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November 10: Stanley Finds Livingstone


Today is the day Stanley found Livingstone in 1871. That’s right. Dr. David Livingstone was a Scottish explorer and missionary who had disappeared into the wilds of Africa for six years, and Henry Morton Stanley was a Welsh journalist and adventurer who took it upon himself, with the aid of the New York Herald, to find the man and see what was up. Just wanted to check in, see if he needed anything. When Stanley did find him in the small village of Ujiji, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, he uttered that immortal question, “What’s up, Doc?” Just kidding. He said, of course, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Livingstone was said to have replied, “Yes. I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you.” He said that because he had been sick for some time and was certain he’d be soon joining the choir invisible, as it were. So, did these adventurous chaps drink? Not so much. Livingstone swore he was a strict teetotaler, but confessed that when trying to convert the heathens he would, quote, “Take a little of their stuff if it is offered in kindness.” Unquote. Stanley came from rougher stock. Born a bastard, in the literal sense of the word, he was raised in a workhouse before emigrating to America at the age of 18. He managed to fight on both sides of the Civil War, became a journalist, then a noted African explorer, and later a member of the British Parliament. Now, with that sort of background you’d imagine he put it away, but good, but in fact he would only occasionally have a drink, to the degree he would sometimes get in trouble with African chiefs, because he wouldn’t get loaded with them. He was more into tea and cigars. Go figure.


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