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tlemen of the first respectability in the colony. One gentleman writes me, in a letter, dated from Beaufort, in 1821, that the commando system still continues :-There have been,” he says,
“ two commandoes from this district against the poor Bushmen, within these few weeks. I have had several conversations with individuals who have been engaged on these expeditions, and they talk of shooting Bushmen with the same feelings as if the poor creatures were wild beasts.”
Another gentleman, in the service of government, and possessed of accurate information, in a letter dated Graaff-Reinet, 1822, writes to me as follows :-" The Bushman country, to the Orange river, is now,
may say, entirely in possession of the colonists. The land
possessing springs of water has been measured, and given to them in perpetual quit-rent, without reserving any thing for the poor natives. Should a Bushman, deprived of his game, and the means of subsistence, by the encroachment of the farmers, happen to steal a sheep to keep himself or his family from starving, if apprehended and taken alive, he is publicly flogged under the scaffold, branded with a hot iron, put in irons, and condemned to hard labour. poor
* All the
game in my country is killed by the farmers, or what they have not killed, they have driven away; their flocks are now feeding, where the herds of game on which we formerly fed used to graze; and, if we take a lamb, or a few sheep of these white men, they tie our hands, flog us, load our feet with irons, and put us to death!'
“ I have examined the documents from which you have translated and transcribed the testimonies, which
show the treatment the Bushmen received from 1774 to 1795, and can vouch for their correctness. I have no hesitation in saying that I am fully satisfied, that, were the records of Tulbagh, now Worcester, and those of Graaff-Reinet, Beaufort, and Cradock examined, you might find details equally shocking, down to 1822.
“While England boasts of her humanity, and represents the Dutch as brutes and monsters, for their conduct towards the Hottentots and Bushmen, a narrow inspection into the proceedings which have taken place during the last two or three years, will bring to light system, taken altogether, perhaps exceeding in cruelty any thing recorded in the facts you have collected, respecting the atrocities committed under the Dutch government.”
Exclamation of a Bushman on going to be executed.-Description
of the State of the Bushmen in 1823.—Mr. George Thomson's Account of the Commando system.-Feelings of the Colonists on this point.-Comparative Humanity of the Dutch and English Governments.-Present Condition of the Bushmen.-Interview with Uithaalder, the Bushman Chief.—His Memorial.
THE clergyman of the district of Graaff-Reinet stated to me, that, in 1819, when he was called, in the exercise of his duty, to attend at the execution of a Bushman, who was condemned on the charge of having been accessary to the slaughter of a slave belonging to a frontier boor, the poor creature was so ignorant of my friend's character, and so incapable of appreciating the intention of his visit, that, on his first introduction to him, he accosted him in the following terms :-“I knew you would kill me, you murderer! my father always told me to beware of the white men, for they would kill me, and I see he has spoken the truth !"
The following is an extract of a letter from S. Bailey, Esq., a most respectable medical gentleman, residing in Cape Town, dated 5th December, 1822:
“ An old Hottentot, from Hantam, named Whitbooy, formerly a servant of Mr. Van Reenen’s, my father-in-law, called upon him a few days ago, when, after a few questions, Mr. Van Reenen asked him how the crops were looking in that country: he said he knew nothing of the matter, having just returned from the Bushman country, where he had been from July last, with the commando under the command of the field-cornet, Van der Merwe; and added, that they had killed thirty men and eighteen children, their orders being that they were not to make any prisoners. I had subsequently an opportunity of having this report confirmed by a young African farmer, who had been with the same commando; and he further informed me, that another commando was on the point of leaving Hantam, with the hopes of making peace with those unfortunate Bushmen who had escaped the former commando.”
The following extract is from a letter of a respectable merchant, residing in Cape Town, written after a journey across the Bushman country, and dated 22nd July, 1823:-“You are desirous of being made acquainted with the state of the Bushmen, and informed of any particulars that I might pick up relative to these unhappy creatures. It is with pain that I have to observe, that the commando system is still carried on to a great extent, and to the destruction annually of a great many of our fellow-creatures. It seems to me as if the boors considered it a meritorious deed to destroy them, like the wild beasts of the desert. No doubt the boors are at this moment much plagued by the Bushmen; but who were the first aggressors ? Who robbed them of their country? Who drove them from their native haunts? The very people who now continue to extirpate the race. If we have taken the country from them, it is but justice that we do something in way of remuneration, and endeavour to alleviate their miserable condition, a condition little above that of the wild beasts. The boors in the Tarka are very frequently out on commandoes, and speak of killing Bushmen as a matter of course. I understand that upwards of one hundred Bushmen were destroyed last year by these commandoes, in the district of Cradock alone : this fact is stated to me by Mr. a person in the government employ, and who, of course, does not wish his name to be mentioned. On various other parts of the frontiers, the system of destroying these poor creatures is carried on in the same
"On my passing Beaufort, I learned that a commando had lately returned from an expedition against the Bushmen; and three boors, who brought me across the Gamka, told me they had been on this commando, and that there were shot twenty-six men, two women, and two children. By such measures, the race is fast approaching annihilation: these miserable creatures now fly to the secret recesses of the mountains or thickets, from whence they emerge only at the calls of hunger. The Bushmen, when taken, are distributed among the boors for a term of years, according to their age; children, I believe, sérve twenty years *.”
In addition to the preceding statements, I beg leave to subjoin a few extracts from a book of travels in South Africa, lately published by Mr. George Thomson, a respectable English merchant at the Cape. The
** From the connexion of some of the writers of the preceding extracts with government, I have thought it advisable not to publish their names; but it deserves to be mentioned, to the honour of human nature, that if the publication of their names is necessary to the good of the 'cause, I'am authorised, without regard of what they may suffer for their honesty, to make their names known