The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi/Volume I/Diary (1894)

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Diary (1894)[edit]

Wrote to Jayshanker and Brother3 . Read [Kavya] Dohan. Translated the judgment, etc.

June 23, Saturday

Telegram from Tayob4 saying he would leave Monday.

June 24, Sunday

Went out for a picnic with Abdoolla5 . There [was] some rowdyism there. Received a long letter from Brother discussing Gita. Paul came in the evening. Discussed the condition of the [Indians] with him. He said he would talk to Burn about partnership.

June 25, Monday

2 The text, in Gandhiji's hand, is damaged in many places. Wherever possible words have been supplied in square brackets. In this diary Gandhiji has frequently used abbreviations, such as, `fr' for `from', `w' for `with', `wd' for `would', `rd' for `received', and so on. These have been spelt out. 3 Lakshmidas Gandhi 4 Mahomed Tayob 5 Abdoolla Hajee Adam, President of the Natal Indian Congress 6 Vide "Petition to Natal Assembly", 28-6-1894.

Bill. Read the Gita.

June 26, Tuesday

Received a letter from Tayob. Telegraphed to him "Your letter. Have... God fully. Start today. We shall talk over matter re... settlement document passed between Friggens & Dada... Showed petition to Laughton1 .

June 27, Wednesday

Telegraphed to the Speaker asking whether the [petition was] received although the Bill [had] passed the committee [stage. He] replied it was too late as the [Bill] was to be read at third time. [Requested] the Legislative Assembly to [postpone] the third reading. Sent also telegrams to Escombe2 , Tatham & Hitchins 3 in Abdoolla's name. Sent copies [of] the petition to the editors of Mercury4 & Advertiser5 .

June 28, Thursday

Abdoolla, Rustomji6 , two coolies and myself went to Maritzburg. Saw there Labistour who congratulated me on the petition but could not help in any way although the [prayer] was very just. Saw Escombe & Hitchins who also admitted the justice but could not help. Attended the 3rd reading which was postponed. There were many Indians in the gallery. A man named Neal saw me. Saw Tatham who said he could not do [anyth]ing & that he was... Indians come voting.

June 29, Friday

Left for Durban. Escombe & Hitchins were in the same [compartment.] Escombe said the debate in the second reading [was] the real reason for passing the Bill. The object was to prevent Indians from coming any more. Saw Robinson7 before leaving. [He admitted] the justice but said he did not make any definite promise. Saw... & F. A. Laughton Sir Harry Escombe; Attorney-General; Premier of Natal in 1897. He had pleaded for Gandhiji's admission to the Bar of the Natal Supreme Court. 3 Charles T. Hitchins 4 The Natal Mercury 5 The Natal Advertiser 6 Parsi Rustomji 7 Sir John Robinson, Premier and Colonial Secretary, Natal (1893-7) 2 1

Archibald. They too fully admitted the justice but could do [nothing], the measure being a Government measure.

June 30, Saturday

Paul came to see me being sent for. Told him to go to [England if] possible and in the meantime to work for the Indians & induce them [to give up the] habit of drinking. He seemed to like the proposal being printed in the papers & favourably [commented] upon. Saw Campbell1 . He too admitted the justice of the [prayer. Saw] Escombe. He admitted his former promises but said he had... The utmost he would do would be to see that the firms that had [property] should have votes. Telegraphed to T. & received a reply.

July 1, Sunday

Wrote a long letter to Dr. Stroud; also to Barn De Matalha, [Jennings] & to Tayob. About 100 Indians met. Spoke to them for 45 [minutes]. Exhorted them to talk less & work more, to have [unanimity] & to subscribe. The speech seemed to have made a favourable impression. Paul came and said he was going to work seriously.

July 2, Monday

Bill was read a 3rd time... Drafted... and sent a letter to [Tatham that] the Indians protested against his attitude towards the Indians. Saw Maydon Who... said he was quite willing that a commission should be moved for and that Indians should not be indiscriminately disqualified and also that some of his... Indian electors were six times better than his white electors. Letter from Brother.

July 3, Tuesday

Drafted a petition to the Legislative Council. 2 Telegraphed to Governor [asking him to] appoint time to see. He was in Durban & therefore received the deputation here in Town Hall.3 Drafted a letter [to] the members of both the houses.4 It was printed. Sent the petition to Campbell. Received a letter from Bird1 . Wrote to [him.]

Henry Campbell, advocate and chief agent for the Transvaal British Indian merchants 2 Vide "petition to Natal Legislative Council", 4-7-1894 3 Vide "Deputation to Natal Governor", 3-7-1894 4 Vide "A Circular Letter to Legislators", 1-7-1894. It is, however, dated July 1.

July 4, Wednesday

Received a letter from Bird also [regarding] deputation that waited upon Premier.2 Received a letter from Tayob. Wrote to Bird, [also] to Tayob. Telegraphed to Campbell who [replied that the] petition was presented [but ruled] out of order. Telegraphed again... ered post all the lette[rs to the] members. Translated for Abdoolla.

July 5, Thursday

Received a letter from Campbell as to how petition was ruled out of order. Also a letter from Tatham. Drafted another long petition to Council.3 Sent it with a letter to Campbell. Drafted a letter in reply to Tatham, and sent it.

July 6, Friday

Received a letter from Bird saying petition to Home Government4 may be printed and their original signatures need not be applied to the other two copies. [Wrote to Miabhai] a long letter and also to Brother. Received a letter from Ramsay & the book...

July 7, Saturday

Wrote to The Mercury about the constitution of the Mysore Assembly.5 Sent 10 to Dadabhai6 .

July 8, Sunday

A letter from Jayshanker and one from Ruffe. The educated youths (Indian) about... assembled. I spoke to them for _ hours on political activity, drunkenness and self-respect. They seemed to have been favourably impressed.

July 9, Monday

Began to draft the petition to the Home Government. Paul saw it. Received The Vegetarian containing Mrs. Besant's1 speech on vegetarianism. Wrote to Tayob in reply to his. . .

1 2

C. Bird, Principal Under-Secretary, Colonial Office, Pietermaritzburg Vide "Deputation to Natal Premier", 29-6-1894 3 Vide "Petition to Natal Legislative Council", 6-7-1894 4 Vide "Petition to Lord Ripon", 14-7-1894 5 Vide "The Natal Mercury", 7-7-1894 6 Dadabhai Naoroji

July 10, Tuesday

Finished and sent the petition to the Press. Sent Mrs. Besant's speech to the editor, Mercury with a request to publish it. Sent a petition to the Governor 2 requesting him not to send his dispatch before the Indian petition was received.

July 11, Wednesday

My letter appears in today's Mercury.

July 12, Thursday

Worked at the petition.

July 13, Friday

Wrote to Dadabhai enclosing a copy of the petition to Home Government.

July 14, Saturday

Wrote to Jayshanker. Ramsay's son saw me on Thursday and said he would send 2,000 signatures from Verulam. An article signed Ramnath appeared in The Advertiser against the Indians.

July 15, Sunday

[Paul] sent about 11 Indians to make copies. He works very well and is very attached to me.

July 16, Monday

[Contrary] to my expectations Joosub3 brought 1,500 signatures from Verulam. Letter from Brother and Oldfield 4. Sent the petition to the P.O. but [it] was not accepted being above [weight]. Requested A. to let me go or give a definite reply. He said he would see that all the expenses were paid and also the furniture, expenses, etc. Paul was very anxious that I should stop.

July 17, Tuesday

Sent the petition through the railway agency. Went with A. to see rooms. A spl... room was found for 2-15-0 and a house in Beach Grove for 8. A said it was decided to make me a written request to stop here and that he would make me a present of the furniture, fees for admission and books.

1 2

Annie Besant Vide "Petition to Natal Governor", 10-7-1894 3 Joosub Abdul Karim 4 Dr. Joshua Oldfield, editor of The Vegetarian

July 18, Wednesday

Have not been doing anything in particular for the past few days.

July 19, Thursday

Looked for house A. says I should take his room in Grey Street for 4 per month.

July 20, Friday

Wrote to Ramsay enclosing Mrs. Besant's lecture and letters for Baker & Dr. Stroud & also to Mrs. Hutchinson.

July 21, Saturday

Dr. B. refused to let the house in West St. Gave the account to Abdoolla yesterday. Made translation for Arthur. Went to Umgeni with A. Saw Escombe who said I should take out the licence as advocate. He said also that the Franchise petition having been signed by 8,000 Indians would serve the purpose of the Government. He said the argument about the unfitness of Indians was all twaddle. The only argument was that of policy. He admitted that the Bill was unjust in so [far] as it did not provide for the children of those who were already on the [list] and also for those who had property and whose representatives may come hereafter.

July 22, Sunday

Had been to see Paul. Talked again about England. Advised him to get rid of all useless expenditure. Had been for a walk with A. Received yesterday a letter for Mrs. Lewis1 .

July 23, Monday

Abdoolla received a letter from Baker who says he should be given 5 p.c. of the purchase price instead of 2_ p.c. I drafted a reply to this. Read Nala Damayanti.

July 24, Tuesday

Read Okha Haran. Had a long walk with Dada Sheth2 . Mrs. A. M. Lewis Dada Abdulla of Dada Abdulla & Co., for whose law-suit Gandhiji had initially gone to South Africa 2 1

July 25, Wednesday

Translated the Franchise petitions to Council and Home Government. Wrote a letter to Baker for Abdoolla. Paul came and asked if I would join Coakes and pay a premium. I said I would join but not pay a premium. I told him also that I was preparing to depart and told him that he should not show overanxiety to Coakes.

July 26, Thursday

Told A. that unless everything was settled by next [week] I would understand that I must go. Paul saw me and said Coakes would give a share and not require a premium. Wrote letters to Dadabhai, Sir William Wedderburn, Pincott 1, Caine 2, Echo, [The] Star, Chronicle, [ The ] Times of India, Bombay Gazette, Amrita Bazar Patrika, Gujarati Kaisari Hind, Digby, Chhaganlal3 and India enclosing petitions. Wrote to Portuguese consul for A. Wrote two letters for Moosa Haji Adam. A. said the house in Beach Grove will be let for 6_. Wrote to the Registrar of the Supreme Court inquiring about time for licence.

July 27, Friday

Read Samal Bhatt's poems. Paul came and said Coakes has appointed 10 to 1 to see me tomorrow. Paul wrote to me on behalf of the magistrate asking me to translate a document. I sent him the translation.

July 28, Saturday

Saw Coakes. He seemed to be anxious to enter into partnership. He said he would give 25p. c. for the first six months and 30% for the last six. He seemed to be quite sincere. A postcard from Brother asking me to return soon. Drafted a letter to Baker for A. and also to Sir Donald.

July 29, Sunday

Had a long walk to Umgeni. Read Kavya Dohan. Did not like to read Ras, etc., connected with Krishna. Received a letter from Registrar, Supreme Court, enclosing Supreme Court rules for admission of advocates and attorneys.

1 2

F. Pincott William Sproston Caine 3 Chhaganlal Gandhi

July 30, Monday

Saw Coakes. He was agreeable to paying a 1/3 rd share.

July 31, Tuesday

Received the draft agreement from Coakes. The House in Beach Grove accepted at 6/10.

August 1, Wednesday

Sent the draft agreement with alterations and additions. Discussed with him the alterations. He said he was willing to give me credit for the cases entrusted to me but conducted by him but that it was not usual to put that in a deed of partnership. Wrote to Tayob.

August 2, Thursday

Saw Coakes, gave him a cheque for 30 for fees for advocate's licence and interpreter's.

August 3, Friday

Wrote to Oldfield, Annie Besant, President, L.V.S. 1; also to Kegan Paul, Brother, Mehta, Chhaganlal & Mrs. Lewis. Drafted a letter to Lord Reay for Abdoolla, etc., regarding petition.

August 4, Saturday

Signed the agreement of partnership. Signed the petition. Received a letter from P. Davis saying they would charge 10-10-0 for the Natal laws. Consequently sent them 10-10-0 cheque from A. by registered post.

August 5, Sunday

Received a letter from Baker enclosing 5 introduction letters. Wrote to Baker and to Purshottam Desai. Drafted for A. a letter to Baker. Began Urdu. Finished the alphabet.

August 6, Monday

Could not do much.

August 7, Tuesday

Removed to the house in Beach Grove. The letter of request was presented this evening. Saw Laughton. Talked to him about Theosophy. He said he would give me all the help he could.

London Vegetarian Society

August 8, Wednesday

Many came with the notice of application that Hillier sent out.

August 9, Thursday

Wrote to Dr. Shroud yesterday asking him to send the books. Saw Askew, Voysey Dalton and John Cowey. All were nice, particularly Askew. Coakes has won the application case.

August 10, Friday

Saw Mrs. Baker in the evening. She was cold. A waiter came to see me not by the front door. Wrote a letter for Narayanswami to the Post Master General. He gave 10/- today for making enquiries for him regarding a 5 money order. Heard yesterday from A. that Ruffe is going to oppose my application for interpretership in Hindustani. Drafted a letter from Rustomji to Marshall Campbell. Wrote to Brother, Vora and Juta in Capetown. Enclosed 2 5 Bank of England notes to Vora for law books. Wrote to Livingston a note enclosing anti-vivisection pamphlet by Mehta.

August 11, Saturday

Rustomji & P. Dowjee1 gave each 12. Ruffe dined with me. Attended the Blue Ribbon Meeting. It was a failure. There were recitations not... meeting where Jesus would preside. Ruffe talked about the Hindustani. Wrote to Byrne and Whitaker.

August 12, Sunday

Had a long sleep. Read law. The meeting that was to be held has been postponed.

August 13, Monday

Wrote to Trotter & Chire regarding vegetarianism. Voysey called with a Salvation Army captain. Had a short chat with him. Have invited him to dinner for Friday. Had tea with Askew. His wife seems to be well up in Christian teaching. Both were kind.

August 14, Tuesday

Voysey saw me with a Salvation Army captain. Wrote to Brunton Thomas & Brown about vegetarianism. Had tea with Askew. Both he and his wife were very kind. Dissuaded a Bengalee man from following up another.

P. Dowjee Mahomed

August 15, Wednesday

Met D'hotman. He said he would give all the help he could. Ruffe came and asked for 5. I said that was left to Mr. Coakes & that I was not myself in a position to render any such aid. Received a reply from Trotter.

August 16, Thursday

A letter from Jayshankar from Zanzibar and one from Dr. Stroud. Wrote to Jayshanker. Settled with Yasinkhan. He paid 10/-. The man Ibrahim paid 7/6. Several [licensed] eating-house men came. I told them they will have to pay 50. Wrote a stiff letter to Dawd for not coming. Settled with Khajamiyan.

August 17, Friday

Signed the deed of lease. Received a letter from Baker & from P. Davis & also from Jayshanker. Wrote to Jayshanker Pretoria, to Jayshanker Zanzibar, to Vora asking him to subscribe to the Weekly Times, to Trotter about vegetarianism, to Brother about Harakhchand. Sent tracts to Trotter and a copy of today's Mercury to Dadabhai. The Salvation Army captain dined with me. He had a long chat with me. He however could not persuade me that Christianity was the only true religion. I lent him The New Gospel of Interpretation. He gave me book called All the World.

August 18, Saturday

Received a letter [from] Miss Brunton regarding vegetarianism. Wrote to Mrs. Mary Alling Aber subscribing to a copy of Spirit and making a few remarks on `Souls'. Saw J. A. Polkinghorne. It was a trouble for him to see me. He could not bear my company and wished every moment that I was gone. The situation was extremely embarrassing. I could not possibly leave the moment I met him. It was decided at Abdoolla's that a meeting should be held on Monday and Wednesday.

August 19, Sunday

Was unwell. Advised Abdoolla as to evidence in Ujamshi's case. Translated Abdoolla's affidavit statement and evidence.

August 20, Monday

Letter from Jayshanker. Wrote to him and to Miss Brunton as also to Mr. Spiprian. Sent a copy of The Vegetarian to Miss Brunton. Labistour wanted to see me with regard to my petition. Saw him andhe said I should produce a certificate as to the character of my family. He also suggested that Baker should telegraph as to my fitness. I telegraphed to Baker. Got a certificate from Abdoolla, Haji Dada & Moosa Hajee Adam. Wrote to Labistour sending him certificate and wishing it to be understood that the certificate should not be treated as a precedent for other similar cases.

August 21, Tuesday

A big meeting yesterday where about 100 attended. They accepted my proposals. Wrote to Ruffe and Baker enclosing a cutting from The Vegetarian.

August 22, Wednesday

Coakes dined with me. Talked about the Congress 1. He sympathized but said he would have to consider whether he would identify himself with the movement. There was a big meeting. The hall was well decorated. About 100 men attended. There was much enthusiasm. The meeting was closed at 11.45 p.m.

August 23, Thursday

People came in and paid subscriptions. Askew sent me an invitation to pass Sunday with him.

August 24, Friday

Wrote some letters for Abdoolla. There was a question in the House of Commons with regard to the Franchise. A letter from Ruffe.

August 25, Saturday

Saw Askew yesterday. Paul dined with me last evening. Talked to him very seriously about life and its uses. Bought a suit at Harvey & Greenacre's. Wrote to Dr. Stroud on vegetarianism.

August 26, Sunday

Dada Sheth had breakfast with me. Passed the whole day with Askew. I was introduced to his father-in-law Mr. Watson who is a very kind gentleman. Attended the Wesleyan Church with him. Mrs. Askew is an extremely kind lady. Had a long chat on vegetarianism. In the evening Askew preached in one of the Wesleyan chapels in West St. Received a letter from Ramsay.

The Natal Indian Congress, which was established on August 22, 1894, with Abdoolla Haji Adam as President and Gandhiji as Hon. Secretary

August 27, Monday

Drew up a deed of partnership for Pragji Bhimbhai. Read the rules of the Supreme Court. Also Dadasahib's essays. Coakes has invited me to dine with him tomorrow.

August 28, Tuesday

Askew saw me. Had invited him to dine with me on Thursday. Wrote to Escombe asking him what day would suit him for taking up my application. Wrote to Hoosen Ibrahim.

August 29, Wednesday

Drafted deed of partnership for K. S. Pillay. Finished the minutes of the last meeting. Dined last evening with Coakes. Was introduced to some of his friends.

August 30, Thursday

Received a letter from Hoosen Ibrahim enclosing a cheque for 10 for Dada Abdoolla & Co. A letter to Coakes from Pitcher saying he could not see Escombe and that the Natal Law Society was going to object. Wrote to Hoosen Ibrahim asking him to send 10 more and fees. Wrote to Ruffe. D'hotman saw me. There was a meeting of the Congress. Askew dined with me.

August 31, Friday

Telegram from Escombe saying my application he will move on Monday. Telegraphed to manager Imperial Hotel to keep one room for me.

September 1, Saturday

Left for and reached Maritzburg. M. H. Adam came with me. Later on came Peeran & Doroosamy and in the evening came Rustomjee & Dowd. Telegram from Dada & Coakes in reply to mine.

September 2, Sunday

There was a large meeting. About 41 signed.

September 3, Monday

Was admitted . Had to put off the hat 2. The application for admission as translator withdrawn. Received about 7 telegrams of congratulation. 1 1 2

As advocate to practice in Natal courts To conform to the Court practice; vide Vol. I"Chronology", 1894

September 4, Tuesday

Letters from Dadabhai returning 10, Tayob, Jayshanker and Whitaker, a vegetarian. Wrote to Whitaker sending foods and The Vegetarian. A telegram from Baker.

September 5, Wednesday

Telegraphed to Baker.

September 6, Thursday

Abdoolla came. A sympathetic notice of my admission appears in The Witness and Mercury.

September 7, Friday

There was a meeting yesterday. A European attended the meeting. There was some opposition to Paul being elected as President from Steven. It was afterwards withdrawn. Gopee Maharaj's case came up today. Coakes had charge of it. A letter of congratulation from Steven.

September 8, Saturday

Called on Benningfield. He was not in the office. It rained heavily. It was settled that A. should telegraph from P. if I was required.

September 9, Sunday

The committee meeting of the Congress was held. Dr. Prince came. Letter from Jayshanker.

September 10, Monday

A letter from Mehta. Accepted Deloosea's case For 8-5-0 after telling her that she would lose whether she had an attorney or not. Colondo [sic] Veloo Pillay paid 12.

September 11, Tuesday

Coakes took Deloosea's case and won. She paid 2 more. Gopee Maharaj case was adjourned to Friday. Received a letter from Edward Baxter of Maritzburg asking if I would employ him as clerk for 200. Wrote declining the offer. Ward wrote for a loan of 2. Declined.

September 12, Wednesday

Saw Benningfield. Offered 11 for the law books. Received a letter from Desai inviting me. Wrote declining. Letters from Amod Bhayat, Suleiman & Dawd Mahomed. Wrote to them acknowledging subscriptions sent. Drew up a deed. Received a note from Arthur begging for money. Gabriel came to ask for money too. Read yesterday Digby's India for the Indians and for England.

September 13, Thursday

Drew out a power of attorney for Moosaji Amod.

September 14, Friday

Conducted Dada Abdoolla's case. Had a meeting of the educational association. Gave an address on plain living.

September 15, Saturday

Coakes said the Manager of the A. B. Corporation would give 1 _ p.c. on a fixed deposit for [a] year at least. That he would charge no ledger fees and would make no charge for opening account. Received a letter from Mahomed Essackji with a book for translation. Wrote to [him] saying he should send 1-1-0 for charges. Naran's services have been retained by me. Jeeva at 3 per month.

September 16, Sunday

Saw Askews at their house. Mrs. A did not like me to chat on vegetarianism or Buddhism [for] fear that her children may become contaminated. She questioned my sincerity. said I should not go to their house if I was insincere and not seeking the truth. I said it was not within my power to make her believe that I was sincere and that I had [no] wish to trust myself on her as a companion. I told her also that I did not go to [her] place as a spy to convert her children. Dined with Rustomji in the evening. Mehta [told] the whole story of his wonderful vision. Wrote to Abdulla.

September 17, Monday

Received a letter from Brother, one from Mehta, one from Dadabhai and one from Chhaganlal. Wrote to Brother and Mehta. Wrote to Abdulla.

September 18, Tuesday

Had a very boisterous meeting of the Congress Committee, Ward came in... to speak, was not allowed and so went away threatening to write in the papers.

September 19, Wednesday

Gopee Maharaj case came up today. Got judgment with costs. Sent Baker a clip[ping] from The Advertiser containing an account of McNeill's services. Wrote to Abdul Rahman at...

From the original: S.N. 32320