Monday, March 9, 2009

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Splendid rains

Two and a quarter inches of rain fell yesterday afternoon in town (Graaff-Reinet), and there was a good fall over the district generally.
The river came down in the evening.
A good soaking rain set in this afternoon, and there is every sign of its continuation.

Eastern Province Herald - February 16, 1909

Amazing, exactly 100 years later and again a drought partially broken by rains. Just goes to show that we may not be in a global warming pattern. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Little Johnny's appetite

Little Johnny was in the habit of wanting more victuals put upon his plate than he could eat.
His papa decided to break him of the habit.
One day, as Johnny insisted upon being served until his plate was well filled, his papa said: "Johnny, if I give you this you will have to eat every bit of it, or I will punish you."
Johnny promised that he would, and bravely did the little fellow try to do so, but in vain.
It was too much for him.
He would try again and again, and then, look sorrowfully at his papa.
Finally, laying down his fork, he said: "Papa, if you was me, which would you rather do, bet a licking or bust?"
Rehoboth Sunday Herald

Eastern Province Herald - February 17, 1909

Reminds me of my mom saying: "Don't waste your food. Just think about all the starving people in Africa who have nothing to eat."

Leper's grievances ventilated

The Colonial Secretary paid a visit to Robben Island on Monday, and addressed the lepers in regard to certain grievances.
It appears that a number of lepers refused to submit themselves to the Medical Board, to whose methods they objected.
The Colonial Secretary said no change could be made in the Board and no insubordination would be tolerated.
The Government had the interest of lepers at heart.
An additional medical man was about to be appointed for research in the island, and the Government was also sending a representative to the International Leprosy Congress.
The assurances of the Colonial Secretary appeared to give satisfaction to the lepers.

Eastern Province Herald - February 17, 1909

The Colonial Secretary had a lot to learn about dealing with people. How arrogant to accuse sick people of "insubordination" when all they were doing was airing their views.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trouble comes in threes

Here is an illustration of the old saying about troubles coming in battalions, which seems weird in its intensity.
Mr E J Klette had thre beautiful grey horses, two of which formed a pair, which he sold provisionally to a firm in East London while on a visit there.
He came back to find that the pair had been seized with paralysis and been shot.
But worse was to follow.
The coloured man who came to fetch him from the station inspanned the remaining grey, and a hired horse, and was sent off with strict injunctions not to go farther than a certain outspan on the first day.
He did so.
However, he disregarded instructions, with the result that the sole remaining grey dropped dead at an outspan the next day.

Eastern Province Herald - February 15, 1909

I wonder if he kept his job or if Mr Klette fired him for disregarding his instructions.

Fatal drowing near Jansenville

The old saying that grief very often follows joy has been exemplified, the "Graaff-Reinet Advertiser's" correspondent is sorry to say in the district of Jansenville, most painfully.
It appears that a Mr Slabbert was married to a Miss Nel, on Monday last, in Jansenville, and they then went out to the farm at Greystone, where were gathered a number of friends to welcome them and keep the marriage feast.
The homestead is close to the river, and most of the horses of the visitors were driven across to the veld on the other side.
The river, however, came down, and some who were desirous of going home wished to inspan.
A young man, 23 years of age, named Hans Oelse, son of Rudolf Oelse, of Driekoppen, volunteered to saddle a horse and try to bring the other horses over.
The river was dangerously full, but not withstanding, in plunged horse and rider, and when about midstream the horse refused to go further, and Oelse had to return.
Again, with determination one can admire but must deplore, he mounted another horse and essayed to cross; this time he reached about the same place as previously, when the horse was forced completely over by the strength of the stream and Oelse disappeared.
His body was discovered next day a long way down the river against some wire fencing.

Eastern Province Herald - February 15, 1909

Amazing. This guy must have had rocks in his head. Even his horse knew better. Talk about horse-sense. Obviously Oelse didn't have any. People simply don't realise how dangerous flooded rivers are. You have to be so careful.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Brighton meeting

A representative gathering of natives of New Brighton (Port Elizabeth) was met by Mr W C Scully, RM (Regional Magistrate), in the Ethiopian Church last evening, for the purposes of discussing matters affecting the location.
Mr Scully, who was introduced by Mr Whitfield, ARM (Assistant Regional Magistrate) of New Brighton, explained that instructions had been received that the Magistracy at New Brighton was to be abolished, but he assured them of his friendship, stating that none of their rights and privileges would be taken away.
He would always be willing to look after their welfare, and to receive a deputation from them when they could state any grievance they might have.
Several of the natives spoke, all complaining that the Magistracy was being abolished.
Mr Scully, however, explained that it was no use referring to that point as it was already an accomplished fact.
Their spokesman replied that when the location was instituted they were promised that a magistrate would be stationed there.
Mr Scully pointed out that the abolition of the Magistracy was caused by the reduction of the population, and in the event of the population increasing again to the former number, no doubt the Magistracy would be revived.
He explained that Inspector Stubbs was being transferred, and Mr Gratton was going to be appointed as Inspector.
All cases would be tried at Port Elizabeth and the Magistrate of Port Elizabeth (Mr Scully) would take the chair at the Advisory Board meeting, which would be held once a month, he going out to New Brighton for that purpose.
The concluded the business.

Eastern Province Herald - February 9, 1909

So the authorities failed to keep their word. No wonder the Blacks have such a deep mistrust of White people. One would have expected the Victorians to give morality and honour high preferance over economic sustainability.

Bloemfontein apology

The following apology, signed by a Bloemfontein resident, appears in the "Vriend des Folks": - "I, the undersigned - -, declare herewith that I have unlawfully, unjustly, and falsely libelled Miss - -, of - - , in my letter of January 19, 1909.
I cannot say anything else of her than that she is a young lady of irreproachable good character.
I am a liar and regret and withdraw the mean and filthy language with which I have insulted her in my letter; and I, through my letter, hold myself responsible for the opening of her letters."

Eastern Province Herald - February 13, 1909

Wow, what an apology. I wonder hat the guy said to publish such a grovelling apology. The sentence which really amazes me is the one "I am a liar and regret and withdraw the mean and filthy language with which I have insulted her". Your thoughts?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ex-President Steyn

Ex-President Steyn, interviewed at his farm, Onze Rust, (on Wednesday) declared that anyone expecting a perfect Constitution would be dissapointed, but that a workable one had been devised, was to him a matter of certainty, any mistakes made being redressable.
The soul of the Constitution eas that the will of the people could be asserted at all times, as the Central Parliament can always make any alterations which experience may dictate.
The founding of the Constitution is the equality of the two languages, and what gave him confidence in the future was that the English-speaking delegates felt just as strongly on that point as the Dutch speaking.

The Union will affect a large saving in expenditure, and avoid the pressure of taxation.
The point aimed at in drawing up the Constitution was that the people, through Parliament, should be supreme, and therefore the Central Government should be the most powerful institution.
The Provincial Councils would slowly and gradually accustom the people to the change.

The South African Court of Appeal would diminish the costly appeals to the Privvy Council.
The political element in the railways would be removed as far as possible, and the avoidance of making large profits would to a large extent benefit the people of the interior.
As to the coloured franchise, the Convention felt it impossible and undesirable to force it upon three unwilling Colonies.
At the same time it would be an injustice to take the vote away from the people who had enjoyed it for 50 years.
As to the Capital, Mr Steyn said he knew the people of South Africa would not allow themselves to be kept divided for the sake of one city or another.
He would not say the arrangement come to is impracticable, but, nevertheless, he did not like it.
They must abide by the arrangement as it proves practicable, and if it is found impossible, well, the will of the people has only to declare itself.
Mr Steyn, concluding, asked the people to bear in mind that this was the first time the ideal of so many statesmen in past is on the point of being realised.

"May our people grasp their responsibility, and show that they too are imbubed with the desire to make of this, our dear South Africa, one great and strong country, where peace and prosperity shall reign."

Eastern Province Herald - February 11, 1909.

It's amazing how they imagine that "peace and prosperity shall reign" when three-quarters of the population was to be left without a vote.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Native question

Mr W P Schreiner, interviewed by the "Cape Times," reiterated the views expressed in his telegram to "The Cape," reported yesterday, but adds with reference to the native question that the great majority in South Africa are non-Europeans.
Their rights and future are not adequately safeguarded merely by maintaining the temporary privileges of the Cape native or coloured electors.
The duties of European South Africans towards other races demand a fundamental constitutional definition, while the Bill places the future of all natives and coloured persons in jeopardy by the vote of two-thirds of the Union Parliament, in which they have no fair representation.
Referring to the Provincial Councils, Mr Schreiner considers that the worthy local spirit of self government must generate through lack of uncertainty of authority.

Eastern Province Herald - February 13, 1909

Did you know that Wliiam Schreiner went to the Bedford Public School, here in the Eastern Province?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Equality of languages

General Hertzog, interviewed (in Bloemfontein on Tuesday night) said the Constitution was one connected as a whole, and should be weighed as such. If there were any weak points, the Union Parliament would be supreme, and could make the necessary alterations.
What he considered was probably of the greatest importance to the whole of South Africa, was the recognition of both languages as standing on an equal footing.
He laid stress on the spirit in which this was done, the resolution being adopted unanimously by the Convention.
Considering the spirit animating South Africa today, there could be no more opportune moment for entering on a union.
The Constitution was a compromise, but a compromise which was calculated to meet the requirements of South Africa as a whole, if not each Colony in particular.
Sir John Fraser, Leader of the Constitutionalists, said it was most dangerous to express an opinion at this juncture until the matter had been well weighed by the public.

Eastern Province Herald - February 10, 1909

And so began the squabble of official languages. Including some, rejecting others.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Still Stale and Dirty

A comical sidehead local story recently appeared in a Phoenix, Arizona, paper.
A retired army officer was visiting the city, and the paper mentioned stated that he had been retired on account of "mental and physical infirmities."
He demanded an explanation in lieu of which he would "lick the office."
Next morning a short article appeared, the head for which should have been, "Still Hale and Hearty," but the operator set it up, "Still Stale and Dirty."
Fortunately for the "office," the colonel left on the early morning train, otherwise this story might not have been written thusly. - "Typo Journal."

Eastern Province Herald - February 9, 1909.

Maybe the operator couldn't believe what he was reading or maybe it wasn't an acident at all.

Killed by his Chum

A terrible story of annihilation of a ship's engineer by the engine's crank, is told by the "Daily Telegraph."
Shortly before the steamship Prins Willem, Royal Dutch Steamship Company, was to sail from New York on Tuesday in mail week, John Vituel, second assistant engineer, noted that an oil-cup on the crank was not quite full.
It was five o'clock, the hour for sailing, but he determined to take a great risk.
Seizing an oil can, Vituel lowered himself into the pit.
The crank was just off the centre, and when steam should be thrown into the cylinder the big arm would rise swing slowly, and descend rapidly on the other side.
Vituel had to bend almost double to reach the oil-cup, which he began filling.
In the meantime Mr Vanderleis, the chief engineer and Vituel's intimate friend - for years they had lived almost as brothers and were inseperable - had gone to his post overhead to await the starting signal from the bridge.
He was ignorant of Vituel's perilous position in the narrow pit, which is not large enough to accommodate a man except when the crank is up.
He naturally supposed that the second assistant was at his regular post.
Vituel had about half finished loading the cup when the signal "Ahead" sounded in the engine room.
The hissing and clatter and bustle of the place drowned all other sounds.
Suddenly, as Vituel was screwing the cap on the cup, the great arm against which he was pressed in the narrow hole trembled for a second, then rose.
Vituel uttered an agonising scream.
The cry pierced to the very heart of Vanderleis, and he looked down through the iron grating on which he stood.
There below him he saw his comrade Vituel standing in the pit with his arms upraised.
Above the man's head was the massive crank descending rapidly.
The sight turned the experienced engineer's brain.
With a cry of horror his hands covered his eyes, he dashed to the deck.
Even before he had left his post the crank had dropped, the end caught Vituel in the chest and dragged him down to the bottom of the pit, where, in one sweep of the big arm, the man's life was ground out.
Even if Vanderleis had remained at his post it would have been too late.
The crank would have swung down with it's own momentum.
Once, twice, three times the arm swung round, grinding Vituel to pieces, and sson it was moving so fast that one could not have counted the revolutions.
Even the victim's clothes were torn to sheds.

Eastern Province Herald - February 9, 1909

What a horrible way to go! But why on earth did the victim take such an incrediblt dangerous risk? I wonder if the incident resulted in the redesign of the oil-cup in future ships?

Friday, February 6, 2009

War against Absinthe

In 1896 Privat-Livemont designed this magnificent lithograph advertising Absinthe.





A most elequent article appeared in "Le Temps" a short time ago written by the famous Administrator of the Comedie Francaise, devoted to the war againts alcoholism, absinthe in particular.
Alcoholism being the curse of France may explain why so many persons are are just now expressing their opinions upon the subject under discussion.
Deputies Buisson and Joseph Reinach, are bringing before the Chamber a Bill to prohibit the manufacture, distribution and sale of absinthe from the first of January, 1910.
Meanwhile manufacturers are working like niggers, night and day, turning out thousands of gallons; they are making the most of their short time.
Fifteen years ago Deputy Joseph Reinach proposed in the Chamber a Bill to limit the number of public-houses.
The Bill was not even discussed, thus recalling the recent fate of the Licensing Bill in the House of Lords.
There were, in 1894, no fewer than 4,500,000 houses for the sale of liquor in France; another half a million have since sprung up!
In 1894 the annual consumption of alcohol was 814,000,000 gallons, today it is more than 1,100,000,000 gallons, not counting that which escapes the revenue officers!
The worst alcoholism, says M. Jules Claretie, is that due to absinthe, the consumption of which rose between 1901 and 1904 from six and a half million gallons to nearly eight million gallons.
Alcoholism is the most powerful factor in the propogation of tuberculosis according to Dr Brouardel.
Eastern Province Herald - February 3, 1909
Absinthe apparently had an incredibly high alcohol content. The figures above are unbelievable. Do you remember the Touluse Lautrec poster that was so popular in the '70s? Apparently the word "nigger" was not considered offensive at that time. Things have certainly changed since then.