A circuit court held in 1812 which heard charges brought by missionaries against a number of Cape farmers accused of having ill-treated their black servants.See also circuit court.
[1909C.D. HopeOur Place in Hist. 101The occasion (sc. of circuit courts) was chosen by the friends of the Hottentots to bring accusation of cruelty and ill-treatment against every white man whose servants complained of any grievance. These ‘Black Assizes’ lasted for three years, and far the greater number of cases were proved to be based on false evidence or on foolish exaggeration.]
c1934M. AndrewsStory of S. Afr. 25Two missionaries brought charges of great cruelty and even of murder against a number of farmers...The effect of ‘the Black Circuit,’ as the court of 1812 was called, was to turn the farmers against the missionaries and British methods of administering justice.
1936Cambridge Hist. of Brit. EmpireVIII. 285The first Circuit in 1811 was uneventful...The second, which set out from Cape Town in September 1812, was destined to make history. Expressly charged with the investigation of numerous missionary complaints in addition to several Crown prosecutions, it has become well known as the ‘Black’ Circuit.
1955L. MarquardStory of S. Afr. 111In 1811, circuit courts..were instituted to visit the districts periodically. It was a much-needed reform..but its use by the missionaries in the so-called Black Circuit of 1812 made it unpopular with frontiersmen, who were not accustomed to a legal system that interfered between them and their servants.
1963W.M. MacmillanBantu, Boer & Briton 8Two of the earliest assertions of authority, the Black Circuit of 1812, and the execution of white men for a rebellion at Slagter’s Nek in 1815, are long remembered grievances.
1967E. RosenthalEncycl. of Sn Afr. 62‘Black Circuit,’ Name given by Cape Colonists to a Circuit Court held in 1812...The Black Circuit caused much ill-feeling, and was regarded as a major cause of the Great Trek.
1970Std Encycl. of Sn Afr.II. 352‘Black Circuit,’ Special session of the Circuit Court of the Cape of Good Hope exclusively for the trial of whites who, according to two missionaries of the London Missionary Society, had murdered or maltreated Hottentots.
1973J. MeintjesVoortrekkers 25A Circuit Court was launched in 1811 by Lord Caledon, admirable in intent and non-racial, but soon to become notorious as the Black Circuit.
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