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A FRIEND of the humble compiler of the following pages, also a South African settler, whose affairs called him to England some months ago, thus addressed him:
“ You will doubtless remember in the course of your reading, to have met with the singular account of a Religious Mission, dispatched from Denmark, some century and a half ago, to Spitzbergen, upon which the ice, after accumulated seasons of severity, at last closed, and shut out all communication between the settlers and their native land; but whether they perished or established themselves nobody knew; and only until of late it seems did any one recollect that such an adventure was ever made, or suggest that it would be worth while to enquire into their fate! Now my dear fellow, our Albany settlement of 1820, seems to be in something like a similar predicament. It is true no ice-fields have closed around you, but what is just as bad, there is a chilly indifference about your existence, and nobody knows and nobody cares, whether you sunk into the ocean on your passage, died of some fever, yellow, blue or black, or were carbonaded by the savages on your putting foot to shore. If you have
any interest in the country, shew that you still are in existence, and explain what you have been doing during the last twenty or more years, I know it has been for good.”
To such a call it was impossible not to respond, and to that demand the reader owes the following pages.
The ignorance of the English public, as to the advantages of
the Cape Colony is perfectly excuseable; as no popular works have been written to puff its praise, like the new and popular settlements of Australia, New Zealand, &c.: but it is strange that the Home Government, with all its sources of information, should not be better informed, and that with such a splendid settlement in its hands, it should have been forced by popular outcry, to patronise far distant and less promising colonies. But governments, it is alleged, are the very dullest of scholars, and require that knowledge should be beaten into them, quite as much as the smallest aspirant for instruction in the mysteries of the alphabet.
Sam Slick hits off this matter in right good style. “Didn't you send out,” says he, “water-casks and filtering-stones last war to the fresh-water lakes of Canada? Didn't you send out a frigate there ready built, in pieces ready numbered and marked, to be put together, 'cause there's no timber in America ? nor carpenters neither ? Didn't you order the Yankee prisoners to be kept at the fortress of Louisburgh, which was levelled to the ground fifty years before.”—(Clockmaker, Second Series). And the mother country in the present day seems not to have acquired much more correct knowledge with regard to its most important African possession, the Cape of Good Hope. It is not many years since that a Governor of this colony was severely reprimanded for not having published a commissariat tender in the Robben Island Gazette,—a small islet in Table Bay, peopled by a few black prisoners and wild rabbits. It is not many months past that an enquiry was made, why an officer had been removed from Port Elizabeth to Algoa Bay ? Port Elizabeth being the only town situated on the shores of Algoa Bay! and it was only in July, 1840, a London journal stated that a very celebrated political economist, in the House of Commons, moved for certain papers regarding the expenditure of “ the Island of the Cape of Good Hope;" and the very last
Custom House returns of emigration include the Cape of Good Hope among the West India Islands. But this ignorance is not confined to the Government; the late Sir Richard Philipps, in his “Million of Facts,” said that Algoa Bay was a place to which to entrap silly emigrants, and that the settlers of 1820 had all died of disease, or been destroyed by the natives. This fact he corrected, at the instance of one of the very settlers themselves (Thomas Philipps, Esq.), who not only shewed he had not been involved in either of these catastrophies, but was a living instance or proof of the ignorance of Sir Richard, and Sir Richard consequently blotted out the fable. Innumerable other instances are on record of similar absurdities, which it is unnecessary to combat.
To dispel the mist of ignorance which appears thus to have settled so densely over the mother country, respecting the colony, is the object of the present work; but the compiler at once begs to recognise with respect and gratitude the previous labours in the same cause, of those valuable advocates of Cape interests—Messrs. Abraham Borradaile, Robert Martin, Saxe Bannister, J. S. Christophers, and many other spirited individuals, who have so well acquitted themselves in behalf of the colony and of the starving multitudes of England, who would find abundant food and comforts in the Cape colony. Nor must the important services of those popular periodicals be forgotten the “South African Register," the “ Colonial Gazette,” the “Emigration Gazette," and, although last but certainly not least, the Colonial Church Society, as well as some recent articles in the “ Times,” the “Herald,” “Sun” and other newspapers.
It will be perceived the compiler has chiefly directed attention to the Eastern Province as an Immigration field. It must not, however, be considered that he wished to overlook, or cast into shade, the great capabilities of the Western Province for the same purpose ; but, acquainted with both from personal obser
vation, he can more conscientiously recommend the first, and, therefore, leaves the merits of the Western Province to be described and enlarged upon by one of its own residents, more fitted than himself to do them justice.
On the subject of the colonial * relations with the Kafir tribes, he expects, in the present state of public opinion, to meet with some difference of opinion ; but as he has given much attention to the subject-has had peculiar opportunities to mature his judgment—and for some years been ear and eye witness of events, he is not inclined to relinquish his settled judgment, which every years' experience has tended to confirm.
“ Truth is great and must prevail.” The Map will be recognised as an altered, and, perhaps, be considered a pirated edition of that published by Mr. Arrowsmith and the Society for Diffusing Useful Knowledge. Far otherwise. On looking over the Maps of the South African Peninsula, prior to 1830, it will be observed that, with the exception of Burchell's Tract to the northward, the whole of the Map of the country beyond the Orange and the Great Fish Rivers is a perfect blank. In the last named year, after having travelled over a great space of the country now laid down, at a great expense, and having had access to the sketches of almost all the travellers in those regions, the compiler constructed a Map, which he was recommended, by Sir Richard Plasket, to send to the Colonial Office in London, as the Government were about to publish a new chart of the colony and the surrounding country. This he readily did, and it is no disgrace to confess, that in doing so, he believed he should serve his own interests, being at that time a government servant, and emulous of promotion ; stating, however, that it had been framed for the pur. pose of illustrating a work then in preparation by himself. This
The matter on this subject, with an elaborate statement of Natal affairs, will be published separately,