Thomas William Garland to Frederick Chesson, 17 September 1879
Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C135 – 5
Author(s): Thomas William Garland
Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson
Sent from: Natal
Date: 17 September 1879
Verulam Natal Sept 17 79
Mr Chesson Esq
Sect of Aborigines Protc Soc
Desiring to aid the objects of your Society as far as your method of operations accord with my judgement in securing those objects, I thus venture to write you.
Pardon me for saying that I have been pained by much that has been said by the men of your Society, because knowing them as I do as noble true hearted philantropists who have been led to false conclusions concerning the state and … of the Zulus by the misstatements of designing men, they have injured the cause and the Society whose welfare and interests they … to espouse. The war with the Zulus is now mercifully at an end and I will only say that I believe it will be seen in very short time that Sir B. Frere has been right in the kindest, finest, and best sense in his motives and acts towards these Zulus – and of right he has all time on his side and in the end it will be apparent to all.
It has been the shame and disgrace of English statesmen and governors that for saw [joyless?] the hand of this cruel, tyranical and slave holding [poriah?] in Zulu land has been fastened and sheltered by England.
But I especially want to ask you to look at the condition and circumstances in which the Zulus and Zululand are now to be placed, and left by the action of the government or England.
Several chiefs are set up to rule. One man as cheat is an English man who has lived in all the degradation of polygamy (or women slavery) and who openly maintains his position as a polygamist. Yet he is exalted to this place of power and authority by our Queen and her representatives. By the instructionof the High Commissioner – Europeans are not to be permitted to settle in the land – and Christian missionaries are not to be countenanced or encouraged in Zululand. I am appalled. What can this condition of things lead to?
What can be said that in the sight of god justify our government in abandoning this captured nation to the out working of all their heathen sin, their cruel superstitions and their barbarous vices? Merely telling them to be good and obedient, then leaving them to themselves without supplying a sufficient motive is making them acquainted with the only source of power by which they can ever hope to be the one or other – neither by legislation for them, by the presence and example of civilized Christian men, or by any kind of moral or industrial teaching are they to be influenced for good or helped to improve – Imagine a son of the heir to the throne of England at the age of two years put into a Zulu kraal and thus left to remain till he was 25 and what would he be then in moral, intellectual, or civilized life or character – Royal birth would be found no preservative against ignorance superstition and degeneration without education, without the teaching of gods word.
And if these Zulus must remain under the regime of Sir Garnet, then they can only grow in all their heathenism and degradation. For it is inevitable that another generation of English statesmen must arise ere these tribes and nations of African can be lifted from their wretched darkness cruelty and hopelessness. I deeply deplore the war, its terrible inflection of loss, its affection too of pain sorry and death, but I deplore most of all the causes of the war. I recognize that god ever allows nations to reap the outcome of their vices and cruelties – all history shows that sooner or later nations are confronted with the consequences of their wrong doing – Zulu cruelties and abominations directly caused the war – but how far we as a nation also … thro’ not doing … to remove these causes by the intelligent use of such means as our power and … to them gave us command of during last 30 years is a question easily asked, but god alone can judge of or decide. That which is true of Zululand is equally so of the tribes in Natal, 300 000, if we are to use the power in our hands now so that we shall be freed of causing future wars – free of blame for the countenance and growth of superstition with all the cruelties of slavery and its vices – if we are to be free of censure and … of future generations, and free from charge by god of neglecting our duty to these … then as a government and national controlling and commanding the actions of the colony we cannot leave them in their corrupt state to sow and reap a certain harvest of misery and destruction without being caught… ourselves in the consequence, that no human person can escape following the resisting of gods holy and loving law, by which alone nations become first pure then peacable.
Rightly or wrongly we have taken the power into our hands by which the destiny of the Zulu nation is at our control – we hold the power to use, without hinderance nay with the approval of that nation, the means that the bible teaches and experiences prove the world over. The right for the uplifting of natives from heathenism to civilization and Christianity, this we may refuse to use on some grounds of political expediency, or national expenditure, yet we cannot now escape from the responsibilities of our position and power. Was it wrong to take the power? Then it would be doubly wrong and cruel upon having it not to use it so as to save these tribes from future years of cruelty slavery and ignorance.
I hold we are responsible now for establishing a reign – creating a governing power – of magisterial function – of founding schools of industry and for education – affording inducements to religious teachers to enter this vast field – that I thus … may be the happy elements in the future of this conquered nation.
It would be easy to show how self interest and an economic expediency quite legitimate points to the Christianization of the Zulus as the one and only means of our averting all loss and all the evils and costs of war in the future and at same time by this one agency and power create a growing market for all English manufacturers.
But apart from any colateral reasons for the Christianization and civilization of these tribes it is sufficient that on the part of England her duty to them and to god is so clear and plain that to neglect it, by checking and hindering all the agencies in our power, can only result in sullen regrets and bitter shame and loss.
I have long hoped I should live to see these nations brought under the power of the glorious gospel of our lord Jesus Christ, thus and horrified and alarmed by the measures that the English government have … for the future of the Zulu nation, and I ask is there not sufficient Christian principle and power left in the parliament of England to stop these measures and to remove the men put to so the heads and rulers of these tribes for unless this be done promptly there is no hope for the Zulus and … only to wait a few years and England and her sons and daughters will pay the penalty in further loss of life and a large expenditure of money.
The whole history of the measures adopted on the Cape frontier and in Kaffraria teach as that one result alone can follow the outworking of the measures now laid down on the future of the Zulu nation. I believe from the testimony of history as from the teaching of gods word nothing but Christianizing the nation can save them from being ultimately broken and scattered.
Even since I commenced this letter an old missionary Rev [Toolfebo?] of Etshowe station writes “Mr John Dunn has refused to allow me to return to my station stating he will not admit any missionary to live in his district.”
I fervently commend these facts and my views to your sympathy and I do hope something will be done to secure the reign of the … of peace in Zululand.
I am dear sir