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time at the institution. So great was the love and veneration of these simple people for Dr. Vanderkemp, that when a party of plundering Hottentots, who had attacked his institution, took refuge among them, they put three of them to death, and the others would have shared the same fate if they had not escaped. Through his instrumentality they were taught to prize highly the blessings of civilization and the gospel.
“On the 18th of April, 1804, Dr. Vanderkemp had written to the governor, stating that his conscience would not permit him any longer to encourage Hottentots to enter into the service of the farmers, because of the cruelty and injustice with which they were treated, without any relief being afforded them by the magistrates. Particulars were given, and the governor ordered the landdrost to inquire into the complaints--but nothing was done; and the farmers were so incensed at the doctor, that one of them went to Cape Town, and, without ceremony, requested from the governor leave to shoot him. General Janssens replied, by asking significantly, 'If he had seen the gallows on his entrance into the town ?'*
“Again, on the 19th of April, 1805, Vanderkemp, in reply to a friendly and familiar letter from Governor Janssens, expresses himself in the following terms:— 'You acknowledge the great wrong which the colonists, perhaps here and there, do to the Hottentots. This expression, Governor, shows that you are still uninformed of the true situation of things in this country, or at least in the Uitenhage district. Not ‘perhaps,' and 'here and there,' but very certainly, and pretty nearly in all parts, does this oppression prevail; nor is it only particular inhabitants, but the landdrosts themselves, from whom the oppressed ought to find protection, who make themselves guilty in this respect.
The English government, under General Dundas, was offensive to the Boors, particularly on account of the favour shown to the Hottentots; and they expected that with the return of the Dutch government, the mission of Dr. Vanderkemp would be suppressed, and that the devoted Hottentots would be left entirely at their disposal. Their first attempts, for this purpose, with Governor Janssens, were too gross to be successful; but their reiterated clamours at last prevailed; and in 1805 the missionaries were summoned to Cape Town to answer some charges brought against them, and were detained nine months in a state of inactivity; the Governor refusing either to give them a trial or to dismiss them. “Wearied with their inactivity, they had formed a resolution to leave
* Transactions of the London Missionary Society, vol. ii. p. 241.
the country, and were only prevented from putting this resolution into practice, by the arrival of the English fleet in Table Bay, on the 4th of January, 1806. On the 20th, the town was surrendered to the British.The change which this occurrence made in their circumstances was sensi
General Baird, the new governor, favoured their views; and, considering it their duty to continue to devote themselves to the instruction of the Hottentots, they soon returned to Bethelsdorp, and resumed their beloved work.
“During the absence of Vanderkemp and his coadjutor in Cape Town, their place had been ably supplied by Mrs. de Smidt (or Smith), of Cape Town. At the period the missionaries were summoned to the seat of government, it was apprehended that they would not be allowed to resume their labours at Bethelsdorp; and it was under this impression, and to preserve the institution, that this meritorious woman, in the fifty-fifth year of her age, disposed of her property, and relinquished the comforts of civilized society, to take upon her the management of it. The importance she attached to the education of youth, the success which had attended her labours in Cape Town in that department, the talents for which she was distinguished, the high respectability of her character, and her affectionate zeal, qualified her in an eminent degree, for the duties of her new station.
“Her efforts succeeded in bringing together many of the children of the people to the reading-school; and at the time she was superintending the school in which she had collected the parents and the children, that they might be taught to read, she formed and conducted a school of industry, which was of essential service to the institution. While she was exerting her influence to impart to the minds of the people a taste for instruction, reviving and improving the reading-school, conducting her school of industry, visiting the people in their houses and teaching them the decencies of life, conversing with the females apart, and endeavouring to impress their minds with the power of religion,-assembling with them in their social meetings, and expounding to them the word of God, -she seemed to pay as much attention to each of those objects as if it had occupied her exclusive regard, and in the multiplicity of her avocations it could not be said that one of them suffered by her neglect.
“During the time she was at Bethelsdorp, she had the satisfaction of seeing several of the females receive the first principles of the Christian char. acter; and several, who afterwards became members of the mission church, ascribed their first serious impressions to her labours.
“She remained a twelvemonth at Bethelsdorp after the return of the missionaries. Her character and labours were highly appreciated by them; and it was the anxious wish of all that she should remain; but her absence was too greatly felt in the extensive sphere of usefulness she had formerly occupied, to allow her to comply with their wishes, particularly as the missionaries had now resumed their labours; and, having accomplish
ed the object she had proposed to herself at this station, she returned to Cape Town. Here she continued till 1821, when she entered into her rest, after a series of active exertions in the cause of benevolence, which has rendered her memory blessed, and made her death to be felt as a loss to the whole colony."
Dr. Vanderkemp, having learned by experience, that the human race cannot be raised at once from a savage to a civilized state, but that their progress, as a whole, must be gradual, going on from age to age, adopted the important measure of qualifying native instructors; so that improvements, being rooted in the minds of leading individuals, might ultimately be extended to the minds of the whole community.
“While Vanderkemp saw enough to encourage him in his labours, by the partial success which attended them in the first stage of a mission to a savage people, or in the first generation which assumed the Christian name, it would, however, be unrcasonable to expect that we should find among them that sense of propriety which shrinks from the appearance of evil; that modesty, which instinctively retires from danger; and that purity of mind and manners, which is expected, where the gospel has erected its standard, among a religious and a cultivated people.
“While the following passage, from an admirable preface to the life of Mrs. Savage, written by Mr. Jay, discovers an intimate acquaintance with human nature, it sheds a ray of light upon the state of society among the Hottentots at the period we are considering, and shows the nature of some of those trials which a missionary has to lay his account with, either when his own Jabours are successful, or where he may have been called to reap where others have bestowed labour.
'"'Coarseness and freedom of manners,' says this author, ‘are too often the result of former viciousness, of which the individuals themselves are not aware, but which expose them to temptation in their social, especially female, intercourse.'-'Moral and virtuous habits produce delicacy, and impose restraint.
Former scenes of guilt will often revive in the imagination; and though they are not entertained there, yet by passing through the mind they defile it, and distress it. I have heard more than one pious character confess the pain and injury he has suffered from this quarter, even in his public and private devotions, and who would have given the world to be free from the shocks he received from the hauntings of the ghosts of his old iniquities.'—'I never knew a professor of religion, or a preacher of the word, who fell by certain temptations, but had been, previously to his connexion with the Christian world, the victim of vice."
“An individual of a superior order of mind may be found amongst an uneducated people; a few specimens of good workmanship may be produced
where no trade is followed; a few patriots may be seen struggling against the corruptions of a country sinking into ruin; a few individuals may be selected from a savage tribe, and cultivated, while the tribe itself is left in a state of nature: but we must look to the rising generation, trained up in our schools under a disciplinary education, as the efficient instruments necessary for the promulgation of the gospel, and the elevation of the body of the people."
The English government was now restored; but the reanimated hopes of the missionaries soon met with bitter reverses; for as the Hottentots themselves remarked, “they were not the same English that they were under General Dundag.”. The Hottentots aided the government in suppressing the insurrections of the Boors, and when this was effectually done, the government, in gratitude for such services, united with the Boors, to oppress the Hottentots, and reduce them to a state of perpetual dependence and servitude. These atrocities called forth the vehement remonstrances of Dr. Vanderkemp. In less than a year from his return to Bethelsdorp, he thus writes to the Directors of the London Missionary Society.
“I think our enemies have in view to accomplish their design, not by expelling us out of the colony, or by a formal prohibition of our missionary work, but by teasing, and gradually confining us more and more to a narrow sphere of activity, in hope that, by repeated trials, we shall be wearied out, and disposed at length to abandon our station, and leave them masters ofthe field.'
“The following extract of a letter, dated May 21, 1808, from Dr. Vanderkemp to the landdrost of the district of Uitenhage, may be taken as a spe. cimen of some of the grievances of which he complains in this place:
“The bearers, Dansken Klaas and Hendrik Soldaat, complain bitterly that their wives and children are forcibly detained by their former master and mistress, Frans Greeff and Mrs. Suckling; and that, together with two other Hottentot women they were, by order of the last, violently taken up and carried away from the public road. Such outrages call loudly to heayen for justice! I hope, and respectfully request, that it may please you to procure these four unhappy sufferers the enjoyment of that liberty, to which by nature, and the laws of this country, they are entitled: and I doubt not that you will at once perceive the necessity of putting a stop to these and similar excesses, which, being left unpunished, daily increase in number and atrocity, and render this country an execration to every stranger, in whom the least spark of hunianity is not entirely extinguished.”
Dr. Vanderkemp's spirited letters to the government, resulted only in the appointment of a commissioner, Colonel Collins,