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SECOND EDITION (5,000), LONDON, November ; 1899. 

THIRD EDITION (2,000) December, 1899. 

Reprinted (1,000) ,, January, 1900. 

Reprinted (1,000) February, 1900. 

Reprinted (1,500) ,. March, 1900. 












AT a time like the present I conceive that 
no apology can be required or expected 
from anyone who endeavours to enlighten the 
ignorance or to remove the misapprehensions 
concerning South African history and affairs 
which undeniably exist among great numbers 
of our countrymen. It is with that object 
that I now republish in a popular form a book 
hitherto not easily procurable, which gives a 
succinct but adequate and impartial account of 
the course of events in South Africa from the 
conquest of Cape Colony to the formation of 
Natal into a British colony in 1843. The 
book consists of five lectures delivered to the 
Literary Society of Pietermaritzburg in 1852-5 
by my grandfather, the Hon. Henry Cloete, 
whose high character and attainments com- 
manded the confidence alike of the Boer 
farmers, the British settlers, and Her Majesty's 
Government ; who was chosen as Her Majesty's 


Commissioner to negotiate the final settlement 
of Natal ; who as regards many other im- 
portant events could well say "quorum magna 
pars fui" and who delivered these lectures, 
within ten years of the date of the Natal 
settlement, in presence of a mixed British and 
Boer audience in whose minds the occurrences 
dealt with were a fresh and vivid memory. 

Just because the book is a condensed and 
dispassionate statement of facts from which 
inference and comment have been excluded 
with singular care, it requires to be read with 
intelligent attention. But if read with atten- 
tion and some moderate exercise of political 
imagination, it will enable the candid student 
to understand the clash of conflicting interests 
and incompatible ideals which has created the 
South African question as we know it to-day. 
He will see in the conduct of the Colonial 
Office much to deplore, but not so much 
that can be fairly charged to official blunder- 
ing if due regard be had to the conflicting 
impulses and ideals of the English people. 
He will find in the conditions prevailing in 
Cape Colony, when we took it over from the 
Dutch, elements of disorder and difficulty 


with which only the highest sagacity, aided 
by good fortune, could have coped with entire 
success. While driven to confess that neither 
of these agencies was always present, he will 
nevertheless admit that the complete tran- 
quillisation of Cape Colony and of Natal 
under British rule is a not inconsiderable 
achievement, and his forecast of the future, 
based upon the story of the past, will not be 
that of a pessimist. 

When this country took over the Cape 
Colony, the farmers in the rural districts had 
been demoralised by the habit of receiving 
grants of blocks of from ten to thirty square 
miles for single farms. Civilisation and even 
government loses its hold upon a population 
so scattered. The farmers had ceased to 
cultivate according to civilised methods, and 
had relapsed into a purely pastoral and even 
nomadic life. The territory had become too 
small for this wasteful colonisation, and the 
Boers habitually encroached, both temporarily 
and permanently, upon the lands of the sur- 
rounding native tribes. These tribes not un- 
naturally made reprisals, especially as the treat- 
ment accorded to them was uniformly severe. 


This is the kernel of the South African 
question. The Boer farmers tenaciously 
clung to their supposed rights to take as 
much land as they pleased, shooting as many 
of its owners as they saw fit, in districts 
which were not under the control of the 
British Government. They expected that 
Government, whose treaties they broke and 
whose orders they disobeyed, to intervene on 
their behalf whenever their proceedings pro- 
voked a Kafir rising ; and the Colonial Office 
alternately defended them for the sake of the 
colony they endangered, and recoiled from 
the limitless responsibilities thus entailed. The 
right policy, of course, was to set up a chain 
of military posts upon the frontier and to do 
even-handed justice, keeping the Kafirs out 
and the Boers in, until the population of the 
colony became sufficiently dense to justify 
orderly annexation of new districts. But this 
policy actually adopted by one far-seeing 
Governor was reversed by his successor, and 
the old bad system of marauding on one side 
and reprisals on the other went on until it 
provoked the great Kafir rising of 1834. 

That rising was put down by the British 


Government, but the effort exhausted its 
patience. When the Boers claimed compen- 
sation for their losses at the expense of the 
British taxpayer, they were told, with perhaps 
unnecessary sharpness, that they had brought 
the calamity on themselves and must bear the 
penalty. They then determined that since the 
British Government would not adequately pro- 
tect their individual encroachments they would 
make a combined effort and would cross the 
frontier wholesale to form a new settlement 
for themselves, where their peculiar institutions 
might flourish unchecked. They migrated in 
large bodies into the territory that is now 

There was another great cause of discon- 
tent. The Boers of Cape Colony had reduced 
the Hottentot population to the condition of 
slaves, and with the Hottentot women had pro- 
duced a race of half-castes known as Griquas. 
It is true the slavery was of the domestic or 
predial type found in many parts of the world, 
but the British public, in the heat of the abolition 
movement, took no notice of such a distinction, 
as a great part of it refuses to do to this day. 
Slavery was abolished, rudely, hastily, and 


without regard to the complete dislocation of 
the social machinery which abolition brought 
about ; while, to crown all, the promised com- 
pensation part of the famous twenty millions 
turned out ludicrously disproportionate to 
the hopes that had been raised. It is not 
the only instance in which the British public 
have gratified their emotions at the expense 
of other people. 

Up to a certain point the early history of 
Natal offers a curious parallel to the more 
recent history of the Transvaal. In the two 
concluding lectures the reader will see how 
the emigrating Boers came into contact at 
once with the Zulus and with a British com- 
munity settled at Port Natal ; how they sought 
to profit by British assistance and yet to reject 
all British control ; how they claimed to be 
an independent State making treaties on equal 
terms with this country, which however was 
to have the unprofitable privilege of defending 
them ; how they expected help from Holland, 
and were ready to give that country a Pro- 
tectorate ; how they cut to pieces a small 
British force ; and how they found eventually 
that there was more British force to reckon 


with, and that Great Britain would never con- 
sent to relinquish sovereignty or to permit 
foreign intrusion. So far the parallel is com- 
plete, though the scale is different. In Natal 
it was found that war, instead of accentuating 
race hatred, laid the foundation of enduring 
peace. Natal is now a prosperous and loyal 
British colony, and but for a change of govern- 
ors and policy, the Orange Free State would 
to-day have been in the same position. There 
were irreconcilables of course, and they 
trekked into the Transvaal, where we have 
missed splendid opportunities of repeating our 
Natal success. Let us hope that a united 
nation, faced by what has grown to be an 
Imperial danger, will not again take its hand 
from the plough until the furrow is cut clean 
and true. 

Under the wise and benign rule of our 
gracious Queen, we have witnessed immense 
progress in colonial loyalty as well as in con- 
ceptions of Imperial duty. Cape Colony, the 
essential loyalty of which has been far too 
lightly called in question by superficial ob- 
servers, forms, together with Natal, a standing 
proof that men of Dutch descent as well as 


others can find under the British flag all the 
conditions of prosperity and contentment. 
Once rid of a corrupt and arrogant oligarchy, 
largely of extraneous origin, and of its fantastic 
dreams of an African dominion, there is no 
reason to doubt that the mixed races of the 
Transvaal will range themselves peaceably side 
by side with their brethren of the Cape and 

of Natal. 


LONDON, October 2gth, 1899. 



SINCE the first edition of this reprint appeared 
I have received many requests for some 
personal information concerning its author and the 
men mentioned in the book as more immediately 
connected with him in the great work of pacifying 
Natal, and persuading the burghers loyally to accept 
the supremacy of Great Britain. Solely in deference 
to these representations I append the following 
observations, which after this warning no one need 
read unless so disposed. 

The family is of German extraction, and their 
ancestry of knightly Saxon origin. They flourished 
in the sixteenth century in the Principality of 
Nassau. The name was Cloeten Cloeten as shown 
by their coat of arms, " Sachsische Ritter " Sib- 
machers Wappenbuch von Jahre 1692, vol. i. p. 171 

Jacob Cloeten having become politically obnoxious 
to the authorities, fled to Holland, and to escape 
the consequences of his ambitious and rebellious 
temperament sailed with Jan van Riebeck the first 


Governor of the Cape and landed at the Cape of 
Good Hope on the 6th April, 1652. His name heads 
the list as one of the first seventeen free burghers ; 
and as he was a man of family and education, he 
naturally took a leading part in the early settlement 
of the Colony; and frequent mention of his name 
is found in the early records. In the return made 
on the /th May, 1660, Jacob Cloeten appears first 
on the list of landowners. The original record in 
the Surveyor-General's office testifies he was the 
first landed proprietor in the Colony. 

His eldest son, Gerhard, born in 1655, married 
Catalyn Harmans of Middlebourg, and is mentioned 
in the records as having gone on an expedition to the 
Berg River to kill hippopotami in November, 1672, 
and also in 1686. From a Resolution passed in 
Council, dated 2nd November, 1686, he is awarded 
captured cattle as "well won booty." He played 
a prominent part in the constant struggles with the 
natives, which fill the early records of the Colony. 

Gerhard's son, Jacob, born in 1675, a man of dis- 
tinction and wealth, married Sibella Passman, and 
their son, Henry, born in 1726, was a man of great 
ability and power, who became the largest landed 
proprietor, and by far the most influential man in the 
Colony. He married Hester Anne, daughter of the 
Landrost Laurence. He was the first of the family 
that wrote the name Cloete, having discarded the 
final letter "n." He died in 1799, leaving the ex- 
tensive properties of Constantia which was entailed 


by special act of Council Noitgedacht, Zandvleit, 
Rustemberg, etc. ; also the great cattle farms at The 
Hope in the Swellendam district, and seven other 
properties in Graaf Reinet district. 

His son, Pieter Laurence, born in 1766, married 
Catherine Maria van Rienen, daughter of the 
Senator Jacob van Rienen, whose only son became 
a General Officer in the Dutch East India Service, 
and whose remaining daughters married respectively 
General Hawkshaw and Admiral Donald Campbell. 
When the Colony was finally taken over by this 
country, the Hon. Pieter Laurence Cloete was the 
Treasurer-General of the Colony and the first and 
senior member of the Legislative Council at the 
Cape, and his far-reaching influence and sterling 
qualities went a long way to smoothing over the 
difficulties attending the change of allegiance. 

In April, 1803, his two eldest sons Henry, born 
in 1790, and Josias in 1794 were sent to Holland 
to be educated. When the ship which carried them 
reached the Channel war had again broken out, and 
it required all the ingenuity of the captain, Stewart, 
to escape capture by hostile cruisers. He succeeded 
in this by hoisting the Prussian flag and shaping his 
course for Emden, instead of entering a Dutch port. 
From the Dollart, where the boys were landed, they 
were forwarded to their guardian at Utrecht, where 
they were at school during 1804 and 1805 ; and in 
1806 they were sent to Naarden to the clerical estab- 
lishment of the Rev. Ulrick Anosi, an eminent divine 


of the French Protestant Church, and here, under 
the tuition of this highly gifted pastor, aided by an 
able officer of engineers, Captain Geyler, they re- 
ceived the foundation of the education that proved 
of such value in after years. 

In 1809 orders were sent for the youths to go to 
England to the Military College at Marlow, prepara- 
tory to receiving commissions in the British Army, 
which had been promised. The eldest son, Henry, 
having shown exceptional academical talents, it was 
considered wiser to complete his education at the 
Leyden University, and he was sent there ; while 
his younger brother, Josias, whom we will follow for 
the present, was with great difficulty transported to 
England, in spite of the heavy penalties attached to 
any attempt at breaking through Napoleon's " non- 
intercourse decrees." A large sum of money was 
paid to the agents who succeeded in smuggling him 
on to a fishing smack lying in the Maas. Thence 
he was forwarded to England, where the Duke of 
Cumberland gave him a commission in his own 
regiment, the I5th Hussars. He became A.D.C. to 
Lord Charles Somerset, who commanded at the Cape, 
and was placed in command of the expedition which 
took possession of Tristan D'Acunha. In 1817 and 
1819 he commanded a field force in the Mahratta 
War, and was employed on the staff for forty-six 
years, serving in every possible capacity, from an 
A.D.C. to the important office of Quartermaster- 
General and Chief of the Staff. During three years 


of active operations in the field he performed the 
combined duties of Adjutant-General and Quarter- 
master-General. In 1820 he carried out an exten- 
sive measure of emigration along the frontier of the 
Colony, and settled a serious question of Kaffir policy 
with the envoys of the Zulu chief, Chaka. In 1842 
he was specially selected to command an expedition 
sent to Natal, where the emigrant Boers under 
Pretorius, after defeating our troops, held Captain 
Smith's detachment besieged, as narrated in this 
volume. Colonel Cloete's success in this expedition, 
which paved the way for the final settlement of 
Natal, led him to be recommended for the C.B., 
which was subsequently given him by the Duke of 
Wellington in person. He had already received the 
Hanoverian Guelphic Order from the hands of King 
William IV., who was a personal friend of his ; and 
in 1850 he was made a K.C.B. by Her Majesty 
Queen Victoria. 

Henry Cloete, after completing the University 
course at Leyden, where he obtained the highest 
honours, was captured by Napoleon on his way to 
England, but refused to give parole, and escaped by 
means of a heavy payment to the owner of a French 
fishing smack to sail with him at night. He had a 
perilous escape, as his flight having been discovered, 
the boat was thoroughly searched as she was starting. 
He had been carefully covered up with turf and peat, 
and despite the fact that the soldiers thrust their 
bayonets into the peat he escaped untouched. The 


next morning, when they were well out in the Channel, 
an English man-of-war bore down on them, and they 
were captured. On being taken on board of the 
man-of-war Henry Cloete found, to his delight, that 
his uncle (by marriage), Donald Campbell, com- 
manded her. Being safely landed in England he 
joined Lincoln's Inn, and after the usual course of 
study, in which he showed exceptional ability, he was 
called to the Bar. 

In 1813 he sailed for the Cape in the ill-fated 
ship Java, which was captured after a stubborn 
fight by the United States ship Constitution, and 
then blown up. ( Vide JAMES* Naval History?) On 
the Constitution he was treated with the greatest 
kindness and consideration by the American captain 
and officers, and was taken to Rio Janeiro, where 
he was landed. From Rio he succeeded in sailing 
to the Cape, where he landed without further 

In 1816 he married Christian Helen Graham, the 
daughter of Robert Graham, Esq., of Fintry (the 
staunch friend and protector of Robert Burns), and 
the lineal descendant of Sir William Graham, Lord 
of Kincardine, and of Marjorie, daughter of King 
Robert III. of Scotland. 

Henry Cloete became a distinguished barrister, 
and his career at the Bar was one of pre-eminent 
success. He was the leading member of the Legis- 
lative Council, and, as stated in the following pages, 
was appointed Her Majesty's Commissioner in 1843 


for the settlement of affairs in Natal. After his 
work as Commissioner was completed, he was 
appointed recorder and sole judge for the newly- 
acquired Colony, and, after ten years' service, was 
appointed a puisne judge of the Supreme Court 
of the Cape, from which he retired at the advanced 
age of seventy-two, amid universal expressions of 
regret, both from the Bar and the public. As a 
judge, he commanded the highest respect, and some 
of his decisions may be found quoted in English 
text-books. As a man he inspired unbounded con- 
fidence, and exercised enormous influence alike over 
Dutch and English. He was master of a singularly 
persuasive style of oratory, to the force and charm of 
which the Boer leaders themselves have borne em- 
phatic testimony. By sheer strength of character and 
intellectual ability, he became one of the most influen- 
tial personalities in South Africa, and but for the want 
of foresight of the Colonial Office, would unques- 
tionably have settled the Orange Free State in the 
same manner as he settled Natal. He was a ripe 
scholar, and the classic authors remained the com- 
panions of his leisure through life, while he was 
no mean proficient in music and in painting. His 
abilities were always loyally placed at the disposal 
of the British Government, though its inconsistent 
and vacillating policy must often have caused him 
acute distress. One subject of profound disagreement 
was the refusal of the Government to comply with 
his repeated advice to take Delagoa Bay, the value 


of which as the key to a large area of the interior he 
vainly endeavoured to get them to recognise. His 
eldest son, Laurence Graham Cloete, was my father. 

The only other actor in the scenes described in 
the book whom I need mention is my grand-uncle, 
Colonel John Graham, who, by the death of his 
brother, an officer in the British Service, killed in 
India, became thirteenth of Fintry. He served for 
many years during the Peninsular War in the QOth 
and 93rd Regiments under Sir Thomas Graham 
Lord Lynedoch and was afterwards employed in 
the Kaffir wars at the Cape, where he gained great 
distinction. Grahamstown, the capital of the eastern 
province, was named in his honour. His career was 
unfortunately a brief one, since he died at the early 
age of forty-two of exposure and fatigue, endured 
in the conscientious discharge of a soldier's duty. I 
may, perhaps, be permitted in conclusion to remark 
that the devotion of the family to the British Crown 
in the past has been one of the strongest influences 
in warding off the aggressions of the Kaffir and 
native tribes, as well as quelling the dissatisfaction 
and ambitions of the Boer element. 


November ytih, 1899. 





An irreparable loss Boundaries of Cape Colony A wandering 
race The first Kafir war A serious grievance Over-zealous 
missionaries Unfounded charges A lawless district The 
penalty of obstinacy Beginning of the rebellion Failure of 
negotiations End of the rebellion Execution of the leaders 
An indelible impression Colonial government . . . I 



Hatred against missionaries Missionaries and the natives The 
Hottentot difficulty Bushmen as shepherds Evil influence^ 
of missionaries Slavery in Cape Colony Unpopular restric- 
tions Protest of slave-owners Proposals for gradual aboli- 
tion Appraisement of slaves Grievances of slave-owners 
Results of abolition Encroachment by Kafirs A temporary 
check Defeat of the Kafirs An unsatisfactory treaty A 
reversal of policy Zulu invasion of Kafirland A state of 
unrest A Dutch exploring party . . 33 



A peaceful policy The Kafirs invade Cape Colony Governor 
D'Urban's plan An astounding declaration Insult and in- 
jury The beginning of the trek Attacked by the Matabelee 
Pieter Relief Acquisition of territory Treachery of Din- 
gaan Attacked by Zoolahs A fearful catastrophe Attemp- 
ted retaliation The Boers in distress Pieter Relief avenged 
Disarmament of the Boers An unlooked-for event 
Alliance with Panda Declaration of sovereignty A sym- 
pathetic address The goal attained . . 75 





Historical misrepresentation Boer proclamation of supremacy 
Their strong republican feeling Preparing a state of anarchy 
Petition to the Governor Terms of proposed alliance 
Unjustifiable attack on natives Attempted vindication 
Claim for independence Protest against British supremacy 
Boer credulity Appeal to Holland Arrival of military 
force in Natal Night attack on the Boers The Boers pre- 
pared Preparing for defence The British troops besieged 
The last acts of the drama . . . . 123 



Succour for the besieged Murder by Kafir auxiliaries Resolu- 
tions of the Volksraad An important declaration A satis- 
factory settlement Appointment of a Commissioner His 
meeting with the Boers Activity of the war party Com- 
missioner and Volksraad The Volksraad divided Wise 
counsels prevail Withdrawals from the Volksraad Lord 
Stanley's despatch The terms accepted Accepting the 
inevitable A new Governor The blessings of peace . 160 





THE voluntary expatriation of the Dutch farmers 
of the Cape Colony, and their wanderings 
throughout the wilds of South-Eastern Africa, which 
ultimately led to their occupation of this district 
of Natal, are so singular in their character, and are 
likely to bear such important results upon the ex- 
ploration and further knowledge of this vast con- 
tinent, that it has appeared to me not uninteresting 
to note down, and thus to commemorate, the principal 
causes which led to this migration ; more particularly 
as, from the party-spirit which always prevails at the 
very time of such political movements, the most 
distorted, one-sided, and false views are generally 
taken of the motives and objects of the principal 
actors engaged therein ; and it is only after the lapse 
of years, when time has somewhat soothed down the 


passions, and calm reason has resumed its sway, that 
it becomes possible to obtain and impart a perfectly 
dispassionate insight into such events. 

I should also add, that I would at once refrain 
from entering upon this subject if anything like 
political discussion can be apprehended from such an 
inquiry ; but as the chief actors whose names are 
mixed up in these occurrences are long since departed 
to that "bourn from whence no traveller returns," 
and as the grave questions which mainly produced 
that migration have also for ever ceased, I hope that 
I may now venture to touch upon them "as mere 
matters of history": happy, if a retrospect of those 
events may tend to enlighten rulers in general in the 
greatest of all human sciences, that of governing a 
people for their real welfare; and more happy still, 
if my remarks upon them may produce a kindly 
spirit of good-will between our old colonists and our 
recently settled immigrants ; inform the latter of the 
hardships and vicissitudes which the former had to 
suffer to obtain possession of this favoured land, 
and thus induce them to look, at least without envy 
or jealousy, upon the advantages which (as regards 
the possession of lands) the former have purchased 
by the blood of their parents and relatives. 

No one will deny that any causes which would 
have led to the expatriation (not of single individuals 
merely, but) of entire clans at the head of which 
such names appear as those of Retief, Uys, and 
Maritz ; of Potgieter, Landman, and Duplessis ; and 


of Zietsman, Boshoff, and Otto must ever be viewed 
as producing a serious national calamity upon any 
country: that the departure of such men, taking with 
them their entire families and properties, has tended 
very seriously to affect and impair the strength of 
the eastern province of the Cape Colony, in the 
contests with the Kafir races ; and that, although 
in the course of years some such families may be 
replaced, yet the words of the sweet, descriptive 
poet will in this case be found fully verified, viz., 

" Princes and lords may flourish and may fade, 
A breath may make them, as a breath has made ; 
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, 
When once destroyed can never be supplied." 

Having always felt a deep interest in the affairs 
of that colony, having been personally known to 
many of those earliest immigrants, among whom 
I counted some of my oldest and best friends, 
and having, moreover, personally witnessed several 
of those events which led to this expatriation, I 
may be permitted, I trust, to enter into some of 
those details which were so well known to me 
without subjecting myself to the charge of making 
them now a subject of political controversy, my 
sole object being to recall to memory some of 
those events which at the time were fraught with 
great public interest, and for which I think the 
time is fully come to rescue them from oblivion, 
as I feel confident that the mere recital of them 


will now tend only to foster between us all a 
more friendly spirit, by producing a more correct 
acquaintance with each other's public history. 

The first cause of the Cape colonists passing 
beyond the boundaries of that colony, and entering 
as pioneers into the wilds of the South African 
continent, is no doubt traceable to the inherent 
roving disposition of man in general ; but more 
particularly of those descendants of Saxon origin, 
to whom, a thousand years ago, the wide range of the 
European continent was found insufficient to gratify 
their wandering propensities. 

The Dutch Governor, Van Plettenberg, had 
formally defined the boundaries of the Cape Colony, 
in the year 1778, by the Great Fish River to the 
eastward, and by an ideal line* running through 
(what are now called) the districts of Somerset, 
Graaff-Reinet, Beaufort, and Clanwilliam, up to a 
little rivulet, " the Koussie," flowing into the Southern 
Atlantic, to the north-west ; but for nearly forty 
years these boundaries were far better respected by 
the colonists meeting at the eastern frontier the 
warlike and independent race of the Amakoze"e, 
who, far from allowing any inroads upon their own 
territories, commenced a system of aggression upon 
our colonists, which extended over the greatest part 

* By a proclamation of Sir Harry Smith, dated I7th December, 
1847, and confirmed by Her Majesty, the northern boundaries of the 
Cape Colony have been brought up to the banks of the Great Orange 


of the Graaff-Reinet and Uitenhage districts, from 
which they were not finally expelled until the 
year 1812. This system of aggression they have 
never abandoned, but on the contrary have per- 
severingly carried on for nearly seventy years, each 
succeeding war having only formed them into a 
more dangerous, experienced, and vindictive foe. 
Along this extensive northern line the colonists 
also found little temptation to transgress those 
boundaries, from the arid deserts skirting the 
southern banks of the Great Orange River, where 
a few isolated Bushmen, the very outcasts of the 
human race, seemed to verify the fabulous accounts 
of the " Troglodytes " of Africa, living, as they were, 
in holes and caves, hardly able to procure a scanty 
subsistence from the wild animals of the desert and 
from a few bulbous roots of the earth. These com- 
bined causes kept our Cape colonists for many years 
within the prescribed boundaries ; but at the be- 
ginning of the present century small parties of a 
half-caste breed of European and Hottentot origin, 
mixing with the Mantatees, gradually occupied the 
lands beyond the Orange River, at the north-east 
boundary of the Cape Colony, and from them the 
race of what were called the Griquas was formed, 
with whom the colonists opened a regular inter- 
course, as they soon found that in seasons of 
excessive drought within the colony (where their 
herds and flocks were dying for want of pasture) 
the lands to the northward of the Orange River 


were generally favoured with more frequent and 
regular thunderstorms, thus ensuring a better supply 
of grass during the summer months than the colony 
afforded. From that moment all the grazing farmers 
in that neighbourhood began to form establishments 
in the country between the Orange and Vaal Rivers 
(the Kye and the Knu Gariep), and took possession 
of such tracts as they found unoccupied, or otherwise 
entered into regular leases with the prior occupants 
of those lands ; but they still continued to consider 
their domicile to be within the colony, to which 
they returned whenever the seasons of drought 
had passed away, or whenever called upon to pay 
their "opgaaf," or annual assessed taxes, and did 
not for a moment consider themselves as absolved 
from the duties and ties which bound them to the 
old colony. 

This wandering habit, thus kept up and promoted 
by the vicissitudes and the periodical seasons of 
drought, was still further confirmed by the very 
tenure and extent of the lands granted to them 
within the colony. 

The loan farms (subsequently converted into quit- 
rent lands) granted in areas never less than 6000 
acres, but in those districts frequently to 15,000 and 
20,000 acres while somewhat justified by the aridity 
of the soil and the want of permanent springs yet 
confirmed the colonists more and more in their 
purely pastoral or nomad habits, which gradually 
weaned them from all desire to cultivate their lands ; 


and, consequently, deadened that affection and attach- 
ment to a particular locality which is the natural 
result of agriculture and the improvement of the soil. 
On the contrary, with them their flocks and herds 
constituted their sole care and delight. Whenever 
these increased and multiplied they were content 
and happy ; but the moment these suffered they 
were as ready as the patriarchs of old to strike their 
tents, or rather to pack up their waggons, and to go 
forth, either to the right hand or to the left, and 
to search for lands where late rains promised more 
abundant grass and water for their cattle. 

It is important to keep this constantly in view, as 
explaining, from inherent causes, the facility and 
rapidity with which those migrations took place, 
and the unconcern with which, even to this day, 
many of our colonists are ready to flit from one 
district to another, for the most (apparently) frivolous 
reasons, taking their chance to find sufficient or 
better lands in the further wilds of Africa ; and from 
these data we are, I think, warranted in drawing 
this apparently paradoxical conclusion : that the 
very possession of large tracts of country in the 
hands of single individuals lessens in them the affec- 
tion for particular localities, that it fosters and 
encourages a wandering and pastoral life, which is 
at once opposed to that steady cultivation of the soil, 
which alone leads to the permanent improvement 
of a country ; that it is opposed to all outlay of 
capital and labour, whereby alone even the most 


fertile soils are improved and rendered productive ; 
and that, in so far, such extensive grants will ever 
prove opposed to civilisation and the true interests 
of any country. 

But other causes, nearly forty years ago, began 
to prepare this important movement : in these I 
happened to be somewhat mixed up ; and as these 
particulars are not generally known, I believe their 
recital will prove of sufficient interest to claim your 

In the year 1813, on my return to the Cape 
Colony, I may assert with perfect truth that I found 
it enjoying such a state of general prosperity and 
social happiness as rarely falls to the lot of any 
colony, and has certainly not been felt in that colony 
before or after that period. The mild and con- 
ciliatory administration of the Earl of Caledon, his 
personally cordial and frank intercourse with all 
classes of society, and his princely hospitality, 
cemented and kept up the most friendly bond of 
union between the governor and governed, between 
the colonists and the English immigrants, and literally 
transformed all ranks of society into one family, to 
which the spirit of party, of jealousy, or of distinction 
of race was utterly unknown ; and anyone who at 
that time would have entertained a thought of 
creating such distinctions would have been scouted 
and marked as an enemy to the public welfare and 
to society. Lord Caledon's successor, Sir John 
Cradock (afterwards created Lord Howden), and 


his fascinating consort, Lady Theodosia, continued 
to keep up that hospitality, and to render the 
government both efficient and popular. 

An end had just been put to the first Kafir war, in 
which the Cape colonists, with the aid of a small 
military force under the command of my never-to-be- 
forgotten brother-in-law, Col. Graham, had expelled 
the Kafirs from our own territory, and a line of 
stockaded forts placed at a distance of from twenty 
to twenty-five miles from each other along the whole 
extent of our eastern boundary had effectually 
secured our inhabitants from the aggression of a 
single marauding Kafir, upon whom instant death 
had been solemnly denounced as the penalty of their 
transgressing our boundary. 

At that time also an army of about 4000 or 5000 
men (among whom was one body of cavalry nearly 
1000 strong), headed by a numerous staff, effectually 
secured our coasts from foreign foes, and our terri- 
tories within the colony ; and being maintained in 
a high state of discipline, not only tended to promote 
the pleasures of society, but entailing a vast military 
expenditure, stimulated agriculture and commerce 
to such an extent that the colony bore, without 
grudging or complaint, an expenditure which at 
the present day must appear hardly credible. 

The Governor of that colony was then receiving 
out of the colonial revenue as 

Civil Governor only . . .; 12,000 

A Lieutenant-Governor . . . 3000 


A Secretary to Government . . ^3000 
A Dep. Secretary ^1500, but with per- 
quisites bringing it up to . . 3000 
A Collector of Customs . . . 1200 
A Comptroller of Customs . . 1000 
A Treasurer-General . . . 1200 
An Auditor-General . . 1000 
A Paymaster-General . . . 1000 

and on this same scale some ten or twelve officials 
alone (who were paid in sterling according to the 
rate of exchange on the pay day) received out of the 
colonial revenue upwards of ^"30,000 per annum ; * 
which heavy burthen upon the colony (although not 
then seriously felt) no doubt laid the foundation 
of great subsequent distress, and of many difficulties 
into which the Colonial Government was thrown 
when the general peace in 1815 brought about a 
vast reduction in the military expenditure, and the 
withdrawal of almost all the troops ; when trade 

* These appointments emanated from the Colonial Office, and their 
salaries were fixed in sterling money, but having to be paid in paper 
currency (the only circulating medium within the Colony), these 
officials obtained payment according to the rate of exchange at the 
time of receiving their salaries. As these salaries became payable 
on the first of each month, the Governor (who alone received 1000 
per month) directed the Commissary-General to draw bills on England 
towards the close of the prior month, and to tender these to the highest 
bidders for such bills. The payment of the sterling salaries for the first 
of the following month was fixed on an average of the three highest 
tenders received by the Commissariat the week before, and it was 
remarked that several of these sterling officials having to make re- 
mittances to their families or creditors at home, their tenders for bills 
were always at the highest rate of exchange (but generally to a small 
amount), which invariably helped to fix the average. 


became paralysed, and when the repeated and urgent 
petitions from the inhabitants at length brought 
about a reduction of those extravagant salaries, and 
led to a more uniform and well-arranged system in 
the payment of public servants. 

One serious grievance was, however, generally 
felt, which, from the unsettled state in which the 
colony had been during the last ten years (having 
passed during that time through three successive 
and different governments the British, the Dutch, 
and again the British), there had been no fit oppor- 
tunity for remedying. This grievance was the want 
of an efficient and impartial administration of justice 
throughout the country districts. The Supreme 
Court at Cape Town could alone take cognizance 
of any serious civil or criminal case arising in any 
part of the colony : there was hardly any regular 
communication with the interior, and although the 
boards of Landdrost and Heemraden in each district 
could take cognizance of minor offences and civil 
suits of a limited amount, yet it was notorious that 
from the vast extent of the two districts of Graaff- 
Reinet and Uitenhage (which then embraced one- 
half of the colony) access to these two tribunals 
was exceedingly difficult and precarious. The 
absence of the two Landdrosts, who at stated 
intervals were required to visit every part of their 
districts, and the commandos against Kafirs, Bush- 
men, or others, which were frequently called out, 
and in which they generally took part, gave any 


suitor a very doubtful chance of ever finding the 
Landdrost on his judgment-seat, but on the contrary 
his place there was frequently occupied by a worthy 
yeoman, who, as one of the Heemraden, officiated 
for him, but who was generally totally unfit to decide 
any important legal question between man and man. 

The time appeared then to have arrived to remedy 
this evil, and one of the most important and bene- 
ficial acts of Lord Caledon's government was his 
directing that two of the members of the Supreme 
Court should annually visit as " a Commission of 
Circuit " every distict in the colony, and there hold 
a court, with all such powers and authorities as were 
possessed by the Supreme Court, with liberty to 
refer any case for final determination to the Supreme 
Court, in like manner as at present prevails in regard 
to the District Court here and the Supreme Court 
of Cape Town. 

But it cannot be denied, and experience soon 
showed, that justice, by being brought so much 
nearer to their homes, also brought to light various 
offences which, from the sparseness of the population 
and the difficulty of obtaining redress, had hitherto 
remained unexamined and unpunished ; and the very 
first circuit which proceeded through the colony was 
furnished with a calendar containing between seventy 
and eighty cases, of murders, aggravated assault, and 
the like, which the missionaries, Dr. Van der Kemp 
and the Rev. J. Read, constituting themselves the 
protectors of the Hottentot race, and who had then 


established the first missionary school or location 
on the frontier (at Bethelsdorp), deliberately brought 
forward and transmitted to the local Government 
as charges against the members of almost every 
respectable family on the frontier. 

The Government, of course, referred those charges 
to the Commission of Circuit, with directions to 
institute a searching inquiry into them all, and 
this duty occupied the first commission for several 
months ; but from the difficulty of getting up the 
witnesses and sifting the preparatory examinations 
a number of these cases had to stand over for the 
following Circuit Court, and it was not until the 
sitting of the third Circuit Court (at which I 
officiated as Registrar) that the last cases on that 
fearful calendar were finally disposed of; and it is 
but just to add that of the long list of atrocious 
crimes thus inquired into with the utmost care 
and impartiality not one single instance of murder 
was proved against the accused, although in a few 
cases acts of personal assault and transgression of 
some colonial law were brought home to them, and 
punished accordingly. 

As a curious instance of the extent to which some 
of these informations had been received, and had 
been readily adopted by the missionaries Van der 
Kemp and Read, without properly investigating 
them before bringing forward such serious criminal 
charges, I may mention that at Uitenhage a widow 
of one of the most respectable inhabitants in the 


district was tried on the charge of wilful murder, 
for having ordered a young Hottentot some years 
before to be brought into her house; for having 
directed a boiler of hot water to be prepared, and 
for having by force pressed down his feet into the 
boiling water until they had been completely scalded 
and his extremities destroyed ! 

This woman had of course to be placed in the 
dock and tried as a criminal on this atrocious 
charge ; a host of witnesses were brought up and 
examined, from whose testimony (and many of 
these Hottentots themselves) it was fully proved 
that many years before, while this widow lived in 
the Lange Kloof district (which is the coldest dis- 
trict of the Cape Colony), this young Hottentot had 
been sent out to collect some cattle and drive them 
home, when he had been caught in a snowstorm ; 
that not returning at the appointed time, every 
search had been made for him by order of this 
widow ; that he had at length been found and 
brought home late at night, with his extremities 
quite benumbed and frostbitten ; that this widow 
had immediately, by friction and bandages, en- 
deavoured to restore animation to his extremities ; 
and in her ignorance, but from the kindest motives, 
judging that injuries of this nature could be best 
cured by opposite remedies, she had ordered a boiler 
of hot water to be prepared, and had kept the young 
lad's feet therein for several minutes, from no other 
possible motive than from a feeling of kindness and 


humanity to endeavour to restore animation in his 
extremities, in which she however failed ; that the 
lad had lived for several years afterwards in her 
service, and that of other masters, and had subse- 
quently died from disease quite unconnected with 
this injury. 

This widow was of course acquitted, with every 
expression of sympathy by the judges on the 
position in which she had been placed ; but it is 
evident that such prosecutions, in which nearly 
100 of the most respectable families on the frontier 
were implicated, and more than 1000 witnesses sum- 
moned and examined, and in several of which the 
parties accused, although acquitted of the more serious 
charges, were mulcted in fines and imprisonment, 
and had, moreover, to pay heavy law charges (for 
in the state of the law at that time the ex-officio 
prosecutors were entitled to claim costs, and in many 
instances in which the parties were considered to 
have the means, did exact them*), that all those 
results engendered a bitter feeling of hostility to- 
wards the administration of justice in general, and 
more particularly against the missionaries who had 
brought forward these accumulated charges against 
such a number of colonists. 

* The attorney-general or public prosecutor was by law entitled to 
claim double the amount of the law charges due to the advocates. He 
had to make out a regular "bill of costs," which was subject to the 
taxation of the registrar of the Supreme Court, and at the foot of such 
bill of costs the public prosecutor charged, pro faco, double, by 
multiplying the bill by two. 


This, then, was the state of feeling generally pre- 
valent throughout the remote country districts, when 
in the month of October, 1815, another Commission 
of Circuit, at which I again officiated as the Regis- 
trar, held its session at Graaff-Reinet, when one of 
those "untoward" events (to use a phrase from a 
Royal speech) took place, which set the whole 
eastern province in a blaze, drove a great mass of 
the population into open rebellion against their 
Sovereign, and brought the heads of several re- 
spectable families to an ignominious death, thereby 
causing an alienation from, and bitterness of feeling 
towards, the local Government, which a lapse of 
thirty-five years has not been able entirely to 

At the opening of the session at Graaff-Reinet, 
the Landdrost of that district, Mr. (afterwards Sir A. 
Stockenstrom), acting as the ex-officio prosecutor, 
informed the court that a farmer named Fredk. 
Bezuidenhout, living in the Baviaan's River district, 
had refused to appear before the court of Landdrost 
and Heemraden on a charge of ill-treatment of a 
Hottentot preferred against him, and that he had 
threatened to shoot the messenger or sheriff if he 
ventured again to approach his premises. He was 
known to be a person of a very daring character, 
and the Landdrost therefore applied for a warrant 
of " personal summons " (as it was legally termed), 
ordering him forthwith to appear in person before 
the Commission. The court granted this applica- 


tion, and from the lawless habits of the individual, 
and his daily intercourse with Kafirs, whom, it was 
known, he admitted and dealt with, contrary to the 
law then existing, the court gave an order author- 
ising the messenger who was sent off with the 
summons to call in the aid of the nearest military 
force, if he thought it necessary or apprehended 
any danger. 

The messenger, upon reaching the neighbourhood, 
was informed that some Kafirs had been seen at the 
Baviaan's River, and thereupon applied to Lieutenant 
Rousseau, in command at the Boschberg post (now 
the village of Somerset), for his aid, who immedi- 
ately, with twenty men of the Cape Corps, entered 
the Baviaan's River Poort, towards the residence of 
Fredk. Bezuidenhout. To a lover of nature this is 
a particularly picturesque spot, which was selected 
afterwards by Scottish immigrants, headed by Mr. 
Pringle, as their location. They have called it "Glen- 
lynden," and I believe it is at present one of the 
most favoured settlements to be found in Somerset 
or Albany ; but at the time of the occurrence now 
detailed it was only notorious for the impervious 
nature of the bush around, for the lawlessness of 
its inhabitants, and the facilities with which they 
maintained constant intercourse with the Kafirs, in 
defiance of the strict law forbidding all such inter- 
course under the severest penalties. 

Upon approaching the residence of Bezuidenhout, 
they found him fully prepared to meet them ; for 


taking up a position (with a powerful half-caste person 
in his employ) behind the walls of a cattle -kraal, 
both being armed, Bezuidenhout called on them not 
to advance, as the first man would be shot ! Un- 
deterred by this menace, Lieut. Rousseau ordered his 
men to extend themselves in skirmishing order, and 
to attack the spot, when Bezuidenhout, for fear of 
being surrounded, after a hasty shot, which luckily 
took no effect, fled into his house, and, escaping 
through the back door, rushed into a thick bush and 
jungle close to the house, where, strange to say, for 
upwards of an hour this party of twenty active 
"track -finders" failed to trace the retreat of the 
two fugitives. 

After again and again following their track up 
to a ledge of rocks where it at once became lost, 
they chanced to espy, in a remarkable precipitous 
impending rock or " krans," the shining muzzles of 
two rifles protruding from a hole in that ledge, thus 
announcing the lair into which they had got. Lieut. 
Rousseau thereupon crawled with difficulty to the 
top of those rocks, and there, being stationed but 
a few feet above the aperture of this cavern, he 
challenged Bezuidenhout to come out and surrender, 
acquainting him with the nature of his errand, and 
assuring him of personal safety, upon his merely 
engaging to accompany the messenger of the court, 
on the summons he was ordered to serve upon him ; 
but the only answer he received was, that he (Bezui- 
denhout) would never surrender but with his life ! 


Finding then all his efforts vain to bring him to 
reason, and anxious to get out of these kloofs with 
his men before night, Lieut. Rousseau, keeping his 
position above, directed his men silently to form in 
two files, each party scrambling up in opposite 
directions from under the rock ; when the heads of 
each column having got a few inches under the 
entrance, one party rushed forward and threw up 
the two projecting barrels, which were instantly fired 
off, but without effect, while the leading man of the 
second column fired his deadly rifle straight into the 
cave, from whence a cry immediately issued for 
mercy and surrender. All firing at once ceased, 
when the half-caste Hottentot crawled forth, stating 
that he surrendered himself, and that his master 
lay mortally wounded within the cave. 

The men of the detachment even then with 
difficulty got into this grotto, which proved of 
stalactite formation, and of goodly dimensions within, 
where several guns and a large quantity of balls 
and ammunition were found collected, evidently 
showing that this place had long been prepared 
for a retreat in a similar emergency; and at the 
entrance lay the expiring corpse of the unhappy 
victim of his own obstinacy, having, in the recumbent 
position in which he had placed himself before the 
cave, received the fatal shot both through the head 
and breast. 

Finding that the surrounding bush was occupied 
by Kafirs, with whom Bezuidenhout had kept up 


daily intercourse, Lieut. Rousseau hastened to retire 
out of these kloofs before nightfall, taking the 
half-caste Hottentot in custody, whom he sent up 
to Graaff-Reinet, where he was put upon his trial ; 
but after a full inquiry into all those particulars 
he was acquitted and discharged, and the Com- 
mission of Circuit proceeded soon after, passing 
by the present towns of Somerset and Graham's 
Town, to the town of Uitenhage, where the trial 
of several important cases awaited their arrival. 

While engaged in the midst of these trials, an 
officer stationed at Graham's Town arrived one 
evening (having left that town the morning of the 
same day) with the astounding intelligence that 
the farmers of the Somerset and Tarka districts 
were all in arms, and were about to attack Capt. 
Andrews' post, . which was stationed along the 
northernmost banks of the Fish River, to prevent 
any inroads from Kafirs in that quarter ; and that 
Major Fraser, in command at Graham's Town, had 
immediately proceeded to the scene of action. 
Within an hour from the receipt of that intelligence 
Col. Cuyler, who was both Landdrost at Uitenhage 
and the Commandant of the Frontier, started on 
horseback, and within forty-eight hours, to the 
surprise of the rebel farmers (who were then still 
discussing their plan of operations), informed them 
of his presence, and desired to know the cause of 
those proceedings. 

He then ascertained, that upon the death of 


Fredk. Bezuidenhout, his relatives and neighbours 
had assembled at his farm, immediately after the 
departure of Lieut. Rousseau and his detachment, 
to commit his remains to the grave ; and on 
that occasion John Bezuidenhout, a brother of the 
deceased, had become exceedingly excited, impress- 
ing upon all around that an act of gross outrage 
and illegality had been committed upon the deceased 
by his house having been surrounded and his person 
attacked by the military, as every burgher could 
only legally be arrested by his field-cornet or the 
civil authorities. This address had created universal 
sympathy, and all those present had at once engaged 
to avenge themselves for his outrage by attacking 
the nearest military post and expelling the British 
forces from the frontier. 

They felt, however, that such plans ought to be 
more considered and matured before being carried 
out, and they had accordingly resolved to issue 
circular letters to the neighbours around, calling 
upon them to meet together and consider the 
present state of the country ; while Cornelis Faber, 
a brother-in-law of the Bezuidenhouts, immediately 
started to hold a personal conference with the Kafir 
chief Gaika, to solicit him to make a joint attack 
upon the military posts, so as to expel the British 
forces from the frontier, promising him a full share 
in the expected booty. Several meetings were 
accordingly held in the more immediate neighbour- 
hood by those inclined to join the rebels, and they 


all resolved to place themselves under the command 
of Hendrik Prinslo, of the Boschberg, and of John 
Bezuidenhout ; and having determined upon this 
first step, other circulars were more widely sent 
abroad to the adjoining districts, bearing the 
signatures of the leaders, inviting and commanding 
them to meet in arms at a particular spot on a 
day named, to " expel the tyrants from the country." 
One of these circulars having providentially got 
into the hands of a loyal and well-affected farmer, 
he lost no time in transmitting it to the Deputy- 
Landdrost of Cradock, Mr. Van der Graaff, who 
forwarded it immediately to Capt. Andrews, where- 
upon the latter sent out a military party and 
apprehended Prinslo, while preparing to leave his 
farm to join the first assembly of men in arms. 
He was immediately secured and taken in custody 
to Capt. Andrews' post, who by this intelligence 
had also had time to strengthen his position and 
put it in some state of defence, when, two days 
after, three to four hundred men in arms appeared 
before it and summoned him to give up the post, 
and deliver up the prisoner Prinslo. At this time 
Faber joined them from Kafirland, with the 
unsatisfactory intelligence that Gaika had given him 
a most evasive reply, to the effect that he would 
call his Pakate* together, and take some time to 

* The Pakate are the counsellors who always accompany the Great 
Chief, and without whose advice and concurrence no great public 
measure is ever determined upon. 


consider, evidently following out the often ex- 
perienced Kafir policy of watching the tide of 

Some vacillation was thereby created in the opera- 
tions of the Boers, and this became more apparent 
when that active officer, Major Fraser, succeeded the 
same evening in throwing himself into the post and 
opening communications with them, and when Col. 
Cuyler also, two days after, arrived on the spot, and 
informed them that all their plans were fully known, 
and would be signally punished. Before, however, 
proceeding to any extremities, a worthy field-com- 
mandant, William Nel, volunteered to go among 
the rebels, and if possible to avert from them the 
impending hazard they were running. He fearlessly 
continued to visit them for two days, was on several 
occasions in imminent danger of his life from some 
of the most violent and lawless of the rebels, who 
evidently saw that iie was succeeding in opening 
the eyes of some to tie dangerous position in which 
they were placed ; when the leaders Faber, Bezuiden- 
hout, and others, to comteract this impression, which 
they also saw manifesting itself, called the whole 
of their host together, and exacted from them a 
solemn oath, which they all took while ranged in a 
circle, loudly exclaiming that they would remain 
faithful to each other uitil they had expelled the 
tyrants from the frontier 

Col. Cuyler despairing, upon this intelligence, of 
bringing about their submssion by peaceable means, 


sallied forth the next morning early, out of Capt. 
Andrews' post, at the head of a troop of the 2ist 
Light Dragoons, and a troop of loyal burghers 
headed by Commandant Nel, and finding an ad- 
vanced post of the rebels (which they appear to 
have thrown out from their main body), Col. Cuyler 
at once ordered the troops to advance upon them, 
when about thirty, forming their left wing, threw 
down their arms in token of surrender; and the 
remainder falling back upon their main body, they 
all gave up the hope of further resistance, and 
slowly retired with all their waggons and cattle into 
the fastnesses of the Baviaan's River, where (they 
were well aware) a small force could hardly expect 
to dislodge them. Some further attempt to bring 
them to submission having again feiled, Major Fraser 
on one side, the Landdrost Stockenstrom on another, 
and the Deputy-Landdrost of Cradock on a third 
point, arranged a combined rcovement, by which 
they entered and cleared simultaneously all the 
fastnesses of that impervious glen ; the result of 
which was, that most of the ibllowers of this band, 
now enclosed, contrived at night stealthily to escape 
by passes with which they vere familiar; but the 
principal leaders still determhed to reject all terms, 
broke up with their waggon/ and all their necessary 
" materiel," and contrived t get out of that district 
without direct opposition, tnd proceeded as far as 
the Winterberg, immediatey bordering upon Kafir- 
land, where they expected to meet with safety; but 


Major Fraser with a detachment of the Cape Corps 
succeeded at length in completely surrounding them 
in a deep kloof, where they were come upon while 
outspanned ; but rejecting all offers of surrender, 
John Bezuidenhout, Stephs., Corns., and Abraham 
Botman, Andries Meyer, Corns. Faber, his wife, and 
his young son, fourteen years old, took up a position 
behind their waggons, from whence they maintained 
a regular skirmish for some time, killing one of the 
Cape Corps and wounding another, and it was not 
until Bezuidenhout was shot, and Faber and his wife 
were both wounded, that the troops succeeded in 
taking them all prisoners. 

They were from thence guarded by a military 
escort, and committed to the gaol of Uitenhage, 
where, subsequently, some fifty or sixty more persons 
who were traced, and known to have joined in the 
rebellion, were secured ; and a special commission, 
appointed at Cape Town, soon arrived there to try 
the offenders. After some preliminary inquiry, 
thirty-nine persons out of the whole party were 
selected as the most culpable, who were put upon 
their trial on the charge of high treason, and waging 
war against His Majesty ; and after a lengthened 
and painful trial, a sentence was passed condemning 
six of the leaders to suffer capital punishment ; and 
all the others, after witnessing the ignominious death 
of their leaders, to undergo various degrees of 
punishment by transportation, banishment, and fines, 
according to the various degrees of their proved 


culpability. Upon this sentence being forwarded to 
the Governor of the colony for his "fiat," before 
being carried into execution, His Excellency was 
pleased to commute the sentence of one of the 
leaders into transportation for life ; but with regard 
to them all, the sentence directed that they should 
be led to a remarkable plot of ground, or plateau, 
called the " Slachters Nek," being the very spot 
where these leaders had exacted from all their 
followers the oath to stand by each other until they 
had " expelled the tyrants." 

Thither they were taken under a strong military 
escort, and on the 6th of March, 1816, under the 
direction of Col. Cuyler (upon whom, both as the 
ex-officio prosecutor and as commandant, the duty 
devolved of seeing the sentence carried out), the sad 
preparations were made, in the presence of a large 
concourse of the friends and relatives of those about 
to undergo the punishment of death, and who were 
gathered together from all parts of the frontier to 
take a last farewell of those whose lives were to 
be forfeited, although it appeared that some hope 
was still entertained among them that their lives 
would be spared. In these hopes they were, how- 
ever, sadly disappointed when they saw the scaffold 
prepared to receive the five culprits, who with perfect 
resignation and firmness, under the spiritual guidance 
of a worthy minister, the Rev. Mr. Herhold, simul- 
taneously mounted the fatal ladder, from which, at 
a given signal, they were launched into eternity ! 


But, even then, they were doomed not to find an 
end to their misery ; from the hasty and imperfect 
manner in which the scaffold had been constructed, 
it proved insufficient to bear the weight and dying 
struggles of these five powerful men thus thrown off. 
The whole fabric gave way, and the unfortunate men, 
slowly recovering from the asphyxiated state into 
which they had been partially thrown, crawled up 
to the officer whose painful duty it was to see to 
the execution of that sentence, calling aloud for 
mercy. This was responded to by all their friends 
placed without the circle, who, viewing this as a 
signal dispensation of Providence, were with difficulty 
kept from forcing themselves through the military 
array, and with screams and shouts joined in the 
cry for mercy. 

But the stern nature of his duty left the kind- 
hearted Col. Cuyler no alternative but to see the 
execution carried out to the letter of the sentence. 

The culprits were again secured, every preparation 
was again hastily made, so as not to allow the day 
to pass within which the sentence directed the 
execution to take place ; and amidst the cries and 
clamour of their friends, the five unfortunate beings 
were doomed again singly to mount the ladder, and 
the last rays of the setting sun shone gloomily upon 
the five expiring sufferers, now dangling in mid-air, 
until life became extinct, when they were cut down 
and their earthly remains buried under the scaffold 
by the hands of the executioner (in the terms of the 


sentence of the law), and amidst the cries and sobs 
of their friends, to whom their last request to obtain 
the dead bodies was refused. 

Thus ended the rebellion of 1815, the most in- 
sane attempt ever made by a set of men to wage 
war against their Sovereign, the result of which 
could not have been doubtful for a single moment : 
it originated entirely in the wild unruly passions 
of a few clans of persons who could not suffer 
themselves to be brought under the authority of 
the law : the sentence passed upon them was no 
other than might have been expected in a case 
of overt rebellion thus committed ; and although 
at the present time, with our feelings of humanity 
becoming daily more and more abhorrent of the 
punishment of death, we may think that the for- 
feiture of one or two lives might have amply 
atoned for the offence (considering the lives pre- 
viously sacrificed), yet the culprits or their friends 
could have no cause for just complaint when, for 
crimes such as these, the rigour of the law was en- 
forced ; on the other hand, we need only call to 
remembrance our own feelings at the perusal of the 
thrilling pages of the immortal author of Waverley, 
to admit that pity and commiseration for the van- 
quished are perfectly consistent with the admission 
of the unlawfulness of their cause ; for although we 
need not exactly assent to the proposition of the 
author of the Pharsalia 

" Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni," 


yet we may justly, at least, make allowance for the 
wounded feelings of those who were left behind. 

In fact, I know, from personal interviews with 
several of the descendants of those who were then 
executed, that these events which I have how de- 
tailed, have left in their minds a far more indelible 
impression than even their losses by the Kafir wars, 
or the abolition of slavery. When here as Her 
Majesty's Commissioner, in 1843 an d 1844, I 
endeavoured frequently, in converse with many 
influential farmers, to soothe down the feelings of 
hostility which they openly avowed against Her 
Majesty's Government ; and when I had frequently 
(I hoped) succeeded in convincing them of the 
mistaken views which they had imbibed as to the 
principles and objects of Government in public 
matters, and proved to them satisfactorily, that (as 
regarded their future prospects) an entire new system 
had been laid down, and was now carrying on, to 
give them the enjoyment of the utmost share of 
rational liberty in all their political institutions; 
when I had succeeded so far in convincing their 
minds, I have more than once felt a pang to hear 
the embodiment of their inmost feelings expressed 
in the words "We can never forget Slachters Nek!" 

Such expressions, coming from the heart, could 
not but be respected and sympathised with, and 
we might only hope that the rising up of another 
generation would gradually obliterate such feelings ; 
and that, as in the present descendants of those who 


took prominent parts, and " were out," in the Scotch 
Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, their feelings of hostility 
towards the Government are long since forgotten 
in the unity of interests which now prevails : this 
would undoubtedly also here have taken place to 
a certain extent, if after that date two or three 
other events deeply affecting their interests had 
not tended still further to keep up and excite that 
distrust of, if not hostility towards, the Government, 
which more directly preceded and brought this vast 

If you, ladies and gentlemen, have felt any interest 
in this introductory address, I shall willingly devote 
a little more time to collect the materials and give 
you the details of those further events ; but before 
I pledge myself to carry out that intention, allow me 
to throw myself upon your candour, at once to 
pronounce whether any here present conceive that 
in so doing I can be said to depart from that 
principle which I have been the first to impress upon 
our Council, that we should not enter upon matters 
of present political bearing in the district. If this 
be felt by anyone, I shall at once decline carrying 
out a task from which I only hope to derive the 
pleasure of producing a kindly spirit between our 
present immigrants and the Dutch farmers, by their 
becoming, as it were, more intimately acquainted 
with each other. I have also ventured upon this 
course, as I confess I do not view such a retrospect 
as in the slightest degree connected with the present 


political state of the country, respecting which I am 
well aware such an entire change has taken place 
in the general policy of Her Majesty's Councils, that 
so far from wishing to withhold any rights or privi- 
leges from any of Her Majesty's subjects here, it can 
only be owing to their own indifference to these 
matters, or to the improper way of making their 
appeal, that such boons would be withheld from 

In short, we have only to refer to the memorable 
despatch of Lord Stanley of December, 1842 (which 
first directed the adoption of this territory), and to 
the more recent speeches delivered by Lord John 
Russell, and very lately by Earl Grey in the House 
of Lords, to feel that the mists which ignorance, 
misrepresentation, and party spirit had for some 
time cast around our rulers have been completely 
dispelled ; and that both they and the British public 
in general are only anxious to see us all enjoying 
a full share of rational liberty, as most conducive not 
only to our own interests, but to those of the empire 
at large. On this subject I shall beg to conclude 
by quoting a remarkable passage to be found in the 
Edinburgh Review of April last, in an article headed 
" Shall we Retain our Colonies ? " The words are : 

" The affection of the colonists it is easy to preserve or 
to recover, where, through misjudgment or misunderstand- 
ing, it has been shaken or impaired. By ruling them with 
forbearance, steadiness, and justice, by leading them forward 
in the path of freedom with an encouraging but cautious 


hand, by bestowing upon them the fullest powers of self- 
government wherever the infusion of British blood is large 
enough to warrant such a course ; in a word, by following 
out the line of policy announced and defended by Lord 
John Russell, in his speech on the introduction of a Bill 
for the government of the Australian Colonies in February 
of the last year, we may secure the existence, and rivet the 
cohesion of a dominion, blest with the wisest, soberest, 
most beneficial form of liberty which the world has yet 
enjoyed, and spreading to distant lands and future ages 
the highest, most prolific, and most expansive development 
of civilisation which Providence has ever granted to 
humanity ! " 



IN my last lecture I gave the details of one of 
those unfortunate events which frequently mark 
the transition from a rude state of society to one 
in which the supremacy of the law becomes a 
principle acknowledged by all classes, as essential 
to the general peace of the community and as 
consistent with the very notion of rational liberty. 
The feeling of hostility towards the Government 
and the administration of justice, which then pre- 
vailed among the frontier farmers, would gradually 
have been obliterated, as they became more and 
more sensible of the advantages which a higher 
state of civilisation conferred upon them ; but several 
other causes soon arose, which not only fed that 
flame of discontent, but became ultimately so 
burthensome as literally to drive the great majority 
of the inhabitants of the eastern province out of 
the pale of the colony, and after that movement 
had once commenced, it has since been found quite 
impossible to stem the torrent. One cause of 
general dissatisfaction was connected with and arose 
from the hasty and ill-considered measure directed 
D 33 


by the Home Government to redeem the paper 
currency, after having allowed a ruinous deprecia- 
tion to take place, which judicious measures might 
have averted or prevented to a great extent.* That 
cause of grievance is, however, more connected with, 
and forms part rather of, the general history of the 
Cape Colony ; I shall therefore not enter upon that 
subject, except only to observe that it tended to 
keep up the excitement previously produced on the 
frontier, and caused that spirit of disaffection to 
become more generally and widely spread than it 
otherwise would have been. 

But, independent of this, there arose three great 
and prominent causes of grievance, which bore less 
or more seriously upon the energies and prospects 
of the whole colony, but pressed with tenfold hard- 
ship upon the eastern provinces. With regard to 
these questions, it must also be observed at the 
outset that, although, for the sake of perspicuity, 
I shall deal with them separately, they were yet 
working simultaneously; the one cause preponder- 
ating in one year, and in another the second or 
the third cause, but all alike tending to accomplish 
this one end that of driving the great mass of 
the population out of the further influence of those 

* An ordinance sent out by the Home Government was promulgated 
on the 6th of June, 1825, introducing British silver money as a legal 
tender, and directing it to be taken in exchange for the Cape paper 
rixdollar at one shilling and sixpence sterling, which had been originally 
issued and recognised as of the value of four shillings for every rix- 


measures which (several have often assured me) 
would otherwise again have driven them to open 
resistance or rebellion. 

These three great grievances under which they 
suffered may be styled 

1. The Hottentot Question ; 

2. The Slave Question ; 

3. The Kafir Question ; 

and it will at once be seen from the mere recital 
of these names that they all arose from the manner 
in which both the local and the Home Government 
were considered to be dealing with those three dis- 
tinct races by which the European population was 
surrounded, and upon a judicious management of 
which the peace and prosperity of the colony entirely 

I shall therefore consider the prominent features 
of each of these three great questions, as they more 
particularly bore upon the interests of the frontier 
farmers, and which afflicted them during a period 
of twenty years, say from 1815 to 1835, when the 
migration out of the colony into Central Africa may 
be said to have commenced. 

I have stated in my preceding lecture that the 
proceedings instituted by Dr. Van der Kemp and 
the Rev. Jno. Read, against a great number of 
the members of influential families throughout the 
country districts, caused at once a deep-seated hatred 
against those missionaries who had thus constituted 


themselves the guardians of the Hottentot race, and 
also created a sense of distrust of the Government, 
from the manner in which (it appeared to them) that 
cause had been advocated and supported. In stating 
this fact let me not be misunderstood, nor let it be 
supposed that I wish to express for a moment any 
other opinion than that, in very many instances, it 
had become necessary to release that race from the 
state of thraldom in which they had theretofore been 
kept ; nor do I wish to express any other opinion 
than that there were among those individuals who 
were devoting themselves to the conversion of the 
heathen, and spreading among barbarous nations 
the light of the Gospel, many excellent persons, 
who may be justly ranked among the greatest 
benefactors of the human race ; and that such names 
as those of Kicherer, Edwards, Campbell, Moffatt, 
Hodgson, and the like, will ever be respected by 
every one who regards true religion and virtue as 
essential to the happiness and the eternal welfare 
of the human race. But, being now enlisted in the 
sacred cause of truth, my duty compels me equally 
to state that, at the time which I am now consider- 
ing, there were among those who assumed to them- 
selves the important office of teachers in the 
missionary schools within the colony, several persons 
so illiterate, and beset by such narrow - minded 
prejudices, as to render them totally unfit to direct 
the education and moral training of the Hottentot 
youths of both sexes ; while there were even some 


amongst them who, from the disreputable connection 
they had formed with females of that race, had lost 
all that respect which morality of conduct will ever 
command in society. 

Such instances were not only marked out as 
warranting that dislike to missionaries in general, 
but the inhabitants saw, with dread and apprehen- 
sion, how the Government gradually allowed the 
whole of that population (on which all farming 
pursuits on the frontier depended) to withdraw 
themselves from all control and agricultural pursuits, 
and to put themselves, moreover, under the spiritual 
charge of any person who, without reference to 
country or nation, announced himself as inclined 
to become the pastor of such flocks. 

In this manner, within a few years, no less than 
" thirty missionary schools," or institutions, sprang up 
within the colony where Dutchmen, Frenchmen, 
and Germans joined with English or Scotchmen 
nominally to instruct any Hottentots, or descendants 
of Hottentots, who felt inclined to congregate around 

The younger ones, no doubt, received there the 
rudiments of some elementary education ; but the 
older ones uniformly declared that they were "too 
old" to learn, but yet preferred remaining there, 
leading a listless, idle life so congenial to their 
habits, and could only be induced in the seasons 
of harvest, or upon urgent applications, occasionally 
to drive a waggon to market, and thus so far to " lend 


their help " ; but at such extravagant prices as at 
once deprived the agriculturist of his legitimate 
profits, and rendered such sources of labour so 
uncertain and precarious, that (in very many cases) 
he was compelled to abandon agriculture altogether, 
and to depend solely upon his herds and flocks for 
food and support. But even for the protection and 
rearing of these some herdsmen and shepherds were 
needed, but these duties they also gradually ceased 
to perform : so that whenever a farmer was unable, 
by the help of his own family, to watch his flocks 
by day and by night, losses became fearful, and 
many, in despair, were compelled to give up all 
farming prospects, and to take up their abode with 
some friends or relatives, so as to combine their 
resources, and thus eke out a miserable subsistence, 
without the chance of improving their condition, 
still less of providing for their offspring. 

This injury was not so seriously complained of 
in the western, or rather south-western, provinces, 
near Cape Town, where, for a time, slave labour 
was sufficient for the wants of agriculture ; but in 
the northern and eastern districts it was intensely 
felt. I have myself known farms which had been 
completely abandoned, by the last remaining Hotten- 
tots having given up service, or retired to the 
missionary schools, taking with them the flocks or 
herds which they had earned in their employer's 
service, and rejecting every offer or bribe to continue 
any longer in such service. 


There were even many Hottentot families so 
destitute, or otherwise ill -behaved, that admission 
to the missionary institutions was refused to them ; 
but these, rather than continue in the service of 
the farmers, gradually congregated themselves in 
the outskirts of various towns, and chiefly about 
Graaff-Reinet, Graham's Town, and Somerset, where 
they became a perfect pest to society, and a terror 
to all the neighbourhood, from the daring thefts 
and robberies which were committed by them for 
miles around. The difficulty, however, of tracing 
and punishing these offenders was so strongly felt, 
that nothing but the enactment of a stringent 
vagrant law appeared to all practical men likely 
to meet and overcome the evil ; but the difficulties 
in the way of enacting such a law appeared insuper- 
able to the Legislature, and although frequently 
promised by the Executive, it was deferred to the 
Greek Kalends, thus only increasing the disaffection 
by the disappointment of such expectations. 

It is a singular fact, that the only relief which 
some of the farmers found in those districts was 
at places adjoining the Bushman country, where a 
humane and enlightened policy soon received its 
never-failing reward. 

Up to the beginning of this century these Bush- 
men had been considered as utterly irreclaimable : 
the deadly poison which they dealt out to anyone 
approaching them in any suspicious attitude made 
them an object of universal dread and abhorrence : 


they were considered as the declared enemies of 
the human race ; and I fear that the indiscriminate 
slaughter of men, women, and children of that race 
was at one time considered not only as perfectly 
lawful, but praiseworthy. 

However, about the beginning of this century, the 
worthy missionaries, the Rev. Messrs. Kicherer and 
Edwards, boldly ventured among them, and secure 
under the aegis of the Gospel and religion, they 
displayed their moral courage in the midst of the 
threats and the fearful scenes which they were 
compelled to witness, and their sublime sacrifice of 
every comfort, and almost of every necessity of 
life, in the cause of humanity, was ultimately re- 
warded by reclaiming at least some few clans, and 
establishing a friendly feeling between them and the 
nearest farmers. 

Soon after this, also, a custom was introduced, 
sanctioned and encouraged by Government,* of allow- 
ing some field-cornets of well-established humanity to 
visit their country on hunting expeditions, ih seasons 
of drought and famine, when the Bushmen were seen 
congregating in flocks around them, and thereby ac- 
quiring the art of converting into " biltong "f the 

* This mode of reclaiming them was first recommended to Govern- 
ment by the "Commissioners of Circuit." 

t " Biltong " (literally " hamtongue ") consists of strips of raw meat, 
cut out of the hams, sirloins, or fleshy parts of cattle, or the larger 
antelopes, which, sprinkled over with salt, are exposed to a warm sun, 
and thus, sun-dried, constitute the usual food of the pastoral farmers 
for months. 


produce of the chase, thus securing to themselves at 
least some animal food throughout those seasons of 

This humane conduct of these farmers was duly 
rewarded, as some of these Bushmen gradually put 
themselves under their protection, and entered the 
service of the farmers around, thereby further secur- 
ing to themselves and their families a certain mode 
of subsistence throughout the year. Their natural 
intelligence was soon displayed in watching the 
flocks; they became most faithful and trustworthy 
herdsmen, and I have personally visited farms in 
the Sneeuwberg, which had for months been aban- 
doned by the proprietors, who had gone off to 
Cape Town, or to distant districts, with their entire 
families, leaving flocks of six, seven, and ten thousand 
sheep under the sole charge of one or two families 
of these " tame " Bushmen (as they were emphatically 
called) ; and I have been subsequently informed that 
such instances were by no means rare, that they 
invariably proved themselves fully worthy of the 
trust thus reposed in them, and that on the return 
of their masters they would, with the help of their 
"kerfstok" (or nick -stick) account for the loss of 
every ewe, wether, or lamb which had died or been 
lost with a distinctness and fidelity truly surprising. 

From a note appended to one of the inimitable 
chapters of the Antiquary, Sir Walter Scott (it would 
appear) notices these " nick-sticks " as peculiar to the 
bakers in Scotland two or three centuries ago. It 


may not prove uninteresting to an Oldbuck of 
Monkbarns to trace whether the Caledonian bakers 
acquired that knowledge from the Bushmen of South 
Africa, or vice versa; but to those who feel disinclined 
to adopt either theory, it may suffice to consider 
how, in a primitive state of society, men will be found 
to resort to the same rude means of aiding their 
memories and sharpening their intellect, without 
reference to latitude or country. 

In those few districts then immediately adjoining 
the Bushman country some substitute was partially 
found for their loss of their Hottentot servants, but 
throughout the remainder of the eastern province it 
must be acknowledged that the numerous missionary 
schools, and last of all the extensive establishment 
at Kat River, took from the service of the farmers 
every Hottentot or servant of Hottentot descent, 
who were not only induced to retire to those schools 
as the abode of ease and indolence, but were more- 
over taught to consider themselves as a distinct and 
separate race, who " ought " not to owe any service to 
the Saxon farmer. 

And this leads me to notice a far more serious evil 
still than the mere loss of labour, which arose from 
the system pursued in regard of the Hottentot 
race, the effect of which, although long predicted 
by many persons, had been only considered as 
" Cassandra's " prophecies, until the late events have 
exposed them in their fearful reality ; and they 
can now, therefore, only be noticed as historical 


lessons, from which rulers may derive useful warn- 
ings in legislating for and governing different races 
in one and the same country. 

I have already noticed that at most (if not in all) 
these schools or institutions within the colony the 
Government did not claim or exercise the slightest 
interference or control ; occasionally, even, disclosures 
were made which clearly showed that in some of 
them a magisterial authority was assumed to punish 
offenders by juries, and modes of punishment were 
devised by the missionaries within such schools 
altogether inconsistent with the first principles of 
justice ; but these even appear to have been passed 
by without official notice ; and upon this principle of 
the Government becoming more and more apparent, 
the missionaries also became the more confirmed in 
the authority which they assumed, as well over the 
temporal as the spiritual concerns of those who came 
to their schools. 

With the exception of the simple-minded Moravian 
brethren (whom I would willingly distinguish as a 
marked exception), I believe, I am bound to state 
that almost universally the notion was studiously in- 
culcated in the minds of the Hottentots that they 
not only had been, but still continued to be, an 
oppressed race ; that despite the Magna Charta 
granted them by the Government, in the so-called 
5Oth Ordinance, the white people were still ready at 
all times to injure them ; and such notions, I fear, 
were instilled with great earnestness in the minds of 


the large mass of Hottentots who were congregated 
in the Kat River settlements. This notion, no doubt, 
laid the foundation of the rebellion which has so 
fatally complicated the present Kafir war ; but upon 
these events it is not my wish to dwell any further, 
as I only desire here to state that, many years ago, I 
noticed that feeling of " national alienation " (as it 
may be called) arising, and anticipated that those 
seeds of antipathy and hostility of races would inevit- 
ably yield those poisonous fruits from which the 
colony has of late been suffering. 

This wilt be sufficient to mark how the gradual 
withdrawal of the whole Hottentot race from agri- 
cultural or pastoral service and the spirit of hostility 
which manifested itself in them towards the frontier 
colonists left the latter no other remedy than to 
resort to the sad alternative of seeking elsewhere 
for a place where their herds and flocks might be 
safe, and where they might obtain labour on more 
easy terms. 

II. But great and serious as this cause of grievance 
became, it proved quite secondary to the intensity of 
feeling with which the colonists saw the steps taken 
by the Government to deprive them of that labour 
over which they claimed an unquestionable right of 

It is a singular fact, and one, I believe, not gener- 
ally known, or at least not sufficiently considered, 
that during the last century, while all other colonies 
belonging to European powers were inundated by 


slaves (chiefly imported by British vessels), the 
Government of Cape Colony had always been averse 
to the introduction of slaves; that by various stringent 
proclamations their importation had been prohibited, 
and that from time to time (generally once a year) a 
special licence was issued only for a limited number 
to be imported, upon the earnest representations of 
the colonists, and proportionate to their increasing 
numbers and the wants in agriculture. 

During the short administration of the Batavian 
Government, from 1803 to 1806, various proclama- 
tions and acts also manifested an intention in that 
Government to put a speedy end to the existence of 
slavery in the colony ; and thus, during this century, 
a very small number of slaves indeed of the negro 
race had trodden the colonial soil. The natural con- 
sequence was that nine-tenths of the slave population 
consisted of house-born slaves, who were looked upon 
more as family domestics, and treated like the Vernce 
of the Romans. They were trained to various trades 
and professions ; were never worked in gangs, and in 
fact enjoyed all the privileges and comforts which 
free domestics could possibly claim. The value of 
such slaves increased daily, with the increase and 
greater demands of the free population, and not un- 
frequently 400, $oo, and 600 were readily given 
for a single slave well instructed in certain trades. 
It was but a natural result, from such a state of 
things, that slaves of this value should be well 
treated, and also that they knew their rights and 


how to maintain them ; and although, no doubt, in 
the course of ten or twelve years, two or three 
instances of very severe ill-treatment and even of 
murder were brought before the courts and tried, and 
were loudly denounced by (what was falsely called) 
the philanthropic press, yet it would be as unjust 
to infer from such cases a charge of general ill-usage 
of their slaves against their masters as it would be 
to lay to the charge of the populations of Edinburgh 
or of London the murders of Burke, of the Mannings, 
of Rush, and the hundred others, accounts of which 
pollute almost every English paper. 

Soon after the general peace of 1815 it became but 
too apparent that the public mind in England was 
directed to the total extinction of slavery, the leading 
men of all parties having openly avowed that in 
having gained the triumph of the abolition of the 
slave trade, they only viewed this as a stepping-stone 
towards the attainment of the greater measure ; and, 
as preparatory to that step, various local laws were 
introduced considerably curtailing the authority and 
power of masters over their slaves. The most im- 
portant one was a local ordinance, passed in 1826, by 
which a new office of guardian or protector of slaves 
was created, who, by himself and his deputies, had 
particularly to look to the protection of their interests. 
Every slave thereby acquired a right to compel his 
master to grant him his liberty if he could obtain the 
means of commanding his price at a fair valuation 
by persons indifferently chosen. The hours of labour 


were fixed, and various other stringent rules were 
introduced, at once creating a power which could 
interfere on behalf of the slave in all the domestic 
concerns of every household. It may easily be 
imagined how such a system at once produced an 
alienation from that good feeling which existed 
before in these relations. The slave, heretofore ac- 
customed to receive any favour or indulgence through 
his master or mistress, now saw another power arising 
which could grant these by virtue of his office ; and 
the masters, jealous of that power, frequently with- 
held, upon principle, what they would readily have 
conceded as a matter of grace. 

From that moment, therefore, that kindly feeling 
which had before existed on both sides may be said 
to have expired, and the whole country began to feel 
the ill effects of this undue and inconsistent interfer- 
ence. But the Home Government, not satisfied with 
these colonial laws, passed in February, 1830, an 
Order in Council, by which a host of protectors were 
further appointed to be the special guardians of slaves 
in every district, and to enforce still more stringent 
rules against the slightest act of injustice committed 
towards their slaves, who were expressly declared 
not to be liable to any punishment for preferring any 
frivolous complaints against their masters, "unless 
such complaint shall arise from some malevolent or 
culpable motive" (vide Section 72 of the Order in 
Council), while for any, even the slightest contraven- 
tion of any of the provisions of that Order in 


Council, by the master or mistress, a penalty never 
less than 10 nor more than $oo is denounced. 
( Vide Section 74.) 

But the feature which particularly denounced this 
Order in Council was exhibited in the sections by 
which every year the proprietors of any slaves em- 
ployed in agriculture or manufacture were required 
to take out from the office of the protector, or assis- 
tant protector, a book styled in the Order in Council 
a "punishment record book," in which every such 
proprietor was compelled to make himself (if he could 
write), or otherwise cause to be made, an entry of 
every punishment of whatever kind he may have 
inflicted upon every slave, detailing with the greatest 
minuteness every particular of the offence, of the 
punishment, of the witnesses to it, etc. This book 
every such slave-owner was required to take twice 
every year to the protector or assistant protector 
within his district, and there to swear to the correct- 
ness of these entries, and if at any time thereafter 
a complaint might be preferred before any of the 
protectors of any punishment having been inflicted, 
and the " record book " did not show a perfectly true 
and correct statement of every circumstance con- 
nected therewith, the master was to be tried for wilful 
and corrupt perjury, independent of the punishment 
he might be liable to in respect of the complaint 

It is impossible to describe the excitement which 
pervaded the length and breadth of the colony when 


these provisions became known : the slave-owners at 
once, with one consent, resolved to resist a law in- 
volving so iniquitous a principle, as that everyone 
should be called upon to enregister his own misdeeds 
and swear to them ; and they sent from all quarters 
some delegates to Cape Town, who there joined with 
the slaveholders in and near the town to hold one 
of the largest public meetings ever held in the colony; 
where they unanimously pledged themselves not to 
take out these "punishment record books," and in 
the enthusiasm of the occasion they passed a resolu- 
tion to walk up in a body to Government House to 
submit this their firm resolve personally to the 
Governor. His Excellency, having been previously 
apprised of their intention (by a deputation sent up 
in advance), some 3000 to 4000 persons marched up 
in procession to Government House, and being re- 
ceived by His Excellency Sir Lowry Cole, under 
the stately oaks at the Grave Street entrance, the 
late Mr. Muntingh and myself having been called 
to the unenviable task of being their spokesmen, had 
the painful duty of solemnly assuring His Excellency, 
in the name of the assembled throng and of all the 
slave-owners throughout the colony, " that they could 
not, and would not, comply with this law "; that they 
were ready one and all to submit to the penalties 
therein enacted, but implored His Excellency to release 
them from the operation of a law which appeared to 
them a violation of every principle of justice. This 
step taken by the slave-owners was denounced at the 


time by the philanthropic press as an attempt to 
intimidate the Governor, but we felt well convinced 
that the hero who did not quail under the murderous 
fire of the French when crowning the heights of 
Albuera, and fixing the victory on that momentous 
day, was not likely to be intimidated by 3000 or 
4000 persons walking peaceably up to implore his 
protection and sympathy against an iniquitous law ; 
and the result proved that they had not mistaken his 
feelings ; for although His Excellency (as might have 
been expected) declared that he could not take upon 
himself to annul or even suspend the operation of 
the law, he yet promised that he would not fail to 
report to the Secretary of State the great excitement 
which this provision had created ; and the colonists 
had the satisfaction of finding soon after that under 
an authority from the Secretary of State, directions 
were given to all functionaries not to enforce that 
regulation, which thus became a dead letter, and was 
only " observed in the breach." 

From the manner in which the Government was 
thus interfering with the slave question, it became 
perceptible to everyone that the early abolition of 
slavery was aimed at; and many of the liberal- 
minded persons amongst the slave proprietors 
accordingly determined to evince their disposition 
to concur with the Government in this object as far 
as they could consistently with their interests, and 
they established a " Philanthropic Society," the 
object of which society was to buy up all young 


females just reaching the age of puberty, to emanci- 
pate these immediately, but to place them for three 
or four years with persons of their own choice as 
apprentices until they had procured some little funds, 
and had been sufficiently trained to be entrusted with 
a state of perfect freedom. 

By this means in a few years two or three hundred 
young females were purchased and manumitted, thus 
at once preventing any increase of slavery, and the 
society had so many voluntary applications of 
masters or mistresses to confer this boon upon all 
young females, that want of funds alone precluded 
the society from extending its beneficial influence 
all over the colony. They therefore endeavoured 
to obtain the support of the Government, and 
showed that by an annual sum of 7000 or 8000 
being voted by the Imperial Parliament for such an 
object, the operations of this institution might be so 
enlarged that within very few years all female slaves 
would have been reclaimed from slavery, that also 
every able-bodied slave who might wish to be 
emancipated, and who had acquired the right by 
law to insist upon compulsory emancipation, might 
have obtained the funds to attain this object, so that 
gradually and imperceptibly slavery would have 
ceased to exist in nine or ten years, at a sacrifice 
to Great Britain of some 70,000 or 80,000 paid out 
in a series of years. But the only reply that these 
slave-holders, who were thus anxious to see liberty 
diffused without serious loss to themselves and a 


disruption to society, was that this would never 
satisfy the impatience of the British public, who 
were bent upon instant and universal freedom ! 

In this manner their object was paralysed, and 
in the meantime the Order in Council was still 
brought into rigid operation ; and for the most trivial 
offences a fine never less than 10 was inflicted on 
every master or mistress (for sometimes even a mis- 
tress would lose her temper and slap a termagant, 
whose aim and pleasure it became to bring their 
mistress to the utmost verge of passion) ; and in 
more serious cases the parties were tried by indict- 
ment, and very heavy penalties inflicted ; and such 
became the universal detestation of the law and its 
effects, that it is not too much to say that the slave- 
owners generally became anxious for the day which 
was to put an end to the torture which they were 
suffering under the lash of this law. 

That Act, so wished for, was at length passed by 
the Imperial Parliament in August, 1833, and in the 
beginning of the following year a new Governor 
(Sir Benjamin D'Urban) came out with express 
orders to carry it into operation. 

By that Act, on the ist of December, 1834, slavery 
was for ever to be abolished in the colony ; and the 
late slaves, after passing through four years of 
apprenticeship, were finally to be free from all 
control on the ist December, 1838. During that 
interval of four years the arrangements were also 
to be completed, by which the .20,000,000, 


generously awarded by the British nation as a 
compensation to the slave-owners, were to be 
apportioned out to each colony, and paid over to 
those whose slaves were to be put in freedom. 

The amount to be awarded to each colony, and 
more particularly to each slave-owner, was thus at 
first altogether problematical. Appraisers were 
appointed by the Government, who were ordered 
to examine personally every slave, and setting aside 
every consideration arising from a pretium affectionis 
(as lawyers term it), were to bring them all within 
certain classifications and fix an average value upon 

This appraisement was conducted with perfect 
fairness (with the single exception of the district 
of George, where it was shown to be palpably 
corrupt, and was accordingly revised and amended) ; 
and the returns showed that upon 35,745 slaves 
found within the colony a sum of about 3,000,000 
would be required to pay for them, thus yielding an 
average of about 85 a head. 

The slave proprietors at once admitted the right 
of the Government in the exercise of its dominium 
eminens to take from every private person any 
property for the attainment of a public good ; and 
they appeared generally satisfied, even with this 
appraised value, although in very many instances 
(from the prices I have already stated that slaves 
were readily sold for) it was clear that serious loss 
would be sustained, and chiefly by persons who 


possessed the most valuable slaves. But it was soon 
seen that this appraisement had still to undergo the 
rule of reduction, and that the object of the appraise- 
ment was not to ascertain the average amount which 
every slave-owner would receive, but only the pro- 
portion which would be awarded to each colony out 
of the compensation fund of 20,000,000 ; and upon 
that computation being made by the commissioners 
at home, it soon proved that instead of 3,000,000 
which the slave-owners at the Cape expected to 
receive, the sum of 1,200,000 only would be avail- 
able for them, thus reducing the average value of 
each slave per head from 85 to 33 12s. ; and I 
cannot give a more striking instance of the loss so 
sustained by the proprietors of valuable slaves than 
by stating in my own case that for a slave for whom 
I had frequently refused 500, and might have 
commanded 600, I found, according to the highest 
average for that class of slaves, a sum of 60 
nominally awarded to me, but by the mode of 
payment ultimately received even that pittance 
reduced to 47 or 48. 

This sudden and extraordinary reduction in the 
amount to be received from what had previously 
been anticipated proved ruinous to many families, 
as the capitalists to whom many of these slaves were 
mortgaged, foreseeing that they would not be paid 
out of the compensation fund, immediately com- 
menced proceedings against the principal debtors 
and sureties, sold off their goods and chattels, and 


thus reduced many respectable families to distress, 
if not to actual want. 

But the evils arising to the colonists did not stop 
there. When the assistant commissioners in the 
colony had so far proceeded in their work as to 
make out the proportionate sums which were to 
be awarded to each proprietor, it became known 
that these amounts could only be received at the 
Bank of England, and had to go through various 
forms, at various offices in London, before such 
payments could be made. This they at once saw 
would be placing them at the mercy of certain 
agents, through whom alone this could be accom- 
plished ; and a very numerous meeting of slave- 
owners was again held in Cape Town, from which 
emanated a respectful petition to the Government, 
praying that the amount awarded to each person 
might be paid them "in the colony," either in cash 
or by Treasury drafts, thus ensuring to them at 
least the certainty of receiving the sums finally 
awarded without any deductions. But this petition 
was at once rejected as inexpedient or impracticable, 
and all the slave-owners (not ten of whom had any 
personal agent in England) were driven to the 
necessity of resorting to a few persons in Cape Town, 
and Graham's Town, who (setting themselves up as 
alone acquainted with the requisite forms) bought 
up these certificates at 18 to 20, and in the country 
districts (I verily believe) from 25 to 30 per cent, 
discount, bringing down this paltry pittance already 


reduced to one-third of the appraised value of their 
slaves, as certified by the Government appraisers 
themselves still further to about one-fifth cf that 
amount. And can it then be wondered at, that 
very many persons thus reduced to absolute want 
and ruin should have been unmeasured in their 
abuse of a Government which, intent upon one 
great and laudable object, yet appeared determined 
upon carrying it through, utterly regardless of the 
master's rights and interests ; and that some of them 
became so incensed against the Government that 
they have to this day indignantly rejected the paltry 
sum awarded to them, although repeatedly pressed 
upon them ; so that the Colonial Government holds 
still at this moment about $ooo unpaid, which 
those entitled to receive it will not take, although 
tendered to them again and again, as its receipt 
would only deprive them of what they conceive to 
be a legitimate cause of grievance. 

In this state of feeling then, when most of the 
slave-owners had seen their nominal compensation 
frittered away to the smallest possible fraction, the 
sun rose on the eventful ist of December, 1838, to 
shed its lustre on a day of universal and unrestricted 
freedom to all persons in Southern Africa ; and it is 
but just to add that the perfect propriety of de- 
meanour with which that blessing was hailed and 
accepted by 35,000 individuals, has fully established 
their capacity for the enjoyment of those privileges 
which they have now possessed for thirteen years. 


Yet no words can adequately convey the effect 
which that day produced also on the prospects of 
the whole of the agricultural interests throughout 
the colony. 

In and near Cape Town, where a large population 
of free blacks, and persons willing to engage in 
service, were found ready to supply the place of 
these emancipated slaves, their departure (although 
attended with some inconvenience and additional 
expense) could in some measure be supplied ; but 
no pen can describe how, in the country districts, 
this migration was felt. Masters and mistresses 
who, up to the evening before, had forty, fifty, and 
some eighty persons engaged in keeping up ex- 
tensive farming establishments, saw, in one moment, 
the whole of their farming pursuits and plans 
destroyed : no bribe nor entreaty, 1 believe, did 
avail in one single instance to induce any one of 
these now free persons to stay over that day ; for 
a lady having a pet canary pent up for months or 
years in a cage (the object of her most tender care 
and affection) might as soon expect to keep it in, 
if setting the cage door open, as that the entreaties 
of their masters and mistresses would be heeded on 
such an occasion ; and as misfortunes, proverbially, 
never come singly, the day for this general eman- 
cipation, without any thought of, or reference to, 
the general interests of the colony, had been fixed 
for the very midst of the wheat harvest, which was 
seriously affected by it; for although in a very few 


instances some hands were induced by large rewards 
to stay just to cut down the crop, yet they also 
immediately followed their companions, all crowding 
to the towns and villages, where they could find 
ready subsistence and easy work ; so that on that 
day not only many of the agricultural farmers saw 
themselves reduced to poverty and distress by the 
paltry payments they had received, but were more- 
over deprived of the only means of cultivating their 
farms profitably for the future ; and although this 
state of depression has in some measure at present 
subsided in and near the capital, where many of 
these slaves have again voluntarily returned to those 
habits in which they had been brought up, and where 
the farmers, from a proximity to the market, could 
afford, or at least were compelled, to give somewhat 
remunerating wages for labour, yet in the eastern 
country districts this was impossible, and the agri- 
culturists there found themselves totally deprived 
of every vestige of labour to improve or cultivate 
their farms, or even to superintend or herd their 

III. I shall now proceed to the third and last 
cause of general grievance felt throughout the 
eastern province. 

In my last lecture I noticed that after the war 
of 1812 the Kafirs had been completely expelled 
out of the Cape Colony, and that a number of 
stockaded posts, stationed at short intervals along 
the whole line of the frontier, effectually secured 


the country against the inroad of a single marauding 
Kafir ; but it was evident that such a system could 
only be maintained by unceasing vigilance, and by 
a very strong military force, chiefly of cavalry, to 
scour the intermediate country; and for upwards of 
two years after that period, in addition to the 
military detachments, a number of armed burghers, 
out of every district, were regularly " commanded " 
and kept up under military discipline to furnish 
these posts. I have myself seen parties stationed 
along the Fish River, from the Worcester and Clan- 
william districts, who, for eighteen months, had thus 
been kept on this harassing duty. Their incessant 
complaints, however, had led to their being gradually 
withdrawn ; but unfortunately, in consequence of 
the great reduction of the army at the general peace 
of 1815, the military force was not only greatly 
reduced, but the strong and efficient body of cavalry 
which had hitherto maintained a rapid intercourse 
between all these posts was also removed from the 
colony, rendering it necessary to abandon most of 
these stations on the outer line of the frontier, and 
to limit the defence of that country to the head- 
quarters at Graham's Town, and one or two other 
isolated stations. 

The Kafirs (and particularly those of the tribe of 
T'Sambie and Congo, who had been dispossessed 
of their favourite haunts in Lower Albany) at once 
watched and seized the opportunity for gradually 
recovering that country, and recommenced their 


system of plunder, rendering that country so in- 
secure that the inhabitants, in November, 1816, 
represented in the strongest terms their distress on 
the frontier; how all the advantages of the great 
commando of 1812 had been lost, and that they 
would be compelled to abandon their farms on the 
line of that frontier. 

This induced the then Governor, Lord Charles 
Somerset, to repair personally to the frontier, and 
in April, 1817, he had a formal interview with Gaika, 
T'Sambie, and almost all the other great chiefs, who 
(as usual) expressed themselves most anxious to 
maintain peace, throwing the blame of the depreda- 
tions complained of on young warriors, who would 
go out on these forays without their sanction ; but 
upon receiving the further assurance that no reprisals 
were intended, and that the Government neither 
wanted their land nor cattle, they seem, for a time, 
to have exerted their influence with some effect, for 
the country may be said to have again enjoyed a 
short interval of complete repose and security. 

Many farmers from the interior, in consequence 
gradually resumed their lands in the Zuurveld, and 
it was remarkable that the tribe of the Amakozee, 
under Gaika, who was at that time directed by the 
Rev. Mr. Williams, proved themselves to be the most 
faithful in carrying out their engagement with the 

The herds of the farmers soon increasing afforded, 
however, again an irresistible attraction to the tribes 


of T'Sambie and Congo, who under the cover of the 
Kap and the Fish River bushes could at any time 
get into Albany ; and in 1 8 1 8 the old system of 
plunder and forays again commenced, and was 
carried on to a great extent ; and what is more 
remarkable, either from family feuds or (as they 
openly alleged) complaining that Gaika was too 
faithful an ally to the British Government, they 
openly declared war upon him, and in a single en- 
gagement overthrew all his forces, capturing his wives 
and his cattle, and thus threw him entirely upon the 
Government for protection. 

As Gaika had certainly proved faithful ever since 
the treaty of 1817, the Government sent a military 
force, under Colonel Brereton, to support and restore 
him to his authority. A series of engagements 
ensued, in the course of which T'Sambie and Congo 
were utterly defeated, Gaika was replaced in his 
former position as the great chief, and a large 
quantity of cattle was taken, which was divided 
between Gaika's tribe and such of the farmers as 
had been called out in aid of the military. 

The force then sent out, although quite sufficient 
to inflict chastisement, was still unable to shut up 
and guard all the passes into the colony, so that 
those tribes soon again recommenced, or rather 
continued, their hostilities, displaying then all the 
art and ability in the conduct of such wars, at 
which they have since become such perfect adepts. 
Watching their opportunity from the vantage 


grounds which they held on the eastern banks of 
the Fish River, they made two successful sallies upon 
two small military patrols marching along that river, 
in both of which the commanders (Captain Gethin 
and Lieutenant Hunt) and a large portion of the 
military fell, the former of whom (Captain Gethin) 
was, without exception, one of the finest officers in 
His Majesty's service, who had commanded the 
forlorn hope in the last daring assault of St. 
Sebastian, and had been the first to plant the 
British standard upon those walls which had twice 
resisted successfully the most murderous and best- 
planned storming parties. 

To punish such unceasing attacks another "com- 
mando " on a larger scale was called out in March, 
1819, under the command of Colonel Wiltshire (the 
conqueror of Kelat), and this " commando," from the 
small military force then in the colony, was to con- 
sist mainly of the armed lev/e en masse of the male 
population of the eastern and western provinces ; 
but while these parties called out from each of these 
distant districts were collecting, and their advance 
impeded by that fatal disease (the horse-sickness), 
which at certain intervals breaks out in the eastern 
province (carrying off almost all the horses kept 
in the field), these tribes of T'Sambie and Congo, 
headed or rather excited (as in the present war) 
by one of those witch-doctors,* who occasionally 

* The name of this witch-doctor was " Lynx." He was sub- 
sequently captured and sent into captivity to Robben Island, from 


succeed in elevating them to a state of fanaticism, 
adopted a plan which had hitherto been supposed 
as impossible to expect from them. Emerging at 
the break of day from out of the Fish River bush, 
a force of about eight to ten thousand men were 
suddenly seen to blacken the eastern horizon, ad- 
vancing in battle array upon the attack of the very 
headquarters of the military at Graham's Town. 
Two field-pieces (six-pounders) were providentially 
ready on the spot, and these, with a small military 
force then at hand, immediately advanced out of 
the town to repel the invasion, but, surrounded and 
pressed by overwhelming numbers, they were com- 
pelled to fall back ; the field -pieces had thrice to 
be limbered up and take up positions in the rear, 
and it was not until they had taken up their last 
stand in and among the few houses then forming 
that town that the deadly grape and canister dis- 
charged upon them took effect and compelled them 
to retire. 

This display of their force and daring, and of the 
precarious tenure on which the frontier was held, at 
length forced our rulers to adopt the suggestion 
which, years before, had been pressed upon them, 
viz., that it was "physically" impossible to protect 
the frontier with the dense Fish River bush in the 

whence he made a desperate effort, with two or three other convicts, 
to escape by means of a boat which they seized, but in endeavouring 
to land on the opposite shore of Blauwberg the boat was swamped and 
all the runaways perished. 


possession of the Kafirs, and accordingly the order 
was at length given to Colonel Wiltshire to expel 
the Kafirs from the country between the Fish River 
and the Keiskamma, and to seize and occupy that 
country, which was more open and easily defended. 

This commando (or second general war) was also 
crowned with complete success ; a vast colonial force 
was at length brought together, and by a series of 
able and combined operations the Kafirs were driven 
completely out of those fastnesses, and the country 
between the Fish River and Keiskamma became 
occupied by the Government forces. 

But even then the Colonial Government was so 
averse to extending this colony that orders had 
been already issued to give up again that inter- 
vening country to Gaika and his tribe, as he had 
ever since 1813 succeeded in impressing upon the 
Government that he had been inviolably faithful 
to them, and having in fact owed his life and 
restoration to power to their assistance in 1817. 
Yet in the course of these operations it was found 
that his men were engaged among the ranks of 
those who had openly attacked Graham's Town ; 
that many of his leading guides had taken a 
prominent part therein, and that his chief interpreter, 
Hendrik Nootka, had been shot in the very act of 
attempting to stab Colonel Wiltshire in the attack 
on Graham's Town. 

Before finally adopting any measure in regard to 
that territory, Lord Charles Somerset therefore again 


repaired to the frontier in 1819, and there concluded 
a formal treaty with Gaika and all the Kafir chiefs 
assembled on Somerset Mount, when he pointed 
out to them the absolute necessity which their 
incessant attacks during the last seven years had 
forced upon the Government of incorporating that 
tract of country ; and with their entire concurrence 
the terms were agreed upon, by which it was 
stipulated " that all Kafirs should evacuate the 
country between the Great Fish River and the 
Kieskamma, and from the boundary of the colony 
on the opposite side to a line drawn from the 
Winterberg to the sources of the Kieskamma." It 
was, however, further agreed that this country should 
not be occupied by the farmers but lie open, form- 
ing, as it were, a neutral ground between the two 

It certainly does appear to us now, judging ex 
post facto and after a lapse of years, as somewhat 
extraordinary, that persons possessed of the in- 
telligence which distinguished both our then Gover- 
nor and those around him should have adopted 
a measure which the most ordinary common sense 
of any practical peasant at once foretold was to 
be again the cause of endless dispute, and, in fact, 
of the undoing of everything that had been done 

The Governor had no sooner returned to Cape 
Town than small parties of Kafirs again felt their 
way into this ground ; and upon the government 


of the colony falling into the hands of Sir Rufane 
Donkin, as acting Governor, during the years 1820 
and 1821, he immediately saw the folly of such 
treaty, and, repairing to the frontier, he effected a 
modification in its terms, by which the Kafir chiefs 
at once declared, that though they strongly objected 
to isolated farmers being settled therein (as these 
would be liable to be plundered, which would bring 
the nations again at war), they yet agreed that 
military posts should be stationed therein, and that 
under their protection a body of British emigrants, 
who had just then entered the Albany district, should 
be placed and concentrated near such posts. 

Upon this understanding, then, the military posts 
of Frederick's Burg and Fort Wiltshire were estab- 
lished in this from that time called "ceded" ter- 
ritory, at each of which it was contemplated to 
keep an efficient military force as a vanguard for the 
protection of our frontier, and in the meanwhile 
the attention of the Home Government had been 
directed to the capabilities of the Albany district, 
and 5000 emigrants arrived under the aid of a grant 
from Parliament, where lands were distributed 
among them, which, it was hoped, would form the 
nucleus of a thriving population, and prevent at 
once the reoccupation of that district by the Kafirs. 

Everything that an enlightened and humane policy 
could devise was now set on foot to promote friendly 
relations with the Kafir tribes. Fairs were estab- 
lished, where they might come to buy and sell what- 


ever they required or wished to dispose of; passes 
were offered to all those who wanted to enter the 
colony, and for a short time peace and amity seemed 
to prevail. But, unfortunately, on the return of 
Lord Charles Somerset the policy of occupying the 
" ceded " ground was abandoned : the post of 
Frederick's Burg was ordered to be broken up ; the 
applications by emigrants for lands in that district 
were refused, and those which had been partially 
granted or promised were revoked, and to their 
surprise the Kafirs saw that the bone of contention, 
which they had been compelled reluctantly to yield, 
was again given up and virtually surrendered to 
them, in consequence of which small parties of 
Kafirs were seen again gradually taking possession 
of that country ; and although no open rupture took 
place, and, on the contrary, every encouragement 
was held out to them to attend the fairs and keep 
up friendly relations with the recently - arrived 
emigrants, who freely entered with them into trade 
or traffic, yet not a month passed by that some 
cattle were not carried off, and that some life was 
not lost, so that the utmost vigilance was required 
to prevent a general incursion or attack upon the 
frontier. To check any attempt of that kind the 
Cape Corps, which was now almost the only pro- 
tection for the frontier, was gradually transformed 
into a cavalry corps, and they no doubt very 
efficiently guarded that boundary line from any overt 
attack ; yet this constant state of insecurity soon 


extended itself up to the Winterberg and Somerset 
districts, and along the whole line of that country 
it became quite impossible for any farmer to consider 
his life or property secure. In the year 1828 the 
old chief T'Sambie died, and his death was soon 
followed by that of Gaika, in 1829; and in a short 
time a very perceptible change took place in these 
two great clans, which immediately bordered OUT 
frontier. T'Sambie's successors were Pato, Kama, 
and Cobus Congo ; these had intermixed a good deal 
with the emigrants, and, under the able guidance 
and instruction of the Rev. W. Shaw, had been 
perceptibly improved both in their habits and feel- 
ings, and the effect of such improvement was soon 
apparent in their more earnest desire to maintain 
peace with the colonies. 

The Amakozee tribe, on the contrary, now fell 
under the sway of Macomo and Tjalee, the first of 
whom, although Gaika's eldest son, not being of 
such high descent on the mother's side, was not 
acknowledged as sole or paramount chief, but seemed 
to derive an equal authority with his younger brother 
Tjalee. Writing of the former (Macomo), it is 
singular that Colonel Scott should have prophetically 
stated in 1822 "that he promised to give much 
trouble to the colony," although Colonel Scott could 
little expect that during thirty years this chieftain 
should prove so formidable, as he has continued to 
show himself up to the present moment. 

However, under their authority the Amakozee 


soon became more and more daring, so that the 
Government felt driven to the necessity of estab- 
lishing a post at Fort Beaufort ; but about that time 
a singular occurrence took place, somewhat con- 
nected with this district, which ought not to be 
passed by unnoticed. 

Chaka, the great Zulu chief, having depopulated 
this entire district, made, in the year 1828, a most 
savage inroad upon Kafirland Proper, with an over- 
whelming force. Having first overrun this district, 
and ravaged the country of the Amapondas, he 
drove the remnant of all these tribes, under the 
name of Fetcanee, upon the Kafirs ; and such was 
the terror of their name that the latter implored the 
aid of the Government against this formidable 
enemy. All the burgher forces near the frontier 
were again hastily called out to take arms, troops 
were collected, and this force crossing the Kye 
advanced to the Umtata, where in some partial 
engagement the dreaded foe was repulsed, although 
I believe it is a matter of doubt to this day whether 
the foe thus defeated was part of Chaka's forces, 
or only tribes of Amapondas and others which had 
fled before him. However, after this harassing duty 
was again passed by, Chaka retreated, and was 
murdered in this district, near the Umvoti River, 
by his brother Umslangaan, and other councillors 
who were about him ; and these again, but a few 
days after, were all butchered by Dingaan, who thus 
became undisputed chief of the Zulus. 


The force then displayed by the Government, 
and the aid immediately afforded to the Kafirs, 
showed them again the earnest desire of the 
Government to promote peace with them ; and of 
this they received a striking proof. On an occa- 
sion a farmer having reported to a military officer 
that 1 20 head of cattle had been taken from him, 
a Lieutenant Ross went upon some traces, which 
led to a Kafir kraal, where these cattle not being 
forthcoming the same number were exacted, and 
given up ; but, a few days after, the farmer having 
reported that the cattle supposed to have been 
stolen had been found by him elsewhere, the whole 
number of cattle were immediately again restored 
to the kraal from which they had been obtained. 

From facts such as these the Kafirs ought to have 
seen that nothing but the most friendly disposition 
was felt towards them by the Government, but a 
cankerous sort of irritation unquestionably con- 
tinued to prey upon them, from the false step which 
the Government had first taken in regard to the 
neutral or ceded territory. The moment the Kafirs 
saw that it was not fully taken possession of, nor 
permanently occupied, they were unceasing in their 
applications to be allowed at least to depasture 
that tract of country. This being once conceded 
they naturally formed their huts, and in the proper 
season planted their gardens, thus virtually taking 
entire possession ; but depredations again taking 
place within the colony, after incessant and generally 


fruitless patrols to pursue and recover the cattle, a 
strong military force had invariably to be sent into 
that territory to eject those who had squatted down. 
This was uniformly resisted, when the huts had to 
be burnt, the gardens destroyed, and the occupants 
again driven beyond the Keiskamma ; until, after 
one or two seasons, upon urgent applications on 
the plea of drought or bad crops, the like con- 
cession was again made, to be again followed by 
the same train of burning huts and ejectments, 
and their expulsion from out of this territory. 

In this state of unrest, then, the whole of the 
inhabitants of the frontier were kept during fourteen 

There was no war declared with the Kafirs, yet 
not a week passed that some robbery or plunder 
was not committed. In this manner the stock of 
the neighbouring farmers was gradually thinned 
and swept away by incessant forays, which were 
made either by young Kafirs whenever desirous of 
possessing themselves of a few head of cattle to 
purchase wives, or by older Kafirs, who having 
been "eaten up" in their own kraals, were anxious 
to restore themselves to wealth or authority : in all 
such cases, however, any farmer complaining of 
these robberies was generally accused by the 
authorities of either exaggeration or of downright 
falsehood in his statements ; and when in the 
attempt to recover his cattle any collision took 
place with the Kafirs the latter were very generally 


excused, some blame was uniformly tried to be 
thrown on the farmer, and it became but too 
manifest that the Government did not wish to 
acknowledge the existence of a state of insecurity, 
which they either hoped would gradually pass 
away, or, if admitted, would only compel them 
openly to declare and commence an active war. 

Upon this principle, then, the Government would 
not admit the extent of these injuries, and seemed 
inclined rather to expose their subjects to these 
losses than provoke hostilities with an enemy whom 
they were not inclined to cope with. 

During this same period the capabilities of this 
district of Natal had become obscurely known 
from the visits of Lieutenant Farewell and Captain 
King, and the accounts of several of their com- 
panions being brought to the Cape, a society was 
soon formed for the exploration of Southern Africa ; 
and Dr. Smith, with a very respectable party of 
travellers, was fully equipped to examine and 
report upon its condition and advantages. He 
succeeded in exploring the Bay of Natal and 
visiting Dingaan in his chief town of Umkongloof, 
and the accounts which he brought back first 
attracted the attention of the Dutch farmers to 
this district with a view to occupying the same. 
They quietly collected fourteen waggons, and a party 
headed by Piet Uys, Cobus Uys, Hans de Lange, 
Stephanus Maritz, and Gert Rudolph, started from 
Uitenhage in the beginning of the year 1834, taking 


the lower route along the eastern slopes of the 
Quathlamba or Drakensberg range, following 
nearly in the same track by which Dr. Smith and 
his party had explored this district. Their arrival 
agreeably surprised the small party of English 
who had settled themselves down at the Bay, where 
Messrs. Ogle, Toohey, and King (who are now 
amongst us, and the only survivors of those settlers) 
gave them a hearty reception, from whose accounts, 
and from their own explorations of the country, 
they soon came to the conclusion that this would 
be a country in every way suited to them and 
their countrymen ; they loitered here some time, 
shooting and examining the country, and would 
have pursued their explorations still further if they 
had not been suddenly startled by the astounding 
intelligence that the Kafirs had made a sudden 
general irruption into the eastern province, and thus 
provoked a third Kafir war. 

This compelled them to beat a hasty retreat, 
and they most providentially succeeded in returning 
unattacked through the whole of Kafirland, while 
the Kafirs, having deserted their own country, ap- 
peared wholly intent upon laying waste the eastern 
districts of the colony. 

Some of the details of that war, as bearing directly 
upon the emigrant farmers, and their reasons for final 
expatriation in large bodies, must, however, be re- 
served for a future lecture, as I fear I have already 
too long trespassed upon your time and patience ; 


but in the next I hope I shall be able to conclude 
in setting them down in this district, and show- 
ing how they ultimately succeeded in attaining that 


" Per varies casus et tot discrimina rerum." 

" Through such varieties of woe they tend 
T'wards fair Natal, where all their toil shall end." 



MY last lecture brought us to the first ex- 
ploratory visit paid by a small party of 
Dutch farmers to Natal with a view of ascertaining 
its capabilities, and to the general state of the 
eastern frontier at the outbreak of the third general 
Kafir war of 1834. That year had been marked 
(as I have already said) by Sir Benjamin D' Urban 
(without compare the best Governor with which the 
Cape Colony has ever been favoured) having assumed 
the government of the country. Two very serious 
duties were, however, demanded from him im- 
mediately upon his taking the administration of the 
government : the one was to organise and set in 
operation a Legislative Council, which was then just 
granted to the colony, as a stepping-stone towards 
more liberal political institutions ; the next was to 
enact various laws and regulations, incident on the 
abolition of slavery and the transition of all the 
slave population into a class of apprentices for a 
limited period. It will be easily understood that the 
time of a Governor who read attentively every paper 



that was transmitted to the Colonial Office, and 
who generally drew out every document emanat- 
ing therefrom, must have been fully engrossed 
with these two important duties ; and during that 
period (I am personally aware) his mind was much 
harassed by the most conflicting accounts he received 
as to the state of the frontier and our relations with 
the Kafir tribes. 

The leading practical men about the frontier, and 
the public press at Graham's Town, represented that 
frontier as in a very alarming and precarious position, 
and that the Kafirs were undisguisedly evincing a 
very hostile feeling ; while a party in Cape Town, 
under the influence of the Rev. Dr. Philip and of 
the editor of the Commercial Advertiser newspaper, 
represented them as peaceably inclined, and ready 
to enter into any arrangements based on the prin- 
ciples of justice and fairness, ascribing all the alarming 
accounts received from the frontier not only to fear, 
but to the base and unworthy motive of trying only 
thereby to have a strong military force, and con- 
sequent large expenditure, kept up in that province ; 
and the contemptuous view taken by that party of 
the representations, both of the colonists and the 
former Government, as to the insecurity of that part 
of the colony, cannot be better shown than by quoting 
the following passage from one of the numbers of the 
Commercial Advertiser, published a short time before 
the arrival of Sir Benjamin D' Urban in the Cape 
Colony, to this effect : 


" The murders by Kafirs, of which the Colonial Govern- 
ment prate so fluently, are to be found only on the lips 
of lying men or in the imagination of the timid Cockneys 
and pin- makers who shrink from the bold eyes of a natural 

"We cannot, however, allow a single day to elapse with- 
out declaring that the alarm expressed with regard to these 
people (the Kafirs) have no foundation, that the accusations 
brought against them were false, and that the clamour (we 
feel convinced) was raised for the purpose of concealing a 
system and series of frauds practised by some of the white 
English inhabitants against and upon these people. 

"When Government hear of any outcry they have only 
to give a gentle hint that Dr. Philip, or the editor of this 
paper, are about to make a tour in that direction, and 
iniquity will hide its head, sin will be felled like an ox, 
and all the enemies of righteousness will be scattered like 
sheep ! " 

With opinions so directly opposed to each other, 
it is not at all surprising that Sir Benjamin D'Urban 
should have determined to try, at least in the first 
instance, the policy advocated by those inclined to- 
wards peace and amity with the Kafirs, and he 
accordingly availed himself of the very person thus 
held out as able to " scatter the enemies of righteous- 
ness like sheep," and authorised Dr. Philip (who was 
going to visit the Kat River Settlements and the 
London Missionary Institutions on the frontier) to 
court a conference with the principal Kafir chiefs ; 
to announce to them his Excellency's friendly dis- 
position towards them, and his anxious desire to 


settle personally and permanently with them the 
future relations which were to be kept up between 
the two countries. The reports which his Ex- 
cellency received during the middle of that year 
from this and other quarters led him still more to 
hope that peace would not be disturbed until he 
had personally visited the frontier, and towards 
the end of that year I accompanied our worthy 
Chief Justice, Sir John Wylde, on circuit, when, 
after the court business at Graham's Town was 
ended, we were led to anticipate a friendly inter- 
course with the chiefs Macomo and Tjalee at the 
Chumie, where Colonel Somerset had given them 
an intimation of his and our visit. But the recep- 
tion which we received was marked with such a 
spirit of hostility, as compelled the Rev. Mr. 
Chalmers himself to admit that the behaviour of 
the whole of the clans around him had assumed 
so decidedly hostile an appearance as to render it 
necessary for the public functionaries to be prepared 
for some general outbreak ; and on our return to 
Cape Town, at a numerous convivial meeting, to 
which Sir Benjamin had invited myself and family 
on New Year's Eve, I could not help dilating some- 
what at length on the hostile disposition of these 
tribes, to which His Excellency appeared to listen 
with particular interest ; but nothing else indicated 
the slightest disturbance in society, except (what 
was only remembered afterwards by some of us) 
that Sir Benjamin had occasionally absented him- 


self for a few minutes from the party. Good humour 
and hilarity prevailed until we had hailed in the new 
year, when every one gradually retired to their 
homes ; but on the next morning, on returning to 
town, I found the astounding intelligence universally 
spread abroad that the evening before His Excel- 
lency had received the account that the Kafirs, to 
the number of 12,000 or 15,000 men, had invaded 
the whole frontier from every quarter on Christmas 
Day, burning and destroying every farmhouse, mur- 
dering the inhabitants, and carrying away all their 
cattle and property. 

Still doubting this information, from the imper- 
turbable good humour which had prevailed at 
Government House the night before, I could not 
resist applying personally in that quarter for in- 
formation, and appealing to His Excellency as to 
the truth of that report. He, in his wonted gentle 
and yet firm manner, not only confirmed the report, 
but jocularly observed that he had received the sad 
intelligence while we were assembled there, but that 
he had done immediately all that could be done, and 
had not wished to disturb the harmony of the party 
by divulging such intelligence. 

That night already all orders had been given to 
despatch every disposable soldier ; to call out all the 
burgher forces, and to send off Colonel Smith, the 
Quartermaster-General of the forces (and now our 
worthy Governor-in-Chief), who had started in the 
middle of the night, and in five days reached 


Graham's Town, where he found everything in an 
indescribable state of panic and confusion. 

This attack had been so little expected and pro- 
vided against that a force of about 750 men, of all 
arms, spread in small parties over the whole eastern 
frontier, and from uoo to 1200 men, constituted the 
whole military force in the colony. 

All that Colonel Smith could consequently do 
at Graham's Town was to restore some confidence 
in the community, to organise some volunteer force 
on the spot, and to guard the few military posts, 
while another levte en masse of all the young 
and able-bodied farmers throughout the colony was 
again called out, and those who did not fall within 
that "conscription" were still required to furnish 
horses, cattle, waggons, supplies of food and the 
like, upon a vague promise of being afterwards 
indemnified ; and in this manner a very respectable 
force marched immediately from every district of 
the colony, fully equipped by their own relatives 
and friends. And chiefly with this force, animated 
by the greatest enthusiasm, and aided by one or 
two regiments, which subsequently reached the 
colony, Sir Benjamin D'Urban was enabled not 
only to expel the Kafirs again out of the colony, 
but to drive them across the Kye, where, after the 
death of Hintza, he succeeded in dictating the 
terms of their surrender, and to lay down the basis 
of what was fondly hoped would secure the per- 
manent peace and tranquillity of the frontier. 


It is not my purpose, nor does it belong to the 
object of these lectures, to enter into a detail of the 
military or political arrangements effected by that 
excellent Governor.* It will suffice to state that 
chiefly owing to the exertions of the burghers, and 
the spirit in which they were led by Col. Smith, the 
whole of Kaffraria up to the Kye was completely 
cleared of the Kafirs, and Sir Benjamin dictated at 
last to them the terms upon which he would accept 
their submission. 

His plan (I have reason to know) was at that time 
to give out all the lands between the Fish River and 
the Keiskamma (or what was already known as the 
ceded or neutral territory) to such inhabitants as 
had suffered most of the Kafir war, or to additional 

* I cannot resist the pleasure of here introducing the noble and 
generous sentiments lately expressed by Sir George Napier (the 
Governor of the Cape Colony, who had been sent to supersede Sir 
Benjamin D'Urban, and to introduce an entirely new system in our 
relations with the Kafirs) in his examination before the House of 
Commons, viz. : To the question put by Mr. Hawes (question 1600) : 
Are you, or are you not, disposed to think that, taking a certain 
military possession of Kafirland beyond the boundary of the Keis- 
kamma that is to say, establishing military posts there, as has been done 
by Sir Harry Smith, with the concurrence both of Sir Henry Pottinger 
and Sir Peregrine Maitland has been so far successful that it has 
prevented an irruption of the Kafirs into the colony proper ? Answer : 
I think certainly it has. I went out, if I had any prejudice at all, 
with a prejudice against the colonists, and against that former occupa- 
tion of the ground by Sir Benjamin D'Urban and Sir Harry 'Smith, 
and thinking that it would be better not to have them. My own experi- 
ence and what I saw with my own eyes have confirmed me that I was 
wrong, and that Sir Benjamin D'Urban was perfectly right ; that if 
he meant to keep Kafirland under British rule the only way of doing 


emigrants or discharged soldiers and officers ; to give 
out these lands under the express condition of per- 
sonal occupation, and thus to form a belt of a dense 
European population in advance of the Fish River 
fastnesses. He intended further to allocate the 
country between the Keiskamma and the Kye 
among such of the Kafirs as had submitted, but 
to keep over them an efficient military force and 
a magisterial control ; and he intended still further 
to urge upon the Local Legislature and the Home 
Government to compensate liberally, if not fully, all 
those who had been bond fide sufferers in the war. 

These losses had been inquired into with the 
greatest care and minuteness, and the official returns 
showed that those sustained on the immediate frontier 
amounted to : 

456 farmhouses burnt and totally destroyed. 
350 others partially pillaged and gutted. 
60 waggons captured by the Kafirs and destroyed. 

5,715 horses, j taken and 

111,930 head of horned cattle, and > irrecoverably 
161,930 sheep, J lost; 

amounting in value to upwards of 300,000, inde- 
pendent of the losses by persons who contributed to 
the outfitting of the various " commandos " from each 

A few thousand recaptured cattle were, however, 

so was by having a line of forts and maintaining troops in them. No 
doubt it must be so, and if all those forts were well garrisoned and 
provisioned it would answer very well. 


all the trophies of the war, and the feelings of the 
inhabitants may easily be guessed at when amongst 
these many breeding cattle and entire spans of oxen 
were recognised by their former owners, but who 
upon reclaiming them were told that they could not 
be surrendered, as they were to be publicly sold in 
order to compensate for part of the expenses of 
war, but that "they" were hereafter to get ample 
compensation. But what were their feelings, and 
those of their gallant commander, when, after having 
suffered these losses and encountered the dangers 
of a most harassing war of fifteen months' duration, 
a despatch was received from the then Secretary of 
the Colonies, Lord Glenelg, dated 26th December, 
1835 (which had been immediately published by the 
home authorities through the Blue Book), containing 
the most unreserved condemnation of the whole 
policy and operations of the war, abusing in un- 
measured language the barbarous manner in which 
(the Secretary of State asserted) the war had 
been conducted, and concluding with the following 
extraordinary declaration (as emanating from His 
Majesty's Government) touching the justice of the 
war, viz. : 

" Through a long series of years the Kafirs had an ample 
justification of war ; they had to resent, and endeavoured 
justly, though impotently, to avenge a series of encroach- 
ments ; they had a perfect right to hazard the experiment, 
however hopelessly, of extorting by force that redress 
which they could not otherwise obtain ; and that the 


original justice is on the side of the conquered (the Kafirs), 
and not (of) the victorious party ! ! " 

A communication more cruel, unjust, and insulting 
to the feelings not only of the commander, who, 
wholly intent upon the most pacific and conciliatory 
measures with the Kafirs, had been suddenly attacked 
and seen the country placed under his authority and 
protection invaded, but of the inhabitants, who had 
not only been engaged in a twelve months' warfare 
of the most harassing and dangerous character, but 
who were smarting from a system pursued during 
fourteen years by the local Government never afford- 
ing them redress for their most serious losses and 
grievances on this subject can hardly have been 
penned by a declared enemy of the country and its 
Governor; and it at once opened the eyes of the 
colonists to what they had long suspected, viz., that 
in the estimation of his then Majesty's Government 
they were marked as the aggressors in the war and 
the oppressors of the Kafir race ; that the latter, and 
not " they," were entitled to sympathy and relief. 
And that they were not wrong in these conclusions 
soon became still more apparent, upon their being 
informed that all their applications for indemnity for 
the losses they had sustained were rejected ; that all 
the grants of land about to be made to persons, even 
within the country ceded to the Government ever 
since the year 1817, were to be revoked and cancelled, 
and that the Kafirs were to be fully reinstated in the 


possession of all the lands which by the terms of the 
treaty of September, 1835, they had formally ceded 
to His Majesty, his heirs and successors for ever ; and 
moreover, when they heard that a Lieut.-Governor 
had been appointed, whose opinions (as publicly 
expressed in his examination before a Committee 
of the House of Commons on the line of policy 
to be observed towards the Kafirs) seemed at least 
to hold out the prospect that these views of His 
Majesty's Government would be carried out to the 

To expect that an entire population thus insulted 
and injured should still continue loyally and well- 
affected towards the Government was as impossible 
as to expect "that of thorns men should gather 
figs, or that of a bramble-bush they should gather 

From that moment, then, the farmers throughout 
the eastern province saw that the whole Hottentot 
race, who had been their former praedial servants, 
had been withdrawn from them, and were fast 
assuming a certain "nationality" within the colony. 
They had had the few slaves they possessed taken 
from them at a ridiculous compensation, which 
several had refused to accept ; and they now lastly 
found their houses and farms burnt and destroyed, 
their stocks and herds taken from them, without a 
chance of redress or indemnity ; and from the policy 
at once laid down by the Home Government they 
further clearly saw that their lives and future pro- 


perties would for ever be endangered, and that even 
the day of their again recovering their former wealth 
would as certainly be marked by another irruption 
and the sweeping away of their newly-acquired herds, 
as effects must follow causes. 

From that moment, therefore, it may be said that 
the determination to quit the land of their fathers 
became general and universal, and the leading 
families in the Oliphant's Hoek, Gamtoos River, 
along the Fish River, and Somerset, forming them- 
selves into little knots, at once prepared for this 
" Exodus," although there were, no doubt, some 
persons or families, who joined this emigration, who 
had also some private or personal cause for thus 
expatriating, as, for instance, the Greylings, for 
having been indicted and severely mulcted at the 
Circuit Court at Uitenhage for contravening the 
ordinance for the abolition of slavery ; W. S. van 
der Merwe, for having a personal quarrel with the 
civil commissioner of his district ; the late unfor- 
tunate Retief, for having been insulted (as he con- 
ceived) by the Lieutenant-Governor of the eastern 
province ; and Piet Uys, on account of his wife 
having been committed, in his absence, by virtue of 
a warrant of a local magistrate, and taken before 
him in custody as a prisoner. Yet these were 
but " drops " in the ocean of emigration, an ocean 
which, from that moment, began irresistibly to flow 
into the interior of Africa, and from thence into 


The beginning of the year 1836 was marked by 
all the farms of those intending emigrants getting 
into the market. They were readily bought up by 
numerous speculators at Graham's Town, Somerset, 
and adjoining places for ridiculously low prices, and 
everything showed a settled determination to carry 
out this expatriation on an extensive scale. The 
local Government did all they could "indirectly," 
through the magistracy and the clergy, to point out 
the illegality and dangers of such a step ; rumours 
were indirectly spread that the Government could 
enforce the provisions of an English writ of Ne exeat 
Regno to prevent this emigration, and for a moment 
some little hesitation was apparent in their move- 
ments, but a reply of the new Lieutenant-Governor, 
Stockenstrom, to an address from the inhabitants of 
Uitenhage, in August, 1836, upon his assuming his 
government, soon removed all doubt on that subject, 
for in that reply he made use of these remarkable 
words : 

" It is but candid at once to state that I am not aware 
of any law which prevents any of His Majesty's subjects 
from leaving his dominions and settling in another country, 
and such a law, if it did exist, would be tyrannical and 
oppressive ! " 

This unreserved, though perhaps injudicious, ex- 
pression of his opinion at once settled all their 
doubts, and soon after this the first party, of about 
200 persons, headed by Hendrik Potgieter, crossed 


the Orange River.* Bidding for ever farewell to the 
Cape Colony they advanced to Thaba 'Nchu, where 
the Barolong chief, Moroko (who at that time was 
under the spiritual direction of one whom I am 
happy to see sitting near me, as a member of this 
society, the Rev. Mr. Archbell), gave them a most 
friendly reception, where they obtained every facility 
in depasturing their cattle. 

These were soon followed by a more numerous 
and wealthy party from Graaff-Reinet, headed by 
Gert Maritz, and these were again succeeded by 
other large parties from the Uitenhage and Albany 
divisions, headed by the old patriarch, Jacobus Uys, 
by Carl Landman, Gert Rudolph, and others. 

Their numbers thus fast increasing in the Barolong 
territory soon gave rise to divisions, and the older 
emigrants, making way for the later arrivals, advanced 
gradually along the banks of the Vaal River (or Ky 
Gariep), in a northerly direction, until they came into 
contact with the numerous and powerful tribe of the 
Matabelee under Mazulekatze. 

It is supposed that this sanguinary chieftain, having 
been frequently attacked by the Zulu and Griqua 
forces in that direction, was always particularly 
jealous of any approach from that quarter. But the 
farmers, of course, unaware of this disposition, con- 

* A small party, headed by Carel Triechard, had preceded these, 
and they advanced as far as Delagoa Bay, but were seized with the 
coast fever, and only two survived of that whole party, who got back 
to this district two years after, and are now still residing here. 


tinued gradually to move onwards, quite unsuspicious 
of danger, when their advanced party was suddenly 
attacked, and twenty-eight of their number barbar- 
ously murdered. After this partial success the 
Matabelee attacked another small party, equally 
advancing at a little distance from the former, and 
these, also being totally unprepared, were unable to 
offer any effectual resistance, and some twenty-five 
men and women were also massacred, and their 
waggons and properties destroyed and plundered ; 
but a few of their party fortunately escaped to warn 
the numerous little parties, who were still spread 
about those vast plains, of the impending danger. 
They had scarcely collected themselves in a 
" laager " * of about fifty waggons when they were 
attacked by the whole army of the Matabelee, who 
rushed in upon them, endeavouring to force them- 
selves through the waggons, and a most desperate 
struggle ensued, in which the Matabelee were, however, 
finally repulsed, but not without sweeping away the 
whole of the cattle belonging to the emigrant farmers, 
which they had been unable to get within the en- 

* These " laagers," or camps, were formed by their waggons being 
brought up in a square, the poles and waggon " gear " of one waggon 
being firmly secured under the "perch" of the next waggon; and 
when time admitted branches of the thorny mimosas were also wattled 
in under each waggon, so that no entrance could be effected into the 
enclosure without forcibly tearing up all these impediments. It is 
clear that where the number of waggons collected is not great the 
square formed by these waggons is so small that they could barely 
secure their persons and families within the enclosure, leaving the 
cattle outside. 


campment ; and the Matabelee succeeded in thus 
carrying away 6000 head of cattle and upwards of 
40,000 sheep as a poor compensation for the loss of 
the lives of their best warriors. 

From these repeated and desperate attacks it was 
evident that the emigrants had encountered a most 
formidable enemy in that quarter, and that all hopes 
of a peaceable advance in that direction had to be 
abandoned ; but the loss of their cattle prevented 
them from either advancing or retreating until some 
messengers, whom they had despatched to Thaba 
'Nchu, succeeded in reaching that place and acquaint- 
ing Moroko and the Rev. Mr. Archbell with their 
precarious situation. These persons generously pro- 
cured and despatched a sufficient number of oxen to 
their encampment, from whence they thus effected 
their retreat, and returned in safety to Moroko's 

Upon bringing this account of their disasters and 
losses to their fellow-countrymen the more numerous 
and powerful clans, which had remained peaceably 
concentrated about Thaba 'Nchu, resolved to take 
ample revenge for these murders and to recover the 
cattle stolen from their countrymen, and a party of 
about 200 warriors, headed by Gerrit Maritz, crossed 
the Vaal River,* and making a flank movement across 

* The Vaal, or Yellow River, by the natives called Ky Gariep, 
derives its name from the discoloured nature of its stream. It forms 
at present the northern boundary of the Sovereignty district, and is 
likely to acquire some celebrity by the recent treaty concluded, by 


his western boundaries, attacked one of Mazulekatzes' 
principal military towns, named Mosega, where they 
killed several hundreds of his principal warriors, and 
recovered about 7000 head of cattle, together with 
the waggons which the Matabelee had taken to that 
town in triumph, after the attacks they had made 
upon the first small parties which had incautiously 
advanced into their territories. 

Shortly after their return from this successful re- 
taliation, and while they were discussing their future 
plans, disunion and rivalry among their leaders were 
again beginning to show themselves, when the ill- 
fated Pieter Retief joined them with a small party, 
and his name and character (while one of the " com- 
mandants " appointed by the Government of the 
eastern frontier) stood deservedly so high that by 
one consent he was chosen to be their " commandant- 
general," to whom all the parties, then in those regions, 
gave in their willing submission. 

A few details of the life and history of this first 
great " martyr " in the settlement of this district may 
not prove uninteresting. 

Descended from one of those French Protestant 
families which found refuge in the Cape Colony on 
the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, his grand- 
parents had obtained a plot of freehold land in the 

having been fixed by the Assistant Commissioners with the Trans- 
vaal farmers, as the permanent line of demarcation between Her 
Majesty's subjects and those to whom (it is said) entire independence 
has been promised. 


beautiful glen of Waggonmakers' Valley, near the 
Paarl, where both soil and climate had marked the 
spot as favourable to the cultivation of the orange 
and the vine, and there his father enjoyed a respect- 
able living by the annual sale of some millions of 
oranges and a considerable vintage. 

Pieter Retief was there born, and brought up by 
his father with a view to continue that easy and 
profitable living ; but his active and restless dis- 
position led him, as he advanced to manhood, to 
emancipate himself from the mere drudgery of this 
rural life, and he first commenced by carrying on 
some trade with the interior, when the arrival of the 
first British emigrants into the eastern province in 
1820 drew his attention to that part of the colony. 
The Government requiring some person of activity 
and means to contract for some time to supply these 
emigrants with certain allowances and rations until 
they had been able to provide for their own sub- 
sistence, he was introduced and recommended to the 
Government by my deceased parent as a fit and 
proper person for that purpose, who, moreover, be- 
came his surety for the due and faithful discharge 
of his contract. This caused his settling down on 
the frontier, where his attention to his contract, and 
his liberality of conduct, ingratiated him with the 
settlers, and established that good feeling which ever 
afterwards prevailed between them. 

After the contract for the supply of these emigrants 
had ceased he engaged in large contracts for erecting 


public buildings for the Government, and at first 
amassed a very respectable fortune ; but the failure 
of some of his sub-contractors, and the number of 
his various avocations, afterwards involved him in 
serious pecuniary difficulties. But this did not in 
any way affect the estimation in which he was held, 
both by the community and the Government, having 
been appointed one of the "commandants" on the 
frontier, a situation which, although of a somewhat 
anomalous character, was generally given to persons 
who, as field-cornets, had rendered faithful services 
to the country, and was always considered to give 
the incumbent some kind of magisterial authority in 
his district. Having returned to his farm, and being 
altogether engaged in agricultural pursuits in 1834, 
he had been a very serious loser in the Kafir war 
which then broke out ; and after the peace, which 
had been concluded towards the end of the year 
1835, he saw with dread and fear a system (if not 
encouraged, at least) marked out by the local 
authorities of allowing Kafirs again to pass through 
and congregate at whatever places they thought fit 
within the colony. He not only strongly opposed 
this, but apprehended such roving Kafirs and 
Hottentots wherever he found them lurking about, 
and whenever they were unable to give an account 
of themselves. But in sending these persons in 
custody to the nearest magistrate he found that 
they were not only immediately liberated, but he 
was officially censured for taking up persons not 


actually apprehended in the commission of crime. 
He soon saw, from the tone thus assumed by the 
authorities, that there was no longer hope for 
the security of property along the frontier, and he 
determined accordingly to follow the example set 
by the first migrating farmers. He also joined in 
some addresses, presented to the newly-appointed 
Lieutenant - Governor, Sir Andries Stockenstrom, 
complaining of this state of insecurity, which led 
to a not very dignified correspondence between them, 
in which the Lieutenant-Governor charged him with 
misleading others, and threatened him with dismissal 
from his " purely honorary " situation of commandant. 
These threats, and the system which he thus clearly 
saw was about to be again enforced, and which in 
his opinion (fully confirmed by consequent events) 
would again expose the frontier to harassing forays, 
and ultimately to another general war, induced him 
to sell off all he possessed, and to combine with a 
few neighbours, with whom (as I have before stated) 
he joined the emigrant farmers, shortly after Gert 
Maritz had returned from his successful attack upon 
Mazulekatze and the Matabelee. 

Having now been unanimously elected their com- 
mandant-general, Retief immediately set about form- 
ing regular treaties of friendship and alliance with all 
the native chiefs by whom he was surrounded except 
Mazulekatze. Moroko, Mosesh, Tonana, and Sikon- 
yella entered apparently with cordiality into all his 
arrangements ; and upon this footing all the emigrants 


spread themselves over the lands situated between 
and along the Modder, the Vet, and the Sand Rivers, 
and gradually formed themselves into a more settled 
form of government. Their numbers were about 
that time also increased by another large clan, headed 
by the venerable patriarch Jacobus Uys, then about 
seventy years of age, and his eldest son, Pieter Uys, 
who, having already visited this district before, 
cherished the idea of settling down here in pre- 
ference to going further into the interior of Africa. 
This party issued a manifesto declaratory of their 
intention to shape their course towards Natal, and 
to secede from all those parties who seemed more 
intent to occupy the banks of the Vaal River, or 
what is now called the Sovereignty, and even to 
proceed eastward to Delagoa Bay. This determina- 
tion of the clans of Uys, Moolman, and Potgieter 
seems to have induced Retief also to follow their 
track, and he sent exploring parties from the Sand 
River, who at length succeeded in finding two or 
three paths across the Quathlamba or Draaksberg, 
which might easily be made passable for waggons ; for 
up to that time every attempt to cross that mountain 
range by waggons from the Zuurberg to the west 
up to the Olivier's Pass, at the extreme north-east 
extremity of our district, had failed. 

Retief succeeded with his party in crossing at one 
spot and reached Port Natal in safety, where he met 
with a hearty reception from the British emigrants, 
who (strange to say) had also formed themselves into 


a little independent community ; for, upon Captain 
Gardiner, of the navy, arriving among them and 
asserting a magisterial authority over them, under 
the provisions of an extraordinary law passed by the 
British legislature, and entitled "the Cape of Good 
Hope Punishment Bill," which he promulgated among 
them, they at once repudiated his interference and 
maintained their independence from all authority 
except from such as would emanate from themselves, 
in consequence of the then Secretary for the Colonies, 
Lord Glenelg, having expressly "disclaimed in the 
most distinct terms any intention on the part of His 
Majesty's Government to assert any authority over 
any part of this territory." This mutual feeling 
of independence seemed to serve as a bond of union 
between them ; and there can be no doubt that 
if a person like Retief had continued to be the 
acknowledged head of the Dutch emigrants, that 
a more firm and lasting tie would have bound them 

Pieter Retief, however, in the conscientious view 
which he had always taken of these matters, felt that 
as both Chaka and Dingaan had nominally given 
away this territory to various other persons before 
his arrival, and that the occupation of this country by 
him and his followers might thereafter subject them 
to disputes, either with the Zoolah chiefs or with 
such English emigrants as had received such ill- 
defined grants from the Zoolah sovereigns, he deter- 
mined to proceed in person to Dingaan's capital to 


negotiate with him a treaty of peace, and obtain a 
formal cession of such extent of territory as the 
latter might feel inclined to cede to him and the 
emigrant farmers. Upon reaching the Zoolah chief's 
capital, " Umkongloof," he accidentally found there 
a missionary of the Church of England (the Rev. F. 
Owen), who materially assisted in apparently dis- 
posing the chief to give him a kind reception ; and 
upon being made acquainted with the special object 
of Retief's mission, he at once promised him a formal 
cession of this territory upon his first recovering back 
for him a quantity of cattle which Sikonyella, a 
Mantatee chief, residing on the sources of the 
Caledon River, had recently taken from him. Retief 
accepted these terms, and returning to this district 
at once called together several of the parties who 
were preparing to settle down in this territory. 
They determined upon an attack on Sikonyella, but 
before doing so sent messengers to him demanding 
restitution, with a significant notice that it would be 
enforced ; and this communication had the desired 
effect, for Sikonyella immediately gave up 700 
head of cattle, together with sixty horses and some 
guns, which he and his tribe had at various times 
captured from small immigrating parties of farmers. 
During these proceedings, which took place during 
the last months of the year 1837, nearly 1000 waggons 
had already descended and passed down the slopes 
of the Draaksberg into this district; and the emigrant 
farmers finding the country entirely denuded of all 


population (with the single exception of one small 
party under the chief Matuan, who now still occupies 
nearly the same ground), they spread themselves over 
the whole of the Klip River division down to the 
Bushman's River, where the remains of thousands 
of stone kraals clearly indicated that a very dense 
population must have once been settled down ; thus 
also giving a promise of the great fertility of the 
soil, as it could not otherwise have maintained so 
large a population. 

Upon Retief's return to that part of this district, 
on his way to Dingaan with the cattle surrendered 
by Sikonyella, to be delivered to the former, a sad 
presentiment seems to have come over many of the 
heads of the parties, who, however, then still acknow- 
ledged Retief as their leader. Gerit Maritz proposed 
that he should proceed to Dingaan with the cattle 
recovered, taking only three or four men with him, 
arguing, very justly, that the insignificance of such 
a force would be its best safeguard. But Retief 
appeared to have desired to show Dingaan some- 
thing like a respectable force, and insisted upon 
taking some forty or fifty of his best horsemen with 
him, leaving it, however, optional to any person to 
accompany him or to remain behind. This only 
induced an additional number of spirited young 
men to join, and during the last week in January, 
1838, Pieter Retief, accompanied by seventy of the 
most respectable and picked men from among the 
emigrants, with about thirty young Hottentots and 


servants riding or leading their spare horses, formed 
an imposing cavalcade, with which he crossed the 
Umzinjaate (or Buffalo River), and on the 2nd of 
February arrived at Umkongloof (Dingaan's capital), 
and delivered over the cattle recovered from Sikon- 
yella, with the receipt of which Dingaan expressed 
himself highly satisfied ; and having collected several 
of his regiments from the neighbouring kraals, he 
entertained them for two days with their favourite 
sham-fights, which give a fearful representation of 
their mode of warfare. Dingaan had fixed the 
4th of February for signing a formal cession of the 
whole of this district to Pieter Retief, for himself and 
the emigrant farmers for ever ; and the Rev. Mr. 
Owen, still then residing with Dingaan, was requested 
to draw out and witness the instrument, which he 
accordingly did in English, and to this document 
Dingaan and some of his principal councillors affixed 
their marks, after the tenor thereof had been fully 
interpreted to them by the Rev. Mr. Owen. Retief's 
business being thus satisfactorily ended he made 
his arrangements to depart the next morning, when 
Dingaan desired him to enter his kraal once more 
to take leave of him, requesting, however, that his 
party should not enter armed, as this was contrary to 
their usage ; and this Retief unguardedly did, leaving 
all their arms piled up outside of the kraal, while 
they sent their "achter ryders" to fetch and saddle 
their horses. Upon approaching Dingaan in his 
kraal they found him surrounded (as usual) by two 


or three of his favourite regiments, when, after con- 
versing with Retief and some of his leading men in 
the most friendly manner, he pressed them to sit 
down a little longer, offering them their "stirrup 
cup," in some " chuallah," or maize beer, which the 
Kafirs enjoy as a favourite beverage. This was 
handed round to the whole party, who partook 
freely thereof, and while a number of them were 
thus sitting down, with the bowls in their hands, 
Dingaan suddenly exclaimed, " Bulala matagati," or 
" Kill the wizards," and in an instant 3000 or 4000 
Zoolahs assailed them with their knobkerries ; and 
although many of the farmers, instantly drawing 
their clasp knives (which they usually carry by them 
and use in cutting up the game they kill or the 
viands they eat), made a determined resistance, and 
took the lives of several of their assailants, yet they 
soon fell, one after the other, under the overwhelming 
pressure of the thousands by whom they were charged 
and beaten down ; and after a desperate struggle of 
half an hour's duration their expiring and mangled 
corpses were dragged out of the kraal to an adjoin- 
ing hillock, marked and infamous as the "Aceldama," 
or rather the " Golgotha," where the bones of all 
victims to the fury of this despot were hoarded up 
and became a prey to the wolves and vultures. 

Dingaan, following the precept of Caesar, who 
deemed nothing done so long as anything remained 
undone, ordered instantly ten of his regiments to 
march into this territory to attack all the emigrant 


farmers (who, in perfect security, were spread all 
over the district, awaiting the return of their friends) 
and exterminate them, root and branch. It certainly 
is remarkable that the doubts which the majority had 
entertained as to the good faith of Dingaan vanished 
so soon after the departure of Retief and his party : 
the young men were enjoying the pleasures of the 
chase, and supplying their friends with the game 
that abounded, and the women, seemingly also un- 
suspicious, were only awaiting the return of their 
husbands, sons, and relatives, when the Zoolah army, 
having divided itself into several small detachments, 
fell, at break of day, on the foremost parties of 
emigrants near the Blue Krans River, and close to 
the present township of Weenen, which has obtained 
its name (meaning wailing or weeping) from the sad 
events of that day. Men, women, and children were 
at once surrounded and barbarously murdered, with 
horrors which I should be sorry to dwell upon and 
detail ; other detachments of Zoolahs surprised in 
other places similar small parties, who were likewise 
scattered all over the Klip River Division, and who 
all fell under the Zoolah assegai ; but from one or 
two waggons a solitary young man escaped, who, 
hastening to the parties whom he knew to be in 
the rear, at length succeeded in spreading the alarm 
among them, so that as the Zoolahs advanced 
further into the district two or three parties of 
farmers had been able hastily to collect a few 
waggons and arrange them into a " laager," or en- 


campment, where they made their preparations to 
secure their families just in time before they were 
also attacked, and they thus succeeded in repelling 
the most daring attacks made upon them, not one 
of these " laagers " having been forced or penetrated 
by the Zoolahs. The latter, however, advanced still 
further southward, until they met a still stronger 
party of emigrants on the farm now called " Vecht 
Laager" (afterwards the property of Mr. Ogle), on 
the Bushman's River, where they sustained a very 
serious engagement, which lasted throughout the 
whole day, but where, when the farmers' ammunition 
was nearly exhausted, luckily their last shots from 
a three-pounder, which had been rigged to the back 
of one of their waggons, struck down some of the 
leading Zoolah chiefs, and forced them to a precipi- 
tate retreat 

The moment these attacks were thus repulsed the 
emigrant farmers sallied out from their "laagers" to 
rescue (if possible) any of their friends who had been 
in advance, and to ascertain the havoc which had 
been caused among them, when, upon reaching the 
stations which those had occupied, a scene of horror 
and misery was unfolded which no pen can describe. 
All the waggons had been demolished, the iron parts 
wrenched from them, and by their ruins lay the 
mangled corpses of men, women, and children, 
thrown on heaps and abandoned to the beasts of 
prey. Amongst these heaps, at the Blue Krans 
River, they found literally amongst the dead corpses 


the bodies of two young females, about ten or twelve 
years of age, which still appeared to show some 
signs of vitality. The one was found pierced with 
nineteen, and the other with twenty-one stabs of 
the assegai, leaving every part of their little frames 
completely perforated, and every muscle or fibre 
lacerated. The one was named Johanna van der 
Merwe and the other Catharina Margaretha Prinslo ; 
they were taken up and tended with the utmost 
care and (strange to say) lived for many years, the 
sole survivors of the immediate branches of those 
families ; but they always remained perfect cripples, 
although one of them (still more strange to say) 
married, and was the mother of one or two children. 
But, with these solitary exceptions, all these small 
parties which had not been able to combine and 
concentrate themselves in " laagers " were utterly 
destroyed, and in one week, after the murder of 
Retief and his party, 600 more victims were thus 
immolated by the fury and treachery of Dingaan 
and his army. 

The survivors in this fearful catastrophe, after re- 
covering from the panic in which they had been 
thrown, resolved to avenge themselves for this 
dreadful loss. 

The whole clan of Uys, which, from some little 
feeling of jealousy of Retief, had lagged behind on 
the Draaksberg (and had thus escaped this on- 
slaught), on hearing of this destruction, came down 
into the Klip River with many other smaller parties 


of farmers who were advancing towards this district, 
and their precarious situation was soon made known 
to the English party resident at the bay, when the 
latter determined upon a movement on Dingaan 
to support the cause of the emigrant farmers ; but 
they being few in numbers took with them a body 
of 700 Zoolahs, 400 of whom were armed with 
guns, having learnt to use them in their hunts of 
the elephant and buffalo. This party, which placed 
itself under the command of Mr. R. Biggar, crossed 
the Tugela at its mouth, and advanced a few miles 
across that river, when they attacked and destroyed 
the town of Tatabasooke, while the Zulu forces hid 
themselves in the Matikoola and Imsimdoosa rivers ; 
but advancing a little further they were suddenly 
surrounded, and attacked at break of day by three 
divisions of the Zoolah army. After a desperate 
and murderous engagement almost every European 
or man of colour belonging to the party here lost 
his life ; a fearful number of the Zoolahs were also 
killed, but of the English population of the bay, 
R. Biggar, Blankenberg, Cane, Stubbs, Richard 
Wood, William Wood, Henry Batt, John Campbell, 
Thomas Campbell, and Thomas Garden successively 
fell, and only one or two Europeans succeeded in 
fighting their way through these masses to convey 
to the small party who had remained at the bay 
the sad result of this engagement. That portion 
of Dingaan's army followed up (as usual) their 
success, and advanced as far as the bay, but the 


few English who had survived took refuge on board 
of the Comet, Captain Hadden, then luckily lying 
at anchor in the bay, when after sweeping away all 
the cattle this detachment of Dingaan's army retired 
again into the Zulu country. 

Dingaan himself, with his principal forces, was, 
however, at this time still watching the Dutch 
emigrant farmers, who, having now collected about 
400 fighting men in the Klip River Division, placed 
themselves under the command of Piet Uys and 
of Hendrik Potgieter, and advanced about the same 
time (in April, 1838) towards Umkongloof, Dingaan's 
capital, intent upon destroying it, and expelling 
Dingaan from the country. 

This wily chieftain allowed the emigrant farmers 
to advance to within a few miles of his capital, where 
the approach to the town is closed in between two 
hills, and there the Zoolah forces first showed them- 
selves, but gradually retiring, drew the emigrant 
farmers still further into this hollow way, when 
another division of the Zoolah forces emerging from 
behind one of these hills and cutting off all retreat, 
a desperate hand-to-hand fight ensued, the farmers 
being so hemmed in that they could not fire, then 
fall back rapidly on horseback, and again load and 
charge, as was their usual and efficient mode of 
warfare. They accordingly, as by one consent, 
directed all their fire on one mass of the Zoolahs, 
where their fatal aim having cleared a path by 
bringing down hundreds in this volley, they rushed 


through and thus escaped, but their chief (and un- 
questionably most gallant commander), Piet Uys, 
having taken a somewhat different course in a 
country but little known to them, found himself 
surrounded with a small party of about twenty 
faithful followers and his favourite son, a young 
lad of twelve years of age, before a ravine, which 
their horses could not get over or clear. 

Finding himself wounded, he called to his followers 
" to fight their way out," as he could not follow ; all 
obeyed his command except his loving son, who 
remained by his father until both fell pierced with 
wounds. The remainder of their party, and the 
great majority of the emigrant farmers, having 
ultimately succeeded in thus fighting their way out 
of this trap which had so ably been laid for them, 
effected a retreat out of the country without any 
further great loss of life, leaving, however, the 
" prestige " of victory with the Zoolah chieftain, 
to whom the loss of several hundreds of his best 
warriors was always considered but of little moment, 
imparting only an exciting interest to his fiendish 
propensities and habits. 

The emigrant farmers were, however, so dis- 
heartened by the result of their attack, and that 
of the English settlers from the bay upon Dingaan's 
forces, that they gave up all hope of resuming 
hostilities for the present. They had been taught 
a lesson of prudence by the talent and daring dis- 
played by the Zoolah armies, and they accordingly 


kept a watchful eye upon their northern frontier, 
and sent messengers out in various directions im- 
ploring further accession to their numbers, both from 
the Cape and the present Sovereignty. Many 
parties, upon hearing of their distressed state, came 
to join them, but this at the moment only increased 
their misery and wants, as their cattle and herds 
having been swept away (these being still in the 
hands of the Zoolahs), and having been prevented 
from cultivating any lands, they were exposed not 
only to the greatest want, but were actually in a 
state of famine, when some liberal-minded country- 
men of theirs at the Cape, hearing of their distressed 
condition, sent them supplies of food, medicine, and 
other necessaries of life, which helped them through 
the miseries of the winter of 1838, during which 
season want, disease, and famine stalked over the 
land, making fearful ravages among them. 

Dingaan, ever watchful when to attack his foe 
with advantage, being fully informed of their 
wretched condition, made another attack upon them 
in August, 1838, but on this occasion the emigrant 
farmers (having their scouts always out to give them 
timely intimation of his advance) were everywhere 
prepared to give him a warm reception, and at every 
laager the Zoolah forces were driven back and 
defeated with great loss, only two or three lives 
having been lost among the emigrants during several 
successive engagements. But although Dingaan was 
thus defeated, the emigrant farmers were still con- 


tending up to the close of that year with the greatest 
difficulties. Small parties were pouring in to join 
them, but bringing little effectual support, until the 
beginning of December, the season appearing pro- 
pitious, and a number of young men having come 
in by the Sovereignty, 460 fighting and mounted 
men put themselves under the command of Andries 
Pretorius, who had also recently joined the emigrants, 
among whom (having formerly been a field-cornet 
in the Graaff-Reinet district) he had made himself 
extremely popular. 

They were powerfully aided by the brave and 
sterling Carel Landman, who also joined them with 
all those emigrants who had already commenced 
settling themselves down near the bay, and these 
combined forces, profiting from the experience of 
the past, advanced with great caution, securing their 
position every evening, so that when they had nearly 
reached the Umslatoos River they were fully pre- 
pared, as on the earliest dawn of day on Sunday, 
the i6th December, 1838, the whole of Dingaan's 
forces, about 10,000 or 12,000 strong, attacked their 
position with a fury far exceeding all their former 
attacks. For three hours they continued rushing 
upon them, endeavouring to tear open all their 
defences and force the emigrant camp, until Pre- 
torius, finding the Zoolah forces concentrating all 
their efforts upon one side of the camp, and their 
own ammunition nearly failing, he ordered 200 
mounted men to sally forth out of one of the gates 


at the rear of the line which the Zoolahs were 
attacking, and these mounted warriors, charging both 
flanks and pouring their deadly volleys upon the 
immense masses which were gathered together 
within a small space, at length beat them off with 
a fearful loss. The emigrants assert that nearly 
3000 Zoolahs licked the dust before they retreated ; 
and their defeat must have been complete, as 
Dingaan fled quite panic-stricken, set fire to the 
whole of his town of Umkongloof, and hid himself 
with the remnant of his force for a considerable time 
in the woods skirting the Umvaloos River. 

The emigrants having had only three or four men 
killed and as many wounded in this decisive engage- 
ment (among the latter of whom was Pretorius 
himself), advanced upon the town of Umkongloof, 
which they still found partially burning, and on the 
awful hillock out of the town they beheld on one 
vast pile the bones and remains of Retief and his 
one hundred companions in arms, who, ten months 
before, had fallen victims to Dingaan's treachery, but 
whose deaths they were then in fact avenging. 
Many of the straps or riems by which they had been 
dragged to this place of slaughter were still found 
adhering to the bones of the legs and arms by which 
they had been drawn thither. The skulls were 
frightfully broken, exhibiting marks of the knob- 
kerries and stones with which they had been frac- 
tured, and, singular to relate, the skeleton of their 
ill-fated leader, Retief, was recognised by a leathern 


pouch or bandolier, which he had suspended from his 
shoulders, and in which he had deposited the deed 
or writing formally ceding this territory to the 
emigrant farmers, as written out by the Rev. Mr. 
Owen on the day previous to his massacre, and 
signed with the mark of Dingaan, by which he 
declared "to resign to Retief and his countrymen 
the place called Port Natal, together with all the 
land annexed, that is to say, from the Tugela to the 
Umzimvooboo River, and from the sea to the north, 
as far as the land may be useful and in my 

These are the very words of the original document, 
which was found still perfectly legible, and was 
delivered over to me by the Volksraad in the year 
1843, an d is now (or ought to be) among the 
archives of the Colonial Office here. 

After decently interring the remains of their un- 
fortunate countrymen, the emigrant farmers found 
that their horses and ammunition were ill-calculated 
to continue a harassing warfare upon Dingaan in 
his fastnesses, and they therefore resolved gradually 
to fall back, which they did with little loss, taking 
with them some 5000 head of cattle, which they 
distributed among themselves as the lawful and 
hard-earned trophies of this campaign. 

On their return from this successful inroad they 
were not a little surprised to find that Sir George 
Napier (who had succeeded Sir Benjamin D'Urban 
in the government of the Cape Colony) had sent a 


small detachment of Highlanders, under the com- 
mand of Major Charters, to take possession of the 
Bay of Natal. This measure had been evidently 
taken, and in fact was acknowledged in a pro- 
clamation of the 1 4th November, 1838, to have 
emanated from a desire to "put an end to the 
unwarranted occupation of parts of the territories 
belonging to the natives by certain emigrants from 
the Cape Colony, being subjects of His Majesty," 
and that proclamation gave the officer commanding 
these forces the further power to " search for, seize, 
and retain in military possession all arms and 
munitions of war which, at the time of the seizure 
of Port Natal, shall be found in the possession of 
any of the inhabitants." 

Major Charters returned immediately to the Cape, 
when the command of the detachment devolved on 
Captain Jarvis, of the /2nd Regiment, and from the 
vague and ill-defined nature of his instructions some 
serious difference, if not conflict, might have arisen 
between him and the emigrant farmers in regard 
to the authority and orders he had received to seize 
upon their gunpowder and ammunition ; but the 
good sense and good feeling of that officer soon 
smoothed away every difficulty between them, and 
he delivered them up their gunpowder, which he had 
provisionally seized, upon their engaging not to use 
it in aggressive hostilities against the natives. The 
necessity of keeping and maintaining the detach- 
ment led to some regular demand for supplies, 


which kept up a mutual interchange of wants, and 
the most friendly intercourse was ever afterwards 
maintained between them. In the meanwhile the 
emigrant farmers laid out this township of Pieter- 
maritzburg and what is now called the town of 
D'Urban. Landdrosts were appointed to both 
townships ; they established a more regular system 
of government, and with the able assistance of 
Mr. Boshof (the present Registrar of the Court), 
who about that time arrived in this district with his 
entire clan, various laws and regulations were framed, 
which gradually redeemed them from the state of 
anarchy into which they were fast falling. While 
the winter of 1839 was thus taken up by these duties 
and labours, Dingaan, somewhat recovering from the 
effects of his late defeat, commenced sending in some 
special messengers, first delivering up 316 horses, 
which he at various times had captured, and there- 
after professing every disposition to enter into 
amicable arrangements with the emigrants. Their 
answer was plain and manly, that they would not 
enter into any treaty of peace with him unless ample 
restitution had been made of all their cattle and 
sheep, and until the value of their property taken 
or destroyed by him and the Zoolahs had been paid 
for. This led to frequent embassies, promises of 
restitution, and fixing places where some at least 
of the cattle and some guns were promised to be 
delivered ; but the farmers soon discovered that 
these messages and promises were mere pretexts 


to keep up a constant and regular " espionage " upon 
them, as one of these pretended messengers or spies 
being caught, admitted that he had been sent to 
report to Dingaan whether the farmers were 
gradually returning to their farms or whether they 
still kept near to their laagers, thus clearly showing 
that he only waited the opportunity to attempt 
another razia upon them. This naturally paralysed 
all their agricultural pursuits and prevented them from 
spreading themselves about to carry on their farm- 
ing operations, as they were kept constantly on the 
alert ; when, in the inscrutable decrees of Providence, 
one of those events was brought about for which 
they were quite unprepared, in which they were 
not even the chief agents, but which led to their 
undisputed possession of the whole territory of 

There were only at that time two brothers remain- 
ing alive of Chaka and Dingaan : the elder Panda or 
Umpanda (as he is called by his subjects), and a 
young lad, Clu Clu, who was afterwards murdered 
by Panda (in the year 1843), on which occasion their 
" Aunt " Mawa, with a great number of Chaka's and 
Dingaan's old followers, fled into this country ; 
and subsequently settled in this district, chiefly in 
the Umvooti and Inanda locations. Umpanda had 
just reached manhood, but brought up in the midst 
of debauchery and sensuality he was only known 
for his unwarlike habits and became an object 
of derision to the warriors and of contempt to 


Dingaan, who seemed for a time to give him full 
scope for the indulgence of his passions as most 
conducive to his own personal safety, while Dingaan 's 
appetite for war was so insatiable that notwithstand- 
ing his signal defeat by the emigrant farmers in 
December last he had again mustered a strong army, 
with which he attacked Sapusa, but in which he was 
defeated with fearful loss. 

It was, therefore, not unnatural that, even among 
the Zoolahs, a party was forming deprecating these 
murderous wars and apparently inclined to support 
Panda, with a view to bring about peace with the 
emigrants and the surrounding nations. From that 
moment Dingaan determined to watch the oppor- 
tunity of murdering his brother ; but it appears that, 
a hint of his intentions to this effect having transpired, 
Panda at once fled with a number of followers, and 
crossing the Tugela near its mouth, took possession 
of some lands near the Umvotee, and sent messengers 
requesting the support and protection of the emi- 
grants. Some suspicion was at first entertained that 
this was but a deep-laid plot between him and 
Dingaan to inveigle them into the Zoolah country ; 
but after repeated conferences, which were managed 
with great tact and ability by the Landdrost Roos of 
D'Urban, by G. Kemp, Moolman, Morewood, Breda, 
and several others, a formal treaty of alliance, offen- 
sive and defensive, was concluded with him, by the 
terms of which the emigrant farmers pledged them- 
selves to support and defend Panda, while he, on the 


other hand, promised to support them in any attack 
upon Dingaan. 

The beginning of the year 1840 being considered 
the best season for commencing offensive operations, 
the emigrant farmers again mustered a force of 400 
mounted warriors, who, under the chief command of 
Andries Pretorius, joined Panda's army, about 4000 
strong, and this combined force, in January, again 
entered the Zoolah country by the Sunday's River 
and Biggar's Mountain ; but with proper caution the 
emigrants kept themselves at some distance from 
Panda's army, which, under the able guidance of 
Nonklass (who continued for many years to be 
Panda's chief counsellor and captain), seemed quite 
intent upon coming into action. 

While this commando was preparing and mustering 
their forces in this town of Pietermaritzburg, one of 
Dingaan's principal messengers, Tamboosa, arrived at 
Pietermaritzburg with one of those specious messages 
and offers of peace. He was, however, seized, with 
his attendant Combizana, and, upon being rigidly 
questioned, frankly admitted that he had also been 
sent with a view of reporting to Dingaan the state 
of the combined army of emigrants and Zoolahs 
under Panda. The latter, evidently embittered 
against this person (one of Dingaan's principal 
counsellors), charged him with having been the 
chief cause of the murder of Retief and his party ; 
that he had plotted and advised his (Panda's) death ; 
and, in short, brought such a series of charges 


against him that (contrary to every usage of civilised 
life) he was taken along with the army as a prisoner, 
until they reached the banks of the Buffalo or 
Umzimjaatee River, where a court-martial was 
formed, which, under the excited feelings of the 
occasion, soon passed a sentence of death upon 
the unfortunate prisoners, and which was carried 
into execution within a few hours after ; Tamboosa 
not only nobly upbraiding his executioners with 
the violation of all usage towards messengers, even 
amongst savages, but, expressing his perfect readi- 
ness to die, he only implored (but in vain) mercy 
on behalf of his young attendant, who was only a 
camp follower, and had thus been but doing his duty 
in following his master. 

This may be said to have been the only blot which 
seriously reflected upon the conduct of the emigrant 
farmers in their several engagements with the Zoolahs, 
for they otherwise constantly endeavoured to spare the 
women and children from massacre, and uniformly 
conducted their wars with as much discretion and 
prudence as bravery. 

A few days after this sad execution the Zoolah 
army under Panda encountered that commanded by 
Dingaan, whereupon a desperate engagement ensued, 
in the course of which one or two of Dingaan's 
regiments went over in a body to Panda. This 
decided the fate of the day : two of Dingaan's 
regiments who fought bravely for him being totally 
destroyed, the battle ended in his total defeat and 


flight. The emigrant farmers, not having been en- 
gaged in this action, followed up this success (as 
soon as they heard of it) with great vigour ; they 
drove Dingaan over the Black Umvoloos, and from 
thence still further to the banks of the Pongola, 
where, deserted by almost all his followers, he en- 
deavoured with about 100 followers to find shelter 
amongst a small tribe living near Delagoa Bay, 
named the Amasuree, but who, it is supposed (for 
I believe there is no actually authentic account of 
his death), murdered him to ensure their own safety 
from his constant and fearful forays upon them and 
the adjacent tribes. 

As, however, no doubt as to his death and the 
dispersion of all his army existed, the emigrant 
farmers assembled in great state on the banks of 
the Umvoloos on the I4th February, 1840, and 
there, under the discharge of their guns, Andries 
Pretorius proclaimed Umpanda the sole and ac- 
knowledged king of the Zulus ; and by a pro- 
clamation issued by him, and attested by the other 
commandants, they declared their sovereignty to 
extend from the Umvoloos Umfana, or the Black 
Umvoloos, and the St. Lucia Bay, to the Umzim- 
vooboo, or St. John's River ; and in fact, by their 
proceedings of that day, assumed a certain authority, 
or sovereignty, over Umpanda himself, from whom 
they received, as their indemnity, 36,000 head of 
cattle, 14,000 of which were delivered to those 
farmers who, residing beyond the Draaksberg, had 


only come in as allies to their friends, and the 
remaining 22,000 (or rather the sad remains of them, 
for very many were lost or embezzled on the way) 
were brought to the foot of the Zwart Kop, near 
Pietermaritzberg, where, at a spot still named the Deel 
Kraal,* they were distributed among such farmers 
as belonged to this district, and had claims for 
losses sustained in the previous wars and engage- 

A few days before the emigrant farmers started on 
their last and crowning victory over Dingaan and 
his forces, Sir George Napier, having been ordered to 
send the 72nd Regiment home, and finding that the 
Secretary of State for the Colonies still continued 
little inclined to support his policy of occupying this 
district, sent a vessel to the bay with orders to 
Capt. Jarvis to embark with his whole detachment ; 
on which occasion he addressed a letter to the 
Landdrost Roos, at D'Urban, which, after referring 
to some complaints of natives as to encroachments 
on their gardens, contained the following farewell 
address and peroration : 

" It now only remains for me, on taking my 
departure, to wish you one and all as a community 
every happiness, sincerely hoping that, aware of 
your strength, peace may be the object of your 
councils ; justice, prudence, and moderation be the 
law of your actions; that your proceedings may 

* Anglice, camp for distributing or dividing. 


be actuated by motives worthy of you as men 
and Christians, that hereafter your arrival may be 
hailed as a benefit; having enlightened ignorance 
dispelled superstition, and caused crime, bloodshed, 
and oppression to cease, and that you may culti- 
vate these beautiful regions in quiet and prosperity, 
ever regardful of the rights of the inhabitants whose 
country you have adopted, and whose home you 
have made your own ! " 

From these expressions, enunciated by the officer 
commanding the forces on the eve of his departure, 
and from the general tenor of the intelligence 
received by them at the time from the Cape, there 
can be no doubt that the emigrant farmers became 
then fully impressed that Her Majesty's Government 
had determined, by no consideration, to swerve from 
that line of policy which had already declared that 
nothing would induce Her Majesty to assert a 
sovereignty over these territories. They therefore 
conceived that by this act of abandonment of this 
territory by Her Majesty's forces, and by their 
recent conquest and installation of Panda, as a chief 
set up by themselves, they had become both de 
facto and de jure the undisputed rulers of the 
country. They saw themselves respected and 
dreaded by all the neighbouring tribes, every farmer 
now had the opportunity of sitting himself down 
"under his own vine, and under his own fig tree," 
none making him afraid ; and there is further no 
doubt that if they (as a body) had possessed suffi- 


cient intelligence to feel the exact position in which 
they were placed, Her Majesty's Government would 
thereupon have bestowed upon them all the ad- 
vantages of self-government consistent with a mere 
acknowledgment of their allegiance to Her Majesty 
and her heirs. 

We may, therefore, here conclude this lecture 
(which has brought them down to a quiet and 
undisturbed possession of this territory) by apply- 
ing to them the lines of the Mantuan bard, where 
in his Second Georgia he says of the peasantry of 
his country 

" O Fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint, 
Agricolas ! " etc., etc. 

As the whole of this passage is so peculiarly apposite 
to the position in which these farmers found them- 
selves placed at that time, I shall conclude with 
applying to them the following lines, as translated 
by Ring : 

" Blest is the life these rural swains pursue ; 
Blest ! ah, too blest ! if all their bliss they knew. 
To whom, remote from dangers and alarms, 
And from the clashing of discordant arms, 
When once their calm and easy toil is o'er, 
The bounteous earth pours forth her foodful store. 
What though no domes their portals open wide, 
To vomit forth a sycophantic tide ? 
What though no stately columns they behold ? 
Nor sculptured brass, nor garments wrought with gold ? 
What though their fleece no Tyrian purple soil, 
Nor Cassian odours paint their liquid oil ? 


Yet life, to vain delusive joys unknown, 
And rest and safety, these are all their own. 
And various wealth, a farm, a peaceful cot, 
A crystal fountain and a cooling grot ; 
The low of oxen in the grassy glades, 
And soft repose beneath embowering shades : 
Nor open lawns are wanting for the chase 
Nor woods to shelter all the savage race, 
Nor hardy youth to cultivate the soil, 
Content with little, and inured to toil, 
Nor sacred altars of the Powers above, 
Nor parents honoured by the sons they love." 

In these lectures I have now imparted to you, 
ladies and gentlemen, a plain unvarnished statement 
of the chief causes which led to the estrangement 
of a large portion of our fellow-colonists from the 
Government, and to their abandonment of the land 
of their forefathers, to seek a home in the wilds of 
South Africa, and in this district. 

In this statement my aim has been "nought to 
extenuate, nor to set down aught in malice," but 
to show that these emigrants (as a body) form a 
most respectable, powerful, and numerous body 
of men, who, neither allured by the thirst after 
gold, nor the desire to exterminate savage tribes, 
only sought for a country which they endeavoured 
lawfully to acquire, where they might set them- 
selves down in peace, secure as to their lives and 

This object they had fully gained, and if their 
true position had ben well understood by them- 


selves, and appreciated by the Government, nothing 
ought to have occurred subsequently to disturb the 
friendly harmony between them and a government 
to whom the golden rule becomes daily more self- 

"Salus Populi Suprema Lex!" 



I WAS induced in the year 1852 to deliver a 
series of lectures containing a succinct, but (in 
accordance with my pledge) a truthful and impartial 
account of the causes which led a number of Boers 
to leave the land of their birth and to wander 
through the wild wastes of South-Eastern Africa, 
until they acquired a peaceful and independent 
settlement in this promising country. 

My principal motive for consenting to deliver those 
lectures was (as announced by me at the time) to 
dispel the clouds which ignorance and misrepresenta- 
tion were then but too rapidly accumulating around 
the British immigrants, who had been previously 
attracted hither by the delusive scheme of Mr. Byrne, 
and which were even of a nature to affect the friendly 
relations which should ever exist, for the good of all, 
between those races who have now virtually made 
this country their home. 

It is remarkable, that in the very first Blue 
Book on Natal, published by order of the House of 



Commons (a publication to which we generally refer 
for correct official information), the name of my 
respected and worthy brother, Colonel (now Sir 
Josias) Cloete, appears in several places, either 
through a misprint or misapprehension arising in 
the Colonial Office itself, as that of the Commissioner 
appointed to adjust the affairs of this district a 
circumstance which has (I know) misled several 
persons into the belief that he at one time held that 
office in conjunction with the post of commander 
of Her Majesty's forces, sent to relieve a detachment 
which had arrived here under the command of 
Captain Smith.* 

The great and final triumph of the emigrant 
farmers over the power of Dingaan, his death, and 
the subsequent installation of Panda as the para- 
mount chief of the Zoolah nation, under their 
auspices, appeared to me to constitute an appropriate 
conclusion to that course of lectures, as I was not 
unmindful of the warning (" not to follow contem- 

* At the time of delivering this lecture, I had not seen the Rev. 
Mr. Holden's recently published work on " Natal," in which (at 
page 191) I find that the author has fallen precisely into this error, and 
has adopted the "misprint" of the Blue Book published in 1846, by 
gravely announcing that " Colonel Cloete " had been appointed a 
"Special Commissioner" by Her Majesty, in the year 1843, to adjust 
the claims to land at Natal (vide pages 191 and 195), although the 
author seems to have had before him the " reprint " of official papers 
relating to Natal, edited by Mr. J. C. Chase, in which he would have 
found (in vol. 2, page 281) the official announcement of the " Hon'ble 
Henry Cloete, LL.D.," to that office, who is there described to be "an 
advocate of the Supreme Court, and a member of the Legislative 
Council of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope." 


poraneous history too closely at her heels") left to 
future historians by Sir Walter Raleigh, who, in his 
quaint preface to his History of the World, accounts 
for his having confined himself so entirely to ancient 
history, in the following remarks 

" I know it will be said by many that I might have been 
more pleasing to the reader if I had written the story of 
mine own time; having been permitted to draw the water 
as near the well-head as another. To this I answer, that 
whosoever, in writing a modern history, shall follow truth 
too near the heels, it may haply strike out his teeth : there 
is no mistress or guide that hath led her followers and 
servants into greater miseries." 

Following this sage advice, I allowed for a time 
" truth " to find its own way, and gradually to clear 
up the mists hanging over the modern history of this 
district; but I have since become more and more 
sensible of the painful fact that every succeeding 
day, and every ephemeral publication that has 
emanated from the press, have only added to the 
misrepresentations which ignorance or party spirit 
had originated. It therefore became a duty in- 
cumbent on those who were fully conversant with 
the correct details of affairs at the time, to inform 
the inhabitants of this district (upon good authority) 
of the manner in which those events had been 
gradually developed, terminating in a peaceable and 
unqualified submission to Her Majesty's authority, 
and thus introducing that settled government under 


the protection of which we are at present assembled 

Although these results were chiefly brought about 
by my own instrumentality, I trust I may now be 
allowed to refer to them without being justly charge- 
able with vanity or egotism, since such reference 
will be made merely for the purpose of vouching for 
the correctness of facts and occurrences of which 
I may truly say with the hero of the ^Eneid 

" Quaeque ipse miserrima vidi, 
Et quorum pars magna fui." 

I stated in the conclusion of my third and last 
lecture of the former course that the I4th day of 
February, 1840, may be set down as the grand epoch 
whence the undisputed supremacy of the emigrant 
farmers over this country is to be dated. On that 
day, after the total defeat of Dingaan, and his flight 
to the Amazurees' country (where he was subse- 
quently assassinated), Andries Pretorius, the com- 
mandant-general of the emigrant forces on the banks 
of the Umvolosi, formally installed Panda as the 
paramount king of the adjacent tribes, and (with 
the concurrence of some of the members of the 
Volksraad or Council of the People, who had accom- 
panied him) issued the following proclamation : 

" I, Andries Wilhelmus Pretorius, chief commandant of 
all the burghers of the Right Worshipful Volksraad 
of the South African Society of Port Natal, and 
commander-in-chief of the army placed under my 
command, etc., etc. 


"Whereas the Volksraad of the South African Society, 
on account of the unprovoked war which the Zoolah king 
or Zoolah nation has commenced against the South African 
Society, was compelled to incur an expense of Rds. 122,600 
for horse and waggon-hire, and other expenses of war ; and 
whereas the Zoolah king, according to all appearance and 
information, has deserted his territory and crossed the 
Pongola, etc., I do hereby proclaim and make known, that 
in the name of the said Volksraad of the South African 
Society, I seize all the land from the Tugala to the 
Umvaloos Umjana (the Black Umvaloos) ; and that our 
boundary shall in future be from the sea along the Black 
Umvaloos, where it runs through the Double Mountains, 
near to where it originates, and so along the Randberg (the 
Ridges), in the same direction to the Draaksberg (or 
Quathlamba) Mountains, including the St. Lucia Bay, as 
also all sea coasts and harbours which have already been 
discovered, or may hereafter be discovered, between the 
Umzimvubu and the Black Umvaloos mouths." 

This proclamation was openly read, and its con- 
tents explained to Panda, who, with his chief coun- 
sellors, was present on the occasion ; and under a 
discharge of twenty-one guns from their little field- 
piece (for they had but one), Panda was thus installed 
as chief of the Zoolah and other adjacent tribes, but 
holding that authority directly from the Emigrant 
Society, who thus became in fact his dominant and 
protecting power. Twenty thousand head of cattle 
were brought into this district as the spoils of that 
campaign, and the remnant of them (for a great 
proportion was purloined on the journey by the 


dishonesty or negligence of the field -cornets and 
guard to whom they had been entrusted), was 
driven to an extensive grassy plateau, situate be- 
tween the Zwartkop and the Uitspanplaats, Ketel- 
fontein, on the summit of the Town-hill, still called 
from that circumstance the " Deelkraal " (or coral 
of distributing or dividing), where upwards of ten 
thousand were given out to the men engaged in 
the late expedition ; and the inhabitants soon 
spread themselves about and seriously entered upon 
their rural and agricultural pursuits, extending them- 
selves from the banks of the Tugela to the Um- 

By a singular coincidence, the then Governor of 
the Cape Colony (Sir George Napier) had just then 
been ordered to send home the /2nd Regiment, of 
which a detachment had occupied the harbour of 
Port Natal ; and that detachment having been with- 
drawn, an opinion generally prevailed that the home 
Government had deliberately relinquished all idea 
of occupying this territory ; so that the few English 
inhabitants then living at the port had no alternative 
but to acknowledge the supremacy of a society of 
farmers, who were soon to solve the problem as to 
their fitness for self-government. 

About the same time my highly esteemed friend, 
Mr. Jacobus Nicolaas Boshof (subsequently called 
to the honourable but arduous post of President 
of the Orange Free State), arrived here with his 
numerous and influential clan, having determined 


to give up the subordinate office he held at Graaff- 
Reinet, no longer there 

" To bear the oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 
The insolence of office, and the spurns 
That patient merit of the unworthy takes." 

His merits as a zealous, able, and laborious officer 
were, however, immediately recognised in this district. 
He was at once made Landdrost of this division, then 
comprehending nearly the whole district ; to him the 
inhabitants were indebted for the appointment of 
a regular Land Board, to inspect the farms and 
prepare titles to lands ; as well as for various ex- 
cellent local regulations, both at this place and at 
the port, and D'Urban. To him was also entrusted 
the preparation of some fundamental regulations in 
reference to the chief executive and legislative 
government of the country ; but on that point 
(I have reason to believe) his own sensible and 
practical views were overruled or made to succumb 
to the stern republican feeling of the majority of 
the inhabitants, who appear to have been so inflated 
with their own ideas as to their power of governing 
the country collectively, that they (almost unani- 
mously) resisted every proposition of becoming 
subject to any permanent chief or supreme head ; 
but determined at least to try the experiment, which, 
I fear, the Transvaal Republic is now again re- 
peating, and which will more than probably, in their 
case, also lead to the same results as before. 


This leads me to give my hearers a succinct 
account of the kind of government which they intro- 
duced. Once every year the field-cornet of every 
division into which the country had been portioned 
out, sent in to the Landdrost here a list of the 
persons whom the inhabitants of that field-cornetcy 
or ward desired to become their representatives for 
the ensuing year. The district was divided into 
twelve such wards, from each of which the names 
of two persons were thus sent in, forming a council 
of twenty-four members, in which were vested all the 
combined supreme, executive, legislative, and judicial 
powers. This elective Council or "Volksraad" was 
required to assemble here (at Pietermaritzburg) every 
three months. At each meeting a chairman was 
chosen from among the members present to regulate 
the order of their proceedings ; but he had not in 
any other respect the slightest addition of power or 
authority over the rest. All the members performed 
their duties gratuitously; but for the current and 
indispensable business of government Landdrosts 
were appointed for this place, D' Urban and Weenen, 
each of whom exercised a certain limited judicial 
authority. At Pietermaritzburg also two or three 
members of the Council, who lived in or near the 
town, were formed into a Committee of the Council 
(called the Commissie Raad), and had power to 
decide upon and carry out any executive or adminis- 
trative duties requiring immediate despatch ; but they 
were bound at the next general meeting of the 


Council to report their proceedings and submit them 
for the sanction or disapproval of the body by which 
they were appointed. 

Independently of the mode now described of 
governing "this" district, there existed also an ill- 
defined federal bond of union with the districts 
of Windburg and of the Modder and Caledon rivers 
lying beyond the Draaksberg, and now forming the 
Orange Free State, by virtue of which those districts, 
upon sending delegates to this place, could join in, 
and become subject to all laws and regulations made 
in their " combined " councils ; but otherwise those 
districts were not to be bound by any decisions 
of the Volksraad here. The existence and character 
of this connection will have to be borne in mind 
when we come to the later portions of the history 
which will be given in these lectures. 

From this statement, I believe every one of my 
hearers possessing any knowledge of history or any 
practical experience in the affairs of the world will 
at once perceive that the inhabitants were preparing 
for themselves a state of anarchy, from which the 
most deplorable results to themselves must inevitably 
arise. Without a head to direct or a power to 
control, they were left entirely to those innate 
feelings and notions of right and wrong that might 
be found in such a community. The Landdrost, the 
only paid functionary (whose salary was but the in- 
significant sum of 100 per annum) was so constantly 
thwarted by the ignorant and busy intermeddling 


of the Committee Council (Commissie Raad) that 
Mr. Boshof soon resigned the office, and no entreaties 
or prayers could induce him to resume it. The 
Commissie Raad, on making a report of their pro- 
ceedings to the full Council, were uniformly assailed 
by or exposed to the most violent attacks from the 
so-called " Publiek " (the public), the name assumed 
by those who were opposed to the measures that had 
been adopted ; and in nine cases out of ten their 
acts, after the most outrageous personal attacks (so 
that on some occasions the members, as it is now 
known, came with arms secreted in their bosoms to 
guard against assaults), were again repudiated by a 
set of men who, going back to their homesteads the 
next day, were ill prepared to resist the reproaches 
and taunts of the selfish and the interested. It is 
a lamentable fact that upon my arrival here as Com- 
missioner in 1843, I was informed by the then 
Landdrost that a judgment which he had passed 
several months before against a respectable inhabi- 
tant living only a few miles from this town (ordering 
him to return some head of cattle which he had 
illegally withheld from a Hottentot) was still lying in 
his office a dead letter ; as this inhabitant had openly 
declared he would shoot the first messenger or other 
functionary who should come on his premises, and 
the Landdrost therefore could find no one inclined to 
run the risk of executing his warrant. Several of the 
most respectable and worthy inhabitants also assured 
me that it was impossible for them to live any longer 


in such a state of anarchy as that into which the 
country was fast receding. 

However, these sad results were not anticipated 
by the majority of the inhabitants in the year 1840, 
who were now formed into an independent people, 
but still felt that the recognition of that inde- 
pendence by Her Majesty's Government was all 
that was wanting to give stability to their govern- 
ment and institutions. They accordingly addressed 
His Excellency Sir George Napier on the 4th 
September, 1840, in the following terms : 

" YOUR EXCELLENCY, By the blessing of God we have 
perfectly succeeded in establishing with our numerously 
surrounding savage enemies an advantageous, but, for the 
so long oppressed people, a lasting peace, which presents 
us with the cheering prospect of permanent prosperity, etc. 

"This prospect is, however, somewhat darkened by 
the conviction that between us and our always beloved 
mother country there does not exist that friendly sympathy 
in our welfare which we would fain wish to see strongly 
and lastingly established. 

"This general wish has been frequently under the 
consideration of the Volksraad, who have at their last 
meeting passed the following resolution, viz. : 

" ' To submit respectfully to your Excellency, as the 
honoured representative of Her Majesty the Queen of 
England, that it may graciously please Her Majesty to 
acknowledge and declare us a free and independent 
people (a right so dearly purchased with our blood), and 
to concede to us all those privileges which constitute 
the boast and greatness of the nation which has the 
happiness to live under her noble government.' 


"And to attain that object the Council have resolved 
(should your Excellency desire it) that two commissioners 
shall be sent to the colony of the Cape of Good Hope 
as our representatives, at such time and to such place 
as your Excellency shall appoint." 

This letter ended by expressing their readiness 
to enter into a negotiation " in writing," if His 
Excellency should prefer such a course. 

To this letter His Excellency, who was then at 
Graham's Town, returned a courteous reply, civilly 
declining the reception of the proposed com- 
missioners, and expressing at once his opinion 
that he himself could enter into no arrangements 
which might in any respect be incompatible with 
the honour of Her Majesty, but also stating "that 
much time might be gained by their furnishing 
His Excellency with an explicit statement of the 
terms on which they were disposed to treat, and 
which His Excellency hoped might yet lead to an 
amicable settlement of the future relations between 
the colony and Natal." 

Although events of a more stirring nature sub- 
sequently intervened, to which it will be necessary 
to direct your attention, I may add here that this 
letter of His Excellency's led to another com- 
munication from the Volksraad, dated the I4th 
January, 1841, in which they embodied, in thirteen 
articles, the terms of their proposed alliance with 
Her Majesty and her heirs, the chief of which 
were : 


" i st. That Her Majesty would be pleased to acknow- 
ledge their settlement as a free and independent state, 
under the name of 'The Republic of Port Natal and 
adjacent countries ' ; the boundaries whereof could be 
hereafter defined. 

"and. That Her Majesty's Government declare itself 
willing to treat with the Republic, in the relation of an 

" 3rd. That the said Republic reciprocally declares itself 
to stand in the closest alliance with the British Govern- 

"4th. That Her Majesty's Government shall be at 
liberty, in case of any hostile undertaking against the 
Republic by sea, by any other power whatsoever, either 
to interpose itself in a friendly manner or to repel the 
same by force. 

" 5th. That in case of war between the British Govern- 
ment and any other power this Republic shall be viewed 
as neutral, and all private commercial vessels lying at 
anchor in the ports of the Republic shall be left un- 

"6th. That the British Government shall have the 
right to place here an ambassador or representative 

The remaining clauses were intended for securing 
a mutual free trade on the footing of the most 
favoured nations, and promising to give every 
encouragement for the spreading of the gospel ; 
to oppose every attempt at establishing a slave 
trade, and not to make any hostile movement 
against any of the surrounding native tribes, unless 
such tribe, by any preceding hostile attack, should 


give the republicans occasion thereto, so that they, 
for the maintenance of their rights, or for the 
security of their property, should be compelled to 
take up arms against such tribe. 

The following circumstances which were then in 
the course of actual occurrence showed in how far 
these professions could be relied on. Towards the 
latter end of the year 1840 some of the farmers who 
had taken up their residence between the Umkomas 
and the Umzimkulu rivers came in and complained 
to the Volksraad that some of their cattle had been 
carried away by parties of Bushmen who were skulk- 
ing in the Draaksberg fastnesses, and urged that they 
should be followed up and attacked in their hiding- 
places. In the month of December, therefore, a party 
of armed burghers was embodied, and their approved 
leader, Andries Pretorius, was again appointed by the 
Volksraad to the chief command, with express in- 
structions as to the course he was to pursue. After 
having for some time in vain beat about the sources 
of the Umzimkulu and Umkomas rivers, some scouts 
who had been sent out by Pretorius reported that 
traces of cattle, which they had reason to believe 
were the property of emigrant farmers, had been 
followed and led towards some kraals of the Amabaka 
tribe, under the chief N'Capai. Hereupon it was at 
once resolved to make an attack upon that chieftain, 
and the forces under Pretorius accordingly attacked 
some of his kraals at daybreak, killed several men, 
captured about 3000 head of cattle and about 250 


sheep and goats, and carried off into captivity about 
seventeen little boys and girls, who were picked up 
after their parents had either been killed or driven 
away from the scene of slaughter. 

Upon the return of this commando it was soon 
felt by every respectable member of the Volksraad 
that Pretorius had grossly departed from the letter of 
his instructions, and that these proceedings had sadly 
laid themselves open to the most severe animadver- 
sions from the whole of the civilised world. * At the 
very next meeting of the Volksraad Pretorius was 
called upon to give an account of his conduct, and 
one of the members proposed a resolution expressive 
of the unqualified disapprobation of those proceed- 
ings by the Volksraad ; but Pretorius, being supported 
by his powerful clan and a war party, succeeded in 
getting this resolution withdrawn, so that subsequently 
to this little was said about these untoward events, at 
least within this district, but upon the intelligence 
reaching the Cape frontier a general burst of indig- 
nation arose against the emigrant farmers on account 
of this wanton and unprovoked attack, and Sir 
George Napier, in a letter addressed to me upon 
the subject (and which I have carefully preserved, as 
doing credit both to his head and heart), thus 

* A memorial had been drawn out and addressed to the Volksraad, 
by a number of respectable inhabitants residing chiefly at and near 
D' Urban, strongly protesting against this act of aggression made by 
Pretorius, contrary to the written instructions which had been delivered 
to him when he took the command of this expedition. 


expresses his feelings in reference to that painful 
subject : 

"To suppose that yourself, or indeed any man in the 
colony, with a spark of humanity in his breast, would 
attempt to palliate such a flagrant act of cruelty and in- 
justice, would be a libel on my part quite unjustifiable, as I 
am well convinced that the moment you read the account it 
must have made a deep impression of horror and disgust on 
so sensitive and honourable a mind as I believe yours to be, 
from the intercourse we have had together, particularly as 
regards the conduct of your misguided countrymen and 
fellow-subjects, the emigrant farmers of Natal." 

He informed me in that letter (which bears date at 
Graham's Town, 2$th January, 1841) that Faku and 
the Amaponda tribes had now become apprehensive 
of similar unprovoked attacks, and that, in short, this 
attack of the emigrant farmers upon one of the 
peaceable tribes around them had greatly altered 
their position, since previously to this they had (as 
they professed) only fought for their own safety and 
in order to prevent the Zoolah chief, Dingaan, from 
accomplishing by force and treachery their total 
destruction, whereas they had now, after accomplish- 
ing their avowed object and while living in peace, 
wantonly sent a commando to attack a native chief 
living at least 200 miles from their country and close 
to the then existing borders of the Cape Colony. 

His Excellency thereupon immediately despatched 
a force of 250 infantry, with a small detachment of 
the Cape Corps and two field-pieces, with orders to 


march and take up a position on the Umzimvubu; 
but the difficulties of such a land expedition induced 
His Excellency so far to modify his arrangements 
that the troops which were placed under the com- 
mand of Captain Smith, of the 2/th Regiment, 
ultimately took up a position and remained for 
several months encamped on the banks of the 
Umgazi River, awaiting the course of events.* 

From that moment, however, the feelings of Sir 
George Napier towards the emigrant farmers, which 
had previously been marked by the utmost kindli- 
ness and sympathy, were considerably altered ; and 
he did not hesitate to express his indignation at 
their conduct in a letter addressed to them, which 
led to a reply from themselves, bearing date the 
7th of April, 1841, in which (it is but just towards 
them to observe) they attempt to vindicate their 
conduct by stating that they had the undeniable 
proofs that some of their cattle had been traced to 
the kraals of N'Capai, and that Faku and his people 
themselves had given the information that N'Capai 
had then some of their cattle in his possession ; but 
these explanations only led His Excellency to an- 
nounce to them formally, at once, that he declined 
any further intercourse with them, unless they dis- 

* The Umgazi is a small stream arising in the Umtata or Zuurberg 
mountains (being a continuation of the Draaksberg or Quathlamba 
range of mountains, running from the Zoolah country to the eastern 
frontier of the Cape Colony), and flowing about midway between 
the Kie (the present eastern boundary of British Kaffraria) and the 
Umzimvubu or St. John's River. 


tinctly acknowledged their full and entire allegiance 
to their lawful Sovereign, the Queen of England, 
and further declared their willingness to obey the 
lawful authority of the British Government. 

A few months after this, after a long interval of 
suspense and anxiety, Sir George Napier received 
a communication from Her Majesty's Secretary of 
State for the colonies, in answer to his several 
despatches of the years 1840 and 1841, in which 
he had brought before the notice of the home 
Government his correspondence with the Volksraad 
on the subject of their application to be declared 
a free and independent state. About that time an 
influential set of politicians had frequently mooted 
the question in Parliament, whether our colonial 
empire was not becoming far too extensive, and 
rather required to be reduced ; and who, by dwelling 
upon the Kafir wars and the Canada and the New 
Zealand rebellions, and the expenses thereby in- 
curred, were constantly urging upon Her Majesty's 
ministers the reduction of the colonial establishments 
to the lowest scale of efficiency. Under the influence 
of such a pressure, it appears that the home Govern- 
ment were very reluctant to extend their settlements 
in South Africa ; and His Excellency was therefore 
left in a great measure to use his own discretion in 
regard to the matter in question, having merely 
received an announcement "that Her Majesty could 
not acknowledge the independence of her own sub- 
jects, but that the trade of the emigrant farmers 


would be placed on the same footing as that of any 
other British settlement, upon their receiving a 
military force to exclude the interference with or 
possession of the country by any other European 
power." This resolution His Excellency communi- 
cated to the Volksraad, in a letter dated $rd Sep- 
tember, 1841, and there is no doubt that, if this 
communication had been entertained in the same 
spirit in which it had originated, the emigrants might 
even then have secured for themselves all the benefits 
of self-government, subject only to a mere acknow- 
ledgment of their allegiance to Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, and with the additional advantage of military 
protection ; but the very announcement that military 
possession would be taken of the bay was sufficient 
to impress them with the idea that they were to be 
subject to military rule; and under this impression 
they sent a reply, dated nth October, 1841, wherein 
they state that, having asserted and maintained their 
independence as " Dutch South Africans " ever since 
they left the Cape Colony, they were fully determined 
not to surrender this point, and " as Her Majesty has 
been pleased to reject their very fair proposals, they 
were inclined to remain on the same footing as there- 
tofore," significantly concluding by saying that 

"Your Excellency's proposal to enter into a treaty with 
us under the influence of a military force, and without being 
acquainted with the terms of agreement, appears to us so 
unintelligible and undefined, that unless we are further 
informed, we cannot comprehend the object of it." 


His Excellency Sir George Napier thereupon, 
under the rather indefinite authority contained in 
the despatches received up to that time from the 
Secretary of State, issued a proclamation on the 
2nd December, 1841, in which he declared 

"That whereas the Council of emigrant farmers now 
residing at Port Natal and the territory adjacent thereto, 
had informed His Excellency that they had ceased to be 
British subjects, and refused to be recognised or treated 
as such; and whereas they had recently passed a resolu- 
tion by which all Kafirs inhabiting Natal were to be 
removed, without their consent, into a country lying be- 
tween the Umtaphoona and the Umzimvubu, forming part 
of the territory of the chief Faku, without having obtained 
the consent of the said Faku ; from which measure warfare 
and bloodshed were to be apprehended : His Excellency 
announced his intention of resuming military occupation 
of Port Natal by sending thither, without delay, a detach- 
ment of Her Majesty's forces." 

And His Excellency further solemnly warned the 
inhabitants against the consequences of in any way 
resisting or opposing Her Majesty's forces or the 
due exercise of Her Majesty's authority, and in- 
formed those who resided here, not being British 
subjects, that they would be placed out of the 
protection of the law and be liable to be dealt 
with as the interests of the Crown might require. 

This proclamation, on reaching Natal, was viewed 
in the light of an overt declaration of hostilities, and 
was answered on the 2ist February, 1842, in a very 


lengthened and elaborate minute addressed to His 
Excellency, in which the emigrant farmers recapitu- 
lated all the grievances which they had suffered 
from successive governments, ascribing all their 
miseries to one single cause, viz., the absence of a 
representative government, which had been asked by 
them during many years past, while still residing in 
the Cape Colony, but had as often been delayed or 
refused : with regard to the intention to remove the 
Kafirs, they declared that the measure proceeded 
from real practical philanthropy, to avoid that 
collision of different races which would inevitably 
result from the continued residence of themselves 
amongst the natives ; and with regard to their 
intention to remove them to the country between 
the Umtaphoona and the Umzimvubu, that it had 
been expressly stipulated by their treaty with 
Dingaan that their territory was to extend to the 
latter river, all that country having been previously 
conquered by Chaka ; and Faku having, moreover, 
formally acknowledged the right of the emigrant 
farmers to it. This document concluded with a 
solemn protest against the occupation of any part 
of their country by Her Majesty's troops ; and 
declared that they thereby held themselves free from 
all blame from the injurious consequences of that 
step, before God, their own consciences, and the 
world ! 

No doubt can at present exist in any dispassionate 
and impartial mind, that this important document, 


which had been drawn up by Mr. Boshof for the 
Volksraad, ably answered the proclamation of His 
Excellency, to which might justly be applied the 
remark or piece of advice given me by an eminent 
special pleader of Lincoln's Inn when I took leave 
of him on my departure for the Cape Colony, and 
when he, rather prophetically anticipating my future 
elevation to the bench, said " Now, Mr. Cloete, you 
have entered the law, and may possibly one day be 
elevated to the judicial bench. Allow me, therefore, 
to give you one friendly advice. Whenever you have 
to give your judgments, abstain as much as possible 
from giving your reasons ; for your judgments may 
often be perfectly right, and yet your reasons alto- 
gether wrong." 

There is no doubt that in this case the hostile 
attitude assumed by the emigrant farmers left the 
Governor of the Cape no alternative but either to 
admit or deny their independence, and the measure 
of sending a military force became the only one 
calculated to put that question at once to the test ; 
but perhaps the result of that movement might 
have been quite different had it not been for an 
incident in the history of this district, which exerted 
an overwhelming influence on the minds of the 
inhabitants generally and of the members of the 
Volksraad in particular. The very next month after 
their solemn protest had been transmitted to Sir 
George Napier, a Dutch vessel, called the Brasilia, 
anchored in the port of Port Natal, and the supercargo, 


Mr. Smellekamp, who afterwards resided in the 
Orange Free State (as it is now called), informed 
the emigrant farmers upon his first arrival that a 
number of merchants in Holland had taken a deep 
interest in their affairs, and had despatched this 
vessel for the express purpose of opening a direct 
trade with their country, and supplying them with 
" notions " of Dutch produce and manufacture : this 
arrival, and the display of the Dutch flag, aroused in 
all the emigrant farmers the most extravagant affec- 
tion for the country and people to which most of 
them traced their descent. Mr. Smellekamp was 
received at this place with triumphal honours ; public 
dinners were given him ; the Dutch flag became the 
ensign of the new republic; and Mr. Smellekamp, led 
away by the enthusiasm with which his arrival had 
been greeted, gave the inhabitants of Natal the most 
exaggerated ideas of the power and influence of 
Holland in the council of nations ; moreover, assuring 
them of the sympathy and support of the King of 
Holland, and finally entered into a formal treaty with 
the Volksraad assuring them of the " protection " of 
Holland, to which he affixed his signature in these 
terms : 

" Accepted in the name of the King of the Netherlands, 
subject to His Majesty's formal approval ! " 

He further gave them the strongest assurances that 
they would soon be provided with ministers and 
schoolmasters for the improvement of their moral 


condition, and with arms and ammunition to repel 
any hostile attack with which they might be 

I cannot give a more striking illustration of the 
manner in which the Volksraad were misled on that 
occasion, as to the support they expected from the 
King of Holland, than by relating the following 
anecdote. Some days after my arrival here in 
June, 1843, I had an interview with several leading 
members of the Volksraad, in the course of which I 
happened to allude to some political measures going 
on in Europe, and to state that such a measure was 
under the consideration of the five great powers : 
whereupon I was at once asked by the spokesman, 
which were these five great powers to which I had 
alluded. I replied that those powers were Eng- 
land, France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The 
querist at once exclaimed, " And is Holland not one 
of them?" This compelled me to enter at some 
length into the modern history of Europe, and to 
explain to them how Holland had, since the year 
1830, by the rebellion and subsequent formation of 
Belgium into a separate kingdom, dwindled into a 
third-rate power of Europe ; when the spokesman 
significantly and bitterly replied, " We were never told 
that before, but the very reverse ! " 

The emigrant farmers were, however, so fully con- 
vinced at the time that they had now obtained the 
countenance of a first-rate European power in support 
of their independence, that Mr. Smellekamp had 


all his travelling expenses paid to enable him to 
return to Holland direct (as the Brasilia was 
destined for a lengthened cruise to the eastward); 
and he was, moreover, made the bearer of a number 
of official and other letters to the Ministers of State 
of his Majesty the King of Holland, and to many 
influential persons in that country, claiming the 
interposition of those persons in support of the 
independence of Natal ; this was the state of feeling 
which prevailed among all classes and both sexes 
of the community here, when arrangements were at 
length completed to enable Captain Smith to break 
up from the Umgazi camp, and to pursue his course 
overland to Natal. 

I cannot refrain from relating here a remarkable 
interview I had with His Excellency Sir George 
Napier on this subject. More than a year before 
this time His Excellency had disclosed to me (being 
then a member of the Legislative Council at the 
Cape), in the most frank and confidential manner, 
his views with regard to this district, and when his 
correspondence with the emigrant farmers assumed 
a somewhat serious aspect (after their attack upon 
N'Capai), His Excellency even proposed to me to 
undertake a mission to this country, which he was 
anxious to confide to me ; but I at once respectfully 
declined the offer, stating that so long as the home 
Government had not determined upon its final 
course in regard to this question I could never hope 
to accomplish anything satisfactory to either party. 


His Excellency still continued to communicate to 
me every step in the correspondence and relations 
between the two countries, and the views of Her 
Majesty's Government upon the subject ; and in 
the month of January, 1841, His Excellency had 
already, in the fullest manner, explained to me his 
policy in regard to this question. In the month 
of April, 1842, His Excellency informed me that 
the necessary arrangements having been now entirely 
completed, Captain Smith had, by the last post, 
announced his departure from the Umgazi camp, 
on his march to Natal. I could not help replying 
that I deeply regretted to hear this news, as I 
anticipated the most deplorable results from such 
a movement. Upon His Excellency pressing me 
for a further explanation, I at once said that I 
understood the captain's force to consist of 250 
infantry, besides a small party of the Cape Corps 
and two field-pieces, encumbered, moreover, by a 
numerous waggon train ; that such a force appeared 
to me just sufficient to show a hostile intention 
towards the emigrant farmers, without being suffi- 
cient to secure success, if hostilities should ensue, 
as they certainly would ; and that if the farmers 
were to be aware of the march of the troops there 
was not a kloof or a drift which the latter would 
have to pass where they might not be cut off without 
a chance of even making an effectual resistance. 
Upon His Excellency then asking me what steps 
I should propose, I stated that if it were intended 


to take possession of the port, this should be done 
from the sea, and the troops landed from vessels 
which might at once put them on shore. His Excel- 
lency, however, replied that he had been informed 
that the entrance to the bay was defended by field- 
works, which would render the landing dangerous ; 
and, in short, that the measure under discussion had 
already been decisively settled by the troops having 
passed into the Amaponda country ; but the sub- 
stance of this interview was forgotten neither by 
His Excellency nor by myself when the disastrous 
events which I am about to refer to became known 
in Cape Town. 

Captain Smith was at that time marching his 
little army along what is termed the lower or coast 
road. The rivers were still much swollen by recent 
rains, and as many difficulties were thus to be en- 
countered and overcome, it occupied upwards of six 
weeks in bringing this force in safety through such a 
country, through which only a trader's waggon was 
known previously to have passed ; but so sparse was 
the population, and so quietly had the march been 
managed, that the occupants of the picturesque farm 
of Sea View (the late Mr. Dunn and his family) 
were suddenly surprised, on the 3rd of May, 1842, 
by seeing the detachment enter their grounds at the 
head of the bay of Natal. The following day the 
troops marched through the hamlet of Congella, and 
took up their position in the flat nearly on the same 
spot as that where the camp is at present situated. 


So far they had fortunately succeeded in taking up 
their ground at D' Urban without the slightest opposi- 
tion, and a few days after their arrival the Pilot brig 
came to anchor in the bay, bringing them an ample 
supply of stores and provisions (of which they stood 
much in need), as also two iS-pounders and ammuni- 
tion ; and this vessel was soon afterwards followed by 
the Mazeppa, schooner, so that Captain Smith also 
took possession of the spit (where the present Custom 
House is now established), and placed a small detach- 
ment there to take charge of the goods as they were 
landed, and from whence he commenced drawing the 
supplies to the camp as occasion required. 

In the meantime the Volksraad (then assembled at 
Pietermaritzburg), astounded at having been thus cut 
off from their only seaport, ordered out the whole of 
their armed burghers, under Andries Pretorius, as com- 
mander-in-chief, to the number of 300 or 400 men. 
Their headquarters were established at Congella, and 
messages at first, and afterwards letters, passed be- 
tween Pretorius and Captain Smith, the former 
insisting upon the troops quitting their position, and 
the latter demanding that the armed burgher force 
which was gathering around should be withdrawn. 
Fourteen days had passed in this state of armed 
negotiation, when on May 23rd some of Captain 
Smith's cattle (which had always been grazing on the 
flats below the Berea Hills) were carried off by some 
of the herds of the emigrants; and Captain Smith, 
viewing this as an act of direct hostility, determined 


at once to carry out a plan he had projected for some 
time, grounded (I fear) upon some well-intended but 
erroneous information he had received from some of 
the English residents at D' Urban (with whom he 
was in constant communication), for making a night 
attack upon the emigrants collected at Congella, and 
thus destroying their camp, waggons, and supplies. 

The result of that " untoward expedition " may be 
best gathered from Captain Smith's own despatch, 
which I will proceed to give in a condensed form, 
but in nearly the very words of the writer, as found 
in his official letter to Colonel Hare, commanding 
his regiment, and the Lieutenant - Governor of the 
eastern frontier. 

" In my last despatch," he says, " I detailed the various 
steps taken by the farmers to annoy the troops, and my 
determination to abstain if possible from hostilities if it 
could be done without detriment to the honour of the 
service, etc. ; but the receipt of an insolent letter, demand- 
ing that I should instantly quit Natal, followed by the 
removal, by armed men, of a quantity of cattle belonging 
to the troops, rendered it absolutely necessary that some 
steps should be taken in order to prevent a repetition of 
such outrages. 

"I therefore determined, after mature consideration, to 
march a force and attack their camp at the Congella, 
and set apart the night of the 23rd" (the same day the 
cattle were taken) "to effect that object. As the road to 
the Congella lies for the most part through thick bush, / 
thought it best to cross the sands at low water, etc. 

" Fitting a howitzer in a boat, and leaving it under charge 
of a sergeant of artillery, I gave directions to drop down the 


channel to within 500 yards of Congella, and there aivait 
the troops, in order that they might form under cover of its 
fire, aided by two six-pounders, which accompanied the 
force I took with me." 

[N.B. That force is then stated in detail to have amounted to 
140 men.] 

The writer goes on : 

"In order to prevent our movements being discovered, I 
put the party in motion at n p.m. (it being a bright moon- 
light!}, and arrived without molestation within nearly 800 
yards of the place I proposed to attack. 

"To my great mortification, I found that the boat had 
not dropped down the channel, according to my instructions; 
but as I considered it imprudent to wait, I was forced to 
make the attack without the valuable assistance which a 
discharge of shot and shells from the howitzer would have 
afforded me. 

" The troops had just moved to where the termination of 
a range of mangrove bush opened to a level space in front 
of the Congella, when a heavy and well-directed fire was 
opened upon us. A destructive fire from the guns for a 
while silenced our opponents; but some of the draught 
oxen to the guns getting killed, and others wounded and 
escaping from their trektouws, rushed among the troops, 
upsetting the limbers, causing much delay in reloading and 
confusion in the ranks. This circumstance, added to the 
partial and at length total silence of the guns, being taken 
advantage of, they again opened a heavy fire, a severe loss 
resulting to the troops, etc., who reached the camp about 
two o'clock in the morning in tolerable order, leaving behind 
them, I regret to say, the guns, which the death of the 
oxen rendered it impossible to remove !" 


This is the substance of Captain Smith's own 
official account ; to which he adds : 

"The loss of the Boers it is difficult to estimate, but I 
am told it has been severe ! " 

There can be no doubt, however, in any reasonable 
mind that the whole of this disaster arose from the 
captain's utter ignorance of the character of the 
people he was going to attack, and of his want of 
acquaintance with the particular route he had 
selected. He admits that he first sent out a piquet 
to skirt the road in front of his position to prevent 
his movements from being discovered, while he selected 
a bright moonlight for his advance. 

Now the fact was that every evening his camp was 
regularly surrounded by vedettes or guards, placed 
by the commandant of the emigrant farmers, who 
watched and reported during the night the most 
trifling incident that took place ; and on the night 
in question the Field-cornet Joubert, with twenty- 
four men, had been posted in the woods through 
which we still have to pass in going to Congella, 
but which then consisted of far denser bush than 
they do at present. This party saw and watched 
the march of the troops ; sent word to headquarters 
at Congella to put the burghers there upon their 
guard, and as the moon shone with almost the 
brightness of day, they gradually ensconced them- 
selves each man behind one of the mangrove trees 
that grew down as far as low-water mark, and there 


waited till they distinctly heard the word of com- 
mand given to the troops to draw up in line, when 
they commenced and kept up a steady and deliberate 
fire, chiefly directed at the guns and drivers, and 
soon killing a promising young officer (Lieut. Wyatt) 
of the Artillery, who had the charge of the guns. 
The troops were thus thrown into utter confusion, 
and hastily fell back; the tide having by that time 
risen so far as to place them breast-high in water; 
and the admitted loss of 103 men killed, wounded, 
and missing out of a party of 140 who had marched 
out of the camp too clearly showed the fatal effects 
of the fire to which they had been exposed ; while 
not a single man of the emigrant party had been 

Equally injudicious were the arrangements of the 
English commander, founded on the support he ex- 
pected to receive from the howitzer in the boat, for 
everyone now knows that at low water there is no 
channel affording sufficient depth of water for a boat 
with a heavy load to approach the Congella ; so 
that, while the ebb-tide enabled the troops to march, 
the boat could not possibly accompany them ; while, 
on the other hand, the moment there was sufficient 
depth of water for the boat to approach, the men 
would be up to their waists in water, and unable to 
perform any effectual service, so that it was physically 
impossible that the one could have acted in support 
of the other. 

But if the planning and execution of this unto- 


ward movement are justly open to the severest 
censure, it is equally due to Captain Smith to add 
that his exertions, his perseverance, and the example 
he set in the time of distress entitle him to the 
greatest praise. Reduced to nearly one half of his 
original strength by this misfortune, and expecting 
every moment an attack on his camp, he applied the 
next morning early for a truce of twenty-four hours, 
to bring in and bury the dead. This having been 
readily granted, he was indefatigable in putting his 
camp into a posture of defence. The numerous 
waggons he had brought with him were immediately 
so arranged as to fortify the place, somewhat in the 
fashion of a Boers' laager, and the soft and sandy 
nature of the soil enabled him, with the aid of all 
the non-combatants, to dig a trench and throw up a 
mound around the camp, by which the troops were 
in some measure protected. But the commanding 
officer also perceived that his only chance of relief 
depended upon the rapid transmission of intelligence 
to the authorities in the Cape Colony. He consulted 
some of the principal Englishmen then resident at 
D'Urban, and he happily found in your present 
worthy and worshipful mayor (George Cato), a faith- 
ful adviser, through whom means were devised to 
expedite the immediate intelligence to the Cape 

Richard (commonly called Dick) King, then living 
in a hut at D'Urban, at once offered to take the 
despatch (of which I have just given the substance) 


personally to Graham's Town. The following night 
he was supplied with two troopers, and the moment 
night had spread darkness around Mr. Cato got 
Dick King and the horses across the bay to the bluff, 
where King, mounting one horse and leading the 
other, soon crossed the Umlaas, and before daybreak 
passed the Umcomas, where he was safe from further 
pursuit, and wended his perilous journey across Kafir- 
land, where we shall leave him for the present 

The emigrant farmers, elated by their first success 
and the capture of two brass six-pounders, next 
turned their attention to the supplies which Captain 
Smith was receiving from the point and the vessels 
in the bay ; and two days after the former night 
attack they made another on their side, attended 
with complete success. A detachment of their 
mounted men went unperceived past the mouth of 
the Umgeni, skirted the back beach (as it is called) 
at low water, and suddenly rushing upon the small 
detachment which was posted at the point, quickly 
overpowered it, the officer in command having barely 
time to escape by jumping through the back window 
of the hut he was occupying. Two men were killed, 
two more wounded, and the remainder of the detach- 
ment were taken prisoners, and, together with most 
of the English inhabitants of D'Urban (who were 
naturally inclined to assist Her Majesty's troops), 
were all brought up to this town of Pietermaritzburg, 
where the present court-house was converted into a 
prison, in which they were kept closely confined. 


One eighteen-pounder and a great part of the 
provisions still remaining in the Pilot and Mazeppa, 
which Captain Smith had not been able to remove, 
together with many engineers' tools, were thus cap- 
tured ; but fortunately all the ammunition had been 
previously removed to the camp and secured in a 
temporary magazine. The vessels at anchor and the 
point itself were thus taken by the emigrants, and 
the troops thereby completely cut off from any 
further communication by sea. 

The farmers, having thus possessed themselves of 
one long eighteen-pounder and two brass six- 
pounders, commenced regular field-works around the 
camp, and having brought their guns to bear, carried 
on for three days a heavy cannonade against the 
camp, the guns being well handled by a few Germans 
whom they had enlisted for that service, and who 
had served in some of the Continental armies before 
settling in this district. Their fire was answered by 
a howitzer and an eighteen-pounder, which Captain 
Smith had been able to get up from the point before 
its capture. But ammunition and shot soon failing 
the besiegers, they established a foundry, where the 
links of a chain cable, taken from the Mazeppa or 
Pilot, were severed and covered with lead, of which 
they had a tolerably good supply. But this stock 
also becoming soon exhausted, as well as their gun- 
powder, they determined to await the more tedious but 
more certain effect of a rigid blockade, well knowing 
that if the troops were effectually deprived of all 


external aid, they must succumb to the pressure of 

Captain Smith had previously foreseen that this 
last would prove to be his most serious enemy, and 
he had therefore provided against it with the utmost 
care. All the remaining cattle (which he was now 
unable to send out to graze) and the horses in the 
camp (for which he no longer had food) were 
slaughtered and converted into "biltong," and the 
troops were placed on the shortest allowance possible. 
Two different sorties, made during the month of 
June, led to no further result than the loss of a few 
lives on both sides ; but the emaciated forms, the 
sunken eyes, and the dejected appearance of the 
soldiers in the camp indicated but too clearly that 
this state of things could not last much longer. 
Already had their rations been reduced to the 
smallest quantity sufficient to sustain life, and for 
some days the biltong of horseflesh had been issued as 
their only animal food ; and after having been thus 
hemmed in for thirty days, every hour and minute 
began to be calculated as to the probability of their 
receiving timely succour. At length, as darkness 
set in on the evening of the 24th of June, several 
rockets and blue-lights, illuminating the sky and 
hills to seaward, announced that relief was at hand. 

At this juncture I shall at present conclude this 
lecture, as I fear I have already trespassed too long 
upon your time and patience, and indeed I have 
found, as I was proceeding, that to give only a 


summary of events would far exceed the limits of 
a single address. If you, then, continue to feel an 
interest in the subject, I intend, a few days hence, 
to conclude this portion of history in another lecture 
in this place, when I propose to exhibit to you the 
last acts of the drama in which many fierce passions 
and contests were still displayed, but ending in the 
final submission of this country to Her Majesty's 


I STATED in my last lecture that Captain Smith, 
after his disastrous defeat at the Congella, had 
found in the present worthy mayor of D' Urban (Mr. 
George Cato) a faithful adviser, and in Richard King 
an energetic, public-spirited messenger, who, without 
taking any selfish advantage of the circumstances, 
responded at once to his call, and went off to 
announce the fatal result of the night attack on 
the Congella to the authorities in the Cape Colony. 
It was evident that the only chance of relief 
depended on the speed with which that intelligence 
was conveyed, and Dick King (as he is commonly 
called), feeling the importance of this mission, got 
through the Amabaka* and Amaponda countries 
at the extreme peril of his life, and on the ninth 
day reached Graham's Town in an almost exhausted 
state. On the receipt of this sad intelligence the 

* He was surrounded by the Amabakas, who, mistaking him at 
first for a Dutch emigrant farmer, were about to take revenge upon him 
for the attack made upon them by Pretorius ; but he, happily, could 
make himself understood, and explained his errand, upon which they 
allowed him to pass. 

1 60 


Lieutenant-Governor on the frontier (Colonel Hare) 
immediately despatched the grenadier company of 
the 27th Regiment to Port Elizabeth, where they 
were embarked in the schooner the Conch, then 
fortunately lying there at anchor, under the com- 
mand of our present port-captain (Captain Bell), who 
had already visited, and was well acquainted with, 
the harbour of Natal ; and Sir George Napier, upon 
receiving the same painful account at Cape Town, 
had fortunately at his disposal the 25th Regiment, 
which was then only awaiting transports to take 
them on to India, but which might not be expected 
for some weeks. Admiral Percy (the admiral on 
the station) at once gave up his flagship, the 
Southampton, of fifty guns, for the proposed ex- 
pedition ; and my worthy and excellent brother, 
Colonel (now Sir Josias Cloete), having been placed 
in command of the whole force, the 25th Regiment 
were marched down and embarked at Simon's Town, 
and in an incredibly short space of time, on the 
24th June (exactly one month from the day of 
Captain Smith's disaster), the Southampton arrived 
off the bar and found the Conch, which had anchored 
off the bay the day preceding, and as the evening 
fell rockets and blue-lights were immediately thrown 
up to cheer the besieged with the prospect of instant 

The next day, every arrangement being made to 
effect a landing, the Southampton brought up as close 
to the beach as she could with safety approach, and 


a favourable south-east breeze having just sprung up, 
Captain Bell, in the Conch, led the way over the bar, 
having all the man-of-war boats in tow, the last of 
which, as they got on the bar, cast off their lines 
and landed, and attacked the Bluff, where the 
emigrant farmers had planted two ship guns with 
a small force to defend the approach to the bay. 
But Captain Wells, of the 25th Regiment, with his 
small party soon effected a landing and captured 
their guns, while the Conch and the remaining boats 
were exposed to a severe cross-fire as they entered 
the port ; but the tide and breeze had wafted them 
in so rapidly that with the trifling loss of two killed 
and four wounded the main body, under the com- 
mand of Colonel Cloete and Major D'Urban, made 
good their landing near the old custom-house, from 
whence the emigrant farmers were soon completely 
driven away, their flag taken down and captured, 
and their whole force pursued towards the Congella, 
thus placing Colonel Cloete in communication with 
Captain Smith, and the whole of the country within 
the Berea Hills in his possession. The next day, 
hearing that some of the farmers were still gathered 
at the Congella, Colonel Cloete advanced with 200 
men and drove them from that position, when they 
retired to Cowie's farm, at the foot of the hill which 
now encloses the rising Pine Town, to the south- 
ward. But now the commanding officer found 
himself placed in a most anxious position ; the 
gentle south-east breeze which had wafted them 


on shore on the 25th of June increased the same 
evening into a violent and (at that season of the 
year) very unusual gale from the south-east. The 
Southampton, which had so gallantly placed itself 
as near as possible to the bar to aid in the landing 
of the troops, after drifting awhile, was obliged to 
put to sea with the loss of some of her anchors, 
having with difficulty weathered the dangerous Bluff, 
and was driven about for four or five days without 
a chance of returning to the anchorage. The supplies 
on board the Conch and those found at the Congella 
were quite insufficient to supply food for the six 
or seven hundred men now under, his command, 
and Colonel Cloete thus availed himself of the only 
means he had at hand to ensure some supplies. A 
number of petty Kafir chieftains, attracted by the 
hostilities which had been going on for more 
than a month, immediately repaired to the camp, 
tendering their ready assistance, and Colonel Cloete 
requested them to supply the troops as soon as 
possible with some cattle, both for slaughter and 
for drawing his field-guns, if further hostilities had 
to be carried on. These Kafirs soon spread about, 
and in search of cattle a party of these appears to 
have visited two farms, situate between the Umlaas 
and the Llovo rivers (now forming part of the 
Umlaazi location), and there meeting two very 
respectable farmers, Van Rooyen and Oosthuysen, 
who were known for their very peaceable disposition, 
murdered them in cold blood, but refrained from 


any act of violence to their wives and children, 
who escaped to the camp of the emigrants, and 
filled it with dismay and horror at the idea that 
the Kafirs had been incited to commit these murders 
upon the farmers. Colonel Cloete, on hearing this 
report, at once issued a public notice, solemnly dis- 
avowing having given even an implied sanction to 
such excesses ; but at the same time warned the 
emigrants that it was quite impossible for him to 
prevent these outrages, so long as they continued in 
open rebellion against Her Majesty's authority. 

The latter were, however, so disconcerted by these 
murders, and they gave rise to such a state of panic, 
that all those farmers who were still residing on their 
homesteads at once fled with their families and flocks 
to this town of Pietermaritzburg, which became the 
scene of the utmost confusion. 

The Volksraad held an extraordinary meeting on 
a Sunday in the church-building (the court-hall being 
considered too small to hold the whole of the public), 
to take into consideration the present aspect of 
affairs. Mr. Boshof was called to the chair, but 
it was quite impossible for him to preserve anything 
like regularity in their proceedings. The most 
violent attacks and recriminations ensued, which 
occupied the whole day, until, towards the approach 
of the evening, the strength of the loudest declaimers 
being somewhat exhausted, Mr. John van der Plank 
(who, with Mr. Mesham and Thomas Sheers, were 
the only Englishmen who had been allowed to be 


at liberty) proposed a written resolution to the 
effect : 

"That in the present state of affairs it was expedient 
and necessary to propose to Col. Cloete the following 
terms of peace : 

" i. That there should be granted a general amnesty to 
all emigrant farmers who had engaged in these hostilities. 

"2. That Col. Cloete should put an end to, and support 
them in, any attack from the Kafirs." 

The chairman thereupon ordered the doors to be 
closed to the public, and having put these resolutions 
to the Volksraad, they, by a large majority, adopted 
them as a basis of negotiation with Col. Cloete, and 
appointed a deputation, consisting of the Chairman, 
Mr. Van der Plank, Mr. Zietsman, and two more 
of the Council, to proceed to D' Urban to enter upon 
the terms of this pacification, but so impressed were 
the Council, and even their chairman, of the succour 
they were to receive from the King of Holland, 
and of the effect which their petitions, entrusted to 
Mr. Smellekamp, were to have, that the deputation 
was directed first to make their stand on the sub- 
mission they had proffered of this country to 
Holland, conceiving that this would be held even 
by Col. Cloete as a bar to any treaty with Her 

The deputation met Col. Cloete at Cowie's Hills, 
whither he had already advanced with a small party, 
but such were the difficulties of obtaining cattle 
for transport that on that score alone he could not 


possibly have made a further advance. There the 
chairman (Mr. Boshof) opened his negotiations, but 
on mentioning the difficulty of their position by 
their submission to the King of Holland, Col. Cloete 
at once dismissed this plea with ridicule, and stated 
that he had already prepared in writing the only 
terms which he was willing to grant them. These 
were read to them, and the deputation did not 
appear to object to their tenor, but stating that 
they could only be sanctioned by the Volksraad at 
their special meeting, they suggested that by Col. 
Cloete's presence at Pietermaritzburg this was likely 
to be accomplished far more readily and satisfactorily 
than by constant deputations or correspondence. Col. 
Cloete at once adopted that suggestion, both with 
a view of bringing these matters to a speedy issue, 
by showing them this mark of his confidence and 
power, and furthermore (and indeed chiefly) with a 
view of obtaining by ocular proof and inspection a 
thorough knowledge of the country and of the 
roads and passes from the bay to this town, re- 
garding which they v were all at the camp in the 
utmost ignorance. 

Col. Cloete accordingly soon followed the deputa- 
tion to this place, accompanied by Lieut. Napier 
as his aide-de-camp, Lieut Fuller of the Engineers, 
and Lieut Maclean of the Artillery. He was re- 
ceived with every mark of respect, and a meeting 
of the Volksraad was specially convened for the 
5th July, 1842, when they formally tendered to 


Col. Cloete the following written deed of submission, 
signed by Mr. Boshof, as their chairman, and twelve 
members of the Volksraad. It was to this effect : 

"We, the undersigned, duly authorised by the emigrant 
farmers of Pietermaritzburg, Natal, and the adjacent country, 
do hereby tender for them and ourselves our solemn declar- 
ation of submission to the authority of Her Majesty the 
Queen of England. 

"And we do further accept and subscribe to the follow- 
ing terms that have been required : 

" i st. The immediate release of all prisoners, whether 
soldiers or civilians ; 

" 2nd. The giving up of all cannon in our possession, 
those taken as well as others, with the ammunition and 
stores belonging to them ; and 

" 3rd. The restitution of all public and private property 
in our possession, which had been confiscated. 

"Signed by J. Boshof, President, and 12 members." 

Upon this document being delivered to Col. Cloete, 
the guns which had been brought up here being 
surrendered, and the prisoners, who had undergone 
a strict, and occasionally a severe, imprisonment in 
the court -hall for six weeks, being immediately 
released, Col. Cloete granted them in writing the 
following terms, viz. : 

" i st. Under the authority of His Excellency the 
Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Cape of Good 
Hope he agreed to grant them : 

" i. A general amnesty or free pardon to all persons 
who have been engaged in resisting Her Majesty's troops 
and authority, with the exception of Joachim Prinsloo, 


A. W. Pretorius, J. J. Burger, Michael van Breda, and 
Servaas van Breda, whose cases were to be left for the 
special consideration of his Excellency the Governor." 

Colonel Cloete, however, after signing and inter- 
changing these documents, became so satisfied that 
Andries W. Pretorius, although then their military 
commander, had so powerfully exerted his influence 
to bring about this pacification by satisfying the 
great majority of the utter hopelessness of further 
resistance, that he withdrew his name from the list 
of the proscribed, leaving the four others to await 
His Excellency's decision. 

He further declared, 

"2. To respect all private property, whether houses, 
goods, or chattels. 

" 3. That the emigrant farmers were at liberty to return 
unmolested to their farms, with their guns and horses. 

"4. That the farmers would be protected against any 
attack of the Zoolahs or native tribes. 

" 5. That the tenure of their lands would not be inter- 
fered with, but must be left for the final determination and 
settlement of Her Majesty's Government. 

"6. That the existing administration and civil institu- 
tions, under acknowledgment of Her Majesty's supremacy, 
shall not be interfered with till the pleasure of Her Majesty 
shall be known. But that the Volksraad was not to 
extend any jurisdiction to Port Natal, which was to be 
placed for the present under the exclusive control of the 
military commandant of Her Majesty's troops. The limits 
of Port Natal being defined by the Umlazi River to the 
west, the Umgane to the east, and a line along the ridges 


and crest of the Berea Hills, joining those two rivers to the 

"7. That the Kafirs shall for the present remain in the 
unmolested occupation of the grounds upon which they 
were upon the arrival of Her Majesty's troops, subject to 
such future arrangements as the Government may find 
necessary to make for general security. 

"8. That the port and custom dues remain to the 
Crown, and are to be left at the disposal of Her Majesty's 

The principal and most effective force under Col. 
Cloete's command, consisting of the 25th Regiment, 
being urgently required for India, was thereupon 
immediately embarked on board of the Southampton, 
in which Col. Cloete also returned to Cape Town, 
leaving the command of Port Natal and the country 
within the limits of the Berea, as heretofore defined, 
and as entirely excluded from any interference from 
the Volksraad, under the command of Capt. Smith. 

The whole of the proceedings of Col. Cloete were 
entirely approved of by His Excellency, and subse- 
quently by Her Majesty's ministers, and no one, 
possessed of a dispassionate and unprejudiced mind, 
can fail to appreciate how satisfactorily, in the space 
of two weeks, he had accomplished the settlement of 
this very difficult question, and saved this country, as 
well as Her Majesty's arms, the sad consequences of 
an unnatural civil war. 

But there were not wanting in and about the camp, 
and among the persons who had undergone the 


hardships of imprisonment, several who deeply 
regretted that no opportunity had been afforded 
them of satisfying or (rather) glutting their feelings 
of revenge. These represented the settlement as 
not only inconclusive and unsatisfactory, but as 
also keeping up a spirit of enmity towards the 
emigrant farmers. They made every little complaint 
the theme for a renewal of hostilities with them, 
as all supplies having to be brought from Port Natal, 
some intercourse was necessarily kept up with this 
town and Port Natal. The circulation by the 
Volksraad of their title deeds to different farmers, 
which had been struck off on a small American 
press at the Umlazi station many months before the 
outbreak of hostilities, and which, prefaced by styling 
the Volksraad " The Hon'ble Volksraad, as having 
Supreme Power in the Government of the Republic 
of the Dutch South African Emigrants at Natal," 
was made the text of a violent and angry corres- 
pondence between Captain Smith and the Volksraad, 
and matters were gradually leading both parties to 
such an estrangement that no doubt they would soon 
have ended again in open hostility but for my arrival 
as commissioner for this district in the beginning of 
June, 1843, of which I shall now proceed to detail 
the circumstances. 

In discussing with Mr. Boshof and some of the 
most enlightened members of the Volksraad the 
manner in which the final arrangements for the 
settlement of this district could be best effected 


(for neither Colonel Cloete nor His Excellency the 
Governor had at that time any authority to enter 
upon any definite arrangements involving the per- 
manent occupation of the country), they had 
suggested that the best mode of attaining that 
object would be by the appointment of a special 
Commissioner, with whom these matters could be 
finally settled ; and Colonel Cloete conveyed this 
their wish to His Excellency Sir George Napier, 
who, in transmitting an account of all these stirring 
events to Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the 
Colonies, also referred to that suggestion of Her 
Majesty's Government if it should be determined 
upon to take formal possession of the country. 

Nine months were, however, allowed to pass, leaving 
all these matters in a state of the most painful 
suspense ; and indeed an opinion was getting rapidly 
prevalent that Her Majesty's Government would 
still eschew all interference in the administration 
of this country, when, on the ist May, 1843, I 
received a note from His Excellency Sir G. Napier, 
stating that he had just received an important 
despatch on the subject, and, having determined 
to offer me to go to Port Natal as Commissioner, 
he wished me to come and peruse the despatch. 
I immediately repaired to Government House, and 
upon its perusal was so forcibly struck by the liberal 
and enlightened policy which Lord Stanley (then 
Secretary for the Colonies) had laid down for the 
settlement and future administration of this district, 


that I expressed myself very confident of the result 
of a mission which would announce such principles 
to the inhabitants ; and I willingly gave up tem- 
porarily my profession, and accepted the commission, 
little aware, however, of the additional difficulties 
which at that very moment were arising within this 
district to oppose or prevent the attainment of such 
an object. 

A meeting of the Legislative Council was called 
for the 4th May, at which His Excellency read an 
able minute, setting forth the substance of the 
Secretary of State's despatch; and on the I2th of 
May my official appointment was announced in a 
proclamation, which fully set forth the extent of 
my authority and duties, and the conditions ex- 
pressly required from the inhabitants before they 
were to be considered entitled to the privileges 
vouchsafed to them by Her Majesty's Government. 

The Cleopatra frigate soon after brought me to 
this place, when, on landing at the bay, I was 
informed by the commandant that a fortnight before 
the Dutch schooner Brasilia had again made her 
appearance off the bar, having the notorious Mr. 
Smellekamp and a clergyman of the Dutch Re- 
formed Church and a schoolmaster on board, and 
wishing to communicate with the emigrants, but 
that he had refused them all intercourse with the 
shore, and had ordered the vessel away with all 
on board, at which he, Major Smith (for the defence 
of the camp had earned him a brevet majority), 


understood that- great excitement prevailed at 
Pietermaritzburg. I felt the necessity of im- 
mediately checking that ebullition, and I sent off 
instantly an express to the Volksraad announcing 
my arrival, and on the third day after my landing 
arrived at Pietermaritzburg. Mr. Boshof, Mr. Ziets- 
man, and two or three others came to meet me on my 
approach to the town, and in the evening I received 
the visits of some of the members of the Volksraad, 
with whom I made the arrangements for holding a 
meeting in the court-hall. The next morning on 
entering the court-room I found about 400 or 
500 persons assembled in and around, almost closing 
up every approach towards it, even every window. 
Mr. Stephanus Maritz, sen., presided on the occasion, 
and to the meeting I opened my commission and 
gave an outline of the duties upon which I was 
about to enter. After being listened to with great 
attention for nearly an hour that I addressed the 
meeting, a notorious character, Anton Fick, arose, 
stating that in the name of the "public" he held 
a document, which he desired to present to me. 
On asking him the nature of the document he stated 
that it contained a resolution not to enter into any 
negotiations with me, until they (the public) had 
had intercourse with the persons on board the 
Brazilia, and had ascertained the replies from the 
King of Holland and his ministers as to their 
relations with that country. 

I at first declined receiving or hearing any such 


document read, but finding the meeting much excited 
on the subject, I agreed to its being read, under the 
express condition of my being at liberty to answer it 
directly, if I deemed it advisable ; and with this 
stipulation he proceeded to read a long, rambling 
statement of all the grievances and hardships of the 
emigrants to obtain possession of this country, full 
of complaints at the conduct of Major Smith in not 
allowing their clergyman and schoolmaster to join 
them, nor even to allow them to hear the replies 
from Holland to the treaties they had proposed, 
etc. ; the whole ending in a series of resolutions ex- 
pressive of their determination not to enter into any 
arrangements with me until these functionaries were 
restored to them, and they had communicated with 
the Brazilia. 

I thereupon answered these resolutions immedi- 
ately by pointing out that, at my departure from 
the Cape, nothing had been known of the Brazilia 
visiting this coast ; that the angry tone of their late 
intercourse with the commandant had, no doubt, led 
to his prohibiting any communication with the vessel, 
but that his proceedings were necessarily unknown to 
the authorities at the Cape, and that I had, as Com- 
missioner, no concern in these matters, except to 
assure them that if the Brazilia had touched at the 
Cape no doubt an authority would have been given 
to these functionaries to land; and I further pointed 
out the extreme folly of expecting any support from 
the King of Holland, with the hope of which they 


were still so impressed. This proposal from the 
" public " having been thus set at rest, I addressed 
myself to the Volksraad, and requested of them to 
know how and in what manner they would signify 
their acceptance or rejection of the conditions I 
had laid before them ; when their chairman, after 
due consultation on that point, declared that there 
were only at that moment some half-dozen members 
of the Volksraad present, that the decision of such 
an important question required their full attendance, 
and that their ordinary quarterly meeting being fixed 
for the first week of August, they desired an ad- 
journment of the question till that date, when a 
full attendance of all the members would be specially 
called for. 

This appeared so reasonable that I at once as- 
sented to that adjournment, intending to devote the 
intermediate time in inspecting and registering farms 
and lands in and about D' Urban, from which the 
influence and authority of the Volksraad had been 
expressly excluded by the treaty with my brother, 
Sir Josias Cloete. 

I, however, remained here (at Pietermaritzburg) a 
few days longer to explain more fully to the most 
respectable inhabitants the policy of Her Majesty's 
Government ; and during that time I received the 
undoubted information that the "war party" here 
(at the head of which Commandant Gert Rudolph 
had placed himself) had sent expresses forthwith into 
the present Sovereignty and Transvaal country, 


representing that they were about being attacked 
by Her Majesty's troops, and strongly urging the 
commandants of those districts to be here with all 
the armed force they could collect by the beginning 
of August, when they expected an outbreak of 
hostilities ; and at the same time I received a 
memorial signed by the principal inhabitants of this 
town, intimating their dread of these hostilities, and 
soliciting the support of the Government against 
any violence which they apprehended in case they 
were to show their loyalty to the Government or 
disapprobation of these violent proceedings. This 
intelligence I immediately transmitted to His 
Excellency, and returned to D'Urban, where the 
registration of lands fully engaged my time during 
the months of June and July, when on the 2ist 
July, Her Majesty's steamer Thunderbolt (the first 
Government steamer employed upon our coast, and 
subsequently lost on Cape Receif) arrived at Port 
Natal with a detachment of the 45th Regiment and 
two guns, which His Excellency had despatched 
immediately on the receipt of my communication as 
to my first reception here, and the expected meeting 
in August. 

With this accession of force I had flattered my- 
self that Major Smith would have been enabled to 
advance upon this town before any burgher force 
could have arrived from behind the Draaksberg; 
that he might thus have imparted such a confi- 
dence in the inhabitants, in and about the town, as 


to ensure their presence at the meeting undeterred 
by the menaces of those who were bent upon war ; 
but Major Smith declined, on what the Czar 
terms " strategic grounds," making the advance ; 
and his determination (although at the time deeply 
regretted by me) only tended in its results to lead 
to a far more satisfactory conclusion of this political 

I had, however, determined personally to be 
present here, and I accordingly intimated this in- 
tention to the Volksraad, and arrived on the 6th of 
August on the Uysdorns hill.* I was soon met by 
an advanced guard of some twenty men, and near 
the town by about eighty or a hundred more 
mounted persons, all, however, unarmed, but on 
reaching my residence at the house of Messrs. 
Behrens (now part of the present Colonial Office), 
I was waited upon by Commandant Mocke and five 
or six other commandants, and about twenty field- 
cornets from behind the Draaksberg, who, with about 
800 or 1000 men, had marched into the town a few 
days before and had encamped on the market-square, 
where about twenty waggons were ranged, containing 
all their arms, ammunition, and supplies. The com- 
mandants, severally, at once offered me a guard for 
my personal protection, which I, however, civilly 
declined, expressing my entire conviction that I 

* This hill is about five miles from Pietermaritzburg, remarkable 
for being densely covered with the thorny "mimosa," and where the 
clan of " Uys" had made their first encampment. 



needed no such protection ; but I certainly found 
the town in a state of confusion and excitement, 
which it is quite impossible to describe. 

The proceedings of the Volksraad had commenced 
the day before my arrival, when, under the influence 
of the "war party," the commandants and field- 
cornets from beyond the Draaksberg had insisted 
upon holding a "combined" Council of delegates from 
the two districts on this and that beyond the moun- 
tain (as explained in my first lecture) ; and that this 
combined Council should consist of sixty members, 
for the palpable object thus to give a preponderating 
number of votes on any question to their numerous 
party. This they had succeeded in carrying, and 
the moment they had been elected and taken their 
seats the notorious Mr. Fick commenced a personal 
attack upon Mr. Boshof of the most virulent 
character, charging him with having betrayed their 
Council, as they termed it, and with having falsified 
a document (referred to in my previous lecture), 
by which the members of the Volksraad had 
tendered their submission to Her Majesty's authority 
in July, 1842. 

It appeared that on that occasion Mr. Boshof, 
having been the chief (if not the only) person who 
could fitly embody their resolutions in writing, had 
had the labour of drawing out and engrossing all 
the documents, when some duplicates or triplicates 
having been required of this treaty, one or two 
of the country members, who were anxious to leave 


the town and return to their families, had signed 
one of the copies of the document in blank, which 
Mr. Boshof subsequently had to fill in. 

This had maliciously been perverted into his 
having got some members to sign a document of 
which they knew not the contents, and was made the 
handle of the most malignant attacks upon his 
person and character ; but, fortunately, the members 
whose convenience he had consulted in taking their 
signatures before he had been able to make all the 
copies were present, and at once completely ex- 
plained and refuted this base calumny ; while 
Mr. Boshof's whole career was so unassailable that 
all these objections were overruled, and he was 
allowed to take his seat in the Council, where they 
were well aware that he could not fail to exert a 
commanding influence. 

One entire day was occupied with this preliminary 
wrangle, and the parties broke up late at night to 
recommence their deliberations the next morning 
early. During that night, however, a party of the 
most violent and unprincipled ruffians among them 
held a secret meeting in one of the huts about the 
"vley"* in this town, where they resolved upon 
coming armed to the meeting of the Volksraad the 
next morning, there to bring about a scuffle or out- 
break, in the course of which they would make an 
attack upon (or, in plainer language, assassinate) 
Boshof, Pretorius, and two others, whom they con- 

* A swampy part of the town, at that time almost uninhabited. 


sidered the principal heads of the peace or sub- 
mission party. Andries Pretorius, who on that 
occasion proved himself the true benefactor of this 
country, and who by his scouts kept a watchful eye 
upon all the proceedings of every party, got very 
early intelligence of this plot, and he accordingly 
came to the meeting also secretly armed and sur- 
rounded by numerous and powerful clans ; and as 
the business of the meeting was about to commence, 
seeing the party mustering, whom he knew had been 
hatching this atrocious conspiracy, he addressed the 
meeting in a strain of impassioned extemporaneous 
eloquence not unworthy of Cicero himself, and 
hardly surpassed by the latter in his first "Catilin- 
aria," which, if worked up by a Sallust or Livy, 
would have handed down his name to posterity as 
a great orator ; in the course of which he informed 
the chairman and the meeting of a foul conspiracy, 
which he knew had been planned against the friends 
of peace and good order, and that he could at once 
point out the principal ruffians ; but he disdained 
to hand down their names to everlasting infamy, 
and (looking to the knot where they were chiefly 
collected), stated that their looks already betrayed 
the guilt of their consciences ; that he dared them 
to show the arms which he knew they were secretly 
hiding in their bosoms ; that if force and violence 
were intended he and his friends were fully prepared 
to repel it ; but if not lost to all sense of shame, he 
advised them to hide their diminished heads, and to 


retire from a conflict where reason and temper were 
required and not brute force, and thus save them- 
selves from the everlasting infamy which would 
attach upon their names if they once commenced 
upon any act of open violence. 

Never were the following lines of the immortal 
poet more applicable than to the position in which 
these persons then appeared : 

" Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, 
And thus the native hue of resolution 
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought ; 
And enterprises of great pith and moment, 
With this regard, their currents turn awry, 
And lose the name of action " : 

for not one ventured to answer the challenge. The 
whole of that clique, who soon betrayed themselves 
by their manner and countenance, silently dropped 
off from the assembly, and the meeting subsided 
at once into more order and decorum than had been 
hitherto observed. Stephanus Maritz, sen., parti- 
cularly distinguished himself by the temper, tact, 
and judgment which he displayed on that memorable 
occasion : he very adroitly got a preliminary question 
to be mooted in how far the inhabitants from beyond 
the Draaksberg had a right to vote on this question, 
viz., whether they were to be affected by any arrange- 
ment with me, as they had not been parties to the 
treaty with Col. Cloete ; and a deputation from the 
Volksraad waited on me at Mr. Behren's residence, 
where I was anxiously waiting the result of this 


meeting to obtain a formal answer to a question, 
" How far my authority was to extend, or how far 
Her Majesty meant to assert her supremacy over 
this country?" Although I was then but a few 
yards from the court hall and square where those 
exciting events were taking place, I was naturally 
kept in ignorance of what was passing at the very 
moment. As I had determined, as yet, not to take 
any part in those proceedings, having only informed 
the chairman that I was here ready to answer any 
questions they might wish to put, and thus not being 
aware of the exact purport and object of the question 
when put to me, I yet candidly informed them that 
by my instructions the future boundaries of this 
district had been left entirely to my decision and 
report ; that I was, however, fully aware that Her 
Majesty's Government did not wish in any way to 
extend her authority over vast extents of country 
where an effectual protection to life and property 
could not be secured to the inhabitants, and that 
I did not therefore hesitate to declare at once that 
I was fully prepared to recommend that the extent 
of this district should be bounded on the north by 
the natural Quathlamba range of mountains, and not 
to extend beyond it. 

This answer had a great effect upon the delibera- 
tions of the Volksraad. A resolution was thereupon 
put and carried, declaring that, as the inhabitants 
beyond the Quathlamba or Draaksberg mountains 
were not to be affected by any of my proceedings, 


their representatives now here had no right to vote 
on questions which did not affect them ; and some 
of the commandants and representatives from beyond 
the Sovereignty even joined in that resolution, seeing 
that they would have considerable difficulty in carry- 
ing their original intention. The second day's pro- 
ceedings then closed late at night by the whole of the 
members who had taken their seats as representing 
the Winburg and (now) Sovereignty territory, with- 
drawing from the Volksraad ; and Commandant 
Mocke, accompanied by De Kock, Du Plooy, and 
several other field-cornets, called upon me the same 
evening to bid me farewell, Mocke declaring with 
a bitterness of feeling (which clearly betrayed the 
disappointment and vexation he felt) that he never 
again would have anything to do with Natal and 
its affairs, that he had been grossly deceived by the 
representations he had received, and that he would 
now order his men peaceably to withdraw. This 
order seemed to meet with the most implicit 
obedience. The next day passed by in their making 
preparations for their departure, and the follow- 
ing day the whole of that division, about 700 or 
800 strong, wended their way over the town-hill 
on their return to the Sovereignty, encountering 
great hardships on the road from snowstorms and 
scarcity of provisions. 

On the third day of the meeting of the Volksraad 
its members were thus reduced to the twenty-four 
members representing the Council for this district 


only ; and the calm and temperate tone adopted at 
that meeting seemed at once to give promise 
of a peaceful and satisfactory conclusion to their 

Dr. Poortman happened to have received a letter 
from some friend in Holland, in which, alluding to 
the letters brought over by Smellekamp, the writer 
informed him of the delusion which had been prac- 
tised upon them here ; and after this letter had been 
submitted to the closest scrutiny by the post-mark 
being examined, no doubt remained as to its genuine- 
ness, and they appeared at last to become satisfied 
that all hope of succour or support from Holland 
was at an end, when they took into consideration 
the terms of Lord Stanley's despatch of the I3th 
December, 1842, which I had brought with me, and 
of which I had made a translation, so far as to show 
the sound reasoning and the liberal policy by which 
Her Majesty's Government were actuated in their 
adoption of this territory. 

I had caused several copies to be made of this 
extract, which I had circulated among them, and a 
perusal thereof will, even now, no doubt, interest 
my auditors, and confirm the opinion I had formed 
on that subject. 

One part of that despatch is to this effect, viz. : 

" The question then remains, in what manner to deal with 
the district and the numerous population thus brought again 
into submission, and under allegiance to Her Majesty. 

" Various courses may be pursued, the supremacy of the 


British crown having been established : the existing popu- 
lation might be permitted to remain and conduct their own 
affairs, withdrawing the British troops, and thus neither 
exercising practical control over them, or affording them 
efficient protection. 

" They may be removed and compelled to return under 
the pressure of an overwhelming military force, such as 
would leave no alternative but those of submission or 

" The emigrants may be summoned to return within the 
settled limits of the colony of the Cape, deprived of all 
protection, in the event of their refusal, against the hostility 
of the Zoolahs and other tribes, and of the Kafirs within 
their own boundaries, and further, if deemed expedient, 
cut off from all supplies by sea, and all regular and uninter- 
rupted communication by land ; or, lastly, they may be taken 
under the protection of the British crown, their district 
recognised and adopted as a British Colony, and such insti- 
tutions established, under British authority, as Her Majesty 
may think fit. 

" All these courses are open to adoption, and all require 
thus to be maturely and carefully weighed. 

"Two other courses, indeed, there are, to neither of which, 
however, could Her Majesty's servants for a moment listen: 
the one, to admit the independence of the emigrants, and 
to disclaim all responsibility respecting them ; the other, to 
permit them to come under the protection or dominion of 
any foreign power. 

" i. The first course of the four to which I have adverted 
is open to very obvious objections. Virtually, though not 
nominally, it would be conferring independence on the 
emigrants, and the British Government would, in the face 
of the civilised world, make itself responsible for the con- 
duct of its subjects, whom, nevertheless, it neither assumed 

N 2 


to control by legislation, nor to protect by military support. 
I fear, moreover, that in the present state of the population, 
many of their acts, whether towards each other, towards the 
native tribes within their limits, or towards those who sur- 
round them, might be such as the British Government could 
neither approve nor permit; that disunion and jealousies 
among themselves would require the intervention of some 
supreme authority, and that Her Majesty could not safely 
entrust the emigrant farmers with the unchecked manage- 
ment of the Kafirs within their territory, nor repose entire 
confidence in the moderation and temper with which they 
might repel the aggressions or avenge the occasional depre- 
dations of the border tribes. 

" 2. I confess, if there were any reasonable probability of 
inducing the body of the emigrants to return within the 
settled limits of the colony, under your government, either 
voluntarily or after a reasonable time, by such methods of 
compulsion as I have already indicated, such would be 
the result, which, as you are already aware, Her Majesty's 
Government would most willingly see accomplished. 

" But you and Col. Cloete concur in representing, in the 
strongest terms, the impossibility of inducing any consider- 
able numbers of these emigrants voluntarily to return to the 
colony for the sake of British protection ; and in your des- 
patches of the 25th of July and the 24th of August you 
assign very strong reasons why, on this subject, no inter- 
mediate mode of compulsion should be adopted. 

" Her Majesty's Government have carefully weighed the 
arguments which you have urged and the difficulties which 
you have suggested in opposition to such a measure, and I 
am bound to acknowledge that they appear to us to be 
almost, if not entirely, conclusive. 

"But it appears to us that there are reasons at least 
equally strong against the third course suggested, that of the 


employment against the Boers of a force sufficient to compel 
their return, or to exterminate them. 

" That such a course is within our power, there can be no 
doubt ; but notwithstanding all the faults of which the emi- 
grants have been guilty, I cannot be insensible to their 
good qualities, nor to the past hardships which they have 
undergone; nor can I reconcile it to my sense, either of 
humanity or policy, to employ a large British force in the 
extirpation of a body of industrious colonists, professing 
allegiance to the British crown, and inviting the savage 
tribes surrounding them to join in the exterminating pro- 
cess. Measures so extreme could be justified only by a 
necessity which I am happy to think does not in this case 

" There remains then only to be considered the question 
of the recognition of the territory of Port Natal as a British 
colony, or part of a British colony. 

"The Commissioner will be authorised to call together 
the principal emigrant farmers and others, and inform them 
that Her Majesty having been graciously pleased to bury in 
oblivion past transactions, and desirous of being enabled to 
rely upon their present assurances of dutiful obedience and 
loyalty, is anxious to place the institutions of the colony 
upon such a footing, consistent with the maintenance of 
her royal authority, as may be most acceptable to the 
bulk of her subjects. The Commissioner is therefore to be 
authorised to invite the unreserved expression of their 
opinions and wishes, in respect to the judicial and other 
local institutions, under which they may desire to be placed, 
with an assurance that such expressions, when submitted to 
Her Majesty, shall receive Her Majesty's most favourable 


" He will cause it to be distinctly understood, however, 
that this authority does not extend to the question of legis- 
lation ; on which Her Majesty reserves to herself the most 
entire freedom of action. 

" I think it probable, looking to the nature of the popula- 
tion, that they will desire those institutions to be founded 
on the Dutch, rather than on the English, model, and how- 
ever little some of those institutions may be suited to a 
more advanced state of civilisation, it is the desire of Her 
Majesty's Government that in this respect the contentment 
of the emigrants rather than the abstract merits of the 
institutions should guide our decision." 

The principles thus laid down as to the future 
policy of Her Majesty's Government were so sensible, 
and approved themselves so entirely to their own 
wants and wishes, that the meeting resolved at once 
to adopt them ; but a difficulty then arose as to the 
manner in which this adoption should be penned, 
and a deputation accordingly again waited upon me, 
expressive of their desire to know how their sub- 
mission had best be worded. I at once referred 
them to the proclamation of His Excellency Sir G. 
Napier of the I2th May, which, indeed, only em- 
bodied the precise terms of Lord Stanley's despatch, 
and informed them that no deed of submission would 
be accepted by me which did not embrace and ex- 
press their entire acceptance of the three conditions 
set forth in that proclamation, and I referred them to 
these words, as set forth in that proclamation, viz. : 

"It is also necessary that the Commissioner should 
most explicitly make known to the emigrants, that what- 


ever may be the institutions ultimately sanctioned, these 
conditions are actually essential : 

" i. That there shall not be, in the eye of the law, any 
distinction or disqualification whatever, founded on mere 
distinction of colour, origin, language, or creed, but that 
the protection of the law, in letter and in substance, shall 
be extended impartially to all alike. 

" 2. That no aggression shall be sanctioned upon the 
natives residing beyond the limits of the colony, under 
any plea whatever, by any private person, or any body of 
men, unless acting under the immediate authority and 
orders of the Government. 

" 3. That slavery in any shape, or under any modifica- 
tion, is absolutely unlawful, as in every other portion of 
Her Majesty's dominions. 

" You will take care that it be distinctly understood that 
these three conditions are indispensable preliminaries to the 
permission which it is proposed to give to the emigrants to 
occupy the territory of Port Natal, and to enjoy therein a 
settled government under British protection ; and I trust 
that no difficulty will be found in obtaining the willing 
acquiescence of the emigrants in stipulations so reasonable, 
and in our own judgment not more called for by humanity 
and justice, than essential to the peace and good order of 
the district." 

Another deputation soon after followed, expressive 
of the entire concurrence of the Volksraad in the 
second and third conditions, but stating that they 
still thought that the first clause should be modified 
in some shape ; it was evident from this that they 
were still inclined to suggest some special reserva- 
tion in regard to the rights or liberties of the Kafirs, 


and to lay the foundation for separate class-legisla- 
tion for these ; but I repelled all idea of such a 
nature by at once declaring that I would not admit 
the slightest departure from those terms, and at 
length towards the evening the chairman, together 
with a deputation from the Council, handed me the 
following declaration, which expressed in the follow- 
ing words their entire and unconditional acceptance 
of all the terms prescribed by His Excellency. 
The document, as translated, runs thus : 

" PlETERMARITZBURG, 8//4 August. 

"SiR, We, the undersigned members and representa- 
tives of the Volksraad, having had in consideration the 
proclamation of His Excellency the Governor, dated i2th 
May last, do hereby declare to have agreed to the condi- 
tions set forth in the sixth article of the said proclamation, 
and to accept the same. 

Signed by, 

J. MARITZ, President A. J. SPIES 











P. R. NEL the Volksraad. 

"Addressed to the Hon'ble H. CLOETE, 

Her Majesty's Commissioner." 


It will be thus seen that this stormy meeting 
held in this town in August, 1843, after being 
protracted for three days, had ended in all the 
twenty-four members of the Volksraad unanimously 
signing this formal deed ; and when it is considered 
that although Pretorius, Boshof, Zietsman the elder, 
and several others of the most respectable inhabitants 
who had no seat in the Volksraad, had yet expressed 
their entire concurrence in this Proclamation, no 
doubt can be entertained that this solemn deed of 
submission to, and recognition of, Her Majesty's 
authority had been obtained by the deliberate and 
unanimous voice of all those who had really any 
stake or interest in the country ; and with every 
friend of humanity it became a matter of heartfelt 
satisfaction, and of gratitude to the Great Disposer 
of human affairs, that this had been brought about 
by a perfectly free and unbiassed judgment of the 
constituted authorities at the time, without any 
threats or pressure from without; but I cannot 
close this lecture without recording my sincere 
acknowledgment that this peaceable and satis- 
factory termination of the broils of the inhabitants 
with the Government had thus been chiefly effected 
by the influence of (the now deceased) Andries 
Pretorius, of Stephanus Maritz, of Mr. Boshof, of 
Dr. Poortman, and the Zietsmans, father and son, 
who proved themselves true friends of the welfare 
of this country, which (despite many difficulties 
with which it has had to contend) has made 


during these last twelve years a steady progress 
in social, agricultural, and commercial improve- 

These persons chiefly opened the eyes of their 
countrymen to the delusion under which they had 
long laboured, either as to their power of self- 
government and independence, or the still more 
vain hope of foreign support ; and I trust I may 
now venture to express my sincere thankfulness 
to them for the aid they afforded me during those 
trying scenes. 

You have now been informed of the true state 
of things in this district from its early formation 
until the formal submission of its inhabitants to 
Her Majesty's authority ; you will perceive how 
errors and faults, committed on both sides, threat- 
ened at one time to plunge this country into 
an interminable civil war, and how this was 
most providentially averted, chiefly by the in- 
fluence of reason and good sense actuating the 
minds of the leading men in this community, 
who became fully impressed that Her Majesty's 
Government, bound to assert its authority and 
dignity on the one hand, was yet inclined to 
confer upon them every advantage consistent with 
true liberty ; for liberty (we jurists know) does not 
consist in doing everything any individual in 
society pleases, but only in doing that which is 
not contrary to law and higher authority " nisi 
quod vi aut jure prohibeatur " ; and I cannot give 


you a more striking proof of the effect which the 
dissemination of those principles of Her Majesty's 
Government produced, even upon those who, "with 
curses loud and deep," had broken up from the 
deliberations of the Volksraad, and had returned 
to their homes in the Sovereignty, than that four 
months after these occurrences had taken place I 
was agreeably surprised by a deputation arriving 
here, headed by the two most influential inhabitants 
of the Modder and Caledon rivers, Van den Heever 
and Overholster, who presented me a memorial, 
signed by 500 actual landholders in that district, 
soliciting that I might also extend my labours to 
the country from the Draaksberg to the banks of 
the Orange River, and that a very large majority 
of the inhabitants there were willing also to sub- 
scribe to the same terms as the inhabitants of this 

I at once informed them that I had personally 
no objection to proceed to their country and arrange 
matters there in the same way as I was doing here, 
but that the decision on this memorial must rest 
altogether with the Governor of the Cape Colony, 
to whom the memorial would be transmitted. This 
I accordingly did ; but in the meantime " a new 
king arose in Egypt who knew not Joseph," or, in a 
plainer language, another Governor (Sir Peregrine 
Maitland) had come out and superseded Sir George 
Napier, whose period of holding a government, 
under the Queen's regulations, had long expired. 


This Governor, who probably felt no such deep 
interest in these matters or countries as his pre- 
decessor, or had received more stringent rules to 
carry out, simply replied "that the application 
could not be entertained." 

It is therefore vain now to indulge in speculations 
how the affairs of the Orange River Territory would 
have proceeded if the same policy had been followed 
out towards them ; but the following little anecdote 
will show the zeal and prudence with which that 
deputation had performed the trust confided to 
them. Some days before their arrival at this 
place we had heard a report that a deputation 
was on its way here, but that they had been 
stopped and waylaid by some of the " Ultra- 
Radical party" behind the mountain. On their 
presenting themselves to me I alluded to this 
report, and begged to be informed whether there 
was any truth in it, when old Overholster replied 
that there was some truth in it, that the signing 
of this memorial and its object were necessarily 
known throughout the country, and that at the 
Sand River Drift (which they were obliged to cross 
on their way here), an armed party from the neigh- 
bourhood had surrounded them, and declaring them 
"traitors" to their country had positively and vio- 
lently threatened to attack them unless they 
delivered up the memorial to them. But Overholster 
proceeded : " We had also anticipated and provided 
for such an occurrence, for after a show of resistance 


we somewhat reluctantly took out of the front chest 
of my waggon the memorial which had been placed 
there, and which they carried off in triumph ; but 
at the same time we had had a duplicate prepared 
of the same document, and signed by all the 500 
landowners as the other ; this duplicate I kept in 
the bedding of my ' katel,' and now deliver with 
its seals quite intact." 

This little incident shows at least the earnestness 
with which they had set about to have the same 
boon conferred on them as had been granted to the 
inhabitants of this district ; and the latter would 
be ungrateful indeed if they failed now to acknow- 
ledge and be thankful for the very many blessings 
which have been vouchsafed to them as a com- 
munity during the last twelve years. 

I fear, at least, that I am not only deeply indebted 
to those influential persons whose names I have just 
given as the real benefactors of their country ; but, 
independent of this feeling, I could not but be 
sensible every day during the momentous events 
by which I was surrounded, that there was a 
Divinity throughout, watchful of the interests of this 
favoured country, and whose right hand was then, 
and has ever since been, protecting it from the 
horrors of the savage wars by which the Cape 
frontier and the Sovereignty have been afflicted ; 
that here, at least, during all those years, neither 
war, famine, nor pestilence has afflicted the country ; 
but, on the contrary, with whatever difficulties the 


first introduction of a settled government may have 
been beset, it has slowly but surely progressed in 
the development of every resource from which the 
true prosperity of a country depends. 

Everywhere around us we perceive striking signs 
of improvement, both in our social, moral, agricul- 
tural, and even political relations ; and the ines- 
timable blessing of peace, which we have so long 
enjoyed, only requires to be continued to bring these 
advantages into full maturity. 

As I shall probably within a few days terminate 
all further connection with the Natal district, in 
bidding you an affectionate farewell I may, then, 
be permitted, I trust, to express a hope that you 
may not only long continue in the enjoyment of 
those blessings, but that, by your public acts as a 
community, and by your conduct in the relations 
of private life, you may render yourselves worthy 
of the continuance of those blessings from the 
Divine Disposer of events. 

Esto ptrpetua I 


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