in the chair, and Mr. Fairbairn in the act of moving the great
resolution interdicting the governor from fire and water. There
is talk of martial law ; and, in fact, any moment of excitement
now may give excuse for it. Capetown streets are always
crowded ; there are continual open-air meetings ; and the
smallest act of imprudence, on either side, might bring about a
collision whose issue it would be hard to foresee.
The chances of a revolt are beginning to be much discussed.
The Dutch, like every other nation that has ever had to do with
the English Government, cordially hate the English Government ;
and are said to be perfectly willing, on any day, to proclaim the
country independent, and take up arms to make good their words.
The colonists of British descent also (except the small party of
moderate slaves) are quite as determined in this business as their
neighbours, and as disaffected too. On the other hand, the city
of Capetown is absolutely commanded by the " Castle " and two
small forts ; besides, it could be blown to atoms by the ships of
war in half a day. The interior country, however, is very
strong, and to conquer it would need four times the force that
the governor can command.
One result of the present movement seems likely to be a true
national spirit : this common danger threatening their country,
common risk and loss in repelling it, mutual help and counsel
JAIL JOURNAL 195
against one and the same treacherous foe the very certificates,
in Dutch and English, that carry travellers of either race through
every valley, kloof, and plain, in the wide continent, opening all
doors and all hearts to an enemy of Graaf Grey these are the
influences that have power to make an accidental aggregation of
settlers become a national brotherhood instinct with the vital
fire of liberty, and can transform the sons of English and of
Dutch fathers into a self-dependent, high-spirited nation of
South Africans. So be it . There will be one free nation the
I drink to-night, with enthusiasm, in red wine of Cape vines,
the health of the future South African Republic.
I have procured from shore a dozen of very tolerable wine for
they do not seem to regard their pledge as applying to me and
am disgusted at their practice of selling their own red wine with
a seal upon its cork bearing the legend " Port," and their white
as " Sherry." And they actually manufacture and drug their
grape- juice to make it resemble what the English drink for port
and sherry in their own country. It is a mean, narrow-minded,
and altogether British proceeding the South Africans ought to
have respect to the produce of their own vineyards, be it good,
bad, or indifferent and some of it is bad enough. At any rate,
they ought to call it Cape wine, designating the kinds according
to the district or vineyard that yields them. Has not Draken-
stein as good a sound as Rudesheim ? or Houtbaai as Cote d'O. ?
When the Republic is established, they must reform this alto-
i3//f. The blockade at Capetown has grown very strict. Three
persons have been detected supplying things to the government
secretly, and so turning a clandestine penny, to the prejudice of
the common weal. Their names and crimes were instantly
olazoned on the corners of all the streets intercourse with then?
was suspended (opteschorten) all communications with them cut
off (aftesnyden). One of them owned houses all his tenants
forthwith bundled up their effects, and fled as from plague-
infected dwellings. Another attended a bullock sale, and bid
for a lot it was knocked down to him he had the money
in his hand to pay for it, when he was recognised as one of the
traitors ; the lot was forthwith put up again. The name of one
ig6 JAIL JOURNAL
of these unfortunate persons is Benjamin Norden, touching
whom I extract an advertisement from the Zuid Afrikaan :
NOTICE. It is suspected that a person named Lery, or O'Leary, from
George, is purchasing articles for Benjamin Norden. (Signed) Alexander
Miller, 13 Heerengracht. i2th Oct., 1849.
The Cape newspapers, I observe, never mention my name :
they cannot afford to let the public mind dwell upon the fact
that there is anything on board the Neptune but a mass of
incarnate burglary, thievery and corruption. They call us
all " the unhappy men."
It is now generally supposed, by the naval persons here, that
the last anti-convict movement will at last compel the governor to
suspend the Constitution (such as it is) , and proclaim martial law
or rather put aside all law, and take what he wants as in a
hostile territory. My own impression still is that he will be able
to maintain the public establishments without that odious pro-
ceeding : besides, he has none of the usual excuses for such an
outrage, because the people are quite peaceable, every man only
exercising his undoubted right over his own shop or warehouse.
Nevertheless, Sir Harry, having a garrison of three or four thou-
sand men to feed, would be already in sad extremity but for one
or two desperately loyal individuals who are coming to his relief.
There is a certain Captain Stanford, who has a large estate in
Swellendam, and he has placed 2,000 head of cattle, besides sheep
without number, at the governor's disposal : but soldiers have to
butcher the meat, to bake the bread, to build ovens to bake it in,
and to endure incessant volleys of civilian laughter all the while.
There was, by chance, in Table Bay, a vessel called the Rosebud,
laden with flour for Port Natal : the governor laid hands on it,
paid the freight to Natal, and brought the flour on shore but
soldiers had to row the boats : the black boatmen would hold no
All this while the commodore, who is our governor at Simons-
town, and absolutely rules everything afloat, quietly provides
store of sheep and bullocks by repeated raids. In the mornings
I can count, through a glass, the tired brutes lying or grazing on
a small patch of grass in front of his door.
iSth. Mr. Stewart, the " instructor," went a few days ago to
Capetown, and took up his lodgings in a hotel : he has just
JAIL JOURNAL 197
returned on board, having been obliged to walk half the way
because when they recognised him at Wynberg he could get no
horse or conveyance for hire : says he left the hotel voluntarily ;
but if he had stayed another night, would have been turned out.
He went into a woollen draper's shop, to purchase materials for
a waistcoat ; the cloth was folded and papered up for him, when
someone came in who knew the convict-instructor : there was a
whispering with the shopkeeper for a single instant, and then Mr.
Stewart was informed that he could not be supplied. He
asked, with high indignation, if their pledge required them " to
deny clothing to a minister of the gospel to cover his nakedness ? "
This strong way of putting the case staggered the woollen draper,
who had not considered the matter in that precise point of view: he
said he would step over and consult Mr. Fairbairn (the newspaper
editor aforesaid), and on coming back said positively the thing
could not be done. Mr. Fairbairn sent word to Mr. Stewart that he
might go to the governor for waistcoats. Sir Harry Smith, victor
of Aliwal, was the man to supply the convict department.
Intelligence has arrived of the effects produced in remote places,
Graaf Reynet, Grahamstown, etc., by the announcement that the
accursed Neptune had actually cast anchor in Simon's Bay.
" Solemn fast " everywhere : windows hung with crape ; bells
funereally tolling : government officers placed under a complete
interdict, until the bandits leave Simon's Bay. Butchers and
bakers say to them " We deal not with the dead : you are no
more (for the Neptune floats in Simon's Bay) and it is impossible
that departed spirits should need bread or beef. We cannot take
money from ghosts ; therefore avaunt, in the name of God ! the
convicts ride at anchor in Simon's Bay."
Almost all the justices of the peace throughout the country,
who are paid officers of the government, are pouring in their
resignations ; and great numbers of persons called Field-cornets
are doing the same. I do not well understand the office and duty
of these Field-cornets : but whoever they are, they cannot think
of holding any sort of communication with Sir Harry Smith till
the Neptune leaves the Bay.*
* Field-Cornet Veldt-Cornet is the Boer local registrar. In wartime
it is part of his business to assemble the Commando that is, the farmers
of his official district equipped for the campaign.
I 9 8 JAIL JOURNAL
There is a functionary named Montague, secretary to the
governor ; and a very great man of the kind. He is just now on
an official tour through the interior ; and though he has been
accustomed to distinguished receptions at all the district capitals
upon such occasions local authorities turning out to meet him
with trumpets, or such other instruments of noise as they have
now he can hardly get horses to hire, or lodgings to sleep in.
Horses they will give him to return to Capetown, but none to
proceed ; and he reckons himself fortunate if he can borrow two
chairs under a cattle-shed to spend the night, and dry bread
enough to keep the life in him. To give him even so much, I
regard as a culpable dereliction of principle.
The Apollo, a large troop-ship, is come into the bay, and is
moored within a cable's length of us. She is a frigate ; carries
four hundred men of the 5Qth regiment, and is bound for Hong
Kong. Her arrival is chiefly important in that the splendid
military band plays every morning and every evening, making
the soft air thrill and tremble with delightful melody of march
Her arrival, however, is said to be regarded by the governor
as important in another point of view ; he may need the soldiers
to quell a rebellion, and he may need the ship, to send her to
St. Helena or Rio for provisions. So she is to remain here a
few weeks, with her band.
igth. The shops of Capetown are still shut up ; but I gather
from the papers, that the natural effects of a stoppage of business
have begun to be felt severely small tradesmen, journeymen,
porters, all, in short, who depend on their daily wages, are
suffering : a few days ago the coolies went to the governor in a
body three hundred strong to demand work and food ; the
governor, it seems, sent them to Mr. Fairbairn, Mr. Fairbairn
bade them go to Benjamin Norden, Benjamin Norden sent them
to Mr. Sutherland. Now this is not the way to feed capons, much
less coolies ; and I fear if the struggle last . long the labouring
classes will tire of it altogether : they will think anti-convictism
is good, but daily bread is better : shopkeepers, too, unless rich,
must soon give way, for rent and taxes cannot be paid out oi
closed shops. All this is unfortunate ; and I am truly sorry for
the colonists the violent demonstrations they have already
JAIL JOURNAL 199
made may provoke the Downing Street ruffians to persist in
swamping the country with felons, just because it is too weak
and too poor to resist them effectually mean, cruel, and
treacherous tyrants !
Mob-work has fairly begun. Mr. Norden was attacked by a
violent mob in the streets, and his house was afterwards beset and
the windows broken. He fired on them, but nobody was wounded.
The very same evening a number of Malays fell upon Mr. Fairbairn
at his house at Greenpoint, beat him, and destroyed a good deal
of furniture. The persons who committed this last outrage were
evidently employed by government people, for those of them who
have been identified turn out to be officers' servants. The governor
avails himself of these riots to begin coercion : he has just
issued a proclamation forbidding assemblies in the streets
" under pretence " of discussing political questions (as if the
public interest in the matter were all a pretence) and intimating
that the police have orders to disperse all such assemblies.
This is his first step the next may probably be to prosecute
Mr. Fairbairn and other newspaper editors, and suppress their
papers : such is the way of governments. If Sir Harry Smith,
now, would order his Attorney-General to indict the worthy
Fairbairn for sedition before a prudently selected jury, composed
of his own creatures and dependents, with the gunner's mate of
the Castor as foreman, I imagine Fairbairn would soon be a con-
vict instead of an anti-convict. But I do not believe Old Sir
Harry would condescend to this species of ruffianism. He is a
downright soldier, and no " Ameliorative Viceroy."
I fear, I fear the colony is not strong enough to resist coercion,
and to scourge this British redcoat into the sea. The whole Cape
population, white, black, and brown, scattered over a vast
territory, is under 200,000 and they are not able to reproduce
the grand drama of Boston, Saratoga, and Yorktown, just yet.
And their cause is more righteous the outrage sought to be put
upon them a thousand times more grievous. But justice and
right do not always prevail in this world, nor often. " That
which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is
wanting cannot be numbered."
2.yd. I have just learned that the Cape convict question is
about to be still more complicated. One of Lord Grey's de-
200 JAIL JOURNAL
spatches to the governor mentions that the " Government" were
about to send out to the Cape the wives and families of the Nep-
tune convicts. In fact, when the list of recommended prisoners
was made out at Bermuda for transmission to England, two or
three months before the Neptune came to Bermuda, each man
was asked whether he was married, in what parish and county his
wife and family resided, and whether he wished them to be brought
out to him at the Cape, " Government " paying half the expense.
The married men all availed themselves I was told, of this offer :
the names and residences of their wives, etc., have been in Lor J
Grey's hands now more than half a year ; and it is quite possible
that these poor helpless women and children are even now at sea,
on their way to this hospitable clime. The inhabitants of the
Cape are now looking out for their arrival by every fair wind that
blows into Table Bay. What kind of reception awaits the poor
souls, the following extract from the proceedings of the anti-
convict people indicates :
The report of the Simon's Bay Committee having been read it was
Resolved That Messrs. Hablutzel & Hugo, Butchers, at Simon's Bay,
have broken the Pledge.
Moved by H. Sherman, Esq., seconded by P. Law, Esq.,
That this meeting being of opinion that the intention of Earl Grey to
send to this colony the wives (or reputed wives) and families of convicts
as referred to in his despatch to the governor of this colony, dated i8th
July, 1849, would be highly injurious to the interests and moral welfare
of the community. Resolved, 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 afore-mentioned wives and families of
convicts, and that they will drop connexion with any person who may
give them employment.
A resolution was proposed by Mr. Fairbairn, the consideration of which
was ordered to b^ postponed till a special meeting, to be held on Thurs-
iay at 10 o'clock.
(Signed) J. J. L. SMUTS, Chairman.
And the stupid rogues in Downing Street, who work all this
woe and ruin, still call themselves the "Government," and do
not, and will not, go and hang themselves.
Oct. 26, 1849. Still on board the Neptune, Simon's Bay. A
ship has arrived from England, but does not carry our destiny.
Two weekly newspapers. News from Europe up to the nth
August. The Hungarians are still beating both Austrians and
Russians in gallant style. It has begun to be highly probable that
Hungary will be a free and potent nation. Whereupon the
English newspapers have discovered that Hungary really was a
nation, and had a right to assert her nationhood. Lord
Palmerston, too, in Parliament, declares that the hearts of the
people of England bless their hearts ! are enlisted on the
side of the Hungarians, if that be any comfort. Bern and
Gorgey have brought matters so far. Lord Palmerston being
asked why Britain should content herself with expressing an
opinion against Russian intervention in Hungary why not
take arms ? answers, in the enthusiastic cant which now
prevails, " That opinion is stronger than arms." It is enough
to make the Russian bear laugh.
British opinion, however, seems to be little regarded on the
Continent. The levy of enlisted " hearts " is not reckoned a
very formidable contingent. Clubs are trumps there, and hearts
do not count.
This delightful spirit of peace which now rules British councils
must be very satisfactory to the Sikhs and to the Irish. British
reverence for " opinion," also, is surely most comfortable in
Ireland, where all anti-British opinion must be suppressed, and
those who utter it imprisoned or transported.
I find a paragraph copied from the Globe, stating that Mr. Duffy,
being now at large, and safe from any further trial on his present
indictment, has advertised a new series of the Nation, to be
shortly commenced ; but the Globe adds, that the " Government "
(the same fellows who so profoundly revere opinion their own
opinion) have refused to issue stamps for it. A law has been
found, too a most convenient law whereby no newspaper in
202 JAIL JOURNAL
Ireland may publish anything at all, save by favour and suffer-
ance of the " Government " or transmit a single number, even
stamped, through the post-office, save by the courtesy of the
postmaster-general, that is, of the same " Government."
One is at first inclined to say, that the people of England are
looking stupidly on at all these late proceedings in Ireland blind
to the danger that menaces their own liberties. But not so ;
every Englishman feels that by this tyranny over press and
people in Ireland, British supremacy is the thing that is asserted.
They know that it means simply " the Red above the Green."
They never dream of Irish government maxims being applied,
or applicable to England ; and they are right.
In this particular case of the Nation, however, if Lord Clarendon
do indeed refuse stamps, it will be a gross blunder. He ought to
allow Duffy to publish, for the new series will be perfectly con-
stitutional, safe, and legal cannot be otherwise after the
evidence Mr. Duffy produced on his trial to prove his moral- force
character ; indeed, it will be such a newspaper, as, if not
published by Duffy, Lord Clarendon ought to pay somebody
to publish taking care, also, to give it the very name,
" The Nation."
Oh, patient ! patient public ! A new series of the Nation, by
Duffy and after the scenes of the last few months. I know no
parallel to this, except the " young spodizator," whom Dr. Rabe-
lais saw with his own eyes, earning his livelihood in a somewhat
peculiar manner namely, very artificially drawing BSecr/wira out
of a dead ass, and retailing them at fivepence per yard.
Queen in Ireland. This year her Majesty's advisers deemed
the coast clear for the royal yacht. Plenty of blazing, vociferous
excitement, called " loyalty." Loyalty, you are to know, consists
in a willingness to come out into the street to see a pageant pass.
Besides, the visit was most happily timed ; the " additional
powers " would not expire for a month yet. Habeas Corpus still
in suspension ; jails still yawning for seditious persons ; Lord
Clarendon still wielding his lettres de cachet. No happier combina-
tion of circumstances could be imagined ; so her Gracious Majesty
has come and enthroned herself in the hearts of her Irish subjects ;
and the newspapers are to say (at their peril) that a brighter day
is just going to dawn for Ireland.
JAIL JOURNAL 203
Mr. Tim O'Brien does the honours of the city of Dublin to the
British sovereign ; presents her with the keys of the " gate " a
gate somewhere between Irishtown and the end of Lower Baggot
Street, where was no city gate in my time. And Mr. Tim O'Brien
is made, or to be made, a baronet. Now, it is certainly the sheriff
of last year rather, who ought to have been so honoured. No
gentleman in Ireland deserves reward from the Queen of England
more richly than last year's sheriff. If the intercession of so
humble a convict as myself would have any weight with her
Majesty, I should venture to recommend Mr. French (that is the
individual's name, I believe) for something handsome. And if
my fellow-felons, Messrs. Martin and O'Doherty, were not so far
off, I feel sure they also would be happy to add their testimony
in his favour.
N.B. The newspaper I have seen says the Queen met with
nothing but loyalty ; and that " Young Ireland was nowhere to
be seen." And the Times asks triumphantly, " Where were the
vitriol bottles ? " as if anybody had proposed to sprinkle the
Queen with vitriol.
N.B. (2) Her Majesty wore, at Cork, a " green silk visite " ;
also, carried a parasol of purple silk (perhaps vitriol proof). Her
Majesty first touched Irish soil at the Cove of Cork, which is
henceforth Queenstown. Her Majesty did not visit Spike Island.
N.B. (3) Her Majesty, on board her yacht in Kingstown har-
bour, took her children by the hand, and " introduced them (in
dumb show) to the Irish people," in a very touching manner.
N.B. (4) Synod of Ulster had a deputation of their paid
preachers to meet her Majesty in Dublin. Oh ! where were the
Remonstrant Synod ? Do they apprehend no danger to their
little donum ?
N.B. (5) Her Majesty did not visit Skibbereen, Westport, or
Schull ; neither did she " drop in " (as sometimes in Scotland) to
dine with any of the peasantry, on their " homely fare." After a
few years, however, it is understood that Her Majesty will visit
the West. The human inhabitants are expected by that time to
have been sufficiently thinned, and the deer and other game to
have proportionately multiplied. The Prince Albert will then
take a hunting lodge in Connemara.
204 J AIL JOURNAL
But Ireland, as I see by these same papers, has had a far more
royal visitor. Carlyle has been there again, in company with a
gentleman named Forster. I have no doubt that he will be
delivered of a book on the subject of Ireland soon. Unless I
much mistake his symptoms, he was going on with such a book
eighteen months ago. There will be a curious book ! * I trust
that I may be in some part of the world whither its winged
words will find their way ; for, indeed, Thomas Carlyle is the
only man in these latter days who produces what can properly be
Meantime enter a basket, with superb clusters of grapes
African grapes : smooth and round, with a glow of opaline light
in the heart of them clusters that might seduce Erigone.
1850 fan. ist. Still riding at anchor in this weary Simon's
Bay. There is no change whatever since I made my last memo-
randum more than two months ago ; and how much longer we
may have to stay, nobody can guess. About three weeks since
arrived to the governor a despatch from Earl Grey, simply acknow-
ledging the receipt of his alarming and objurgatory despatches of
August last, and adding that he will send a final order for the
further disposal of the prisoners on board the Neptune, " after he
shall have heard of the arrival of that ship at the Cape " that is
to say, after the prisoners shall have been five months or so in a
close unwholesome prison here, recruiting after their five months'
voyage. There is something very cool in this. The colonists are
nearly frantic ; they made sure that, in reply to Sir Harry Smith's
August despatches, would come an order to take the Neptune
away ; and are now mortally afraid that when the extreme
measures of the ultra-party (denying victuals to the army, etc),
shall come to be known in England, ministers will think them-
selves bound, for the dignity of the Empire and the United
Service, and all that, to coerce the Cape into receiving this one
shipload at least. A new feature in public opinion here is, that it
now pretends to commiserate the poor convicts, so long detained
in custody by Lord Grey's cruel delay. If Sir Harry Smith, now,
had but complied with the urgent demand of these philanthropists
* It has not come to light yet ; and one is even inclined to hope that it
may have miscarried. Carlyle cannot write rationally about Ireland ; and
he believes that Carthage has a mission to conquer the v*rld. Bothwell,
ist January, 1852