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7 December 2012
LIVINGSTONE, David (1813-1873) Explorer. Autograph letter signed ("David Livingstone") to Edward Baines (1800-1890), Zambesi, 12 March 1860. 3 pages, 4to, blank integral, show-through.
LIVINGSTONE EXPLORES THE ZAMBEZI AND DENOUNCES PORTUGUESE SLAVE TRADERS
An important letter from the "vexatious" Zambezi expedition, attacking Portugal's support for the slave trade and mentioning Burton and Speke. Livingston returned to Africa in 1858, empowered by the British government to explore the possibility of trade and navigation up the Zambezi River in the Congo. "You may possibly have heard of what we have been doing," he tells journalist and reformer Edward Baines, "...We have found an opening into the magnificent cotton field through part of which I travelled far to the West, and the form & fertility of which, if I am rightly informed been confirmed by Burton and Speke. This discovery however has been at the expense of a vexatious delay...but it has opened a field for direct influence on the slave trade in several parts of the East coast I never anticipated. There is little doubt but that the introduction of lawful commerce and the gospel, the only balm for human woes, to the Highland Lake region, would speedily effect a diminution of that traffic which now crosses Nyana..." He writes scathingly of the Portuguese as "the lowest & most immoral class generally" who "defile everything near them. I hope that our statesmen may see the matter in the same light we do. A small steamer on Nyana would not only afford complete security to sellers but effect more without firing a shot than many vessels on the ocean."
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