Henry M. Stanley.

How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley online

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Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 24 of 38)
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so, do not, I beg of you, believe me the less grateful."

"And now, Doctor, having disposed of this little affair, Ferajji shall
bring breakfast; if you have no objection."

"You have given me an appetite," he said.

"Halimah is my cook, but she never can tell the difference between tea
and coffee."

Ferajji, the cook, was ready as usual with excellent tea, and a dish of
smoking cakes; "dampers," as the Doctor called them. I never did care
much for this kind of a cake fried in a pan, but they were necessary
to the Doctor, who had nearly lost all his teeth from the hard fare of
Lunda. He had been compelled to subsist on green ears of Indian corn;
there was no meat in that district; and the effort to gnaw at the
corn ears had loosened all his teeth. I preferred the corn scones of
Virginia, which, to my mind, were the nearest approach to palatable
bread obtainable in Central Africa.

The Doctor said he had thought me a most luxurious and rich man, when he
saw my great bath-tub carried on the shoulders of one of my men; but he
thought me still more luxurious this morning, when my knives and forks,
and plates, and cups, saucers, silver spoons, and silver teapot were
brought forth shining and bright, spread on a rich Persian carpet, and
observed that I was well attended to by my yellow and ebon Mercuries.

This was the beginning of our life at Ujiji. I knew him not as a friend
before my arrival. He was only an object to me - a great item for a daily
newspaper, as much as other subjects in which the voracious news-loving
public delight in. I had gone over battlefields, witnessed revolutions,
civil wars, rebellions, emeutes and massacres; stood close to the
condemned murderer to record his last struggles and last sighs; but
never had I been called to record anything that moved me so much as this
man's woes and sufferings, his privations and disappointments, which now
were poured into my ear. Verily did I begin to perceive that "the Gods
above do with just eyes survey the affairs of men." I began to recognize
the hand of an overruling and kindly Providence.

The following are singular facts worthy for reflection. I was,
commissioned for the duty of discovering Livingstone sometime in
October, 1869. Mr. Bennett was ready with the money, and I was ready for
the journey. But, observe, reader, that I did not proceed directly upon
the search mission. I had many tasks to fulfil before proceeding with
it, and many thousand miles to travel over. Supposing that I had
gone direct to Zanzibar from Paris, seven or eight months afterwards,
perhaps, I should have found myself at Ujiji, but Livingstone would not
have been found there then; he was on the Lualaba; and I should have
had to follow him on his devious tracks through the primeval forests of
Manyuema, and up along the crooked course of the Lualaba for hundreds
of miles. The time taken by me in travelling up the Nile, back to
Jerusalem, then to Constantinople, Southern Russia, the Caucasus, and
Persia, was employed by Livingstone in fruitful discoveries west of the
Tanganika. Again, consider that I arrived at Unyanyembe in the latter
part of June, and that owing to a war I was delayed three months at
Unyanyembe, leading a fretful, peevish and impatient life. But while I
was thus fretting myself, and being delayed by a series of accidents,
Livingstone was being forced back to Ujiji in the same month. It took
him from June to October to march to Ujiji. Now, in September, I broke
loose from the thraldom which accident had imposed on me, and hurried
southward to Ukonongo, then westward to Kawendi, then northward to
Uvinza, then westward to Ujiji, only about three weeks after the
Doctor's arrival, to find him resting under the veranda of his house
with his face turned eastward, the direction from which I was coming.
Had I gone direct from Paris on the search I might have lost him; had I
been enabled to have gone direct to Ujiji from Unyanyembe I might have
lost him.

The days came and went peacefully and happily, under the palms of Ujiji.
My companion was improving in health and spirits. Life had been brought
back to him; his fading vitality was restored, his enthusiasm for his
work was growing up again into a height that was compelling him to
desire to be up and doing. But what could he do, with five men and
fifteen or twenty cloths?

"Have you seen the northern head of the Tangannka, Doctor?" I asked one

"No; I did try to go there, but the Wajiji were doing their best to
fleece me, as they did both Burton and Speke, and I had not a great deal
of cloth. If I had gone to the head of the Tanganika, I could not have
gone, to Manyuema. The central line of drainage was the most important,
and that is the Lualaba. Before this line the question whether there
is a connection between the Tanganika and the Albert N'Yanza sinks into
insignificance. The great line of drainage is the river flowing from
latitude 11 degrees south, which I followed for over seven degrees
northward. The Chambezi, the name given to its most southern extremity,
drains a large tract of country south of the southernmost source of the
Tanganika; it must, therefore, be the most important. I have not the
least doubt, myself, but that this lake is the Upper Tanganika, and the
Albert N'Yanza of Baker is the Lower Tanganika, which are connected by a
river flowing from the upper to the lower. This is my belief, based upon
reports of the Arabs, and a test I made of the flow with water-plants.
But I really never gave it much thought."

"Well, if I were you, Doctor, before leaving Ujiji, I should explore it,
and resolve the doubts upon the subject; lest, after you leave here,
you should not return by this way. The Royal Geographical Society attach
much importance to this supposed connection, and declare you are the
only man who can settle it. If I can be of any service to you, you may
command me. Though I did not come to Africa as an explorer, I have
a good deal of curiosity upon the subject, and should be willing to
accompany you. I have with me about twenty men who understand rowing we
have plenty of guns, cloth, and beads; and if we can get a canoe from
the Arabs we can manage the thing easily."

"Oh, we can get a canoe from Sayd bin Majid. This man has been very kind
to me, and if ever there was an Arab gentleman, he is one."

"Then it is settled, is it, that we go?"

"I am ready, whenever you are."

"I am at your command. Don't you hear my men call you the 'Great
Master,' and me the 'Little Master?' It would never do for the 'Little
Master' to command."

By this time Livingstone was becoming known to me. I defy any one to be
in his society long without thoroughly fathoming him, for in him there
is no guile, and what is apparent on the surface is the thing that is in
him. I simply write down my own opinion of the man as I have seen him,
not as he represents himself; as I know him to be, not as I have heard
of him. I lived with him from the 10th November, 1871, to the 14th
March, 1872; witnessed his conduct in the camp, and on the march, and
my feelings for him are those of unqualified admiration. The camp is the
best place to discover a man's weaknesses, where, if he is flighty or
wrong-headed, he is sure to develop his hobbies and weak side. I think
it possible, however, that Livingstone, with an unsuitable companion,
might feel annoyance. I know I should do so very readily, if a man's
character was of that oblique nature that it was an impossibility to
travel in his company. I have seen men, in whose company I felt nothing
but a thraldom, which it was a duty to my own self-respect to cast off
as soon as possible; a feeling of utter incompatibility, with whose
nature mine could never assimilate. But Livingstone was a character that
I venerated, that called forth all my enthusiasm, that evoked nothing
but sincerest admiration.

Dr. Livingstone is about sixty years old, though after he was restored
to health he appeared more like a man who had not passed his fiftieth
year. His hair has a brownish colour yet, but is here and there streaked
with grey lines over the temples; his whiskers and moustache are
very grey. He shaves his chin daily. His eyes, which are hazel, are
remarkably bright; he has a sight keen as a hawk's. His teeth alone
indicate the weakness of age; the hard fare of Lunda has made havoc in
their lines. His form, which soon assumed a stoutish appearance, is a
little over the ordinary height with the slightest possible bow in the
shoulders. When walking he has a firm but heavy tread, like that of an
overworked or fatigued man. He is accustomed to wear a naval cap with
a semicircular peak, by which he has been identified throughout Africa.
His dress, when first I saw him, exhibited traces of patching and
repairing, but was scrupulously clean.

I was led to believe that Livingstone possessed a splenetic,
misanthropic temper; some have said that he is garrulous, that he is
demented; that he has utterly changed from the David Livingstone whom
people knew as the reverend missionary; that he takes no notes or
observations but such as those which no other person could read but
himself; and it was reported, before I proceeded to Central Africa, that
he was married to an African princess.

I respectfully beg to differ with all and each of the above statements.
I grant he is not an angel, but he approaches to that being as near
as the nature of a living man will allow. I never saw any spleen or
misanthropy in him - as for being garrulous, Dr. Livingstone is quite
the reverse: he is reserved, if anything; and to the man who says Dr.
Livingstone is changed, all I can say is, that he never could have known
him, for it is notorious that the Doctor has a fund of quiet humour,
which he exhibits at all times whenever he is among friends. I must
also beg leave to correct the gentleman who informed me that Livingstone
takes no notes or observations. The huge Letts's Diary which I carried
home to his daughter is full of notes, and there are no less than a
score of sheets within it filled with observations which he took during
the last trip he made to Manyuema alone; and in the middle of the book
there is sheet after sheet, column after column, carefully written, of
figures alone. A large letter which I received from him has been sent to
Sir Thomas MacLear, and this contains nothing but observations. During
the four months I was with him, I noticed him every evening making most
careful notes; and a large tin box that he has with him contains numbers
of field note-books, the contents of which I dare say will see the
light some time. His maps also evince great care and industry. As to the
report of his African marriage, it is unnecessary to say more than that
it is untrue, and it is utterly beneath a gentleman to hint at such a
thing in connection with the name of David Livingstone.

There is a good-natured abandon about Livingstone which was not lost
on me. Whenever he began to laugh, there was a contagion about it,
that compelled me to imitate him. It was such a laugh as Herr
Teufelsdrockh's - a laugh of the whole man from head to heel. If he
told a story, he related it in such a way as to convince one of its
truthfulness; his face was so lit up by the sly fun it contained, that I
was sure the story was worth relating, and worth listening to.

The wan features which had shocked me at first meeting, the heavy step
which told of age and hard travel, the grey beard and bowed shoulders,
belied the man. Underneath that well-worn exterior lay an endless fund
of high spirits and inexhaustible humour; that rugged frame of his
enclosed a young and most exuberant soul. Every day I heard innumerable
jokes and pleasant anecdotes; interesting hunting stories, in which his
friends Oswell, Webb, Vardon, and Gorden Cumming were almost always the
chief actors. I was not sure, at first, but this joviality, humour, and
abundant animal spirits were the result of a joyous hysteria; but as I
found they continued while I was with him, I am obliged to think them

Another thing which specially attracted my attention was his wonderfully
retentive memory. If we remember the many years he has spent in Africa,
deprived of books, we may well think it an uncommon memory that can
recite whole poems from Byron, Burns, Tennyson, Longfellow, Whittier,
and Lowell. The reason of this may be found, perhaps, in the fact, that
he has lived all his life almost, we may say, within himself. Zimmerman,
a great student of human nature, says on this subject "The unencumbered
mind recalls all that it has read, all that pleased the eye,
and delighted the ear; and reflecting on every idea which either
observation, or experience, or discourse has produced, gains new
information by every reflection. The intellect contemplates all the
former scenes of life; views by anticipation those that are yet to come;
and blends all ideas of past and future in the actual enjoyment of the
present moment." He has lived in a world which revolved inwardly, out
of which he seldom awoke except to attend to the immediate practical
necessities of himself and people; then relapsed again into the same
happy inner world, which he must have peopled with his own friends,
relations, acquaintances, familiar readings, ideas, and associations; so
that wherever he might be, or by whatsoever he was surrounded, his own
world always possessed more attractions to his cultured mind than were
yielded by external circumstances.

The study of Dr. Livingstone would not be complete if we did not take
the religious side of his character into consideration. His religion
is not of the theoretical kind, but it is a constant, earnest, sincere
practice. It is neither demonstrative nor loud, but manifests itself
in a quiet, practical way, and is always at work. It is not aggressive,
which sometimes is troublesome, if not impertinent. In him, religion
exhibits its loveliest features; it governs his conduct not only towards
his servants, but towards the natives, the bigoted Mohammedans, and all
who come in contact with him. Without it, Livingstone, with his ardent
temperament, his enthusiasm, his high spirit and courage, must have
become uncompanionable, and a hard master. Religion has tamed him, and
made him a Christian gentleman: the crude and wilful have been refined
and subdued; religion has made him the most companionable of men and
indulgent of masters - a man whose society is pleasurable.

In Livingstone I have seen many amiable traits. His gentleness never
forsakes him; his hopefulness never deserts him. No harassing anxieties,
distraction of mind, long separation from home and kindred, can make him
complain. He thinks "all will come out right at last;" he has such faith
in the goodness of Providence. The sport of adverse circumstances, the
plaything of the miserable beings sent to him from Zanzibar - he has been
baffled and worried, even almost to the grave, yet he will not desert
the charge imposed upon him by his friend, Sir Roderick Murchison. To
the stern dictates of duty, alone, has he sacrificed his home and ease,
the pleasures, refinements, and luxuries of civilized life. His is the
Spartan heroism, the inflexibility of the Roman, the enduring resolution
of the Anglo-Saxon - never to relinquish his work, though his heart
yearns for home; never to surrender his obligations until he can write
Finis to his work.

But you may take any point in Dr. Livingstone's character, and analyse
it carefully, and I would challenge any man to find a fault in it. He is
sensitive, I know; but so is any man of a high mind and generous nature.
He is sensitive on the point of being doubted or being criticised. An
extreme love of truth is one of his strongest characteristics, which
proves him to be a man of strictest principles, and conscientious
scruples; being such, he is naturally sensitive, and shrinks from any
attacks on the integrity of his observations, and the accuracy of his
reports. He is conscious of having laboured in the course of geography
and science with zeal and industry, to have been painstaking, and as
exact as circumstances would allow. Ordinary critics seldom take into
consideration circumstances, but, utterly regardless of the labor
expended in obtaining the least amount of geographical information in a
new land, environed by inconceivable dangers and difficulties, such
as Central Africa presents, they seem to take delight in rending to
tatters, and reducing to nil, the fruits of long years of labor, by
sharply-pointed shafts of ridicule and sneers.

Livingstone no doubt may be mistaken in some of his conclusions about
certain points in the geography of Central Africa, but he is not so
dogmatic and positive a man as to refuse conviction. He certainly
demands, when arguments in contra are used in opposition to him, higher
authority than abstract theory. His whole life is a testimony against
its unreliability, and his entire labor of years were in vain if theory
can be taken in evidence against personal observation and patient

The reluctance he manifests to entertain suppositions, possibilities
regarding the nature, form, configuration of concrete immutable matter
like the earth, arises from the fact, that a man who commits himself
to theories about such an untheoretical subject as Central Africa
is deterred from bestirring himself to prove them by the test of
exploration. His opinion of such a man is, that he unfits himself
for his duty, that he is very likely to become a slave to theory - a
voluptuous fancy, which would master him.

It is his firm belief, that a man who rests his sole knowledge of the
geography of Africa on theory, deserves to be discredited. It has been
the fear of being discredited and criticised and so made to appear
before the world as a man who spent so many valuable years in Africa
for the sake of burdening the geographical mind with theory that has
detained him so long in Africa, doing his utmost to test the value of
the main theory which clung to him, and would cling to him until he
proved or disproved it.

This main theory is his belief that in the broad and mighty Lualaba he
has discovered the head waters of the Nile. His grounds for believing
this are of such nature and weight as to compel him to despise
the warning that years are advancing on him, and his former iron
constitution is failing. He believes his speculations on this point will
be verified; he believes he is strong enough to pursue his explorations
until he can return to his country, with the announcement that the
Lualaba is none other than the Nile.

On discovering that the insignificant stream called the Chambezi, which
rises between 10 degrees S. and 12 degrees S., flowed westerly, and then
northerly through several lakes, now under the names of the Chambezi,
then as the Luapula, and then as the Lualaba, and that it still
continued its flow towards the north for over 7 degrees, Livingstone
became firmly of the opinion that the river whose current he followed
was the Egyptian Nile. Failing at lat. 4 degrees S. to pursue his
explorations further without additional supplies, he determined to
return to Ujiji to obtain them.

And now, having obtained them, he intends to return to the point where
he left off work. He means to follow that great river until it is firmly
established what name shall eventually be given the noble water-way
whose course he has followed through so many sick toilings and
difficulties. To all entreaties to come home, to all the glowing
temptations which home and innumerable friends offer, he returns the
determined answer: -

"No; not until my work is ended."

I have often heard our servants discuss our respective merits. "Your
master," say my servants to Livingstone's, "is a good man - a very good
man; he does not beat you, for he has a kind heart; but ours - oh! he
is sharp - hot as fire" - "mkali sana, kana moto." From being hated and
thwarted in every possible way by the Arabs and half-castes upon
first arrival in Ujiji, he has, through his uniform kindness and mild,
pleasant temper, won all hearts. I observed that universal respect was
paid to him. Even the Mohammedans never passed his house without calling
to pay their compliments, and to say, "The blessing of God rest on you."
Each Sunday morning he gathers his little flock around him, and reads
prayers and a chapter from the Bible, in a natural, unaffected, and
sincere tone; and afterwards delivers a short address in the Kisawahili
language, about the subject read to them, which is listened to with
interest and attention.

There is another point in Livingstone's character about which readers of
his books, and students of his travels, would like to know, and that is
his ability to withstand the dreadful climate of Central Africa, and
the consistent energy with which he follows up his explorations. His
consistent energy is native to him and to his race. He is a very fine
example of the perseverance, doggedness, and tenacity which characterise
the Anglo-Saxon spirit; but his ability to withstand the climate is due
not only to the happy constitution with which he was born, but to the
strictly temperate life he has ever led. A drunkard and a man of vicious
habits could never have withstood the climate of Central Africa.

The second day after my arrival in Ujiji I asked the Doctor if he did
not feel a desire, sometimes, to visit his country, and take a little
rest after his six years' explorations; and the answer he gave me fully
reveals the man. Said he:

"I should like very much to go home and see my children once again, but
I cannot bring my heart to abandon the task I have undertaken, when it
is so nearly completed. It only requires six or seven months more to
trace the true source that I have discovered with Petherick's branch of
the White Nile, or with the Albert N'Yanza of Sir Samuel Baker, which is
the lake called by the natives 'Chowambe.' Why should I go home before
my task is ended, to have to come back again to do what I can very well
do now?"

"And why?" I asked, "did you come so far back without finishing the task
which you say you have got to do?"

"Simply because I was forced. My men would not budge a step forward.
They mutinied, and formed a secret resolution - if I still insisted upon
going on - to raise a disturbance in the country, and after they had
effected it to abandon me; in which case I should have been killed. It
was dangerous to go any further. I had explored six hundred miles of the
watershed, had traced all the principal streams which discharge their
waters into the central line of drainage, but when about starting to
explore the last hundred miles the hearts of my people failed them,
and they set about frustrating me in every possible way. Now, having
returned seven hundred miles to get a new supply of stores, and another
escort, I find myself destitute of even the means to live but for a few
weeks, and sick in mind and body."

Here I may pause to ask any brave man how he would have comported
himself in such a crisis. Many would have been in exceeding hurry to get
home to tell the news of the continued explorations and discoveries,
and to relieve the anxiety of the sorrowing family and friends awaiting
their return. Enough surely had been accomplished towards the solution
of the problem that had exercised the minds of his scientific associates
of the Royal Geograpical Society. It was no negative exploration, it was
hard, earnest labor of years, self-abnegation, enduring patience, and
exalted fortitude, such as ordinary men fail to exhibit.

Suppose Livingstone had hurried to the coast after he had discovered
Lake Bangweolo, to tell the news to the geographical world; then had
returned to discover Moero, and run away again; then went back once more
only to discover Kamolondo, and to race back again. This would not be in
accordance with Livingstone's character. He must not only discover the
Chambezi, Lake Bangweolo, Luapula River, Lake Moero, Lualaba River, and
Lake Kamolondo, but he must still tirelessly urge his steps forward to
put the final completion to the grand lacustrine river system. Had he
followed the example of ordinary explorers, he would have been running
backwards and forwards to tell the news, instead of exploring; and he
might have been able to write a volume upon the discovery of each lake,
and earn much money thereby. They are no few months' explorations that
form the contents of his books. His 'Missionary Travels' embraces a
period of sixteen years; his book on the Zambezi, five years; and if the

Online LibraryHenry M. StanleyHow I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveres in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone, by Henry M. Stanley → online text (page 24 of 38)