The Life and African Exploration of David Livingstone

Scottish Ancestry

David Livingstone,
page 9 of 13

little. He also expressed his resolution never to cease his labours till he had done all in his power to abolish that most hellish traffic on earth, the slave trade, and to help, as God permitted him, to open up Africa to the civilising influences of Christianity and commerce.

There is one little picture of this period which had more value to Livingstone than all these congratulatory banquets. As soon as he could free himself from the outstretched arms of his admiring country, he went down with eager heart to the dear old home to see his mother, his children, and other relatives. His father’s vacant chair touched him deeply. One of his sisters, with humble yet graphic pen, describes the pathetic and memorable scene. ”The first evening he asked all about his illness and death. One of us remarking that after he knew he was dying his spirits seemed to rise, David burst into tears. At family worship that evening he said with deep feeling, ‘We bless Thee, 0 Lord, for our parents. We give Thee thanks for the dead who have died in the Lord.’”

Everywhere over the length and breadth of the country scientific societies and cities vied with Royalty itself in doing Livingstone honour. By special command he was honoured with an interview with Prince Consort, and, later on, with the Queen herself. He was not trained to court ways, so the modest hero went to Windsor Castle without ceremony, in his black coat and blue trousers, and his consul’s cap, surrounded with a strip of gold lace. He was presented with the freedom of the City of London, and afterwards he was received by the University of Glasgow, the Corporation, the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, and the United Cotton Spinners of Scotland. A testimonial, amounting to £2,000, was raised by public subscription and presented to him in Glasgow, along with the freedom of the city.

Livingstone, amidst all these fêtes, was anxious to be back again at the work to which he had given himself, and he left England in March, 1858, and entered on an expedition which lasted, without break, for six years. He relates the story of this enterprise in his “Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries.” During this adventurous journey Livingstone and his party passed through unparalleled hardships and dangers, but, as a result, the travellers thoroughly explored the Zambesi and its tributary, the Shire, and discovered the two great lakes of Shirwa and Nyassa. Before entering on this expedition he severed his connection with the London Missionary Society, with whom, however, he ever remained on the best of terms. His official appointment on leaving England was, “Her Majesty’s Consul at Kilimane for the Eastern Coast and the Independent States of the interior, and Commander of the Expedition for exploring Eastern and Central Africa.” In connection with this expedition he spent the most of 1859 in the exploration of Lake Nyassa, which he had discovered in September, 1858. In January, 1861, Bishop Mackenzie and a party of missionaries arrived from London to establish a station on the Upper Shire. Livingstone received the party with the utmost cordiality and showed them countless kindnesses, reminding one of the generous hospitality of the old patriarchal days. He guided them safely through the country and left them not till he saw them comfortably settled in the Highlands of Magomero. On their way there they met several bands of slaves, whom they set at liberty. While engaged in the exploration of the country around Nyassa it was Livingstone’s frequent custom to allow his boat to sail slowly up the lake, while he took observations and made scientific calculations on shore. From what he then saw


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