John William Akerman to Frederick Chesson, 1 October 1877, C123/86

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Akerman, John William









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C123-86


PMBurg Natal
October 1 1877

My dear Sir,

I am in receipt of your letter of explanation of August 16 and have to thank you likewise for the additional copies of the pamphlet received by the same post. From your letter I perceive that you have mislaid the list of names to which I insisted copies of the pamphlet to be forwarded. So far as I now can recollect, I enclose these now. The Irish malcontents did great mischief to the S.A. Bill and I can scarcely wonder at Mr McArthur’s failure in the matter of Natal native law. Whenever however this subject may arise the great difficulty in handling it will be Lord Carnarvon’s determination to back up Mr Shepstone (aided by Sir G. Wolsely) through thick and thin. The Earl will seek to cast all the blame on the colony, for which we are colonists must suffer, instead of on its officials (Sir J Shepstone being the arch-evil doer). You see that O’Donnel got an unanimous vote to strike out of the S.A. Bill the power for Natal to annex, though this was reserved to the Cape. And why, because the colonists have been blamed for official acts re Langalibalele. This has been Colenso’s blunder, hence his loss of influence here. He should have dealt only with official acts. The colonists did no more than obey orders. It is indeed … that when as my pamphlet demonstrates, even a majority of colonists are outvoted by official influence, the colonists should endure the blame. This is not sufficiently understood in free Britain or if so not acted upon. If I am not mistaken the Transvaal will be found to be a white elephant yet.

News … yesterday of the murder of a chief of a white J.P. and 6 native police, when carrying out legal decrees. At New Scotland in T.Vaal.

I have seen [Winter’s?] publication and understand that the anti-slavery society are taking it up. The book is well written, but is too violent in some of its statements; at least that is my impression. I may tell you that from [Gallwey’s?] information I am led to believe that the native law will really shortly be published and he assures me it will cause a sensation. If possible will send you a copy.

Am glad to find that men of Mr Gladstone’s calibre are taking up the question; though, as before said, the really guilty man has managed to escape from the consequences of his own acts by a translation to rank and other regions. Our general elections come off next week. I am unopposed in the city, but an attempt will be made to convert me into the junior member by a majority of votes for J Shepstone … of the other seat. A rowdy public meeting has already been held for the same purpose. This family ever pursues all opportunity. I fear I must leave the colony.

Yours very truly
J.W. Akerman

F.W. Chesson, Esq

Names to address Akerman’s pamphlets

Sir B. Frere
Sir Grant-Duff MP
Revd Dr [Slantal?] 333 Clapham Rise
Revd Mr Summerhaye, Ealing… Ealing
Watchman office
Revd Mr Dale Birmingham
The head of the Gordon Mission to Africa, Scotland
Sir C. Dilke
Dean Stanley