“Minutes of Evidence” (Excerpt)

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0001 On Aborigines (British Settlements). 583
[         ]

Andrew Stoffel, called in; and Examined through the interpretation of Mr. James Read.

Andrew Stoffel.

4938. Chairman.] Are you a native of South Africa?—Yes.

4939. Do you belong to the Hottentots?—Yes.

4940. Were you one of the Kat River settlers?—Yes.

4941. Did you live for some years at Bethelsdorf before you went to the Kat River?—Yes, I lived at Bethelsdorf a long time.

4942. What is your age?—Between 50 and 60.

4943. Will you give the Committee a little outline of your life; where did you spend your early years?—We lived in the mountains till the missionaries, Vanderkemp and Read, came amongst us, then I came amongst human beings.

4944. How many years is it since you lived at Bethelsdorf?—I went to Bethelsdorf, when Dr. Vanderkemp left Graaff Reinet to come to Bethelsdorf; I then left Zuurveldt to come to the missionary station.

4945. You knew Dr. Vanderkemp?—Yes.

4946. Was he a good man?—Yes.

4947. Did he labour hard for the benefit of the Hottentots?—Yes; it was after Dr. Vanderkemp and Mr. Read came among us that we put off our skins and put on clothes.

4948. Was Dr. Vanderkemp the first missionary that came into the part of the country where you were?—Yes.

4949. Where were you living when Dr. Vanderkemp first came to Bethelsdorf?—At Sundy's River.

4950. How did you happen to hear of Dr. Vanderkemp?—A cousin of mine came to our place and told me that there were good teachers who wanted to teach us. We then went to the institution one after another, and we found the place, and I joined the institution.

4951. Were you, before you joined Dr. Vanderkemp, living in savage life, and totally uninstructed?—I was not altogether a savage, for I had been with the white people sometimes.

4952. What was the first thing that Dr. Vanderkemp taught you?—He taught us the Word of God; then he used to tell us that we must thank the English people for having sent us the Word of God.

4953. By whom was the Zuurveldt then occupied?—The Caffres, and part of the Hottentots.

4954. Were there any Dutch boors in the Zuurveldt at that time?—No.

4955. Were there many Hottentots in the Zuurveldt?—There were many in the Zuurveldt, but the Caffires were in possession of the country at the time that Dr. Vanderkemp came.

4956. There were more Caffres than Hottentots?—More Caffres than Hottentots.

4957. Were you born in the Zuurveldt?—Yes; in Zuurveldt, at the Bushman's River.

4958. Did the Caffres and the Hottentots, who were then living in the Zuurveldt, consider themselves as belonging to the European colony, or as occupying the country belonging to themselves?—They thought it was their own country.

4959. Did some part of the Hottentots in Zuurvelclt go to Bethelsdorf?—Yes.

4960. In what condition were the Hottentots when the missionaries first came among them?—There was nothing to be done with the Hottentots, they were in a bad condition at that time.

    0.22. 4 E 4 4961.   Has 0002 584 Minutes of Evidence Before Select Committee

Andrew Stoffel. 27 June 1836.

4961. Has the character and condition of the Hottentots been improved since the missionaries came among them?—Yes.

4962. In what respects have their character and condition improved?—The young people can now read and write, and we all wear clothes; many of us have learnt trades, and are altogether better men.

4963. Have they got any knowledge of agriculture?—We have ploughing, waggonmakers, and shoemakers, and other tradesmen amongst us; we can make all those things except a watch and a coach.

4964. Then you consider that the missionaries have done a great deal of good amongst the Hottentots?—Yes, they have done much good, and they have tamed the Hottentots.

4965. What is the evil that the missionaries have done to the Hottentots?—I do not know what evil the missionaries have done; but it is perhaps because they have taught them to make bats, and taught them other trades, and they have taught them to read and to write, and to use the pen.

4966. Do you consider that teaching them those things has done them good or done them mischief?—It has done them good.

4967. Have other Europeans, besides the missionaries, done much to improve the aborigines of South Africa?—Not the least.

4968. If they have done them no good, have they done them any harm?—They have done them evil, but they have not done them the least good.

4969. What evil have they done?—They have beaten them to death, and otherwise ill-treated them.

4970. Do you think that the Hottentots have been much diminished in their numbers since the Europeans went amongst them?—Yes, they are almost done; the missionaries picked up a few, and they are increasing now.

4971. Then are the Committee to understand, that where they have been left to Europeans in general, their numbers have decreased; but where they have belonged to the missionary institutions, their numbers have increased?—Yes.

4972. Do you think if they had all been treated in the same way as the missionaries treated them, that, instead of gradually decreasing, there would have been generally an increase of their numbers?—Yes, and they would have lived better and made much improvement.

4973. Can you at all state the numbers of the natives that there were in the Zuurveldt, when you first knew it, and the number of natives that there are at present?—I could not say how many there were at that time, but there were some of them who were then come from Graaff Reinet and other parts.

4974. When did you go to settle at the Kat River?—In 1829.

4975. Was that at the time that the settlement commenced?—Yes, I was with the first people who went there.

4976. What were the circumstances of the people who went to settle at the Kat River?—When we first went there we suffered much want and hunger, but we still worked and cultivated the land.

4977. Had you property when you went there?—Some had property and some had not.

4978. How did those that had no property live?—Those who had no property used the Caffre melon and the roots of the noose boom.

4979. What were the principal difficulties you had to contend with at first? When we first went into the settlement the Caffres were rather troublesome to us, and then we had to clear the ground, and to take up the mimosa trees, and cut out watercourses.

4980. On what terms did you generally live with the Caffres?—At that time there was an officer called Warden placed between us and the Caffres, and he was to see on which side the evil would originate, and when the officer was there there was general peace. He was a good man. When that officer was there, whenever the Caffres stole cattle, he would take us on the spoor, and he would follow up the spoor till he got to the kraal of the thief; but he never took cattle from the innocent Caffres.

4981. Have you often gone upon the spoor of cattle?—Yes, I always went on the spoor in Warden’s time.

4982. Have you ever lost cattle of which you could not truce the spoor?—Yes, we have often lost cattle among the thorns, and we lost the spoor, and then supposed that the Caffres had taken the cattle, but we found them again.

4983. Have you actually lost cattle and horses which you supposed the Caffres had taken, and which you afterwards discovered that the Caffres had not taken?—

Yes, 0003 On Aborigines (British Settlements). 585

Andrew Stoffel. 27 June 1836.

Yes, I lost horses, and I supposed that the Caffres had taken the horses, but I found them again.

4984. Did you see any of the Kat River settlers get more cattle than they had lost?—No; if a Caffre stole five or six head of cattle, or any other number, we would only get back the five or six head of cattle.

4985. When cattle had been stolen from the Kat River, and when you trace the spoor, to what chief did the villages generally belong where you found the cattle?—To Chusa's Caffres.

4986. Did you ever trace stolen cattle to Tyalie’s kraal?—Botha once lost an ox, and we went on the spoor of this ox, and it was traced down the mountain into Tyalie's part of the country. The Caffres wanted to pay two oxen for this ox; Mr. Warden was present; and Mr. Warden said, "No, you must only pay one fat ox, like Botha's."

4987. Was that the only instance in which you ever traced cattle to Tyalie's kraal?—Yes; from the Kat River, to my knowledge, our cattle used to go through Gaika's people to Chusa's kraal.

4988. Did you ever trace cattle to the kraals of Macomo?—Never.

4989. Or to those of Botman?—No.

4990. Have you ever been present when cattle were taken from the Caffres, though the spoor had not been traced to their villages?—No, I have not.

4991. Did the Kat River settlers feel themselves in danger when the Caffres invaded the colony?—Yes, we considered ourselves in danger, and we wanted to go up to the post; but the post was abandoned, and we could not go there.

4992. Did the Caffres make an attack upon the settlement at the commencement of the war?—Yes.

4993. How many days was it after you heard that the Caffres had invaded the colony?—Between five and six days.

4994. Was there any resistance made to the Caffres at that time?—Yes, we made resistance; we were also the first who went out against the Caffres, when Colonel Somerset came to the new post after the patrol that took place.

4995. After what patrol?—The patrol which had quarrelled with Xo-Xo.

4996. Who commanded that patrol?—There was a short officer.

4997. How old was he?—I could not say how old he is.

4998. Were the Hottentots ordered out against the Caffres as soon as hostilities were commenced by the Caffres?—An order came on Sunday, and on the same day 200 Hottentots went out.

4999. Did the people readily come forward at this crisis?—Yes, very readily.

5000. Besides those that went into Caffreland with the army, were there any that were left defending the military posts on the frontier?—Yes; but I could not say how many.

5001. How many?—About 50 men were sent to the new post to protect it.

5002. At the time you left the country had the men that joined the army been permitted to return home?—Part of them are still with the army.

5003. Do they remain willingly with the army, or would they be glad to return?—They do not stay there with their own consent, the governor has ordered them out, and many of those people have lands to cultivate, and their lands are not now cultivated.

5004. How long were you with the army?—Three months and 12 days.

5005. What pay did you receive during that time?—I got no pay.

5006. Did you receive any present from the governor—The governor made us a present of cattle; but all the men did not get cattle; those that got any got one, and some did not get any.

5007. Did the Hottentots at the Kat River suffer much loss by being compelled to join the army against the Caffres?—Yes, we lost a great deal; we lost horses and cattle.

5008. In what state were the people at the Kat River when you left them?—They are busy in repairing their houses and cleaning their water ditches.

5009. Mr. Baines.] Was not that at the time that martial law was proclaimed that you were out with the army?—Yes.

5010. Nobody had pay at that time, either the Dutch or the English, had they?—I do not know whether they got pay; they were discharged before we were; I was on the Kai.

5011. Chairman.] Were you ever present when Dr. Philip held a conversation with the Caffres about Gooby?—Yes.

    0.22. 4 F 5012.   What 0004 586 Minutes of Evidence Before Select Committee

Andrew Stoffel. 27 June 1836.

5012. What took place at that conversation?—The Caffres asked Dr. Philip how it was that a government of another country could beat the man of another country, and spoil his back for him; it was a great disgrace to a man to have his back spoiled; they could not use the man in the dancing parties. Dr. Philip said, ''I do not know anything about these things; I am not come here to hear complaints."

5013. Were you present when Dr. Philip had his last conversation with Macomo?—Yes.

5014. Are you sure that was the last conversation that Dr. Philip had with Macomo?—Yes, I am quite sure.

5015. How do you know that?—Dr. Philip then went away to the Cape.

5016. State as distinctly as you can all that took place in that conversation between Dr. Philip and the Caffres?—We were going to Graham's Town, and we outspanned in the waggon-road leading to Graham's Town by Fort Willshire. The Caffre, whose hut had been set on fire the night before, came to the waggon and asked whose waggon that was; we said it is Dr. Philip's waggon; Dr. Philip is going home. This Caffre must have gone home and told Macomo, or else I do not know how it was, but Macomo came to us to the road. But, however, Macomo came to Dr. Philip and thanked Dr. Philip for the advice he had given. Macomo said to Dr. Philip, "I have just been to a meeting at Willshire, and they tell me that they would send out a commando to drive all the Caffres beyond the river if I do not give up a certain ·number of cattle that they demand." So Dr. Philip said to Macomo, "I am not come to talk to you about commandos, but I will speak to you about the Word of God, and the schools; and that you should bear everything till the governor comes.'' Macomo said, "Do write a letter today immediately to the governor, and tell him to come as quick as he can." The doctor said, "No, if I write now the letter will not be in time, but I will write next post-day;'' and Dr. Philip asked him who was the officer that told him so about the commando. He said, he did not know him, but he said some officers were together at Willshire.

5017. Did Dr. Philip advise the Caffres to take up arms against the colony, or did he advise them to continue at peace?—Dr. Philip said, "Macomo, if these men drive you anywhere, and if they drive you about, do not do anything to resist; or if they burn your huts or shoot you, only submit; a good governor is coming, who will, I hope, redress your grievances."

5018. Are you quite sure that Dr. Philip advised them to remain at peace? Yes, quite sure.

5019. Did Macomo say anything at that time about having had promises of a good governor and a good government for many years before; and did he then appeal to his burning huts?—I do not recollect that he used those words exactly; but he said "See my burning huts; tell this good governor to come as quick as he can, we have long enough heard of such things.

5020. You have said that the Europeans have injured the Hottentots; have any of the boors at any time beaten or injured you?—When the white people began to ill-treat the Hottentots, they ran away to Dr. Vanderkernp, who was then at Graaff Reinet; the boors came to the landdrost; I think it was Meniers and Bresler. These men said "These people are human beings like yourselves; after they have served their time to their master, they can go out and hire themselves to another person.'' And the boors went back, and they made a commando; and they came to Graaff Reinet, and attacked Graaff Reinet, and shot on the government.” The Hottentots came to the side of the government. After the attack on Graaff Reinet the Hottentots ran away back again to the Zuurveldt.

5021. Do you mean to say that the boors attacked the government because they would not permit the Hottentots to be made their slaves?—Yes.

5022. And that that was the cause of the insurrection of the boors against the government?—Yes, it was about the Hottentots.

5023. Have you ever been beaten or injured by the boors?—Yes, I have been beaten.

5024. State any circumstances that have happened to yourself?—I was with my master Englebrack, and one day he sent me out to get his horses, and when I could not get them soon enough, he would beat me most severely, and I ran away and left all my things with him.

5025. Do you consider that yourself and the other Hottentots were treated oppressively by the boors?—Yes; we have had a hard time of it.

5026.   Did 0005 On Aborigines (British Settlements). 587

Andrew Stoffel. 27 June 1836.

5026. Did you consider that the establishment of the Kat River settlement, and the alteration of the law that took place about the same time by the 50th Ordinance, was a great benefit to the Hottentots?—Yes; then the Hottentots began to live.

5027. Have you ever been present with any patrols that have gone into Caffeland?—Yes, with Mr. Warden, from the Kat River.

5028. Have you ever been in any patrols from other parts of the colony? No.

5029. Mr. Bagshaw.] Who was the chief of your kraal on Bushman's River that you first remember?—Rinter; he was the greatest chief amongst the Hottentot nation.

5030. Where was the kraal where you were born?—At the drift of the Bushman's River, above Mr. Ruitenbach's place.

5031. Did you never hear that the boors were in the Zuurveldt before the Caffres were there?—I did not hear that the boors were there before the Caffres in the Zuurveldlt, but I heard that they fought together.

5032. Did you never see the walls of the Dutch boors' houses which were destroyed by the Caffres in former years?—On the Graham's Town Hill, right down to the Fish River, but not the Zuurveldt.

5033. You never saw any ruins of Dutch houses in the Zuurveldt?—Near to Graham's Town.

5034. Is that in the Zuurveldt?—Yes, it is.

5035. Then it appears the Caffres drove the Dutch from that particular spot?—They used to fight there from time to time.

5036. Did not the Caffres use to fight with the Hottentots also?—Not in the Zuurveldt. S03i. In other parts?—I cannot speak of what I heard from my ancestors.

5038. Do not you know that as a fact beyond all doubt that the Caffres and Hottentots were natural enemies to each other?—I cannot speak of these things; it is doubtful.

5039. You spoke of the Hottentot nation having been reduced considerably in numbers; were they not reduced in consequence of the wars with the Caffres? No, it is not in consequence of that.

5040. Never?—No, we were destroyed day after day, till there was no deliverance.

5041. By whom?—By the white man.

5042. Beaten to death?—Tied with a reeme, or cord, and shot.

5043. Will you state to the Committee some of the examples of the sort you have mentioned?—If one of the gentlemen in this room would accompany me back, I would bring him on the spot where I saw a great many of those people killed.

5044. Where was the spot?—It was on the Bruintjes-hoog at a place called Luiskraal, on the Braak River. This was done by the Commandant Runsberg.

5045. What was the time when that took place?—The time of the boors, and before the English came.

5046. How many years ago?—It was, I think, not long before Dr. Vanderkemp came. When missionaries came, then we began to breathe; and then again when the 50th Ordinance came it bettered still more our condition.

5047. Chairman.] Do you consider that the missionaries have been the means of affording protection to the natives?—Yes; as they were white people, they could in some measure protect the Hottentots, and they taught the Hottentots, and they could remonstrate with the other white people and espouse our cause.

5048. Is it, as far you know, the opinion of the whole body of the Hottentots and of the Caffres, as far as you know them, that they are under deep obligations to the missionaries, not only for teaching them but for befriending and protecting them against the aggressions of other Europeans?—Yes; we and they are sensible of our obligations to the missionaries for what they have done.

5049. Mr. Baines.] What was the reason that the Hottentots were treated in that cruel way?—I do not know; the white people must know that. I do not know that we gave them any cause to treat us so.

5050. Cannot you imagine what was the cause?—I asked the old Hottentots, "Did you ever do any harm to the white people that they treat us thus?" and the old people said "No, we never did them any injury."

5051. Mr. Lushington.] Which white people do you mean, the Dutch or the

4 F 2 English— 0006 588 Minutes of Evidence Before Select Committee

Andrew Stoffel. 27 June 1836.

English?—The boors; the English have only come lately, and begun at the Sunday's River, when they drove the Hottentots and Caffres from there .

5052. Mr. Baines.] Then this cruel treatment was from the Dutch?—Yes; they treated us so till the missionaries came; and when the missionaries took our part, the government summoned them to Cape Town to appear before them.

5053. And since that time there have been no murders of the same kind?—There are no murders, but there has been hard oppression.

5054. Do you know in what year the missionaries came?—I could not say that.

5055. Mr. Lushington.] Do you ascribe the cessation of this ill-treatment wholly to the intervention of the missionaries?—Yes; the missionaries being white people stated our grievances to the British Government, and since that time our grievances have been somewhat redressed.

5056. Then in consequence of the representations of the missionaries to the government, that ill-treatment is put an end to?—Yes, it is a little better now.

5057. Mr. Bagshaw.] Then of late years, and at present, since the English and the missionaries have been there; the Hottentots and the other natives have had no cause of complaint?—Now it is worse than before; there is now another kind of oppression. They never complained, but now they complain.

5058. Can you state any instances in which men have been killed of late years?—It is not now murder; they do not murder, but it is like a newspaper that you put in the press and press down.

5059. Mr. Baines.] Will you explain what you mean by pressing down?—We went to the English Government for protection in the first place, because we expected that these people would have done us good. Now you often see a Hottentot who has spent his days in the service of the government, with only a skin on his back, walking about the streets; we are oppressed in every way.

5060. In what manner do the English oppress the Hottentots?—They oppress them, for instance, in their wages; a man does not earn more than three or five skillings a day. In short they oppress them in every way.

5061. Mr. Bagshaw.] In the case of the Hottentots being oppressed, do they make complaint to the magistrates?—Yes; but the complaints of a Hottentot are never well received; he can never come into court and feel himself at home; when he tells his story, he stands as it were as at a distance.

5062. Does he obtain any redress from the magistrate?—In a few cases. He has no one to speak for him. I have been asked, " What is this pressure?" I say, the Hottentot has no water; he has not a blade of grass; he has no lands; he has no wood; he has no place where he can sleep; all that he now has is the missionary and the Bible; and now that we are taught, the Bible is taken away from us, and they want to remove the missionaries from amongst us. And there is another law, the Vagrant Law, that they want to oppress us with, a law that presses down the Hottentots.

5063. How do you know that they want to remove the missionaries?—They have already removed my missionary; I had 12 schools, and those schools have come to nothing.

5064. What was the name of your missionary?—Mr. Read.

5065. Mr. Gladstone.] How have they removed the Bible away from you? There is no one that gets up on Sunday to speak and to explain the Bible, and to preach to us.

5066. Have not you got your Bibles as you had them before?—If you had no English preachers in this country, what would you do with the Bible?

5067. Chairman.] Do you mean to say that the substance of your complaint is thss; that formerly the Hottentots possessed the land, the wood and the water; but that the Europeans have taken possession of their property, and have therefore reduced them to destitution?—Yes, that is the substance of my complaint; and what the English nation sent us was the missionaries, and we have all resolved to die with the missionaries at the institutions; they are our only friends.

5068. Do they feel towards the missionaries great affection for the instruction they have given them, and the protection they have been the means of affording them?—Yes, I love the missionaries; but the missionaries tell us to ascribe all to the people of England; and I love the people in this country also.

5069. Mr. Gladstone.] What redress would you wish to have for the injuries you have described?—In the first place, I want my schools back and my missionaries; the children must be taught. We want education among the Hottentots.

5070.   Do 0007 On Aborigines (British Settlements). 589

Andrew Stoffel. 27 June 1836.

5070. Do you want the land and the water and the wood back?—I am not man enough, and I do not know where it would lead me, if I were to speak about the land and the water; but I would speak about the other first.

5071. Have not they got land and water and wood on the Kat River?—Yes, only at the Kat River; and I thought so, the first time that government spoke about it, and after we had sown and begun to cultivate our ground, and to grow barley and oats. I hear now, that the government and the Caffres are quarrelling about the ground. We have not ground now; we are now between the Caffres and the government; we must know how they settle this.

5072. Were the people contented and pleased before the quarrel between the Caffres and the government occurred?—At Kat River; we did not speak anything about ground at that time.

5073. Do you mean that you were satisfied at Kat River before that?—Yes.

5074. Mr. Bagshaw.] You have said that all the good that was done to the Hottentots was done by the missionaries; have not you heard that other white men, Englishmen, have instructed the Hottentots in trade?—No, I never heard it; perhaps there may be some, or a few.

5075. Are not the Hottentots employed by the English settlers, as well as the Dutch boors, as servants?—When the English settlers first came, the Hottentots said, ''Our friends have come;" and they used to work together, to assist each other; but I do not know what to say of them now.

5076. How is it now?—I do not know how it is; but since the Hottentots went to the Kat River, and got ground, it appears that the English settlers are angry about it, and say everything that is bad against us.

5077. Then you never experienced kindness from other persons than missionaries?—I do not know; I did not hear and see it. ,

5078. Then you never, in the whole course of your life, received any kindness from any person but missionaries?—I never heard that the settlers have done the Hottentots any good.

5079. Did you go from the Kat River to Cape Town to embark?—Yes.

5080. Who sent for you?—A gentleman, a printer from the Cape, came to our part, and I saw him, and saluted him. He said, '' I know you;" I said, "I do not know you." "This gentleman," said Dr. Phjlip, '' is going home in about two months."

5081. What is the gentleman's name?—He is Mr. Fairbairn’s partner; when I heard him say that, I wished to come to England.

5082. Did you get a pass from the governor?—I came to the governor at the Cape.

5083. Diel you see him?—Ye.

5084. What did he say to you?—He said, "As you have come so far, I cannot say anything against your going; you may go."

5085. Did you get a pass from the frontier authorities to allow you to travel to Cape Town?—I came to the military post, and the commander of the post was not at home; and then I informed Mr. Blakeway of my intention to journey for a time.

    0.22. 4 F 3 5089.   The
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Item Details

Author(s) & contributor(s): Fowell Buxton; James Read, Jr.; Andries Stoffels; Edward Baines; John Bagshawe; Charles Lushington; William Gladstone

Date(s): 27 June 1836

Form & transmission history: Evidentiary interview, as conducted by a series of British individuals and translated by a Khoe-English individual and as edited and published (alongside other evidentiary interviews) in a British government publication.

Original publication details: In Report from the Select Committee on the Aborigines (British Settlements;) Together with the Minutes of Evidence, Appendix and Index, 583-89. [London]: Ordered, by the House of Commons, 5 August 1836.

Digital edition & date: One More Voice, 2022

Critical editing & encoding: Jared McDonald, Adrian S. Wisnicki

Rights: Critically-edited text copyright One More Voice. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Cite this digital edition (MLA): Buxton, Fowell; James Read, Jr.; Andries Stoffels; Edward Baines; John Bagshawe; Charles Lushington; William Gladstone. “‘Minutes of Evidence’ (Excerpt)” (27 June 1836). Jared McDonald, Adrian S. Wisnicki, eds. One More Voice, solidarity edition, 2022, https://onemorevoice.org/html/transcriptions/liv_020065_TEI.html.

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