Henry M. Stanley.

How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley online

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Produced by Geoffrey Cowling


Travels, Adventures and Discoveries in Central Africa including four
months residence with Dr. Livingstone

By Sir Henry M. Stanley, G.C.B.



On the sixteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and sixty-nine, I was in Madrid, fresh from the carnage
at Valencia. At 10 A.M. Jacopo, at No. - Calle de la Cruz, handed me a
telegram: It read, "Come to Paris on important business." The telegram
was from Mr. James Gordon Bennett, jun., the young manager of the 'New
York Herald.'

Down came my pictures from the walls of my apartments on the second
floor; into my trunks went my books and souvenirs, my clothes were
hastily collected, some half washed, some from the clothes-line half
dry, and after a couple of hours of hasty hard work my portmanteaus were
strapped up and labelled "Paris."

At 3 P.M. I was on my way, and being obliged to stop at Bayonne a
few hours, did not arrive at Paris until the following night. I went
straight to the 'Grand Hotel,' and knocked at the door of Mr. Bennett's

"Come in," I heard a voice say. Entering, I found Mr. Bennett in bed.
"Who are you?" he asked.

"My name is Stanley," I answered.

"Ah, yes! sit down; I have important business on hand for you."

After throwing over his shoulders his robe-de-chambre Mr. Bennett asked,
"Where do you think Livingstone is?"

"I really do not know, sir."

"Do you think he is alive?"

"He may be, and he may not be," I answered.

"Well, I think he is alive, and that he can be found, and I am going to
send you to find him."

"What!" said I, "do you really think I can find Dr Livingstone? Do you
mean me to go to Central Africa?"

"Yes; I mean that you shall go, and find him wherever you may hear that
he is, and to get what news you can of him, and perhaps" - delivering
himself thoughtfully and deliberately - "the old man may be in
want: - take enough with you to help him should he require it. Of
course you will act according to your own plans, and do what you think

Said I, wondering at the cool order of sending one to Central Africa to
search for a man whom I, in common with almost all other men, believed
to be dead, "Have you considered seriously the great expense you are
likely, to incur on account of this little journey?"

"What will it cost?" he asked abruptly.

"Burton and Speke's journey to Central Africa cost between £3,000 and
£5,000, and I fear it cannot be done under £2,500."

"Well, I will tell you what you will do. Draw a thousand pounds now; and
when you have gone through that, draw another thousand, and when that
is spent, draw another thousand, and when you have finished that, draw
another thousand, and so on; but, FIND LIVINGSTONE."

Surprised but not confused at the order - for I knew that Mr. Bennett
when once he had made up his mind was not easily drawn aside from his
purpose - I yet thought, seeing it was such a gigantic scheme, that he
had not quite considered in his own mind the pros and cons of the case;
I said, "I have heard that should your father die you would sell the
'Herald' and retire from business."

"Whoever told you that is wrong, for there is not, money enough in New
York city to buy the 'New York Herald.' My father has made it a
great paper, but I mean to make it greater. I mean that it shall be a
newspaper in the true sense of the word. I mean that it shall publish
whatever news will be interesting to the world at no matter what cost."

"After that," said I, "I have nothing more to say. Do you mean me to go
straight on to Africa to search for Dr. Livingstone?"

"No! I wish you to go to the inauguration of the Suez Canal first,
and then proceed up the Nile. I hear Baker is about starting for Upper
Egypt. Find out what you can about his expedition, and as you go up
describe as well as possible whatever is interesting for tourists; and
then write up a guide - a practical one - for Lower Egypt; tell us about
whatever is worth seeing and how to see it.

"Then you might as well go to Jerusalem; I hear Captain Warren is making
some interesting discoveries there. Then visit Constantinople, and find
out about that trouble between the Khedive and the Sultan.

"Then - let me see - you might as well visit the Crimea and those old
battle-grounds, Then go across the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea; I hear
there is a Russian expedition bound for Khiva. From thence you may get
through Persia to India; you could write an interesting letter from

"Bagdad will be close on your way to India; suppose you go there, and
write up something about the Euphrates Valley Railway. Then, when you
have come to India, you can go after Livingstone. Probably you will hear
by that time that Livingstone is on his way to Zanzibar; but if not,
go into the interior and find him. If alive, get what news of his
discoveries you can; and if you find he is dead, bring all possible
proofs of his being dead. That is all. Good-night, and God be with you."

"Good-night, Sir," I said, "what it is in the power of human nature to
do I will do; and on such an errand as I go upon, God will be with me."

I lodged with young Edward King, who is making such a name in New
England. He was just the man who would have delighted to tell the
journal he was engaged upon what young Mr. Bennett was doing, and what
errand I was bound upon.

I should have liked to exchange opinions with him upon the probable
results of my journey, but I dared not do so. Though oppressed with the
great task before me, I had to appear as if only going to be present at
the Suez Canal. Young King followed me to the express train bound
for Marseilles, and at the station we parted: he to go and read the
newspapers at Bowles' Reading-room - I to Central Africa and - who knows?

There is no need to recapitulate what I did before going to Central

I went up the Nile and saw Mr. Higginbotham, chief engineer in Baker's
Expedition, at Philae, and was the means of preventing a duel between
him and a mad young Frenchman, who wanted to fight Mr. Higginbotham with
pistols, because that gentleman resented the idea of being taken for an
Egyptian, through wearing a fez cap. I had a talk with Capt. Warren at
Jerusalem, and descended one of the pits with a sergeant of engineers
to see the marks of the Tyrian workmen on the foundation-stones of the
Temple of Solomon. I visited the mosques of Stamboul with the Minister
Resident of the United States, and the American Consul-General. I
travelled over the Crimean battle-grounds with Kinglake's glorious books
for reference in my hand. I dined with the widow of General Liprandi
at Odessa. I saw the Arabian traveller Palgrave at Trebizond, and Baron
Nicolay, the Civil Governor of the Caucasus, at Tiflis. I lived with the
Russian Ambassador while at Teheran, and wherever I went through
Persia I received the most hospitable welcome from the gentlemen of
the Indo-European Telegraph Company; and following the examples of many
illustrious men, I wrote my name upon one of the Persepolitan monuments.
In the month of August, 1870, I arrived in India.

On the 12th of October I sailed on the barque 'Polly' from Bombay
to Mauritius. As the 'Polly' was a slow sailer, the passage lasted
thirty-seven days. On board this barque was a William Lawrence
Farquhar - hailing from Leith, Scotland - in the capacity of first-mate.
He was an excellent navigator, and thinking he might be useful to me,
I employed him; his pay to begin from the date we should leave Zanzibar
for Bagamoyo. As there was no opportunity of getting, to Zanzibar
direct, I took ship to Seychelles. Three or four days after arriving
at Mahe, one of the Seychelles group, I was fortunate enough to get
a passage for myself, William Lawrence Farquhar, and an Arab boy from
Jerusalem, who was to act as interpreter - on board an American whaling
vessel, bound for Zanzibar; at which port we arrived on the 6th of
January, 1871.

I have skimmed over my travels thus far, because these do not concern
the reader. They led over many lands, but this book is only a narrative
of my search after Livingstone, the great African traveller. It is
an Icarian flight of journalism, I confess; some even have called it
Quixotic; but this is a word I can now refute, as will be seen before
the reader arrives at the "Finis."

I have used the word "soldiers" in this book. The armed escort a
traveller engages to accompany him into East Africa is composed of free
black men, natives of Zanzibar, or freed slaves from the interior,
who call themselves "askari," an Indian name which, translated, means
"soldiers." They are armed and equipped like soldiers, though they
engage themselves also as servants; but it would be more pretentious in
me to call them servants, than to use the word "soldiers;" and as I
have been more in the habit of calling them soldiers than "my
watuma" - servants - this habit has proved too much to be overcome. I have
therefore allowed the word "soldiers" to appear, accompanied, however,
with this apology.

But it must be remembered that I am writing a narrative of my own
adventures and travels, and that until I meet Livingstone, I presume
the greatest interest is attached to myself, my marches, my troubles,
my thoughts, and my impressions. Yet though I may sometimes write, "my
expedition," or "my caravan," it by no means follows that I arrogate to
myself this right. For it must be distinctly understood that it is the
"'New York Herald' Expedition," and that I am only charged with its
command by Mr. James Gordon Bennett, the proprietor of the 'New York
Herald,' as a salaried employ of that gentleman.

One thing more; I have adopted the narrative form of relating the story
of the search, on account of the greater interest it appears to possess
over the diary form, and I think that in this manner I avoid the
great fault of repetition for which some travellers have been severely


On the morning of the 6th January, 1871, we were sailing through the
channel that separates the fruitful island of Zanzibar from Africa. The
high lands of the continent loomed like a lengthening shadow in the grey
of dawn. The island lay on our left, distant but a mile, coming out
of its shroud of foggy folds bit by bit as the day advanced, until it
finally rose clearly into view, as fair in appearance as the fairest of
the gems of creation. It appeared low, but not flat; there were gentle
elevations cropping hither and yon above the languid but graceful tops
of the cocoa-trees that lined the margin of the island, and there were
depressions visible at agreeable intervals, to indicate where a cool
gloom might be found by those who sought relief from a hot sun. With
the exception of the thin line of sand, over which the sap-green water
rolled itself with a constant murmur and moan, the island seemed buried
under one deep stratum of verdure.

The noble bosom of the strait bore several dhows speeding in and out of
the bay of Zanzibar with bellying sails. Towards the south, above the
sea line of the horizon, there appeared the naked masts of several
large ships, and to the east of these a dense mass of white, flat-topped
houses. This was Zanzibar, the capital of the island; - which soon
resolved itself into a pretty large and compact city, with all the
characteristics of Arab architecture. Above some of the largest houses
lining the bay front of the city streamed the blood-red banner of the
Sultan, Seyd Burghash, and the flags of the American, English, North
German Confederation, and French Consulates. In the harbor were thirteen
large ships, four Zanzibar men-of-war, one English man-of-war - the
'Nymphe,' two American, one French, one Portuguese, two English, and
two German merchantmen, besides numerous dhows hailing from Johanna
and Mayotte of the Comoro Islands, dhows from Muscat and Cutch - traders
between India, the Persian Gulf, and Zanzibar.

It was with the spirit of true hospitality and courtesy that Capt.
Francis R. Webb, United States Consul, (formerly of the United States
Navy), received me. Had this gentleman not rendered me such needful
service, I must have condescended to take board and lodging at a house
known as "Charley's," called after the proprietor, a Frenchman, who has
won considerable local notoriety for harboring penniless itinerants, and
manifesting a kindly spirit always, though hidden under such a rugged
front; or I should have been obliged to pitch my double-clothed American
drill tent on the sandbeach of this tropical island, which was by no
means a desirable thing.

But Capt. Webb's opportune proposal to make his commodious and
comfortable house my own; to enjoy myself, with the request that I would
call for whatever I might require, obviated all unpleasant alternatives.

One day's life at Zanzibar made me thoroughly conscious of my ignorance
respecting African people and things in general. I imagined I had read
Burton and Speke through, fairly well, and that consequently I had
penetrated the meaning, the full importance and grandeur, of the work I
was about to be engaged upon. But my estimates, for instance, based upon
book information, were simply ridiculous, fanciful images of African
attractions were soon dissipated, anticipated pleasures vanished, and
all crude ideas began to resolve themselves into shape.

I strolled through the city. My general impressions are of crooked,
narrow lanes, white-washed houses, mortar-plastered streets, in the
clean quarter; - of seeing alcoves on each side, with deep recesses,
with a fore-ground of red-turbaned Banyans, and a back-ground of flimsy
cottons, prints, calicoes, domestics and what not; or of floors crowded
with ivory tusks; or of dark corners with a pile of unginned and loose
cotton; or of stores of crockery, nails, cheap Brummagem ware, tools,
&c., in what I call the Banyan quarter; - of streets smelling very
strong - in fact, exceedingly, malodorous, with steaming yellow and
black bodies, and woolly heads, sitting at the doors of miserable huts,
chatting, laughing, bargaining, scolding, with a compound smell of
hides, tar, filth, and vegetable refuse, in the negro quarter; - of
streets lined with tall, solid-looking houses, flat roofed, of great
carved doors with large brass knockers, with baabs sitting cross-legged
watching the dark entrance to their masters' houses; of a shallow
sea-inlet, with some dhows, canoes, boats, an odd steam-tub or two,
leaning over on their sides in a sea of mud which the tide has just left
behind it; of a place called "M'nazi-Moya," "One Cocoa-tree," whither
Europeans wend on evenings with most languid steps, to inhale the sweet
air that glides over the sea, while the day is dying and the red sun is
sinking westward; of a few graves of dead sailors, who paid the forfeit
of their lives upon arrival in this land; of a tall house wherein lives
Dr. Tozer, "Missionary Bishop of Central Africa," and his school of
little Africans; and of many other things, which got together into such
a tangle, that I had to go to sleep, lest I should never be able to
separate the moving images, the Arab from the African; the African from
the Banyan; the Banyan from the Hindi; the Hindi from the European, &c.

Zanzibar is the Bagdad, the Ispahan, the Stamboul, if you like, of East
Africa. It is the great mart which invites the ivory traders from the
African interior. To this market come the gum-copal, the hides, the
orchilla weed, the timber, and the black slaves from Africa. Bagdad had
great silk bazaars, Zanzibar has her ivory bazaars; Bagdad once traded
in jewels, Zanzibar trades in gum-copal; Stamboul imported Circassian
and Georgian slaves; Zanzibar imports black beauties from Uhiyow,
Ugindo, Ugogo, Unyamwezi and Galla.

The same mode of commerce obtains here as in all Mohammedan
countries - nay, the mode was in vogue long before Moses was born. The
Arab never changes. He brought the custom of his forefathers with him
when he came to live on this island. He is as much of an Arab here as
at Muscat or Bagdad; wherever he goes to live he carries with him his
harem, his religion, his long robe, his shirt, his slippers, and his
dagger. If he penetrates Africa, not all the ridicule of the negroes can
make him change his modes of life. Yet the land has not become Oriental;
the Arab has not been able to change the atmosphere. The land is
semi-African in aspect; the city is but semi-Arabian.

To a new-comer into Africa, the Muscat Arabs of Zanzibar are studies.
There is a certain empressement about them which we must admire. They
are mostly all travellers. There are but few of them who have not been
in many dangerous positions, as they penetrated Central Africa in search
of the precious ivory; and their various experiences have given
their features a certain unmistakable air of-self-reliance, or of
self-sufficiency; there is a calm, resolute, defiant, independent air
about them, which wins unconsciously one's respect. The stories that
some of these men could tell, I have often thought, would fill many a
book of thrilling adventures.

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; they are always fawning on the great Arabs,
and always cruel to those unfortunates brought under their yoke. 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, I have always found him. He seems to be
for ever ready to fall down and worship a rich Arab, but is relentless
to a poor black slave. When he swears most, you may be sure he lies
most, and yet this is the breed which is multiplied most at Zanzibar.

The Banyan is a born trader, the beau-ideal of a sharp money-making man.
Money flows to his pockets as naturally as water down a steep. No pang
of conscience will prevent him from cheating his fellow man. He excels
a Jew, and his only rival in a market is a Parsee; an Arab is a babe to
him. It is worth money to see him labor with all his energy, soul and
body, to get advantage by the smallest fraction of a coin over a native.
Possibly the native has a tusk, and it may weigh a couple of frasilahs,
but, though the scales indicate the weight, and the native declares
solemnly that it must be more than two frasilahs, yet our Banyan will
asseverate and vow that the native knows nothing whatever about it, and
that the scales are wrong; he musters up courage to lift it - it is a
mere song, not much more than a frasilah. "Come," he will say, "close,
man, take the money and go thy way. Art thou mad?" If the native
hesitates, he will scream in a fury; he pushes him about, spurns the
ivory with contemptuous indifference, - never was such ado about nothing;
but though he tells the astounded native to be up and going, he never
intends the ivory shall leave his shop.

The Banyans exercise, of all other classes, most influence on the trade
of Central Africa. With the exception of a very few rich Arabs, almost
all other traders are subject to the pains and penalties which usury
imposes. A trader desirous to make a journey into the interior, whether
for slaves or ivory, gum-copal, or orchilla weed, proposes to a Banyan
to advance him $5,000, at 50, 60, or 70 per cent. interest. The Banyan
is safe enough not to lose, whether the speculation the trader is
engaged upon pays or not. An experienced trader seldom loses, or if
he has been unfortunate, through no deed of his own, he does not lose
credit; with the help of the Banyan, he is easily set on his feet again.

We will suppose, for the sake of illustrating how trade with the
interior is managed, that the Arab conveys by his caravan $5,000's worth
of goods into the interior. At Unyanyembe the goods are worth $10,000;
at Ujiji, they are worth $15,000: they have trebled in price. Five doti,
or $7.50, will purchase a slave in the markets of Ujiji that will fetch
in Zanzibar $30. Ordinary menslaves may be purchased for $6 which would
sell for $25 on the coast. We will say he purchases slaves to the full
extent of his means - after deducting $1,500 expenses of carriage to
Ujiji and back - viz. $3,500, the slaves - 464 in number, at $7-50 per
head - would realize $13,920 at Zanzibar! Again, let us illustrate trade
in ivory. A merchant takes $5,000 to Ujiji, and after deducting $1,500
for expenses to Ujiji, and back to Zanzibar, has still remaining $3,500
in cloth and beads, with which he purchases ivory. At Ujiji ivory is
bought at $20 the frasilah, or 35 lbs., by which he is enabled with
$3,500 to collect 175 frasilahs, which, if good ivory, is worth about
$60 per frasilah at Zanzibar. The merchant thus finds that he has
realized $10,500 net profit! Arab traders have often done better than
this, but they almost always have come back with an enormous margin of

The next people to the Banyans in power in Zanzibar are the Mohammedan
Hindis. Really it has been a debateable subject in my mind whether the
Hindis are not as wickedly determined to cheat in trade as the Banyans.
But, if I have conceded the palm to the latter, it has been done very
reluctantly. This tribe of Indians can produce scores of unconscionable
rascals where they can show but one honest merchant. One of the
honestest among men, white or black, red or yellow, is a Mohammedan
Hindi called Tarya Topan. Among the Europeans at Zanzibar, he has become
a proverb for honesty, and strict business integrity. He is enormously
wealthy, owns several ships and dhows, and is a prominent man in the
councils of Seyd Burghash. Tarya has many children, two or three of
whom are grown-up sons, whom he has reared up even as he is himself. But
Tarya is but a representative of an exceedingly small minority.

The Arabs, the Banyans, and the Mohammedan Hindis, represent the higher
and the middle classes. These classes own the estates, the ships, and
the trade. To these classes bow the half-caste and the negro.

The next most important people who go to make up the mixed population of
this island are the negroes. They consist of the aborigines, Wasawahili,
Somalis, Comorines, Wanyamwezi, and a host of tribal representatives of
Inner Africa.

To a white stranger about penetrating Africa, it is a most interesting
walk through the negro quarters of the Wanyamwezi and the Wasawahili.
For here he begins to learn the necessity of admitting that negroes are
men, like himself, though of a different colour; that they have passions
and prejudices, likes and dislikes, sympathies and antipathies, tastes
and feelings, in common with all human nature. The sooner he perceives
this fact, and adapts himself accordingly, the easier will be his
journey among the several races of the interior. The more plastic his
nature, the more prosperous will be his travels.

Though I had lived some time among the negroes of our Southern States,
my education was Northern, and I had met in the United States black men
whom I was proud to call friends. I was thus prepared to admit any black
man, possessing the attributes of true manhood or any good qualities, to
my friendship, even to a brotherhood with myself; and to respect him
for such, as much as if he were of my own colour and race. Neither his
colour, nor any peculiarities of physiognomy should debar him with me
from any rights he could fairly claim as a man. "Have these men - these
black savages from pagan Africa," I asked myself, "the qualities
which make man loveable among his fellows? Can these men - these
barbarians - appreciate kindness or feel resentment like myself?" was my
mental question as I travelled through their quarters and observed their
actions. Need I say, that I was much comforted in observing that they
were as ready to be influenced by passions, by loves and hates, as I
was myself; that the keenest observation failed to detect any great
difference between their nature and my own?

The negroes of the island probably number two-thirds of the entire
population. They compose the working-class, whether enslaved or free.
Those enslaved perform the work required on the plantations, the
estates, and gardens of the landed proprietors, or perform the work of
carriers, whether in the country or in the city. Outside the city they
may be seen carrying huge loads on their heads, as happy as possible,
not because they are kindly treated or that their work is light, but

Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 1 of 38)