Mr Stanley's Discoveries
At the special reception, by the Royal Geographical Society, m honour of Mr Stanley, held at the Royal Albert Hall, London, and which was a most brilliant affair, the great explorer gave an interesting account of some of his discoveries :— THE GREAT FOREST. Mr Stanley said his latest journey, for the relief and rescu* of Emm, the governor of Equatorial Africa, was over 6000 miles m length, and occupied 987 days. Five hundred of these days were passed m the Central African forest, and for 487 days they journeyed through grass lands. He would talk first about the forest. It was 621 English miles m length, and its average breadth 517 miles, which made a compact area of 321,057 square miles. A serpentine line through the centre of this would represent their course. This enormous tract was covered with palm trees varying from 20ft to 220 ft m height, and so close that the branches interlaced and formed an impervious canopy. It was absolutely impenetrable to sunshine, and at night they were convinced that the darkness was palpable and solid. The moon and the stars were of no value to them. He had spent hours and hours m this forest spellbound with wonder. He had caught himself often wondering at the strange resemblance to human life m that forest. Life was represented m its vigor and its decrepitude. Many trees were pallid and shrunk from want of air and sunshine. Many were supported by their neighbors because of constitutional infirmity. Some were already dead and buried. But the majority had the assurance and the insolence of youth, with all its grace of form ; the strength of the prime of life, or the endurance of old age. All characters of humanity were represented, except the murderer and suicide. He had sat at his tent door, watching the twilight deepening into sepulchral gloom, knowing that the elements were gathering for war with the forest; and as the forest swung its millions of giant heads to wrestle with the | storm, he h»d heard the undergrowth, dancing as if m approval of the doings of their sires. Then he had watched the rain falling, until, like a sponge, the forest seemed full, and the water rose inch by inch for hours until they feared they would never see dry earth again. After a stormy night he had watched the rapour rising, and wondered whether the atmosphere would ever be clear again; but m a few hours the sun would shine,' and the dull, green, and damp leaves would give signs of returning vitality. But yesterday they sympathised with the trees battling with the storm, and as they now stood so still one fancied there should be some mode of speech between them and the trees. Some he saw centuries old. That splendid palm by the riverside took root half a century before the great fire of London. Yonder stately bombax was born probably about the time of the memorable scene of Calvary. That immense iron wood was an infant when the Tower of Babel was building. What office might one of these giants hold? Wafu it that of a watchman looking out for typhoons as the sire of the tribe '?■ JDid it watch the dawning of the morn, and bid the trees unfold their buds and shake their limbs fur rejoicing ? He found the area of this forest approach 224,000,000 acres. If they allowed each tree thirty feet, and only forty-eight trees to the acre, they had the colossal number of 10,752 millions of trees. If they calculated the saplings and the undergrowth they would be among the billions.
Permanent link to this item
Mr Stanley's Discoveries, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890
Mr Stanley's Discoveries Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.