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I HAVE to say that I feel almost ashamed of the headings given to these initiatory chapters of my book as I certainly am not qualified to write a history of South Africa. Nor, were I able to do so, could it be done in a few pages. And, again, it has already been done and that so recently that there is not as yet need for further work of the kind. But it is not possible to make intelligible the present condition of any land without some reference to its antecedents. And as it is my object to give my reader an idea of the country as I saw it I am obliged to tell something of what I myself found it necessary to learn before I could understand that which I heard and saw. When I left England I had some notion more or less correct as to Hottentots, Bushmen, Kafirs, and Zulus. Since that my mind has gradually become permeated with Basutos, Griquas, Bechuanas, Amapondos, Suazies, Gaikas, Galekas, and various other native races, who are supposed to have disturbed our serenity in South Africa, but whose serenity we must also have disturbed very much,-till it has become impossible to look at the picture without realizing something of the dentity of those people. I do not expect to bring any

readers to do that. I perhaps have been filling my mind with the subject for as many months as the ordinary reader will take hours in turning over these pages. But still I must ask him to go back a little with me, or, as I go on, I shall find myself writing as though I presumed that things were known to him, as to which if he have learned much, it may be unnecessary that he should look at my book at all.

The English, began their work with considerable success. The Dutch laws were retained, but were executed with mitigated severity; a large military force was maintained in the Colony, numbering from four to five thousand men, which of course created a ready market for the produce of the country; and there was a Governor with almost royal appanages and a salary of £12,000 a year, as much probably, when the change in the value of money is considered, as the Governor-General of India has now. Men might sell and buy as they pleased, and the intolerable strictness of Dutch colonial rule was abated. Whatever Dutch patriotism might say, the English with their money were no doubt very welcome at first, and especially at or in the neighbourhood of Capetown. We are told that Lord Caledon, who was the first regular Governor after the return of the English, was very popular. But troubles soon came, and we at once hear the dreaded name of Kafir.*

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In 1811 the Dutch Boers had stretched themselves as far east as the country round Graff Reynet, for which I must

*The first record we have of the Kafirs refers to the years 1683-84, when we are told the Dutch were attacked by the Kafirs, who, however, quickly ran away before the firearms of the strangers.

refer my reader to the map. Between the Dutch and the Kafirs a neutral district had been established in the vain hope of maintaining limits. Over this district the Kafirs came plundering,-no doubt thinking that they were exercising themselves in the legitimate and patriotic defence of their own land. The Dutch inhabitants of course called for Government aid, and such aid was forthcoming. An officer sent to report on the matter recommended that all the Kafirs should be expelled from the Colony, and that the district called the Zuurveld,-a district which by treaty had been left to the Kafirs,-should be divided among white farmers. "This," says the chronicler, "was hardly in accordance with the agreement with Ngquika, but necessity has no law." The man whose name has thus been imperfectly reduced to letters was the Kafir chieftain of that ilk, and is the same as the word Gaika now used for a tribe of British subjects. Necessity we all know has no law. But what is necessity? A man must die. A man, generally, must work or go to the wall. But need a man establish himself as a farmer on another man's land? The reader will understand that I do not deny the necessity;-but that I feel myself to be arrested when I hear it asserted as sufficient


The Dutch never raised a question as to the necessity. The English have in latter days continually raised the question, but have so acted that they have been able to argue as sufferers while they have been the aggressors. On this occasion the necessity was allowed. A force was sent, and a gallant Dutch magistrate, one Stockenstroom, who trusted

himself among the Kafirs, was, with his followers, murdered by them. Then came the first Kafir war. We are told that no quarter was given by the white men, no prisoners taken;—that all were slaughtered, till the people were driven backwards and eastwards across the Great Fish river. This, the first Kafr war, took place in 1811.

The next and quickly succeeding trouble was of another kind. There have been the two great troubles;-the contests between the white men and the savages, and then the contests between the settled colonists and those who have


ever been seceding or "trekking" backwards from the settlements. These latter have been generally, though by no means exclusively, Dutchmen; and it is of them we speak when we talk of the South African up-country Boers. These men, among other habits of their time, had of course been used to slavery; and though the slavery of the Colony had never been of its nature cruel, it had of course been open to cruelty. Laws were made for the protection of slaves, and these laws were unpalatable to the Boer who wished to live in what he called freedom,-" to do what he liked with his own," according to the Duke of Newcastle,"to do what he dam pleased," as the American of the South used to say. A certain Dutchman named Bezuidenhout refused to obey the law, and hence there arose a fight between a party of Dutch who swore that they would die to a man rather than submit, and the armed British authorities. The originator of the rebellion was shot down. The Dutch invited the Kafirs to join them; but the Kafir chief declared that as sparks were flying about, he would like to

wait and see which way the wind blew. But the battle went on, and of course the rebels were beaten. There then followed an act of justice combined with vengeance. The leaders were tried and six men were condemned to be hanged. That may have been right;-but their friends and relatives were condemned to see them executed. That must have been wrong, and in the result was most unfortunate. Five of the six were hanged,-while thirty others had to stand by and see. The place of execution was called Slagter's Nek, a name long remembered by the retreating Dutch Boers. But they, were hanged,-not simply once, but twice over. The apparatus, overweighted with the number, broke down when the poor wretches dropped from the platform. They were half killed by the ropes, but gradually struggled back to life. Then there arose prayers that they might now at least be spared ;-and force was attempted, but in vain. The British officer had to see that they were hanged, and hanged they were a second time, after the interval of many hours spent in constructing a second gallows. They were all Dutchmen, and the Dutch implacable Boer has said ever since that he cannot forget Slagter's Nek. It was the followers and friends of these men who trekked away northwards and eastwards till after many a bloody battle with the natives they at last came to Natal.

From this time the Colony went on with a repetition of those two troubles,-war with the Kafirs and disturbances with other native races, and an ever-increasing disposition on the part of the European Colonists to go backwards so that they might live after their own fashion and not be

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