6. UNDER THE YACHT CLUB FLAG

WHILE HIS POWER overseas was on the rise, at home Leopold's family life grew worse. He increasingly found refuge in the beds of various mistresses, one of whom Belgians promptly nicknamed "Queen of the Congo." In April 1885, only six weeks after his diplomatic triumph at Berlin, the king was named in a British courtroom as one of the clients of a high-class "disorderly house" prosecuted at the urging of the London Committee for the Suppression of the Continental Traffic in English Girls. Leopold had paid £800 a month, a former servant of the house testified, for a steady supply of young women, some of whom were ten to fifteen years old and guaranteed to be virgins. A Paris newspaper reported rumors that Leopold had secretly crossed to England in his yacht and paid a royal sum to the house's madam to be sure his name was not mentioned again. More likely, what made the case close with unusual speed was that the Prince of Wales was said to be another of the establishment's customers. The British home secretary sent a special observer to the court, apparently a veiled message to all concerned that the less said, the better. After pleading guilty, the madam of the house got off with a remarkably light fine.

When she was seventeen, Leopold married off his eldest daughter, Louise, to a much older Austro-Hungarian prince. After citywide festivities, the couple's wedding night at Laeken was so traumatic that Louise fled into the château gardens in her nightgown and had to be retrieved by a servant and lectured on wifely duty by her mother. Some years later, she got caught up in a tangle of bad debts and an adulterous romance with a cavalry officer. After the officer fought a duel with her husband, Austrian authorities jailed him and gave Louise the choice of going back to her husband or entering an insane asylum. She chose the asylum, and Leopold refused to speak to her again. Afraid of further embarrassment, he urged that she be guarded more closely. At last the cavalry officer was released from jail and dramatically rescued Louise from custody, only to die not long afterward. For the rest of her unhappy life, Louise bought clothes in the same obsessional way in which her father tried to buy countries, a compulsion that ate up her share of the royal fortune and more. Her exasperated creditors finally managed to seize and auction off a portion of her wardrobe: sixty-eight veils, ninety hats, twenty-seven evening gowns, twenty-one silk or velvet cloaks, and fifty-eight umbrellas and parasols.

Nor was Leopold a better father to his middle daughter, Stephanie. When she was only sixteen, he betrothed her to black-bearded Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary so that she would one day become the empress. Leopold particularly envied the Hapsburgs because, unlike him, they were little encumbered by parliaments and constitutions. However, in what proved to be an omen of things to come, Rudolph, arriving in Brussels to meet Stephanie for the first time, brought his current mistress with him.

The king's main relief from domestic misery was his new colony. The Congo, later recalled Louise, "was the one topic of conversation around me." And compared to his household, for Leopold things in the Congo ran more smoothly. Just as he had found the perfect political moment to acquire his new territory, so he found himself at the right technological moment to consolidate his grip on it. As he prepared to develop the enormous colony, he found a number of tools at his disposal that had not been available to empire builders of earlier times. The tools were crucial, for they would soon allow a few thousand white men working for the king to dominate some twenty million Africans.

To begin with, there was weaponry. The primitive muzzle-loaders which were the best arms that most Congolese could obtain were little better than the muskets of George Washington's army. Starting in the late 1860s, however, Europeans could rely on breech-loading rifles, which had just shown their deadly power on the battlefields of the American Civil War. These shot much farther and more accurately, and, instead of needing loose gunpowder, which was useless in the rain, they used quick-loading waterproof brass cartridges.

An even more decisive advance quickly followed: the repeating rifle, which could fire a dozen or more shots without being reloaded. Soon after came the machine gun. As the poet Hilaire Belloc wrote:

Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not.

Another tool that allowed Europeans to seize virtually all of tropical Africa in the two decades that followed the Berlin Conference was medical knowledge. Midcentury explorers had blamed malaria on everything from "marshy exhalations" to sleeping in the moonlight, but, whatever its cause, they learned that quinine was a useful defense. Around the turn of the century malaria and hematuria became better understood; researchers also mastered yellow fever and other diseases, and the awesomely high death rate for Europeans in the African tropics began to drop.

Finally, because of the Congo's unusual geography, one tool was even more important to Leopold than to other imperialists, and we have already seen it in action: the steamboat. It was known to Congo Africans as "the house that walks on water," or, after its sound, as kutu-kutu. The steamboat was an instrument of colonization throughout the nineteenth century, serving everyone from the British on the Ganges in India to the Russians on the Ob and Irtysh in Siberia. Congo steamboats included both sidewheelers and sternwheelers; all had awnings against the tropical sun. Usually they were long and narrow, with the shallow draft needed to clear the innumerable sandbars on the main river and its tributaries. Sometimes wire netting hung from the awning to protect the captain and helmsman from arrows.

By now, steam had also largely replaced sail on the high seas, making the long voyage from Europe down the coast of Africa far swifter and closer to a fixed schedule. These steamships carried the next wave of Leopold's agents to Africa. By the end of 1889, there were 430 whites working in the Congo: traders, soldiers, missionaries, and administrators of the king's embryonic state. Fewer than half of them were Belgians, for Leopold's homeland still showed little interest in its king's new possession. Significantly, almost all Leopold's agents in the Congo were officers on extended leave from the Belgian or other European armies.

Staff in place and tools in hand, Leopold set out to build the infrastructure necessary to exploit his colony. A rudimentary Congo transportation system was the first item on his agenda; without it, the territory's riches, whatever they might turn out to be, could not be brought to the sea except on foot. In 1887, a party of surveyors began to chart the route for a railroad to skirt the notorious 220 miles of rapids. Mosquitoes, heat, fever, and the rocky landscape laced with deep ravines took a severe toll, and it was three years before workers could start laying tracks.

As such work began getting under way, a Congo state bureaucracy grew in Belgium as well as in the colony itself. Henry Shelton Sanford tried to get himself a job as a top colonial executive in Brussels, writing hopefully to his wife, "There is just the sort of work I would like, with both reputation & money to gain & the satisfaction of doing good.... I think I will ... propose a plan of operations, and offer my services." His hopes were in vain, for Leopold knew that Sanford's ability to give sumptuous Washington dinner parties was not matched by talent as an administrator or by the ruthlessness the king would require. Instead, Leopold gave Sanford permission to gather ivory and other products in the Congo, and the promise of help (not followed through on, as it turned out) in the form of porters, buildings, and steamboat transportation. But the Sanford Exploring Expedition, as the venture was euphemistically called, soon went the way of Sanford's other businesses. As usual, he tried to manage everything from Belgium, where mounting debts forced him to sell off some of his art collection and move to a smaller château. Meanwhile, his man in charge in the Congo took to drink, while steamboat boilers rusted on the trailside.

Leopold was a far better businessman than Sanford, but he too began to find himself under financial pressure. He had inherited a sizable fortune, yet by the late 1880s, explorers, steamboats, mercenaries, armaments, and other Congo expenses had burned up almost all of it. All these expenses, however, would continue—even increase—if he hoped to turn a profit in exploiting the territory. Where was the money to come from? Getting it from the Belgian government would be difficult, because a clause in the country's constitution had required parliamentary approval for Leopold to become monarch of another state. To obtain this approval, he had to promise that the Congo would never be a financial drain on Belgium. He had convinced skeptical legislators that he had sufficient funds to develop the territory, even though this was not true.

From 1885 to 1890, the king spent much of his time looking for money. For a while, he was able to borrow from bankers, but in time even his main creditors, the Rothschilds, would not lend him more. Hundreds of his letters from this period show an obsessive concern with money. He lost weight and sleep; his ministers thought he looked gray and distracted. He was known for his enormous appetite (he often ordered a new entrée after finishing a big meal, and at a Paris restaurant once ate two entire roast pheasants), and in a bid for public sympathy and funds he let it be known that to economize he was eating one less course daily at lunch. One day Queen Marie-Henriette cried out, "Leopold, you're going to ruin us with your Congo!"

The king raised some money through selling bonds, although far less than he had hoped. He wrote to the Pope, urging the Catholic Church to buy Congo bonds to encourage the spread of Christ's word. To the railway and a few other projects, he was able to attract private investors, but on terms that diminished his own share of what he was sure would be vast profits. He decided that the only solution to his financial crisis was a massive loan. Given his already heavy burden of debt, the most likely source for such a loan was the Belgian Parliament. As time passed, Leopold hoped, legislators would forget his earlier promises, so he waited before approaching Parliament. And as he waited, he worked, once again, on burnishing his reputation as a philanthropist and humanitarian.

***

People in Europe continued to feel indignant over the "Arab" slave-traders based on Zanzibar and Africa's east coast. The slavers were indeed, it must be said, spreading a wide swath of terror through much of east and central Africa, and the slaves they captured continued to be sold all along the northeast shore of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. But European righteousness over the issue was more intertwined than ever with a growing desire for African colonies. Conveniently, the slave-traders were mostly Muslim, which allowed Europeans to feel still more virtuous about their ambitions. Leopold won much praise for his patronage of Christian missionaries in his new colony; he so impressed people with his vigorous denunciations of the slave trade that he was elected honorary president of the Aborigines Protection Society, a venerable British human rights organization.

To the king's great satisfaction, Brussels was chosen as the location, for eight months of intermittent meetings starting in November 1889, for an Anti-Slavery Conference of the major powers. The "humanitarian" king happily entertained the delegates, in whose meeting room at the Belgian Foreign Ministry a forked slave-yoke was on display. "It is hard work," the senior British representative reported back to the Foreign Office; "all the dinners, receptions and balls." For diplomatic reasons, Turkey had to be included in the Anti-Slavery Conference, even though slavery was legal there. Its delegate roared with laughter when speakers denounced the Islamic harem as a stimulus to the slave trade.

For the diplomats, the conference was a long party. Their conference room looked out on a fashionable downtown street, and one official recalled of Count von Kevenhuller, the Austro-Hungarian representative: "Upon the appearance of each woman's hat, he got up and rushed to the window as if moved by a spring. And each time it was the occasion for great joy. Finally, for fear that he would miss a chance for his favorite sport, people from one end of the green-covered table to the other called out to alert him to the approach of a new pretty woman."

The Anti-Slavery Conference was a boon to Leopold, for the delegates paused from ogling the passersby long enough to approve some plans the king proposed for fighting the slave-traders—plans that, it happened, bore a striking resemblance to those for the expensive transportation infrastructure he was hoping to build in the Congo. The king described the need for fortified posts, roads, railways, and steamboats, all of which would support columns of troops pursuing the slavers. He grandly offered the services of the new Congo state toward this noble end, and asked in return only that the conference authorize him to levy import duties to finance the attack on slavery. The powers eventually agreed, in effect amending in Leopold's favor the Berlin agreement, which had guaranteed free trade.

Henry Shelton Sanford, who attended the Anti-Slavery Conference as an American delegate, was horrified. Six years earlier he had won United States recognition for Leopold's Congo in exchange for his own signature on an agreement promising free trade; here was Leopold suddenly asking for customs duties. His naïve admiration shattered, Sanford felt that the king had betrayed him. Troubled by gout and insomnia, his chestnut beard now turning gray, and his face showing the effects of age and financial worries, Sanford was a different man from the glamorous top-hatted envoy of half a dozen years before. He died the year after the conference ended, bitterly disillusioned with Leopold and deeply in debt. His Congo investments came to nothing, and the only sign that remained of him there was a six-ton steamboat called the Général Sanford.

While the conference was still in session, Leopold invited Stanley to Belgium for a week. Stanley spoke to the delegates, and Leopold presented him with the Grand Cross of the Congo, arranged a banquet and a gala opera performance in his honor, and put him up in the gilt and scarlet rooms at the Royal Palace normally reserved for visiting royalty. In return, Stanley praised his host to the Belgians in a speech:

What does the greatness of a monarch consist in? If it is the extent of his territory, then the Emperor of Russia is the greatest of all. If it is the splendour and power of military organization, then William II [of Germany] takes first place. But if royal greatness consists in the wisdom and goodness of a sovereign leading his people with the solicitude of a shepherd watching over his flock, then the greatest sovereign is your own.

Leopold was using Stanley as a modern American president might bring a famous movie star on the campaign trail. Stanley's visit to Brussels was a key part of a carefully planned public relations campaign to mark the twenty-fifth year of the king's reign. Leopold also gave a garden party for twenty-five hundred members of the Belgian elite at Laeken, and opened for the awed partygoers the chateau's enormous new glassdomed greenhouses, whose exotic array of plants and trees constituted the largest private botanical collection in the world. Even the Brussels stock exchange, whose members had long been reluctant to put up money for the king's African projects, now gave a big reception in his honor, decorating the exchange hall with African spears and one of the more unusual flower arrangements on record, a mass of foliage sprouting four hundred elephant tusks.

Leopold's campaign was directed toward one goal: money. As his efforts neared a climax, he struck a deal with important members of the Cabinet, who were beginning to realize that the king's African possession might someday be quite valuable. If Parliament gave him the loan he wanted, Leopold declared, he would leave the Congo to Belgium in his will. And so, when this generous monarch, known as an antislavery crusader, praised by the famous explorer Stanley, feted by his loyal subjects, at last asked Parliament for a loan of twenty-five million francs (some $125 million in today's money) to support the philanthropic work he was doing in the Congo, he got it. Interest-free.

Perhaps nowhere does Leopold's breathtaking arrogance show so clearly as in the curious document where he blithely bequeaths one of his countries to the other.

We, Leopold II, King of the Belgians, Sovereign of the État Indépendant du Congo, wishing to secure for Our beloved fatherland the fruits of the work which, for many long years, We have been pursuing on the African continent ... declare, by these presents, to bequeath and transmit, after Our death, to Belgium, all Our sovereign rights over l'État Indépendant du Congo.

There was one added twist. When the king made public his will, it was backdated, so that his bequest looked like an act of generosity instead of part of a financial bargain.

***

For Henry Morton Stanley, the five years preceding his red-carpet 1890 visit to Brussels had not been easy. From the time the Berlin Conference ended in 1885, Leopold had been wondering what to do with Stanley. To ensure that the explorer would not go to work for the British, he kept him on retainer as a consultant. What the king needed now, however, was not explorers but surveyors, mining engineers, railway builders, steamboat captains, soldiers, and administrators. Years earlier, Leopold had promised to appoint Stanley director general of the future Congo state. Then, however, in return for recognition of his Congo by the French (who resented Stanley for outexploring and belittling their man de Brazza), he had quietly promised them that he would never again employ Stanley in the Congo. In everything but public relations, the restless Stanley was now of little use to the king. Leopold, a Belgian prime minister once remarked, "treats men as we use lemons, when he has squeezed them dry he throws away the peel."

Stanley guessed that Leopold had made a secret deal with the French, and, as so often in his life, felt hurt. His African travel equipment was packed and ready, but there was no mission to go on. He didn't need the money he received from being on Leopold's payroll; he was earning far greater sums from his lectures and books. Nonetheless, he maintained his starstruck loyalty to the king, even when Leopold continued to put him off by saying, as Stanley complained in an 1886 letter, "We do not know exactly when we shall need you, but we shall let you know, my dear Mr. Stanley, in ample time to prepare."

As always, when he hoped to leave for Africa, Stanley thought about marriage, even though, as he confessed despairingly, "the fact is, I can't talk to women." For more than a year, he carried on another of his shy, clumsy courtships, this time with a London high society painter named Dorothy Tennant. She painted Greek nymphs, London street urchins, and Stanley's own portrait. It seemed an appropriate match, for she was as stiff and ill at ease with men as Stanley was with women. At the age of thirty-four she still shared a bedroom with her mother and addressed her diary to her long-dead father. Stanley confided to Tennant the unhappy story of his abandonment by Alice Pike and then proposed to her. But she turned him down. Once again rejected, he was convinced that Dorothy Tennant held his class origins against him. "That woman entrapped me with her gush," he wrote to a friend, "and her fulsome adulations, her knickknacks inscribed with 'Remember Me,' her sweet scented notes."

While Stanley was suffering through this experience, Leopold's ambitions had grown. His desire for colonies inflamed, he was now dreaming of the valley of the Nile. "My dear minister," he once said to the Belgian prime minister, who was trying to talk him out of this fantasy, "Do you consider worth nothing the glory of being a Pharaoh?" Compared with this, he insisted, the Congo was "prosaic." But of the Nile he exclaimed, "It is my panache, and I will never give it up!" In 1886, an opportunity appeared that promised Leopold, all in one swoop, the chance to advance his Nile dreams, to see Stanley put to work again, and to consolidate his hold on the Congo.

The Sudan, through which the upper branches of the Nile flowed, was under joint Anglo-Egyptian rule. But distances were vast and control loose. Members of a rebel Muslim fundamentalist movement, the Mahdists, staged a rebellion in the mid-1880s, killing the British governor general and rebuffing the British forces sent against them. England was shocked, but the country had too many colonial wars under way elsewhere and decided, for the moment, not to fight this one. The rebels pushed to the south, where, holding out against them, was the governor of the Sudan's southernmost province. Most conveniently for Leopold, it bordered on the Congo.

The governor, Emin Pasha, asked for help from Europe; one of his letters was published in the Times, and a movement arose to send a private expedition to support him. The Times said it would be an "errand of mercy and of peril—to rescue Emin Pasha ... who is surrounded by savage and hostile tribes and cut off from the reach and resources of civilisation." Fueled by anti-Islamic fervor, the plan won a large following. The British were further outraged with the Mahdists when their leader demanded that Queen Victoria come to the Sudan, submit to his rule, and convert to Islam.

Now the British had not only Muslim villains, but, in Emin, a white hero. For despite his title (emin means "the faithful one"), the beleaguered pasha was a slight, short German Jew, originally named Eduard Schnitzer. In photographs, Emin's unmistakably European face, adorned with thick spectacles and topped with a red fez, looks like that of a nearsighted delegate to a Shriners' convention. A physician by training, the pasha was a brilliant linguist and an eccentric; besides trying to govern his province, heal the sick, and hold out against the Mahdist rebels, he was painstakingly gathering specimens of plant and animal life and assembling a collection of stuffed birds for the British Museum.

Plans for the relief expedition took shape, and donations poured in. The food merchants Fortnum and Mason contributed cases of delicacies; the inventor Hiram Maxim sent the very latest model of his machine gun; also destined for Emin was a new dress uniform. And to lead the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, who was a more suitable choice than Henry Morton Stanley? The explorer eagerly accepted the invitation. He was particularly delighted by the Maxim gun, which he tried out at its maker's home, satisfying himself that it really could shoot the advertised six hundred rounds per minute. The new gun, Stanley said, would be "of valuable service in helping civilisation to overcome barbarism."

When Stanley asked Leopold to release him from the consulting contract so that he could lead the expedition, the king agreed—on two conditions. First, instead of traveling to Emin by the shorter, easier route leading from the east African coast through German and British highland territory, the expedition was to go through Leopold's Congo, which would require its crossing the unexplored Ituri rain forest. Second, once Stanley found Emin Pasha, he would ask him to remain the governor of his province—but as a province of the Congo state.

Leopold would thus get not only an unknown corner of his territory explored and perhaps enlarged; he would have it all done at other people's expense. The financing for the venture came from sources ranging from the Royal Geographical Society to British traders interested in Emin's rumored stash of £60,000 worth of ivory to press barons who knew that a new Stanley expedition would sell newspapers. As he departed in early 1887, the explorer adroitly juggled the demands of his many sponsors. A surprised witness who later came upon Stanley and his huge force marching around the lower rapids of the Congo River noticed that the standard-bearer at the head of the column was carrying—at the request of New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, Jr.—the flag of the New York Yacht Club.

Stanley's usual two-volume thousand-page best-seller turned out to be only one of many books subsequently written about the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition. (In recruiting his officers, Stanley made each one sign a contract promising that no book he wrote would appear until six months after Stanley's "official" account.) But other than benefiting the press and the publishing industry, the expedition proved a disaster for almost everyone involved, except, perhaps, for the New York Yacht Club, which at least had its banner borne across a continent.

Stanley threw his usual temper tantrums. Four times he fired his personal manservant and four times took him back. He had screaming matches with his white officers—several of whom later painted a highly unglamorous picture of Stanley. "The slightest little thing," one wrote, "is sufficient to work him into a frenzy of rage." He compounded the problems of Henry Sanford's collapsing Congo business venture by commandeering its partly built steamboat as a barge for his troops and returning it several months later badly damaged. Most important, he made the strategic mistake of dividing his eight hundred soldiers, porters, and camp followers into two columns so that he, with a smaller, faster-moving force, would reach Emin Pasha and accomplish the dramatic, headline-catching rescue more quickly.

As always, Stanley bungled his choice of subordinates. The officer he left in charge of the rear column, Major Edmund Barttelot, promptly lost his mind. He sent Stanley's personal baggage down the river. He dispatched another officer on a bizarre three-thousand-mile three-month round trip to the nearest telegraph station to send a senseless telegram to England. He next decided that he was being poisoned, and saw traitors on all sides. He had one of them given three hundred lashes (which proved fatal). He jabbed at Africans with a steel-tipped cane, ordered several dozen people put in chains, and bit a village woman. An African shot and killed Barttelot before he could do more.

Stanley, meanwhile, slogged through the rain forest at the head of the vanguard column, sentencing a deserter to be hanged and ordering numerous floggings, some of which he administered himself. Supply snafus meant that much of the time his porters and soldiers were near starvation. To those unfortunate enough to live in its path, the expedition felt like an invading army, for it sometimes held women and children hostage until local chiefs supplied food. One of Stanley's officers wrote in his diary, "We finished our last plantain to-day ... the natives do not trade, or offer to, in the least. As a last resource we must catch some more of their women." When it seemed that they might be attacked, another recalled, "Stanley gave the order to burn all the villages round." Another described the slaughter as casually as if it were a hunt:

It was most interesting, lying in the bush watching the natives quietly at their day's work. Some women ... were making banana flour by pounding up dried bananas. Men we could see building huts and engaged in other work, boys and girls running about, singing.... I opened the game by shooting one chap through the chest. He fell like a stone.... Immediately a volley was poured into the village.

One member of the expedition packed the severed head of an African in a box of salt and sent it to London to be stuffed and mounted by his Piccadilly taxidermist.

Of the 389 men in Stanley's vanguard, more than half died as they hacked their way with machetes through the Ituri rain forest, sometimes making only four hundred yards' progress a day. When they ran out of food, they roasted ants. They climbed over giant tree roots and had to pitch camp on swampy ground in the midst of tropical downpours, one of which lasted seventeen hours without interruption. Men deserted, got lost in the jungle, drowned, or succumbed to tetanus, dysentery, and gangrenous ulcers. Others were killed by the arrows and poisoned-stake traps of forest-dwellers terrified by these armed, starving strangers rampaging through their territory.

By the time they finally reached Emin, Stanley and his surviving men were hungry and exhausted. Because most of the supplies were hundreds of miles behind them with the rear column and its mad commander, the explorer could offer the diminutive pasha little except some ammunition, fan mail, several bottles of champagne, and the new dress uniform—which turned out to be much too large. In fact, it was Stanley who had to ask Emin for supplies. The pasha met them, Stanley wrote, in "a clean suit of snowy cotton drilling, well-ironed and of perfect fit," his face showing "not a trace ... of ill-health or anxiety; it rather indicated good condition of body and peace of mind." Emin, still happily gathering specimens for the British Museum, politely declined Leopold's proposal to join his province to the new Congo state. Most embarrassing of all to the bedraggled vanguard of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, the rebel threat had eased since Emin's letters of several years earlier, and he turned out not to be eager for relief.

Stanley greatly feared returning home without Emin. The pasha wrote in his diary, "For him everything depends on whether he is able to take me along, for only then ... would his expedition be regarded as totally successful.... He would rather perish than leave without me!" Stanley did at last succeed in persuading the reluctant pasha to head back to Europe with him, in part because the very arrival of the Relief Expedition's large trigger-happy force stirred up the Mahdist rebels all over again. So Stanley and Emin and their followers trekked for several months to the east African coast, reaching the sea at a small German post in today's Tanzania.

A German battery fired an artillery salute in their honor, and officials gave the two of them a banquet at the local officers' mess. A naval band played; Stanley, Emin, and a German major gave speeches. "The wines were choice and well-selected and iced," writes Stanley. Then the nearsighted Emin, who had been moving up and down the banquet table, chatting with the guests and drinking champagne, stepped through a second-floor window that he apparently thought opened on a veranda. It didn't. He fell to the street and was knocked unconscious. He had to remain in a local German hospital for two months, and Stanley was unable to bring him back to Europe in triumph. Most embarrassing of all for Stanley was that Emin Pasha, once he recovered, went to work neither for his British rescuers nor for Leopold, but for the Germans.

For some months after Stanley's return in 1890, a controversy boiled in England over the loss of more than half the expedition's men and over the atrocities committed under his command. One weekly lampooned him:

And when the heat of Afric's sun
Grew quite too enervating,
Some bloodshed with the Maxim gun
Was most exhilarating!

The Emin Pasha Relief Expedition had indeed been brutal. But those who condemned it were unaware that, compared with the bloodshed beginning just then in central Africa, it was only a sideshow.

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