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upon the colony! Whether Captain Stockenstrom made this communication to the colonial government or not, it is, nevertheless, an incontrovertible fact, that the people never had done the slightest injury to the colony ; and that the services they had rendered to the colony had been invaluable.

Many of the Griquas were then in the possession of considerable property, and were, in point of intelligence and cultivation, equal to a large proportion of the farmers within the colony; and those people were not only to be stripped of their property, but to be reduced to a state of slavery more oppressive than the condition of the common slaves; and, in many cases, they must have been placed in that state, under men

every point their inferiors, and for no cause but this, that the colonists wanted servants.

On whatever principle the order for the capture of the Griquas might have been issued, it is but justice to the acting governor to state that it never was executed. I know that if Sir Rufane Donkin erred in the issuing of this order, it was not from bad feeling ; I never found him inaccessible to the appeals of humanity; and the true character and tendency of this plan in regard to the Griquas was no sooner laid before him, than the cruel and obnoxious order was recalled.


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Appointment of Mr. Melvill as a political agent at Griqua Town.

-Jealousies and Dissensions.-The Bergenaars. Their barbarous conduct towards the Native Tribes.—Bechuana Refugees. --Description of a Party of them met by the Author at the Cradock River.-Journal.- Arrival at Philippolis.—Meet with more Bechuanas.-Arrival at Rama.- Colonial Traders.-Alexander River.-Interview with the Bergenaars.- Arrival at Griqua Town.-State of the People.-Anecdote of one of the Chiefs.General Convocation of the Tribe.-Resolutions passed at it.

On the failure of the scheme detailed in the preceding chapter, it was resolved by the colonial government to fix a political agent at Griqua Town.

When I was consulted on the subject, I stated that the plan should have my cordial approbation, provided the people were to be treated as colonists, and the agent was to be invested with the authority of a landdrost, to enforce the laws which might be given them by the government; but I objected to the appointment of an agent, without the means of enforcing the regulations of the colonial government, on the following grounds :- I conceived that such an appointment might awaken those jealousies for which they had had too much reason ; that it would destroy their confidence in each other, and create disunion; that the agent of government would be in danger of identifying himself with a party; that this might give rise to troubles he would not have the means of repressing ; that the disaffected party, seeing he was not supported by the

arm of government, would be emboldened by his weakness; that civil broils were likely to arise out of these circumstances; and I foresaw that the colonial government might make use of the confusion thus excited, as a pretext for seizing the people, and placing them within the colony in the condition of the Hottentots, a condition worse than that of the common slaves.

After some delay, John Melvill, Esq., formerly government surveyor and inspector of public buildings in Cape Town, was appointed to fill this new situation. When this nomination was communicated to me by the colonial government, I stated in reply that my sentiments were unaltered in regard to the nature of the appointment; but as the government had determined upon it, I considered Mr. Melvill as the fittest man the government could have selected to fill the office. This appointment is dated the 21st of March, 1822.

The arrival of Mr. Melvill at Griqua Town, as government agent, was the occasion of considerable apprehension; the fears of the better part of the people, however, soon subsided ; but a small party disclaimed the authority of the agent, and removed from the district governed by the Griqua chiefs. The secession of this party, not more, originally, than ten in number, and consisting of the worst characters among the Griquas, would have been no loss to the society at large, nor could they have done much evil had they met with no countenance; but as the enemies of the mission were powerful, and used every means to support them, they were shortly joined by some tribes of Corannas, and others of a more dangerous character. Their camp was now visited by numbers of colonists with waggons loaded with British and colonial produce, with guns and gunpowder, and brandy; which were exchanged for the plunder brought from the interior by these renegadoes.

Mr. Melvill now called for assistance to put down this

gang, who were renewing, on the borders of the colony, all the horrors of the slave-trade; but the matter was treated as an affair among the Griquas themselves, with which the colonial government declined interfering.

For the further elucidation of this subject, I have copied the following extracts from an official letter of Mr. Melvill's to the colonial government, dated 17th December, 1824:

“ After a short residence at Griqua Town, I sug. gested to the colonial government such measures as appeared necessary to secure my influence, and prevent the bad effects that might arise from the jealousy excited by my appointment. With the exception of Waterboer and his adherents, the people were in general suspicious that I was sent to bring them into subjection to the colony, and that their children would be enlisted as soldiers, or forced into the service of the farmers. After explaining the reasons of my coming among them, they became more friendly, their suspicions were dying away, and they began to enter into my views, under the idea that I had come to do them good, and that my residence among them would be the means of removing certain restrictions with regard to their intercourse with the colony. A few bad characters left Griqua Town, and went to live in the mountains near the borders of the colony. But this would have been no loss to the place if people of good character had gained any advantages or privileges by my being among them: but this was not the case ; on the contrary, they were placed in worse circumstances than before; and the people, seeing that I could do nothing for them, began to suspect that I was not appointed by government. My influence was, by this means, weakened; and Waterboer, who was exerting himself to carry into effect the resolutions approved of by government, for the same reason felt his power gradually decline.

“A number of disaffected people now began to leave the country to join the Bergenaars, or Mountaineers, (as the disaffected party were called,) who were getting from the colonists what the Griquas attached to the government could not obtain.

“ The Bergenaars, emboldened by the unsuccessful attempts of the chiefs against them, and finding that the chiefs were not supported from the colony, began to renew their efforts to induce other Griquas to join their party. Several persons, subject to the old chiefs, and some Corannas from under Waterboer, were now united to them; and, obtaining ammunition from the colony, they commenced plundering the Bechuana tribes, and brought away an immense number of cattle*.

“Since that time numbers have joined them, and their party is every day strengthening. They reside within a few hours' ride of the colony; have constant intercourse with the colonists; and are carrying on depredations among the native tribes, by which thousands of these wretched people are compelled to wander about in quest of subsistence, and, more desperate than the wildest Bushmen, are under the necessity of plundering others, or perishing of hunger.

* Of these circumstances the government, as well as the landdrosts of the frontier districts, were informed:

Vol. II.


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