David Livingstone.

Livingstone's 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 online

. (page 2 of 36)
Online LibraryDavid LivingstoneLivingstone's 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 → online text (page 2 of 36)
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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 3Ien on it — Native Devices for killing Game — Tsetse now iu
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 Ele-
phant: Narrow Escape — Mburuma's Village — Suspicious Conduct of hia
People — Guides attempt to detain us — The Village ani People of Ma-
Mburuma — Character our Guides give of us ,„ 851


Confluence of Loangwa and Zambesi — Hostile Appearances — Ruins of a
Church — Turmoil of Spirit — Cross the River — Friendly Parting — The Situa-
tion of Zumbo for Commerce — Pleas^ant Gardens — Dr. Lacerda's Visit to
Cazembe — Pereira's Statement — Unsuccessful Attempt to establish Trado


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 —
Dancing for Corn — Mpende's Hostility — Incantations — A Fight anticipated —
Courage and Remarks of my Men — Visit from two old Councillors of Mpende
— Their Opinion of the English — Mpende concludes not to fight us — Hia
subsequent Friendship — Aids us to cross the River — Desertion of one of my
Men — Meet Native Traders with American Calico — Boroma — Freshets — •
Leave the River — Loquacious Guide — Nyampungo, the Rain-Charmer — An
Old Man— No Silver— Gold- Washing— No Cattle Page 372


An Elephant- Hunt — Offering and Prayers to the Barimo for Success — Native
Mode of Expression — Working of Game-Laws — A Feast — Laughing Hyenaa
— Numerous Insects — Curious Notes of Birds of Song — Caterpillars — Butter-
flies — Silica — The Fruit Makoronga and Elephants — Rhinoceros-Adventure
— Honey and Bees'-AVax — Superstitious Reverence for the Lion — Slow Tra-
velling — Grapes — The Ue — Monfna's Village — Native Names — Suspected of
Falsehood — War-Dance — Insanity and Disappearance of Monahin — Fruit-
less 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 — Unplea-
sant Threat — Aroused by a Company of Soldiers — A Civilized Breakfast-
Arrival at Tete 387


Kind Reception from the Commandant — His Generosity to my Men — The Vil-
lage 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 — Extensive Field of Sugarcane — 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 — Coal within a Gold-Field — Present from Major Sicard- -
Natives raise Wheat, Ac. — Liberality of the Commandant — Geographical
Information from Senhor Candido — Earthquakes — Disinterested Kindness
of the Portuguese 405


Leave Tete and proceed down the River — Pass the Stockade of Bonga - War-
Drum at Shiramba — Reach Senna — Its Ruinous State — Landeens levy Fines
upon the Inhabitants — Cowardice of Native Militia — Boat-Building at Senna
— Our Departure — 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, <fec. — De-
sirableness of Missionary Societies selecting Healthy Stations — Arrange-
ments on leaving my Men — Site of Kilimane — Unhealthiness — Arrival of
H.M. Brig " Frolic" — Anxiety of one of my Men to go to England — Rough
Passage in the Boats to the Ship — Sokwebu's Alarm — Sail for Mauritius-
Sekwebu on board : he becomes insane: drowns himself — Kindness of Major-
General C. M. Hay — Escape Shipwreck — Reach Home 420

HisTOEicAL Sketch of IhscovBRY in Africa ,,. 434





My own inclination would lead me to say as little aa
possible about myself; but several friends, in whose judg-
ment 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 any apology be necessary for giving a genealogy, 1
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 XJlva, where my father was born.
It is one of that cluster of the Hebrides thus alluded to by
Walter Scott :—

" And TJlva dark, and Colonsay,
And all the group of islets gay
9 That guard famed Staflfa round."*

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 de-

* Lord of the Isles, canto ir. '

10 THE author's ancestors.

light, 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 even-
ing 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

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 chil-
dren 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 dis-
honest 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 hojDe they will be dealt with as honest
mistakes, and not as indicating that I have forgottq^ 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 punish-
ment for cattle-stealing by presenting a share of the
plunder to his chieftain. Our ancestors were Eoman Catho-
lics : 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
90 still, by the name of "the religion of the yellow stick."

Finding his farm in XJlva insufiicient to support a nume-
rous 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 tho


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 con-
veyance of large sums of money from Glasgow to tho
works, and in old age was, according to tho 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 tho
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 advan-
tage. 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 daring 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 the 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 Saviour. 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
BO often seen among the Scottish poor, — that of the anxious
housewife striving to make both ends meet. At the age
often I was put into the factory as a '^piercer," to aid by
my earnings in lessening her anxiety. With a part of my
first week's wages I purchased Euddiman's ^'EudimentQ
of Latin," and pursued the study of that language for
many years afterward, with unabated ardor, at an evening


B(3liool, 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
Bixteen 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
iiave 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 "VVilberforce's "Practical Christianity." This dislike
to dry doctrinal reading, and to religious reading of every
sort, continued for j^ears afterward ; but having lighted on
those admirable works of Dr. Thomas Dick, ^^ The Philoso-
phy of Eeligion" 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 instil the
doctrines of Christianity into my mind, and I had no diffi-
culty in understanding the theory of our free salvation by


(he atonemeBt of our Saviour; 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
fo my own case. The change was like what may be sup-
posed would take place were it possible to cure a case of
<^ color-blindness.^' The perfect freeness with which the
pardon of all aur 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 hia
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 stiL
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 tho
material benefit of some portions of that immense empire,
and therefore set myself to obtain a medic al education, in
order to be qualified for that enterj^rise.

In recognising 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 fan-
tasies 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 tne devil,'' as the price of tne unfathomable knowledge
of the stars These excursions, often in company with


brothers, one now in Canada, and the other a (;lergyman
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, jei 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

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 witn
which I began to collect the shells found in the carboni-
ferous limestone which crops out in High Blantyre and Cam-
buslang. 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 V' "When God
made the rocks, he made the shells in them," was the
damping reply. "VYhat a deal of trouble geologists might
have saved themselves by adopting the Turk-like philo-
sophy 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 me-
dical 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

THE author's native VILLAGE. 16

my own efforts, had not some friends advised my joining
the London Missionary Society, on account of its perfectly
unbectarian 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 't 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

Looking back now on that life of toil, I cannot 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 popu-
lation 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 chil-
dren and youth of the place by imparting gratuitous reli-
gious instruction * Much intelligent interest was felt by tho
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

* 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.


toward e^ch other, and much respected those of the neigh-
boring 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
echool-books and local traditions made us well aware; and
few of us could view the dear memorials of the past with-
out feeling that these carefully-kept monuments were <5ur
own. The masses of the working-people of Scotland have
read history, and are no revolutionary levellers. They re-
joice 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.

Having finished the medical curriculum and presented a
thesis on a subject which required the use of the stetho-
scope 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 inexj^edient foi
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 peaco


with the Chinese, and as another inviting fiekl was open-
ing 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 en-
ioyed 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 with-
out 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 1
would rather cross the African continent again than under-
take to write another book. It is far easier to travel than
to write about it. I intended on going to Africa to con-
tinue 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, ma-
nual 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.





The general instructions I received from the Director!
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 j^retty 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 shor tly after retraced our steps to Kuru-
man ; 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
Bpot about fifteen miles south of Shokuane, called Lepelole,
(now Litubariiba.) Here, in order to obtain an accurate
knowledge of the language, I cut myself off from all Eu-
ropean 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 Bak-
wains, 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 settle-
ment, 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
viedt the Bakaa and Bamangwato, and the Makahika, living
between 22° and 23° south latitude. The Bakaa Mountains
Lad 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 ton dayn

Online LibraryDavid LivingstoneLivingstone's 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 → online text (page 2 of 36)