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Reality check - videos with 2 key people confirm Griquatown tokens NEVER circulated.

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@Scott Balson:

 

Correcting your quote of Philips, he says they were holding "the greater part" of the coins, which to me can mean more than half or almost all of them. This is open to interpretation and your guess is as good as mine, how much was in circulation. Even Parsons says that "the bulk" of the Griqua coins never circulated and were melted down. So this is not new. Some of the coins did circulate (like the 1931 tickey!) and this is all we are saying. Perhaps we can agree that the Griqua coins weren't simply given to the Griqua because the LMS was permanently short of money and so there had to have been some initial trade-off of coins for goods or labour. This, to me, is sufficient to say they circulated. Worn coins being found in Kimberley and near Beaufort West AND Waterboer saying that some of the elders (not necessarily the Waterboer clan - except if only they were elders...) are additional evidence to support the circulation hypothesis. If the tokens were petty cash and substitutes for Dutch small change, why would one have to find written evidence of the tokens changing hands? Is there written evidence of the 1931 tickey ever changing hands?

 

Regards

dennrein

 

Once again speculation... I offer clear proof.. see my post above.

 

What we can say is that at least one 1931 3d circulated because I saw it at Dr Frank Mitchell's house in the 1970s - a beautiful UNC coin that he found while going through thousands of coins from the bank every night.

 

If you listen to what Waterboer says in the video he states "they were never used" and "there was no where to use (spend) them"... his comments are quite logical and support the highlights in the post I have submitted above this one. He says they were like trinkets or gifts.. which is quite plausible - but when their lack of application in this remote part became self evident and as Campbell did not succeed in getting them accepted at a trading store south of the Orange River the suggestion that they circulated at all amongst the Griqua is completely without any logical foundation or basis...

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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dennrein

I like a good debate

 

Two statements before presenting my further points:

 

1. I think it is marvellous that people living in Australia, South Africa, Germany (which is where I live) and elsewhere can engage in an exchange of views on something that happened almost two hundred years ago on the outskirts of the British Empire. Isn't that sort of crazy and wonderful?

 

2. Neither of us can prove what happened to the tokens back then because there is no clear evidence. Like Sherlock Holmes, Mrs. Marple or Inspector Clouseau, if you like, we are left with a mystery and the pieces of the puzzle are strewn all over with lots missing. So we are left to our own common sense and, yes, this also involves a great deal of interpretation and speculation. As the discussion shows, clues can be interpreted one way or the other. All we can do is engage in intelligent guessing. Appealing to the facts and proof always assumes that they are simply lying there for all to see. The fact is, if you find that a lot of people see it differently from you that might not be because they are ignorant or blind but because the facts aren't as simple as you might believe them to be. This applies to everyone involved in this discussion.

 

Now for my points:

 

What we know is that the Griqua coins were minted and they exist. Some of the coins remained in Britain (proof-like examples exist) while probably most of them were sent to Griquatown, where they arrived. We also know that some of them (how many no-one can know, but less than half) were "dispersed" there. The rest were sent back to Britain and were most probably melted down. I think we can agree on that.

 

Three big questions (and plenty of small ones) remain.

 

1. When were the coins sent to Griqualand? Parsons says in two consignments in 1815 and 1816. He quotes correspondence from Halliday as proof, but no-one else has seen this correspondence and it hasn't been quoted since. If my decimal theory is correct, the coins might only have been minted in 1818 and sent to Griqualand by Campbell himself on his second voyage to the Cape. There is no proof of this. Can you, Scott Balson, provide evidence of this, since you seem to agree that the coins arrived in Griqualand later than Parsons assumed?

 

2. What were the coins for? Parsons assumes that the coins were the equivalent of British small change, since he refers to them as bearing their "value in pence". The problem here is that British currency was not decimalised at the time. Why would Campbell opt for a decimal variety that didn't exist? Campbell states that the coins were meant as "money" to buy "knives, scissars" etc. So they were meant as a replacement for small change, either British or Dutch. We have ample proof that the Griqua traded in Dutch rixdollars. So why should the coins have represented British pence instead of Dutch cents? My own theory is that the coins were meant to represent Dutch small change, which was decimalised by law in 1816, with Dutch decimal coins being minted in 1817 and 1818. Scott Balson has assumed the coins represent labour tokens, though this would contradict what Campbell had in mind when resolving to have the Griqua money produced in the first place (see above). To my knowledge there is no proof to back this assumption.

 

3. Did the coins circulate? Parsons speaks of a "short period of circulation". He doesn't mention the period but if he assumes the coins arrived in 1815 and 1816, this would leave us with a period of at least five years, if we assume that the bulk of the coins was sent back to Britain not long after 1821. William Anderson, longtime LMS missionary amongst the Griqua, had been responsible for "dispersing" the tokens (see Philip's letter). Anderson left Griquatown in 1820 and it seems Henry Helm had not continued "dispersing" the Griqua money, since Campbell had said the "rate" for the silver coins was too low. Campbell only arrived on his second visit to Griquatown after Anderson had left, in August 1820. So he couldn't have brought the coins with him, as Anderson had "distributed" them earlier. This means that either Campbell had sent the coins to Griquatown on his arrival in Cape Town early in 1819 (incidentally, the Kookfontein and Beaufort Fairs took place in August 1819, April and June 1820), shortening the period of "dispersion" to around one year, or that Parsons might be right that the coins arrived even earlier - which would contradict my "decimal theory".

 

Parsons speaks of "circulation", assuming the coins circulated. Perhaps we can agree that the Griqua coins were almost certainly not "dispersed" amongst the Griqua for free. There are two reasons why. Firstly, simply giving the coins to them for free would devalue the coins, unless they could return the coins back and receive something for them (= circulation). Secondly, the LMS was permanently short of cash. Anderson had started trading tusks with the Tswana for beads and selling them for rixdollars in Cape Town because the LMS couldn't pay him enough salary (Beck 2007). The above quote from Schoeman also confirms that the mission in Griqualand was short of cash. So why would they just give away silver coins for free? Highly unlikely. There is no proof that the coins were "dispersed" for free, just as there is no proof that the coins were "dispersed" for something. Common sense (see arguments) tells me they weren't dispersed for free, i.e., they circulated.

 

What about the argument that the mission had to send for money to pay Waterboer? Firstly, if the tokens were equivalent to Dutch small change, it wouldn't make a difference if sums of money were expressed in rixdollars and schellings. Tokens and Dutch cents would have been interchangeable. The remark by Helm "having no money" is contradicted by the very next phrase, where he says that Waterboer received 13 rixdollars and 4 schellings. So there was money, even if it wasn't much. And it was paid to Waterboer. However, it remains unlikely that this money is identical with the Griqua coins (except maybe for the 4 schellings) because the point of the coins was not to replace the rixdollar. Remember, the Griqua knew rixdollar notes and they were in circulation amongst them. The coins were petty change. Would it make sense to pay someone in petty change if notes were available (even if limited)? Certainly not. This applies not only to the money actually paid but especially to the remaining 70 rixdollars and 4 schellings Helm was applying for. If one rixdollar was equivalent to 2 1/2 guilders, i.e. 250 cents, then it would have taken more than 1.750 of the ten cent tokens to pay him. See what I mean? The tokens weren't meant to replace big money like rixdollar notes, but small change that was missing for small transactions.

 

Before I ramble on, that's it for now.

 

Regards

dennrein

Edited by dennrein

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Why do we always come back to Parsons claims?

 

There are just two points I would like to make about Parsons...

 

1) everything in his article about the Griquatown token coins is assumed and his whole theory of the coins arriving in 1815-16 is based on a document only HE claims to have sighted. We know that this timing is wrong because of the 1816 report where the Griquatown missionaries clearly note that there is "no" money in 1815-16... If the Griquatown token coins HAD been there and circulated when Parsons claimed there would have been no need to ask for silver tokens.. as they did in this report. I know he never saw that "document" he claimed to have seen and it was simply quoted by Parsons to substantiate a totally flawed piece of research.. see point 2

 

2) Parsons was a prolific numismatic writer at this time ... Google his name and see. In his report on the Griquatown coins he quotes only three references. Campbell, Moffat and Livingstone. The latter two never make any reference to the tokens and only came after they arrived at Griquatown. The third is the misleading comment by Campbell on his first trip where he makes the claim that IF A STORE was to be opened at Griquatown THEN a circulating medium of coin COULD be issued. A store never was opened at Griquatown back then (and even today the only stores doing business are bottle shops). My point here is that a) NONE of Parsons references have any relation in any way to the substance in his report; b) he omits Burchell, Philip and so many other far more RELEVANT reports and references from that time. What I am saying is that Parsons threw that report together back in 1927 for Spinks with little regard for the facts.. and with a preconceived outcome. This is now very evident. He never researched the subject properly - this is clear even on the very first page of his report where he quotes Moffat (1846) when he provides a background to the Griqua lifestyle.. what about Burchell (1812) - see relevant extracts and drawing here... which writer could be more relevant?

 

You can read Parsons report scanned in full here - and see what I mean... this is the report which has been the backbone for ALL the references to the Griquatown tokens since by others like Engelbrecht and Hern.

 

What I am saying and have always said since doing my research is that much of the Parsons report which so much credence has been given in the past by others is complete and utter rubbish... without any foundation and is clearly (as a result) misleading. And that is the message that I have been trying to "get out there" based on 30 years of research. When one understands that then you can see why all the books written in the past by writers like Engelbrecht, Hern etc that simply regurgitate Parsons claims are damaging the integrity of our hobby. It is like NGC grading a VF coin as Proof - in this case labelling a failed token which did not circulate as some miraculous coin that was widely traded far and wide across a region that hardly had any human occupants; and very few among those who would even understand what money was.

 

Regarding their "value"....

 

If the Griquatown tokens were issued by the missionaries there at a "cost" then why is there absolutely no reference to them as an "asset" in their possession in their accounts from those times? If the tokens indeed had a small change monetary value then the accumulated stock that the missionaries held would be reflected as such in their accounts.

 

In my view the Griquatown token coins arrived.. a few were handed out... the rest (the great majority - over 95%) remained in a bag.. they never had a purpose amongst the Griqua and were simply seen as trinkets - as Waterboer confirms in the video linked from the first post in this thread.

 

In closing the complete lack of reference to them by Campbell in his second book spells out one thing.. they were a costly embarrassment and completely failed in their purpose. Not even one token circulated. Campbell loved to blow his own trumpet and glamourised many of his exploits... I would refer you to the little known Quarterly Review's remarks about the lack of integrity in Campbell's writing... I have a copy of this report published in 1815

 

You can view relevant parts of it here (click on the thumbnails)

 

Here is an extract: "Another objection to the choice of Mr. Campbell is the evident absence of every qualification with which, in these days, a traveller is expected to be gifted. The most common objects of nature he is either unacquainted with, or affects to consider as beneath his notice; and the reader who looks for information as to the natural history or the geography of that part of south Africa, hitherto but little travelled by Europeans , will meet with disappointment; false nomenclature, and vague and confused description, are all he is to expect."

 

On the other hand Burchell (who goes unquoted by Parsons) is a well respected naturalist who's name is attached to the zebra....

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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And more Parsons rubbish

 

Page four of Parsons report (linked here):

 

QUOTE:

This place, which appears on the coins of our title, was situated some distance from the north bank of the Orange River, and by 1804 many of the people of the country had consented to cease their wandering habits and settled down permanently. At the same time they adopted the dress of Europeans and, after much trouble and care, were trained to cultivate the ground, and to erect houses, schools and mission halls. By the year 1809 the members of the mission church numbered about 800 persons, while acres of land had been brought under cultivation and the country made to produce cattle, sheep and goats in plenty. The conditions of life which rendered necessary, or at least desireable, a metallic medium of exchange had been reached.

 

NOTE: No reference is given by Parsons as to where he reaches this grand romanticised conclusion....

 

So let's see what Burchell says (he visited Klaarwater/Griquatown in 1811 and 1812) years after Parsons published claims source here:

 

From the moment when I decided on making Klaarwater in my way to the Interior, I naturally endeavoured to form, in my own mind, some picture of it; and I know not by what mistake it arose, that I should conceive the idea of its being a picturesque spot surrounded by trees and gardens, with a river running through a neat village, where a tall church stood, a distant beacon to mark that Christianity had advanced thus far into the wilds of Africa. But the first glance now convinced me how false may oftentimes be the notions which men form of what they have not seen. The trees of my imagination vanished, leaving nothing in reality but a few which the missionaries themselves had planted; the church sunk to a barn-like building of reeds and mud; the village was merely a row of half a dozen reed cottages; the river was but a rill; and the situation an open, bare, and exposed place, without any appearance of a garden, excepting that of the missionaries.

It would be very unfair towards those who have devoted themselves to a residence in a country, where they are cut off from communication with civilized society, and deprived of all its comforts, to attribute this low state of civilization and outward improvement, to a want of solicitude on their part. Their continual complaint, indeed, was of the laziness of the Hottentots, and of the great difficulty there had always been in persuading them to work, either on the buildings or in the garden; and in this complaint there was too much truth.

 

My disappointment in the appearance of the place arose from expecting, perhaps, too much.....

 

and this comment:

 

The number of Hottentots houses immediately round the church, is not greater than twenty-five; but at a distance, within the same valley, nearly as many more are scattered about; and there are three or four at Leeuwenkuil, a place between the mountains, and about a mile and a half distant. Within fifty miles, in various directions, are nearly a dozen other out-posts; but they are not always inhabited: of these, the largest is the Kloof.

The aggregate number of inhabitants at Klaarwater and the out-stations, amounted in the year 1809, as I was informed, to seven hundred and eighty-four souls; and it was supposed that at this time it had not decreased: for, although some had left them and returned into the Cape colony, others had been added from that quarter in an equal proportion. The Koras and (San) living within the Klaarwater district, cannot be considered as belonging to the establishment, since they show no desire to receive the least instruction from the missionaries, nor do they attend their meetings, but continue to remove from place to place, a wild independent people.

 

And look at Burchell's drawing of Griquatown in 1812 years after Parsons romantic rubbish.... wow look at all those buildings .. schools and mission halls... note the "European clothing" worn by the Griqua who resided there!!

 

what a joke... behind this link is the reality as drawn by Burchell in 1812.

 

So what happened to Parsons gardens, fields of crops, buildings, European clothing etc.. that were the foundation of his fabricated tale that the Griquatown tokens would be readily accepted in this remote community.

 

And the total number of people in the region numbered less than the "members of the mission church" in 1809 .. Campbell notes in 1813 in the book on his first trip that the church had less than 30 members.... OUCH!!!!!

 

Simply put .. what Parsons wrote about the Griquatown tokens is complete rubbish aimed at painting a completely false image of the settlement to support his fabricated claims.

 

And now you can understand why he omitted Burchell from his report....

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Cold Sea

Do you think that JS Marais' Cape Coloured People pass muster then?

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Just when did they circulate among the Griqua?

 

Dennrein

 

You have to understand the community at Griquatown back in the period 1805 to 1821.

 

The community was made up of family groups who were, by culture, interdependent and had no use or need for such things as scissors or trivial items like that. They lived nomadic lifestyles tending to their herds of cattle and sheep - their only real asset. They were not settled. The family groups shared their belongings with each other.. in 1814 the Kok family group left Griquatown for Campbell, the Barends family for Danielskuil and the Waterboer family left for a region on the Harts River far to the north. Between 1814 and 1819 Griquatown became a ghost town with very few Griqua staying there.. most who did were nomadically passing through for a brief period. The main families left because they did not trust the missionaries. There was NO Griqua leadership at Griquatown during this five year period.

 

If you read Dr Philips commentary on this period you will see this statement (1814):

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.

 

Source: Extract "Researches in South Africa" by Rev John Philip (1828) (NOTE: Dr Philipp is one of the early missionaries who is well known for the exaggerations on the advanced condition of the people under the church's care - Burchell actually refers to this common fault of the early missionaries).

 

If we look at Burchell's comments on Griquatown and put the departure of these main families in context it means that the people left there (from 1814) probably numbered no more than a couple of transient families passing through the settlement until the Waterboers group returned to Griquatown c 1819.

 

It was then that Waterboer became chief of Griquatown. (The Barends and Kok families - the majority of the Griqua people NEVER returned to Griquatown.. Adam Kok II went to Philippolis in the southern OFS and Barends stayed at Danielskuil to the north - disgusted that a bushman was now chief at Griquatown)

 

On Waterboer's return to Griquatown in 1819 there is no mention of a token being used in any commercial trade (in whatever form) and the extract I posted in the post above demonstrates that the missionaries were not using the tokens to pay Waterboer outstanding money owed to him from 1819 - 1821.

 

We agree that in June 1821 Helm asks what do with the tokens and they were returned to England.

 

So my question is this, when did they circulate and among whom?

 

1814 - 1819 there was no real Griqua community at Griquatown.

1819 - 1821 Waterboer took payment in Rijksdaalder.

1821 they are sent back to England

 

The tokens I have seen displayed are well worn and if they circulated then it would not have been at Griquatown. The only other option is they were sold and then used in a gambling den back in England. The unusual values on them would have made this quite an acceptable form of gambling chip.

 

In my next post I will explain why I believe that they were meant to be issued as labour tokens....

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Labour tokens

 

We all agree that the values placed on the Griquatown token coins make no sense when you try to match them with coin of the crown or the Rijksdaalder (Dennrein's suggestion)

 

The hypothesis by Hern and others that they were an advanced form of decimalised coinage is complete conjecture and void of any factual basis.

 

The values are 5, 10 (in silver) 1/4 and 1/2 (in bronze)

 

That is a fact

 

Clearly the silver values represent more and the bronze less. There are many labour or day tokens represented from this time so what the London Missionary Society did was neither innovative or revolutionary.

 

Labour tokens:

The Griqua could easily relate to doing a task for a period of time having a certain value attached to it.

 

My firm belief is that:

the 10 represent ten hours of work - a day token.

the 5 represents five hours of work - a half day token.

the 1/2 represents a task that might have taken up to an hour to complete

the 1/4 represents a minor task of less than half an hour

 

That clearly and logically explains the values put on the tokens by the London Missionary Society - something no one else here can do. Why would you make the value of a coin so confusing in such a remote part of the world?

 

The problem was once a Griqua received his token in payment for labour he could not eat it, drink it, fire it or exchange it - there were NO trading stores within hundreds of miles of Griquatown. And why would another Griqua accept a token when he faced the same challenges as the one owning it?

 

So the tokens that did get "dispersed" among the Griqua never circulated but were simply seen as worthless trinkets.

 

That and the facts I raised above are the reasons I discussed regarding circulation is why they failed and not one ever circulated as money.

(PS To overcome this problem Anderson could well have handed out a TEN for half a day's work etc.. which resulted in the comment that they were undervalued when handed out.)

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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JS Marais

 

Do you think that JS Marais' Cape Coloured People pass muster then?

 

I have his book in my library.. see: Research based works related to the Griquas

 

Here is my comment on his book.. linked above:

 

J S Marais was the Professor of History at the University of the Witwatersrand.

This book, printed by the Witwatersrand University Press at the height of the Apartheid era in South Africa, is an interesting study in racial relations between Europeans and non-Europeans in South Africa.

 

The highly referenced book looks at the impact that the Europeans had on the Griquas - in their culture, lifestyle and history.

 

The book makes no reference to any coinage being used at Griqua Town. Marais refers at length to Campbell's book in which the missionary refers to the same meeting where the Bastards adopted the name "Griqua". It is clear that Marais discounted the theory that coins had ever circulated at Griquatown. (Chapter II pgs 32-73)

 

Marais notes that the influence of the London Missionary Society resident Griqua Town missionary, W Anderson, declined in 1814 and that there was no leader in the small settlement - Adam Kok II and Barends, the leading families, leaving to set up home at Campbell and Daniel's Kuil. He states that during this time 1815-1820 Griquatown became a ghost town with the few nomadic Griquas using the station as a temporary camp before moving on.

 

In the last para above see my post above linked here

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Let me be more specific about Marais.

 

Anderson, as quoted by Philip, described the Griquas/Bastards in 1800 to be naked savages, subsisting by plunder and chase. Anderson goes further and refers to filthy Kaross’, no morals, no trace of civilisation, daubed with red paint, heads loaded with grease and shining powder etc. Scott, you seem to embrace this view.

 

Marais argues that this could only have been true for a minority consisting of pure Hottentots.

 

Lichtenstein (a surgeon with no reason to exaggerate) visited the area in 1805 which was divided into six villages by Anderson. He found that the bastards lived in large clean huts, and were clothed in linen and woollen cloth, while the Hottentots lived in dirty pandoks, and had skins thrown over them. He describes the Bastards enquiring about clothes, linen and woollen wares for barter, as “there is nothing of which they are so much in want as a regular supply of clothing.” He describes how well made their clothes were, and “their linen was so clean and white, that we could not contemplate them without astonishment.” He further explains how they procured the linen etc through barter.

 

Col Gordon, who visited the area in 1777 and 1779, also describes a colony of Bastards who were Christians wearing European clothing.

 

An interesting observation was that after the drought of 1803, Anderson procured seed corn, land was cultivated and proved to be such a success, that in the same year corn was sown in all six villages. “The pure Hottentots could not, however, the more be persuaded that it was incumbent on them to assist as volunteers in the task: they contended that they ought to be hired by the Bastards for the service, and receive wages proportioned to their work.”

 

Scott says:

The community was made up of family groups who were, by culture, interdependent and had no use or need for such things as scissors or trivial items like that. They lived nomadic lifestyles tending to their herds of cattle and sheep - their only real asset. They were not settled. The family groups shared their belongings with each other.
.

 

The idea that the Griquas were uneducated, with no want for European items, money etc is without merit. Other factors, and not the local population, affected the rise and fall of the district.

 

PS. Cape Coloured People was first published in 1939, hardly the height of the Apartheid era.

Edited by Cold Sea

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The reality

 

Hi Derik

 

I am delighted you are doing on your own research on this subject.

 

If you Google Burchell you will soon see that he is the most credible reporter on what South Africa was like from these times. He was so clinical about his work that it was only published ten years after his return from South Africa BUT on its publication it was hailed as the most accurate study on the times. In fact he was so highly regarded that he was contracted to write the booklet informing the English 1820 settlers what to expect. Here is a link to a copy of that booklet in my library.. The Early Days - early first hand reports and research related to the Griquas. Good copies of Burchell's book sell for about US$20,000 today and there have been two reprints - one in 1953 (Schapira) and the other in 1967.

 

This is what Mendelssohn, vol. 1, p. 224, comments on the original publication, "The most valuable and accurate work on South Africa published up to the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and embracing a description of a large part of the Cape Colony and Bechuanaland at this period."

 

I also have a copy of the Quarterly Review's critique on Burchells's book and it is unusually glowing about its integrity.. here is a link to an overview of the critique in my collection: http://www.tokencoins.com/book/d.htm#latr

 

I have only briefly heard of Lichtenstein as a minor reference from time to time and one has to be careful with one's interpretation of what he saw because on the northern boundaries of the Cape Colony the trekboers, a simple living sort of Dutch farmer, had set up small houses and farms south of the Orange River. They are not to be mistaken with the Bastards living at Griquatown - something I am sure has happened in your post above. If he did suggest that the Bastards wore European clothing then this little known man is completely at odds with Burchell who was a highly regarded naturalist who actually stayed at Griquatown.

 

Burchell's drawing of Griquatown is the only visual record of the settlement from that time. Anderson, the resident missionary, was so impressed with it that he is recorded as having asked Burchell to do a drawing of him - which he did.

 

I once again ask you to look at Burchell's drawing of Griquatown and read his comments about what he expected and what he saw... http://www.tokencoins.com/griqua/gtown.jpg

 

The image alone speaks a thousand words....

 

With regards to Marais do you agree with me that he makes absolutely no reference to the Griquatown token coins? Why does he omit them? Surely South Africa's first indigenous coinage would be something he would not overlook? As a Professor of History his omission, I would suggest, is rather telling.

 

He also confirms that Griquatown was a ghost town from 1814 - 1819... see my post above. So WHERE did the tokens circulate?

 

You say:

 

PS. Cape Coloured People was first published in 1939, hardly the height of the Apartheid era.

 

For the record I have the revised 1967 copy of this book.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Col Gordon would not have seen them at Griquatown

 

Coldsea says...

 

Col Gordon, who visited the area in 1777 and 1779, also describes a colony of Bastards who were Christians wearing European clothing.

 

The fact is that the Bastards and Hottentots only settled what became Griquatown in early 1800.. before that (from late 1700s) a small family group resided (under Barends) at Hardcastle to the south but north of the Orange River.. the Kok clan came from what is now Namaqualand in the late 1700s so I would be interested to know just who Col Gordon was referring to.

 

You can see the region I believe to be Hardcastle (the first settlement north of the Orange c 1795) half way down this page... Day twenty one - Griquatown, 23rd October 2007 (near Niekerkshoop today).

 

What I am saying is that the good Colonel certainly would not have seen "bastards" from "this region". They were more likely trekboers on the outer fringes of the Cape Colony.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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dennrein

Five points

 

  1. Admittedly, Parsons’ research does have its flaws. He had limited access to literature, which explains why he relies so heavily on Campbell. On the other hand, he seems to have had access to infos we don’t. This includes the ominous correspondence of Halliday proving two consignments of coins were sent to Griquatown in 1815 and 1816, a photo of an original coin purchased in Kimberley (!) from the Bain collection, as well as contacts at the LMS. He is quite accurate on some other background infos and I think it must have taken him some effort to put the report together at the time. I wouldn’t discredit him part and parcel for minor flaws such as the size of the congregation. And as we have seen, a lot of other points he makes are a question of “Ripley’s believe it or not”.
  2. The labour token theory does not convince me. Show me one set of tokens where ¼ and ½ stand for quote “a task that might have taken up to an hour to complete” and “a minor task of less than half an hour” and I will believe you. Besides, it utterly contradicts the purpose Campbell had in mind with the tokens, to enable the Griquas to buy “knives, scissars” etc. (see above).
  3. I want to reiterate that payments in rijksdaalders or rixdollars do not disprove the tokens were used. Whatever the tokens stand for, paying Waterboer in token coins would have been the same as paying someone’s present day salary in fifty cent coins. It doesn’t make sense. The statement “having no money” by Helm in 1821 literally means “being short of cash”. That Waterboer received 13 rixdollars and 4 schellings is solid proof that the Griqua had a very clear notion of money at the time! The LMS annual report from 1815-16, where it says that “money is utterly unknown in that part of the world”, also states that “the Directors are now procuring for them a coinage of silver tokens”.
  4. We agree that the token coins were produced. So the LMS or (according to Parsons) Campbell personally spent money on them. It was spent when they were minted in Britain. They were worth at least their weight in silver or copper. So having them in Griquatown would have meant they were an asset, regardless of whether they were being circulated or not. There not being any accounts of the accumulated stock of tokens would thus boil down to sloppy accounting or the accounts being lost, simply because the tokens were an asset regardless of whether they were being used or not. Having been paid for beforehand, they should have been registered in the mission’s books the moment they arrived in Griquatown. So if indeed the tokens weren’t registered in the mission’s books as an asset in the first place – which I am not sure you would be able to prove, or have you got access to the mission’s accounts? – it would be a case of sloppy bookkeeping. It would be different if you could prove they were in the books to begin with and there was no change in their asset value over time, i.e. they never circulated.
  5. With all due respect to your research, I dispute the notion that Griquatown was a “ghost town” between 1814 and 1819. Despite the Hartenaars rebellion (1815-17), which led to the exodus of forty Griqua from Griquatown, Moffat (1846: p. 61) reports that missionaries from England arrived there in 1816 and were “kindly received”. Adam Kok, Jan Hendreck and others were seen as “men of influence” who could make contact with the Tswana. As opposed to Griquatown, the Tswana mission and a number of other outposts were abandoned around this time. The mission’s influence was shaken no doubt by the rebellion and a subsequent trade embargo by the Cape Colony. But the remaining inhabitants of Griquatown were the ones to profit from the Kookfontein (1819) and Beaufort West (1820) fairs and they were described by a fair visitor as “thinking people” who “possessed more knowledge than their white neighbours” (compare Campbell 1822: p. 21). They held regular prayer and worship meetings at the fair, proof of the influence the mission had retained over the years. At any rate, in my opinion the situation with the trade embargo would have intensified the need for the Griquas at Griquatown to engage in trade with the mission from 1815 onwards as opposed to the illegal bartering the rebels were engaged in.

Regards

dennrein

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Guest Guest

May I summarise?

 

Hi Dennrein

 

We can discuss this ad infinitum... I have over 300 books and documents relating back to this time and have no prejudice either way... that is why I always say show me the evidence that just one token CIRCULATED.. no one has and no one can.

 

May I summarise the following points I believe we agree on:

1) The tokens only arrived c1819 and never circulated 1815-16

2) Parsons report is flawed on key points and makes assumptions without providing any sources - his report is the basis of all subsequent claims on these tokens in many South African numismatic books

3) There is confusion as to just what the token was

a) either meant to represent or

b) what value was associated with it

4) There is no record in any document from that time of the tokens being used in a single trade in Griquatown

 

Just based on the above points I cannot see how the assumption can be made that the tokens circulated at all at Griquatown. I can open a shop selling the latest Ipods in an Amish community... I doubt I will sell one! (ie the token idea was poorly thought out - without a store for them to trade was like having a knitting book while having no wool to knit - quite useless!)

 

The other evidence such as Griquatown being a ghost town is fact (1814-19) - and sure the Griqua leaders might have ridden to the settlement to meet missionaries but they did not live there. It is a fact that (Adam and Cornelius) Kok, Barends and their families became "bergenaars" at this time and roamed north of the Orange on horseback shooting elephants for their tusks etc, pillaging African kraals etc..

 

We might disagree on the interpretation of other information that has come to light but, at best, we can say many of the claims made in Herns books on South African coins are just simply wrong.

 

There is enough logical reasoning to demonstrate that the Griquatown tokens have no place in the book on South African coins - certainly they could be seen as failed tokens and, at best, be placed in a book on South African tokens.

 

This is what Prof Arndt had to say on this matter in his book Banking and Currency Development in South Africa (1928). His books were used in universities in South Africa including the University of Pretoria as an authoritative text book for BCom students and he was considered to be the author of South African banking / currency in South Africa.

 

He quotes Hofstede and Gunning as references to support his proposal that Griquatown token coins never circulated: "not one farthing was in circulation".

 

Full quote (pg 127): The coins were of four denominations, viz: 1/4 and 1/2 in copper and IIIII and 10 in silver. These were sent at a time when these coloured people had not the slightest notion of the advantages of a metallic currency. Moreover their entire trade at the time did not even amount to fifty pounds per annum. Accordingly it is not surprising that the dove of peace soon flew away and the money of which never a single farthing was in circulation accompanied it. The only permanent memorials of Campbell's visit turned out to be the names "Griqua" and "Griquatown".

 

Arndt's book in my library at this link

 

In closing until someone can show me evidence that a single trade took place with a Griquatown token coin then it didn't happen. We can speculate as much as we like but this is simple science as any professional researcher will tell you that.

The mystery is "where did they circulate".. you know my views.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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MrAerospace

You are admired, Scott, for your tenacity and resilience!

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Mike Klee

In Robert Moffat’s “Missionary Labours and Scenes in Southern Africa”- found at http://www.archive.org/stream/missionarylabour07moff- Moffat gives some very telling insights into the state of the interior of South Africa, which he criss-crossed on a journey that commenced in January 1818. Quotations are directly from this book and, if one was to regard this book as a fully accurate contemporary account, the points of interest are:

1. The map on page 5 clearly shows “Griqua Town” slightly northeast of places called Kues(sp?) and Hardcastle. The same map also shows “Coranna Villages”, written prominently under the south bank of the “Gariep or Yellow River”. Northwards is Daniel’s Kruil (“about 50 miles” away) and the mission station of Trantiabane(sp?). Does this not serve to show a scattered/dispersed population of not insignificant size? On page 16 of Moffat’s book, he writes ” We must continue to look for success in attracting the scattered fragments [of population] to the missionary settlements…..This plan has been carried on at our Griqua mission, from its commencement to the present day…”

2. Moffat is at Griquatown in 1818 and describes (page 44) “The society of the brethern Anderson and Helm, with their partners in labour, was most refreshing to my soul. A crowded and attentive congregation and the buzz of the daily school…” This appears to describe a vibrant community which is not insignificant in number?

3. Griquatown was settled when “a mixed multitude [ of Corannas, Namaquas and Bastards], finally terminated a migratory life, by settling down at Griqua Town in 1804 with Messrs. Anderson and Kramer”(page 52).

4. Moffat states that, when first settled, Griquatown was in a “lawless country” and quotes Anderson, who observed that the Griquas “lived in the habit of plundering one another” and that “violent deaths were common”. The efforts of Anderson and “some Hottentots from the Zak River” eventually resulted in the Griquas growing” four square miles of“corn and barley” at “Griqua Town alone; and the ground around the neighbouring fountains was in a similar state of improvement” (page 52). Why was so much food being grown? This is revealed in the next sentence: “From other communications from Mr A., it also appears that, as early as 1809, the congregation consisted of 800 persons, who resided at or near the station during the whole or the greater part of the year. Besides their stated congregations, they were surrounded by numerous hordes of Coranna and Bushmen,among whom they laboured”.

 

From the above, we can see that Anderson’s Griquatown in 1809 had a population of 800 people, was surrounded by numerous hordes of other people and had developed into an area which was growing substantial amounts of food crops which was needed to support this growing urban population.

 

What changed this?

 

5. “The mission continued to flourish,extending its benign influence for several years, till an unlooked-for event gave a shock, from which it did not soon recover” (page 53). In a nutshell, theReverend Anderson was ordered by the Cape Government to send 20 Griquas to join the Cape regiment in Cape Town.

 

6. Anderson was unable to get the Griquas to agree to this, and his very act of having to make this demand on the Griquas now turned his congregation against him: he was viewed, in his own words, by the Griquas as “nothing more than a dry stalk of maize”. “His life was threatened; and soon after a party withdrew from the mission” and though a great majority remained, they were by no means cordial; so that Mr Anderson found it necessary to withdraw…”

 

7. Sources (including Hern) describe the GQT coins as having been minted between 1814 and 1816. As Anderson was in Griquatown from 1804 and was forced to leave the settlement – temporarily, it would seem - in 1814, it is now possible to see how the first date was arrived at.

 

8. Moffat describes Anderson as a man who “exemplified zeal and perseverance”, and his departure – which would seem to have been temporary, as he was back when Moffat travelled through GQT - eventually lead to Anderson’s loss being “deeply mourned over their ingratitude” by the population at Griquatown.

 

9. Prominent individuals at Griquatown had left (Adam Kok and Berend Berend) and the step was taken to ensure that a similar incident did not take place again by appointing a leader or “fall guy”who would “take the government of the village”. Andries Waterboer was“unanimously voted….to the office of chief”(page 53).

 

10. Andries Waterboer was “considered severe in his administration”(page 54) and “his strict discipline gave rise to divisions, sifting the Griquas of those who cared for neither law nor gospel. From these again rose Bergenaars, or mountaneers and marauders, round whose standards Corannas and Bushmen rallied”. These people carried “devastation, blood and rapine among all the Bechuana tribes within their reach. Even on Griqua Town itself they made two desperate attacks…”

 

11. The final nail in the coffin for Griquatown was the drying up of the water supply: “the fountain at Griqua Town has almost ceased to flow, which has compelled the inhabitants to resolve on removing to the banks of the Yellow or Vaal River, where they hope to be able to lead out a stream, so as to irrigate a considerable portion of the country”(page 56).

 

From the above, we can see that Griquatown was a thriving, growing community in 1809 and was surrounded by a scattered but sizeable population. Anderson’s unfortunate departure in 1814 deprived the community of a talented, energetic individual; the political schisms that developed afterwards destroyed the cohesiveness of the population at Griquatown; the drying up of the water source – these all resulted in the depopulation of the town.

 

All the same, a fairly large population still existed in this vast area: a raid by Waterboer on the Bergenaars netted 4000head of cattle and “some hundreds of the people of the plundered tribes” – all of which returned to Griquatown.

After 1814, Moffat’s account indicates that Griquatown suffered from depopulation due to:

a.) The inability of the community to stay together due to external and internal political factors

b.) A gradual drying up of the water source, which would have affected the ability of the community to raise crops(“four square miles”) and sustain the 800 residents found to be at Griquatown in 1809.

 

and, something which was not in Moffat’s account:

 

c.) Growing such a vast mass of crops could only have been successful in the short-term, even if there was water– due to the soil not having been cropped before. Continued cropping and non-replenishment of the soil with fertiliser changed this. Even in the South Africa of today, there is testimony in places like Transkei that crop growing without putting anything back into the soil results in good crops initially and then a progressive decline in crop yield due to soil degradation. With virtually no importation of foodstuffs and without sizeable crops grown on a near-subsistence basis in the environs of Griquatown, there was absolutely no way the 800 residents (1809) could have survived.

 

From the above, we can see that Griquatown did indeed (at least in 1809) have a sizeable,self-sustaining population. Because of this, Anderson had to have come to the idea at some stage that “his” town needed coinage: there was a significant population in Griquatown and there were goods/ food being produced (at the very least, the maize and barley that was being grown). Definitely a good combination for coinage to work, which is why he had coins minted……..

Mike

 

 

Edited by Mike Klee

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Cold Sea

Hi Scott

 

Not to labour the point.

 

Lichtenstein describes the area and circumstances in and around Griquatown, “or the district as it has been referred to”. He even describes the inside of Anderson’s house, a Coran hut, perfectly clean with the bed shut up from the rest of the room by a curtain, with portraits of van der Kemp, English prints etc.

 

Col Gordon never saw the Bastards at Griquatown, but on the banks of the Orange, “a little colony that lived by breeding cattle or the chase." These were not trekboere. He mentions the name of Solomon Kok.

 

Again, I must agree with Marais that the Griquas were more civilised than your interpretation of Burchell’s sketch (that is if the sketch depicts any Griquas) and that the suggestion that the Griqua people had no need or want for money and European goods is without merit.

 

Marais never mentions the Griqua money. Whether they did or did not circulate is a matter of opinion and open for debate and further reading. What we do know is that they were dispersed.

 

Derick

Edited by Cold Sea

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dennrein

Don't underestimate the Griquas!

 

I object to the comparison of the tokens for the Griqua being like selling Ipods to the Amish (except as a misguided joke). This in my view is demeaning and totally underestimates the status of the Griqua at the time. Frankly I'm surprised, seeing as you yourself have put so much effort into researching their legacy.

 

Between 1817 and 1819 the Griqua acted "as middlemen for ... Sotho-Tswana trade with the colony" (Ross 2007: p. 17). Trade at the Kookfontein (1819) and Beaufort West (1820) fairs was done by barter and in rixdollars. In fact Griquatown missionary Anderson expected a large quantity of ivory to be brought to the market at the first fair, which was virtually only visited by Griquas, “for which many will like to have money, being indebted.” (Ross 2007: p. 21). So the Griquas knew very well what money was!

 

Kok and Berrends traded at the fairs as well as "Griquatown town residents" (Ross 2007: p. 22) - which proves that there were residents in Griquatown. There were 120 Griquas with twenty-five wagons and fifty team oxen at the first fair. The missionary Anderson was not amongst them (i.e. they organised all this themselves), though every Griqua at the fair had to obtain a pass from the mission. This proves two further things: The Griqua were a very formidable trading nation, there was plenty of trade going on and the Hartenaars had by that time found their peace with the mission, probably precisely because of the trade benefits this entailed.

 

In 1819 landdrost Stockenstrom allowed the missionaries to buy things in Cape Town not found at the Kookfontein and Beaufort West fairs for the Griqua. What does this prove? The mission was trading with the Griquas - precisely why they needed the token coins. And it stands to reason that the token coins were "dispersed" in this trade, for dispersed they were!

 

Regards

dennrein

Edited by dennrein

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Guest Guest

Gentlemen

 

You all miss the point.

 

Show me just one reference to the Griquatown tokens being used in a SINGLE trade.

 

Then lets discuss this further....

 

Oh.. Mike

Anderson’s unfortunate departure in 1814 deprived the community of a talented, energetic individual; the political schisms that developed afterwards destroyed the cohesiveness of the population at Griquatown; the drying up of the water source – these all resulted in the depopulation of the town.

 

Anderson left Griquatown in February 1820 not 1814 ... suggest you all get a copy of Peter S Anderson's book on the story of William and Johanna Anderson.. it is called "Weapons of Peace" (1995).

 

Peter has access to William Anderson's original letters, quotes from them in the book and agrees with me that the tokens never circulated. There is not one reference in his book to the tokens... they are omitted by him because there is no reference to them by his descendant in any of his letters or documents.

 

Isn't that a trifle strange if they "circulated" during his tenure at Griquatown?

 

Here is link to one of the copies of this book in my library: The Missionaries - their experiences and published works related to the Griquas

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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I don't think so..

 

Hi Dennrein

 

I object to the comparison of the tokens for the Griqua being like selling Ipods to the Amish (except as a misguided joke). This in my view is demeaning and totally underestimates the status of the Griqua at the time. Frankly I'm surprised, seeing as you yourself have put so much effort into researching their legacy.

 

Quote Prof Arndt: These were sent at a time when these coloured people had not the slightest notion of the advantages of a metallic currency.

I cannot see how the suggestion supported by the common sense comments of Prof Arndt (see my post above) can be seen as demeaning. It reflects the truth as portrayed in Burchell's drawing of Griquatown in 1812 and compares the lack of interest that two very different communities would have had in two very different "western" toys during that period of time.

 

If anyone else found it demeaning then I apologise to my many Griqua friends but I still can't see why they would :))

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Mike Klee

Hi Scott,

You are 100% correct in that Anderson did finally leave Griquatown in 1820 but – and here I am quoting from the contemporary account given by Robert Moffat on page 53 in his book mentioned in my previous post –the description of what took place certainly indicates that he left GQT for, at the least, “nearly a year” after late 1814:

“ soon after [ Anderson had called for 20 young Griquas to be sent to Cape Town] a party [of Griquas] withdrew from the mission, which kept the people in a state of political ferment; and though a great majority remained, they were by no means cordial; so that Mr Anderson found it necessary to withdraw, that his presence might not give the shadow of offence…” My bold lettering.

Plus, after this “impolitic measure”, Anderson gave a “farewell sermon” in which he said “but now I am compelled to leave you…”

Finally, “The writer [Moffat] having lived on the station, together with Mr Helm, for nearly a year after Mr A.'s departure, had innumerable opportunities of witnessing how warmly they cherished the memory of one who had for twenty years laboured among them…”, and “Although the mission was thus deprived of the valuable labours of Mr Anderson, Mr Helm, his colleague, most efficiently supplied his place”.

 

Scott, we know that Anderson left GQT for Cape Town towards the end of 1814 and, from Moffat, his absence was at the least “nearly a year”.

 

It would be interesting to know what Anderson did after he went to Cape Town, and when did he return to GQT? Do you have any information on this, Scott?

Mike

Edited by Mike Klee

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Let's call a spade a spade..

 

Hi Mike

 

One of the greatest criticisms that the Missionaries faced in those early days was their acknowledged twisting of facts. That is why I continually refer to the lack of credibility in John Campbell's claims in his published books. Moffat, although having far more credibility, suffered from a similar disease. One has to read the writings of these early missionaries in context with the "sermon" that they incorporate into their writings.

 

I will give you a classic example - as it relates to this book by Moffat (the same book used by Parsons as one of only three references in his paper on the Griquatown tokens).

 

You can see where Parsons got his claim that there were "800 members of the church at Griquatown in 1809" in my copy of Moffat's book (first published in 1842). On page 137 Moffat refers to "the congregation consisting of 800 persons"... (remember this book by Moffat is one of only three references used by Parsons). I think we agree that this claim by Parsons was a wild exaggeration as Campbell notes in 1813 there were less than 30 male members and under 50 in total. So the question I ask is "Why did Parsons ignore Campbell and quote from Moffat?" - After all he publishes the other quote by Campbell (about issuing coins) just a couple of pages from Campbell's records of church members in 1813... In my view he does this clearly to present an argument that supported his unfounded claims on the Griquatown tokens. There is no way Parsons would NOT have seen Campbell's notes on the church membership in Griquatown in 1813.

 

A few lines after the large congregation claimed in Moffat's book comes the religious interpretation.. "A threatened attack from a marauding horde of Kafirs, in 1810, was evidently averted, in answer to prayer". The words that follow reflect the religious message associated with this ridiculous claim.

 

On page 139 of this book is the reference to which you refer (there are several editions so pages might vary). Sown into these claims that Anderson left the mission he quotes him as saying "Formerly I went out and in among you as a father, your friend, and your guide; but now I am compelled to leave you, viewed by you as nothing better than a dried stalk." Then there is a religious message.

 

In Anderson's book "Weapon of Peace" and all other books that I am aware of there is no reference to Anderson leaving Griquatown at all. He was certainly under threat in a settlement which had become ghost town but, with the support of Helm, stayed on.

 

What I am saying is be careful of the integrity of the missionaries published books they almost always glorify and exaggerate their successes. There is never any failure.. always a success accompanied by a religious message.

 

Of course, in reality, they suffered many failures but they are simply ignored - like the failure of the token coins - the reason they are never mentioned in books.

 

PS Moffat only arrived in Griquatown in 1820, lived in Kuruman (150km away) and only wrote this book you quote from many years after the events he talks about.. so you tell me - how does he get verbatim transcripts of what Anderson said for example? He didn't - the missionary books are modified to push a religious message glorifying G-od. Always bear this in mind.

 

It is only in their private letters and journals that you get a more accurate picture of what is actually going on. Get yourself a copy of the Oppenheimer Library's "Apprentice from Kuruman".. you will be stunned by what Moffat says about Campbell and Griquatown in private.. (eg In a letter to Rev Philip on 6 March 1820 Moffat writes.. Mr Campbell who has more than once on this journey declared that Mr Anderson was a weak, silly man. But I have also to add that when he used such harsh assessment, he had made to freely with Mr Wine or Mijn Heer Brandy. He is very quarrelsome at such seasons, and alas, such seasons are not few... What will Mr Campbell say when he returns to England! Griquatown he dare not rehearse and Lattakoo appears to be in a deplorable state. And, as Anderson expresses himself, "Read has destroyed that mission. The information that he is qualified to give about both missions will greatly interest you, and I think will increase your sorrow. Source: pg 6 "Apprenticeship at Kuruman".

 

The misleading writings of the missionaries is one of the reasons why the naturalist Burchell's comments in his book are widely acclaimed as the most accurate reflection of what Griquatown and the interior of South Africa back then - there was no religious twist or sermon attached - just the facts.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Cold Sea

Hi Scott,

 

no reference to Anderson leaving Griquatown at all

 

Anderson visited Cape Town roundabout the middle of 1814 to discuss the military call-up of the 20 Griquas with Cradock, which he opposed. In his absence, significant changes took place in Griquatown. But that is not relevant now.

Edited by Cold Sea

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Mike Klee

Hi "Cold Sea"

 

Anderson wrote to the Governor, John Cradock, to protest Cradock's demand for 20 young Griquas to be sent to Cape Town. Anderson carried on with his written protests with the new Governor, Lord Charles Somerset from July 1814. At the end of 1814, he actually travelled to Cape Town to meet with Lord Charles Somerset in an effort to resolve the issue - without success.

 

It would be interesting to know how long Anderson was away from GQT.

 

Mike

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Intentions

 

Gentlemen

 

Anderson did not leave Griquatown because he feared for his life as suggested by Moffat and implied in the post above - and that is my point. He left his wife at Griquatown under the care of Helm at this time and had every intention to return as soon as he could. It was his failure to get the Griqua recruits that directly resulted in the Governor of the Cape refusing Moffat permission to travel to Griquatown for several years.

 

Regardless, we are off topic....

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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