Josiah Tyler.

Livingstone lost and found online

. (page 20 of 51)
Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 20 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

lolos on further acquaintance with their habits and character-
istics, though they are acknowledged to be a most favora-
ble specimen of the African race. Their dancing, singing,
roaring, grumbling and quarreling were a severe penance to


endure daily. The women he represents as always quarrel-
ing among themselves.

Many of the Makololo are inveterate smokers, and, gener-
ally prefer hemp to tobacco as it is more intoxicating. They
delight in smoking themselves into a perfect frenzy, which
passes off in a rapid stream of unmeaning words, or short
sentences such as, " The green grass grows," " The fat cattle
thrive." No one pays the least attention to the utterances of
the intoxicated smoker, who finally stops his chant and looks
foolish. The women smoke as well as the men, but do it
secretly as their husbands forbid their smoking. The indul-
gence has an injurious influence, and its effects cannot be mis-

" Both in color and general manners, the Makololo women
are superior to most of the tribes. This superiority is partly
due to the light brown of their complexion, and partly to
their mode of life. Unlike the women of ordinary African
tribes, those of the Makololo lead a comparatively easy life,
having their harder labors shared by their husbands, who aid
in digging the ground, and in other rough work. Even the
domestic work is done more by servants than by the mistresses
of the household, so that the Makololo women are not liable
to that rapid deterioration which is so evident among other

" The only hard work that falls to the lot of the Makololo
women is that of house-building, which is left entirely to
them and their servants.

" The mode of making a house is rather remarkable. The
first business is to build a cylindrical tower of stakes and
reeds, plastered with mud, and some nine or ten feet in
height, the walls and floor being smoothly plastered, so as to
prevent them from harboring insects. A large conical roof is
then put together on the ground, and completely thatched
with reeds. It is then lifted by many hands, and lodged on
the top of the circular tower. As the roof projects far beyond
the central tower, it is supported by stakes, and as a general
rule the spaces between these stakes are filled up with a wall


or fence of reeds plastered with mud. This roof is not per-
manently fixed either to the supporting stakes "or the central
tower, and can be removed at pleasure.

" When a visitor arrives among the Makololo, he is often
lodged by the simple process of lifting a finished roof off an
unfinished house, and putting it on the ground. Although it
is then so low that a man can scarcely sit, much less stand
upright, it answers very well for Southern Africa, where the
whole of active life is spent, as a rule, in the open air, and
where houses are only used as sleeping-boxes. The doorway
that gives admission into the circular chamber is always small.
In a house that was assigned to Dr. Livingstone, it was only
nineteen inches in total height, twenty-two in width at the
floor, and twelve at the top. Except through this door, the
tower has neither light nor ventilation. Some of the best
houses have two, and even three of these towers, built con-
centrically within each other, and each having its entrance
about as large as the door of an ordinary dog-kennel. Of
course the atmosphere is very close at night, but the people
care nothing about that."

An elephant's foot prepared according to the custom of the
country is considered food fit for a king. It is cooked by
digging a large hole in the ground, in which a roaring fire is
kindled. "When the hole is thoroughly heated, the entire
foot, sometimes of the size of a half-bushel, is thrown in and
covered over with ashes and soil. Over this pile another fire
is built and the whole left for several hours. Livingstone
had for breakfast one morning, an elephant's foot thus cooked
and found it delicious. It was a whitish, glutinous mass,
sweet like marrow. He recommends a long march after a
meal of elephant's foot to prevent its bilious effect. Elephant's
trunk and tongue he also speaks of as good eating, but all the
other meat is tough.

Many of the wives of the Makololo who went down the
Zambesi with Dr. Livingstone became weary of their long
widowhood, and petitioned Sekeletu for permission to marry
again. They said it was no use waiting any longer their


husbands must be dead. But the chief had promised the
absent men that their wives should be kept for them, and
would not allow them to marry. Some of them, however,
eloped with other men, and, among others, the wife of Mant-
lauyane ran off and left his little boy among strangers. He
was not in a situation to throw stones at her, for he had mar-
ried two other wives at Tete ; but he was very angry at her
abandoning his boy.

" Among the Makololo, as well as among Europeans, the
spirit of play is strong in children, and they engage in various
games, chiefly consisting in childish imitation of the more
serious pursuits of their parents.

" The children have merry times, especially in the cool of
the evening. One of their games consists of a little girl being
carried on the shoulders of two others. She sits with out-
stretched arms, as they walk about with her, and all the rest
clap their hands, and stopping before each hut, sing pretty airs,
some beating time on their little kilts of cow-skin, and others
making a curious humming sound between the songs. Except-
ing this and the skipping-rope, the play of the girls consists
in imitation of the serious work of their mothers, building
little huts, making small pots, and cooking, pounding corn in
miniature mortars, or hoeing tiny gardens.

" The boys play with spears of reeds pointed with wood, and
small shields, or bows and arrows ; or amuse themselves in
making little cattle-pens, or cattle in clay, they show great
ingenuity in the imitation of variously shaped horns. Some,
too, are said to use slings, but as soon as they can watch the
goats or calves, they are sent to the field. "We saw many boys
riding on the calves they had in charge, but this is an innova-
tion since the arrival of the English with their horses.

" Tselane, one of the ladies, on observing Dr. Livingstone
noting observation on the wet and dry bulb thermometers,
thought that he too was engaged in play. On receiving no
reply to her question, which was rather difficult to answer, aa
their native tongue has no scientific terms, she said with
roguish glee, ' Poor thing ! playing like a little child !' "


As a whole, the expedition to the Makololo county is
devoid of interest to those who have followed Livingstone in
his trip down the Zambesi. In attempting to pass the Kebra-
basa Rapids in canoes on their return, the party was upset, and
unfortunately, Dr. Kirk lost his botanical collections, his
manuscripts and his instruments. Their troubles did not
end on reaching their steamer. The Ma Robert had always
been a leaky craft, and on the twenty-first of December
grounded on a sand-bank and went to pieces. This was the
last of the old "Asthmatic" as Livingstone called her. The
Christmas of 1860 he spent on the island of Chimba, and
arrived at Tete on the 4th of January, 1861.

On the thirty-first of January, a new steam-ship " The
Pioneer/Vhich Livingstone had requested should be sent
out to him, arrived. Two of her Majesty's cruisers came at
the same time, bringing Bishop Mackenzie, and what was
called the " Universities' Mission to the tribes of the Shire
and Lake Nyassa. The Mission consisted of six Englishmen,
and five colored men from the Cape. The Bishop, anxious
to commence his work, wished the Pioneer to carry the
Mission up the Shire as far as Chibisa's.

Livingstone opposed this, and advised the Bishop to ascend
the Rovuma which empties into the Indian Ocean between
the parallels of 10 C and 11 Q S., and proceed thence over-
land to his destination. The Bishop yielded to what he con-
sidered superior wisdom, and on the eleventh of March the
Pioneer entered the Rovuma. The river was low, and after
an ineffectual attempt of ten days to ascend, the Pioneer
turned back to the Zambesi.

The Pioneer proved to be a well-built boat, designed to
draw only three feet of water, but when heavily laden sank
five feet. She, however, went up the Zambesi very well.
On the Upper Shire, navigation was more difficult. The party
was at one time a fortnight on a bank of soft, yielding sand,
but reached Chibisa's in July, 1861. Bishop Mackenzie accepted
the invitation of one of the Manganja chiefs to settle near
his village, called Magomero a beautiful and apparently


healthy place, while Dr. Livingstone and his party returned
to the Pioneer, and made preparations to visit Lake Nyassa.
A four-oared boat, which had been brought out in the Pioneer
in sections, was carried around the falls of the Upper Shire,
a distance of forty miles, by the natives, who were hired for
a little cotton cloth.

On the 2d of September the party rowed into Lake Nyassa,
and spent the months of September and October in its thor-
ough exploration. Abundance of excellent fish were found
in the lake, mostly varieties new to the travelers. The Lake
people were kind, but by no means handsome. The pelele
was universally worn by the women. Some, not content with
one pelele, put another in the lower lip. All the nation are
tattooed from head to foot. The Mazitu, who live on the
highlands, are lawless, and make marauding excursions to the
villages on the plains. The Lake slave trade was going on at
a terrible rate, nineteen thousand slaves from Nyassa country
being annually exported from Zanzibar. The Lake seemed
to be the fountain head of the slave trade.

The party reached their ship on the 8th of November, 1861,
in a reduced condition, having suffered much from hunger.
Descending the Shire, they reached the Zambesi on the llth
of January, and steamed down that river to the coast, where
they anchored on the Great Luabo mouth of the Zambesi.

On the 30th of January, 1862, H. M. S. Gorgon arrived,
bringing Mrs. Livingstone, a reinforcement for the Bishop's
mission, and a new iron steamer, in sections, called the " Lady
of the Lake," intended for the navigation of Nyassa. Eev.
James Stuart also came in the Gorgon, with a view of explor-
ing the interior for further mission sites.

Mrs. Livingstone did not long survive. About the middle
of the following April, while the party were at Shupanga,
she was taken down with the African fever, and although
her husband and Dr. Kirk did all that medical skill could do
for her restoration, this brave and unselfish woman closed
lier eyes in death on the eve of the Sabbath, April 27, 1862.
"With sympathizing hearts, the little band of his countrymen


assisted the bereaved husband in burying his dead. Rev. Mr.
Stewart read the burial service.

Mrs. Livingstone knew well the hardships of African life ;
in behalf of this benighted land she had spent most of her
days, and in the attempt to renew her self-denying labors was
called to a better country. May her memory be cherished.

The brief story of the Universities' Mission may as well be
told here. Bishop Mackenzie found the Manganjas friendly,
and for a time the Mission flourished. In their zeal for the
suppression of the slave-trade, the missionaries allowed them-
selves to be drawn into a war with the Ajawas. The mis-
sionary station was changed from the highlands to the Lower
Shire valley, where the malarious atmosphere soon swept off
the devoted company. The Bishop, worn out with privations
and sickness, died in January, 1862, and three of his compan-
ions soon followed him to the spirit land. The remainder,
deprived of their head, became discouraged, and returned to

The different sections of " The Lady of the Lake " alias
" Lady Nyassa " were taken up the Zambesi to Shupanga.
Here she was put together, and safely launched on the 23d
of June.

The natives were much astonished to see an iron vessel
floating. They had predicted that as soon as it touched the
river it would sink, affirming :

" If we put a hoe or any other piece of iron into the water
it sinks immediately. How, then, can such a mass of iron
float ?" "When they saw the Lady Nyassa floating at Shupanga,.
they attributed it to the " white man's medicine."

The launching was accomplished so late in the season that
the Shire river was too low to be navigated, and Dr. Living-
stone determined to make one more attempt to ascend the
Eovuma. This river was reported to be the outlet of Lake
Nyassa, and hence was supposed to be the natural highway
from the coast to the Lake region.

Dr. Livingstone's party reached the mouth of the Rovuma
early in September, but found its waters very low. Proceedr


ing in his steamer up the river some thirty or forty miles, he
was compelled to abandon the steamer, and push on, as best
he could, in small row boats, resolved to ascertain whether
he could make communication, by this route, with Lake

The valley of the Rovuma was found to be from two to
four miles wide, bounded on either side by highlands. Few
natives were seen. They hid themselves in the thick jungle
on the hill-sides for fear of slave-traders. The absence of
birds and land animals was also remarkable. Ebony trees of
large size were abundant within eight miles of the coast.

The party ascended the river one hundred and fifty-six
miles, to Lat. 11 53 ', Long. 38 36 ', when their further
progress by boats was impeded by falls. The distance from
Ngomano, a place twenty miles farther up the river, to the
lake, was said by the natives to be a twelve-day journey.
Dr. Livingstone therefore conchided that the best route to the
interior was by the Zambesi and Shire rivers, and he accord-
ingly returned to Shupanga, where he arrived December 19th

Still determined to carry out his favorite project of launch-
ing his " Lady " on Lake Nyassa, Livingstone set about devis-
ing ways and means to transport the steamer above the falls
of the Shire. In January 1863, he went up the Shire, and
visited the remains of the Universities' Mission. Desolation
marked the whole region. The river banks, once so pop-
ulous, were silent. The sight and smell of dead bodies were
everywhere. The majority of the population was dead.
Ghastly, living forms of boys and girls, with dull, dead eyes,
were crouching beside some of the huts. The corpse of a boy
floated past the ship ; a monstrous crocodile rushed at it with
the speed of a greyhound, caught it and shook it, as a terrier
dog does a rat. The sight was frightful.

All this did not frighten or discourage our intrepid traveler.
At a rivulet a little below the first cataract of the Shire, he
commenced unscrewing his steamer for her transportation by
piece-meal over thirty-five or forty miles of land, for which


purpose a road must be built for a part of the distance. The
difficulties of the undertaking only stimulated him to renewed
effort to introduce light and liberty into this fair portion of
the earth, now " filled with the habitations of cruelty." No
fresh meat could be obtained, excepting by hunting, and
food had to be brought one hundred and fifty miles from the'

The diet of salt food without vegetables, brought on
attacks of dysentery, and Dr. Kirk and Charles Livingstone,
having suffered severely, determined to abandon the expedi-
tion and return to England. Dr. Livingstone was himself
reduced to a shadow, and Dr. Kirk would not leave him till
he became convalescent. The two gentleman left for home
on the 19th of May.

After a few miles of road had been constructed, Dr. Liv-
ingstone resolved to try to render himself independent of the
South for provisions, by going in advance above the cata-
racts, to the tribes around the lake which had not been
desolated by the Ajawa war. On the 16th of June, he
started for the upper cataracts, his course lying a mile west
from the river. Near the uppermost cataract, the merry
voices of children at play fell on his ear. They were
Manganjas who had fled there from fear of the Ajawas, and
had lost all heart and all confidence.

The boat which Dr. Livingstone had left at the cataract,
and by means of which he hoped to prosecute his journey,
had been burned, probably accidentally, about three months
previously, and he was compelled to turn back. On arriving
at the ship, on the 2d of July, he found a dispatch from Earl
Russell ordering an abandonment of the Expedition.

As it was impossible to take the " Pioneer " down the Zam-
besi till the floods of December, Livingstone ordered the
iron boat to be screwed together and, in order to improve the
time, resolved to make another excursion to Lake Nyassa.

Sending some men down to Shupanga for the necessary
provisions, who returned on the 15th of August with
coffee, etc., he started off on his long march the 19th of that


month, accompanied by a small party, and arrived at Kota-
kota Bay on the 10th of September, where he sat down weary
under a magnificent wild fig tree with leaves ten inches long by
five broad. He had rested but a short time, when Jnma ben
Saida the chief person of the region, whom he had met on
his first visit to the lake, followed by about fifty people came
to salute him, and invited him to make his quarters in the
village. The chief offered Livingstone a hut, and presented
him with rice, meal and sugar-cane. The hut was so small
and dirty that our traveler preferred sleeping in the open air.

Juma was engaged in building a boat, called a "dhow,"
fifty feet long, twelve broad, and five deep. The planks
were of a wood resembling teak and the timbers of a closer
grained wood. The sight of this dhow convinced Livingstone
of the folly of attempting to carry an iron vessel to the lake.
Juma was very busy in transporting slaves across the lake,
and Livingstone saw several gangs of stout young men, all
secured by chains and waiting for exportation.

Leaving Kota-kota Bay, with a servant of Juma's for a
guide, Livingstone turned inland, due west, on the great
slave route to Cazembe's country in Loanda. A part of the
journey led over a rich, well cultivated plain, and a part over
mountains between three and four thousand feet high.

On the summit of Ndonda, where the boiling point of water
showed an altitude of three thousand four hundred and forty
feet above the sea, the air was delightful to Livingstone but
depressing to his attendants, who had lived on the delta of
the Zambesi, and they became sick, apparently from a change
from a malarious to a pure atmosphere, and one of them
actually died.

The people on this slave route were churlish, having been
made wary of foreigners by those who came to purchase
slaves. The views of the lake and the surrounding country
.were charming from these mountain-tops. Villages were
numerous and much grain was cultivated. Domestic fowls
were plenty, and pigeons, with dove-cots like those in Egypt,
were seen. The people call themselves Matumboka.


On the 21st of September, Livingstone arrived at the vil-
lage of the chief Muazi, and as his men were sick, he remained
there two days. He was anxious to get off the slave route
and among a people never visited by slave-traders. Mriazi
feared that if he went to the north, to a well watered country,
where elephant's abounded, he would interfere with the trade
in ivory, but at last consented, warning him of the dangers.

Livingstone made a long detour to the northwest, finding
the people civil enough, but they declined to sell him food.
The prospect of finding provisions farther north was poor,
and his men were too feeble to carry their burdens. The lit-
tle coarse meal they obtained caused dysentery, being full
of sharp, angular particles. He was also crippled for time, as
his orders had been received to return to England. In his
journal he remarks : " Neither want of food, dysentery, nor
slave wars would have prevented our working our way around
the lake in some other direction had we had time."

Such is the indomitable spirit of Dr. Livingstone, but
" what can be done when an irresistible force strikes against
an immovable body ?" Livingstone felt that the orders of gov-
ernment w<we imperative, turned back, and, by a more south-
erly route, reached his ship on the Shire, on the 1st of
November, after a journey of seven hundred miles. His cha-
grin at being compelled to return was not concealed, and his
regret was increased by the fact that the water was still so
low that he could not immediately descend the river.

It was not till the 19th of January, 1864, that he was able
to leave the Shire. He hastened on his journey down that
river and the Zambesi to the ocean, and was fortunate in'
meeting, at the mouth of the Zambesi, H.M.S. " Orestes," on
the 13th of February. H.M.S. " Ariel " joined the Orestes
the next day. The Orestes took the Pioneer, and the Ariel
the Lady Nyassa, and started for Mozambique.

The vessels encountered a hurricane, and the Lady JSyassa,
on board of which was Livingstone, came near being swamped,
but outrode the storrn, and was pronounced by the naval offi-
cers to be a remarkably fine sea boat. After the gale sub-


sided, Livingstone was transferred to the Ariel. On the 10 th
of April he left Mozambique for Zanzibar, where he arrrived
in a week, and left for England, via Bombay, on the 30th of
the same month.

In summing up the results of the Zambesi Expedition, Dr.
Livingstone enumerates the discovery of a port which
could be made available for commercial purposes ; the conclu-
sion that the Rovuma river is not the true highway to the
rich fields of Central Africa ; the thorough exploration of
the Zambesi and Shire rivers, the latter of which is the
outlet of Lake Nyassa and navigable to it excepting for a
space of thirty -five miles, where are the cataracts, falling
twelve hundred feet ; that Central Africa is a fertile country
where cotton, tobacco, indigo, sugar-cane, castor-bean and
other tropical plants as also all tropical fruits grow indigenously
and luxuriantly; and, what is of paramount importance
to the Christian and philanthropist, that the natives are peace-
ably disposed and susceptible of civilization. Geographical
and natural science also received important acquisitions.

The expedition occupied nearly six years of time, and cost
much money and some valuable lives ; but no great good is
accomplished without some sacrifice. Neither the English gov-
ernment, nor Dr. Livingstone was fully satisfied with the
results, but their expectations were probably too high. In
the preparation of his second book of travels, entitled " A
Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries."
Dr. Livingstone was assisted by his nephew, Charles Living-
stone, who had left his family in Massachusetts to accompany
the Zambesi Expedition. Soon afterward, he was appointed
British Consul, and now fills that position at the Island of
Fernando Po, at the mouth of the Niger.

The book was dedicated to his warm friend, Lord
Palmerston, then prime minister. In the preface of this
book, he thus announces his intention to make a third expe-
dition to Africa and his purposes in so doing:

" I propose to go inland, north of the territory which the
Portuguese in Europe claim, and endeavor to commence that


system on the East which has been so successful on the West
Coast. I hope to ascend the Rovuma, or some other river
north of Cape Degaldo, and, in addition to my other work,
shall strive, by passing along the northern end of Lake
Nyassa and round the southern end of Lake Tanganyika, to
ascertain the water-shed of that part of Africa."

It is very manifest that the travels of Speke, Grant, and
Baker, who had undertaken to explore the head waters of
the classic Nile, stimulated Livingstone to renewed effort in
his favorite African field. He was determined to ascer-
tain whether the waters of Lake Nyassa communicate in any
way with those of Tanganyika, which he felt confident flowed
through the great River of the North to the Mediterranean
Sea. After having come so near to the goal of his hopes, it
was mortifying to have himself outstripped in the race of dis-

Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 20 of 51)