Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa

This etext was prepared by Alan. R. Light (alight@vnet.net — formerly alight@mercury.interpath.net). To assure a high quality text, the original was typed in (manually) twice and electronically compared. Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa. Also called, Travels and Researches in South Africa; or, Journeys and Researches in South Africa. By David Livingstone David Livingstone
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This etext was prepared by Alan. R. Light (alight@vnet.net — formerly alight@mercury.interpath.net). To assure a high quality text, the original was typed in (manually) twice and electronically compared. [Note on text: Italicized words or phrases are CAPITALIZED. Some obvious errors have been corrected.]

Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa. Also called, Travels and Researches in South Africa; or, Journeys and Researches in South Africa. By David Livingstone [British (Scot) Missionary and Explorer–1813-1873.]

David Livingstone was born in Scotland, received his medical degree from the University of Glasgow, and was sent to South Africa by the London Missionary Society. Circumstances led him to try to meet the material needs as well as the spiritual needs of the people he went to, and while promoting trade and trying to end slavery, he became the first European to cross the continent of Africa, which story is related in this book. Two appendixes have been added to this etext, one of which is simply notes on the minor changes made to make this etext more readable, (old vs. new forms of words, names, etc.); the other is a review from the February, 1858 edition of Harper’s Magazine, which is included both for those readers who want to see a brief synopsis, and more importantly to give an example of how Livingstone’s accomplishments were seen in his own time. The unnamed reviewer was by no means as enlightened as Livingstone, yet he was not entirely in the dark, either.

The casual reader, who may not be familiar with the historical period, should note that a few things that Livingstone wrote, which might be seen as racist by today’s standards, was not considered so in his own time. Livingstone simply uses the terms and the science of his day — these were no doubt flawed, as is also seen elsewhere, in his references to malaria, for example. Which all goes to show that it was the science of the day which was flawed, and not so much Livingstone.

I will also add that the Rev. Livingstone has a fine sense of humour, which I hope the reader will enjoy. His description of a Makololo dance is classic.

Lastly, I will note that what I love most about Livingstone’s descriptions is not only that he was not polluted by the racism of his day, but that he was not polluted by the anti-racism of our own. He states things as he sees them, and notes that the Africans are, like all other men, a curious mixture of good and evil. This, to me, demonstrates his good faith better than any other description could. You see, David Livingstone does not write about Africa as a missionary, nor as an explorer, nor yet as a scientist, but as a man meeting fellow men. I hope you will enjoy his writings as much as I did.

Alan R. Light
Monroe, N.C., 1997.

Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa; Including a Sketch of Sixteen Years’ Residence in the Interior of Africa, and a Journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the West Coast; Thence Across the Continent, Down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean.

By David Livingstone, LL.D., D.C.L.,
Fellow of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow; Corresponding Member of the Geographical and Statistical Society of New York; Gold Medalist and Corresponding Member of the Royal Geographical Societies of London and Paris F.S.A., Etc., Etc.


SIR RODERICK IMPEY MURCHISON, President Royal Geographical Society, F.R.S., V.P.G.S., Corr. Inst. of France, and Member of the Academies of St. Petersburg, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Etc.,
This Work

is affectionately offered as a Token of Gratitude for the kind interest he has always taken in the Author’s pursuits and welfare; and to express admiration of his eminent scientific attainments, nowhere more strongly evidenced than by the striking hypothesis respecting the physical conformation of the African continent, promulgated in his Presidential Address to the Royal Geographic Society in 1852, and verified three years afterward by the Author of these Travels.

DAVID LIVINGSTONE. London, Oct., 1857.


When honored with a special meeting of welcome by the Royal Geographical Society a few days after my arrival in London in December last, Sir Roderick Murchison, the President, invited me to give the world a narrative of my travels; and at a similar meeting of the Directors of the London Missionary Society I publicly stated my intention of sending a book to the press, instead of making many of those public appearances which were urged upon me. The preparation of this narrative* has taken much longer time than, from my inexperience in authorship, I had anticipated.

* Several attempts having been made to impose upon the public, as mine, spurious narratives of my travels, I beg to tender my thanks to the editors of the `Times’ and of the `Athenaeum’ for aiding to expose them, and to the booksellers of London for refusing to SUBSCRIBE for any copies.

Greater smoothness of diction and a saving of time might have been secured by the employment of a person accustomed to compilation; but my journals having been kept for my own private purposes, no one else could have made use of them, or have entered with intelligence into the circumstances in which I was placed in Africa, far from any European companion. Those who have never carried a book through the press can form no idea of the amount of toil it involves. The process has increased my respect for authors and authoresses a thousand-fold.

I can not refrain from referring, with sentiments of admiration and gratitude, to my friend Thomas Maclear, Esq., the accomplished Astronomer Royal at the Cape. I shall never cease to remember his instructions and help with real gratitude. The intercourse I had the privilege to enjoy at the Observatory enabled me to form an idea of the almost infinite variety of acquirements necessary to form a true and great astronomer, and I was led to the conviction that it will be long before the world becomes overstocked with accomplished members of that profession. Let them be always honored according to their deserts; and long may Maclear, Herschel, Airy, and others live to make known the wonders and glory of creation, and to aid in rendering the pathway of the world safe to mariners, and the dark places of the earth open to Christians!

I beg to offer my hearty thanks to my friend Sir Roderick Murchison, and also to Dr. Norton Shaw, the secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, for aiding my researches by every means in their power.

His faithful majesty Don Pedro V., having kindly sent out orders to support my late companions until my return, relieved my mind of anxiety on their account. But for this act of liberality, I should certainly have been compelled to leave England in May last; and it has afforded me the pleasure of traveling over, in imagination, every scene again, and recalling the feelings which actuated me at the time. I have much pleasure in acknowledging my deep obligations to the hospitality and kindness of the Portuguese on many occasions.

I have not entered into the early labors, trials, and successes of the missionaries who preceded me in the Bechuana country, because that has been done by the much abler pen of my father-in-law, Rev. Robert Moffat, of Kuruman, who has been an energetic and devoted actor in the scene for upward of forty years. A slight sketch only is given of my own attempts, and the chief part of the book is taken up with a detail of the efforts made to open up a new field north of the Bechuana country to the sympathies of Christendom. The prospects there disclosed are fairer than I anticipated, and the capabilities of the new region lead me to hope that by the production of the raw materials of our manufactures, African and English interests will become more closely linked than heretofore, that both countries will be eventually benefited, and that the cause of freedom throughout the world will in some measure be promoted.

Dr. Hooker, of Kew, has had the kindness to name and classify for me, as far as possible, some of the new botanical specimens which I brought over; Dr. Andrew Smith (himself an African traveler) has aided me in the zoology; and Captain Need has laid open for my use his portfolio of African sketches, for all which acts of liberality my thanks are deservedly due, as well as to my brother, who has rendered me willing aid as an amanuensis.

Although I can not profess to be a draughtsman, I brought home with me a few rough diagram-sketches, from one of which the view of the Falls of the Zambesi has been prepared by a more experienced artist.

October, 1857.


Personal Sketch — Highland Ancestors — Family Traditions — Grandfather removes to the Lowlands — Parents — Early Labors and Efforts — Evening School — Love of Reading — Religious Impressions — Medical Education — Youthful Travels — Geology — Mental Discipline — Study in Glasgow — London Missionary Society — Native Village — Medical Diploma — Theological Studies — Departure for Africa — No Claim to Literary Accomplishments.

Chapter 1.
The Bakwain Country — Study of the Language — Native Ideas regarding Comets — Mabotsa Station — A Lion Encounter — Virus of the Teeth of Lions — Names of the Bechuana Tribes — Sechele — His Ancestors — Obtains the Chieftainship — His Marriage and Government — The Kotla — First public Religious Services — Sechele’s Questions — He Learns to Read — Novel mode for Converting his Tribe — Surprise at their Indifference — Polygamy — Baptism of Sechele — Opposition of the Natives — Purchase Land at Chonuane — Relations with the People — Their Intelligence — Prolonged Drought — Consequent Trials — Rain-medicine — God’s Word blamed — Native Reasoning — Rain-maker — Dispute between Rain Doctor and Medical Doctor — The Hunting Hopo — Salt or animal Food a necessary of Life — Duties of a Missionary.

Chapter 2.
The Boers — Their Treatment of the Natives — Seizure of native Children for Slaves — English Traders — Alarm of the Boers — Native Espionage — The Tale of the Cannon — The Boers threaten Sechele — In violation of Treaty, they stop English Traders and expel Missionaries — They attack the Bakwains — Their Mode of Fighting — The Natives killed and the School-children carried into Slavery — Destruction of English Property — African Housebuilding and Housekeeping — Mode of Spending the Day — Scarcity of Food — Locusts — Edible Frogs — Scavenger Beetle — Continued Hostility of the Boers — The Journey north — Preparations — Fellow-travelers — The Kalahari Desert — Vegetation — Watermelons — The Inhabitants — The Bushmen — Their nomad Mode of Life — Appearance — The Bakalahari — Their Love for Agriculture and for domestic Animals — Timid Character — Mode of obtaining Water — Female Water-suckers — The Desert — Water hidden.

Chapter 3.
Departure from Kolobeng, 1st June, 1849 — Companions — Our Route — Abundance of Grass — Serotli, a Fountain in the Desert — Mode of digging Wells — The Eland — Animals of the Desert — The Hyaena — The Chief Sekomi — Dangers — The wandering Guide — Cross Purposes — Slow Progress — Want of Water — Capture of a Bushwoman — The Salt-pan at Nchokotsa — The Mirage — Reach the River Zouga — The Quakers of Africa — Discovery of Lake Ngami, 1st August, 1849 — Its Extent — Small Depth of Water — Position as the Reservoir of a great River System — The Bamangwato and their Chief — Desire to visit Sebituane, the Chief of the Makololo — Refusal of Lechulatebe to furnish us with Guides — Resolve to return to the Cape — The Banks of the Zouga — Pitfalls — Trees of the District — Elephants — New Species of Antelope — Fish in the Zouga.

Chapter 4.
Leave Kolobeng again for the Country of Sebituane — Reach the Zouga — The Tsetse — A Party of Englishmen — Death of Mr. Rider — Obtain Guides — Children fall sick with Fever — Relinquish the Attempt to reach Sebituane — Mr. Oswell’s Elephant-hunting — Return to Kolobeng — Make a third Start thence — Reach Nchokotsa — Salt-pans — “Links”, or Springs — Bushmen — Our Guide Shobo — The Banajoa — An ugly Chief — The Tsetse — Bite fatal to domestic Animals, but harmless to wild Animals and Man — Operation of the Poison — Losses caused by it — The Makololo — Our Meeting with Sebituane — Sketch of his Career — His Courage and Conquests — Manoeuvres of the Batoka — He outwits them — His Wars with the Matebele — Predictions of a native Prophet — Successes of the Makololo — Renewed Attacks of the Matebele — The Island of Loyelo — Defeat of the Matebele — Sebituane’s Policy — His Kindness to Strangers and to the Poor — His sudden Illness and Death — Succeeded by his Daughter — Her Friendliness to us — Discovery, in June, 1851, of the Zambesi flowing in the Centre of the Continent — Its Size — The Mambari — The Slave-trade — Determine to send Family to England — Return to the Cape in April, 1852 — Safe Transit through the Caffre Country during Hostilities — Need of a “Special Correspondent” — Kindness of the London Missionary Society — Assistance afforded by the Astronomer Royal at the Cape.

Chapter 5.
Start in June, 1852, on the last and longest Journey from Cape Town — Companions — Wagon-traveling — Physical Divisions of Africa — The Eastern, Central, and Western Zones — The Kalahari Desert — Its Vegetation — Increasing Value of the Interior for Colonization — Our Route — Dutch Boers — Their Habits — Sterile Appearance of the District — Failure of Grass — Succeeded by other Plants — Vines — Animals — The Boers as Farmers — Migration of Springbucks — Wariness of Animals — The Orange River — Territory of the Griquas and Bechuanas — The Griquas — The Chief Waterboer — His wise and energetic Government — His Fidelity — Ill-considered Measures of the Colonial Government in regard to Supplies of Gunpowder — Success of the Missionaries among the Griquas and Bechuanas — Manifest Improvement of the native Character — Dress of the Natives — A full-dress Costume — A Native’s Description of the Natives — Articles of Commerce in the Country of the Bechuanas — Their Unwillingness to learn, and Readiness to criticise.

Chapter 6.
Kuruman — Its fine Fountain — Vegetation of the District — Remains of ancient Forests — Vegetable Poison — The Bible translated by Mr. Moffat — Capabilities of the Language — Christianity among the Natives — The Missionaries should extend their Labors more beyond the Cape Colony — Model Christians — Disgraceful Attack of the Boers on the Bakwains — Letter from Sechele — Details of the Attack — Numbers of School-children carried away into Slavery — Destruction of House and Property at Kolobeng — The Boers vow Vengeance against me — Consequent Difficulty of getting Servants to accompany me on my Journey — Start in November, 1852 — Meet Sechele on his way to England to obtain Redress from the Queen — He is unable to proceed beyond the Cape — Meet Mr. Macabe on his Return from Lake Ngami — The hot Wind of the Desert — Electric State of the Atmosphere — Flock of Swifts — Reach Litubaruba — The Cave Lepelole — Superstitions regarding it — Impoverished State of the Bakwains — Retaliation on the Boers — Slavery — Attachment of the Bechuanas to Children — Hydrophobia unknown — Diseases of the Bakwains few in number — Yearly Epidemics — Hasty Burials — Ophthalmia — Native Doctors — Knowledge of Surgery at a very low Ebb — Little Attendance given to Women at their Confinements — The “Child Medicine” — Salubrity of the Climate well adapted for Invalids suffering from pulmonary Complaints.

Chapter 7.
Departure from the Country of the Bakwains — Large black Ant — Land Tortoises — Diseases of wild Animals — Habits of old Lions — Cowardice of the Lion — Its Dread of a Snare — Major Vardon’s Note — The Roar of the Lion resembles the Cry of the Ostrich — Seldom attacks full-grown Animals — Buffaloes and Lions — Mice — Serpents — Treading on one — Venomous and harmless Varieties — Fascination — Sekomi’s Ideas of Honesty — Ceremony of the Sechu for Boys — The Boyale for young Women — Bamangwato Hills — The Unicorn’s Pass — The Country beyond — Grain — Scarcity of Water — Honorable Conduct of English Gentlemen — Gordon Cumming’s hunting Adventures — A Word of Advice for young Sportsmen — Bushwomen drawing Water — Ostrich — Silly Habit — Paces — Eggs — Food.

Chapter 8.
Effects of Missionary Efforts — Belief in the Deity — Ideas of the Bakwains on Religion — Departure from their Country — Salt-pans — Sour Curd — Nchokotsa — Bitter Waters — Thirst suffered by the wild Animals — Wanton Cruelty in Hunting — Ntwetwe — Mowana-trees — Their extraordinary Vitality — The Mopane-tree — The Morala — The Bushmen — Their Superstitions — Elephant-hunting — Superiority of civilized over barbarous Sportsmen — The Chief Kaisa — His Fear of Responsibility — Beauty of the Country at Unku — The Mohonono Bush — Severe Labor in cutting our Way — Party seized with Fever — Escape of our Cattle — Bakwain Mode of recapturing them — Vagaries of sick Servants — Discovery of grape-bearing Vines — An Ant-eater — Difficulty of passing through the Forest — Sickness of my Companion — The Bushmen — Their Mode of destroying Lions — Poisons — The solitary Hill — A picturesque Valley — Beauty of the Country — Arrive at the Sanshureh River — The flooded Prairies — A pontooning Expedition — A night Bivouac — The Chobe — Arrive at the Village of Moremi — Surprise of the Makololo at our sudden Appearance — Cross the Chobe on our way to Linyanti.

Chapter 9.
Reception at Linyanti — The court Herald — Sekeletu obtains the Chieftainship from his Sister — Mpepe’s Plot — Slave-trading Mambari — Their sudden Flight — Sekeletu narrowly escapes Assassination — Execution of Mpepe — The Courts of Law — Mode of trying Offenses — Sekeletu’s Reason for not learning to read the Bible — The Disposition made of the Wives of a deceased Chief — Makololo Women — They work but little — Employ Serfs — Their Drink, Dress, and Ornaments — Public Religious Services in the Kotla — Unfavorable Associations of the place — Native Doctors — Proposals to teach the Makololo to read — Sekeletu’s Present — Reason for accepting it — Trading in Ivory — Accidental Fire — Presents for Sekeletu — Two Breeds of native Cattle — Ornamenting the Cattle — The Women and the Looking-glass — Mode of preparing the Skins of Oxen for Mantles and for Shields — Throwing the Spear.

Chapter 10.
The Fever — Its Symptoms — Remedies of the native Doctors — Hospitality of Sekeletu and his People — One of their Reasons for Polygamy — They cultivate largely — The Makalaka or subject Tribes — Sebituane’s Policy respecting them — Their Affection for him — Products of the Soil — Instrument of Culture — The Tribute — Distributed by the Chief — A warlike Demonstration — Lechulatebe’s Provocations — The Makololo determine to punish him — The Bechuanas — Meaning of the Term — Three Divisions of the great Family of South Africans.

Chapter 11.
Departure from Linyanti for Sesheke — Level Country — Ant-hills — Wild Date-trees — Appearance of our Attendants on the March — The Chief’s Guard — They attempt to ride on Ox-back — Vast Herds of the new Antelopes, Leches, and Nakongs — The native way of hunting them — Reception at the Villages — Presents of Beer and Milk — Eating with the Hand — The Chief provides the Oxen for Slaughter — Social Mode of Eating — The Sugar-cane — Sekeletu’s novel Test of Character — Cleanliness of Makololo Huts — Their Construction and Appearance — The Beds — Cross the Leeambye — Aspect of this part of the Country — The small Antelope Tianyane unknown in the South — Hunting on foot — An Eland.

Chapter 12.
Procure Canoes and ascend the Leeambye — Beautiful Islands — Winter Landscape — Industry and Skill of the Banyeti — Rapids — Falls of Gonye — Tradition — Annual Inundations — Fertility of the great Barotse Valley — Execution of two Conspirators — The Slave-dealer’s Stockade — Naliele, the Capital, built on an artificial Mound — Santuru, a great Hunter — The Barotse Method of commemorating any remarkable Event — Better Treatment of Women — More religious Feeling — Belief in a future State, and in the Existence of spiritual Beings — Gardens — Fish, Fruit, and Game — Proceed to the Limits of the Barotse Country — Sekeletu provides Rowers and a Herald — The River and Vicinity — Hippopotamus-hunters — No healthy Location — Determine to go to Loanda — Buffaloes, Elands, and Lions above Libonta — Interview with the Mambari — Two Arabs from Zanzibar — Their Opinion of the Portuguese and the English — Reach the Town of Ma-Sekeletu — Joy of the People at the first Visit of their Chief — Return to Sesheke — Heathenism.

Chapter 13.
Preliminary Arrangements for the Journey — A Picho — Twenty-seven Men appointed to accompany me to the West — Eagerness of the Makololo for direct Trade with the Coast — Effects of Fever — A Makololo Question — The lost Journal — Reflections — The Outfit for the Journey — 11th November, 1853, leave Linyanti, and embark on the Chobe — Dangerous Hippopotami — Banks of Chobe — Trees — The Course of the River — The Island Mparia at the Confluence of the Chobe and the Leeambye — Anecdote — Ascend the Leeambye — A Makalaka Mother defies the Authority of the Makololo Head Man at Sesheke — Punishment of Thieves — Observance of the new Moon — Public Addresses at Sesheke — Attention of the People — Results — Proceed up the River — The Fruit which yields `Nux vomica’ — Other Fruits — The Rapids — Birds — Fish — Hippopotami and their Young.

Chapter 14.
Increasing Beauty of the Country — Mode of spending the Day — The People and the Falls of Gonye — A Makololo Foray — A second prevented, and Captives delivered up — Politeness and Liberality of the People — The Rains — Present of Oxen — The fugitive Barotse — Sekobinyane’s Misgovernment — Bee-eaters and other Birds — Fresh-water Sponges — Current — Death from a Lion’s Bite at Libonta — Continued Kindness — Arrangements for spending the Night during the Journey — Cooking and Washing — Abundance of animal Life — Different Species of Birds — Water-fowl — Egyptian Geese — Alligators — Narrow Escape of one of my Men — Superstitious Feelings respecting the Alligator — Large Game — The most vulnerable Spot — Gun Medicine — A Sunday — Birds of Song — Depravity; its Treatment — Wild Fruits — Green Pigeons — Shoals of Fish — Hippopotami.

Chapter 15.
Message to Masiko, the Barotse Chief, regarding the Captives — Navigation of the Leeambye — Capabilities of this District — The Leeba — Flowers and Bees — Buffalo-hunt — Field for a Botanist — Young Alligators; their savage Nature — Suspicion of the Balonda — Sekelenke’s Present — A Man and his two Wives — Hunters — Message from Manenko, a female Chief — Mambari Traders — A Dream — Sheakondo and his People — Teeth-filing — Desire for Butter — Interview with Nyamoana, another female Chief — Court Etiquette — Hair versus Wool — Increase of Superstition — Arrival of Manenko; her Appearance and Husband — Mode of Salutation — Anklets — Embassy, with a Present from Masiko — Roast Beef — Manioc — Magic Lantern — Manenko an accomplished Scold: compels us to wait — Unsuccessful Zebra-hunt.

Chapter 16.
Nyamoana’s Present — Charms — Manenko’s pedestrian Powers — An Idol — Balonda Arms — Rain — Hunger — Palisades — Dense Forests — Artificial Beehives — Mushrooms — Villagers lend the Roofs of their Houses — Divination and Idols — Manenko’s Whims — A night Alarm — Shinte’s Messengers and Present — The proper Way to approach a Village — A Merman — Enter Shinte’s Town: its Appearance — Meet two half-caste Slave-traders — The Makololo scorn them — The Balonda real Negroes — Grand Reception from Shinte — His Kotla — Ceremony of Introduction — The Orators — Women — Musicians and Musical Instruments — A disagreeable Request — Private Interviews with Shinte — Give him an Ox — Fertility of Soil — Manenko’s new Hut — Conversation with Shinte — Kolimbota’s Proposal — Balonda’s Punctiliousness — Selling Children — Kidnapping — Shinte’s Offer of a Slave — Magic Lantern — Alarm of Women — Delay — Sambanza returns intoxicated — The last and greatest Proof of Shinte’s Friendship.

Chapter 17.
Leave Shinte — Manioc Gardens — Mode of preparing the poisonous kind — Its general Use — Presents of Food — Punctiliousness of the Balonda — Their Idols and Superstition — Dress of the Balonda — Villages beyond Lonaje — Cazembe — Our Guides and the Makololo — Night Rains — Inquiries for English cotton Goods — Intemese’s Fiction — Visit from an old Man — Theft — Industry of our Guide — Loss of Pontoon — Plains covered with Water — Affection of the Balonda for their Mothers — A Night on an Island — The Grass on the Plains — Source of the Rivers — Loan of the Roofs of Huts — A Halt — Fertility of the Country through which the Lokalueje flows — Omnivorous Fish — Natives’ Mode of catching them — The Village of a Half-brother of Katema, his Speech and Present — Our Guide’s Perversity — Mozenkwa’s pleasant Home and Family — Clear Water of the flooded Rivers — A Messenger from Katema — Quendende’s Village: his Kindness — Crop of Wool — Meet People from the Town of Matiamvo — Fireside Talk — Matiamvo’s Character and Conduct — Presentation at Katema’s Court: his Present, good Sense, and Appearance — Interview on the following Day — Cattle — A Feast and a Makololo Dance — Arrest of a Fugitive — Dignified old Courtier — Katema’s lax Government — Cold Wind from the North — Canaries and other singing Birds — Spiders, their Nests and Webs — Lake Dilolo — Tradition — Sagacity of Ants.

Chapter 18.
The Watershed between the northern and southern Rivers — A deep Valley — Rustic Bridge — Fountains on the Slopes of the Valleys — Village of Kabinje — Good Effects of the Belief in the Power of Charms — Demand for Gunpowder and English Calico — The Kasai — Vexatious Trick — Want of Food — No Game — Katende’s unreasonable Demand — A grave Offense — Toll-bridge Keeper — Greedy Guides — Flooded Valleys — Swim the Nyuana Loke — Prompt Kindness of my Men — Makololo Remarks on the rich uncultivated Valleys — Difference in the Color of Africans — Reach a Village of the Chiboque — The Head Man’s impudent Message — Surrounds our Encampment with his Warriors — The Pretense — Their Demand — Prospect of a Fight — Way in which it was averted — Change our Path — Summer — Fever — Beehives and the Honey-guide — Instinct of Trees — Climbers — The Ox Sinbad — Absence of Thorns in the Forests — Plant peculiar to a forsaken Garden — Bad Guides — Insubordination suppressed — Beset by Enemies — A Robber Party — More Troubles — Detained by Ionga Panza — His Village — Annoyed by Bangala Traders — My Men discouraged — Their Determination and Precaution.

Chapter 19.
Guides prepaid — Bark Canoes — Deserted by Guides — Mistakes respecting the Coanza — Feelings of freed Slaves — Gardens and Villages — Native Traders — A Grave — Valley of the Quango — Bamboo — White Larvae used as Food — Bashinje Insolence — A posing Question — The Chief Sansawe — His Hostility — Pass him safely — The River Quango — Chief’s mode of dressing his Hair — Opposition — Opportune Aid by Cypriano — His generous Hospitality — Ability of Half-castes to read and write — Books and Images — Marauding Party burned in the Grass — Arrive at Cassange — A good Supper — Kindness of Captain Neves — Portuguese Curiosity and Questions — Anniversary of the Resurrection — No Prejudice against Color — Country around Cassange — Sell Sekeletu’s Ivory — Makololo’s Surprise at the high Price obtained — Proposal to return Home, and Reasons — Soldier-guide — Hill Kasala — Tala Mungongo, Village of — Civility of Basongo — True Negroes — A Field of Wheat — Carriers — Sleeping-places — Fever — Enter District of Ambaca — Good Fruits of Jesuit Teaching — The `Tampan’; its Bite — Universal Hospitality of the Portuguese — A Tale of the Mambari — Exhilarating Effects of Highland Scenery — District of Golungo Alto — Want of good Roads — Fertility — Forests of gigantic Timber — Native Carpenters — Coffee Estate — Sterility of Country near the Coast — Mosquitoes — Fears of the Makololo — Welcome by Mr. Gabriel to Loanda.

Chapter 20.
Continued Sickness — Kindness of the Bishop of Angola and her Majesty’s Officers — Mr. Gabriel’s unwearied Hospitality — Serious Deportment of the Makololo — They visit Ships of War — Politeness of the Officers and Men — The Makololo attend Mass in the Cathedral — Their Remarks — Find Employment in collecting Firewood and unloading Coal — Their superior Judgment respecting Goods — Beneficial Influence of the Bishop of Angola — The City of St. Paul de Loanda — The Harbor — Custom-house — No English Merchants — Sincerity of the Portuguese Government in suppressing the Slave-trade — Convict Soldiers — Presents from Bishop and Merchants for Sekeletu — Outfit — Leave Loanda 20th September, 1854 — Accompanied by Mr. Gabriel as far as Icollo i Bengo — Sugar Manufactory — Geology of this part of the Country — Women spinning Cotton — Its Price — Native Weavers — Market-places — Cazengo; its Coffee Plantations — South American Trees — Ruins of Iron Foundry — Native Miners — The Banks of the Lucalla — Cottages with Stages — Tobacco-plants — Town of Massangano — Sugar and Rice — Superior District for Cotton — Portuguese Merchants and foreign Enterprise — Ruins — The Fort and its ancient Guns — Former Importance of Massangano — Fires — The Tribe Kisama — Peculiar Variety of Domestic Fowl — Coffee Plantations — Return to Golungo Alto — Self-complacency of the Makololo — Fever — Jaundice — Insanity.

Chapter 21.
Visit a deserted Convent — Favorable Report of Jesuits and their Teaching — Gradations of native Society — Punishment of Thieves — Palm-toddy; its baneful Effects — Freemasons — Marriages and Funerals — Litigation — Mr. Canto’s Illness — Bad Behavior of his Slaves — An Entertainment — Ideas on Free Labor — Loss of American Cotton-seed — Abundance of Cotton in the country — Sickness of Sekeletu’s Horse — Eclipse of the Sun — Insects which distill Water — Experiments with them — Proceed to Ambaca — Sickly Season — Office of Commandant — Punishment of official Delinquents — Present from Mr. Schut of Loanda — Visit Pungo Andongo — Its good Pasturage, Grain, Fruit, etc. — The Fort and columnar Rocks — The Queen of Jinga — Salubrity of Pungo Andongo — Price of a Slave — A Merchant-prince — His Hospitality — Hear of the Loss of my Papers in “Forerunner” — Narrow Escape from an Alligator — Ancient Burial-places — Neglect of Agriculture in Angola — Manioc the staple Product — Its Cheapness — Sickness — Friendly Visit from a colored Priest — The Prince of Congo — No Priests in the Interior of Angola.

Chapter 22.
Leave Pungo Andongo — Extent of Portuguese Power — Meet Traders and Carriers — Red Ants; their fierce Attack; Usefulness; Numbers — Descend the Heights of Tala Mungongo — Fruit-trees in the Valley of Cassange — Edible Muscle — Birds — Cassange Village — Quinine and Cathory — Sickness of Captain Neves’ Infant — A Diviner thrashed — Death of the Child — Mourning — Loss of Life from the Ordeal — Wide-spread Superstitions — The Chieftainship — Charms — Receive Copies of the “Times” — Trading Pombeiros — Present for Matiamvo — Fever after westerly Winds — Capabilities of Angola for producing the raw Materials of English Manufacture — Trading Parties with Ivory — More Fever — A Hyaena’s Choice — Makololo Opinion of the Portuguese — Cypriano’s Debt — A Funeral — Dread of disembodied Spirits — Beautiful Morning Scenes — Crossing the Quango — Ambakistas called “The Jews of Angola” — Fashions of the Bashinje — Approach the Village of Sansawe — His Idea of Dignity — The Pombeiros’ Present — Long Detention — A Blow on the Beard — Attacked in a Forest — Sudden Conversion of a fighting Chief to Peace Principles by means of a Revolver — No Blood shed in consequence — Rate of Traveling — Slave Women — Way of addressing Slaves — Their thievish Propensities — Feeders of the Congo or Zaire — Obliged to refuse Presents — Cross the Loajima — Appearance of People; Hair Fashions.

Chapter 23.
Make a Detour southward — Peculiarities of the Inhabitants — Scarcity of Animals — Forests — Geological Structure of the Country — Abundance and Cheapness of Food near the Chihombo — A Slave lost — The Makololo Opinion of Slaveholders — Funeral Obsequies in Cabango — Send a Sketch of the Country to Mr. Gabriel — Native Information respecting the Kasai and Quango — The Trade with Luba — Drainage of Londa — Report of Matiamvo’s Country and Government — Senhor Faria’s Present to a Chief — The Balonda Mode of spending Time — Faithless Guide — Makololo lament the Ignorance of the Balonda — Eagerness of the Villagers for Trade — Civility of a Female Chief — The Chief Bango and his People — Refuse to eat Beef — Ambition of Africans to have a Village — Winters in the Interior — Spring at Kolobeng — White Ants: “Never could desire to eat any thing better” — Young Herbage and Animals — Valley of the Loembwe — The white Man a Hobgoblin — Specimen of Quarreling — Eager Desire for Calico — Want of Clothing at Kawawa’s — Funeral Observances — Agreeable Intercourse with Kawawa — His impudent Demand — Unpleasant Parting — Kawawa tries to prevent our crossing the River Kasai — Stratagem.

Chapter 24.
Level Plains — Vultures and other Birds — Diversity of Color in Flowers of the same Species — The Sundew — Twenty-seventh Attack of Fever — A River which flows in opposite Directions — Lake Dilolo the Watershed between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans — Position of Rocks — Sir Roderick Murchison’s Explanation — Characteristics of the Rainy Season in connection with the Floods of the Zambesi and the Nile — Probable Reason of Difference in Amount of Rain South and North of the Equator — Arab Reports of Region east of Londa — Probable Watershed of the Zambesi and the Nile — Lake Dilolo — Reach Katema’s Town: his renewed Hospitality; desire to appear like a White Man; ludicrous Departure — Jackdaws — Ford southern Branch of Lake Dilolo — Small Fish — Project for a Makololo Village near the Confluence of the Leeba and the Leeambye — Hearty Welcome from Shinte — Kolimbota’s Wound — Plant-seeds and Fruit-trees brought from Angola — Masiko and Limboa’s Quarrel — Nyamoana now a Widow — Purchase Canoes and descend the Leeba — Herds of wild Animals on its Banks — Unsuccessful Buffalo-hunt — Frogs — Sinbad and the Tsetse — Dispatch a Message to Manenko — Arrival of her Husband Sambanza — The Ceremony called Kasendi — Unexpected Fee for performing a surgical Operation — Social Condition of the Tribes — Desertion of Mboenga — Stratagem of Mambowe Hunters — Water-turtles — Charged by a Buffalo — Reception from the People of Libonta — Explain the Causes of our long Delay — Pitsane’s Speech — Thanksgiving Services — Appearance of my “Braves” — Wonderful Kindness of the People.

Chapter 25.
Colony of Birds called Linkololo — The Village of Chitlane — Murder of Mpololo’s Daughter — Execution of the Murderer and his Wife — My Companions find that their Wives have married other Husbands — Sunday — A Party from Masiko — Freedom of Speech — Canoe struck by a Hippopotamus — Gonye — Appearance of Trees at the end of Winter — Murky Atmosphere — Surprising Amount of organic Life — Hornets — The Packages forwarded by Mr. Moffat — Makololo Suspicions and Reply to the Matebele who brought them — Convey the Goods to an Island and build a Hut over them — Ascertain that Sir R. Murchison had recognized the true Form of African Continent — Arrival at Linyanti — A grand Picho — Shrewd Inquiry — Sekeletu in his Uniform — A Trading-party sent to Loanda with Ivory — Mr. Gabriel’s Kindness to them — Difficulties in Trading — Two Makololo Forays during our Absence — Report of the Country to the N.E. — Death of influential Men — The Makololo desire to be nearer the Market — Opinions upon a Change of Residence — Climate of Barotse Valley — Diseases — Author’s Fevers not a fair Criterion in the Matter — The Interior an inviting Field for the Philanthropist — Consultations about a Path to the East Coast — Decide on descending North Bank of Zambesi — Wait for the Rainy Season — Native way of spending Time during the period of greatest Heat — Favorable Opening for Missionary Enterprise — Ben Habib wishes to marry — A Maiden’s Choice — Sekeletu’s Hospitality — Sulphureted Hydrogen and Malaria — Conversations with Makololo — Their moral Character and Conduct — Sekeletu wishes to purchase a Sugar-mill, etc. — The Donkeys — Influence among the Natives — “Food fit for a Chief” — Parting Words of Mamire — Motibe’s Excuses.

Chapter 26.
Departure from Linyanti — A Thunder-storm — An Act of genuine Kindness — Fitted out a second time by the Makololo — Sail down the Leeambye — Sekote’s Kotla and human Skulls; his Grave adorned with Elephants’ Tusks — Victoria Falls — Native Names — Columns of Vapor — Gigantic Crack — Wear of the Rocks — Shrines of the Barimo — “The Pestle of the Gods” — Second Visit to the Falls — Island Garden — Store-house Island — Native Diviners — A European Diviner — Makololo Foray — Marauder to be fined — Mambari — Makololo wish to stop Mambari Slave-trading — Part with Sekeletu — Night Traveling — River Lekone — Ancient fresh-water Lakes — Formation of Lake Ngami — Native Traditions — Drainage of the Great Valley — Native Reports of the Country to the North — Maps — Moyara’s Village — Savage Customs of the Batoka — A Chain of Trading Stations — Remedy against Tsetse — “The Well of Joy” — First Traces of Trade with Europeans — Knocking out the front Teeth — Facetious Explanation — Degradation of the Batoka — Description of the Traveling Party — Cross the Unguesi — Geological Formation — Ruins of a large Town — Productions of the Soil similar to those in Angola — Abundance of Fruit.

Chapter 27.
Low Hills — Black Soldier-Ants; their Cannibalism — The Plasterer and its Chloroform — White Ants; their Usefulness — Mutokwane-smoking; its Effects — Border Territory — Healthy Table-lands — Geological Formation — Cicadae — Trees — Flowers — River Kalomo — Physical Conformation of Country — Ridges, sanatoria — A wounded Buffalo assisted — Buffalo-bird — Rhinoceros-bird — Leaders of Herds — The Honey-guide — The White Mountain — Mozuma River — Sebituane’s old Home — Hostile Village — Prophetic Phrensy — Food of the Elephant — Ant-hills — Friendly Batoka — Clothing despised — Method of Salutation — Wild Fruits — The Captive released — Longings for Peace — Pingola’s Conquests — The Village of Monze — Aspect of the Country — Visit from the Chief Monze and his Wife — Central healthy Locations — Friendly Feelings of the People in reference to a white Resident — Fertility of the Soil — Bashukulompo Mode of dressing their Hair — Gratitude of the Prisoner we released — Kindness and Remarks of Monze’s Sister — Dip of the Rocks — Vegetation — Generosity of the Inhabitants — Their Anxiety for Medicine — Hooping-cough — Birds and Rain.

Chapter 28.
Beautiful Valley — Buffalo — My young Men kill two Elephants — The Hunt — Mode of measuring Height of live Elephants — Wild Animals smaller here than in the South, though their Food is more abundant — The Elephant a dainty Feeder — Semalembue — His Presents — Joy in prospect of living in Peace — Trade — His People’s way of wearing their Hair — Their Mode of Salutation — Old Encampment — Sebituane’s former Residence — Ford of Kafue — Hippopotami — Hills and Villages — Geological Formation — Prodigious Quantities of large Game — Their Tameness — Rains — Less Sickness than in the Journey to Loanda — Reason — Charge from an Elephant — Vast Amount of animal Life on the Zambesi — Water of River discolored — An Island with Buffaloes and Men on it — Native Devices for killing Game — Tsetse now in Country — Agricultural Industry — An Albino murdered by his Mother — “Guilty of Tlolo” — Women who make their Mouths “like those of Ducks” — First Symptom of the Slave-trade on this side — Selole’s Hostility — An armed Party hoaxed — An Italian Marauder slain — Elephant’s Tenacity of Life — A Word to young Sportsmen — Mr. Oswell’s Adventure with an Elephant; narrow Escape — Mburuma’s Village — Suspicious Conduct of his People — Guides attempt to detain us — The Village and People of Ma Mburuma — Character our Guides give of us.

Chapter 29.
Confluence of Loangwa and Zambesi — Hostile Appearances — Ruins of a Church — Turmoil of Spirit — Cross the River — Friendly Parting — Ruins of stone Houses — The Situation of Zumbo for Commerce — Pleasant Gardens — Dr. Lacerda’s Visit to Cazembe — Pereira’s Statement — Unsuccessful Attempt to establish Trade with the People of Cazembe — One of my Men tossed by a Buffalo — Meet a Man with Jacket and Hat on — Hear of the Portuguese and native War — Holms and Terraces on the Banks of a River — Dancing for Corn — Beautiful Country — Mpende’s Hostility — Incantations — A Fight anticipated — Courage and Remarks of my Men — Visit from two old Councilors of Mpende — Their Opinion of the English — Mpende concludes not to fight us — His subsequent Friendship — Aids us to cross the River — The Country — Sweet Potatoes — Bakwain Theory of Rain confirmed — Thunder without Clouds — Desertion of one of my Men — Other Natives’ Ideas of the English — Dalama (gold) — Inhabitants dislike Slave-buyers — Meet native Traders with American Calico — Game-laws — Elephant Medicine — Salt from the Sand — Fertility of Soil — Spotted Hyaena — Liberality and Politeness of the People — Presents — A stingy white Trader — Natives’ Remarks about him — Effect on their Minds — Rain and Wind now from an opposite Direction — Scarcity of Fuel — Trees for Boat-building — Boroma — Freshets — Leave the River — Chicova, its Geological Features — Small Rapid near Tete — Loquacious Guide — Nyampungo, the Rain-charmer — An old Man — No Silver — Gold-washing — No Cattle.

Chapter 30.
An Elephant-hunt — Offering and Prayers to the Barimo for Success — Native Mode of Expression — Working of Game-laws — A Feast — Laughing Hyaenas — Numerous Insects — Curious Notes of Birds of Song — Caterpillars — Butterflies — Silica — The Fruit Makoronga and Elephants — Rhinoceros Adventure — Korwe Bird — Its Nest — A real Confinement — Honey and Beeswax — Superstitious Reverence for the Lion — Slow Traveling — Grapes — The Ue — Monina’s Village — Native Names — Government of the Banyai — Electing a Chief — Youths instructed in “Bonyai” — Suspected of Falsehood — War-dance — Insanity and Disappearance of Monahin — Fruitless Search — Monina’s Sympathy — The Sand-river Tangwe — The Ordeal Muavi: its Victims — An unreasonable Man — “Woman’s Rights” — Presents — Temperance — A winding Course to shun Villages — Banyai Complexion and Hair — Mushrooms — The Tubers, Mokuri — The Tree Shekabakadzi — Face of the Country — Pot-holes — Pursued by a Party of Natives — Unpleasant Threat — Aroused by a Company of Soldiers — A civilized Breakfast — Arrival at Tete.

Chapter 31.
Kind Reception from the Commandant — His Generosity to my Men — The Village of Tete — The Population — Distilled Spirits — The Fort — Cause of the Decadence of Portuguese Power — Former Trade — Slaves employed in Gold-washing — Slave-trade drained the Country of Laborers — The Rebel Nyaude’s Stockade — He burns Tete — Kisaka’s Revolt and Ravages — Extensive Field of Sugar-cane — The Commandant’s good Reputation among the Natives — Providential Guidance — Seams of Coal — A hot Spring — Picturesque Country — Water-carriage to the Coal-fields — Workmen’s Wages — Exports — Price of Provisions — Visit Gold-washings — The Process of obtaining the precious Metal — Coal within a Gold-field — Present from Major Sicard — Natives raise Wheat, etc. — Liberality of the Commandant — Geographical Information from Senhor Candido — Earthquakes — Native Ideas of a Supreme Being — Also of the Immortality and Transmigration of Souls — Fondness for Display at Funerals — Trade Restrictions — Former Jesuit Establishment — State of Religion and Education at Tete — Inundation of the Zambesi — Cotton cultivated — The fibrous Plants Conge and Buaze — Detained by Fever — The Kumbanzo Bark — Native Medicines — Iron, its Quality — Hear of Famine at Kilimane — Death of a Portuguese Lady — The Funeral — Disinterested Kindness of the Portuguese.

Chapter 32.
Leave Tete and proceed down the River — Pass the Stockade of Bonga — Gorge of Lupata — “Spine of the World” — Width of River — Islands — War Drum at Shiramba — Canoe Navigation — Reach Senna — Its ruinous State — Landeens levy Fines upon the Inhabitants — Cowardice of native Militia — State of the Revenue — No direct Trade with Portugal — Attempts to revive the Trade of Eastern Africa — Country round Senna — Gorongozo, a Jesuit Station — Manica, the best Gold Region in Eastern Africa — Boat-building at Senna — Our Departure — Capture of a Rebel Stockade — Plants Alfacinya and Njefu at the Confluence of the Shire — Landeen Opinion of the Whites — Mazaro, the point reached by Captain Parker — His Opinion respecting the Navigation of the River from this to the Ocean — Lieutenant Hoskins’ Remarks on the same subject — Fever, its Effects — Kindly received into the House of Colonel Nunes at Kilimane — Forethought of Captain Nolloth and Dr. Walsh — Joy imbittered — Deep Obligations to the Earl of Clarendon, etc. — On developing Resources of the Interior — Desirableness of Missionary Societies selecting healthy Stations — Arrangements on leaving my Men — Retrospect — Probable Influence of the Discoveries on Slavery — Supply of Cotton, Sugar, etc., by Free Labor — Commercial Stations — Development of the Resources of Africa a Work of Time — Site of Kilimane — Unhealthiness — Death of a shipwrecked Crew from Fever — The Captain saved by Quinine — Arrival of H. M. Brig “Frolic” — Anxiety of one of my Men to go to England — Rough Passage in the Boats to the Ship — Sekwebu’s Alarm — Sail for Mauritius — Sekwebu on board; he becomes insane; drowns himself — Kindness of Major-General C. M. Hay — Escape Shipwreck — Reach Home.

Appendix. — Latitudes and Longitudes of Positions.

Appendix. — Book Review in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, February, 1858.

Appendix. — Notes to etext.


Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa.



Personal Sketch — Highland Ancestors — Family Traditions — Grandfather removes to the Lowlands — Parents — Early Labors and Efforts — Evening School — Love of Reading — Religious Impressions — Medical Education — Youthful Travels — Geology — Mental Discipline — Study in Glasgow — London Missionary Society — Native Village — Medical Diploma — Theological Studies — Departure for Africa — No Claim to Literary Accomplishments.

My own inclination would lead me to say as little as possible about myself; but several friends, in whose judgment I have confidence, have suggested that, as the reader likes to know something about the author, a short account of his origin and early life would lend additional interest to this book. Such is my excuse for the following egotism; and, if an apology be necessary for giving a genealogy, I find it in the fact that it is not very long, and contains only one incident of which I have reason to be proud.

Our great-grandfather fell at the battle of Culloden, fighting for the old line of kings; and our grandfather was a small farmer in Ulva, where my father was born. It is one of that cluster of the Hebrides thus alluded to by Walter Scott:

“And Ulva dark, and Colonsay,
And all the group of islets gay
That guard famed Staffa round.”*

* Lord of the Isles, canto 4.

Our grandfather was intimately acquainted with all the traditionary legends which that great writer has since made use of in the “Tales of a Grandfather” and other works. As a boy I remember listening to him with delight, for his memory was stored with a never-ending stock of stories, many of which were wonderfully like those I have since heard while sitting by the African evening fires. Our grandmother, too, used to sing Gaelic songs, some of which, as she believed, had been composed by captive islanders languishing hopelessly among the Turks.

Grandfather could give particulars of the lives of his ancestors for six generations of the family before him; and the only point of the tradition I feel proud of is this: One of these poor hardy islanders was renowned in the district for great wisdom and prudence; and it is related that, when he was on his death-bed, he called all his children around him and said, “Now, in my lifetime, I have searched most carefully through all the traditions I could find of our family, and I never could discover that there was a dishonest man among our forefathers. If, therefore, any of you or any of your children should take to dishonest ways, it will not be because it runs in our blood: it does not belong to you. I leave this precept with you: Be honest.” If, therefore, in the following pages I fall into any errors, I hope they will be dealt with as honest mistakes, and not as indicating that I have forgotten our ancient motto. This event took place at a time when the Highlanders, according to Macaulay, were much like the Cape Caffres, and any one, it was said, could escape punishment for cattle-stealing by presenting a share of the plunder to his chieftain. Our ancestors were Roman Catholics; they were made Protestants by the laird coming round with a man having a yellow staff, which would seem to have attracted more attention than his teaching, for the new religion went long afterward, perhaps it does so still, by the name of “the religion of the yellow stick”.

Finding his farm in Ulva insufficient to support a numerous family, my grandfather removed to Blantyre Works, a large cotton manufactory on the beautiful Clyde, above Glasgow; and his sons, having had the best education the Hebrides afforded, were gladly received as clerks by the proprietors, Monteith and Co. He himself, highly esteemed for his unflinching honesty, was employed in the conveyance of large sums of money from Glasgow to the works, and in old age was, according to the custom of that company, pensioned off, so as to spend his declining years in ease and comfort.

Our uncles all entered his majesty’s service during the last French war, either as soldiers or sailors; but my father remained at home, and, though too conscientious ever to become rich as a small tea-dealer, by his kindliness of manner and winning ways he made the heart-strings of his children twine around him as firmly as if he had possessed, and could have bestowed upon them, every worldly advantage. He reared his children in connection with the Kirk of Scotland — a religious establishment which has been an incalculable blessing to that country — but he afterward left it, and during the last twenty years of his life held the office of deacon of an independent church in Hamilton, and deserved my lasting gratitude and homage for presenting me, from my infancy, with a continuously consistent pious example, such as that ideal of which is so beautifully and truthfully portrayed in Burns’s “Cottar’s Saturday Night”. He died in February, 1856, in peaceful hope of that mercy which we all expect through the death of our Lord and Savior. I was at the time on my way below Zumbo, expecting no greater pleasure in this country than sitting by our cottage fire and telling him my travels. I revere his memory.

The earliest recollection of my mother recalls a picture so often seen among the Scottish poor — that of the anxious housewife striving to make both ends meet. At the age of ten I was put into the factory as a “piecer”, to aid by my earnings in lessening her anxiety. With a part of my first week’s wages I purchased Ruddiman’s “Rudiments of Latin”, and pursued the study of that language for many years afterward, with unabated ardor, at an evening school, which met between the hours of eight and ten. The dictionary part of my labors was followed up till twelve o’clock, or later, if my mother did not interfere by jumping up and snatching the books out of my hands. I had to be back in the factory by six in the morning, and continue my work, with intervals for breakfast and dinner, till eight o’clock at night. I read in this way many of the classical authors, and knew Virgil and Horace better at sixteen than I do now. Our schoolmaster — happily still alive — was supported in part by the company; he was attentive and kind, and so moderate in his charges that all who wished for education might have obtained it. Many availed themselves of the privilege; and some of my schoolfellows now rank in positions far above what they appeared ever likely to come to when in the village school. If such a system were established in England, it would prove a never-ending blessing to the poor.

In reading, every thing that I could lay my hands on was devoured except novels. Scientific works and books of travels were my especial delight; though my father, believing, with many of his time who ought to have known better, that the former were inimical to religion, would have preferred to have seen me poring over the “Cloud of Witnesses”, or Boston’s “Fourfold State”. Our difference of opinion reached the point of open rebellion on my part, and his last application of the rod was on my refusal to peruse Wilberforce’s “Practical Christianity”. This dislike to dry doctrinal reading, and to religious reading of every sort, continued for years afterward; but having lighted on those admirable works of Dr. Thomas Dick, “The Philosophy of Religion” and “The Philosophy of a Future State”, it was gratifying to find my own ideas, that religion and science are not hostile, but friendly to each other, fully proved and enforced.

Great pains had been taken by my parents to instill the doctrines of Christianity into my mind, and I had no difficulty in understanding the theory of our free salvation by the atonement of our Savior, but it was only about this time that I really began to feel the necessity and value of a personal application of the provisions of that atonement to my own case. The change was like what may be supposed would take place were it possible to cure a case of “color blindness”. The perfect freeness with which the pardon of all our guilt is offered in God’s book drew forth feelings of affectionate love to Him who bought us with his blood, and a sense of deep obligation to Him for his mercy has influenced, in some small measure, my conduct ever since. But I shall not again refer to the inner spiritual life which I believe then began, nor do I intend to specify with any prominence the evangelistic labors to which the love of Christ has since impelled me. This book will speak, not so much of what has been done, as of what still remains to be performed, before the Gospel can be said to be preached to all nations.

In the glow of love which Christianity inspires, I soon resolved to devote my life to the alleviation of human misery. Turning this idea over in my mind, I felt that to be a pioneer of Christianity in China might lead to the material benefit of some portions of that immense empire; and therefore set myself to obtain a medical education, in order to be qualified for that enterprise.

In recognizing the plants pointed out in my first medical book, that extraordinary old work on astrological medicine, Culpeper’s “Herbal”, I had the guidance of a book on the plants of Lanarkshire, by Patrick. Limited as my time was, I found opportunities to scour the whole country-side, “collecting simples”. Deep and anxious were my studies on the still deeper and more perplexing profundities of astrology, and I believe I got as far into that abyss of phantasies as my author said he dared to lead me. It seemed perilous ground to tread on farther, for the dark hint seemed to my youthful mind to loom toward “selling soul and body to the devil”, as the price of the unfathomable knowledge of the stars. These excursions, often in company with brothers, one now in Canada, and the other a clergyman in the United States, gratified my intense love of nature; and though we generally returned so unmercifully hungry and fatigued that the embryo parson shed tears, yet we discovered, to us, so many new and interesting things, that he was always as eager to join us next time as he was the last.

On one of these exploring tours we entered a limestone quarry — long before geology was so popular as it is now. It is impossible to describe the delight and wonder with which I began to collect the shells found in the carboniferous limestone which crops out in High Blantyre and Cambuslang. A quarry-man, seeing a little boy so engaged, looked with that pitying eye which the benevolent assume when viewing the insane. Addressing him with, “How ever did these shells come into these rocks?” “When God made the rocks, he made the shells in them,” was the damping reply. What a deal of trouble geologists might have saved themselves by adopting the Turk-like philosophy of this Scotchman!

My reading while at work was carried on by placing the book on a portion of the spinning-jenny, so that I could catch sentence after sentence as I passed at my work; I thus kept up a pretty constant study undisturbed by the roar of the machinery. To this part of my education I owe my present power of completely abstracting the mind from surrounding noises, so as to read and write with perfect comfort amid the play of children or near the dancing and songs of savages. The toil of cotton-spinning, to which I was promoted in my nineteenth year, was excessively severe on a slim, loose-jointed lad, but it was well paid for; and it enabled me to support myself while attending medical and Greek classes in Glasgow in winter, as also the divinity lectures of Dr. Wardlaw, by working with my hands in summer. I never received a farthing of aid from any one, and should have accomplished my project of going to China as a medical missionary, in the course of time, by my own efforts, had not some friends advised my joining the London Missionary Society on account of its perfectly unsectarian character. It “sends neither Episcopacy, nor Presbyterianism, nor Independency, but the Gospel of Christ to the heathen.” This exactly agreed with my ideas of what a missionary society ought to do; but it was not without a pang that I offered myself, for it was not quite agreeable to one accustomed to work his own way to become in a measure dependent on others; and I would not have been much put about though my offer had been rejected.

Looking back now on that life of toil, I can not but feel thankful that it formed such a material part of my early education; and, were it possible, I should like to begin life over again in the same lowly style, and to pass through the same hardy training.

Time and travel have not effaced the feelings of respect I imbibed for the humble inhabitants of my native village. For morality, honesty, and intelligence, they were, in general, good specimens of the Scottish poor. In a population of more than two thousand souls, we had, of course, a variety of character. In addition to the common run of men, there were some characters of sterling worth and ability, who exerted a most beneficial influence on the children and youth of the place by imparting gratuitous religious instruction.* Much intelligent interest was felt by the villagers in all public questions, and they furnished a proof that the possession of the means of education did not render them an unsafe portion of the population. They felt kindly toward each other, and much respected those of the neighboring gentry who, like the late Lord Douglas, placed some confidence in their sense of honor. Through the kindness of that nobleman, the poorest among us could stroll at pleasure over the ancient domains of Bothwell, and other spots hallowed by the venerable associations of which our school-books and local traditions made us well aware; and few of us could view the dear memorials of the past without feeling that these carefully kept monuments were our own. The masses of the working-people of Scotland have read history, and are no revolutionary levelers. They rejoice in the memories of “Wallace and Bruce and a’ the lave,” who are still much revered as the former champions of freedom. And while foreigners imagine that we want the spirit only to overturn capitalists and aristocracy, we are content to respect our laws till we can change them, and hate those stupid revolutions which might sweep away time-honored institutions, dear alike to rich and poor.

* The reader will pardon my mentioning the names of two of these most worthy men — David Hogg, who addressed me on his death-bed with the words, “Now, lad, make religion the every-day business of your life, and not a thing of fits and starts; for if you do not, temptation and other things will get the better of you;” and Thomas Burke, an old Forty-second Peninsula soldier, who has been incessant and never weary in good works for about forty years. I was delighted to find him still alive; men like these are an honor to their country and profession. —

Having finished the medical curriculum and presented a thesis on a subject which required the use of the stethoscope for its diagnosis, I unwittingly procured for myself an examination rather more severe and prolonged than usual among examining bodies. The reason was, that between me and the examiners a slight difference of opinion existed as to whether this instrument could do what was asserted. The wiser plan would have been to have had no opinion of my own. However, I was admitted a Licentiate of Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons. It was with unfeigned delight I became a member of a profession which is pre-eminently devoted to practical benevolence, and which with unwearied energy pursues from age to age its endeavors to lessen human woe.

But though now qualified for my original plan, the opium war was then raging, and it was deemed inexpedient for me to proceed to China. I had fondly hoped to have gained access to that then closed empire by means of the healing art; but there being no prospect of an early peace with the Chinese, and as another inviting field was opening out through the labors of Mr. Moffat, I was induced to turn my thoughts to Africa; and after a more extended course of theological training in England than I had enjoyed in Glasgow, I embarked for Africa in 1840, and, after a voyage of three months, reached Cape Town. Spending but a short time there, I started for the interior by going round to Algoa Bay, and soon proceeded inland, and have spent the following sixteen years of my life, namely, from 1840 to 1856, in medical and missionary labors there without cost to the inhabitants.

As to those literary qualifications which are acquired by habits of writing, and which are so important to an author, my African life has not only not been favorable to the growth of such accomplishments, but quite the reverse; it has made composition irksome and laborious. I think I would rather cross the African continent again than undertake to write another book. It is far easier to travel than to write about it. I intended on going to Africa to continue my studies; but as I could not brook the idea of simply entering into other men’s labors made ready to my hands, I entailed on myself, in addition to teaching, manual labor in building and other handicraft work, which made me generally as much exhausted and unfit for study in the evenings as ever I had been when a cotton-spinner. The want of time for self-improvement was the only source of regret that I experienced during my African career. The reader, remembering this, will make allowances for the mere gropings for light of a student who has the vanity to think himself “not yet too old to learn”. More precise information on several subjects has necessarily been omitted in a popular work like the present; but I hope to give such details to the scientific reader through some other channel.

Chapter 1.

The Bakwain Country — Study of the Language — Native Ideas regarding Comets — Mabotsa Station — A Lion Encounter — Virus of the Teeth of Lions — Names of the Bechuana Tribes — Sechele — His Ancestors — Obtains the Chieftainship — His Marriage and Government — The Kotla — First public Religious Services — Sechele’s Questions — He Learns to Read — Novel mode for Converting his Tribe — Surprise at their Indifference — Polygamy — Baptism of Sechele — Opposition of the Natives — Purchase Land at Chonuane — Relations with the People — Their Intelligence — Prolonged Drought — Consequent Trials — Rain-medicine — God’s Word blamed — Native Reasoning — Rain-maker — Dispute between Rain Doctor and Medical Doctor — The Hunting Hopo — Salt or animal Food a necessary of Life — Duties of a Missionary.

The general instructions I received from the Directors of the London Missionary Society led me, as soon as I reached Kuruman or Lattakoo, then, as it is now, their farthest inland station from the Cape, to turn my attention to the north. Without waiting longer at Kuruman than was necessary to recruit the oxen, which were pretty well tired by the long journey from Algoa Bay, I proceeded, in company with another missionary, to the Bakuena or Bakwain country, and found Sechele, with his tribe, located at Shokuane. We shortly after retraced our steps to Kuruman; but as the objects in view were by no means to be attained by a temporary excursion of this sort, I determined to make a fresh start into the interior as soon as possible. Accordingly, after resting three months at Kuruman, which is a kind of head station in the country, I returned to a spot about fifteen miles south of Shokuane, called Lepelole (now Litubaruba). Here, in order to obtain an accurate knowledge of the language, I cut myself off from all European society for about six months, and gained by this ordeal an insight into the habits, ways of thinking, laws, and language of that section of the Bechuanas called Bakwains, which has proved of incalculable advantage in my intercourse with them ever since.

In this second journey to Lepelole — so called from a cavern of that name — I began preparations for a settlement, by making a canal to irrigate gardens, from a stream then flowing copiously, but now quite dry. When these preparations were well advanced, I went northward to visit the Bakaa and Bamangwato, and the Makalaka, living between 22 Degrees and 23 Degrees south latitude. The Bakaa Mountains had been visited before by a trader, who, with his people, all perished from fever. In going round the northern part of these basaltic hills near Letloche I was only ten days distant from the lower part of the Zouga, which passed by the same name as Lake Ngami;* and I might then (in 1842) have discovered that lake, had discovery alone been my object. Most part of this journey beyond Shokuane was performed on foot, in consequence of the draught oxen having become sick. Some of my companions who had recently joined us, and did not know that I understood a little of their speech, were overheard by me discussing my appearance and powers: “He is not strong; he is quite slim, and only appears stout because he puts himself into those bags (trowsers); he will soon knock up.” This caused my Highland blood to rise, and made me despise the fatigue of keeping them all at the top of their speed for days together, and until I heard them expressing proper opinions of my pedestrian powers.

* Several words in the African languages begin with the ringing sound heard in the end of the word “comING”. If the reader puts an `i’ to the beginning of the name of the lake, as Ingami, and then sounds the `i’ as little as possible, he will have the correct pronunciation. The Spanish n [ny] is employed to denote this sound, and Ngami is spelt nyami — naka means a tusk, nyaka a doctor. Every vowel is sounded in all native words, and the emphasis in pronunciation is put upon the penultimate. —

Returning to Kuruman, in order to bring my luggage to our proposed settlement, I was followed by the news that the tribe of Bakwains, who had shown themselves so friendly toward me, had been driven from Lepelole by the Barolongs, so that my prospects for the time of forming a settlement there were at an end. One of those periodical outbreaks of war, which seem to have occurred from time immemorial, for the possession of cattle, had burst forth in the land, and had so changed the relations of the tribes to each other, that I was obliged to set out anew to look for a suitable locality for a mission station.

In going north again, a comet blazed on our sight, exciting the wonder of every tribe we visited. That of 1816 had been followed by an irruption of the Matebele, the most cruel enemies the Bechuanas ever knew, and this they thought might portend something as bad, or it might only foreshadow the death of some great chief. On this subject of comets I knew little more than they did themselves, but I had that confidence in a kind, overruling Providence, which makes such a difference between Christians and both the ancient and modern heathen.

As some of the Bamangwato people had accompanied me to Kuruman, I was obliged to restore them and their goods to their chief Sekomi. This made a journey to the residence of that chief again necessary, and, for the first time, I performed a distance of some hundred miles on ox-back.

Returning toward Kuruman, I selected the beautiful valley of Mabotsa (lat. 25d 14′ south, long. 26d 30′?) as the site of a missionary station, and thither I removed in 1843. Here an occurrence took place concerning which I have frequently been questioned in England, and which, but for the importunities of friends, I meant to have kept in store to tell my children when in my dotage. The Bakatla of the village Mabotsa were much troubled by lions, which leaped into the cattle-pens by night, and destroyed their cows. They even attacked the herds in open day. This was so unusual an occurrence that the people believed that they were bewitched — “given,” as they said, “into the power of the lions by a neighboring tribe.” They went once to attack the animals, but, being rather a cowardly people compared to Bechuanas in general on such occasions, they returned without killing any.

It is well known that if one of a troop of lions is killed, the others take the hint and leave that part of the country. So, the next time the herds were attacked, I went with the people, in order to encourage them to rid themselves of the annoyance by destroying one of the marauders. We found the lions on a small hill about a quarter of a mile in length, and covered with trees. A circle of men was formed round it, and they gradually closed up, ascending pretty near to each other. Being down below on the plain with a native schoolmaster, named Mebalwe, a most excellent man, I saw one of the lions sitting on a piece of rock within the now closed circle of men. Mebalwe fired at him before I could, and the ball struck the rock on which the animal was sitting. He bit at the spot struck, as a dog does at a stick or stone thrown at him; then leaping away, broke through the opening circle and escaped unhurt. The men were afraid to attack him, perhaps on account of their belief in witchcraft. When the circle was re-formed, we saw two other lions in it; but we were afraid to fire lest we should strike the men, and they allowed the beasts to burst through also. If the Bakatla had acted according to the custom of the country, they would have speared the lions in their attempt to get out. Seeing we could not get them to kill one of the lions, we bent our footsteps toward the village; in going round the end of the hill, however, I saw one of the beasts sitting on a piece of rock as before, but this time he had a little bush in front. Being about thirty yards off, I took a good aim at his body through the bush, and fired both barrels into it. The men then called out, “He is shot, he is shot!” Others cried, “He has been shot by another man too; let us go to him!” I did not see any one else shoot at him, but I saw the lion’s tail erected in anger behind the bush, and, turning to the people, said, “Stop a little, till I load again.” When in the act of ramming down the bullets, I heard a shout. Starting, and looking half round, I saw the lion just in the act of springing upon me. I was upon a little height; he caught my shoulder as he sprang, and we both came to the ground below together. Growling horribly close to my ear, he shook me as a terrier dog does a rat. The shock produced a stupor similar to that which seems to be felt by a mouse after the first shake of the cat. It caused a sort of dreaminess, in which there was no sense of pain nor feeling of terror, though quite conscious of all that was happening. It was like what patients partially under the influence of chloroform describe, who see all the operation, but feel not the knife. This singular condition was not the result of any mental process. The shake annihilated fear, and allowed no sense of horror in looking round at the beast. This peculiar state is probably produced in all animals killed by the carnivora; and if so, is a merciful provision by our benevolent Creator for lessening the pain of death. Turning round to relieve myself of the weight, as he had one paw on the back of my head, I saw his eyes directed to Mebalwe, who was trying to shoot him at a distance of ten or fifteen yards. His gun, a flint one, missed fire in both barrels; the lion immediately left me, and, attacking Mebalwe, bit his thigh. Another man, whose life I had saved before, after he had been tossed by a buffalo, attempted to spear the lion while he was biting Mebalwe. He left Mebalwe and caught this man by the shoulder, but at that moment the bullets he had received took effect, and he fell down dead. The whole was the work of a few moments, and must have been his paroxysms of dying rage. In order to take out the charm from him, the Bakatla on the following day made a huge bonfire over the carcass, which was declared to be that of the largest lion they had ever seen. Besides crunching the bone into splinters, he left eleven teeth wounds on the upper part of my arm.

A wound from this animal’s tooth resembles a gun-shot wound; it is generally followed by a great deal of sloughing and discharge, and pains are felt in the part periodically ever afterward. I had on a tartan jacket on the occasion, and I believe that it wiped off all the virus from the teeth that pierced the flesh, for my two companions in this affray have both suffered from the peculiar pains, while I have escaped with only the inconvenience of a false joint in my limb. The man whose shoulder was wounded showed me his wound actually burst forth afresh on the same month of the following year. This curious point deserves the attention of inquirers.

The different Bechuana tribes are named after certain animals, showing probably that in former times they were addicted to animal-worship like the ancient Egyptians. The term Bakatla means “they of the monkey”; Bakuena, “they of the alligator”; Batlapi, “they of the fish”: each tribe having a superstitious dread of the animal after which it is called. They also use the word “bina”, to dance, in reference to the custom of thus naming themselves, so that, when you wish to ascertain what tribe they belong to, you say, “What do you dance?” It would seem as if that had been a part of the worship of old. A tribe never eats the animal which is its namesake, using the term “ila”, hate or dread, in reference to killing it. We find traces of many ancient tribes in the country in individual members of those now extinct, as the Batau, “they of the lion”; the Banoga, “they of the serpent”; though no such tribes now exist. The use of the personal pronoun they, Ba-Ma, Wa, Va or Ova, Am-Ki, &c., prevails very extensively in the names of tribes in Africa. A single individual is indicated by the terms Mo or Le. Thus Mokwain is a single person of the Bakwain tribe, and Lekoa is a single white man or Englishman — Makoa being Englishmen.

I attached myself to the tribe called Bakuena or Bakwains, the chief of which, named Sechele, was then living with his people at a place called Shokuane. I was from the first struck by his intelligence, and by the marked manner in which we both felt drawn to each other. As this remarkable man has not only embraced Christianity, but expounds its doctrines to his people, I will here give a brief sketch of his career.

His great-grandfather Mochoasele was a great traveler, and the first that ever told the Bakwains of the existence of white men. In his father’s lifetime two white travelers, whom I suppose to have been Dr. Cowan and Captain Donovan, passed through the country (in 1808), and, descending the River Limpopo, were, with their party, all cut off by fever. The rain-makers there, fearing lest their wagons might drive away the rain, ordered them to be thrown into the river. This is the true account of the end of that expedition, as related to me by the son of the chief at whose village they perished. He remembered, when a boy, eating part of one of the horses, and said it tasted like zebra’s flesh. Thus they were not killed by the Bangwaketse, as reported, for they passed the Bakwains all well. The Bakwains were then rich in cattle; and as one of the many evidences of the desiccation of the country, streams are pointed out where thousands and thousands of cattle formerly drank, but in which water now never flows, and where a single herd could not find fluid for its support.

When Sechele was still a boy, his father, also called Mochoasele, was murdered by his own people for taking to himself the wives of his rich under-chiefs. The children being spared, their friends invited Sebituane, the chief of the Makololo, who was then in those parts, to reinstate them in the chieftainship. Sebituane surrounded the town of the Bakwains by night; and just as it began to dawn, his herald proclaimed in a loud voice that he had come to revenge the death of Mochoasele. This was followed by Sebituane’s people beating loudly on their shields all round the town. The panic was tremendous, and the rush like that from a theatre on fire, while the Makololo used their javelins on the terrified Bakwains with a dexterity which they alone can employ. Sebituane had given orders to his men to spare the sons of the chief; and one of them, meeting Sechele, put him in ward by giving him such a blow on the head with a club as to render him insensible. The usurper was put to death; and Sechele, reinstated in his chieftainship, felt much attached to Sebituane. The circumstances here noticed ultimately led me, as will be seen by-and-by, into the new, well-watered country to which this same Sebituane had preceded me by many years.

Sechele married the daughters of three of his under-chiefs, who had, on account of their blood relationship, stood by him in his adversity. This is one of the modes adopted for cementing the allegiance of a tribe. The government is patriarchal, each man being, by virtue of paternity, chief of his own children. They build their huts around his, and the greater the number of children, the more his importance increases. Hence children are esteemed one of the greatest blessings, and are always treated kindly. Near the centre of each circle of huts there is a spot called a “kotla”, with a fireplace; here they work, eat, or sit and gossip over the news of the day. A poor man attaches himself to the kotla of a rich one, and is considered a child of the latter. An under-chief has a number of these circles around his; and the collection of kotlas around the great one in the middle of the whole, that of the principal chief, constitutes the town. The circle of huts immediately around the kotla of the chief is composed of the huts of his wives and those of his blood relations. He attaches the under-chiefs to himself and his government by marrying, as Sechele did, their daughters, or inducing his brothers to do so. They are fond of the relationship to great families. If you meet a party of strangers, and the head man’s relationship to some uncle of a certain chief is not at once proclaimed by his attendants, you may hear him whispering, “Tell him who I am.” This usually involves a counting on the fingers of a part of his genealogical tree, and ends in the important announcement that the head of the party is half-cousin to some well-known ruler.

Sechele was thus seated in his chieftainship when I made his acquaintance. On the first occasion in which I ever attempted to hold a public religious service, he remarked that it was the custom of his nation, when any new subject was brought before them, to put questions on it; and he begged me to allow him to do the same in this case. On expressing my entire willingness to answer his questions, he inquired if my forefathers knew of a future judgment. I replied in the affirmative, and began to describe the scene of the “great white throne, and Him who shall sit on it, from whose face the heaven and earth shall flee away,” &c. He said, “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 sooner? They all passed away into darkness without knowing whither they were going.” I got out of the difficulty by explaining the geographical barriers in the North, and the gradual spread of knowledge from the South, to which we first had access by means of ships; and I expressed my belief that, as Christ had said, the whole world would yet be enlightened by the Gospel. Pointing to the great Kalahari desert, he said, “You never can cross that country to the tribes beyond; it is utterly impossible even for us black men, except in certain seasons, when more than the usual supply of rain falls, and an extraordinary growth of watermelons follows. Even we who know the country would certainly perish without them.” Reasserting my belief in the words of Christ, we parted; and it will be seen farther on that Sechele himself assisted me in crossing that desert which had previously proved an insurmountable barrier to so many adventurers.

As soon as he had an opportunity of learning, he set himself to read with such close application that, from being comparatively thin, the effect of having been fond of the chase, he became quite corpulent from want of exercise. Mr. Oswell gave him his first lesson in figures, and he acquired the alphabet on the first day of my residence at Chonuane. He was by no means an ordinary specimen of the people, for I never went into the town but I was pressed to hear him read some chapters of the Bible. Isaiah was a great favorite with him; and he was wont to use the same phrase nearly which the professor of Greek at Glasgow, Sir D. K. Sandford, once used respecting the Apostle Paul, when reading his speeches in the Acts: “He was a fine fellow, that Paul!” “He was a fine man, that Isaiah; he knew how to speak.” Sechele invariably offered me something to eat on every occasion of my visiting him.

Seeing me anxious that his people should believe the words of Christ, he once said, “Do you imagine these people will ever believe by your merely talking to them? I can make them do nothing except by thrashing them; and if you like, I shall call my head men, and with our litupa (whips of rhinoceros hide) we will soon make them all believe together.” The idea of using entreaty and persuasion to subjects to become Christians — whose opinion on no other matter would he condescend to ask — was especially surprising to him. He considered that they ought only to be too happy to embrace Christianity at his command. During the space of two years and a half he continued to profess to his people his full conviction of the truth of Christianity; and in all discussions on the subject he took that side, acting at the same time in an upright manner in all the relations of life. He felt the difficulties of his situation long before I did, and often said, “Oh, I wish you had come to this country before I became entangled in the meshes of our customs!” In fact, he could not get rid of his superfluous wives, without appearing to be ungrateful to their parents, who had done so much for him in his adversity.

In the hope that others would be induced to join him in his attachment to Christianity, he asked me to begin family worship with him in his house. I did so; and by-and-by was surprised to hear how well he conducted the prayer in his own simple and beautiful style, for he was quite a master of his own language. At this time we were suffering from the effects of a drought, which will be described further on, and none except his family, whom he ordered to attend, came near his meeting. “In former times,” said he, “when a chief was fond of hunting, all his people got dogs, and became fond of hunting too. If he was fond of dancing or music, all showed a liking to these amusements too. If the chief loved beer, they all rejoiced in strong drink. But in this case it is different. I love the Word of God, and not one of my brethren will join me.” One reason why we had no volunteer hypocrites was the hunger from drought, which was associated in their minds with the presence of Christian instruction; and hypocrisy is not prone to profess a creed which seems to insure an empty stomach.

Sechele continued to make a consistent profession for about three years; and perceiving at last some of the difficulties of his case, and also feeling compassion for the poor women, who were by far the best of our scholars, I had no desire that he should be in any hurry to make a full profession by baptism, and putting away all his wives but one. His principal wife, too, was about the most unlikely subject in the tribe ever to become any thing else than an out-and-out greasy disciple of the old school. She has since become greatly altered, I hear, for the better; but again and again have I seen Sechele send her out of church to put her gown on, and away she would go with her lips shot out, the very picture of unutterable disgust at his new-fangled notions.

When he at last applied for baptism, I simply asked him how he, having the Bible in his hand, and able to read it, thought he ought to act. He went home, gave each of his superfluous wives new clothing, and all his own goods, which they had been accustomed to keep in their huts for him, and sent them to their parents with an intimation that he had no fault to find with them, but that in parting with them he wished to follow the will of God. On the day on which he and his children were baptized, great numbers came to see the ceremony. Some thought, from a stupid calumny circulated by enemies to Christianity in the south, that the converts would be made to drink an infusion of “dead men’s brains”, and were astonished to find that water only was used at baptism. Seeing several of the old men actually in tears during the service, I asked them afterward the cause of their weeping; they were crying to see their father, as the Scotch remark over a case of suicide, “SO FAR LEFT TO HIMSELF”. They seemed to think that I had thrown the glamour over him, and that he had become mine. Here commenced an opposition which we had not previously experienced. All the friends of the divorced wives became the opponents of our religion. The attendance at school and church diminished to very few besides the chief’s own family. They all treated us still with respectful kindness, but to Sechele himself they said things which, as he often remarked, had they ventured on in former times, would have cost them their lives. It was trying, after all we had done, to see our labors so little appreciated; but we had sown the good seed, and have no doubt but it will yet spring up, though we may not live to see the fruits.

Leaving this sketch of the chief, I proceed to give an equally rapid one of our dealing with his people, the Bakena, or Bakwains. A small piece of land, sufficient for a garden, was purchased when we first went to live with them, though that was scarcely necessary in a country where the idea of buying land was quite new. It was expected that a request for a suitable spot would have been made, and that we should have proceeded to occupy it as any other member of the tribe would. But we explained to them that we wished to avoid any cause of future dispute when land had become more valuable; or when a foolish chief began to reign, and we had erected large or expensive buildings, he might wish to claim the whole. These reasons were considered satisfactory. About 5 Pounds worth of goods were given for a piece of land, and an arrangement was come to that a similar piece should be allotted to any other missionary, at any other place to which the tribe might remove. The particulars of the sale sounded strangely in the ears of the tribe, but were nevertheless readily agreed to.

In our relations with this people we were simply strangers exercising no authority or control whatever. Our influence depended entirely on persuasion; and having taught them by kind conversation as well as by public instruction, I expected them to do what their own sense of right and wrong dictated. We never wished them to do right merely because it would be pleasing to us, nor thought ourselves to blame when they did wrong, although we were quite aware of the absurd idea to that effect. We saw that our teaching did good to the general mind of the people by bringing new and better motives into play. Five instances are positively known to me in which, by our influence on public opinion, war was prevented; and where, in individual cases, we failed, the people did no worse than they did before we came into the country. In general they were slow, like all the African people hereafter to be described, in coming to a decision on religious subjects; but in questions affecting their worldly affairs they were keenly alive to their own interests. They might be called stupid in matters which had not come within the sphere of their observation, but in other things they showed more intelligence than is to be met with in our own uneducated peasantry. They are remarkably accurate in their knowledge of cattle, sheep, and goats, knowing exactly the kind of pasturage suited to each; and they select with great judgment the varieties of soil best suited to different kinds of grain. They are also familiar with the habits of wild animals, and in general are well up in the maxims which embody their ideas of political wisdom.

The place where we first settled with the Bakwains is called Chonuane, and it happened to be visited, during the first year of our residence there, by one of those droughts which occur from time to time in even the most favored districts of Africa.

The belief in the gift or power of RAIN-MAKING is one of the most deeply-rooted articles of faith in this country. The chief Sechele was himself a noted rain-doctor, and believed in it implicitly. He has often assured me that he found it more difficult to give up his faith in that than in any thing else which Christianity required him to abjure. I pointed out to him that the only feasible way of watering the gardens was to select some good, never-failing river, make a canal, and irrigate the adjacent lands. This suggestion was immediately adopted, and soon the whole tribe was on the move to the Kolobeng, a stream about forty miles distant. The experiment succeeded admirably during the first year. The Bakwains made the canal and dam in exchange for my labor in assisting to build a square house for their chief. They also built their own school under my superintendence. Our house at the River Kolobeng, which gave a name to the settlement, was the third which I had reared with my own hands. A native smith taught me to weld iron; and having improved by scraps of information in that line from Mr. Moffat, and also in carpentering and gardening, I was becoming handy at almost any trade, besides doctoring and preaching; and as my wife could make candles, soap, and clothes, we came nearly up to what may be considered as indispensable in the accomplishments of a missionary family in Central Africa, namely, the husband to be a jack-of-all-trades without doors, and the wife a maid-of-all-work within. But in our second year again no rain fell. In the third the same extraordinary drought followed. Indeed, not ten inches of water fell during these two years, and the Kolobeng ran dry; so many fish were killed that the hyaenas from the whole country round collected to the feast, and were unable to finish the putrid masses. A large old alligator, which had never been known to commit any depredations, was found left high and dry in the mud among the victims. The fourth year was equally unpropitious, the fall of rain being insufficient to bring the grain to maturity. Nothing could be more trying. We dug down in the bed of the river deeper and deeper as the water receded, striving to get a little to keep the fruit-trees alive for better times, but in vain. Needles lying out of doors for months did not rust; and a mixture of sulphuric acid and water, used in a galvanic battery, parted with all its water to the air, instead of imbibing more from it, as it would have done in England. The leaves of indigenous trees were all drooping, soft, and shriveled, though not dead; and those of the mimosae were closed at midday, the same as they are at night. In the midst of this dreary drought, it was wonderful to see those tiny creatures, the ants, running about with their accustomed vivacity. I put the bulb of a thermometer three inches under the soil, in the sun, at midday, and found the mercury to stand at 132 Deg. to 134 Deg.; and if certain kinds of beetles were placed on the surface, they ran about a few seconds and expired. But this broiling heat only augmented the activity of the long-legged black ants: they never tire; their organs of motion seem endowed with the same power as is ascribed by physiologists to the muscles of the human heart, by which that part of the frame never becomes fatigued, and which may be imparted to all our bodily organs in that higher sphere to which we fondly hope to rise. Where do these ants get their moisture? Our house was built on a hard ferruginous conglomerate, in order to be out of the way of the white ant, but they came in despite the precaution; and not only were they, in this sultry weather, able individually to moisten soil to the consistency of mortar for the formation of galleries, which, in their way of working, is done by night (so that they are screened from the observation of birds by day in passing and repassing toward any vegetable matter they may wish to devour), but, when their inner chambers were laid open, these were also surprisingly humid. Yet there was no dew, and, the house being placed on a rock, they could have no subterranean passage to the bed of the river, which ran about three hundred yards below the hill. Can it be that they have the power of combining the oxygen and hydrogen of their vegetable food by vital force so as to form water?*

* When we come to Angola, I shall describe an insect there which distills several pints of water every night. —

Rain, however, would not fall. The Bakwains believed that I had bound Sechele with some magic spell, and I received deputations, in the evenings, of the old counselors, entreating me to allow him to make only a few showers: “The corn will die if you refuse, and we shall become scattered. Only let him make rain this once, and we shall all, men, women, and children, come to the school, and sing and pray as long as you please.” It was in vain to protest that I wished Sechele to act just according to his own ideas of what was right, as he found the law laid down in the Bible, and it was distressing to appear hard-hearted to them. The clouds often collected promisingly over us, and rolling thunder seemed to portend refreshing showers, but next morning the sun would rise in a clear, cloudless sky; indeed, even these lowering appearances were less frequent by far than days of sunshine are in London.

The natives, finding it irksome to sit and wait helplessly until God gives them rain from heaven, entertain the more comfortable idea that they can help themselves by a variety of preparations, such as charcoal made of burned bats, inspissated renal deposit of the mountain cony — `Hyrax capensis’ — (which, by the way, is used, in the form of pills, as a good antispasmodic, under the name of “stone-sweat”*), the internal parts of different animals — as jackals’ livers, baboons’ and lions’ hearts, and hairy calculi from the bowels of old cows — serpents’ skins and vertebrae, and every kind of tuber, bulb, root, and plant to be found in the country. Although you disbelieve their efficacy in charming the clouds to pour out their refreshing treasures, yet, conscious that civility is useful every where, you kindly state that you think they are mistaken as to their power. The rain-doctor selects a particular bulbous root, pounds it, and administers a cold infusion to a sheep, which in five minutes afterward expires in convulsions. Part of the same bulb is converted into smoke, and ascends toward the sky; rain follows in a day or two. The inference is obvious. Were we as much harassed by droughts, the logic would be irresistible in England in 1857.

* The name arises from its being always voided on one spot, in the manner practiced by others of the rhinocerontine family; and, by the action of the sun, it becomes a black, pitchy substance. —

As the Bakwains believed that there must be some connection between the presence of “God’s Word” in their town and these successive and distressing droughts, they looked with no good will at the church bell, but still they invariably treated us with kindness and respect. I am not aware of ever having had an enemy in the tribe. The only avowed cause of dislike was expressed by a very influential and sensible man, the uncle of Sechele. “We like you as well as if you had been born among us; you are the only white man we can become familiar with (thoaela); but we wish you to give up that everlasting preaching and praying; we can not become familiar with that at all. You see we never get rain, while those tribes who never pray as we do obtain abundance.” This was a fact; and we often saw it raining on the hills ten miles off, while it would not look at us “even with one eye”. If the Prince of the power of the air had no hand in scorching us up, I fear I often gave him the credit of doing so.

As for the rain-makers, they carried the sympathies of the people along with them, and not without reason. With the following arguments they were all acquainted, and in order to understand their force, we must place ourselves in their position, and believe, as they do, that all medicines act by a mysterious charm. The term for cure may be translated “charm” (`alaha’).

MEDICAL DOCTOR. Hail, friend! How very many medicines you have about you this morning! Why, you have every medicine in the country here.

RAIN DOCTOR. Very true, my friend; and I ought; for the whole country needs the rain which I am making.

M. D. So you really believe that you can command the clouds? I think that can be done by God alone.

R. D. We both believe the very same thing. It is God that makes the rain, but I pray to him by means of these medicines, and, the rain coming, of course it is then mine. It was I who made it for the Bakwains for many years, when they were at Shokuane; through my wisdom, too, their women became fat and shining. Ask them; they will tell you the same as I do.

M. D. But we are distinctly told in the parting words of our Savior that we can pray to God acceptably in his name alone, and not by means of medicines.

R. D. Truly! but God told us differently. He made black men first, and did not love us as he did the white men. He made you beautiful, and gave you clothing, and guns, and gunpowder, and horses, and wagons, and many other things about which we know nothing. But toward us he had no heart. He gave us nothing except the assegai, and cattle, and rain-making; and he did not give us hearts like yours. We never love each other. Other tribes place medicines about our country to prevent the rain, so that we may be dispersed by hunger, and go to them, and augment their power. We must dissolve their charms by our medicines. God has given us one little thing, which you know nothing of. He has given us the knowledge of certain medicines by which we can make rain. WE do not despise those things which you possess, though we are ignorant of them. We don’t understand your book, yet we don’t despise it. YOU ought not to despise our little knowledge, though you are ignorant of it.

M. D. I don’t despise what I am ignorant of; I only think you are mistaken in saying that you have medicines which can influence the rain at all.

R. D. That’s just the way people speak when they talk on a subject of which they have no knowledge. When we first opened our eyes, we found our forefathers making rain, and we follow in their footsteps. You, who send to Kuruman for corn, and irrigate your garden, may do without rain; WE can not manage in that way. If we had no rain, the cattle would have no pasture, the cows give no milk, our children become lean and die, our wives run away to other tribes who do make rain and have corn, and the whole tribe become dispersed and lost; our fire would go out.

M. D. I quite agree with you as to the value of the rain; but you can not charm the clouds by medicines. You wait till you see the clouds come, then you use your medicines, and take the credit which belongs to God only.

R. D. I use my medicines, and you employ yours; we are both doctors, and doctors are not deceivers. You give a patient medicine. Sometimes God is pleased to heal him by means of your medicine; sometimes not — he dies. When he is cured, you take the credit of what God does. I do the same. Sometimes God grants us rain, sometimes not. When he does, we take the credit of the charm. When a patient dies, you don’t give up trust in your medicine, neither do I when rain fails. If you wish me to leave off my medicines, why continue your own?

M. D. I give medicine to living creatures within my reach, and can see the effects, though no cure follows; you pretend to charm the clouds, which are so far above us that your medicines never reach them. The clouds usually lie in one direction, and your smoke goes in another. God alone can command the clouds. Only try and wait patiently; God will give us rain without your medicines.

R. D. Mahala-ma-kapa-a-a!! Well, I always thought white men were wise till this morning. Who ever thought of making trial of starvation? Is death pleasant, then?

M. D. Could you make it rain on one spot and not on another?

R. D. I wouldn’t think of trying. I like to see the whole country green, and all the people glad; the women clapping their hands, and giving me their ornaments for thankfulness, and lullilooing for joy.

M. D. I think you deceive both them and yourself.

R. D. Well, then, there is a pair of us (meaning both are rogues).

The above is only a specimen of their way of reasoning, in which, when the language is well understood, they are perceived to be remarkably acute. These arguments are generally known, and I never succeeded in convincing a single individual of their fallacy, though I tried to do so in every way I could think of. Their faith in medicines as charms is unbounded. The general effect of argument is to produce the impression that you are not anxious for rain at all; and it is very undesirable to allow the idea to spread that you do not take a generous interest in their welfare. An angry opponent of rain-making in a tribe would be looked upon as were some Greek merchants in England during the Russian war.

The conduct of the people during this long-continued drought was remarkably good. The women parted with most of their ornaments to purchase corn from more fortunate tribes. The children scoured the country in search of the numerous bulbs and roots which can sustain life, and the men engaged in hunting. Very great numbers of the large game, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, tsessebes, kamas or hartebeests, kokongs or gnus, pallahs, rhinoceroses, etc., congregated at some fountains near Kolobeng, and the trap called “hopo” was constructed, in the lands adjacent, for their destruction. The hopo consists of two hedges in the form of the letter V, which are very high and thick near the angle. Instead of the hedges being joined there, they are made to form a lane of about fifty yards in length, at the extremity of which a pit is formed, six or eight feet deep, and about twelve or fifteen in breadth and length. Trunks of trees are laid across the margins of the pit, and more especially over that nearest the lane where the animals are expected to leap in, and over that farthest from the lane where it is supposed they will attempt to escape after they are in. The trees form an overlapping border, and render escape almost impossible. The whole is carefully decked with short green rushes, making the pit like a concealed pitfall. As the hedges are frequently about a mile long, and about as much apart at their extremities, a tribe making a circle three or four miles round the country adjacent to the opening, and gradually closing up, are almost sure to inclose a large body of game. Driving it up with shouts to the narrow part of the hopo, men secreted there throw their javelins into the affrighted herds, and on the animals rush to the opening presented at the converging hedges, and into the pit, till that is full of a living mass. Some escape by running over the others, as a Smithfield market-dog does over the sheep’s backs. It is a frightful scene. The men, wild with excitement, spear the lovely animals with mad delight; others of the poor creatures, borne down by the weight of their dead and dying companions, every now and then make the whole mass heave in their smothering agonies.

The Bakwains often killed between sixty and seventy head of large game at the different hopos in a single week; and as every one, both rich and poor, partook of the prey, the meat counteracted the bad effects of an exclusively vegetable diet. When the poor, who had no salt, were forced to live entirely on roots, they were often troubled with indigestion. Such cases we had frequent opportunities of seeing at other times, for, the district being destitute of salt, the rich alone could afford to buy it. The native doctors, aware of the cause of the malady, usually prescribed some of that ingredient with their medicines. The doctors themselves had none, so the poor resorted to us for aid. We took the hint, and henceforth cured the disease by giving a teaspoonful of salt, minus the other remedies. Either milk or meat had the same effect, though not so rapidly as salt. Long afterward, when I was myself deprived of salt for four months, at two distinct periods, I felt no desire for that condiment, but I was plagued by very great longing for the above articles of food. This continued as long as I was confined to an exclusively vegetable diet, and when I procured a meal of flesh, though boiled in perfectly fresh rain-water, it tasted as pleasantly saltish as if slightly impregnated with the condiment. Milk or meat, obtained in however small quantities, removed entirely the excessive longing and dreaming about roasted ribs of fat oxen, and bowls of cool thick milk gurgling forth from the big-bellied calabashes; and I could then understand the thankfulness to Mrs. L. often expressed by poor Bakwain women, in the interesting condition, for a very little of either.

In addition to other adverse influences, the general uncertainty, though not absolute want of food, and the necessity of frequent absence for the purpose of either hunting game or collecting roots and fruits, proved a serious barrier to the progress of the people in knowledge. Our own education in England is carried on at the comfortable breakfast and dinner table, and by the cosy fire, as well as in the church and school. Few English people with stomachs painfully empty would be decorous at church any more than they are when these organs are overcharged. Ragged schools would have been a failure had not the teachers wisely provided food for the body as well as food for the mind; and not only must we show a friendly interest in the bodily comfort of the objects of our sympathy as a Christian duty, but we can no more hope for healthy feelings among the poor, either at home or abroad, without feeding them into them, than we can hope to see an ordinary working-bee reared into a queen-mother by the ordinary food of the hive.

Sending the Gospel to the heathen must, if this view be correct, include much more than is implied in the usual picture of a missionary, namely, a man going about with a Bible under his arm. The promotion of commerce ought to be specially attended to, as this, more speedily than any thing else, demolishes that sense of isolation which heathenism engenders, and makes the tribes feel themselves mutually dependent on, and mutually beneficial to each other. With a view to this, the missionaries at Kuruman got permission from the government for a trader to reside at the station, and a considerable trade has been the result; the trader himself has become rich enough to retire with a competence. Those laws which still prevent free commercial intercourse among the civilized nations seem to be nothing else but the remains of our own heathenism. My observations on this subject make me extremely desirous to promote the preparation of the raw materials of European manufactures in Africa, for by that means we may not only put a stop to the slave-trade, but introduce the negro family into the body corporate of nations, no one member of which can suffer without the others suffering with it. Success in this, in both Eastern and Western Africa, would lead, in the course of time, to a much larger diffusion of the blessings of civilization than efforts exclusively spiritual and educational confined to any one small tribe. These, however, it would of course be extremely desirable to carry on at the same time at large central and healthy stations, for neither civilization nor Christianity can be promoted alone. In fact, they are inseparable.

Chapter 2.

The Boers — Their Treatment of the Natives — Seizure of native Children for Slaves — English Traders — Alarm of the Boers — Native Espionage — The Tale of the Cannon — The Boers threaten Sechele — In violation of Treaty, they stop English Traders and expel Missionaries — They attack the Bakwains — Their Mode of Fighting — The Natives killed and the School-children carried into Slavery — Destruction of English Property — African Housebuilding and Housekeeping — Mode of Spending the Day — Scarcity of Food — Locusts — Edible Frogs — Scavenger Beetle — Continued Hostility of the Boers — The Journey north — Preparations — Fellow-travelers — The Kalahari Desert — Vegetation — Watermelons — The Inhabitants — The Bushmen — Their nomad Mode of Life — Appearance — The Bakalahari — Their Love for Agriculture and for domestic Animals — Timid Character — Mode of obtaining Water — Female Water-suckers — The Desert — Water hidden.

Another adverse influence with which the mission had to contend was the vicinity of the Boers of the Cashan Mountains, otherwise named “Magaliesberg”. These are not to be counfounded with the Cape colonists, who sometimes pass by the name. The word Boer simply means “farmer”, and is not synonymous with our word boor. Indeed, to the Boers generally the latter term would be quite inappropriate, for they are a sober, industrious, and most hospitable body of peasantry. Those, however, who have fled from English law on various pretexts, and have been joined by English deserters and every other variety of bad character in their distant localities, are unfortunately of a very different stamp. The great objection many of the Boers had, and still have, to English law, is that it makes no distinction between black men and white. They felt aggrieved by their supposed losses in the emancipation of their Hottentot slaves, and determined to erect themselves into a republic, in which they might pursue, without molestation, the “proper treatment of the blacks”.