Find out Livingstone, and get what news you can relating to his discoveries."
With this terse command, the owner of the New York Herald sent his most tenacious young reporter, Henry Stanley, plunging into the wild heart of the Dark Continent. The Herald hoped the story would sell papers by drawing on readers' curiosity about the legendary David Livingstone. Stanley signed on for the sake of adventure, prestige, and journalistic duty—but not for the sake of the gospel.
Stanley (born John Rowlands) was not cast in a missionary mold. Both his father and mother abandoned him before his first birthday, leaving him in the cold care of reluctant relatives.
At 15 he came to America, where he acquired his second name from a wealthy American merchant, Henry Stanley, who showed kindness to the boy and soon adopted him as a son.
Stanley fought in the Civil War (first for the South, then the North). He discovered his gifts as a reporter through writing accounts of the battles he experienced, and later moved to New York to write professionally.
Once in Africa, Stanley was swindled by his native guides, threatened by belligerent kings, and brought "to the verge of the grave" by dysentery. No encouraging news of Livingstone's whereabouts offset these trials, and Stanley fought cynicism and depression. "Is this Dr. David Livingstone a myth?" he cried in one dispatch. "Is there such a person living? If so, where is he?"
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
The best reports Stanley could collect placed Livingstone at Ujiji, a city on the northeast coast of Lake Tanganyika. As Stanley's men marched, unsure if they would find Livingstone alive, dead, or not at all, several deserted. Tribal leaders demanded tribute at every turn, and Livingstone's letter carrier ...