John Sanderson to Frederick Chesson, 1 December 1875, C146/103

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Sanderson, John









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C146-103


Natal Colonist’ Office
West Street Durban
1 December 1875

F.W. Chesson Esq
Secretary of the Aborigines Protection Society


In acknowledging receipt of a copy of the Colonial Intelligencer for November 1875, I beg to draw your attention to the fact of its having been addressed to Maritzburg instead of Durban, thereby occassioning delay in the delivery.

May I venture to take advantage of this opportunity to mention, what may perhaps seem to you too much of a complaint of a personal grievance, and for which, in any case, you probably are in no wise responsible. In the article on the Cape and natal in the C.I., the Natal Mercury and the Natal Witness are quoted by name, while the Colonist, although quoted, is so only in the form ‘a Natal writer satirically, although not unjustly, remarks.’ If this were a solitary case I should attach no importance, and should not dream of making any remark upon it. But is has long struck me as a very singular thing that, with the very rarest exceptions, the only Natal journals referred to are those which have the means of making the Natal press and the Natal public appear, in the eyes of the worlds, as, to a man, almost, banded together to oppress the natives. As I feel this to be unjust to the Colony, as well as to myself individually and the journal which I have from the beginning (Jany 1871) edited, you will, I trust, excuse me if I mention that while the Mercury and the Witness and the Times of Natal were engaged in hounding on Sir B Pine and Mr Shepstone to measures of the utmost severity against Langalibalele and Putini’s tribes, it was through the Colonist that the intelligence of the operations against these people was first made known at the Cape and in England.

xzing with him and denouncing the Colonist; and a league to suppress my journal was attempted to be formed. Fortunately there was too much sense of right and fairplay in the colony for the attempt to succeed, in spite of every effort of the supporters of B Pine and Mr Shepstone. While the ‘trial’ of Langalibalele was in progress I kept up a running commentary on that shameful farce, and at the time the Bishop of Natal entered the field (about 20th Jan 1874), and thenceforth received the chief share of the vituperation which has never since ceased, and which perhaps culminated in the public meeting here, 1st Sept 1874, when our ‘black hearted treachery’ was denounced amid loud cheers. During this period of 25 months the Colonist has done its best to obtain justice for the illused tribes, to place the facts truly before the world, and to expose the sham which is being passed off upon Lord Carnarvon and the world as a reformed native policy. I have not fought the battle for praise, but I do think that the fact that one out of the four colonial journals has strived, amid every discouragement for right and justice, and to make the good intentions of the Home Govt a reality, instead of allowing Mr Shepstone to secure the confirmation of his past system of lawless misrule, and that at least a respectable minority of the Colony have consistently opposed the injustice and lawlessness of Sir B Pine and Mr Shepstone, should not be overlooked as it appears hitherto to have been.

You are at liberty to make what use you please of this letter, and I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
John Sanderson