Part 14 out of 15
for his hospitality.
"The climate here is much cooler than nearer the sea, and Asevedo
has successfully cultivated most European as well as tropical vegetables.
The sugar-cane thrives, as also coffee and cotton, and indigo is a weed.
Cattle here are beautiful, and some of them might show with credit in England.
The natives are intelligent, and under a good government this fine country
might become very valuable. Three miles from Maruru is Mesan,
a very pretty village among palm and mango trees. There is here a good house
belonging to a Senor Ferrao; close by is the canal (Mutu) of communication
between the Quilimane and Zambesi rivers, which in the rainy season
is navigable (?). I visited it in the month of October,
which is about the dryest time of the year; it was then a dry canal,
about 30 or 40 yards wide, overgrown with trees and grass,
and, at the bottom, at least 16 or 17 feet above the level of the Zambesi,
which was running beneath. In the rains, by the marks I saw,
the entrance rise of the river must be very nearly 30 feet,
and the volume of water discharged by it (the Zambesi) enormous.
"Above Maruru the country begins to become more hilly,
and the high mountains of Boruru are in sight; the first view of these
is obtained below Nyangue, and they must be of considerable height,
as from this they are distant above 40 miles. They are reported
to contain great mineral wealth; gold and copper being found in the range,
as also COAL (?). The natives (Landeens) are a bold, independent race,
who do not acknowledge the Portuguese authority, and even make them pay
for leave to pass unmolested. Throughout the whole course of the river
hippopotami were very abundant, and at one village a chase by the natives
was witnessed. They harpoon the animal with a barbed lance,
to which is attached, by a cord 3 or 4 fathoms long, an inflated bladder.
The natives follow in their canoes, and look out to fix more harpoons
as the animal rises to blow, and, when exhausted, dispatch him
with their lances. It is, in fact, nearly similar to a whale-hunt.
Elephants and lions are also abundant on the western side;
the latter destroy many of the blacks annually, and are much feared by them.
Alligators are said to be numerous, but I did not see any.
"The voyage up to Maruru occupied seven days, as I did not work the men
at the oar, but it might be done in four; we returned to the bar
in two and a half days.
"There is another mouth of the Zambesi seven miles to the westward of Luabo,
which was visited by the `Castor's pinnace'; and I was assured
by Lieutenant Hoskins that the bar was better than the one I visited."
The conclusions of Captain Parker are strengthened by those
of Lieut. A. H. H. Hoskins, who was on the coast at the same time,
and also visited this spot. Having applied to my friend
for his deliberate opinion on the subject, he promptly furnished
the following note in January last:
"The Zambesi appears to have five principal mouths, of which the Luabo
is the most southern and most navigable; Cumana, and two whose names
I do not know, not having myself visited it, lying between
it and the Quilimane, and the rise and fall at spring tides
on the bar of the Luabo is 22 feet; and as, in the passage, there is NEVER
less than four feet (I having crossed it at dead low-water -- springs),
this would give an average depth sufficient for any commercial purposes.
The rise and fall is six feet greater, the passages narrow and more defined,
consequently deeper and more easily found than that of the Quilimane River.
The river above the bar is very tortuous, but deep; and it is observable
that the influence of the tide is felt much higher in this branch
than in the others; for whereas in the Catrina and Cumana I have obtained
drinkable water a very short distance from the mouth, in the Luabo I have
ascended seventy miles without finding the saltness perceptibly diminished.
This would facilitate navigation, and I have no hesitation in saying
that little difficulty would be experienced in conveying
a steam-vessel of the size and capabilities of the gunboat I lately commanded
as high as the branching off of the Quilimane River (Mazaro), which,
in the dry season, is observed many yards above the Luabo (main stream);
though I have been told by the Portuguese that the freshes
which come down in December and March fill it temporarily.
These freshes deepen the river considerably at that time of the year,
and freshen the water many miles from the coast. The population of the delta,
except in the immediate neighborhood of the Portuguese,
appeared to be very sparse. Antelopes and hippopotami were plentiful;
the former tame and easily shot. I inquired frequently
of both natives and Portuguese if slavers were in the habit of entering there
to ship their cargoes, but could not ascertain that they have ever done so
in any except the Quilimane. With common precaution the rivers
are not unhealthy; for, during the whole time I was employed in them
(off and on during eighteen months), in open boats and at all times
of the year, frequently absent from the ship for a month or six weeks
at a time, I had not, in my boat's crew of fourteen men, more than two,
and those mild, cases of fever. Too much importance can not be ascribed
to the use of quinine, to which I attribute our comparative immunity,
and with which our judicious commander, Commodore Wyvill,
kept us amply supplied. I hope these few remarks may be of some little use
in confirming your views of the utility of that magnificent river.
A. H. H. Hoskins."
It ought to be remembered that the testimony of these gentlemen
is all the more valuable, because they visited the river when the water
was at its lowest, and the surface of the Zambesi was not, as it was now,
on a level with and flowing into the Mutu, but sixteen feet beneath its bed.
The Mutu, at the point of departure, was only ten or twelve yards broad,
shallow, and filled with aquatic plants. Trees and reeds along the banks
overhang it so much, that, though we had brought canoes and a boat from Tete,
we were unable to enter the Mutu with them, and left them at Mazaro.
During most of the year this part of the Mutu is dry, and we were even now
obliged to carry all our luggage by land for about fifteen miles.
As Kilimane is called, in all the Portuguese documents,
the capital of the rivers of Senna, it seemed strange to me that the capital
should be built at a point where there was no direct water conveyance
to the magnificent river whose name it bore; and, on inquiry,
I was informed that the whole of the Mutu was large in days of yore,
and admitted of the free passage of great launches from Kilimane
all the year round, but that now this part of the Mutu had been filled up.
I was seized by a severe tertian fever at Mazaro, but went along
the right bank of the Mutu to the N.N.E. and E. for about fifteen miles.
We then found that it was made navigable by a river called the Pangazi,
which comes into it from the north. Another river, flowing from
the same direction, called the Luare, swells it still more;
and, last of all, the Likuare, with the tide, make up the river of Kilimane.
The Mutu at Mazaro is simply a connecting link, such as is so often
seen in Africa, and neither its flow nor stoppage affects
the river of Kilimane. The waters of the Pangazi were quite clear
compared with those of the Zambesi.*
* I owe the following information, of a much later date,
also to the politeness of Captain Washington. H. M. sloop "Grecian"
visited the coast in 1852-3, and the master remarks
that "the entrance to the Luabo is in lat. 18d 51' S., long. 36d 12' E.,
and may be known by a range of hummocks on its eastern side,
and very low land to the S.W. The entrance is narrow,
and, as with all the rivers on this coast, is fronted by a bar,
which renders the navigation, particularly for boats,
very dangerous with the wind to the south of east or west.
Our boats proceeded twenty miles up this river, 2 fathoms on the bar,
then 2-1/2 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7 fathoms. It was navigable farther up,
but they did not proceed. It is quite possible for a moderate-sized vessel
to cross the bar at spring tides, and be perfectly landlocked and hidden
among the trees.
"The Maiudo, in 18d 52' S., 36d 12' E., IS NOT MENTIONED IN HORSBURGH,
NOR LAID DOWN IN THE ADMIRALTY CHART, but is, nevertheless,
one of some importance, and appears to be one of the principal stations
for shipping slaves, as the boats found two barracoons, about 20 miles up,
bearing every indication of having been very recently occupied,
and which had good presumptive evidence that the `Cauraigo',
a brig under American colors, had embarked a cargo from thence
but a short time before. The river is fronted by a portion
of the Elephant Shoals, at the distance of three or four miles outside.
The eastern bank is formed by level sea-cliffs (as seen from the ship
it has that appearance), high for this part of the coast, and conspicuous.
The western side is composed of thick trees, and terminates in dead wood,
from which we called it `Dead-wood Point'. After crossing the bar
it branches off in a W. and N.W. direction, the latter being
the principal arm, up which the boats went some 30 miles,
or about 10 beyond the barracoon. Fresh water can be obtained
almost immediately inside the entrance, as the stream runs down very rapidly
with the ebb tide. The least water crossing the bar (low-water -- springs)
was 1-1/2 fathom, one cast only therefrom from 2 to 5 fathoms,
another 7 fathoms nearly the whole way up.
"The Catrina, latitude 18d 50' south, longitude 36d 24' east.
The external appearance of this river is precisely similar
to that of the Maiudo, so much so that it is difficult to distinguish them
by any feature of the land. The longitude is the best guide,
or, in the absence of observation, perhaps the angles contained
by the extremes of land will be serviceable. Thus, at nine miles
off the Maiudo the angle contained by the above was seven points,
the bearing being N.E. W. of N.W. (?); while off the Catrina,
at the same distance from shore (about nine miles), the angle was only
3-1/2 to 4 points, being N. to N.W. As we did not send the boats
up this river, no information was obtained."
My fever became excessively severe in consequence of traveling in the hot sun,
and the long grass blocking up the narrow path so as to exclude the air.
The pulse beat with amazing force, and felt as if thumping against
the crown of the head. The stomach and spleen swelled enormously, giving me,
for the first time, an appearance which I had been disposed to laugh at
among the Portuguese. At Interra we met Senhor Asevedo,
a man who is well known by all who ever visited Kilimane,
and who was presented with a gold chronometer watch by the Admiralty
for his attentions to English officers. He immediately tendered
his large sailing launch, which had a house in the stern.
This was greatly in my favor, for it anchored in the middle of the stream,
and gave me some rest from the mosquitoes, which in the whole of the delta
are something frightful. Sailing comfortably in this commodious launch
along the river of Kilimane, we reached that village (latitude 17d 53' 8" S.,
longitude 36d 40' E.) on the 20th of May, 1856, which wanted
only a few days of being four years since I started from Cape Town.
Here I was received into the house of Colonel Galdino Jose Nunes,
one of the best men in the country. I had been three years without hearing
from my family; letters having frequently been sent, but somehow or other,
with but a single exception, they never reached me. I received, however,
a letter from Admiral Trotter, conveying information of their welfare,
and some newspapers, which were a treat indeed. Her majesty's brig
the "Frolic" had called to inquire for me in the November previous,
and Captain Nolluth, of that ship, had most considerately left a case of wine;
and his surgeon, Dr. James Walsh, divining what I should need most,
left an ounce of quinine. These gifts made my heart overflow.
I had not tasted any liquor whatever during the time I had been in Africa;
but when reduced in Angola to extreme weakness, I found much benefit
from a little wine, and took from Loanda one bottle of brandy
in my medicine chest, intending to use it if it were again required;
but the boy who carried it whirled the box upside down,
and smashed the bottle, so I can not give my testimony
either in favor of or against the brandy.
But my joy on reaching the east coast was sadly imbittered by the news
that Commander MacLune, of H. M. brigantine "Dart", on coming in to Kilimane
to pick me up, had, with Lieutenant Woodruffe and five men,
been lost on the bar. I never felt more poignant sorrow.
It seemed as if it would have been easier for me to have died for them,
than that they should all be cut off from the joys of life
in generously attempting to render me a service. I would here acknowledge
my deep obligations to the Earl of Clarendon, to the admiral at the Cape,
and others, for the kind interest they manifested in my safety;
even the inquiries made were very much to my advantage. I also refer
with feelings of gratitude to the Governor of Mozambique for offering me
a passage in the schooner "Zambesi", belonging to that province;
and I shall never forget the generous hospitality of Colonel Nunes
and his nephew, with whom I remained. One of the discoveries I have made
is that there are vast numbers of good people in the world,
and I do most devoutly tender my unfeigned thanks to that Gracious One
who mercifully watched over me in every position, and influenced the hearts
of both black and white to regard me with favor.
With the united testimony of Captain Parker and Lieutenant Hoskins,
added to my own observation, there can be no reasonable doubt but that
the real mouth of the Zambesi is available for the purposes of commerce.
The delta is claimed by the Portuguese, and the southern bank of the Luabo,
or Cuama, as this part of the Zambesi is sometimes called,
is owned by independent natives of the Caffre family.
The Portuguese are thus near the main entrance to the new central region;
and as they have of late years shown, in an enlightened and liberal spirit,
their desire to develop the resources of Eastern Africa
by proclaiming Mozambique a free port, it is to be hoped
that the same spirit will lead them to invite mercantile enterprise
up the Zambesi, by offering facilities to those who may be led
to push commerce into the regions lying far beyond their territory.
Their wish to co-operate in the noble work of developing
the resources of the rich country beyond could not be shown better
than by placing a village with Zambesian pilots at the harbor of Mitilone,
and erecting a light-house for the guidance of seafaring men.
If this were done, no nation would be a greater gainer by it
than the Portuguese themselves, and assuredly no other
needs a resuscitation of its commerce more. Their kindness to me personally
makes me wish for a return of their ancient prosperity;
and the most liberal and generous act of the enlightened young king
H. M. Don Pedro, in sending out orders to support my late companions
at the public expense of the province of Mozambique until my return
to claim them, leads me to hope for encouragement in every measure
for either the development of commerce, the elevation of the natives,
or abolition of the trade in slaves.
As far as I am myself concerned, the opening of the new central country
is a matter for congratulation only in so far as it opens up a prospect
for the elevation of the inhabitants. As I have elsewhere remarked,
I view the end of the geographical feat as the beginning
of the missionary enterprise. I take the latter term
in its most extended signification, and include every effort made
for the amelioration of our race, the promotion of all those means by which
God in His providence is working, and bringing all His dealings with man
to a glorious consummation. Each man in his sphere, either knowingly
or unwittingly, is performing the will of our Father in heaven.
Men of science, searching after hidden truths, which, when discovered,
will, like the electric telegraph, bind men more closely together --
soldiers battling for the right against tyranny -- sailors rescuing
the victims of oppression from the grasp of heartless men-stealers --
merchants teaching the nations lessons of mutual dependence --
and many others, as well as missionaries, all work in the same direction,
and all efforts are overruled for one glorious end.
If the reader has accompanied me thus far, he may, perhaps,
be disposed to take an interest in the objects I propose to myself,
should God mercifully grant me the honor of doing something more for Africa.
As the highlands on the borders of the central basin
are comparatively healthy, the first object seems to be
to secure a permanent path thither, in order that Europeans may pass
as quickly as possible through the unhealthy region near the coast.
The river has not been surveyed, but at the time I came down
there was abundance of water for a large vessel, and this continues
to be the case during four or five months of each year.
The months of low water still admit of navigation by launches,
and would permit small vessels equal to the Thames steamers
to ply with ease in the deep channel. If a steamer were sent
to examine the Zambesi, I would recommend one of the lightest draught,
and the months of May, June, and July for passing through the delta;
and this not so much for fear of want of water as the danger of being grounded
on a sand or mud bank, and the health of the crew being endangered
by the delay.
In the months referred to no obstruction would be incurred
in the channel below Tete. Twenty or thirty miles above that point
we have a small rapid, of which I regret my inability to speak,
as (mentioned already) I did not visit it. But, taking the distance
below this point, we have, in round numbers, 300 miles of navigable river.
Above this rapid we have another reach of 300 miles, with sand,
but no mud banks in it, which brings us to the foot of the eastern ridge.
Let it not, however, be thought that a vessel by going thither
would return laden with ivory and gold-dust. The Portuguese of Tete pick up
all the merchandise of the tribes in their vicinity, and, though I came out
by traversing the people with whom the Portuguese have been at war,
it does not follow that it will be perfectly safe for others to go in
whose goods may be a stronger temptation to cupidity than any thing
I possessed. When we get beyond the hostile population mentioned,
we reach a very different race. On the latter my chief hopes at present rest.
All of them, however, are willing and anxious to engage in trade,
and, while eager for this, none have ever been encouraged to cultivate
the raw materials of commerce. Their country is well adapted for cotton;
and I venture to entertain the hope that by distributing seeds of better kinds
than that which is found indigenous, and stimulating the natives
to cultivate it by affording them the certainty of a market
for all they may produce, we may engender a feeling of mutual dependence
between them and ourselves. I have a twofold object in view,
and believe that, by guiding our missionary labors so as to benefit
our own country, we shall thereby more effectually and permanently
benefit the heathen. Seven years were spent at Kolobeng
in instructing my friends there; but the country being incapable of raising
materials for exportation, when the Boers made their murderous attack
and scattered the tribe for a season, none sympathized
except a few Christian friends. Had the people of Kolobeng
been in the habit of raising the raw materials of English commerce,
the outrage would have been felt in England; or, what is more likely
to have been the case, the people would have raised themselves in the scale
by barter, and have become, like the Basutos of Moshesh and people of Kuruman,
possessed of fire-arms, and the Boers would never have made the attack at all.
We ought to encourage the Africans to cultivate for our markets,
as the most effectual means, next to the Gospel, of their elevation.
It is in the hope of working out this idea that I propose
the formation of stations on the Zambesi beyond the Portuguese territory,
but having communication through them with the coast. A chain of stations
admitting of easy and speedy intercourse, such as might be formed
along the flank of the eastern ridge, would be in a favorable position
for carrying out the objects in view. The London Missionary Society
has resolved to have a station among the Makololo on the north bank,
and another on the south among the Matebele. The Church
-- Wesleyan, Baptist, and that most energetic body, the Free Church --
could each find desirable locations among the Batoka and adjacent tribes.
The country is so extensive there is no fear of clashing.
All classes of Christians find that sectarian rancor soon dies out
when they are working together among and for the real heathen.
Only let the healthy locality be searched for and fixed upon,
and then there will be free scope to work in the same cause
in various directions, without that loss of men which the system of missions
on the unhealthy coasts entails. While respectfully submitting the plan
to these influential societies, I can positively state that,
when fairly in the interior, there is perfect security for life and property
among a people who will at least listen and reason.
Eight of my men begged to be allowed to come as far as Kilimane, and,
thinking that they would there see the ocean, I consented to their coming,
though the food was so scarce in consequence of a dearth that they were
compelled to suffer some hunger. They would fain have come farther; for when
Sekeletu parted with them, his orders were that none of them should turn
until they had reached Ma Robert and brought her back with them.
On my explaining the difficulty of crossing the sea, he said,
"Wherever you lead, they must follow." As I did not know well
how I should get home myself, I advised them to go back to Tete,
where food was abundant, and there await my return. I bought
a quantity of calico and brass wire with ten of the smaller tusks
which we had in our charge, and sent the former back as clothing
to those who remained at Tete. As there were still twenty tusks left,
I deposited them with Colonel Nunes, that, in the event of any thing happening
to prevent my return, the impression might not be produced in the country
that I had made away with Sekeletu's ivory. I instructed Colonel Nunes,
in case of my death, to sell the tusks and deliver the proceeds to my men;
but I intended, if my life should be prolonged, to purchase the goods
ordered by Sekeletu in England with my own money, and pay myself on my return
out of the price of the ivory. This I explained to the men fully,
and they, understanding the matter, replied, "Nay, father, you will not die;
you will return to take us back to Sekeletu." They promised to wait
till I came back, and, on my part, I assured them that nothing but death
would prevent my return. This I said, though while waiting at Kilimane
a letter came from the Directors of the London Missionary Society
stating that "they were restricted in their power of aiding plans
connected only remotely with the spread of the Gospel,
and that the financial circumstances of the society were not such as to afford
any ground of hope that it would be in a position, within any definite period,
to enter upon untried, remote, and difficult fields of labor."
This has been explained since as an effusion caused by temporary
financial depression; but, feeling perfect confidence in my Makololo friends,
I was determined to return and trust to their generosity.
The old love of independence, which I had so strongly
before joining the society, again returned. It was roused
by a mistaken view of what this letter meant; for the directors,
immediately on my reaching home, saw the great importance of the opening,
and entered with enlightened zeal on the work of sending the Gospel
into the new field. It is to be hoped that their constituents
will not only enable them to begin, but to carry out their plans,
and that no material depression will ever again be permitted,
nor appearance of spasmodic benevolence recur. While I hope
to continue the same cordial co-operation and friendship
which have always characterized our intercourse, various reasons induce me
to withdraw from pecuniary dependence on any society. I have done something
for the heathen, but for an aged mother, who has still more sacred claims
than they, I have been able to do nothing, and a continuance of the connection
would be a perpetuation of my inability to make any provision
for her declining years. In addition to "clergyman's sore throat",
which partially disabled me from the work, my father's death
imposed new obligations; and a fresh source of income having been opened to me
without my asking, I had no hesitation in accepting what would enable me
to fulfill my duty to my aged parent as well as to the heathen.
If the reader remembers the way in which I was led, while teaching
the Bakwains, to commence exploration, he will, I think,
recognize the hand of Providence. Anterior to that, when Mr. Moffat
began to give the Bible -- the Magna Charta of all the rights and privileges
of modern civilization -- to the Bechuanas, Sebituane went north,
and spread the language into which he was translating the sacred oracles
in a new region larger than France. Sebituane, at the same time,
rooted out hordes of bloody savages, among whom no white man
could have gone without leaving his skull to ornament some village.
He opened up the way for me -- let us hope also for the Bible.
Then, again, while I was laboring at Kolobeng, seeing only
a small arc of the cycle of Providence, I could not understand it,
and felt inclined to ascribe our successive and prolonged droughts
to the wicked one. But when forced by these and the Boers to become explorer,
and open a new country in the north rather than set my face southward,
where missionaries are not needed, the gracious Spirit of God
influenced the minds of the heathen to regard me with favor;
the Divine hand is again perceived. Then I turned away westward
rather than in the opposite direction, chiefly from observing
that some native Portuguese, though influenced by the hope of a reward
from their government to cross the continent, had been obliged
to return from the east without accomplishing their object. Had I gone
at first in the eastern direction, which the course of the great Leeambye
seemed to invite, I should have come among the belligerents near Tete
when the war was raging at its height, instead of, as it happened,
when all was over. And again, when enabled to reach Loanda,
the resolution to do my duty by going back to Linyanti probably saved me
from the fate of my papers in the "Forerunner". And then, last of all,
this new country is partially opened to the sympathies of Christendom,
and I find that Sechele himself has, though unbidden by man,
been teaching his own people. In fact, he has been doing
all that I was prevented from doing, and I have been employed in exploring --
a work I had no previous intention of performing. I think that I see
the operation of the unseen hand in all this, and I humbly hope
that it will still guide me to do good in my day and generation in Africa.
Viewing the success awarded to opening up the new country
as a development of Divine Providence in relation to the African family,
the mind naturally turns to the probable influence it may have
on negro slavery, and more especially on the practice of it
by a large portion of our own race. We now demand increased supplies
of cotton and sugar, and then reprobate the means our American brethren adopt
to supply our wants. We claim a right to speak about this evil,
and also to act in reference to its removal, the more especially
because we are of one blood. It is on the Anglo-American race
that the hopes of the world for liberty and progress rest.
Now it is very grievous to find one portion of this race
practicing the gigantic evil, and the other aiding, by increased demands
for the produce of slave labor, in perpetuating the enormous wrong.
The Mauritius, a mere speck on the ocean, yields sugar,
by means of guano, improved machinery, and free labor,
equal in amount to one fourth part of the entire consumption of Great Britain.
On that island land is excessively dear and far from rich:
no crop can be raised except by means of guano, and labor has to be brought
all the way from India. But in Africa the land is cheap, the soil good,
and free labor is to be found on the spot. Our chief hopes rest
with the natives themselves; and if the point to which
I have given prominence, of healthy inland commercial stations, be realized,
where all the produce raised may be collected, there is little doubt
but that slavery among our kinsmen across the Atlantic will,
in the course of some years, cease to assume the form of a necessity
to even the slaveholders themselves. Natives alone can collect produce
from the more distant hamlets, and bring it to the stations contemplated.
This is the system pursued so successfully in Angola.
If England had possessed that strip of land, by civilly declining
to enrich her "frontier colonists" by "Caffre wars",
the inborn energy of English colonists would have developed its resources,
and the exports would not have been 100,000 Pounds as now,
but one million at least. The establishment of the necessary agency
must be a work of time, and greater difficulty will be experienced
on the eastern than on the western side of the continent,
because in the one region we have a people who know none but slave-traders,
while in the other we have tribes who have felt the influence
of the coast missionaries and of the great Niger expedition;
one invaluable benefit it conferred was the dissemination of the knowledge
of English love of commerce and English hatred of slavery, and it therefore
was no failure. But on the east there is a river which may become
a good pathway to a central population who are friendly to the English;
and if we can conciliate the less amicable people on the river,
and introduce commerce, an effectual blow will be struck at the slave-trade
in that quarter. By linking the Africans there to ourselves
in the manner proposed, it is hoped that their elevation
will eventually be the result. In this hope and proposed effort
I am joined by my brother Charles, who has come from America,
after seventeen years' separation, for the purpose. We expect success
through the influence of that Spirit who already aided the efforts
to open the country, and who has since turned the public mind toward it.
A failure may be experienced by sudden rash speculation
overstocking the markets there, and raising the prices against ourselves.
But I propose to spend some more years of labor, and shall be thankful
if I see the system fairly begun in an open pathway which will eventually
benefit both Africa and England.
The village of Kilimane stands on a great mud bank, and is surrounded
by extensive swamps and rice-grounds. The banks of the river
are lined with mangrove bushes, the roots of which, and the slimy banks
on which they grow, are alternately exposed to the tide and sun.
The houses are well built of brick and lime, the latter from Mozambique.
If one digs down two or three feet in any part of the site of the village,
he comes to water; hence the walls built on this mud bank gradually subside;
pieces are sometimes sawn off the doors below, because the walls in which
they are fixed have descended into the ground, so as to leave the floors
higher than the bottom of the doors. It is almost needless to say
that Kilimane is very unhealthy. A man of plethoric temperament
is sure to get fever, and concerning a stout person one may hear the remark,
"Ah! he will not live long; he is sure to die."
A Hamburgh vessel was lost near the bar before we came down.
The men were much more regular in their habits than English sailors,
so I had an opportunity of observing the fever acting as a slow poison.
They felt "out of sorts" only, but gradually became pale,
bloodless, and emaciated, then weaker and weaker, till at last
they sank more like oxen bitten by tsetse than any disease I ever saw.
The captain, a strong, robust young man, remained in perfect health
for about three months, but was at last knocked down suddenly
and made as helpless as a child by this terrible disease. He had imbibed
a foolish prejudice against quinine, our sheet-anchor in the complaint.
This is rather a professional subject, but I introduce it here
in order to protest against the prejudice as almost entirely unfounded.
Quinine is invaluable in fever, and never produces any unpleasant effects
in any stage of the disease, IF EXHIBITED IN COMBINATION WITH AN APERIENT.
The captain was saved by it, without his knowledge, and I was thankful
that the mode of treatment, so efficacious among natives,
promised so fair among Europeans.
After waiting about six weeks at this unhealthy spot, in which, however,
by the kind attentions of Colonel Nunes and his nephew, I partially recovered
from my tertian, H. M. brig "Frolic" arrived off Kilimane.
As the village is twelve miles from the bar, and the weather was rough,
she was at anchor ten days before we knew of her presence about seven miles
from the entrance to the port. She brought abundant supplies for all my need,
and 150 Pounds to pay my passage home, from my kind friend Mr. Thompson,
the Society's agent at the Cape. The admiral at the Cape kindly sent
an offer of a passage to the Mauritius, which I thankfully accepted.
Sekwebu and one attendant alone remained with me now.
He was very intelligent, and had been of the greatest service to me; indeed,
but for his good sense, tact, and command of the language of the tribes
through which we passed, I believe we should scarcely have succeeded
in reaching the coast. I naturally felt grateful to him;
and as his chief wished ALL my companions to go to England with me,
and would probably be disappointed if none went, I thought
it would be beneficial for him to see the effects of civilization,
and report them to his countrymen; I wished also to make some return
for his very important services. Others had petitioned to come,
but I explained the danger of a change of climate and food,
and with difficulty restrained them. The only one who now remained
begged so hard to come on board ship that I greatly regretted
that the expense prevented my acceding to his wish to visit England.
I said to him, "You will die if you go to such a cold country as mine."
"That is nothing," he reiterated; "let me die at your feet."
When we parted from our friends at Kilimane, the sea on the bar was frightful
even to the seamen. This was the first time Sekwebu had seen the sea.
Captain Peyton had sent two boats in case of accident.
The waves were so high that, when the cutter was in one trough,
and we in the pinnace in another, her mast was hid. We then mounted
to the crest of the wave, rushed down the slope, and struck the water again
with a blow which felt as if she had struck the bottom.
Boats must be singularly well constructed to be able to stand these shocks.
Three breakers swept over us. The men lift up their oars,
and a wave comes sweeping over all, giving the impression
that the boat is going down, but she only goes beneath the top of the wave,
comes out on the other side, and swings down the slope,
and a man bales out the water with a bucket. Poor Sekwebu looked at me
when these terrible seas broke over, and said, "Is this the way you go?
Is this the way you go?" I smiled and said, "Yes; don't you see it is?"
and tried to encourage him. He was well acquainted with canoes,
but never had seen aught like this. When we reached the ship
-- a fine, large brig of sixteen guns and a crew of one hundred and thirty --
she was rolling so that we could see a part of her bottom.
It was quite impossible for landsmen to catch the ropes and climb up,
so a chair was sent down, and we were hoisted in as ladies usually are,
and received so hearty an English welcome from Captain Peyton and all on board
that I felt myself at once at home in every thing except my own mother tongue.
I seemed to know the language perfectly, but the words I wanted would not come
at my call. When I left England I had no intention of returning,
and directed my attention earnestly to the languages of Africa, paying none
to English composition. With the exception of a short interval in Angola,
I had been three and a half years without speaking English,
and this, with thirteen years of previous partial disuse of my native tongue,
made me feel sadly at a loss on board the "Frolic".
We left Kilimane on the 12th of July, and reached the Mauritius
on the 12th of August, 1856. Sekwebu was picking up English, and becoming
a favorite with both men and officers. He seemed a little bewildered,
every thing on board a man-of-war being so new and strange;
but he remarked to me several times, "Your countrymen are very agreeable,"
and, "What a strange country this is -- all water together!"
He also said that he now understood why I used the sextant.
When we reached the Mauritius a steamer came out to tow us into the harbor.
The constant strain on his untutored mind seemed now to reach a climax,
for during the night he became insane. I thought at first
that he was intoxicated. He had descended into a boat,
and, when I attempted to go down and bring him into the ship,
he ran to the stern and said, "No! no! it is enough that I die alone.
You must not perish; if you come, I shall throw myself into the water."
Perceiving that his mind was affected, I said, "Now, Sekwebu,
we are going to Ma Robert." This struck a chord in his bosom, and he said,
"Oh yes; where is she, and where is Robert?" and he seemed to recover.
The officers proposed to secure him by putting him in irons;
but, being a gentleman in his own country, I objected,
knowing that the insane often retain an impression of ill treatment,
and I could not bear to have it said in Sekeletu's country
that I had chained one of his principal men as they had seen slaves treated.
I tried to get him on shore by day, but he refused. In the evening
a fresh accession of insanity occurred; he tried to spear one of the crew,
then leaped overboard, and, though he could swim well, pulled himself down
hand under hand by the chain cable. We never found the body of poor Sekwebu.
At the Mauritius I was most hospitably received by Major General C. M. Hay,
and he generously constrained me to remain with him till,
by the influence of the good climate and quiet English comfort,
I got rid of an enlarged spleen from African fever. In November
I came up the Red Sea; escaped the danger of shipwreck
through the admirable management of Captain Powell,
of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Company's ship "Candia",
and on the 12th of December was once more in dear old England.
The Company most liberally refunded my passage-money. I have not mentioned
half the favors bestowed, but I may just add that no one has cause
for more abundant gratitude to his fellow-men and to his Maker than I have;
and may God grant that the effect on my mind be such that I may be
more humbly devoted to the service of the Author of all our mercies!
Appendix. -- Latitudes and Longitudes of Positions.
[The "Remarks" column has been replaced, where needed, with remarks listed
below the corresponding line, and inclosed in square brackets.]
Positions. Latitude. Longitude. Date. No. of Sets
South. East. of Lunar
d ' " d ' " W. E.
Manakalongwe Pass. 22 55 52 . . . 1853, Jan. 26
Letloche. 22 38 0 . . . Jan. 28
Kanne. 22 26 56 . . . Jan. 31
Lotlokane, where the first 21 27 47 . . . Feb. 11, 12
Hence path to Nchokotsa N.N.W.,
thence to Kobe N.W.
Kobe (1st group). 20 53 14 24 52 0 Feb. 18, 19
Kama Kama, from whence 19 52 31 . . . Mar. 2
traveled in magnetic
meridian (1st group).
Fever Ponds (1st group). 19 15 53 24 55 0 Mar. 11, 28
Ten miles S. of hill N'gwa 18 38 0 24 26 0 Apr. 14
N'gwa Hill (a central 18 27 50 24 13 36 Apr. 15, 16
B.A.C. 2364 Gemini).
N'gwa Valley, half mile 18 27 20 24 13 36 Apr. 17
N. of hill.
E. of and in parallel of 18 20 0 . . . Apr. 17
Wagon Station of 1851.
Wagon Station on the Chobe, 18 20 0 23 50 0 . . .
three miles S.
of Sekeletu's Town.
Sekeletu's Town (1st group). 18 17 20 23 50 9 |June 13 |
|July 14, 17|
[ Boiling-point of water = 205-1/3 Deg.; Alt. = 3521 feet. ]
Island Mahonta. The Chobe 17 58 0 (24 6) Apr. 26
runs here in 17d 58'.
Banks of Sanshureh River, 18 4 27 24 6 20 Apr. 26
a branch of the Chobe
[ At a well-known Baobab-tree 9' south of Mahonta island. ]
Town of Sesheke 17 31 38 25 13 0 1855, Aug. 31 . 1
on the Zambesi.
Sekhosi's Town on 17 29 13 . . . 1853, July 26, 27
the Zambesi (about 25 miles
W. of Sesheke).
Cataract of Nambwe. 17 17 16 . . . July 31
Confluence of 17 7 31 . . . 1855, Aug. 22 . 1
Njoko and Zambesi.
Cataract of Bombwe. 16 56 33 . . . 1853, Aug. 1
Kale Cataract. 16 49 52 . . . 1855, Aug. 21 . 1
Falls of Gonye. 16 38 50 23 55 0 |1853, Aug. 2|
|1855, Aug. 19| 1 2
Nameta. 16 12 9 . . . Aug. 17 . 2
Seori sa Mei, 16 0 32 . . . 1853, Aug. 5
or Island of Water.
Litofe Island, town of. 15 55 0 . . . Aug. 6
Loyela, S. end of this 15 27 30 . . . Aug. 9
island, town of Mamochisane.
Naliele or Nariele, 15 24 17 23 5 54 Aug. 10, 13
chief town of Barotse
(occultation of Jupiter)
Linangelo, old town 15 18 40 . . . Aug. 19
of Santuru (site nearly
Katongo (near Slave 15 16 33 . . . Aug. 30
Point of Junction of Nariele 15 15 43 . . . Aug. 29
Branch with the Main Stream.
Quando Village. 15 6 8 . . . Aug. 28
Town of Libonta. 14 59 0 . . . Aug. 21
Island of Tongane. 14 38 6 . . . Aug. 23
Cowrie Island. 14 20 5 . . . Aug. 24
Junction of the Loeti 14 18 57 . . . Aug.
with the Main Stream
[ Boiling-point of water = 203 Deg. = 4741 feet. ]
Confluence of the Leeba 14 10 52 23 35 40 Aug. 24, 25
or Lonta with the Leeambye
Kabompo, near the Leeba. 12 37 35 22 47 0 |1854, Jan. 1|
|1855, July 3| . 3
Village about 2' N.W. 12 6 6 22 57 0 1854, Feb. 1
of the Leeba after leaving
Kabompo town: the hill Peeri,
or Piri, bearing S.S.E.,
distant about 6'.
Village of Soana Molopo, 11 49 22 22 42 0 Feb. 7
3' from Lokalueje River.
Village of Quendende, 11 41 17 . . . Feb. 11
about 2' S.E. of the ford
of the Lotembwa, and about
9' from the town of Katema.
Banks of the Lovoa. 11 40 54 . . . 1855, June 20 2 .
Lofuje River flows into 12 52 35 22 49 0 July 7 . 3
the Leeba; Nyamoana's village.
Confluence of the Makondo 13 23 12 . . . July 13
and Leeba Rivers.
Katema's Town, 5' S. of Lake 11 35 49 22 27 0 1854, Feb. 17 . 2
Dilolo, the source of the
Lotembwa, one of the principal
feeders of the Leeba.
Lake Dilolo (station about 11 32 1 . . . 1855, June 18 . 2
half a mile S. of the lake). June 13 . .
[ Boiling-point of water = 203 Deg. = 4741 feet. ]
Village near the ford of 11 15 55 . . . 1854, Feb. 28
the River Kasai, Kasye,
or Loke. The ford is
in latitude 11d 17'.
Bango's Village, about 10' 10 22 53 20 58 0 1855, May 28 3 .
W. of the Loembwe.
Banks of the Stream Chihune. 10 57 30 (20 53)*1* 1854, Mar. 8
[ The longitude doubtful. ]
Ionga Panza's village. 10 25 0 20 15 0 *2* Mar. 20
Ford of the River Quango. 9 50 0 (18 27 0) Apr. 5
Cassange, about 40 or 50 9 37 30 17 49 0 Apr. 13, 17 3 2
miles W. of the River Quango,
and situated in a deep valley.
Tala Mungongo, 2' E. 9 42 37 (17 27) Jan. 11, 14
of following station.
[ Longitude not observed: Water boils --
Top of = 206 Deg., height 3151 feet.
Bottom of descent = 208 Deg. = 2097 feet.
Bottom of east ascent = 205 Deg. = 3680 feet.
Top " " " = 202 Deg. = 5278 feet. ]
Banks of the Quinze, 9 42 37 17 25 0 1855, Jan. 10 . 1
near the source, 2' W. of
the sudden descent which
forms the valley of Cassange.
Sanza, on the River Quize 9 37 46 16 59 0 Jan. 7 . 4
(about 15 yards wide).
Pungo Andongo, 9 42 14 15 30 0 1854, Dec. 11 . 4
on the River Coanza.
[ On the top of the rocks water boils at 204 Deg. = 4210 feet. ]
On the River Coanza, 9 47 2 . . . Dec. 22
2' W. of Pungo Andongo.
Candumba, 15 miles E. of 9 42 46 . . . 1855, Jan. 2
Pungo Andongo, 300 yards
N. of the Coanza.
Confluence of the Lombe 9 41 26 . . . Jan. 3
and Coanza, 8' or 10' E.
of Candumba, and at house
of M. Pires, taken at about
half a mile N. of confluence.
[ Here the Coanza takes its southern bend. ]
Golungo Alto, about midway 9 8 30 14 51 0 1854,|Oct. 27|
between Ambaca and Loanda. |May 14|
"Aguaes doces" in Cassange, 9 15 2 . . . Oct. 6, 7 . 2
10' W. of Golungo Alto.
[ At the confluence of the Luinha and Luce. ]
Confluence of the Luinha 9 26 23 . . .
Confluence of the Lucalla 9 37 46 . . . Oct. 11, 12
and Coanza, Massangano
town and fort.
[ A prominent hill in Cazengo, called Zungo, is about 6'
S.S.W. of "Aguaes doces", and it bears N.E. by E.
from the house of the commandant at Massangano. ]
Ambaca, residence of the 9 16 35 15 23 0 Dec. 6
commandant of the district.
Kalai, 17 51 54 25 41 0 1855, Nov. 18 2 3
near the Mosioatunya Falls.
Lekone Rivulet. 17 45 6 25 55 0 Nov. 20 4 1
[ Water boils at 204-1/2 Deg. = 3945 feet. Between Lekone and Kalomo,
Marimba 203-1/4 Deg. = 4608 feet. ]
Kalomo River. (17 3 0) . . . Nov. 30 . 1
[ The lat. and long. doubtful. Top of ridge, water boils
at 202 Deg. = 5278 feet. ]
Rivulet of Dela, 16 56 0 26 45 0 Dec. 2 . 3
Kise Kise Hills. 16 27 20 . . . Dec. 3
Nakachinto Rivulet. 16 11 24 . . . Dec. 11
[ On eastern descent from ridge, water boils at 204 Deg. = 4210 feet. ]
Elephant's Grave. (16 3 0) (28 10) Dec. 14 1 .
[ The latitude not observed. ]
Kenia Hills, Rivulet Losito (15 56 0) (28 1) Dec. 16 3 .
on their western flank.
[ The latitude not observed. ]
6' E. of Bolengwe Gorge, 15 48 19 28 22 0 Dec. 18 3 3
and on the banks of the Kafue.
7' or 8' N.E. or E.N.E. (15 49 0) (28 34) *3* Dec. 29 . 4
of the confluence of
the Kafue and Zambesi,
at a rivulet called Kambare.
[ The lat. not observed; water boils 205-1/2 Deg. = 3415 feet.
Top of the hills Semalembue, water boils 204-1/2 Deg. = 4078 feet.
Bottom of ditto, 205-3/4 Deg. = 3288 feet. ]
Confluence of Kafue 15 53 0 . . .
Banks of Zambesi, 15 50 49 . . . Dec. 30
8' or 10' below confluence.
[ Water boils at 209 Deg. = 1571 feet. ]
Village of Ma-Mburuma, 15 36 57 30 22 0 1856, Jan. 12 1 1
about 10 miles from Zumbo.
Zumbo station, ruins of a 15 37 22 30 32 0 Jan. 13 2 3
church on the right bank of
the Loangwa, about 300 yards
from confluence with Zambesi.
[ Water boils at 209-1/4 Deg. = 1440 feet. ]
Chilonda's Village, quarter 15 38 34 30 52 0 Jan. 20 3 .
of a mile N. of Zambesi,
near the Kabanka Hill.
Opposite Hill Pinkwe. 15 39 11 (32 5) *4* Feb. 7 . 1
[ Long. doubtful; the moon's alt. only 4 Deg. ]
Moshua Rivulet. 15 45 33 32 22 0 *5* Feb. 9 1 2
Tangwe Rivulet, or 16 13 38 32 29 0 Feb. 20
Sand River, 1/4 mile broad.
Tete or Nyungwe station, 16 9 3 33 28 0 Mar. 2, 17 4 8
house of commandant.
Hot Spring Makorozi, 15 59 35 . . . Mar. 13
about 10 m. up the river.
Below Tete, island of 16 34 46 32 51 0 Apr. 23 1 .
Mozambique, on the Zambesi.
Island of Nkuesa. 17 1 6 . . . Apr. 25
Senna, 300 yards S.W. 17 27 1 34 57 0 *6* |April 27| 2 6
of the Mud Fort on the bank |May 8, 9|
of the river.
Islet of Shupanga. 17 51 38 . . . May 12
Small islet in the middle of 17 59 21 . . . May 13
the Zambesi, and six or eight
miles below Shupanga.
Mazaro or Mutu, 18 3 37 35 57 0 May 14 2 2
where the Kilimane River
branches off the Zambesi.
Kilimane Village, 17 53 8 36 40 0 *7* June 13, 25, 27 1 6
at the house of Senor
Galdino Jose Nunes,
colonel of militia.
Positions. Latitude. Longitude. Date. No. of Sets
South. East. of Lunar
*1* Probably 20d 25'. -- I. A.
*2* Probably 20d 10'. -- I. A.
*3* Probably 28d 56'. -- I. A.
*4* Probably 31d 46' 30". -- I. A.
*5* Probably 31d 56'. -- I. A.
*6* Probably 35d 10' 15". -- I. A.
*7* Probably 36d 56' 8". -- I. A.
Appendix. -- Book Review in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February, 1858.
[This review is provided to allow the reader to view Livingstone's achievement
as it was seen by a contemporary. -- A. L., 1997.]
Livingstone's Travels in South Africa.*
* `Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa'.
By David Livingstone, LL.D., D.C.L. 1 vol. 8vo.
With Maps and numerous Illustrations. Harper and Brothers.
`Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa'.
By Henry Barth, Ph.D., D.C.L. 3 vols. 8vo.
With Map and numerous Illustrations. Harper and Brothers.
These two works, each embodying the results of years of travel and research,
entirely revolutionize all our theories as to the geographical and physical
character of Central Africa. Instead of lofty mountains and sandy deserts,
we have a wide basin, or rather series of basins, with lakes and great rivers,
and a soil fertile even when compared with the abounding exuberance
of our own Western valleys and prairies.
Barth, traveling southward from the Mediterranean, explored this region
till within eight degrees of the equator. Livingstone, traveling northward
from the Cape of Good Hope, approached the equator from the south
as nearly as Barth did from the north. He then traversed
the whole breadth of the continent diagonally from the west to the east.
His special researches cover the entire space between
the eighth and fifteenth parallels of south latitude. Between the regions
explored by Barth and Livingstone lies an unexplored tract
extending eight degrees on each side of the equator, and occupying
the whole breadth of the continent from east to west. Lieutenant Burton,
famous for his expedition to Mecca and Medina, set out from Zanzibar
a few months since, with the design of traversing this very region.
If he succeeds in his purpose his explorations will fill up the void
between those of Barth and Livingstone.
Dr. Livingstone, with whose travels we are at present specially concerned,
is no ordinary man. The son of a Presbyterian deacon and small trader
in Glasgow; set to work in a cotton factory at ten years old;
buying a Latin grammar with his first earnings; working from six
in the morning till eight at night, then attending evening-school till ten,
and pursuing his studies till midnight; at sixteen a fair classical scholar,
with no inconsiderable reading in books of science and travels, gained,
sentence by sentence, with the book open before him on his spinning-jenny;
botanizing and geologizing on holidays and at spare hours;
poring over books of astrology till he was startled by inward suggestions
to sell his soul to the Evil One as the price of the mysterious knowledge
of the stars; soundly flogged by the good deacon his father
by way of imparting to him a liking for Boston's "Fourfold State"
and Wilberforce's "Practical Christianity"; then convinced
by the writings of the worthy Thomas Dick that there was no hostility
between Science and Religion, embracing with heart and mind
the doctrines of evangelical Christianity, and resolving to devote his life
to their extension among the heathen -- such are the leading features
of the early life of David Livingstone.
He would equip himself for the warfare and afterward fight
with the powers of darkness at his own cost. So at the age of nineteen
-- a slim, loose-jointed lad -- he commenced the study of medicine and Greek,
and afterward of theology, in the University of Glasgow, attending lectures
in the winter, paying his expenses by working as a cotton-spinner
during the summer, without receiving a farthing of aid from any one.
His purpose was to go to China as a medical missionary,
and he would have accomplished his object solely by his own efforts
had not some friends advised him to join the London Missionary Society.
He offered himself, with a half hope that his application would be rejected,
for it was not quite agreeable to one accustomed to work his own way
to become dependent in a measure upon others.
By the time when his medical and theological studies were completed,
the Opium War had rendered it inexpedient to go to China,
and his destination was fixed for Southern Africa.
He reached his field of labor in 1840. Having tarried
for three months at the head station at Kuruman, and taken to wife
a daughter of the well-known missionary Mr. Moffat, he pushed still farther
into the country, and attached himself to the band of Sechele,
chief of the Bakwains, or "Alligators", a Bechuana tribe.
Here, cutting himself for six months wholly off from all European society,
he gained an insight into the language, laws, modes of life,
and habits of the Bechuanas, which proved of incalculable advantage
in all his subsequent intercourse with them.
Sechele gave a ready ear to the missionary's instructions.
"Did your forefathers know of a future judgment?" he asked.
"They knew of it," replied the missionary, who proceeded to describe
the scenes of the last great day.
"You startle me: these words make all my bones to shake;
I have no more strength in me. But my forefathers were living
at the same time yours were; and how is it that they did not send them word
about these terrible things? They all passed away into darkness
without knowing whither they were going."
Mr. Moffat had translated the Bible into the Bechuana language,
which he had reduced to writing, and Sechele set himself to learn to read,
with so much assiduity that he began to grow corpulent
from lack of his accustomed exercise. His great favorite was Isaiah.
"He was a fine man, that Isaiah; he knew how to speak," he was wont to say,
using the very words applied by the Glasgow Professor to the Apostle Paul.
Having become convinced of the truth of Christianity, he wished his people
also to become Christians. "I will call them together," he said, "and with
our rhinoceros-skin whips we will soon make them all believe together."
Livingstone, mindful, perhaps, of the ill success of his worthy father
in the matter of Wilberforce on "Practical Christianity",
did not favor the proposed line of argument. He was, in fact,
in no great haste to urge Sechele to make a full profession of faith
by receiving the ordinance of baptism; for the chief had,
in accordance with the customs of his people, taken a number of wives,
of whom he must, in this case, put away all except one.
The head-wife was a greasy old jade, who was in the habit of attending church
without her gown, and when her husband sent her home to make her toilet,
she would pout out her thick lips in unutterable disgust
at his new-fangled notions, while some of the other wives
were the best scholars in the school. After a while Sechele took the matter
into his own hands, sent his supernumerary wives back to their friends
-- not empty-handed -- and was baptized.
Mr. Livingstone's station was in the region since rendered famous
by the hunting exploits of Gordon Cumming. He vouches for the truth
of the wonderful stories told by that redoubtable Nimrod,
who visited him during each of his excursions. He himself, indeed,
had an adventure with a lion quite equal to any thing narrated
by Cumming or Andersson, the result of which was one dead lion, two Bechuanas
fearfully wounded, his own arm marked with eleven distinct teeth-marks,
the bone crunched to splinters, and the formation of a false joint,
which marred his shooting ever after.
Mr. Livingstone has a republican contempt for the "King of Beasts".
He is nothing better than an overgrown hulking dog, not a match,
in fair fight, for a buffalo. If a traveler encounter him by daylight,
he turns tail and sneaks out of sight like a scared greyhound.
All the talk about his majestic roar is sheer twaddle. It takes a keen ear
to distinguish the voice of the lion from that of the silly ostrich.
When he is gorged he falls asleep, and a couple of natives approach him
without fear. One discharges an arrow, the point of which has been anointed
with a subtle poison, made of the dried entrails of a species of caterpillar,
while the other flings his skin cloak over his head. The beast
bolts away incontinently, but soon dies, howling and biting the ground
in agony. In the dark, or at all hours when breeding,
the lion is an ugly enough customer; but if a man will stay at home by night,
and does not go out of his way to attack him, he runs less risk in Africa
of being devoured by a lion than he does in our cities of being run over
by an omnibus -- so says Mr. Livingstone.
When the lion grows old he leads a miserable life. Unable to master
the larger game, he prowls about the villages in the hope of picking up
a stray goat. A woman of child venturing out at night does not then
come amiss. When the natives hear of one prowling about the villages,
they say, "His teeth are worn; he will soon kill men,"
and thereupon turn out to kill him. This is the only foundation
for the common belief that when the lion has once tasted human flesh
he will eat nothing else. A "man-eater" is always an old lion,
who takes to cannibalism to avoid starvation. When he lives
far from human habitations, and so can not get goats or children,
an old lion is often reduced to such straits as to be obliged
to live upon mice, and such small deer.
Mr. Livingstone's strictly missionary life among the Bakwains
lasted eight or nine years. The family arose early,
and, after prayers and breakfast, went to the school-room,
where men, women, and children were assembled. School was over at eleven,
when the husband set about his work as gardener, smith, or carpenter,
while his wife busied herself with domestic matters --
baking bread, a hollow in a deserted ant-hill serving for an oven;
churning butter in an earthen jar; running candles; making soap from ashes
containing so little alkaline matter that the ley had to be kept boiling
for a month or six weeks before it was strong enough for use. The wife was
maid-of-all-work in doors, while the husband was Jack-at-all-trades outside.
Three several times the tribe removed their place of residence,
and he was so many times compelled to build for himself a house,
every stick and brick of which was put in place by his own hands.
The heat of the day past, and dinner over, the wife betook herself
to the infant and sewing schools, while the husband walked down to the village
to talk with the natives. Three nights in the week, after the cows
had been milked, public meetings were held for instruction
in religious and secular matters. All these multifarious duties
were diversified by attendance upon the sick, and in various ways
aiding the poor and wretched. Being in so many ways helpful to them,
and having, besides, shown from the first that he could knock them up
at hard work or traveling, we can not wonder that Livingstone was popular
among the Bakwains, though conversions seem to have been of the rarest.
Indeed, we are not sure but Sechele's was the only case.
A great drought set in the very first year of his residence among them,
which increased year by year. The river ran dry; the canals which
he had induced them to dig for the purpose of irrigating their gardens
were useless; the fish died in such numbers that the congregated
hyenas of the country were unable to devour the putrid masses.
The rain-makers tried their spells in vain. The clouds sometimes gathered
promisingly overhead, but only to roll away without discharging a drop
upon the scorched plains. The people began to suspect some connection between
the new religion and the drought. "We like you," they said, "but we wish
you would give up this everlasting preaching and praying. You see that
we never get any rain, while the tribes who never pray have an abundance."
Livingstone could not deny the fact, and he was sometimes disposed
to attribute it to the malevolence of the "Prince of the Power of the Air",
eager to frustrate the good work.
The people behaved wonderfully well, though the scarcity amounted
almost to famine. The women sold their ornaments to buy corn
from the more fortunate tribes around; the children scoured the country
for edible roots; the men betook themselves to hunting. They constructed
great traps, called `hopos', consisting of two lines of hedges, a mile long,
far apart at the extremities, but converging like the sides of the letter V,
with a deep pit at the narrow end. Then forming a circuit for miles around,
they drove the game -- buffaloes, zebras, gnus, antelopes, and the like --
into the mouth of the hopo, and along its narrowing lane,
until they plunged pell-mell in one confused, writhing, struggling mass
into the pit, where they were speared at leisure.
The precarious mode of life occasioned by the long drought interfered sadly
with the labors of the mission. Still worse was the conduct of Boers
who had pushed their way into the Bechuana country. Their theory
was very simple: "We are the people of God, and the heathen are given to us
for an inheritance." Of this inheritance they proceeded to make the most.
They compelled the natives to work for them without pay,
in consideration of the privilege of living in "their country".
They made regular forays, carrying off the women and children as slaves.
They were cowardly as well as brutal, compelling friendly tribes
to accompany them on their excursions, putting them in front as a shield,
and coolly firing over their heads, till the enemy fled in despair,
leaving their women, children, and cattle as a prey.
So long as fire-arms could be kept from the natives the Boers
were sure of having it all their own way. But traders came
in the train of the missionaries, and sold guns and powder to the Bechuanas.
Sechele's tribe procured no less than five muskets. The Boers were alarmed,
and determined to drive missionaries and traders from the country.
In course of time Mr. Livingstone became convinced that
Bibles and preaching were not all that was necessary.
Civilization must accompany Christianization; and commerce was essential
to civilization; for commerce, more speedily than any thing else,
would break down the isolation of the tribes, by making them
mutually dependent upon and serviceable to each other.
It was well known that northward, beyond the desert, lay a great lake,
in the midst of a country rich in ivory and other articles of commerce.
In former years, when rains had been more abundant, the natives
had frequently crossed this desert; and somewhere near the lake
dwelt a famous chief, named Sebituane, who had once lived on friendly terms
in the neighborhood of Sechele, who was anxious to renew the old acquaintance.
Mr. Livingstone determined to open intercourse with this region,
in spite of the threats and opposition of the Boers.
So the missionary became a traveler and explorer. While laying his plans
and gathering information, the opportune arrival of Messrs. Oswell and Murray,
two wealthy Englishmen who had become enamored with African hunting,
enabled him to undertake the proposed expedition, Mr. Oswell agreeing
to pay the guides, who were furnished by Sechele.
This expedition, which resulted in the discovery of Lake Ngami,
set out from the missionary station at Kolobeng on the 1st of June, 1849.
The way lay across the great Kalahari desert, seven hundred miles in breadth.
This is a singular region. Though it has no running streams,
and few and scanty wells, it abounds in animal and vegetable life.
Men, animals, and plants accommodate themselves singularly
to the scarcity of water. Grass is abundant, growing in tufts;
bulbous plants abound, among which are the `leroshua', which sends up
a slender stalk not larger than a crow quill, with a tuber,
a foot or more below the surface, as large as a child's head, consisting of
a mass of cellular tissue filled with a cool and refreshing fluid;
and the `mokuri', which deposits under ground, within a circle of a yard
from its stem, a mass of tubers of the size of a man's head.
During years when the rains are unusually abundant, the Kalahari is covered
with the `kengwe', a species of water-melon. Animals and men rejoice
in the rich supply; antelopes, lions, hyenas, jackals, mice, and men
devour it with equal avidity.
The people of the desert conceal their wells with jealous care.
They fill them with sand, and place their dwellings at a distance,
that their proximity may not betray the precious secret.
The women repair to the wells with a score or so of ostrich shells
in a bag slung over their shoulders. Digging down an arm's-length,
they insert a hollow reed, with a bunch of grass tied to the end,
then ram the sand firmly around the tube. The water slowly filters
into the bunch of grass, and is sucked up through the reed,
and squirted mouthful by mouthful into the shells. When all are filled,
the women gather up their load and trudge homeward.
Elands, springbucks, koodoos, and ostriches somehow seem to get along
very well without any moisture, except that contained in the grass
which they eat. They appear to live for months without drinking;
but whenever rhinoceroses, buffaloes, or gnus are seen,
it is held to be certain proof that water exists within a few miles.
The passage of the Kalahari was effected, not without considerable difficulty,
in two months, the expedition reaching Lake Ngami on the 1st of August.
As they approached it, they came upon a considerable river.
"Whence does this come?" asked Livingstone.
"From a country full of rivers," was the reply; "so many that no man
can tell their number, and full of large trees."
This was the first actual confirmation of the report of the Bakwains
that the country beyond was not the large "sandy plateau" of geographers.
The prospect of a highway capable of being traversed by boats
to an unexplored fertile region so filled the mind of Livingstone that,
when he came to the lake, this discovery seemed of comparatively
little importance. To us, indeed, whose ideas of a lake are formed
from Superior and Huron, the Ngami seems but an insignificant affair.
Its circumference may be seventy or a hundred miles, and its mean depth
is but a few feet. It lies two thousand feet above the level of the sea,
and as much below the southern border of the Kalahari, which slopes gradually
toward the interior.
Their desire to visit Sebituane, whose residence was considerably farther
in the interior, was frustrated by the jealousy of Lechulatebe,
a chief near the lake, and the expedition returned to the station at Kolobeng.
The attempt was renewed the following year. Mrs. Livingstone,
their three children, and Sechele accompanied him. The lake was reached.
Lechulatebe, propitiated by the present of a valuable gun, agreed to furnish
guides to Sebituane's country; but the children and servants fell ill,
and the attempt was for the time abandoned.
A third expedition was successful, although the whole party
came near perishing for want of water, and their cattle,
which had been bitten by the `Tsetse', died.
This insect -- the `Glossina moritans' of the naturalists --
deserves a special paragraph. It is a brown insect about as large
as our common house-fly, with three or four yellow bars
across its hinder part. A lively, buzzing, harmless-looking fellow
is the tsetse. Its bite produces a slight itching similar to that
caused by the mosquito, and in the case of men and some species of animals
no further ill effects follow. But woe to the horse, the ox, and the dog,
when once bitten by the tsetse. No immediate harm appears;
the animal is not startled as by the gad-fly; but in a few days
the eyes and the nose begin to run; the jaws and navel swell;
the animal grazes for a while as usual, but grows emaciated and weak,
and dies, it may be, weeks or months after. When dissected,
the cellular tissue seems injected with air, the fat is green and oily,
the muscles are flabby, the heart is so soft that the finger
may be pushed through it. The antelope and buffalo, the zebra and goat,
are not affected by its bite; while to the ox, the horse, and the dog
it is certain death. The mule and donkey are not troubled by it,
nor are sucking calves, while dogs, though fed upon milk, perish.
Such different effects produced upon animals whose nature is similar,
constitute one of the most curious phenomena in natural history.
Sebituane, who had heard of the approach of his visitors,
came more than a hundred miles to meet them. He was a tall, wiry,
coffee-and-milk colored man, of five-and-forty. His original home
was a thousand miles to the south, in the Bakwain country,
whence he had been driven by the Griquas a quarter of a century before.
He fled northward, fighting his way, sometimes reduced to the utmost straits,
but still keeping his people together. At length he crossed the desert,
and conquered the country around Lake Ngami; then having heard of white men
living on the west coast, he passed southwestward into the desert,
hoping to be able to open intercourse with them. There suffering
from the thirst, he came to a small well; the water was not sufficient
for his men and his cattle; one or the other must perish; he ordered the men
to drink, for if they survived they could fight for more cattle.
In the morning his cattle were all gone, and he returned to the north.
Here a long course of warfare awaited him, but in the end
he triumphed over his enemies, and established himself for a time
on the great river Zambesi. Haunted with a longing for intercourse
with the whites, he proposed to descend the river to the eastern coast.
He was dissuaded from this purpose by the warnings of a native prophet.
"The gods say, Go not thither!" he cried; then turning to the west,
"I see a city and a nation of black men -- men of the water;
their cattle are red; thine own tribe are perishing, and will all be consumed;
thou wilt govern black men, and when thy warriors have captured
the red cattle, let not their owners be killed; they are thy future tribe;
let them be spared to cause thee to build." So Sebituane went westward,
conquered the blacks of an immense region, spared the lives of the men,
and made them his subjects, ruling them gently. His original people
are called the Makololo; the subject tribes are styled Makalaka.
Sebituane, though the greatest warrior in the south, always leading his men
to battle in person, was still anxious for peace. He had heard of cannon,
and had somehow acquired the idea that if he could only procure one
he might live in quiet. He received his visitors with much favor.
"Your cattle have all been bitten by the tsetse," he said,
"and will die; but never mind, I will give you as many as you want."
He offered to conduct them through his country that they might choose
a site for a missionary station. But at this moment he fell ill
of an inflammation of the lungs, from which he soon died.
"He was," writes Mr. Livingstone, "the best specimen of a native chief
I ever met; and it was impossible not to follow him in thought
into the world of which he had just heard when he was called away,
and to realize somewhat of the feeling of those who pray for the dead.
The deep, dark question of what is to become of such as he must be left
where we find it, believing that assuredly the Judge of all the earth
will do right."
Although he had sons, Sebituane left the chieftainship
to his daughter Mamochisane, who confirmed her father's permission
that the missionaries might visit her country. They proceeded
a hundred and thirty miles farther, and were rewarded by the discovery
of the great river Zambesi, the very existence of which, in Central Africa,
had never been suspected. It was the dry season, and the river
was at its lowest; but it was from three to six hundred yards broad,
flowing with a deep current toward the east.
A grander idea than the mere founding of a missionary station
now developed itself in the mind of Mr. Livingstone. European goods had
just begun to be introduced into this region from the Portuguese settlements
on the coast; at present slaves were the only commodity received
in payment for them. Livingstone thought if a great highway could be opened,
ivory, and the other products of the country, might be bartered
for these goods, and the traffic in slaves would come to an end.
He therefore resolved to take his family to Cape Town,
and thence send them to England, while he returned alone to the interior,
with the purpose of making his way either to the east or the west coast.
He reached the Cape in April, 1852, being the first time during eleven years
that he had visited the scenes of civilization, and placed his family
on board a ship bound for England, promising to rejoin them in two years.
In June he set out from Cape Town upon that long journey which was to occupy
five years. When he approached the missionary stations in the interior,
he learned that the long-threatened attack by the Boers had taken place.
A letter from Sechele to Mr. Moffat told the story. Thus it ran:
"Friend of my heart's love and of all the confidence of my heart,
I am Sechele. I am undone by the Boers, who attacked me,
though I had no guilt with them. They demanded that I should be
in their kingdom, and I refused. They demanded that I should prevent
the English and Griquas from passing. I replied, These are my friends,
and I can not prevent them. They came on Saturday, and I besought them
not to fight on Sunday, and they assented. They began on Monday morning
at twilight, and fired with all their might, and burned the town with fire,
and scattered us. They killed sixty of my people, and captured women,
and children, and men. They took all the cattle and all the goods
of the Bakwains; and the house of Livingstone they plundered,
taking away all his goods. Of the Boers we killed twenty-eight."
Two hundred children, who had been gathered into schools, were carried away
as slaves. Mr. Livingstone's library was wantonly destroyed,
not carried away; his stock of medicines was smashed, and his furniture
and clothing sold at auction to defray the expenses of the foray.
Mr. Pretorius, the leader of the marauding party, died not long after,
and an obituary notice of him was published, ending with the words,
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."
Leaving his desolate home, Livingstone proceeded on his journey. On the way
he met Sechele, who was going, he said, to see the Queen of England.
Livingstone tried to dissuade him.
"Will not the Queen listen to me?" asked the chief.
"I believe she would listen, but the difficulty is to get to her."
"Well, I shall reach her."
And so they parted. Sechele actually made his way to the Cape,
a distance of a thousand miles, but could get no farther,
and returned to his own country. The remnants of the tribes
who had formerly lived among the Boers gathered around him,
and he is now more powerful than ever.
It is slow traveling in Africa. Livingstone was almost a year
in accomplishing the 1500 miles between Cape Town and the country
of the Makololo. He found that Mamochisane, the daughter of Sebituane,
had voluntarily resigned the chieftainship to her younger brother, Sekeletu.
She wished to be married, she said, and have a family like other women.
The young chief Sekeletu was very friendly, but showed no disposition
to become a convert. He refused to learn to read the Bible,
for fear it might change his heart, and make him content with only one wife,
like Sechele. For his part he wanted at least five.
Some months were passed in this country, which is described
as fertile and well-cultivated -- producing millet, maize, yams,
sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, pumpkins, water-melons, and the like.
The sugar-cane grows plentifully, but the people had never learned
the process of making sugar. They have great numbers of cattle,
and game of various species abounds. On one occasion
a troop of eighty-one buffaloes defiled slowly before their evening fire,
while herds of splendid elands stood, without fear,
at two hundred yards' distance. The country is rather unhealthy,
from the mass of decayed vegetation exposed to the torrid sun.
After due consideration, Livingstone resolved to make his way to Loanda,
a Portuguese settlement on the western coast. Sekeletu, anxious to open
a trade with the coast, appointed twenty-seven men to accompany the traveler;
and on the 11th of November, 1853, he set out on his journey.
Three or four small boxes contained all the baggage of the party.
The only provisions were a few pounds of biscuits, coffee, tea, and sugar;
their main reliance being upon the game which they expected to kill,
and, this failing, upon the proceeds of about ten dollars' worth of beads.
They also took with them a few elephants' tusks, which Sekeletu sent
by way of a trading venture.
The river up which they paddled abounds in hippopotami.
These are in general harmless, though now and then a solitary old bull
who has been expelled from the herd vents his spleen by pitching into
every canoe that passes. Once their canoe was attacked by a female whose calf
had been speared, and nearly overturned. The female carries her young
upon her back, its little round head first appearing above the surface
when she comes up to breathe.
By the order of the chief the party had been furnished with eight oxen
for riding, and seven intended for slaughter. Some of the troop
paddled the canoes, while others drove the cattle along the bank.
African etiquette requires that a company of travelers,
when they come in sight of a village, shall seat themselves under a tree,
and send forward a messenger to announce their arrival and state their object.
The chief then gives them a ceremonious reception, with abundance
of speech-making and drumming. It is no easy matter to get away
from these villages, for the chiefs esteem it an honor
to have strangers with them. These delays, and the frequent heavy rains,
greatly retarded the progress of the travelers.
They had traveled four months, and accomplished half of their journey
before encountering any show of hostility from the tribes
through which they passed. A chief, named Njambi, then demanded tribute
for passing through his country; when this was refused he said
that one of Livingstone's men had spit on the leg of one of his people,
and this crime must be paid for by a fine of a man, an ox, or a gun.
This reasonable demand was likewise refused, and the natives seemed
about to commence hostilities; but changed their minds upon witnessing
the determined attitude of the strangers. Livingstone at last yielded
to the entreaties of his men and gave them an ox, upon the promise
that food should be sent in exchange. The niggardly chief sent them only
a small bag of meal, and two or three pounds of the meat of their own ox.
From this time they were subject to frequent attempts at extortion.
The last of these was made on the banks of the River Quango,
the boundary of the Portuguese possessions. A Bashinje chief, whose portrait
is given by Mr. Livingstone, made the usual demand of a man, a gun, or an ox,
otherwise they must return the way they came. While negotiations
were in progress the opportune arrival of a Portuguese sergeant
freed the travelers from their troubles. The river was crossed,
and once on Portuguese territory their difficulties were over.
At Cassange, the frontier settlement, they sold Sekeletu's ivory.
The Makololo, who had been accustomed to give two tusks for one gun,
were delighted at the prices they obtained. For one tusk
they got two muskets, three kegs of powder, large bunches of beads,
and calico and baize enough to clothe all the party.
On the 31st of May, after more than six months' travel,
Livingstone and his companions reached the Portuguese sea-port of Loanda.
The Makololo were lost in wonder when they first caught sight of the sea.
"We marched along," they said, "believing that what the ancients had told us
was true, that the world has no end; but all at once the world said to us,
I am finished, there is no more of me." Still greater was their wonder
when they beheld the large stone houses of the town. "These are not huts,"
they said, "but mountains with caves in them." Livingstone had
in vain tried to make them comprehend a house of two stories.
They knew of no dwellings except their own conical huts, made of poles
stuck into the ground, and could not conceive how one hut could be built
on the top of another, or how people could live in the upper story,
with the pointed roof of the lower one sticking up in the middle of the floor.
The vessels in the harbor were, they said, not canoes, but towns,
into which one must climb by a rope.
At Loanda Livingstone was attacked by a fever, which reduced him
to a skeleton, and for a while rendered him unable to attend
to his companions. But they managed very well alone.
Some went to the forest, cut firewood, and brought it to town for sale;
others unloaded a coal-vessel in the harbor, at the magnificent wages
of a sixpence a day. The proceeds of their labor were shrewdly invested
in cloth and beads which they would take home with them
in confirmation of the astounding stories they would have to tell;
"for," said they, "in coming to the white man's country, we have accomplished
what no other people in the world could have done; we are the true ancients,
who can tell wonderful things."
The two years, at the close of which Livingstone had promised to rejoin
his family, had almost expired, and he was offered a passage home from Loanda.
But the great object of his expedition was only partially attained.
Though he had reached the west coast in safety, he had found that the forests,
swamps, and rivers must render a wagon-road from the interior impracticable.
He feared also that his native attendants would not be able to make
their way alone back to their own country, through the unfriendly tribes.
So he resolved, feeble as he was, to return to Sekeletu's dominions,
and thence proceed to the eastern coast.
In September he started on his return journey, bearing considerable presents
for Sekeletu from the Portuguese, who were naturally anxious to open a trade
with the rich ivory region of the interior. The Board of Public Works
sent a colonel's uniform and a horse, which unfortunately died on the way.
The merchants contributed specimens of all their articles of trade,
and a couple of donkeys, which would have a special value on account of
their immunity from the bite of the tsetse. The men were made happy
by the acquisition of a suit of European clothes and a gun apiece,
in addition to their own purchases.
In the Bashinje country he again encountered hostile demonstrations.
One chief, who came riding into the camp upon the shoulders of an attendant,
was especially annoying in his demands for tribute. Another, who had
quarreled with one of Livingstone's attendants, waylaid and fired upon
the party. Livingstone, who was ill of a fever, staggered up to the chief,
revolver in hand. The sight of the six mouths of that convenient implement
gaping at his breast wrought an instant revolution in his martial ideas;
he fell into a fit of trembling, protesting that he had just come
to have a quiet talk, and wanted only peace.
These Bashinje have more of the low negro character and physiognomy
than any tribe encountered by Livingstone. Their color is a dirty black;
they have low foreheads and flat noses, artificially enlarged
by sticks run through the septum, and file their teeth down to a point.
A little further to the south the complexion of the natives is much lighter,
and their features are strikingly like those depicted upon
the Egyptian monuments, the resemblance being still further increased
by some of their modes of wearing the hair. Livingstone indeed affirms
that the Egyptian paintings and sculptures present the best type
of the general physiognomy of the central tribes.
The return journey was still slower than the advance had been;
and it was not till late in the summer of 1855 that they reached
the villages of the Makololo, having been absent more than eighteen months.
They were received as men risen from the dead, for the diviners had declared
that they had perished long ago. The returned adventurers
were the lions of the day. They strutted around in their gay European suits,
with their guns over their shoulders, to the abounding admiration
of the women and children, calling themselves Livingstone's "braves",
who had gone over the whole world, turning back only when
there was no more land. To be sure they returned about as poor as they went,
for their gun and their one suit of red and white cotton
were all that they had saved, every thing else having been expended
during their long journey. "But never mind," they said;
"we have not gone in vain, you have opened a path for us."
There was one serious drawback from their happiness. Some of their wives,
like those of the companions of Ulysses of old, wearied by their long absence,
had married other husbands. They took this misfortune much to heart.
"Wives," said one of the bereaved husbands, "are as plenty as grass --
I can get another; but," he added bitterly, "if I had that fellow
I would slit his ears for him." Livingstone did the best he could for them.
He induced the chiefs to compel the men who had taken the only wife of any one
to give her up to her former husband. Those -- and they were the majority --
who had still a number left, he consoled by telling them that they had
quite as many as was good for them -- more than he himself had.
So, undeterred by this single untoward result of their experiment,
the adventurers one and all set about gathering ivory for another adventure
to the west.
Livingstone had satisfied himself that the great River Leeambye,
up which he had paddled so many miles on his way to the west,
was identical with the Zambesi, which he had discovered four years previously.
The two names are indeed the same, both meaning simply "The River",
in different dialects spoken on its banks. This great river
is an object of wonder to the natives. They have a song which runs,
"The Leeambye! Nobody knows
Whence it comes, and whither it goes."
Livingstone had pursued it far up toward its source, and knew whence it came;
and now he resolved to follow it down to the sea, trusting that
it would furnish a water communication into the very heart of the continent.
It was now October -- the close of the hot season. The thermometer stood
at 100 Deg. in the shade; in the sun it sometimes rose to 130 Deg.
During the day the people kept close in their huts, guzzling a kind of beer
called `boyola', and seeming to enjoy the copious perspiration
which it induces. As evening set in the dance began,
which was kept up in the moonlight till long after midnight.
Sekeletu, proud of his new uniform, and pleased with the prospect of trade
which had been opened, entertained Livingstone hospitably, and promised
to fit him out for his eastern journey as soon as the rains had commenced,
and somewhat cooled the burning soil.
He set out early in November, the chief with a large body of retainers
accompanying him as far as the Falls of Mosioatunye, the most remarkable
piece of natural scenery in all Africa, which no European
had ever seen or heard of. The Zambesi, here a thousand yards broad,
seems all at once to lose itself in the earth. It tumbles into
a fissure in the hard basaltic rock, running at a right-angle
with the course of the stream, and prolonged for thirty miles
through the hills. This fissure, hardly eighty feet broad,
with sides perfectly perpendicular, is fully a hundred feet in depth
down to the surface of the water, which shows like a white thread
at its bottom. The noise made by the descent of such a mass of water
into this seething abyss is heard for miles, and five distinct
columns of vapor rise like pillars of smoke to an enormous height.
Hence the Makololo name for the cataract, `Mosi oa tunye' --
"Smoke sounds there!" -- for which Livingstone, with questionable taste,
proposes to substitute the name of "Victoria Falls" -- a change which we trust
the world will not sanction.
From these falls the country gradually ascends toward the east,
the river finding its way by this deep fissure through the hills.
Every thing shows that this whole region, for hundreds of miles, was once
the bed of an immense fresh-water lake. By some convulsion of nature,
occurring at a period geologically recent, this fissure was formed,
and through it the lake was drained, with the exception of its deepest part,
which constitutes the present Lake Ngami. Similar indications exist
of the former existence of other immense bodies of water, which have
in like manner been drained by fissures through the surrounding elevations,
leaving shallow lakes at the lowest points. Such are, undoubtedly,
Tsad at the north, Ngami at the south, Dilolo at the west,
and Taganyika and Nyanja, of which we have only vague reports, at the east.
This great lake region of former days seems to have extended 2500 miles
from north to south, with an average breadth, from east to west,
of 600 or 700 miles.
The true theory of the African continent is, that it consists
of a well-watered trough, surrounded on all sides by an elevated rim,
composed in part of mountain ranges, and in part of high sandy deserts.
Livingstone, who had wrought out this theory from his own
personal observations, was almost disappointed when, on returning to England,
he found that the same theory had been announced on purely geological grounds
by Sir Roderick Murchison, the same philosopher who had averred
that gold must exist in Australia, long before the first diggings
had been discovered there.
Sekeletu had commissioned Livingstone, when he reached his own country,
to purchase for him a sugar-mill, a good rifle, different kinds of clothing,
brass wire, beads, and, in a word, "any other beautiful thing he might see,"
furnishing him with a considerable quantity of ivory to pay for them.
Their way lay through the country of the Batoka, a fierce tribe
who had a few years before attempted "to eat up" Sebituane, with ill success,
for he dispersed them and took away their cattle. Their country,
once populous, is now almost desolate. At one of their ruined villages
Livingstone saw five-and-forty human skulls bleaching upon stakes
stuck in the ground. In the old times the chiefs used to vie with each other
as to whose village should be ornamented with the greatest number
of these ghastly trophies; and a skull was the most acceptable present
from any one who wished to curry favor with a chief. The Batoka have
an odd custom of knocking out the front teeth from the upper jaw.
The lower ones, relieved from the attrition and pressure of the upper,
grow long and protruding, forcing the lower lip out in a hideous manner.
They say that they wish their mouths to be like those of oxen,
and not like those of zebras. No young Batoka female can lay any claim
to being a belle until she has thus acquired an "ox-mouth".
"Look at the great teeth!" is the disparaging criticism made upon those
who neglect to remove their incisors. The women wear a little clothing,
but the men disdain even the paradisiacal fig-leaf, and go about
in a state of absolute nudity. Livingstone told them that he should
come back some day with his family, when none of them must come near
without at least putting on a bunch of grass. They thought it a capital joke.
Their mode of salutation is to fling themselves flat on their backs,
and roll from side to side, slapping the outside of their naked thighs.
The country abounds with game. Buffaloes and zebras by the hundred
grazed on the open spaces. At one time their procession was interrupted
by three buffaloes who came dashing through their ranks. Livingstone's ox
set off at a furious gallop. Looking back, he saw one of his men
flung up into the air by a toss from one of the beasts, who had carried him
on his horns for twenty yards before giving the final pitch.
The fellow came down flat on his face, but the skin was not pierced,
and no bone was broken. His comrades gave him a brisk shampooing,
and in a week he was as well as ever.
The border country passed, the natives grew more friendly, and gladly supplied
all the wants of the travelers. About the middle of December,
when their journey was half over, they came upon the first traces of Europeans
-- a deserted town, a ruined church, and a broken bell
inscribed with a cross and the letters I. H. S., but bearing no date.
A few days after they met a man wearing a hat and jacket.
He had come from the Portuguese settlement of Tete, far down the river.
From him they learned that a war was going on below,
between the Portuguese and the natives. A chief, named Mpende,
showed signs of hostility. Livingstone's men, who had become worn and ragged
by their long journey, rejoiced at the prospect of a fight.
"Now," said they, "we shall get corn and clothes in plenty.
You have seen us with elephants, but you don't know what we can do with men."
After a while two old men made their appearance, to find out
who the strangers were. "I am a Lekoa (Englishman)," said Livingstone.
"We don't know that tribe," they replied; "we suppose you are
a Mozunga (Portuguese)." Upon Livingstone's showing them
his long hair and the white skin of his bosom they exclaimed,
"We never saw so white a skin as that. You must be one of that tribe
that loves the black men." Livingstone eagerly assured him
that such was the case. Sekwebu, the leader of his men, put in a word:
"Ah, if you only knew him as well as we do, who have lived with him,
you would know how highly he values your friendship; and as he is a stranger
he trusts in you to direct him." The chief, convinced that
he was an Englishman, received the party hospitably and forwarded them
on their way.
The frequent appearance of English goods showed that they were approaching
the coast, and not long afterward Livingstone met a couple of native traders,
from whom, for two small tusks, he bought a quantity of American cotton
marked "Lawrence Mills, Lowell", which he distributed among his men.
For another month they traveled slowly on through a fertile country,
abounding in animal life, bagging an elephant or a buffalo
when short of meat. Lions are numerous, but the natives, believing that
the souls of their dead chiefs enter the bodies of these animals, into which
they also have the power, when living, of transforming themselves at will,
never kill them. When they meet a lion they salute him
by clapping their hands -- a courtesy which his Highness frequently returns
by making a meal of them.
In this region the women are decidedly in the ascendant.
The bridegroom is obliged to come to the village of the bride to live.
Here he must perform certain services for his mother-in-law,
such as keeping her always supplied with fire-wood. Above all things,
he must always, when in her presence, sit with his legs bent under him,
it being considered a mark of disrespect to present his feet toward her.
If he wishes to leave the village, he must not take his children with him;
they belong to his wife, or, rather, to her family. He can, however,
by the payment of a certain number of cattle, "buy up" his wife and children.
When a man is desired to perform any service he always asks
his wife's consent; if she refuses, no amount of bribery or coaxing
will induce him to disobey her.
On the evening of March 2, Livingstone, tired and hungry,
came within eight miles of the Portuguese settlement of Tete.
He sent forward the letters of recommendation which he had received
from the Portuguese on the other side of the continent.
Before daylight the following morning he was aroused
by two officers and a company of soldiers, who brought the materials
for a civilized breakfast -- the first of which he had partaken
since he left Loanda, eighteen months before. "It was," he says,
"the most refreshing breakfast of which I ever partook."
Tete stands on the Zambesi, three hundred miles from its mouth.
The commandant received Livingstone kindly, supplied his men with provisions
for immediate use, gave them land upon which to raise future supplies,
and granted them permission to hunt elephants in the neighborhood
on their own account. Before long they had established
a brisk trade in fire-wood, as their countrymen had done at Loanda.
They certainly manifested none of the laziness which has been said
to be characteristic of the African races. Thirty elephant tusks remained
of those forwarded by Sekeletu. Ten of these were sold for cotton cloth
for the men. The others were deposited with the authorities,
with directions that in case Livingstone should never return
they should be sold, and the proceeds given to the men.
He told them that death alone should prevent him from coming back.
"Nay, father," said the men, "you will not die; you will return,
and take us back to Sekeletu."
He remained at Tete a month, waiting for the close of the sickly season
in the low delta at the mouths of the river, and then descended
to the Portuguese town of Kilimane. Here he remained six weeks,
when an English vessel arrived with supplies and money for him.
Two of his attendants only had come down the river. They begged hard
to be allowed to accompany him to England. In vain Livingstone told them
that they would die if they went to so cold a country.
"That is nothing," said one; "let me die at your feet."
He at last decided to take with him Sekwebu, the leader of the party,
to whose good sense, bravery, and tact he owed much of his success.
The sea-waves rose high, as the boat conveyed them to the ship. Sekwebu,
who had never seen a larger body of water than the shallow Lake Ngami,
"Is this the way you go?" he inquired.
"Yes; don't you see it is?" replied Livingstone, encouragingly.
When Livingstone reached his countrymen on the ship he could scarcely speak
his native language; the words would not come at his call.
He had spoken it but little for thirteen years; and for three and a half,
except for a short time at Loanda, not at all.
Sekwebu became a great favorite on shipboard, but he was bewildered
by the crowd of new ideas that rushed upon his mind.
"What a strange country this is," he said, "all water!"
When they reached Mauritius, he became insane, and tried to jump overboard.
Livingstone's wife had, during her visit to their country,
become a great favorite with the Makololo, who called her `Ma Robert'
-- "Robert's Mother" -- in honor of her young son.
"Come, Sekwebu," said Livingstone, "we are going to Ma Robert."
This struck a chord in his bosom.
"Oh yes," said he; "where is she? Where is Robert?" And for the moment
he seemed to recover.
But in the evening a fresh accession of insanity occurred.
He attempted to spear one of the crew, and then leaped overboard,
and, though he could swim well, pulled himself down, hand over hand,
by the cable. His body was never recovered.
From Mauritius Livingstone sailed for England, which he reached
on the 12th of December, 1856 -- four and a half years after he had parted
from his family at Cape Town.
He was received with unwonted honors. The President of
the Royal Geographical Society, at a special meeting held to welcome him,
formally invited him to give to the world a narrative of his travels.
Some knavish booksellers paid him the less acceptable compliment
of putting forth spurious accounts of his adventures, one at least of which
has been republished in this country. Livingstone, so long accustomed
to a life of action, found the preparation of his book a harder task
than he had imagined. "I think," he says, "that I would rather
cross the African continent again than undertake to write another book."
We trust that he will yet do both. He would indeed have set out
on another African journey nearly a year ago to conduct
his faithful Makololo attendants back to their own country,
had not the King of Portugal relieved him from all anxiety on their account,
by sending out directions that they should be supported at Tete
until his return.
Our abstract does, at best, but scanty justice to the most interesting,
as well as most valuable, of modern works of travel. It has revolutionized
our ideas of African character as well as of African geography.
It shows that Central Africa is peopled by tribes barbarous, indeed,
but far from manifesting those savage and degrading traits which
we are wont to associate with the negro race. In all his long pilgrimage
Livingstone saw scarcely a trace of the brutal rites and bloody superstitions
of Dahomey and Ashanti. The natives every where long for intercourse
with the whites, and eagerly seek the products of civilized labor. In regions
where no white men had ever been seen the cottons of Lowell and Manchester,
passed from tribe to tribe, are even now the standard currency.
Civilized nations have an equal interest in opening intercourse
with these countries, for they are capable of supplying those
great tropical staples which the industrious temperate zones must have,
but can not produce. Livingstone found cotton growing wild all along
his route from Loanda to Kilimane; the sugar-cane flourishes spontaneously
in the valley of "The River"; coffee abounds on the west coast; and indigo
is a weed in the delta of the Zambesi. Barth also finds these products
abundant on the banks of the Benuwe and Shari, and around Lake Tsad.
The prevalent idea of the inherent laziness of the Africans must be abandoned,
for, scattered through the narratives of both these intrepid explorers
are abundant testimonies of the industrious disposition of the natives.
Livingstone, as befits his profession, regards his discoveries
from a religious stand-point. "The end of the geographical feat," he says,
"is the beginning of the missionary enterprise." But he is a philosopher
as well as a preacher, recognizing as true missionaries the man of science
who searches after hidden truths, the soldier who fights against tyranny,
the sailor who puts down the slave-trade, and the merchant
who teaches practically the mutual dependence of the nations of the earth.
His idea of missionary labor looks to this world as well as the next.
Had the Bakwains possessed rifles as well as Bibles -- had they raised cotton
as well as attended prayer-meetings -- it would have been better for them.
He is clearly of the opinion that decent clothing is of more immediate use
to the heathen than doctrinal sermons. "We ought," he says, "to encourage
the Africans to cultivate for our markets, as the most effectual means,
next to the Gospel, of their elevation." His practical turn of mind
suffers him to present no fancy pictures of barbarous nations
longing for the Gospel. His Makololo friends, indeed, listened respectfully
when he discoursed of the Saviour, but were all earnestness
when he spoke of cotton cloths and muskets. Sekeletu favored the missionary,
not as the man who could give him Bibles and tracts, but as the one
by whose help he hoped to sell his ivory for a rifle, a sugar-mill,
and brass wire.
Livingstone's missionary scheme is accommodated to the actual state of things.
It rests quite as much upon traders as preachers. He would open
a communication by the Zambesi to the heart of the continent.
Upon the healthy, elevated region overlooking the low, fertile basin
he would establish trading posts, supplied with European wares.
We can not wonder that the directors of the Missionary Society
looked coldly upon this scheme, and wrote to him that they were
"restricted in their power of aiding plans connected only remotely
with the spread of the Gospel;" nor can we regret that Livingstone,
feeling his old love of independence revive, withdrew from his connection
with the Society, for the purpose of carrying out his own plans.
With all respect for the worthy persons who manage missionary societies,
we can not but believe that the man who led so large a party
across the African continent will accomplish more for the good cause
when working out his own plans than he would do by following out their ideas.
Appendix. -- Notes to etext.
The names Loanda and Zambesi are given in most modern texts
as Luanda and Zambezi.
In three cases, the spelling used in the original was distracting enough
that it has been changed: musquito > mosquito, hachshish > hashish,
and nomade > nomad.
In three other cases, two variant spellings of a word were used in the text.
These were made uniform in accordance with the modern standard.
They were: water-buck > waterbuck, Mosambique > Mozambique,
and imbody > embody.
Other notes on terms: Livingstone often refers to ground-nuts --
this is the British term for a peanut. Mutokwane (`Cannabis sativa')
must be some variety of marijuana.
As the symbols for the British Pound (a crossed L), Degrees (small circle,
in the upper half of the line of text), and fractions cannot be represented
in ASCII, the following standards have been used:
Pounds: written out, and capitalized, AFTER the number of pounds,
rather than before it. Hence "L20" becomes 20 Pounds.
(where L represents the Pound symbol.)
Degrees, Minutes, Seconds: "Degrees", when used alone,
is either spelled out or abbreviated "Deg." -- but is always capitalized
where it replaces the symbol. When a location is given
with a combination of degrees and minutes, or degrees, minutes, and seconds,
[d] is used to denote the symbol for degrees, ['] represents minutes,
and ["] represents seconds -- these latter two are the common symbols,
or at least as similar as ASCII can represent. For an example,
lat. 9d 37' 30" S. would be latitude 9 degrees 37 minutes 30 seconds south.
All temperatures given are in Fahrenheit.
Fractions: Where whole numbers and fractions are combined,
the whole number is separated from the fraction with a dash.
For example, in Chapter 21: 16 ounces and 2-19/20 drams
would translate as 16 ounces and two-and-nineteen-twentieths drams.
Incidentally, Livingstone uses British measurements, which sometimes differ
from the American.
Errors in the original text were corrected when the context presented
compelling evidence that there was in fact an error. When possible,
proper names were checked against the index for extra surety.
Chapter 2, "All around Scroti the country is perfectly flat"
changed to "All around Serotli".
Chapter 2, "one species of plants" changed to "one species of plant".
Chapter 3, "a fire specimen of arboreal beauty" changed to "a fine specimen".
Chapter 12, "till a stranger, happening to come to visit Santaru"
changed to "to visit Santuru".
Chapter 14, "the orders of Sekeletu as as to our companions"
changed to "the orders of Sekeletu as to our companions".
Chapter 14, "while Mashuana plants the poles" changed to "while Mashauana".
Chapter 15, "In other cases I have known them turn back" changed to
"In other cases I have known them to turn back".
Chapter 20, p. 438, "to make a canal from Calumbo to Loando"
changed to "from Calumbo to Loanda".
(Loando, while correct, is otherwise only given in the full Portuguese name.)
Chapter 26, "we saw the Batoko" changed to "we saw the Batoka".
Chapter 28, "with whom Lekwebu had lived" changed to "with whom Sekwebu".
Accented Characters in Words:
To maintain an easily searchable text, accented or special characters
have been discarded. The following is a pretty complete list
of the words in the text which were originally accented.
They appear more or less in the order in which they first appeared
with the accent -- often the accents were dropped in the original.
In each case, the accent follows the appropriate letter,
the "ae" and "oe" combinations are represented as (ae) and (oe),
[\], [/], [~], [^] and [-] represent the accent that looks like them
which would appear above the preceding letter. [=] represents an accent
that looks like the bottom half of a circle, also appearing
above the letter, ["] is an umlaut, and [,] represents a cedilla.
Athen(ae)um > Athenaeum
Bakwa/in > Bakwain
Mabo/tsa > Mabotsa
Bechua/na > Bechuana
Seche/le > Sechele
Chonua/ne > Chonuane
Bakalaha/ri > Bakalahari
hy(ae)na > hyaena
tse/tse > tsetse
Banajo/a > Banajoa
man(oe)uvre > manoeuvre
Bato-ka > Batoka
Loye/lo > Loyelo
Mamba/ri > Mambari
mopane/ > mopane
Balo=nda > Balonda
Sekele/nke > Sekelenke
Mane/nko > Manenko
Sheako/ndo > Sheakondo
Nyamoa/na > Nyamoana
Kolimbo/ta > Kolimbota
Samba/nza > Sambanza
N~uana Loke/ > Nyuana Loke
larv(ae) > larvae
de/tour > detour
cicad(ae) > cicadae
Korwe/ > Korwe
Moni/na > Monina
Bonya/i > Bonyai
Conge/ > Conge
Bua/ze > Buaze
Leche/ > Leche
Bakue/na > Bakuena
Shokua/ne > Shokuane
Lepelo/le > Lepelole
Litubaru/ba > Litubaruba
Baka/a > Bakaa
Bamangwa/to > Bamangwato
Makala/ka > Makalaka
Letlo/che > Letloche
n~ami > nyami
n~aka > nyaka
Matebe/le > Matebele
Seko/mi > Sekomi
Baka/tla > Bakatla
Meba/lwe > Mebalwe
Batla/pi > Batlapi
Bata/u > Batau
Bano/ga > Banoga