British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

That it thus appears to the colonists, instead of the new settlement ever deriving any advantage from the civilization of these savages, that the existing measures can only lead to a war of mutual extermination. . . . [171 signatures.]


25
THOMAS PRINGLE TO THE COMMISSIONERS OF INQUIRY, 12 January 18261

Graham's Town.

... It appears that Colonel Somerset had received intelligence that some cattle and horses, formerly stolen from the colony, were in the possession of a chief, named Neuka (a relation of Gaika's) and a Caffre female of rank, with whom he is associated; and although the Caffres have been altogether very quiet for several months past, Colonel Somerset determined severely to chastise this chief. A secret expedition was therefore planned, and the commandant, accompanied by about 200 men of the Cape corps, and a party of burghers from Baviaan's River and Bruintjes Hoogte, marched off suddenly on the 20th ult. to attack Neuka's kraal. So secret and sudden indeed was this expedition, that the landdrost of Albany was not informed of it until after the commandant had marched from Graham's Town, and was consequently prevented from adopting any sufficient measures for the protection of the traders at Fort Willshire.

Notwithstanding all this secrecy, however, and the assistance of the Caffre spies and guides who accompanied them, the party sent forward to attack Neuka fell first by mistake upon a kraal belonging to the chief Botman, who has been long on friendly terms with the colony. Before their mistake was discovered some women and children had been shot, the cattle seized, and the chief himself in imminent danger of being killed in the confusion, when he was fortunately recognized by some of the party, an explanation took place, the captured cattle were restored, and the commando marched forward. The next kraal plundered by the commando was one of some of Gaika's people, against whom there was no complaint; but this was also done by mistake; and upon some remonstrance on the part of the chief, part at least of the cattle carried off from this kraal were subsequently restored.

While the commando was thus blundering about and attacking one peaceable party of Caffres after another, and wantonly firing upon

____________________
1

Parl. Papers, 1835 (50), vol. xxxix, pp. 183-4. Thomas Pringle, Scots poet and friend of Sir Walter Scott, had emigrated to Albany with a party of 24 in 1820. He became librarian in Cape Town and was concerned in the publication of the first newspaper, where he was very outspoken on the distress of the 1820's. When Lord Charles Somerset imposed a censorship in 1826, he left the colony and became Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society until 1834. The Commissioners of Eastern Inquiry, appointed in 1822, were J. T. Bigge and Major W. M. G. Colebrooke.

-514-

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