The Lieutenant-Governorship of Andries Stockenstrom

This thesis covers a short but critical and decisive period in South African History — the crowded and fateful years about 1836. These years saw the final act in slave emancipation; large-scale settlement of Boers beyond the Orange; the application to the northern and eastern frontiers of a treaty policy, based on regard for native rights and interests; and finally a revolt against the liberal British policy and a Great Trek of irreconcilables; which turned the story of the Colony into that of South Africa. To the knowledge and understanding of these events and changes I have tried to contribute something by a study of the papers of Lieutenant-Governor Stockenstrom, who was not only closely connected with all of them, but who also differs from most other witnesses in his mental approach to the problems of the Colony and the frontier.

More particularly, however, this thesis treats of the Stockenstrom himself. Of all his periods of administration, none has puzzled some South African historians more, or called forth more unqualified condemnation than the Lieutenant-Governorship.

Theal, for example says: “If it were possible to cut out of his life that portion commencing on the day on which he first appeared before the Committee of the Commons and ending with the day on which he became a baronet, his claim to be regarded as on of the worthiest of South African colonists would be disputed by no one… But during that time a shadow rests upon him, which neither he himself nor any of those who have attempted to give a favourable colour to his conduct has ever been able to remove” (1).

It has been my aim to get to the truth about the actions, views and policies of Stockenstrom during this time.

With that purpose in view, I have approached him with the desire to understand and interpret, rather than to criticise and condemn, I hope that I have succeeded in dispelling at least some of the darkness which hangs around his figure during this time,

Some knowledge of Stockenstrom’s attitude to the various problems during his previous terms of office is necessary to an understanding of this period. With these I have briefly dealt in an introductory chapter, giving more particular attention to the period of Commissioner-Generalship. Where I have thought it necessary I have bridged the gap between these two periods in order to trace developments in Stockenstrom’s views or changes in the colonial situation.

Manuscript material in the Cape Archives has been the chief source of information. Apart from standard works on South African History, my bibliography contains rather more obscure works and pamphlets, usually by contemporary authorities. Stockenstorm’s “Autobiography” has proved very useful, especially in the writing of the introductory chapter. I have been fortunate in finding in the Cape Archives some of his private letters, which, together with the quoted by Prof. Macmillian , have filled in many gaps and thrown a more intimate light on his character and policies.

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Smuts, P (2021). The Lieutenant-Governorship of Andries Stockenstrom. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

Smuts, P.J "The Lieutenant-Governorship of Andries Stockenstrom" Afribary. Afribary, 21 Sep. 2021, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.


Smuts, P.J . "The Lieutenant-Governorship of Andries Stockenstrom". Afribary, Afribary, 21 Sep. 2021. Web. 19 Apr. 2024. < >.


Smuts, P.J . "The Lieutenant-Governorship of Andries Stockenstrom" Afribary (2021). Accessed April 19, 2024.