Richard Murray to Frederick Chesson, 14 May 1878

Richard Murray to Frederick Chesson, 14 May 1878

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C143 – 144

Author(s): Richard Murray

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: Griqualand West

Date: 14 May 1878

Kimberley May 14th 1878


F.W. Chesson Esq


To Aborigines Protection Society


My dear Sir,


Yours dated April 4th came to hand last week. I presume when that letter was written you had not received the particulars I have you regarding the case of the …, as you made no mention of it.


You shall have full particulars of Waterboer’s case by an early mail. The treatment of Waterboer has been most shameful as I think you will agree with me in saying when you have the particulars before you.


I am sorry that I cannot afford to come home at my own expense and lay all these matters clearly before your society. You would thus soon see how large is the work your society has before it in South Africa.


To my mind the policy adopted towards the natives in this part of South Africa so utterly bad unwise and unjust and the flippant writings of Mr J.A. Froude and Mr Anthony Trollope are not calculated to improve matters. It was bad enough to read the diatribes of Mr Froude in favour of the native policy of the Dutch knowing as I do from experience that that policy has always been most oppressive and in no way calculated to solve this grave problem of the future of the coloured races. But Mr Trollope has out [steroded?] … Froude. Believe me, Sir, Mr Trollope is the laughing stock of every intelligent fair-minded man in South Africa. His sketches are inartistic to start with; one half his books on South Africa have been copied from others and that which is original is totally at variance with fact.


I will give you just one case as an illustration. See pages 156 and 157 of his second volume. Commence with the paragraph ‘But in regard to the share’.


He says he does not wish Griqualand West to prevail in regard to the share of representation claimed by the Province in case of annexation to the Cape Colony. His reason is that 12,000 natives would thereby be enabled to exercise the franchise because the majority of the kafirs now working in the fields have been born in the  Transvaal!! The fact is really that very few indeed of our kafir labourers were born in the Transvaal, certainly no considerably portion of them. The Transvaal has not half labour enough for itself. I will send you next post the statistics showing where the natives in the fields come from. But suppose they did. If Griqualand obtained all the representation asked for it would not give a vote to a single native. We have not contended for any extension of the franchise. We have contended and do contend what we aught to have 3 members in council instead of 1, and 8 members in the assembly instead of 4, but whether the number be 4 or 8 they would be elected by the same constituency. If we are annexed to the Cape Colony we shall all be enlisted to vote under the present franchise of the Cape Colony whether 4 or 8 members have to be elected. I mention … this one case to show you have unreliable Trollope is. I should like to deal with his book from some platform in England. I do hope to do so some day.


The Home Governmt are grossly misled regarding native affairs in Africa, drawing as it does all its information from official dispatches.


Major Lanyon is now down [trying?] some natives near Pueska. You should have particulars on that next mail.


Yours faithfully

Mr Murray


I wish you would send me some of the society’s periodicals. I think I might contribute something occasionally if I could see the style and tone.