23 September 2004
Autograph letter signed to James Aspinall Turner MP, Screw Steamer Pearl, 10 June 1858, annotated by recipient 'Recd 28 Augt', letter accompanied by a specimen of Zambesi cotton, 4 pages, folio, envelope.
THE FIRST INVESTIGATIONS OF THE MOUTHS OF THE ZAMBESI. Livingstone reports that 'after a good deal of what may be called exploration', the expedition is on its way up the Zambesi; after unsuccessful attempts at the southern mouth and the Luabo branch, they had discovered 'a very fine bar and harbour called Kongone'; he complains of Portuguese secrecy as to the mouths of the Zambesi, preserved 'in order to carry on the slave trade quietly: ships may lie securely ten or twenty miles inland in fresh water completely screened from observation'. Livingstone encloses a specimen of cotton found growing wild in the area; 'I am distributing sea island cotton seed to different persons in the Delta, and they express perfect willingness to cultivate it for sale'. The letter goes on to report with some pleasure that the Portuguese have been forced to flee the coastal area because 'a half-cast [sic] had rebelled ... Fortunate we were not in the country at the time or we should have been accused of stirring up the natives'. The letter ends with complaints of the cheek of the Portuguese government in '"granting me leave to take my goods up free of duty" through branches either unknown to them or kept secret for slaving', and protests against their claims of sovereignty over the Zambesi.
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