John William Akerman to Frederick Chesson, 25 September 1876, C123/70

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Akerman, John William









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Bodleian Libraries

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C123-70


18 Holles Street
Cavendish Square

My dear Sir,

If your Society takes any further interest in the native Bill of Natal and is concerned with the rebuff it has met with at Lord Carnarvon’s hands in connexion with my strictures upon the Bill; I would suggest an excellent mode of exposing in the parliament that manner in which colonial office affairs are conducted.

Let an M.P. first obtain an official reply as to what was the date of receipt by the colonial office of copies of the votes and proceedings of the Natal legislative council for 1875.

Should it be found, as I suspect is the truth, that this receipt was long posterior to Lord Carnarvon’s reply to you on my opinions, then it follows that the pretended research into these matter was not made in England at all as the reply, I understand, imparts; but is but the endorsement of a report made from the colony and necessarily of a partisan character. Indeed a man making a complaint from Natal, though such may involve the interests or even lives of many, is positively placed in an inferior position, in forwarding his suit to that of a common suitor at … in the most frivolous matter. The latter can at least hear what his opponent says and try to refute it. Here, on the contrary, an official decision is reached and legislation ratified without the opportunity being afforded of ordinary debate. Now I truly believe that the votes and proceedings of Natal (1875) had not reached Downing street when the reply to your Society, which dealt largely with the votes of the council on the native bill and professed to analyze them, as transmitted to you. If I am correct in this belief, what a field it opens up.

Yours very truly
J.W. Akerman