Charles Orpen to Frederick Chesson, 23 January 1878, C144/56

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Orpen, Charles








Orange Free State

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C144-56


Smithfield, Orange Free State
23 January 1878


I beg to command to your attention

1. The article ‘Our relations and responsibilities to the native races, Prize Essay, by Victor Sampson B.A.’

Which appears in No 92, Vol XV and No 93, Vol XVI of the Cape Monthly Magazine, Dec 1877 and Jan 1878 parts. The magazine is to be obtained at [G Hanford’s?], 55 Charing Cross.

It is very possible that your attention has been called to this excellent essay before this.

2. Two articles headed ‘Problem for anti-slavery societies and the South African governments, Emancipation of the negros …, the … overlooked human being.’ Which appeared in ‘The Friend of the Free State,’ published at Bloemfontain Dates 23/4/74 and June 4 1874.

I may say that these 2 articles are from my own pen. ‘The Friend of the Free State’ is [filed?] by Professor Holloway and the agents in London are White and Bulwer, Mildmay Chambers, Bishopsgate A W …, F Algar, 11 Clements Lane, Lombard Street, and E …, 30 Cornhill.

I would be glad if you would also refer this papers to the antislavery society. I am pleased to think that all these subjects will be brought prominently before the notice of Sir B Frere by the by present kafir war and his presence on the border.

I have the honour to be
Your obedient servant
Charles Sirr Orpen

To the Secretaries
Of the Aborigines Protection Society

Your Society seems to be unknown in London as I cannot find your address in Whitakers Almanack (1875) or mention of your Society.

Now that the Transvaal has been taken over and the Orange Free State is surrounded by British colonies the aborigines require protection from their chief and themselves, and the females from their males. The law in the Orange Free State does not recognize polygamic marriage and holds that a female can at will abandon a polygamic husband and maintain a sole right to the children or power over them. In Natal Colony a short time ago (1877) a magistrate ordered a woman, wife (second or third or fourth) to a Zulu polygamist, who had abandoned him to return to her husband and then if it should please her to apply for a divorce.