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 35 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 35 of 36)
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of their kindnesses will tend to engender a more respectful
feeling to the nation, 1 shall consider myself well rewarded.
We had three large canoes in the company which had lately
come up with goods from Senna. They are made very
large and strong, much larger than any we ever saw in the
interior, and might strike with great force against a rock
and not be broken. The men sit at the stern when pad-
dling, and there is usually a little shed made over a part of
the canoe to shade the passengers from the sun. The boat
in which I went was furnished with such a covering; so 1
sat quite comfortably.




We left Tete at noon on the 22d, and in the afternoon
arrived at the garden of Senhor A. Manoel de Gomez, son-
in-law and nephew of Bonga. The Commandant of Tete
had sent a letter to the rebel Bonga, stating that he ought
to treat me kindly, and he had deputed his son-in-law to
be my host. Bonga is not at all equal to his father Ny-
aude, who was a man of great ability. He is also in bad
odor with the Portuguese, because he receives all runaway
slaves and criminals. He does not trust the Portuguese,
and is reported to be excessively superstitious. I found
his son-in-law, Manoel, extremely friendly, and able to con-
verse in a very intelligent manner. He was in his garden
when we arrived, but soon dressed himself respectably
and gave us a good tea and dinner. After a breakfast of
tea, roasted eggs, and biscuits next morning, he presented
six fowls and three goats as provision for the journey.


When we parted from him, we passed the stockade of
Boiiga at the confluence of the Luenya, but did not go
near it, as he is said to be very suspicious. The Portuguese
advised me not to take any observation, as the instruments
might awaken fears in Bonga's mind, but Manoel said I
might do 80 if I wished : his garden, however, being above
the confluence, could not avail as a geographical point
There are some good houses in the stockade. The trees of
which it is composed seemed to me to be living, and could
not be burned. It was strange to see a stockade menacing
the whole commerce of the river in a situation where the
guns of a vessel would have full play on it ; but it is a
formidable aff'air for those who have only muskets. On
one occasion, when Nyaude was attacked by Kisaka, they
fought for weeks; and, though Nyaude was reduced to
cutting up his copper anklets for balls, his enemies were
not able to enter the stockade.

We sailed on quickly with the current of the river, and
found that it spread out to more than two miles in breadth :
it is, however, full of islands, which are generally covered
with reeds, and which previous to the war were inhabited
and yielded vast quantities of grain. We usually landed
to cook breakfast, and then went on quickly.

Next day we landed at Shiramba for breakfast, having
sailed eight and a half hours from Lupata. This was once
the residence of a Portuguese brigadier, who spent large
sums of money in embellishing his house and gardens :
these we found in entire ruin, as his half-caste son had
destroyed all, and then rebelled against the Portuguese,
but with less success than either Nyaude or Kisaka, for he
had been seized and sent a prisoner to Mozambique a short
time before our visit. All the southern shore has been
ravaged by the Caffres, who are here named Landeens;
and most of the inhabitants who remain acknowledge the
authority of Bonga and not of the Portuguese. When at
breakfast, the people of Shiramba commenced beating the
drum of war Lieutenant ALiranda, who was well ac-



quainf >d with the customs of the country, immediately
started to his feet and got all the soldiers of our party
under arms : he then demanded of the natives why the
drum was beaten while we were there. They gave an
evasive reply ; and, as they employ this means of collect-
ing their neighbors when they intend to rob canoes, oui
watchfulness may have prevented their proceeding further.

We spent the night of the 26th on the island called
Nkuesi, opposite a remarkable saddle-shaped mountain,
and found that we were just on the seventeenth parallel
of latitude. The sail down the river was very fine } the
temperature becoming low, it was pleasant to the feelings;
but, the shores being flat and far from us, the scenery was
uninteresting. We breakfasted on the 27th at Pita, and
found some half-caste Portuguese had established them-
selves there, after fleeing from the opposite bank to escape
Kisaka's people, who were now ravaging all the Maganja
country. On the afternoon of the 27th we arrived at
Senna. (Commandant Isidore's house, three hundred
yards S.W. of the mud-fort on the banks of the river :
lat. 17° 27' 1" S., long. 35° 10' E.) We found Senna to be
twenty-three and a half hours' sail from Tete.

I thought the state of Tete quite lamentable; but that of
Senna was ten times worse. At Tete there is some life :
here every thing is in a state of stagnation and ruin. The
fort, built of sun-dried bricks, has the grass growing over
the walls, which have been patched in some places by
paling. The Landeens visit the village periodically and
levy fines upon the inhabitants, as they consider the Por-
tuguese a conquered tribe, and very rarely does a native
come to trade. Senhor Isidore, the commandant, a man
of considerable energy, had proposed to surround the whole
village with palisades as a protection against the Landeens,
and the villagers were to begin this work the day after I
left. It was sad to look at the ruin manifest in every
building; but the half-castes appear to be in league with
the rebels and Landeens; for when auy attempt is made


by the Portuguese to coerce the enemy or defend them-
eelves, information is conveyed at once to the Landeen
camp, and, though the commandant prohibits the payment
of tribute to the Landeens, on their aj^proach the half-
castes eagerly ransom themselves.

The village of Senna stands on the right bank of the
Zambesi. There are many reedy islands in front of it,
and there is much bush in the country adjacent. The soil
is fertile; but the village, being in a state of ruin, and
having several pools of stagnant water, is very unhealthy.

The most pleasant sight I witnessed at Senna was the
flegroes of Senhor Isidore building boats after the European
model, without any one to superintend their operations.
They had been instructed by a European master, but now
go into the forest and cut down the motondo-trees, lay
down the keel, fit in the ribs, and make very neat boats
and launches, valued at from £20 to £100. Senhor Isidore
had some of them instructed also in carpentry at Eio
Janeiro, and they constructed for him the handsomest
house in Kilimane, the woodwork being all of country
trees, some of which are capable of a fine polish, ana very

On the 9th of May sixteen of my men were employed to
carry Government goods in canoes up to Tete. They were
much pleased at getting this work. On the 11th the whole
of the inhabitants of Senna, with the commandant, accom-
panied us to the boats. A venerable old man, son of a
judge, said they were in much sorrow on account of the
miserable state of decay into which they had sunk, and of
the insolent conduct of the peC'ple of Kisaka now in the
villag^. We were abundantly supplied with provisions by
the commandant and Senhor Ferrao, and sailed pleasantly
down the broad river. Aboat thirty miles below Senna
we passed the mouth of the river Zangwe on our right,
which farther up goes by the name of Pungwe ; and about
five miles farther on our left, close to the end of a low
range into which Morumbala merges, we crossed tl>«


mouth of the Shire, which seemed to be about two hundred
yards broad.

A few miles beyond the Shire we left the hills entirely
and sailed between extensive flats. The banks seen in the
distance are covered with trees. We slept on a large in-
habited island, and then came to the entrance of the rivei
Mutu, (latitude 18° 3' 37" S., longitude 35° 46' E. :) the point
of departure is called Mazaro, or ^^ mouth of the Mutu."

I was seized by a severe tertian fever at Mazaro, but
went along the right bank of the Mutu to the IS'.N.E. and
E. for about fifteen miles. We then found that it was made
navigable by a river called the Pangazi, which comes into
it from the north.

My fever became excessively severe in consequence of
travelling in the hot sun, and the long grass blocking up
the narrow path so as to exclude the air. The pulse beat
with amazing force, and felt as if thumping against the
crown of the head. The stomach and spleen swelled enor
mously, — giving me, for the first time, an appearance which
I had been disposed to laugh at among the Portuguese.
At Interra we met Senhor Asevedo, a man who is well
known by all who ever visited Kilimane, and who was pre-
sented with a gold chronometer watch by the Admiralty
for his attentions to English officers. He immediately
tendered his large sailing-launch, which had a house in the
etern. This was greatly in my favor, for it anchored in
the middle of the stream, and gave me some rest from the
mosquitos, which in the whole of the delta are something
frightful. Sailing comfortably in this commodious launch
along the river of Kilimane, we reached that village (lati-
tude 17° 53' 8" S., longitude 36° 40' E.) on the 2^th of
May, 1856, which wanted only a few days of being four
years since I started from Cape Town. Here I was re-
ceived into the house of Colonel Galdina Jose Nunes, one
of the best men in the country. I had been three years
without hearing from my family, — letters having boon
frequently sent, but somehow or other, with but a single

THE author's obligations. 425

exception, they never reached me. I received, however, a
letter from Admiral Trotter, conveying information of their
welfare, and some newspapers, which were a treat indeed.
Her majesty's brig the ^^ Frolic" had called to inquire for
me in the November previous, and Captain Nolluth, of
that ship, had most considerately left a case of wine ; and
his surgeon. Dr. James Walsh, divining what I should need
most, left an ounce of quinine. These gifts made my heart
overflow. I had not tasted any liquor whatever during the
time I had been in Africa ; but, when reduced in Angola to
extreme weakness, I found much benefit from a little wine,
and took from Loanda one bottle of brandy in my medi-
cine-chest, intending to use it if it were again required;
but the boy who carried it whirled the box upside-down
and smashed the bottle, so that I cannot give my testimony
either in favor of or against the brandy.

But my joy on reaching the east coast was sadly embit-
tered by the news that Commander MacLune, of H.M.
brigantine " Dart," on coming in to Kilimane to pick me
up, had, with Lieutenant Woodruffe and five men,'been lost
on the bar. I never felt more poignant sorrow. It seemed
»s if it would have been easier for me to have died for them
than that they should all be cut off from the joys of life in
generously attempting to render me a service. I wouM
oere acknowledge my deep obligations to the Earl of Cla-
rendon, to the admiral at the Cape, and others, for the kind
mterest they manifested in my safety ; even the inquiries
made were very much to my advantage. I also refer with
feelings of gratitude to the Governor of Mozambique for
offering me a passage in the schooner "Zambesi," belonging
to that province ; and I shall never forget the generous
hospitality of Colonel Nunes and his nephew, with whom
I remained. One of the discoveries I have made is that
there are vast numbers of good people in the world ; and
I do most devoutly tender my unfeigned thanks to that
Gy^a'ious One who mercifully watched over me in overy


426 TUB author's objects.

position and influenced the hearts of both black and white
to regard me with favor.

If the reader has accompanied me thus far, he may per-
haps be disposed to take an interest in the objects I pro-
pose to myself should God mercifully grant me the honoi
of doing something more for Africa. As the highlands
on the borders of the central basin are comparatively
healthy, the first object seems to be to secure a permanent
path thither, in order that Europeans may pass as quickly
as possible through the unhealthy region near the coast
The river has not been surveyed, but at the time I came
down there was abundance of water for a large vessel; and
this continues to be the case during four or five months of
each year. The months of low water still admit of naviga-
tion by launches, and would permit small vessels equal to
the Thames steamers to ply with ease in the deep channel.
If a steamer were sent to examine the Zambesi, I would
recommend one of the lightest draught, and the months of
May, June, and July for passing through the delta; and
this not so much for fear of want of water as the danger
of being grounded on a sand or mud bank and the health
of the crew being endangered by the delay.

In the months referred to, no obstruction would be in-
curred in the channel below Tete. Twenty or thirty miles
above that point we have a small rapid, of which I regret
my inability to speak, as (mentioned already) I did not
visit it. But, taking the distance below this point, we have,
in round numbers, three hundred miles of navigable river.
Above this rapid we have another reach of three hundred
miles, with sand, but no mud-banks in it, which brings us
to the foot of the eastern ridge. Let it not, however, be
thought that a vessel by going thither would return laden
with ivory and gold-dust. The Portuguese of Tete pick up
all the merchandise of the tribes in their vicinity ; and,
though I came out by traversing the people with whom the
Portuguese had been at war, it does not follow that it will
be perfectly safe for others to go in whose goods may be a

THE author's objects. 427

stronger temptation to cupidity than any thing I possessed.
When we get beyond the hostile population mentioned, we
reach a very diflerent race. On the latter my chief hopes
at present rest. All of them, however, are wiUing and
anxious to engage in trade, and, while eager for this, none
have ever been encouraged to cultivate the raw materials
of commerce. Their country is well adapted for cotton;
and I venture to entertain the hope that by distributing
seeds of better kinds than that which is found indigenous,
and stimulating the natives to cultivate it by aifording
them the certainty of a market for all they may produce,
we may engender a feeling of mutual dependence between
them and ourselves. I have a twofold object in view, and
believe that, by guiding our missionary labors so as to
benefit our own country, we shall thereby more eifectually
and permanently benefit the heathen. Seven years were
spent at Kolobeng in instructing my friends there; but, the
country being incapable of raising materials for exportation,
when the Boers made their murderous attack and scattered
the tribe for a season, none sympathized except a few
Chi'istian friends. Had the people of Kolobeng been in
the habit of raising the raw materials of English commerce,
the outrage would have been felt in England; or, what is
more likely to have been the case, the people would have
raised themselves in the scale by barter, and have become,
like the Basutos of Moshesh and people of Kuruman, pos-
sessed of fire-arms, and the Boers would never have made
the attack at all. We ought to eSJourage the Africans to
cultivate for our markets, as the most effectual means, next
to the gospel, of their elevation.

It is in the hope of working out this idea that I propose
ilie formation of stations on the Zambesi beyond the Por
tuguese territory but having communication through them
with the coast. A chain of stations admitting of easy and
speedy intercourse, such as might be formed along the flank
of the eastern ridge, would be in a favorable position for
carrying out the objects in view. The London Missionary


Society has resolved to have a station among the Makololo
on the north bank, and another on the south among tho
Matebele. The Church — Wesleyan, Baptist, and that most
energetic body, the Free Church — could each find desirable
locations among the Batoka and adjacent tribes. Tho
country is so extensive there is no fear of clashing. All
classes of Christians find that sectarian rancor soon dies
out when they are working together among and for the
real heathen. Only let the healthy locality be searched
for and fixed upon, and then there will be free scope to
work in the same cause in various directions, without that
loss of men which the system of missions on the unhealthy
coast entails. While respectfully submitting the plan to
these influential societies, I can positively state that, when
fairly in the interior, there is perfect security for life and
property among a people who will at least listen and

Eight of my men begged to be allowed to come as far
as Kilimane, and, thinking that they would there see the
ocean, I consented to their coming, though the food was so
scarce in consequence of a dearth that they were compelled
to suffer some hunger. They would fain have come far-
ther; for when Sekeletu parted with them his orders were
that none of them should turn until they had reached Ma
Robert and brought her back with them. On my explain-
ing the difficulty of crossing the sea, he said, '' Wherever
you lead, they must follow/^ As I did not know well how
I should get home myself, I advised them to go back to
Tete, where food was abundant, and there await my return.
I bought a quantity of calico and brass wire with ten of
the smaller tusks which we had in our charge, and sent
the former back as clothing to those who remained at Tete.
As there were still twenty tusks left, I deposited them
with Colonel Nunes, that, in the event of any thing hap-
pening to prevent my return, the impression might not be
produced in the country that I had made away with Seko-
letu's ivory. I instructed Colonel Nunes, in case of my

THE author's position. 429

death, to sell the tusks and deliver the proceeds to my
men ; but I intended, if my life should be prolonged, to
])urchase the goods ordered by Sekeletu in England with
my own money, and pay myself on my return out of the
price of the ivory. This I explained to the men fully, and
they, understanding the matter, replied, "^ay, father, you
will not die; you will return to take us back to Sekeletu."
They promised to wait till I came back; and, on my part,
I assured them that nothing but death would prevent my
return. This I said, though while waiting at Kilimane a
letter came from the Directors of the London Missionary
Society stating that 'Hhey were restricted in their power
of aiding plans connected only remotely with the spread
of the gospel, and that the financial circumstances of the
society were not such as to aiford any ground of hope that
it would be in a position, within any definite period, to
enter upon untried, remote, and difficult fields of labor/'
This has been explained since as an eff'usion caused by tem-
porary financial depression ; but, feeling perfect confidence
in my Makololo friends, I was determined to return and
trust to their generosity. The old love of independence,
which I had so strongly before joining the society, again
returned. It was roused by a mistaken view of what this
letter meant; for the directors, immediately on my reach-
ing home, saw the great importance of the opening, and
entered with enlightened zeal on the work of sending the
gospel into the new field. It is to be hoped that their con-
stituents will not only enable them to begin, but to carry
out their plans, and that no material dej)ression will ever
again be permitted, nor appearances of spasmodic benevo-
lence recur. While I hope to continue the same cordial
co-operation and friendship which have always character-
ized our intercourse, various reasons induce me to withdraw
from pecuniary dependence on any society. I have done
something for the heathen; but for an aged mother, who has
Btill more sacred claims than they, I have been able to do
nothing, and a continuance of the connection would be a


perpetuation of my inability to make any provision for her
declining years. In addition to " clergyman's sore throat/'
which partially disabled me from the work, my father's
death imposed new obligations ; and, a fresh source of in-
come having been opened to me without my asking, I had
no hesitation in accepting what would enable me to fulfil
my duty to my aged parent as well as to the heathen.

The village of Kilimane stands on a great mud-bank,
and is surrounded by extensive swamps and rice-grounds.
The banks of the river are lined with mangrove-bushes,
the roots of which, and the slimy banks on which they
grow, are alternately exposed to the tide and sun. The
houses are well built of brick and lime, the latter from
Mozambique. If one digs down two or three feet in any
part of the site of the village, he comes to water: hence
the walls built on this mud-bank gradually subside; pieces
are sometimes sawn off the doors below, because the walls
in which they are fixed have descended into the ground, so
as to leave the floors higher than the bottom of the doors.
It is almost needless to say that Kilimane is very un-
healthy. A man of plethoric temperament is sure to get
fever, and concerning a stout person one may hear the
remark, ^^Ah, he will not live long; he is sure to die."

After waiting about six weeks at this unhealthy spot,
in which, however, by the kind attentions of Colonel
!N"unes and his nephew, I partially recovered from my ter-
tian, H.M. brig '^Frolic" arrived off Kilimane. As the
village is twelve miles from the bar, and the weather was
rough, she was at anchor ten days before we knew of her
presence about seven miles from the entrance to the port.
She brought abundant supplies for all my need, and £150
to pay my passage home, from my kind friend Mr. Thomp-
son, the Society's agent at the Cape. The admiral at the
Cape kindly sent an offer of a passage to the Mauritius,
which I thankfully accepted. Sekwebu and one attendant
alone remained with me now. He was very intelligent, and
had been of the greatest service to me ; indeed, but for hia


good sense, tact, and command of the language of the
tribes through which we passed, I believe wo should
scarcely have suc^Ceeded in reaching the coast. I naturally
felt grateful to him; and as his chief wished all my com-
panions to go to England with me, and would probably be
disappointed if none went, I thought it would be beneticial
for him to see the effects of civilization and report them to
his countrymen. I wished also to make some return for his
very important services. Others had petitioned to come,
but I explained the danger of a change of climate and food,
and with difficulty restrained them. The only one who
now remained begged so hard to come on board ship that I
greatly regretted that the expense prevented my acceding
to his wish to visit England. I said to him, "You will die*
if you go to such a cold country as mine." "That is
nothing," he reiterated; "let me die at your feet."

When we parted from our friends at Kilimane, the sea
on the bar was frightful even to the seamen. This was the
first time Sekwebu had seen the sea. Captain Peyton had
sent two boats in case of accident. The waves were so high
that, when the cutter was in one trough and we in the
pinnace in another, her mast was hid. We then mounted
to the crest of the wave, rushed down the slope, and
struck the water again with a blow which felt as if she
had struck the bottom. Boats must be singularly well con-
structed to be able to stand these shocks. Three breakers
swept over us. The men lift up their oars, and a wave
comes sweeping over all, giving the impression that the
boat is going down; but she only goes beneath the top of
the wave, comes out on the other side, and swings down
the slope, and a man bales out the water with a bucket.
Poor Sekwebu looked at me when these terrible seas broke
over, and said, "Is this the way you go ? Is this the way
you go?" I smiled and said, "Yes; don't you see it is?"
and tried to encourage him. He was well acquainted with

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 35 of 36)