Cape politics

The South African Letters of Thomas Pringle

2020-08-11T20:58:07+00:00November 24th, 2011|

Thomas Pringle (1789–1834) is remembered as ‘the father of English poetry’ in this country, as leader of the only Scottish settler party in 1820 and as a champion of the freedom of the press. He had an earlier career as founding editor of Blackwood’s Magazine in Edinburgh and a later one as man of letters in London and secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society. The abolition of slavery in the British Empire came into force in August 1834 but, crippled since infancy and suffering from tuberculosis, he died in December 1834, aged only 45. In South Africa he worked for the relief of the hard-pressed settlers, the emancipation of the Khoisan and protection of the Xhosa on the frontier from retaliatory commando raids. In Cape Town he ran the South African Public Library, edited, with his friend John Fairbairn, the Cape’s first independent newspaper and the bi-monthly South African Journal, and established a successful ‘classical and commercial academy’ until all were brought down by the hostility of the Governor, Lord Charles Somerset. He fought back but, financially ruined, returned to his final career in Britain. His papers, sent to Cape Town by his widow Margaret, were lost but surviving letters in other collections here bring to life the character, outlook and South African career of a notable figure in our history.

Sir Graham Bower’s Secret History of the Jameson Raid and the South African Crisis, 1895-1902

2021-02-24T15:46:29+00:00July 24th, 2002|

Graham Bower's 'Secret History' is a personal insider's account of the great imperial scandal of the Jameson Raid. Bower adhered to a rigid Victorian code of honour. Although he was the official secretary to the British high commission in South Africa, he chose to keep silent and play the role of scapegoat rather than 'blow the whistle' to the high commissioner after Rhodes had confidentially told him of his plan to send forces into the Transvaal. He wrote several drafts of this 'Secret History' to vindicate his actions and the family name. This volume has been compiled from his unpublished manuscripts, his personal papers and official records.

The Garrett Papers

2021-03-28T11:40:29+00:00July 24th, 1984|

Edmund Garrett (1865-1907) was a member of the family which produced such leading feminists as Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Millicent Garrett Fawcett. In 1895 he was appointed editor of the Cape Times and remained there during the crucial period of the Jameson Raid and the lead-up to the South African War. A staunch imperialist he formed close relationships with Sir Alfred Milner, Governor of the Cape, and with Dr Jane Waterston. His letters to his cousins give an intimate and lively account of life in Cape Town until 1899, when he was forced to return to England on account of his health.

The Letters of Jane Elizabeth Waterston 1866-1905

2021-03-28T11:05:12+00:00July 24th, 1983|

Jane Waterston (1843-1932) accompanied the missionary, Dr James Stewart, to the Eastern Cape when he became principal of the Lovedale Institution. There she started the Girls' Institution but her real desire was to work as a doctor amongst women in the interior of Africa. In 1874 she returned to England where she was amongst the first women to train in medicine at the London School of Medicine for Women. After a brief and disillusioning stay in Nyasaland, she moved to Cape Town where she became a notable figure, participating actively in the political life of the town. She retained her friendship with James Stewart throughout her life, writing to him regularly on a wide variety of topics.

Selections from the correspondence of Percy Alport Molteno 1892-1914

2021-05-13T15:28:31+00:00July 24th, 1981|

Percy Molteno (1861-1937) was a son of Sir John Molteno, first prime minister of the Cape Colony. Trained as a lawyer, he married the daughter of Sir Donald Currie, the shipping magnate, and went to work for his father-in-law in England. He remained passionately interested in the political life of the colony and conducted a wide-ranging correspondence with many of its leading luminaries. During the South African War he supported the pro-Boer movement and, in 1906, entered the British parliament under the leadership of the Liberal Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman.

Sir James Rose Innes: Selected Correspondence (1884-1902)

2019-08-02T12:16:43+00:00July 24th, 1972|

Sir James Rose Innes (1855-1942) was one of South Africa's leading jurists. This volume deals with Rose Innes's political career, initially as a member of Cecil John Rhodes's first ministry in 1890-1893. The political divisions caused by the Jameson Raid forced Rose Innes reluctantly into the loyalist camp. In 1900 he returned to cabinet as attorney-general for the Cape and subsequently was appointed Chief Justice of the Transvaal. Rose Innes was noteworthy as a politician for his sensitive insights into the plight of the country, and for his integrity and moderation, qualities which emerge in his letters.

Selections from the Correspondence of J.X. Merriman, Vol III (1899-1904)

2021-10-28T21:36:54+00:00July 25th, 1966|

Vol. III covers the period of the South African War, including Merriman's participation in the pro-Boer Schreiner ministry, and a period in opposition. During this time he fought against the suspension of the Cape constitution and for a fair deal for Cape rebels. It concludes with his participation in the South African Native Affairs Commission and the election which brought Dr Jameson to power as prime minister.

Selections from the Correspondence of J.X. Merriman Vol II, 1890-1898

2021-10-26T14:03:53+00:00July 25th, 1963|

Vol.II covers the first Rhodes' ministry, of which Merriman was Colonial Treasurer, his break with Rhodes and the period leading up to the South African war, including the Jameson Raid. It was in this latter period that Merriman formed his alliance with the Afrikaner Bond and adopted his pro-Boer stance.

Selections from the Correspondence of J.X. Merriman Vol I, 1870-1890

2021-10-26T13:37:22+00:00July 25th, 1960|

John X. Merriman, son of Archdeacon Merriman, was one of the most brilliant politicians at the Cape. His long political career spanned most of the major political events of the late-19th and early 20th-century, culminating in the prime minister's office just before Union in 1910. Politically Merriman was a liberal, working closely with Rhodes when the latter first became prime minister, but subsequently becoming a firm pro-Boer. Vol. I covers Merriman's early life on the eastern frontier of the Cape, and the first years of responsible government for 1872. Economically this period also covers the mineral revolution - the discovery of diamonds and gold.

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