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From: "R Wat" <>
Subject: Children's Friend Society part 1
Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2006 06:57:31 +0000


In 1840 a report was made for the House of Commons by the Governor of the
Cape on the Condition and Treatment of the Children sent out by the
Childrens Friend Society. During the preparation of the report the children
were interviewed, as were their masters. Included in the report are the
childrens, masters and magistrates comments. (The magistrates were
responsible for gathering the information) I have noted below the details of
the children included in the report. A copy of the full report can be viewed
at the National Archives, Kew reference CO 48/207.

The investigations were conducted by Majors LONGMORE, PIERS, BARNES and
Captain HILL. At the time of the report there were 434 apprentices under 232
masters. (359 were males and 75 females.) One concern addressed by the
report was whether the children had become a replacement after the
abolition of slavery in 1838, especially as a number were carrying out tasks
such as herding which was usually reserved for the coloured population. The
report concluded that only one such complaint was made, but was frivolous.
The comment was that the abolition may have been beneficial to the children
as their conditions had improved since the abolition. Another concern was
that many children were not learning a trade, so would be unable to
sufficiently support themselves after their apprentice.

The report seems to have been instigated due to the supposed treatment of Mr
Gerrit H. DE WETs treatment of his apprentices notably TRUBSHAW (who had
been sent from England due to theft and had deserted his master.) A visit to
his farm had found his apprentices happy and no reason for concern could be
seen.

Children interviewed or commented in report:

Thomas CODDENHAM and George SAVEALL:
Their master J P DE. VILLIERS of Ydas Vley was convicted by the magistrate
for punishing them with undue severity. This was reversed as magistrate had
no such powers to make this type of conviction.

William Henry EVETT:
18 years old. Master was initially a baker, but then became a hawker to
the interior. William accompanied him on 3 occasions but complained of this
being tiring and that was ill treated by the coloured servants. Master
always treated him kindly, but was away at time of interview. William had no
complaints, but wished to learn a trade or return to England. His parents
were dead, but had an elder brother living in England. William works in the
village as a labourer. William was in perfect health, well grown, but badly
clothed. Master did not appear to understand concept of indenture and had
left William to fend for himself while he went to the interior. Learnt to
read & write before leaving England, but had received no education in this
country.

George PLATT:
About 16 years old. Parents are dead. Can read & write. Corresponds with
elder brother in England. Attends church every Sunday, but receives no
education. Receives sufficient food and clothes. Employed digging in
vineyard and herding cattle. Wishes to return to England as learning no
skills other than that of a farm labourer. Master Reverend G W A Vander
LINGEN, Paarl had no complaints of child. George is healthy and well grown.

Frederick TRUMBLE:
Parents are dead. 15 years old. Can no longer read & write as forgotten what
previously learned. Receives no schooling or religious instruction. Employed
chiefly in the house, but sometimes in the garden. Receives sufficient to
eat and has good clothes. Master J A BEYERS had no complaints. Boy appears
healthy, but small for age is clean and well clothed and appears happy.

Thomas TAPNER:
Parents are dead. 13 years old. Can no longer read & write as forgotten what
previously learned. Receives no schooling or religious instruction. Employed
watching the horses graze. Receives sufficient to eat and has no complaints.
Master J A BEYERS had no complaints. Boy appears healthy and well grown, but
is ill clothed, dirty and very sun burnt.

Walter STARKIE:
About 15 years old, with parents living in London. Has not heard from
parents since he left them a year ago. Never goes to church or receives
education. Employed in all types of farmwork, digging in vineyards etc.
Cannot read & write. Only gets 2 meals on Sundays. Unhappy in situation as
works too hard and has only been paid once. Master D J Vander MERWE,
wagonmakers Valley, formerly of Great Drakenstein says boys fed only twice
on Sundays as family only eats twice on Sundays. Had no complaints of the
boys. Boy is healthy and well clothed, but small for age and unhappy.

George STEPHENSON:
About 16 years old. Parents are living in London. Cannot read and write and
never goes to church. Employed on all kinds of farmwork: digging, herding &
cutting. Unhappy in situation as would rather learn a trade. Wants to return
to England. . Master D J Vander MERWE, wagonmakers Valley, formerly of
Great Drakenstein had no complaints. Boy is healthy, clean & well clothed,
but small for age.

Benjamin VICKERS:
About 13 years old. Mother is living. Can read & write a little. Never goes
to church. Employed in all kinds of farmwork. Does not like situation as
would rather learn a trade. Gets enough to eat. . Master D J Vander MERWE,
wagonmakers Valley, formerly of Great Drakenstein has no complaints. Boy is
healthy, well clothed, but very small and unhappy.

James FARREL:
No seen as has absconded a short while age due of fear of chastisement for
bad conduct.

To be continued



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