John William Akerman to Frederick Chesson, 17 September 1877

John William Akerman to Frederick Chesson, 17 September 1877

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C123 – 85

Author(s): John William Akerman

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: Natal

Date: 17 September 1877

PMBurg Natal

Sept 13 1877


Dear Mr. Chesson,


By this mail I have received a copy of my pamphlet from you for which please accept my thanks. I am however disappointed at not getting the 20 copies you promised. Also at not being favoured with your correspondence which I esteem. I hope you have been good enough to furnish copies of the pamphlet to those names I left with you. The Daily News has laid hold of one or two salient points and … favourably.


What a marvel that they treat me almost as an unknown man notwithstanding my public career in England as a delegate and my further personal correspondence with them. To my regret I have found a ‘fashion’ even in the so called free press of England, and in my case and that of Shepstone the deceiving has been coupled with many unpleasant recollections. The press (for a purpose) praise the evil doer and disparage him who fights for the right. Do you think Sir G. Wolsely has seen my publication. He ought to do so. Up to this date I have recd no recognition whatever of my lay public service for Natal from any official quarter. Even Napier Broome after 2 years service is decorated CMG!! Such is the fate of those in … colonies who have to oppose official acts even when such opposition tends to the welfare of the county. Bishop Colenso tells me from time to time of you and wonders I do not [fear?] He has lost most of his influence here through the part he took in re Langalibalele. As an outsider I think both parties were wrong, but also the Bishop so strongly set himself against the colonists he added great indiscretion to error of judgement. Poor …!!! He now realises the value of my advice never to send Shepstone home. By the act in 1874-5 he made a king of the one and an outcast of himself. Of course Sir G.W. acting with the former and backed by Carnarvon completed this dis [comfiture?] as well as the exaltation.


You will recollect the new native bill enjoined publication of the native law within 2 years. This was its best provision. The time expires in a few months, but I don’t think this will be done!! The appeal court has sat once but where was the written law? Such is another phase of our Govt. Yet any representation from me would be treated as impertinent as you know, but [defaulters?] are supported by Downing St.


Shall be glad to hear of you when you can spare me a moment. Trollip passed through to Transvaal last week. He was only 10 days in Natal yet will write a book.


With kind regards,

Yours faithfully

J.W. Akerman


F.W. Chesson, Esq