Thomas Baker to Frederick Chesson, 6 November 1883

Thomas Baker to Frederick Chesson, 6 November 1883

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C125 – 68

Author(s): Thomas Baker

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: England

Date: 6 November 1883


Nov 6 83

Mr F.W. Chesson

Seeing your letter in yesterday’s Daily News it struck me to ask you if an official report of the ‘Pitso’ held at ‘Maseru’ in Oct 79 – when the question of dis-arming was discussed – has ever come under your notice if it has not I could lend you a copy. It contains some very remarkable statement make to the Basutos by Gordon Sprigg the then Prime Minister. It was my good fortune to spend last May June and July in Kaffraria and as it was my first visit I turned my attention to the question uppermost in Cape Politics. I think placing the question as to the benefit to the Basutos to be taken over by the Imperial Authorities on one side, that for the sake of S Africa is must be done. I read fairly attentively the utterances on both sides for and against and soon saw that the Africander party do not want it and I will tell you why. I think they do not want it if the Dutch party get the ascendency in the Cape their sympathy will run through the Free State and if the Basutos are left to themselves I think a quarrel could soon be got up which would end to their disadvantage. I see in the report of this Pitso the Basutos say take our arms and we cannot protect ourselves and I think they were right. If they had been dis armed and had after got into any entanglement with the Free State the Dutch sympathy and the anti-native feeling of many modern ‘Europeans’ through the Cape would have prevented interference on their behalf by the Cape authorities at least this is what I think.

A line from your and I will send up the report.

Yours faithfully
Thomas Baker