Wide World of Quotes > David Livingstone Quotes


David Livingstone
Scottish medical missionary, explorer and anti-slavery campaigner
(1813-73)



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I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward.
-- After his attempt to explore Ruvuma River was impeded when his paddle steamer wheels became continually fouled up by bodies thrown into the river by the slave traders

People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.
-- Speech to students at Cambridge University, 4 December 1857

Dr. Livingstone, I presume?
-- American journalist, Henry Morton Stanley, on finding David Livingstone who had not been heard from for several years (spoken on October 27, 1871, in Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania)

And if my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together.
-- Letter to the editor of the New York Herald, as quoted in Henry M. Stanley's book How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa, including an account of four months' residence with Dr. Livingstone (1871)

Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.
-- Exploring Magnificent Waterfalls, describing the Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders") waterfall in southern Africa which he had seen in the period 1852-56 (Livingstone was the first European to see them and he renamed them Victoria Falls in honor of his sovereign, Queen Victoria)

We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path. [Bystanders] said an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer.
-- The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Echo Library, 2006.


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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