Josiah Tyler.

Livingstone lost and found online

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east of this. I had just come off a tramp of more than four
hundred miles, beneath a vertical torrid sun, and was so jaded
in body and mind by being forced back by faithless, cowardly
attendants, that I could have written little more, even if the
messengers had not been in such a hurry to depart as they
were. I have now the prospect of sending this safely to the
coast by a friend ; but so many of my letters have disappeared
at Unyanyembe when entrusted to the care of the Lewale, or
Governor, who is merely the trade agent of certain Banians,
that I shall consider that of the 28th as one of the unfortun-
ates, and give in this as much as I can recall.

I have ascertained that the watershed of the Nile is a broad
.npland, between ten degrees and twelve degrees south latitude,



and from four thousand to five thousand feet above the level
of the sea. Mountains stand on it at various points, which,
though not apparently very high, are between six thousand
and seven thousand feet of actual altitude. The watershed
is over seven hundred miles in. length, from west to east.
The springs that rise on it are almost innumerable that is,
it would take a large part of a man's life to count them. A
bird's-eye view of some parts of the watershed would resem-
ble the frost vegetation on window-panes. They all begin
in an ooze at the head of a slightly depressed valley. A few
hundred yards down, the quantity of water from oozing
earthen sponge forms a brisk perennial burn or brook, a few
feet broad, and deep enough to require a bridge.

These are the ultimate or primary sources of the great
rivers that flow to the north, in the great Kile Valley. Tho
primeries unite and form streams in general larger than the
Isis at Oxford, or Avon at Hamilton, and may be called sec-
ondary sources. They never dry, but unite again into four
large lines of drainage, the head waters or mains of the river
of Egypt. These four are each called by the natives Lualaba,
which, if not too pedantic, may be spoken of as lacustrine
rivers, extant specimens of those which, in pre-historic times,
abounded in Africa, and which in the south are still called by
Bechuanas "Melapo," in the north, by Arabs, ""Wadys;"
both words meaning the same thing river bed in which no
water ever now flows. Two of the four great rivers men-
tioned fall into the central Lualaba, or Webb's Lake River,
and then we have but two main lines of drainage, as depicted
nearly by Ptolemy.

The prevailing winds on the watershed are from the south-
east. This is easily observed by the direction of the branches,
and the humidity of the climate is apparent in the numbers
of linchens, which make the upland forest look like the man-
grove swamps on the coast.

In passing over sixty miles of latitude I waded thirty-two
primary sources, from calf to waist deep, and requiring from
twenty minutes to an hour and a quarter to cross stream and


sponge. This would give about one source to every two

A Suaheli friend, in passing along part of the Lake Bang-
weolo, during six days counted twenty-two from thigh to
waist deep. This lake is on the watershed, for the village at
which I observed, on its northwest shore, was a few seconds
into eleven degrees south, and its southern shores, and springs
and rivulets are certainly in twelve degrees south. I tried
to cross it in order to measure the breadth accurately. The
first stage to an inhabited island was about twenty -four miles.
From the highest point here, the tops of the trees, evidently
lifted by the mirage, could be seen on the second stage and the
third stage ; the mainland was said to be as far as this beyond
it. But my canoe men had stolen the canoe, and got a hint
that the real owners were in pursuit, and got into a flurry to
return home. " They would come back for me in a few days
truly," but I had only my coverlet left to hire another craft,
if they should leave me in this wide expanse of water, and
being four thousand feet above the sea, it was very cold ; so
I returned.

The length of this lake is, at a very moderate estimate, one
hundred and fifty miles. It gives forth a large body of water
in the Luapula ; yet lakes are in no sense sources, for no large
river begins in a lake ; but this and others serve an important
purpose in the phenomena of the Nile. It is one large lake,
and, unlike the Okara, which, according to Suaheli, who
traveled long in our company, is three or four lakes run into
one huge Victoria Nyanza, gives out a large river which, on
departing out of Moero, is still larger. These men had spent
many years east of Okara, and could scarcely be mistaken in
Baying that of the three or four lakes there, only one (the
Okara) gives off its waters to the north.

The White Nile" of Speke, less by a full half than the
Shire at Nyassa, (for it is only eighty or ninety yards broad),
can scarcely be named in comparison with the central or
Webb's Lualaba, of from two thousand to six thousand yards,
in relation to the phenomena of the Nile. The structure and


economy of the watershed answer very much the same end as
the great lacustrine rivers, but I cannot at present copy a lost
despatch which explained that. The mountains on the water-
shed are probably what Ptolemy, for reasons now unknown,
called the Mountains of the Moon. From their bases I found
that the springs of the Nile do unquestionably arise. This
is just what Ptolemy put down, and is true geography. We
must accept the fountains, and nobody but Philistines will
reject the mountains, though we cannot conjecture a reason
for the name.

* * * * * * #

Many a weary foot I trod ere I got a clear idea of the
drainage of the great Nile Valley. The most intelligent
natives and traders thought that all the rivers of the upper
part of that valley flowed into Tanganyika. But the barom-
eters told me that to do so the water must flow up hill. The
great rivers and the great lakes all make their waters converge
into the deep trough of the valley, which is a full inch of the
barometer lower than the Upper Tanganyika. It is only a
sense of duty, which I trust your lordship will approve, that
makes me remain, and, if possible, finish the geographical
question of my mission. After being thwarted, baffled,
robbed, worried almost to death in following the central line
of drainage down, I have a sore longing for home ; have had
a perfect surfeit of seeing strange, new lands and people, grand
mountains, lovely valleys, the glorious vegetation of primeval
forests, wild beasts, and an endless succession of beautiful
man ; besides great rivers and vast lakes the last most inter-
esting from their huge outflowings, which explain some of
the phenomena of the grand old Nile.

Let me explain, but in no boastful style, the mistakes of
others who have bravely striven to solve the ancient problem,
and it will be seen that I have cogent reasons for following
the painful, plodding investigation to its conclusion. Poor
Speke's mistake was a foregone conclusion. When he discov-
ered the Victoria Nyanza, he at once jumped to the conclu-


sion that therein lay the sources of the river of Egypt ;
" twenty thousand square miles of water " confused by sheer

Ptolemy's small lake, " Coloc," is a more correct represent-
ation of the actual size of that one of three or four lakes,
which alone sends its outflow to the north. Its name is
Okara. Lake Kavirondo is three days distant from it, but
connected by a narrow arm. Lake Naibash, or Neibash, is
four days from Kavirondo. Baringo is ten days distant, and
discharges by a river, the Nagardabash, to the north-east.

These three or four lakes, which have been described by
several intelligent Suaheli, who have lived for many years on
their shores, were run into one huge Victoria Nyanza. But
no sooner did Speke and Grant turn their faces to this lake,
to prove that it contained the Nile fountains, than they turned
their backs to the springs of the river of Egypt, which are
between four hundred and five hundred miles south of the
most southerly portion of the Yictoria Lake. Every step of
their heroic and really splendid achievement of following the
river down, took them further and further from the sources
they sought. But for the devotion to the foregone conclu-
sion, the sight of the little "White Nile," as, unable to
account for the great river, they must have turned off to the
west, down into the deep trough of the great valley, and
there found lacustrine rivers amply sufficient to account for
the Nile and all its phenomena.

The next explorer, Baker, believed as honestly as Speke
and Grant, that in the Lake River Albert he had, a second
source of the Nile to that of Speke. He came further up the
Nile than any other in modern times, but turned when
between six hundred and seven miles short of the caput Nili.
He is now employed in a more noble work than the discovery
of Nile sources ; and if, as all must earnestly wish, he succeeds
in suppressing the Nile slave trade, the boon he will bestow
on humanity will be of far higher value than all my sources

When intelligent men like these and Bruce have been mis-


taken, I have naturally felt anxious that no one should come
after me and find sources south of mine, which I now think
can only be possible by water running up the southern slope
of the watershed.

But all that can in modern times and in common modesty
be fairly claimed, is the re-discovery of what had sunk into
oblivion, like the circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoeni-
cian admirals of one of the Pharaohs, about B. C. 600. He
was not believed, because he reported that in passing round
Libya he had the sun on his right hand. This, to us who
have gone round the Cape from east to west, stamps his tale
as genuine.

The predecessors of Ptolemy probably gained their infor-
mation from men who visited this very region, for in the
second century of our era he gave in substance what we now
find to be genuine geography.

The springs of the Nile, rising in ten degrees to twelve
degrees south latitude, and their water collecting into two
large lacustrine rivers, and other facts, could have been learn-
ed only from primitive travelers or traders the true dis-
coverers of what emperors, kings, philosophers, all the great
minds of antiquity, longed to know, and longed in vain.

In a letter of November, 1870, now enclosed, I have tried
to give an idea of the difficulties encountered in following
the central line of drainage through the country of the canni-
bals, called Manynema or Manyema. I found it a year after-
wards, where it was left. Other letters had made no further
progress to the coast ; in fact, Manyema country is an entirely
new field, and nothing like postage exists, nor can letters be
sent to Ujiji except by large trading parties who have spent
two or three years in Manyema.

The geographical results of four arduous trips in different
directions in the Manyema country are briefly as follows :
The great river, Webb's Lualaba, in the centre of the Nile
valley, makes a great bend to the west, soon after leaving
Lake Moero, of at least one hundred and eighty miles ; then,
turning to the north for some distance, it makes another large


sweep west of about one hundred and twenty miles, in the
course of which about thirty miles of southing are made ; it
then draws round to northeast, receives the Lomani, or Locki,
a large river which flows through Lake Lincoin. After the
union a large lake is formed, with many inhabited islands in
it ; but this has still to be explored. It is the fourth largo
lake in the central line of drainage, and cannot be Lake
Albert; for, assuming Speke's longitude of Ujiji to be pretty
correct, and my reckoning not enormously wrong, the great
central lacustrine river is about five degrees west of Upper
and Lower Tanganyika.

The mean of many barometric and boiling-point observa-
tions made Upper Tanganyika two thousand eight hundred
and eighty feet high. Respect for Speke's memory made me
hazard the conjecture that he found it to be nearly the same,
but from the habit of writing the Annum Domini, a mere
slip of the pen made him say one thousand eight hundred
and forty four feet ; but I have more confidence in the bar-
ometers than in the boiling points, and they make Tanganika
over three thousand feet, and the lower part of Central Lua-
laba one inch lower, or about the altitude ascribed to Gondo-

Beyond the fourth lake the water passes, it is said, into
large reedy lakes, and is in all probability Petherick's branch
the main stream of the Nile in distinction from the small-
er eastern arm which Speke, Grant and Baker took to be the
river of Egypt.

The Manyema could give no information about their coun-
try, because they never travel. No trader had gone so far as
I had, and their people cared only for ivory.

They call the good spirit above " Ngulu," or the Great
One, and the spirit of evil, who resides in the deep, " Mulam-
bu." A hot fountain near Bambarre is supposed to belong
to this being, the author of death by drowning, and other
misfortunes. Yours &c.,

Her Majesty's Consul, Inner Africa.



IN the following letter to the Earl of Granville, Dr. Liv-
ingstone gives a graphic and straight -forward account of
the manner in which he was cheated by the Banians and their
accomplices, and how he was perplexed and baffled by their
Moslem slaves.

TJjui, Nov. 14, 1871.

My Lord In my letter dated Bambarre, November, 1870,
now enclosed, I stated my grave suspicions that a packet
of about forty letters despatches, copies of all the astron-
omical observations from the coast onwards, and sketch
maps on tracing paper, intended to convey a clear idea of all
the discoveries up to the time of arrival at Ujiji would be
destroyed. It was delivered to the agent here of the Gov-
ernor of Unyanyembe, and I paid him in full all he demanded
to transmit it to Syde bin Salem Buraschid, the so-called
Governor, who is merely a trade agent of certain Banians of
Zanzibar, and a person who is reputed dishonest by all. As
an agent he pilfers from his employers, be they Banians or
Arabs ; as a Governor, expected to exercise the office of a
magistrate, he dispenses justice to him who pays most ; and
as the subject of a Sultan, who entrusted him because he had
no power on the mainland to supersede him, he robs his supe-
rior shamelessly. No Arab or native ever utters a good word
for him, but all detest him for his injustice.

The following narrative requires it to be known that his
brother, Ali bin Salem Buraschid, is equally notorious for



unblushing dishonesty. All Arabs and Europeans who have
had dealings with either, speak in unmeasured terms of their
fraud and duplicity. The brothers are employed in trade,
chiefly by Ludha Damji, the richest Banian in Zanzibar.

It is well known that the slave trade in this country is
carried on almost entirely with his money and that of other
Banian British subjects. The Banians advance the goods
required, and the Arabs proceed inland as their agents, per-
form the trading, or rather murdering, and when slaves and
ivory are brought to the coast the Arabs sell the slaves. The
Banians pocket the price, and adroitly let the odium rest on
their agents. As a rule no traveling Arab has money suffi-
cient to undertake an inland journey. Those who have
become rich imitate the Banians, and send their indigent
countrymen and slaves to trade for them. The Banians
could scarcely carry on their system of trade were they not
in possession of the custom-house, and had power to seize
all the goods that pass through it to pay themselves for debts.
The so-called Governors are appointed on their recommenda-
tion, and become mere trade agents. When the Arabs in the
interior are assaulted by the natives they never unite under
a Governor as a leader, for they know that defending them
or concerting means for their safety is no part of his duty.

The Arabs are nearly all in debt to the Banians, and the
Banian slaves are employed in ferreting out every trade
transaction of the debtors, and when watched by Governor's
slaves and custom-house officers it is scarcely possible for
even this cunning, deceitful race to escape being fleeced. To
avoid this, many surrender all their ivory to their Banian
creditors, and are allowed to keep or sell the slaves as their
share of the profits. It will readily be perceived, that the
prospect of in any way coming under the power of Banian
British subjects at Zanzibar is very far from reassuring.

The packet above referred to was never more heard of, but
a man called Musa Kamaah had been employed to drive some
buffaloes for me from the coast, and on leaving Ujiji, the
same day the packet was delivered for transmission, I gave


hiia a short letter, dated May, 1869, which he concealed
on his person, knowing that on its production his wages
depended. He had been a spectator of the plundering of my
goods by the Governor's slave, Saloom, and received a share
to hold his peace. He was detained for months at Unyan-
yembe by the Governor, and even sent back to TJjiji on his
private business, he being ignorant all the while that Kamaah
possessed the secreted letter. It was the only document of
more than forty, that reached Zanzibar. It made known in
some measure my wants, but my checks on Bombay for
money were in the lost packet, and Ludha, the rich Banian,
was employed to furnish on credit all the goods and advances
of pay for the men required in the expedition.

Ludha is, perhaps, the best of all the Banians of Zanzibar,
but he applied to Ali bin Salem, the brother of his agent the
Governor, to furnish two head men to conduct the goods and
men to TJjiji and beyond it, wherever I might be there report-
ed to be. He recommended Shereef Bosher and Awathe as
first and second conductors of the caravan. Shereef, the Gov-
ernor, and the Governor's brother being " birds of one feath-
er," the consequences might have been foretold.

No sooner did Shereef obtain command, than he went to
one Muhamad Nassur, a Zanzibar-born Banian or Hindoo,
and he advanced twenty-five boxes of soap and eight cases of
brandy for trade. He then went to Bagomoyo, on the main-
land, and received from two Banians there, whose names are
to me unknown, quantities of opium and gunpowder, which,
with the soap and brandy, were to be retailed by Shereef on
the journey. In the Bagomoyo Banian's house, Shereef
broke the soap boxes, and stowed the contents and the opium
in my bales of calipo, in order that the pagazi or carriers paid
by me should carry them.

Other pagazi were employed to carry the cases of brandy
and kegs of gunpowder, and paid with my cloth. Hence-
forth all the expenses of the journey were defrayed out of
my property, and while retailing the barter goods of his
Banian accomplices he was in no hurry to relieve my wants,


but spent fourteen months between the coast and Ujiji, a dis-
tance which could easily have been accomplished in three.

Making every allowance for detention by sickness in the
party, and by sending back for men to replace the first pagazi,
who perished by cholera, the delays were quite shameless.
Two months at one spot, two months at another place, and
two months at a third, without reason except desire to retail
his brandy, &c., which some simple people think Moslems
never drink, but he was able to send back from Unyanyembe
over 60 worth of ivory the pagazi again paid from my
stores. He then ran riot with the supplies, all the way pur-
chasing the most expensive food for himself, his slaves, his
women, the country afforded. When he reached Ujiji his
retail trade for the Banians and himself was finished, and in
defiance of his engagement to follow wherever I led, (and
men from a camp eight days beyond Bambarre went to Ujiji
and reported to him that I was near and waiting for him,) he
refused their invitation to return with them.

The Banians, who advanced their goods for retail by
Shereef, had, in fact, taken advantage of the notorious East
African Moslem duplicity to interpose their own trade specu-
lation between two government officers, and, almost within
the shadow of the Consulate, supplant Dr. Kirk's attempt to
aid me, by a fraudulent conversion of the help expedition to the
gratification of their own greed. Shereef was their ready
tool, and having at Ujiji finished the Banian trade, he acted
as if he had forgotten having ever been employed by any
one else. Here the drunken half-caste Moslem tailor lay
intoxicated at times for a month ; the drink palm-toddy and
pombe all bought with my beads, of course.

Awathe, the other head man, was a spectator of all the
robbery from the coast onwards, and never opened his mouth
in remonstrance, or in sending notice to the Consul. He had
carefully concealed an infirmity when engaged, which ren-
dered him quite incapable of performing a single duty for
me, and he now asserts, like the Johanna deserters, that he
ought to be paid all his wages in full. I shall narrate below


how seven of the Banian slaves bought by Shereef and Awathe
imitated their leaders, and refused to go forward, and ulti-
mately, by falsehood and cowardice, forced me to return
between four hundred and five hundred miles. But here I
may mention how Shereef finished up his services. Ho
wrote to his friend, the Governor of Unyanyembe, for per-
mission to sell the debris of my goods, " because," said he,
" I sent slaves to Manyema to secarch for the Doctor, but
they returned and said that he was dead." lie also divined
on the Koran, and it told the same tale.

It is scarcely necessary to add that he never sent slaves
in search of me, and from the people above mentioned, who
returned from a camp in front of Bambarre, he learned that
I was alive and well. So, on his own authority and that of
the Koran, he sold off the remaining goods at merely nomi-
nal prices to his friends for ivory and slaves, for himself, and
I lately returned to find myself destitute of everything
except a very few articles of barter, which I took the precau-
tion to leave here in case of extreme need.

I have stated the case to Dr. Kirk, acting political agent
and Consul at Zanzibar, and claim as simple justice that the
Banians, who are rich English subjects, should, for stepping
in between me and the supplies sent, be compelled to refund
the entire expenses of the frustrated expedition, and all the
high interest twenty or twenty-five per cent, thereon set
down against me in Ludha's books ; if not also the wages of
my people and personal expenses for two years, the time
during which, by their surreptitious agent, Shereef, my ser-
vants and myself were prevented from executing our regu-
lar duty.

The late Sultan Seyed Majid, compelled the Arab who
connived at the plunder of all the Baron Yander Decken's
goods in a vain attempt to reach Lake Nyassa, to refund the
whole. It is inconceivable that the dragoman and other
paid servants of the consulate were ignorant of the fraud
practised by the Banians on Dr. Kirk and me.

All the Banians and Banian slaves were perfectly well


aware of Muhamad Nassur's complicity. The villiany of
saddling on me all the expenses of their retail venture of
soap, brandy, opium and gunpowder was perpetrated in open
day, and could not escape the notice of the paid agents of the
Consul ; but how this matter was concealed from him, and
also the dishonest characters of Syed bin Ali Buraschid and
Shereef,, it is difficult to conceive. The oft-repeated assevera-
tion of Shereef that he acted throughout on the advice of Ludah,
may have a ray of truth in it. But a little gentle pressure
on Syed Burghash, the present Sultan, will probably ensure
the punishment of Shereef, though it is highly probable he
will take refuge near the Governor of Unyanyembe till the
affair blows over. If the rich Banian English subjects be
compelled to refund, this alone will deter them from again
plundering the servants of a government which goes to great
expense for their protection.

I will now proceed to narrate in as few words as possible

Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 39 of 51)