100. David Livingstone, At Sea. H. M. Brig Frolic, to William Thompson, Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope

Scope and Content

8th August

Describes the end of his journey, with some of his men (about 110) remaining at Tette [Tete] until he can retun to take them to their home; mentions the services of his head man, Sekwebu, "a sensible worthy heathen, but for whose tact and knowledge of the Zambesi language I might not have been here today"; describes the receipt of correspondence from the London Missionary Society directors expressing their unease at his future plans, being financially "restricted in their power of aiding plans connected only remotely with the spread of the gospel" - Livingstone expresses his reactions to this letter, perceiving that everything he has done to be in the service of Christ, and states that "If it is according to the will of God, means will be provided from other quarters"; outlines what has been done with articles received (clothing, money, etc.) and debts to be settled, including 18 tusks belonging to Sekeletu, who had lent support in the form of goods and men to the expedition; his intention to return to England without delay.

12th August

Arrival at Port Luis [Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius]; intention to live on board the Frolic until his voyage home; suffering from fever; intention to visit Lebrun [Jean Joseph Lebrun, 1789-1865), LMS missionary in Mauritius, 1814-1833] and "his Malagassi" [emancipated slaves and Christian refugees from Madagascar, which the LMS had been forced to abandon in 1834]; discusses George Flemming and payment to him for his services; expresses concern for Sekwebu, whose experience of the sea voyage has adversely affected him [shortly after this letter was written, Sekwebu committed suicide by drowning].

Administrative / Biographical History

Livingstone describes Sekwebu in Missionary Travels, p.513, "Sekwebu had been captured by the Matabele when a little boy, and the tribe in which he was captive, had migrated to the country near Tete; he had travelled along both banks of the Zambesi several times, and was intimately acquainted with the dialects spoken there. I found him to be a person of great prudence and sound judgement" (source: Schapera, p.318).

George Flemming was a West Indian living in Cape Town, who had been one of William Oswell's servants on the journeys to Lake Ngami in 1849 and Sebetwane's country in 1851. It had been arranged that he accompany Livingstone and trade among the Makololo with goods supplied to him by Mr H. E. Rutherford (source: Schapera).

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