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According to his Victorian biographer W. Garden Blaikie, the reason was to prevent public concerns that his non-missionary activities such as his scientific work might show the LMS to be "departing from the proper objects of a missionary body". Livingstone had written to the directors of the society to express complaints about their policies and the clustering of too many missionaries near the Cape Colony, despite the sparse native population.
In a letter from the directors of the LMS, which Livingstone received at Quelimane, he was congratulated on his journey but was told that the directors were "restricted in their power of aiding plans connected only remotely with the spread of the Gospel". When he was approached by Roderick Murchison, president of the Royal Geographical Society , who put him in touch with the Foreign Secretary, Livingstone said nothing to the LMS directors, even when his leadership of a government expedition to the Zambezi seemed increasingly likely to be funded by the Exchequer.
Livingstone had suffered over thirty attacks during his journey but had deliberately understated his suffering so as not to discourage the LMS from sending missionaries to the Kololo. Consequently, the missionaries had set out for a marshy region with wholly inadequate supplies of quinine and they had soon weakened and died. In May Livingstone was appointed as Her Majesty's Consul with a roving commission, extending through Mozambique to the areas west of it.
The British government agreed to fund Livingstone's idea and he returned to Africa as head of the Second Zambesi Expedition to examine the natural resources of southeastern Africa and open up the Zambezi River. However, it turned out to be completely impassable to boats past the Cahora Bassa rapids, a series of cataracts and rapids that Livingstone had failed to explore on his earlier travels.
The expedition lasted from March until the middle of Expedition members recorded that Livingstone was an inept leader incapable of managing a large-scale project. He was also said to be secretive, self-righteous, and moody, and could not tolerate criticism, all of which severely strained the expedition and which led to his physician John Kirk writing in , "I can come to no other conclusion than that Dr Livingstone is out of his mind and a most unsafe leader".
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Artist Thomas Baines was dismissed from the expedition on charges of theft which he vigorously denied. The expedition became the first to reach Lake Malawi and they explored it in a four-oared gig. In , they returned to the coast to await the arrival of a steam boat specially designed to sail on Lake Malawi. Mary Livingstone arrived along with the boat.
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She died on 27 April from malaria and Livingstone continued his explorations. Attempts to navigate the Ruvuma River failed because of the continual fouling of the paddle wheels from the bodies thrown in the river by slave traders, and Livingstone's assistants gradually died or left him. It was at this point that he uttered his most famous quotation, "I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward.
The Zambezi Expedition was castigated as a failure in many newspapers of the time, and Livingstone experienced great difficulty in raising funds to further explore Africa. Nevertheless, John Kirk, Charles Meller, and Richard Thornton, the scientists appointed to work under Livingstone, did contribute large collections of botanical, ecological, geological, and ethnographic material to scientific Institutions in the United Kingdom. In January , Livingstone returned to Africa, this time to Zanzibar , and from there he set out to seek the source of the Nile.
Livingstone believed that the source was farther south and assembled a team to find it consisting of freed slaves, Comoros Islanders, twelve Sepoys , and two servants from his previous expedition, Chuma and Susi. Livingstone set out from the mouth of the Ruvuma river, but his assistants gradually began deserting him. The Comoros Islanders had returned to Zanzibar and falsely informed authorities that Livingstone had died.
He reached Lake Malawi on 6 August, by which time most of his supplies had been stolen, including all his medicines. Livingstone then travelled through swamps in the direction of Lake Tanganyika, with his health declining. He sent a message to Zanzibar requesting that supplies be sent to Ujiji and he then headed west, forced by ill health to travel with slave traders. He arrived at Lake Mweru on 8 November and continued on, travelling south to become the first European to see Lake Bangweulu. Upon finding the Lualaba River , Livingstone theorised that it could have been the high part of the Nile River ; but realised that it in fact flowed into the River Congo at Upper Congo Lake.
The year began with Livingstone finding himself extremely ill while in the jungle. He was saved by Arab traders who gave him medicines and carried him to an Arab outpost. He was coming down with cholera and had tropical ulcers on his feet, so he was again forced to rely on slave traders to get him as far as Bambara—where he was caught by the wet season.
With no supplies, Livingstone had to eat his meals in a roped-off enclosure for the entertainment of the locals in return for food. On 15 July ,  he witnessed around Africans being massacred by slavers while visiting Nyangwe on the banks of the Lualaba River. Livingstone was wrong about the Nile, but he identified numerous geographical features for Western science, such as Lake Ngami , Lake Malawi , and Lake Bangweulu , in addition to Victoria Falls mentioned above.
He filled in details of Lake Tanganyika , Lake Mweru , and the course of many rivers, especially the upper Zambezi, and his observations enabled large regions to be mapped which previously had been blank.
Even so, the farthest north he reached was the north end of Lake Tanganyika — still south of the Equator — and he did not penetrate the rainforest of the River Congo any further downstream than Ntangwe near Misisi. Livingstone was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society of London and was made a Fellow of the society, with which he had a strong association for the rest of his life. Livingstone completely lost contact with the outside world for six years and was ill for most of the last four years of his life. Only one of his 44 letter dispatches made it to Zanzibar.
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One surviving letter to Horace Waller was made available to the public in by its owner Peter Beard. Doubtful if I live to see you again He found Livingstone in the town of Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika on 10 November ,  greeting him with the now famous words "Dr Livingstone, I presume? The words are famous because of their perceived humour, Livingstone being the only other white person for hundreds of miles.
Stanley's book suggests that it was really because of embarrassment because he did not dare to embrace him. Despite Stanley's urgings, Livingstone was determined not to leave Africa until his mission was complete. His illness made him confused and he had judgement difficulties at the end of his life. He explored the Lualaba and, failing to find connections to the Nile, returned to Lake Bangweulu and its swamps to explore possible rivers flowing out northwards. Livingstone is known as "Africa's greatest missionary," yet he is recorded as having converted only one African: Sechele was born in His father died when Sechele was 10, and two of his uncles divided the tribe, which forced Sechele to leave his home for nine years.
When Sechele returned, he took over one of his uncle's tribes; at that point, he met David Livingstone. He could never permanently convert the tribesmen to Christianity, however. Among other reasons, Sechele, by then the leader of the African tribe, did not like the way that Livingstone could not demand rain of his God like his rainmakers, who said that they could.
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After long hesitation from Livingstone, he baptised Sechele and had the church completely embrace him. Sechele was now a part of the church, but he continued to act according to his African culture, which went against Livingstone's teachings. Sechele was no different from any other man of his tribe in believing in polygamy. He had five wives, and when Livingstone told him to get rid of four of them, it shook the foundations of the Kwena tribe. After he finally divorced the women, Livingstone baptised them all and everything went well.
However, one year later one of his ex-wives became pregnant and Sechele was the father. Sechele begged Livingstone to not give up on him because his faith was still strong, but Livingstone left the country and went north to continue his Christianizing attempts. Livingstone immediately interested Sechele, and especially his ability to read. Being a quick learner, Sechele learned the alphabet in two days and soon called English a second language.
After teaching his wives the skill, he wrote the Bible in his native tongue. After Livingstone left the Kwena tribe, Sechele remained faithful to Christianity and led missionaries to surrounding tribes as well as converting nearly his entire Kwena people. In the estimation of Neil Parsons of the University of Botswana, Sechele "did more to propagate Christianity in 19th-century southern Africa than virtually any single European missionary".
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