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- REAL SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE - 25/25 -


Parliament was entirely without my knowledge, and I deeply regret that it was asked." A few months later, with Mrs. Burnham and his younger son, Bruce, he journeyed to East Africa as director of the East African Syndicate.

During his stay there the _African Review_ said of him: "Should East Africa ever become a possession for England to be proud of, she will owe much of her prosperity to the brave little band that has faced hardships and dangers in discovering her hidden resources. Major Burnham has chosen men from England, Ireland, the United States, and South Africa for sterling qualities, and they have justified his choice. Not the least like a hero is the retiring, diffident little major himself, though a finer man for a friend or a better man to serve under would not be found in the five continents."

Burnham explored a tract of land larger than Germany, penetrating a thousand miles through a country, never before visited by white men, to the borders of the Congo Basin. With him he had twenty white men and five hundred natives. The most interesting result of the expedition was the discovery of a lake forty-nine miles square, composed almost entirely of pure carbonate of soda, forming a snowlike crust so thick that on it the men could cross the lake.

It is the largest, and when the railroad is built--the Uganda Railroad is now only eighty-eight miles distant--it will be the most valuable deposit of carbonate of soda ever found.

A year ago, in the interests of John Hays Hammond, the distinguished mining engineer of South Africa and this country, Burnham went to Sonora, Mexico, to find a buried city and to open up mines of copper and silver.

Besides seeking for mines, Hammond and Burnham, with Gardner Williams, another American who also made his fortune in South Africa, are working together on a scheme to import to this country at their own expense many species of South African deer.

The South African deer is a hardy animal and can live where the American deer cannot, and the idea in importing him is to prevent big game in this country from passing away. They have asked Congress to set aside for these animals a portion of the forest reserve. Already Congress has voted toward the plan $15,000, and President Roosevelt is one of its most enthusiastic supporters.

We cannot leave Burnham in better hands than those of Hammond and Gardner Williams. Than these three men the United States has not sent to British Africa any Americans of whom she has better reason to be proud. Such men abroad do for those at home untold good. They are the real ambassadors of their country.

The last I learned of Burnham is told in the snapshot of him which accompanies this article, and which shows him, barefoot, in the Yaqui River, where he has gone, perhaps, to conceal his trail from the Indians. It came a month ago in a letter which said briefly that when the picture was snapped the expedition was "trying to cool off." There his narrative ended. Promising as it does adventures still to come, it seems a good place in which to leave him.

Meanwhile, you may think of Mrs. Burnham after a year in Mexico keeping the house open for her husband's return to Pasadena, and of their first son, Roderick, studying woodcraft with his father, forestry with Gifford Pinchot, and playing right guard on the freshman team at the University of California.

But Burnham himself we will leave "cooling off " in the Yaqui River, maybe, with Indians hunting for him along the banks. And we need not worry about him. We know they will not catch him.


REAL SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE - 25/25

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