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of Dr. Wardlaw.

Up to this time he had never received a farthing of aid
from any one, and fully intended to carry out his plan of fit-
ting himself for a missionary to China, without assistance
from others. Some friends, however, persuaded him to apply
to the London Missionary Society, representing that it was a
perfectly unsectarian organization. " It sends neither Epis-
copacy, nor Presbyterianism, nor Independency, but the Gos-
pel of Christ to the heathen." This exactly coincided with
what he thought a missionary society ought to be, and with
some pangs of regret at losing his independence, he oifered his
services to this society, and was accepted.

In looking over his early life of toil and self denial, he says,
" I can not but feel grateful that labor formed such a material
part of my education, and were it possible, I should like to
begin life over again in the same lonely style, and to pass
through the same hardy training."

Dr. Livingstone ever retained pleasant remembrances of
his childhood, and much respect for the humble, but honest
and intelligent inhabitants of his native village, and in after
life, ever spoke of them as good specimens of the Scottish
poor. Among them were some characters of sterling worth


and ability, who exerted a most beneficial influence on tlie
children and youth of the place, by imparting gratuitous
religious instruction. In a note to his first book of travels,
he refers particularly to one of them, David Hogg, who thus
addressed him on his dying bed :

"Now, lad, make religion the every day business of your
life, and not a thing of fits and starts ; for if you do not,
temptation and other things will get the better of you."

Good, sound advice, this, adapted to all times and all climes.
It is not difficult to trace the origin of Dr. Livingstone's pro-
clivities to a missionary life. The twig w r as early bent in this

After having been accepted by the London Missionary
Society, young Livingstone spent two years at Chipping
Ongar, England, a training school for missionary candidates.
Here, he pursued with ardor the study of theology, and fur-
ther perfected himself in medicine, and was admitted as a
licentiate of the faculty of physicians and surgeons, and was
also regularly ordained as a clergyman. It was with unfeigned
delight that he found himself a member of these professions,
which he esteemed as prominently devoted to practical benev-

Having finished the curriculum of studies designed espe-
cially for missionary culture, he was full of zeal to devote his
energies to the cause of God and humanity in heathen lands.
China was his favorite field, but the opium war was now
raging, and it \vas deemed expedient that his destination
should be changed to Africa.

For this latter country he accordingly embarked in 184:0,
and never regretted that this unexplored continent was desig-
nated as the field of his life-long, self-denying labors.





A FTER a voyage of three months Livingstone landed at
J-X Cape Town, whence, without delay, he started for the
interior, going by water to Algoa Bay. The general instruc-
tions which he had received from the Missionary Society,
were that he should proceed to Kuruman, the farthest inland
station from the Cape, where was located the veteran Afri-
can missionary Dr. Moffat, and thence strike out for the
unexplored regions of the north and establish a new station
wherever he considered it most advisable.

In Dr. Moffat, the young missionary found a true friend
and wise counsellor. The Dr. had been more than twenty
years in the field, and understood the African character well.

Kuruman was a delightful station, selected by Dr. Moffat
on account of the ever-flowing fountain of that name, which
issues from beneath the trap rock, and irrigates the country
for miles below. The temptation to remain in this
pleasant place, and in the delightful family of Dr.
Moffat, must have been great to the young missionary,
especially when we consider that here he first saw her who
was to be the future companion of his life the daughter of
his host, whom four years afterward he married.

"Without waiting longer at Kuruman than was necessary to
recruit the oxen after their long journey from Algoa
Bay, he pushed on north, exploring as far as the Bakwain
country. Here he made the acquaintance of Sechele, a chief
of the tribe, a remarkably good specimen of the African, who



with his tribe was located at Shokuane. Livingstone was
from the first struck with the manliness and intelligence of
Sechele, who was also favorably impressed with the young
missionary, and afterwards embraced Christianity. As
Sechele was among the first fruits of Livingstone's labors,
and as his story will illustrate the character and mode of life
of an African chief, we give it in Livingstone's words.

" His great-grandfather Mochoasele was a great traveler,
and the first that ever told the Bakwains of the existence of
white men. In his father's lifetime two white travelers,
whom I suppose to have been Dr. Cowan and Captain
Donovan, passed through the country (in 1808), and, descend-
ing the River Limpopo, were, with their party, all cut off by
fever. The rain-makers there, fearing lest their wagons
might drive away the rain, ordered them to be thrown into
the river. This is the true account of the end of that expe-
dition, as related to me by the son of the chief at whose vil-
lage they perished. He remembered, when a boy, eating
part of one of the horses, and said it tasted like zebra's flesh.
Thus they were not killed by the Bangwaketse, as reported,
for they passed the Bakwains all w r ell. The Bakwains were
then rich in cattle ; and as one of the many evidences of the
desiccation of the country, streams are pointed out where
thousands and thousands of cattle formerly drank, but in
which water now never flows, and where a single herd could
not find fluid for its support.

"When Sechele was still a boy, his father, also called
Mochoasele, was murdered by his own people for taking to
himself the wives of his rich under-chiefs. The children
being spared, their friends invited Sebituane, the chief of the
Makololo, who was then in those parts, to reinstate them in
the chieftainship. Sebituane surrounded the town of the
Bakwains by night ; and just as it began to dawn, his herald
proclaimed in a loud voice that he had come to revenge the
death of Mochoasele. This was followed by Sebituane's
people beating loudly on their shields all round the town.
The panic was tremendous, and the rush like that from a


theatre on fire, while the Makololo used their javelins on the
terrified Bakwains with a dexterity which they alone can

" Sebituane had given orders to his men to spare the
sons of the chief ; and one of them, meeting Sechele, put
him in ward by giving him such a blow on the head with a
club as to render him insensible. The usurper was put to
death ; and Sechele, reinstated in his chieftainship, felt much
attached to Sebituane. The circumstances here noticed ulti-
mately led me, as will be seen by-and-by, into the new, well-
watered country to which this same Sebituane had preceded
me by many years.

" Sechele married the daughters of three of his under-chief s,
who had, on account of their blood relationship, stood by
him in his adversity. This is one of the modes adopted for
cementing the allegiance of a tribe.

" The government is patriarchal, each man being, by virtue
of paternity, chief of his own children. They build their
huts around his, and the greater the number of children, the
more his importance increases. Hence children are esteemed
one of the greatest blessings, and are always treated kindly.
Near the centre of each circle of huts, there is a spot called a
" kotla," with a fire-place ; here they work, eat, or sit, and
gossip over the news of the day. A poor man attaches him-
self to the kotla of a rich one, and is considered a child of
the latter

" An under-chief has a number of these circles around his ;
and the collection of kotlas around the great one in the mid-
dle of the whole, that of the principal chief, constitutes the
town. The circle of huts immediately around the kotla of
the chief, is composed of the huts of his wives, and those of
his blood relations. He attaches the under-chief s to himself
and his government by marrying, as Sechele did, their daugh-
ters, or inducing his brothers to do so. They are fond of the
relationship to great families. If you meet a party of stran-
gers, and the head man's relationship to some uncle of a cer-


tain chief is not at once proclaimed by his attendants, you
may hear him whispering, ' Tell him who I am.'

" This usually involves a counting on the fingers of a part
of his genealogical tree, and ends in the important announce-
ment, that the head of the party is half-cousin to some well-
known ruler.

" Sechele was thus seated in his chieftainship when I made
his acquaintance. On the first occasion in which I ever
attempted to hold a public religious service, he remarked that
it was the custom of his nation, when any new subject was
brought before them, to put questions on it ; and he begged
me to allow him to do the same in this case. On expressing
my entire willingness to answer his questions, he inquired if
my forefathers knew of a future judgment. I replied in the
affirmative, and began to describe the scene of the l great
white throne, and Him who shall sit on it, from whose face
the heaven and earth shall flee away,' etc.

" He said, * You startle me : these words make all my bones
to shake ; I have no more strength in me ; but my forefathers
were living at the same time yours were, and how is it that
they did not send them word about these terrible things
sooner ? They all passed away into darkness, without know-
ing whither they were going.'

" I got out of the difficulty by explaining the geographical
barriers in the North, and the gradual spread of knowledge
from the South, to which we first had access by means of
ships ; and I expressed my belief that, as Christ had said, the
whole world would yet be enlightened by the Gospel. Point-
ing to the great Kalahari Desert, he said,

" ' You never can cross that country to the tribes beyond ;
it is utterly impossible even for us black men, except in cer-
tain seasons, when more than the usual supply of rain falls,
and an extraordinary growth of watermelons follows. Even
we who know the country would certainly perish without

" Reasserting my belief in the words of Christ, we parted ;
and it will be seen farther on, that Sechele himself assisted


me in crossing that desert which had previously proved an
insurmountable barrier to so many adventurers.

" As soon as he had an opportunity of learning, he set him-
self to read with such close application that, from being com-
paratively thin, the effect of having been fond of the chase,
he became quite corpulent from want of exercise. Mr. Oswell
gave him his first lesson in figures, and he acquired the alpha-
bet on the first day of my residence at Chonuane. He was
by no means an ordinary specimen of the people, for I never
went into the town, but I was pressed to hear him read some
chapters of the Bible. Isaiah was a great favorite with him ;
and he was wont to use the same phrase nearly, which the
professor of Greek at Glasgow, Sir D. K. Sandford, once used
respecting the Apostle Paul, when reading his speeches in
the Acts :

" ' He was a fine fellow, that Paul !'

" ' He was a fine man, that Isaiah ; he knew how to speak.'

" Sechele invariably offered me something to eat on every
occasion of my visiting him.

"Seeing me anxious that his people should believe the words
of Christ, he once said, ' Do you imagine these people will
ever believe by your merely talking to them ? I can make
them do nothing except by thrashing them ; and if you like,
I shall call my head men, and with our litupa (whips of
rhinoceros hide ) we will soon make them all believe togeth-

" The idea of using entreaty and persuasion to subjects to
become Christians whose opinion on no other matter
would he condescend to ask was especially surprising to
him. He considered that they ought only to be too happy
to embrace Christianity at his command. During the space
of two years and a half he continued to profess to his people
his full conviction of the truth of Christianity ; and in all dis-
cussions on the subject he took that side, acting at the same
time in an upright manner in all the relations of life. He
felt the difficulties of his situation long before I did, and often


"Oh, I wish you had come to this country before I
became entangled in the meshes of our customs ! ' In fact,
he could not get rid of his superfluous wives, without appear-
ing to be ungrateful to their parents, who had done so much
for him in his adversity.

" In the hope that others would be induced to join him in
his attachment to Christianity, he asked me to begin family
worship with him in his house. I did so; and by-and-by
was surprised to hear how well he conducted the prayer
in his own simple and beautiful style, for he was quite a
master of his own language. At this time we were suffering
from the effects of a drought, which will be described further
on, and none except his family, whom he ordered to attend,
came near his meeting.

" * In former times,' said he, ' when a chief was fond of
hunting, all his people got dogs, and became fond of hunting
too. If he was fond of dancing or music, all showed a liking
to these amusements too. If the chief loved beer, they all
rejoiced in strong drink. But in this case it is different.
I love the Word of God, and not one of my brethren will
join me.' One reason why we had no volunteer hypocrites
was the hunger from drought, which was associated in their
minds with the presence of Christian instruction ; and hypoc-
ocrisy is not prone to profess a creed which seems to insure
an empty stomach.

" Sechele continued to make a consistent profession for about
three years ; and perceiving at last some of the difficulties of
his case, and also feeling compassion for the poor women, who
were by far the best of our scholars, I had no desire that he
should be in any hurry to make a full profession' by baptism,
and putting away all wives but one. His principal wife, too,
was about the most unlikely subject in the tribe ever to
become any thing else than an out-and-out greasy disciple of
the old school. She has since become greatly altered, I hear,
for the better ; but again and again have I seen Sechele send
her out of church to put her gown on, and away she would


go with her lips shot out, the very picture of unutterable dis-
gust at his new fangled notions.

"When he at last applied for baptism, I simply asked him
how he, having the Bible in his hand, and able to read it,
thought he ought to act. He went home, gave each of his
superfluous wives new clothing, and all his own goods, which
they had been accustomed to keep in their huts for him, and
sent them to their parents with an intimation that he had no
fault to find with them, but that in parting with them he
wished to follow the will of God. On the day on which he
and his children were baptized, great numbers came to see
the ceremony. Some thought, from a stupid calumny circu-
lated by enemies to Christianity in the south, that the con-
verts would be made to drink an infusion of "dead men's
brains," and were astonished to find that water only was used
at baptism. Seeing several of the old men actually in tears
during the service, I asked them afterward the cause of their
weeping ; they were crying to see their father, as the Scotch
remark over a case of suicide, " so far left to himself." They
seemed to think that I had thrown the glamour over him,
and that he had become mine.

"Here commenced an opposition which we had not previous-
ly experienced. All the friends of the divorced wives became
the opponents of our religion. The attendance at school and
church diminished to very few besides the chiefs own fam-
ily. They all treated us still with respectful kindness, but to
Sechele himself they said things which, as he often remarked,
had they ventured on in fonner times, would have cost them
their lives. It was trying, after all we had done, to see our
labors so little appreciated ; but we had sown the good seed,
and have no doubt but it will yet spring up, though we may
not live too see the fruits."


HAVING explored the Bakwain country and made a favor-
able impression on the natives, Livingstone returned to
Kuruman to counsel with his friend Dr. Moffat, and learn what
lie could from the veteran missionary, before he settled down
in a station of his own. Possibly the attractions of Miss
Moffat had some influence in inducing him to make the
parsonage at Kuruman his head-quarters for study.

He remained at Kurumap three months, and then finding
that the best mode for learning the language of the natives
was to cut himself off from all European society, he took a
fresh start into the interior, and settled at a place called
Lepelole, about fifteen miles south of Shokuane, the resid ence
of his friend Sechele. In this seclusion, he gained a pretty
thorough insight into the ways of thinking, habits, laws, and
language of that section of the Bechuanas, called Bakwain 8.

After preparing for a permanent settlement at Lepelole by
making a canal to irrigate gardens, Livingstone started on
another exploring expedition northward, to visit the Bakaa
and Bamangwato, and the Makalaka.

"The Bakaa Mountains had been visited before by a
trader, who, with his people, all perished from fever. In
going round the northern part of these basaltic hills near
Letloche I was only ten days distant from the lower part of
of the Zouga, which passed by the same name as Lake
N garni : and I might then (in 1842) have discovered that lake,



had discovery alone been my object. Most part of this jour-
ney beyond Shokuane was performed on foot, in consequence
of the draught oxen having become sick. Some of my
companions who had recently joined us, and did not know
that I understood a little of their speech were overheard by
me discussing my appearance and powers :

" 'He is not strong ; he is quite slim, and only appears stout
because he puts himself into those bags (trowsers) ; he will
soon knock up.'

" This caused my Highland blood to rise, ana made me
despise the fatigue of keeping them all at the top of their
speed for days together, and until I heard them expressing
proper opinions of my pedestrian powers.

" Returning to Kuruman, in order to bring my luggage to
our proposed settlement, I was followed by the news that
the Bakwains, who had shown themselves so friendly toward
me, had been driven from Lepelole by the Barolongs, so that
my prospects, for the time, of forming a settlement there
were at an end.

" One of those periodical outbreaks of war, which seem to
have occurred from time immemorial for the possession of
cattle, had burst forth in the land, and had so changed the
relations of the tribes to each other, that I was obliged to set
out anew to look for a suitable locality for a mission station.

"As some of the Bamangwato people had accompanied
me to Kuruman, I was obliged to restore them and their
goods to their chief Sekomi. This made a journey to the
residence of that chief again necessary, and, for the first time,
I performed a distance of some hundred miles on ox-back.

"Returning towards Kuruman, I selected the beautiful
valley of Mabotsa, as the site of a missionary station, and
thither I removed in 1843. Here an occurrence took place
concerning which I have been frequently questioned in
England, and which, but for the importunities of friends, I
meant to have kept in store to tell my children when in my
dotage. The Bakatla of the village of Mabotsa, were much
troubled by lions, which leaped into the cattle-pens by night,


and destroyed their cows. They even attacked the herds in
open day. This was so unusual an occurrence that the peo-
ple believed they were bewitched "given," as they said,
" into the power of the lions by a neighboring tribe." They
wont once to attack the animals, but being rather a cowardly
people compared to Bechuanas in general on such occasions,
they returned without killing any.

" It is well known that if one of a troop of lions is killed,
the others take the hint and leave that part of the country.
So, the next time the herds were attacked, I went with the
people, in order to encourage them to rid themselves of the
annoyance by destroying one of the marauders. We found
the lions on a small hill about a quarter of a mile in length,
and covered with trees. A circle of men was formed round
it, and they gradually closed up, ascending pretty near to
each other. Being down below on the plain with a native
schoolmaster, named Mebalwe, a most excellent man, I saw
one of the lions sitting on a piece of rock within the now-
closed circle of men. Mebalwe fired at him before I could,
and the ball struck the rock on which the animal was sitting.
lie bit at the spot struck, as a dog does at a stick or stone
thrown at him ; then leaping away, broke through the open-
ing circle and escaped unhurt. The men were afraid to
attack him, perhaps on account of their belief in witchcraft.
"When the circle was re-formed, we saw two other lions in it ;
but we were v af raid to fire lest we should strike the men, and
they allowed the beasts to burst through also. If the Bakatla
had acted according to the custom of the country, they would
have speared the lions in their attempt to get out.

" Seeing we could not get them to kill one of the lions, we
bent our footsteps towards the village ; in going round the
end of the hill, however, I saw one of the beasts sitting on a
piece of rock as before, but this time he had a little bush in
front. Being about thirty yards off, I took a good aim at his
body through the bush, and fired both barrels into it. The
men then called out " He is shot, he is shot ! " Others cried,
" He has been shot by another man too ; let us go to him I '


I did not see any one else shoot at him, but I saw the lion's
tail erected in anger behind the bush, and turning to the
people, said " Stop a little, till I load again."

" When in the act of ramming down the bullets, I heard a
shout. Starting, and looking half round, I saw the lion just
in the act of springing upon me. I was upon a little height ;
he caught my shoulder as he sprang, and we both came to
the ground below together. Growling horribly close to my
ear, he shook me as a terrier dog does a rat. The shock
produced a stupor similar to that which seems to be felt by a
mouse after the first shake of the cat. It caused a sort of
dreaminess, in which there was no sense of pain nor feeling
of terror, though quite conscious of all that was happening.
It was like what patients partially under the influence of
chloroform describe, who see all the operation, but feel not
the knife. This singular condition was not the result of any
mental process. The shake annihilated fear, and allowed no
sense of horror in looking round at the beast. This peculiar
state is probably produced in all animals killed by the car-
nivora ; and if so, is a merciful provision by our benevolent
Creator for lessening the pain of death.

" Turning round to relieve myself of the weight, as he had
one paw on the back of my head, I saw his eye directed to
Mebalwe, who was trying to shoot him at a distance of ten
or fifteen yards. His gun, a flint one, missed fire in both
barrels ; the lion immediately left me, and, attacking Mebalwe,
bit his thigh. Another man, whose life I had saved before,
after he had been tossed by a buffalo, attempted to spear the
lion while he was biting Mebalwe. He left Mebalwe and
caught this man by the shoulder, but at that moment the
bullets he had received took effect, and he fell down dead.
The whole was the work of a few moments, and must have

Online LibraryJosiah TylerLivingstone lost and found → online text (page 8 of 51)