A miscellany of short notes
I include here various short notes on topics including:
* Richard Miles, a nineteenth century Motswana preacher "to the native tribes beyond the border"
* Godfrey Vigne's description of Kabul in the 1830s; and an early account of the game now called polo.
* Notes on James Napper Tandy - United Irishman.
* Herbert Vigne of Greyton and British Kaffraria - a maverick magistrate of the eastern frontier.
* Opening speech, Liz Crossley Exhibition, "This was a city", William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, March 2004
* Welcome and Bidding: 60th anniversary of VE Day: St Cyprian’s Cathedral, Kimberley, 8 May 2005.
Please scroll down to view.
Liz Crossley: THIS WAS A CITY
William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, 4 March 2004
Opening speech by David Morris
Liz Crossley, who is Kimberley-born but has lived in Europe for three decades, nearly two of them in Berlin, returns to Kimberley, with these works, this exhibition and installation, and the associated events, and in a sense she knows this place for the first time. In making this statement I allude to T.S. Eliot's great poem about human experience and renewal, entitled Little Gidding, which suggests that:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
The arriving back has been a process begun in the early 1990s when Liz, with her husband Jenz-Peter, sought to reconnect with the land and the place of her birth and her early life. The landscapes and history of Kimberley and of South Africa have since infused and informed her work in Berlin (as can be seen here this evening); and now, for a time, her work is brought to be part of Kimberley's landscape, at this gallery.
I am personally grateful to have known Liz since 1992, which was when the San rock engravings of this region (which happen to be my professional interest) seized her attention as part of her re-linking with Kimberley and South Africa. She has since visited the museum, and local sites, many times, and we have kept up a conversation and a flow of ideas, stepping, literally and figuratively, over much ground. My work on rock art and much else has been enriched immeasurably by this thinking and re-thinking especially around landscapes and places, and people within them.
There is nothing new, of course, in landscapes infusing an artist's work, but what art critics have remarked upon in Liz's treatment of landscape is that it resists romaniticisation and, in Ingeborg Ruthe's phrase, it provides "no anchorage for sentimentality". It is obvious at first sight that her art expresses a totally different attitude and relationship towards the land than is commonly encountered in the more or less objective purview of the prevailing western art tradition (if I may be allowed to stereotype for a moment). Her mode of presentation itself challenges the conventions of exhibitions, the way we tend to hang art, in a gallery, in steady relation to the bodies that move through, viewing it. Again I would be setting up a straw man if I suggested that we tend to see the gallery walls as a neutral background against which each painting, in its frame, speaks entirely of and for itself, whereas in fact the bringing together of works within these spaces can and does routinely set up stimulating dialogues. However, Liz Crossley's mode of presentation does not simply stand still; it unsettles the comfortable view of galleries being mere background or stage - and this is precisely also her attitude towards the land and landscapes. Her art is concerned not exclusively with products, but centrally also with processes, and her installations and uses of gallery and outside spaces become events into which she also draws other people and other creative forces. The surroundings become implicated, both physically and socially, the exhibition is open-ended, even unpredictable, and in a sense the artwork is active and never entirely complete - or repeatable - in the conventional view of the art product.
Liz Crossley develops certain quite specific threads in her work, but she is also eclectic in drawing in a multi-disciplinary and cross cultural mix - it was not for nothing that she was once described as Cross-Cultural Crossley. Part of this mix, also of different media, is her clever use of texts to help us get walking along the same path, if not in step - and indeed to make our own texts and so be caught up as participants and fellow explorers of the issues she raises.
Amongst the key subtexts to her work is the ancient Khoe-San legend of the moon and the hare, and her interpretation of the hare as artist and subjective communicator; the communicator who does not necessarily always get it right. The hare is fallible, as are people.
We live in a world where the demand for instant certainty is all around us - a desire and expectation which Bertrand Russell once described as an intellectual vice. Liz Crossley's recognition of subjective fallibility is important, whatever the quest, be it art, history or even science.
History is another of the pervasive themes in Liz Crossley's work. Along with the legend of the hare, she uses it as a vehicle for working through and rethinking her feelings of ambivalence as a white South African, a global citizen, and a human being. History is only apparently contradicted in one of her drawings which is accompanied by a Joyce Grenfell quote, that "There is no such thing as time - only this very minute and I'm in it. Thank the Lord." Because, even though history is about the past and based on surviving traces of the past, one should always be aware that the history narratives we construct are thought up in the present, written in the present, displayed in the present - indeed in this very minute. Relevant here are those thoughts cited in Liz's invitation, for instance about landscapes being "the most solid appearance in which a history can declare itself. It is not background, nor is it a stage - there it is, the past in the present, constantly changing and renewing itself as the present rewrites the past".
And so indeed Liz Crossley links history into landscape, and it is apposite that Ingeborg Ruthe uses an archaeological metaphor when she says "Liz Crossley digs herself into and through the land of her childhood": because history is not just written records, nor just oral history and memories, but also material traces and impressions on the land.
Not ceasing from exploration, her recent works draw us ever onward in their imagery, searching, walking, sometimes running, figures listening to the earth, even crawling on all fours, turning the earth, in a search ultimately for meaning. Many of these images raise critical questions around exploitation - in the Kimberley setting, around the pursuit of wealth where we have left wounds and scars on the landscape by mining; and she alludes to the demands of early mining on fuel resources, specifically wood.
Almost aerial views show the land scratched across by fences.
While fleeing and surviving have been themes of older works, some of the newest images here show feet emphatically planted and at rest, with reference to the words of Martin Luther that "Here I stand. I can no other". And so these images convey meanings and truths borne of personal and historical experience that are, in various ways, socially significant. Liz Crossley has written of her own "stubborn belief in the power of small daily acts and statements which push the process of developing a decent world forward centimetre by centimetre".
These messages are relevant in Kimberley and in South Africa, but what is specially interesting is the way she has taken the ideas into a German situation. The art historian Irene Below has written of the way Liz Crossley has thereby pioneered, in some senses, the insertion of South African issues into European contexts - matters such as race and identity construction, poverty, and issues around migrants and refugees. The fall of the wall and the advent of democracy here make for certain parallels. The evidence of this cross-cultural and south-north interaction is to be seen in some of the installations here this evening. Liz Crossley has in addition set up cultural exchange programmes involving young or developing artists from these respective countries. She actively pursues opportunities for spin-offs and interaction.
For instance, right now, and linking into this exhibition, there is an oral history project, called Remembering Malay Camp, being run jointly with the McGregor Museum and with community members such as Mr Mallett. This gallery is of course on the site of part of the Malay Camp which was once home to many Kimberley residents. Our memories are our history. The Museum Mobile Unit will be stationed here and elsewhere at various times in the next few weeks, with a professional oral historian - so anyone who has memories of Malay Camp, please do share them. Watch out for special signs on times and places: Malay Camp signs and history signs that form adjuncts to this exhibition.
For all of this, and for the proceedings that will follow, to Liz Crossley, we say Fielen Dank! Ke a leboga!
In declaring this exhibition open, let us not cease from exploration; and through our exploring arrive, and know our place anew.
William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, 4 March 2004visitors: 8901since 11 Jul 2008
|Richard Miles: Motswana preacher "to the native tribes beyond the border".
"The mission to the natives in Kimberley was set on foot about 1870 by a Mochuana called Richard Miles, and after his death it was carried on by Rev. E. Lange". So state Lewis and Edwards in their 1934 Historical Records of the Church of the Province of South Africa.
Who was Richard Miles?
This was a question that vexed S.H. Pellissier in his history of the French Protestant Mission at Bethulie in the southern Free State where, in 1859, Richard Miles was described by the Tswana Chief Lephoi as "een van myn Raad and Schiefer". He acted as scribe for Lephoi, leader of a group of BaTlaping refugees who settled at Bethulie in 1833. Confusion arises initially from the fact that there was another Richard Miles, the missionary who was the temporary Superintendent of the London Missionary Society at the Cape in the late 1820s, while Dr Philip was in England. S.H. Pellissier suggests that the parents of our Richard Miles had been impressed by the missionary, the Revd Richard Miles, who travelled through Griqua and Tswana territory in 1827-8, and thus named their child in his honour. Pellissier further hypothesises that, although there was some evidence that the younger Miles described himself as a "Kaffer", it was most likely that he was actually a Griqua or a "Baster". In this light, then, were Lewis and Edwards wrong in suggesting that Richard Miles was a Motswana?
A rather unlikely source provides part of the answer, and some of the background. It is the diary of one John Thomas Pocock, an assistant to the Cape Town apothecary John Harfield Tredgold. Tredgold was Secretary to the Cape of Good Hope Philanthropic Society and a member of the Union Chapel in Cape Town, who laboured for the emancipation of slaves at the Cape.
Pocock, who fastidiously kept a diary from the age of twelve until his death in his sixties, described a party given by the Tredgolds on 1 September 1836, adding: "Much enjoyed the evening during which Mr T. amused the company by reading aloud Richard Miles's letters. While the quaint expression elicited continual laughter, the spirit of the whole pleased us all." Miles was "a Bechuana boy formerly in the employ of Mr T. but now an itinerant preacher to the native tribes beyond the border".
Considerably more on Miles comes from the records of the Berlin Missionary Society. In 1834, Richard Miles, a Motswana schooled at the Cape, travelled, as interpreter, with the Berlin Missionaries to establish a station amongst the Tswana in the interior (they joined Andrew Smith's "Expedition into Central Africa" at Graaff-Reinet). In the event, Matabele incursions into Tswana territory persuaded the missionaries that work amongst the Korana - at the place they named Bethanie - would be a altogether better idea. And so Miles's interpretive skills were tested to the limit: some Korana had a smattering of Setswana, while Miles himself soon learned the basics of their language. An early encounter with local San stumped both the missionaries and their interpreter! (It is on record that Miles spoke "the most fluent Setswana" when a group of Batswana visited the missionaries in August 1834). In 1848 Carl Wuras obtained permission to employ "the Bechuana Richard Miles" - formerly interpreter - as "school assistant" - "the same man who came with our first missionaries from Cape Town to Bethanie". Later, in 1850, Wuras described how three Batswana had learned the Articles of Faith in one evening, having been instructed in their own language by the assistant Richard Miles. Miles assisted at this period in providing education to children as well as adults. In March 1850, when the government of the Orange River Colony sought to appoint a headman or Kaptyn for Bethanie, it was Richard Miles whom Wuras recommended to Maj Warden: "a Bechuana by birth and assistant at the school, who could understand and speak English, Nederlands, Setswana and Korana". And thus it was that the British Resident appointed Miles as Kaptyn of Bethanie in the name of His Excellency the Governor of the Cape.
By the late 1850s, as we have noticed, Miles was with the French Missionaries, and acted as agent for the Tswana Chief Lephoi, at Bethulie. Here his reputation was to be tarnished to some extent after he became embroiled in land speculation, with one George Donovan, which led to the loss of land by Lephoi and the missionaries, and the beginnings of the white town of Bethulie.
His subsequent work on the Diamond Fields was probably under the auspices of the Berlin Missionary Society, doubtless from their station at Pniel.
Nothing is known of Richard Miles's origins, except that he was born a Motswana, and as a youth was in the employ of J.H. Tredgold in Cape Town. As Secretary of the Philanthropic Society "for aiding deserving slaves and slave children to purchase their freedom", and in his regular association with mission activities, Tredgold was well acquainted with the LMS superintendent, the Revd Richard Miles (who was also on the committee of the Philanthropic Society). Could it be that Richard Miles, the Motswana, had been one of the many youngsters displaced by turbulence in the frontier in the 1820s - when, indeed, through the so-called inboekseling system, many such children were kidnapped and "apprenticed" into a life of virtual slavery on colonial farms? One might speculate that the Philanthropic Society had saved one such Motswana youth from that fate, who then lived for a time in the Tredgold household in Cape Town and benefited by an education, before returning to beyond the frontier to teach and to preach.
By an odd chance, there is a further Kimberley connection in this story: J.H. Tredgold's daughter, Lydia, married one David McIntyre, and David McIntyre was subsequently a pioneer on the Diamond Fields. It is not known if he ever met Richard Miles; and if he did, whether he would have been aware of the connection.
Ashworth, M.G. 1974. The life and fortunes of John Pocock of Cape Town, 1814-1876.
Lewis, C & Edwards, G.E. 1934. Historical records of the Church of the Province of South Africa. London: SPCK.
Lye, W.F. 1975. Andrew Smith's Journal. Cape Town: A.A. Balkema. [This source mistakenly identifies the LMS missionary for the Motswana interpreter].
Pellissier, S.H. 1956. Jean Pierre Pellissier van Bethulie. Pretoria: Van Schaik.
Philanthropic Society. 1829. First Annual Report. Cape Town: George Greig.
Tredgold, A.1990. The Ardernes and their garden. Cape Town: Arderne Book Trust.
Schoeman, K. 1985. Die huis van die armes: die Berlynse Sendinggenootskap in die OVS, 1834-1869. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
Sibree, J. 1923. A register of missionaries, deputations, etc from 1796 to 1923. London: LMS.
See http://stcyprians.itgo.com/ for historical notes on St Cyprian's Cathedral in Kimberley
||Kabul in the 1830s; and an early account of the game now called polo.
Henry Thomas Vigne, who emigrated from England to the Cape in 1845, and whose daughter Henrietta Mary Vigne married George Hull, a pioneer on the Kimberley Diamond Fields, had an adventurous first cousin, Godfrey Thomas Vigne. In the 1830s Godfrey Vigne travelled to Kabul and became probably one of the earliest of Europeans to describe extensive travels in that mountainous frontier region beyond British India. His may also be one of the earliest western illustrated accounts of a "singular equestrian game" played in Little Tibet and called "Chaughan" - or "hocky on horseback" - today better known as polo (from Tibeti "pulu", the name for the ball made from a knot of willow-wood used in the game).
Godfrey Vigne published two books (1840 & 1844) on his travels to Afghanistan, Punjab and Tibet; and was an accomplished artist. A glacier in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas is named after him.
Two extracts are given: a description of Kabul; and, following it, Vigne's observations on polo.
"Let the reader conceive a broken succession of houses, composed of mud walls of different elevations, pierced here and there with wooden pipes to carry off the rain from the flat roofs, which it would otherwise injure; then let him imagine a few square low doors, opening under the eaves of the first story, projecting over a sort of trottoir, formed by the wearing away of the middle of the road, so irregular that no wheel-carriage could be driven along safely; now and then a larger door interposing - the entrance to the residence of some great man - with a mulberry tree occasionally peering over the wall; add to this a thick crowd, and he will form a good idea of a Kabul street. The Bala Hissar or fort, the beautiful little white mosque near Baber's tomb, and the great bazaar, are the only buildings worth notice in Kabul. The profusion and display in the bazaar is perhaps nowhere else exceeded; though I do not think the bazaar equals some in Persia - that of Shirz for instance. It must be borne in mind that the bazaar of the East is the arcade of the European city; excepting that in the former, mules, donkeys, horses, camels and even elephants, are allowed to pass, as well as foot passengers. There is room enough for all these in the principal bazaar; but in those of minor importance in Kabul, a countryman with a loaded donkey throws the whole place into confusion, thinking it very hard if the crowd does not give way to him. I well remember meeting a mule laden with grass, that was just entering a narrow street as I was coming out of it. I could only turn my horse with the greatest difficulty, and motioned to the driver to go back. He did so; but exclaimed aloud, "Is Dost Mohamed dead, that there is no justice?" This is a common phrase used by the inhabitants of Kabul upon similar occasions. It is hardly possible to ride through any part of Kabul without passing along a bazaar, consisting of a double line of stalls or shops, in which goods are exposed for sale, and in which artificers work openly at their different trades. The great bazaar has a vaulted roof; but over the inferior ones, during the summer months, branches of trees, covered with matting, are thrown across, for the purpose of obtaining shade." (Vigne 1840:158-160).
CHAUGHAN (POLO) IN LITTLE TIBET
"At Shighur I first saw the game of Chaughan, which was played the day after our arrival on the Mydan, or plain, laid out expressly for the purpose, being about three hundred and fifty yards, or there abouts, in length, by about sixty in breadth, covered with a fine turf, and surrounded by a low stone-wall, and rows of poplars or linden trees. Two pillars of stone are let into the ground, at a short distance from either end, and the space between them, about ten yards, is the goal, or home, of the players. It is, in fact, hocky on horseback. The ball, which is larger than a cricket-ball, is only a globe made of a knot of willow-wood, and is called in Tibeti, "Pulu." The stick or Byntu is of the strong and straight bough of the almond-tree, about four feet in length, and let in at the top, and passed quite through to the end, or a curved piece of solid birch-wood, about the size and shape of a drenching-horn. The course is attended by numerous spectators, who remain upon the wall, and watch the game with the greatest interest. A carpet was spread for the Rajah, and he invited me to sit beside him. Meanwhile a boy was blindfolded, and the sticks of all the players, whose number is unlimited, but, of course, equal on both sides, were put into his hands, and from these he forms the sides, by placing one alternately on the right and left of him. The Gylfo's band is in attendance, and plays whilst the game is going on. It commences by one of the chief players, perhaps a relation of the Gylfo, taking the ball in the left hand, and then, allowing the reins to lie upon the back of the horse, he starts off at speed, tosses the ball into the air, and does not often fail to strike it, sending it far and high towards the opposite side. Immediately it falls, a desperate melee takes place, in order to hit it; and the players, perhaps sixteen in number, are rarely at rest until the game is finished. The exact rules I did not learn.
The horses of Little Tibet are small and active, and their long uncombed manes and tails, together with the streaming black hair of their riders, and the loose pendent ends of the Tibetan turban, give to both horses and riders a most wild and picturesque appearance. I can conceive that the Chaughan requires only to be seen to be played. It is the fit sport of an equestrian nation, and would be, I should think, an excellent exercise for cavalry. The horses are galloped, suddenly halted, and thrown on their haunches, and turned with all possible rapidity; and the riders, anxious for a hit at the ball, are constantly obliged to strike at it, and deliver the cuts one, two, three and four, at a racing pace, stooping low from their saddles to reach it, and keeping an eye to their personal safety at the same time: - for, although the greatest good humour appears to prevail, an accidental blow is sometimes received, to the great detriment of one or more of the features.
I have never seen a game more manly, or more exciting; and the musicians appeared to partake of the enthusiasm, playing their loudest when the rush was most rapid. I much regret that I cannot recall the notes in which they gave an excellent imitation of the tumultuous hurry- scurry and clangour of the charge. When the ball has been driven between the pillars sufficiently often, and the game is won, the victors ride up to the music, and remain there to receive the congratulations of their friends, the band playing them what is meant to be a welcome in the mean time.
The Chaughan comes, I believe, originally from Persia. The emperor Baber frequently mentions the game, as being common in his time... The game is played at almost every valley in Little Tibet, and the adjoining counties - Ladakh, Yessen, Chitral, etc: and I should strongly recommend it to be tried on the Hippodrome at Bayswater." (Vigne 1844:II:289-292).
Note: Polo was first introduced to England by the 10th Hussars in 1869; the first recorded match took place at Hounslow Heath in 1871 - with eight players on each side.
|James Napper Tandy - United Irishman
This is an extract from my notes on the history of the Tandy family in Ireland. James Napper Tandy's father was the brother of our ancestor Edward Tandy of Charlemont Street, who married Elizabeth Bickerton. Edward and Elizabeth's grand daughter married James Peter of Kirkland (see Peter history elsewhere in these pages). The notes on James Napper Tandy were compiled before the more detailed biography by Rupert Coughlan came to light.
The biographer of John Philpot Curran, Leslie Hale, has said of Napper Tandy: "He has been treated scurvily by historians. With all his faults, he was a far greater man than many who presume to despise him."
Tandy's own biographer, Rupert Coughlan (1976) says:
"Most of the contemporary, or near-contemporary, accounts of Napper Tandy have been left by his enemies and are derogatory; or by the privileged class and border on the contemptuous. Historians, lacking study in depth, have also been unkind. It is unfortunate that his real friends, like the duke of Leinster, Archibald Hamilton Rowan, the Hon Simon Butler, John Philpot Curran, Henry Grattan (whose lieutenant he was in the Catholic cause), etc, did not set down their opinions.
Napper Tandy was ahead of his time in political thinking and not, therefore, always understood. He embraced republicanism from the outset of the French revolution and strove to give effect to its principles in the face of insurmountable opposition. He was an orator of the Jim Larkin and Ian Paisley brand - forceful and able to get through to the man in the street on his own level. Had he lived today he could be expected to be found in the forefront of any fight against injustice. His patriotism was never in doubt. He sacrificed his all for his country. Like every man he had his weaknesses. These were seized upon by the propagandists who presented an entirely distorted picture of him. While achieving more fame than perhaps most other Irish leaders of his period he would have been largely forgotten were it not for inclusion of his name in 'The Wearing of the Green'. Sincere to the end, he died as he lived, a staunch old protestant Irish rebel."
24:2 James Napper TANDY.1,2,4,14,15,16,18,49-53,74,88,211 "of 1798 fame",211 b 1740 in Dublin211 d 24 Aug 1803 at Bordeaux m Feb 1765 [2 Mar 1765211] Anne [Ann240] JONES b 1736 d.o. James JONES Esq of Whitehall near Platten. She died at Pleasant View, Dublin, on 25 Dec 1820211,240 [1819,1] aged 83,1 buried in Julianstown, Co Louth.211,240 Maverick Dublin businessman, United Irishman, and General: leader of the French invasive force, Donegal, 1798.
Family legend has it that Henrietta Tandy (who married James Peter of Kirkland House, Fife) was a niece of Napper Tandy (she was in fact a first cousin once removed) and that she and her sisters, "the beautiful Miss Tandys, toasts of Dublin", were brought up in his home.
Henrietta's father died in 1784 and it is possible that his widow, Anna Maria Tandy (nee Braddell), with young children, was drawn close to his sister, Anne, and her husband O'Bryen Bellingham. Henrietta Tandy (married to James Peter) had a son who was christened O'Brien Bellingham Peter (emigrated to South Africa). That James Napper Tandy may also have had close dealings with the Bellinghams is hinted at by the fact that he joined the Society of Louth Defenders at Castle Bellingham in the early 1790s. It was on account of this treasonable act that he was forced to flee to America. His mortal remains are said to have been re-interred later at Castle Bellingham after they were smuggled into Ireland from France [unlikely to be true].89,233 There were thus two contexts - in Dublin and at Castle Bellingham - in which Anna Maria Tandy and her young family may have come into close association with James Napper Tandy and his family, accounting for the legends passed down amongst her descendants in Fife and South Africa. Evidently, moreover, Henrietta Tandy (later Peter) and at least one of her sons had sympathies for certain "French principles" (including a feeling of gratitude towards and an admiration for Napoleon).104
James Napper Tandy's role in Irish history is remembered in the nineteenth century song The wearing of the Green based on an earlier Dublin street ballad.160
Tandy acquired early notoriety in the municipal politics of Dublin. Having received a "fair commercial education" he had started off as a small merchant tradesman - apparently as an iron monger - in Dublin.50 But soon, it was said, "his mind turned more towards the expansion of the rights of the people than the expansion of his own commercial concern."50 Giving up his business, he became a land agent and rent collector. An enthusiastic admirer of Dr Charles Lucas, and having been elected a representative of the Guild of Merchants on the Common Council, Tandy earned for himself "considerable notoriety" by his assaults on municipal corruption.50
Lucas (1713-1771), the Dublin apothecary known as the "Wilkes of Ireland", was famous in the previous generation for his attacks on the administration of the city. His 1747 newspaper, Citizen's Journal, denounced English trade restrictions, and asserted Ireland's constitutional rights as an independent kingdom. Lucas was declared an enemy of the rulers of Ireland in 1749 and went into exile at Leiden. But as one of the country's most popular writers, his ideas could not be banished. Returning to Dublin he was elected MP in 1761 and was a ally of Flood.88,155
James Napper Tandy's name "figured regularly in the lists submitted to the Mayor and Aldermen from which the Sheriffs of the city were annually selected, and was as regularly passed over by them. But in the city itself he was extremely popular, and his influence more than once turned the scale in favour of the popular candidate both at municipal and parliamentary elections."50 As an orator on such occasions he is said to have been "forcible, fluent and pointed" - even if his language was "coarse and often incorrect".50
In the 1770s members of the Irish Parliament in Dublin were showing an unprecedented willingness to flaunt Westminster, especially over financial matters. The Protestant Ascendancy was beginning to resent political and economic subjection to English interests. Parliament itself remained shackled by Poyning's Law (an edict dating from 1494, requiring all Irish bills to be approved by the king under the Great Seal of England). Ireland was debarred from colonial trade and exports to England. Ascendancy merchants were increasingly feeling the exploitation of the Irish economy to London's gain.
In 1775, with the outbreak of the American War of Independence, the Sheriffs and Commons of Dublin took the extraordinary step of voting congratulations to the American rebels.74 James Napper Tandy "declared himself warmly on the side of the colonies".50 In 1778 a loose structure of Volunteers was formed, recruiting men mainly from leading Ascendancy families, to replace troops sent off to hold America.74 Tandy "threw himself heart and soul into the Volunteer movement, being one of the first to join".50 The Volunteers were soon beginning to operate separately - effectively outside formal politics - and extracting concessions from England. A banner at a Dublin rally in 1779 warned "A short bill, a free trade, or else!"74 The painting of this rally by Francis Wheatley shows Napper Tandy as an officer of the Volunteers (under red flag on the left).206 Dublin was swarming with beggars and bankrupt merchants. Napper Tandy "came forward with a proposal pledging Irishmen not to purchase or use goods of English manufacture till the obnoxious restrictions were withdrawn".50 Alarmed, as McGuire puts it, administrators "began to see incipient signs of the tail wagging the dog".74 It was at about this time, he notes, that "a more radical minority led by the maverick Napper Tandy withdrew from the main body of the Volunteers".74 The Dictionary of Irish Biography suggests that "in 1780 he was expelled from the Dublin Volunteer Artillery for the expression of extreme opinions".236 Already immensely popular for his attacks on municipal corruption,199 Tandy was appointed to the command of a small volunteer corps of artillery (apparently other than the Dublin Volunteer Artillery, if the dates cited in the Dictionary of Irish Biographyand the Dictionary of National Biography, respectively, are correct). Tandy and his corps guarded the approaches to the Irish Parliament on 27 May 1782, the day the decision was received from London allowing Ireland limited legislative independence.50 He played an equally conspicuous part on 10 Nov 1783 when the Volunteer Convention proceeded through the streets of Dublin to the Rotunda to debate and, it was hoped, settle the question of parliamentary reform.50 The Bishop of Derry, Frederick Augustus Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol, was a prominent reformist leader of the Convention. "That day," the Dictionary of National Biography avers, "saw Tandy at the height of his fame."50
John Fitzgibbon, afterwards Earl of Clare, had acknowledged that "the Act by which most of us hold our estates was an act of violence - an Act subverting the first principles of the common law in England and Ireland".74 Yet the reforms of 1782 brought little real change.
The focus in Irish politics was shifting to internal matters, especially the position of Catholics. As McGuire comments, "the dissenting Volunteers under Napper Tandy formed a minority within orthodox radical protest since they demanded - as more fringe and extreme radicals were beginning to demand - a consideration of the Catholic question within the framework of liberal reforms".74 But many, including Fitzgibbon, held that the legislation of 1782 marked the extreme limit to which constitutional change should go, and they resisted all proposals for parliamentary reform and for the admission of Roman Catholics to political power.88 Destined to be one of the most powerful men in Ireland in the 1790s, Fitzgibbon's great object, it has been said, was to maintain the Protestant Ascendancy against "a popish democracy".88
Thus it was that when the Volunteer Convention sought to convey its reform plan to Parliament, which was in session at College Green, its proposal for "more equal representation of the people" was rejected: "we sit not here to register the edicts of another assembly, or to receive propositions at the point of the bayonet".88
Volunteer ranks swelled to 100 000 men, and while their demands were viewed with outrage in the Irish Parliament, various, albeit limited, reform bills would in due course be introduced under Flood and Grattan.
Fitzgibbon, as Attorney General, began to move against the radicals, and charged Tandy in Parliament with having fomented the riots that took place in Dublin at the beginning of the Duke of Rutland's administration in 1784. "Tandy denied the allegation in a public advertisement couched," as the Dictionary of National Biography puts it, "in the most offensive language."50 The Attorney General, who "regarded him with undisguised contempt, took no notice of his abuse, and merely kept out of his way when Tandy, in order to fasten a quarrel on him, paraded the lobby of the house with a sword significantly displayed at his side".50
In 1785 Tandy headed an agitation against the amended commercial propositions, and at his instigation the corporation passed a set of resolutions condemning them - much to Rutland's indignation.50
Tandy is credited as having "contributed very largely by his exersions" to the election in 1790 of the popular candidates Lord Henry Fitzgerald and Grattan for Dublin City, and Sir Edward Newenham and John Finlay for the County.50 He was admitted as a member of the Whig Club,50 founded by Grattan in 1790 to press for parliamentary reform.88 But whereas this organisation was essentially moderate in outlook, extra-parliamentary politics - the Volunteer spirit - was being given new life after the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789,74,88 just as it had been by the American War a decade and a half before. The radical Volunteers took a leading part in celebrating the victories of the Revolution, which they linked - ominously, for the rulers of Ireland - with the American declaration of independence and the Irish "constitution of 1782."88 James Napper Tandy himself was noted for his "unbounded" enthusiasm for the principles of the French Revolution,50,199 and he was amongst those who celebrated the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille in July 1791.74 The Volunteers no longer represented - as Grattan had said of them a decade earlier - the "armed property of the nation": they had broken loose from the control of the Ascendancy aristocracy and gentry of Ireland and, drawing on a broader base, were more determined than ever that the limited legislative independence already won for Ireland should be widely shared.88,200
In 1791 Theobald Wolfe Tone (like Tandy, a Protestant) published An argument on behalf of the Catholics in Ireland, and in October the Belfast Branch of the Society of United Irishmen declared its goal of radical reform: full representation of the people of Ireland and the limitation of English influence. A minority supported the reinstatement of Irish Catholics in politics. James Napper Tandy and William Drennan rapidly formed a Dublin Branch of the Society, and Tandy was elected its Secretary.50,74
As Secretary of the SUI (Dublin), James Napper Tandy was "indefatigable in his efforts to promote reform by cultivating a better understanding between Catholics and Protestants":50 "...no hope remains for us," he had written, "but in the sincere and hearty union of all the people, for a complete and radical reform of parliament; because it is obvious, that one party alone have been ever unable to obtain a single blessing for their country; and the policy of our rulers has been always such, as to keep the different sects at variance, in which they have been but too well seconded in our folly."256 He saw the formation of the SUI as a step towards "the removal of absurd and ruinous distinctions".256
Drennan's sister, Martha McTier said on seeing a procession of chanting Catholics, "I began to fear these people and to think that, like the Jews, they will regain their native land".74 Fear and alarm were in some measure deliberately stimulated by Fitzgibbon, Beresford and their supporters as a tactic to oppose further reform.88 It is hardly surprising that Tandy's activities towards establishing a democratic alliance between Catholic and Protestant - which included informal contact with Catholic Defenders - did not escape notice. In a debate on the Catholic Petition of 20 Feb 1792 the Attorney General, John Toler (afterwards Earl Newbury), remarked with "congenial vulgarity": "We are not this day to be taught by political quacks, who tell us that radical reformations are necessary in parliament. I have seen papers signed Tobias McKena, with Simon Butler in the chair and Napper Tandy lending his countenance. It was rather odd they could not contrive to set a better face on the matter; but, sir, to use the language of an honourable member behind me on a recent occasion, `such fellows are too despicable for notice', and therefore I shall not drag them from their obscurity".50
These remarks so enraged Tandy that he "sent forthwith to Toler for an explanation".50 The matter was brought before the house and in consequence of Tandy's complaint, the house voted him guilty of a breach of privilege in challenging the Attorney General. An order was issued for his arrest. Accordingly on 22 Feb 1792 Tandy was arrested at his house in Bride Street - but he managed to "elude the vigilance of his captor"50 - and a proclamation offering a reward for his apprehension was published by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Earl of Westmorland, in the Dublin Gazette. Tandy surrendered on the last day of the session. "At the instigation of Richard Sheridan, MP for Charlemont borough, he refused to answer any question put to him, and was in consequence committed for contempt to Newgate; but parliament being prorogued an hour or two afterwards, he was immediately set at liberty."50
Wolfe Tone remarked in his journal: "It is but justice to an honest man, who has been persecuted for his adherence to his principles, to observe here that Tandy, in coming forward on this occasion, well knew that he was putting in the most extreme hazard his popularity among the corporations in the City of Dublin, with whom he had enjoyed the most unbounded influence for near twenty years; and in fact in the event this popularity was sacrificed. This did not prevent him taking his part decidedly."236
The right of the Commons to shelter Toler was sharply criticised. Tandy was acquitted by a Volunteer court-martial of any unsoldierlike or dishonourable behaviour in the matter, and he pursued his advantage by instituting proceedings against the Lord Lieutenant for publishing the proclamation. Tandy lost the case, but "of course found many sympathisers".50 At a United banquet at Belfast on 19 April an enthusiastic toast was made to "Napper Tandy and the Rights of the Subject". His expenses were defrayed out of SUI funds.50
Tandy in fact did not "figure very creditably" at times, as the Dictionary of Irish Biography
puts it, citing an occasion when he "headed a mob that endeavoured to destroy the works connected with the new Customs House, because they feared its erection would injure the trade of those who lived in the vicinity of the old one."236
In 1792 the SUI Dublin Branch published a Report on the Penal Laws during 1792.74 Rejection of the Catholic Petition that year "stimulated agitation" and plans were made for holding a Catholic Convention in Dublin in December. "The occasion seemed to Tandy a favourable one for reviving the Volunteer movement on a wider basis", and with the help of Archibald Hamilton Rowan, he raised in Dublin two battalions of a "National Guard", each a thousand strong, "with green uniforms, harp buttons, and in the place of the crown, a cap of liberty."50
Government, taught by experience, banned unauthorised bodies from assembling in arms - and Tandy, Rowan and the printer Carey found themselves standing alone on the parade ground.50 The "wearing of the green", too, as legend has it, became a punishable offense.156
Further attempts to bring about "a coalition with the Defenders and the United Irishmen" were thwarted.50An action had been begun against Tandy in 1793236 for circulating seditious literature, in this case a pamphlet he had published called "Common Sense" which contained "some severe reflections on the Beresford family".50 John Beresford, First Commissioner of Revenue and political ally of Fitzgibbon, enjoyed great wealth and "an extensive family connection" which made him so powerful that "he was sometimes called, half in envy, half in derision, the `King of Ireland'."88 Dismissed with Fitzgibbon the following year during the brief, more liberal, Lord Lieutenancy of Fitzwilliam, both were reinstated immediately thereafter. The atmosphere of reaction and intransigence which then prevailed, and the apparent hopelessness of working for reform by constitutional means, was to be "favourable to insurrectionary activity" and would bring "a host of recruits to the United Irishmen".88 This was what the future held. In the interim, however, knowledge of Tandy's secret negotiations with the Catholic Society of Louth Defenders was leaked to the authorities and "a charge was to be preferred against him of having taken the Defender Oath at Castle Bellingham in County Louth".50 This treasonable act could have cost Tandy his life: "forfeiting his securities, he fled the country".50,74 "A secret select committee of the House of Lords was set up to investigate Defenderism...all radical and liberal elements were harassed".74
Edmund Burke warned Pitt to make rapid, far-reaching concessions to counter the spread of "French ideas" - all the more urgent after war broke out between Britain and France in Feb 1793. Such concessions as were granted, however, could have little effect when the system of representation remained essentially unreformed.88 The war with France raised the very real prospect of a French invasion in Ireland; and "revolution was now a present danger, not just a vague possibility".88 The authorities attempted to suppress the SUI in May 1794, driving it underground; the influence of the revolutionaries in the movement "naturally grew stronger".88 "From the end of 1794 onwards the United Irishmen were increasingly committed to a policy of alliance with France and complete separation from England; they were already in touch with French agents, and they pressed constantly for the dispatch of an expedition to their assistance."88
Compounding the threat to tranquillity within Ireland from the early 1790s was an intensification of religious feuding. Protestant-Catholic conflict was on the rise as Peep o'Day Boys raided Catholic houses, and Protestant farms were looted by Defender gangs.74 At the Battle of the Diamond in 1795, the Loyal Orange Order was founded, and in July 1796 five thousand Orangemen marched at the Diamond to commemorate King William's victory at the Boyne a little over a century previously (12 July 1690).74 Although the SUI "proclaimed the need for union among Irishmen of all denominations, they warned the Roman Catholics that they would never be safe from the Orangemen until the existing regime had been completely overthrown."88 A large number of Defenders were won over.
The government was by now seriously disturbed. As McGuire puts it, the cry was for independence, for the republic, for restored land. It was for revolution; mere reform was no longer enough. A spy reported the conversation of group of Defenders at the house of one Connor in Dublin, in 1795, who declared: "that they daily expected a rebellion, and a massacre; that no protestant was to be left alive; that the oath was to serve France and Ireland, and under James Cole, Sir Edward Bellew, Napper Tandy and Hamilton Rowan; that they were to have no king; to recover their estates; sweep clean the protestants; to leave none alive; and to kill the Lord Lieutenant".253
In 1795 Tone went into exile in America before heading for France. James Napper Tandy, Reynolds and others had escaped to America as well.220 Tandy is reported having reached Philadelphia towards the end of 1795, "after a long concealment and many adventures".50 This was just on the eve of Tone's departure for France.50 Tandy, it seems, had in fact been in Philadelphia as early as 1793, with some of his (mis)adventures being reported in the Freeman's Journal:
"Mr J. Napper Tandy is amongst those who have flown Philadelphia. The presence of this poor gentleman seems extremely ominous to civic communities, while he himself seems destined to owe his safety to the great masterly principle of generalship - retreat; for no sooner had he escaped by timely flight the political fever of Dublin; than he was again forced to practise a similar manoeuvre of preservation from the yellow fever of Philadelphia, and like his ancient friend, the wandering Trojan patriot Eneas - no sooner has he escaped Scylla than he is tested upon the Charydis." - Freeman's Journal 16 Nov 1793.161
That same journal, 11 Jan 1794, reports:
"The last accounts from citizen Tandy place him in Boston. Heaven forfend that good city from plague, pestilence and sedition."162
It appears that Tandy eventually "fix[ed] his residence at Wilmington on the Delaware, where he could enjoy the society of Mrs Tone and Hamilton Rowan." He remained there "until the success of Tone's mission and the likelihood there seemed of the French making a fresh attempt on Ireland drew him to Paris in Feb 1798".50,236 French Minister Adet, in Philadelphia, provided introductions to the Committee of Public Safety in Paris.220 Once in Paris, Tandy was given the "provisional rank of general, and entrusted with the command of a small body of Irish refugees intended to form the nucleus of an army in Ireland.236
"The French are on the sea says the Shan Van Vocht" [seab bhean bhocht = poor old woman], went one of the songs of the day, anticipating a throwing off of shackles; and indeed a determined French invasion would have set Ireland ablaze. The first two attempts failed, however. Tone had set sale from Brest for Ireland with a French force of 43 sail and 15 000 men under General Hoche in 1796220 - but adverse weather prevented the landing - as it did the Bantry Bay expedition the following year. Tone apparently had the greatest contempt for the seamanship of the French.220 The rulers of Ireland acted first with an Insurrection Act, in 1796, which declared Ireland to be "in a state of disturbance", heralding curfews, searches for arms, and eventually the billeting of soldiers "at free quarters" in the homes of suspects. In 1797 General Lake "disarmed" the north of Ireland, employing what Pakenham characterises as "the most savage methods".
Republican radicals in the 1790s had mooted constituting a federal republic of England, Scotland and Ireland, but secret intelligence from France, in January 1798, indicated a change of plan, to make Ireland an independent republic. The Irish Directory, according to this source, was to have been N. Tandy, E. Fitzgerald, H. Rowan, A. O'Connor and [illegible ?Ocolmer].201
SUI plans were leaked and the executive in Dublin was arrested on the very eve of the rising in May 1798 - but the rebellion broke out all the same, the organisation improvising effectively on many fronts. The French did come - but too late. Hoche, "the chief hope of the SUI", had died in the interim, and Bonaparte's eye was being drawn eastwards. "The invaders consisted of a force led by General James Napper Tandy which occupied Rutland Island off Donegal, a more significant force of about a thousand men that landed at Killala under General Humbert, and a final force led by General Hardy which was captured off the Donegal coast".74 Tone, in one of Hardy's ships, was captured; he subsequently cut his own throat before he could be executed and in so doing became the legendary hero of the insurrection. By September the rebellion, most gruesomely mounted and as savagely put down, was at an end. Some 50 000 people had been killed in "the 1798", dubbed "the Year of Liberty" by Irish Jacobins.
Earlier in the year Tone was having doubts about Bonaparte's sincerity towards Ireland. His anxiety was well-founded, for the General was setting sail for Egypt instead. Pakenham remarks that his intentions were as baffling to Tone as they were to the British Government.205 ("It is arguable," writes E.P. Thompson, "that the French lost Europe not before Moscow, but in 1797, when only a navy in mutiny stood between them and an Ireland on the eve of rebellion."138 Naval mutinies broke out at Spithead and None in 1797, and mutineers blockaded the Thames for a week - there was even talk of removing the fleet to France. Lady Anne Barnard records moments of anxiety at the Cape where the military was removed to Rondebosch [hence the Camp Ground] to avoid the spread of sedition from mutinous crews in the bay.165 Napoleon himself would reflect from St Helena, "Si au lieu de l'expedition d'Egypte, j'eusse fait celle d'Irlande...que pouvait etre l'Angleterre aujourd'hui?" - If instead of the expedition to Egypt, I had gone to Ireland...would it be the England of today?166). In the longer term Britain's chief strengths were, indeed, her navy and her expanding commercial interests. The strategic logic of occupying Egypt thus was no doubt to jeopardise Britain's Middle Eastern interests and to place a French army within striking distance of India.
Meanwhile, the Irish exiles in Paris had split, "as political exiles often do". Tone and his friends were now boycotting Tandy and his Scottish Jacobin friend Thomas Muir. Their wrangles were exacerbated by isolation from Ireland where the suddenly leaderless and unco-ordinated rebellion had already broken out. There were squabbles as to tactics. Napper Tandy declared that he had only to appear on the coast of Ireland for thirty thousand to rise to meet him.205 (Soon after the outbreak of rebellion the town of Newtown-mount-Kennedy "was assaulted by about 1000 [rebels], variously armed, who began by shouting and huzzaing for Napper Tandy, and then by setting fire to several houses..."254).
"The Directory were most impressed by this argument," writes Pakenham, "and the next month Tandy found himself being given a fast frigate of his own to put it to the test. However, such was the state of the French Ministry of Marine that Tandy was in no great danger of sailing".205 It was not before the autumn that the ships sailed.
The Freemans Journal of 4 Sep 1798 published: "The following are the names of the persons ordered to return, surrender and abide their trials, under pain of outlawry, and their property being confiscated as mentioned in the bill brought into the House of Lords by the Rt Hon Lord Chancellor...James Napper Tandy...Theo Wolfe Tone..."245
As it happens, Tandy was already on his way. The Anacreon, with Tandy on board, had left Dunkirk on 27 Aug. It passed clean through the British blockade, covering the distance to the island of Aran236 off Donegal in just over a fortnight. On 16 Sep Tandy sailed boldly into Rutland harbour, disembarked and seized the post office without a shot being fired. The ship was essentially a gun-runner, loaded with arms and ammunition, a vast supply of proclamations,207 and 370 French grenadiers with half a dozen Irish exiles.
The pamphlets255 were headed "Liberty or Death: Northern Army of Avengers, Head Quarters, the first Year of Irish Liberty". One, over the name of General Rey, bombastically declared:
"United Irishmen! The soldiers of the great nation have landed on your coast, well supplied with arms and ammunition of all kinds, with artillery worked by those who have spread terror among the ranks of the best troops in Europe, headed by French officers; they come to break your fetters, and restore you to the blessings of liberty.
James Napper Tandy is at their head; he has sworn to lead them on to victory or die. Brave Irishmen, the friends of liberty have left their native soil to assist you in reconquering your rights; they will brave all dangers, and glory at the sublime idea of cementing your happiness with their blood.
French blood shall not flow in vain - To arms! Freemen, to arms! The trumpet calls, let not your friends by butchered unassisted; if they are doomed to fall in this most glorious struggle, let their death be useful to your cause, and their bodies serve as footsteps to the temple of Irish liberty.
In the name of the French officers and soldiers now on the coast of Ireland.
The second pamphlet,255 by J.N. Tandy, dismissed the offer of "concessions" by the British government, concluding:
Horrid crimes have been perpetrated in your country; your friends have fallen in sacrifice to their devotion for your cause; their shadows are around you and call aloud for vengeance; it is your duty to avenge their death; it is your duty to strike on their blood-cemented thrones the murderers of your friends. Listen to no proposals, Irishmen! wage a war of extermination against your oppressors, the war of liberty against tyranny, and liberty shall triumph.
By an odd chance the postmaster, one Francis Foster,255 was an old acquaintance of Napper Tandy, who related the progress of the rebellion, and the recent surrender of General Humbert and his much larger French invasionary force; the arrival of newspapers from Dublin confirmed the rebellion was all but over.
As Foster reported the incident:255
About twelve o'clock a French brig came into this harbour, and immediately landed a number of men and officers, Napper Tandy at their head. They immediately enquired for the post-office, and came and posted a sentinel at the door to prevent my sending off immediately. They demanded (though very politely) some victuals, with which they were furnished. I had a good deal of conversation with Tandy. When they found that their friends here had surrendered and were made prisoners of war, they seemed a good deal confounded; and after taking a slight repast, re-embarked.
Tandy informed me that they came on a mere experiment, to try the pulse of the people, about which he particularly enquired. I reported this neighbourhood, as far as I knew, to be weaned from French principles, &c. at which he seemed surprised; he says the French will never make peace with England, until Ireland is made free and independent.
They behaved very politely and paid for all they took.
A slightly fuller account was given in a further report which described their "landing three boats full of men, among whom was the redoubted J.N. Tandy, a brigadier, and commander of the expedition." Tandy, described as "an old acquaintance" was "communicative", but "dejected on hearing of the fate of the late French descent, and of the discoveries made by Bond, M'Nevin, Emmet, &c but said they will certainly attempt to land twenty thousand men, and perish all or succeed; he was astonished when I told him that very few had joined the French; they took every pain to convince the people that they were their best friends, and such stuff..."255
The following day, Foster reported, "they took a cow and two swine for which they paid, and this morning, after firing a gun, went to sea, toward the N East." General Rey had presented a gold ring to Mrs Foster before they left.255
A memorandum headed "Rutland Island, 30th Fructidor" reads:255
Having landed from on board the Anacreon (a republican vessel from the coast of France) on Rutland Island, and being in want (for the time)of accommodations, we were under the necessity of putting the citizen Foster, postmaster of that town or island, under requisition, and prevented him from sending off his packet; we at the same time discharged every obligation, and paid for whatever we took from said place.
AMEIL Colonel, aid-de-camp au gl. Desjardin TANDY, general of brigade and
Commander of the expedition.
C. LUXEMBURG REY
LE DUC, capitne BLACKWELL, adjutant- general
JOSEPH, capt. et aide-de-camp
And thus ended the last landing of a French invasionary force on the coasts of the British Isles".205,198
I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand,
Saying, how is old Ireland? and how does she stand?
She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen;
They are hanging men and women for wearing of the green!
O wearing of the green, O wearing of the green,
My native land, I cannot stand, for wearing of the green.160
Desmond McGuire, in his summing up, remarks "the death of Tone, the political philosophy of United Irishmen and the non-sectarian ideals of Irish republicanism articulated in these years were to be passed down in all subsequent chronicles of the past and to remain as an idealised manifestation of the idea of an Irish nation composed of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter."74 Thomas Pakenham notes that "by a final twist, the second Irish war of independence of 1919-21 not only failed to win a united Ireland, but resulted in a form of self-government in Ulster that had already proved disastrous in '98...Catholics have remained poor, politically powerless, and alienated from government...when shall we lay the ghosts of '98?"205
Tandy, aboard the Anacreon, escaped to Bergen. En route, the story goes, they engaged with two small merchantmen - "not without a sharp fight, during which Tandy sat on deck with a pint bottle of brandy, directing operations".50 With companions Blackwall, Corbet and Morres, Tandy set out overland to Hamburg, arriving there on 22 Nov 1798. They "took up [their] abode at the sign of the American Arms". Acting on intelligence, Lord Grenville issued instructions for Tandy's arrest. The British resident, Sir James Crawford, sought permission for this action from the Senate of Hamburg. Their consent was granted after "long and anxious deliberation", and thus it was that Crawford and a posse of police "invested the American Arms" early on the morning of 24 Nov 1798.50,94 Tandy was busy at his writing desk. "On being asked for his passport he presented a pistol at the head of the officer, who closed with him and wrested it from his grasp." Tandy and companions were clapped into irons and imprisoned. "But the event had no sooner transpired than the French Minister, Marragon, demanded his release and that of Blackwall as French citizens" - a demand immediately countered by Crawford. Hamburg preserved its neutrality by keeping the four in confinement, but unironed.50
While more than one unsuccessful attempt was made to free Tandy and Blackwall, Tandy's arrest was fast becoming a major international diplomatic incident, involving not only Hamburg, England and the French Republic. The Fortescue manuscript collection includes a letter (Apr 1799), in French, from Paul I, Emperor of Russia, to his Russian Minister in Hamburg, urging Napper Tandy's extradition to Britain.202
In May 1799 Napper Tandy's "Privy Council at Hamburg", being monitored by Thomas Grenville, was sending supplies to "French-Irish".203
It was with the collapse of the French Directory in 1799 (which was in serious trouble from June), that Hamburg yielded to English demands, and at midnight on 29 Sep 1799 the four prisoners were taken on board an English man-of-war and transferred to Sittingbourne and thence to Newgate. "A great concourse of people awaited their arrival."50
Documentation in the French National Archives shows the concern of the Directory - and specifically Reinhard a Gohier, President du Directoire in its last days, Oct 1799 - at Napper Tandy's arrest and extradition.205 Bonaparte, newly returned from his ill-fated Egyptian adventure, would soon take up the matter. On 15 Oct, just days after landing, he declared war on Hamburg on account of Tandy's arrest.94Smarting from his reverses in the Middle East, is it possible he now regretted not lending the Irish patriots greater support when they sought it?
Transferred to Dublin, Tandy was brought to trial on 12 Feb 1800 "on a charge of having incurred the penalty of high treason by failing to surrender at the time appointed by the act of amnesty. As he was at the time in the custody of the government, and therefore physically unable to surrender, the charge fell to the ground and he was acquitted."50 Tandy was immediately re-arrested, however, and sent to Lifford to answer for his part in the invasion of Rutland Island. Pleading guilty on 7 April, he was convicted and sentenced to be executed on 4 May 1800.
Tandy was saved from execution through the energetic intervention of Napoleon - by now First Consul of the French Republic following the coup d'etat of the 18 Brumaire (9 Nov 1799). The matter turned on the legality of Hamburg's surrendering Tandy and Blackwall to the English. "Lord Grenville was himself not satisfied that international law had not to a certain extent been violated."50 Napoleon demanded from Hamburg a fine of four and a half million francs; and when her magistrates pleaded they'd been left no choice by England, he silenced them saying: "Eh bien! N'aviez-vous pas la ressource des etats faibles? N'etiez-vous pas les maitres de les laisser echapper?"50
Napoleon's treatment of Hamburg has been criticised by Harder, who comments "So musste Hamburg, welches seine Neutraliteit strenge gewahrt hatte, dem freuelhaften Uebermuthe des franzosischen Revolutionhauptlings sich beugen."50
Either way, the British government realised diplomatic difficulties would almost certainly be compounded in the event of Tandy being executed. Cornwallis had suggested - prior to his trial - that in view of Tandy's age and incapacity to do further mischief, "the mode by which he came into our hands", and his subsequent long imprisonment, banishment might be a sufficient sentence. It was a notion the home government approved, and thus it was that Tandy was removed to Wicklow gaol where he remained until after Cornwallis's successor, Lord Hardwicke, came to Ireland in 1801. Hardwicke tried to have Tandy transported to Botany Bay. "When a threat on the part of Tandy's son to make public the facts of the case prevented this, repeated attempts were made to save the credit of the government by persuading him to consent to banishment either to America or Portugal."50
Napoleon kept up the pressure for Tandy's release, and ultimately refused to sign the Treaty of Amiens in Mar 1802 unless his demand for Tandy's liberation was complied with.50,199 Thus eventually Tandy was freed unconditionally. It was intimated in the House of Lords, however, that he had been freed in exchange for information - a statement which Tandy promptly stigmatised in the press as a lie.50
James Napper Tandy landed at Bordeaux on 14 Mar 1802, to a public ovation. A banquet was given in his honour and he was raised to the rank of a General of Division in the French army.50
Tandy contracted dysentery the following year and died on 24 Aug 1803. Buried at Bordeaux with full military honours, "his funeral was attended by the whole army in the district and an immense concourse of citizens."50
It is recorded that he remained to the end of his days "a staunch Protestant nothwithstanding his political career".89
There is a tradition that Tandy's remains were exhumed and brought to Ireland. The Revd J.B. Leslie records that "Mr R. Baile, Seabank, informs me that during the lifetime of the late Rev R. le Poer M'Clintock, Rector of the Parish [Castlebellingham], he remembers an old man in the village telling the Rector in his presence, beside this grave, that he remembered the burial of 'James Napper Tandy of '98; that his remains were brought over sea from France to Dunany or Annagassan, that they were buried at dead of night in this grave, and that some dispute arose over an inscription on the stone.' Others have also heard the same tradition."89,233
James Napper Tandy's first cousin once removed, Henrietta Peter, caused a life size statue of Napoleon to be erected at Kirkland House, Fife. (Tone complained in Paris that Napper Tandy "put on airs" with Napoleon, who believed Tandy to be "an old officer" and man of great property). A descendant of the Peter family in Fife said a jewelled sword had been given to Napper Tandy by Napoleon and that this was in the collections of the British Museum. Details as yet unconfirmed.14
Tandy's widow was buried at the Julianstown Church, some six miles south of Drogheda, where an inscription reads: "To the memory of Mrs Ann Tandy died 25 Dec 1820 widow of James Napper Tandy Irish Patriot and General French Army This stone was erected by their son James Napper Tandy whose youthful son was buried here with Thomas Cannon..."240
PRONI and other references on James Napper Tandy not yet consulted include:65
PRONI T.759/1 1792 Extract/Rebellion papers;
PRONI D.3554/1 1898 Portrait Print/Weekly Freeman and National Press;
PRONI T.765B Drennan letters;
PRONI Personal Names Index "surname Tandy appears several times".
Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres: Correspondance Politique: Angelterre Cote 593 (Paris).
Sources cited in the article in Dictionary of National Biography.
Known portraits of James Napper Tandy are:
1. As an officer of the Volunteers at the 1779 Dublin rally, painted by Francis Wheatley (Tandy under red flag on the left).206
2. An engraving by J. Heath from a drawing by J. Petrie in the possession of Sir Jonah Barrington. This appeared as a print opposite page 185 in Barrington's Historic memoirs of Ireland (1835).14
3. As a member of a group of "United Irish Patriots of 1798" painted in 1898 to commemorate the 1798 rebellion. It is evident that the likeness of Tandy is based on the Petrie/Heath portrait.206
4. A statue of James Napper Tandy is reputed to exist in the village of Knockbridge, Co Louth, and was photographed there by an American Catholic priest.76 The photograph was given to the grandmother of W.S. Tandy of Texas in 1968. A local Knockbridge historian, Pat O'Neill, claims no knowledge of such a statue.99 Attempts to verify its existence through a Family Tree Magazine enquiry have been fruitless.
||Herbert Vigne of Greyton and of British Kaffraria
This is an extract from Morris, D. 2000. Notes on the Vigne family. Herbert Vigne was the ninth child of Henry Vigne of London, who accompanied his brother to the Cape in 1844. He was the founder of the singular village of Greyton in the Cape, and fulfilled an equally unique role as a maverick magistrate amidst the turmoil of the eastern frontier.
26:9 Herbert Vigne,1,6,27,39 9th child of Henry Vigne of London, who emigrated to the Cape in 1844 with his elder brother Henry Thomas Vigne, m about 18635 probably at Caledon, Elizabeth Belshaw,1daughter of James and Ellen Belshaw, residents of Greyton,18 and immigrants from Liverpool.10There is a photograph of the couple in Edward Peter's album.149
It has been said of Herbert Vigne that "there is no doubt that he was a most able and characterful man and in many ways far ahead of his time".11 If his "dubious amorous adventures" caused him to be branded the "black sheep of the family",11 his witness for justice and human rights in the eastern frontier19 was quite exceptional in an era of colonial conquest, and his recognition of the rights of indigenous people to land within the colony, and the opportunity he provided for them to exercise those rights,18 was at odds with the accepted attitudes of the day.
Herbert Vigne and the establishment of Greyton
Herbert Vigne left Tyger Hoek to settle further up the Zonder End valley, on the farm Bosjesmans Kloof (1846), later called Weltevreden.10,18 H.T. Vigne's daughter Edith Susan Vigne recorded in 1869 that "Uncle Herbert Vigne came with Papa, meaning to set up in farming together - however they could not agree even to buying this place [Tyger Hoek], and..."39 The remainder of this document is missing, but its tone certainly implies something of a fall-out between the brothers.10,11,39 Establishing himself at Bosjesmans Kloof/Weltevreden, this was the property which Herbert Vigne subdivided, in 1854, in a pioneering freehold urban development scheme to which he gave the name Greyton (after his brother-in-law, Cape Governor Sir George Grey). If Herbert Vigne had had disagreements with his elder brother, his rather idiosyncratic social and political views and interaction at this period, in "a decade of unsettlement," as Burrows puts it, still further "clouded his career."10
In 1849 and again in 1855 the superintendent at the nearby Genadendal Mission indicated to Sir George Grey that if a magistrate was to be appointed over the mission, Herbert Vigne would not be a suitable candidate. He cited Vigne's "unsatisfactory moral character and conduct, namely that he had had an illegitimate family by a woman of the Institute, and his cohabiting with her is publicly known".10,15,68
There may have been a political dimension to this unsuitability as well. A petition had been submitted in 1849 in which farmers drew attention to "the withdrawal of so many thousands of farm labourers from permanent service on farms to reside in idleness and unproductive habits at the numerous missionary institutions throughout the Colony." They objected to "the mischievous effect of missionary interference with temporal affairs, affecting...agricultural interests especially".20 Vigne was at the time a field cornet and displeased the missionaries by replacing a local Genadendal policeman with a white policeman under his supervision.18
Not that the Vignes' views necessarily meshed with those of the local farming fraternity in all matters. When Henry Thomas Vigne (Herbert's elder brother) stood for election here in the early 1850s he promised to advocate the cause of the Genadendal Mission and its inhabitants.18 (The balance of voters in each of the field cornetcies and missionary institutions was in fact such that gaining mission support was vital: a friend of H.T. Vigne's pointed out to him that "if every white voter was ranged on one side and every coloured one on the other, the coloured voters have it"68). This evidently dented his reputation amongst at least some fellow farmers. The voters of Genadendal gave him 3913 votes18 pivotal to his victory: "another candidate who tried to gain [Genadendal] support by offering brandy received only one vote".18 In a fit of pique, one farmer expelled eight families from his property for having voted for Vigne. H.T. Vigne, for his part, "in spite of opposition...did support the interests of the Mission".18
In 1848 Robert Gray, newly enthroned Bishop of Cape Town, visited Genadendal. He approved the work done by the Moravian Missions, but disagreed with their policy on the control of land. Significantly, Robinson18 suggests, "Gray believed that the inhabitants should have their own property and that the establishments should be seen as villages rather than as mission stations".18 The Anglican mission at Abbotsdale founded in 1858 was established on these principles. And "when Herbert Vigne... marketed his land in 1854," Robinson argues, "he was also conforming to this pattern which was in line with the liberal models of British Reformist politics of the time".18
It is possible, as Robinson points out, that the Vignes were simply manipulating prevailing economic and political trends to their own advantage, but:
"the kind of paternalism which informed their actions was somewhat at odds with the accepted attitudes and relationships between the local farmers and the other inhabitants of the area. The idea that the indigenous population had some rights to ownership of the land on which they had lived for many years, was not acceptable to many of the local farmers, who were expanding their properties and acquiring as much land as possible at this time".18
Indeed, a decade before, moves were made to make small grants of land to those Khoi "whose industry and good conduct has enabled them to acquire a certain amount of property in cattle and sheep," but the official response was clear. In Nov 1837 Governor Napier wrote to Glenelg:
"I am much disposed to question the expedience of the policy of settling Hottentots on land of their own...The most desirable result would be that they would be induced to work for wages as free labourers. Whatever tends to counteract that object seems to me inadvisable, with a view to the interests of all classes."51
In the mission context, indigenous land rights had been contended at Genadendal where one inhabitant concluded the land belonged by rights to the Khoi and claimed captaincy over the settlement - but the estate was granted to the Mission, the land to be held in trust, and the issue of freehold rights for residents held in abeyance.18 When Herbert Vigne began to make freehold land available on his farm, adjacent to Genadendal, which he did "without regard for colour",18 he must not only have fulfilled some of the requirements of some mission residents; he was also embarking on a scheme that was novel, to say the least. But was he simply exploiting an existing need and opportunity to his own material benefit? A capital gain he was certainly making. But, Robinson suggests, in establishing the village, by which he sacrificed his large estate and farming lifestyle for a small plot in a community of small farmers, "he may also have been satisfying some personal goal and even indulging in what today is called 'social engineering'".18 Given the evidence that "he had had an illegitimate family by a woman of the [Genadendal] Institute" and that his "cohabiting with her was publicly known",10,15 Vigne may indeed have had "some personal goal" other than the mere pursuance of an economic end. That he, further, envisioned some model social order here is suggested by the carefully ordered lay-out that was planned for the village and commonage, and the provisions contained in the transfer documents.18 Whether Vigne had any particular philosophical motivation in mind - apart perhaps from ideas Bishop Gray might have mentioned - we do not know. His family in England was variously connected with reformist causes. It was also at this period that Ruskin was developing his social critique which so stirred William Morris and others, and it is not impossible that Herbert Vigne was familiar with the kinds of arguments intellectuals like Ruskin were beginning to express. In the early 1850s Ruskin made penetrating observations on the division of labour, the effects of which would only have been exaggerated in the colonial context - and were in fact being forced by the kinds of policies that Napier advocated51 (see above). Ruskin remarked that:
"We have much studied, and much perfected, of late, the great civilized invention of the division of labour; only we give it a false name. It is not truly speaking, the labour that is divided; but the men."21
Further on Ruskin wrote:
"We are always in these days endeavouring to separate [manual and intellectual labour]; we want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working, and we call one a gentleman and the other an operative; whereas the workman ought often to be thinking, and thinker often to be working, and both should be gentlemen, in the best sense. As it is, we make both ungentle, the one envying, the other despising, his brother; and the mass of society is made up of morbid thinkers, and miserable workers... It would be well if all of us were good handicraftsmen in some kind, and the dishonour of manual labour done away with altogether... In each several profession, no master should be too proud to do its hardest work. The painter should grind his own colours; the architect work in the mason's yard with his men; the master-manufacturer be himself a more skilled operative than any man in his mills; and the distinction between one man and another be only in experience and skill, and the authority and wealth which these must naturally and justly obtain."21
Whatever Herbert Vigne's motivation in the creation of Greyton, he went about it in a most business- like manner. J.G. Reitz, a Senior Surveyor, was engaged to lay it out, and William Smith of Caledon acted as Conveyancer. It seems likely that Vigne himself had a hand in the planning and design of the village which, seen in conjunction with the provisions of the transfer documents, presupposes the need, throughout, for larger plots than would have been required just for a dwelling-house.18 "The limitation of growth implicit in the preservation of the surrounding commonage suggests an ecological awareness and an intention to provide for a self-supporting agricultural community".18 With plots then being made available "without regard to colour",18 it was effectively a model village for small- scale land-owning agricultural labourers in a era when class and labour distinctions, cleaving along racial lines, were already well entrenched. In the middle of the nineteenth century Khoi or freed slave farm workers, newly "emancipated", were becoming a landless proletariat dependent on employment by a white land-owning commercial agricultural sector.51 The flight of the former to the mission stations, as one response to this process, had already fueled grievances amongst farmers who (see above) petitioned the government over "missionary interference with temporal affairs, affecting...agricultural interests especially".
Vigne's own residence, called "The Bush", was situated at the end of the village nearest Genadendal.
"The erven were arranged around "The Bush" rather in the manner of a feudal estate with smaller plots abutting directly onto the home farm, while the larger agricultural erven fanned out along the hillside and on either side of the curving road, originally known as the Crescent. These plots gave the village a characteristic formation and were irrigated by an ingenious lei-water system which ran along the upper end of the sloping plots of the Crescent and then wandered down to the home farm and the other end of the village. It is clearly marked on the original map of Greyton Village and is still used today by the residents."18
The sale was advertised in the news sheets of the day and "must have attracted buyers from beyond the immediate district and nearby Genadendal".18 On 27 Nov 1854, according to the day-book at Genadendal, 165 erven were sold.
"The farm will receive the name Greyton. 400 erwe have been marked out. Various inhabitants of Genadendal also purchased erwe. On the 5 Dec the new Governor, Sir George Grey arrives. A God- fearing man who supports the Mission".22
Disposal of land was carried on by Vigne in batches of twenty or thirty plots over the next forty years, until he died in 1895; and after his death his heirs continued the process until about 1910.18 Just as "various inhabitants of Genadendal" had purchased land there at the outset, land continued to be sold and rented to people, throughout this period, on a non-racial basis. Robinson found through examination of Deeds Office records that, remarkably, "this process continued uninterrupted until the implementation of the Group Areas Act in Greyton in 1969."18
Herbert Vigne in British Kaffraria
The views of Sir George Grey towards his brother-in-law with his pioneering scheme are, as Burrows says, not known; nor the reason why he appointed Herbert Vigne as magistrate in British Kaffraria in November 185510,19 - but there are a few clues. Posted to be with Phatho and Jali, Vigne was the only one of Grey's appointees who was not a military officer. There are two possibilities. One is that it was perhaps intended and hoped that Herbert Vigne's unusual village experiment might be tried further to the east as a means of transforming a volatile frontier (unlikely? There ought to be some documentation to support or dismiss this possibility: we do know from Peires that Vigne tried to encourage cultivation19). The other possibility is that when Vigne's "unsatisfactory moral character and conduct"15 came to light, moves were already advanced in his appointment as a magistrate. There is some hint that Herbert Vigne, already a Justice of the Peace, was actively seeking higher office as magistrate over Genadendal - the naming of Greyton in honour of the new Governor was one sure way of gaining favour. A friend of H.T. Vigne's scrawled a note in circa 1854 saying:
"I am sorry to find that there is a chance of having a certain JP at Genadendal with new powers...I think I owe it to you to mention in confidence...touching the affair of the maidens...I heard a hint that they [the institution] will bring it out officially if he is appointed, showing it directly to the Governor and ask whether under the circumstances he is a proper person to be appointed as magistrate in a religious institution with his establishment [Greyton?] under their nose! Now suppose he is appointed and the thing comes officially out after! Would it not be likely that Sir G.G. would ask you why you did not keep him out of the scrape by telling him in time! And whether you could tell him in time will be a very delicate question for you to decide upon. If Sir G. already knows, or should know of it before the appt. - why then you should be wholly clear without your ever mentioning it to him. Perhaps he may have heard it from the fathers [missionaries?] themselves..."68
We have already seen that the mission did raise an objection to Herbert Vigne's possible appointment at Genadendal.10,15 Perhaps this was a scenario leading to a post in British Kaffraria being offered instead.
What is known is that once he was in British Kaffraria Phatho drove Vigne "close to despair" - the chief's people mocked him to his face, and Vigne's efforts to encourage cultivation were in vain.19However, Phatho was eventually won over, and it was doubtless partly by virtue of Vigne's sense of justice: he appears not to have harboured the racial prejudices and callousness the Xhosa would, by all accounts, have seen in most of his peers.
Vigne had, indeed, embarked on a campaign all his own, it seems, to document colonial wrongs in the frontier. He began with a subversive listing of homesteads "robbed and burnt by the police of Major Gawler" - and a man robbed "even of his blanket". A month and a half later, with mounting unease, he threatended to resign: "these acts...are in my opinion defeating justice," he wrote, "and degrading the office of magistrate into one I have no wish to fulfill the duties of...things are daily happening that I neither have conscience nor inclination for".19
Peires describes how Vigne was eventually working counter to the designs of the frontier colonial administrators, who sought to bend the courts to the cause of conquest. As Peires writes:
"no-one anticipated that one of Grey's courts might find the chiefs innocent...Grey's entire plan for the settlement of whites in British Kaffraria depended on getting Phatho out of the way. The chief was accordingly charged [in a theft case] with being an accessory after the fact. But another unexpected obstacle raised its head in the form of Magistrate Vigne. No-one had suffered more at Phatho's hands than Vigne, who had been systematically blocked, tricked, deceived and made to appear a fool in the eyes of his fellow magistrates. But for all that, Vigne could not swallow the worst excesses of drumhead law. He had objected to some of the practices of Gawler's police, and on one occasion he had even declined to issue a sufficiently strong statement against four Xhosa whom Maclean badly wanted to transport on suspicion alone. At Phatho's trial he let slip some information in evidence which showed quite clearly that Phatho and Mpafa had not realised that the horses in question were stolen. Even the special court was left with no option but to equit the two chiefs. Maclean was furious and ordered a retrial...Grey insisted on the guilty verdict."19
Nor did Vigne let up. When clearing and resettlement was ordered in March 1858, Vigne protested on behalf of certain old men who "if removed from their homes will starve".19 In London, "none of Sir George Grey's harsh and brutal measures with regard to the Xhosa raised an official eyebrow...Forced labour, arbitrary court martial, unprovoked invasion and land theft on an unprecedented scale...were greeted by the Colonial Office with polite applause, as the apt and just measures of a man [Grey] who truly understood the native mind".19
Vigne was moved to another post, namely Commissioner of the Crown Reserve,10,19 and it was at this period that he ultimately fell from grace on account of "relationships" with a daughter and a granddaughter of chiefs captive on Robben Island (probably Stokwe and Phatho).19 Given the circumstances it is difficult to assess references to these relationships, in colonial administrative documentation, as "polygamy". Whatever the truth, Herbert Vigne was promptly retired.
Vigne returned to the village he had founded, where he was to spend the remaining forty years of his life. There he met Elizabeth, the daughter of James and Ellen Belshaw, immigrants from Liverpool, who had bought a Greyton plot.10 Elizabeth, or Lizzie, caught his eye and soon they were married. She bore him the family acknowledged in their respective death certificates.3,4
In May 1881 Herbert Vigne was nominated and appointed, per will, as one of the joint executors of his brother's estate. Henry Thomas Vigne died 4 Nov 1881.45
Scandal, within the family, once more appears to have broken around Herbert Vigne's head, in 1888, when his brother Felix Vigne altered the terms of his Will (codicil dated 24 Mar 1888).30 It appears that at about this time Herbert's wife had taken to writing to Felix Vigne in London "without her husband's knowledge," and whatever was being communicated had Felix "working himself into a state".67 Frances Helen Vigne wrote to Susan Vigne at Tyger Hoek, following receipt of letters from Fanny (Frances Jane Vinge), that "it was only right that he [Felix] should know the truth about Uncle Herbert's wife". The details are unknown. However, this is also the year in which the Parish Church of Caledon records the baptism of a child of Herbert Vigne, namely Robert Austen Vigne, by one Jane Louise (no surname given).2 This child is not listed amongst the legitimate family in Herbert Vigne's death certificate, and may well have been the reason for Felix setting up a trust in Railway Shares for Herbert Vigne's children.
Liz Crossley: THIS WAS A CITYWilliam Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, 4 March 2004Opening speech by David MorrisLiz Crossley, who is Kimberley-born but has lived in Europe for three decades, nearly two of them in Berlin, returns to Kimberley, with these works, this exhibition and installation, and the associated events, and in a sense she knows this place for the first time. In making this statement I allude to T.S. Eliot's great poem about human experience and renewal, entitled Little Gidding, which suggests that: We shall not cease from explorationAnd the end of all our exploringWill be to arrive where we startedAnd know the place for the first time. The arriving back has been a process begun in the early 1990s when Liz, with her husband Jenz-Peter, sought to reconnect with the land and the place of her birth and her early life. The landscapes and history of Kimberley and of South Africa have since infused and informed her work in Berlin (as can be seen here this evening); and now, for a time, her work is brought to be part of Kimberley's landscape, at this gallery. I am personally grateful to have known Liz since 1992, which was when the San rock engravings of this region (which happen to be my professional interest) seized her attention as part of her re-linking with Kimberley and South Africa. She has since visited the museum, and local sites, many times, and we have kept up a conversation and a flow of ideas, stepping, literally and figuratively, over much ground. My work on rock art and much else has been enriched immeasurably by this thinking and re-thinking especially around landscapes and places, and people within them. There is nothing new, of course, in landscapes infusing an artist's work, but what art critics have remarked upon in Liz's treatment of landscape is that it resists romaniticisation and, in Ingeborg Ruthe's phrase, it provides "no anchorage for sentimentality". It is obvious at first sight that her art expresses a totally different attitude and relationship towards the land than is commonly encountered in the more or less objective purview of the prevailing western art tradition (if I may be allowed to stereotype for a moment). Her mode of presentation itself challenges the conventions of exhibitions, the way we tend to hang art, in a gallery, in steady relation to the bodies that move through, viewing it. Again I would be setting up a straw man if I suggested that we tend to see the gallery walls as a neutral background against which each painting, in its frame, speaks entirely of and for itself, whereas in fact the bringing together of works within these spaces can and does routinely set up stimulating dialogues. However, Liz Crossley's mode of presentation does not simply stand still; it unsettles the comfortable view of galleries being mere background or stage - and this is precisely also her attitude towards the land and landscapes. Her art is concerned not exclusively with products, but centrally also with processes, and her installations and uses of gallery and outside spaces become events into which she also draws other people and other creative forces. The surroundings become implicated, both physically and socially, the exhibition is open-ended, even unpredictable, and in a sense the artwork is active and never entirely complete - or repeatable - in the conventional view of the art product. Liz Crossley develops certain quite specific threads in her work, but she is also eclectic in drawing in a multi-disciplinary and cross cultural mix - it was not for nothing that she was once described as Cross-Cultural Crossley. Part of this mix, also of different media, is her clever use of texts to help us get walking along the same path, if not in step - and indeed to make our own texts and so be caught up as participants and fellow explorers of the issues she raises. Amongst the key subtexts to her work is the ancient Khoe-San legend of the moon and the hare, and her interpretation of the hare as artist and subjective communicator; the communicator who does not necessarily always get it right. The hare is fallible, as are people. We live in a world where the demand for instant certainty is all around us - a desire and expectation which Bertrand Russell once described as an intellectual vice. Liz Crossley's recognition of subjective fallibility is important, whatever the quest, be it art, history or even science. History is another of the pervasive themes in Liz Crossley's work. Along with the legend of the hare, she uses it as a vehicle for working through and rethinking her feelings of ambivalence as a white South African, a global citizen, and a human being. History is only apparently contradicted in one of her drawings which is accompanied by a Joyce Grenfell quote, that "There is no such thing as time - only this very minute and I'm in it. Thank the Lord." Because, even though history is about the past and based on surviving traces of the past, one should always be aware that the history narratives we construct are thought up in the present, written in the present, displayed in the present - indeed in this very minute. Relevant here are those thoughts cited in Liz's invitation, for instance about landscapes being "the most solid appearance in which a history can declare itself. It is not background, nor is it a stage - there it is, the past in the present, constantly changing and renewing itself as the present rewrites the past". And so indeed Liz Crossley links history into landscape, and it is apposite that Ingeborg Ruthe uses an archaeological metaphor when she says "Liz Crossley digs herself into and through the land of her childhood": because history is not just written records, nor just oral history and memories, but also material traces and impressions on the land. Not ceasing from exploration, her recent works draw us ever onward in their imagery, searching, walking, sometimes running, figures listening to the earth, even crawling on all fours, turning the earth, in a search ultimately for meaning. Many of these images raise critical questions around exploitation - in the Kimberley setting, around the pursuit of wealth where we have left wounds and scars on the landscape by mining; and she alludes to the demands of early mining on fuel resources, specifically wood. Almost aerial views show the land scratched across by fences.
While fleeing and surviving have been themes of older works, some of the newest images here show feet emphatically planted and at rest, with reference to the words of Martin Luther that "Here I stand. I can no other". And so these images convey meanings and truths borne of personal and historical experience that are, in various ways, socially significant. Liz Crossley has written of her own "stubborn belief in the power of small daily acts and statements which push the process of developing a decent world forward centimetre by centimetre". These messages are relevant in Kimberley and in South Africa, but what is specially interesting is the way she has taken the ideas into a German situation. The art historian Irene Below has written of the way Liz Crossley has thereby pioneered, in some senses, the insertion of South African issues into European contexts - matters such as race and identity construction, poverty, and issues around migrants and refugees. The fall of the wall and the advent of democracy here make for certain parallels. The evidence of this cross-cultural and south-north interaction is to be seen in some of the installations here this evening. Liz Crossley has in addition set up cultural exchange programmes involving young or developing artists from these respective countries. She actively pursues opportunities for spin-offs and interaction. For instance, right now, and linking into this exhibition, there is an oral history project, called Remembering Malay Camp, being run jointly with the McGregor Museum and with community members such as Mr Mallett. This gallery is of course on the site of part of the Malay Camp which was once home to many Kimberley residents. Our memories are our history. The Museum Mobile Unit will be stationed here and elsewhere at various times in the next few weeks, with a professional oral historian - so anyone who has memories of Malay Camp, please do share them. Watch out for special signs on times and places: Malay Camp signs and history signs that form adjuncts to this exhibition. For all of this, and for the proceedings that will follow, to Liz Crossley, we say Fielen Dank! Ke a leboga! In declaring this exhibition open, let us not cease from exploration; and through our exploring arrive, and know our place anew. David MorrisWilliam Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, 4 March 2004
Welcome and Bidding: 60th anniversary of VE Day: St Cyprian’s Cathedral, Kimberley, 8 May 2005.
This day sixty years ago, the 8th of May 1945, the bells rang out their victory peels the world over. The war in Europe was at an end. For people everywhere peace, at last, was near at hand. Nobody had been entirely free of the impacts and repercussions of that war. The world war was not yet completely over - the bringing of Japan to its knees in the dreadful events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki would follow a few months later. But in Europe the horrendous deeds and intentions of Nazi Fascism - showing to humanity a mirror of some of our darkest capabilities - were finally stopped in their tracks.
30 million plus were dead, more civilians than military; millions more were maimed, physically and spiritually. Military onslaughts and bombings destroyed cities and countryside; genocide, and the awful other consequences of war, soon to include radiation sickness, exterminated innocent people on an unprecedented scale.
But peace, at last, was being restored, and reconciliation and reconstruction of a broken world begun. In some cases the mending of relationships between people and nations is still in progress.
Alas, it was not the last of all wars, of struggles for, or to defend, freedom, or against oppression. New wars rage on today. Our world has not yet left genocide behind.
We cannot glorify war.
Yet in the midst of war, men and women, in extreme circumstances, discerned and stood for truth and what was good, and acted accordingly: we commemorate them and all the individual and collective triumphs that were achieved over evil. We remember those very many whose sacrifice was supreme; and the innocent victims on all sides.
Sixty years on, we gather in thanksgiving for the war’s ending. We give thanks for that restoration of peace.
We pray that we should always privilege reconciliation, with hope and trust in God.
+ + +
On behalf of the Dean of Kimberley and of the Cathedral Church of St Cyprian the Martyr, we greet you and welcome you to this service.
We welcome particularly all dignitaries: the Officers Commanding, Kimberley military units; the Chairmen of the different veterans’ organizations in Kimberley; the veterans who are with us; and all others joining in this commemoration.