Statue by Mossman. Erected 19th March, 1879.
Away on the western coast, between dark Mull and the white sands of Iona, is the small island of Ulva, the “Ulva’s isle” of Campbell’s ballad, “Lord Ullin’s Daughter.” Here the ancestors of David Livingstone were known to have been settled for at least two centuries. They were all honest, brave, and loyal men. David’s great-grandfather was one of the seven hundred who rallied with their claymores around the standard of Cameron of Lochiel, and fell at Culloden-—“fighting for the old line of kings,” as the great African traveller has heroically expressed it. His grandfather could recite the records of the family for six generations, and in all their pedigree there was not to be found a stain on the character of a single member of the stock. The Livingstones had another quality—a negative virtue: no man belonging to them had ever been heard of “who was a donkey!” The hero of this sketch, David himself, with that frank manliness so characteristic of him, says: “The only point of the family tradition I feel proud of is this. One of these poor islanders, when he was on his death-bed, called his children round him, and said, ‘I have searched diligently through all the traditions of our family, and I never could find that there was a dishonest man amongst our forefathers. If, therefore, any of you should take to dishonest ways, it will not be because it runs in the blood.’ ” If ever a man remained faithful to the stainless ensign of a brave family, that man was David Livingstone. A more perfect example of a courageous, honest, noble life, whether in touch with the wise and the great of his country, or in sympathetic relationship with the benighted thousands of Africa, there is not to be found.
David’s grandfather, the son of the soldier who died for a lost cause on Culloden’s fateful field, finding the small farm in Ulva insufficient for the support of his large family, came, in 1792, to Blantyre, where he obtained a position in the factory of Henry Monteith & Co.
The long and stubborn war with Napoleon drew away, either for the army or the navy, all the old man’s sons except Neil, who, after having served his apprenticeship to David Hunter, a tailor, married his daughter Agnes in 1810. After having spent several years in Glasgow, he returned to