Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XV.

WAR BETWEEN THE CAPE COLONY AND HOME OFFICE

CONTINUED.-TREACHERY IN THE CAMP.-SUS

PICIOUS CONDUCT

OF

PIETER LAUBSCHER.

ADRIAN BECK, THE CONTRACTOR.—THE HOME

OFFICE STRIKES ITS COLOURS.

The decided measures adopted by the Cape colonists, intended to coerce Earl Grey, had not the effect that was anticipated.

Earl Grey, who was never deficient in pluck, wrote to say the Government were about to send out the wives and families of the convicts of the Neptune to the Cape.

This was opening a new battery. But the colo

THE WAR CONTINUED.

209

or

nists, undaunted, summoned a meeting of the Anti-Convict Association, and resolved

“ That this meeting, being of opinion that the intention of Earl Grey to send to this colony the

wives, reputed wives and families of convicts, as referred to in his despatch to the Governor of this colony, dated the 23rd October, 1849, would be highly injurious to the interests and moral welfare of the community, resolve that they will not, under any circumstances, knowingly employ, admit into their houses or establishments, work with, or for, or associate with any of the aforesaid wives and families of convicts; and that they will drop connexion with any person that will give them employment.

Signed, J. J. L. SMUTS,

“Chairman."

[ocr errors]

But there always has been, and there always will be, traitors in the camp. Amongst these was Wentzel Pieter Laubscher, who sold a

a

VOL. II.

P

210

TREACHERY IN THE CAMP.

number of sheaves to a notorious government

and convict contractor. Poor Pieter Laubscher

paid the penalty of his crime, or want of

caution.

The following letter, addressed to the Chairman of the Anti-Convict Association, speaks for itself:

[ocr errors]

“ About the month of October last, I sent three waggons of mine with sheaves to the town market. On their arrival there, a young man of colour came and offered my children a reasonable price, without mentioning who it was for ; but when the bargain was closed, he would show where the waggons were to be unloaded. subsequently brought by that lad to New Street, behind the residence of Adrian Beck; and when they were unloaded, Adrian Beck made his appearance, and paid for the sheaves. My children have consequently sinned innocently,

The waggons

were

LAUBSCHER'S EXPLANATION.

211

as

a

and young

because, as the bargain had been already concluded, and the best part of the sheaves delivered, they had no alternative.

“But this had, however, the effect that my children were placed under the pledge,

also myself with wife children. This has gone to the extent that no one will buy from, or sell to them, or

And, moreover, I have in consequence, been summoned by one of my creditors, who, but for this occurrence, would not have done

I, therefore, beg leave to pray you, as Chairman of the Auti-Convict Association, to bring my

before your meeting, and kindly to decide in my behalf, in order to prevent my total ruin. Expecting

Expecting a favourable

me.

SO.

case

answer,

I remain, &c.,

« WENTZEL PIETER LAUBSCHER.

Of the man to whom he sold his sheaves, John Mitchel thus speaks, “Adrian Beck is

212

" THE DESPATCH AT LAST.”

a well-known supplier of convicts and government. I know his name, as that of a bad member, and while I eat his bread and beef, I denounce him as a traitor."

“February 8th, 1850.—No despatch yet, and we have been rocking here in Simon's Bay, wearing the ring of our anchor, as the Captain says, nearly five months. Oh, thou Despatch of Heaven, rise on our darkness like a star. Let thy red tape down upon us out of the northern wave.”

A large black-hulled man-of-war steamer is seen rounding the south-western point of False Bay. “ The despatch at last !” is the cry. Signal flags carry the news across the mountains and Constantia vineyards, to Cape Town. Now, ye anti-convict leaders, what if the decision be against you ?

The ship turns out to be the Hindostan, and knows nothing of government despatches.

One week after, on the 13th of February, 1850, the right ship came, and with it Lord

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »