“To the Editor of the Times”

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To the Editor of the Times.

Sir,—You did me the favour recently to insert a few lines respecting Chumah and Susi, who, after serving Dr. Livingstone since 1864, headed the cortége which brought their master's body some 1,500 miles to the coast and saved all his priceless journals, papers, and notes.

Through the courtesy and kindness of Captain L. Brine, of Her Majesty's ship Briton, the senior officer on the East Coast Station, I have received tho following communications. Captain Brine says:-

"Chumah and Susi have been on board to see me this morning, and Chumah asked me to write a letter to you for him, and I send you what he dictated. 'Dr. Livingstone died at Ulala, near the S.W. bend of Lake Bangweolo on the 30th of April. He was at the time on his way to discover the existence or non-existence of tho four fountains of Herodotus.' Their existence is affirmed, Chumah tells me, by all the people they met around Lake Bangweolo."

Here is Chumah's letter:—

"Chumah gives compliments to Mr. Waller. I have been all over with Dr. Livingstone in Africa, and am now in Zanzibar with my wife. I am now by myself. I do not know what work to do. Give compliments to my sister, who is at the Cape. His name Chaika. I hear it with Dr. Livingstone that letters came to him that Kinsolo, my brother, been shot with a gun. I don't know who shoot him. If please you get answer, send to me at Zanzibar. Susi, Kibanga man, give him compliments to Mr. Waller and to Dr. Livingstone's son, and now he is in Zanzibar and will wait for a letter. If you have got any business in Africa, let us know. We want to go in Africa again where Dr. Livingstone died. "Chumah.    

"Susi don't know write."

I will merely add that on starting upon this last fatal journey in 1866, Chumah, then a lad of about 14 years, promised me in a similar epistle that he would stick to the Doctor, come what might. He has kept his word. In speaking of Chinsoro and Chasika, he uses the native idiom ; they were not blood relatives. Chinsoro was murdered some years since under circumstances so brutal that I can understand Dr. Livingstone in suppressing the details in mentioning the fact to him. Chasika, Chinsoro's widow, is very poorly off at the Cape. Both, in company with Chumah, were originally liberated by us from the slavers. Chumah's wife seems a new acquisition.

Thanks to the heroic conduct of these men an enormous mass of geographlcal information is now in the possession of Dr. Livingstone's family. In common with others I have received very long communications from him which I will not touch on now beyond stating that there is continual evidence in them that at Ujiji, at Unyanyembe—in short, at every point between the coast and Dr. Livingstone's exploring ground, the Arabs were fully aware how suicidal it was to allow him to correspond with the outer world. It was, in fact, death to be caught taking letters on his behalf. Wise in their generation, they knew the slave trade was crumbling to pieces under the fierce glance of his observations.

Would that the tried spirit could have known what we knew before it passed away to its rest ! Instead of the annual 20,000 slaves being imported into Zanzibar in 1873, thence to be dispersed on the four winds of bondage, we reduced the number by recent active exertions to a total export of 1,400 only, thus mightily had he dealt his blows, not in the dark, but in total ignorance of all the interest excited by his revelations and the measures taken in consequence of his former letters. Alas, that we must thus speak in the past tense !

Already in 1874 the tide is turned. Law officers stand in the stead of him who is no more. The slave trade is reviving hand over hand, and, with shame and indignation, we are forced to admit that such men as Livingstone may come and go, but red tape flows on for ever.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

Horace Waller.    

Vicarage, Leytonstone, E., April 9.

Item Details

Author(s) & contributor(s): Horace Waller; Lindesay Brine; James Chumah

Date(s): 9 April 1874; [1874]; [1874]

Form & transmission history: Original letter, as edited and published (alongside a letter by another British author) in a letter by a British abolitionist in a British periodical.

Original publication details: The Times (10 April 1874): 10

Digital edition & date: One More Voice, 2020

Critical editing & encoding: Heather F. Ball, Adrian S. Wisnicki

Cite this digital edition (MLA): Waller, Horace; Lindesay Brine; James Chumah. “‘To the Editor of the Times’” (9 April 1874; [1874]; [1874]). Heather F. Ball, Adrian S. Wisnicki, eds. One More Voice, site launch edition, 2020, https://onemorevoice.org/html/transcriptions/liv_020012_TEI.html.

Rights: Critically-edited text copyright One More Voice. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Explore complete/original item: The Times Digital Archive

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