Explorer. James Sligo Jameson was the grandson of John Jameson, the founder of the famed Irish Whiskey company, and as such was one of the heirs to the family fortune. When the continent of Africa was being first explored by Europeans in the 19th century, he paid to join the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition in 1888, which was led by renowned explorer Henry Morton Stanley. This was Stanley's third trip to Africa. Crossing central Africa, the expedition had several Europeans and British soldiers in the expedition with Native Africans for guides and attendants. As an employee of the Belgium government, Stanley was contracted for a humanitarian rescue, during a civil uprising, of Dr. Pasha, a European, who became the German governor of what is now South Sudan, and Stanley was instructed to annex more land for the Belgian Free State colony in the Congo. Upon reaching the village of the Bangala Station, Stanley left with the Front Column on what he thought would be a six-month-long exploration in darkest Africa, but it was a full-year instead, leaving the Europeans and Rear Column in the village. Using Jameson's diary and interviews with others on the expedition as the source, Jameson expressed an interest in seeing cannibalism firsthand. For six handkerchiefs, Jameson allegedly had a slave trader to produce a 10-year-old Native girl, who was taken to a Manyemas village, a village known to practice cannibalism. According to the detailed diary entry, on May 11, 1888, the girl was killed and then eaten. As a non-protesting spectator, Jameson witnessed this inhuman act while drawing rough sketches, which later made six watercolor paintings. While this was happening, Stanley was not in the area, and it would be months before he returned to the village to learn of this incident. A Syrian translator Assad Farran testified that the peripatetic explorer paid African Natives a number of handkerchiefs for a young girl, which was actually considered purchasing a slave. In August before Stanley returned to the village, Jameson had died with what one account described as "hematuria fever," a type of typhoid fever, and was buried in an unmarked grave on an island in the Congo River opposite the village of Bangala Station. There was no time for arresting Jameson, giving him the opportunity to plea his innocence at trial, but worldwide public opinion did, finding him guilty. Although there was an attempt to keep this event silent from the public, the story was eventually published in the "London Times" and the "Aberdeen Journal" and subsequently excerpts, including the full text of Assad Farran's affidavit, were published in "The New York Times", by November of 1890. This would be the last private European Expedition to Africa. There were some on the expedition that sworn this did not happen, but the six watercolor paintings do document the event. Jameson's menagerie of expedition birds and insects were returned to his widow Ethel Durand Jameson by 1890, with some specimens donated to the Natural History Museum in Kensington. In 1891 his wife published Jameson's diary and some letters, with one telegram with Jameson denying purchasing the girl. Europeans on the expedition claimed Farran gave a false statement in revenge for being fired from an expedition by a British military officer named Major Edmund Musgrave Barttelot. Farran claimed that the Natives on the expedition were brutally mistreated as they were given hundreds of lashes across their back with a whip, not fed properly, and were shot if attempted to abandon the expedition. Hundreds of Natives died from malnutrition and dehydration, being abandoned in the jungle when they became ill. Barttelot was Commander of the Rear Column of the Natives carrying supplies. As the senior ranking officer, Barttelot felt he would be held responsible for Jameson's actions when a trial was held, but he was shot to death on July 19, 1888 by an angry Native before Jameson died. Later, Farran was coerced to sign a statement withdrawing the charges of undue severity made by him against Barttelot. The events of this expedition were covered in Joseph Conrad's 1899 book, "Heart of Darkness," which was not a documentary but a historical novel.
Bio by: Linda Davis