A Victim of Thievery

Henry Stanley

New York Herald/July 15, 1872

Kwihara, Unyanyembe

March 1, 1872

It is erroneously supposed by his friends that Doctor Livingstone is most industriously attended to, that he receives annually, if not semi-annually, large supplies of cloth, beads and necessaries. Your correspondent begs to inform his friends that the HERALD Expedition found him turned back from his explorations when on the eve of being terminated thoroughly by the very men sent to him by the British Consulate; that the expedition found him sitting down at Ujiji utterly destitute, robbed by the very men sent by the British Consulate at Zanzibar with his caravan; that the HERALD Expedition escorted him to Unyanyembe only in time to save his last stock of goods, for they were rapidly being made away with by the very men entrusted by the British Consulate with the last lot of goods; that it was only by an accident that your correspondent saw a packet of letters addressed to Livingstone, and so, forcibly, took one of Livingstone’s men to carry the letters to his employer.

When we arrived at Unyanyembe two bales of cloth, two bags of beads and one case of brandy had already disappeared out of the last lot.

Neither are the supplies or letters hurried up to him. He might have waited long at Ujiji waiting for goods and letters that never would come, if the HERALD Expedition had not informed him.

Though the distance from Zanzibar to Unyanyembe is but three months for a loaded caravan, yet the Consulate’s trusty men stopped on the seacoast, within a stone’s throw (figuratively speaking) of the consulate, over three and a half months, and Livingstone got his goods thirteen and a half months after they left the seacoast, and only at three months from the coast. Livingstone had to come for them himself, a distance of 350 miles.

Within the time that the British Consul’s men took to convey Livingstone’s goods and letters a distance of only 525 miles, the HERALD Expedition was formed, and marched 2,059 English statute miles, and before the fourteenth month of its departure from the seacoast the HERALD Expedition will have arrived at the seacoast, be paid off and disbanded.

In the matter of supplies, then, being sent to Livingstone semiannually or annually there is no truth whatever. The cause is extreme apathy at Zanzibar and the reckless character of the men sent. Where English gentlemen are so liberal and money so plentiful it should be otherwise.

When preparing to return to the coast your correspondent, in command of your expedition, turned over to Dr. Livingstone nine bales of mixed cloths, 980 pounds of assorted beads, well adapted for Rua and Manyema, and 350 pounds of brass wire, besides one portable boat to cross rivers, a supply of carpenter’s tools, revolvers, carbines and several hundred pounds of ammunition.

(Source: “Stanley’s Dispatches to the New York Herald,” Archive.org)