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Manuscript of David Livingstone's suppressed 'Preface' to 'Missionary Travels'.

Author(s): Livingstone, David

Text

1


To be read if you have [¿] then
destroyed

Preface


After spending some sixteen years in teaching
honesty to the Africans, it was rather mortifying
to one whose contact with foreign nations
had revived high ideas of the honour of his countrymen
to witness on his return home a
cool appropriation of his literary property which
would have made the Makolollo hold in their
breath. When slowly toiling through forest, marsh
and river pains were taken in spite of ever
returning fevers to convey home by means
of general sketches the earliest information
of the discoveries, in order that should the
writer, as so many have done, fall a victim
to the climate, his labours might not be lost
to his countrymen. At a meeting of welcome
held a few days after my arrival in London in
December 1856 by the Royal Geographical Society
Sir Roderick Murchison proposed that I should
give a narrative of my travels to the world. And
at a similar meeting by the Directors of the
London Missionary Society I stated my intention
of doing that instead of making those public
appearances which were urged upon me. My
resolution was widely known yet no long
time elapsed before artful advertisements
were issued the aim of which was to produce
the impression that various spurious works
concocted from the sketches referred to — from
some private letters the loss of which could
never be accounted for — and from the
imagination of the writers, were all given to
the public with my sanction and authority
“Dr Livingston's discoveries &c with a map corrected
by himself” or “revised by himself” or “the
only authorized edition” or the task of carrying
Dr Livingston's life & discoveries through the
press has been committed to — who will esteem
it a labour of love — at the low price of five shilling
&c &c




.


Another collection appeared with the hint “the only
authorized edition” my authority having neither been
asked nor obtained. And another encouraged by
the success of his predecessors advertized “that
the task of carrying Dr. Livingston's life and travels
through the press had been committed to
— who will esteem it “a labour of love.” Having been
so long among unsophisticated Africans I found
it rather difficult to understand how any one
superior to “a ticket of leave man” could esteem a work of dishonesty
“a labour of love”. The unsophisticat[ed] Makololo justify
their forays for “lifting cattle” by quoting some former
injury they sustained. “The cows they now seize are
only the calves of those stolen by the great grandfathers of
the enemy” They never lift the cattle of their friends. these are sacred. But my piratical friends are influenced
by pure love. They are even quite extravagant in their
laudation of their victim and most devoutly
anxious to serve him and the cause of missions.
I am really ashamed to appear to think unkindly of
any of my countrymen and would fain have refrained
from noticing the evident forgetfulness by these
persons in their advertisements of the case of
Ananias and Sapphira, but I feel myself under
imperative obligations to notice the sentiments of
uprightness which these spurious publications have
called forth. The “Times” nobly refused to admit
the advertisements of the few publishers who
stooped beneath the general morality of the trade and
I tender the Editor my warmest thanks ; I feel
also deeply grateful to the “Athenæum” and the press
generally for aid in exposing frauds which
a sacred regard for the cause of missions prevented
our invoking the aid of the law to repress.
It is certainly no proof of the world becoming
worse that the Publishers of Paternoster Row
to a man scouted the piracies from the trade
Many others especially in Scotland followed





It is however a cheering sign that when
challenged all denied the paternity of these
orphan advertisements. The unsophisticated Makololo
justify their forays for “lifting cattle” by quoting
some former injury they sustained. “The
cows they now capture are only the calves
of the calves of the cows which were stolen
by the great grandfathers of the enemy. They
never “lift” the cattle of their friends. These
are sacred and should they wander would
be returned. But my friends are influenced
by pure love (not of money of course) and
are even extravagant in their laudation of
their victim and most devoutly anxious
to serve him and the cause of missions. I am
really ashamed to bring forward the semblance
of a charge against any of my countrymen
from whom generally I have recieved
the kindest attentions and greatest honours
but I feel myself under imperative
obligations the evidences of the morality of
the mass of society, and warmly to
acknowledge the sentiments of uprightness
and honour which these spurious
publications have been the means of
eliciting


I suppress this as too fiery but
send it that you may see
what I was thinking off
In noticing those who in any
way aided me there is an
implied censure of the others

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Manuscript of David Livingstone's suppressed 'Preface' to 'Missionary Travels'. 2022. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved November 2022, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=249.

MLA Style:

"Manuscript of David Livingstone's suppressed 'Preface' to 'Missionary Travels'." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2022. Web. November 2022. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=249.

Chicago Style

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "Manuscript of David Livingstone's suppressed 'Preface' to 'Missionary Travels'," accessed November 2022, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=249.

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2022. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/.

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Manuscript of David Livingstone's suppressed 'Preface' to 'Missionary Travels'.

Document Information

Document ID 249
Title Manuscript of David Livingstone's suppressed 'Preface' to 'Missionary Travels'.
Year group 1850-1900
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1868
Wordcount 842

Author information: Livingstone, David

Author ID 36
Forenames David
Surname Livingstone
Gender Male
Year of birth 1813
Place of birth Blantyre, Scotland
Occupation Missionary, explorer, mill worker
Education University
Locations where resident Blantyre, Glasgow
Other languages spoken Latin
Religious affiliation Protestant, Congregational Church