British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

Majesty's Treasury, and The Right Honourable Sir George Murray,1 one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, are to give the necessary directions herein, as to them may respectively appertain.

JAS. BULLER.


B. MODIFICATIONS IN THE OLD COLONIAL SYSTEM: CAPE COLONY AND MAURITIUS

34
CAPE COLONY: FREDERICK KERSTEINS: MEMORANDUM ON THE CONDITION OF THE COLONY September 17952

One of the first and indispensable duties of man is the love of his country. Animated with that sentiment I take the liberty to lay before your Excellencies a few hints on the subject of my country, and I hope your Excellencies will give me credit that I am in this step actuated neither by animosity against our former rulers or the legitimate Government of the Dutch East India Company, nor by any selfish motive, or any other than that eternal and sacred principle.

This colony has for several years been on the decline, and rapidly approaching its annihilation. The intolerable shackles laid on trade, the monopoly, the paper currency, the stamp taxes of all description, and above all the Jacobin mania, are the chief causes; and I may venture to say that nothing less than a revolution could have saved it. The insurrection for instance which took place in the interior parts of the country (at Grave Reinet)3 is a sufficient proof of my assertion. The insurrection at Grave Reinet seemed to proceed from a dislike to the Dutch Company's monopolies as well as from a ridiculous notion that, like America, they could exist as an independent state. But where are the resources? The population of this colony does not exceed 21,000 inhabitants, the land is barren, and the enemies with which the people are surrounded are numerous. Government had lost its respect and such was the oppression of the inhabitants that every prospect of reconciliation had vanished. It is now two months since Government has sent a deputation to Grave Reinet--and that

____________________
1
Sir George Murray, Quartermaster-General to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula, had been Lieut.-General in Canada in 1814 and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland 1825-8. He became Secretary of State for the Colonies in Wellington's administration in May 1828.
2
R.C.C., vol. i ( 1897), pp. 167-9. Kersteins was a Dutch Cape colonist who had left the Cape and had come to England. He returned to Cape Colony in 1810.
3
See below, pp. 505 ff.

-305-

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