donderdag 15 november 2012

Henry Morton Stanley -- 15 november 1893

November 15th, 1893. I left Manchester yesterday at noon, and arrived in London at 5 p. m., and found a mild kind of November fog and damp, cold weather here. After an anchorite's dinner, with a bottle of Apollinaris, I drove off to the Smoking-concert at the Lambeth. The programme consists of comic songs, ballads, and recitations, as usual; just when the smoke was amounting to asphyxiation, I was asked to say a few words. I saw that my audience was more than usually mixed, very boyish young fellows, young girls, and many, not- very-intellectual-looking, men and women. The subjects chosen by me were the Matabele War, and the present Coal-war or Strike. In order to make the Matabele War comprehensible to the majority, I had to use the vernacu- lar freely, and describe the state of things in South Africa, just as I would to a camp of soldiers.

In doing this, I made use of the illustration of an English- man, living in a rented house, being interfered with in his domestic government by a burly landlord, who insisted on coming into his house at all hours of the day, and clubbing his servants; and who, on the pretence of searching for his lost dog and cat, in his tenant's house, marched away with the Englishman's dog and other trifles. You who know the Eng- lishman, I went on, when in his house, after he has paid his rent and all just debts; you can best tell what his conduct would be ! It strikes me, I said, that the average man would undoubtedly "boot" the landlord, and land him in the street pretty quickly. Well, just what the Englishman in Lambeth would do, Cecil Rhodes did in South Africa with Lobengula. He paid his rent regularly, one thousand two hundred pounds a year or so, besides many hundreds of rifles, and ammunition to match, and other gifts, for the right to manage Mashona-land as he saw fit. Now in the concession to Rhodes, Lobengula had reserved no rights to meddle in the territory. Therefore, when, under the plea that his cattle had been stolen by Rhodes's servants, or subjects, the Mashonas, Lobengula marched into Rhodes's territory and slaughtered the Mashonas and took the white man's cattle, besides creating a general scare among the outlying farmers, and the isolated miners, Jameson, who was acting as Rhodes's steward, sent the sub- agent Lendy upon the tracks of the high-handed Matabele, hence the war. This little exposition took amazingly, and there was not one dissentient voice.

About the Coal-war I was equally frank, and said, in conclusion, that, if I had any money to spare at the present time, it would not be given to men who were determined to be sulky, and who, to spite the coal-owners, preferred to starve, but to those poor, striving people, who, though they had nothingto do with the dispute between miners and coal-owners, had to bear the same misery which the miners were supposed to suffer from, and who were obliged to pinch and economise in food, in order not to be without coals. This drew a tre- mendous burst of cheers, and ' Aye, aye, that is true.'

Some very bad cigars and black coffee were thrust upon me, and I had to take a cigar, and a teaspoonful of the coffee; neither, you may rest assured, did me any good!

Yesterday, I read W. T. Stead's last brochure, '2 and 2 make 4.' I think it is very good. Stead aims to be the 4 universal provider for such people as cannot so well provide for themselves. He is full of ideas, and I marvel how he manages to find time to write as he does ; he has mortgaged his life for the benefit of the many sheep in London, who look to him as to a shepherd.

The 'Daily Paper,' of which I have a specimen, may be made very useful ; and I hope he will succeed with it ; but it does not touch the needs of the aristocratic, learned, and the upper-middle class. Some day, I hope some other type of Stead will think of them, and bring out a high-class journal which shall provide the best and truest news, affecting all political, commercial, monetary, manufacturing, and indus- trial questions at home and abroad; not forgetting the very best books published, not only in England, but in Europe, and America, and from which 'sport' of all kinds will be banished.

It ought to be printed on good paper, and decent type ; the editorials should be short; the paper should not be larger than the 'Spectator' and the pages should be cut. I quite agree with Stead that it is about time we should get rid of the big sheets, and the paper-cutter. Wherefore I wish Stead all success, and that, some day, one may arise who will serve the higher intelligences in the country, with that same zeal, brightness, and inventiveness, which Stead devotes to the masses. Now I have faithfully said my say, and send you hearty greetings.

Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904) was een Welsh-Amerikaans journalist en ontdekkingsreiziger (degeene die dr Livingstone opspoorde). Dagboekfragmenten van zijn hand zijn opgenomen in The Autobiography Of Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1909).

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