Fred. S. (Frederick Stanley) Arnot.

Missionary travels in central Africa online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibraryFred. S. (Frederick Stanley) ArnotMissionary travels in central Africa → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


&*'Ac^^ ^ ^^^a^-yrteJ . "-C^^/^i-n

^S^S^,u>€^. J5^^^S^






Author of " Garenganze," etc.




1, WiDcoMBE Crescent.







Author's Preface




•From Natal to Kama's Country .... i

The Desert and the Bushman .... 6

Canoe Travelling on the Zambesi River. The

Barotse . . . . . . . 13

IV. — Lealui. Liwanika and Barotse Customs . . 18

V. — Reminiscences of Dr. Livingstone. Dr. Moffatt's

Good Example. Senhor Silva Porto . . 25

VI. — Westward through the Country of the Baluchaze 29

VII. — Diviners and their Ways ..... 37

VIII. — Mr. & Mrs. W. H. Sanders. Benguella and back

TO Bihe ..... . . .45

IX. — A Trying Beginning to a Long Journey . . 50

X. — Off at Last to the Unknown Interior. Bachokwe

Greed and Insolence ..... 54

XI. — Balovale Valley and Nana Kandundu alias

Nyakatolo ....... 62

XII. — Lunda Country. Lualaba, .\nd Msidi's Capital . 69

XIII. — MsiDi and the Bagarenganze .... 75

XIV. — Bihe Men Sent Back to the West Coast in Search

OF Helpers from Home. Hunting Adventures 8 1

XV. — Native History, Geography and Tr.ade . . 84

XVI. — Superstitions and Customs ..... 88

XVII. — Slaves and Slavery. My Rescue-Home . . 94

XVIII. — " Medical " Mission Work. Kazembe ... 98

XIX. — Letters at Last. Messrs. Swan and Faulkner.

Home once more ...... loi





I. — The Trials of a Large Party of Missionaries . 105

II. — Native Rising. Six Months' Anxiety . . . 109

III. — More Help from Home. Nana Kandundu Occupied . 113


Captain Stairs' Letter. Mr. Cobbe and I set out
to Reach the Garenganze by the East Coast
Route . . . . . . . .119

I. — I Visit Bihe Again ....... 127

II. — The Chokwe, Lovale, Lunda, Garenganze and

Vemba Countries ...... 131


I. — I Join Dr. Fisher in one of his Medical Rounds . 137

II. — My Wife Joins Me in a Visit to the Kabompo

Valley . . . . . . .140

Appendix A. Mr. Arnot's Last Journey in Africa 151

Appendix B . . . . . . . .154

Index ....... . . 157


Portrait of Mr. F. S. Arxot .. .. ., Frontispiece

Modes of Travel . . . . . . . . Facing p. 4

Barotse Canoes following the Royal Barge . . „ 16

Liwanika's Royal Barge. A Fishing Expedition- ,, 22

King Liwanika of Barotseland at Home . . ,, 24

The Black Rocks of Pungo Ndongo .. .. ,, 48

Carriers preparing a Shelter. Vemba Hut Building.
An Old Fisherman. Graves of the late Mr.
AND Mrs. George . . . . . . ,. 5f>

Crossing a River .. .. .. ,, 64

Camp Scene in the Interior . . . . . . ,,72

The Evolution of a Meeting House . . . . ,, 104

Types of Mission Houses .. .. .. ,, 112

Mission Compound. Sun-dried Brick Building .. ,, 120

House of Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, Luanza .. ,, 124

One of Dr. Morey's Patients. Travelling in the

Rainy Season .. .. •. .. ,,132

Native Evangelists and some Converts . . . . ,, 136

Sunday Service in Meeting House . . . . ,, 144

Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Arnot .. .. .. ,, 148


There are five Maps of Central and South Africa, one with each part of this book.
These Maps which are all alike show the various Mission Stations where servants
of Christ named in the appendix (B) are working. The red marking which varies on
each map, indicates the journeyings of Mr. Arnot as described in the part to which the
map is attached. The two great lines of railway converging on the Garenganze Country
(now called Katanga) one from Cape Town and the other from Benguella are also marked
in each Map.


When last in England I was asked to republish
the original " Garenganze," but this would have
meant reprinting many mistakes, and much that
by this time is quite out of date. So I sat down
and re-wrote my story of pioneering journeys,
without attempting to give a history of the mis-
sionary work that has been carried on so success-
fully by the brethren and sisters whose names
appear in our Appendix. Indeed, to think rightly
of the tract of country extending from Bihe to the
Lakes Mweru and Bangueolo, one has to divide
it up into five mission fields, each with its own
group of workers, and with its own separate
history. These may be briefly described as
follows :

1. The Bihe plateaus are homes now of native
churches that go a long way to support their own
outstations, schools, and evangelists.

2. The Chokwe is still a field full of peril and

3. Again, further East, in the Luvale-Lunda
countries with their fine stations, " light has
sprung up " to many, and of Kavungu the mis-
sionaries write of a " continual stream of blessing."

4. The old Garenganze field, now called Katanga,
has passed through most unusual vicissitudes, the
history of which would require a book to itself.


but much that appeared to have been lost has
been gathered up within the last ten years. Msidi's
old capital at Bunkeya has been rebuilt ; Muenda,
the chief, is a most generous helper, and the
Belgian Government has loyally kept the field
open for our brethren, only reinforcements at the
four stations now occupied are sadly wanted.

5. The Vemba mission field is in British terri-
tory, and is traversed in all directions by the paths
that Livingstone trod during the years of his
" Last Journey."

I hope no one will look upon this little book as
an appeal to the churches ; others can make such
appeals, and ought to do so earnestly and con-
tinuously, but the missionary, conscious of his
call, can only " go forward " irrespective of men
and means, come life — come death.



Park View,


April 20th, 1914.


When Mr. Arnot asked me to write an Introduction to
the book he was preparing, I little thought that before
I did this his toilsome joumeyings would be ended, and
his loving labours left to be carried on by others. But
while we deeply feel the loss of this devoted servant of
Christ, it is good to be able to record the fact that his
course, so well and nobly run, has given place to rest
with Christ, and his " good fight," so vahantly fought,
has ended in victory. Truly he rests from his labours,
waiting for the day of resurrection glory, and his works,
which follow him (Rev. xiv. 13), are kept as carefully as
the worker, and will be found to his account, and fully
rewarded in " the day of Christ."

The fact that our brother and friend is no longer with
us makes some brief notice of his early days desirable,
even as it is interesting and instructive.

As in natural things one generation not only follows
another but springs from it, so it is in spiritual things.
A little of this we see now, but only when we review the
pathway of the Church of God, and of those who have
been His servants in the Church and in the Gospel, with
the full light of God shed on it, shall we fully discern the
links between one generation and another, and learn how
the influence of servants of Christ in one period has borne
fruit in the next, that influence often being unconsciously
exercised. It was little thought when tidings of Dr.
Livingstone's death reached us that there was a youth in
Scotland being prepared by his example to follow in his
steps, with the same high object and in the same lowly
spirit. Yet so it was.

Frederick Stanley Arnot was bom in Glasgow, 12th
September, 1858, of Christian parents, both of whom had


a godly ancestry, and their children were trained in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord. He was led in his
childhood to receive Christ as his own Saviour, and he
afterwards wrote, " From the day of my conversion when
quite a boy I cherished the desire to take some share in
carrying the Gospel to Central Africa." One of his
sisters kindly gives me a few particulars. " Father and
mother removed to Hamilton, where Dr. Livingstone's
family lived, when Fred was about four years of age.
Shortly afterwards mother took him with her to the
Academy where Dr. Livingstone was distributing prizes.
Fred remembered the interesting event, and when we
became intimate with Dr. Livingstone's family (his
youngest daughter and I being in the same class at
school), Fred and I often spent our Saturdays at their
house, and, as children, naturally delighted in poking
into the corners of an attic, where many of the doctor's
curios, books, and letters were kept. One Saturday
x\nnie Mary read to us a letter from her father describ-
ing the cruelties of the slave-traders, and Fred remem-
bered then making a resolution that ' he would go and
help that good man in his work.' Afterwards, when
going over our geography lessons, he invariably finished
with a special talk on Africa, instructing me about the
country and people. I remember once asking him how
he was to get there, and who would give him the money.
' Oh ! ' he replied, ' if no one sends me I will swim.' All
through his youthful days he had the firm purpose of
going to Africa, even in spite of difficulties which friends
put in his way. At the shipbuilding yard in Tayport
he spent six months in learning how to use tools, which
training, he often said, ' was very useful to him in
Africa.' " Miss Arnot also speaks of " the singular
uprightness of Fred's life at home, which was felt by all
the family."

Thus after these years of exercise of heart about Africa,
spent in such service as meanwhile he was enabled to
render, it was in very real dependence upon God that


Mr. Arnot left England, July 19th, 1881, for S. Africa en
route for the Upper Zambesi. He was well commended
by Christians in Glasgow, and the late Mr. Henry Groves
and Dr. Maclean were much interested in his going forth.
They followed the account of his journeyings, and the
going out of others as the result of his efforts, with the
same prayerful interest. Brief notices of the work
carried on were and are still given in our httle paper,
Echoes of Service.

On the voyage out, Mr. Arnot wrote, " There is no
doubt that we have uphill work before us, and I more
than ever feel persuaded that it will only be by much
prayer and waiting upon God that we shall be enabled to
be faithful to Him." The first trial that befell him was
the illness of his companion, who, acting on medical
advice, remained in Natal, so that Mr. Arnot had to
proceed alone. It is at this point that his narrative
begins. That I will not anticipate, except to notice his
connection with King Liwanika. At that time the king
stoutly refused to hear his " words about God," wanting
someone who could teach his people to make guns and
powder, yet he treated him kindly, and acted on his
advice to seek an alliance with Kama instead of with
Lobengula, the warlike king of the Matabele. A lasting
friendship was formed between King Liwanika and
Mr. Arnot, so that when a few years ago the former
came to this country as a guest of the nation, he was glad
to welcome the visits of our brother, and in spite of many
invitations kept his last evening in England free, that
Mr. Arnot might spend it with him, which he did, the
time being occupied in earnest conversation. Towards
the close of this narrative, Mr. Arnot mentions King
Liwanika's help in his latest effort to reach the Kabompo.

Passing thus from his first journey to his last, as stated
on page 150, Mr. Arnot was stricken down with severe
pain at the Kabompo, and was taken to Johannesburg.
There he had some weeks of suffering, and as he became
worse it was decided that nothing but a serious operation


could relieve him. This was performed, and all appeared
to be going well till May 12th, when, his wife says, " He
had a sudden attack of the heart and terrible pain.
Though he became easier he steadily sank. When I told
him the doctor said he was sinking, he seemed quite
peaceful and happy, and told me to cable home, ' Fred
at rest.' Then he said, ' Have the funeral as simple as
possible,' and named those whom he wished to be invited.
As his breath became slower, I quoted to him, ' When thou
passest through the waters, I will be with thee.' He
tried to say something, and nodded his head brightly.
After that he went away so quietly, it was like a little
child falhng asleep." Thus on May 15th this toilsvorn
traveller entered into rest at the age of 55. If his life
seems to us a comparatively short one, let us remember
Bonar's words —

" He liveth long who liveth well.
All other life is short and vain ;
He liveth longest who can tell

Of li\dng most for heavenly gain."

I cannot close this brief introduction without a few
words as to some prominent features of Mr. Arnot's

I. He was above all things a man of faith. Faith
characterized his whole course, and was the secret of his
godliness and devotedness. How his faith was tried and
stood the test the following pages will show in some
measure. I say in some measure, and that a small one,
for he was not one to magnify his trials, his object not
being to relate what he had to endure, nor to set forth
his difficulties and sufferings, but rather to show how
God enabled him to overcome difficulties, guided him in
perplexities, delivered him in perils, and used him to
begin Gospel work in various parts, so that others might
be encouraged to carry on what has been so well begun.
I remember on one occasion in a large meeting of elder
brethren and a few missionaries, when some were rather
contending for such organization as would tend to lead


the servants of Christ away from direct and simple
dependence upon God both for guidance and suppHes,
Mr. Arnot rose, and so spoke upon the importance and
blessedness of such a path, that questions and reasonings
were hushed, and the calm atmosphere of faith was
restored, at least for the time. He believed, to use his
own w^ords, that " all God has been to His people in ages
past, and all He has promised to be throughout eternity,
He now is to us."

2. He was a man of purpose. The Apostle Paul could
say that Timothy had been a diligent follower of his life,
purpose, faith, etc. Paul was a man of purpose from
which nothing moved him. He did not even count his
life dear if only he might finish his course, and the min-
istry which he had received of the Lord Jesus to testify
the Gospel of the grace of God. The same thing was
true of F. S. Arnot, whose purpose w^as the spread of the
Gospel in Africa. As soon as he saw the Gospel estab-
lished in one part, his aim was to reach others. In his
last letter, quoting the words of Paul, " All in Asia
heard the word," his comment was, " We easily content
ourselves with reaching particular places, such as
Kavungu or Koni, but ' all in Africa ' would mean a
continuous reaching out — East, West, North, and
South — ere we begin to fulfil our ministry."

3. He was a lowly man. Lowliness is a fruit of the
Spirit, and is gained by learning of Christ. Lowliness
can better be felt than described, but none w^ho knew
]\Ir. Arnot will question that it characterized him. He
w^as not one to make much of himself, or to be a party to
contention, which we are told comes " only by pride."
No doubt his lowly mind had much to do with the regard
and esteem in which he was held by the native Africans
wherever he was known, and with their readiness to do
anything for him. When carriers were needed, and it
was difficult to obtain them, as soon as it became known
that those who were needing them were friends of Mr.
Arnot, the difficulty was overcome, and they obtained
as many as they needed.


Much might be added, but having received the account
of words spoken at the burial of Mr. Arnot, I am glad to
give part of that account, feeling that it will be a valuable
addition to what I have written, and will compensate for
defects. I will, however, first quote a passage from the
book, How I became a Governor, by Sir Ralph Williams,
who came across him about 1884. He writes : —

" At the great fall (the Victoria) we crawled to the very-
edge, and lying flat looked down into the chasm below.
. . . While thus wondering we were amazed to see two
white men coming towards us, who proved to be Mr.
Edmund Selous, the brother of the famous hunter, and
Mr. Arnot, a missionary among the Barotse and later on
I think a Gold Medallist of the Royal Geographical
Society. It was a strange place in which to foregather.

" Mr. Arnot, the missionary, was a remarkable man.
I met him some weeks later, and had many talks with
him. He was the simplest and most earnest of men. He
lived a life of great hardship under the care of the King
of the Barotse and taught his children. I remember his
telling me with some pride that his pupils had mastered
the alphabet. I have seen many missionaries under
varied circumstances, but such an absolutely forlorn man,
existing on from day to day, almost homeless, without
any of the appliances which make life bearable, I have
never seen. He was imbued with one desire, and that
was to do God service. Whether it could be best done
in that way I will not here question, but he looked neither
right nor left, caring nothing for himself if he could but
get one to believe ; at least so he struck me. And I have
honoured the recollections of him ever since as being as
near his Master as anyone I ever saw."

The above is the testimony of one who met Mr. Arnot
in his earlier days ; the following is from the account of
his burial, at which many were present and several took
part. Room can only be found for the testimony of Mr.
Ernest Baker, Pastor of the Baptist Church in Johannes-
burg. After speaking from the Word, he added : "I


would like to lay three wreaths upon the grave to-day.
The first is from myself. I could hardly believe my eyes
this morning when I read in the obituary notice that
Mr. Arnot was only 55 years of age. My mind went back
twenty-five years ago to a country village in Sussex,
where my father had a copy of Garenganze, when that
book first came out. My father was captivated by it,
and gave it to me. It was the first missionary work that
had a place in my library. Straightway ' Fred Arnot '
became one of my heroes. Just over twenty-two years
ago I came to Africa, and at Wynberg I met the
Hepburns, the missionaries to Kama. I found that
they knew our brother, and I learned all I could of him
from them. My earliest sermons in my first pastorate
culled from Garenganze more than one illustration of the
faithfulness of God, and of how He answers prayer. Then
just over three years ago I met and worshipped with the
brethren in Kansas City, where my uncle, C. J. Baker,
known by repute to some of you, resides, and I found
much interest in Arnot there. As I came from Africa,
I was asked to tell all I knew of him. I discovered later
from Mr. Arnot himself that my uncle had helped him
and his associated missionaries with gifts in the shape of
tents. Two years ago, during the missionary conference
at Capetown, I was taking a cup of tea, when one, who
I thought was an old man, approached me and addressed
me by name. It was a couple of minutes before I found
that the speaker was Arnot. I can hardly tell you the
feeling of reverence that came over me as I realized I was
face to face with one who had been a hero to me just as
I was passing out of my teens into manhood. It was the
only time I met him, and we were only together for a few
minutes, but in those minutes what a vivid picture he
drew of the tens of thousands of natives in Central Africa
waiting for the gospel ! The second wreath is from my
church. I am charged by its members to speak of their
debt to Mr. Arnot. My predecessor, Mr. Doke, and Mr.
Amot were kindred spirits. As you know, we are about


to take up a great missionary field in N.W. Rhodesia.
The journey which Mr. Doke took to investigate that
territory, and which cost him his hfe, was suggested by
Mr. Arnot. It was he who first proposed that we should
enter that sphere. Then Mr. Arnot's lectures were a
great inspiration, and the missionary spirit and giving of
our church have been much stimulated by them. Then,
of course, we must lay a wreath from a wider field. How
little the significance of his death is grasped by the com-
munity in which we live ! I do not think I exaggerate
when I say that, next to Dr. Livingstone, Central Africa
owes more to Mr. Arnot than to anyone else. Perhaps
more on him than on anyone fell the mantle of the great
pioneer of missions in this continent. To call to mind
that Arnot was amongst the Barotse before the venerable
Coillard settled among them, and that he had something
to do with the communications which issued in Coillard's
returning to Liwanika's country ; to remember that
Crawford, who recently emerged from the ' long grass '
after twenty-two years, and who has had such a triumph-
ant missionary progress in Great Britain and the United
States, was established in his work by Arnot ; to note
on the map his great missionary journeys, the missionary
sites surveyed and suggested by him ; to remember also
the names of the missionaries who were piloted and
directed by him ; — to call to mind these things is to see
that we are to-day paying our respects to one of Africa's
greatest men. Fred. Arnot was one of the gifts of the
ascended Lord to a lost world. His life and work are a
proof to us of the power of God, and also of the love of
God to our race. Right to the last he was an inspiration.
Mr. Brailsford, who is to represent Johannesburg in the
Sudan, told us at his farewell meeting of the last words
spoken to him the other day by Mr. Arnot. Mr. Brailsford
was sympathizing with him in his illness, when he rephed,
' When you have spent thirty years in the mission-field
you will not mind having an illness.' Mr. Arnot paid the
price, and he was quite ready to pay it. The Spirit of


Christ was his, and this is our inspiration to-day. That
Spirit is given to us all, and can empower us in our degree
and spheres to fulfil the works which for us also have
been ' prepared from the foundation of the world.' "

By such testimonies we learn in measure now, what
we shall see more fully in " the day of Christ," how
sure is the fulfilment of His word, "If any man serve
Me, him will My Father honour."


June, 1914.


For explanation see note on page vii.




From Natal by Ox-waggon and on Foot through the

Orange Free State. The Transvaal to Kama's


CHORTLY after the close of the war of 1880-81
^ between Great Britain and the Transvaal Repub-
lic, I left Natal with a train of bullock-waggons filled
with general merchandise, bound for Potchefstroom,
the old capital of the Transvaal. Day by day troops
of soldiers passed us returning from the fatal Laing's
Neck and Majuba Hill battle-fields.

Leaving the town of Ladysmith on our right, we made
for the Van Reenan Pass, which brought us by a tortuous,
painful process through the Drakensbergen up to the
Orange Free State Plateau. Here a terrific storm of
wind and rain kept us prisoners for three days. I had
to remain wrapped in my sheep-skin kaross, lying under
one of the waggons nearly all the time, sharing coffee
and " scoff " with the waggon drivers ; for the white
man in charge of the convoy had ridden off to the nearest
roadside tavern.

The undulating country we were now passing over
made travelling easy, except for occasional deep sloughs
of black mud, when the drivers had to inspan forty or
more oxen to one waggon at a time.

We trekked through Harrismith and Heilbron, crossing
the Vaal river and arriving at Potchefstroom on
December 23rd, 1881.


Here the waggons left me in the middle of the market
square and went on their way. I pitched my
6 ft. by 3 ft. patrol tent, and lit a fire of dry cow-dung
on which to cook my supper. Wild-looking Boer farmers
rode around, casting suspicious glances at the stranger.
From my tent door I could see the marks left by the
recent war in holes made in houses and public buildings

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryFred. S. (Frederick Stanley) ArnotMissionary travels in central Africa → online text (page 1 of 13)