Extract "Researches in South Africa" by Rev John Philip (1828)

Note William Anderson was the London Missionary Society Missionary who stayed with the Griqua from 1800 through to early 1820 (ie including 1815-16 the very time that it is claimed the Griquatown coins circulated there) Text highlighted in maroon below reflect the status of Griquatown in 1815-16 when the Griqutown coins were claimed to have "circulated" there. At NO TIME does William Anderson make a single reference to the Griquatown tokens in many journals or letters.

Starting on Page 57 of Volume Two of the book Philip quotes Anderson (italicised text) reflecting on his time at Griquatown in a letter dated 23rd December 1825 thus:

When I went among the Griquas, and for some time after, they were without the smallest mark of civilisation. If I except one woman, ( who had by some mean got a bit of colonial raiment), they had not one thread of European clothing among them; and their wretched appearance and habits were such as must have existed in our minds an aversion to them had we not been actuated by principles which led us to pity them, and served to strengthen us in our missionary work - to restore beings being sunk in many instances below brutes. It is a fact, that we were among them at the hazard of our lives. This became evident to us by their own acknowledgments, afterwards, they having confessed to us, that they had frequently premeditated to take away our lives, and for that purpose they had taken weapons into their hands, and were prevented from executing their purpose by what they now consider an Almighty power.

When we went among them (1800), and for some time after, they lived in the habit of plundering each other, and they saw no moral evil in this, nor in any of their actions. Violent deaths were common; and I recollect many of the aged women told me their husbands had been killed in this way. Their usual manner of living was truly disgusting, and they were void of shame. However, after a series of hardships which required much faith and patience, our instructions were attended with a blessing which produced a great change. The people became honest in their dealings, they came to abhor those acts of plunder which had been so common among them; nor do I recollect a single instance for several years prior to their late troubles, which could be considered a stain upon their character. They entirely abandoned their former manner of life, and decency and modesty prevailed in their families.

…… (unrelated description of Griqua life before Griquatown)………….

Considering the circumstances of these people, much land was cultivated at this time, and in the following years the land under cultivation was much increased. I have seen the whole valley from the Fountain down to Lion's Den (which must have included nearly four square miles) covered with corn and barley.

NOTE: This fabricated claim is not only rebutted by several explorers who visited Griquatown at this time but Burchell's famous drawing of Griquatown to the Lion's Den shows no cultivation whatsoever - just large kraals for holding cattle. Misleading missionary claims like this were common and aimed at justifying their work among the peoples of Africa. See Burchell's drawing of Griquatown - 1812 - below. (Philip's own conclusions later in this piece reflect the reality that "savages" do not cultiate gardens.

This refers to Griquatown alone, and the ground around the neighbouring fountains was in a similar state of improvement.

Before the Griquas were induced to give up their nomadic life and locate themselves in the present situation, the missionaries travelled about with them for nearly five years, during which their privations that they were often six months at a time without tasting bread. After they got the people to give up their wandering life, and they began to have bread and garden stuffs with their flesh, to use their own expression "We seemed scarcely to have an earthly wish which was not gratified". When , in a addition to this improvement in their table, they got comfortable housing and clothing, and saw people improving in their understandings, in piety and industry, they found their cup running over, and felt themselves repaid for all their sufferings and sacrifices.

Philip continues at this point:

This pleasing state of things continued till 1814, when Mr Anderson received an order from the colonial government requesting him to furnish twenty men from his institution for the Cape Regiment. The following is a copy of this order contained in a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Reynolds, colonial secretary, addressed to Mr Anderson, missionary at Griquatown.

Rev Sir

I am commanded by his Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir John Cradock, general and commander-in-chief of this colony, to communicate with you upon the following subject:

The landdrost of Tulbach, having been directed to provide a certain number of the Hottentots from the population of his district, as the prescribed quota of a new levy for the Cape Regiment, which the hostile proceedings of the Caffer tribes have rendered necessary - represented the extreme difficulty he should experience in finding the number of suitable Hottentots required, without having recourse to the different farmers by whom such people are employed, and from whose service he must necessarily take them, to their great inconvenience, and the prejudice of cultivation, a point of the first consideration.

His Excellency with a view to remedy so serious an evil, requests assistance from the institution over which you preside, perfectly confident of your disposition to meet his wishes, as well as the inclination you cannot fail to possess to promote an object of general utility to the state.

You are, therefore, requested to afford from your society twenty Hottentots, from seventeen to twenty years of age, who from constitution, strength, shape and height, may be deemed eligible for the military service of his Majesty.

Mr Anderson after making every effort in his power to forward the wishes of the colonial government on this point, wrote a reply to this letter, dated March 26, 1814, stating his want of success; and this communication was followed by a letter from the Colonial Office, dated 27th May, declaring that, unless the order was complied with, all communication between the missionary station and the colony should be considered at a end.

Shortly after the close of the correspondence Mr Anderson visited Cape Town; and the following extract, taken from his journal written at that time, shows the views and feelings of the colonial government had not undergone any change during the intervening period:

Anderson's journal:

Tuesday at eleven o'clock I was introduced to Lord Charles Somerset. He received me respectfully; was mild in his manner of address, though he used strong terms; said the business had caused him much uneasiness; their refusal was a want of the principle of love and gratitude. He admitted that I could not use force with any propriety or safety, but he would try what he could do; and he would bring all the Hottentots (Griquas) into the colony, and disperse them among the farmers.

I said, as to the propriety of his demand, I could not say any thing. I had done all I could to impress the minds of the people as to the propriety of their giving the men. He said, he wished not to be misunderstood: "I mean not," he said, "to act against your missionary exertions. No man is more desirous to promote them than I am; but I would see more acts of industry among the Hottentots; and am persuaded more than exhortation is necessary to get them to labour.

He referred me to Genandendal an Groenekloof: he said he had been eye witness of the laziness of the people there; that although they had gardens, they were not sufficient to support them for any length of time; and that when the farmers spoke to the missionaries there to afford them labourers, they said we can do no more than to exhort them to labour; and he declared, that though he had not seen our place, he was persuaded things were not better.

Philips continues:

When we reflect on the history of this mission; upon its remoteness from the colony, and the circumstances of the people and the missionaries, I should have deemed such a communication from the colonial government (letter above) impossible, had the fact not been placed beyond doubt by the existence of the original. Waiving the question of right (This people had no protection from the colonial government and they resided ten days journey beyond what were then the limits of the colony) I cannot conceive on what principle the colonial government could, for a moment, expect a compliance with such an order. If we suppose that, instead of the conscription in France, and the impressments in England, order ad been sent to the ministers of religion in those countries, calling upon them to assemble their parishioners and request them to offer themselves voluntarily or a service required, could any one have entertained a doubt respecting what would have been the result?

If it would have been preposterous to have expected that such a scheme would have succeeded in the most civilized country upon earth, what shall we say of the character of the measure under consideration? How could the colonial rulers expect to obtain from a missionary without authority, from a people without laws and without government, just emerging from the lowest state of barbarism, what in the most enlightened and most patriotic nations can only be effected by the strong arm of power?

The effects were such as might have been expected. The people expressed their wish to live in peace with the colony, and, for that purpose, to make the sacrifice demanded; but, when they came to reflect upon the means by which was to be effected, they found it impracticable. "We have no government, we have no military force," said they, "to carry the wishes of the colonial government into execution; and where are the fathers that will voluntarily give up their children; or the young men, who will voluntarily sacrifice themselves for the good of the people?" Every one wished the order to be complied with, but everyone though his neighbour was as much bound as himself; and the requisition of government was ineffectual, because there was no authority to enforce it, nor patriotism to supply the want of law.

During this critical period (1814), while Mr Anderson was at Graaf-Reinet on business, Conrad Buys, the Swellendam farmer mentioned by Lichtenstein, who married the mother of Gaika, and who has ever been declared enemy of the English Government, visited Griqua Town, and found, to his wish, an opportunity to do mischief. When our missionary (Anderson) returned, he found a great deal of people estranged from him, and from each other. The malignant deceiver had succeeded in persuading many of the Griquas, that it was the design of the colonial government to bring them into slavery; that the mission was the engine employed by government for that purpose; that Anderson had gone into the colony to concert measures with the landdrost of Graaf-Reinet to accomplish this object; that he would return, followed by an armed force; and that they would all be taken and bound, and divided as slaves among the farmers. Between thirty and forty people had left the settlement, and accompanied Buys to the spot where he resided. Many that remained were the prey of jealousies and false alarms; and the few pious people were broken-hearted at the reverse which had taken place. Mr Anderson had now a series of very painful trials to encounter; much was effected by his patience, mildness and good sense; but he never again recovered his former authority, nor the affection of the people, as he formerly enjoyed them. The people had now become wealthy; he had now a good house an a garden, and the comforts and many of the conveniences of life, but, in the midst of this abundance, after these divisions crept in, he used to look back with regret upon the days he spent in the wilderness, in a state bordering destitution, and exclaim - "Oh! That it were me as in times that are past, when the candle of the Lord shone upon my tabernacle!" These facts furnish a useful lesson. Men who have been accustomed to have all their orders obeyed with the promptitude of military service, are not, perhaps, able to judge the delicate situations in which missionaries are placed among savages. While our missionary stations may be valuable as military posts, it should be recollected the missionary cannot act as a military officer, nor govern by marshall law.

If missionaries are to be of any use among savages, then they must be exempted, as much as possible, from foreign interference; and anything not immediately connected with the labour of instruction, must be sparingly required of them. The report of bad, interested, or weak men on the borders of the colony, must not be herd against their institutions; and they must not be made accountable for every horse or sheep stolen from the colony, even if one should be occasionally found among their people.

The reasons assigned for the order are deserving of notice: recruits wanted for the Cape Regiment - the number required cannot be found without withdrawing them from farmers - to withdraw them from the farmers would be attended with a serious inconvenience to that class of men; this inconvenience must therefore be avoided; and an order must be sent to a missionary station, ten days journey beyond the nearest point of the colonial boundary, for the number required. It might have been a serious inconvenience to have withdrawn the Hottentots from the farmers, and it might have been, for that reason, proper for the colonial government to have done without them, or to have called the farmer's sons in their stead; but it will require stronger reasons than I have yet heard, to satisfy me that there as either policy or equity in attempting to remedy this evil in the way proposed.

In 1814 the Griquas had their cattle and their farms and were rising in opulence. If it was a hard thing to withdraw the Hottentots from the wretched condition they were in among the farmers of Tulbach; it was still harder to withdraw this interesting people from the cultivation of their own farms.

The refusal of the Griquas to furnish the men required for the Cape Regiment gave great offence to the colonial government; and the suspicions and irritations occasioned by this circumstance never appear to have subsided. In 1817 the missionaries sent to South Africa by the London Missionary Society were, on various pretences, detained in Cape Town; and none of those designed for the interior were allowed to proceed beyond the limits of the colony.

NOTE: There is absolutely no comment at any time in this in depth and contemporary record of Griquatown during 1800 - 1817 of any coins circulating. In fact the record confirms that large groups of Griqua left Griquatown in 1814 leaving the station a ghost town from 1814 to 1820 (when Waterboer returned there with his followers). It is widely recorded that the leading families under Barends and Adam Kok II left Griquatown in 1814 as a result of this colonial decree.

Scan of the misleading extract out of the book recording Rev John Campbell's first visit to South Africa (1813).

No shops were established in Griquatown until decades later, there is no question of this fact through several independent reports. For example, on Campbell's second trip (1822) he remarked that "regular trades did not exist in Griquatown". This confirmed the fact that there was no shop and that the coins had never circulated.

It is a fact that the Griqua Town coins were only minted as token coins and not in 1815/16 as commonly recorded in many numismatic books. They are fantasy pieces that have no direct numismatic relevance to South African history.

To suggest coins (the Griquatown coins) circulated at this time with no shop and a tiny population is ludicrous!

To see Philip's book and relevant extracts above online - go to Google books at this link, searching on "Anderson"

The copy of "Researches in South Africa" in the Balson Holdings Family Trust can be seen at this link.

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