Изображения страниц

Island of St. Vincent, saying that Livingstone was dead. I said: “What does that mean to me? New Yorkers don't believe in me. How was I to prove that what I have said is true? By George! I will go and complete Livingstone's work. I will prove that the discovery of Livingstone was a mere fleabite. I will prove to them that I am a good man and true.” That is all that I wanted. [Loud cheers.)

I accompanied Livingstone's remains to Westminster Abbey. I saw those remains buried which I had left sixteen months before enjoying full life and abundant hope. The “ Daily Telegraph’s ” proprietor cabled over to Bennett: “Will you join us in sending Stanley over to complete Livingstone's explorations?” Bennett received the telegram in New York, read it, pondered a moment, snatched a blank and wrote: “Yes. Bennett.” That was my commission, and I set out to Africa intending to complete Livingstone's explorations, also to settle the Nile problem, as to where the head-waters of the Nile were, as to whether Lake Victoria consisted of one lake, one body of water, or a number of shallow lakes; to throw some light on Sir Samuel Baker's Albert Nyanza, and also to discover the outlet of Lake Tanganyika, and then to find out what strange, mysterious river this was which had lured Livingstone on to his death —whether it was the Nile, the Niger, or the Congo. Edwin Arnold, the author of “ The Light of Asia,” said: “Do you think you can do all this?” “Don't ask me such a conundrum as that. Put down the funds and tell me to go. That is all.” [“ Hear! Hear!”] And he induced Lawson, the proprietor, to consent. The funds were put down, and I went.

First of all, we settled the problem of the Victoria that it was one body of water, that instead of being a cluster of shallow lakes or marshes, it was one body of water, 21,500 square miles in extent. While endeavoring to throw light upon Sir Samuel Baker's Albert Nyanza, we discovered a new lake, a much superior lake to Albert Nyanza—the dead Locust Lake—and at the same time Gordon Pasha sent his lieutenant to discover and circumnavigate the Albert Nyanza and he found it to be only a miserable 140 miles, because Baker, in a fit of enthusiasm had stood on the brow of a high plateau and looking down on the dark blue waters

of Albert Nyanza, cried romantically: “I see it extending indefinitely toward the southwest!” Indefinitely is not a geographical expression, gentlemen. [Laughter.] We found that there was no outlet to the Tanganyika, although it was a sweet-water lake; we, settling that problem, day after day as we glided down the strange river that had lured Livingstone to his death, we were in as much doubt as Livingstone had been, when he wrote his last letter and said: “I will never be made black man's meat for anything less than the classic Nile."

After travelling 400 miles we came to the Stanley Falls, and beyond them, we saw the river deflect from its Nileward course toward the Northwest. Then it turned west, and then visions of towers and towns and strange tribes and strange nations broke upon our imagination, and we wondered what we were going to see, when the river suddenly took a decided turn toward the southwest and our dreams were put an end to. We saw then that it was aiming directly for the Congo, and when we had propitiated some natives whom we encountered, by showing them crimson beads and polished wire, that had been polished for the occasion, we said: “This is for your answer. What river is this?” it is the river, of course.” That was not an answer, and it required some persuasion before the chief, bit by bit digging into his brain, managed to roll out sonorously that, “ It is the Ko-to-yah Congo.” “It is the river of Congo-land.” Alas for our classic dreams! Alas for Crophi and Mophi, the fabled fountains of Herodotus! Alas for the banks of the river where Moses was found by the daughter of Pharaoh! This is the parvenu Congo! Then we glided on and on past strange nations and cannibals—not past those nations which have their heads under their arms—for 1,100 miles, until we arrived at the circular extension of the river and my last remaining companion called it the Stanley Pool, and then five months after that our journey ended.

After that I had a very good mind to come back to America, and say, like the Queen of Uganda: “ There, what did I tell you?” But you know, the fates would not permit me to come over in 1878. The very day I landed in Europe the King of Italy gave me an express train to convey me to France, and the very moment I descended from it at


“What! go

Marseilles there were three ambassadors from the King of the Belgians asked me to go back to Africa. back to Africa? Never! (Laughter.] I have come for civilization; I have come for enjoyment. I have come for love, for life, for pleasure. Not I. Go and ask some of those people you know who have never been to Africa before. I have had enough of it.” “Well, perhaps, by and by?” “Ah, I don't know what will happen by and by, but, just now, never! never! Not for Rothschild's wealth!” [Laughter and applause.]

I was received by the Paris Geographical Society, and it was then I began to feel “ Well, after all, I have done something, haven't I?” I felt superb [laughter], but you know I have always considered myself a Republican. I have those bullet-riddled flags, and those arrow-torn flags, the Stars and Stripes that I carried in Africa, for the discovery of Livingstone, and that crossed Africa, and I venerate those old flags. I have them in London now, jealously guarded in the secret recesses of my cabinet. I only allow my very best friends to look at them, and if any of you gentlemen ever happen in at my quarters, I will show them to you. [Applause.]

After I had written my book, “ Through the Dark Continent," I began to lecture, using these words: “I have passed through a land watered by the largest river of the African continent, and that land knows no owner. A word to the wise is sufficient. You have cloths and hardware and glassware and gunpowder and these millions of natives have ivory and gums and rubber and dye-stuffs, and in barter there is good profit.” [Laughter.]

The King of the Belgians commissioned me to go to that country. My expedition when we started from the coast numbered 300 colored people and fourteen Europeans. We returned with 3,000 trained black men and 300 Europeans. The first sum allowed me was $50,000 a year, but it has ended at something like $700,000 a year. Thus, you see, the progress of civilization. We found the Congo, having only canoes. To-day there are eight steamers. It was said at first that King Leopold was a dreamer. He dreamed he could unite the barbarians of Africa into a confederacy and called it the Free State, but on February 25, 1885, the

Powers of Europe and America also ratified an act, recognizing the territories acquired by us to be the free and independent State of the Congo., Perhaps when the members of the Lotos Club have reflected a little more upon the value of what Livingstone and Leopold have been doing, they will also agree that these men have done their duty in this world and in the age that they lived, and that their labor has not been in vain on account of the great sacrifices they have made to the benighted millions of dark Africa. [Loud and enthusiastic applause.]



[Speech of Edmund Clarence Stedman as chairman of the dinner given by the Authors' Club to Richard Henry Stoddard, New York City, March 26, 1897.)

GENTLEMEN:The members of the Authors' Club are closely associated to-night with many other citizens in a sentiment felt by one and all that of love and reverence for the chief guest of the evening. He has our common pride in his fame. He has what is, I think, of even more value to him, our entire affection. We have heard something of late concerning the “ banquet habit,” and there are banquets which make it seem to the point. But there are also occasions which transfigure even custom, and make it honored “in the observance." Nor is this a feast of the habitual kind, as concerns its givers, its recipient, and the city in which it is given. The Authors' Club, with many festivals counted in its private annals, now, for the first time, offers a public tribute to one of its own number; in this case, one upon whom it long since conferred a promotion to honorary membership. As for New York, warder of the gates of the ocean, and by instinct and tradition first to welcome the nation's visitors, it constantly offers bread and salt-yes, and speeches—to authors, as to other guests, from older lands, and many of us often have joined in this function. But we do not remember that it has been a habit for New York to tender either the oratorical bane or the gustatory antidote to her own writers. Except within the shade of their own coverts they have escaped these offerings, unless there has been something other than literary service to bring them public recognition. In the latter case, as when men

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »