5 – Death And Mutiny


Death of Shaw

The march from Unyanyembe was begun under very unfavorable circumstances to start with, and evil circumstances arose one after another until the end of the sixth day’s march.  Shaw was really only a hypochondriac,  but he brooded on his supposed sickness until it preyed so upon his nerves that he was really unfit for travel.  He fell frequently from his donkey, and groaned constantly with an agony of despair.  After much request, he was sent back to Unyanyembe, though Stanley warned him that  he was among a very barbarous people whose language he could not understand.  He was warned that it was probable that he might die because of this, and the prediction proved true a few weeks later. 

Uganda was a well-fortified city of 3,000 people.  After the party passed there their trouble gradually ceased, for the country became more elevated and healthful.  On October 4th, Stanley found himself on the hot plains of Manyara.  These plains were on the edge of a great country that abounded with large game.  The village of Manyara was not large, but the country itself was rich and populous.  Stanley was denied admission at the village gate, and had to camp near a pool of clear water beside a number of ruined huts. 

All the villages had felt much insecurity since Mirambo had begun his guerilla warfare.  The chief of Manyara refused to sell Stanley any grain or provisions, claiming that he was prohibited by the district governor from having any communication with caravans.  Stanley was really disappointed, but decided that he must rely on diplomacy to procure provisions.  He selected two royal cloths from a  bale and gave them to Bombay with an order to deliver them to the chief, with his compliments.  Bombay carried out the orders, but the chief refused the presents, and in a husky voice told Bombay that he did not want to be bothered.  Because the men could not barter for food, they had to go to bed without any supper.

The next morning, Stanley sent Bombay with four royal cloths and a quantity of brass.  The chief received these things with much delight, and sent in return a large supply of honey, fowls, goats, beans, etc., that was enough to last them for 4 days.  Shortly after this, the chief himself paid a visit to them and brought several of his natives along.  Stanley received them politely and they sat on a piece of Persian carpet and a bear skin.  They looked at him with much surprise, because he was the first white man they had ever seen.  They gave expression to their wonder by fits of laughter.  They were extremely impressed by his Winchester rifle, and they looked upon his revolver as if it were magic.  When a double-barrel shotgun was discharged near them, they jumped up and ran.  After they saw, though, that no harm was done, they fell down laughing in a very immoderate manner. 

Stanley explained to them the difference between white men and Arabs, and then pulled out his medicine chest.  They were completely overtaken at all the vials that were in the chest and everything else that was in it, and the chief asked what all those things were.  Stanley told him they were “Dowa”, a word they interpreted as medicine.  When they started to understand, they wanted to try out some of the medicine.  At first he uncorked a bottle of medicinal brandy.  He gave them a spoonful of it and they told him that they had never had anything like that and it made their throat burn.  He next got out a bottle of ammonia and told them it was for snake bites and headaches.  The chief said that he had a headache because he wanted to drink some more medicine.  Stanley uncorked the bottle and put it under his nose.  It was so strong that the chief fell back as if shot and made all kinds of terrible faces.  The men with him roared with laughter, clapped their hands, pinched each other, and snapped their fingers. 

A Hunter’s Paradise

The men marched on one day from Manyara and brought the caravan to the banks of the Gombe river.  There they saw thousands of harte-beests, buffaloes, giraffes, spring-boks, zebras and elands.  They felt that this place was indeed a hunter’s paradise.  It was a fine, grassy plain that was soft as velvet carpet, healthful and picturesque;  and not one of them could resist the temptation for a good hunt. 

Stanley made his preparations for camp, and then took up his double-barreled gun and went out to hunt.  He had scarcely even started when he saw three young spring-boks that were grazing on the succulent green grass.  A quick shot brought one to the ground and one of the natives quickly slit its throat so it couldn’t run.  It was almost supper time, so Stanley hurried back to camp so the fresh meat could be prepared.  That night they had delicious steaks, hot corn cake and Mocha coffee.  The hunt was continued on the next two days, but there were not an abundance of animals that they could kill because their weapons were too small.  During their three days’ sport, they killed 2 buffaloes, 2 wild boars, 3 hartebeests, 1 zebra, and 1 pallah.  Besides the big animals, they shot 8 guinea-fowls, 3 floricans, 2 fish eagles, 1 pelican, and one of the men caught a huge fish.  They cut, sliced, and dried this huge store of meat for the journey through the long wilderness before them. 

Narrow Escape from a  Crocodile

One day during the hunt, Stanley came upon the bank of the Yombe river.  The water was clear and cool, and he decided to take a bath.  He had just taken off his clothes and was about the dive in the water, when he saw the form of a monster crocodile a few feet under the water and stopped right under him just waiting for the prey.  With a shudder, he put back on his clothes and left the dangerous, but seductive spot. 

Mutiny From the Men

On the 7th of October Stanley ordered his men to break camp and resume the march.  He noticed that they were very silent and did not want to obey his orders.  After talking to them severely, they proceeded a short distance before they put down their loads and refused to go any farther.  He saw at once that he was in the midst of a mutiny and Bombay was the leader of it.  Stanley had to load his gun and threaten them with death, with a very tense episode ensuing.   When he got to the truth, he found that they were afraid to proceed further on the road because of the Miramba warriors. 

After it was all over, the men seemed to respect him much more because they found that they were governed by a resolute leader.  They marched with quick step and cheerful countenances, and go to Mrera on the 17th of October.  They had finally gotten out of  the country that Miramba had been terrorizing and felt that they were out of danger.  Their confidence returned and Bombay showed great loyalty to Stanley after that. 

The forests that they went through were laden with wild fruits.  The peaches there grew in great abundance and were delicious to taste.  The distance to Ujiji was not less than 100 miles, and the guides declared they could already smell the fish in Lake Tanganika.  Now they were all happy again because they were out of danger of being killed. 

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About Cathy Deaton


My name is Cathy Deaton, Owner of Fan the Flame Ministries. God has radically changed my life, and He has shown me that I am to share the awesome things I am learning especially with the Millennial Generation (1981 – 1996), but I love connecting with Christians of all ages. I have found that the Holy Spirit is an awesome teacher when I listen to, obey, and apply what He teaches to my life. You truly can make a difference for God in an uncertain world.