Images de page
PDF
ePub

"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,

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,

a

on the other hand, seems to me to ignore the fact, 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

existence. In respect to them I can not do more than express an opinion of my own,-more or less crude as it must necessarily be.

CHAPTER II.

Early Dutch History.

OUR possessions in South Africa, like many of our other Colonial territories, were taken by us from others who did the first rough work of discovering and occupying the land. As we got Canada from the French, Jamaica from the Spaniards, and Ceylon from the Dutch, so did we take the Cape of Good Hope from the latter people. In Australia and New Zealand we were the pioneers, and very hard work we found it. So also was it in Massachusetts and Virginia, which have now, happily, passed away from us. But in South Africa the Dutch were the first to deal with the Hottentots and Bushmen; and their task was nearly as hard as that which fell to the lot of Englishmen when they first landed on the coast of Australia with a cargo of convicts.

The Portuguese indeed came before the Dutch, but they only came, and did not stay. The Cape, as far as we know, was first doubled by Bartholomew Diaz in 1486. He, and some of the mariners with him, called it the Cape of Torments, or Capo Tormentoso, from the miseries they endured. The more comfortable name which it now bears was given to it by King John of Portugal, as being the new way discovered by his subjects to the glorious Indies. Diaz, it seems never in truth saw the Cape but carried past it to Algoa Bay where he merely landed on an island and put up a cross. But he certainly was one of the great naval heroes of the world and deserves to be ranked with Columbus. Vasco da Gama, another

« PrécédentContinuer »