Dr. David Livingstone was a Scotchman who has won a greater reputation for travel and research in Africa than any other man. He was a born philanthropist. He was the son of very devout and strict Presbyterians, was encouraged to read only theological literature with all other reading being prohibited and subject to much punishment for doing so. As you would expect because of his upbringing, he very much disliked religion in his youth, and smuggled in books of travel and adventure to read instead of the religious books. He said that the last punishment he ever got from his father was about this very thing.
Livingstone spun cotton so he could go to school and complete a course in medicine. He had already decided to be a missionary and his first desire was to go to China, but this nation was closed to all other nationalities, as they did not want anyone there that could be considered an intruder to them.
About this time, the London Missionary Society desired to send a missionary into Southern Africa, and Livingstone’s friends recommended him to go. He was pleased with the teachings and beliefs of the Society and decided to be recommended by them to go to Africa.
In 1840, he embarked for Africa, reaching Cape Town after a voyage of three months. During his short stay at Cape Town he met a fellow missionary name Robert Moffat. Livingstone became intrigued with Moffat’s daughter, and they got married while he was at Cape Town. After they left Cape Town, they started for the interior of Africa, where he spent the following sixteen years of his life in explorations and missionary and medical labors.
He and his wife traveled by ox team for the missionary station at Kuruman, in the Bechuana country, about 600 miles northeast of Cape Town. There they rested about three months and went on to Litubaruba, fifteen miles to the south. There they started studying the native language and it took them six months before they could start speaking in the native Bechuana tongue.
In 1843, he founded his first missionary station in a beautiful valley he had found called Mabotsa. From there he had to travel 15 to 20 miles each time he needed to get provisions.
The natives of Mabotsa were very friendly, but extremely superstitious. The lions were very troublesome at this place and would carry off cattle day and night. The Bakatla people came to believe that the lions were witches sent by their enemies to prey upon their flocks and they were afraid to try to kill them. Since it was a known fact that if one of a troop of lions is killed, the other will leave that part of the country, Livingstone knew that he must kill at least one of the lions so the others would leave them alone. Livingstone called a large hunt and the natives formed a large circle and walked inward to drive in whatever they might surround. They enclosed one of the lions laying out upon a rock. A native fired at it, but the ball struck the rock, which caused the lion to bite at the spot and bounded off right through the circle that the natives had made. Instead of spearing him, the men ran because they thought he was a witch and would do something bad to them. They did this twice more and each time the lion got away because the natives were so afraid to kill it.
Livingstone was disgusted with their cowardly actions, so he decided to hunt and kill a lion by himself. Some of the natives ended up following him, because they were curious how he would kill the lion. Pretty soon he came upon another lion and shot the lion with his double-barreled shotgun. He was just about to load another bullet into the gun to finish the lion off, when the lion sprang upon him, catching his shoulder and throwing him to the ground. The lion seized him by the arm and he heard a terrible crunching sound as the bone was being crushed. The lion was also shaking him around like a rag doll. A native dog rushed up and bit the lion on the leg and he let go of Livingstone and sprang upon another native, tearing open his thigh. Then the lion seized another native by the shoulder and would have probably killed him except for the loss of blood from the gunshot wound. Eventually the lion fell dead, but had done a lot of damage before he died.
Besides crunching the bone into splinters, he left eleven teeth wounds on the upper part of Livingstone’s arm. A wound from a lion’s tooth resembles a gunshot wound; it is generally followed by a great deal of sloughing discharge, and pains are felt in the part periodically ever afterward. Livingstone had on a tartan jacket which evidently wiped of all the virus from the teeth that pierced the flesh, for while his companions suffered pains, he never did.
The picture below is a picture of David Livingstone.