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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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governor still reprimanded the chief; and ordered him to return the cattle, and then, for the sake of form, lay his complaint before him, &c. The chief refused to do so; and the governor undertook to force him. Such is an authentic statement of the origin of a forty years' war, between the Southern Africans and the whites.
Your committee ask careful attention to the following chapter of facts collected from British writers:
“In 1811, the government undertook the forcible removal of the entire Caffre population, over the great Fish River, to make room for the whites. Hence ensued a war, of which the following will give an idea:
Sunday, January 12th, 1812—At noon commandant Stollz went out with two companies to look for Slambie, (Islambi,) but saw nothing of him; they met only with a few Caffres, men and women, the most of whom they shot. About sunset, five Caffres were seen at a distance, one of whom came to the camp with a message from Slambies son, requesting permission to remain until the harvest was over, and that then he (if his father would not,would go over the great Fish River quietly. This messenger would not give any information, respecting Slambie, but said he did not know where he was. However after having been put in irons, and fastened to a wheel, with a reim (leathern thong) about his neck, he said that if the commando went with him before daylight, he would bring them upon two hundred Caffres all asleep. , Now what is to be thought of this attempt to force an envoy, by the terror of death to betray his chief into the hands of his mortal enemies? What would be the outcry, throughout all Europe, if any flag of truce were so treated between civilized nations? A few days afterwards, a small body of Caffres were seen at the edge of a thicket near Colonel Wilshire's camp, who made signs that they desired a parley. The Colonel, attended by another officer and myself, having moved towards them unarmed, two Caffres approached, and proved to be the one of them Islambi's, and the other Makannas chief councellors (pagati.) They were, I think, as noble looking men, and as dignified in their demeanor, as any I have ever beheld. After a few questions and answers, relative to the disposal of Makanna, who by this time had been sent into the colony,and as to the prospects of an accommodation, the friend of the captive chief delivered himself in the following terms—in so manly a manner, with so graceful an attitude, and with so much feeling and animation, that the bad translation which I am able to furnish from my hasty and imperfect notes, can afford but a very faint and inadequate idea of his eloquence:—
"The war, said he, British Chiefs, is an unjust one, for you are striving to extirpate a people whom you forced to take up arms. When our fathers and the fathers of the Boors (AMABRILU) first settled in the zureveld, they dwelt together in peace. Their flocks grazed together on the same hills, their herdsmen smoked together out of the same pipes; they were brothers—until the herds of the Amakosa increased so as to make the hearts of the Boors sore. What these covetous men could not get from our fathers for old buttons, they took by force. Our fathers were MEN; they loved their cattle: their wives and children lived upon milk: they fonght for their property. They began to hate the colonists, who coveted their all, and aimed at their destruction. Now, their Kraals and our fathers Kraals were separate. The Boors made commandoes on our fathers. Our fathers drove them out of the zureveld; and we dwelt there; because we had conquered it: there we were circumcised: there we were married; and there our children were born The White men hated us but could not drive us away; when there was war we plundered you. When there was peace some of our bad people stole, but our chiefs forbade it. Your treacherous friends Gaika, always had peace with you, yet, when his people stole, he shared in the plunder. Have your patrols ever found cattle taken in time of peace, runaway slaves, or deserters, in the Kraals of our chiefs 2 Have they ever gone into Gaikas country without finding such cattle, such slaves, such deserters in Gaikas Kraals? But he was your friend, and you wished to posses the zureveld. You came at last like locusts. We stood, we could do no more, you said, "Go over the Fish River, that is all that ew want.” We yielded and came here.
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