24 September 2002
A manuscript diploma by order of Leopold II of Belgium, 'Souverain de l'Etat Indépendant du Congo', awarding H.M. Stanley the 'Grand Croix de l'Ordre de l'Etoile Africaine', dated 19 April 1890, the manuscript text set within a printed decorative border, 14 5/8 x 18 7/8in. (37 x 48cm.); with a black leather rectangular presentation case, the hinged cover stamped 'A Monsieur Henry Stanley Bruxelles 19 Avril 1890', with brass lock, the interior lined with red velvet.
A printed diploma appointing Henry Morton Stanley a Corresponding Member of the Belgian Geographical Society, dated 12 June 1878, (475 x 375mm.); and an illuminated diploma on parchment appointing H.M. Stanley a 'Membre d'honneur' of the Anti-Slavery Society of Belgium, dated 16 April 1890, laid on card, (350 x 460mm), and a calf presentation foldercover tooled in gilt wtih star of the Congo and lion of Belgium at corners, upper cover lettered 'La Société Anti Esclavagiste à H.M. Stanley 1890'.
A manuscript address on vellum 'Hommage de la Sociètè Royale Belge de Geographie A Henry M. Stanley ...Brussels, le 24 Avril 1890', with opening manuscript leaf and list of signatures, and 20pp list of members (circa 800), printed on vellum. Small 4° (340 x 210mm) contemporary red morocco gilt incorporating initials of Stanley in coloured inlays.
Stanley's arrival in Brussels in late April 1890 was magnificent, Leopold arranged a spectacular reception and drove Stanley in an open carriage through cheering crowds to the Palace. Receptions and other awards continued for a week. Leopold offered Stanley £100,000 to recruit an army of Congolese and march then north to Khartoum and annexe Sudan for the Congo Free State. Stanley declined and came away with the Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold and the Grand Cross of the Congo. (5)
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