John William Akerman to Frederick Chesson, 2 December 1875, C123/68

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Akerman, John William









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C123-68


PMBurg Natal
Dec 2 1875

F.W. Chesson Esq

Dear Sir,

On the supposition that I have to thank you for transmission of a copy of the ‘Colonial Intelligencer’ received by this mail. I beg to apprise you of the despatch this day to your address of the Natal Mercury of Nov 4, in which you will see my address in the L. Council on the proposed Native Bill.

It would appear that we have been discussing the subject here concurrently in date with its discussion before your society. At present the Bill is in select committee of which I am a member and has been much changed. There are two principal points however which we shall fail to carry and which some of us propose to appeal upon to the Queen.

They are chiefly connected with the woman traffic, designated polygamy. We proposed an amendment in the Bill that the new courts to be created under the new regime should not be made use of to recover ukulobola i.e. cattle paid for women, in respect of any future transactions. Also that no second marriage in the future should have legal force. We lost both but shall press these again in the council. Mr Shepstone opposes these changes though … if the object really is to improve the natives. The degraded character of the women lies at the root of all the other difficulties.

I am yours faithfully
J.W. Akerman