FRANCIS, David Polley, 1835
National Archives, Kew CO48/164, 99
Mount Ellis, Port Elizabeth
20th May 1835
I have had the honor of receiving your letter dated the 30th October last, referring to a letter of mine written in July last on the general state of things in this Colony. I deeply regret to say that the late irruption of the Kaffirs has overturned and destroyed all that commercial & agricultural prosperity and advancement which was in such active operation in this part of the Colony previous to this lamentable event. I fear under the most favourable circumstances in which this affair can terminate the effect it will produce will throw this Division of the Colony back at least 10 or 15 years. At first the consternation and alarm was beyond description, the extent of mischief done in Somerset & part of the Uitenhage Districts by these merciless savages is beyond calculation at present, but as you will be made acquainted with all the circumstances, together with the causes and consequences incident to this unhappy invasion, through the direct and proper channel, it is therefore unnecessary (indeed it would be presumption in me) to attempt to relate the passin[g] events of the last four months, suffice to say they have been of the most distressing nature. I sincerely hope from the last account from Kaffir Land this disastrous war is nearly at and end; the Governor appears to have done all that is possible to be accomplished, with such an enemy who is gifted with cunning, and faithless to a degree above most others of the coloured population in the World; much of the curse of the late attack by the Kaffirs on the Colonists has been attributed to the machination of missionary enthusiasm, misrepresentation and missionary influence, supposing to have caused for some time a system of defence which we have long known and represented to be inefficient for the security and protection of the Frontier Inhabitants; this has been expressed in the strongest terms by many persons who ought to be well acquainted with these matters, however as time will shortly develop these occurrences I will refrain from offering my decided opinion on the subject. It is perfectly true that we have many excellent and good men as missionaries in this Colony and beyond the Frontier, all sects of which appear to me to have attended far more to their proper calling and interfered less in political matters than those missionaries belonging to the London Missionary Society, whose labours have (as far as I have been able to judge) been of much less utility in a Religious, Moral & Political point of view than most others. The future prosperity of the Colony depends entirely on the settlement of the Boundry line and the protection hereafter to be given to the Frontier Districts, should these matters be settled upon sound principals of security to life and property, if on the other hand any thing is left to chance, or in the power of the Kafirs, I fear the same tragical occurences will be acted over again in a very short period.
I enclose for Mr. ELLIS a letter and two or three newspapers, also a letter for Lord WESTERN which I shall feel obliged by your forwarding – a pamphlet is about to be published on matters relating to this Frontier which I will send you as soon as it is published.
See Graham's Town Journal 163, 175, 176, 177 & Supp't.
I have the honor to be, Dear Sir,
Your very obedient and obliged humble servant
PS I must apologize for the hurried manner in which I have written this letter, which I hope you will excuse.