Early Scenes of Settlement and Struggle.

[Sidenote: The Dark Continent]

From the date of its discovery by Bartholomew Diaz, in 1486, until the first Dutch settlement by Van Riebeeck, in 1650, the Cape of Good Hope was simply a finger post on the route to India--a convenient and temporary anchorage for Portuguese, Dutch, English, Spanish and French ships. And around its stormy and rock-bound headlands had passed the richly laden ships of the English and Dutch East India Companies for half a century before the latter founded its pioneer establishment. Henceforward, however, the shores of Table Bay, with its towering and mountainous mass of granite sheltering the Castle of the Dutch Governor and the tiny settlement of Cape Town, was to be the scene and centre of a gradual colonization, of continuous struggle with innumerable natives, of peculiar trade conditions and curious governing experiences, of capture by the English and of varied experiments in British government.

[Sidenote: The First Settlement]

The first Dutch settlement was really a station for supplying the passing ships of the Dutch East India Company. No idea of territorial extension was present in the minds of those who proceeded to erect a fort and to barter with wandering natives. They knew nothing of the vast interior of the Dark Continent and its two or three hundred millions of black or brown population, its merciless wars and campaigns, its savage customs and cruelties, its vast lakes and rivers and mountains and rolling plains. They were equally unaware that about the time of their own establishment in the south, under the protecting shelter of the vast square mass of Table Mountain, a tribe of dark-skinned natives, called the Bantu, had swarmed down upon the far eastern coast and were preparing to overrun from their home in Central Africa all the great region of barren upland and rolling veldt and level Karoo plain known now by the common name of South Africa. The tiny settlements of the Dutch were thus unconsciously preparing for a future in which the persistent pressure of millions of Bantu, or Kaffirs, from the north and east upon the white colonies of the south was to make history of a most prolonged and painful character. [Sidenote: The Old-Time Natives] At first little was seen of the natives excepting members of a degraded coast tribe whom the Colonists called Bushmen and who lived more like animals than human beings. A little higher in the scale were the Hottentots, who, in large numbers, formed a fringe of wandering tribes along the whole of the southern part of the continent. Fighting continually amongst themselves, trading occasionally with the white men and stealing cattle wherever possible from the gradually extending settlement, these natives proved a source of much trouble to the pioneers.

[Sidenote: The Dutch East India Company]

Between 1652 and 1783 the European population of the Cape increased to about twenty-five thousand persons, in comparison with an increase of four millions in the English population of the thirteen American Colonies during much the same period. But conditions were different and the character of the settlers still more so. The Dutch East India Company ruled with despotic power, and its regulations read like a product of romantic imagination. Slaves were, of course, permitted and encouraged, and, in 1754, the penalty of death was fixed for any slave raising his hand against his master, and that of a severe flogging for any who loitered outside the church doors during service time. [Sidenote: How the French Huguenots were Received] The French Protestants, or Huguenots, who came out in 1688-90, were welcomed as settlers, but were very soon shown that no ideas of racial equality pervaded the Dutch mind. A schoolmaster was imported expressly to teach the children the language of the dominant race. No separate communities were allowed, and the French were carefully mixed amongst the Dutch and other settlers. Requests for distinct church organization were stigmatized as impertinent, and the use of the language was forbidden in official or public life. By the middle of the eighteenth century it had entirely died. Sumptuary laws of the most extraordinary character prevailed. Any person seeing the Governor approach had to stop his carriage and get out of it. No one lower in rank than a merchant could use a large umbrella, and only the wives and daughters of those who were, or had been, members of the Council could do so. The trade monopoly of the Company was so rigorous that Colonists were entirely debarred from external commerce, and were dependent upon officials for the sale and price of their products. They had not the most elementary self-government, and at the end of the eighteenth century did not possess a printing press. Cut off from all literature, having nothing but the Bible and a metrical version of the Psalms, they developed a type of character unique in itself and productive of most serious consequences.

[Sidenote: The System of "Loan Leases"]

Nor was permanency of settlement encouraged by the Dutch authorities. From 1705 to 1770 the Government issued what were termed "loan leases," or licenses to occupy land in the interior for grazing purposes upon the payment of a small rental and with a right to re-assume possession at any time retained by the Government. Combined with changes in the seasons and the pasturage, and the desire to obtain better locations, this system encouraged the formation of that peculiar characteristic called "trekking," which has marked the pages of South African history with so much bloodshed and trouble. It also brought the wandering farmers, or Boers, into contact or conflict with the wandering natives. Even the Dutch officials at Swellendam and Stellenbosch complained at last of a plan under which the farmers "did not scruple to wander about hither and thither several days' journey from their loan farms;" and finally, in 1770, the system was abolished. Meantime a region larger than the British Isles had been taken from the Hottentots and their cattle driven away from the best grass-land available for their use, and which had been theirs for centuries. The natural result of cattle-stealing which ensued upon the part of the natives was punishment by the Colonists in the form of war; in the holding of captured children as apprentices or slaves; and in the occasional application of torture to individual savages.

[Sidenote: Successive Racial Importations]

This matter of relations with the natives and of slavery was complicated at an early date (1658) by the introduction of some negro slaves from a Portuguese ship. They were brought from the coast of Guinea and sold to the Government for rough labor in the neighborhood of Cape Town, and also to some of the more distant settlers. Naturally inclined, already, to utilize natives for any work of a manual nature, this official encouragement immediately complicated the relations between Hottentots and Bushmen and the Dutch farmers. The latter, having once tasted the pleasures of slave-ownership in the midst of vast reserves of dark-skinned people, soon put the principle into the fullest practice and application. From time to time further consignments of slaves from other parts of Africa were introduced by those inveterate dealers, the Portuguese, and to them were soon added large numbers of native criminals from Malacca, Java and the Spice Islands, who were sent by the Batavian Government to serve out terms of punishment or slavery at the Cape. They were, of course, more intelligent than the imported slaves from Guinea and Mozambique, and often made excellent masons, harness-makers, coopers and tailors; but their influence upon the moral tone of the white community amongst whom they were placed is not hard to estimate. From their arrival dates one of the many mixed races with which South Africa swarms. Another class of imported Asiatics of a higher type consisted of political offenders sent from Java at a later date to live, with their families, upon fixed Government allowances. They received occasional accessions up to 1781, when the last batch came out. As a result of these successive racial importations Cape Colony came in time to include a most singular and varied half-breed population in which Dutch and Hottentots and Malay and Negro were all intermixed.

[Sidenote: European Population in 1759]

In 1759, a century and a half after the Colony was established, its population contained 9,782 Europeans, of whom 1,486 were women and 8,104 slaves. How many natives there were it is difficult to estimate, as they were always a very movable quantity. Up to the end of the century this population lived and slowly increased under conditions which absolutely precluded real progress and evolved the character of singular stagnation which met the English conquerors in 1795. In 1779 the Dutch settlers pleaded in vain with the Directors of the East India Company for a limited privilege of making purchases directly in Holland instead of through the Company's stores at Cape Town. In vain the so-called burghers also asked for the most elementary political rights--though even then entirely unwilling to concede any rights to the surrounding natives. In vain they petitioned for printed copies of the laws and regulations of the Government and for a printing press.

They were regarded at this time by the Batavian Government much as the Transvaal authorities regarded the Uitlanders of another century. The Law Officer of the Cape Government, to whom the petitions were referred in 1779 by the Home authorities, declared that: "It would be a mere waste of words to dwell on the remarkable distinction to be drawn between burghers whose ancestors nobly fought for and conquered their freedom and such as are named burghers here, who have been permitted as matter of grace to have a residence in a land of which possession has been taken by the Sovereign Power, there to gain a livelihood as tillers of the earth, tailors and shoemakers."[1] At the end of the nineteenth century the Uitlanders believed themselves to have been taxed and treated in the Transvaal with very much similar motives and entirely from the point of view of Dutch revenues and the strengthening of Dutch supremacy. The Boers had been well taught this peculiar lesson in government, and nowhere better than in another part of this same document: "Now it is clear, and requires no lengthy argument, that for the purpose of enabling a subordinate Colony to flourish as a Colony it is not always expedient to apply those means which, considered in the abstract, might be conducive to its prosperity. The object of paramount importance in legislating for Colonies should be the welfare of the parent state, of which such Colony is but a subordinate part and to which it owes its existence."

[1] Three Lectures on the Cafe of Good Hope, Judge Watermeyer. Cape Town, 1857.

[Sidenote: The Afrikander Dialect]

Meanwhile, to the degradation of character which came from the possession of slaves by a people naturally narrow in view and necessarily ignorant through their unfortunate environment, was added the creation and cultivation of a curious patois, or Afrikander dialect, which increased their isolation and intensified the problems of the future. The Huguenots had been compelled to learn and to speak Dutch, and probably did not do it very well; the Boers were themselves compelled to frequently speak the language of the natives; there was no school system and no sifting of the culture of a higher class of permanent residents down through the grades of other settlers; there was no emigration of population from Holland which might have helped to maintain the morale of the language; and the result was the evolution of a dialect which became neither Dutch nor French, nor native, but a mixture of all three called the Taal. Olive Schreiner has given the following explanation and description[2] of this product of seventeenth century evolution amongst the Boers:

"The Dutch of Holland is as highly developed a language and as voluminous and capable of expressing the finest scintillations of thought as any in Europe. The vocabulary of the Taal has shrunk to a few hundred words, which have been shorn of almost all their inflections and have been otherwise clipped.... Of the commonest pronouns many are corrupted out of all resemblance to their originals. Of nouns and other words of Dutch extraction most are so clipped as to be scarcely recognizable. A few words are from Malay and other native sources; but so sparse is the vocabulary and so broken are its forms that it is impossible in the Taal to express a subtle emotion, an abstract conception, or a wide generalization."

[2] The Story of South Africa. By W. Basil Worsfold, M.A. London, 1898.

[Sidenote: The Batavian Republic]

In 1792 a Commission came out from Holland to investigate the affairs and government of the now decadent and bankrupt Company; and shortly afterwards the widespread colonial system of that famous organization was taken over by the Home Government of Holland, or, as it became under French influence, the Batavian Republic. Minor reforms were introduced at the Cape, but they were not sufficient to meet the current conditions of corruption and stagnation, and by 1795, when Cape Town capitulated to Admiral Elphinstone and General Craig, during one of the varied phases of the Napoleonic wars and European combinations against England, much of the interior Colony was in a state of rebellion, and two little republics had been established amongst the settlers away to the north and east of the capital. Thus ended a system of Government which the late Judge Watermeyer, of Cape Town, has declared was "in all things political purely despotic; in all things commercial purely monopolistic;" and which the Historiographer to the Cape Government has summarized in the words:[3] "It governed South Africa with a view to its own interests, its method of paying its officials was bad, its system of taxation was worse, in the decline of its prosperity it tolerated many gross abuses."

[3] George M. Theal, LL. D., in "Story of the Nations' Series."

[Sidenote: Preliminary Period of British Rule]

In this way were laid the foundations of character and custom upon which have been built the developments of the nineteenth century in South Africa. So far, however, there had been no real antagonism felt towards Great Britain, no apparent reason for its creation and no direct cause for its application. But, with the entrance of Holland into the league against England in 1795 and the evolution of India as an important dependency of the Island Kingdom, had come the first real clash of English and Dutch interests in South Africa through the capture of Cape Town. This preliminary period of British rule in the country lasted until 1803. Everything possible was done to conciliate the Dutch population, which in the country districts refused at first to have anything to do with, or to in any way acknowledge, the new Government. The people of Cape Town were treated with generosity. Officials taking the oath of allegiance were, as a rule, retained in their posts; the depreciated currency, amounting to a quarter of a million pounds sterling, was accepted by the authorities at its full nominal value; some very obnoxious taxes were abolished and a popularly chosen Council or burgher Senate was established in the capital. More important than all, the announcement was made that anyone might now buy and sell as he would, deal with whom he chose in a business way, and come and go as suited him upon land and water. The farmers were invited to Cape Town to trade as they might wish, and to lay any matters they desired before the Governor. The early British administrators included Major-General Sir J. H. Craig, the Earl of Macartney, Sir George Yonge and Major-General Sir Francis Dundas.

[Sidenote: The New Government Unpopular]

Unfortunately, the weaknesses inherent in the British Colonial system of that time soon manifested themselves in South Africa. While free trade was allowed and promoted throughout the Colony, and a great advance thus made on previous conditions it was soon found that external trade to the East was restricted by the existing monopoly of the British East India Company; while duties were, of course, imposed upon goods coming from the West in any but British ships. Even in this, however, there was an advance upon the previous limitations under which goods could not be imported at all by the people, even in Dutch ships. These regulations, it must also be remembered, applied equally, under the strict navigation laws of that time, to British Colonies in North America, including French Canada and the West Indies, as well as to South Africa. It was not an easy population to govern. The Dutch farmer did not like the oath of allegiance, although it was made as easy as possible for him to take. The very strictness of the new Government and the absence of corruption made it unpopular in some measure. The fact that Holland had become a Republic, which in time percolated through the isolation of the public mind, added to the prejudice against monarchical government which already existed as a result of the despotism of the Dutch East India Company. Naturally and inevitably positions under the Government soon drifted into the hands of men who could speak English and who possessed British sympathies. It is not difficult to realize that the somewhat sullen character of a Cape Town Dutchman who was always looking forward to some change in the European kaleidoscope--of which he naturally knew more than the farmers of the interior and therefore hoped more from--made co-operation difficult and at times unpleasant.

[Sidenote: Kaffir Wars]

In the interior there had been one or two petty insurrections, or rather riots, amongst the farmers, and in the last year of the century occurred the third Kaffir war. The first had been fought in 1779 under Dutch rule, and the troublesome Kosa tribe driven back over the Fish River which, it was hoped, could be maintained as a permanent frontier between the Colonists and the Kaffirs. The second was a similar but less important struggle with the same tribe in 1789. One was now to take place under British rule. The clans along the north bank of the River joined in a sudden raid into the Colony in February, 1799, took possession of a large strip of country, drove the fleeing settlers before them, attacked and almost surprised a force of British troops marching under General Vandeleur upon another errand to Algoa Bay, cut off a patrol of twenty men and killed all but four. By August, when a large body of Dutch volunteers and some British regulars were got together, all the border country had been harried. There was nothing else to plunder, and the Kaffirs therefore withdrew before the advancing force, and readily accepted terms of peace which General Dundas offered against the wish and advice of the settlers. Three years later the war was renewed, as a result of continued and isolated Kaffir depredations and, this time, the initial movement was made by a Dutch commando. It was defeated, but the Kaffirs soon became tired of a struggle in which there was no profit to them, and a new peace was patched up. Meanwhile, in this same year, a fresh and important element of the future was introduced into South African life by the arrival of the first Agents of the London Missionary Society, and in February, 1803, a temporary lull having occurred in the European conflict, Cape Colony was restored to the Holland Government and a Dutch garrison of 3,000 men placed at Cape Town under the control of a Governor of high military reputation and personal worth--Jan Willem Janssens.

[Sidenote: Restored to Holland Government]

During the next six years the Colony was governed under some of the milder laws of its mother-land; though not always to the liking of Dutch settlers, who objected to political equality--even in the limited application of the the phrase which was then in vogue--being given to "persons of every creed who acknowledged and worshipped a Supreme Being." To them there was only one Church as well as only one people, and religious or political equality was as extraneous to their ideas as racial equality. Nor would they have anything to do with the state schools which the Batavian Government tried to establish amongst them as being some improvement upon the few and feeble schools connected with the churches. All useful discussion or development of such tentative efforts at reform were checked, however, by the renewed outbreak, in 1803, of war in Europe, and by the appearance in Table Bay, on January 4, 1806, of a British fleet of sixty-three ships, with 7,000 soldiers under the command of Major-General (afterward Sir) David Baird. The troops landed on the beach at Blueberg, defeated a very motley force of German mercenaries, Dutch soldiers, volunteers, Malays, Hottentots and slaves under General Janssens and marched toward Cape Town. Capitulation followed, and, on March 6th, transports took away from South Africa the last representative of direct Dutch rule.

[Sidenote: Again Under British Rule]

The settlers did not take kindly to the new Government, and lived in continuous anticipation of some fresh change in the European kaleidoscope--so far as they could, in a very vague way, follow situation--which would once more revive the power of the Batavian Republic through a renewed French triumph, and thus give them back their allegiance. It was not that they had greatly prized Dutch rule when it was theirs without the asking; that the brief period of republican administration had really soothed their wild ideas of liberty or removed the dangers of Kaffir raid and native aggression; or that they had forgotten the century and a half of oppressive government and hurtful restriction which they had suffered from the Dutch East India Company. It was simply the earlier form of that racial feeling of antagonism which--unlike the sentiment of civilized peoples like the French in Canada and the better class Hindoos, or educated Mohammedans of India, and the wild natures of Sikhs and Ghoorkas and kindred races in the Orient--has never given way before the kindness and good intentions of British administration. Mistakes were, of course, made by England, as they have been made in Lower Canada as well as in Upper Canada, in Ireland as in India; but the resulting dissatisfaction should not have been permanent. However that may be, the new Government started out wisely. Under the Earl of Caledon, a young Irish nobleman, who ruled from 1807 to 1811, the system of the first period of British administration was revived and guided by the established Colonial principles of the time. In the matter of representative institutions and commercial regulations the Dutch of the conquered Colony were treated neither better nor worse than the Loyalists of Upper Canada, the French of Lower Canada, or white subjects in the East and West Indies. As was really necessary in a community so cut off from European civilization, so inert in an intellectual connection and so morosely ignorant of constitutional freedom, Lord Caledon governed with much strictness and even autocracy; but with boundless personal generosity and amiability. [Sidenote: The Fourth Kaffir War] What is termed the fourth Kaffir war was fought with the Kosas in 1812, and this time, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel John Graham, the result was eminently satisfactory to the Europeans concerned. In the preceding year Sir John Cradock had become Governor, and he also proved himself a man of high character. Under his rule autocracy was again given its best form and application.

[Sidenote: Finally Ceded to Great Britain]

Meanwhile, events in Europe were tending towards the final triumph of British arms and diplomacy and subsidies over the tremendous military power of Napoleon. Holland, once freed from French domination, overthrew the peculiar republican system which Napoleon had established, and accepted, in 1813, the Prince of Orange--who for eighteen years had been living in England in exile--as its ruler. An agreement was at once made with him by the British Government, and, in return for a payment of $30,000,000, Cape Colony and some Dutch Provinces in South America were formally and finally ceded to Great Britain by a Convention signed at London in August, 1814. In this way the Dutch of the Cape became British subjects. Not through a conquest preceded, as in the case of French Canada, by a century of continuous conflict or a rivalry which was as keen as war, but through the medium of an almost peaceful annexation succeeded by a friendly purchase of territory and ratification of the annexation on the part of their Mother-land. Had the character of the Boers not been so peculiar and exceptional, there was consequently every ground for the hope of eventual contentment under British rule and of assimilation with the developing life of the Empire during the ensuing century. There was no inherited legacy of civil war or racial hatred. The Mother-lands of England and Holland had fought with each other, it is true, but more often they had stood side by side in Europe for the cause of religious and popular freedom.

[Sidenote: A Period Tending to Racial Co-operation]

And, at the Cape, during the succeeding years from 1806 to 1814, there were few causes of real friction. The voices of the missionaries were occasionally heard in criticism of the Dutch treatment of natives; but the antagonism had not yet become acute. The Courts of law and public offices under British administration were found to be ruled by considerations of justice, and the local language was still in use. Dutch churches increased, the clergymen were paid by the State and six new magistracies were established. Inter-marriages were also common amongst the various racial elements--sometimes too much so--and everything pointed to a period of gradually developed internal unity and racial co-operation. What followed was regrettable, and the blame for it is very hard to adequately and fairly apportion. Lord Charles Somerset, who governed the Colony from 181410 1826, is accused of drawing far too heavy a salary--ten thousand pounds a year--from the revenues of the country; of having treated the Dutch rebels under Bezuidenhout with too great severity; of having mismanaged relations with the Kaffirs on the northern frontier; of prohibiting the Dutch language in the Courts and official documents; and of having weakened the values of paper money to such an extent as to ruin many of the settlers. Taken altogether, there was enough in these charges, if true, to explain a considerable measure of discontent; but there was hardly enough in them to cause the absolute hatred of England and Englishmen which had developed amongst the Dutch farmers by the end of the first quarter of the century. As it was, many of the circumstances mentioned have more than the traditional two sides. If the Governor received a large salary, he certainly spent it freely in the struggling Colony. He had an expensive establishment to maintain, and the duties and pecuniary responsibilities of the position were much greater in those days than they are now. He was, in himself, practically the entire Government of the country, and without Ministers to share either expense or duties. The Castle was the centre of a hospitality which was in constant requisition for visiting fleets and passing travellers of rank to, or from, the Orient. [Sidenote: Some of the Earliest Grievances] Moreover, as in all the Colonies at that time, the local revenue was largely supplemented from London, the Army Chest was at the frequent service of the Governor, and an expensive military establishment was maintained by the Home authorities. The figures for this immediate period are not available; but a little later,[4] in 1836, the local military expenditure by Great Britain was £161,412, or over eight hundred thousand dollars. [Sidenote: The Fifth Kaffir War] The Bezuidenhout matter will be considered in a succeeding chapter, and the fifth Kaffir war, in 1818, was simply another of the inevitable struggles between a race of pastoral farmers who openly despised and ill-treated the natives and tribes which possessed much savage spirit, bravery and natural aggressiveness. In any case, Lord Charles Somerset anticipated attack by attacking first, and turned over a page of history which Sir Bartle Frere was destined to repeat with the Zulus many decades after. His policy was certainly plainer and more promptly protective to the Boers than had been the action of any preceding Governor. Still, there was a period of surprise and frontier devastation, and this the Dutch settlers once again resented.

[4] Montgomery Martin. History of the Colonies of the British Empire. London, 1843.

[Sidenote: British Immigration Encouraged]

The prohibition of the language in official and legal matters was a more important grievance. It arose out of the movement of English-speaking settlers into the country after 1819, when it was found, according to the Census of that year, that there were only 42,000 white people in the whole region. The Colonial Office and Parliament thereupon resolved to encourage colonization, voted $250,000 for the purpose, and, between 1820 and 1821, established some five thousand immigrants of British birth in the Colony. Within a few years about one-eighth of all the Colonists were English-speaking, and it was then decided to issue the order regarding the official use of the one language. It was a very mild copy of the principle which the Dutch had formerly applied to the Huguenots and which the United States has never hesitated to apply to subject races such as the French in Louisiana or the Spaniards and Mexicans elsewhere. It must be remembered also that the white population of the Colony was not at the time larger than that of a third-class English town, and that the statesmen in question were trying to legislate for a future population in which it was naturally supposed the English people would constitute a large majority. The policy did not go far enough, was not drastic enough, to effect the object in view, and may in any case have been a mistake; but in Lower Canada, where the opposite course was taken, the tiny French population of 1774 has developed into nearly two millions of French-speaking people in 1899, and not a small part of the population of the present Dominion think that a great error was made in the liberal practice inaugurated by the Quebec Act. It is hard to satisfy everyone. By 1828 the language arrangement was completed, so far as laws could effect it, but without the autocratic educational regulations which had made the Dutch treatment of the Huguenots so thorough. The policy certainly had an irritating effect upon the Dutch settlers, who promptly refused, as far as possible, to have anything to do with the Government, or the Courts, or the high-class Government schools which had been for some time established throughout the country, and where English was, of course, the language taught.

[Sidenote: The Paper Money Policy]

The paper money matter was a more complicated affair, and one which the ignorant settlers were naturally unable to comprehend. The monetary system of the Colony was practically an inheritance from the days of Dutch rule. The Company had not been very scrupulous about the security of its paper money, and the succeeding Batavian Government seems to have been utterly unscrupulous. In 1807 Lord Caledon found mercantile transactions in an almost lifeless state, and the currency not only depreciated and contracted, but the subject of usurious charges of all kinds. Every effort was made by him and succeeding Governors to effect a betterment in the mass of half-useless paper which was floating about, and, by 1825, there remained only some three and a half million dollars' worth in nominal value, of which one-third had been created by the British authorities in various attempts to ease the financial situation, while the greater part of the balance was of Dutch origin. Lord Charles Somerset finally took the desperate, but apparently necessary, course of cutting down the currency to three-eighths of its nominal value and making British silver money a legal tender at that rate of exchange. The result was the practical ruin of a number of people and the creation of much discontent; but at the same time the measure placed trade and commerce upon a permanent footing and laid the basis of future monetary safety. For the time, however, it was like the amputation of a limb in the case of an ignorant and unsatisfied patient--producing suffering and discontent without that feeling which a belief in the necessity of the operation and confidence in the skill of the physician would have given.

[Sidenote: Other Grievances or Reforms]

These were some of the earlier grievances which are claimed to have caused the evolution of Dutch feeling against the British. Others arose between 1826 and 1836, when the Great Trek was inaugurated. In 1828 the Courts were all remodelled upon the English plan, and the existing Dutch system replaced by a Supreme Court, in which the Judges were appointed by the Crown and were to be independent of the Governor. Minor and local matters were in the hands of Civil Commissioners and resident magistrates and justices of the peace in the various scattered communities. The Dutch code, or law, was to be retained, but English forms and customs were to be observed. It is hard to see why this rearrangement and admitted improvement should have added so deeply to the sullen discontent of the Boers or Dutch farmers. In being allowed the retention of their own peculiar laws they were given more than any other country would have granted in those days and at the same time they obtained what French Canada was not to have for years afterwards--an independent Judiciary. The only explanation is the fact that hatred toward the more progressive and liberal Englishman (or English-speaking man) was swelling strongly and surely in the Dutchman's breast, and that every British reform or change had the effect of deepening this sentiment. The reform in the legal system was accompanied by changes in the municipal system of the capital. The antiquated "burgher senate" of Cape Town was abolished, and the Government assumed charge of the municipal and miscellaneous duties performed by that body. The measure was beneficial on the score of efficiency; but, of course, it produced some dissatisfaction amongst the Dutch residents. There were also some disputes in the interior districts as to the necessity of all jurymen understanding English, and this was eventually settled by an ordinance issued in 1831 which defined the qualifications required but omitted any language test. At the same time official salaries were greatly reduced and one of the standing causes of complaint thus removed.

[Sidenote: Governor D'Urban's Policy]

In 1828 Sir Lowry Cole became Governor and made several legislative experiments in connection with the Hottentots, which were looked upon by the Dutch with open suspicion and dislike. Four years later Sir Benjamin D'Urban succeeded with a policy of extensive retrenchment in expenditures and the inauguration of Legislative and Executive Councils after the style of other Colonial Governments of the time. Some petitions had previously been sent to England asking for representative institutions, but the Colonial Office naturally shrank from giving popular power into the hands of the evidently discontented Dutch settlers--ignorant as they were of all constitutional principles and practices. Moreover, public opinion in England would not then have permitted the grant of any legislative authority which would have limited the right of the Colonial Office, for good or ill, to manage native affairs and protect native interests. The Council of Advice, which had previously existed, was, however, changed into an Executive Council composed of four high local officials, and the new Legislative Council was made up of the Governor, as President, five of the highest officials and five representative Colonists selected by the Governor. But the primary and central object of Sir Benjamin D'Urban's policy was the emancipation of the slaves, and this touched a subject of so much importance as to require the fullest consideration. It was from the early evolution of peculiar and unique racial characteristics in the Dutch farmer that the South African question has been born; but it was from the opposing principles connected with the Dutch and English view, or treatment, of native affairs that the first pronounced phase of that question was produced. All other considerations were subsidiary.