Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

ARMING THE NATIVES. 229

But of all the acts of the new Government, the most sinister was the attempt to raise a Kafir army to maintain Sir Theophilus Shepstone's then failing influence, and to continue the Southey policy of coercing by native force the white colonists.

A very few extracts from the Blue-books will put this matter in a way to be understood by everybody.,

Blue-book 2079 C.
Administrator Sir T. SHEPSTONE to the EARL of CARNARvoN.

UTRECHT, January 24, 1878.

Extract.—“I authorised Captain Clarke, R.A., to proceed to Natal, and to endeavour, after having obtained the permission of that Government, to raise 200 men from the Natal native population.

“As I could not dispense with Captain Clarke's services, . . . Mr Lewellyn Lloyd was appointed Lieutenant, and directed to carry out that service.

“Mr Lloyd marched his men to this place in very good order, and after providing them here with the necessary arms and accoutrements, I have placed them under Captain Clarke, and had them marched to Lydenberg, where the presence of some force, however small, in the neighbourhood of Secocoeni and other chiefs thereabouts, has been becoming daily more and more necessary.”

(Enclosure in No. 61.)

MEMORANDUM by Captain CLARKE on the proposal to form an armed police force (native) for service in the Transvaal.

Extract.—“The Zulus have conquered, or at least defeated, every native race with which they have come in contact.

“Captains should receive £350, the subalterns, £250 per annum. The officers should be mounted, and, in addition to their pay, should get £50 a-year as horse allowance.”

(Enclosure in No. 67.)
Lieutenant-General CUNYNGHAME to Sir BARTLE FRERE.

February 10, 1878.

Extract.—“1. I have read with much interest the letters of H.E. Sir T. Shepstone upon the proposition to raise a police force for the use of the Government of the Transvaal, composed of Zulus from the colony of Natal.

“2. His proposition appears to me to embrace the foundation of a native army, and is one, therefore, of the most serious import and consideration.”

These extracts are important in many ways, but the General's remarks are of immense interest, in view of the horrid policy by which the Colonial Government had allowed itself to be guided—setting black against white.

The immediate result of the Zulu police invasion of the Transvaal, was to convince the Boers that Government meant to override all law. Now the Boers ask if any of this Kafir army, or all of them, were brought to trial for the massacre at Masselleroom's Hill, on April 5th, how would their case stand before an impartial judge and an honest jury, as they were neither embodied nor authorised by any existing law of the State?

The English Parliament did not order them to be raised, neither did the Boer Wolksraad. The colonists from one end of Africa to the other, would resist to the utmost the unchecked levying of armed forces by governors without legislative consent; but they would still more fiercely resist the “arming of the blacks.”

This affair has alarmed the Boers. It directly caused the second outbreak of Secocoeni. People on the Diamond Fields once thought that the raising and arming of any force of coloured men, not directly authorised by law, would justify the deprivation of any governor of his power. What would our forefathers have thought?

CHAPTER XVI.

DISTINGUISHED WISITORS.

Two pleasant gentlemen—A Landdrost's cottage—A South African dinnerparty—General Sir A. T. Cunynghame, K.C.B.-A border banquet— Captain Carrington.

THE annexation brought us very few visitors; for, whilst numbers of people rushed into the country, thronging to Pretoria in the eager hope of picking up a few shillings, or at least of securing some Government job or employment, few men of any weight in the colonies or the empire seemed to care for or even to know anything about Lydenberg—the new and perhaps costly plaything which amateur South African statesmen had invested in. In Lydenberg during the first twelvemonth after the 12th April 1877, we had but five visitors from the great world outside of us. Putting them chronologically, these were Captain Warren, R.E., now Colonel C.B., Administrator of Griqualand West—commonly called “Palestine Warren”—who arrived with Major Ravenscroft, the latter en route from the Diamond Fields overland to Delagoa Bay, whence he intended to proceed to Ceylon to assume office as Colonial Treasurer; Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Cunynghame, K.C.B., with his aide-de-camp, the Hon. Captain Coghill; and Mr Paul Henwood, with his partner, were the most important personages, and almost the only ones, that visited our out-of-theway corner of the world. A travelling inspector for the Standard Bank once looked in on us, and actually stayed three weeks. Sir Theophilus Shepstone and the judge, with their respective satellites, payed us necessary official visits; but these were short, and by no means satisfactory, save to litigants, who had every reason to be pleased with the judge's urbanity and decision—and to the Kafirs, who succeeded in getting the better of the great Sompseu. Warren and Ravenscroft were the first arrivals; and as Captain Clarke was absent in Kafirland, the regular inhabitants and older rulers of the district had the pleasure of entertaining them in the old and rudely primitive though thoroughly hospitable manner peculiar to the country. They arrived by post-cart, having seen the country in winter in its own naked and unadorned ugliness. The author, having had the pleasure of making Major Ravenscroft's acquaintance in Griqualand West, was the means of introducing him and his companions to the legitimate local dignitary. As the travellers meant to push on at once through the low country, there was no time for elaborate hospitalities. They spread out their blankets and baggage on the brick floor of an empty room in the old-town barrack, and with true travellers' nonchalance and indifference, prepared themselves for “roughing it” in lodgings of the real filibuster type. Asked to dinner, and offered accommodation at halfa-dozen houses, they accepted the former invitation, but declined the latter. On the night of their arrival I met them at the Landdrost's; and as a sketch of the evening, with its circumstances and surroundings, and how we passed it, will do more to enlighten the reader as to the real life and habits of the country than pages of elaborate description, I shall venture to lay bare for inspection a South African interior. It must be remembered that Mr Roth was not only Landdrost of Lydenberg—one of the largest and most important districts in the Republic—but was also special commissioner over the Gold Fields and other special communities within his province, which is as large as Scotland. He was not only chief magistrate, but taxing officer, orphan master, custos rotulorum, president of the school board, registrar of deeds, commissioner of police, and at times even commandant-general. Under him, to rule the whole country, he had but a clerk, who acted as public prosecutor and official factotum, a sub-sheriff, and a jailor,

A LANDDROST'S FIRESIDE. 233

whose collective salaries barely amounted to £500 per annum. Add to these two black constables, and you have a full view of Mr Roth's official staff as Landdrost. Amongst these few men were divided the responsibilities of magazinekeeper, coroner, civil engineer, and hosts of other little offices, for not one of which a salary was allowed, although many duties, small but troublesome, were attached to them. In consequence of the accidental existence of the New Caledonia Gold Fields, Roth had to be assisted in that locality by an acting gold commissioner, who had also under him a couple of clerks (one of whom prosecuted), a deputy sub-sheriff (acting also as collector of rates and licences), and a jailor, whose house of detention resembled nothing on earth so much as a very large wicker-crate thatched and daubed with mud. On the New Scotland border, eighty miles to the south, Mr Bell—since treacherously murdered by the Kafirs—filled the offices of justice of the peace and native commissioner, the latter of which carried a salary, but was only a newly-created post, 'instituted by the Republican Government of the Transvaal as a mark of special favour and esteem for the gentleman on whom it was conferred. Mr Bell was a native of Scotland and manager of a Scots land company.

It will thus be seen at a glance that Mr Roth was properly not only a magistrate, but “the magistrate,” lordlieutenant, and only great man of the district under the Republican rule. At 3 P.M. we walked down the long unbuilt street, hedged in by pretty rose-trees instead of houses and railings, to the little abode—it would be best called cottage—where our host resided. Its walls were but ten feet high. It contained three rooms and a kitchen, had three windows and two doors, the timber of which was painted green. It was thatched, and of course whitewashed. The approach to it was utterly unpretending. A slab of grey rock formed a little bridge over one of the town watercourses that ran past the door. Another step, leading across a narrow path, brought one clear into the house, accessible through a half-door that looked more than half Irish. Inside, the parlour, dining-room, sitting-room—call it what you will, for it was all one—was furnished as neatly as the circum

« AnteriorContinuar »