Images de page
PDF
ePub

all they nearly scared me. Had I not been ashamed to abandon my plan I think I should have gone into the city and begged Mr. Donald Currie to absolve me from responsibility in regard to that comfortable berth which he had promised to secure for me on board the Caldera.

I have usually found warnings to be of no avail, and often to be illfounded. The Bay of Biscay as I have felt it is not much rougher than other seas. No one ever attempted to gouge me in Kentucky or drew a revolver on me in California. I have lived in Paris as cheaply as elsewhere; and have invariably found Jews to be more liberal than other men. Such has been the case with the South African lions which it was presumed that I should find in my path. I have never been stopped by a river and have never been starved; and am now, that the work is done, heartily glad that I made the attempt. Whether my doing so can be of any use in giving information to others will be answered by the fate of my little book which is thus sent upon the waves within twelve months of the time when I first thought of making the journey; but I am sure that I have added something worth having to my own stock of knowledge respecting the Colonies generally.

As I have written the following chapters I think that I have named the various works, antecedent to my own, from which I have made quotations or taken information as to any detail of South African history. I will, however, acknowledge here what I owe to Messrs. Wilmot and Chase's "History of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope," to the "Compendium of South African History and Geography," by George M. Theal, as to which the reader may be interested to know that the entire work in two volumes was printed, and very well printed, by native printers at Lovedale,-to Mr. John Noble's work, entitled

"South Africa, Past and Present,"-to Messrs. Silver and Co.'s "Handbook to South Africa," which of all such works that have ever come into my hands is the most complete; and to the reprints of two courses of lectures, one given by Judge Watermeyer on the Cape Colony, and the other by Judge Cloëte "On the Emigration of the Dutch Farmers." I must also name the "Compendium of Kafir Laws and Customs" collected and published by Col. Maclean, who was at one time Lieut.-Governor of British Kafraria. Were I to continue the list so as to include all the works that I have read or consulted I should have to name almanacks, pamphlets, lectures, letters and blue books to a very great number indeed.

I have a great deal of gratitude to own to gentlemen holding official positions in the different Colonies and districts I have visited, without whose aid my task would have been hopeless. Chief among these have been Captain Mills the Colonial Secretary at Capetown, without whom I cannot presume it possible that the Cape Colony should continue to exist. There is however happily no reason why for many years to come it should be driven to the necessity of even contemplating such an attempt. At Pieter Maritzburg in Natal I found my old friend Napier Broome, and from him and from the Governor's staff generally I received all the assistance that they could give me. At Pretoria Colonel Brooke and Mr. Osborn, who were ruling the Dutchmen in the absence of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, were equally kind to me. At Bloemfontein Mr. Höhne, who is the Government Secretary, was as cordial and communicative as though the Orange Free States were an English Colony and he an English Minister. I must also say that Mr. Brand, the President of the Free States, though he is Dutch to the back bone, and has in his time had some little tussles

with what he has thought to be British high-handedness, -in every one of which by-the-bye he has succeeded in achieving something good for his country,-was with me as open and unreserved as though I had been a Dutch Boer, or he a member of the same political club with myself in England. But how shall I mention the fullhanded friendship of Major Lanyon, whom I found administering the entangled affairs of Griqualand West,— by which perhaps hitherto unknown names my readers will find, if they go on far enough with the task before them, that the well-known South African Diamond Fields are signified? When last I had seen him, and it seems but a short time ago, he was a pretty little boy with a pretty little frock in Belfast. And there he was among the diamonds carrying on his government in a capital. which certainly is not lovely to look at,-which of itself is perhaps the most unlovely city that I know,—but which his kindness succeeded in making agreeable, though not even his kindness could make it other than hideous.

These names I mention because of the information which I have received from their owners. What I owe to the hospitality of the friends I have made in South Africa is a matter private between me and them. I may however perhaps acknowledge the great courtesy which I have received from Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Henry Bulwer, the Governors of the Cape Colony and Natal. As to the former it was a matter of much regret to me that I should not have seen him on my return to Capetown after my travels, when he was still detained at the frontier by the disturbances with Kreli and the Galekas. It was my misfortune not to become personally acquainted with Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who unhappily for me was absent inspecting his new dominion when I was at Pretoria.

I must express my hearty thanks to Sir Henry Barkly,

SOUTH AFRICA.

13

the late Governor of the Cape Colony, who had returned home just before I started from London, and who was kind enough to prepare for me with great minuteness a sketch of my journey, as, in his opionion, it ought to be made, giving me not only a list of the places which I should visit but an estimate of the time which should be allotted to each, so as to turn to the best advantage the months which I had at my disposal. I have not quite done all which his energy would have exacted from me. I did not get to the Gold-fields of the Transvaal or into Basutoland. But I have followed his guidance throughout, and can certainly testify to the exactness of his knowledge of the country.

My readers will find that in speaking of the three races I found in South Africa, the native tribes namely, the Dutch and the English, I have attributed by far the greater importance to the former because of their numbers. But I fear that I have done so in such a way as not to have conciliated the friends of the aborigines at home, while I shall certainly have insured the hostility,— or at any rate opposition,-of the normal white men in the Colonies. The white man in the South African Colonies feels that the colony ought to be his and kept up for him, because he, perhaps, with his life in his hand, went forth as a pioneer to spread the civilization of Europe and to cultivate the wilds of the world's surface. If he has not done so himself, his father did it before him, and he thinks that the gratitude of the Mother Country should maintain for him the complete ascendency which his superiority to the black man has given him. I feel confident that he will maintain his own ascendency, and think that the Mother Country should take care that that ascendency be not too complete. The colonist will therefore hardly agree with me. The friend of the aborigines,

on the other hand, seems to me to ignore the fact,-a fact as it presents itself to my eyes, that the white man has to be master and the black man servant, and that the best friendship will be shown to the black man by seeing that the terms on which the master and servant shall be brought together are just. In the first place we have to take care that the native shall not be subjected to slavery on any pretence or in any of its forms; and in doing this we shall have to own that compulsory labour, the wages for which are to be settled by the employer without the consent of the employed, is a form of slavery. After that, after acknowledging so much, and providing against any infraction of the great law so laid down,—the more we do to promote the working of the coloured man, the more successful we are in bringing him into his harness, the better for himself, and for the colony at large. A little garden, a wretched hut, and a great many hymns do not seem to me to bring the man any nearer to civilization. Work alone will civilize him, and his incentive to work should be, and is, the desire to procure those good things which he sees to be in the enjoyment of white men around him. He is quite alive to this desire, and is led into new habits by good eating, good clothes, even by finery and luxuries, much quicker than by hymns and gardens supposed to be just sufficient to maintain an innocent existence. The friend of the aboriginal would, I fear, fain keep his aboriginal separated from the white man; whereas I would wish to see their connexion as close as possible. In this way I fear that I may have fallen between two stools.

In regard to Kreli and his rebellious Galekas,-in regard also to the unsettled state of the Zulus and their borders, I have to ask my readers to remember that my book has been written while these disturbances were in

« PrécédentContinuer »