Preface to "Old Cape Colony"

This is not a history. It is the outcome of work begun entirely for my own pleasure, wherein I collected all the things about the Colony which interested me personally. These were, the history of the oldest farms, and the earliest settlers, Governors, and Company's men who assisted in naming the country, in drawing up its first laws, and in building its gabled houses. Some of the material was incorporated in a Christmas number of the Cape Times of 1898, which I undertook for Mr. Edmund Garrett, then editor. Some of the drawings have been reproduced in a picture book published by Messrs. Batsford, of High Holborn. Some portions of the present book appeared as articles in Country Life, and are reproduced by kind permission.

Calamity falls on houses as well as on people. I learn that to several buildings has come, since I drew them, that worst of fates, " modern improvement." I make no apologies for including the drawings of houses that can never be seen again as they stood a few years ago, or for mentioning obscure persons who have been connected with the old story of the Colony. To the pioneers of a new country we after-comers owe too much to allow their names to be entirely lost.

Very little could I have done without the help given me by Mr. H. C. V. Leibbrandt, Librarian of the Houses of Parliament and keeper of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope. With never-failing kindness he specially translated for me certain passages of the archives and papers about which I asked him, and his sheaf of letters have been my most valuable reference, next to his fascinating Précis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope, published at Cape Town. I have to thank the friends who helped me translate the old Dutch title deeds and got for me local information and stories. Antiquarian and historical authorities in Holland have also been most kind.


August, 1903.