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The Bushmen of Southern Africa

We are fortunately able to obtain evidence upon the great antiquity of the Bushman race in South Africa from several independent sources, viz. the subsequent Hottentot migration, the geological evidence afforded by exhumed relics, and that which is demonstrated by some of their most ancient sculptures and paintings.

The subsequent southern migration of the Hottentot hordes clearly proves that such an enormous period had intervened between their onward movement and that which led to the original Bushman occupation, that the Hottentot tribes had advanced from the purely hunter state of their remote progenitors to that of the nomadic-pastoral ; their language had also undergone such a complete transformation that the new-comers were no longer able to understand the more primitive and therefore original tongue of the kindred race which had preceded them ; while they had also, in the interim, progressed in physical development, until, by the side of the taller Namaqua and Koraqua, the aboriginal Bushmen appeared a veritable race of pigmies.

A vast cycle of ages would doubtless be required to bring about radical changes of this kind. With this fact we must be duly impressed, if we consider but for a moment the extreme slowness with which such extensive modifications from their original type must necessarily have been accomplished, especially among races which were naturally unprogressive.

The second source of evidence with regard to the antiquity of the Bushman race in South Africa is from the geological record. From the mass of testimony which might be brought forward under this head we shall merely notice such a number of instances as must fully establish the point under consideration. Thus, on a farm in the Bloemfontein District a very finely shaped stone armlet was found embedded in situ, in digging out a reservoir four feet below the surface in undisturbed clay.

In excavating the superficial diamondiferous deposits at Du Toit's Pan, in Griqualand West, numerous Bushman beads made of ostrich eggshell were found at various depths ranging from six to eight feet, and in several spots resting on the bed of calcareous tufa. These local accumulations had evidently been very gradual in their formation. Multitudes of minute land shells were interspersed throughout them, the animals which inhabited them having evidently perished and been entombed whilst traversing the arid sand. This place had evidently been a great station for the Bushmen, in the midst of the ostrich country, and had in all probability been a locality where the manufacture of ostrich eggshell beads had been carried on for generations, thus the abundance of them frequently met with in patches, as well as their having been found in various stages of manufacture. Some of those dug out from the lowest depths had become perfectly fossilized, and adhered to the tongue.

These mounds at one time formed a portion of the margin of an ancient lake, whose waters had drained away, the pan of the present day being its degenerated representative. The extent of this ancient lake is still well defined by a zone of sandy marls and calcareous deposits, and it was in some of the former and the more superficial red sandy clay that these relics of the ancient Bushmen were found.

Again, a stone hammer and another well-formed chipped stone implement were found by the writer in a bed of river-gravel on the banks of the Vaal, near Pniel, about fifty feet above the present stream, and which was evidently laid down at a time when the level of the river was much higher than the Vaal of to-day.

Near the mouth of Kleinemond, on the farm Fairfield, in the Division of Lower Albany, a number of pieces of rude Bushman pottery, stone implements, and semi-fossilised bones were found at a depth of sixteen feet, embedded in interlaminated and undisturbed beds of sand and marine shells.

In 1869 several Bushman maal-stones, stone implements, and an awl made of ivory were found at Poplar Grove, in the Division of Queenstown, in a bed of sub-angular gravel, embedded in a clayey matrix fourteen feet below the surface, and underlying three or four other undisturbed beds of clay and gravel. Associated with these were found the scapula and some of the ribs and grinders of a wart-hog. These bones had become so fossilised that, like some of the oldest fragments of ostrich eggshell at Du Toit's Pan, they adhered to the tongue.

In 1874, when the writer was examining the calcareous zone at the western end of the Roode Pan basin, about five or six miles from the great Kimberley Diamond Mine, he discovered in a bed of sandy marl a number of finely formed chipped implements, made of lydite. These implements must have been dropped there at the time the marl bed was in process of formation ; portions of it were interlaminated with belts of calcareous tufa, it was also capped with a layer of this rock of considerable, although varying, thickness, as shown below.

This calcareous zone, similar to others surrounding so many of these great pan basins, and which evidently mark the margins of extensive lakes which once filled them, must have been deposited at a time when the level of the water was at least sixty feet higher than that of the present pan, and when a magnificent lake spread itself, for a considerable number of miles, over the intervening valley.

The hunters, therefore, who manufactured these stone weapons must have lived in a period so remote that the physical features of the country were vastly different from what we see at the present time. Numerous extensive lakes were dotted over it, and, as is proved by geological evidence, the Vaal itself did not flow in the same channel in which we now see it, as it has in two or three places cut through some of these very basins, which therefore proves that the makers of these implements must have existed before the river adopted its present course.

This period represents the second or minor lake-period of South Africa, but which nevertheless must have been so far removed from the present that the intervening years would not have to be represented by thousands only, but tens of thousands, if we would form an approximate idea of their probable duration.

The evidence, therefore, here brought forward proves that the Bushman race must have occupied South Africa, continuously, for an enormous period. It is not necessary to suppose that all their tribes arrived at the same time : it is more than probable, judging from the migrations of other races, that they arrived in this portion of the continent by degrees, accelerated, more or less, by the pressure of other clans in their rear, a process which may have continued for a number of ages before they were overtaken by the stronger races.

We will now proceed to examine the next series of evidence, afforded by the remains of their rock sculptures or chippings, and their paintings. The latter, being of a more perishable nature, we cannot expect to find escaping the ravages of time, caused either by exposure to the atmosphere or the disintegration of the rock itself, where the paintings have been executed upon the somewhat friable sandstones of the upper Lacustrine or Karoo-formation, as long as the more durable chippings, which have generally been worked into the surface of some of the hardest igneous rocks.

An opportunity was offered in examining some of the paintings in a large cave in the Boloko or Vecht Kop, near the southern border of Basutoland, of making an approximate calculation as to the probable age of the most ancient artistic productions of this kind found there. The most recent of the paintings represents an attack of a commando upon a considerable body of Bushmen. The writer was fortunate enough to obtain the history of this picture. The attack had been made upon this cave some forty years previously by a combined force of Boers and Basutu, with the intention of driving out the old inhabitants of the place ; and immediately afterwards this drawing was made by one of the Bushman artists, evidently with a view of commemorating the event.

The painting, like most of their last productions, which were executed at a time when they were constantly harassed and driven about by their enemies, was rudely done, but still the action of the figures was well marked. Several of the Bushmen are armed with guns ; one or two are shouting out, defying the attacking party to come on. The rock upon which it is painted is a soft friable sandstone, and a certain amount of disintegration has taken place since the representation was finished, amounting in places to the eighth of an inch.

The most ancient paintings preserved depict a group of elands, beautifully and artistically finished, showing that the artist had both time and leisure at his command to finish them with an amount of care which is admirable, thus affording a striking illustration of a state of rest enjoyed by the Bushmen during the halcyon days of undisturbed occupation, compared to the season of turmoil and tribulation which fell upon them after the invasion of the stronger races.

Portions of the animals have disappeared from the same natural decay, we have spoken of, of the rock surface. The process of disintegration, from the sheltered position of the walls of the cave where the paintings are found, defended as they are against rain and similar atmospheric agencies, must have been tolerably uniform. Such being the case, if we calculate the depth of the erosions and destruction to have progressed at the same ratio as in the preceding instance, it would give a probable antiquity of about four hundred years to this last group of animals. It is quite certain that the same cause of destruction would have entirely obliterated any earlier paintings.

At a rock shelter on the banks of the Imvani, in the Queenstown Division, as many as five distinct series of paintings were found, one over the other. The old Bushmen assert that the productions of an artist were always respected as long as any recollection of him was preserved in his tribe : during this period no one, however daring, would attempt to deface his paintings by placing others over them. But when his memory was forgotten, some aspirant after artistic fame appropriated the limited rock surface of the shelter, adapted for such a display of talent, for his own performances, and unceremoniously painted over the efforts of those who had preceded him.

If we calculate that the memory of any artist would be preserved among his people for at least three generations, as every Bushman tribe prided itself and boasted of the wall decorations of its chief cave, it would give a probable antiquity of about five hundred years to the oldest found in the Imvani rock shelter. Many of them are doubtless of a very much greater age, but they afford no means by which their greater antiquity can be gauged.

The case, however, is different with the rock chippings or sculptures on the banks of the Gumaap and the Vaal. Strangely enough Mr. Moffat has ascribed these productions to the Bachoana, and employs their existence as an evidence of the extended occupation of his favoured tribe in early days ! He informs us that they are called Lokualo, a word from which the one used to express writing and printing is derived. He further states, in describing those which he examined, that these Lokualo are various figures chipped upon stones with fiat surfaces. " These marks," he says, " are made by striking one stone on another till curved lines, circles, ovals, and zigzag figures are impressed upon its surface, exhibiting the appearance of a white stripe of about an inch broad, like a confused coil of rope." These, Mr. Moffat imagined, were done by Bachoana herd boys, and that as they were to be found to the vicinity of the colonial boundaries of those days, that is, to the present District of Victoria West, therefore these Bachoana tribes must have extended much farther to the southward than their present limits.

In these deductions Mr. Moffat is clearly mistaken, for there can be no question but that these relics are all of undoubted Bushman origin. All those examined by the writer, and they have been a multitude, in the valley of the Lower Vaal and in Griqualand West beyond Daniel's Kuil towards Kuruman, are also unmistakably the work of Bushmen ; they therefore fall to the ground as an evidence of early Bachoana occupation, proving the very opposite to such a position. It is quite possible that Mr. Moffat may have seen some imitations by the Bachoana, the same as attempts at painting are sometimes found in Bushman caves, the handiwork of ambitious Kaffirs ; but in such cases the practised eye can never be deceived for a moment. The inaccuracy of outline, the perfect caricature of the thing represented, and the crudeness of the materials stamp at once the nationality of the artist. As it is with the imitation paintings, so it is with the copies of chippings, the want of meaning and design at once shows their spurious origin ; while the imitations are always, without exception, the most recent productions of that nature.

Copies of Bushman chippings have been obtained as far north as the Mariqua and branches of the Limpopo, while from the evidence of the earlier Koranas and Griquas the Bachoana had only arrived as far to the southward as about Kuruman when the former first came in contact with them, the entire intervening country being occupied alone by Bushmen.

In examining these primitive works of art, we find that they have been done, similar to the paintings, at different periods, from the most recent, which exhibit the whitish coloured outlines described by Mr. Moffat, to those ancient ones where the lines of chippings have, from length of time, become so oxidised that they have once more assumed the original colour of the exposed rock.

On the banks of the Gumaap and the Vaal the rocks which have been utilised for this kind of ornamentation have been, almost universally, the igneous and highly felspathic Vaal variety, which is frequently associated with beds of an amygdaloidal character. These rocks are amongst the hardest and most durable in the country, possessing such power of resistance to the effects of the atmosphere that the most recent of the Bushman chippings found upon them, and which are now from forty to fifty years old, look as fresh as if they had been worked into the surface of the rock but a few weeks ago. As it is with the paintings, so it is with these rude attempts to sculpture, the more ancient, as a rule, can be distinguished by the boldness and correctness of their outlines, which clearly evinces that the labour of chipping out such delineations with merely a piece of pointed stone must have been one of considerable time and patience.

At Blaauw Bank, on the Gumaap, and at several places in the valley of the Vaal, these same Vaal rocks are found perfectly polished and striated, the effect and indubitable proof of a remote glacial period in the geological history of the country ; and it is a remarkable fact that, although these spots must have doubtlessly passed for years unheeded by men calling themselves civilised, their wonderful and unwonted appearance had evidently produced a strong effect upon the Bushman mind, for, struck with their unexplainable smoothness, he has covered the space with mystic symbols. This is especially the case at Blaauw Bank, where hundreds of such symbolic designs are found.

They are, however, of so ancient a character that the re-oxidisation of the engraved rock is complete.

This is strikingly noticeable in the last named locality, whereby hundreds of hieroglyphical emblems are found. They may be divided into two distinct series, the oldest of which are evidently of great age. There is a marked difference between them and the paintings: in the latter one is frequently found superimposed upon the other, while in the former no two figures are ever found overlapping one another, or even touching. The figures thus engraved on the rock have evidently been held sacred by the generations which followed the original designer. There is very little doubt but that many of them conveyed a mystic meaning to the initiated ; this seems confirmed by the frequency of certain forms, and the repetition of particular numbers. When the first series of figures were finished, it would appear as if no additions were for a long period made to them. Then copies, or reproductions of the original symbolic forms, were sparingly introduced, filling up the intermediate spaces, by a generation of artists living at a period infinitely more recent than that of those who had gone before, as the lines of which their productions are composed are only semi-oxidised. After this no other figures were added, except a few insignificant ones at widely scattered intervals, belonging to the most recent period of Bushman art, and evidently after all the mystic lore embodied in the ancient symbols of their remote ancestors had been lost to their race.

Unfortunately in this instance we have no sufficiently satisfactory data to make an approximate calculation as to the probable age of the oldest of these designs, but if we are to be guided by the slight change in those which we know to be the most recent, many centuries must have elapsed since the primitive Bushmen first engraved their antique symbols upon these ancient polished and striated rocks. The extreme antiquity of some of these designs is, however, clearly evinced by the fissures which have been formed in the apparently impenetrable rocks since the earliest designs were chased upon them, thus, upon the large island in the Vaal opposite Riverton, which is formed of an ancient roche moutonne stretching across the channel of the present river, there are a number of various chipped figures, some of them very boldly executed.

One of the oldest was that of an eland, done on a larger scale than any other representation of an animal found ; but since its completion a large fissure has been worn through the rock, upwards of nine inches in breadth in its broadest part and about eighteen inches in depth.

When we consider the astonishing hardness of these rocks, and the capability which they evince of resisting atmospheric and other influences, and also that they are allied in some portions of the Vaal basin to similar porphyritic rocks to those employed in the construction of the ancient palace temples of Egypt, whose ruins have withstood the ravages of some twenty-five centuries, we cannot help but imagine that we are justified in giving at least an equal antiquity to the great eland of the Riverton island of the Vaal. Many other instances might be brought forward, but we have already produced sufficient evidence from ethnological, geological, and artistic points of view to prove the position advanced as the subject of this section of our inquiry, viz. the great antiquity of the Bushman race in South Africa.

We have already learnt from native traditions that they believed a still earlier race preceded them, and that up to within a short time ago there was a miserable remnant which professed to belong to that race, but if such were the case it is quite certain that they were of so degraded a type that they left no more impression upon the country than the wild animals which inhabited it ; and that the Bushmen, although they magnified them in their traditions as excelling in power and wisdom, nevertheless in actual life looked down upon them as a race of inferior beings.

The Bushmen of Southern Africa

Having arrived at these conclusions, we will now treat of the Bushmen more particularly as a South African race, together with such fragments of their local history as have been rescued from oblivion, and the reminiscences of the desperate struggle they made for existence after their ancient southern domains were invaded by the stronger races.

The Bushmen of Southern Africa have been described by their enemies, not only as being " the lowest of the low," but as the most treacherous, vindictive, and untameable savages on the face of the earth : a race void of all generous impulses, and little removed from the wild beasts with which they associated, one only fitted to be exterminated like noxious vermin, as a blot upon nature, upon whom kindness and forbearance were equally misplaced and thrown away. Such being the sweeping charges made against them, we will under the present head, among other things, inquire how far these allegations are justified ; and whether the doom which followed was such as they merited from their own inherent and unendurable viciousness.

These people, who were severally known to the old colonists and early writers as the Bosjesmans, the Boschismans, and Bushmen, appear to have adopted among themselves the name of ‘Khuai’, which is also the same as that given to the natural apron for which the women of pure Bushman and Hottentot races are distinguished ; and it was thus probable that the appellation 'Quae-'quae, or perhaps more properly ‘Khuai-’Khuai or 'Khuai-’quae — the people of the Apron, was derived.

From the evidence of 'Kwaba, alias Toby, a very old Bushman of 'Kou-'kou or Bethulie, the Bushmen of his tribe were called 'K'ay (? possibly 'kwa or 'qua, the men or the people). 'Kue was the designation of a single Bushman. Hottentots, such as the Koranas and Griquas, were known by the name of 'Kuara.

With regard to the names by which the Bushmen are known to the tribes of the interior, according to Backhouse, some of the Bachoana call the Bushmen Ba-roa, which he explains as "The men or people of the bow." The Basutu also, so M. Arbousset informs us, use the same term, Ba-roa, the meaning of which he gives as “the men of the Bushes," while Miss L. E. Lemue writes,N "A strange fact is that among all the tribes of Central Africa the Bushmen are called Ba-roa, which means " of the South ; " Baroa signifying the south. It is certain, however, from the evidence collected from native sources, that the Bushmen are styled Ba-wa by some of the Basutu clans, and Mur-ra by the Bataung. Stanley states that the dwarf-race of the far interior is called Watwa or Batwa ; and as a remarkable coincidence the Bushmen of the south are called A-ba-twa by the Tambukis, which, they assured the writer, was not derived from their own language, but was of Bushman origin.

Notes: Private Notes of Charles Sirr Orpen, from letter of Miss L. E. Lemue, daughter of the French missionary of that name.

The Bushman chiefs of the great tribes had their distinctive tribal emblems, which seemed to answer the same purpose as the Siboko of the Bachoana and Basutu, and from which it is not improbable that the custom of such Hottentot tribes as Koranas of taking the names of various animals such as the Zeekoes (hippopotami), the Cat-people, the Scorpions, the Rats, the Springboks, etc., was derived. But the difference between the artistic hunter and the nomadic pastoral Hottentot was that the former employed positive emblazonment or representation of the emblem which distinguished the particular branch of their race, conspicuously painted in some central part of the great cave of the chief of the clan. These tribal paintings were held sacred, and it was only occasionally that some profane artist would venture to place any other upon them. Unhappily most of these, together with the other cave paintings, have been ruthlessly destroyed ; fortunately, up to a short time ago a few striking illustrations were preserved, of most of which the writer was able to secure copies. Thus he found —

  • The Cave of the Python, near the Gwatchu, on the banks of the Zwart-Kei ;

  • The Cave of the Serpent, (a drawing upwards of seven feet long), on the banks of the Klip-plaats river, near Whittlesea ;

  • The Cave of the Eland (almost life-size), in the Stormberg, near Dordrecht ;

  • The Cave of the Red Serpent, near Bad Fontein, Orange River ;

  • The Cave of the White Rhinoceros and Serpent, near Washbank Spruit ;

  • The Cave of the Hippopotamus, on the farm Lichtenstein, Orange River;

  • The Cave of the great Black Serpent and Elephant, in Rockwood Glen, Orange River ;

  • The Cave of the one-horned Rhinoceros, in Eland's Kloof, Orange River ;

  • The Cave of the White Hippopotamus, in Knecht's Kloof, Koesberg ;

  • The Cave of the Ostrich, near Oliphant's Been ;

  • The Cave of the Puff-Adder, near Junction Hotel, Division of Queenstown.

Others could be mentioned, but the above will be sufficient to illustrate what has been asserted. The writer has been informed by several old Bushmen that all the great caves, that is those which were the residences of the head chiefs, were, at one time, thus distinguished ; and that in speaking of the people who inhabited them, or all those who acknowledged the authority of the same ruler, they were designated according to the tribal emblem with which the cave itself was ornamented.

Many have stated that the Bushmen were entirely without any form of government. This is altogether an erroneous idea ; and was probably formed from what the writers saw of the broken, scattered, and half-annihilated tribes which were to be met with along the exposed frontiers, after their fathers had been driven about and hunted for a couple of generations, and when each miserable fugitive group was forced to look after its own individual safety without reference to any other portion of the persecuted tribe.

The Bushman race was evidently, at one time, divided into a number of large tribes occupying tolerably well-defined tracts of country, which they looked upon as their own ancestral hunting-grounds ; and any intrusion upon these was sure to be resented. These branch-tribes were again divided, although they had but one chief, who was looked upon as paramount over the whole territory belonging to the tribe. The subdivisions, or minor clans, were under the guidance of lesser captains, who, nevertheless, seemed to possess almost uncontrolled authority over their respective kraals. The great cave represented the dignity and glory of the entire tribe, and it formed the grand centre around which they congregated when the different clans were threatened with a common danger.

As we proceed with our investigation we shall discover that they showed a devotion to their chief (a feeling which appeared to be almost entirely wanting among the purely Hottentot tribes) which could not be excelled, as they invariably gathered round him in the hour of danger, and fell to a man rather than desert him in his extremity. Nor was it only for their attachment and loyalty to their chiefs that they were distinguished, but for an almost passionate fondness for the rocks and glens in whose caves they and their fathers had lived probably for generations.

Many instances might be mentioned where a few wretched fugitives, after their tribe had been mercilessly butchered, have, after hopelessly wandering about for a time, stealthily returned to their ancestral cave, hiding themselves among the rocks by day and stealing out in the early morning and evening to gather a few roots and tubers to prolong their wretched existence, obtaining a little water from a neighbouring spring, and occasionally a little honey from some wild bees' nest among the fissures of their rocky asylum ; and have thus existed for years, tenaciously clinging to the spot, until feeble and tottering with age, they have sunk from sheer exhaustion and passed away in some hidden nook near where they were born ; or too feeble to defend themselves, they have been torn to pieces by the ravenous beasts which had made their lairs amid the romantic retreats which had once resounded with the noise of revelry and moonlight dancings of their forefathers.

In judging of their character, there are unfortunately few records left of them in their undisturbed state, and most of the intelligent writers who have treated of this subject visited them after the fierce and cruel crusade had commenced against them, and which, having once been taken in hand, was not allowed to cease until their extermination was rendered a certainty.

It was when their precarious means of subsistence failed that the Bushmen of the frontiers were driven to the necessity of hazarding a toilsome and dangerous expedition of plunder across the colonial boundaries. Such a mode of life naturally leads to cruelty. Although it is a crime in the eyes of political justice for a starving family, driven by imperious want to the necessity of taking the property of another, still in the law of nature the offence must be venial ; but the Bushmen for their conduct had not only the plea of nature and humanity, but that also of retribution.

They were driven out of their own country, the vast herds of game which once afforded them abundance of food were ruthlessly destroyed, their children were seized and carried into slavery by the people upon whom they subsequently committed their depredations, and on whom they almost naturally took every occasion for exercising revenge.

That the Bushmen were not always as barbarously ferocious as they were afterwards charged with being is proved by the fact that forty years previous to Barrow's visit, as was shown by the testimony of men then living, they frequented the colony boldly and openly, begged and stole, and were troublesome, just as the Kaffirs were afterwards, but they never attempted the life of any one. They proceeded not to this extremity until the Government unwisely and unjustly suffered the colonists to exercise an unlimited power over the lives of those who were taken prisoners. It failed at the same time to fix any bounds to the extent of the expeditions made against them, which certainly ought not to have gone beyond the limits of the colony.

When these circumstances are viewed impartially, it would almost appear that even their cruelty admitted of some palliation. Their studied barbarity, however, which ultimately extended itself to every living creature that pertained to the farmers, indicated a very altered disposition from that of their nation at large. Thus when they seized a Hottentot guarding his master's cattle, not content with putting him to immediate death, they tortured him by every means of cruelty their invention could frame, as drawing out his bowels, tearing off his nails, scalping, and other acts equally savage. Even the poor animals they stole were treated in the most barbarous and unfeeling manner, driven up the steep sides of mountains, where they were allowed to remain without any kind of food or water till they were either killed for use or dropped for want of means of supporting nature.

Had a humane course of action been adopted from the beginning, instead of ruthlessly hounding them out of their country, how different might have been the history of this primitive race ; but '"'the greed for increasing pasturage was paramount, every available fountain was seized and occupied, and every right of the ancient owners unceremoniously trampled on. When all this is taken into consideration it is not to be wondered at that they should become brutish and miserable, that they should make their home in the desert, the unfrequented mountain pass, or the secluded recesses of a cave or ravine.

That in the deep hatred which was ultimately aroused against all those who were gradually, yet still most surely, despoiling them of their cherished hunting grounds, the Bushmen were frequently hurried into deeds of violence, at which humanity shudders, cannot be doubted ; but, as we have stated, the rights of this ancient hunter race were entirely ignored by the intruders of every race and colour.

Each appears to have asked with Lichtenstein, " What right has the Bushman to land, of which he does not know the value ? " And then these stronger races of men considered that all the blessings of life were summed up in the possession of sleek herds of cattle, with plenty of grass and water to pasture them, never troubling their heads for a moment to reflect whether it might not be possible for others to exist who cared for none of these things, and whose only glory was their wild, but cherished, freedom to follow over their boundless hunting grounds the swarming game which inhabited them, and who prized the rocks and caves where their fathers had dwelt above all the waving com lands in the universe.

It was, therefore, in the never-ending war of races which ensued, where all, however much they differed from one another, were against the Bushman, that it merged into one of the fiercest intensity, in which an irrepressible determination was shown, on the one hand, to maintain, at whatever cost, and by every means their untutored minds dictated to them, the lands they considered unquestionably their own ; while, on the other hand, as the old race were stumbling blocks to the coveted possession, an equal determination was exhibited to exterminate, if possible, the last vestige of those who so resolutely opposed their unjustifiable usurpation. The struggle ended, as all such conflicts ever do, in the ultimate triumph of the strongest, while in its course little forbearance or mercy was shown on either side.

Notwithstanding the Bushmen have been charged by their enemies with a total want of all kindness of feeling towards any other race than their own, and that every one that fell into their hands, even from the earliest times, was put to death without mercy, it is quite certain that this was not the case when the Bushmen held undisturbed possession of their ancient territories. The evidence on this point is clear and distinct, and it was not until later times that they evinced that merciless and bloodthirsty disposition which so many have been eager to ascribe to them. The unanimous testimony of the old Kaffirs, Bachoana, Leghoya, and Basutu, as well as of the Bushmen themselves, affirms that this was far from being the case.

On the contrary, during the murderous native wars, when so many of the Bachoana and other tribes were half annihilated and scattered, in many instances the few unhappy outcasts that escaped destruction fled into Bushman territory, where they not only received protection and an asylum, but conforming to the Bushmen's habits and customs, wives were given to them and their daughters intermarried again with the Bushmen, and it was doubtless such infusions of foreign blood which gave a different physical character to some of the families of their leading captains, in contradistinction to those of pure Bushman type. This good understanding continued until these refugees, increasing in numbers, and some, at last, bringing the remnants of their herds of cattle with them, began to band together and assume a sovereignty over portions of the country. Then, as they grew in strength, they turned upon those who had first given shelter to them when they were helpless and miserable fugitives, and strove by every means in their power to dislodge the ancient owners, who were at once deemed wild and untameable animals when they attempted to prevent the invaders from doing so.

As soon as the Bushmen saw these strangers beginning to intrude themselves in large bodies in every direction, with a determination to make permanent settlements, a spirit of opposition was aroused within them. The game, which was as precious to the old hunters as herds of tame cattle were to their aggressors, was destroyed or driven away ; and cattle-lifting almost as a natural consequence took the place of stalking the eland, the quagga, or the elephant. Capture and recapture, injuries and retaliation, soon grew into a war of extermination against the weaker and smaller race, whose unconquerable spirit might be crushed and annihilated, but seldom taught to submit to the trammels which the invading and conquering races were desirous of imposing upon them.

From all the evidence that can be obtained, the Bushmen in their undisturbed state appear never to have been aggressors. This doubtless arose from the fact of their having been the primitive inhabitants of the land, and therefore having never displaced any other race of men from its still more ancient possessions. The only rivals they had to contend with for dominion and supremacy were such animals as the mailed rhinoceros and lordly lion. From the traditions of some of their clans they appear to have believed that, from an unknown time, they were the only men upon the earth. Some of the more isolated tribes retained this belief until a very recent period, for in the early days they seldom trespassed beyond the confines of their respective hunting grounds, and the same traditionary creed was handed down, unaltered, for many generations.

The gradual intrusion of the Hottentot tribes along the western coast, the pressure of the Bachoana tribes from the central north, the eruption of the more warlike Kaffirs from the eastward and along the south-eastern coast, the advent of the still more formidable pale faces from the very sea itself, rudely dispelled these long-cherished ideas wherever the original inhabitants of the soil came in contact with the invading races. " Bushman depredations " were unheard of as long as their ancient hunting-grounds were unmolested. Their oldest paintings are chiefly representations of the excitement of the chase or the joys and pleasures of their numerous dances.

They appear never to have had great wars against each other ; sudden quarrels among rival huntsmen, ending in lively skirmishes, which owing to their nimbleness and presence of mind caused little damage to life or limb, appear to have been the extent of their individual or tribal differences. Even an habitually quarrelsome man was not tolerated amongst them ; he became an intolerable nuisance, and his own friends assisted in putting the obnoxious individual on one side ; while their very enemies acknowledge them to have been, when left to themselves, a merry, cheerful race.

Their evening feast being ended, dancing during the first watches of the night followed as a matter of course. But when their ancient hunting-grounds were invaded from various quarters, great changes came over their social condition, and at length a determined opposition was shown by them against further encroachments. Finding, however, that they were unable to repel their invaders, while their chief means of subsistence was being destroyed, they levied, in their turn, unconditional blackmail upon the possessions of those they no longer looked upon with friendly eyes. Then it was that resistance, and capture, and recapture followed. Bushmen fell under the clubs, the assagais, or the bullets of the pursuers ; and these, in their turn, frequently experienced the fatal effects of the poisoned darts that were discharged at them. Organised attempts were made to dislodge the obnoxious Bushmen from their native strongholds ; sometimes these attacks were repelled, at others the cave dwellers were overpowered, and a considerable portion of a tribe would be destroyed.

Driven from the fastnesses in one range of mountains, those who remained fled for refuge to another, mingling with other tribes already in possession. One piece of country cleared, the encroachments steadily continued, with a continually intensifying animosity on either side. Again dispossessed, again driven back, the marauding parties of the survivors would penetrate again into the old hunting-grounds which had been so violently wrested from them, to make reprisals upon the flocks and herds of those who had so unceremoniously monopolized them. These raids were pushed for a considerable distance into the old country once occupied by them. It was a never-ending war of encroachment on the one hand, and retaliation on the other. This unswerving determination on the part of the Bushmen was put down to their wild animal propensities and untameableness, and it was considered as a necessary part of civilisation to look with leniency on the wholesale purloining of territory on the one side, yet still to paint the character of the weaker and much-wronged race in the blackest possible colours.

Their incomprehensible attachment to their original mode of life, their strong love of the wild freedom they had ever possessed, were considered as unquestionable evidence of their unimprovable nature, and the members of the formidable expeditions that were from time to time launched against them seemed impressed with the idea that the cause of humanity would be best served by annihilating a race with such peculiar tendencies ; and thus they were driven from stronghold to stronghold, rendered more and more desperate, until the last remnant of their most powerful tribes found a temporary asylum in the most inaccessible portions of the Maluti and Quathlamba mountains.

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