58. David Livingston [Livingstone], Banks of the Zouga, to Rev Arthur Tidman, Mission House, Blomfield Street, London

Scope and Content

Gives a fuller account of their visit to the country of Sebitoane [Sebetwane] described in letter 57; intention of establishing a settlement in the hilly part of this country; justifies taking his family with him on this journey (whose presence also helped to dispel any suspicion from the local people); visit to Sekhomi [Sekgoma] "in his sickness" [a stomach ulcer], to whom Livingstone offered assistance and medicines, and the subsequent support of the chief for the remainder of their journey (including guides); description of the route and observations of the country; guided by Shobo, a "bushman", to the Mababi river, then guided by Chombo, the headman of a Banajoa village, to the banks of the Chobe; problems with Tsetse; remained on the banks of the Chobe for two months; time spent with Sebitoane and details of his life; previous efforts of Sebitoane to attract white men to his country and Livingstone's thoughts regarding the reasons for this - purchase of firearms, defence against attacks by the people of Mosilikatse [Mzilikazi]; illness of Sebitoane with pneumonia and subsequent death; messages sent to Sebitoane's children (200 miles upriver from Sesheke); awaits sanction for journey from Mamochisane (Sebitoane's daughter and successor to his chieftainship); proceeded on horseback for 100 miles and had sight of "the largest river either of us had ever seen"; presumption that the Sesheke is the main branch of the Zambesi; mention of Mosioatunya, or "resounding smoke" [later named Victoria Falls by Livingstone]; accounts of Sebitoane's encounters with slave traders; notes that many of Sebitoane's people were wearing European clothes and sees this as evidence of a demand for English manufactures; discusses ivory trade along the river, noting many instances of "ivory rotting in the sun" and numbers of elephants thought to have been killed in the region; also notes trade in honey and beeswax; details his thoughts regarding the establishment of 'legitimate' commerce on the Zambesi - "Let it once be found that Christian missionaries and Christian merchants can remain throughout the year in the Interior of the continent, & in ten years the slave dealer will be driven out of the market"; discusses the Zambezi river and notes comments and drawings of the local people in relation to its size and direction; also notes details of other rivers, including the Bashukulompo, the Sesheke, the Chobe, the Lonta, the Liambae, the Lobale [not known whether this is a lake or river] and the names and characteristics of tribes living on the banks of these rivers [Upper Zambezi region]; language spoken by the "black race" of the region distinct from that of the Bechuana with many dialects; compilation of vocabularies; translation of particular words including that used to designate the Supreme Being; comments of the civilizing influence of Christian mission; reasons for leaving the region, including the onset of the rainy season and the Tsetse fly; outlines reasons against his return to the country to establish a mission, including suspicion of his motives by the brethren who accuse him of attempts to "obtain the applause of men"; the death of his daughter [Elizabeth Pyne] at 6 weeks and the subsequent paralysis suffered by his wife [Mary Livingstone] and accusations levelled against him re his duty to his family; the failure of the mission at Kolobeng; the prospect that evangelising in the Interior will help to put a stop to the slave trade in a large region and open up a highway into the north; ambitions to acquire the new language and translate the Bible into it; reiterates reasons why his family should go to England and feelings at their loss; determination to proceed to the Interior regardless of opposition; comments on the need to place a missionary such as Mr Ashton with a new station with the Bamangwato [baNgwato] and gives an indication of the size of their population (including Makalala who have fled from Mosilikatse) and benefits of this move; mentions his Dictionary of Sitchuana [seTswana] proposed some time earlier, which has been laid to one side due to his inability to procure funds for the printing of it.

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