And who was this young man who was chosen to undertake a work which required the highest qualities of manhood to carry it to success?
Henry M. Stanley, whose baptismal name was John Rowlands, was born of poor parents in Wales, in 1840. Being left an orphan at the age of three, he was sent to the poorhouse in his native place. There he remained for ten years, and then shipped as a cabin boy in a vessel bound for America. Soon after his arrival in this country, he found employment in New Orleans with a merchant named Stanley. His intelligence, energy, and ambition won him so much favor with this gentleman that he adopted him as his son and gave him his name.
The elder Stanley died while Henry was still a youth. This threw him again upon his own resources, as he inherited nothing from his adopted father, who died without making a will. He next went to California to seek his fortune. He was not successful, however, and at twenty he was a soldier in the Civil War. When the war was over, he engaged himself as a correspondent to the New York Herald.
In this capacity he traveled extensively in the East, doing brilliant work for his paper. When England went to war with King Theodore of Abyssinia, he accompanied the English army to Abyssinia, and from thence wrote vivid descriptive letters to the Herald. The child whose early advantages were only such as a Welsh poorhouse afforded, was already, through his own unaided efforts, a leader in his profession. He was soon to become a leader in a larger sense.
At the time Mr. Bennett conceived the idea of sending an expedition in search of Livingstone, Stanley was in Spain. He had been sent there by the Herald to report the civil war then raging in that country. He thus describes the receipt of Mr. Bennett’s message and the events immediately following:—
“I am in Madrid, fresh from the carnage at Valencia. At 10 A.M. Jacopo, at No.—Calle de la Cruz, hands me a telegram; on opening it I find it reads, ‘Come to Paris on important business.’ The telegram is from James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the young manager of the New York Herald.
“Down come my pictures from the walls of my apartments on the second floor; into my trunks go my books and souvenirs, my clothes are hastily collected, some half washed, some from the clothesline half dry, and after a couple of hours of hasty hard work my portmanteaus are strapped up and labeled for ‘Paris.’”
It was late at night when Stanley arrived in Paris. “I went straight to the ‘Grand Hotel,’” he says, “and knocked at the door of Mr. Bennett’s room.
“‘Come in,’ I heard a voice say. Entering I found Mr. Bennett in bed.
“‘Who are you?’ he asked.
“‘My name is Stanley,’ I answered.
“’Ah, yes! sit down; I have important business on hand for you.
“‘Where do you think Livingstone is?’
“‘I really do not know, sir.’