John Mullins Jr to Frederick Chesson, 17 November 1879
Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C143 – 128
Author(s): John Mullins Jr.
Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson
Sent from: England
Date: 17 November 1879
42 Market Place
Much has been said and written about the cruelties alleged to have been committed by Cetchwayo the Kulu King. I think it but right that I should let you know how I found him.
I lived with him from the 16th August 1873 till 1879 and have been with him more than any other white man and had every opportunity of judging for myself. I have always found him the most just of men. He sat every day of his life as a court of appeal and heard cases brought before him by rich and poor. He administered justice without fear or favour to all. He would not hear a case unless the accused was there to hear the charge brought against him when he would hear both sides of the case and give judgement. I do not speak from hearsay but from my own experience.
I never heard that Cetchwayo was cruel till after the annexation of Transvaal then all sorts of wild lying reports when flying about many of them spread by men who had received great kindness at the hands of Cetchwayo. All these reports were as false as hell got up by his enemies to work his downfall. When I visited Natal I heard fearful accounts of the alleged goings on in Zululand at the time these things were said to be going on. I wrote a letter to the colonial press exposing these matters months before the Zulu war which gave great offence to the Colonial Government and for which they have made me pay dearly. To keep me from writing any more letters or defending the Kulu King I was thrown into prison on an alleged charge of selling six guns in the year 1873 this was 18th October 1878. There own paid servant John Dunn was allowed to take hundreds of guns from Natal to Zululand and thousands every year from Delagoa Bay which he sold to the Zulus. When guns became a … he advised the King to order every man to buy a gun to get rid of all the guns he had on hand he went on selling guns till a few days before the Ultimatum was delivered. This will show plainly that gun running was not my offence. But such is a sample of England’s justice in the Colony of Natal. To punish the Zulu King because he had a standing army armed by this own paid servant to depose the King and put in his stead their own paid servant who had acted traitor to the King who had been better to him than his own father. In this case England’s justice must appear stranger justice to all men.
John Mullins Jr