Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904)
Autograph manuscript of a lecture on his African explorations, n.p., n.d. [April-June 1891].on lined paper in black ink on recto including frequent cancellations and corrections, editorial revisions in plain or blue pencil and printer's markings in violet ink (consisting of page divisions and numberings, and the insertion of two omitted words on f.21), 43 pages (numbered 1-44), folio (some light soiling, occasional minor tears to lower margin, not affecting text, 41 short tears to upper margins on 20 pages, touching 23 words, last four leaves detached and folded at right and lower margins and split along folds with small losses affecting approximately 6 words), later red morocco by Grabau, upper cover lettered in gilt 'How I found Livingston [sic] by Henry M. Stanley', the inside upper cover with a lettered inscription in gilt 'To my favorite explorer July 8 1926' (hinges weak, extremities rubbed).
At the end of his career as an explorer, Stanley gives an account of his four major achievements: the search for Livingstone, the trans-continental journey, the founding of the Congo Free State and the Emin Pasha expedition. SIGNIFICANT AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPTS BY STANLEY ARE EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AT AUCTION.
Stanley traces his most famous accomplishments, in a career which he insists was governed always by Fate and his sense of duty, rather than by self-will or ambition - beginning with the peremptory summons to Paris to meet Gordon Bennett, the editor of the New York Herald: 'I was to make a voyage to Zanzibar - and - after an artful pause - he said I was to proceed to somewhere in the interior of Africa, - and ascertain what had become of the long lost missionary & traveller Livingstone'. The descriptions of his first three expeditions favour incident and description rather than continuous narrative, with fine set-pieces ranging from the historic tension of his meeting with Livingstone - 'amongst an assembly of well dressed Arabs was an elderly European...Doubtful of the temper he would receive me [sic], I simply bowed & said "Dr Livingstone I presume"...' - to a near-comic vignette of bloodthirsty, but sadly intoxicated, assailants on Lake Victoria - 'When their instincts for plunder began to emerge from the haze of drunkenness a single revolver fired into the water sent them all tumbling overboard while we sailed away admiring their love for swimming'. Stanley's tone in the early parts of the narrative is almost self-deprecating ('When you once acquire the habit of perserverance, it is as easy as falling to sleep'), but he consistently displays his journalist's flair for lively detail and the bon mot - 'D'Artagnan the musketeer had 40 ways of escaping from the Bastille, the true Pressman has a hundred ways of getting at an item'. In his account of the more recent Emin Pasha expedition, however, Stanley was comparatively willing to emphasize the sheer 'extreme of wretchedness' of the journey through the great Ituri rain forest 'through bush & brake, muddy swamp, & fetid ooze', and pursues the course of the journey to its bizarre end, when the Emin, safely arrived at the Indian Ocean in Bagamoyo, in the course of a celebratory banquet 'wandering over the house fell over a balcony into the Street 18 feet below'. Stanley notes laconically 'On coming out [of hospital] he was violently Anti-English...', and there, with a short summary of the fate of the other survivors, the manuscript breaks off.
A number of autobiographical sources exist for Stanley's main African expeditions, ranging from his journals and letters to newspaper articles and the full-scale works How I found Livingstone (1872), Through the Dark Continent (1878), The Congo and the Founding of Its Free State (1885) and In Darkest Africa (1890). Examination of the evolution of his accounts, and comparison with other sources, have led recent biographers to not unjustified accusations of mendacity, evasion and self-exculpation. The present manuscript is typical, avoiding any detailed description even of such notable traumas as the deaths of the Pocock brothers on the trans-continental journey, passing over the controversial incident of his bloody reprisals against the treacherous Bumbireh islanders in Lake Victoria, and going to lengths to justify his fatal isolation of the rear column in the Emin Pasha expedition, the controversy over which was still a talking point at the time of the lectures. But these defence-mechanisms are entirely typical: the present manuscript is a fine and fresh autograph account, in typical style, of the major achievements of one of the greatest African explorers.
A report in the Times, 2 May 1891, a lecture by Stanley in St James's Hall, London, provides a resum of the present text, with occasional quotations. Stanley is likely to have used this manuscript throughout his lecture tour in England, Wales and Scotland between April and June 1891 - the central part of a series that embraced the USA and Australia and New Zealand, which he undertook to fulfil a commitment entered into in 1886, before the Emin Pasha expedition. The British leg of the tour earned him 2,000, according to Frank Hird in his authorised biography. The revisions in the manuscript may be signs of the evolution of the text over the course of the series.
That the manuscript was prepared for the press is clear from the editorial corrections, and the printer's markings in violet ink (which indicate a relatively small page size, approximately 220 words). However, we have been unable to locate the published form of the lecture: no such pamphlet is listed in, for example, James A. Casada, Dr Livingstone and Sir Henry Morton Stanley: An Annotated Bibliography, and the text does not appear to have been consulted by any biographer. The only indications of the fate of the manuscript are the later American binding and its 1926 inscription.