Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue
Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston (1858-1927), Explorer and colonial administrator
‘With a figure apparently frail and almost boyish in its slightness, and a fair, gentle, sweet and almost shy expression, [he] looks the very opposite of the dauntless and inflexible explorer,’ according to one contemporary. A diplomatic colleague wrote that Johnston had added 400,000 square miles to the British Empire through his ‘extraordinarily active and versatile intelligence, untiring industry and great personal energy and courage’. Later assessments are less admiring, calling him ‘a social Darwinist’ and judging his contributions to natural science more notable than those to colonial politics. His brother and private secretary Alex described him as ‘a many-sided man of strong will and convictions’ whose wit and vehemence often alienated others.
Dr Jan Marsh
Footnotesback to top
Referencesback to topJohnston 1929
Johnston, A., The Life and Letters of Sir Harry Johnston, London, 1929.
Johnston, H.H., British Central Africa, London and New York, 1897.
Johnston, H.H., The Story of My Life, London, 1923.
Marsh, C., ed., South African Portrait Gallery, London and New York, 1897.
Milsome, J.R., ‘Sir Harry Johnston: Explorer’, West African Review, vol.29, 1958, p.503.
Oliver, R., Sir Harry Johnston and the Scramble for Africa, London, 1957.
Oliver, R., ‘Johnston, Sir Henry Hamilton (1858–1927)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., January 2008.
Olivier, S., ‘Johnston, Sir Harry Hamilton (1858–1927)’, DNB, Oxford, 1937.
Weinthal, L., The Story of the Cape to Cairo Railway and River Route, from 1887 to 1922, 5 vols, London, 1923.