Richard Murray to Frederick Chesson, 21 May 1878, C143/145

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Murray, Richard








Griqualand West

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C143-145


Kimberley, May 21st 1878

To F. Chesson Esq
Aborigines Protection Society

My dear Sir,

I send you the newspapers of today and which you will find contain accounts of the outbreak of Griquas and other natives. In order that you may understand the position of affairs I send you a rough outline of the country:

Where you see the x is where the administrator and the force he took down with him are now camped and where they had the fight. The natives are in the stronghold there and the administrator and his force are withing for the guns given by the Imperial Governmt to the Province. The guns were sent for to King Williams Town but by some bungling they were [being brought to here through the Free State?]. No official request had been made to the Resident and His Honour would not permit the guns to pass so that they had to be taken back into the colony again and are barely there yet. This is how everything is handled here. Lieut Colonel Lanyon with his force left for [Puisku?] but they did not reach there before they got to Puisku they [bushed?] at [Zikobant?] where they saw armed natives. This is a lawless lot under … [Malagas?], an outlaw and has no connection with the present rising of Griquas and others. The Pusika now had to do with the colonial [boers?].

The rising of the Griquas is not surprising. It is the result of the land policy of Sir Henry Barkly perpetuated by the present … of Lieut Colonel Lanyon. It must not be forgotten that we took over Griqualand under promises to the Chief Captain Waterboer that the rights of himself and his people and … should be respected. It is eight years ago we took the country over but the settlement has not been effected yet. Sir Henry Barkly forced Waterboer into court to sustain the titles to his own lands by the act of the law. This cost him and his agent over £3000. Whilst this was pending, for every single offence, Waterboer was taken into custody, dragged down to Kimberly and put into the Kimberly prison. No provision was made for his people so it aught to have been made. For eleven long years they have been hustled about from post to pillar. Then Alexander and his sons have been put into prison: then the natives close to the line of boundary have been … and their cows (Poquane) taken. The fact is that the natives have been [laroped?] in every possible way and war is the result. This is how native wars in South Africa are too frequently brought about.

Mr Southey, when Lieutenant Governor held that it was the duty of the Governt to keep faith with Waterboer and the Griquas, that they aught not to be forced into a court of law to get their own land. Mr Southey was dismissed from the Lieutenant Governorship because he took this view.

I think it is a pity that the Aborigines Protection Society has not an agent in this country to watch how natives are dealt with. I regard all the wars that have now taken place to be the result of bad governmt and if we are not careful it will soon be a war of ….

Immediately I received your letter I wrote to Mr Arnott Waterboer’s agent asking him to send me Waterboer’s case …. I have not yet received it. Immediately I do I will forward it.

I hope to be home before the year is out and my desire is to find a platform from whence I can enlighten the English public on British Rule as it affects the natives of South Africa.

I am Sir,
Yours faithfully
R.W. Murray