This second volume of the Cape diaries, dealing with 1800, further develop this rich and entertaining account of life at the Cape in the early years of British rule. Politically the Diaries lay bare the dynamics of the conflicts among senior office-holders, not only in the civil administration, but also in and between the army and navy. Lady Anne’s independence of thought is reflected in her ideas on such diverse matters as animal rights or interior decoration or landscaping. She offers valuable insights into the social constraints upon women at the time.
Mr B. told me that a very extraordinary circumstance was soon likely to appear before the world, as yet only whisperd, respecting Mr Hogan — more tricks — more deceits have been practised in order to get Cargos of Slaves landed here, the most beneficial of all merchandises I fancy — a couple of vessels have been pretended to have been taken by a privateer of Mr Hogans, to have been run on shore & burnt — it has been circulated that they were loaded with Slaves, but in reality these vessels were carried to Mosambique where the slaves were purchased there and put on board, they now come in the privateer as prizes, and it remains for the governor to grant permission or not for them to be landed, but Mr B. fears that his permission will not be refused, as Mr Hogan has taken care to secure that by some means which puts his Excellency in his power. Capt Campbell told Mr B. this day that he had requested the Fiscal to state to the governor the evidence & testymonys of various ships who were at Mosambique when all this was transacted which is now denyd as never having existed, that the whole is a deceit & so perfectly contrary to law that if the governor is disposed to let it pass, he is not — it is contrary to his duty to do so — that the Fiscal having before had to represent a matter of the same sort against Mr Hogan the Governor had evaded and finally hushed up the point, that he Capt Campbell was therefore determined :0 write to Mr B. a letter to be laid before the Governor, which woud force a :reply. He plainly and boldly asserted that Hogan made no scruple of admitting hat he had given a douceur, he did not say to who, but either the governor himself or Mr Blake must have had it — if Mr Hogans cause comes before a court of justice he will lose the original price of his slaves and pay a fine of three times their value, which will come heavy on his former gains — of this he fiscal gets a 3d, Capt Campbell a 3d and I believe the Government another – if his Excellency has pocketed any thing it will be difficult I think for him to keep it if Mr Hogan loses the whole, but Mr B says no, as he has fulfilld what vas the probable bargain by giving leave to land the Slaves.
I really can hardly think that Sir G. can have done so improper a thing as to accept money for an improper concession — I know that a man in necessity will go greater lengths than the same man in prosperity woud ever dream of going, but then it is when the necessity pinches, not when the pain is past. Sir George owes money, and he was in Holyrood house for debt, but he is now here, with 10 thousand pr an, our king and Governor & no claim or call on him to make him do a wrong thing. I rather fancy he has permitted Mr Blake to accept of some cloathd gratuity, couchd in terms to render it possible for him to accept and yet to fancy himself perfectly honest, & that it was a conscious sensibility that his desire to benefit his nieces husband had perhaps carried him imprudently far which tinged his poor old cheek with a blush when Mr B. mentiond Mr Hogan and his Slaves — Mr Hogan it seems talks so unfearingly of any chance of altercation or impediment in the matter that no one doubts his thinking — he privately says like Portia “Now Infidel I have thee on the Hip?
Edited by Margaret Lenta and Basil Le Cordeur
Until his retirement Basil Le Cordeur was King George V Professor of History at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of numerous books, papers and articles on the history of the Cape and Natal in the nineteenth century.