The New York Times, January 27, 1874, p.4:|
A telegraphic dispatch announcing the death of Dr. Livingstone, the African explorer, was received yesterday. It came from London to this country, but was in the first place from Zanzibar, and stated that advices had been received from the exploring party accompanying Dr. Livingstone announcing his death...
Rev. David Livingstone was born in 1817 at Blantyre, near Glasgow, Scotland, of parents who were emphatically poor and honest. His father was a small grocery man, as groceries are understood in that country, dealing in tea, coffee, sugar, and spices. His son David, while yet a wee bairn, had to contribute his share of exertion for the family, and worked in those cotton mills to which the village of Blantyre owes its existence. At night time he picked up the rudiments of learning, and showed, as soon as he had mastered reading, a strong taste for books.
His father was not the man to tread down such inclinations, and by pinching here and clipping there he was enabled to send his son to the university at Glasgow during the Winter months, and during the vacation he worked away among the spindles of the cotton mills. During these years he acquired that modicum of Greek and Latin which, in European colleges, appears as the great desideratum. But the young man had evidently no taste for classical literature. His great wish was then to go to China either as a missionary or as a surgeon.
In the former capacity there appeared to be no opening, so he studied medicine for several years, supporting himself in the meantime by his own labors. In 1838 he passed his examinations in surgery, physics, and medicine, and was admitted as a general practitioner. But, although qualified to practice, such seems never to have been his intention, and learning that the London Missionary Society was in want of agents for the African missions, and that a knowledge of medicine and surgery was very much desired, he made application such work, and was at once accepted.
He was ordained shortly afterward, and in the following year embarked for Natal. It had been his most ardent wish to go to China, but the Providence that shapes our ends overruled this, to his great disappointment at the time. For the opium war was then raging...
At Port Natal Dr. Livingstone found himself associated with Rev. Mr. Moffat, a missionary whose unaffected piety had won universal confidence from the negro tribes around. Dr. Livingstone... built himself a house at Eolobeng, to the great admiration not only of the Bechuanas, but of the adventurous Makololo, who described it as "not a house, but a mountain with several caves." To this home he led his young wife, the daughter of the good Robert Moffat, and here his eldest son, Robert, was born...
Having now established his basis among the people of the Bakwain country, he commenced that wonderful series of explorations which has ended to sadly in that lonely encampment in the thick African woods, beyond Unyanyembe. His first effort was the exploration of the Kalahari Desert, and after much suffering he was rewarded by the discovery of the Zonga River. Having constructed canoes, he was paddled down the stream, and after some days found himself floating in the tranquil waters of Lake Ngami, the most southerly of that great chain of lakes which occupies the centre of Africa. This was in 1849, the ninth year of his residence in Africa.
Next year, he returned to the newly-discovered Lake Ngami, bringing with him his wife and children, for Charles Livingstone had now been born. This time, however, he did not dare the dangers of the Kalahari, but circuitously skirted around its edges. In spite of these precautions, the children and the good, patient wife suffered terribly, and he returned to Koldbery...
But the spirit of adventure was unquenchable, and he determined to strike next time for the head-quarters of the Makololo at Linyanti. He started again in 1851 for the Kalahari Desert, following the windings of the Zonga, but when he reached Lake Ngami he struck out to the right, crossing plains covered with a sahna effervesence without springs, and a dreadful spectacle of aridity and barrenness. Beyond this was the Euobub country of the Makololo, a land very humid by reason of many rivers.
He soon arrived at Linyanti, the capital, where he found a monarch, Sekeletn, most amicably disposed toward himself. Indeed, every African seems to have loved this extraordinary man, and even those who cheated him did so in a half-hearted sort of a way--very different from the brazen assurance with which some other travelers have been despised.
He remained some time at Linyanti to refresh himself and his party, and then began to examine the country. He was not long in discovering the great Zambezi River, the chief stream of Southern Africa. His ardent imagination now conceived a great enterprise. It was to open up the Zambezi by means of light steamers, and to evangelize the inhabitants in all the regions watered by the river, by introducing commerce and the Bible.
Fired by this thought, he returned to Koldbery, and immediately broke up his home and departed for Cape Town with his wife and children, where he laid his plan before his immediate superiors, proposing to devote the next two or three years to the thorough exploration of the region and the acquisition of languages. They most heartily assented, and supplied him with the necessary means, his family being sent off to Europe.
It was in the month of March, 1852, when he left the Cape to start on this most memorable journey, which, whether we regard the distance traveled, the circumstances attending it, or the difficulties surmounted, is unparalled, either in ancient or modern times. Leaving the Cape, he made his way to his father-in-law's station, some 200 miles south of Koldbery... when he arrived at his own station... his home was in ruins, and the natives left in charge killed or scattered by the Dutch Boers of the Suzereinte. Their reason for this extraordinary act of barbarity was the friendship between Dr. Livingstone and certain Bechuanas whom they accused of stealing their cattle, much after the manner of a well-known quarrel between a wolf and a lamb.
He at once departed for Linyanti... He visited the Zambezi again, and then being furnished with escorts and porters, and equipped with stores by the generous Sekeletn, he plunged into the unknown wilderness of forest, having turned his face westward. The circumstances of this extraordinary march to St. Paul de Loando, the capital of the Portuguese settlement of Angola, in Western Africa, has been told by himself in a well-known most interesting book of travels.
For two years he was wandering, sometimes detained by curious chieftains, who took his presence as a personal compliment, sometimes by swollen rivers, sometimes by extortionate head-men, but still he pressed on bravely until in the fullness of days he found himself in the Valley of the Cassarye. He was by this time half crazy with fever, often blind with the intolerable headaches it induced, but powerless to contend with it, having exhausted his quinine. But the site of the Portuguese plantations along the river gave him new courage, and at length he found himself in the City of San Paolo.
It was an imposing place, having 12,000 inhabitants, and in the harbor were British men-of-war cruising to put down the slave trade. The astonishment of the Makololo, when they saw the sea, was tremendous. They came to Livingstone and said to him, "Now we have seen it. We marched along with our father, believing that which our old men said was true, that the world has no end. But all at once the world says to us, 'I am finished. There is no more of me.'" And they were greatly impressed by the universal respect paid to Livingstone, for now, they said, they knew he was a great man...
The Makololo looked wistfully at their father, who had promised to take them back again to Linyanti, and back again he went with them. After numerous adventures he got safely to Seketeln's palace of wattles, and was received with transport.
He now in earnest explored the Zambezi, marching down its banks to its mouth on the Mozambique Sea, upon one of which is the Portuguese port of Tette [Tete, Mozambique, 240 miles upstream from the mouth of the Zambezi]. Not far from Tette [actually hundreds of miles further upriver, south of Livingstone, Zambia] are the great falls of the Zambezi, which he called Victoria.
At Tette her Majesty's ship Frolic soon arrived, and took him to the Mauritius, whence he sailed for Europe, arriving there at the end of 1856... Arrived in England, he received such a welcome as has blessed few men... In 1857 he published a narrative of his travels, which has since passed through many editions.
In 1858 he returned to Africa to explore the Zambezi and its tributaries with steam launches, and to introduce the blessings of civilization among the people. During the course of this expedition he discovered Lakes Nyassa [Lake Malawi, Lake Nyasa] and Shirvan [Lake Shirwa, Lake Kilwa, Lake Chilwa], and made many interesting explorations. But his dear wife died six months after the Nyassa discovery, and the expedition was recalled by the Government in 1863. The open hostility of the Mussulmen, and the covert but ceaseless opposition of the Portuguese, nullified all his efforts, and nothing came of an undertaking that had promised so fairly. The climate was also by no means so favorable as Livingstone had believed, and, indeed, had he not been sanguine he might have guessed that the vicinity of large rivers in tropical countries can never be healthy.
He returned to Bombay in 1864, and thence reached London in the month of July of the same year... he left England for the last time in April, 1865. His object was stated by himself in the preface to his book on the Zambezi and its tributaries. "I propose," he wrote, "to go inland north of the territory which the Portuguese in Europe claim... I hope to ascend the Rovuma [Ruvuma], or some other river north of Cape Delgado, and in addition to my other work, shall strive, by passing along the northern end of Lake Nyassa, and round the southern end of Lake Tanganyika, to ascertain the watershed of that part of Africa. In so doing, I have no wish to unsettle what, with so much toil and danger, was accomplished by Speke and Grant, but rather to confirm their illustrious discoveries."
Having plunged once again into the mysterious recesses of Africa, so long an interval elapsed before tidings were received from him that his friends in England were most seriously alarmed, and a search expedition was started up after him in June, 1867. They never came up with him, but managed to get a letter from him, dated July, 1868, from Lake Bangweolo, when he stated that he believed he might safely assert the sources of the Nile to be between 10° and 12° south latitude, and that he thought the Rovuma River was the Rhapta of the Greek geographer Ptolemy. This reached England November, 1869.
Another communication came to London, May 13, 1869, and was dated from Ujiji. And in 1871, a well authenticated rumor was current that he was making extensive explorations to the west of Tanganyika. From that moment nothing further was heard of him until he was found near Ujiji by Mr. Stanley, the correspondent of the New-York Herald.
The discoverer was hailed in England with the heartiest welcome, but his geographical information was not so full as was desired by the Royal Geographical Society, and they started an expedition under Lieut. Grandy to reach him by way of the Congo. The British Government almost at the same time sent out the search expedition under Lieut. Cameron, which had the melancholy fortune of finding the expiring or already dead hero...
see also: Congo News - Tanzania News - Angola News - Malawi News|
Mozambique News - Namibia News - Zimbabwe News
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