J. Calder to Frederick Chesson, 6 February 1884
Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C128 – 2
Author(s): J. Calder
Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson
Sent from: Cape Colony
Date: 6 February 1884
Rondebosch, near Cape Town
6th February 1884
I hope you will pardon the liberty I take in addressing this communication to you. Although of course a stranger to you, yet I may state I am a hearty well-wisher to the cause so ably represented by you.
I am given to understand that you have had some correspondence with Miss de Smidt of this place on the subject of the treatment and condition of King Cetywayo. His cause she has much at heart. While he was a prisoner here she devoted a large portion of her time to the instruction of his wives in matters of domestic use and comfort, which would doubtless have borne good fruit had the fates been propitious to the king on his restoration to Zululand. Since that time she has spared no effort in acquiring trustworthy information respecting him and his people, which I have no doubt has been communicated to you.
What I wish principally to represent to you is that this lady, who was brought up in comparative opulence, is now, through no fault of her own, in straitened circumstances. What makes her condition worse is that she has 2 healthy relatives who are supposed to act generously towards her. The reverse, however, is the case. She has too good reason to believe that by undue influence they have come into possession of property which was intended to have been left as an inheritance to her, and a sense of their own injustice makes the object of it odious in their eyes. Help from them she therefore cannot and does not expect. For some years she enjoyed an annuity of £5 from a friend in London who has known her here, and appreciated her sentiments, but this terminated with the benefactor’s death about 2 years ago.
I knew this lady’s father many years ago in Graham’s Town where he held a high position in the imperial commissariat department, and it grieves me to think that his daughter who once tasted the sweets of prosperity should now have to drink the bitter waters of adversity. Unfortunately my circumstances are such that I am unable to render her any pecuniary assistance. She being a fellow-working in the same cause with you, and from advancing years being ill-prepared to engage in the active duties of life for a maintenance, I have deemed it proper to represent her case to you, taking assured that you would interest yourself in the matter, and might possibly secure for her a small annuity through the aid of some of the wealthy and sympathising friends of the Aborigines Protection Society.
Should this appeal be successful, as I earnestly trust it may be, I can confidently say that the donors’ bounty will be bestowed on a deserving object, and that the recipient’s gratitude will be warm and undying.
Your obedient servant