John William Akerman to Frederick Chesson, 7 March 1877

John William Akerman to Frederick Chesson, 7 March 1877

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C123 – 82

Author(s): John William Akerman

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: England

Date: 7 March 1877

9 Fellings Villas

Wednesday March 7 77


My dear Sir,


I am sorry to hear of your illness. I have had my share too and am suffering from a very severe cold increased very much at the Docks on Monday when packing my cabin and so bad yesterday as to compel confinement. Today therefore I fear not to be able to see you. If I cannot I say goodbye, very cordially and wish my painful experience here had not interposed to interrupt an acquaintance which would have been otherwise more constant and intimate. We leave here in the morning (Thursday) according to promise I managed to keep the appointment (fixed for 6 by telegram) at the ‘House’ with Mr McArthur and spent an hour with him. I find him very anxious to move but afraid lest he should be caught tripping. I fancy he is either very … very full of business, or fairly fast. He has promised to give my document when printed a careful reading. He evidently fears being asked the question, how he would propose to attack the evil without chance of insurrection? As if England’s mission in the world were to build up a wrong and never reform for fear of consequences!! However I would suggest to him through you a question or two in the House something like the enclosed. This would commit him to nothing but yet expose the system. We want publicity.


The printing of my MSS I leave with confidence in your hands, but if there should occur to you a doubt as to any point of expression when revision the proof (which I trust you will kindly do with extra care) you will had Mr J.W. Waiter 35 Edward St … to whom I have … on the subject quite willing and able to aid you.


When the paper is printed I should be glad if you would send copies in England to these mentioned below and a few to me in Natal. Of course you will circulate in your own circle.


Goodbye again

Yours very truly

J.W. Akerman


M…. Grant Duff


Mr Campbell Johnson, F.R.S., Atheneum Club


Sir C. Dilke


Revd Mr Summerhayes St Johns Ealing dean


Mr Garland


Revd J. Slantil DCL 33 Clapham Rise


Mr McArthur M.P. to ask Mr Lowther, whether it is true that a bill intruduced into the newly constituted legislative council of Natal by the Secretary for Native Affairs and passed by the council and which enacts that the ‘customs and usages’ of the natives shall be administered in the courts of law in that colony, has received the assent of the Crown. And whether HM government is aware that within this term ‘customs and usages’ is included woman purchase and sale under and in the guise of marriage, that cattle unpaid for her at marriage can be recovered as a common debt in courts of law presided over by paid British magistrates and that polygamy is also freely practised by law.


Is HM government aware that such Bill contains as provision … to relieve natives when becoming Christians from native law; does not recognize a marriage between natives even when performed by a clergyman as legal, and that the paid official … of the colony prevents those necessary previsions from being …