PRINGLE, Thomas, 1831
National Archives, Kew CO48/145, 270
Office of the Anti Slavery Society
1 July 1831
[To Major General BOWKER]
Referring to the conversation which I had with you some little time ago respecting David STURMAN, the Hottentot Chief who was transported to Botany Bay in 1823, I beg now to state the particulars of his case subsequently to that period, so far as I am acquainted with them.
In 1825, when I was residing in the Eastern Districts of the Cape Colony, I became acquainted with the details of STURMAN's history, chiefly from Mr. READ, missionary at Bethelsdorp, who had known him well & whose account of his character and fortunes was confirmed to me from other authentic sources. This account I communicated at the time to His majesty's Commissioners of Inquiry then at the Cape, and after my return to England I printed it in a magazine conducted by my friend Mr. Thomas CAMPBELL.
I am not precisely aware whether you became acquainted with the case by seeing it in print (either in that magazine or in the notes to my little volume of poems) or whether it was first brought under your notice by the Rev'd William WRIGHT; but I have heard that you were so much interested by the facts stated (and which have never as far as I am aware been contradicted in a single point) that you instantly wrote to General DARLING, the Governor of New South Wales, in STURMAN's behalf; and in consequence of this benevolent intervention I understand he was relived from some of the severities of his condition as a convict, and obtained what is called a "ticket of leave" – an indulgence which gives him the privilege of earning wages for his own benefit. This took place, I believe, in 1828, &t it appears from recent intelligence that he has remained in the same condition since & has conducted himself well.
In 1829 a petition was presented to Sir Lowry COLE by David STURMAN's children (two sons & two daughters) stating briefly the circumstances of his transportation and praying His Excellency to intercede with His Majesty for the release of their father from his sentence of transportation for life & for his restoration to his family and native country. What steps Sir Lowry COLE may have taken upon this petition I have not been able to ascertain; nor am I aware whether the case has been formally brought under the cognizance of His Majesty's Home Government.
As you, Sir, are now about to proceed to New South Wales, as the Governor of that Colony, I trust I may without impropriety take the liberty earnestly to solicit, before you leave England, your farther favourable attention to STURMAN's case, and the exertion of your personal influence to obtain for him a full pardon, in order to effect his restoration to his children and native land, thus completing the good offices of Christian benevolence which you commenced in his behalf during your administration of the Cape Government.
I have only to add, if it be an essential point, that a private fund be provided for defraying the necessary expense of STURMAN's passage (in the event of his release through your agency) from New South Wales to the Cape, and that I will engage to charge myself with the responsibility of raising the necessary sum.
I have the honour to be, Sir
Your most obedient servant