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Autograph Letter Signed to W.T. Stead, 1 page 8vo with blank leaf (a little browned at the edges, vignette of 'The Dark Continent'), 30 Sackville Street, Piccadilly, 3 March 1885.
- Informing him that he has made some 'more emphatic' additions to Stead's ideas, and agreeing to meet an acquaintance at the home of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts. '. I should be most happy to meet your friend at the Baroness Burdett Coutts. She is an old friend of mine but I have been so busy I have been unable to pay my devoirs. However if you let me know at what hour I shall be glad to avail myself of the opportunity.'At this time, Stanley had recently returned from five years in the Congo in the service of the Belgian king, Leopold II, who was determined to carve out an African empire there. Stanley considered his work there to be among the most important of his life, but in reality he was a small player in a much larger game of international diplomacy. The establishment of the Congo Free State, a territory of nearly a million square miles which Stanley had worked hard to secure, was one of the most significant events in the history of the so-called 'scramble for Africa' and subsequent events showed that Leopold's ambitions were not nearly so philanthropic as represented by Stanley. The wealthy heiress Angela Burdett-Coutts had long been a supporter of Stanley, but around the time of his association with Leopold, it is suggested he 'picked and chose' what parties to attend and which contacts to make, hinting that Leopold had given him secret orders not to attend. For example, Burdett-Coutts pressed him to attend a meeting at which the British government's 'betrayal' of Gordon in the Sudan would be discussed. Normally he would willingly involve himself in discussion on Gordon but claimed on this occasion that he had received orders from Brussels that as an employee of the Congo state he had to steer clear of this controversy. (See Stanley / Sorcerer's Apprentice , by Frank McLynn, London, 1991, p. 115)With shorthand notes on the reverse probably by W.T. Stead, perhaps the draft of his reply in which he attempts to arrange a meeting.William T. Stead was the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette when he interviewed General Gordon, leading to his dispatch to Khartoum. Stead was to lose his life in the sinking of the Titanic (15 April 1912).
      [Bookseller: John Wilson Manuscripts Ltd ABA ILAB]
Last Found On: 2016-06-15           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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