The Personal Life of David Livingstone/CHAPTER VII

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CHAPTER VII.

FROM THE CAPE TO LINYANTI.

A.D. 1852-1853.

Unfavorable feeling at Cape Town--Departure of Mrs. Livingstone and children--Livingstone's detention and difficulties--Letter to his wife--To Agnes--Occupations at Cape Town--The Astronomer-Royal--Livingstone leaves the Cape and reaches Kuruman--Destruction of Kolobeng by the Boers--Letters to his wife and Rev. J. Moore--His resolution to open up Africa _or perish_--Arrival at Linyanti--Unhealthiness of the country--Thoughts on setting out for coast--Sekelétu's kindness--Livingstone's missionary activity--Death of Mpepe, and of his father--Meeting with Ma-mochisane--Barotse country--Determines to go to Loanda--Heathenism unadulterated--Taste for the beautiful--Letter to his children--to his father--Last Sunday at Linyanti--Prospect of his falling.


When Livingstone arrived at the Cape, he found the authorities in a state of excitement over the Caffre War, and very far from friendly toward the London Missionary Society, some of whose missionaries--himself among the number--were regarded as "unpatriotic." He had a very poor opinion of the officials, and their treatment of the natives scandalized him. He describes the trial of an old soldier, Botha, as "the most horrid exhibition I ever witnessed." The noble conduct of Botha in prison was a beautiful contrast to the scene in court. This whole Caffre War had exemplified the blundering of the British authorities, and was teaching the natives developments, the issue of which could not be foreseen. As for himself, he writes to Mr. Moffat, that he was cordially hated, and perhaps he might be pulled up; but he knew that some of his letters had been read by the Duke of Wellington and Lord Brougham with pleasure, and, possibly, he might get justice. He bids his father-in-law not to be surprised if he saw him abused in the newspapers.

On the 23d April, 1852, Mrs. Livingstone and the four children sailed from Cape Town for England. The sending of his children to be brought up by others was a very great trial, and Dr. Livingstone seized the opportunity to impress on the Directors that those by whom missionaries were sent out had a great duty to the children whom their parents were compelled to send away. Referring to the filthy conversation and ways of the heathen, he says:

    "Missionaries expose their children to a contamination which
    they have had no hand in producing. We expose them and
    ourselves for a time in order to elevate those sad captives
    of sin and Satan, who are the victims of the degradation of
    ages. None of those who complain about missionaries sending
    their children home ever descend to this. And again, as Mr.
    James in his _Young Man from Home_ forcibly shows, a greater
    misfortune cannot befall a youth than to be cast into the
    world without a home. In regard to even the vestige of a
    home, my children are absolutely vagabonds. When shall we
    return to Kolobeng? When to Kuruman? _Never_. The mark of
    Cain is on your foreheads, your father is a missionary. Our
    children ought to have both the sympathies and prayers of
    those at whose bidding we become strangers for life."

Was there ever a plea more powerful or more just? It is sad to think that the coldness of Christians at home should have led a man like Livingstone to fancy that, because his children were the children of a missionary, they would bear the mark of Cain, and be homeless vagabonds. Why are we at home so forgetful of the privilege of refreshing the bowels of those who take their lives in their hands for the love of Christ, by making a home for their offspring? In a higher state of Christianity there will be hundreds of the best families at home delighted, for the love of their Master, to welcome and bring up the missionary's children. And when the Great Day comes, none will more surely receive that best of all forms of repayment, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto Me."

Livingstone, who had now got the troublesome uvula cut out, was detained at the Cape nearly two months after his family left. He was so distrusted by the authorities that they would hardly sell powder and shot to him, and he had to fight a battle that demanded all his courage and perseverance for a few boxes of percussion-caps. At the last moment, a troublesome country postmaster, to whom he had complained of an overcharge of postage, threatened an action against him for defamation of character, and, rather than be further detained, deep in debt though he was, Livingstone had to pay him a considerable sum. His family were much in his thoughts; he found some relief in writing by every mail. His letters to his wife are too sacred to be spread before the public; we confine ourselves to a single extract, to show over what a host of suppressed emotions he had to march in this expedition:

    "_Cape Town, 5th May_, 1852.--MY DEAREST MARY,--How I miss
    you now, and the children! My heart yearns incessantly over
    you. How many thoughts of the past crowd into my mind! I feel
    as if I would treat you all much more tenderly and lovingly
    than ever. You have been a great blessing to me. You attended
    to my comfort in many, many ways. May God bless you for all
    your kindnesses! I see no face now to be compared with that
    sunburnt one which has so often greeted me with its kind
    looks. Let us do our duty to our Saviour, and we shall meet
    again. I wish that time were now. You may read the letters
    over again which I wrote at Mabotsa, the sweet time you know.
    As I told you before, I tell you again, they are true, true;
    there is not a bit of hypocrisy in them. I never show all my
    feelings; but I can say truly, my dearest, that I loved you
    when I married you, and the longer I lived with you, I loved
    you the better.... Let us do our duty to Christ, and He will
    bring us through the world with honor and usefulness. He is
    our refuge and high tower; let us trust in Him at all times,
    and in all circumstances. Love Him more and more, and diffuse
    his love among the children. Take them all round you, and
    kiss them for me. Tell them I have left them for the love of
    Jesus, and they must love Him too, and avoid sin, for that
    displeases Jesus. I shall be delighted to hear of you all
    safe in England...."

A few days later, he writes to his eldest daughter, then in her fifth year:

    "_Cape Town, 18th May_, 1852.--MY DEAR AGNES,--This is your
    own little letter. Mamma will read it to you, and you will
    hear her just as if I were speaking to you, for the words
    which I write are those which she will read. I am still at
    Cape Town. You know you left me there when you all went into
    the big ship and sailed away. Well, I shall leave Cape Town
    soon. Malatsi has gone for the oxen, and then I shall go away
    back to Sebituane's country, and see Seipone and Meriye, who
    gave you the beads and fed you with milk and honey. I shall
    not see you again for a long time, and I am very sorry. I
    have no Nannie now. I have given you back to Jesus, your
    Friend--your Papa who is in heaven. He is above you, but He
    is always near you. When we ask things from Him, that is
    praying to Him; and if you do or say a naughty thing ask Him
    to pardon you, and bless you, and make you one of his
    children. Love Jesus much, for He loves you, and He came and
    died for you. Oh, how good Jesus is! I love Him, and I shall
    love Him as long as I live. You must love Him too, and you
    must love your brothers and mamma, and never tease them or be
    naughty, for Jesus does not like to see
    naughtiness.--Good-bye, my dear Nannie,
    D. LIVINGSTON."

Among his other occupations at Cape Town, Livingstone put himself under the instructions of the Astronomer-Royal, Mr. (afterward Sir Thomas) Maclear, who became one of his best and most esteemed friends. His object was to qualify himself more thoroughly for taking observations that would give perfect accuracy to his geographical explorations. He tried English preaching too, but his throat was still tender, and he felt very nervous, as he had done at Ongar. "What a little thing," he writes to Mr. Moffat, "is sufficient to bring down to old-wifeishness such a rough tyke as I consider myself! Poor, proud human nature is a great fool after all." A second effort was more successful. "I preached," he writes to his wife, "on the text, 'Why will ye die?' I had it written out and only referred to it twice, which is an improvement in English. I hope good was done. The people were very attentive indeed. I felt less at a loss than in Union Chapel[35]." He arranged with a mercantile friend, Mr. Rutherfoord, to direct the operations of a native trader, George Fleming, whom that gentleman was to employ for the purpose of introducing lawful traffic in order to supplant the slave-trade.

[Footnote 35: The manuscript of this sermon still exists. The sermon is very simple, scriptural, and earnest, in the style of Bishop Ryle, or of Mr. Moody.]

It was not till the 8th of June that he left the Cape. His wagon was loaded to double the usual weight from his good nature in taking everybody's packages. His oxen were lean, and he was too poor to provide better. He reached Griqua Town on the 15th August, and Kuruman a fortnight later. Many things had occasioned unexpected delay, and the last crowning detention was caused by the breaking down of a wheel. It turned out, however, that these delays were probably the means of saving his life. Had they not occurred he would have reached Kolobeng in August. But this was the very time when the commando of the Boers, numbering 600 colonists and many natives besides, were busy with the work of death and destruction. Had he been at Kolobeng, Pretorius would probably have executed his threat of killing him; at the least he would have been deprived of all the property that he carried with him, and his projected enterprise would have been brought to an end.

In a letter to his wife, Livingstone gives full details of the horrible outrage perpetrated shortly before by the Boers at Kolobeng:

    "_Kuruman, 20th September_, 1852.--Along with this I send you
    a long letter; this I write in order to give you the latest
    news. The Boers gutted our house at Kolobeng; they brought
    four wagons down and took away sofa, table, bed, all the
    crockery, your desk (I hope it had nothing in it--Have you
    the letters?), smashed the wooden chairs, took away the iron
    ones, tore out the leaves of all the books, and scattered
    them in front of the house, smashed the bottles containing
    medicines, windows, oven-door, took away the smith-bellows,
    anvil, all the tools,--in fact everything worth taking; three
    corn-mills, a bag of coffee, for which I paid six pounds, and
    lots of coffee, tea, and sugar, which the gentlemen who went
    to the north left; took all our cattle and Paul's and
    Mebalwe's. They then went up to Limaüe, went to church
    morning and afternoon, and heard Mebalwe preach! After the
    second service they told Sechéle that they had come to fight,
    because he allowed Englishmen to proceed to the North, though
    they had repeatedly ordered him not to do so. He replied that
    he was a man of peace, that he could not molest Englishmen,
    because they had never done him any harm, and always treated
    him well. In the morning they commenced firing on the town
    with swivels, and set fire to it. The heat forced some of the
    women to flee, the men to huddle together on the small hill
    in the middle of the town; the smoke prevented them seeing
    the Boers, and the cannon killed many, sixty (60) Bakwains.
    The Boers then came near to kill and destroy them all, but
    the Bakwains killed thirty-five (35), and many horses. They
    fought the whole day, but the Boers could not dislodge them.
    They stopped firing in the evening, and then the Bakwains
    retired on account of having no water. The above sixty are
    not all men; women and children are among the slain. The
    Boers were 600, and they had 700 natives with them. All the
    corn is burned. Parties went out and burned Bangwaketse town,
    and swept off all the cattle. Sebubi's cattle are all gone.
    All the Bakhatla cattle gone. Neither Bangwaketse nor
    Bakhatla fired a shot. All the corn burned of the whole three
    tribes. Everything edible is taken from them. How will they
    live! They told Sechéle that the Queen had given off the land
    to them, and henceforth they were the masters,--had abolished
    chieftainship. Sir Harry Smith tried the same, and England
    has paid two millions of money to catch one chief, and he is
    still as free as the winds of heaven. How will it end? I
    don't know, but I will tell you the beginning. There are two
    parties of Boers gone to the Lake. These will to a dead
    certainty be cut off. They amount to thirty-six men. Parties
    are sent now in pursuit of them. The Bakwains will plunder
    and murder the Boers without mercy, and by and by the Boers
    will ask the English Government to assist them to put down
    rebellion, and of this rebellion I shall have, of course, to
    bear the blame. They often expressed a wish to get hold of
    me. I wait here a little in order to get information when the
    path is clear. Kind Providence detained me from falling into
    the very thick of it. God will preserve me still. He has work
    for me or He would have allowed me to go in just when the
    Boers were there. We shall remove more easily now that we are
    lightened of our furniture. They have taken away our sofa. I
    never had a good rest on it. We had only got it ready when we
    left. Well, they can't have taken away all the stones. We
    shall have a seat in spite of them, and that, too, with a
    merry heart which doeth good like a medicine. I wonder what
    the Peace Society would do with these worthies. They are
    Christians. The Dutch predicants baptise all their children,
    and admit them to the Lord's Supper...."

Dr. Livingstone was not disposed to restrain his indignation and grief over his losses. For one so patient and good, he had a very large vial of indignation, and on occasion poured it out right heartily over all injustice and cruelty. On no heads was it ever discharged more freely than on these Transvaal Boers. He made a formal representation of his losses both to the Cape and Home authorities, but never received a farthing of compensation. The subsequent history of the Transvaal Republic will convince many that Livingstone was not far from the truth in his estimate of the character of the free and independent Boers.

But while perfectly sincere in his indignation over the treatment of the natives and his own losses, his playful fancy could find a ludicrous side for what concerned himself, and grim enjoyment in showing it to his friends. "Think," he writes to his friend Watt, "think of a big fat Boeress drinking coffee out of my kettle, and then throwing her tallowy corporeity on my sofa, or keeping her needles in my wife's writing-desk! Ugh! and then think of foolish John Bull paying so many thousands a year for the suppression of the slave-trade, and allowing Commissioner Aven to make treaties with Boers who carry on the slave-trade.... The Boers are mad with rage against me because my people fought bravely. It was I, they think, who taught them to shoot Boers. Fancy your reverend friend teaching the young idea how to shoot Boers, and praying for a blessing on the work of his hands!"

In the same spirit he writes to his friend Moore:

    "I never knew I was so rich until I recounted up the
    different articles that were taken away. They cannot be
    replaced in this country under £300. Many things brought to
    our establishment by my better-half were of considerable
    value. Of all I am now lightened, and they want to ease me of
    my head.... The Boers kill the blacks without compunction,
    and without provocation, because they believe they have no
    souls.... Viewing the dispensation apart from the extreme
    wickedness of the Boers, it seemed a judgment on the blacks
    for their rejection of the gospel. They have verily done
    despite unto the Spirit of grace.... Their enmity was not
    manifested to us, but to the gospel. I am grieved for them,
    and still hope that the good seed will yet vegetate[36]."

[Footnote 36: This letter to Mr. Moore contains a trait of Livingstone, very trifling in the occasion out of which it arose, but showing vividly the nature of the man. He had promised to send Mr. Moore's little son some curiosities, but had forgotten when his family went to England. Being reminded of his promise in a postscript the little fellow had added to a letter from his father, Livingstone is "overwhelmed with shame and confusion of face." He feels he has disappointed the boy and forgotten his promise. Again and again Livingstone returns to the subject, and feels assured that his young friend would forgive him if he knew how much he suffered for his fault. That in the midst of his own overwhelming troubles he should feel so much for the disappointment of a little heart in England, shows how terrible a thing it was to him to cause needless pain, and how profoundly it distressed him to seem forgetful of a promise. Years afterward he wrote that he had brought an elephant's tail for Henry, but one of the men stole all the hairs and sold them. He had still a tusk of a hippopotamus for him, and a tooth for his brother, but he had brought no curiosities, for he could scarcely get along himself.]

But while he could relax playfully at the thought of the desolation at Kolobeng, he knew how to make it the occasion likewise of high resolves. The Boers, as he wrote the Directors, were resolved to shut up the interior. He was determined, with God's help, to open the country. Time would show which would be most successful in resolution,--they or he. To his brother-in-law he wrote that he would open a path through the country, _or perish_.

As for the contest with the Boers, we may smile at their impotent wrath. It is a singular fact, that while Sechéle still retains the position of an independent chief, the republic of the Boers has passed away. It is now part of the British Empire.

The country was so unsettled that for a long time Dr. Livingstone could not get guides at Kuruman to go with him to Sebituane's. At length, however, he succeeded, and leaving Kuruman finally about the end of December, 1852, in company with George Fleming, Mr. Rutherfoord's trader, he set out in a new direction, to the west of the old, in order to give a wide berth to the Boers. Traveling rapidly he passed through Sebituane's country, and in June, 1858, arrived at Linyanti, the capital of the Makololo. He wrote to his wife that he had been very anxious to go to Kolobeng and see with his own eyes the destruction wrought by the savages. He had a great longing, too, to visit once more the grave of Elizabeth, their infant daughter, but he heard that the Boers were in the neighborhood, and were anxious to catch him, and he thought it best not to go. Two years before, he had been at Linyanti with Mr. Oswell. Many details of the new journey are given in the _Missionary Travels_, which it is unnecessary to repeat, It may be enough to state that he found the country flooded, and that on the way it was no unusual thing for him to be wet all day, and to walk through swamps, and water three or four feet deep. Trees, thorns, and reeds offered tremendous resistance, and he and his people must have presented a pitiable sight when forcing their way through reeds with cutting edges. "With our own hands all raw and bloody, and knees through our trousers, we at length emerged." It was a happy thought to tear his pocket-handkerchief into two parts and tie them over his knees. "I remember," he says in his Journal, referring to last year's journey, "the toil which our friend Oswell endured on our account. He never spared himself." It is not to be supposed that his guides were happy in such a march; it required his tact stretched to its very utmost to prevent them from turning back. "At the Malopo," he writes to his wife, "there were other dangers besides. When walking before the wagon in the morning twilight, I observed a lioness about fifty yards from me, in the squatting way they walk when going to spring. She was followed by a very large lion, but seeing the wagon, she turned back." Though he escaped fever at first, he had repeated attacks afterward, and had to be constantly using remedies against it. The unhealthiness of the region to Europeans forced itself painfully on his attention, and made him wonder in what way God would bring the light of the gospel to the poor inhabitants. As a physician his mind was much occupied with the nature of the disease, and the way to cure it. If only he could discover a remedy for that scourge of Africa, what an invaluable boon would he confer on its much-afflicted people!

    "I would like," he says in his Journal, "to devote a portion
    of my life to the discovery of a remedy for that terrible
    disease, the African fever[37]. I would go into the parts
    where it prevails most, and try to discover if the natives
    have a remedy for it. I must make many inquiries of the river
    people in this quarter. What an unspeakable mercy it is to be
    permitted to engage in this most holy and honorable work!
    What an infinity of lots in the world are poor, miserable,
    and degraded compared with mine! I might have been a common
    soldier, a day-laborer, a factory operative, a mechanic,
    instead of a missionary. If my faculties had been left to run
    riot or to waste as those of so many young men, I should now
    have been used up, a dotard, as many of my school-fellows
    are. I am respected by the natives, their kind expressions
    often make me ashamed, and they are sincere. So much
    deference and favor manifested without any effort on my part
    to secure it comes from the Author of every good gift. I
    acknowledge the mercies of the great God with devout and
    reverential gratitude."

[Footnote 37: Livingstone's Remedy for African fever. See Appendix No. II.]

Dr. Livingstone had declined a considerate proposal that another missionary should accompany him, and deliberately resolved to go this great journey alone. He knew, in fact, that except Mr. Moffat, who was busy with his translation of the Bible, no other missionary would go with him[38]. But in the absence of all to whom he could unburden his spirit, we find him more freely than usual pouring out his feelings in his Journal, and it is but an act of justice to himself that it should be made known how his thoughts were running, with so bold and difficult an undertaking before him:

[Footnote 38: Dr. Moffat informs us that Livingstone's desire for his company was most intense, and that he pressed him in such a way as would have been irresistible, had his going been possible. But for his employment in translating, Dr. Moffat would have gone with all his heart.]

    _28th September,_ 1852.--Am I on my way to die in Sebituane's
    country? Have I seen the end of my wife and children? The
    breaking up of all my connections with earth, leaving this
    fair and beautiful world, and knowing so little of it? I am
    only learning the alphabet of it yet, and entering on an
    untried state of existence. Following Him who has entered in
    before me into the cloud, the veil, the Hades, is a serious
    prospect. Do we begin again in our new existence to learn
    much by experience, or have we full powers? My soul, whither
    wilt thou emigrate? Where wilt thou lodge the first night
    after leaving this body? Will an angel soothe thy fluttering,
    for sadly flurried wilt thou be in entering upon eternity?
    Oh! if Jesus speak one word of peace, that will establish in
    thy breast an everlasting calm! O Jesus, fill me with Thy
    love now, and I beseech Thee, accept me, and use me a little
    for Thy glory. I have done nothing for Thee yet, and I would
    like to do something. O do, do, I beseech Thee, accept me and
    my service, and take Thou all the glory...."
    "_23d January_, 1853,--I think much of my poor children...."
    "_4th February_, 1853.--I am spared in health, while all the
    company have been attacked by the fever. If God has accepted
    my service, then my life is charmed till my work is done. And
    though I pass through many dangers unscathed while working
    the work given me to do, when that is finished, some simple
    thing will give me my quietus. Death is a glorious event to
    one going to Jesus. Whither does the soul wing its way? What
    does it see first? There is something sublime in passing into
    the second stage of our immortal lives if washed from our
    sins. But oh! to be consigned to ponder over all our sins
    with memories excited, every scene of our lives held up as in
    a mirror before our eyes, and we looking at them and waiting
    for the day of judgment!"
    "_17th February_.--It is not the encountering of difficulties
    and dangers in obedience to the promptings of the inward
    spiritual life, which constitutes tempting of God and
    Providence; but the acting without faith, proceeding on our
    own errands with no previous convictions of duty, and no
    prayer for aid and direction."
    "_22d May_.--I will place no value on anything I have or may
    possess, except in relation to the kingdom of Christ. If
    anything will advance the interests of that kingdom, it shall
    be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping of it I
    shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my
    hopes in time and eternity. May grace and strength sufficient
    to enable me to adhere faithfully to this resolution be
    imparted to me, so that in truth, not in name only, all my
    interests and those of my children may be identified with
    his cause.... I will try and remember always to approach God
    in secret with as much reverence in speech, posture, and
    behavior as in public. Help me, Thou who knowest my frame and
    pitiest as a father his children."

When Livingstone reached the Makololo, a change had taken place in the government of the tribe. Ma-mochisane, the daughter of Sebituane, had not been happy in her chiefdom, and had found it difficult to get along with the number of husbands whom her dignity as chief required her to maintain. She had given over the government to her brother Sekelétu, a youth of eighteen, who was generally recognized, though not without some reluctance, by his brother, Mpepe. Livingstone could not have foreseen how Sekelétu would receive him, but to his great relief and satisfaction he found him actuated by the most kindly feelings. He found him, boy as he was, full of vague expectations of benefits, marvelous and miraculous, which the missionaries were to bring. It was Livingstone's first work to disabuse his mind of these expectations, and let him understand that his supreme object was to teach them the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. To a certain extent Sekelétu was interested in this:

    "He asked many sensible questions about the system of
    Christianity in connection with the putting away of wives.
    They are always furnished with objections sooner than with
    the information. I commended him for asking me, and will
    begin a course of instruction to-morrow. He fears that
    learning to read will change his heart, and make him put away
    his wives. Much depends on his decision. May God influence
    his heart to decide aright!"

Two days after Livingstone says in his Journal:

    "_1st June_.--The chief presented eight large and three small
    tusks this morning. I told him and his people I would rather
    see them trading than giving them to me. They replied that
    they would get trade with George Fleming, and that, too, as
    soon as he was well; but these they gave to their father, and
    they were just as any other present. They asked after the
    gun-medicine, believing that now my heart would be warm
    enough to tell them anything, but I could not tell them a
    lie. I offered to show Sekelétu how to shoot, and that was
    all the medicine I knew. I felt as if I should have been more
    pleased had George been amassing ivory than I. Yet this may
    be an indispensable step in the progress toward opening the
    west. I must have funds; and here they come pouring in. It
    would be impossible to overlook his providence who has
    touched their hearts. I have used no undue influence. Indeed
    I have used none directly for the purpose Kindness shown has
    been appreciated here, while much greater kindness shown to
    tribes in the south has resulted in a belief we missionaries
    must be fools. I do thank my God sincerely for his favor, and
    my hearty prayer is that He may continue it, and make
    whatever use He pleases of me, and may He have mercy on this
    people!"

Dr. Livingstone was careful to guard against the supposition that he allowed Sekelétu to enrich him without recompense, and in his Journal he sets down a list of the various articles presented by himself to the chief, including three goats, some fowls, powder, wire, flints, percussion-caps, an umbrella and a hat, the value of the whole being £31, 16s. When Sekelétu knew Dr. Livingstone's plans, he undertook that he should be provided with all requisites for his journey. But he was most anxious to retain him, and for some time would not let him go. Livingstone had fascinated him. Sekelétu said that he had found a new father. And Livingstone pondered the possibility of establishing a station here. But the fever, the fever! could he bring his family? He must pass on and look for a healthier spot. His desire was to proceed to the country of the Barotse. At length, on the 16th June, Sekelétu gives his answer:

    "The chief has acceded to my request to proceed to Barotse
    and see the country. I told him my heart was sore, because
    having left my family to explore his land, and, if possible,
    find a suitable location for a mission, I could not succeed,
    because detained by him here. He says he will take me with
    him. He does not like to part with me at all. He is obliged
    to consult with those who gave their opinion against my
    leaving. But it is certain I am permitted to go. Thanks be to
    God for influencing their hearts!"

Before we set out with the chief on this journey, it will be well to give a few extracts from Livingstone's Journal, showing how unwearied were his efforts to teach the people:

    "_Banks of Chobe, Sunday, May 15th_.--Preached twice to about
    sixty people. Very attentive. It is only divine power which
    can enlighted dark minds as these.... The people seem to
    receive ideas on divine subjects slowly. They listen, but
    never suppose that the truths must become embodied in actual
    life. They will wait until the chief becomes a Christian, and
    if he believes, then they refuse to follow,--as was the case
    among the Bakwains. Procrastination seems as powerful an
    instrument of deception here as elsewhere."
    "_Sunday, 12th June_.--A good and very attentive audience. We
    introduce entirely new motives, and were these not perfectly
    adapted for the human mind and heart by their divine Author,
    we should have no success."
    "_Sunday, 19th June_.--A good and attentive audience, but
    immediately after the service I went to see a sick man, and
    when I returned toward the Kotla, I found the chief had
    retired into a hut to drink beer; and, as the custom is,
    about forty men were standing singing to him, or, in other
    words, begging beer by that means. A minister who had not
    seen so much pioneer service as I have done would have been
    shocked to see so little effect produced by an earnest
    discourse concerning the future judgment, but time must be
    given to allow the truth to sink into the dark mind, and
    produce its effect. The earth shall be filled with the
    knowledge of the glory of the Lord--that is enough. We can
    afford to work in faith, for Omnipotence is pledged to
    fulfill the promise. The great mountains become a plain
    before the Almighty arm. The poor Bushman, the most degraded
    of all Adam's family, shall see his glory, and the dwellers
    in the wilderness shall bow before Him. The obstacles to the
    coming of the Kingdom are mighty, but come it will for
    all that;
    "Then let us pray that come it may,
      As come, it will for a' that,
    That man to man the world o'er
      Shall brothers be for a' that.'
    "The hard and cold unbelief which distinguished the last
    century, and which is still aped by would-be philosophers in
    the present, would sneer at our faith, and call it
    superstition, enthusiasm, etc. But were we believers in human
    progress and no more, there must be a glorious future for our
    world. Our dreams must come true, even though they are no
    more than dreams. The world is rolling on to the golden
    age.... Discoveries and Inventions are cumulative. Another
    century must present a totally different aspect from the
    present. And when we view the state of the world and its
    advancing energies, in the light afforded by childlike, or
    call it childish, faith, we see the earth filling with the
    knowledge of the glory of God,--ay, all nations seeing his
    glory and bowing before Him whose right it is to reign. Our
    work and its fruits are cumulative. We work toward another
    state of things. Future missionaries will be rewarded by
    conversions for every sermon. We are their pioneers and
    helpers. Let them not forget the watchmen of the night--us,
    who worked when all was gloom, and no evidence of success in
    the way of conversion cheered our paths. They will doubtless
    have more light than we, but we served our Master earnestly,
    and proclaimed the same gospel as they will do."

Of the services which Livingstone held with the people, we have the following picture;

    "When I stand up, all the women and children draw near, and,
    having ordered silence, I explain the plan of salvation, the
    goodness of God in sending his Son to die, the confirmation
    of his mission by miracles, the last judgment or future
    state, the evil of sin, God's commands respecting it, etc.;
    always choosing one subject only for an address, and taking
    care to make it short and plain, and applicable to them. This
    address is listened to with great attention by most of the
    audience. A short prayer concludes the service, all kneeling
    down, and remaining so till told to rise. At first we have to
    enjoin on the women who have children to remain sitting, for
    when they kneel, they squeeze their children, and a
    simultaneous skirl is set up by the whole troop of
    youngsters, who make the prayer inaudible."

When Livingstone and Sekelétu had gone about sixty miles on the way to the Barotse, they encountered Mpepe, Sekelétu's half-brother and secret rival. It turned out that Mpepe had a secret plan for killing Sekelétu, and that three times on the day of their meeting that plan was frustrated by apparently accidental causes. On one of these occasions, Livingstone, by covering Sekelétu, prevented him from being speared. Mpepe's treachery becoming known, he was arrested by Sekelétu's people, and promptly put to death. The episode was not agreeable, but it illustrated savage life. It turned out that Mpepe favored the slave-trade, and was closely engaged with certain Portuguese traders in intrigues for establishing and extending it. Had Sekelétu been killed, Livingstone's enterprise would certainly have been put an end to, and very probably likewise Livingstone himself.

The party, numbering about one hundred and sixty, proceeded up the beautiful river which on his former visit Livingstone had first known as the Seshéke, but which was called by the Barotse the Liambai or Leeambye. The term means "the large river," and Luambeji, Luambesi, Ambezi, Yimbezi, and Zambezi are names applied to it at different parts of its course. In the progress of their journey they came to the town of the father of Mpepe, where, most unexpectedly, Livingstone encountered a horrible scene. Mpepe's father and another headman were known to have favored the plan for the murder of Sekelétu, and were therefore objects of fear to the latter. When all were met, and Mpepe's father was questioned why he did not stop his son's proceedings, Sekelétu suddenly sprang to his feet and gave the two men into custody. All had been planned beforehand. Forthwith they were led away, surrounded by Sekelétu's warriors, all dream of opposition on their part being as useless as interference would have been on Livingstone's. Before his eyes he saw them hewn to; pieces with axes, and cast into the river to be devoured by the alligators. Within two hours of their arrival the whole party had left the scene of this shocking tragedy, Livingstone being so horrified that he could not remain. He did his best to show the sin of blood-guiltiness, and bring before the people the scene of the Last Judgment, which was the only thing that seemed to make any impression.

Farther on his way he had an interview with Ma-mochisane, the daughter of Sebituane who had resigned in favor of Sekelétu. He was the first white man she had ever seen. The interview was pleasing and not without touches of womanly character; the poor woman had felt an _embarras de richesses_ in the matter of husbands, and was very uncomfortable when married women complained of her taking their spouses from them. Her soul recoiled from the business; she wished to have a husband of her own and to be like other women.

So anxious was Livingstone to find a healthy locality, that, leaving Sekelétu, he proceeded to the farthest limit of the Barotse country, but no healthy place could be found. It is plain, however, that in spite of all risk, and much as he suffered from the fever, he was planning, if no better place could be found, to return himself to Linyanti and be the Makololo missionary. Not just immediately, however. Having failed in the first object of his journey--to find a healthy locality--he was resolved to follow out the second, and endeavor to discover a highway to the sea. First he would try the west coast, and the point for which he would make was St. Paul de Loanda. He might have found a nearer way, but a Portuguese trader whom he had met, and from whom he had received kindness, was going by that route to St. Philip de Benguela. The trader was implicated in the slave-trade, and Livingstone knew what a disadvantage it would be either to accompany or to follow him. He therefore returned to Linyanti; and there began preparations for the journey to Loanda on the coast.

During the time thus spent in the Barotse country, Livingstone saw heathenism in its most unadulterated form. It was a painful, loathsome, and horrible spectacle. His views of the Fall and of the corruption of human nature were certainly not lightened by the sight. In his Journal he is constantly letting fall expressions of weariness at the noise, the excitement, the wild savage dancing, the heartless cruelty, the utter disregard of feelings, the destruction of children, the drudgery of the old people, the atrocious murders with which he was in contact. Occasionally he would think of other scenes of travel; if a friend, for example, were going to Palestine, he would say how gladly he would kiss the dust that had been trod by the Man of Sorrows. One day a poor girl comes hungry and naked to the wagons, and is relieved from time to time; then disappears to die in the woods of starvation or be torn in pieces by the hyenas. Another day, as he is preaching, a boy, walking along with his mother, is suddenly seized by a man, utters a shriek as if his heart had burst, and becomes, as Livingstone finds, a hopeless slave. Another time, the sickening sight is a line of slaves attached by a chain. That chain haunts and harrows him.

Amid all his difficulties he patiently pursued his work as missionary. Twice every Sunday he preached, usually to good audiences, the number rising on occasions so high as a thousand. It was a great work to sow the good seed so widely, where no Christian man had ever been, proclaiming every Lord's Day to fresh ears the message of Divine love. Sometimes he was in great hopes that a true impression had been made. But usually, whenever the service was over, the wild savage dance with all its demon noises succeeded, and the missionary could but look on and sigh. So ready was he for labor that when he could get any willing to learn, he commenced teaching them the alphabet. But he was continually met by the notion that his religion was a religion of medicines, and that all the good it could do was by charms. Intellectual culture seemed indispensable to dissipate this inveterate superstition regarding Christian influence.

A few extracts from his Journal in the Barotse country will more vividly exhibit his state of mind:

    "_27th August_, 1853.--The more intimately I become
    acquainted with barbarians, the more disgusting does
    heathenism become. It is inconceivably vile. They are always
    boasting of their fierceness, yet dare not visit another
    tribe for fear of being killed. They never visit anywhere but
    for the purpose of plunder and oppression. They never go
    anywhere but with a club or spear in hand. It is lamentable
    to see those who might be children of God, dwelling in peace
    and love, so utterly the children of the devil, dwelling in
    fear and continual irritation. They bestow honors and
    flattering titles on me in confusing profusion. All from the
    least to the greatest call me Father, Lord, etc., and bestow
    food without recompense, out of pure kindness. They need a
    healer. May God enable me to be such to them....
    "_31st August_.--The slave-trade seems pushed into the very
    centre of the continent from both sides. It must be
    profitable....
    "_September 25, Sunday_.--A quiet audience to-day. The seed
    being sown, the least of all seeds now, but it will grow a
    mighty tree. It is as it were a small stone cut out of a
    mountain, but it will fill the whole earth. He that believeth
    shall not make haste. Surely if God can bear with hardened
    impenitent sinners for thirty, forty, or fifty years, waiting
    to be gracious, we may take it for granted that his is the
    best way. He could destroy his enemies, but He waits to be
    gracious. To become irritated with their stubbornness and
    hardness of heart is ungodlike....
    "_13th October_.--Missionaries ought to cultivate a taste for
    the beautiful. We are necessarily compelled to contemplate
    much moral impurity and degradation. We are so often doomed
    to disappointment. We are apt to become either callous or
    melancholy, or, if preserved from these, the constant strain
    on the sensibilities is likely to injure the bodily health.
    On this account it seems necessary to cultivate that faculty
    for the gratification of which God has made such universal
    provision. See the green earth and blue sky, the lofty
    mountain and the verdant valley, the glorious orbs of day and
    night, and the starry canopy with all their celestial
    splendor, the graceful flowers so chaste in form and perfect
    in coloring. The various forms of animated life present to
    him whose heart is at peace with God through the blood of his
    Son an indescribable charm. He sees in the calm beauties of
    nature such abundant provision for the welfare of humanity
    and animate existence. There appears on the quiet repose of
    earth's scenery the benignant smile of a Father's love. The
    sciences exhibit such wonderful intelligence and design in
    all their various ramifications, some time ought to be
    devoted to them before engaging in missionary work. The heart
    may often be cheered by observing the operation of an
    ever-present intelligence, and we may feel that we are
    leaning on his bosom while living in a world clothed in
    beauty, and robed with the glorious perfections of its maker
    and preserver. We must feel that there is a Governor among
    the nations who will bring all his plans with respect to our
    human family to a glorious consummation. He who stays his
    mind on his ever-present, ever-energetic God, will not fret
    himself because of evil-doers. He that believeth shall not
    make haste."
    "_26th October_.--I have not yet met with a beautiful woman
    among the black people, and I have seen many thousands in a
    great variety of tribes. I have seen a few who might be
    called passable, but none at all to be compared to what one
    may meet among English servant-girls. Some beauties are said
    to be found among the Caffres, but among the people I have
    seen I cannot conceive of any European being captivated with
    them. The whole of my experience goes toward proving that
    civilization alone produces beauty, and exposure to the
    weather and other vicissitudes tend to the production of
    deformation and ugliness....
    "_28th October_.--The conduct of the people whom we have
    brought from Kuruman shows that no amount of preaching or
    instruction will insure real piety.... The old superstitions
    cannot be driven out of their minds by faith implanted by
    preaching. They have not vanished in either England or
    Scotland yet, after the lapse of centuries of preaching.
    Kuruman, the entire population of which amounted in 1853 to
    638 souls, enjoys and has enjoyed the labors of at least two
    missionaries,--four sermons, two prayer-meetings, infant
    schools, adult schools, sewing schools, classes, books, etc.,
    and the amount of visible success is very gratifying, a
    remarkable change indeed from the former state of these
    people. Yet the dregs of heathenism still cleave fast to the
    minds of the majority. They have settled deep down into their
    souls, and one century will not be sufficient to elevate them
    to the rank of Christians in Britain. The double influence of
    the spirit of commerce and the gospel of Christ has given an
    impulse to the civilization of men. The circulation of ideas
    and commodities over the face of the earth, and the discovery
    of the gold regions, have given enhanced rapidity to commerce
    in other countries, and the diffusion of knowledge. But what
    for Africa? God will do something else for it; something just
    as wonderful and unexpected as the discovery of gold."

It needs not to be said that his thoughts were very often with his wife and children. A tender letter to the four little ones shows that though some of them might be beginning to forget him, their names were written imperishably on his heart:

    "_Sekelétu's Town, Linyanti, 2d October_.--MY DEAR ROBERT,
    AGNES, AND THOMAS AND OSWELL,--Here is another little letter
    for you all. I should like to see you much more than write to
    you, and speak with my tongue rather than with my pen; but we
    are far from each other--very, very far. Here are Seipone,
    and Meriye and others who saw you as the first white children
    they ever looked at. Meriye came the other day and brought a
    round basket for Nannie. She made it of the leaves of the
    palmyra. Others put me in mind of you all by calling me
    Rananee, and Rarobert, and there is a little Thomas in the
    town, and when I think of you I remember, though I am far
    off, Jesus, our good and gracious Jesus, is ever near both
    you and me, and then I pray to Him to bless you and make
    you good.
    "He is ever near. Remember this if you feel angry or naughty.
    Jesus is near you, and sees you, and He is so good and kind.
    When He was among men, those who heard Him speak said, 'Never
    man spake like this man,' and we now say, 'Never did man love
    like Him.' You see little Zouga is carried on mamma's bosom.
    You are taken care of by Jesus with as much care as mamma
    takes of Zouga. He is always watching you and keeping you in
    safety. It is very bad to sin, to do any naughty things, or
    speak angry or naughty words before Him.
    "My dear children, take Him as your Guide, your Helper, your
    Friend, and Saviour through life. Whatever you are troubled
    about ask Him to keep you. Our God is good. We thank Him that
    we have such a Saviour and Friend as He is. Now you are
    little, but you will not always be so, hence you must learn
    to read and write and work. All clever men can both read and
    write, and Jesus needs clever men to do his work. Would you
    not like to work for Him among men? Jesus is wishing to send
    his gospel to all nations, and He needs clever men to do
    this. Would you like to serve Him? Well, you must learn now,
    and not get tired learning. After some time you will like
    learning better than playing, but you must play, too, in
    order to make your bodies strong and be able to serve Jesus.
    "I am glad to hear that you go to the academy. I hope you are
    learning fast. Don't speak Scotch. It is not so pretty as
    English. Is the Tau learning to read with mamma? I hope you
    are all kind to mamma. I saw a poor woman in a chain with
    many others, up at the Barotse. She had a little child, and
    both she and her child were very thin. See how kind Jesus was
    to you. No one can put you in chains unless you become bad.
    If, however, you learn bad ways, beginning only by saying bad
    words or doing little bad things, Satan will have you in the
    chains of sin, and you will be hurried on in his bad ways
    till you are put into the dreadful place which God hath
    prepared for him and all who are like him. Pray to Jesus to
    deliver you from sin, give you new hearts, and make you his
    children. Kiss Zouga, mamma, and each other for me.--Your
    ever affectionate father,
    "D. LIVINGSTON."

A letter to his father and other relations at Hamilton, 30th September, 1853, is of a somewhat apologetic and explanatory cast. Some of the friends had the notion that he should have settled somewhere, "preaching the simple gospel," and converting people by every sermon:

    "You see what they make of the gospel, and my conversation on
    it, in which my inmost Heart yearned for their conversion.
    Many now think Jesus and Sebituane very much the same sort of
    person. I was prevented by fever and other matters from at
    once following up the glorious object of this journey: viz.,
    while preaching the gospel beyond every other man's line of
    things made ready to our hands, to discover a healthy
    location for a mission, and I determined to improve the time
    by teaching to read. This produced profound deliberation and
    lengthened palavers, and at length the chief told me that he
    feared learning to read would change his heart and make him
    content with one wife like Sechéle. He has four. It was in
    vain I urged that the change contemplated made the affair as
    voluntary as if he would now change his mind from four to
    thirty, as his father had. He could not realize the change
    that would give relish to any other system than the present.
    He felt as the man who is mentioned by Serles as saying he
    would not like to go to heaven to be employed for ever
    singing and praising on a bare cloud without anything to eat
    or drink....
    "The conversion of a few, however valuable their souls may
    be, cannot be put into the scale against the knowledge of the
    truth spread over the whole country. In this I do and will
    exult. As in India, we are doomed to perpetual
    disappointment; but the knowledge of Christ spreads over the
    masses. We are like voices crying in the wilderness. We
    prepare the way for a glorious future in which missionaries
    telling the same tale of love will convert by every sermon. I
    am trying now to establish the Lord's kingdom in a region
    wider by far than Scotland. Fever seems to forbid; but I
    shall work for the glory of Christ's kingdom--fever or no
    fever. All the intelligent men who direct our society and
    understand the nature of my movements support me warmly. A
    few, I understand, in Africa, in writing home, have styled my
    efforts as 'wanderings.' The very word contains a lie coiled
    like a serpent in its bosom. It means traveling without an
    object, or uselessly. I am now performing the duty of writing
    you. If this were termed 'dawdling,' it would be as true as
    the other.... I have actually seen letters to the Directors
    in which I am gravely charged with holding the views of the
    Plymouth Brethren, So very sure am I that I am in the path
    which God's Providence has pointed out, as that by which
    Christ's kingdom is to be promoted, that if the Society
    should object, I would consider it my duty to withdraw
    from it....
    _"P.S._--My throat became well during the long silence of
    traveling across the desert. It plagues again now that I am
    preaching in a moist climate."

Dr. Livingstone now began his preparations for the journey from Linyanti to Loanda. Sekelétu was kind and generous. The road was impracticable for wagons, and the native trader, George Fleming, returned to Kuruman, The Kuruman guides had not done well, so that Livingstone resolved to send them back, and to get Makololo men instead. Here is the record of his last Sunday at Linyanti:

    "_6th Nov., 1853_.--Large audience. Kuruman people don't
    attend. If it is a fashion to be church-going, many are drawn
    into its observance. But placed in other circumstances, the
    true character comes out. This is the case with many
    Scotchmen. May God so imbue my mind with the spirit of
    Christianity that in all circumstances I may show my
    Christian character! Had a long conversation with Motlube,
    chiefly on a charm for defending the town or for gun
    medicine. They think I know it but will not impart the secret
    to them. I used every form of expression to undeceive him,
    but to little purpose. Their belief in medicine which will
    enable them to shoot well is very strong, and simple trust in
    an unseen Saviour to defend them against such enemies as the
    Matebele is too simple for them. I asked if a little charcoal
    sewed up in a bag were a more feasible protector than He who
    made all things, and told them that one day they would laugh
    heartily at their own follies in bothering me so much for gun
    medicine. A man who has never had to do with a raw heathen
    tribe has yet to learn the Missionary A B C."

On the 8th he writes:

    "Our intentions are to go up the Leeba till we reach the
    falls, then send back the canoe and proceed in the country
    beyond as best we can. Matiamvo is far beyond, but the
    Cassantse (probably Cassange) live on the west of the river.
    May God in mercy permit me to do something for the cause of
    Christ in these dark places of the earth! May He accept my
    children for his service, and sanctify them for it! My
    blessing on my wife. May God comfort her! If my watch comes
    back after I am cut off, it belongs to Agnes. If my sextant,
    it is Robert's. The Paris medal to Thomas. Double-barreled
    gun to Zouga. Be a Father to the fatherless, and a Husband to
    the widow, for Jesus' sake."

The probability of his falling was full in his view. But the thought was ever in his mind, and ever finding expression in letters both to the Missionary and the Geographical Societies, and to all his friends,--"Can the love of Christ not carry the missionary where the slave-trade carries the trader?" His wagon and goods were left with Sekelétu, and also the Journal from which these extracts are taken[39]. It was well for him that his conviction of duty was clear as noonday. A year after, he wrote to his father-in-law:

[Footnote 39: This Journal is mentioned in the _Missionary Travels_ as having been lost (p. 229). It was afterward recovered. It contains, among other things, some important notes on Natural History.]

    I had fully made up my mind as to the path of duty before
    starting. I wrote to my brother-in-law, Robert Moffat: 'I
    shall open up a path into the interior, or perish.' I never
    have had the shadow of a shade of doubt as to the propriety
    of my course, and wish only that my exertions may be honored
    so far that the gospel may be preached and believed in all
    this dark region."