a cabin boy, for New Orleans. Here he obtained a post in the office of a merchant of the name of Stanley, who took so great a liking to his young employ�, evidently having the intention of adopting him, that the latter changed his name to Henry Morton Stanley. Unfortunately, this merchant died without making a will, so that young Stanley was left without employment and without resources. Stanley seems to have been between two and three years in New Orleans, and knocked about at large until the American Civil War broke out, when, it is believed, he joined the Confederate Army. After various adventures, we find him engaged in journalism. In 1867 he joined the New York Herald, with which paper his name became afterwards so intimately associated. His first journalistic duty was to proceed to Abyssinia in the end of 1867 to act as correspondent in the war which was about to be waged against King Theodore. Through his promptitude the New York Herald was able to publish intelligence of the fall of Magdala before it was known even to the British Government. In his descriptions of the events of this campaigns, as indeed in the earliest specimens of his writings we have been able to see, we find the same characteristics as those which mark his later and better-known works; the same striking dramatic power, the same faculty of personal portraiture. Even in common conversation, as in public speaking, this tendency of Stanley to give a dramatic turn to what he had to say, this fondness for personality, generally playful, but not always agreeable to the subjects, was evident to all who came into contact with him. It was never more marked than in his magnum opus, "Through the Dark Continent." He certainly does not neglect any of the features of the new regions through which he had the good fortune to penetrate; but he is most at home when describing the people with whom he came into contact, whether it be King Mtesa of Uganda, the Arab trader Tippu Tib, or the fighting cannibals of the Aruwimi. His interviews, even in his Abyssinian letters, are almost invariably recorded in conversational style, and one cannot help a suspicion that, while the reports are essentially accurate, they have lost nothing in style and fulness in the telling. And yet the only work approaching a novel which Stanley ever attempted, "My Kalulu," can hardly be said to have been a success.

On his return from Abyssinia Stanley was sent to Spain to watch events on behalf of the Herald, and it was while in Madrid, in October, 1869, that he was suddenly telegraphed for from Paris by Mr. J. Gordon Bennett, jun. Stanley, with his usual promptness, left for Paris by the next train, and arrived there the following night to find Mr. Bennett in bed. What took place is well known to all who have read "How I found Livingstone." It was about three years and a half since the great explorer had entered Africa for the last time, and for long nothing had been heard of him, and many of his friends believed he must be dead or in great want. Yet Stanley was not to start immediately in his search for Livingstone. He went to Egypt to the opening of the Suez Canal, and seems to have lingered there for some time in the hope either of being the first to interview Livingstone himself should he return that way or of hearing something authentic about him. It was only in January, 1871, that Stanley arrived at Zanzibar to enter upon the great task which was to transform his career. It was perhaps fortunate that he did not arrive sooner at Zanzibar; had he gone direct there in October, 1869, he would have had to go very far a field to find Livingstone, for at that date the explorer was making his way westward to Nyangwe with the intention of following up the Lualaba, an intention which he was never able to carry out. Had Stanley found Livingstone at Nyangwe instead of Ujiji, it is curious to conjecture what might have been the result. Encouraged and strengthened by Stanley's presence and resources, the old traveller, in company with the newspaper correspondent, might have completed the work of his life by tracing out the mysterious river to its outlet in the Atlantic, and so precipitated by a few years that rush of Europe on Africa which has resulted in its partition. But this was not to be. When Stanley, after a wonderfully rapid march, reached Ujiji, on Lake Tanganyika, he found Livingstone had returned from Nyangwe only a few days previously. It was on November 10, 1871, that the two greatest African explorers of the nineteenth century first shook hands. Livingstone, weakened in health and with his stores exhausted, was naturally overjoyed at the arrival of the unexpected relief.

For four months the old explorer and his energetic young friend lived and travelled together. They explored the north end of Tanganyika and proved conclusively that the river Rusizi flowed into and not out of the lake, and that Tanganyika had no connexion with the Nile system. But Livingstone seems still to have cherished the belief that the Lualaba was not the Congo, but, improbable as it appears, the upper waters of the Nile; and it was in search of the three fountains of Horodotus that he went wandering down by Lake Bangweolo, after Stanley left him, and there ended his weary days. "For four months and four days," wrote Stanley, "he and I occupied the same home and the same tent� and the longer I lived with him the more did my reverence and admiration for him increase." Stanley left his old friend with his mind full of the problems of African geography, smitten deep with the fever of African exploration.

Perhaps Stanley's manner had something to do with the incredulity with which he was greeted in certain quarters on his arrival in England. He was almost morbidly sensitive, and resented even friendly banter, while, for various reasons, the Herald expedition had not been taken very seriously in this country. There may at first have been some coolness on the part of the officials of the Royal Geographical Society, but they amply atoned for this by awarding him the society's gold medal. Yet it is probable that he never quite forgot or forgave the society for what he conceived to have been a slight. He was the hero of the moment, and his narrative "How I Found Livingstone" had an immense success, and even yet continues a favourite. Stanley soon returned to Africa, but it was simply as correspondent for the New York Herald with the expedition to Ashanti. His letters from Ashanti along with those from Abyssinia were afterwards published in one volume under the title of "Coomassie and Magadala." It was while returning from Ashanti that he heard of the death of Livingstone, and thereupon resolved, if means were provided, to complete the work of his friend, and above all to trace the course of that great river which Livingstone saw flowing "north, north, north" past Nyangwe, no one knew whither. Stanley himself was convinced it was the Congo.

By the munificence of the proprietors of the Daily Telegraph and the New York Herald Stanley was provided with ample means for the equipment of an expedition which must rank as one of the most remarkable enterprises of the 19th century, not only for what it accomplished, but for what it led to. A glance at the map in the second volume of Livingstone's "Last Journals" will give some idea of our knowledge of Central Africa when Stanley on August 15, 1874, left England on that expedition which has immortalized him. Little more than the position of Victoria Nyanza was known; its shape was all wrong; our knowledge of Albert Nyanza was incomplete; Lake Tanganyika was imperfectly defined; except for the route of Speke and Grant the region between the two former lakes was almost a blank, and we knew nothing of the region that lies between Lakes Albert and Tanganyika. Livingstone had crossed the Manyuema country to Nyangwe, otherwise the map there was white, and the great problem of the Lualaba, the greatest of all African river problems, remained unsolved. Stanley's expedition changed all that. He proceeded from Bagamoyo west and north to Victoria Nyanza, tracing a river which he believed (erroneously we now know) was the remote source of the Nile. He circumnavigated the lake, and for the first time proved to satisfaction that it was one great lake and not a group of small lakes, and that its shape was very different from that laid down in Livingstone's map. He sojourned for many weeks with his friend Mtesa, King of Uganda, of whom we had heard something from Speke and Grant; but Stanley's story of his intercourse with the King, when they discussed the things of this world and of that which is to come, reads like an Eastern tale. These conversations in Uganda led to momentous consequences. Missionaries rushed out at Stanley's bidding, both Protestant and Catholic, and this, after persecutions, internecine wars, and widespread suffering, ended in the country becoming a British protectorate. Westwards to Muta Nzige, as Lake Albert is called by the natives. Stanley and his great following marched. They struck a bay (Beatrice Gulf) which is now recognized as part of a southern lake, afterwards named by Stanley Lake Albert Edward. Important rectifications and additions were made in the country lying between Victoria Nyanza and the lakes to the west, and thence south to Ujiji. Stanley circumnavigated Tanganyika, rectifying its contour, and proving conclusively that the lake had an outlet in the river Lukuga.

When Stanley arrived at Nyangwe and found that Cameron, who preceded him, had been compelled to leave the problem of the great river unsolved, he saw his opportunity and determined to trace out that river at all hazards to himself and to those who accompanied him. Those who have read "Through the Dark Continent" will remember the striking scene between Stanley and poor Frank Pocock, the last survivor of his white companions, himself destined to find a grave in the great river on which he was about to launch. In the hut at Nyangwe the two were discussing the pros and cons of the venture down the river. "'I say, Sir,' said Frank, 'let us toss up; best two out of three to decide it.' 'Toss away,' said Stanley, 'here is a rupee. Heads for the north and the Lualaba; tails for the south and Katanga.' Frank stood up, his face beaming. He tossed the rupee high up. The coin dropped. 'What is it?' I asked. 'Tails, Sir,' said Frank, with a face expressive of strong disapproval. 'Toss again.' He tossed again, and 'tails' was again announced-and six times running 'tails' won. We then tried straws-the short straws for the south, the long straws for the river Lualaba-and again we were disappointed, for Frank persisted in drawing out the short straws and in leaving the long straws in my hands. 'It is of no use, Frank. We'll face our destiny, despite the rupee and the straws. With your help, my dear fellow, I will follow the river.'" This dramatic scene impressively reveals the situation, its hazards, and its possibilities, a situation which we now, with a crowed map of Africa before us, find it difficult to realize. Stanley, accompanied for a time by the notorious Tippu Tib, left Nyangwe in November, 1876, and reached Boma, near the mouth of the Congo, in August, 1877. No such epic of travel has ever been written as the story of the descent of this river. The expedition had for over a thousand miles to run the gauntlet of the cannibals on its banks, and to face and overcome many other dangers, not without much loss and suffering. But the result was that one of its most striking features was placed on the map of Africa, and one of its greatest waterways laid open to commerce.

The journey across Africa lasted two years and nine months. Livingstone had crossed Africa years before along the Zambesi; Stanley's route was in many ways more hazardous. Since then the continent has been so frequently crossed that if has long ceased to be a feat. The losses to Stanley's own caravan were serious, while many lives were sacrificed among those who sought to hinder the progress of the expedition. Stanley's methods were in marked contrast to those of Livingstone and Joseph Thomson. He was prepared to, and to some extent did, "wade through slaughter" to success. He was willing to walk peacefully through unknown Africa; but reach his goal he would or die in the attempt, and woe betide all who sought to oppose him. The results to geography were certainly immense; it is doubtful if on any other single expedition so much had been done to fill up the great blank in the map of Africa. Stanley's narrative of his expedition, "Through the Dark Continent," was devoured, and he himself received the ovation of a hero on his return to Europe in January, 1878.

The magnitude of Stanley's discovery we are only now realizing, when the multitude of mighty tributaries north and south are being opened up, and we are able to form an estimate of the vast basin of the Congo. The river itself from the remote Chambeze to the Atlantic is about 3,000 miles long, has many tributaries which themselves afford hundreds of miles of navigable waterway, waters a basin of a million square miles, and pours into the sea a volume estimated at 1,800,000 cubic feet per second. Such a work as Stanley accomplished in this memorable journey is surely enough to immortalize a man. The work was not accomplished without serious loss and suffering. Stanley himself went in black and came out gray. All the other three Europeans died by the way, besides a large contingent of the natives who formed the caravan. No one who had not the rare grit of Stanley could have gone through it. His was one of those master minds, to be classed with the Napoleons and the Bismarcks, that set their aim upon an object which is admittedly vast, and which they determine to accomplish at any sacrifice to themselves and others. Fortunately in Stanley's case this consuming determination to accomplish something which the world will call great was combined with a certain amount of humanity. Stanley had another mark of the Napoleonic type of character; he made many enemies and had not a few devoted friends, but we doubt if he really ever abandoned himself to unreserved friendship with any man.

In one of his letters written in 1877 he pointed out the immense commercial value of the Congo as a waterway, and the advantage it would give in African trade to any Power that possessed it. Stanley had scarcely landed in Europe when the King of the Belgians solicited his aid in the opening up of the Congo. Accordingly in the summer of 1879 Stanley was once more on his way to the Congo as the chief agent of a quasi-international society for the investigation of the Congo. This was the beginning of what really soon became the Congo Free State under the sovereignty of the King of the Belgians. Under Stanley's energetic management the river from Vivi to Stanley Falls was soon studded with stations. His energy and straightforward determination did not suit all the officials who gradually swarmed on the river, nor was everything accomplished without collisions with the natives. But when we remember Stanley's experiences during his descent in 1877, we cannot but be surprised at the comparative ease with which within about five years a complicated organization, ostensibly for the promotion of civilization and trade, like that of the Congo State was planted all along the river. So long as Stanley had the virtual direction of the Congo State-that is, till the middle of 1884-all went well, or as well as could be expected with such an attempt to thrust the complicated arrangements of advanced civilization into the heart of a region sunk in savagery. The disasters which have happened to the Congo since Stanley left it have been notorious. Stanley took an important part in the Congo Congress at Berlin in 1884-85. He and the King of the Belgians always remained on the most friendly footing, and had the King had his own way, we believe Stanley would never have left the Congo. His last great service to the Congo was the publication in 1885 of his work in two volumes, on "The Congo and the Founding of its Free State."

Stanley was beginning an extensive lecturing tour in America and Australia when he was summoned from the States to take the leadership of the expedition for the relief of Emin Pasha. After the fall of Khartum and the death of Gordon in January, 1885, Emin Pasha was isolated in the Equatorial Province, his escape to the north being blocked by the Mahdists. With his officers and dependants, numbering probably about 1,500, he withdrew to Wadelai, on the Upper Nile, within easy reach of the Albert Nyanza. Until 1886 no one outside of scientific circles seemed to take any notice of Emin. Almost suddenly, however, the impression got abroad in Europe that a noble stand was being made by this simple savant, who had been foisted into the position of Governor of a half-savage province, against the forces of the Mahdi, and that in the face of imminent danger he refused to desert his post and his people. Towards the autumn of 1886 public feeling rose to such a height that the British Government, which was held to blame for the position in the Sudan, was compelled to take action. In dread of international complications, however, it was decided that a Government expedition was impracticable. It was then that the late Sir William Mackinnon came forward and founded the Emin Pasha Relief Committee. The sum of �50,000 was subscribed, including �10,000 from the Egyptian Government. Our own Government did all it could short of taking the actual responsibility. Stanley offered his services as leader without fee or reward, giving up many lucrative engagements for the purpose, although from a financial point of view he was probably no loser in the long run. By the end of January, 1887, Stanley had made all his preparations, selecting nine men as his staff, including three English officers and a surgeon. It may be stated that the original intention was to proceed by the East Coast route to Uganda and thence to Lake Albert. There is little doubt that, had this route been adopted, the terrible disasters that overtook the expedition would have been avoided. The motives which led to the abandonment of this route and the selection of that by the Congo and the Aruwimi were probably complicated; there can be little doubt, however, that the pressure brought to bear by the Sovereign of the Free State had much to do with the change, and the committee were to blame for yielding to this pressure. On the 25th of February the expedition left Zanzibar on board the Madura. There were on board nine European officers, sixty-one Sudanese, thirteen Somalis, three interpreters, six hundred and twenty, Zanzibaris, and the notorious Arab slaver Tippu Tib and four hundred and seven of his people. The mouth of the Congo was reached on March 18, and it was only after a trying and painful journey, partly by land and partly by river, that the first contingent under Stanley reached the mouth of the Aruwimi in June. An entrenched camp was established on the left bank of the Aruwimi, about 50 miles from its mouth. Major Barttelot was left in charge of this with four white men and 257 natives. This rear column was to follow Stanley as soon as Tippu Tib provided a contingent of 500 natives which he had solemnly promised to do. On June 18,1887, Stanley, with 389 officers and men, set out for Lake Albert, 450 miles distant, in a straight line. The officers were Captain Nelson, Lieutenant Stairs, Dr. Parke, and Mr. Jephson, only the last of whom now survives. The disasters of this unfortunate expedition are not yet forgotten. Of the terrible march through the unknown forest, of the fights with the pygmies, the starvation, the daily deaths, we have all read in Stanley's graphic narrative. Out of the 389 who started, only 174 entered Ibwiri near the other end of the forest; the rest were dead, or missing, or left behind unable to move at the camp of an Arab slaver. However, the remnant soon recovered, and on the 12th of December Lake Albert was reached, but there was no sign of Emin Pasha and no boat to navigate the lake. The party returned to Ibwiri, the men were bought up from the rear, and the expedition thus reinforced again reached Lake Albert on April 22,1888. Finally Emin was found, and himself and some hundreds of his people and all their belongings removed from Wadelai to Stanley's camp on Lake Albert, while Stanley returned through the forest to fetch up the rear column and discovered the terrible disasters that had happened at Yambuya-Barttelot shot by the Manyuemi, Jameson gone down the Congo only to die, Ward away, Troup invalided home, and only Mr. Bonny remaining with 72 out of the 257 men left behind. No wonder Stanley felt too sick to write the details. He led the remainder of the rear column back through the forest, and for the third time reached the lake on January 18, 1889, only to learn that Emin and Jephson had been made prisoner by Emin's own men. However, at last the chief actors in this strange drama were together again. But partly owing to Emin's vacillation and partly owing to Stanley's illness it was not till May 8 that the huge caravan of 1,500 people was fairly under way. Marching through new country, exploring the Semliki River, Mount Ruwenzori, and Lake Albert Edward, Stanley and his followers made their way by the south of the Victoria Nyanza to the coast, he reaching Zanzibar on December 6, leaving Emin behind on the mainland in the hands of the Germans.

On this expedition Stanley succeeded in solving some important problems in the hydrography of Africa and adding much to our knowledge of its geography. But Emin's conduct from first to last must surely have made him doubt whether, so far as the ostensible object of the expedition was concerned, there was any need for it all. The whole course of the expedition was unfortunate, but it would be a grievous mistake to lay the whole blame on Stanley. His mission was to find Emin and with characteristic single-mindedness and recklessness of suffering to himself and those with him he went straight to accomplishment of his object. On his return to England, after a residence of some weeks in Cairo to complete the narrative of his journey, Stanley received an enthusiastic welcome. He was acclaimed as the heroic saviour of an heroic man maintaining the standard of civilization and cleaving to his people against the hordes of the Mahdi. The Royal Geographical Society gave Stanley and his officers a monster reception in the Albert-hall in May, 1890, and presented him with a special gold medal. Universities and other institutions vied in doing him honour, and when on June 12, 1890, he was married to Miss Dorothy Tennant, Westminster Abbey was crowded as for a Royal wedding. When, however, the facts came out with regard to the tragedies at Yambuya and other incidents of the expedition, there was a sudden rebound of popular feeling as irrational and unjustifiable as was the previous idolatry.

During 1891-92 Stanley lectured in England, America, and Australia, and on his return became re-naturalized as a British subject. After failing in a first attempt to be returned as Unionist member for North Lambeth, he succeeded in 1895 in obtaining a place in the House of Commons, where he spoke on one or two occasions, not, however, with convincing success. In June, 1899, the Queen conferred upon him the distinguished honour of G.C.B. Stanley was tired of the House of Commons and did not seek re-election in 1900. His health, too, began to decline, the enormous hardships he had undergone in earlier life at last telling even upon his sturdy frame. Some years before his death he bought an estate of about 70 acres near Woking. He spent much of his time at his country house and was out and about from early morning planning and rearranging and looking after his workpeople. In these and in his servants he took a deep interest, looking after their comfort and welfare. Indeed he did many good and charitable deeds of which few knew but himself and those whom he succoured. In later years he mellowed much both in appearance and manner, and both in London and at his country place was a genial host, in a home made happy by a bright and sympathetic wife, and her mother, a lady of remarkable social charm. Lady Stanley, the daughter of the late Mr. Charles Tennant, of Cadoxton-lodge, Glamorgan, and sister of Mrs. F. W. H. Myers, had been well known before her marriage as an artist of exceptional talent. They had no children, and adopted a little boy.

Stanley has made a broad and deep mark on his generation. His name will for ever be associated with Africa, for the exploration of which he did at least as much as any other one man. To him almost directly is due that scramble for Africa which has led to its subdivision, almost to the last acre, among European Powers, and the fever for colonization which has diverted the energies of Europe and perhaps blinded her foresight. He was a man who would certainly have made his mark in any line; he was keen enough to be able to perceive the one great thing remaining to be done in Africa, and fortunate enough to be able to persuade others to send him to do this great thing. Wonderful in its way also was his founding of the Free State, disappointing though the result has been. Physically, like most great African explorers, he was of small stature, with a strongly marked dark brown face, keen eyes, and powerful jaw, wonderfully like Livingstone's, and an impressive, dramatic style of talk that always attracted listeners. His powers of persuasion were great, his determination to accomplish his objects Napoleonic, and if he made many enemies, he made as many warm and deeply-devoted friends.

Source: The Times [] and Microsoft� Encarta� Encyclopedia 2001.