Lighting the Dark Continent

JULY, 1922


[THESE new letters of David Livingstone were written to his younger brother, Charles, who came to New York from England, in 1840, on the advice of David, to work his way through college. The intrepid young man started on foot from New York to Oberlin with two pounds, thirteen shillings, and sixpence in his pocket. It is perhaps needless to add that he completed his courses at Oberlin, and later at the Union Theological Seminary, with success. He was then called to the pastorate of the Congregational Church in Plympton, Cape Cod; but in 1857 he achieved his heart’s desire and followed his brother to Africa. — THE EDITORS.]

8th October, 1851.
I informed you by a letter sent back from Boatlanamo that we had started for the country of Sebituane; and now that we are on our return, after having been honored to look at what we believe to be the main branch of the Zambesi, you will be expecting to hear ‘all about it.’ We followed our old route — only diverging a little in order to visit Sekhomi in his sickness. It is really the best policy, besides being duty, always to try to do good as we have opportunity. Sekhomi was gratified by our attentions, medicines, etc., and we found his good graces of essential service to us at a subsequent period of the journey. You may remember, he obstructed us in our endeavor to discover the Lake. But now, had we not enjoyed his countenance, we should either have found immense difficulty in reaching Sebituane, or failed altogether. Leaving our old path at Nchokotas, with Bamangwato guides, we proceeded nearly due north and crossed the dry bed of the Zouga. Beyond that we came to a great number of salt pans, covered with a thin efflorescence of salt and lime. Each has a spring of brackish water on one side of it. The continual deposit for centuries of the salt these waters contain would explain the efflorescence; but several of them are thickly strewed with shells, which would seem to indicate that the Zouga has formerly emptied itself into them. The country beyond is covered with Mopane trees and contains a great number of springs in limestone rock. I suspect they are supplied by percolation from the rivers in the north. That’s speculation, however, and you want facts. Well, the leaf of the Mopane tree is peculiar, and swarms of little insects make their abodes on them. They make a little dwelling, in shape like a cockle-shell, but very small, of a sweet gummy substance. The people collect this gum in large quantities and use it as food.
Bushmen abound near these springs. They were all in good condition. They seem to kill lots of game. What a language theirs is, so much klick in it, and the klicking sound is formed by pressing the t ongue on the roof of the mouth and suddenly withdrawing it. Russian, I should say, is softer than Italian compared with Bush. I have often wished I knew it, and never more than when furnished with a Bushman guide called Shobo, who will only muster about four words of Setchuana. They are a merry race, always in good humor and never tell lies wantonly as the other natives do. They exist in vast numbers and are spread over the whole country. When will these poor ‘ dwellers in the wilderness bow down before Him’? . . .
On the fourth day we came to the trail of a rhinoceros; and this being one of the animals which cannot live without water, we put the cattle on the track, and in the afternoon the perishing animals reached the river Mahahi. This is a small branch of the Tso and flows east-northeast. It is lost in a reedy swamp ten miles broad, near which there is a Banajsa and some Bakoba villages. We were informed by Chombo, the headman of the Banajsa, that there were two paths to Sebituane’s river. By the one we should have three more days without water, and by the other we should pass through a patch of country abounding in tsetse. I suspect this is the ‘Zimb’ mentioned by Bruce, etc. It is the scourge of the interior of Africa. But believing we could pass through the tsetse by night, we chose the latter path. On reaching the Chobe early in the morning of the third day from Chombo’s, we found the bank on which we had unyoked the very headquarters of the tsetse. This river is everywhere deep, and were it not so very winding in its course, a steamboat could ply on it.
We found Sebituane a thin, tall, wiry man, but cool and self-possessed. ‘ Your cattle are bitten by the tsetse,’ said he, ‘but never mind, I shall replace them.’ He then presented about two gallons of honey, a pot of porridge, and an ox. His people are by far the most savage people we have seen. They devour an ox in less than an hour; each, seizing a piece, throws it into a fire made of grass or reeds; and when only half roasted, it is instantly devoured. Porridge was brought to Sebituane in the evening, and he invited us to partake, but as about a dozen hands were thrust in, as well as ours, we only got about three spoonfuls. Very early in the morning he came to our fire and related many of the incidents of his past life. He was one of the army of Mantatees which is mentioned by Mr. Moffat. And after being defeated there, he has been fighting almost constantly ever since. Lost all he had three times but ended by possessing more cattle and subjecting more people to his sway than any chief we know in Africa.
Thinking he could cross our waggons by means of canoes, we returned together to what was to be our stand for two months on the Chobe. They were much too heavy for his light canoes. In a few days he was seized with pneumonia, and, after lingering a fortnight, to our great sorrow expired. His people entreated us not to leave them, and it being no part of my plan to do so, we gladly consented. We had proposed to visit the Sesheke, a large river of which we had heard; but the people did not consent to our going until an order came from his daughter to take us wherever we wished to go, and treat us exactly as if Sebituane were alive.
Mr. Oswel and I proceeded to the Sesheke on horseback, and found it about one hundred miles distant. It is the only river I ever saw, though nothing perhaps to those you are accustomed to look upon. Oswel never saw anything like it in India. We could only say, How glorious! How magnificent! The water at the end of a remarkably dry season was from 300 to 500 yards broad. And then, when the waves rose about two feet, making the canoe pitch and roll, the long-lost scenes of the Friths of Clyde and Forth came back so vividly, I might have cried; but the fear that the old man who was conducting us across might ask, ‘What on earth are you blubbering at? ain’t afraid of these alligators, are you?’ made me hold my tears for some other occasion, or send them down inside my nose — the best course sentimentality can take.
Ten days up this magnificent river stand the towns of Mamochisane and the Bartose.... A great many rivers fall into it, and numerous islands, or parts surrounded by water, exist all along its course. These islands are usually the abodes of tribes; for besides the security they afford from enemies, they are generally free from tsetse. There is a series of rapids in the river above the town of Sesheke, at which canoes require to be taken out and dragged along the bank; and about eighty miles below the same point there is a waterfall called Mosistunya 1 (resounding smoke), the spray of which can be seen ten or fifteen miles off. Immediately beyond Mosistunya, the river is narrowed by rocks; but it soon spreads out again, and at the distance of about a month from Sesheke it is joined by the Bashukulomp River, called Maninche (Manninche), and then assumes the name Zambesi. . . .
After having dragged you through marshes, reeds, and rivers, I come back to the topic on which I feel most interest— the poor degraded fragments of humanity. Who will pity them if the Christian does not? They are quite black, their muscular system is largely
developed, deep-chested, their upper extremities are so powerful they make their light canoes cut through the water as our regatta people do at home. They are not warlike, but trust to the defenses their deep rivers afford. They are much more ingenious as smiths, basket-makers, potters, and canoe-makers than any of the Southern tribes. The Banyeti or Baloi smelt large quantities of iron ore, and make very neat spears, needles, etc. I have the vanity to believe myself, for an untaught Jack-of-all-trades, a pretty fair smith; but I could not hold a candle to them in spear-making, sheepand oxbells, etc. The Bashukulompo are called so from having their hair raised up in the centre of the head. And both they and the Batoka have the strange custom of knocking out all the upper front teeth of both sexes at. the age of puberty. The under teeth, being released from the pressure and attrition of the upper, grow long and press out the lower lip, and give an old-man sort of appearance to the face. They say it is done in order to make their teeth resemble those of oxen. All Africans except Bushmen have a very great reverence for cattle. It nearly amounts to worship. The Balumpe go a step further, and knock out both upper and lower front teeth. We did not see any of the latter, but the Batoka told us that the custom began among the Balumpe by the wife of a chief having bitten his hand in a quarrel. He ordered her teeth to be knocked out as a punishment, and his people followed his example.
The Bangoia, Bapingola, and other tribes living between the large rivers use feathered arrows having iron heads. Their bows are about five feet long, and with these they manage to kill elephants, buffaloes, etc. The tsetse abounding in their country, they are unable to keep any domestic animals.
The Bashukulompo and Ratoka have a small breed of cattle, which live with them in their houses as Irish pigs do. They are never driven. The herd goes before them, and when he wants them to move on, he commences calling them and making a few antics, and being exceedingly sportive animals, they come after him, gambolling. All the tribes have domestic and guinea fowls, and they cultivate large quantities of native corn, beans, sugar-cane, and yams. Honey abounds through the whole country. Indeed, native food seems abundant. Elephants exist in considerable numbers, but the ivory is used chiefly for the manufacture of armlets, and the saw they employ is so thick that half an inch is lost for every ring that is formed. . . .
But will anything be done, in order to bring this portion of the human family into closer contact with Christians? If Christian merchants would come up the Zambesi and establish a trade with the tribes I have indicated on the map, they would drive the slave trader out of the market. And they would be no losers in the end. Just think of what the discovery of this one river (Zouga) did for the commerce of the colony last year, in one article. We know of nine hundred elephants which have been killed on its banks in the short space of three years; and last year a trader at the Kuruman took down to the Colony 23,000 pounds of ivory (this article can be sold at Grahamstown even at 4s.6d per lb.), and nearly the whole amount came from this river. If one river helps to swell the commerce of our colony, what might not the numerous rivers put down on the map do to adventurous merchants.
Traders may come up the Zambesi with perfect safety during the months of June, July, and August. These are the winter months in those parts, and fever does not prevail. But no one ought to attempt to enter the Zambesi during any other month. . . .
Ships of war on the coast will never put a stop to the slave trade. But Christianity and commerce may. . . . Should Captain Lynch, who explored the Jordan and Dead Sea, come up past the town of Sesheke, he may find my latitude 2艂 or 3艂 wrong, but he must not sing his ditty there. ‘We are the first that ever burst into this silent sea.’ Probably, however, I shall be in that region soon to welcome any of the Anglo-Saxon race who may favour us with a visit.
You will see what a field is opened up for evangelical effort. The country is densely populated, and the people, having generally enough food, may attend if they will to instruction. The Supreme Being is called Nyampi, or Beza. In referring to a person having died, they say ‘he was lifted by Nyampi, ’ or ‘by the Lord.’ They make use of certain kinds of divination, and prayers, too. I have visited a great many tribes which never have enjoyed any intercourse with missionaries either directly or indirectly, and never met a single individual, unaware of the existence of the Creator and Governor of all things. All understand the nature of sin — and the expressions made use of by all imply the belief in the existence of a future state of being. If any ever existed who had no knowledge of the existence of God, sin, and futurity, it is remarkable that no instance should now remain. Intelligent old men with whom I have conversed ridicule the idea of their ever having been destitute of the knowledge of God, and quote their proverbs and fables handed down from time immemorial in proof. One of these is essentially the story of Solomon and the harlots. They are, however, degraded low enough, and no nation needs more the humanizing influence of the gospel than the African.
Can Europeans live in this new region? Had we found a hilly part, I should have tried the experiment. I had my family with me; the people were delighted with the children. The presence of the wee things seemed to disarm all suspicion. Sebituane’s queens were always scolding me for not letting them feed the children. They stuffed them so full of honey and milk, when they could catch them, I was afraid they would make them ill. And poor Sebituane the very day before he died raised himself up as I was leaving, and said take Robert to Maunko’s (his chief wife) and get some milk for him.
The Makololo were delighted with the idea of my coming to live with them; but though I should willingly expose myself, I did not feel it right, in the absence of hills, to expose the lives of the children in the swamps. I must now send family and all away, somewhere, for two years at least, in order to ascertain whether one may live, in spite of the fever, in Sebituane’s country. I think of sending them to Scotland. Have proposed this to the Directors of the London Missionary Society, their mother taking them home for education. The climate of America would be better for them than that bitter cold, bleak country; but I am a poor man, and my rich American brothers are about as poor as myself. The only difference I know between these two worthies is that the one is content to be a subject of our sovereign Lady the Queen; the other is a citizen, a subject of Queen Jenny Lind, and no insurmountable obstacle between him and the Presidential chair. If the Directors agree to my proposal, I shall then wend my solitary way into the region of the Zambesi and spend, if I live, two years hard at work, in a state of widowhood. I shall feel parting with the children much. It will be like tearing out my entrails. But more is done every day for Queen Victoria and no boohoo about it. I hope I am not such a sorry soger to our Captain as to fail in my duty. Pray for us; they will be orphaned. But there is a Father to the fatherless, and I believe He will accept my work and my sacrifice.
Many thanks for your kind offers in the way of sending books, etc. I should be thankful for a few, but do not incommode yourself by purchasing many. Will be thankful for Macaulay and for any periodicals. . . . Captain Steele of Coldstream Guards, I am told by the Directors, has sent me a present of a gold watch as a token of his esteem. So you must not think of an American clock till you are richer. I shall ask you to procure me some seeds when I get a prospect of having a garden in which to sow them. I shall not translate the Bible for some time at least. The Directors wish me to form a dictionary of the Setchuana. I regret, much they did not tell me so sooner. I was at it years ago, but gave it up not knowing who would print it. And now we have a Zambesi language, bearing about the same affinity to Setchuana as English bears to Latin or French. There are a great many dialects of it,
. . . and I find about the same relationship existing between them as between Lowland Scotch and the Yorkshire dialects. If I form a language out of these, it will be, with the translation of the Bible into it, the work of a lifetime; and only a quarter of a lifetime at most remains now for me. If God will accept my service, I shall live to perform it. If not someone will do it better. My better half has enjoyed pretty good health in this long and wearisome trip. Thomas had the fever three times. We had another son born to us on the Banks of the Zouga, and his mother insists on calling him Charles. If it had been left to me, I should have him called Zouga; so you need not thank me very fiercely for the honor thrust upon you. Only be decently grateful — that ’s all.

CAPE TOWN, 12th April, 1852.
I have heard from home that you have sent a number of books to me. These have not yet come to hand, which I consider rather remarkable, seeing so many American ships touch at this port. But they may yet turn up all safe. . . .
We were gratified by a short visit of the Rev.—Newton, a Presbyterian missionary from the Punjaub, a few days ago. Mr. Newton informed me that he was licensed by the same Presbytery as yourself. And as he was going to New York in the first instance, and would perhaps perambulate the country, I asked him to remember your name and, if possible, call on you. In the event of his not being able to speak much, his residence will be in Philadelphia. He will be able to give you some idea of the queer set he saw in Cape Town. Indeed, we were an odd-looking squad when we came, our clothes about twelve years out of fashion, and so unused to stairs that I felt inclined to turn round and come down as if descending a ladder. We are getting a little more civilized in appearance now. Our friend Mr. Oswell spent. £60 on our outfit for the family. As he had the ordering of it, the clothes are rather more fashionable than we would have chosen. Altogether he spent £170 on us since we came to Cape Town. He is now gone to England. We should have been in straits but for him. You see the Lord remembers us and raises up friends when we need them. He offered me a boat, and asked me to draw on him for just as much as I needed—‘Never mind how much.’ When we had lost all our best oxen, he replaced them to the value of at least £60.
I hear you are intending to take unto yourself a wife. I fear the books you sent may have diminished your own comforts. I wrote you a long letter respecting our late journey, and give in it a sketch of the country or a rough map. I hope it came to hand, for it gave me some trouble, and I wished you to get the information from my own hand before it reached you from any other quarter. It was dated from the river Zouga. . . .
I have had about ¾ of an inch cut off my uvula. I am now being coddled on that account with arrowroot, sago soup, and other slops. I am of most value I see when anyway likely to ‘cut my stick,’ and I have been trying to discover some plan by which husbands may always appear in a ‘touch-and-go state.’ Punch’s advice to ‘cultivate our nerves’ won’t do, for Mary won’t give me credit for having any. You may discover something which will answer better. The back part of the throat is very much swollen at present, so I cannot tell you what the effect will be on my speaking. I have it smeared over every morning with a strong solution of lunar caustic, which is not the most pleasant application in the world; but I will submit to anything to get my voice again.
The people here are very much disposed to make a lion of me, but I have a fine excuse in my throat. I dare say they mean well, but I am utterly opposed to the excitement system. Let people give from principle and not from temporary excitement. A great deal has been done in that way in England; but reaction is sure to follow, and then they refuse to give of their abundance. I may remark here that the letter to which I refer was addressed to Cornwall, Vermont. You have been such a bird of passage lately, there is no knowing where to find you. And as I have packed in the karasses since I began this letter, I may mention too that the mantles will, if lined on the outside with cloth, make a cloak which will make you to laugh at frost-bites. There are other kinds prettier, but the kind sent is the warmest of all. And it makes a good coverlet for a cold night. I enclose an old lion-skin jacket of mine for John, as he is rather fond of the castoff hand-me-downs. It was rather a comfortable affair with the hair turned inwards; but its best days are done. There is also a skin of the Lech, a newly discovered antelope. And, if they will take it, a head of the same. And a wooden vessel brought from the Sesheke. And a bundle of spears. A staff. And in the vessel there are seeds. A kind of earth-nut called Motuohatse or man of the earth. The marama, a large nut or bean which grows on the Kalihari Desert and has a large root under ground; also edible, but not good. I brought an immense pod down for you, but it was found to be spoiled when it came here. I put in a few bulbs, which have beautiful flowers, for Sarah; but perhaps it will be better to grow them in some of your friends’ hothouses the first year. Let them be put in a sandy soil without any manure. One of them is very beautiful and called, from the form of its two spiral tiny leaves, Nakaloa tolo, or Khoodoo’s horns. And a few of the tsetse, in spirit, in a small square phial — ‘Zimb,’ or the ‘fly’ which was to be sent before the children of Israel. What do your learned theologians think about it? . . .
We have had fine doings in this country in the fighting line. Upwards of two millions of English money have been spent, and we are quite as far from the complete subjugation of the Caffres as ever. I have written an article on the subject and others connected with it, but don’t know whether it will be inserted in the British Quarterly or not.
I he other paper gave some offense in some quarters, which shows, I think, that, whatever other defects it had, it peered a little above the line of humdrum. The second is more keen, perhaps, and certainly more coarse. The latter property makes me dubious as to whether it will appear in print. I have sometimes, since I came here, thought of sending you the rough copy, as it may afford you some amusement; but it is doubtful whether you would like to wade through it. Mr. Thompson, our agent here, wrote a reply, or rather strictures, on the first one, and showed me his manuscript; and when he began to suspect me as the author, he told me if he had known the author to be a missionary he would not. have written in the way he did. He did not think any of the missionaries had ability enough to write for that review.
I shall enclose in this a letter written to the Royal Geographical Society and printed in the Cape papers. I sent today one of the papers containing it to John. You will not think much of the preface. I was nettled by the impudent, reproaches of certain traders whom we have made into men. They come down to the Colony, and pretend that they kill all the elephants whose tusks they have bought, and then say, ‘The missionaries are the only traders.’ One hundred thousand pounds of gunpowder passed through the customs-house at Algoa Bay last year, and thirty thousand stand of arms. Yet the colonists and merchants of the frontier, who have been the main instruments in getting up the war, try to fix the blame on missionaries, and unblushingly declare that the only remedy for the peace of the Colony is the complete extermination of the Caffres. They pretend to laugh at us as enthusiasts. The government knows perfectly well who are the parties which supplied the Caffres with firearms and ammunition. Yet it does not prosecute them. You will understand my preface a little better after reading these remarks. . . .
I am about to part with my family. We have not yet fixed on a ship, but are in daily expectation of finding one.
In addition to the articles mentioned, I have sent . . . Caffre corn, in a small bag tied with a bit of Sesheke twine with which nets are made, Pilgrim’s Progress in Sichuana and four pamphlets on Kat Ruen settlement, which will give you some insight into our ways of doing things here. . . .
My poor wife and family sailed by the Trafalgar on the 23rd of April, and I am now like the worthy sparrows on the housetop of whom we used to sing as ‘ companionless. ’ My heart is very sore. I shall never see my children again — they will grow out of my knowledge, and will all forget me. But I grudge Him nothing who died for me. My tears flow, but He knows that my heart grudges Him nothing of all that I have. May He accept my service and use me for his glory, and grant that my children may not rise up among the number of his enemies. It would be a sad sight at last to see them on the left side, and hear them say, you cared more for the Heathen than for us. Pray for them. I may write you again before I leave this, but I am now preparing for departure.

CAPE TOWN, 29th May, 1852. MY DEAR CHARLES, —
I have only a few words for you. I am just about to start, for the interior of the country. Have been here about two months. Have parted with my better half, and am now in a state of sorrowful widowhood. If my hair still continues to stick to my cranium, it will be more than it ought, for I feel very much cut up in returning to a state of bachelorship.... I have taken the opportunity of sending a daguerreotype likeness of your humble servant to your lady, who, I suppose, no longer lives in a state of single blessedness. Great people such as our sovereign Lady the Queen send their portraits to those whom they wish to patronize, and the gracious act is highly valued. You, who consider me a great man, will not object to my aping the doings of the great. But I cannot afford to do it gratis. You must pay me back with two similar pictures, one of His Reverence and another of his lady. Two are enclosed — one for Sarah, which you may transmit by some trustworthy hand. Your lady may take her choice; the ugliest is most like the original. One contains the sextant presented by Captain Steele, and the watch presented by the Royal Geographical Society. It is a little pedantic-looking, but one may be excused looking a little big, when he has to face a pair of impudent Yankees who would, I fear, call Queen Victoria, Mrs. Albert. See if I don’t look defiance at you. I seem to say, ‘Well, though I ain’t a citizen of the freest nation in the universe, it don’t matter.’ I was asked by Mary to give her my likeness, but I did not think myself worth being looked at. When, however, she was gone, I repented, and sent one after her. And then, when I saw Mr. Little, I imagined John and you would like to look at my brown phiz. Excuse my vanity and pay me back when you can by a similar piece of nonsense. . . .
The missionaries in the interior are, I am grieved to say, a sorry set. I do not expect the Divine blessing in connection with them. I shall be glad when I get away into the region beyond — away from their envy and backbiting. Several of them are doing nothing but eating up the resources of the society, and we cannot get quit of them. . . .
I shall be two years away. May God bless you and yours. I have had a large share of honor here. . . . Excuse this hasty how-d’ye-do epistle. Pray for me that my purposes and aims may all be to the Divine Glory. If you are married, give your wife a kiss for me.

KURTTMAN, 10th September, 1852.
. . . You may understand the state into which the colony is reduced by the Caffre war, when I mention that we purchased American provision considerably cheaper than we could the produce of the Cape. And the colonists are not taxed heavily. Everything goes to feed the army. I have, however, I am thankful to say, a good stock of clothes, shoes, and provisions now at hand, and a rifle which I hope will bring as much meat to the pot as we shall need for two years to come. The Directors take charge of my family, and I am not altogether undeserving of the Dr.’s appellation of a happy fellow. I have work before me, and pleasant work, too, though of various kinds. I mentioned to you in my last the main features of my present expedition — viz., to try to find a healthy locality on the Zambesi and a way down to the sea on either the East or West coast.
I have other work on hand, viz., the formation of a Sichuana dictionary and a work in imitation of White’s History of Selborne. I admire the wonderful works of God, and the wisdom He has displayed in the animal kingdom; and as I have already some facts not known in works on natural history, I think a work written after the manner of White, with neither tawdry sentimental reflections nor idolatrous spouting about Nature, but with a manly acknowledgement. of the Divine Wisdom and special operations in all the developments of instincts and adaptation, etc., etc. Look at White, and give me your opinion. Perhaps this will be only one of my castles in the air.
I mean to have my hands full of work (for fear the Devil should find mischief still for idle hands). This great work must be done whether the others are proceeded in or not . I need not tell you to be kind to my children if I never return. I give you Agnes if I am cut off. The Directors will take care of Mary and the other children; or, better still, He who has said, Leave thy fatherless children and let thy widows trust in me. My dear brother, I must succeed or die. See how people perish for gold. They are not enthusiasts, of course. It is a wonder that we are not more enthusiastic for the glory of Him who left his glory and for our sakes became poor. May He accept our service.
You think much more highly of me than I deserve. You see the outside. I see the heart, and He who knows the heart sees in me a bitter fountain. Behold, I am vile. The Providence of God has been most graciously manifested to me, notwithstanding all my defects and sins. It is very interesting to observe Providences. I give you one, and you wall remember I told you a part before. My brother-in-law is engaged to a young lady in England. She refused to join him, for reasons I mentioned. He is here at present, and we find him to be a sorry rogue. With his father’s name he was admitted into good society and came out inflated with pride, has managed by folly to get deep in debt, sold everything salable, and then, to crown all, got married to another, a poor girl in Natal, and came away up here without, a penny in his pockets. The young lady in England, a real Christian, knows nothing of all this, but feels sadly perplexed between affection and duty. I always maintained that she acted right ; and now that our father-in-law sees what his son is, he remarked to me last Sunday, when we were riding together to an outstation, ‘That young lady was Heavendirected. He would have broken her heart.’ The case is instructive, for we have her mourning over her blighted hopes, yet knowing not that these were blasted by a wise and kind Father. . . .
I fear for my children. The people in England spoil children by fawning and flattering, if their fathers happen to be popular. My name having been brought before our friends at home rat her more prominently than it ought, I fear silly people will spoil my youngsters, make them take that stand on the top of my popularity, small though it be, instead of resolving to work out a place and a name for themselves by their own industry. Nearly all our popular ministers in England beget, races of wild asses. You will smile when you think of me and my popularity; but some of our independents in England speak about me in terms which make me blush.
Another Providence I may mention, but it too is only for yourselves (ho! I must speak in the plural now.) I received your letter mentioning the supply of your lacking rib a few days ago. I receive my new sister with very great affection, and beg she will accept a brother’s love and his sincere congratuIations and wishes for the happiness and usefulness of you both. I am more than usually alive to the value of the better halves at. present, living as I am in a state of widowhood — thought, when Mary was with me, that I was a very good husband, but believe now I might have been better. Am in a terrible fit about our youngest child’s name — dare not go farther into the subject, even to you. May venture to break the ice when I hear that you have got a young musician skilled in matrimonial music in your own establishment. . . .
Sechele’s children are all here, to be instructed by Mr. Moffat. The Boers render a residence with the Bakawains useless as far as instruction is concerned. They have encamped on Malestra. The Makhatla are fled, and a combined attack is forthwith to be made on Sechele. They must, I think, fight for their liberty. No nation ever enjoyed liberty without fighting for it. The Caffres and a few rebel Hottentots hold our army at bay and have done so for the last eighteen months. The latest news contains a letter from the chief of the Hottentots asking why our soldiers kill women! Our army, I am ashamed to say, is cruel as were the French in Algeria or the Spaniards in Mexico. The rage of the English knows no bounds. They kill women and children, and if they catch a Hottentot, they hang or butcher him in cold blood.
You may have heard the English version of the causes of the war. I enclose a speech of Sandillah. I think the Yankee had better hear both sides. By all means get it published. It is all true. I can vouch for every syllable. Missionaries have done as he says, and the Government has urged on the converts, too. One of the missionaries has become a Government servant — a commissioner or magistrate at £600 a year, and the Caffres say to him, ‘You have the Bible in one hand and the sambol [scourge] in the other.’ No wonder the Caffres believe not. They never will. If you can get Sandillah’s speech printed and circulated in America, with a few remarks, it may do good. It may produce a reaction. It will show the world the reason why the gospel is inoperative among the Caffres. To side with a wicked government is to hinder the gospel of Christ . O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly with honor be not thou united. Had I been there, would I have been afraid to protest? No, Sandillah, nay verily.

  1. Later visited, and called ‘Victoria Falls.’