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The Personal Life Of David Livingstone by William Garden Blaikie

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It is something to be a missionary. He is sometimes inclined, in seasons
of despondency and trouble, to feel as if forgotten. But for whom do
more prayers ascend?--prayers from the secret place, and from those only
who are known to God. Mr. Moffat met those in England who had made his
mission the subject of special prayer for more than twenty years, though
they had no personal knowledge of the missionary. Through the long
fifteen years of no success, of toil and sorrow, these secret ones were
holding up his hands. And who can tell how often his soul may have been
refreshed through their intercessions?...

It is something to be a missionary. The heart is expanded and filled
with generous sympathies; sectarian bigotry is eroded, and the spirit of
reclusion which makes it doubtful if some denominations have yet made up
their minds to meet those who differ with them in heaven loses much of
its fire....

There are many puzzles and entanglements, temptations, trials, and
perplexities, which tend to inure the missionary's virtue. The
difficulties encountered prevent his faith from growing languid. He must
walk by faith, and though the horizon be all dark and lowering, he must
lean on Him whom, having not seen, he loves. The future--a glorious
future--is that for which he labors. It lies before him as we have seen
the lofty coast of Brazil. No chink in the tree-covered rocks appears to
the seaman; but he glides right on. He works toward the coast, and when
he enters the gateway by the sugar-loaf hill, there opens to the view
in the Bay of Rio a scene of luxuriance and beauty unequaled in the
world beside.

The missionary's head will lie low, and others will have entered into
his labors, before his ideal is realized. The Future for which he works
is one which, though sure, has never yet been seen. The earth shall be
filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. The missionary is a
harbinger of the good time coming. When he preaches the Gospel to a
tribe which has long sat in darkness, the signs of the coming of the Son
of Man are displayed, The glorious Sun of Righteousness is near the
horizon. He is the herald of the dawn, for come He will whose right it
is to reign; and what a prospect appears, when we think of the golden
age which has not been, but must yet come! Messiah has sat on the Hill
of Zion for 1800 years. He has been long expecting that his enemies
shall be made his footstool; and may we not expect, too, and lift up our
heads, seeing the redemption of the world draweth nigh? The bow in the
cloud once spread its majestic arch over the smoke of the fat of lambs
ascending as a sweet-smelling savor before God--a sign of the covenant
of peace--and the flickering light of the Shechinah often intimated the
good-will of Jehovah. But these did not more certainly show the presence
of the Angel of the Covenant than does the shaking among the nations the
presence and energy of God's Holy Spirit; and to be permitted to rank as
a fellow-worker with Him is a mercy of mercies. O Love Divine! how cold
is our love to Thee! True, the missionary of the present day is only a
stepping-stone to the future; but what a privilege he possesses! He is
known to "God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of
angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received
up into Glory." Is that not enough?

Who would not be a missionary? His noble enterprise is in exact
accordance with the spirit of the age, and what is called the spirit of
the age is simply the movement of multitudes of minds in the same
direction. They move according to the eternal and all-embracing decrees
of God. The spirit of the age is one of benevolence, and it manifests
itself in numberless ways--ragged schools, baths and wash-houses,
sanitary reform, etc. Hence missionaries do not live before their time.
Their great idea of converting the world to Christ is no chimera: it is
Divine. Christianity will triumph. It is equal to all it has to
perform. It is not mere enthusiasm to imagine a handful of missionaries
capable of converting the millions of India. How often they are cut off
just after they have acquired the language! How often they retire with
broken-down constitutions before effecting anything! How often they drop
burning tears over their own feebleness amid the defections of those
they believed to be converts! Yes! but that small band has the decree of
God on its side. Who has not admired the band of Leonidas at the pass of
Thermopylae? Three hundred against three million. Japhet, with the decree
of God on his side, only 300 strong, contending for enlargement with
Shem and his 3,000,000. Consider what has been effected during the last
fifty years. There is no vaunting of scouts now. No Indian gentlemen
making themselves merry about the folly of thinking to convert the
natives of India; magnifying the difficulties of caste; and setting our
ministers into brown studies and speech-making in defense of missions.
No mission has yet been an entire failure. We who see such small
segments of the mighty cycles of God's providence often imagine some to
be failures which God does not. Eden was such a failure, The Old World
was a failure under Noah's preaching. Elijah thought it was all up with
Israel. Isaiah said: "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the
arm of the Lord revealed?" And Jeremiah wished his head were waters, his
eyes a fountain of tears, to weep over one of God's plans for diffusing
his knowledge among the heathen. If we could see a larger arc of the
great providential cycle, we might sometimes rejoice when we weep; but
God giveth not account of any of his matters. We must just trust to his
wisdom. Let us do our duty. He will work out a glorious consummation.
Fifty years ago missions could not lift up their heads. But missions now
are admitted by all to be one of the great facts of the age, and the
sneers about "Exeter Hall" are seen by every one to embody a _risus
sardonicus_. The present posture of affairs is, that benevolence is
popular. God is working out in the human heart his great idea, and all
nations shall see his glory.

Let us think highly of the weapons we have received for the
accomplishment of our work. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but spiritual, and mighty through God to the casting down of
strongholds. They are--Faith in our Leader, and in the presence of his
Holy Spirit; a full, free, unfettered Gospel; the doctrine of the cross
of Christ,--an old story, but containing the mightiest truths ever
uttered--mighty for pulling down the strongholds of sin, and giving
liberty to the captives. The story of Redemption, of which Paul said, "I
am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," is old, yet in its vigor,
eternally young.

This work requires zeal for God and love for souls. It needs prayer from
the senders and the sent, and firm reliance on Him who alone is the
Author of conversion. Souls cannot be converted or manufactured to
order. Great deeds are wrought in unconsciousness, from constraining
love to Christ; in humbly asking, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? in
the simple feeling, we have done that which was our duty to do. They
effect works, the greatness of which it will remain for posterity to
discern. The greatest works of God in the kingdom of grace, like his
majestic movements in nature, are marked by stillness in the doing of
them, and reveal themselves by their effects. They come up like the sun,
and show themselves by their own light. The kingdom of God cometh not
with observation. Luther simply followed the leadings of the Holy Spirit
in the struggles of his own soul. He wrought out what the inward
impulses of his own breast prompted him to work, and behold, before he
was aware, he was in the midst of the Reformation. So, too, it was with
the Plymouth pilgrims, with their sermons three times a day on board the
_Mayflower._ Without thinking of founding an empire, they obeyed the
sublime teachings of the Spirit, the promptings of duty and the
spiritual life. God working mightily in the human heart is the spring of
all abiding spiritual power; and it is only as men follow out the
sublime promptings of the inward spiritual life, that they do great
things for God.

The movement of not one mind only, but the consentaneous movement of a
multitude of minds in the same direction, constitutes what is called the
spirit of the age. This spirit is neither the law of progress nor blind
development, but God's all-eternal, all-embracing purpose, the doctrine
which recognizes the hand of God in all events, yet leaves all human
action free. When God prepared an age for a new thought, the thought is
thrust into the age as an instrument into a chemical solution--the
crystals cluster round it immediately. If God prepares not, the man has
lived before his time. Huss and Wycliffe were like voices crying in the
wilderness, preparing the way for a brighter future; the time had
not yet come.

Who would not be a missionary? "They that be wise shall shine as the
brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as
the stars for ever and ever." Is God not preparing the world for
missions which will embrace the whole of Adam's family? The gallant
steamships circumnavigate the globe. Emigration is going on at a rate to
which the most renowned crusades of antiquity bear no proportion. Many
men go to and fro, and knowledge is increased. No great emigration ever
took place in our world without accomplishing one of God's great
designs. The tide of the modern emigration flows toward the West. The
wonderful amalgamation of races will result in something grand. We
believe this, because the world is becoming better, and because God is
working mightily in the human mind. We believe it, because God has been
preparing the world for something glorious. And that something, we
conjecture, will be a fuller development of the missionary idea
and work.

There will yet be a glorious consummation of Christianity. The last
fifty years have accomplished wonders. On the American Continent, what a
wonderful amalgamation of races we have witnessed, how wonderfully they
have been fused into that one American people--type and earnest of a
larger fusion which Christianity will yet accomplish, when, by its
blessed power, all tribes and tongues and races shall become one holy
family. The present popularity of beneficence promises well for the
missionary cause in the future. Men's hearts are undergoing a process of
enlargement, Their sympathies are taking a wider scope. The world is
getting closer, smaller--quite a compact affair. The world for Christ
will yet be realized. "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of
the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

* * * * *

No. II.


In July, 1859, when the Expedition to the Zambesi had been there about a
year. Dr. Livingstone drew up and forwarded to Sir James Clark, Bart.,
M.D., a very full report on the treatment of African fever. The report
details at length a large number of cases, the circumstances under which
the attack was experienced, the remedies administered, and their
effects. In order to ward off the disease in the mangrove swamps, which
were justly described as hotbeds of fever, a dose of quinine was
administered daily to each European, amounting to two grains, and taken
in sherry wine. When an attack of the disease occurred, and the stomach
did not refuse the remedies, Dr. Livingstone administered a dose of
calomel with resin of jalap, followed by quinine. These remedies were in
almost all cases successful, and the convalescence of the patient was
wonderfully rapid. The "pills" which Dr. Livingstone often referred to
were composed of resin of jalap, calomel, rhubarb, and quinine. It was
usually observed that active employment kept off fever, and that on high
lands its attacks were much less violent. Where the stomach refused the
remedies a blister was usually the most effectual means of stopping
the sickness.

Experience did not confirm the prophylactic action of quinine; exemption
from attack in unfavorable situations was rather ascribed to active
exercise, good diet, and to absence of damp, exposure to sun, and
excessive exertion. Even while navigating an unhealthy part of the
Shire, and while, owing to the state of the vessel, the beds were
constantly damp, good health was enjoyed, owing to the regular exercise
and good fare.

In the upper regions of the Shire, Dr. Livingstone says he and his
companions were exposed in the early hours of the morning to the dew
from the long grass, marching during the day over rough country under
the tropical sun, and then sleeping in the open air; but though they had
discontinued the daily use of quinine they Were perfectly well, as were
also their native attendants. This was one of the considerations that
gave him such confidence in the healthiness of the Shire highlands.

Two or three years later, in writing to a friend, Dr. Livingstone
thanked him for having sent him a missionary journal, which he greatly
enjoyed--_The News of the Churches and Journal of Missions_. To show the
very unusual pleasure which this Journal gave him, he proposed to send a
communication to the editor, but said he was somewhat afraid to do so,
lest it should meet the fate of many a paper forwarded to editors at an
earlier period of his life. Mustering courage, he did send a letter, and
we find it in the number of the journal for August, 1862. It is
entitled, "A Note that may be useful to Missionaries in Africa," and
consists of a statement of the remedy for fever, and an account of its
operation. He had been led to think of this from seeing in the _News of
the Churches_ for February, 1861, a reference to his remedy in an
account of the death of the Helmores. The proportions of the several
ingredients are given--"for a full-grown man six or eight grains of
resin of jalap, and the same amount of rhubarb, with four grains of
calomel, and four of quinine, made into pills with spirit of cardamoms.
On taking effect, quinine (not the unbleached kind), in four grains or
larger doses is given every two hours or so, till the ears ring, or
deafness ensues; this last is an essential part of the cure."

The last part of the letter is a description of Lake Nyassa, and a
statement of its importance for purposes of civilization and

The _News of the Churches_ was projected in 1854 by the late Rev. Andrew
Cameron, D.D., and the present writer, and conducted by them for a time;
in 1862 it was in the hands of the Rev. Gavin Carlyle, now of Ealing.

* * * * *

No. III.


QUILIMANE, 23_d May_, 1856.


DEAR SIR,--Having by the good providence of our Heavenly Father reached
this village on the 20th curt., I was pleased to find a silence of more
than four years broken by your letter of the 24th August, 1855. I found,
also, that H.M.'s brigatine "Dart" had called at this port several times
in order to offer me a passage homeward, but on the last occason in
which this most friendly act was performed, her commander, with an
officer of marines and five seamen, were unfortunately lost on the very
dangerous bar at the mouth of the Quilimane River. This sad event threw
a cold shade over all the joy I might otherwise have experienced on
reaching the Eastern Coast. I felt as if it would have been easier for
me to have died for them than to bear the thought of so many being cut
off from all the joys of life in generously attempting to render me a
service. As there is no regular means of proceeding from this to the
Cape, I remain here in the hope of meeting another cruiser, which the
kindness of Commodore Trotter has led me to expect, in preference to
going by a small Arab or Portuguese trading vessel to some point on the
"overland route to India." And though I may possibly reach you as soon
as a letter, it appears advisable to state in writing my thoughts
respecting one or two very important points in your communication.

Accompanied by many kind expressions of approbation, which I highly
value on account of having emanated from a body of men whose sole object
in undertaking the responsibility and labor of the Direction must have
been a sincere desire to promote the interests of the kingdom of our
Lord among the heathen, I find the intimation that the Directors are
restricted in their power of aiding plans connected only remotely with
the spread of the gospel. And it is added, also, that even though
certain very formidable obstacles should prove surmountable, the
"financial circumstances of the Society are not such as to afford any
ground of hope that it would be, within any definite period, in a
position to enter upon untried, remote, and difficult fields of labor."

If I am not mistaken, these statements imply a resolution on the part of
the gentlemen now in the Direction, to devote the decreasing income of
the Society committed to their charge to parts of the world of easy
access, and in which the missionaries may devote their entire time and
energies to the dissemination of the truths of the gospel with
reasonable hopes of speedy success. This, there can be no doubt, evinces
a sincere desire to perform their duty faithfully to their constituents,
to the heathen, and to our Lord and Master, yet while still retaining
that full conviction of the purity of their motives, which no measure
adopted during the sixteen years of my connection with the Society has
for a moment disturbed, I feel constrained to view "the untried, remote,
and difficult fields," to which I humbly yet firmly believe God has
directed my steps, with a resolution widely different from that which
their words imply. As our aims and purposes will now appear in some
degree divergent--on their part from a sort of paralysis caused by
financial decay, and on mine from the simple continuance of an old
determination to devote my life and my all to the service of Christ, in
whatever way He may lead me in inter-tropical Africa--it seems natural,
while yet without the remotest idea of support from another source, to
give some of the reasons for differing with those with whom I have
hitherto been so happily connected.

It remains vividly on my memory that some twenty years ago, while musing
how I might spend my life so as best to promote the glory of the Lord
Jesus, I came to the conclusion that from the cumulative nature of
gospel influence the outskirts even of the Empire of China presented the
most inviting field for evangelical effort in the world. I was also much
averse to being connected with any Society, having a strong desire to
serve Christ in circumstances which would free my services from all
professional aspect. But the solicitations of friends in whose judgment
I had confidence led to my offers of service to the London Missionary
Society. The "Opium War" was then adduced as a reason why that remote,
difficult, and untried field of labor should stand in abeyance before
the interior of Africa, to which, in opposition to my own judgment, I
was advised to proceed. I did not, however, go with any sort of
reluctance, for I had great respect for the honored men by whom the
advice was given, and unbounded confidence in the special providence of
Him who has said, "Commit thy way unto the Lord, etc. In all thy ways
acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy steps." I was contented with
the way in which I had been led, and happy in the prospect of being made
instrumental in winning some souls to Christ.

The Directors wished me to endeavor to carry the gospel to the tribes
north of the Kuruman. Having remained at that station sufficient time
only to recruit my oxen, I proceeded in the direction indicated, and
while learning the language I visited the Bakhatla, Bakwains,
Bangwaketse, and Bamangwato tribes, in order to select a suitable
locality for a mission, in the hope of succeeding in making a second
Kuruman or central station, which would, by God's blessing, influence a
large circumference. I chose Mabotsa, no one who has seen that country
since has said the choice was injudicious. The late Rev. Dr. Philip
alone was opposed to this plan on account of solicitude for my safety,
"because Mosilikatse was behind the Cashan mountains thirsting for the
blood of the first white man who should fall into his hands. And no man
would in his sober senses build his house on the crater of a volcano."
Having removed to the Bakwains of Sechele, I spent some of the happiest
years of my life in missionary labor, and was favored in witnessing a
gratifying measure of success in the spread of the knowledge of the
gospel. The good seed was widely sown, and is not lost. It will yet bear
fruit, though I may not live to see it. In the pursuit of my plan I
tried to plant among the tribes around by means of native teachers and
itineracies. We have heard again and again of a "preparatory work going
on" in India, but who ever heard of such in Africa? A village of 600 or
800 may have one, or even two missionaries, with school-masters and
schoolmistresses, and the nearest population, fifty or one hundred miles
off, cannot feel their influence. Believers will not, in many cases, go
beyond the circle of their own friends and acquaintances.

I was happy in having two worthy men of color, to aid me in diffusing a
knowledge of Christ among the Eastern tribes, but the Boers forbade us
to preach unto the Gentiles that they might be saved. My attention was
turned to Sebituane by Sechele at the very time this happened, but I had
no intention of leaving the Bakwains. Droughts succeeded, and these,
with perpetual threats and annoyances from the Boers, so completely
distracted the mind of the tribe that our operations were almost
suspended. It is well known that food for the mind has but little savor
for starving stomachs. The famine, and the unmistakable determination of
the Boers to enslave my people, at last made me look to the north
seriously. There was no precipitancy. Letters went to and from India
respecting my project before resolving to leave, and I went at last,
after being obliged to send my family to Kuruman in order to be out of
the way of a threatened attack of the Boers. When we reached Lake
'Ngami, about which so much has been said, I immediately asked for
guides to take me to Sebituane, because to form a settlement in which
the gospel might be planted was the great object for which I had come.
Guides were refused, and the Bayeiye were prevented from ferrying me
across the Zouga. I made a raft, but after working in the water for
hours it would not carry me. (I have always been thankful, since I knew
how alligators abound there, that I was not then killed by one.) Next
year affairs were not improved at Kolobeng, and while attempting the
north again fever drove us back. In both that and the following year I
took my family with me in order to obviate the loss of time which
returning for them would occasion. The Boers subsequently, by relieving
me of all my goods, freed me from the labor of returning to Kolobeng
at all.

Of the circumstances attending our arrival at Sebituane's, and the
project of opening up a path to the coast, you are already so fully
aware, from having examined and awarded your approbation, I need
scarcely allude to it. Double the time has been expended to that which I
anticipated, but as it chiefly arose from sickness, the loss of time was
unavoidable. The same cause produced interruptions in preaching the
gospel--as would have been the case had I been indisposed anywhere else.

The foregoing short notices of all the plans which I can bring to my
recollection since my arrival in Africa lead me to the question, which
of the plans it is that the Directors particularize when they say they
are restricted in their power of aiding plans only remotely connected
with the spread of the gospel. It cannot be the last surely, for I had
their express approval before leaving Cape Town, and they yield to none
in admiration of the zeal with which it has been executed. Then which
is it?

As it cannot be meant to apply in the way of want of funds deciding the
suspension of operations which would make the connection remote enough
with the spread of the gospel by us, I am at a loss to understand the
phraseology, and therefore trust that the difficulty may be explained.
The difficulties are mentioned in no captious spirit, though, from being
at a loss as to the precise meaning of the terms, I may appear to be
querulous. I am not conscious of any diminution of the respect and
affection with which I have always addressed you. I am, yours
affectionately, DAVID LIVINGSTON.

No. IV.


_From_ THE EARL OF CLARENDON, _Principal Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs of Her Majesty, the Queen of Great
Britain, to our esteemed Friend_ SEKELETU, _Chief of the

The Queen our Sovereign and the British Government have learned with
much pleasure from her Majesty's servant, Dr. Livingstone, the kind
manner in which you co-operated with him in his endeavors to find a
path from your country to the sea on the West Coast, and again, when he
was following the course of the river Zambesi from your town to the
Eastern Coast, by furnishing him on each occasion with canoes,
provisions, oxen, and men, free of expense; and we were pleased to hear
that you, your elders and people, are all anxious to have direct
intercourse with the English nation, and to have your country open to
commerce and civilization.

Ours is a great commercial and Christian nation, and we desire to live
in peace with all men. We wish others to sleep soundly as well as
ourselves; and we hate the trade in slaves. We are all the children of
one common Father; and the slave-trade being hateful to Him, we give
you a proof of our desire to promote your prosperity by joining you in
the attempt to open up your country to peaceful commerce. With this
view the Queen sends a small steam-vessel to sail along the river
Zambesi, which you know and agreed to be the best pathway for conveying
merchandise, and for the purpose of exploring which Dr. Livingstone
left you the last time. This is, as all men know, "God's pathway;" and
you will, we trust, do all that you can to keep it a free pathway for
all nations, and let no one be molested when traveling on the river.

We are a manufacturing people, and make all the articles which you see
and hear of as coming from the white men. We purchase cotton and make
it into cloth; and if you will cultivate cotton and other articles, we
are willing to buy them. No matter how much you may produce, our people
will purchase it all. Let it be known among all your people, and among
all the surrounding ¸tribes, that the English are the friends and
promoters of all lawful commerce, but that they are the enemies of the
slave-trade and slave-hunting.

We assure you, your elders and people, of our friendship, and we hope
that the kindly feelings which you entertain toward the English may be
continued between our children's children; and, as we have derived all
our greatness from the Divine religion we received from Heaven, it will
be well if you consider it carefully when any of our people talk to
you about it.

We hope that Her Majesty's servants and people will be able to visit
you from time to time in order to cement our friendship, and to promote
mutual welfare; and, in the meantime, we recommend you to the
protection of the Almighty.

Written at London, the nineteenth day of February, 1858. Your
affectionate friend, CLARENDON.

* * * * *

Letters similar to the above were sent to many of the other chiefs
known to Livingstone.

* * * * *

No. V.


A complete list of these honors is not easy to construct; the following
may be regarded as embracing the chief, but it does not embrace mere
addresses presented to him, of which there were many:

1850. Royal Geographical Society of London award him the Royal Donation
of 25 guineas, placed by her Majesty at the disposal of the Council
(Silver Chronometer).

1854. French Geographical Society award a Silver Medal.

1854. University of Glasgow confer degree of LL.D.

1855. Royal Geographical Society of London award Patron's Gold Medal.

1857. French Geographical Society award annual prize for the most
important geographical discovery.

1857. Freedom of city of London, in box of value of fifty guineas, As a
testimonial in recognition of his zealous and ¸persevering exertions in
the important discoveries he has made in Africa, by which geographical,
geological, and their kindred sciences have been advanced; facts
ascertained that may extend the trade and commerce of this country, and
hereafter secure to the native tribes of the vast African continent the
blessings of knowledge and civilization.

1857. Freedom of city of Glasgow, presented in testimony of admiration
of his undaunted intrepidity and fortitude: amid difficulties,
privations, and dangers, during a period of many years, while
traversing an extensive region in the interior of Africa, hitherto
unexplored by Europeans, and of appreciation of the importance of his
services, extending to the fostering of commerce, the advancement of
civilization, and the diffusion of Christianity among heathen nations.

1857. Freedom of city of Edinburgh, of Dundee, and many other towns.

1857. Corresponding Member of American Geographical and Statistical
Society, New York.

1857. Corresponding Member of Royal Geographical Society of London.

1857. Corresponding Member of Geographical Society of Paris.

1857. Corresponding Member of the K.K. Geographical Society of Vienna.

1857. The Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow "elect that
worthy, eminent, and learned Surgeon and Naturalist, David Livingstone,
LL.D., to be an Honorary Fellow,"

1857. Medal awarded by the Universal Society for the Encouragement of
Arts and Industry.

1857. University of Oxford confer degree of D.C.L.

1857. Elected F.R.S.

1858. Appointed Commander of Zambesi Expedition and her Majesty's
Consul at Tette, Quilimane, and Senna.

1872. Gold Medal awarded by Italian Geographical Society.

1874. A memoir of Livingstone having been read by the Secretary at a
meeting of the Russian Geographical Society cordially recognizing his
merit, the whole assembly--a very large one--by rising, paid a last
tribute of respect to his memory.--_Lancet_, 7th March, 1874.

Any omissions in this list notified to the author will be supplied in
future editions.

Printed in the United States of America

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