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Frederick Robert Moor and native affairs in the colony of Natal, 1893 to 1903.

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This dissertation is concerned with the public life of Frederick Robert Moor during the period 1893 to 1903. Moor served as Secretary for Native Affairs during the first ten years of responsible government in Natal in the ministries of Sir John Robinson (1893 - 1897), Harry Escombe (1897) and Alfred Hime (1899 - 1903). His policy towards the Africans and his handling of specific issues that faced the Native Affairs Department are examined. This study shows that the political nature of his office and his responsibility to the White electorate influenced his determination of policy and its implementation. Control was the key-note of Moor's policy and continuing in the tradition of the Native Affairs Department he believed that the tribal system and customary law were the best means of effecting this control. He therefore opposed anything that threatened this system such as the system of exemption from customary law which freed Africans from tribal control. This desire to protect the traditional system of government as well as his paternalism explains Moor's reluctance to allow Africans to appeal against the decisions of the lower courts to the higher courts or to permit the employment of lawyers by the Africans in the courts that administered customary law. Moor was opposed to granting the franchise to Africans even though he realised that he, as Secretary for Native Affairs, could not adequately represent their interests. He was also against alienating land in freehold to the Africans. Moor's policy made it impossible for him to find a place in his system for those Africans who wanted to shake off traditionalism and he found it difficult to handle the specific problems faced by them. Moor's location policy was motivated primarily by the desire to control the Africans and this was made more urgent with the spread of the Ethiopian movement. Yet he wished also to improve the Africans ability to support themselves and for this reason he initiated irrigation projects. Moor wanted to bring the mission reserves under the control of the government in the same way as the locations and in achieving this he caused tension between the government and the missionaries. No study of the relations between African and White in colonial Natal can exclude the labour issue. Moor had an individual approach to the labour question but was constantly torn between the demands of the colonists for cheap and abundant labour and his obligations to the Africans. He is revealed as being sympathetic to the position of the Africans. His unwillingness to prevent African labour in Natal from going to the Transvaal and his appOintment of J.S. Marwick to see to the interests of these Africans in the Transvaal were controversial. By 1903 Moor had acquired considerable experience as Secretary for Native Affairs and had formulated his policy. Despite his good intentions his policy succeeded in sowing the seeds of dissatisfaction amongst the Africans. The Africans appreciated his honesty but were critical of his failure to deal with specific issues such as the improvement of their educational facilities. Moor did not have to deal with an uprising in this period but three years after he left office the storm broke over Natal and Moor's responsibility for this is briefly discussed. Moor returned to the government in 1906 as Prime Minister and Minister for Native Affairs but this is outside the scope of this dissertation.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Durban-Westville, 1980.


Moor, Sir Frederick Robert., Customary law--KwaZulu Natal., Blacks--Suffrage--KwaZulu Natal., Blacks--Government policy--KwaZulu Natal., KwaZulu Natal--Politics and government--1893-1910., Theses--History.