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HENRY MORTON STANLEY - John Rowlands

Adventurer, Journalist and Explorer

Stanley was one of the mourners present at the funeral of William Mackinnon of Balinakill House, Clachan, in 1893,
Stanley's history of interest to Kintyreans and others because of his meeting with Scottish missionary-explorer David
Livingstone in Africa and of particular interest to residents of Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay because it was there, before
his African explorations, that Stanley gained much knowledge about Livingstone's background from James 'Paraffin'
Young, owner of Kelly House.

Stanley, born John Rowlands on January 28, 1841, in Denbigh, was an illegitimate child, registered in the name of
his father, his mother, Elizabeth Parry, letting him be reared by her father, Moses Parry and then, when Moses
died, by the workhouse at St Asaph, six miles away in Flintshire.

Although he worked hard at his workhouse duties and at his lessons when these chores were over, he met with nothing
but cruelty from James Francis, the master, a tyrant who might have been a better man if he had known how, through
one of his helpless little victims, he would be remembered.

Refusing to accept yet another undeserved beating, John Rowlands kicked out with such force that Francis toppled
backwards, hitting his head on the stone floor and, having made sure that the tyrant was not badly hurt, Rowlands ran
for the workhouse wall, accompanied by a friend called Mose, his first adventure.

After staying with relatives of Mose, he lived with a schoolteacher cousin and himself worked as an unpaid pupil-
teacher at Mold, eighteen miles from St Asaph, until his need of an income sent him to Liverpool, where he found
employment in a butcher's shop near the docks.

One day he was delivering meat to an American ship, the Windermere, the captain asked him if he would like to sail as
cabin-boy for $5 a month and it was duly agreed that he join the vessel before she left for New Orleans in three days'
timebut, he was still to be a victim of some cruelty for sadistic ships' officers were as common as sadistic schoolmasters
and for the next two months Rowlands was cursed and kicked and beaten from sunrise to sunset by sadists whose
behaviour and character would have shocked even worhouse tyrant James Francis.

No sooner had the ship arrived at New Orleans than the brutes on board tormented him beyond all endurance so that
he would leave without his pay, even in those hard days he would have been entitled to two months' wages if he had
been sacked.

One night Rowlands picked up his Bible, went on shore, slept on some cotton bales piled high near the waterside and
early next morning began to look for work.

While he was walking along a street towards a store bearing the sign 'Speake and McCreary' where, outside the store, a
man was sitting with a newspaper in front of him.

After discovering that John Rowlands could read it and could write as well, he said that he would recommend him to
Mr Speake, whom he knew.
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Speake engaged the young immigrant at $25 a month and the man who had recommended him, a merchant and
cotton-broker, invited him home to Sunday breakfast, gave him books and later, on the death of his wife, adopted
him, Rowlands then taking his benefactor's name and nationality and the merchant, a former minister, even baptising
him, 'Henry Morton Stanley'.

Soon the businessman and his adopted son were travelling along the Mississippi in the big riverboats to Memphis, St
Louis, Cincinatti and Louisville and 'Henry' going to train at a country store in Arkansas for his intended career as a
merchant. He did not see his benefactor again.

The elder Stanley had gone on a visit to Cuba and nothing more was heard of him, his protégé, only several years later,
discovering that his benefactor had died there early in his visit without leaving a will and his adopted son inheriting only
the name that was to make him famous across The World.

The North and South soon locked in a conflict that would cost about 750,000 lives, Stanley joined The Confederate
Army and fought with the Dixie Greys at Shiloh, one of the fiercest battles ever fought on American soil, over 10,000
men lost on each side and amongst that battle's prisoners was Stanley.

Feeling that he would go out of his mind if he had to stay in the hideous prison camp, Stanley gained his release by
changing sides and joining The Union Army but, after a few days, he fell sick and was discharged !

Remaining true to his new allegiance however, he volunteered for The Federal Navy and served as Acting Ensign in the
ironclad Ticonderoga and, it was around that time, when he wrote some vividly descriptive letters, that the attention they
attracted led him into journalism, Stanley recruited by Colonel Samuel Forster Tappan, himself a one-time journalist,
of The Indian Peace Commission, to serve as a correspondent to cover the work of 'The Commission' in their Indian
campaigns in the American West for several newspapers in 1867 and then being sent to Abyssinia to cover Lord
Napier's campaign, one of 'Queen Victoria's little wars', for the The New York Herald, on condition that Stanley paid
his own expenses !

It was then, en route to Abyssinia, that he accepted an invitation to visit the villages of Wemyss Bay and Skelmorlie on
the eastern shores of The Firth of Clyde, Stanley likely meeting up there with William Watson, son of the gardener of
Ashcraig, who lived just below Skelmorlie Castle and wrote the classic American Civil War Adventures of A Blockade
Runner and Stanley introduced to the Burns family of Castle Wemyss, who helped found The Cunard Line and James
'Paraffin' Young of Kelly House, friend of Scottish missionary-explorer David Livingstone.

Stanley's news of the victory at Magdala, transmitted from Egypt, gave the The New York Herald a world scoop. The
telegraph cable people, having been promised a reward, had sent out his despatch before any other and immediately
afterwards the Mediterranean telegraph cable had 'broken' !

After that, Stanley was retained exclusively by James Gordon Bennett, founder of The New York Herald and became
one of The New York Herald's overseas correspondents and, after too reporting on The Carlist War in Spain, in 1869,
was instructed by Bennett's son, also James Gordon Bennett, to find Scottish missionary-explorer David Livingstone,
who was known to be in Africa but had not been heard from for some time, Livingstone later found to have been in
poor health for some six years.

The story has it that James Gordon Bennett, Junior, called Stanley to a meeting in Paris' Grand Hotel and said, 'I
want you to attend the opening of the Suez Canal and then proceed up the Nile. Send us detailed descriptions of
everything likely to interest American tourists. Then go to Jerusalem, Constantinople, The Crimea, The Caspian Sea,
through Persia as far as India and, after that, you can start looking round for Livingstone. If he is dead, bring back
every possible proof of his death'.

In his own account of the meeting, Stanley, having previously had to pay all his own expenses, asked Bennett , how
much he could spend and the reply was "Draw £1,000 now and when you have gone through that, draw another
£1,000 and when that is spent, draw another £1,000 and, when you have finished that, draw another £1,000 and so
on — BUT FIND LIVINGSTONE", the instructions leading to a 14-month long adventure.

Stanley travelled to Zanzibar and, no doubt with the help of Campbeltown-born William Mackinnon's staff there,
outfitted an expedition with the best of everything, requiring no fewer than 200 porters to support the expedition, he
found Livingstone on November 10, 1871, in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, in present-day Tanzania and greeted him
(at least according to his own journal) with the now famous, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume ?"

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Over the next four happy months, the two men, one 59 and the other 30, explored together, Stanley, after promising
to send Livingstone a gang of porters, then soldiering on towards Zanzibar with Livingstone's precious journal and
notes and a story that would fascinate mankind.

Returning to England with the news of Livingstone's discovery, Stanley was met with a mixed reception, some of
Livingstone's backers upset by Stanley's efforts and methods.

Meanwhile, reaching Tabora, Livingstone and his new team of porters moved out into the bush looking for the source
of The Nile and wondering whether the Lualaba would prove, after all, to be The Congo.

Nine months later, at 4 a.m. on May Day 1873, Livingstone's boys found him kneeling across his bed in prayer, his
great life ended.

Livingstone's boys, Susi and Chuma and the others, after removing the heart and viscera, dried Livingstone's body in
the sun for a fortnight, wrapped it in calico, placed it in a cylinder of bark from a tree and then bore the cylinder,
sewn in a piece of sailcloth lashed to a pole, across more than 1,000 miles of bush, travelling through every sort of
danger until, on 15 February 1874, they came to Bagamoyo, where HMS Vulture was waiting, the Vulture taking
Livingstone's remains to Zanzibar, where they lay in William Mackinnon's office till the arrival of the Calcutta, she then
to Aden and the P and O steamer Malwa to Southampton for the special train and the service in Westminster Abbey,
Livinstone's grave there, near the tomb of The Unknown Soldier.

At the invitation of James 'Paraffin' Young of Kelly House, Susi and Chuma came north to Wemyss Bay's Kelly Estate
and, over a period of months, built a replica of the hut in which Livingstone had died, the main frame of the hut lasting
for nearly 70 years, into the 1950's.

In 1874, handsomely financed by The Daily Telegraph and The New York Herald, Stanley began a 3-year journey to
measure the lakes of Central Africa and to complete the exploration of the Lualaba, which the missionary from
Blantyre had left unfinished.

With him went the two young sons of a Kentish fisherman, Francis John Pocock and Edward Pocock and a clerk
named Frederick Barker, whom Stanley had met at The Langham Hotel in London and, that November, the team left
Zanzibar with 356 men, eight tons of stores and a 40ft wooden boat, the Lady Alice, which had been built in five
sections for porterage.

During their fantastic journey Frederick Barker died suddenly, Edward Pocock fell victim to typhus and Francis Pocock
and Kalulu (an African boy whom Stanley had adopted and sent to school in England) were lost from canoes.

The voyage of the Lady Alice down to Lualaba and The Congo to the 'Salt Sea' must be accounted among the greatest
adventures in history for, when at last, after 999 days, the party came out from the jungles at the river mouth only 114
of the 356 remained, among them thirteen women and their children.

By that time, Henry Morton Stanley had traced The Congo to The Atlantic and proved that The Nile rose in Lake
Victoria, Stanley's surname, once owned by a merchant in New Orleans, now identifies a city on another river and
The Congo celebrating his name in both The Stanley Falls and Stanley Pool.

During Stanley's third African expedition, at the invitation of King Leopold II of Belgium, from 1879 to 1884, he
helped to opened the Congo River Basin, after setting up 21 trading posts along the river and to organize the notorious
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Congo Free State, persuading local chiefs to grant sovereignty over their land to the Belgian king and, at the 1884 -
1885 Berlin Conference, Stanley was instrumental in obtaining American support for Leopold's Congo venture.

Stanley's last expedition, in 1888, was promoted by Campbeltown-born William Mackinnon for the relief of Mehmed
Emin Pasha, the governor of Equatoria, who had been cut off by the Mahdist revolt in the Sudan. Mackinnon,
having enlisted Stanley, wrote to Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Iddesleigh and also enlisted other friends to form a
committee which could oversee the expedition and meet more than half the cost.

Stanley escorted Emin and 1,500 others to the safety of Africa's eastern coast, Stanley thus helping to put Uganda into
the British sphere of influence and discovering, on the way, The Mountains of the Moon and Lake Edward.

Stanley settled the question of the source of The Nile and opened a vast territory which accelerated the desire of
European countries to control African soil.

On July 12, 1890, Stanley married Welsh artist, Dorothy Tennant and took her on an expedition that proved less
successful, a vain search for his old home in New Orleans. Stanley's benefactor was remembered too when the couple
adopted a baby boy, Denzil.

Having become a British subject again, Stanley stood for Parliament and, from 1895 to 1900, represented the London
constituency of North Lambeth as a Liberal Unionist.

His last years, before his death, on May 10 1904, were spent far from the African wilds at Furze Hill, near Pirbright,
in Surrey.

He was honoured, like Livingstone thirty years before, with a service in Westminster Abbey, but was buried in the
churchyard of St. Michael's Church, at Pirbright in Surrey.

Over his grave was placed a huge stone bearing, with the simple words 'Henry Morton Stanley 1841 - 1904', the name
given to him by the Africans, 'Bula Matari', which means 'Breaker of Rocks', or 'Road Maker'. One more word is
added - Africa.

Though a British and American hero for about a century, Stanley has fared poorly in recent histories, many of these
revealing instances of his lying about events in his life, duplicity in some of his dealings and many acts of brutality to
Africans. To Stanley's credit, on his return to England, he was presented with one of the first of the newly-invented
wax-cylinder recording machines, a 'phonograph' and he made a point of recording the voices of famous elderly men
before they died.

Today, in tribute to Stanley, the former St Asaph workhouse, where Stanley spent his early years, is now the 'H. M.
Stanley Hospital' and the Tokyo-based Stanley Electric Company, producing light emitting diodes, liquid crystal
displays and all kinds of lamps, including automotive headlamps, has secured the right to use Stanley's family name in
honour of his discoveries "that have brought light into many spots of the world undiscovered and hitherto unknown to
mankind".
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