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CHAPTER II.

Kaffer depredations at Bathurst-Illicit traffic with the natives-Trader murdered-Wesleyville establishedThe Colony indebted to Missionary influence-Kongo's visit to Graham's Town-Its happy effects-Stillness in the native territory at night-Site of Mission StationDescendants of old Kongo-Barrow's account of— Chief murdered-Sham fight-Commercial intercourse established.

DURING the year 1823, the marauding incursions of the natives led to the adoption of desperate measures. About the month of June a band of them made their appearance near Bathurst; and, availing themselves of the unfavourable state of the weather, which was wet and cold, and which had induced negligence on the part of the herders, drove off a number of cattle belonging to various individuals. They were discovered in the act by a person who happened to be out in search of his horse, and who strove to make them relinquish their spoil. So far, however, were they from being intimidated by his endeavours, that they turned round and pursued him. Hence, he was under the necessity of effecting his escape with all possible speed.

On his reaching the village, and reporting the circumstance, two or three small parties were instantly armed, and sent off in different directions. But long ere they could get to the spot whence the herd had been taken, the plunderers had secured themselves in the thicket, whither it was perilous in the extreme to follow them. A dispatch was forwarded without delay to the commanding Officer at Kaffer Drift, the nearest military station,

informing him of what had taken place, and soliciting his aid. He consequently sent forth detachments of soldiers along the banks of the Fish River, with orders to place themselves in ambush at the different avenues through which the robbers must necessarily pass in returning to their own country. By these means they were effectually intercepted; and at one of the fords six or eight of them fell under the balls of the troops, who thus succeeded in recapturing the whole of the cattle. Such was the manner in which numbers of those poor creatures carelessly hazarded their lives for the sake of an ox; and such the awful manner in which hundreds of them have been hurled into eternity amidst heathenish darkness!

It may, however, be observed, that the untutored Kaffer was not the only person who, at this period, put himself in danger for the sake of illicit gain. Notwithstanding the most positive prohibition, the wisdom of which was certainly questionable, of all commercial intercourse with the tribes, a clandestine traffic was carried on by some of the colonists, at the imminent risk of their lives. In order to elude the various patrols which were constantly traversing the frontier line, these usually made their way through the woods into the native territory by night; and thus, fool-hardily, threw themselves in the way of both wild beasts and savage The following distressing and melancholy occurrence sufficiently shows what peril attended the proceedings of this class of adventurers; many of whom must inevitably have shared an equally awful fate, had the Kaffer been half as blood-thirsty as some have repre sented him to be.

men.

Mr. whose location was near the Fish River, and not far from one of its principal fords, had for some time been in the habit of trading with the natives for ivory and cattle. Having providentially escaped the dangers that beset his path from time to time, he had

become hardened in his pursuit, and apparently heedless as to consequences, although the law threatened him with its heaviest penalties. Violence, however, at length overtook him; for while plodding homewards through the bushy glens and dismal ravines which bound the above-mentioned river, a company of natives met, and made an attack upon him. It is more than probable that their object was merely to rob him; but meeting with resistance, a combat ensued; and having no protection, or any assistance whatever, the unhappy man was overpowered and killed on the spot! His mangled remains were brought to Graham's Town for interment, on the twenty-fifth of June, followed by a distracted widow, and seven poor children!

While these events were regarded with apathy by some, and with vengeful feelings by others, who loudly clamoured for the utter extirpation of the blacks altogether, by the Missionary they could not but be viewed as so many additional proofs of their crying need of the Gospel. We had some time previously memorialized his Excellency, the Governor, for permission to commence our projected Mission with the clans of Pato and Kongo, and had the pleasure of receiving a favourable reply to our petition, shortly after these lamentable occurrences took place. This we hailed as the presage of a more peaceful era; and about the middle of November following, my excellent coadjutor went to begin the Mission, accompanied by a pious artisan from Albany, who was engaged to take charge of its secular affairs. Scarcely had a month elapsed after their departure, before the Rev. Mr. Ross, of the Glasgow Missionary Society, arrived; destined to the same important field. Thus was the number of labourers speedily increased; and the means of enlightening those dark lands happily multiplied.

It now became fully evident that Missionary influence was the grand instrument designed by divine Providence

for breaking down the numerous barriers which enmity, prejudice, and fear had from time to time set up between the colonist and his sable neighbours. The respective Chiefs hereby began to gain confidence, which had in a great measure been destroyed by mutual hostilities, by a rigid system of non-intercourse, and by the Governor's formal recognition of Gaika as sole representative of Caffraria; than which, no measure could have been more inconsistent with the internal government of the natives, or more calculated to promote jealousies and strife amongst the different tribes.

Soon after the establishment of our Mission with Pato, the old Chief 'Slhambi (for whose head a large sum had been repeatedly offered) consented, as did also several other minor Chiefs, to meet the Commandant of the frontiers, on the banks of the Keiskamma, to confer upon certain matters of importance, both to the colony and the Kaffer territories, provided the Missionary would accompany them. And in the latter end of April Kongo ventured to visit Graham's Town, accompanied by a small party of his men. He had previously obtained leave for this purpose from Major S.; and was, I believe, the first Kaffer Chief that had visited the settlement since its establishment, or, indeed, since the cessation of war. They came without a single weapon, no man having in his hand so much as an assagai, or spear; without which, they seldom or ever move a mile, even to visit their friends. This, therefore, furnished a singular and striking proof of their full confidence in the friendly disposi tion of their new neighbours, although well aware of the numerous injuries sustained by many of the latter, from the predatory incursions of their countrymen. These shrewd men manifestly drew a very marked distinction between the old colonists and the English: towards the former they appeared to indulge an inveterate antipathy, grounded on the unrighteous acts of former days.

On their arrival they came direct to the Mission-house; and expressed themselves as being perfectly at home, and quite confident of all necessary protection. Upon going round and viewing the face of the country, every one stood astounded at the alterations that had taken place since they themselves occupied it; which, to use their own words, " was but Izolo-yesterday." The town seemed to be regarded by them as a kind of magical production; none could conceive how it was possible for houses so large and substantial to have been erected, in the ordinary way, within so short a period. Our new chapel excited in their minds no small degree of curiosity, Being informed that the gallery and pulpit, &c., (which had been painted just before,) were made from the timber of the forest, they expressed doubts; "because," said one, (supposing the former to be all of a piece, and the latter also,) "I never saw trees so large and so curious in any part of the land." And although it was fully explained, that these things were formed of different parts, still they could not but indulge the impression, that the whole constituted a mysterious work; and the more so as it was "God's house!" The Chief continued silent, and appeared to be absorbed in thought; but upon asking what his views were? with his hand on his mouth, and his eyes fixed on the ground, he replied, "To-day am I dumb, and altogether unable to talk," -full of astonishment!

During his stay in Albany, both he and his attendants received much attention from almost all classes of the inhabitants. By Major (now Lieutenant-Colonel) Somerset, Kongo was presented with various useful articles of clothing. In these he proudly rode with me to different parts of the District, unaccompanied by any other person, excepting his interpreter. This afforded him several opportunities of mingling with the congregations at public worship; which was productive of the most

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