Transcript

Saartjie Baartman on Display
KB 1/36/4, f. 117


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Zachary Macaulay of Birchin Lane London Merchants Thomas Gisborne-Babington of the same place Merchant and Peter Van Wageninge of Water Lane Thames Street London Gentlemen Severally make oath and say and first this Deponent Zachary Macaulay for himself saith that he is Secretary to an Institution called the African Institution the object of which is the civilization of Africa and the said Zachary Macaulay having understood from different public advertisements and otherwise that a native of south Africa denominated the Hottentot Venus of a most extraordinary or unnatural shape was publicly exhibited for Money in Piccadilly he was desirous if possible of learning under what circumstances she came to England and whether she was made a public spectacle with her own free will and consent or whether she was compelled to exhibit herself and was desirous of returning to her own country as the said Institution would be anxious in that case to restore her to her country and friends and therefore this Deponent Zachary Macaulay as Secretary to the said Institution went on Thursday the eleventh day of this present Month of October to Piccadilly in order to see the female in question and having paid two shillings was admitted into the room where she is usually exhibited And this Deponent saith that he found a stage of about two or three feet in height erected at one end of the room upon which the said female was exhibited with a small recess at one end of the said stage into which the said female occasionally retired And this Deponent saith that the said female was cloathed in a dress resembling her complexion which is very dark and her dress was so tight that her shapes above and the enormous size of her posterior parts are as visible as if the said female were naked and the dress is evidently intended to give the appearance of her being undressed And this Deponent further Saith that he entered into conversation with the person who exhibited the said female and made many enquiries respecting her and the Exhibitor informed this Deponent that she was a female of the Hottentot Tribe and that he had brought her from the Cape of Good Hope having obtained her from the Dutch Boors who came from the interior down to the Cape and that he had made an agreement with the Government at the Cape and they had given him permission to take her to this Country And this Deponent saith that upon the Exhibitor informing him that he brought her to England with the consent of the Government at the Cape he was much surprized and said what did Lord Calledon who is Governor at the Cape give permission for her being brought to England and the exhibitor answered that he did and upon being interrogated if Lord Calledons permission was in writing the exhibitor said it was and upon being further asked if Lord Calledon knew that she was brought to this Country to be exhibited he answered Oh! Yes, Yes, upon which this Deponent Being in the habit of corresponding with him and doubting the truth of these assertions stated to the Exhibitor that he wished to see the permission which Lord Calledon had signed for her - being brought to England as he know his hand writing upon which the Exhibitor said what wont you believe my word, I have already told you that he has signed it and I shall give you no further satisfaction a conversation to this effect passed between the Exhibitor and this Deponent at the time aforesaid And this Deponent saith that he proceeded to ask further questions of the said Exhibitor relative to the said female but the Exhibitor excused himself from giving any more information respecting her by saying I do not choose to have so many questions put to me or words to that effect And this Deponent Saith that during the time he remained in the room he paid particular attention to the Conduct and behaviour of the said Exhibitor and also of the said female and he says that the said Exhibitor sometimes would call the said female to him, and when she came would desire her to turn round and would invite the spectators to feel her posterior parts and at other times if she was at a distance from him would desire her to turn round in order that every body might see her extraordinary shape if in the Recess he would call her out for exhibition and in fact she is exhibited to the public in the same manner that any animal of the brute creation would be exhibited And the Deponent saith from the unhappy and dejected countenance of the said female and from the expressive look of disapprobation which she gives when ordered to exhibit herself and from her frequent sighs he considers the said female is unhappy in her situation and that she is under the restraint and controul of her exhibitor and is deprived of her liberty And this Deponent further saith that during the time he was in the room, the Exhibitor gave to the said female a musical Instrument somewhat like a guitar and desired her to play upon it and upon that occasion he particularly observed that the said female by her looks gave evident signs of mortification and misery at her degraded situation in being made a spectacle for the derision of the by standers without the power of resistance And this Deponent further saith that the said African Institution are willing to take the said female under their care and protection and to bear all expenses of restoring her to her Country and friends if they are permitted to do so And these Deponents Peter Van Wageninge and Thomas Gisborne Babington severally say that at the request of the said Zachary Macaulay they went on the fifteenth day of October now instant to see the said female in Piccadilly aforesaid and having paid two shillings each they were admitted into the said room and found her exhibited upon a stage as described by the last Deponent And this Deponent Peter Van Wageninge saith that he is a native of Holland and being informed by the Exhibitor that the said female could speak the Dutch language although not perfectly well, he this Deponent put many question to the said female and amongst others he enquired of her whence she came whether she had any relations whether she was happy and comfortable here and whether she was desirous of returning home, all which questions were asked in the language in which the exhibitor spoke to the said female but the said female would not answer any of such questions And both these Deponents Peter Van Wageninge and Thomas Gisborne Babington say they remained in the room with the said female with many other spectators, for nearly an hour and during that time she never spoke but the Exhibitor frequently desired her either to come out of the little recess into which she occasionally walks from off the said stage and to come to him or if she was upon the stage to turn herself round for public exhibition and when he gave these commands it was in the Dutch Language and he gave them in the same manner as he would to any of the brute creation - If she was in the little recess his order was "come out", if upon the stage "come here" or "turn round" just as he might wish and the said female obeyed the orders in the same manner that animals of the brute creation obey similar commands - that whilst these Deponents were present they heard the said female utter several deep sighs evidently as from a being whose mind is distressed and which her countenance strongly shows her to be And these Deponents Peter Van Wageninge and Thomas Gisborne Babington say that the said female is called by the exhibitor toward the persons standing round the stage and they are invited to feel her posterior parts to satisfy themselves that no act is practiced And these Deponents Peter Van Wageninge and Thomas Gisborne Babington do verily believe from the dejected appearance of the said female and from the obedience which she pays to the commands of her exhibitor that she is compleatly under restraint and control and is deprived of her liberty And these Deponents further severally say that during the time they were present the said female at one time appeared very morose and sullen and retired into the little recess off the stage and appered unwilling to come out again when called by the Exhibitor and the Exhibitor felt it necessary on that occasion to let down a curtain which when drawn separates the stage and little recess from the other part of the room And this Deponent Thomas Gisborne Babington saith that the Exhibitor after the curtain was let down looked behind it and held up and shook his hand at her but without speaking and he soon afterward drew up the Curtain and again called her out to public view and she came forward again upon the stage And these Deponents severally say they are informed and believe that the said females' name is Saartgee and that the name of the person who has the possession of her is Henrick Cesar
[3 signatures]
Zachary Macaulay
Tho[ma]s Gisborne Babington
P[eter} van Wageninge
Sworn at my chambers in Serjeantes Inn Chancery Lane London this day of October one thousand eight hundred and ten
Before me
Sworn by the above named Deponents Zachary Macaulay Thomas Gisborne Babington and Peter van Wageninge at my chambers in Serjeants Inn Chancery Lane London this seventeenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and ten
L. Le Blanc


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