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The Personal Life of David Livingstone   By: (1820-1899)

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LL.D., D.C.L.



W. GARDEN BLAIKIE, D.D., LLD. Author of "Heroes of Israel," etc.


The purpose of this work is to make the world better acquainted with the character of Livingstone. His discoveries and researches have been given to the public in his own books, but his modesty led him to say little in these of himself, and those who knew him best feel that little is known of the strength of his affections, the depth and purity of his devotion, or the intensity of his aspirations as a Christian missionary. The growth of his character and the providential shaping of his career are also matters of remarkable interest, of which not much has yet been made known.

An attempt has been made in this volume, likewise, to present a more complete history of his life than has yet appeared. Many chapters of it are opened up of which the public have hitherto known little or nothing. It has not been deemed necessary to dwell on events recorded in his published Travels, except for the purpose of connecting the narrative and making it complete. Even on these, however, it has been found that not a little new light and color may be thrown from his correspondence with his friends and his unpublished Journals.

Much pains has been taken to show the unity and symmetry of his character. As a man, a Christian, a missionary, a philanthropist, and a scientist, Livingstone ranks with the greatest of our race, and shows the minimum of infirmity in connection with the maximum of goodness. Nothing can be more telling than his life as an evidence of the truth and power of Christianity, as a plea for Christian Missions and civilization, or as a demonstration of the true connection between religion and science.

So many friends have helped in this book that it is impossible to thank all in a preface. Most of them are named in the body of the work. Special acknowledgments, however, are due to the more immediate members of Dr. Livingstone's family, at whose request the work was undertaken; also to his sisters, the Misses Livingstone, of Hamilton, to Mr. Young, of Kelley, to the venerable Dr. Moffat, and Mrs. Vavasseur, his daughter. The use of valuable collections of letters has been given by the following (in addition to the friends already named): The Directors of the London Missionary Society; Dr. Risdon Bennett; Rev. G.D. Watt; Rev. Joseph Moore; Rev. W. Thompson, Cape Town; J.B. Braithwaite, Esq.; representatives of the late Sir R.I. Murchison, Bart., and of the late Sir Thomas Maclear; Rev. Horace Waller, Mr. and Mrs. Webb, of Newstead Abbey, Mr. P. Fitch, of London, Rev. Dr. Stewart, of Lovedale, and Senhor Nunes, of Quilimane. Other friends have forwarded letters of less importance. Some of the letters have reached the hands of the writer after the completion of the book, and have therefore been used but sparingly.

The recovery of an important private journal of Dr. Livingstone, which had been lost at the time when the Missionary Travels was published, has thrown much new light on the part of his life immediately preceding his first great journey.

In the spelling of African proper names, Dr. Moffat has given valuable help. Usually Livingstone's own spelling has been followed.

A Map has been specially prepared, in which the geographical references in the volume are shown, which will enable the reader to follow Livingstone's movements from place to place.

With so much material, it would have been easier to write a life in two volumes than in one; but for obvious reasons it has been deemed desirable to restrict it to the present limits. The author could wish for no higher honor than to have his name associated with that of Livingstone, and can desire no greater pleasure than that of conveying to other minds the impressions that have been left on his own.




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