How I Found Livingstone
David Livingstone (1813 – 1873) was a Scottish medical missionary and explorer of Africa who, after having gone missing, was famously "found" by "American" journalist Henry Stanley, giving rise to the popular phrase, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Livingstone had reached cult levels of fame in Victorian England: he was a Protestant missionary "martyr", a working class "rags to riches" persona, a scientist and explorer obsessed with mysterious source of the Nile, and an anti-slavery, imperial reformer. So by time Stanley had gone to look for him, Livingstone had been missing for 6 years, and was presumed dead.
Stanley, who was an adventurer himself, went on said mission in 1871 on behalf of the New York Herald. He traveled 700 miles in nearly eight months, suffered diseases and tribal warfare, until he found the ill Dr. Livingstone in the town of Ujiji (a same place Richard Burton and John Speke had reached, on the shore of Tanganyika in Tanzania). Stanley himself was an intriguing character: Born in Wales, he emigrated to the US at a young age, found some parents to adopt him, and claimed to be American. Stanley was self-obsessed, sadistic and pompous, but he did pull off a life of awesome adventure. Livingstone died not long after their meeting, while Stanley would go on to a life of infamy in the Congo region, later serving as an inspiration for Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
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August 22, 2013
Interesting narrative. I had heard the story as a child. This gave it those details ommitted in the telling of the tail in history class.