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Est: £8,000 GBP - £12,000 GBP
Christie'sSeptember 23, 2004London, United Kingdom

Item Overview


Autograph letter signed to James Aspinall Turner MP, River Zambesi, 30 May 1859, 4 pages, folio, envelope.

THE DISCOVERY OF LAKE SHIRWA: 'We have lately discovered a very fine Inland Lake called Shirwa... It is very beautiful being surrounded on all sides by lofty mountains'; Livingstone gives favourable reports of the navigability of the Shire River, though complaining again of the excessive draught of the Ma Robert; and he goes on to paint an idyllic picture of cotton-growing in the Shire valley: 'such a cotton country we have seen nowhere, except Angola... Everyone spins and weaves the cotton... I never saw so much land under cotton anywhere'. The remainder of the letter, however, is gloomy in tone -- 'our prospects do not look bright' -- and Livingstone expresses fears that the commercial potential of his discoveries will go unexplored because of a lack of agents on the ground; he is critical too of the idleness of the Portuguese -- 'if they can only establish a claim to the Lordship of the soil, [they imagine that] they will make their fortunes lying on their backs smoking' -- later he reports in confidence that 'there is not a man woman or child [of the Portuguese] without the venereal either hereditary or acquired'; he goes on to urge the establishment of a colony -- 'I am every day more and more convinced that our own people must come into the country to work out the cotton & sugar problems. French emigration goes on from Quilimane the slaves being taken thither in chains -- Free Luis [sic] Napoleon emigrants of course'; the letter ends with implicit encouragement to his correspondent to publicise his views, though in the form of 'extracts from a private letter'.


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Auction Details

Exploration and Travel with the Polar Sale

September 23, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

8 King Street, St. James's, London, LDN, SW1Y 6QT, UK