Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
|CHAPTER XI. -- IN EUROPE.|
AFTER his expedition into Central Africa, gratified at the success of his discoveries, as well as the knowledge acquired concerning the people, among whom he found evidences of a higher civilization than that which travellers accredit them, he departed for Europe, and arrived at Liverpool May 12, 1860, where remaining for three days, he entered London on the evening of May 15.
Here he received marked attentions from gentlemen of the highest social and public position. Three days after his arrival he was invited to meet a council of gentlemen in the parlours of Dr. Hodgkin, F.R.G.S. the Right Honourable Lord Calthorpe. M.H.M.P.C., presiding, with Lord Alfred Churchill, chairman. These councils, continuing from time to time, terminated in the great sorié at Whitehall, July 27, at which were invited six hundred members of Parliament, ending in the formation of the African Aid Society, numbering among its members the following personages: R. Hon. Lord Calthorpe, the Lord Alfred Churchill, Hon. Mr. Ashby, Thomas Bagnall, Esq.,J. P., Rev. J. Baldwin Brown, B. A., Edward Bullock, Esq., George Thompson, late M.P., Sir Culling Eardley Eardley, Bart., Sir
He was also honored with the privilege of being present at some of the most important councils in behalf of the cause of King Victor Emmanuel, at which letters from the distinguished Garibaldi and the prime minister, Count Cavour, were read.
Besides these he was everywhere the recipient of numerous invitations, both for public and private receptions, where the most distinguished courtesy was extended to him. While in London he attended a grand déjeûné at the Crystal Palace, together with three hundred and fifty other guests, representing the élite of the world: at this presided the late Rt. Hon. Earl Stanhope, Dr. Delany being assigned a seat at the table with the foreign ambassadors and delegates.
At two brilliant gatherings at the Gallery of Art and Queen's Rooms he participated. In his hours of relaxation from business engagements connected with his explorations, he often found it convenient and profitable to make social visits. To these he refers often as fraught with interesting memories, but to none with more pleasurable recollection than a visit made to the venerable and learned astronomer, John Lee, Esq., D. C. L., where he attended the annual festival of Reform held by him in the great park of his residence at Hartwell Palace, of Elizabethan memory, and assigned by the British government to Louis XVIII. while in exile.
At these festivals the tenants and working-class gather, and partake of the advantages of traffic there offered in wares and stores, in edibles and fancy goods, as the good Dr. Lee and lady apportion for their benefit, together with the sale of these articles. They were entertained with addresses on moral and scientific subjects by distinguished speakers invited for the occasion.
This continues generally for three days, concluding with various gymnastic and muscular exercises; in some the women take part, when prizes are distributed by the doctor and his lady. On the first day of the festival a ceremony is observed, which enhances the interest of the occasion, and in this connection will serve to illustrate the elegant hospitalities extended to the African explorer. A committee, selected by their host's approval, usually meet and choose as president of the occasion some distinguished person present. A stranger or foreigner, if present, is invariably honored with the position, and is assigned, in this event, the historic chambers once occupied by the exiled monarch of France and his queen, furnished with the ancient garniture as when occupied by them.
When the committee returned, they announced, as their choice for president, Dr. M.R. Delany, the African explorer. This was unexpected by him, but was heartily received by the guests present, some sixty-three in number, who doubtless understood it among themselves prior to its public announcement.