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This rare Boere document dates back to the Transvaal Republic in 1890. Officially signed by State President Kruger it apparantly allows a convicted prisoner to be transferred to a prison at Barberton. Possibly he was a British miner and as Barberton was an important mining area for gold and platinum, he may have been re-located for his family to visit ? I am hoping that one of our members may have a knowledge of High Dutch - the official language for documents of the Boere Republic.

Kruger signed in 1890, but interestingly, further notations have been made-up to 1895 - rather like his official file. There are very few official documents in circulation and I think this one - with it's various signatures is possibly, important.

Originally set-up in the 1850's the South African Republic was taken over in 1877 by a Force of 23 Natal Mounted Police - without a shot being fired. However, all was not well and in 1881 the Boeres staged a revolt against British rule. To our great surprise we were defeated in a number of battles and as part of the peace negotiations the Republic was restored. Paul Kruger became Stats President in 1883.

We were content to allow a status quo - at least until gold and then diamonds were discovered. The greed of Cecil Rhodes - and his backers -directly led to the Boer War of 1899 - 1902.

I will post some close-ups of the document and will hope we can find out a little more about content.

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What an interesting document.

A rough translation of the content:

The State President of the South African Republic hereby gives authorisation for the prisoner James Griffin, currently in the prison at Steynsdorp, to be transferred from Steynsdorp to the South Cape goldfields, to serve ten years imprisonment with hard labour in the Barberton prison, to which he was sentenced by the Circuit Court at Vryheid on the 20th of April 1889, for the crime of shopbreaking and robbery.

Given under my hand and the Seal of the South African Republic on this nineteenth February 1890 at the Government Offices in Pretoria.

(Sgd) W.J. Leyds - State Secretary

(Sgd) S.J.P. Kruger - State President

Received 4 March 1890

S.M. Meesters(?)

Chief Constable and Gaoler

Released by telegram from the State Secretary dd 11.4.95

(Sgd) A. de Waal - Acting Special Magistrate 12.4.95

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Arthur - thankyou for your help - the document is as important as I thought. Like a looking glass to go back 119 years and see how justice was adminstered so effectively by a now defunct Government. I hope other members will find it as interesting...

Mervyn

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:Cat-Scratch: Would the President of the Republic in those simpler (if not happier) days have been involved in EVERY criminal sentencing case-- or is this what was the equivalent of an appeal to the Supreme Court-- a final appeal to the highest level?

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Rick - I would like someone more versed in the ways of the Z.A.R. to answer your question. My feelings would be that an appeal would have been made direct to the President and this was the result.

Or, seeing that they mention Goldfields - perhaps he was needed to work in the mines ?

Edited by Mervyn Mitton

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