Many circumstances combine at the present period
to encourage the cheering belief that He, whose ear never closes to the cry
suffering, is coming forth to manifest his effectual compassion on behalf of
oppressed Hottentots; the now almost portionless inhabitants of
a fertail country once their own. Friends, both at home and
abroad, are actively espousing their cause, pointing to the manifold wrongs
which they have
suffered, vindicating and recommending their equitable claims on the righteous
feeling of the British nation. Among the efforts now made to rescue this injured race of men from
their deplorable condition, those of the Lieut. Governor, on the Eastern Frontier of
the Colony, appear peculiarly prominent, and eminently tend to inspire encouragement
and hope. The means whcih are requisite to promote this truly
valuable work, contemplating as it does the moral and religious advancement
of the Hottentots, as well as their social elecation, are specially marked
out in the two following communications; the first from Rev. J. Monro, of
Graham's Town, describing chiefly the auspicious opening for
Missionary exertion, which has been created by the liberal measures of the Liet.
Governor; the second, from the Rev. Dr. Philip, the
Rev. James Read, and the Chief Tzatzoe, unitedly
0002 For January, 1838. 7 transmitted from the schip in which they have recently embarked, and, as it will be seen, more particularly referring to the immediate wants of the several Hottentot families who have removed to their new cantonments on the Gread Fish River and appealing for aid to the generous sympathies of all who may feel disposed to assist in a project so replete with interest and importance as that to which attention is now invited. In July last, Mr. Monro thus writes to the Foreign Secretary:—
In order to give you as clear a statement as possible, respecting the Hottentot settlement along the banks of the Gread Fish River, I intimated my intention to his honour the Lieut. Governor of visiting them in person; and having received his cordial approbation, I proceeded on the 11th inst. to Caffre Drift, and arrived there on the 13th.
The party were delighted to see me, and were loud in their praises of the privliges which they posessed in arable land, garden ground, &c., &c., The men here, as at all the settlements, receive rations from Government, and the women and children collect roots. The men likewise go hunting, some of them to the river in which there are numerous hippopotami, and some to the bush, where the bufaloes graze in heards; but there is sufficient land for several hundred families. This is a good place for a Missionary station, and from its proximity to the Caffres, a congregation might, in time, be collected on the other side of the river; thus forming a field of Missionary exertion of a very encouraging nature, and as far as we are able to judge, with every prospect of usefulness and success.
From Caffre Drift we advanced up the river to Trompettor's Drift, and proceeded then to the
Here the whole party were busy erecting their habitations. This place far exceeds in natural beauty any spot that I have seen along the whole course of the river, from the Caffre Drift up to the junction of the Kat River with the Fish River; but it affords little opportunity to the settlers for the display of industry in the cultivation of land. Between their dwellings and the river, 50 paces is the extreme extent of what they call their garden ground, and there is no other spot, either above or below the site of their village, which presents more encouraging appearance. Here there are 18 families, consisting of about 70 individuals, and several families are on their way to join them.
Lowe's party is located a few miles lower down the river, in a similar situation.
From Trompettor's Drift I continued my route up the river, passing Committy's Drift, now occupied as the chief military fort on the fronteir instead of Fort Welshire and Double Drift. Above the last mentioned, Klaas's party is located at the junction of the Kat River and the Fish River. There are more than 50 families here. Their greatest want, as they say themselves, is to have a Missionary who will teach their children, as well as preach to them, and advise with them in their several plans and operations.
The site which they have chosen for a village is pleasantly situated. Fronting their houses there is an island of considerable extent, which they intend to enclose immediately, subdiving the same into patches, varying in size, according to the wants and means of the several familites.
This is certainly the most interesting settlement yet formed, and a Missionary* would find sufficient work here, independent of the other settlements lower down the river; but if schoolmasters are sent to this place and to Trompettor's and Caffre Drifts, the Missionary may then itinerate among all of them, and a fine field it certainly is.
During my journey I conducted Divine service twenty-three times in ten days, and all our meetings were accompanied by prayer. I enjoyed it very much, and found that in watering others I was much refreshed myself. May the Lord bless the settlers, and send them a Missionary and teachers who will prove a blessing to them! Much depends on an immediate supply being afforded, and I trust the Directors will kindly, and without delay, consider their case and send them the bread of life.
I remain, Rev. Sir, yours and the
Director's devoted servant,
The other letter referred to is as follows:—
The Downs, 24th Nov. 1837.
Dear Sir,—It is known that the first idea of locating the Hottentots on the Kat River originated with the Lieut. Governor Stockenstrom, and what he is now doing for
the Hottentots of the Great Fish River is the extension only of his original plan. He considers that the Hottentots deprived of their country have strong claims on the Government, for any unoccupied lands it might have to dispose of; and in giving them the lands that have been assigned them, he has (in connexion with the good of the Hottentots,) consulted the interests of the colony, the security of the fronteirs and the future well-being of the Caffres. The plan now pursued by the Lieut. Governor was recommended by the Crown Commissioner of the Inquiry in the reports to the Home Government, and perhaps it would have been well for the Colony had it been carried into effect at that period. The Kat River settlement and the protection of the Griquas have rendered to the Colony and to the tribes beyond them, show the great advantage to be derived from having tribes of civilised men of colour between the white Colonists and the barbarous tribes beyond the Colony. The heart of the Lieut. Governor is now set upon the completion of this plan, in which he will, we doubt not, be ably secconded by his Excellency, Major General Napier; but he feels great difficulties in carrying it to the full extend he contemplated, owing to the great poverty of the people. The Hottentots located on the Kat River had no assistance from Government, nor from any other quarter; but the banks of the Kat River were and are more favourable to the furtherance of such a scheme than the banks of the Dish River. Besides, a number of the first settlers on the Kat River had something of their own to begin with, and those who had any thing of their own assisted their poorer neighbours. On the contrary, those that are permitted to locate themselves on the Fish River belong to that class of Hottentots who have had the least protection, and who stand in need of every thing. They are without herds and flocks, without clothing, or the commonest agricultural tools.
In a letter to a friend, the Lieut. Governor remarks:—"My plan cannot succeed without Missionaries and schoolmasters, and means to put the people in possession of a few sheep and goats, seed corn, and agricultural instruments," and for these he looks to the friends of religion and humanity in England, and we hope he will not look in vain for the assistance required. This appeal to the sympathies of the friends of the colonial races in England, will be the more readily responded to, when it is known that the Lieut. Governor has generously advanced 3000 dollars out of his own pocket, to purchase for the settlers a small quantity of stock; but, as the people are flocking to the new locations, all that the most generous individual can furnish out of his private means will go but a little way to supply their necessities.
We regret at this moment that we could not have remained a little time longer in England, to have made our appeals in person on behalf of this people; but we feel confident that the appeal we have left behind, as embraced in the preceeding statements, will not be unheeded by the generous friends of Africa in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and other parts of England. Clothing is an article the new settlers stand much in need of; agricultural tools are particularly wanted, or money wherewith to purchase them. Sheep, and goats, and the few cattle which are needed, can be purchased in the colony. Regular accounts will be given of the application of all the money intrusted to our care. Leaving this appeal to the generous consideration of the numerous friends of the Hottentot race in the United Kingdom,
We are, dear Sir, yours very truly,
P.S. As to the kind of agricultural implements that would be useful to the Hottentots in the circumstances above referred to, although good strong English ploughs would be exceedingly useful, yet, in the first instance, the following are essentially necessary, viz. spades, pickaxes, axes, (felling and hewing,) hatchets; and then for building, such as saws, pit, cross-cut, and hand saws, gimlets, chisels, adzes, drawing knives, woodrasps, hinges for doors, and window-shutters, nails (a great quantity) of different sorts and sizes, hammers, hand and carpenters'.
[Donations of the articles above specified or of money for the purchase of the same forwarded to the Secretaries at the Mission House, will be gratefully received and transmitted to South Africa by the earliest opportunity.]