Thomas William Garland to Frederick Chesson, 29 October 1881
Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C135 – 6
Author(s): Thomas William Garland
Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson
Sent from: Natal
Date: 29 October 1881
Legislative Council Natal
Oct 29 1881
F.W. Chesson Esq
Secy A P Society
My Dear Ser,
Since my dear friend Mr Bradford of Sutton died, so lamentably, I have not heard from you in any way.
I now write to let you know that in my place in the legislative council of this colony I am still contending for the education and reconstruction of the native tribes of this colony. As my utterances may reach you … press allow me to say after speaking the other evening on the subject the Col. Secretary attempted to parry the point of my charge of neglect leveled by my against the imperial and colonial govt for past indifference – by a feint. I sought to warn and to awaken the government of this colony by showing that three issues are before us as a council and a colony – thus I said –
1st Continue the ‘let them alone,’ ‘Do nothing’ … policy and the result would be to the end, blood shed, strife, and the natives would be shot down and destroyed, this every man in that house deprecates.
2nd Remove them over the border, get them out of our way – so … to avert the difficulty and elbow off the … – for many reasons and under some considerations this might be desirable, but because it meant a shirking of our responsibility, a refusal to fulfill the obligation we have taken upon us by the relations we have established with these tribes, I cannot at present accept this proposal as wise just or benevolent … policy.
3rd Educate them, reconstruct, change them from idle vicious degraded useless and injurious barbarians into … industrious, intelligent benefactors of the colony for their own good and for the well being of Africa. By education, create in them the formation of a national public opinion that shall make them one in social, moral and political … and principles, with the civilized and Christianized nations of the world.
This I attempted to reason and urge the entering upon measures that should make the natives feel we had a national regard for them, confidence in them, and would work for them in the future. I could not help casting reflections on the past neglect of duty so palpable and so wrong.
I do not expect to live long enough to see the national change in these numerous tribes of our colony, fully or generally effected, but I shall be thoughtful and hopeful when I can see adequate and necessary measures adopted, with some determination, to arrive at this result.
The question is one of spending money and it is deplorable that, whilst the imperial parliament of England, and the colonial states are dependencies, will expend millions in blood shed and war – or perhaps it would be better to say will expend millions of money in the maintaining of forces that are equal to holding these millions in control – an arm strong enough to wield the sword as a … to the evil doers – but they will not expend a fractional proportion of such vast sums for the better purpose of so changing the massess of evil doers that this force should not be necessary; or that the force necessary should be upheld by the nation and people themselves composing that nation. I know a considerable time must elapse before such a national change to these tribes can be effected, but I believe that if we as a nation of enlightened Christians would take upon the work and devote our resources to such purposes with the object of … and elevating – enriching and blessing these tribes, then, because the smile and approval of god would be given, the work would rapidly grow and the results would astonish even the most sanguine of our benevolent hearted men.
We have in these tribes forces of brain and heart and muscle power that are capable of being changed from what they are – a disgrace and as disgracing to manhood, to civilization and to god – into all that is honorable, benevolent and god honoring amongst the nations of the Earth.
How most effectively to give my time thought and efforts to bring this about is my anxiety, and if you can give me your support I shall be glad indeed.
Zululand is in the hands of England, they have it as theirs to elevate to the scale of civilization and Christianity – if they attempt to send back Cetewayo they will kindle a flame that will consume thousands of men and women – and will re-erect the barrier they have thrown down that stood in the way of the uplifting of this people – the return of Cetewayo means the retrocession of civilization enlightenment and [property?] in that nation.
I shall be thankful and encouraged in my purposes if you will let me know what can be done by your Society in the direction I have indicated.
Yours very sincerely