Intercourse with Livingstone at Ujiji — Livingstone’s own story of his journeys, His troubles, and disappointments.
“If there is love between us, inconceivably delicious, and profitable will our intercourse be; if not, your time is lost, and you will only annoy me. I shall seem to you stupid, and the reputation I have false. All my good is magnetic, and I educate not by lessons, but by going about my business.” — Emerson’s ‘Representative Men’.
I woke up early next morning with a sudden start. The room was strange! It was a house, and not my tent! Ah, yes! I recollected I had discovered Livingstone, and I was in his house. I listened, that the knowledge dawning on me might be confirmed by the sound of his voice. I heard nothing but the sullen roar of the surf.
I lay quietly in bed. Bed! Yes, it was a primitive four-poster, with the leaves of the palm-tree spread upon it instead of down, and horsehair and my bearskin spread over this serving me in place of linen. I began to put myself under rigid mental cross-examination, and to an analyzation of my position.
“What was I sent for?”
“To find Livingstone.”
“Have you found him?”
“Yes, of course; am I not in his house? Whose compass is that hanging on a peg there? Whose clothes, whose boots, are those? Who reads those newspapers, those ‘Saturday Reviews’ and numbers of ‘Punch’ lying on the floor?”
“Well, what are you going to do now?”
“I shall tell him this morning who sent me, and what brought me here. I will then ask him to write a letter to Mr. Bennett, and to give what news he can spare. I did not come here to rob him of his news. Sufficient for me is it that I have found him. It is a complete success so far. But it will be a greater one if he gives me letters for Mr. Bennett, and an acknowledgment that he has seen me.”
“Do you think he will do so?”
“Why not? I have come here to do him a service. He has no goods. I have. He has no men with him. I have. If I do a friendly part by him, will he not do a friendly part by me? What says the poet? —
Nor hope to find
A friend, but who has found a friend in thee.
All like the purchase; few the price will pay
And this makes friends such wonders here below.
I have paid the purchase, by coming so far to do him a service. But I think, from what I have seen of him last night, that he is not such a niggard and misanthrope as I was led to believe. He exhibited considerable emotion, despite the monosyllabic greeting, when he shook my hand. If he were a man to feel annoyance at any person coming after him, he would not have received me as he did, nor would he ask me to live with him, but he would have surlily refused to see me, and told me to mind my own business. Neither does he mind my nationality; for ‘here,’ said he, ‘Americans and Englishmen are the same people. We speak the same language and have the same ideas.’ Just so, Doctor; I agree with you. Here at least, Americans and Englishmen shall be brothers, and, whatever I can do for you, you may command me freely.”
I dressed myself quietly, intending to take a stroll along the Tanganika before the Doctor should rise; opened the door, which creaked horribly on its hinges, and walked out to the veranda.
“Halloa, Doctor! — you up already? I hope you have slept well? ”
“Good-morning, Mr. Stanley! I am glad to see you. I hope you rested well. I sat up late reading my letters. You have brought me good and bad news. But sit down. “He made a place for me by his side. “Yes, many of my friends are dead. My eldest son has met with a sad accident — that is, my boy Tom; my second son, Oswell, is at college studying medicine, and is doing well I am told. Agnes, my eldest daughter, has been enjoying herself in a yacht, with ‘Sir Paraffine’ Young and his family. Sir Roderick, also, is well, and expresses a hope that he will soon see me. You have brought me quite a budget.”
The man was not an apparition, then, and yesterday’s scenes were not the result of a dream! and I gazed on him intently, for thus I was assured he had not run away, which was the great fear that constantly haunted me as I was journeying to Ujiji.
“Now, Doctor,” said I, “you are, probably, wondering why I came here?”
“It is true,” said he; “I have been wondering. I thought you, at first, an emissary of the French Government, in the place of Lieutenant Le Saint, who died a few miles above Gondokoro. I heard you had boats, plenty of men, and stores, and I really believed you were some French officer, until I saw the American flag; and, to tell you the truth, I was rather glad it was so, because I could not have talked to him in French; and if he did not know English, we had been a pretty pair of white men in Ujiji! I did not like to ask you yesterday, because I thought it was none of my business.”
Well,” said I, laughing, “for your sake I am glad that I am an American, and not a Frenchman, and that we can understand each other perfectly without an interpreter. I see that the Arabs are wondering that you, an Englishman, and I, an American, understand each other. We must take care not to tell them that the English and Americans have fought, and that there are ‘Alabama’ claims left unsettled, and that we have such people as Fenians in America, who hate you. But, seriously, Doctor — now don’t be frightened when I tell you that I have come after — you!”
“Well. You have heard of the ‘New York Herald?’”
“Oh — who has not heard of that newspaper?”
“Without his father’s knowledge or consent, Mr. James Gordon Bennett, son of Mr. James Gordon Bennett, the proprietor of the ‘Herald,’ has commissioned me to find you — to get whatever news of your discoveries you like to give — and to assist you, if I can, with means.”
“Young Mr. Bennett told you to come after me, to find me out, and help me! It is no wonder, then, you praised Mr. Bennett so much last night.”
“I know him — I am proud to say — to be just what I say he is. He is an ardent, generous, and true man.”
“Well, indeed! I am very much obliged to him; and it makes me feel proud to think that you Americans think so much of me. You have just come in the proper time; for I was beginning to think that I should have to beg from the Arabs. Even they are in want of cloth, and there are but few beads in Ujiji. That fellow Sherif has robbed me of all. I wish I could embody my thanks to Mr. Bennett in suitable words; but if I fail to do so, do not, I beg of you, believe me the less grateful.”
“And now, Doctor, having disposed of this little affair, Ferajji shall bring breakfast; if you have no objection.”
“You have given me an appetite,” he said.
“Halimah is my cook, but she never can tell the difference between tea and coffee.”
Ferajji, the cook, was ready as usual with excellent tea, and a dish of smoking cakes; “dampers,” as the Doctor called them. I never did care much for this kind of a cake fried in a pan, but they were necessary to the Doctor, who had nearly lost all his teeth from the hard fare of Lunda. He had been compelled to subsist on green ears of Indian corn; there was no meat in that district; and the effort to gnaw at the corn ears had loosened all his teeth. I preferred the corn scones of Virginia, which, to my mind, were the nearest approach to palatable bread obtainable in Central Africa.
The Doctor said he had thought me a most luxurious and rich man, when he saw my great bath-tub carried on the shoulders of one of my men; but he thought me still more luxurious this morning, when my knives and forks, and plates, and cups, saucers, silver spoons, and silver teapot were brought forth shining and bright, spread on a rich Persian carpet, and observed that I was well attended to by my yellow and ebon Mercuries.
This was the beginning of our life at Ujiji. I knew him not as a friend before my arrival. He was only an object to me — a great item for a daily newspaper, as much as other subjects in which the voracious news-loving public delight in. I had gone over battlefields, witnessed revolutions, civil wars, rebellions, emeutes and massacres; stood close to the condemned murderer to record his last struggles and last sighs; but never had I been called to record anything that moved me so much as this man’s woes and sufferings, his privations and disappointments, which now were poured into my ear. Verily did I begin to perceive that “the Gods above do with just eyes survey the affairs of men.” I began to recognize the hand of an overruling and kindly Providence.
The following are singular facts worthy for reflection. I was, commissioned for the duty of discovering Livingstone sometime in October, 1869. Mr. Bennett was ready with the money, and I was ready for the journey. But, observe, reader, that I did not proceed directly upon the search mission. I had many tasks to fulfil before proceeding with it, and many thousand miles to travel over. Supposing that I had gone direct to Zanzibar from Paris, seven or eight months afterwards, perhaps, I should have found myself at Ujiji, but Livingstone would not have been found there then; he was on the Lualaba; and I should have had to follow him on his devious tracks through the primeval forests of Manyuema, and up along the crooked course of the Lualaba for hundreds of miles. The time taken by me in travelling up the Nile, back to Jerusalem, then to Constantinople, Southern Russia, the Caucasus, and Persia, was employed by Livingstone in fruitful discoveries west of the Tanganika. Again, consider that I arrived at Unyanyembe in the latter part of June, and that owing to a war I was delayed three months at Unyanyembe, leading a fretful, peevish and impatient life. But while I was thus fretting myself, and being delayed by a series of accidents, Livingstone was being forced back to Ujiji in the same month. It took him from June to October to march to Ujiji. Now, in September, I broke loose from the thraldom which accident had imposed on me, and hurried southward to Ukonongo, then westward to Kawendi, then northward to Uvinza, then westward to Ujiji, only about three weeks after the Doctor’s arrival, to find him resting under the veranda of his house with his face turned eastward, the direction from which I was coming. Had I gone direct from Paris on the search I might have lost him; had I been enabled to have gone direct to Ujiji from Unyanyembe I might have lost him.
The days came and went peacefully and happily, under the palms of Ujiji. My companion was improving in health and spirits. Life had been brought back to him; his fading vitality was restored, his enthusiasm for his work was growing up again into a height that was compelling him to desire to be up and doing. But what could he do, with five men and fifteen or twenty cloths?
“Have you seen the northern head of the Tangannka, Doctor?” I asked one day.
“No; I did try to go there, but the Wajiji were doing their best to fleece me, as they did both Burton and Speke, and I had not a great deal of cloth. If I had gone to the head of the Tanganika, I could not have gone, to Manyuema. The central line of drainage was the most important, and that is the Lualaba. Before this line the question whether there is a connection between the Tanganika and the Albert N’Yanza sinks into insignificance. The great line of drainage is the river flowing from latitude 11 degrees south, which I followed for over seven degrees northward. The Chambezi, the name given to its most southern extremity, drains a large tract of country south of the southernmost source of the Tanganika; it must, therefore, be the most important. I have not the least doubt, myself, but that this lake is the Upper Tanganika, and the Albert N’Yanza of Baker is the Lower Tanganika, which are connected by a river flowing from the upper to the lower. This is my belief, based upon reports of the Arabs, and a test I made of the flow with water-plants. But I really never gave it much thought.”
“Well, if I were you, Doctor, before leaving Ujiji, I should explore it, and resolve the doubts upon the subject; lest, after you leave here, you should not return by this way. The Royal Geographical Society attach much importance to this supposed connection, and declare you are the only man who can settle it. If I can be of any service to you, you may command me. Though I did not come to Africa as an explorer, I have a good deal of curiosity upon the subject, and should be willing to accompany you. I have with me about twenty men who understand rowing we have plenty of guns, cloth, and beads; and if we can get a canoe from the Arabs we can manage the thing easily.”
“Oh, we can get a canoe from Sayd bin Majid. This man has been very kind to me, and if ever there was an Arab gentleman, he is one.”
“Then it is settled, is it, that we go?”
“I am ready, whenever you are.”
“I am at your command. Don’t you hear my men call you the ‘Great Master,’ and me the ‘Little Master?’ It would never do for the ‘Little Master’ to command.”
By this time Livingstone was becoming known to me. I defy any one to be in his society long without thoroughly fathoming him, for in him there is no guile, and what is apparent on the surface is the thing that is in him. I simply write down my own opinion of the man as I have seen him, not as he represents himself; as I know him to be, not as I have heard of him. I lived with him from the 10th November, 1871, to the 14th March, 1872; witnessed his conduct in the camp, and on the march, and my feelings for him are those of unqualified admiration. The camp is the best place to discover a man’s weaknesses, where, if he is flighty or wrong-headed, he is sure to develop his hobbies and weak side. I think it possible, however, that Livingstone, with an unsuitable companion, might feel annoyance. I know I should do so very readily, if a man’s character was of that oblique nature that it was an impossibility to travel in his company. I have seen men, in whose company I felt nothing but a thraldom, which it was a duty to my own self-respect to cast off as soon as possible; a feeling of utter incompatibility, with whose nature mine could never assimilate. But Livingstone was a character that I venerated, that called forth all my enthusiasm, that evoked nothing but sincerest admiration.
Dr. Livingstone is about sixty years old, though after he was restored to health he appeared more like a man who had not passed his fiftieth year. His hair has a brownish colour yet, but is here and there streaked with grey lines over the temples; his whiskers and moustache are very grey. He shaves his chin daily. His eyes, which are hazel, are remarkably bright; he has a sight keen as a hawk’s. His teeth alone indicate the weakness of age; the hard fare of Lunda has made havoc in their lines. His form, which soon assumed a stoutish appearance, is a little over the ordinary height with the slightest possible bow in the shoulders. When walking he has a firm but heavy tread, like that of an overworked or fatigued man. He is accustomed to wear a naval cap with a semicircular peak, by which he has been identified throughout Africa. His dress, when first I saw him, exhibited traces of patching and repairing, but was scrupulously clean.
I was led to believe that Livingstone possessed a splenetic, misanthropic temper; some have said that he is garrulous, that he is demented; that he has utterly changed from the David Livingstone whom people knew as the reverend missionary; that he takes no notes or observations but such as those which no other person could read but himself; and it was reported, before I proceeded to Central Africa, that he was married to an African princess.
I respectfully beg to differ with all and each of the above statements. I grant he is not an angel, but he approaches to that being as near as the nature of a living man will allow. I never saw any spleen or misanthropy in him — as for being garrulous, Dr. Livingstone is quite the reverse: he is reserved, if anything; and to the man who says Dr. Livingstone is changed, all I can say is, that he never could have known him, for it is notorious that the Doctor has a fund of quiet humour, which he exhibits at all times whenever he is among friends. I must also beg leave to correct the gentleman who informed me that Livingstone takes no notes or observations. The huge Letts’s Diary which I carried home to his daughter is full of notes, and there are no less than a score of sheets within it filled with observations which he took during the last trip he made to Manyuema alone; and in the middle of the book there is sheet after sheet, column after column, carefully written, of figures alone. A large letter which I received from him has been sent to Sir Thomas MacLear, and this contains nothing but observations. During the four months I was with him, I noticed him every evening making most careful notes; and a large tin box that he has with him contains numbers of field note-books, the contents of which I dare say will see the light some time. His maps also evince great care and industry. As to the report of his African marriage, it is unnecessary to say more than that it is untrue, and it is utterly beneath a gentleman to hint at such a thing in connection with the name of David Livingstone.
There is a good-natured abandon about Livingstone which was not lost on me. Whenever he began to laugh, there was a contagion about it, that compelled me to imitate him. It was such a laugh as Herr Teufelsdrockh’s — a laugh of the whole man from head to heel. If he told a story, he related it in such a way as to convince one of its truthfulness; his face was so lit up by the sly fun it contained, that I was sure the story was worth relating, and worth listening to.
The wan features which had shocked me at first meeting, the heavy step which told of age and hard travel, the grey beard and bowed shoulders, belied the man. Underneath that well-worn exterior lay an endless fund of high spirits and inexhaustible humour; that rugged frame of his enclosed a young and most exuberant soul. Every day I heard innumerable jokes and pleasant anecdotes; interesting hunting stories, in which his friends Oswell, Webb, Vardon, and Gorden Cumming were almost always the chief actors. I was not sure, at first, but this joviality, humour, and abundant animal spirits were the result of a joyous hysteria; but as I found they continued while I was with him, I am obliged to think them natural.
Another thing which specially attracted my attention was his wonderfully retentive memory. If we remember the many years he has spent in Africa, deprived of books, we may well think it an uncommon memory that can recite whole poems from Byron, Burns, Tennyson, Longfellow, Whittier, and Lowell. The reason of this may be found, perhaps, in the fact, that he has lived all his life almost, we may say, within himself. Zimmerman, a great student of human nature, says on this subject “The unencumbered mind recalls all that it has read, all that pleased the eye, and delighted the ear; and reflecting on every idea which either observation, or experience, or discourse has produced, gains new information by every reflection. The intellect contemplates all the former scenes of life; views by anticipation those that are yet to come; and blends all ideas of past and future in the actual enjoyment of the present moment.” He has lived in a world which revolved inwardly, out of which he seldom awoke except to attend to the immediate practical necessities of himself and people; then relapsed again into the same happy inner world, which he must have peopled with his own friends, relations, acquaintances, familiar readings, ideas, and associations; so that wherever he might be, or by whatsoever he was surrounded, his own world always possessed more attractions to his cultured mind than were yielded by external circumstances.
The study of Dr. Livingstone would not be complete if we did not take the religious side of his character into consideration. His religion is not of the theoretical kind, but it is a constant, earnest, sincere practice. It is neither demonstrative nor loud, but manifests itself in a quiet, practical way, and is always at work. It is not aggressive, which sometimes is troublesome, if not impertinent. In him, religion exhibits its loveliest features; it governs his conduct not only towards his servants, but towards the natives, the bigoted Mohammedans, and all who come in contact with him. Without it, Livingstone, with his ardent temperament, his enthusiasm, his high spirit and courage, must have become uncompanionable, and a hard master. Religion has tamed him, and made him a Christian gentleman: the crude and wilful have been refined and subdued; religion has made him the most companionable of men and indulgent of masters — a man whose society is pleasurable.
In Livingstone I have seen many amiable traits. His gentleness never forsakes him; his hopefulness never deserts him. No harassing anxieties, distraction of mind, long separation from home and kindred, can make him complain. He thinks “all will come out right at last;” he has such faith in the goodness of Providence. The sport of adverse circumstances, the plaything of the miserable beings sent to him from Zanzibar — he has been baffled and worried, even almost to the grave, yet he will not desert the charge imposed upon him by his friend, Sir Roderick Murchison. To the stern dictates of duty, alone, has he sacrificed his home and ease, the pleasures, refinements, and luxuries of civilized life. His is the Spartan heroism, the inflexibility of the Roman, the enduring resolution of the Anglo–Saxon — never to relinquish his work, though his heart yearns for home; never to surrender his obligations until he can write Finis to his work.
But you may take any point in Dr. Livingstone’s character, and analyse it carefully, and I would challenge any man to find a fault in it. He is sensitive, I know; but so is any man of a high mind and generous nature. He is sensitive on the point of being doubted or being criticised. An extreme love of truth is one of his strongest characteristics, which proves him to be a man of strictest principles, and conscientious scruples; being such, he is naturally sensitive, and shrinks from any attacks on the integrity of his observations, and the accuracy of his reports. He is conscious of having laboured in the course of geography and science with zeal and industry, to have been painstaking, and as exact as circumstances would allow. Ordinary critics seldom take into consideration circumstances, but, utterly regardless of the labor expended in obtaining the least amount of geographical information in a new land, environed by inconceivable dangers and difficulties, such as Central Africa presents, they seem to take delight in rending to tatters, and reducing to nil, the fruits of long years of labor, by sharply-pointed shafts of ridicule and sneers.
Livingstone no doubt may be mistaken in some of his conclusions about certain points in the geography of Central Africa, but he is not so dogmatic and positive a man as to refuse conviction. He certainly demands, when arguments in contra are used in opposition to him, higher authority than abstract theory. His whole life is a testimony against its unreliability, and his entire labor of years were in vain if theory can be taken in evidence against personal observation and patient investigation.
The reluctance he manifests to entertain suppositions, possibilities regarding the nature, form, configuration of concrete immutable matter like the earth, arises from the fact, that a man who commits himself to theories about such an untheoretical subject as Central Africa is deterred from bestirring himself to prove them by the test of exploration. His opinion of such a man is, that he unfits himself for his duty, that he is very likely to become a slave to theory — a voluptuous fancy, which would master him.
It is his firm belief, that a man who rests his sole knowledge of the geography of Africa on theory, deserves to be discredited. It has been the fear of being discredited and criticised and so made to appear before the world as a man who spent so many valuable years in Africa for the sake of burdening the geographical mind with theory that has detained him so long in Africa, doing his utmost to test the value of the main theory which clung to him, and would cling to him until he proved or disproved it.
This main theory is his belief that in the broad and mighty Lualaba he has discovered the head waters of the Nile. His grounds for believing this are of such nature and weight as to compel him to despise the warning that years are advancing on him, and his former iron constitution is failing. He believes his speculations on this point will be verified; he believes he is strong enough to pursue his explorations until he can return to his country, with the announcement that the Lualaba is none other than the Nile.
On discovering that the insignificant stream called the Chambezi, which rises between 10 degrees S. and 12 degrees S., flowed westerly, and then northerly through several lakes, now under the names of the Chambezi, then as the Luapula, and then as the Lualaba, and that it still continued its flow towards the north for over 7 degrees, Livingstone became firmly of the opinion that the river whose current he followed was the Egyptian Nile. Failing at lat. 4 degrees S. to pursue his explorations further without additional supplies, he determined to return to Ujiji to obtain them.
And now, having obtained them, he intends to return to the point where he left off work. He means to follow that great river until it is firmly established what name shall eventually be given the noble water-way whose course he has followed through so many sick toilings and difficulties. To all entreaties to come home, to all the glowing temptations which home and innumerable friends offer, he returns the determined answer:—
“No; not until my work is ended.”
I have often heard our servants discuss our respective merits. “Your master,” say my servants to Livingstone’s, “is a good man — a very good man; he does not beat you, for he has a kind heart; but ours — oh! he is sharp — hot as fire” — “mkali sana, kana moto.” From being hated and thwarted in every possible way by the Arabs and half-castes upon first arrival in Ujiji, he has, through his uniform kindness and mild, pleasant temper, won all hearts. I observed that universal respect was paid to him. Even the Mohammedans never passed his house without calling to pay their compliments, and to say, “The blessing of God rest on you.” Each Sunday morning he gathers his little flock around him, and reads prayers and a chapter from the Bible, in a natural, unaffected, and sincere tone; and afterwards delivers a short address in the Kisawahili language, about the subject read to them, which is listened to with interest and attention.
There is another point in Livingstone’s character about which readers of his books, and students of his travels, would like to know, and that is his ability to withstand the dreadful climate of Central Africa, and the consistent energy with which he follows up his explorations. His consistent energy is native to him and to his race. He is a very fine example of the perseverance, doggedness, and tenacity which characterise the Anglo–Saxon spirit; but his ability to withstand the climate is due not only to the happy constitution with which he was born, but to the strictly temperate life he has ever led. A drunkard and a man of vicious habits could never have withstood the climate of Central Africa.
The second day after my arrival in Ujiji I asked the Doctor if he did not feel a desire, sometimes, to visit his country, and take a little rest after his six years’ explorations; and the answer he gave me fully reveals the man. Said he:
“I should like very much to go home and see my children once again, but I cannot bring my heart to abandon the task I have undertaken, when it is so nearly completed. It only requires six or seven months more to trace the true source that I have discovered with Petherick’s branch of the White Nile, or with the Albert N’Yanza of Sir Samuel Baker, which is the lake called by the natives ‘Chowambe.’ Why should I go home before my task is ended, to have to come back again to do what I can very well do now?”
“And why?” I asked, “did you come so far back without finishing the task which you say you have got to do?”
“Simply because I was forced. My men would not budge a step forward. They mutinied, and formed a secret resolution — if I still insisted upon going on — to raise a disturbance in the country, and after they had effected it to abandon me; in which case I should have been killed. It was dangerous to go any further. I had explored six hundred miles of the watershed, had traced all the principal streams which discharge their waters into the central line of drainage, but when about starting to explore the last hundred miles the hearts of my people failed them, and they set about frustrating me in every possible way. Now, having returned seven hundred miles to get a new supply of stores, and another escort, I find myself destitute of even the means to live but for a few weeks, and sick in mind and body.”
Here I may pause to ask any brave man how he would have comported himself in such a crisis. Many would have been in exceeding hurry to get home to tell the news of the continued explorations and discoveries, and to relieve the anxiety of the sorrowing family and friends awaiting their return. Enough surely had been accomplished towards the solution of the problem that had exercised the minds of his scientific associates of the Royal Geograpical Society. It was no negative exploration, it was hard, earnest labor of years, self-abnegation, enduring patience, and exalted fortitude, such as ordinary men fail to exhibit.
Suppose Livingstone had hurried to the coast after he had discovered Lake Bangweolo, to tell the news to the geographical world; then had returned to discover Moero, and run away again; then went back once more only to discover Kamolondo, and to race back again. This would not be in accordance with Livingstone’s character. He must not only discover the Chambezi, Lake Bangweolo, Luapula River, Lake Moero, Lualaba River, and Lake Kamolondo, but he must still tirelessly urge his steps forward to put the final completion to the grand lacustrine river system. Had he followed the example of ordinary explorers, he would have been running backwards and forwards to tell the news, instead of exploring; and he might have been able to write a volume upon the discovery of each lake, and earn much money thereby. They are no few months’ explorations that form the contents of his books. His ‘Missionary Travels’ embraces a period of sixteen years; his book on the Zambezi, five years; and if the great traveller lives to come home, his third book, the grandest of all, must contain the records of eight or nine years.
It is a principle with Livingstone to do well what he undertakes to do; and in the consciousness that he is doing it, despite the yearning for his home which is sometimes overpowering, he finds, to a certain extent, contentment, if not happiness. To men differently constituted, a long residence amongst the savages of Africa would be contemplated with horror, yet Livingstone’s mind can find pleasure and food for philosophic studies. The wonders of primeval nature, the great forests and sublime mountains, the perennial streams and sources of the great lakes, the marvels of the earth, the splendors of the tropic sky by day and by night — all terrestrial and celestial phenomena are manna to a man of such self-abnegation and devoted philanthropic spirit. He can be charmed with the primitive simplicity of Ethiop’s dusky children, with whom he has spent so many years of his life; he has a sturdy faith in their capabilities; sees virtue in them where others see nothing but savagery; and wherever he has gone among them, he has sought to elevate a people that were apparently forgotten of God and Christian man.
One night I took out my note-book, and prepared to take down from his own lips what he had to say about his travels; and unhesitatingly he related his experiences, of which the following is a summary:
Dr. David Livingstone left the Island of Zanzibar in March, 1866. On the 7th of the following month he departed from Mikindany Bay for the interior, with an expedition consisting of twelve Sepoys from Bombay, nine men from Johanna, of the Comoro Islands, seven liberated slaves, and two Zambezi men, taking them as an experiment; six camels, three buffaloes, two mules, and three donkeys. He had thus thirty men with him, twelve of whom, viz., the Sepoys, were to act as guards for the Expedition. They were mostly armed with the Enfield rifles presented to the Doctor by the Bombay Government. The baggage of the expedition consisted of ten bales of cloth and two bags of beads, which were to serve as the currency by which they would be enabled to purchase the necessaries of life in the countries the Doctor intended to visit. Besides the cumbrous moneys, they carried several boxes of instruments, such as chronometers, air thermometers, sextant, and artificial horizon, boxes containing clothes, medicines, and personal necessaries. The expedition travelled up the left bank of the Rovuma River, a rout/e/ as full of difficulties as any that could be chosen. For miles Livingstone and his party had to cut their way with their axes through the dense and almost impenetrable jungles which lined the river’s banks. The road was a mere footpath, leading in the most erratic fashion into and through the dense vegetation, seeking the easiest outlet from it without any regard to the course it ran. The pagazis were able to proceed easily enough; but the camels, on account of their enormous height, could not advance a step without the axes of the party clearing the way. These tools of foresters were almost always required; but the advance of the expedition was often retarded by the unwillingness of the Sepoys and Johanna men to work.
Soon after the departure of the expedition from the coast, the murmurings and complaints of these men began, and upon every occasion and at every opportunity they evinced a decided hostility to an advance. In order to prevent the progress of the Doctor, and in hopes that it would compel him to return to the coast, these men so cruelly treated the animals that before long there was not one left alive. But as this scheme failed, they set about instigating the natives against the white men, whom they accused most wantonly of strange practices. As this plan was most likely to succeed, and as it was dangerous to have such men with him, the Doctor arrived at the conclusion that it was best to discharge them, and accordingly sent the Sepoys back to the coast; but not without having first furnished them with the means of subsistence on their journey to the coast. These men were such a disreputable set that the natives spoke of them as the Doctor’s slaves. One of their worst sins was the custom of giving their guns and ammunition to carry to the first woman or boy they met, whom they impressed for that purpose by such threats or promises as they were totally unable to perform, and unwarranted in making. An hour’s marching was sufficient to fatigue them, after which they lay down on the road to bewail their hard fate, and concoct new schemes to frustrate their leader’s purposes. Towards night they generally made their appearance at the camping-ground with the looks of half-dead men. Such men naturally made but a poor escort; for, had the party been attacked by a wandering tribe of natives of any strength, the Doctor could have made no defence, and no other alternative would have been left to him but to surrender and be ruined.
The Doctor and his little party arrived on the 18th July, 1866, at a village belonging to a chief of the Wahiyou, situate eight days’ march south of the Rovuma, and overlooking the watershed of the Lake Nyassa. The territory lying between the Rovuma River and this Wahiyou village was an uninhabited wilderness, during the transit of which Livingstone and his expedition suffered considerably from hunger and desertion of men.
Early in August, 1866, the Doctor came to the country of Mponda, a chief who dwelt near the Lake Nyassa. On the road thither, two of the liberated slaves deserted him. Here also, Wekotani, a protege of the Doctor, insisted upon his discharge, alleging as an excuse — an excuse which the Doctor subsequently found to be untrue — that he had found his brother. He also stated that his family lived on the east side of the Nyassa Lake. He further stated that Mponda’s favourite wife was his sister. Perceiving that Wekotani was unwilling to go with him further, the Doctor took him to Mponda, who now saw and heard of him for the first time, and, having furnished the ungrateful boy with enough cloth and beads to keep him until his “big brother” should call for him, left him with the chief, after first assuring himself that he would receive honourable treatment from him. The Doctor also gave Wekotanti writing-paper — as he could read and write, being accomplishments acquired at Bombay, where he had been put to school — so that, should he at any time feel disposed, he might write to his English friends, or to himself. The Doctor further enjoined him not to join in any of the slave raids usually made by his countrymen, the men of Nyassa, on their neighbours. Upon finding that his application for a discharge was successful, Wekotani endeavoured to induce Chumah, another protege of the Doctor’s, and a companion, or chum, of Wekotani, to leave the Doctor’s service and proceed with him, promising, as a bribe, a wife and plenty of pombe from his “big brother.” Chumah, upon referring the matter to the Doctor, was advised not to go, as he (the Doctor) strongly suspected that Wekotani wanted only to make him his slave. Chumah wisely withdrew from his tempter. From Mponda’s, the Doctor proceeded to the heel of the Nyassa, to the village of a Babisa chief, who required medicine for a skin disease. With his usual kindness, he stayed at this chief’s village to treat his malady.
While here, a half-caste Arab arrived from the western shore of the lake, and reported that he had been plundered by a band of Mazitu, at a place which the Doctor and Musa, chief of the Johanna men, were very well aware was at least 150 miles north-north-west of where they were then stopping. Musa, however, for his own reasons — which will appear presently — eagerly listened to the Arab’s tale, and gave full credence to it. Having well digested its horrible details, he came to the Doctor to give him the full benefit of what he had heard with such willing ears. The traveller patiently listened to the narrative, which lost nothing of its portentous significance through Musa’s relation, and then asked Musa if he believed it. “Yes,” answered Musa, readily; “he tell me true, true. I ask him good, and he tell me true, true.” The Doctor, however, said he did not believe it, for the Mazitu would not have been satisfied with merely plundering a man, they would have murdered him; but suggested, in order to allay the fears of his Moslem subordinate, that they should both proceed to the chief with whom they were staying, who, being a sensible man, would be able to advise them as to the probability or improbability of the tale being correct. Together, they proceeded to the Babisa chief, who, when he had heard the Arab’s story, unhesitatingly denounced the Arab as a liar, and his story without the least foundation in fact; giving as a reason that, if the Mazitu had been lately in that vicinity, he should have heard of it soon enough.
But Musa broke out with “No, no, Doctor; no, no, no; I no want to go to Mazitu. I no want Mazitu to kill me. I want to see my father, my mother, my child, in Johanna. I want no Mazitu.” These are Musa’s words ipsissima verba.
To which the Doctor replied, “I don’t want the Mazitu to kill me either; but, as you are afraid of them, I promise to go straight west until we get far past the beat of the Mazitu.”
Musa was not satisfied, but kept moaning and sorrowing, saying, “If we had two hundred guns with us I would go; but our small party of men they will attack by night, and kill all.”
The Doctor repeated his promise, “But I will not go near them; I will go west.”
As soon as he turned his face westward, Musa and the Johanna men ran away in a body.
The Doctor says, in commenting upon Musa’s conduct, that he felt strongly tempted to shoot Musa and another ringleader, but was, nevertheless, glad that he did not soil his hands with their vile blood. A day or two afterwards, another of his men — Simon Price by name — came to the Doctor with the same tale about the Mazitu, but, compelled by the scant number of his people to repress all such tendencies to desertion and faint-heartedness, the Doctor silenced him at once, and sternly forbade him to utter the name of the Mazitu any more.
Had the natives not assisted him, he must have despaired of ever being able to penetrate the wild and unexplored interior which he was now about to tread. “Fortunately,” as the Doctor says with unction, “I was in a country now, after leaving the shores of Nyassa, which the foot of the slave-trader has not trod; it was a new and virgin land, and of course, as I have always found in such cases, the natives were really good and hospitable, and for very small portions of cloth my baggage was conveyed from village to village by them.” In many other ways the traveller, in his extremity, was kindly treated by the yet unsophisticated and innocent natives.
On leaving this hospitable region in the early part of December, 1866, the Doctor entered a country where the Mazitu had exercised their customary marauding propensities. The land was swept clean of provisions and cattle, and the people had emigrated to other countries, beyond the bounds of those ferocious plunderers. Again the Expedition was besieged by pinching hunger from which they suffered; they had recourse to the wild fruits which some parts of the country furnished. At intervals the condition of the hard-pressed band was made worse by the heartless desertion of some of its members, who more than once departed with the Doctor’s personal kit, changes of clothes, linen, &c. With more or less misfortunes constantly dogging his footsteps, he traversed in safety the countries of the Babisa, Bobemba, Barungu, Ba-ulungu, and Lunda.
In the country of Lunda lives the famous Cazembe, who was first made known to Europeans by Dr. Lacerda, the Portuguese traveller. Cazembe is a most intelligent prince; he is a tall, stalwart man, who wears a peculiar kind of dress, made of crimson print, in the form of a prodigious kilt. In this state dress, King Cazembe received Dr. Livingstone, surrounded by his chiefs and body-guards. A chief, who had been deputed by the King and elders to discover all about the white man, then stood up before the assembly, and in a loud voice gave the result of the inquiry he had instituted. He had heard that the white man had come to look for waters, for rivers, and seas; though he could not understand what the white man could want with such things, he had no doubt that the object was good. Then Cazembe asked what the Doctor proposed doing, and where he thought of going. The Doctor replied that he had thought of proceeding south, as he had heard of lakes and rivers being in that direction. Cazembe asked, “What can you want to go there for? The water is close here. There is plenty of large water in this neighbourhood.” Before breaking up the assembly, Cazembe gave orders to let the white man go where he would through his country undisturbed and unmolested. He was the first Englishman he had seen, he said, and he liked him.
Shortly after his introduction to the King, the Queen entered the large house, surrounded by a body-guard of Amazons with spears. She was a fine, tall, handsome young woman, and evidently thought she was about to make an impression upon the rustic white man, for she had clothed herself after a most royal fashion, and was armed with a ponderous spear. But her appearance — so different from what the Doctor had imagined — caused him to laugh, which entirely spoiled the effect intended; for the laugh of the Doctor was so contagious, that she herself was the first to imitate it, and the Amazons, courtier-like, followed suit. Much disconcerted by this, the Queen ran back, followed by her obedient damsels — a retreat most undignified and unqueenlike, compared with her majestic advent into the Doctor’s presence. But Livingstone will have much to say about his reception at this court, and about this interesting King and Queen; and who can so well relate the scenes he witnessed, and which belong exclusively to him, as he himself?
Soon after his arrival in the country of Lunda, or Londa, and before he had entered the district ruled over by Cazembe, he had crossed a river called the Chambezi, which was quite an important stream. The similarity of the name with that large and noble river south, which will be for ever connected with his name, misled Livingstone at that time, and he, accordingly, did not pay to it the attention it deserved, believing that the Chambezi was but the head-waters of the Zambezi, and consequently had no bearing or connection with the sources of the river of Egypt, of which he was in search. His fault was in relying too implicitly upon the correctness of Portuguese information. This error it cost him many months of tedious labour and travel to rectify.
From the beginning of 1867 — the time of his arrival at Cazembe’s — till the middle of March, 1869 — the time of his arrival at Ujiji — he was mostly engaged in correcting the errors and misrepresentations of the Portuguese travellers. The Portuguese, in speaking of the River Chambezi, invariably spoke of it as “our own Zambezi,” — that is, the Zambezi which flows through the Portuguese possessions of the Mozambique. “In going to Cazembe from Nyassa,” said they, “you will cross our own Zambezi.” Such positive and reiterated information — given not only orally, but in their books and maps — was naturally confusing. When the Doctor perceived that what he saw and what they described were at variance, out of a sincere wish to be correct, and lest he might have been mistaken himself, he started to retravel the ground he had travelled before. Over and over again he traversed the several countries watered by the several rivers of the complicated water system, like an uneasy spirit. Over and over again he asked the same questions from the different peoples he met, until he was obliged to desist, lest they might say, “The man is mad; he has got water on the brain!”
But his travels and tedious labours in Lunda and the adjacent countries have established beyond doubt — first, that the Chambezi is a totally distinct river from the Zambezi of the Portuguese; and, secondly, that the Chambezi, starting from about latitude 11 degrees south, is no other than the most southerly feeder of the great Nile; thus giving that famous river a length of over 2,000 miles of direct latitude; making it, second to the Mississippi, the longest river in the world. The real and true name of the Zambezi is Dombazi. When Lacerda and his Portuguese successors, coming to Cazembe, crossed the Chambezi, and heard its name, they very naturally set it down as “our own Zambezi,” and, without further inquiry, sketched it as running in that direction.
During his researches in that region, so pregnant in discoveries, Livingstone came to a lake lying north-east of Cazembe, which the natives call Liemba, from the country of that name which bordered it on the east and south. In tracing the lake north, he found it to be none other than the Tanganika, or the south-eastern extremity of it, which looks, on the Doctor’s map, very much like an outline of Italy. The latitude of the southern end of this great.body of water is about 8 degrees 42 minutes south, which thus gives it a length, from north to south, of 360 geographical miles. From the southern extremity of the Tanganika he crossed Marungu, and came in sight of Lake Moero. Tracing this lake, which is about sixty miles in length, to its southern head, he found a river, called the Luapula, entering it from that direction. Following the Luapula south, he found it issue from the large lake of Bangweolo, which is nearly as large in superficial area as the Tanganika. In exploring for the waters which discharged themselves into the lake, he found that by far the most important of these feeders was the Chambezi; so that he had thus traced the Chambezi from its source to Lake Bangweolo, and the issue from its northern head, under the name of Luapula, and found it enter Lake Moero. Again he returned to Cazembe’s, well satisfied that the river running north through three degrees of latitude could not be the river running south under the name of Zambezi, though there might be a remarkable resemblance in their names.
At Cazembe’s he found an old white-bearded half-caste named Mohammed bin Sali, who was kept as a kind of prisoner at large by the King because of certain suspicious circumstances attending his advent and stay in the country. Through Livingstone’s influence Mohammed bin Sali obtained his release. On the road to Ujiji he had bitter cause to regret having exerted himself in the half-caste’s behalf. He turned out to be a most ungrateful wretch, who poisoned the minds of the Doctor’s few followers, and ingratiated himself with them by selling the favours of his concubines to them, by which he reduced them to a kind of bondage under him. The Doctor was deserted by all but two, even faithful Susi and Chumah deserted him for the service of Mohammed bin Sali. But they soon repented, and returned to their allegiance. From the day he had the vile old man in his company manifold and bitter misfortunes followed the Doctor up to his arrival at Ujiji in March, 1869.
From the date of his arrival until the end of June, 1869, he remained at Ujiji, whence he dated those letters which, though the outside world still doubted his being alive, satisfied the minds of the Royal Geographical people, and his intimate friends, that he still existed, and that Musa’a tale was the false though ingenious fabrication of a cowardly deserter. It was during this time that the thought occurred to him of sailing around the Lake Tanganika, but the Arabs and natives were so bent upon fleecing him that, had he undertaken it, the remainder or his goods would not have enabled him to explore the central line of drainage, the initial point of which he found far south of Cazembe’s in about latitude 11 degrees, in the river called Chambezi.
In the days when tired Captain Burton was resting in Ujiji, after his march from the coast near Zanzibar, the land to which Livingstone, on his departure from Ujiji, bent his steps was unknown to the Arabs save by vague report. Messrs. Burton and Speke never heard of it, it seems. Speke, who was the geographer of Burton’s Expedition, heard of a place called Urua, which he placed on his map, according to the general direction indicated by the Arabs; but the most enterprising of the Arabs, in their search after ivory, only touched the frontiers of Rua, as, the natives and Livingstone call it; for Rua is an immense country, with a length of six degrees of latitude, and as yet an undefined breadth from east to west.
At the end of June, 1869, Livingstone quitted Ujiji and crossed over to Uguhha, on the western shore, for his last and greatest series of explorations; the result of which was the further discovery of a lake of considerable magnitude connected with Moero by the large river called the Lualaba, and which was a continuation of the chain of lakes he had previously discovered.
From the port of Uguhha he set off, in company with a body of traders, in an almost direct westerly course, for the country of Urua. Fifteen days’ march brought them to Bambarre, the first important ivory depot in Manyema, or, as the natives pronounce it, Manyuema. For nearly six months he was detained at Bambarre from ulcers in the feet, which discharged bloody ichor as soon as he set them on the ground. When recovered, he set off in a northerly direction, and after several days came to a broad lacustrine river, called the Lualaba, flowing northward and westward, and in some places southward, in a most confusing way. The river was from one to three miles broad. By exceeding pertinacity he contrived to follow its erratic course, until he saw the Lualaba enter the narrow, long lake of Kamolondo, in about latitude 6 degrees 30 minutes. Retracing this to the south, he came to the point where he had seen the Luapula enter Lake Moero.
One feels quite enthusiastic when listening to Livingstone’s description of the beauties of Moero scenery. Pent in on all sides by high mountains, clothed to the edges with the rich vegetation of the tropics, the Moero discharges its superfluous waters through a deep rent in the bosom of the mountains. The impetuous and grand river roars through the chasm with the thunder of a cataract, but soon after leaving its confined and deep bed it expands into the calm and broad Lualaba, stretching over miles of ground. After making great bends west and south-west, and then curving northward, it enters Kamolondo. By the natives it is called the Lualaba, but the Doctor, in order to distinguish it from other rivers of the same name, has given it the name of “Webb’s River,” after Mr. Webb, the wealthy proprietor of Newstead Abbey, whom the Doctor distinguishes as one of his oldest and most consistent friends. Away to the south-west from Kamolondo is another large lake, which discharges its waters by the important River Loeki, or Lomami, into the great Lualaba. To this lake, known as Chebungo by the natives, Dr. Livingstone has given the name of “Lincoln,” to be hereafter distinguished on maps and in books as Lake Lincoln, in memory of Abraham Lincoln, our murdered President. This was done from the vivid impression produced on his mind by hearing a portion of his inauguration speech read from an English pulpit, which related to the causes that induced him to issue his Emancipation Proclamation, by which memorable deed 4,000,000 of slaves were for ever freed. To the memory of the man whose labours on behalf of the negro race deserves the commendation of all good men, Livingstone has contributed a monument more durable than brass or stone.
Entering Webb’s River from the south-south-west, a little north of Kamolondo, is a large river called Lufira, but the streams, that discharge themselves from the watershed into the Lualaba are so numerous that the Doctor’s map would not contain them, so he has left all out except the most important. Continuing his way north, tracing the Lualaba through its manifold and crooked curves as far as latitude 4 degrees south, he came to where he heard of another lake, to the north, into which it ran. But here you may come to a dead halt, and read what lies beyond this spot thus . . . . This was the furthermost point, whence he was compelled to return on the weary road to Ujiji, a distance of 700 miles.
In this brief sketch of Dr. Livingstone’s wonderful travels it is to be hoped the most superficial reader, as well as the student of geography, comprehends this grand system of lakes connected together by Webb’s River. To assist him, let him glance at the map accompanying this book. He will then have a fair idea of what Dr. Livingstone has been doing during these long years, and what additions he has made to the study of African geography. That this river, distinguished under several titles, flowing from one lake into another in a northerly direction, with all its great crooked bends and sinuosities, is the Nile — the true Nile — the Doctor has not the least doubt. For a long time he entertained great scepticism, because of its deep bends and curves west, and south-west even; but having traced it from its head waters, the Chambezi, through 7 degrees of latitude — that is, from 11 degrees S. to lat. 4 degrees N. — he has been compelled to come to the conclusion that it can be no other river than the Nile. He had thought it was the Congo; but has discovered the sources of the Congo to be the Kassai and the Kwango, two rivers which rise on the western side of the Nile watershed, in about the latitude of Bangweolo; and he was told of another river called the Lubilash, which rose from the north, and ran west. But the Lualaba, the Doctor thinks, cannot be the Congo, from its great size and body, and from its steady and continued flow northward through a broad and extensive valley, bounded by enormous mountains westerly and easterly. The altitude of the most northerly point to which the Doctor traced the wonderful river was a little in excess of 2,000 feet; so that, though Baker makes out his lake to be 2,700 feet above the sea, yet the Bahr Ghazal, through which Petherick’s branch of the White Nile issues into the Nile, is but 2,000 feet; in which case there is a possibility that the Lualaba may be none other than Petherick’s branch.
It is well known that trading stations for ivory have been established for about 500 miles up Petherick’s branch. We must remember this fact when told that Gondokoro, in lat. 4 degrees N., is 2,000 feet above the sea, and lat. 4 degrees S., where the halt was made, is only a little over 2,000 feet above the sea. That the two rivers said to be 2,000 feet above the sea, separated from each other by 8 degrees of latitude, are one and the same river, may among some men be regarded as a startling statement. But we must restrain mere expressions of surprise, and take into consideration that this mighty and broad Lualaba is a lacustrine river broader than the Mississippi; that at intervals the body of water forms extensive lakes; then, contracting into a broad river, it again forms a lake, and so on, to lat. 4 degrees; and even beyond this point the Doctor hears of a large lake again north.
We must wait also until the altitudes of the two rivers, the Lualaba, where the Doctor halted, and the southern point on the Bahr Ghazal, where Petherick has been, are known with perfect accuracy.
Now, for the sake of argument, suppose we give this nameless lake a length of 6 degrees of latitude, as it may be the one discovered by Piaggia, the Italian traveller, from which Petherick’s branch of the White Nile issues out through reedy marshes, into the Bahr Ghazal, thence into the White Nile, south of Gondokoro. By this method we can suppose the rivers one; for if the lake extends over so many degrees of latitude, the necessity of explaining the differences of altitude that must naturally exist between two points of a river 8 degrees of latitude apart, would be obviated.
Also, Livingstone’s instruments for observation and taking altitudes may have been in error; and this is very likely to have been the case, subjected as they have been to rough handling during nearly six years of travel. Despite the apparent difficulty of the altitude, there is another strong reason for believing Webb’s River, or the Lualaba, to be the Nile. The watershed of this river, 600 miles of which Livingstone has travelled, is drained from a valley which lies north and south between lofty eastern and western ranges.
This valley, or line of drainage, while it does not receive the Kassai and the Kwango, receives rivers flowing from a great distance west, for instance, the important tributaries Lufira and Lomami, and large rivers from the east, such as the Lindi and Luamo; and, while the most intelligent Portuguese travellers and traders state that the Kassai, the Kwango, and Lubilash are the head waters of the Congo River, no one has yet started the supposition that the grand river flowing north, and known by the natives as the Lualaba, is the Congo.
This river may be the Congo, or, perhaps, the Niger. If the Lualaba is only 2,000 feet above the sea, and the Albert N’Yanza 2,700 feet, the Lualaba cannot enter that lake. If the Bahr Ghazal does not extend by an arm for eight degrees above Gondokoro, then the Lualaba cannot be the Nile. But it would be premature to dogmatise on the subject. Livingstone will clear up the point himself; and if he finds it to be the Congo, will be the first to admit his error.
Livingstone admits the Nile sources have not been found, though he has traced the Lualaba through seven degrees of latitude flowing north; and, though he has not a particle of doubt of its being the Nile, not yet can the Nile question be said to be resolved and ended. For two reasons:
1. He has heard of the existence of four fountains, two of which gave birth to a river flowing north, Webb’s River, or the Lualaba, and to a river flowing south, which is the Zambezi. He has repeatedly heard of these fountains from the natives. Several times he has been within 100 and 200 miles from them, but something always interposed to prevent his going to see them. According to those who have seen them, they rise on either side of a mound or level, which contains no stones. Some have called it an ant-hill. One of these fountains is said to be so large that a man, standing on one side, cannot be seen from the other. These fountains must be discovered, and their position taken. The Doctor does not suppose them to be south of the feeders of Lake Bangweolo. In his letter to the ‘Herald’ he says “These four full-grown gushing fountains, rising so near each other, and giving origin to four large rivers, answer in a certain degree to the description given of the unfathomable fountains of the Nile, by the secretary of Minerva, in the city of Sais, in Egypt, to the father of all travellers — Herodotus.”
For the information of such readers as may not have the original at hand, I append the following from Cary’s translation of Herodotus: <II.28>
With respect to the sources of the Nile, no man of all the Egyptians, Libyans, or Grecians, with whom I have conversed, ever pretended to know anything, except the registrar11 of Minerva’s treasury at Sais, in Egypt. He, indeed, seemed to be trifling with me when he said he knew perfectly well; yet his account was as follows: “That there are two mountains, rising into a sharp peak, situated between the city of Syene, in Thebais, and Elephantine. The names of these mountains are the one Crophi, the other Mophi; that the sources of the Nile, which are bottomless, flow from between these mountains and that half of the water flows over Egypt and to the north, the other half over Ethiopia and the south. That the fountains of the Nile are bottomless, he said, Psammitichus, king of Egypt, proved by experiment: for, having caused a line to be twisted many thousand fathoms in length, he let it down, but could not find a bottom.” Such, then, was the opinion the registrar gave, if, indeed, he spoke the real truth; proving, in my opinion, that there are strong whirlpools and an eddy here, so that the water beating against the rocks, a sounding-line, when let down, cannot reach the bottom. I was unable to learn anything more from any one else. But thus much I learnt by carrying my researches as far as possible, having gone and made my own observations as far as Elephantine, and beyond that obtaining information from hearsay. As one ascends the river, above the city of Elephantine, the country is steep; here, therefore; it is necessary to attach a rope on both sides of a boat, as one does with an ox in a plough, and so proceed; but if the rope should happen to break, the boat is carried away by the force of the stream. This kind of country lasts for a four-days’ passage, and the Nile here winds as much as the Maeander. There are twelve schoeni, which it is necessary to sail through in this manner; and after that you will come to a level plain, where the Nile flows round an island; its name is Tachompso. Ethiopians inhabit the country immediately above Elephantine, and one half of the island; the other half is inhabited by Egyptians. Near to this island lies a vast lake, on the borders of which Ethiopian nomades dwell. After sailing through this lake you will come to the channel of the Nile, which flows into it: then you will have to land and travel forty days by the side of the river, for sharp rocks rise in the Nile, and there are many sunken ones, through which it is not possible to navigate a boat. Having passed this country in the forty days, you must go on board another boat, and sail for twelve days; and then you will arrive at a large city, called Meroe; this city is said to be the capital of all Ethiopia. The inhabitants worship no other gods than Jupiter and Bacchus; but these they honour with great magnificence. They have also an oracle of Jupiter; and they make war whenever that god bids them by an oracular warning, and against whatever country he bids them. Sailing from this city, you will arrive at the country of the Automoli, in a space of time equal to that which you took in coming from Elephantine to the capital of the Ethiopians. These Automoli are called by the name of Asmak, which, in the language of Greece, signifies “those that stand at the left hand of the king.” These, to the number of two hundred and forty thousand of the Egyptian war-tribe, revolted to the Ethiopians on the following occasion. In the reign of King Psammitichus garrisons were stationed at Elephantine against the Ethiopians, and another at the Pelusian Daphnae against the Arabians and Syrians, and another at Marea against Libya; and even in my time garrisons of the Persians are stationed in the same places as they were in the time of Psammitichus, for they maintain guards at Elephantine and Daphnae. Now, these Egyptians, after they had been on duty three years, were not relieved; therefore, having consulted together and come to an unanimous resolution, they all revolted from Psammitichus, and went to Ethiopia. Psammitichus, hearing of this, pursued them; and when he overtook them he entreated them by many arguments, and adjured them not to forsake the gods of their fathers, and their children and wives But one of them is reported to have uncovered [ ] and to have said, that wheresoever these were there they12 should find both children and wives.” These men, when they arrived in Ethiopia, offered their services to the king of the Ethiopians, who made them the following recompense. There were certain Ethiopians disaffected towards him; these he bade them expel, and take possession of their land. By the settlement of these men among the Ethiopians, the Ethiopians became more civilized, and learned the manners of the Egyptians.
11 the secretary of the treasury of the goddess Neith, or Athena as Herodotus calls her: ho grammatiste:s to:n hiro:n xre:mato:n te:s Athe:naie:s
12 “which it is said that one of them pointed to his privy member and said that wherever this was, there would they have both children and wives” — Macaulay tr.; published edition censored.
Now, for a voyage and land journey of four months, the Nile is known, in addition to the part of the stream that is in Egypt; for, upon computation, so many months are known to be spent by a person who travels from Elephantine to the Automoli. This river flows from the west and the setting of the sun; but beyond this no one is able to speak with certainty, for the rest of the country is desert by reason of the excessive heat. But I have heard the following account from certain Cyrenaeans, who say that they went to the oracle of Ammon, and had a conversation with Etearchus, King of the Ammonians, and that, among other subjects, they happened to discourse about the Nile — that nobody knew its sources; whereupon Etearchus said that certain Nasamonians once came to him — this nation is Lybian, and inhabits the Syrtis, and the country for no great distance eastward of the Syrtis — and that when these Nasamonians arrived, and were asked if they could give any further formation touching the deserts of Libya, they answered, that there were some daring youths amongst them, sons of powerful men; and that they, having reached man’s estate, formed many other extravagant plans, and, moreover, chose five of their number by lot to explore the deserts of Libya, to see if they could make any further discovery than those who had penetrated the farthest. (For, as respects the parts of Libya along the Northern Sea, beginning from Egypt to the promontory of Solois, where is the extremity of Libya, Libyans and various nations of Libyans reach all along it, except those parts which are occupied by Grecians and Phoenicians; but as respects the parts above the sea, and those nations which reach down to the sea, in the upper parts Libya is infested by wild beasts; and all beyond that is sand, dreadfully short of water, and utterly desolate.) They further related, “that when the young men deputed by their companions set out, well furnished with water and provisions, they passed first through the inhabited country; and having traversed this, they came to the region infested by wild beasts; and after this they crossed the desert, making their way towards the west; and when they had traversed much sandy ground, during a journey of many days, they at length saw some trees growing in a plain; and that they approached and began to gather the fruit that grew on the trees; and while they were gathering, some diminutive men, less than men of middle stature, came up, and having seized them carried them away; and that the Nasamonians did not at all understand their language, nor those who carried them off the language of the Nasamonians. However, they conducted them through vast morasses, and when they had passed these, they came to a city in which all the inhabitants were of the same size as their conductors, and black in colour: and by the city flowed a great river, running from the west to the east, and that crocodiles were seen in it.” Thus far I have set forth the account of Etearchus the Ammonian; to which may be added, as the Cyrenaeans assured me, “that he said the Nasamonians all returned safe to their own country, and that the men whom they came to were all necromancers.” Etearchus also conjectured that this river, which flows by their city, is the Nile; and reason so evinces: for the Nile flows from Libya, and intersects it in the middle; and (as I conjecture, inferring things unknown from things known) it sets out from a point corresponding with the Ister. For the Ister, beginning from the Celts, and the city of Pyrene, divides Europe in its course; but the Celts are beyond the pillars of Hercules, and border on the territories of the Cynesians, who lie in the extremity of Europe to the westward; and the Ister terminates by flowing through all Europe into the Euxine Sea, where a Milesian colony is settled in Istria. Now the Ister, as it flows through a well-peopled country, is generally known; but no one is able to speak about the sources of the Nile, because Libya, through which it flows, is uninhabited and desolate. Respecting this stream, therefore, as far as I was able to reach by inquiry, I have already spoken. It however discharges itself into Egypt; and Egypt lies, as near as may be, opposite to the mountains of Cilicia; from whence to Sinope, on the Euxine Sea, is a five days’ journey in a straight line to an active man; and Sinope is opposite to the Ister, where it discharges itself into the sea. So I think that the Nile, traversing the whole of Libya, may be properly compared with the Ister. Such, then, is the account that I am able to give respecting the Nile.
2. Webb’s River must be traced to its connection with some portion of the old Nile.
When these two things have been accomplished, then, and not till then, can the mystery of the Nile be explained. The two countries through which the marvellous lacustrine river, the Lualaba, flows, with its manifold lakes and broad expanse of water, are Rua (the Uruwwa of Speke) and Manyuema. For the first time Europe is made aware that between the Tanganika and the known sources of the Congo there exist teeming millions of the negro race, who never saw, or heard of the white people who make such a noisy and busy stir outside of Africa. Upon the minds of those who had the good fortune to see the first specimen of these remarkable white races in Dr. Livingstone, he seems to have made a favourable impression, though, through misunderstanding his object, and coupling him with the Arabs, who make horrible work there, his life was sought after more than once. These two extensive countries, Rua and Manyuema, are populated by true heathens, governed, not as the sovereignties of Karagwah, Urundi, and Uganda, by despotic kings, but each village by its own sultan or lord. Thirty miles outside of their own immediate settlements, the most intelligent of these small chiefs seem to know nothing. Thirty miles from the Lualaba, there were but few people who had ever heard of the great river. Such ignorance among the natives of their own country naturally increased the labours of Livingstone. Compared with these, all tribes and nations in Africa with whom Livingstone came in contact may be deemed civilized, yet, in the arts of home manufacture, these wild people of Manyuema were far superior to any he had seen. Where other tribes and nations contented themselves with hides and skins of animals thrown negligently over their shoulders, the people of Manyuema manufactured a cloth from fine grass, which may favorably compare with the finest grass cloth of India. They also know the art of dy/e/ing them in various colours — black, yellow, and purple. The Wangwana, or freed-men of Zanzibar, struck with the beauty of the fabric, eagerly exchange their cotton cloths for fine grass cloth; and on almost every black man from Manyuema I have seen this native cloth converted into elegantly made damirs (Arabic) — short jackets. These countries are also very rich in ivory. The fever for going to Manyuema to exchange tawdry beads for its precious tusks is of the same kind as that which impelled men to go to the gulches and placers of California, Colorado, Montana, and Idaho; after nuggets to Australia, and diamonds to Cape Colony. Manyuema is at present the El Dorado of the Arab and the Wamrima tribes. It is only about four years since that the first Arab returned from Manyuema, with such wealth of ivory, and reports about the fabulous quantities found there, that ever since the old beaten tracks of Karagwah, Uganda, Ufipa, and Marungu have been comparatively deserted. The people of Manyuema, ignorant of the value of the precious article, reared their huts upon ivory stanchions. Ivory pillars were common sights in Manyuema, and, hearing of these, one can no longer, wonder at the ivory palace of Solomon. For generations they have used ivory tusks as door-posts and supports to the eaves, until they had become perfectly rotten and worthless. But the advent of the Arabs soon taught them the value of the article. It has now risen considerably in price, though still fabulously cheap. At Zanzibar the value of ivory per frasilah of 35 lbs. weight is from $50 to $60, according to its quality. In Unyanyembe it is about $1–10 per pound, but in Manyuema, it may be purchased for from half a cent to 14 cent’s worth of copper per pound of ivory. The Arabs, however, have the knack of spoiling markets by their rapacity and cruelty. With muskets, a small party of Arabs is invincible against such people as those of Manyuema, who, until lately, never heard the sound of a gun. The discharge of a musket inspires mortal terror in them, and it is almost impossible to induce them to face the muzzle of a gun. They believe that the Arabs have stolen the lightning, and that against such people the bow and arrow can have little effect. They are by no means devoid of courage, and they have often declared that, were it not for the guns, not one Arab would leave the country alive; this tends to prove that they would willingly engage in fight with the strangers who had made themselves so detestable, were it not that the startling explosion of gunpowder inspires them with terror.
Into what country soever the Arabs enter, they contrive to render their name and race abominated. But the mainspring of it all is not the Arab’s nature, colour, or name, but simply the slave-trade. So long as the slave-trade is permitted to be kept up at Zanzibar, so long will these otherwise enterprising people, the Arabs, kindle gainst them the hatred of the natives throughout Africa.
On the main line of travel from Zanzibar into the interior of Africa these acts of cruelty are unknown, for the very good reason that the natives having been armed with guns, and taught how to use those weapons, are by no means loth to do so whenever an opportunity presents itself. When, too late, they have perceived their folly in selling guns to the natives, the Arabs now begin to vow vengeance on the person who will in future sell a gun to a native. But they are all guilty of the same mistake, and it is strange they did not perceive that it was folly when they were doing so.
In former days the Arab, when protected by his slave escort, armed with guns, could travel through Useguhha, Urori, Ukonongo, Ufipa, Karagwah, Unyoro, and Uganda, with only a stick in his hand; now, however, it is impossible for him or any one else to do so. Every step he takes, armed or unarmed, is fraught with danger. The Waseguhha, near the coast, detain him, and demand the tribute, or give him the option of war; entering Ugogo, he is subjected every day to the same oppressive demand, or to the fearful alternative. The Wanyamwezi also show their readiness to take the same advantage; the road to Karagwah is besieged with difficulties; the terrible Mirambo stands in the way, defeats their combined forces with ease, and makes raids even to the doors of their houses in Unyanyembe; and should they succeed in passing Mirambo, a chief — Swaruru — stands before them who demands tribute by the bale, and against whom it is useless to contend.
These remarks have reference to the slave-trade inaugurated in Manyuema by the Arabs. Harassed on the road between Zanzibar and Unyanyembe by minatory natives, who with bloody hands are ready to avenge the slightest affront, the Arabs have refrained from kidnapping between the Tanganika and the sea; but in Manyuema, where the natives are timid, irresolute, and divided into small weak tribes, they recover their audacity, and exercise their kidnapping propensities unchecked.
The accounts which the Doctor brings from that new region are most deplorable. He was an unwilling spectator of a horrible deed — a massacre committed on the inhabitants of a populous district who had assembled in the market-place on the banks of the Lualaba, as they had been accustomed to do for ages. It seems that the Wamanyuema are very fond of marketing, believing it to be the summum bonum of human enjoyment. They find endless pleasure in chaffering with might and main for the least mite of their currency — the last bead; and when they gain the point to which their peculiar talents are devoted, they feel intensely happy. The women are excessively fond of this marketing, and, as they are very beautiful, the market place must possess considerable attractions for the male sex. It was on such a day amidst such a scene, that Tagamoyo, a half-caste Arab, with his armed slave escort, commenced an indiscriminate massacre by firing volley after volley into the dense mass of human beings. It is supposed that there were about 2,000 present, and at the first sound of the firing these poor people all made a rush for their canoes. In the fearful hurry to avoid being shot, the canoes were paddled away by the first fortunate few who got possession of them; those that were not so fortunate sprang into the deep waters of the Lualaba, and though many of them became an easy prey to the voracious crocodiles which swarmed to the scene, the majority received their deaths from the bullets of the merciless Tagamoyo and his villanous band. The Doctor believes, as do the Arabs themselves, that about 400 people, mostly women and children, lost their lives, while many more were made slaves. This outrage is only one of many such he has unwillingly witnessed, and he is utterly unable to describe the feelings of loathing he feels for the inhuman perpetrators.
Slaves from Manyuema command a higher price than those of any other country, because of their fine forms and general docility. The women, the Doctor said repeatedly, are remarkably pretty creatures, and have nothing, except the hair, in common with the negroes of the West Coast. They are of very light colour, have fine noses, well-cut and not over-full lips, while the prognathous jaw is uncommon. These women are eagerly sought after as wives by the half-castes of the East Coast, and even the pure Omani Arabs do not disdain to take them in marriage.
To the north of Manyuema, Livingstone came to the light-complexioned race, of the colour of Portuguese, or our own Louisiana quadroons, who are very fine people, and singularly remarkable for commercial “‘cuteness” and sagacity. The women are expert divers for oysters, which are found in great abundance in the Lualaba.
Rua, at a place called Katanga, is rich in copper. The copper-mines of this place have been worked for ages. In the bed of a stream, gold has been found, washed down in pencil-shaped pieces or in particles as large as split peas. Two Arabs have gone thither to prospect for this metal; but, as they are ignorant of the art of gulch-mining, it is scarcely possible that they will succeed. From these highly important and interesting discoveries, Dr. Livingstone was turned back, when almost on the threshold of success, by the positive refusal of his men to accompany him further. They were afraid to go on unless accompanied by a large force of men; and, as these were not procurable in Manyuema, the Doctor reluctantly turned his face towards Ujiji.
It was a long and weary road back. The journey had now no interest for him. He had travelled the road before when going westward, full of high hopes and aspirations, impatient to reach the goal which promised him rest from his labors — now, returning unsuccessful, baffled, and thwarted, when almost in sight of the end, and having to travel the same path back on foot, with disappointed expectations and defeated hopes preying on his mind, no wonder that the old brave spirit almost succumbed, and the strong constitution almost went to wreck.
Livingstone arrived at Ujiji, October 16th, almost at death’s door. On the way he had been trying to cheer himself up, since he had found it impossible to contend against the obstinacy of his men, with, “It won’t take long; five or six months more; it matters not since it cannot be helped. I have got my goods in Ujiji, and can hire other people, and make a new start again.” These are the words and hopes by which he tried to delude himself into the idea that all would be right yet; but imagine the shock he must have suffered, when he found that the man to whom was entrusted his goods for safe keeping had sold every bale for ivory.
The evening of the day Livingstone had returned to Ujiji, Susi and Chuma, two of his most faithful men, were seen crying bitterly. The Doctor asked of them what ailed them, and was then informed, for the first time, of the evil tidings that awaited him.
Said they, “All our things are sold, sir; Sherif has sold everything for ivory.”
Later in the evening, Sherif came to see him, and shamelessly offered his hand, but Livingstone repulsed him, saying he could not shake hands with a thief. As an excuse, Sherif said he had divined on the Koran, and that this had told him the Hakim (Arabic for Doctor) was dead.
Livingstone was now destitute; he had just enough to keep him and his men alive for about a month, when he would be forced to beg from the Arabs.
The Doctor further stated, that when Speke gives the altitude of the Tanganika at only 1,800 feet above the sea, Speke must have fallen into that error by a frequent writing of the Anne Domini, a mere slip of the pen; for the altitude, as he makes it out, is 2,800 feet by boiling point, and a little over 3,000 feet by barometer.
The Doctor’s complaints were many because slaves were sent to him, in charge of goods, after he had so often implored the people at Zanzibar to send him freemen. A very little effort on the part of those entrusted with the despatch of supplies to him might have enabled them to procure good and faithful freemen; but if they contented themselves, upon the receipt of a letter from Dr. Livingstone, with sending to Ludha Damji for men, it is no longer a matter of wonder that dishonest and incapable slaves were sent forward. It is no new fact that the Doctor has discovered when he states that a negro freeman is a hundred times more capable and trustworthy than a slave. Centuries ago Eumaeus, the herdsman, said to Ulysses:
Jove fixed it certain, that whatever day Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away.
We passed several happy days at Ujiji, and it was time we were now preparing for our cruise on the Tanganika. Livingstone was improving every day under the different diet which my cook furnished him. I could give him no such suppers as that which Jupiter and Mercury received at the cottage of Baucis and Philemon. We had no berries of chaste Minerva, pickled cherries, endive, radishes, dried figs, dates, fragrant apples, and grapes; but we had cheese, and butter which I made myself, new-laid eggs, chickens, roast mutton, fish from the lake, rich curds and cream, wine from the Guinea-palm, egg-plants, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, pea-nuts, and beans, white honey from Ukaranga, luscious singwe — a plum-like fruit — from the forests of Ujiji, and corn scones and dampers, in place of wheaten bread.
During the noontide heats we sat under our veranda discussing our various projects, and in the early morning and evening we sought the shores of the lake — promenading up and down the beach to breathe the cool breezes which ruffled the surface of the water, and rolled the unquiet surf far up on the smooth and whitened shore.
It was the dry season, and we had most lovely weather; the temperature never was over 80 degrees in the shade.
The market-place overlooking the broad silver water afforded us amusement and instruction. Representatives of most of the tribes dwelling near the lake were daily found there. There were the agricultural and pastoral Wajiji, with their flocks and herds; there were the fishermen from Ukaranga and Kaole, from beyond Bangwe, and even from Urundi, with their whitebait, which they called dogara, the silurus, the perch, and other fish; there were the palm-oil merchants, principally from Ujiji and Urundi, with great five-gallon pots full of reddish oil, of the consistency of butter; there were the salt merchants from the salt-plains of Uvinza and Uhha; there were the ivory merchants from Uvira and Usowa; there were the canoe-makers from Ugoma and Urundi; there were the cheap-Jack pedlers from Zanzibar, selling flimsy prints, and brokers exchanging blue mutunda beads for sami-sami, and sungomazzi, and sofi. The sofi beads are like pieces of thick clay-pipe stem about half an inch long, and are in great demand here. Here were found Waguhha, Wamanyuema, Wagoma, Wavira, Wasige, Warundi, Wajiji, Waha, Wavinza, Wasowa, Wangwana, Wakawendi, Arabs, and Wasawahili, engaged in noisy chaffer and barter. Bareheaded, and almost barebodied, the youths made love to the dark-skinned and woolly-headed Phyllises, who knew not how to blush at the ardent gaze of love, as their white sisters; old matrons gossiped, as the old women do everywhere; the children played, and laughed, and struggled, as children of our own lands; and the old men, leaning on their spears or bows, were just as garrulous in the Place de Ujiji as aged elders in other climes.
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