STANLEY, Sir Henry Morton (1841-1904)
In Darkest Africa, or the Quest, Rescue, and Retreat of Emin, Governor of Equatoria
London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington Ltd., 1890. Quarto, 2 vols. (11 3/8 x 9 inches). Half-title. Mounted frontispieces in each volume. Presentation copy "to Stanley M. Burroughs. Born 13th July 1888" on limitation page in the first volume. Fine woodcut engraved text illustrations printed on india paper and mounted throughout and six etchings by George Montbard (1841-1905) signed in pencil. 4 chromolithographic maps and plans (the 2 large folding maps dissected and mounted on linen). 2 signed letters pasted to back free endleaf and inside back board.
Publisher's half dark brown morocco and parchment-covered boards, gilt-stamped. Housed in buckram chemises and slipcase.
Limited edition copy, numbered 194 of 250, with two signed letters addressed to Silas Mainville Burroughs, founder of the pharmaceutical company, Burroughs, Wellcome & Co.
Henry M. Stanley was born in 1841 in Wales illegitimately as John Rowlands, abandoned as an infant by his mother, passed around to relatives and eventually housed in the St. Asaph Union Workhouse for the Poor. When he was about 18 years old, he emigrated to America, where he fought in the Civil War, worked as a journalist, and launched the exploratory career that would lead to his positions as a colonial administrator. In 1869, while working for the New York Herald, Stanley "found" the "disappeared" Scottish missionary, David Livingstone, which made Stanley famous as an explorer. He was also involved early on in helping King Leopold establish Belgian rule over the Congo, one of the most notoriously controversial and violent colonial projects in the history of European imperialism. The present work documents, from Stanley's perspective, the controversial and disastrous Emin Pasha Relief Expedition to "rescue" Pasha, the governor of the Equatorial Province of Egypt [present-day South Sudan]. It was the largest and best-equipped expedition to Africa achieved by Europeans at the time and became notorious for its colonial agenda, high death toll from violence and disease, and brutal abuse of native peoples. The expedition took two years, traversed 3000 miles, and resulted in the death of more than 300 men from Stanley's group. Despite the controversy around their motives and the violence perpetrated by the expedition, his account became a bestseller. The prominent founders of pharmaceutical company, Burroughs, Wellcome & Co., Silas Burroughs (1846-1895) and Henry Wellcome were great admirers of and close friends with Stanley. Referenced in the letters is one of Wellcome's marketing schemes to give lightweight medicine chests to explorers, including Stanley, with the aim of promoting the pharmaceutical company's brand through association with empire and exploration. The two letters included here are from 1890 and 1891and addressed to Burroughs: 1) "Oct 9th, 1891. Dear Mr. Burroughs, you are always too kind and liberal. My wife and I are both enchanted with the Congo Dispatch Box. The pocket medicine cases -the curious but most useful paper cutter and pencil and pen holder, with the lanoline [sic] soap and shaving cream. ... Wm. Stanley half wished to be ill to test the virtues of your beautifully gotten up medicines. When we return from Australia you must come and see us after. We both feel that you are exceedingly good and kind, and we highly appreciate our short interview the other day. People find that much that is unknown of goodness in one another cannot be ascertained better than by speaking face to face. I wish you heartily continued success and prosperity in your ... chemical business and that our friendly feelings which are on my side sincere may never be interrupted and remain. Most faithfully yours, Henry M. Stanley" In the 1880s, shortly after Burroughs, Wellcome & Co. was formed, Burroughs went on an international tour throughout India, Africa, and beyond, during which he learned about storing drugs in different climates and began developing travel kits for first aid and toiletries. In this letter, Stanley sends his thanks to Burroughs, who has sent him a variation of these. Stanley was known to always shave, despite whatever places, conditions or events he found himself in, whether about to fight in battle or facing starvation. He believed keeping neat and organized in his appearance and belongings was of the utmost importance and valued this sense of "order." 2) "Grand Hotel / Brindisi / 11 April 180. Dear Mr. Burroughs, Your kind note has just reached me, for which please accept my ... thanks. I send you my most hearty congratulations for your little son and wish him unspeakable happiness and prosperity and hope most sincerely that he may make the name you have given him proverbial for all that is good and true. I will gladly send you a photograph for him when I get to London - they are all locked up now. I am, dear Mr. Burroughs, yours very truly, Henry M. Stanley" It is clear that Burroughs was a great admirer of Stanley, as he named his only son Stanley in honor of the explorer, who in turn presented this copy to Burroughs' son.
Jeal, Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer (Yale University Press, 2007).