Popular Science Monthly/Volume 2/January 1873/Dr. Livingstone
DAVID LIVINGSTONE was born at Glasgow early in the present century. His grandfather was originally the occupier of a small farm in Ulva, one of the Hebrides, but, owing to the requirements of a large family, found himself obliged to quit his island home to seek employment at the Blantyre cotton works on the Clyde, above Glasgow. Livingstone's father and uncles having been fairly educated, easily obtained situations as clerks at the factory, though the former appears to have relinquished his employment with the pen, and to have occupied himself during the later years of his life in keeping a shop as a tea dealer in Glasgow. He died a member of the Independents in 1856, but brought up his children in connection with the old Kirk of Scotland.
At ten years of age, David Livingstone was put to work as a "piecer" at the Blantyre factory. Even at this early date his character was remarkable for a gravity, and steady, plodding earnestness. Reading took the place of ordinary amusements; and, after a hard day's work, the boy would often sit at his studies so far into the night as to call for his mother's peremptory interference. To economize time, he accustomed himself while at work to place an open book on a portion of the spinning jenny, and catch sentence after sentence as he passed backward and forward in front of it, quite undisturbed by the noise of the machinery. An evening-school was made to help in his education, and it may well be supposed no leisure time was wasted. While still a youth, the truths of religion took a deep hold of his mind; and under the feeling thus produced, "in the glow of love," as he says, "which Christianity inspires, I soon resolved to devote myself to the alleviation of human misery." "Turning this idea over in my mind," he adds, "I felt that to be the pioneer of Christianity in China might lead to the material benefit of some portions of that immense empire; and therefore set myself to obtain a medical education, in order to be qualified for that enterprise." Being promoted at nineteen to higher work in the factory, the increased wages he received enabled him, by working during the greater part of the year, to support himself at Glasgow while attending the medical, Greek, and divinity classes, which were held in the winter. By the advice of friends, he was induced, though reluctantly, to offer himself for the service of the London Missionary Society, and was accepted. His admission as a "Licentiate of Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons" completed his preparatory labors. Just at the time, however, the opium war broke out in China, and this presented an obstacle so great as to render it advisable that he should abandon his original design, and look elsewhere for a sphere of enterprise. It was soon offered. Mr. Moffat, another of the London Society's missionaries, was laboring successfully in Southern Africa among the tribe of the Bechuana. Livingstone heard of this; and, as both the scene and the work were attractive, he resolved to join him.
Accordingly in 1840, with the full approval of his Society, he left England for Kuruman, Mr. Moffat's station. There he spent the first three years. In 1843 he moved to Mabotsa, some three hundred miles to the northeast, where, in the effort to help his Bakatta protégés, the memorable encounter with the lion occurred, which so nearly proved fatal to him. In 1844 he married the veteran missionary's daughter. Having made a friend of Sechele, chief of the Bakwains, he ultimately removed to his country, and built a station with his own hands, near a small stream called the Kolobeng.
Some years pass in hard and successful work, and then Livingstone renounces his life as a stationary teacher; and, though never entirely relinquishing his missionary character, assumes that of an explorer, by which he is best known. The change came about in this way:
To the southeast of Kolobeng lay the Kashan Mountains, to which a number of Dutch Boers, fugitives from English law, had migrated, and formed a small republic. Having appropriated their territory, they had compelled the natives themselves to live, if not in absolute slavery, yet under a system of unpaid labor very closely allied to it. Livingstone, with his missionary views, was of course looked upon as an interloper, and hated in a corresponding degree. To add to the grievance of the settlement at Kolobeng, his subsequent discovery of Lake Ngami had encouraged traders to advance from the south, who, by giving the natives ideas about commercial matters they never had before, tended to raise disaffection toward themselves. The result was a determination on the part of the Boers to make a raid on the Bakwains, which a report that the latter were well armed with guns and cannon (an amusing myth about a black pot of Livingstone's) alone prevented. They then tried to get the governor at the Cape, Sir G. Cathcart, to interfere, and negotiations which followed ended in a treaty far more favorable to the natives than to themselves. In spite of this, however, an attack was made by the Boers on Sechele and the Bakwains in 1852, in which Livingstone's house was burnt down, and all his property destroyed, while he was absent on a journey to the Cape.
This opposition was very provoking to Livingstone; and the determination to carry out his plans for bettering the condition of the natives set him at work forthwith to open up the country northward. In company with two English gentlemen, Mr. Oswell and Major Vardon, the great Kalahari Desert was crossed, and Lake Ngami discovered, in August, 1849. Livingstone's opinion of this country deserves notice: "Not only the natives," he says, "but Europeans whose constitutions have been impaired by an Indian climate, find the tract of country indicated"—the southern borders of the Kalahari—"both healthy and restorative.... Cases have been known in which patients have come from the coasts with complaints closely resembling, if they were not actually those of consumption; and they have recovered by the influence of the climate alone."
A subsequent journey in the same direction brought him to the town of Sebituane, chief of the Makololo, from whom he met with a most cordial reception. Unfortunately, the chief fell sick and died shortly after his arrival; but the promise of assistance made before this occurred was confirmed by his successor, a daughter, Ma-Mochisane. In order to confer with her on the matter, Livingstone made a journey to Shesheke, where she lived, 130 miles to the northeast, in company with Mr. Oswell. It was on this journey that they discovered the Zambési, toward the end of June, 1851, even then, the dry season of the year, a magnificent stream 300 or 400 yards broad. In defence of his claim to the discovery, Dr. Livingstone says: "The Portuguese maps all represent the Zambési as rising far to the east of where we now were; and, if ever any thing like a chain of trading-stations (as is asserted) had existed across the country between the latitudes 12° and 18° south, this magnificent portion of the river must have been known before." The discovery was indeed important; and, impelled not only by the prospects it presented, but by the remembrance of his difficulties at Kolobeng, Livingstone decided to explore the river thoroughly, and meanwhile send his family home to England.
The journey undertaken with this view commenced in the early part of June, 1852, and "extended from Capetown, at the southern extremity of the continent, to St. Paul de Loando, the capital of Angola on the west coast, and thence across south Central Africa in an oblique direction to Quelimane in Eastern Africa." Besides geographical research, Livingstone tells us that his object was to find if he could "a healthy district that might prove a centre of civilization, and open up the interior by a path to either the east or west coast."
Glancing rapidly along his route, we are to see our traveller first at Kuruman, where the panic in the country on account of the attack on Kolobeng delayed him. Then at Linyanti, capital of the Makololo, where Sekeletu now reigned in place of his sister Ma-Mochisane, showing himself, like his predecessors, favorable to Livingstone. Then with a large body of Makololo, provided by the chief, on December 27, 1853, at the confluence of the two streams Leeba and Leeambye, where we pause.
The Leeambye—also called the Kabompo and Zambési—is a large river 300 yards wide, flowing from the eastward, while the Leeba, 250 yards wide, comes from the N. N. W. The junction of the two forms Livingstone's Zambési, lat. 14° 10' 52" S., long. 23" 35' 40" E. Lake Dilolo, a small body of water, reached February 20, 1854, is the source of the Leeba. It was only on his return that Livingstone ascertained this. But the courses taken by the different streams he crossed struck him; and the observations he made on his journey back impressing him with the conviction that the Dilolo country was the water-shed of the streams running east and west, led him to confirm the theory of Sir R. Murchison, of which he had not heard at the time, that the form of the interior of the South African Continent is that of an elevated, saucer-shaped plateau. In other words, that the country is gradually depressed toward its centre, sloping from an inner environing mountain-ridge toward which the land rises from the coast. The western ridge was crossed at a spot called Tala Mungongo, lat. 9° 42' 31" S., and, by carefully noticing the course of the various streams flowing thence to the centre, and forming his judgment from what Arab traders had told him—subsequently confirmed by his own observation—that the rivers set inland from a similar ridge on the eastern side of the continent, the conclusion forced itself on Livingstone's mind, that these river systems, uniting at last, pass out to the north and south in two main drains; the northern finding its way to the Atlantic as the Congo on the west coast, and the southern to the Indian Ocean as the Zambési on the east. The configuration of the country alluded to will account for the course of the Leeba from the lake being about S. E., while the Leeambye joins it flowing west from the eastern ridge of the central plateau. But Livingstone also speaks confidently of "a sort of elevated partition in the great longitudinal valley" between the latitudes about 6° and 12° S. It would not be fair to him to suppress the fact that, considering this peculiar configuration of the country, and hearing from some Zanzibar Arabs of the existence of a lake Tanganyenka (Tanganyika) and Nyanja (Nyassa) to the east of Londa where he then was, he was led to the probable conjecture that the region about them would be found to be the water-shed of the Nile to the north, as it was that of the Zambési to the south. Thus his sagacity brought him to anticipate the existence of facts which have since been confirmed by the travels of Burton, Speke, and Grant, and Sir S. Baker; and which only remain to be thoroughly investigated and defined in the completion of those researches the exciting story of whose partial accomplishment we have recently heard.
A few words must dispose of Livingstone's westward journey. Passing various tribes as he wends along, chiefly on oxback, accompanied by his faithful Makololo, he encounters no opposition, but the contrary, till he enters the territory of the Chiboque. There, however, he gets on the track of the Mambari, or half-caste Portuguese slave-traders, from whom the native chiefs exacted heavy tribute, and the hostilities with which he is threatened, on his stanch refusal to submit to their impositions, were avoided simply by his firmness and tact. On his arrival at Loando, May 31, 1854, he was well received by the Portuguese, whose kind treatment did much to restore his health, which had been impaired by fever, and the poor food, chiefly manioc-root, on which he had been obliged to live. But his task was bootless. The country was unhealthy. The coast tribes were inhospitable. Wagons would be impracticable among the interminable forests, marshes, and rivers. The westward route being thus out of the question, instead of availing himself of the offer of a passage home from the officers of H.M.'s cruisers at Loando, Livingstone determined to retrace his steps, and seek a path along the Zambési to the east.
In August, 1854, he is once more at Linyanti; on November 3d, starting down the Zambési with a large retinue of Makololo.
The country beyond Linyanti is greatly infested by the "tsetse" fly, the bite of which, fatal to oxen, horses, and dogs, is perfectly harmless to man, as well as to goats and sheep, and wild animals. After its bite is received, the victim gradually pines as if seized with consumption, and in a longer or shorter time dies. There is no cure for it known. In appearance the "tsetse" resembles the honey-bee, and is about the size of the common horse-fly. It is common throughout the whole of Central Africa, and infests certain well-defined districts, usually those frequented by game; numbers may be found in a particular spot, and yet a few yards farther on not a singly fly is to be seen. It only bites in the daytime.
Starting at night, therefore, to get safely through the "tsetse" tract, on November 4th Livingstone arrived at the island of Kalai, where the rapids commence above the "Victoria Falls," as he loyally named them. They are known among the natives as "Mosi oa tunya" (Smoke does sound there). Nothing can be grander than their appearance, which is perhaps unique. Columns of vapor, darkening upward from a white base, first become visible, rising at distinct intervals like jets of smoke in the far distance. The broad stream sweeps along, its surface dotted in every direction with beautiful green islands, and then the vast body of water is seen to descend suddenly into a deep perpendicular fissure 180 yards wide, extending across the entire bed of the river, and is lost to view. Looking down from the brink opposite, masses of dense white vapor conceal the seething volume of fallen water below, from which feathery columns of spray like those described, rainbow-covered and the source of ceaseless showers, perpetually ascend far up into the air. Passing eastward (the river here flows north and south), along the edge of the cleft in front of the falls, the fissure is seen to extend, from a gap near the end, with still narrower dimensions in a zigzag course, down which the whole mass of Zambési water, compressed into a deep, swift column, rolls along, boiling and foaming, till it finds an outlet at a lower level. The rock through which the chasm runs is a dark-brown basalt, covered at the projecting angles, and wherever there is root-hold, with a dense growth of tropical vegetation. The length of the fissure into which the river falls is, by a measurement made in the year 1860, rather more than that number of yards; and the depth, from its edge to the surface of the basin water, about 400 feet. On account of clouds, Livingstone was unable to take the position of the falls; but Kalai, a few miles above (north) is, according to his observation, in lat. 17° 51' 54" S., and long. 25° 41' E.
Passing the confluence of the Kafue, on January 14, 1856, he reached that of the Loangwa, where are the ruins of Zumbo, formerly a Portuguese settlement, and probably the farthest point inland to which they have penetrated from the east, long. 30° 32' E. Crossing from the north side of the Zambési, along which he had hitherto been travelling, on February 6th, he entered the extensive district of Chicova, where silver-mines were said to have once existed. After examining the geological structure of the country—a soft gray sandstone—he was unable to meet with traces of silver; but crossing some dikes of basalt running north and south, "the sandstone," he says, "is then found to have been disturbed, and at the rivulet called Nake we found it tilted up and exhibiting a section which was coarse sandstone above, sandstone flag, shale, and lastly, a thin seam of coal." This seam, it is true, was not traced far, being displaced by a fault formed by a dike of basalt. But its existence can hardly be deemed an unimportant matter, especially when it is considered that the discovery was made in the very centre of a cotton-producing district, that iron is plentiful in the hills to the north, and that, if, as Livingstone thinks, silver may not prove to be one of the products of the country, gold certainly is, specimens of which the writer has in his possession. That the Portuguese of the lower settlements have not availed themselves more of the advantages thus offered them, is owing much to their indolence and want of enterprise, but more to the hostility of the tribes of these districts, who vigorously oppose any attempts to advance into their territory. A considerable quantity of gold, however, comes into their hands, though it is all obtained from natives living on the borders, who bring it to their settlements. The gold in the form of dust is put into goose-quills, and one quill is sold for twenty-four yards of calico. A singular superstition keeps down the produce. The natives believe the earth to consist of a thin, flat, pancake-like crust of matter, poised in space; and, for fear of breaking through this crust, and falling headlong into the fathomless depths that they suppose yawn for them below, they will never venture to dig deeper than the level of their chin. Whenever a flake or nugget of gold is met with, it is put back into the earth again, under the impression that it forms the seed of the gold!
Striking away from the river southward, Livingstone failed on this occasion to see the rapids of Kebrabasa, 50 miles above Tette. These rapids no doubt present a formidable barrier to the navigation of the Zambési—especially at one point where the whole volume of the stream, compressed within the limits of a few yards, rushes down with tremendous force between high perpendicular banks of solid rock. But, from the Victoria Falls to the central Luabo mouth-branch, there is nothing else in the shape of hindrance except shoals, and these are only troublesome at the dry season of the year.
Tette, in nativeNungwé, the farthest Portuguese settlement westward, was reached safely on March 3d. The commandant, Major Sicard, received the travellers kindly, and, on hearing the account of the coal discovered at Chicova, mentioned the fact of the existence of five other seams lower down. They were found on the banks of a small river, Lofubu, the visible width of the largest seam, according to Livingstone's measurement, being 58 inches. The whole of the district two miles below Tette proved to be carboniferous; and, if rumor counts for any thing, it extends into the Maravi country far to the north in the region of the lakes.
But the protracted journey is drawing to a close. Passing the Lupata gorge, Senna was reached April 27th. Morambala and the Shiré mouth, May 11th. Thirty miles below, Shupanga. It was here Mrs. Livingstone died of virulent fever, six years after she had joined her husband from England, on April 22, 1862. She lies buried under a fine baobab-tree, close to a modern Portuguese house, and a simple white monument marks her grave. From Mazaro, at the head of the Delta, down the Mutu River to Quelimane, and so the east coast is touched at last, May 26, 1856. A few weeks after, H. M. S. Frolic anchored off Quelimane, and, giving him a passage to Mauritius, the traveller embarked in a steamship of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, and on December 12th, landed in England.
Livingstone was the observed of all observers after his return. The feeling regarding him amounted to enthusiasm: and the eagerness with which his book was read, published in 1857, proved the interest that was taken in all he had done. A high estimate was formed of his abilities; but a still higher one, perhaps, of the qualities he had displayed, the energy, the perseverance, the tenacity of purpose, combined with powers of endurance and a courage and activity that certainly revealed a man of no ordinary calibre. Nor was the integrity of his personal character forgotten. On what just grounds this opinion rested, is proved by the fact that after a lapse of more than fifteen years, in spite of severe criticisms, and not a few hard words, his reputation stands as high as ever. And what had he done? He had overthrown the belief which previously existed, "that a large part of the interior of Africa consisted of sandy deserts into which rivers ran and were lost." He had filled up considerable portions of the map of Central Africa, lying between the 15th and 28th parallels of S. latitude. A splendid river was found crossing nearly two-thirds of the continent, and he had accomplished the work of tracing it down to its outlet with the hope of its becoming a path for the missionary and the merchant. He had shown, too, that the African, with all his faults, was open to the influence of reason, truth, and kindness, that he was capable of improvement, and often eager for it: while all that he wrote of such chiefs as Sechele and Sebituane had corroborated the opinion of every unprejudiced observer that the country could produce men of a far higher stamp than was generally believed.
And now he might have rested. Most men would; but not Livingstone. Feeling more than ever, after his experience on the Zambési, the enormous evils of the slave-trade which prevails along its banks; feeling, too, that the best corrective was to go with commerce and civilization as the handmaids of religion, he endeavored, by public speeches at most of our principal places, to increase the interest in the country his return had excited. At Manchester and Liverpool a strong feeling was aroused among the mercantile and cotton-manufacturing communities; and on the side of religion the universities embraced his cause. Perhaps he never created a deeper impression than at Cambridge, where he concluded a telling speech in the Senate-House, before the leading members of the university, in these words: "I know that, in a few years, I shall be cut off in that country which is now open. Do not let it be shut again!—I go back to Africa to try to make open a path for commerce and Christianity; do you carry out the work which I have begun. I leave it with you!"
There was no resisting such an appeal. It went abroad, and Englishmen were stirred. And they were stirred to a depth that impelled them to come forward, as they heard the man and felt what he was. The Government, under Lord Palmerston, made a liberal grant of money, and furnished him besides with a small steamer to aid him in his further researches. To give him influence with the Portuguese, he was appointed H. B. M. consul at Quelimane. An expedition was formed, composed of picked men, who, as well as assisting Livingstone in the direct objects of his undertaking, were to examine and report on scientific matters. This object, as concisely stated in Livingstone's second book, was "to explore the Zambési, its mouths and tributaries, with a view to their being used as highways for commerce and Christianity to pass into the vast interior of Africa." The expedition left England in H. M. S. Pearl, on March 10, 1858; and in the following May the little steamer Ma-Robert—Mrs. Livingstone's Makololo name—was put together and launched in the Kongone mouth of the Zambési.
But, while this was all doing, the universities did not forget Dr. Livingstone's legacy. Oxford, in addition to the Glasgow M. D., recently conferred, had given him the honorary degree of D.C.L.; but she showed much more how she appreciated his merits by uniting with the other universities to promote the religious objects he had in view. His first work in the Ma-Robert was to ascend the Shiré, and discover a beautiful region along its banks to the eastward, which he strongly recommended, in subsequent letters home, as a field for missionary enterprise. In the same letters he referred to the organization of a mission, which, he suggested, should consist of a missionary bishop as leader, a staff of clergymen, and a small band of laborers and skilled artisans to instruct the natives in industrial work. This advice was acted upon. The then Bishop of Oxford, Dr. Wilberforce—suitably to the prestige of that honored name—took an active part in establishing what was afterward known as the "Universities' Mission to Central Africa." The Rev. C. F. Mackenzie, Archdeacon of Pieter-Maritzburg, in Natal, was chosen as bishop; and, £17,000 having been subscribed, of which a large portion was contributed by the manufacturing towns, the mission left England on October 6, 1860. After Bishop Mackenzie's consecration at Capetown, on January 1, 1861, he set sail with his companions for the Kongone mouth of the Zambési, in two parties, on board H. M. ships Sidon and Lyra. The Ma-Robert had proved too weak for her work, and, besides carrying the missionaries, the Sidon had the task of taking out the Pioneer in convoy, a new and larger steamer granted to Livingstone by Government. Arriving off the Kongone early in February, they found the doctor with his party waiting for them, having just returned from the Makololo Country, where he had gone to take home the men he had been obliged to leave at Tette, in 1856.
Dr. Livingstone threw himself into the plans of the missionaries, and, without absolutely identifying himself with their work, gave it his hearty support and coöperation. The Pioneer was offered for their passage up the rivers Zambési and Shiré; and the proposal that he should himself accompany them to the place where they were to settle, near Lake Shirwah, was accepted with even greater satisfaction. This good office accomplished, he proceeded with his own work of exploring the southern end of Lake Nyassa (lat. 14° 25' S., long. 35° 30' E.), discovered, like Lake Shirwah, a few miles S.S.E. of it, in 1859.
Parenthetically: a figure of medium height, the tough, wiry frame denoting great powers of endurance, the left arm slightly shortened, recalling the perilous encounter with the lion; firm-set features, weather-beaten and browned, though not roughened, by exposure, passive and thoughtful rather than demonstrative; the eyes' keen glance, and a rapidly-changing expression, betraying furtive enthusiasm; a low voice, winning address, manners quiet, frank, and unaffected, even reserved; such was David Livingstone as he is remembered in his favorite dress of rough blue naval cloth, the jacket short, and the low cap, of the same material, surrounded by a broad silver band. Nor is it easy to forget the kindliness of disposition, and the readiness to give sympathy wherever there was zeal, though hesitation or a self-sparing timidity was derided as much as it was despised. Full of courage and self-reliant, he expects to find something of a like spirit in others; and he gives them credit for it, never assuming backwardness or incapacity, but sternly meeting and dealing with it when its existence is perceived. With a fund of quiet humor—and sarcasm, too, if he pleased—Livingstone possessed a keen sense of the ridiculous, and entered thoroughly into a joke. He might often be seen talking to the Makololo he had brought down from the country of Sekeletu, and their attention and respect, as they listened or replied to him, plainly showed the influence he had with them. Indeed, one of Livingstone's strongest points, and one that has conduced, no doubt, as much to his safety as his success, is his power of understanding and dealing with the natives, and of winning their confidence, while he overawes their truculence.
As regards the practical objects with which it started, this expedition fell short of success. Little was done beyond laying down the position of the comparatively unimportant lakes of Shirwah and Nyassa, and a complete survey of the Shiré and lower parts of the Zambési. Several circumstances combined to bring about this result. Though the natives of the Shiré country were found to grow very little cotton, and that, moreover, of an inferior quality, there can be no doubt that the soil is cotton-producing, and that, with proper attention, and the introduction of the better sorts of the plant, its cultivation would be remunerative. The land will grow sugar-cane, cereals on the upland plateaux—the wheat near Tette is exceptionally fine—the tropical fruits that are known, and some that are not. Indigo grows wild. The forests contain valuable woods, such as ebony and lignum-vitæ, and large-sized timber of different kinds. The rocks are metalliferous; plumbago and hematite abound; gold is not far off; and the quartz shows traces of amethyst and garnet. And something might be said about ivory. All these advantages, however, were supposed, as accounts one by one reached England, to be counterbalanced by the difficulties presented by the nature of the country, the roughness of the upland tracts, the shallowness of the rivers, and the formidable bars of the Zambési mouths.
But other things were adverse. A tribal war, which was raging on the Shiré, and a drought of unusual length and severity, threw insuperable obstacles in the way of the expedition, causing a famine in the higher country, and a disastrous loss of time in the journeys to the coast, which were rendered necessary to procure provisions. The same causes compelled the mission—after the death of Bishop Mackenzie and one of his followers—to abandon the position they had taken on the hills, and find a temporary abode on the banks of the Shiré. The hope that it would either develop into, or, at least, promote the establishment of a central trading station or factory, was in this way disappointed for the present. The subsequent death of three more of the missionaries, besides two of the expedition and Mrs. Livingstone—added to the illness from which most in the country suffered—gave to it a character for malignancy of climate which might apply to the valley regions, but not to the highlands. All these things, as they were looked at, in England, from different points of view, led to the impression that the pictures on the Zambési had been too highly colored, and public interest flagged.
But it was not duly considered, perhaps it was never thoroughly understood, that the jealousy and secret opposition of the Portuguese colonists contributed largely to Livingstone's want of success. It was to their interest to encourage the upper slave-trade with all its demoralizing influences; and dispatches from the home government, in favor of the expedition, if ever received, if ever sincerely written, would be of small avail: the distance from Europe was fatal; and then the colony consisted chiefly of political refugees and convicts. Livingstone's aim was to abolish the slave-trade; and, as long as they felt that, the Portuguese on the Zambési, themselves prospering, would do all they could to throw moral obstacles in his way. They would simply not cooperate; the better disposed would sit still with their slaves around them; the less scrupulous would combine to misrepresent the country, cry down the people, and talk as loudly as possible of the hopelessness of the inland trade. Their slave-drivers all the while might be putting their gangs into the fork-stick shackles; but get rid of Livingstone and the English, and who would be the wiser?
However, things were just beginning to look brighter. A new steamer, sent out by Livingstone's friends, for the navigation of the Upper Shiré, had been taken to the foot of the Murchison Falls. Several miles of broken country divide the Upper from the Lower Valley, over which the steamer, built accordingly, was to be carried piecemeal; a road had been already commenced for the purpose, when Mackenzie's successor arrived from England, in the middle of June, 1863, bringing the dispatch from Lord John Russell, recalling the expedition. This, in connection with other ostensible grounds, induced Bishop Tozer to remove the mission to another sphere of work; and, in the summer of 1864, the original members who survived were once more in England, Dr. Livingstone himself following in the autumn.
And now commences what is likely to prove the most eventful period of this remarkable life. It would seem that the independent spirit which chafed under control at the outset, could find a stimulus only in roaming over its congenial wilds, and must be left to work out its grand problems at its own unfettered will. For in the autumn of 1865 Dr. Livingstone is again on his way out to Eastern Africa, unsupported by public aid, and entirely alone, crossing first to Bombay. His object was—the words are Sir Roderick Murchison's, in 1867—"to discover whether there was an outlet to the south from Lake Tanganyika, discovered by Burton and Speke, which was a fresh-water lake, and which, but for such an outlet as was supposed, ought to be a saline lake." The Rovuma River, between latitude 10° and 11° S., had previously engaged his attention, and he thought by ascending this to be able to connect it with Lake Nyassa, in which case, having no mouth bar, and lying beyond Portuguese territory, it would afford a better entrance to the Shiré country than the Zambési. Starting from Zanzibar, he found no connection to exist between the Rovuraa and Lake Nyassa, and, from a thorough examination of its north end, that there was no communication between that lake and Tanganyika. Livingstone's idea has been mentioned, on first hearing of these lakes in the interior, that, on the supposition of a central dividing line, between the north and south river systems, the region about them would be found to be the water-shed of the Nile. This theory it seems to have been his object now to establish, by tracing, if he could, a northern outflow from Tanganyika into Sir S. Baker's great lake, the Albert Nyanza. "Go," said Sir Roderick, even before he left England, "and you will then be the real discoverer of the sources of the Nile!"
Soon after starting toward Tanganyika, a little to the west of Nyassa, the men he had engaged at Johanna were frightened by a report of native ferocity, and, deserting him in a body, returned to the coast with the story that he had been murdered. The story ran, that in marching westward from the north end of the lake, the party was attacked by a body of Mazitu—a Kaffre tribe, who are known to have emigrated from the south side of the Zambési. The Johanna men were some distance behind with unloaded guns, and saw three men attack the doctor, who had fired, and was trying to reload. One struck him behind the head with an axe; he gave a loud cry and fell dead. Two of the Mazitu were found lying near him, shot with his revolver, and the bodies of some boys he had brought with him from Bombay. The Johannese hid in the bush till the Mazitu had retreated, and then, having buried their master, travelling by night made the best of their way back to Zanzibar.
The murder was said to have taken place in August, 1866, and the details were circumstantial. In July, 1867, an expedition left the mouth of the Zambesi, dispatched by the Royal Geographical Society, under the leadership of Mr. Young, formerly master of the Pioneer, with a view of obtaining some clew to Livingstone's fate. The voyage to Nyassa and back was accomplished in a little steel boat which could be taken to pieces, and on November 11th they were once more at the Zambesi mouth. On his return to England, Mr. Young gave his report. He had ascertained the route taken by Livingstone in crossing Lake Nyassa, and had been able to trace him to the village of a chief, Marenga, at least five days' journey beyond the point of the reported murder! The chief was an old friend of Livingstone's, and assured Mr. Young that, if the doctor had been killed one month's journey beyond his village, he, Marenga, must have heard of it. Mazitu had never been seen in that part of the country; and the story of the Johanna men was a gross fabrication to cover their own cowardice!
A letter from Livingstone himself, dated February, 1867, and received many months later, confirmed the facts brought out by Young: but, after the arrival of that, nothing but vague and unreliable rumors reached England. "We were again left in doubt as to the fate of the intrepid traveller. At last tidings came. A letter appeared in the Times of December 13, 1869, written by Dr. Livingstone to Dr. Kirk, at Zanzibar, and dated Ujiji, 30th May, 1869. After referring to the untrustworthiness of the Arab traders, both in taking charge of goods and carrying letters—which accounts, by-the-way, for his long silences—the doctor writes as follows:
This letter refers to his discoveries east and west of the southern extremity of Tanganyika, and the unvisited lake is Kamolondo. Comparing this with Livingstone's account of his earlier explorations, in recent letters which have reached us, it helps, it would seem, to establish their authenticity, regarding which some are skeptical.
Then we were startled by the following:
"Sir: The enclosed letter from my son-in-law, Captain the Hon. Ernest Cochrane, commanding H.M.S. Petrel on the west coast of Africa, is at your service. It gives an account of the awful death which has terminated Livingstone's career.Your obedient servant, Richard Doherty.
"Red Castle, County of Donegal, January 31st."
"My Dear Sir: A few lines to tell you Dr. Livingstone has been killed and burnt by the natives ninety days' journey from the Congo. He passed through a native town and was three days on his journey when the king of the town died. The natives declared Livingstone had bewitched him, sent after him and told him he had witched their king, and he must die. They then killed him and burnt him. This news comes by a Portuguese trader travelling that way. Livingstone was on the lakes at the head of the Congo, making his way to the Congo, where he was going to come out. I believe this news to be true."
And so might others, if on consideration they could have persuaded themselves that, after hearing some native rumor, the thoughts in the Portuguese informant's mind had been unconnected with his wish! But time passes; and then we learn how a solitary American most gallantly does that which three Englishmen were going to do and not doing, did less than might still have been done and comes home and tells the thrilling tale when and where he found the great Livingstone, and in his sore need helped him.
Mr. Stanley's story is so well known that a brief outline of the work he found accomplished after the meeting at Ujiji, November 3, 1871, will be sufficient to complete this sketch.
Leaving the renegade Johannese to carry home their lie, Livingstone first crosses the Chambézi River in latitude 11 S., which, relying on Portuguese information, he passed unnoticed as the head of his own Zambesi, but which afterward was to prove such a name of note. In the beginning of 1867, he enters Londa, where he is kindly received by the chief Cazembe, and enters upon the exploration of the regions to the east. Lake Liemba, first visited, he ascertains to be the southern extension of Lake Tanganyika, which covers a latitudinal area of 360 miles. After many and complicated wanderings among the waters of this vast region, he reaches Ujiji in the March of 1869, and it was then the letter was written which has been quoted. Crossing Tanganyika in the following June, he reaches Ugupha on its western side, and, entering Rua (Speke's Ururoa), commences a long series of journeys of which the details are yet his own secret.
But a bird's-eye view is given us. First, a vast water-shed between latitude 10° and 12° S., a tree-covered belt, some 700 miles from east to west. From a plain 4,000 to 5,000 feet above the level of the sea, mountains rise to a height of from 6,000 to 7,000 feet, taking the same level. Countless brooks on this wide upland converge and form broad streams that flow toward the centre of a far-extending trough, which Livingstone supposes to be the valley of the Nile. Three large rivers form primary sources in this great valley; and these unite in what he calls "an enormous lacustrine river." This is the Lualaba—"Webb's Lualaba," as he names it, after his friend, the owner of Newstead, to distinguish it from other streams bearing the same appellation. In the valley are five considerable lakes. First, Bemba, or Bangweolo, into which the Chambézi flows—the most conspicuous among many other river-sources. Out of Bangweolo runs the Luapula, to enter the beautiful lake Moero, from which a stream, "Webb's Lualaba," pours impetuously through a rift in the surrounding mountains, and, spreading out in the plain-country beyond, winds away in a course of confusing tortuousness, till it enters Lake Kamolondo. The Lufira, the second of the three great primary rivers, discharges itself into the Lualaba, north of Kamolondo. Then comes the third, the Lomami, which, flowing from a lake westward of Kamolondo—"Lake Lincoln," as Livingstone styles it—fed by another Lualaba, joins the central drainage-line lower down. The three thus uniting, a mighty stream flows northward toward a lake, which may be that discovered by an Italian explorer, Paggia, but which Livingstone designates as the "Unknown Lake;" for at this point his researches are brought to a stop by the mutiny of his men, and, in a state of mind bordering on despair, and utterly destitute, he wanders back to Ujiji, leaving about 180 miles of country unexplored—the casket containing the crown of his discoveries.
When he first began the journeys which led to them from Lake Moero, he could learn nothing from natives about the central line of drainage, after leaving that lake. It might pass eastward into Tanganyika; and if so, and Tanganyika was found to be connected with the Albert Nyanza, then the Chambézi would be the farthest source of the Nile to the south; but, in this case, the configuration of the country showed that it would have to run up-hill. Or it might flow westward, and be found to be none other than the source of the Congo or Niger. To throw light on this point, Manyuema, or, as the Arabs called it, Manyema, a splendid country, but little known, and whose inhabitants were reported to be cannibals, though Livingstone rather ridicules the idea, had to be visited. Then followed the discovery of Lake Kamolondo, the southern end, in lat. 6° 30' S., and the great central drain of the Lualaba. But, then, what of the Kamolondo outflow? Here Livingstone is left to himself; the natives know—can tell him nothing; his chronometers are defective, and he cannot depend on his reckonings; but he traces the northeast set of the Lufira and Lomami, and sees that the western, like the eastern boundary of the great valley, is elevated. He observes, too, that the central line of the Lualaba maintains a steady though sinuous northward flow; hence, he is led to the conclusion that this river and lake system has nothing to do with the Congo, but that his tedious wanderings have been to and fro among the head-waters of the Nile.
In the mean time, the question is, and will be, keenly debated. The River Kasai, Livingstone's old friend on the Loando journey, flowing into the Congo, bears another name, Loke, among the natives, and is said by them to wind out of a "Nyanja," or lake. The Lomami, according to Livingstone, is also called the "Loeki." Does this similarity of name warrant the conclusion that the Kasai is only a prolongation of the river, with its source in the Manyema country? The Kasai, with the Quango and Lubilash—the two former rising west of the water-shed in the latitude of Lake Bangweolo—were always presumed, on Portuguese authority, to be the sources of the great western river. Can the Lualaba—proved to be connected with the Loeki or Lomami—take a westward course after its prolonged northing, and, overthrowing Livingstone's assumption, become the Congo feeder? If not, another question arises: What is the course of the Lualaba after leaving the Unknown Lake? Do these great waters find a channel to the eastward, and empty themselves into the Albert Nyanza? If, according to Sir S. Baker's observations, the elevation of that lake is 2,700 feet, the lower level of Kamolondo, which is 2,000 feet above the sea, must necessarily preclude that.
But, further, if unconnected with the eastern branch of the White Nile, of which the Albert Nyanza and the Victoria Nyanza are the feeders, does the Lualaba join the eastern branch either as the upper waters of Petherick's Bahr-el-Ghazel, or as one of its tributary streams? Against the first supposition it is urged that the source of this branch was discovered by the German traveller, Schweinfurth, 5 north of the equator. But it is maintained, in favor of the second, that the Uelle, a large feeder of the Bahr-el-Ghazel, was crossed by the same traveller, which, though certainly, where he saw it, flowing from east to west, was never traced to its source. He supposed it to rise in lat. 2 N., in the range of mountains west of the Albert Nyanza; but it is uncertain. The course of the Uelle may wind in such a manner as to account for the westward setting where Schweinfurth found it. Whether a greater difficulty exists in the fact that the two rivers lie at the same altitude of 2,000 feet, yet awaits the test of accurate observation. In the mean time, it is thought that the Lualaba may prove to be connected with the Uelle tributary, and thus enter the Nile by its western branch.
But even then the old mystery will not be solved. The Chambézi is not to monopolize the glory of giving rise to the great Egyptian river. Dr. Livingstone does not think so. On the 700th mile of the water-shed, are the fountains of the two rivers, Kafue and Leeambye, running south into the Zambesi. Near the same spot, the Lufira and Lomami (Lualaba) are said to have their source, flowing, as was seen, to the north. In the stoneless mound, or ant-hill according to some, on which these four fountains are reported to gush out, Livingstone is reminded of the information supplied to Ptolemy by ancient explorers, and of the description of the Nile sources given to Herodotus at Sais in Egypt. Will he be able, as he believes, to substantiate this record of antiquity, and in establishing his own theory of a dividing ridge-line between north and south—where Lake Dilolo (lat. 11° 32' 1" S.) may again have to be considered—find, after all, that, instead of a discovery, his labors may simply result in a rediscovery? And then as to Tanganyika and the Albert Nyanza. Dr. Livingstone and Stanley together proved that the first lake has no outlet at its northern end, and that the Rusizi a river with eighteen tributaries, coming from the small lake Kivo—is an inflowing stream, and not a drain. What will be done in this direction? What may be the result of discovering some other outlet from a lake extending over 360 miles of latitude, and this, too, when the Albert Nyanza to the south shall be no longer, as at present, unexplored?
For the solution of these questions, we must await the return of Dr. Livingstone himself, who is, by this time, we hope, once more among the waters of Rua and Manyema, with ample stores, and well attended. In two years, though probably more, he may be able to give us his own account. But, in prosecuting the researches, whose successful issue will leave him, in the words of his late friend Sir Roderick Murchison, "the most glorious of all explorers in African geography," it is not to be forgotten that he has other, and what must be admitted to be nobler, aims. With his never-relinquished idea of establishing a central trading-mart, and purging Africa from its slave-trade, whether Portuguese or Arab, he exhibits the old steadiness in completing a self-set task, the same tenacity of purpose. He is certainly endeavoring to end as he thought good to begin: "It is better to lessen human woe than to discover the sources of the Nile."—Fraser's Magazine.