James Gordon Bennett, Jr. was proprietor of the New York Herald. He was often thought of as an eccentric, but everyone knew that he was a genius in making a great newspaper even greater.
For nearly two years the civilized world had believed the report that Livingstone was dead, for this news had been circulated at Zanzibar by traders coming from Central Africa. A man named Baker had penetrated as far as the Albert Nyanza and enquired of the natives concerning the lost white man, but no tidings from him could be gained. He, also believed that the story he had heard was true about Livingstone being dead. Finally, James Bennett alone believed that Livingstone was still alive, and he conceived the idea of proving his belief by sending a man into Africa to find him.
Henry M. Stanley was a vigorous, daring, and very capable journalist. His first schooling was as a war correspondent of the St. Louis Democrat and before long he had attracted the notice of Bennett in New York. When Stanley joined the Herald, Bennett gave him a roving commission through Europe as correspondent of the Herald. In fact, Bennett had so much confidence in Stanley that he telegraphed him at Madrid on October 16, 1869, and told him to come to Paris on important business.
Stanley responded immediately and reached Paris on the night of October 18th. He went at once to Mr. Bennett’s room in the Grand Hotel. Even though Bennett was already asleep, he talked to Stanley and explained to him his purpose of sending an expedition into Africa in search of Livingstone. He also told him that he was the one that would be the best man for the job. Stanley was dumbfounded, and did not attempt to disguise his feelings. He confessed to his belief in the popular opinion that Livingstone was already dead. Besides, he reminded Mr. Bennett that the expense of such an undertaking would be enormous.
When Mr. Bennett asked what would be the cost, Stanley told him that it would cost a sum of $ 12,000 at a minimum. Bennett just told him to draw out a thousand pounds, and then when that was gone to draw out another thousand. He was to continue doing this until he got all he needed. But he had direct orders that he must FIND LIVINGSTONE whatever he did.
After this, Mr. Bennett gave Stanley several commissions in the East such as reporting the ceremonies and attending the opening of the Suez Canal, a visit to Jerusalem, Constantinople, the Crimea battlegrounds, Persia, India, Bagdad, etc. After he had given him his instructions and laid out work for him until he got everything together for the trip, he went to bed and left Stanley to start working everything out.
Stanley completed the first part of his commission in a little less than a year, arriving in Bombay in August of 1870, ready to start on his search for Livingstone. After he had purchased all his supplies, two months later he set sail for Zanzibar and reached his destination after a voyage of 37 days.
Organizing for the Journey
Stanley was well received by the American consul at Zanzibar. He gave him a room in his own house and seemed to take delight in ministering to all of his needs. There was one man named William L. Farqubar that Stanley had met on the boat who would accompany him into Africa. The rest of the people in the company would have to be enlisted at Zanzibar.
John Shaw was an Englishman that had been found adrift there and they enlisted him at a salary of $300 per year. They also wanted to secure 25 free blacks for the road. There were many of them to choose from, but most were very unreliable. It was with much pleasure that Stanley finally found several who were reliable and wanted to go on another expedition. Five good men were found and he agreed to pay them $40 each per year. A few days later a man named Bombay came to Zanzibar. He had been one of the head men in another expedition, and he was enlisted and made captain of all the blacks. He succeeded in getting 18 more free men to volunteer for the trip. These were men he knew who would not desert the party in a desperate time of need, and he said he would be responsible for them. Their wages were set at $36 per year.
Each of the men was provided with a flint-lock musket, powder-horn, bullet-pouch, knife, and hatchet, besides enough powder and ball for 200 rounds. Bombay himself was engaged at $80 per year because of his expertise and previous faithful services on other expeditions. Half of that sum was given to him in advance, along with a good muzzle-loading rifle, a pistol, a knife, and a hatchet.
Two boats were purchased from the American consul for $ 120, with one of them having to carry 12 men. The boats were stripped of their boards and tarred canvas substituted as a much lighter material and was much less liable to leakage or rupture. The boats were intended for crossing streams and navigating river and lakes. Twenty donkeys were also purchased, along with a cart that was 18 inches wide and five feet long, to carry the narrow ammunition boxes along the goat paths.
When all his purchases were complete, Stanley found that all of them weighed in at almost 6 tons. Nearly half of it had to be carried to the center of Africa on the shoulders of men. For this 160 carriers had to be found at Bagamoyo, situated on the mainland across from the island of Zanzibar.
After he had been in Zanzibar for 28 days getting all the supplies ready, Stanley was finally ready to start upon his search for Livingstone. Before he departed, though, the Sultan asked to see him and gave him Royal Letters that commended him for gracious favor with all the Arabs that he might meet. The Sultan also gave him a beautiful horse, and an American merchant at Zanzibar added another one that was valued at $500. When they finally got everything ready and were just at the point of leaving, they could not find Farquhar and Shaw. After a long search, it was found that were in a terrible state of intoxication at one of the groggeries in a quiet corner of the town. They finally were able to lead them down to the boat.
En Route for the Interior
The expedition reached Bagamoyo on February 6, 1871. There were many delays, though, because of false promises made by the natives that Stanley employed to get carriers for him into the Interior. He didn’t start the first caravan until February 18th, and the fifth, or last one, didn’t get underway until March 21st. The total number of all the people connected with the expedition was 192. Together they presented an imposing appearance that was headed by the American Flag. This was the first time that it had ever been carried into the wilds of Africa. The expedition was now finally on the road to Ujiji, where Livingstone had used as a base city for getting his supplies and hiring men for his expeditions.
The first trouble they encountered was at the turbid Kingani river. The jungle was along its right bank for some distance. They were walking in a caravan along the side of the river when all of a sudden they came upon a portion of black mud that was eight feet wide. The natives who were walking beside the river could get through it, but the animals were too heavy. They had to construct a bridge by cutting down trees and covering them with grass so they could get across. Then further on they had to cross the river. To do this they had to make a canoe from hollowing out a tree, which required much labor. Then they all had to cross the river in this one canoe, which took up a great deal of time for just this one effort of getting across the river.
The route that Stanley had chosen to reach Ugoge was a new one that had never before been traveled by a white man. It was thickly populated and enabled him to buy meat and save his herd of goats for when they got further into the interior and there was no other source for food. This proved to be a great advantage for him.
They saw the natives at work in the fields with both men and women only wearing the scantiest of things to cover themselves. They were not at all embarrassed by the way they looked, and couldn’t seem to understand why there was so much curiosity among the people in the caravan because they were staring at them. They were totally at ease with themselves and left their work when they saw the white men come into their village because they were amazed.
After crossing the Kingani river they soon came to a village called Rosako, where they camped. Here Stanley was very much annoyed by the curiosity of the natives. He writes in his diary the following: “Among other experiments which I was about to try in Africa, was that of a good watch-dog on any unmannerly people who would insist upon coming into my tent at untimely hours and endangering valuables. Especially did I wish to try the effect of its bark on the mighty Ugogo, who, I was told by certain Arabs, would lift the door of the tent and enter whether you wished them or not; who would chuckle at the fear they inspired, and say to you, ‘Hi, hi, white man, I never saw the like of you before; are there many more like? where do you come from?’ Also they would take hold of your watch and ask you with a cheerful curiosity, ‘What is this for, white man?’ to which you, of course, would reply that it was to tell you the hour and minute. But the Ugogo, proud of his prowess, and more unmannerly than a brute, would answer you with a snort of insult, saying, ‘Oh, you fool!’, or, ‘You be damned for a liar!’. I thought of a watch dog and procured a good one at Bombay, not only as a faithful companion, but to threaten the heels of just such gentry.”
The dog proved to be a great wonder to the prying natives, and kept them at a respectful distance. Also the fine horse that had been presented to Stanley by the Sultan was taken suddenly sick on April 1st, and after a few hours of suffering, died. He had been a victim of the tsetse fly. Fifteen hours after the first horse had died, the other one became violently sick and died the following morning.
They were now marching through thick jungle, with the road being merely a goat path. It was so narrow that a single man could hardly push his way through. This made for frequent stops to rearrange the loads of the donkeys because the thorns kept tearing at the packs on their backs and trying to pull them off.
During this time, ten of the best men were stricken with fever, and the rest were almost worn out with fatigue and greatly discouraged. Their progress was very slow, with them only being able to go 4 or 5 miles a day. Shaw was in charge of the little cart that was far in the rear, and he enlivened the march with a constant flow of all the expressions that have made sailors so famous.
On the 18th of April they met a chained slave gang that was bound eastward. The slaves did not appear to be in the least down-hearted. In fact, they acted just the opposite, and if it had not been for their chains it would have been difficult to discover the difference in master and slave. They acted like they were amazed and pleased to see the white men. Stanley did not know what to make of this slave gang as he had never seen one before.
Below is a picture of the drawing that he made of how they looked: