“The Hottentot Rebellion”

BIPOC Voices in the Victorian Periodical Press

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"The subjoined documents have been received from the sovereignty:—


"'Philippolis, August 27, 1851.

"'The British Resident, Bloem Fontein.

"'SIR,—I enclose for your perusal a copy of a letter recently arrived from Willem Uithaalder. This is the first communication I have received from Hottentots in the colony since the commencement of the rebellion, and I feel it my duty at once to inform you of it. This will possible prevent any reports reaching you prejudicial to myself and people; for I know that we have many enemies, who wish to represent us as being leagued with the rebel Hottentots in the colony.

"'With the letter, a copy of which I now send, came also two brief notes, requesting me to communicate to Moshesh and Pretorius the substance of the letter addressed to me. There was also sent a copy (in English) of a despatch from Major-General Somerset to His Excellency Sir Harry Smith, dated 28th February, 1851, relative to the operations of the former officer in the Kat River Settlement. This copy of despatch is headed by a note in English, of which the following is a copy:—

"'"The following is an extract of a report published in the Graham's Town Journal, dated Saturday, March 15, 1851, of Major-General Somerset's proceedings in the Kat River Settlement, on the 25th of February, 1851, and forwarded to His Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir H. G. Smith, Bart., G. C. B., which I deem highly important for your information."

"'This copy of despatch, and other notes, are signed by G. Erasmus, Secretary.

"'I also enclose a copy of an answer which I have written, but not yet forwarded to Uithaalder. In fact, I do not know by what channel to send it. I do not wish to have any direct or private communication with Uithaalder. Perhaps, if I were to send the letter to your care, you might get it conveyed to him by some official channel. Let me know if this will be agreeable to you.

"'I have the honour to be, sir,

"'Your obedient servant,

"'(Signed)      ADAM KOK.'



"'Amatola, June 11, 1851.

"'Messrs. Adam Kok and H. Hendriks.

"'MUCH RESPECTED SIRS,—As we, the poor oppressed Hottentot race, are the objects of the war at present carried on here, and having for a considerable time been oppressed by the unjust English settlers, who have been continually memorializing the Government to consent to, and carry into effect, unrighteous and oppressive laws, such as vagrant laws, tending to sink and ruin the colored and poor people of this country,—a country which we, as natives, may justly claim as our mother country,—it is my object and design, as I deem it to be my duty, in writing to you by the opportunity to inform you all, who are obligated as a nation and family of one race (though there has been long delay or neglect) that the war that now prevails here is declared against us Hottentots, because we defend ourselves against the abovementioned laws, or will not allow them to be passed. It is, therefore, my earnest desire and request (being appointed by the poor and ruined people of my nation, to represent to you their pitiable condition), to hear your views respecting that case, as a nation that ought to support and to sympathize with one another, and also to know what your plans and intentions are, as the chief part of our nations; and I am earnestly requested to entreat you to favour them with an answer as soon as possible.

"'We have now been busy with this war for five months, and consequently have suffered many losses of life and property, and we are very sorry that we had no opportunity of acquainting you with this matter sooner, for the outbreak of the war having come upon us quite unexpectedly, exposed us to great danger, and is the cause that many of our people are still among the settlers, and that we are obliged, for the sake of greater security, to join the Kaffirs of Sandilli, Makomo, Botman, and others; for they are also on our side.

"'Dear friends, rise manfully and unanimously as a nation, and as the children of one family, to take a part in this important work,—a work which concerns your mother-country and your liberty; for not one of the coloured people, who or wherever he may be, will escape that law. Trust, therefore, in the Lord, (whose character is known to be opposed to all injustice), and enter upon you work and he will prosper us. Work for your native country and your freedom; for now is the time, yes, the appointed time, and no other.

"'Kat River, our home, and the refuge of all the poor, is entirely ruined and burnt,—Shiloh, or Klipplaats, likewise. We are at present in the Amatola, and the people of Shiloh in the Zuurberg.

"'I am, your obedient servant,

"'(Signed)      WILLEM UITHAALDER.

"'P.S.—We have entirely excluded the English Government in our present war, because the Government is not to blame for the war; and we learn that Government has hitherto kept aloof, and afforded no assistance to the settlers in carrying it on. We, that is the Kaffirs and ourselves, leave the Government out till we see further. I am also instructed to request you to communicate this circumstance as soon as possible, by means of a deputation, to the much respected Mr. Waterboer, as a part of our nation. Assistance in every way is highly necessary. The esteemed Mr. Walstrom, whom I have requested to be the means of handing this letter to you, will also have the goodness to relate to you every circumstance connected with this.

"'Your obedient servant,

"'(Signed)      WILLEM UITHAALDER.'


"'Philippolis, 27th August, 1851.

"'To Mr. Willem Uithaalder.

"'SIR,—I have received your letter of the 11th June, and in reply thereto, I must freely and candidly tell you my opinion.

"'My heart is very much grieved on account of the present condition of many of the Hottentots in the colony. I am sorry that they have taken such a wrong step. I have not the slightest sympathy with you in that rebellion. Instead of regarding you as the brave defenders of the freedom of the Hottentot race, I cannot view you otherwise than as the enemies of the whole coloured people of South Africa, for by your rebellion, you will create a strong prejudice in the minds of all reasonable men, against the character, the rights, and the demands of the coloured races.

"'There may possibly have been grounds of dissatisfaction among the Hottentots, but I am fully convinced that you have had no sufficient cause for taking up arms against your Government. And believe me, as a friend and well-wisher to all of you, that you have adopted wrong means for obtaining your rights. By rebellion, you will bring nothing but loss and misery upon yourselves and your posterity.

"'As far as it concerns me and my people, you must not expect the least assistance from us. We consider that we are also injured in our cause by your rebellion. We intend to manage some complaints which we have against the English Government, in an honourable and proper manner, by letters and memorials, and we entertain a strong hope that justice will be done to us.

"'If you will receive any counsel from me, I would most earnestly advise you and your companions to lay down your arms, and to ask forgiveness from your Government for the great evil you have done. Perhaps there may still be mercy for you.

"'I cannot involve myself at all in your case, and therefore must decline to send your message to Waterboer, or Pretorius, or Moshesh. But as far as it regards Waterboer, I can assure you that his sentiments entirely agree with mine, as expressed in this letter.

"'I remain, your obedient servant.

"'(Signed)      ADAM KOK.'

Digital Publication Details

Title: “The Hottentot Rebellion”

Subtitle(s): “Letter From Adam Kok to Major Warden” | “Letter From Uithaalder to Adam Kok” | “Reply of Adam Kok”

Creator(s): Anonymous; Adam Kok; Willem Uithaalder

Publication date: (1851) 2022

Digital publishers: One More Voice, COVE

Critical encoding: Trevor Bleick, Kenneth C. Crowell, Kasey Peters, Adrian S. Wisnicki

One More Voice identifier: liv_025034

Cite (Chicago Author-Date): Anonymous, Adam Kok, and Willem Uithaalder. (1851) 2022. “The Hottentot Rebellion.” Edited by Trevor Bleick, Kenneth C. Crowell, and Kasey Peters. In “BIPOC Voices,” One More Voice, solidarity edition; Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). https://onemorevoice.org/html/bipoc-voices/digital-editions-soas/liv_025034_HTML.html.

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Accessibility: One More Voice digital facsimiles approximate the textual, structural, and material features of original documents. However, because such features may reduce accessibility, each facsimile allows users to toggle such features on and off as needed.