King Leopold’s Ghost

John Rowlands / Henry Morton Stanley Character Analysis

Henry Morton Stanley was the first European explorer to sail all the way across the Congo River. An ambitious yet intensely insecure man, he was born into a poor Welsh family and he worked hard to establish himself, first as a reporter, then as an explorer. After tracking down David Livingstone, Stanley entered the employ of Leopold II, who paid him large sums to secure landholdings in the Congo and build infrastructure there. Stanley is a complex character: he was desperate for acceptance among the English elite, and Hochschild argues that, in many ways, he worked hard throughout his life to ensure that he would receive this acceptance. At times, Stanley criticized Leopold’s cruelty toward the Congolese, but it’s also clear that Stanley himself was a cruel master to the Congolese: he didn’t shy away from using torture and intimidation when he thought it was necessary.

John Rowlands / Henry Morton Stanley Quotes in King Leopold’s Ghost

The King Leopold’s Ghost quotes below are all either spoken by John Rowlands / Henry Morton Stanley or refer to John Rowlands / Henry Morton Stanley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Houghton Mifflin edition of King Leopold’s Ghost published in 2005.
Chapter 4 Quotes

By the time Stanley and others working for the king were done, the blue flag with the gold star fluttered over the villages and territories, Stanley claimed, of more than 450 Congo basin chiefs. The texts varied, but many of the treaties gave the king a complete trading monopoly, even as he placated European and American questioners by insisting that he was opening up Africa to free trade. More important, chiefs signed over their land to Leopold, and they did so for almost nothing.

Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
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John Rowlands / Henry Morton Stanley Character Timeline in King Leopold’s Ghost

The timeline below shows where the character John Rowlands / Henry Morton Stanley appears in King Leopold’s Ghost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...buyers). Around the time he turned 18, he gave himself a new name: Henry Morton Stanley. Throughout his adult life, Stanley distorted the details of his early life, sometimes presenting himself... (full context)
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Stanley fought as a Confederate in the Civil War, but switched to the Union side after... (full context)
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...in the midst of an expedition, prompting an international investigation. The New York Herald sent Stanley to Africa to find Livingstone. Over the next four years, Stanley, a savvy self-promoter, traveled... (full context)
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Stanley’s account of the Livingstone expedition is revealing in the frank way he talks about Africans.... (full context)
Chapter 2
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One of the many people who had followed Stanley’s expedition to find David Livingstone was King Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold was the new... (full context)
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In the 1870s, Leopold learned of Henry Morton Stanley, who was then traveling through Africa to find Livingstone. Leopold realized that Stanley’s expeditions had... (full context)
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...Leopold held a Geographic Conference with explorers and missionaries from across Europe. At the time, Stanley was still in Africa, but the conference formally recognized his work. Leopold flattered his guests... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...of Boma, located near the Congo River. The men carried a note from Henry Morton Stanley, explaining that his expedition was on the brink of starvation and they desperately needed food.... (full context)
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After finding David Livingstone, Stanley had set out on another expedition through Africa, sponsored by the New York Herald and... (full context)
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Reading Stanley’s memoirs, one is struck by how much of his expedition was spent measuring and surveying... (full context)
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In the final stages of the expedition, Stanley and his crew faced starvation and—thanks to the rapid currents of the river—drowning. Furthermore, men... (full context)
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...months leading up to the end of the expedition, Leopold had learned a lot about Stanley. He read countless articles about Stanley’s travels, and decided that Stanley had the temperament to... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Henry Morton Stanley traveled to meet King Leopold in June of 1878. At the time, Stanley was Europe’s... (full context)
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When Leopold finally met with Stanley, Leopold was 43 years old, and a shrewd, experienced monarch. Stanley, thirty-seven, was famous across... (full context)
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...before, donations poured in from Europe’s greatest humanitarians. Leopold even claimed that he was sending Stanley to investigate the possibility of building “free negro republics” around the Congo, whose presidents would... (full context)
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For the next five years, Stanley worked diligently on behalf of King Leopold. His men, some of whom were white Europeans,... (full context)
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During Stanley’s expedition, other European powers began exploring the area surrounding the Congo. Afraid that he would... (full context)
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What do we know about the societies that existed along the Congo River before Stanley’s arrival? To begin with, societies along the Congo were incredibly diverse. Some of the Congo... (full context)
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By June of 1884, Stanley’s work in the Congo was done. He’d arranged for hundreds of treaties granting the Belgians... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...Leopold’s followers were present at the conference, including Sanford (acting as ambassador from America), and Stanley. Leopold instructed his allies to include Belgium in a series of trade agreements, further cementing... (full context)
Chapter 6
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After Stanley finished securing the Congo for Leopold, Leopold kept Stanley as a consultant, for fear that... (full context)
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...governor of the region, asked for European support to defend the Sudan from fundamentalist rebels. Stanley begged Leopold for permission to travel to the Sudan to fight alongside Pasha. Leopold, sensing... (full context)
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Stanley assembled an armed expedition to take to the Sudan. However, he feuded constantly with his... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...to trick African people into thinking that white men are magical. He also notes that Stanley’s name provokes shudders among the Africans. Williams points out the absence of schools or churches... (full context)
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Williams’s letters on the Congo were published in the New York Herald, Stanley’s former employer. Leopold was furious with Williams, and told his contacts in Europe that Williams... (full context)
Chapter 8
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By the 1890s, King Leopold personally controlled all the land in the Congo, thanks to Stanley’s intimidation policies in the previous decade. As a result, Leopold acted as a kind of... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...who submitted a long treatise on “the suppression of savage customs.” Like Kurtz, Henry Morton Stanley was extravagantly praised for his books on Africa. Similarly, Captain Léon Rom published a book... (full context)
Chapter 10
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On July 12, 1890, Henry Morton Stanley finally got married. His bride was a high-society woman named Dorothy Tennant, to whom he... (full context)
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Shortly after Stanley got married, an African American man named William Sheppard traveled to the Congo. Sheppard was... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...the state of the Congo. However, Sheppard wasn’t a public relations master like Leopold or Stanley, and he wasn’t able to tell many powerful people the truth about the Congo. (full context)
Chapter 12
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...diligent research. In the course of his early investigations, Morel learned about the treaties that Stanley had negotiated with the African chiefs—treaties that were designed to rob entire tribes of their... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...total population in the Congo was “reduced by half” in the years following Henry Morton Stanley’s colonization. The estimate has been supported by contemporary historians, who cite information from missionaries, oral... (full context)
Chapter 16
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In the early 20th century, Henry Morton Stanley was in poor health. After a lifetime of traveling through jungles and down rivers, he... (full context)