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gone to Africaner's kraal shortly after Peterson had left it, and he was intimately acquainted with his character and with the circumstances of a criminating na, tyre referred to in the affidavit, which he was prepared to disprove. In my reply to this communication, I stated to the colonial secretary, that Mr. Moffat was with me at the time I received the affidavit of Peter, son, that Mr. Moffat was well acquainted with the character of this man, that his Excellency does not appear to have been aware that Peterson was formerly an inhabitant of Robben Island, (the Botany Bay of the Cape ;) that he was obliged, on account of his crimes, to leave the colony ; that there is scarcely an individual among the tribes whom he defames, who would attach any importance either to his word or to his oath; and that if his Excellency wished for further information respecting him, Mr. Moffat would be ready to gratify his Excellency on that point, on his arrival in Cape Town.
In reply to this letter, I received a communication, dated Aug. 19, 1819. The colonial secretary writes,“ His Lordship is perfectly aware of Peterson's character; but, although that may be as bad as it is represented, it will not disprove assertions which are corroborated by much additional evidence."
It might be owing to my inexperience at that period, but I certainly was very much astonished that his Lordship, knowing the character of Peterson, should have received from him an affidavit containing such grave charges against the missionaries and the people of this kraal. A man's character may not disprove his assertions; but his character may be so bad as to make it improper to receive from him any legal affidavit, and this was evidently the case in the present instance,
On our arrival in Cape Town, we found the colonial government heartily ashamed of the use they had made of Peterson. I offered to produce two witnesses, Mr. Moffat and Mr. Ebner, to disprove his statement ; but this evidence was not any longer required. The accuser of our missions had emitted his affidavit a few days only, when he was apprehended in the streets of Cape Town, robbing a stall ; and he was, by this time, again among the felons in Robben Island.
After the reception Africaner had met with from the colonial government only a few months before, and the accurate information it possessed of the conduct of Africaner, from the time of his conversion to Christianity down to that period, the whole of this proceeding appeared to me, at the time, perfectly unaccountable.
Mr. Buxton's Motion in Parliament, in 1824, calling for Informa
tion respecting the Condition of the Coloured Population at the Cape.—Unsatisfactory Character of the Documents produced. --Remarks of the Commissioners of Inquiry.--Examination of the Parliamentary “ Return.”—Grants of Land to Hottentots. -Lord Charles Somerset's Statement.--Mr. George Thompson's Statement.-Case of the Hottentot Zwarts.-Actual State of the Aborigines in regard to holding Land.
The resolutions which passed through the House of Commons by acclamation, on the motion of Mr. Wilberforce, in June 1822, in reference to the colony of the Cape of Good Hope, and the appointment of his Majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry to visit that colony, having originated in the complaints sent to England relative to the oppressed state of the natives of South Africa, it was to be expected that those Commissioners, on their arrival at the place which was to be the sphere of their labours, should pay an early attention to that part of their instructions which was to direct their inquiries on this subject. Shortly after their arrival, in the first interview I had with them in their official capacity, I had the honour to lay before them most of the information relating to the Hottentots and Bushmen contained in the preceding parts of these volumes, and several documents which will be found in the Appendix.
On this occasion I put into their hands the facts I
had collected respecting the commandoes carried on against the Bushmen; the statement I have given relative to the recal of the missionaries from the Bushman country; the proclamations of 1809 and 1812, with my strictures on them, now printed in the first volume of this work; remarks on the opgaaf, or taxes on the natives, which follow the strictures on the proclamation of 1812; together with several other papers relating to the same subject, which it is unnecessary to specify in this list. The Bethelsdorp correspondence, and several other papers relating to the sufferings of the missionaries and the people at our missionary institutions, were brought under their notice at the same time.
In November, 1823, they made their tour into the interior, when they visited the missionary stations of Caledon institution (formerly Zuurbrak), Pacaltsdorp, and Bethelsdorp. The state of our missionary settle. ments; the numerous complaints I had laid before the colonial government, in reference to the oppression suffered at these stations; the nature of the documents I had put into their own hands; and the appeal which I had been compelled to make, which led to the '
motion of Mr. Wilberforce, rendered it necessary that I should meet them at the missionary institutions, and be present while their investigations continued. Having grounded my proofs of the assertions I had made more on the hand-writing of the accused parties than on oral testimony, my witnesses could not be intimidated or corrupted
Immediately after this investigation was over, I stated the result to Mr. Buxton; and, on the 13th of April 1824, that gentleman made a motion in the House of Commons for copies and extracts of all correspondence relative to the condition of the Hottentots, &c. &c. at the Cape of Good Hope during the last five years.
On the 23d March, 1827, Mr. Wilmot Horton, Under Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, laid on the table of the House of Commons a document purporting to be a Return to an Address of the Honourable House, dated 13th April, 1824.” This document was ordered to be printed,----and, such as it is, it is all the return that has been obtained in pursuance of Mr. Buxton's motion.
It cannot escape observation, as a remarkable feature in the document under consideration, purporting to be a return to an address of the Honourable House, that the Commissioners are entirely passed by, and the parliament and the British public are presented with an exparte statement from Lord Charles Somerset and the other parties implicated.
It is impossible to conceive of any thing more meagre and unsatisfactory, even in the shape of an official document, than these " Extracts of all correspondence” relative to the condition and treatment of all slaves, Hottentots, and Bushmen at the Cape of Good Hope. On this subject we have here presented to us the proclamation of Lord Caledon in 1809; the amount of the Hottentot population according to the census of 1821; and an explanation from Lord Charles Somerset, accounting for the circumstance that so few of this people held land. In a document purporting to contain a statement relative to the condition and treatment of the Hottentots, we might, at least, have expected all the different proclamations of the colonial government affecting that class of people; but I find a very important proclamation, relative to the power of the local