Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/402

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Stanley
Stanley
392


in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch, and in its English form alone it had a sale of a hiindred and fifty-thousand copies.

On 12 July 1890 Stanley was married in Westminster Abbey to Miss Dorothy Tennant, a lady with many accomplishments and many friends, a painter of distinguished talent, the second daughter of Charles Tennant of Cadoxton, Glamorgan, sometime M.P. for St. Albans. After a restful honeymoon in the south of France and the Engadine, Stanley went with his bride to the United States, where he gave lectures, and had a great reception everywhere. The following year he started with Mrs. Stanley on a prolonged lecturing tour in Australasia, and returned to settle down in England. The king of the Belgians offered him another mission to the Congo ; but his health was no longer equal to the strain of any journey more arduous than a holiday trip. Other activities, however, still lay before him. He abandoned his American citizenship and was re-naturalised as a British subject ; and in June 1892 he endeavoured, or was induced to endeavour, to enter parliament. Only a fortnight before the polling day he came forward as liberal unionist candidate for North Lambeth, declaring in his election address that his 'one mastering desire' was for 'the maintenance, the spread, the dignity, the usefulness of the British Empire.' He was defeated by a majority of a hundred and thirty votes ; and though he heartily detested everything connected with electioneering he consented to stand again. In July 1895, more by his wife's exertions than his own, he was returned as member for North Lambeth with a majority of four hundred and five.

In the House of Commons his career was inconspicuous. He spoke occasionally on African affairs and strongly urged the construction of the Uganda railway. But he made no parliamentary reputation and soon tired of his legislative duties. He had no real interest in party politics, and he disliked the bad air, the late hours, and the dilatory methods of the House of Commons. At the general election of 1900 he did not seek re-election. In October 1897 he paid a visit to South Africa at the invitation of the British South Africa Company and the citizens of Bulawayo, to take part in the opening of the railway connecting that town with the Cape. After a trip through Rhodesia to the Victoria Falls he made a tour in the Transvaal, the Orange Free State, and Natal, conversed with Boers and Uitlanders at Johannesburg, and had an interview with President Kruger, whose conduct and character he felt convinced would eventually lead to a rupture with the imperial government. His estimate of the military as well as the political situation was singularly acute, and in a letter written just two years before the outbreak of the Boer war he pointed out the strategic weakness of the English position in Natal. With the account of his tour published under the title of 'Through South Africa' (1898) his literary activity came to an end. His health made a country life essential. In the autumn of 1898 he bought the estate of Furze HUl, Pirbright, Surrey ; and there he passed most of his time, residing in London occasionally at the house of his wife's mother, 2 Richmond Terrace, Whitehall. In 1899 his services to geographical science and the British empire were tardily recognised by the grand cross of the Bath. The king of the Belgians had already conferred upon him in 1885 the grand cordon of the order of Leopold. His life at Furze Hill was peaceful and happy. He drained, built, and planted, and devoted himself to the improvement of his Surrey estate with the same systematic method and forethought which he had bestowed on greater enterprises. Time and matured experience had toned down his former nervous, self-assertive vitality. He was a man essentially of a kindly and humane disposition, with strong religious convictions ; and there was never any warrant for the allegation that he treated the African natives with brutality or callousness, though no doubt in his earlier expeditions he was sometimes hasty and violent in his methods. His views on the subject are expressed in a letter he sent to 'The Times' in December 1890, during the discussion over the Emin relief expedition.

'I have learnt' (he then wrote) 'by actual stress of imminent danger, in the first place, that self-control is more indispensable than gunpowder, and, in the second place, that persistent self-control under the provocation of African travel is impossible without real, heartfelt sympathy for the natives with whom one has to deal.' The natives should be regarded not as 'mere brutes' but 'as children, who require, indeed, different methods of rule from English or American citizens, but who must be ruled in precisely the same spirit, with the same absence of caprice and anger, the same essential respect to our fellow-men.'

His constitution had never completely