British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

And in order to give the fullest publicity to this my intention and command, besides the usual means of making the same known, I do hereby direct each and every ward-master of this town to appoint and assemble one Hottentot from every house in the respective wards, and each field-cornet in the several country divisions one Hottentot from each house in such division, as early as possible after the receipt of this proclamation, and to explain, or cause to be explained to such Hottentots so assembled, the full meaning thereof; and I do further direct the ward-masters and field-cornets aforesaid to report to His Majesty's fiscal, and to their respective landdrosts, their having complied with this instruction, as they shall answer the contrary at their peril. . . .


7
CAPE COLONY: GOVERNOR SIR JOHN CRADOCK TO LORD BATHURST, 15 April 18141

Government House, Cape Town.

MY LORD,

In some preceding dispatches I have taken the liberty to state to your Lordship that I thought it to be my duty to place in your Lordship's office some remarkable cases that had occurred in the Courts of Law since my arrival here, and to which it may not prove unacceptable to recur, should it be found expedient to revise the laws and judicial proceedings of the colony or eventually upon a complete cession of the Settlement to introduce British jurisprudence and practice . . .

[ Cradock pays tribute to the impartiality of Jan Truter, as Chief Justice.]

But such is the constitution of the Court, where plurality of suffrage decided the question, and where inveterate habits and peculiar local proceedings must have complete sway, that it is not in the power of any single person, were he even shaken entirely free from the power of custom and education, to secure the free operation of his own understandings and feelings, and always effect that which is immutably right.

I shall therefore now transmit to your Lordship five2 judicial

____________________
1
C.O. 48/22. Printed in R.C.C., vol. x, pp. 1-2. In July 1812 Cradock had appointed a Commission to investigate the charges, made by the missionaries Van der Kemp and Read, of miscarriage of justice and ill treatment against certain employers of Hottentots and slaves in certain inland districts. The proceedings of the Commission (see Van Blokland report, R.C.C., vol. ix, pp. 328 ff.) became notorious as the "'Black Circuit'". While Cradock criticized the acrimonious spirit in which the missionaries had made their accusations and believed them 'highly exaggerated', he himself investigated the records of the Court of Justice in Cape Town, and reported his findings here.
2
Only two are printed here (see also C.O. 48/25, 26 for detailed correspondence on these cases).

-602-

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