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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Colored national convention, held in Rochester, July 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1853.
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[The following report did not come to hand in time to be printed in the order in which it was reported to the Convention.]
REPORT ON COLONIZATION.
In entering upon the duties assigned them, your committee deemed it desirable to go into the history of African Colonization,with a view to show that every system of Colonization has proved a curse to that unhappy country.
I. The first we shall notice, is that of the Dutch, which commenced in 1659. Your committee find that about that time a settlement was commenced, composed of emigrants from Holland, under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company. These settlers at first entered Africa with the most friendly intentions ; and contented themselves with simply as much land as was needed for their trading establishments ; subsequently, however, and at no distant period, the Dutch not only began to seize upon the best of lands in southern Africa; but furthermore reduced the natives to a most cruel state of slavery. The few traders soon enriched themselves, at the fearful expense of the natives. Holland began to pour a flood of emigrants into the country. A colony was formed ; and efforts were made to subjugate the entire native population. From this time, to use the words of the Americans themselves, the white man, with gun and sword in hand, began to stride rapidly in every direction, through the whole country, taking forcible possession of the best portions of land. It soon also became a common thing for the Dutch colonist to fit out expeditions expressly to plunder the distant natives of their cattle. In 1702, about forty years after the Dutch entered the country, the governor in a despatch to the home government, confesses that he was unable to punish these intruders upon the natives, giving as a reason, that half the colony would be ruined, so great is number of the inhabitants implicated. At another time the Dutch govenor made an extensive tour into the interior, found many of his subjects, who had settled themselves far beyond the bounds of the colony ; and instead of recalling them, threw out, and extended the bounds of the colony so as to take them in, and then ordered all of the natives outside of this new boundary.
"A chapter of facts from Barrow--1798--" speaking of the natives says: --"Some of their villages might have been expected to remain in this remote and not very populous part of the country. Not one, however, was to be found. There is not, in fact, in the whole extensive district of Graaff Reinet, a single horde of independent Hottentots; and perhaps not a score of individuals who are not actually in the service of the Dutch. These weak people the most helpless, and in their present condition perhaps the most wretched of the human race, duped out of their possessions, their country, and their liberty, have entailed upon their miserable offspring a state of existence to which that of slavery might bear the comparison of happiness. It is a condition, however, not likely to continue to a very remote posterity.
Their numbers of late years have become rapidly on the decline. It has generally been observed that where Europeans have colonized, the less civilized nations have always dwindled away, and at length totally disappeared. "There is scarcely an instance of cruelty said to have been committed against the slaves in the West India Island, that could not find a parallel from the Dutch Farmers of the remote districts of the colony towards the Hottentots in their service. Beating and cutting with thongs of the hide of the sea cow, (hippopotamus) or rhinoceros, are only gentle punishments; though these sort of whips, which they call sjamboes, are most horrid instruments, being tough, pliant, and heavy almost as lead. Firing small shot into the legs and thighs of a Hottentot, is a punishment not unknown to some of the monsters who inhabit the neighborhood of Camtoos river. By a resolution of the old government, as unjust as it was inhuman, a peasant (Boor) was allowed to claim as his property, till the age of five and twenty, all the children of the Hottentots in his service, to whom he had given in their infancy a morsel of meat. At the expiration of this period the odds are ten to one that the slave is not emancipated. But should he be fortunate
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