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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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"We lived in peace: some bade people stole, perhaps, but the nation was quiet--chiefs were quiet: Gaika stole--his chiefs stole--his people stole. You sent him copper, you sent him beads, you sent him horses on which he rode to steal more. To us you sent only commandoes! We quarrelled with Gaika about grass--no business of yours; you sent a commando, you took our last cow, you left only a few calves, which died from want, along with our children; you gave half the spoil to Gaika; half you kept yourselves: without milk, our corn destroyed, we saw our wives and children perish, we saw that we must ourselves perish. We followed, therefore, the tracks of our cattle into the colony: we plundered : we fought for our lives; we found you weak : we destroyed your soldiers: we saw that we were strong: we attacked your head quarters; and if we had succeeded, our right was good, for you began the war; we failed, and you are here; we wish for peace, we wish to rest in our huts, we wish to get milk for our children, our wives wish to till the land. But your troops cover the plains, and swarm in the thickets, where they cannot distinguish the man for the woman, and shoot all. You want us to submit to Gaika. That mans face is fair to you, but his heart is false : leave him to himself ; make peace with us; let him fight for himself, and we shall not call on you for help. Set Makanna at liberty, and Islambi, Dushani, Kongo and the rest will come to make peace with you at any time you fix. But if you will still make war, you may indeed kill the last man of us--but Gaika shall not rule over the followers of those who think him a woman.”
This manly remonstrance, which affected some of those who heard it, even to tears, had no effect in altering the destination of Makanna, or in obtaining a reprieve for his countrymen, who were still sternly called upon to deliver up those who had been outlawed by the Cape government. All efforts to get possession of the persons of the other chiefs were unavailing. After plundering the country, therefore, of all the cattle that could be found, and leaving devastation and misery behind them, our "Christian commando" retired into the colony without gaining the object for which the war was professedly commenced, but with an additional spoil of about thirty thousand head of cattle, captured from the famishing and despairing natives. The following will show by what tenure the British crown hold the lands in Africa:--
From the "Banner,"21st January, 1852.
"MR. COBDEN ON THE CAFFRE WAR.
"At a public meeting held in Birmingham, on Tuesday week, to protest against the agressive war of South Africa, the following letter from Mr. COBDEN, M.P., was read :--
'MIDHURST, January 8, 1852.
"My DEAR STURGE :--
I am sorry that I cannot be present at the meeting in Birmingham, respecting the Caffre war, but I rejoice that you are moving, and I trust that your resolutions, will go to the root of evil ; it is not as some people would make it appear, a question of colonial office mismanagement, or of the comparative merits of one mode of warfare over another ; the real question is, what title have Englishmen to the possessions of the land of the Caffres? Did we buy it and pay for it? How, when, and where was the bargain effected? There is no evidence that we ever paid one farthing of compensation to the former possessors of this land. We are paying for it now, in blood and treasure, with a vengeance, and the lesson to be inculcated on your meeting is--that God does not allow injustice to be perpetrated with impunity. As a people we have failed to respect the rights of property in weaker communities. No conqueror ever returned to our shores, after enlarging our territorial sovereignty, without a triumphant welcome, and no questions are ever asked as to our right to the conquered territories. Even an individual may engage in wars, and dispossess rulers of their sovereignty, and dub himself "Rajah" in their stead, and he will be loaded with honors, whilst we stigmatize as pirates, American adventurers, who, without a flag, and under similar circumstances, make a descent upon Cuba. Let these home truths be told us as a people. Do not let us shelter ourselves under attacks against the Colonial Office. You,
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