Samuel Atkinson to Frederick Chesson, 5 April 1876

Samuel Atkinson to Frederick Chesson, 5 April 1876

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C125 – 48

Author(s): Samuel Atkinson

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: South African Republic

Date: 5 April 1876

Transvaal Republic, South Africa
April 5th 1876

FW Chesson, Esq
Secretary to the Aborigines Protection Society

I beg to forward you a copy of a letter posted the same time as this to you to the Right Honorable Earl Carnarvon. I also enclose herewith correspondence taken from Natal Colonist newspaper which will go far to confirm what I have written to him, likewise if you will refer to the Natal Witness newspaper of March 14th 1876 you will see a letter written to that paper by a farmer in the Republic also testifying to what a lot of swindlers the people composing this Govt are.

I do not doubt you represent a very good and honourable lot of gentlemen who desire to see justice done all men whether white or black but yet if you had been like myself upwards of a quarter of a century in this country as an employer of kafirs and engaged amongst them you would know from experience they could not be governed as men who had had for generations advantages of civilization. I regret to say as far as the kafirs in Natal are concerned, at the present day they are far greater rogues liars theives and every way more wicked than when I first came into the country, yet upon an average they are paid 4 times more wages a month than then for which they do about half the work upon a farm daily as they did then, therefore at the present day they are paid for the same amount of work done as a Norfolk or Suffolk labourer about double the wages, therefore they are now very wealthy and so wicked by disposed that at any time that any opportunity offers, they are ready to rebel against the government and destroy all the whites in the colony. You may wonder what can be the cause of this which is easily explained, in the first place you must understand these men are only savages and will not be for many generations are very wicked at heart, and do not understand when doing wrong. Your Society is continually urging upon the government kindness and leniency being shown the natives and the govt in their turn are continually urging forbearance and leniency to their magistrates, therefore the natives misconstrue such kindness to fear of them, which will end in another outbreak when they will get shot down as dogs, for don’t believe me Englishmen and other Europeans came here to be destroyed after treating the natives kindly and justly, and I can say with truth that the magistrates in Natal to an individual are equal in honor and kindness of heart to any occupying the same position in England, but although knowing they are acting to the … of natives or kafirs by their leniency in not punishing when doing wrong they are constrained to act as they do by the Govt through your Society, therefore in the end you will be enemies of the kafirs instead of friends as far as Natal is concerned. But in the Transvaal Republic it is very different, here the people are the Govt and a worse lot of unprincipled men you cannot meet with, therefore if you can urge upon the English Govt though Earl Carnarvon to appoint a commission to enquire whether or not the people and Govt have appropriated millions of acres of land belonging to the natives you will find they have and this will expose their systematic plan of oppression as stated in my letter to the Earl.

I remain Sir
Your great servent
Saml E Atkinson