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ALS to his sister with early news on his expedition to Central Africa.

MACKENZIE Charles Frederick (1861.)

£2500.00 

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Holograph manuscript in ink. 11pp. 8vo. Magomero, Nyasaland, 31 August & 10 November,

An important unpublished document recording the earliest phase of Bishop Mackenzie's activities on behalf of the Universities Mission in Central Africa.

Arriving in Cape Town on 1 January 1861, "Mackenzie met Livingstone at Kongoni, and was persuaded by him to ascend the Rovuma, in an attempt to reach the Shire district without passing through territory claimed by the Portuguese. The river proved unnavigable and he finally ascended the Zambezi and Shire rivers. Marching into the Shire highlands under Livingstone's conduct, they encountered a party of eighty-four slaves, mainly women and children, being driven for sale in the Zambezi valley. On Livingstone's initiative the group was liberated and presented to the bishop as his first congregation. This intervention, followed by others which over the next few days brought the number under his protection to 177, determined in two ways all else that befell the mission" (ODNB).

This letter includes an account of this time: "These people are chiefly captives and slaves rescued from the cruel hands of slave traders from Teth (a Portuguese settlement in Zambesi) or of the Njawa, a fierce tribe who have overrun the country and have burned innumerable villages [and] after slaughtering the men taken the women and children captives we found it necessary for the peace of the country to help the inhabitants against these njawa. First we accompanied Livingstone in a journey towards them and when they would not listen to terms of peace and fired on him, he was compelled to return their fire and it ended in their being driven from the pastures where they had begun to establish themselves. And after [Livingstone] went on to explore Lake Nyasa, the atrocities of these people continuing - the crops being left in the fields and the people fleeing in numbers southwards, we consented at the request of the chiefs then present a promise to put down slave dealing - to punish any one found buying or selling men, not to harbour any foreigners who may come to buy but to drive them away and tell us. This is a total subversion of the principles of these people..."

He continues with more pressing, if less exciting, matters "we have no schoolroom, not even a house yet, no table, but all these things will come in time." Indeed they do, Mackenzie takes up the letter again about three months later and reports on the progress they made since.

Aware of the interest in his mission, Mackenzie writes at the top of the first page: "please send this letter as soon as convenient to my sister Mrs Wilson ... and when she returns it, to Bullock in case it be worth anything for publication."

 

 


 

 

 

Stock Code: 224783