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 34 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 34 of 36)
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Luenya and Zambesi; and, when the commandant of Tete
sent an officer with his company to summon him to his
presence, Nyaude asked permission of the officer to dress
himself, which being granted, he went into an inner apart-
ment, and the officer ordered his men to pile their arms.
A drum of war began to beat a note which is well known
to the inhabitants. Some of the soldiers took the alarm
on hearing this note; but the officer, disregarding their
warning, was, with his whole party, in a few minutes dis- ,
armed and bound hand and foot. The commandant of
Tete then armed the whole body of slaves and marched
against the stockade of Nyaude; but when they came near
to it there was the Luenya still to cross. As they did not
effect this speedily, Nyaude despatched a strong party
under his son Bonga across the river below the stockade,
and ujD the left bank of the Zambesi until they came near
to Tete. They then attacked Tete, which was wholly un-
defended save by a few soldiers in the fort, plundered and
burned the whole town except the house of the command-
ant and a few others, with the church and fort. Tne
women and children fled into the church ; and it is a re-
markable fact that none of the natives of this region will
ever attack a church. Having rendered Tete a ruin, Bonga
carried off all the cattle and plunder to his father. News
of this having been brought to the army before the stock-
ade, a sudden panic dispersed the whole ; and, as the fugi-
lives took roundabout ways in their flight, Katolosa, who


and hitherto pretended to be friendly with the Portugueso,
Bent out his men to capture as many of them as they couUi.
They killed many for the sake of their arms. This is tlie
account which both natives and Portuguese give of the

The merchants were unable to engage in trade, and com-
merce, which the slave-trade had rendered stagnant, was
LOW completely obstructed. The present commanaani ot
Tete, Major Sicard, having great influence among the
natives, from his good character, put a stop to the war
more than once by his mere presence on the spot. AVe
heard of him among the Banyai as a man with whom they
would never fight, because " he had a good heart. '^ Had
L come down to this coast instead of going to Loanda in
1853, I should have come among the belligerents while the
war was still raging, and should probably have been cut
oif. My present approach was just at the conclusion of
the peace; and when the Portuguese authorities here
were informed, through the kind offices of Lord Clarendon
and Count de Lavradio, that I was expected to come this
way, they all declared that such was the existing state of
affairs that no European could possibly pass through the
tribes. Some natives at last came down the river to Tete
and said, alluding to the sextant and artificial horizon,
that " the Son of God had come," and that he was '' able
to take the sun down from the heavens and place it under
his arm V Major Sicard then felt sure that this was the
man mentioned in Lord Clarendon's despatch.

On mentioning to the commandant that I had discovered
a small seam of coal, he stated that the Portuguese were
already aware of nine such seams, and that five cf them
were, on the opposite bank of the river. As soon as I had
I'ecovered from my fatigue I went to examine them. Wo
proceeded in a boat to the mouth of the Lofiibu or Eeviibu,
^hich is about two miles below Tete and on the opposite
;r northern bank. Ascending this about four miles against
k strong current of beautifully-clear water, we hxnded near



a small cataract, and walked about two miles through very
fertile gardens to the seam, which we found to be in one
of the feeders of the Lofubu, called Muatize or Motizo.
The seam is in the perpendicular bank, and dips into the
rivulet^ or in a northerly direction. There is, first of all,
a seam ten inches in diameter^ then some shale, below
which there is another seam, fifty-eight inches of which
are seen, and, as the bottom touches the water of the
Muatize, it may be more. This part of the seam is about
thirty yards long. There is then a fault. About one
hundred yards higher up the stream, black vesicular trap
is seen, penetrating in thin veins the clay shale of the
country, converting it into porcellanite, and partially
crystallizing the coal with which it came into contact.
On the right bank of the Lofubu there is another feeder
entering that river near its confluence with the Muatize,
which is called the Morongozi, in which there is another
and still larger bed of coal exposed. Farther up the Lo-
fubu there are other seams in the rivulets Inyavu and
Makare ; also several spots in the Maravi country have
the coal cropping out. This has evidently been brought to
the surface by volcanic action at a later period than the

I also went up the Zambesi, and visited a hot spring
called Nyamboronda, situated in the bed of a small rivulet
named Nyaondo, which shows that igneous action is not
yet extinct. We landed at a small rivulet called Moko-
rozi, then went a mile or two to the eastward, where we
found a hot fountain at the bottom of a high hill. A little
spring bubbles up on one side of the rivulet Nyaondo, and
a great quantity of acrid steam rises up from the ground
adjacent, about twelve feet square of which is so hot -that
my companions could not stand on it with their bare feet.
There are several little holes from which the water
trickles; but the principal spring is in a hole a foot in
diameter and about the same in depth. Numbers of
bubbles are constantly rising. The steam feels acrid in


the throat, but is not inflammable, as it did not burn when
[ held a bunch of lighted grass over the bubbles. The
mercury rises to 158° when the thermometer is put into
the water in the hole; but after a few seconds it stands
eteadily at 160°. Even when flowing over the stones the
water is too hot for the hand. Little fish frequently leap
out of the stream in the bed of which the fountain rises,
into the hot water, and get scalded to death. We saw a
frog which had performed the experiment and was now
cooked The stones over which the water flows are in-
crusted with a white salt, and the water has a saline taste.
The ground has been dug out near the fountain by the
natives, in order to extract the salt it contains. It is
situated among rocks of syenitic porphyry in broad dikes,
and gneiss tilted on edge and having a strike to the JN'.E.
There are many specimens of half-formed pumice, with
greenstone and lava. Some of the sandstone strata are
dislocated by a hornblende rock and by basalt, the sand-
stone nearest to the basalt being converted into quartz.

The country around, as indeed all the district lying N.
and ISr.W. of Tete, is hilly, and, the hills being covered
with trees, the scenery is very picturesque. The soil of
the valleys is very fruitful and well cultivated. There
would not be much difficulty in working the coal. The
Lofubu is about sixty yards broad : it flows perennially,
and at its very lowest period, which is after Septenaber,
there is water about eightfet»n inches deep, which could be
navigated in flat-bottomed boats. At the time of my visit
it was full, and the current was very strong. If the small
cataract referred to were to be avoided, the land-carriage
beyond would only be about two miles. The other seams
farther up the river may, after passing the cataract, be
approached more easily than that in the Muatize : as the
seam, however, dips down into the stream, no drainage
of the mine would be required, for if water were come to
it would run into the stream. I did not visit the others,
but I was informed that there are seams in the independent

412 workmen's wages..

native territory as well as in that of the Portiigucs*, Tlia
in the Nake is in the Banyai country j and, indeed, 1 havj
no doubt but that the whole country between and
liupata is a coal-field of at least two and a half degrees
of latitude in breadth, having many faults, made during
the time of the igneous action. The gray sandstone rock,
having silicified trees lying on it, is of these dimensions.
The plantation in which the seam of coal exists would be
valued among the Portuguese at about CO dollars, or £12 ;
but much more would probably be asked if a wealthy pur-
chaser appeared. They could not, however, raise the price
very much higher, because estates containing coal might
be had from the native owners at a much cheaper rate.
The wages of free laborers, when employed in such work
as gold-washing, agriculture, or digging coal, is two yarda
of unbleached calico per day. They might be got to work
much cheaper if engaged by the moon, or for about sixteen
yards per month. For masons and carpenters even, tho
ordinary rate is two yards per day. This is called ono
braga. Tradesmen from Kilimane demand four bra^as, or
eight yards, per day. English or American unbleache^l
calico is the only currency used. The carriage of goods
up the river to Tete adds about ten per cent, to their cost.
The usual conveyance is by means of very large canoe j
and launches built at Senna.

The amount of merchandise brought up during the five
months of peace previous to my visit was of the value
of 30,000 dollars, or about £6000. The annual supply of
goods for trade is about £15,000, — being calico, thick
brass wire, beads, gunpowder, and guns. The quantity
of the latter is, however, small, as the Government of
Mozambique made that article contraband after the com-
mencement of the war. Goods, when traded with in tho
tribes around the Portuguese, produce a profit of only
about ten per cent., the articles traded in being ivory and
gold-dust. A httle oil and wheat are exported, but nothing
else. Trade with the tribes beyond the exclusive ones is



much better. Thirty brass rings cost 10s. at Senna, £1 at
Tete, and £9^ beyond the tribes in the vicinity of Tete :
these are a good j^rice for a penful of gold-dust of the
value of £2. The plantations of coffee, which, previous to
the commencement of the slave-trade, yielded one material
for exportation, are now deserted, and it is difficult to find
a single tree. The indigo {Indigofera argentea, the common
wild indigo of Africa) is found growing everywhere, and
large quantities of the senna-plant* grow in the village
of Tete and other parts; but neither indigo nor senna is
collected. Calumba-root, which is found in abundance in
some parts farther down the river, is bought by the
Americans, it is said, to use as a dye-stuff. A kind of
sarsaparilla, or a plant which is believed by the Portu-
guese to be such, is found from Londa to Senna, but has
never been exported.

The price of provisions is low, but very much higher
than previous to the commencement of the war. Two
yards of calico are demanded for six fowls : this is con-
sidered very dear, because before the war the same quan-
tity of calico was worth twenty- four fowls. Grain is sold
in little bags made from the leaves of the palmyra, like
those in which we receive sugar. They are called panjas;
and each panja weighs between thirty and fort}" pounds.
The panja of wheat at Tete is worth a dollar, or five shil-
lings; but the native grain may be obtained among the is-
lands below Lupata at the rate of three panjas for two yards
of calico. The highest articles of consumption are tea and
coffee, the tea being often as high as fifteen shillings a pound.
Food is cheaper down the river below Lupata, and previous
to the war the islands which stud the Zambesi were all in-
habited, and, the soil being exceedingly fertile, grain and
fowls could be got to any amount. The inhabitants disap-
peared before their enemies the Landeens, but are beginning

* These appear to belong to Cassia acutifolia, or true senna of com-
merce, found in various parts of Africa ami India. — Dr. Hooker.



to return since the peace. They have no cattle, the onlj
place where we found no tsetse being the district of Tetc
itself; and the cattle in the possession of the Portuguese
are a mere remnant of what they formerly owned.

When visiting the hot fountain, I examined what were
formerly the gold-washings in the rivulet Mokoroze, which
is nearly on the 16th parallel of latitude. The banks are
covered with large groves of fine mango-trees, among which
the Portuguese lived while superintending the washing foi
the precious metal. The process of washing is very labo
rious and tedious. A quantity of sand is put into a wooden
bowl with water : a half-rotatory motion is given to the
dish, which causes the coarser particles of sand to collect
on one side of the bottom. These are carefully removed
with the hand, and the process of rotation renewed until
the whole of the sand is taken away and the gold alone
remains. It is found in very minute scales, and, unless I
had been assured to the contrary, I should have taken it to
be mica ; for, knowing the gold to be of greater specific
gravity than the sand, I imagined that a stream of water
would remove the latter and leave the former; but here
the practice is to remove the whole of the sand by the
hand. This process was no doubt a profitable one to the
Portuguese, and it is probable that, with the improved plan
by means of mercurj^, the sands would be lucrative. I had
an opportunity of examining the gold-dust from different
parts to the east and northeast of Tete. There are six
well-known washing-places. These are called Mashinga,
Shindiindo, Missala, Kapata, Mano, and Jawa. From the
description of the rock I received, I suppose gold is found
both in clay shale and in quartz. At the range Mushinga
to the N.N.W. the rock is said to be so soft that the women
pound it into powder in wooden mortars previous to wash'

Round toward the westward, the old Portuguese indicate
a station which was near to Zumbo on the river Panyame.
and called Dambarari, near which much gold was found


Farther west lay the row unknown kingdom of Abutua,
which was formerly famous for the metal; and then, coming
round toward the east, we have the gold-washings of tho
Mashona, or Baziziilu, and, farther east, that of Manica,
where gold is found much more abundantly than in any
other part, and which has been supposed by some to be the
Ophir of King Solomon. I saw the gold from this quarter
as large as grains of wheat, that found in the rivers which
run into the coal-field being in very minute scales. If we
place one leg of the compasses at Tete, and extend the
other three and a half degrees, bringing it round from tho
northeast of Tete by west, and then to the southeast, we
nearly touch or include ail the known gold-producing coun-
try. As the gold on this circumference is found in coarser
grains than in the streams running toward the centre or
Tete, I imagine that the real gold-field lies round about the
coal-field ; and, if I am right in the conjecture, then wo
have coal encircled by a gold-field, and abundance of wood,
water, and provisions, — a combination not often met with
in the world. The inhabitants are not unfavorable to
'fashings conducted on the principle formerly mentioned.
At present they wash only when in want of a little calico.
They know the value of gold perfectly well; for they
bring it for sale in goose-quills, and demand twenty-four
yards of calico for one penful.

Major Sicard, the commandant, whose kindness to me
and my people was unbounded, presented a rosary made
of the gold of the country, the workmanship of a native
of Tete, to my little daughter, — also specimens of the gold-
dust of three different places, which, with the coal of
Muatize and Morongoze, are deposited in the Museum of
Practical Geology, Jermyn Street, London.

All the cultivation is carried on with hoes in the native
manner, and considerable quantities of Holcus sorghum,
maize, Pennisetum typho'idenm, or lotsa of the Balonda,
millet, rice, and wheat are raised, as also several kinds of
beans, — one of which, called "litloo'' by the Bechuanas,


yields under ground, as well as the Arachis hypogcea, or
groundnut; with cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons. The
wheat is sown in low-lying places which are annually
flooded by the Zambesi. When the waters retire, the
* women drop a few grains in a hole made with a hoe, then
push back the soil with the foot. One weeding alone is
required before the grain comes to maturity. This simple
process represents all our sub-soil ploughing, liming, ma-
nuring, and harrowing, for in four months after planting a
good crop is ready for the sickle, and has been known to
yield a hundred-fold. It flourished still more at Zumbc
JSTo irrigation is required, because here there are gentle
rains, almost like mist, in winter, which go by the name
of "wheat-showers," and are unknown in the interior,
where no winter rain ever falls. The rains at Tete come
from the east, though the prevailing winds come from the
S.S.E. The finest portion of the flour does not mak'^
bread nearly so white as the seconds, and here the boyaloa^
(pombe,) or native beer, is employed to mix with the flour
instead of yeast. It makes excellent bread. At Kilimane,
where the cocoanut-palm abounds, the toddy from it, called
" sura," is used for the same purpose, and makes the bread
still lighter.

As it was necessary to leave most of my men at this
place. Major Sicard gave them a portion of land on which
to cultivate their own food^ generously supplying them
w^ith corn in the mean time. He also said that my young
men might go and hunt elephants in company w4th his
eervants, and purchase goods with both the ivory and dried
meat, in order that they might have something to take with
them on their return to Sekeletu. The men were delighted
with his liberality, and soon sixty or seventy'' of them set
off to engage in this enterprise. There was no calico to be
had at this time in Tete, but the commandant handsomely
furnished my men with clothing. I was in a state of w^ant
myself; and, though I pressed him to take payment ii;
ivory for both myself and men, he refused all recompenae


I shall ever remember his kindness with deep gratitude
He has written me, since my arrival in England, that my
men had killed four elephants in the course of two months
after my departure.

On the day of my arrival I was visited by all the gentle-
men of the village, both white and colored, including the
padre. Not one of them had any idea as to where the
source of the Zambesi lay. They sent for the best-travelled
natives; but none of them knew the river even as far as
Kansala. The father of one of the rebels who had been
fighting against them had been a great traveller to the
southwest, and had even heard of our visit to Lake Ngami j
but he was equally ignorant with all the others that the
Zambesi flowed in the centre of the country. They had,
however, more knowledge of the country to the north of
Tete than I had. One man, who had gone to Cazembe
with Major Monteiro, stated that he had seen the Luapiira
or Loapula flowing past the town of that chieftain into the
Luameji or X/eeambye, but imagined that it found its way,
somehow or other, into Angola. The fact that sometimes
rivers were seen to flow like this toward the centre of the
country led geographers to the supposition that Inner
Africa was composed of elevated sandy plains, into which
rivers ran and were lost. One of the gentlemen present,
Senhor Candido, had visited a lake forty-five days to the
N.N.TV. of Tete, which is probably the Lake Maravi of
geographers, as in going thither they pass through the
people of that name. The inhabitants of its southern coast
are named Shiva, those on the north, Mujao ; and they call
the lake Nyanja or Nyanje, which simply means a largo
water, or bed of a large river. A high mountain stands
in the middle of it, called Murombo or Murombola, which
is inhabited by people who have much cattle. He stated
that he crossed the ^N'yanja at a narrow part, and was
thirty-six hours in the passage. The canoes were punted
the whole way, and, if we take the rate about two mJlea

per hour, it w^y be sixty or seventy miles in breadth The


country all round was composed of level plains covered
with grass, and, indeed, in going thither they travelled
seven or eight days without wood, and cooked their food
with grass and stalks of native corn alone. The people
sold their cattle at a very cheap rate. From the southern
extremity of the lake two rivers issue forth : one, named
after itself, the Nyanja, which passes into the sea on the
eaat coast under another name; and the Shire, which flows
into the Zambesi a little below Senna. The Shire is named
Shirwa at its point of departure from the lake, and Senhor
Candido was informed, when there, that the lake was sim-
ply an expansion of the river Nyanja, which comes from
the north and encircles the mountain Murombo, the mean-
ing of which is junction or union, in reference to the water
having parted at its northern extremity and united again
at its southern. The Shire flows through a low, flat,
marshy country, but abounding in population, and they
are said to be brave. The Portuguese are unable to navi-
gate the Shire up to the Lake Nyanja, because of the great
abundance of a water-plant which requires no soil, and
which they name "alfacinya'^ {Pistia stratiotes) from its
resemblance to a lettuce. This completely obstructs the
progress of canoes. In confirmation of this, I may state
oiiat, when I passed the mouth of the Shire, great quanti-
ties of this same plant were floating from it into the Zam-
besi, and many parts of the banks below were covered
with the dead plants.

Senhor Candido stated that slight earthquakes have hap-
pened several times in the country of the Maravi, and al
no great distance from Tete. The motion seems to come
from the eastward and never to have lasted more than a
few seconds. They are named in the Maravi tongue
'^shiwo,'' and in that of the people of Tete '^ shitakoteko,"
or ''shivering." This agrees exactly with what has taken
place in the coast of Mozambique, — a few slight shocks of
fihort duration, and all appearing to come from the east.
At Senna, too, a single shock has been felt several times,


which shook the doors and windows and made the lasses
jmgio. Both Tete and Senna have hot springs i thei-
vicinity, but the shocks seemed to come, not frori then>;,
but from the east, and proceed to the west. They u e pro-
bably connected with the active volcanoes in the is! ,nd of

Having waited a month for the commencement of the
healthy season at Kilimane, I would have started at tho
beginning of April, but tarried a few days, in order that the
moon might make her appearance and enable me to take
lunar observations on my way down the river. A sudden
change of temperature happening on the 4th, simultane-
ously with the appearance of the new moon, the command-
fint and myself, with nearly every person in the house,
were laid up with a severe attack of fever. I soon re-
covered by the use of my wonted remedies ; but Majoi
Sicard and his little boy were confined much longer.
There was a general fall of 4° of temperature from the
middle of March, 84° at 9 a.m., and 87® at 9 p.m., — the
greatest heat being 90° at mid-day, and the lowest 81° at
sunrise. It afforded me pleasure to attend the invalids in
their sickness, — though I was unable to show a tithe of the
gratitude I felt for the commandant's increasing kindness.

The commandant provided for the journey most abun-
dantly, and gave orders to Lieutenant Miranda that I
should not be allowed to pay for any thing all the way to
the coast; and sent messages to his friends Senhors Ferrao,
Isidore, Asevedo, and Nunes, to treat me as they would
himself. From every one of these gentlemen I am happy
to acknowledge that I received most disinterested kind-
ness, and I ought to speak well forever of Portuguese hos-
pitality. I have noted each little act of civility received,
because, somehow or other, we have come to hold the Por-
tuguese character in rather a low estimation. This may
have arisen partly from the pertinacity with which some
of them have pursued the slave-trade, and partly from the
contrast which they now offer to their illustrious ancestors,


— the foremost navigators of the world. If my specification

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 34 of 36)