"The past week will long be memorable amongst Anglo Natalians. At last, after the discussion of years and the extinction of hopes innumerable, the planters' pet project has been realised . There has been so much said in certain quarters against the immigration of Coolies, as a piece of national policy, and so many difficulties have arisen during the negotiations which have preceded the final settlement of the arrangements, that latterly many of the planters began to doubt whether they were going after all to be the recipients of a boon, to which they have, for so long, been looking forward a week or two ago. However, we published intelligence which left no doubt as to the speedy arrival of the new element. Mr Collins had been successful in his endeavours, and the Coolies would be shortly here. This has in some measure prepared us for an event which after all, now it has transpired, has taken most of us by surprise.
On Friday afternoon last, the 16th inst, the large barque Truro made the anchorage, and signalled the fact of her having a large number of Coolies on board. Considerable apprehension was at once experienced as to the sanitary condition of the vessel. Thanks to the baseless figments so industriously circulated by certain agitators. Coolies have popularly become connected with cholera and other epidemic evils. But happily on Saturday morning every fear was set at rest by the favorable report of Dr Holland, the health officer, who boarded the Truro at daylight, and found that the Indian was in every respect healthy. There had been neither deaths nor sickness on board, and the immigrants seemed sound in a sanitary point of view. Very fortunate indeed that this was the case: had it been otherwise, great inconvenience might have resulted, for reasons which we refer to elsewhere.
A very remarkable scene was the landing, and one well worth remembrance and record. Most of the many spectators who were present had been led to expect a lot of dried, vapid and sleepy looking anatomies. They were agreeably disappointed. As the swarthy hordes came pouring out of the boat's hold, laughing, jabbering, and staring about them with a very well satisfied expression of self-complacency on their faces, they hardly realised the idea one had formed regarding them or their faculties. They were a queer, comical, foreign looking, very Oriental like crowd. The men with their huge muslin turbans, bare scraggy shin bones, and coloured garments, the women with their flashing eyes, long dishevelled pitchy hair, with their half covered well-formed figures, and their keen inquisitive glances, the children with their meagre, intelligent, cute and humorous countenances mounted on bodies of unconscionable fragility, were all evidently beings of a different race and kind to any we have yet seen either in Africa or England. Master Coolie seemed to make himself perfectly at home, and did not appear in the least disconcerted by the novelty of his situation. He looked about him with considerable animation, and very generally remarked that Natal was colder than Madras…
The boats seemed to disgorge an endless stream of living cargo, Pariahs, Christians (Roman Catholics), Malabars, and Mahometans, successively found their way ashore. Field labourers, mechanics, household servants, domestics, gardeners and tradespeople. There are bankers, carpenters, accountants and grooms amongst them. They were all provided with two days rations from on board, consisting of rice, fish, ghee and dholl. A few men, whether privileged by position or otherwise we know not, have been exempt from surveillance, have perambulated the town, for two or three days past to the infinite curiosity of a large crowd of Kaffirs, who dodge their footsteps, and narrowly scan their movements."