The Personal Life of David Livingstone/CHAPTER IV
FIRST TWO STATIONS--MABOTSA AND CHONUANE.
Description of Mabotsa--A favorite hymn--General reading--Mabotsa infested with lions--Livingstone's encounter--The native deacon who saved him--His Sunday-school--Marriage to Mary Moffat--Work at Mabotsa--Proposed institution for training native agents--Letter to his mother--Trouble at Mabotsa--Noble sacrifice of Livingstone--Goes to Sechéle and the Bakwains--New station at Chonuane--Interest shown by Sechéle--Journeys eastward--The Boers and the Transvaal--Their occupation of the country, and treatment of the natives--Work among the Bakwains--Livingstone's desire to move on--Theological conflict at home--His view of it--His scientific labors and miscellaneous employments.
Describing what was to be his new home to his friend Watt from Kuruman, 27th September, 1843, Livingstone says: "The Bakhatla have cheerfully offered to remove to a more favorable position than they at present occupy. We have fixed upon a most delightful valley, which we hope to make the centre of our sphere of operations in the interior. It is situated in what poetical gents like you would call almost an amphitheatre of mountains. The mountain range immediately in the rear of the spot where we have fixed our residence is called Mabotsa, or a marriage-feast. May the Lord lift upon us the light of his countenance, so that by our feeble instrumentality many may thence be admitted to the marriage-feast of the Lamb. The people are as raw as may well be imagined; they have not the least desire but for the things of the earth, and it must be a long time ere we can gain their attention to the things which are above."
Something led him in his letter to Mr. Watt to talk of the old monks, and the spots they selected for their establishments. He goes on to write lovingly of what was good in some of the old fathers of the mediæval Church, despite the strong feeling of many to the contrary; indicating thus early the working of that catholic spirit which was constantly expanding in later years, which could separate the good in any man from all its evil surroundings, and think of it thankfully and admiringly. In the following extract we get a glimpse of a range of reading much wider than most would probably have supposed likely:
"Who can read the sermons of St. Bernard, the meditations of St. Augustine, etc., without saying, whatever other faults they had: They thirsted, and now they are filled. That hymn: of St. Bernard, on the name of Christ, although in what might he termed dog-Latin, pleases me so; it rings in my ears as I wander across the wide, wide wilderness, and makes me wish I was more like them--
"Jesu, dulcis memoria, Jesu, spes poenitentibus, Dans cordi vera gaudia; Quam pius es petentibus! Sed super mel et omnia, Quam bonus es quærentibus! Ejus dulcis præsentia. Sed quid invenientibus!
Nil canitur suavius, Jesu, dulcedo cordium, Nil auditur jucundius, Fons, rivus, lumen mentium, Nil cogitatur dulcius, Excedens omne gaudium, Quam Jesus Dei filius. Et omne desiderium."
Livingstone was in the habit of fastening inside the boards of his journals, or writing on the fly-leaf, verses that interested him specially. In one of these volumes this hymn is copied at full length. In another we find a very yellow newspaper clipping of the "Song of the Shirt." In the same volume a clipping containing "The Bridge of Sighs," beginning
"One more unfortunate, Weary of breath, Rashly importunate, Gone to her death."
In another we have Coleridge's lines:
"He prayeth well who loveth well Both man and bird and beast. He prayeth best who loveth best All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all."
In another, hardly legible on the marble paper, we find:
"So runs my dream: but what am I? An infant crying in the night; An infant crying for the light: And with no language but a cry."
All Livingstone's personal friends testify that, considering the state of banishment in which he lived, his acquaintance with English literature was quite remarkable. When a controversy arose in America as to the genuineness of his letters to the _New York Herald_, the familiarity of the writer with the poems of Whittier was made an argument against him. But Livingstone knew a great part of the poetry of Longfellow, Whittier, and others by heart.
There was one drawback to the new locality: it was infested with lions. All the world knows the story of the encounter at Mabotsa, which was so near ending Livingstone's career, when the lion seized him by the shoulder, tore his flesh, and crushed his bone. Nothing in all Livingstone's history took more hold of the popular imagination, or was more frequently inquired about when he came home. By a kind of miracle his life was saved, but the encounter left him lame for life of the arm which the lion crunched. But the world generally does not know that Mebalwe, the native who was with him, and who saved his life by diverting the lion when his paw was on his head, was the teacher whom Mrs. M'Robert's twelve pounds had enabled him to employ. Little did the good woman think that this offering would indirectly be the means of preserving the life of Livingstone for the wonderful work of the next thirty years! When, on being attacked by Mebalwe, the lion left Livingstone, and sprang upon him, he bit his thigh, then dashed toward another man, and caught him by the shoulder, when in a moment, the previous shots taking effect, he fell down dead. Sir Bartle Frere, in his obituary notice of Livingstone read to the Royal Geographical Society, remarked: "For thirty years afterward all his labors and adventures, entailing such exertion and fatigue, were undertaken with a limb so maimed that it was painful for him to raise a fowling-piece, or in fact to place the left arm in any position above the level of the shoulder."
[Footnote 21: He did not speak of it spontaneously, and sometimes he gave unexpected answers to questions put to him about it. To one person who asked very earnestly what were his thoughts when the lion was above him, he answered, "I was thinking what part of me he would eat first"--a grotesque thought, which some persons considered strange in so good a man, but which was quite in accordance with human experience in similar circumstances.]
[Footnote 22: The false joint in the crushed arm was the mark by which the body of Livingstone was identified when brought home by his followers in 1873.]
In his _Missionary Travels_ Livingstone says that but for the importunities of his friends, he meant to have kept this story in store to tell his children in his dotage. How little he made of it at the time will be seen from the following allusion to it in a letter to his father, dated 27th July, 1844. After telling how the attacks of the lions drew the people of Mabotsa away from the irrigating operations he was engaged in, he says:
"At last, one of the lions destroyed nine sheep in broad daylight on a hill just opposite our house. All the people immediately ran over to it, and, contrary to my custom, I imprudently went with them, in order to see how they acted, and encourage them to destroy him. They surrounded him several times, but he managed to break through the circle. I then got tired. In coming home I had to come near to the end of the hill. They were then close upon the lion and had wounded him. He rushed out from the bushes which concealed him from view, and bit me on the arm so as to break the bone. It is now nearly well, however, feeling weak only from having been confined in one position so long; and I ought to praise Him who delivered me from so great a danger. I hope I shall never forget his mercy. You need not be sorry for me, for long before this reaches you it will be quite as strong as ever it was. Gratitude is the only feeling we ought to have in remembering the event. Do not mention this to any one. I do not like to be talked about."
In a letter to the Directors, Livingstone briefly adverts to Mebalwe's service on this occasion, but makes it a peg on which to hang some strong remarks on that favorite topic--the employment of native agency:
"Our native assistant Mebalwe has been of considerable value to the Mission. In endeavoring to save my life he nearly lost his own, for he was caught and wounded severely, but both before being laid aside, and since his recovery, he has shown great willingness to be useful. The cheerful manner in which he engages with us in manual labor in the station, and his affectionate addresses to his countrymen, are truly gratifying. Mr. E. took him to some of the neighboring villages lately, in order to introduce him to his work; and I intend to depart to-morrow for the same purpose to several of the villages situated northeast of this. In all there may be a dozen considerable villages situated at convenient distances around us, and we each purpose to visit them statedly. It would be an _immense advantage_ to the cause had we many such agents."
Another proof that his pleas for native agency, published in some of the Missionary Magazines, were telling at home, was the receipt of a contribution for the employment of a native helper, amounting to £15, from a Sunday-school in Southampton. Touched with this proof of youthful sympathy, Livingstone addressed a long letter of thanks to the Southampton teachers and children, desiring to deepen their interest in the work, and concluding with an account of his Sunday-school:
"I yesterday commenced school for the first time at Mabotsa, and the poor little naked things came with fear and trembling. A native teacher assisted, and the chief collected as many of them as he could, or I believe we should have had none. The reason is, the women make us the hobgoblins of their children, telling them 'these white men bite children, feed them with dead men's brains, and all manner of nonsense. We are just commencing our mission among them."
A new star now appeared in Livingstone's horizon, destined to give a brighter complexion to his life, and a new illustration to the name Mabotsa. Till this year (1844) he had steadily repudiated all thoughts of marriage, thinking it better to be independent. Nor indeed had he met with any one to induce him to change his mind. Writing in the end of 1843 to his friend Watt, he had said: "There's no outlet for me when I begin to think of getting married but that of sending home an advertisement to the _Evangelical Magazine_, and if I get very old, it must be for some decent sort of widow. In the meantime I am too busy to think of any thing of the kind." But soon after the Moffats came back from England to Kuruman, their eldest daughter Mary rapidly effected a revolution in Livingstone's ideas of matrimony. They became engaged. In announcing his approaching marriage to the Directors, he makes it plain that he had carefully considered the bearing which this step might have on his usefulness as a missionary. No doubt if he had foreseen the very extraordinary work to which he was afterwards to be called, he might have come to a different conclusion. But now, apparently, he was fixed and settled. Mabotsa would become a centre from which native missionary agents would radiate over a large circumference. His own life-work would resemble Mr. Moffat's. For influencing the women and children of such a place, a Christian lady was indispensable, and who so likely to do it well as one born in Africa, the daughter of an eminent and honored missionary, herself familiar with missionary life, and gifted with the winning manner and the ready helping hand that were so peculiarly adapted for this work? The case was as clear as possible, and Livingstone was very happy.
On his way home from Kuruman, after the engagement, he writes to her cheerily from Motito, on 1st August, 1844, chiefly about the household they were soon to get up; asking her to get her father to order some necessary articles, and to write to Colesberg about the marriage-license (and if he did not get it, they would license themselves!), and concluding thus:
"And now, my dearest, farewell. May God bless you! Let your affection be towards Him much more than towards me; and, kept by his mighty power and grace, I hope I shall never give you cause to regret that you have given me a part. Whatever friendship we feel towards each other, let us always look to Jesus as our common friend and guide, and may He shield you with his everlasting arms from every evil!"
Next month he writes from Mabotsa with full accounts of the progress of their house, of which he was both architect and builder:
"_Mabotsa, 12th September_, 1844.--I must tell you of the progress I have made in architecture. The walls are nearly finished, although the dimensions are 52 feet by 20 outside, or almost the same size as the house in which you now reside. I began with stone, but when it was breast-high, I was obliged to desist from my purpose to build it entirely of that material by an accident, which, slight as it was, put a stop to my operations in that line. A stone failing was stupidly, or rather instinctively, caught by me in its fall by the left hand, and it nearly broke my arm over again. It swelled up again, and I fevered so much I was glad of a fire, although the weather was quite warm. I expected bursting and discharge, but Baba bound it up nicely, and a few days' rest put all to rights. I then commenced my architecture, and six days have brought the walls up a little more than six feet.
"The walls will be finished long before you receive this, and I suppose the roof too, but I have still the wood of the roof to seek. It is not, however, far off; and as Mr. E. and I, with the Kurumanites, got on the roof of the school in a week, I hope this will not be more than a fortnight or three weeks. Baba has been most useful to me in making door and window frames; indeed, if he had not turned out I should not have been advanced so far as I am. Mr. E.'s finger is the cause in part of my having no aid from him, but all will come right at last. It is pretty hard work, and almost enough to drive love out of my head, but it is not situated there; it is in my heart, and won't come out unless you behave so as to quench it!...
"You must try and get a maid of some sort to come with although it is only old Moyimang; you can't go without some one, and a Makhatla can't be had for either love or money....
"You must excuse soiled paper, my hands won't wash clean after dabbling mud all day. And although the above does not contain evidence of it, you are as dear to me as ever, and will be as long as our lives are spared.--I am still your most affectionate
A few weeks later he writes:
"As I am favored with another opportunity to Kuruman, I gladly embrace it, and wish I could embrace you at the same time; but as I cannot, I must do the next best to it, and while I give you the good news that our work is making progress, and of course the time of our separation becoming beautifully less, I am happy in the hope that, by the messenger who now goes, I shall receive the good news that you are well and happy, and remembering me with some of that affection which we bear to each other.... All goes on pretty well here; the school is sometimes well, sometimes ill attended. I begin to like it, and I once believed I could never have any pleasure in such employment. I had a great objection to school-keeping, but I find in that as in almost everything else I set myself to as a matter of duty, I soon became enamored of it. A boy came three times last week, and on the third time could act as monitor to the rest through a great portion of the alphabet. He is a real Mokhatla, but I have lost sight of him again. If I get them on a little, I shall translate some of your infant-school hymns into Sichuana rhyme, and you may yet, if you have time, teach them the tunes to them. I, poor mortal, am as mute as a fish in regard to singing, and Mr. Englis says I have not a bit of imagination. Mebalwe teaches them the alphabet in the 'auld lang syne' tune sometimes, and I heard it sung by some youths in the gardens yesterday--a great improvement over their old see-saw tunes indeed. Sometimes we have twenty, sometimes two, sometimes none at all.
"Give my love to A., and tell her to be sure to keep my lecture warm. She must not be vexed with herself, that she was not more frank to me. If she is now pleased, all is right. I have sisters, and know all of you have your failings, but I won't love you less for these. And to mother, too, give my kindest salutation. I suppose I shall get a lecture from her, too, about the largeness of the house. If there are too many windows, she can just let me know. I could build them all up in two days, and let the light come down the chimney, if that would please. I'll do anything for peace, except fighting for it. And now I must again, my dear, dear Mary, bid you good-bye. Accept my expressions as literally true when I say, I am your most affectionate and still confiding lover,
In due time the marriage was solemnized, and Livingstone brought his wife to Mabotsa. Here they went vigorously to work, Mrs. Livingstone with her infant-school, and her husband with all the varied agencies, medical, educational, and pastoral, which his active spirit could bring to bear upon the people. They were a very superstitious race, and, among other things, had great faith in rain-making. Livingstone had a famous encounter with one of their rain-makers, the effect of which, was that the pretender was wholly nonplused; but instead of being convinced of the absurdity of their belief, the people were rather disposed to think that the missionaries did not want them to get rain. Some of them were workers in iron, who carried their superstitious notions into that department of life, too, believing that the iron could be smelted only by the power of medicines, and that those who had not the proper medicine need not attempt the work. In the hope of breaking down these absurdities, Livingstone planned a course of popular lectures on the works of God in creation and providence, to be carried out in the following way:
"I intend to commence with the goodness-of God in giving iron ore, by giving, if I can, a general knowledge of the simplicity of the substance, and endeavoring to disabuse their minds of the idea which prevents them, in general, from reaping the benefit of that mineral which abounds in their country. I intend, also, to pay more attention to the children of the few believers we have with us as a class, for whom, as baptized ones, we are bound especially to care. May the Lord enable me to fulfill my resolutions! I have now the happy prospect before me of real missionary work. All that has preceded has been preparatory."
All this time Livingstone had been cherishing his plan of a training seminary for native agents. He had written a paper and brought the matter before the missionaries, but without success. Some opposed the scheme fairly, as being premature, while some insinuated that his object was to stand well with the Directors, and get himself made Professor. This last objection induced him to withdraw his proposal. He saw that in his mode of prosecuting the matter he had not been very knowing; it would have been better to get some of the older brethren to adopt it. He feared that his zeal had injured the cause he desired to benefit, and in writing to his friend Watt, he said that for months he felt bitter grief, and could never think of the subject without a pang.
[Footnote 23: Dr. Moffat favored the scheme of a training seminary, and when he came home afterward, helped to raise a large sum of money for the purpose. He was strongly of opinion that the institution should be built at Sechéle's; but, contrary to his view, and that of Livingstone, it has been placed at Kuruman.]
A second time he brought forward his proposal, but again without success. Was he then to be beaten? Far from it. He would change his tactics, however. He would first set himself to show what could be done by native efforts; he would travel about, wherever he found a road, and after inquiries, settle native agents far and wide. The plan had only to be tried, under God's blessing, to succeed. Here again we trace the Providence that shaped his career. Had his wishes been carried into effect, he might have spent his life training native agents, and doing undoubtedly a noble work: but he would not have traversed Africa; he would not have given its death-blow to African slavery; he would not have closed the open sore of the world, nor rolled away the great obstacle to the evangelization of the Continent.
Some glimpses of his Mabotsa life may be got from a letter to his mother (14th May, 1845). Usually his letters for home were meant for the whole family and addressed accordingly; but with a delicacy of feeling, which many will appreciate, he wrote separately to his mother after a little experience of married life:
"I often think of you, and perhaps more frequently since I got married than before. Only yesterday I said to my wife, when I thought of the nice clean bed I enjoy now, 'You put me in mind of my mother; she was always particular about our beds and linen. I had had rough times of it before.'...
"I cannot perceive that the attentions paid to my father-in-law at home have spoiled him. He is, of course, not the same man he formerly must have been, for he now knows the standing he has among the friends of Christ at home. But the plaudits he received have had a bad effect, and tho' not on _his_ mind, yet on that of his fellow-laborers. You, perhaps, cannot understand this, but so it is. If one man is praised, others think this is more than is deserved, and that they, too ('others,' they say, while they mean themselves), ought to have a share. Perhaps you were gratified to see my letters quoted in the _Chronicle_. In some minds they produced bitter envy, and if it were in my power, I should prevent the publication of any in future. But all is in the Lord's hands; on Him I cast my care. His testimony I receive as it stands--He careth for us. Yes, He does; for He says it, who is every way worthy of credit. He will give what is good for me. He will see to it that all things work together for good. Do thou for me, O Lord God Almighty! May his blessing rest on you, my dear mother....
"I received the box from Mr. D. The clothes are all too wide by four inches at least. Does he think that aldermen grow in Africa? Mr. N., too, fell into the same fault, but he will be pleased to know his boots will be worn by a much better man--Mr. Moffat. I am not an atom thicker than when you saw me....
"Respecting the mission here, we can say nothing. The people have not the smallest love to the gospel of Jesus. They hate and fear it, as a revolutionary spirit is disliked by the old Tories. It appears to them as that which, if not carefully guarded against, will seduce them, and destroy their much-loved domestic institutions. No pro-slavery man in the Southern States dreads more the abolition principles than do the Bakhatla the innovations of the Word of God. Nothing but power Divine can work the mighty change."
Unhappily Mr. and Mrs. Livingstone's residence at Mabotsa was embittered by a painful collision with the missionary who had taken part in rearing the station. Livingstone was accused of acting unfairly by him, of assuming to himself more than his due, and attempts were made to discredit him, both among the missionaries and the Directors. It was a very painful ordeal, and Livingstone felt it keenly. He held the accusation to be unjust, as most people will hold it to have been who know that one of the charges against him was that he was a "non-entity"! A tone of indignation pervades his letters:--that after having borne the heat and burden of the day, he should be accused of claiming for himself the credit due to one who had done so little in comparison. But the noble spirit of Livingstone rose to the occasion. Rather than have any scandal before the heathen, he would give up his house and garden at Mabotsa, with all the toil and money they had cost him, go with his young bride to some other place, and begin anew the toil of house and school building, and gathering the people around him. His colleague was so struck with his generosity that he said had he known his intention he never would have spoken a word against him. Livingstone had spent all his money, and out of a salary of a hundred pounds it was not easy to build a house every other year. But he stuck to his resolution. Parting with his garden evidently cost him a pang, especially when he thought of the tasteless hands into which it was to fall. "I like a garden," he wrote, "but paradise will make amends for all our privations and sorrows here." Self-denial was a firmly established habit with him; and the passion of "moving on" was warm in his blood. Mabotsa did not thrive after Livingstone left it, but the brother with whom he had the difference lived to manifest a very different spirit.
In some of his journeys, Livingstone had come into close contact with the tribe of the Bakwains, which, on the murder of their chief, some time before, had been divided into two, one part under Bubi, already referred to, and the other under Sechéle, son of the murdered chief, also already introduced. Both of these chiefs had shown much regard for Livingstone, and on the death of Bubi, Sechéle and his people indicated a strong wish that a missionary should reside among them. On leaving Mabotsa, Livingstone transferred his services to this tribe. The name of the pew station was Chonuane; it was situated some forty miles from Mabotsa, and in 1846 it became the centre of Livingstone's operations among the Bakwains and their chief Sechéle.
Livingstone had been disappointed with the result of his work among the Bakhatlas. No doubt much good had been done; he had prevented several wars; but where were the conversions? On leaving he found that he had made more impressions on them than he had supposed. They were most unwilling to lose him, offered to do anything in their power for his comfort, and even when his oxen were "inspanned" and he was on the point of moving, they offered to build a new house without expense to him in some other place, if only he would not leave them. In a financial point of view, the removal to Chonuane was a serious undertaking. He had to apply to the Directors at home for a building-grant--only thirty pounds, but there were not wanting objectors even to that small sum. It was only in self-vindication that he was constrained to tell of the hardships which his family had borne;--
[Footnote 24: When some of Livingstone's "new light" friends heard that there were so few conversions, they seem to have thought that he was too much of an old Calvinist, and wrote to him to preach that the remedy was as extensive as the disease--Christ loved _you_, and gave himself for _you_. "You may think me heretical," replied he, "but we don't need to make the extent of the atonement the main topic of our preaching. We preach to men who don't know but they are beasts, who have no idea of God as a personal agent, or of sin as evil, otherwise than as an offense against each other, which may or may not be punished by the party offended.... Their consciences are seared, and moral perceptions blunted. Their memories retain scarcely anything we teach them, and so low have they sunk that the plainest text in the whole Bible cannot be understood by them."]
"We endured for a long while, using a wretched infusion of native corn for coffee, but when our corn was done, we were fairly obliged to go to Kuruman for supplies. I can bear what other Europeans would consider hunger and thirst without any inconvenience, but when we arrived, to hear the old woman who had seen my wife depart about two years before, exclaiming before the door, 'Bless me! how lean she is! Has he starved her? Is there no food in the country to which she has been?' was more than I could well bear."
From the first, Sechéle showed an intelligent interest in Livingstone's preaching. He became a great reader especially of the Bible, and lamented very bitterly that he had got involved in heathen customs, and now did not know what to do with his wives. At one time he expressed himself quite willing to convert all his people to Christianity by the litupa, _i.e._ whips of rhinoceros hide; but when he came to understand better, he lamented that while he could make his people do anything else he liked, he could not get one of them to believe. He began family worship, and Livingstone was surprised to hear how well he conducted prayer in his own simple and beautiful style. When he was baptized, after a profession of three years, he sent away his superfluous wives in a kindly and generous way; but all their connections became active and bitter enemies of the gospel, and the conversion of Sechéle, instead of increasing the congregation, reduced it so much that sometimes the chief and his family were almost the only persons present. A bell-man of a somewhat peculiar order was once employed to collect the people for service--a tall gaunt fellow. "Up he jumped on a sort of platform, and shouted at the top of his voice, 'Knock that woman down over there. Strike her, she is putting on her pot! Do you see that one hiding herself? Give her a good blow. There she is--see, see, knock her down!' All the women ran to the place of meeting in no time, for each thought herself meant. But, though a most efficient bell-man, we did not like to employ him."
While residing at Chonuane, Livingstone performed two journeys eastward, in order to attempt the removal of certain obstacles to the establishment of at least one of his native teachers in that direction. This brought him into connection with the Dutch Boers of the Cashan mountains, otherwise called Magaliesberg. The Boers were emigrants from the Cape, who had been dissatisfied with the British rule, and especially with the emancipation of their Hottentot slaves, and had created for themselves a republic in the north (the Transvaal), in order that they might pursue, unmolested, the proper treatment of the blacks. "It is almost needless to add," says Livingstone, "that proper treatment has always contained in it the essential element of slavery, viz., compulsory unpaid labor." The Boers had effected the expulsion of Mosilikatse, a savage Zulu warrior, and in return for this service they considered themselves sole masters of the soil. While still engaged in the erection of his dwelling-house at Chonuane, Livingstone received notes from the Commandant and Council of the emigrants, requesting an explanation of his intentions, and an intimation that they had resolved to come and deprive Sechéle of his fire-arms. About the same time he received several very friendly messages and presents from Mokhatla, chief of a large section of the Bakhatla, who lived about four days eastward of his station, and had once, while Livingstone was absent, paid a visit to Chonuane, and expressed satisfaction with the idea of obtaining Paul, a native convert, as his teacher. As soon as his house was habitable, Livingstone proceeded to the eastward, to visit Mokhatla, and to confer with the Boers.
On his way to Mokhatla he was surprised at the unusual density of the population, giving him the opportunity of preaching the gospel at least once every day. The chief, Mokhatla, whose people were quiet and industrious, was eager to get a missionary, but said that an arrangement must be made with the Dutch commandant. This involved some delay.
Livingstone then returned to Chonuane, finished the erection of a school there, and setting systematic instruction fairly in operation under Paul and his son, Isaac, again went eastward, accompanied this time by Mrs. Livingstone and their infant son, Robert Moffat--all the three being in indifferent health. Mebalwe, the catechist, was also with them. Taking a different route, they came on another Bakhatla tribe, whose country abounded in metallic ores, and who, besides cultivating their fields, span cotton, smelted iron, copper, and tin, made an alloy of tin and copper, and manufactured ornaments. Livingstone had constantly an eye to the industries and commercial capabilities of the countries he passed through. Social reform was certainly much needed here; for the chief, though not twenty years of age, had already forty-eight wives and twenty children. They heard of another tribe, said to excel all others in manufacturing skill, and having the honorable distinction, "they had never been known to kill any one." This lily among thorns they were unable to visit. Three tribes of Bakhalaka whom they did visit were at continual war.
[Footnote 25: He wrote to his father that he would have called him Neil, if it had not been such an ugly name, and all the people would have called him Ra-Neeley!]
Deriving his information from the Boers themselves, Livingstone learned that they had taken possession of nearly all the fountains, so that the natives lived in the country only by sufferance. The chiefs were compelled to furnish the emigrants with as much free labor as they required. This was in return for the privilege of living in the country of the Boers! The absence of law left the natives open to innumerable wrongs which the better-disposed of the emigrants lamented, but could not prevent. Livingstone found that the forcible seizure of cattle was a common occurrence, but another custom was even worse. When at war, the Dutch forced natives to assist them, and sent them before them into battle, to encounter the battle-axes of their opponents, while the Dutch fired in safety at their enemies over the heads of their native allies. Of course all the disasters of the war fell on the natives; the Dutch had only the glory and the spoil. Such treatment of the natives burned into the very soul of Livingstone. He was specially distressed at the purpose expressed to pick a quarrel with Sechéle, for whatever the emigrants might say of other tribes, they could not but admit that the Bechuanas had been always an honest and peaceable people.
When Livingstone met the Dutch commandant he received favorably his proposal of a native missionary, but another obstacle arose. Near the proposed station lived a Dutch emigrant who had shown himself the inveterate enemy of missions. He had not scrupled to say that the proper way to treat any native missionary was to kill him. Livingstone was unwilling to plant Mebalwe beside so bloodthirsty a neighbor**(spelling?), and as he had not time to, go to him, and try to bring him to a better mind, and there was plenty of work to be done at the station, they all returned to Chonuane.
"We have now," says Livingstone (March, 1847), "been a little more than a year with the Bakwains. No conversions have taken place, but real progress has been made." He adverts to the way in which the Sabbath was observed, no work being done by the natives in the gardens that day, and hunting being suspended. Their superstitious belief in rain-maiking had got a blow. There was a real desire for knowledge, though hindered by the prevailing famine caused by the want of rain. There was also a general impression among the people that the missionaries were their friends. But civilization apart from conversion would be but a poor recompense for their labor.
But, whatever success might attend their work among the Bakwains, Livingstone's soul was soaring beyond them:
"I am more and more convinced," he writes to the Directors, "that in order to the permanent settlement of the gospel in any part, the natives must be taught to relinquish their reliance on Europe. An onward movement ought to be made whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. I tell my Bakwains that if spared ten years, I shall move on to regions beyond them. If our missions would move onward now to those regions I have lately visited, they would in all probability prevent the natives settling into that state of determined hatred to all Europeans which I fear now characterizes most of the Caffres near the Colony. If natives are not elevated by contact with Europeans, they are sure to be deteriorated. It is with pain I have observed that all the tribes I have lately seen are undergoing the latter process. The country is fine. It abounds in streams, and has many considerable rivers. The Boers hate missionaries, but by a kind and prudent course of conduct one can easily manage them. Medicines are eagerly received, and I intend to procure a supply of Dutch tracts for distribution among them. The natives who have been in subjection to Mosilikatse place unbounded confidence in missionaries."
In his letters to friends at home, whatever topic Livingstone may touch, we see evidence of one over-mastering idea--the vastness of Africa, and the duty of beginning a new area of enterprise to reach its people. Among his friends the Scotch Congregationalists, there had been a keen controversy on some points of Calvinism. Livingstone did not like it; he was not a high Calvinist theoretically, yet he could not accept the new views, "from a secret feeling of being absolutely at the divine disposal as a sinner;" but these were theoretical questions, and with dark Africa around him, he did not see why the brethren at home should split on them. Missionary influence in South Africa was directed in a wrong channel. There were three times too many missionaries in the colony, and vast regions beyond lay untouched. He wrote to Mr. Watt: "If you meet me down in the colony before eight years are expired, you may shoot me."
Of his employments and studies he gives the following account: "I get the _Evangelical, Scottish Congregational, Eclectic, Lancet, British and Foreign Medical Review_. I can read in journeying, but little at home. Building, gardening, cobbling, doctoring, tinkering, carpentering, gun-mending, farriering, wagon-mending, preaching, schooling, lecturing on physics according to my means, beside a chair in divinity to a class of three, fill up my time."
With all his other work, he was still enthusiastic in science. "I have written Professor Buckland," he says to Mr. Watt (May, 1845), "and send him specimens too, but have not received any answer. I have a great lot by me now. I don't know whether he received my letter or not. Could you ascertain? I am trying to procure specimens of the entire geology of this region, and will try and make a sort of chart. I am taking double specimens now, so that if one part is lost, I can send another. The great difficulty is transmission. I sent a dissertation on the decrease of water in Africa. Call on Professor Owen and ask if he wants anything in the four jars I still possess, of either rhinoceros, camelopard, etc., etc. If he wants these, or anything else these jars will hold, he must send me more jars and spirits of wine."
He afterward heard of the fate of one of the boxes of specimens he had sent home--that which contained the fossils of Bootchap. It was lost on the railway after reaching England, in custody of a friend. "The thief thought the box contained bullion, no doubt. You may think of one of the faces in _Punch_ as that of the scoundrel, when he found in the box a lot of 'chuckystanes.'" He had got many nocturnal-feeding, animals, but the heat made it very difficult to preserve them. Many valuable seeds he had sent to Calcutta, with the nuts of the desert, but had heard nothing of them. He had lately got knowledge of a root to which the same virtues were attached as to ergot of rye. He tells his friend about the tsetse, the fever, the north wind, and other African notabilia. These and many other interesting points of information are followed up by the significant question--
"Who will penetrate through Africa?"