Billeder på siden

tleman who sat in the distant window, conning over the bill of fare for the dinner, which he had written in the morning, and cataloguing the contents of the basket as he successively took them out. These intercalary soliloquisings we shall distinguish by placing them in brackets.

"I can assure you, Miss Gibbons, that I feel the awkwardness of my situation in thus abruptly—indeed, I am quite overcome—I want courage to-"

("What comes first? La! I'm glad to see this. The dog wants a bit of pluck. I'll put this paper aside for him.")

"From our short conversation before you came in I know already what I shall find in your worthy father."

("A calf's head at top.")

"He seems to be a truly estimable and friendly man."

("And a goose at bottom.")

"What I was as a boy, he will doubtless have already told you." ("A little pickle.")

"And, on the other hand, I know what you were as a child." ("A nice little chicken.")

"With an excellent heart."

("And a very fine liver and gizzard. La! here's a rabbit, too.") "Should I be fortunate enough to become one of your family-" ("We'll have him smothered in onions, that's what we will, won't we, Susan, dear?")

"Established in such a respectable business as ours, I need hardly assure you that my views are perfectly disinterested." ("A bit of gammon.")

"I have not made any ("That's the cheese!")

allusion to

your fortune."

Upon that subject I can confer with your good father."

("Where's the mint for sauce? Nobody takes lamb without mint sauce. Oh, there it is. Well, you do know how to go to market. How funny!")

"Pray do not imagine that in seeking your hand it is my object to


("A hand of pork, a pound of sausages, a bottle of soy, three lemons, two pieces of Windsor soap, aud a box of lucifer matches. Goodness me ! what a head Susan has; never forgets any thing, and I never remember any thing. But I've settled all my dinner, except the dessert. A cake to be done brown, and afterwards cut up, that's my dessert; and so I'll leave the lovers to themselves, and carry the basket into the kitchen.")




"I used the words 'irreclaimable savages' advisedly; they convey my mature opinion, and I am neither disposed to modify nor to retract it."-From Sir Benjamin D'Urban's Despatch to Lord Glenelg, dated Cape Town, June 9, 1836.

THE Conclusion of the last chapter brought the reader to the period, when, in 1795, the colony of the Cape of Good Hope fell into our possession.

Sir James Craig, the first English governor, was in 1797, succeeded in that office by Lord Macartney, who, finding the Eastern Province still exposed to the insults of the Kaffirs, and consequently in the same disorganised condition as heretofore-his secretary, Mr. Barrow, was despatched thither for the purpose of investigating the state of affairs, and coming, if possible, to some sort of arrangement with the Kaffir chiefs as to their future relations with the colony.

The result of this mission was the re-establishment of some kind of order amongst the frontier Boers, and the promise on the part of the Kaffirs to retire within their own boundary beyond the great Fish River; their usual excuse of the fear of Gaïka, being obviated by the successful mediation of the British commissioner.

The eastern frontier was found to be in the same disordered state, in which it had been left at the conclusion of the peace of 1794; being now in the exclusive occupation of the Kaffirs, who made it the starting point for fresh encroachments, which they had carried to such an extent, that some of their plundering parties had even penetrated as far west as the neighbourhood of Swellendam.

In consequence of this state of things, the Zuureveld had been entirely abandoned by the colonists; a "circumstance, no doubt, that induced the Kaffirs once more to transgress the fixed boundary. So long as they remained in small numbers in these forsaken parts, and during the confusion in the affairs of Graaf Reynet, little notice had been taken of their encroachments; but of late they had poured over in such multitudes, and had made such rapid advances towards the interior and inhabited parts of the district, levying at the same time, contributions of oxen and sheep on those colonists, whose habitations they approached in their passage through the country, that the affair was become seriously alarming."

Mr. Barrow took advantage of his mission to form a treaty of alliance with Gaika; one of the stipulations of which was, that no Kaffir should pass the boundary of the Great Fish River; but notwithstanding this agreement, and the promise above adverted to, to evacuate the Zuureveld, the Kaffirs immediately afterwards renewed their depredation,

* See Barrow's Travels, vol. i., p. 112.


with redoubled audacity, and Congo, the chief of the Genookaquas, advanced to the Sunday River, where he formed a connexion with the Ghonaquas, and many vagabond Hottentots, and thus strengthened, not only refused to retire, but treated with the greatest insolence the messengers sent to that effect.

Shortly afterwards, the Boers-uncontrolled by the presence of any British troops, as well as unprotected from their savage neighbours, rose into open rebellion against the English government; and this unsatisfactory state of things induced General Dundas (the successor of Lord Macartney in command at the Cape) to despatch in 1799, a considerable force, under General Vandeleur, to the Eastern Frontier.

This force, consisting of some English infantry, part of the 8th Dragoons, and a body of disciplined Hottentots, since known as the "Cape Corps," soon reduced the Boers to a state of submission. Far different however, was their success with the Kaffirs. An interview having been obtained with Congo, he of course engaged to retire with his followers beyond the colonial border; but experience had not then taught us duly to appreciate the dependence to be placed on Kaffir faith, and Kaffir promises. General Vandeleur, thrown off his guard, and deeming himself at peace with these savages, was treacherously attacked by them near the Bushman's River, and however this contest with the Kaffirs, may-as in many subsequent similar instances-be attempted to be glossed over, it ended in neither more or less than our defeat. The British force was obliged to retire on Algoa Bay; in so doing, a detachment of the 81st Regiment, under Lieutenant Chumney, was, including that officer, cut off nearly to a man. General Dundas now came in person to the frontier, and filled our cup of humiliation and disgrace to the very brim, by patching up a peace as it was called," with these barbarians, "and then quietly returned to the seat of government at the Cape."+ Such was the result of our first collision with the Kaffirs! It commenced with treachery on their part, it ended with defeat and disgrace

on ours!

[ocr errors]

These events happened half a century ago-during this long period there is scarcely another portion of the globe which has not been marked by British valour and British wisdom; the former insuring victory to our fleets and armies, the latter securing the oft hard-earned advantages obtained by both. Kaffirland alone, with its barbarous hordes, has during that time been the only permanent defacing blot on our bright escutcheon; and if, in the repeated contests provoked by the aggressions of these savages, the British lion has not been always bearded by the Kaffir wolf, the few transient successes of our arms against these savages have never terminated in beneficial results; for even when beaten in the field, strange to say, they have through our own folly, backed by their everrecurring duplicity, always worsted us in the "cabinet!"

But to return from this digression and resume the course of my narrative:

On the conclusion of the "treaty of peace" entered into by General

The Ghonaqua was a mixed race of Kaflirs and Hottentots. The Genookaquas of Congo might, from their appellation, be supposed to have a similar origin; but Colonel Collins, who makes particular mention of this tribe, states that he could not ascertain the source of its denomination.

†See Col. Collins' Official Report.

Dundas, a block house was erected at Algoa Bay,* which was garrisoned by a small detachment, but the rest of the troops were all immediately withdrawn from the Eastern Province.

The Kaffirs only awaited this movement as a signal for their renewed depredations, which were then carried on with the most relentless barbarity, chiefly by the tribes of Congo, of Olela, and Habana, who were subsequently joined by T Slambie and his followers; and in their career of murder, plunder, and incendiarism, they were backed and ably abetted by hordes of Hottentot banditti, led on by brigand chiefs, such as the Stuurmans, Boosac, and other adventurers of the same stamp and description.†

Meanwhile the remonstrances of the farmers were not only disregarded, but they were even threatened with the severest penalties should they presume to leave their habitations; however, such was the state of insecurity of life and property, that in spite of these prohibitions, nearly the whole of the Zuureveld was again abandoned, and its inhabitants reduced to despair, rose up in arms against the government, to whose neglect they attributed all their misfortunes, and whose supineness and weak measures had then, as they have often since done, most undoubtedly encouraged the barbarians in their wanton aggressions.

Mr. Maynier, the Landdroost of Graaf-Reynet, whose misrepresentations had greatly influenced the conduct of the British government in all their recent transactions, and who still advocated conciliatory measures towards the Kaffirs, was at first placed in charge of a "commando" against the marauders, but was shortly superseded by a gallant Burgher of the name of Van der Walt, who seems to have been well qualified for the trust. This commando consisted of such of the farmers as had not joined the disaffected, and Van der Walt advanced against the united Kaffirs and Hottentots, with such promptitude and energy, that he inspired confidence in his own people, and struck their opponents with terror. The Kaffir chiefs held a council of war, and were on the point of retiring, when the commandant was suddenly called away to the neighbourhood of the Camtoos River, where the Hottentots were causing great disturbances-in quelling which he met with his death from a musket-ball, whilst penetrating a dense thicket, and the colony thus lost the valuable services of a most energetic and able man. ‡

The death of Van der Walt appears to have been the signal for the dispersion of the commando assembled under his orders, and the enemy meeting with little opposition, soon scoured the country with impunity in every direction; whilst one party under David Stuurman, the Hottentot leader, penetrated as far as Plattenberg Bay, in the district of George, where they fell in with a large party of farmers with their families, who abandoning these scenes of rapine and murder, were proceeding towards the Cape; these poor people were mercilessly put to death, but their wives and children, "contrary," says Colonel Collins, "to their practice on some other occasions," were sent away uninjured.

See Barrow, vol. ii. p. 86.

+ The losses of the colonists in the year 1802, are stated as amounting to 858 horses, 4475 oxen, 35,474 cows and calves, 34,023 sheep, and 2480 goats.-See "Lichtenstein's Travels," pp. 302, 382.

See "Colonel Collins' Official Report, 1809."

Such was the state of the colony when the treaty of Amiens restored it, in 1803, to the Dutch, but ere it was taken possession of by them, General Dundas deemed it necessary to conclude a second humiliating treaty with the Kaffirs. "This was done upon no other condition than that each party should retain possession of the cattle that had fallen into their respective hands," which, of course, was tantamount to purchasing a peace of these barbarians, with the spoils of the colony, and this disgraceful arrangement, entered into by a British official, was afterwards confirmed by the Batavian government.

Most truly has it been observed, that all our relations with the Kaffirs have been from first to last, a series of military and political blunders!

A strange fatality, an injudicious choice of men and measures, want of success to our arms, followed by humiliating treaties, have usually attended our warlike and political transactions with these barbarians, who -from the times of Vandeleur and Dundas, to those of Maitland and Pottinger-have, with but few exceptions, ever baffled our generals, outwitted our statesmen; in short, as has been before remarked, generally defeated us both in the field and the cabinet!

May the spell at last be broken! may the gallant soldier now in command at the Cape of Good Hope, be left to deal with these savages according to the dictates of his own judgment and experience! for if unshackled by those bonds, the result of misrepresentation, faction, and calumny, most assuredly will he dissipate that ominous fatality, restore the tarnished lustre of the British arms, and amply repair the errors of his predecessors, or rather under those instructions under which they were obliged to act.*

On the evacuation of the Cape of Good Hope by the English, General Janssens was appointed by Holland to the chief command of that colony. As soon as the state of affairs would admit of his absence from the seat of government, he proceeded to the Eastern frontier, and not content with confirming the ill-advised treaty concluded with the Kaffirs by General Dundas, he, with most unaccountable fatuity, not only conferred marks of approbation on the Hottentot rebel and brigand, Klaas Stuurman (who by his alliance and co-operation with the Kaffirs had been the cause of so much mischief to the colony), but in a manner acknowledged his independence, and made him a grant of land on the little Camtoos River, near the spot where only a year before, the gallant Van der Walt had been killed by the followers of this ruffian, the recital of whose atrocities would, to use the words of Colonel Collins, "render these sheets too voluminous and too disgusting."

Klaas Stuurman was not, however, long destined to enjoy the fruits of his crimes, and of the weakness of the Dutch government, for he was shortly after killed by his brother David, who became the nucleus around which now assembled every vagabond from the western parts of the colony. He likewise increased his force by the addition of Kaffirs and Ghonaquas, and then formed an alliance with Congo, whom he was about

The above was written ere intelligence of the submission of the Kaffir chiefs to Sir Harry Smith had reached England.-Author's Note.

« ForrigeFortsæt »