Francois Daumas to Frederick Chesson, December 1869
Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C132 – 81
Author(s): Francois Daumas
Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson
Sent from: unknown
Date: December 1869
My dear Mr Chesson,
As you have kindly offered me to put into a proper shape the matters contained in Sir Philip Wodehouse to Sir Earl Granville under the date of the 30 of April 1869, I have thought to give one more facility to address to you my thoughts on this subject diving you the full liberty to use it as you may think to make of it. Before, to explain what concern me and my family, to say a few words about the chief [Tlokilo?] son of Moshesh who came out with Mr Buchanan as I think it is my duty to take his defence when I see him unjustly attacked to throw on his path obstacles to prevent him to have any access to the Colonial Office and create prevention in the heart of Earl Granville. I am convinced that the coming of [Tlekelo?] to complain about the treatment of his father’s tribe, is the only cause of Sir Philip’s ill feeling against him expressed with so little measured [termes?]. It is certainly very surprising that, should put forward sentiments, as he had acted with such a friendly way, when he was in Basutoland, greeting him and inviting him to his tent and even speaking to him confidently about several things of an imperial bearing.
Sir Philip says that [Tlekelo?] had no territorial authority. This I contradict [as?] declared that when he was come to manhood, as in the district of [nokuathing?] there were great many to … beside [Moletsane’s?] tribe, Moshesh had placed [Tlekelo?] in one part of the district and was recommended to me by the great chief. I must say that during the war he had behaved most bravely in defending the part of the country from which the natives have never … His father was sending on difficult missions and were no body wanted to go.
As to his conduct at Cape Town when a mere youth. Being in myself in that city some [twelve?] years ago, I saw him and his brother and found them very decent young men, and heard nothing against their moral conduct. Sir George Grey then governor of the Cape Colony who had taken the two young chiefs under his patronage, can be a witness to what I have said.
Been astonished at what Sir Philip has written to Earl Granville, and having never heard that [Tlekelo?] had misbehaved himself when at school when in Cape Town, I have visited Sir G. Grey to inquire about the accusation of Sir Philip and was glad to hear that he contradicted it gave a true testimony to the conduct of the two young chiefs. I can not understand what Sir Philip mean of the intrigues with which he was mixed that have rised out of the miserable struggles, which I suppose is the war which has nearly ruined Basutoland. I think the intrigues are the numerous journey which [Tlekelo?] and other chiefs made to the Natal government, to instruct them to speak in their favor in England, and to be taken under sway of the Queen, when Sir Philip had refused to do anything for them, notwithstanding all the entreaties sent to him by letters.
As regard to my family, I can not express my grief in reading what is stated about those who are so dear to me, one of whom has departed from this world since I am in England. Sir Philip knows us all, he had been received and his lady and his … and family …. He had seen himself what was my station and the work which had been carried on during more than 30 years. I can say that he was treated as a prince all the population singing the national anthem (god save the Queen). He had been friendly to us to the last. Before to go up to Aliwal I saw him in the Cape, it is him who told that my station would be a Basutoland, for which kindness I think him. I informed him that I heard from Moshesh that the whole tribe were in great alarm, because the Boers were spreading the report that in England their delegates had obtained all they wished and the Caledon River would be the boundary line. Sir Philip said that nobody could say so as the arrangements were not yet made. Sir Philip went so far in kindness that I was to remain in Natal and that he would write himself to me when the arrangements would be able. But I must say after the unfortunate convention was signed, he never wrote a word to me, knowing well that there was no possibility for me and my family to return to my home and that I was still condemn to an exile which had lasted more than three years.
After having never found fault with me or any of my family, I am accused because I have come to Europe to try to get redress and communicated with my friends and the directors of our society residing in Paris. It is them who had [intertained?] me on my station who had made great expenses during more than 30 years, and see if nothing could be done to restore me and my family to my home, which we had created by our labour in the wilderness or to appoint me to another spot where the necessary funds could be furnished to build a church and school and a homestead so was that fair of the governor to deprive by his arrangement to deprive a family of their precious home and let them go adrift in the world as exiled. I can not think that any one who has any … can find fault with me to act as I have done. One of Sir Philip’s accusation is that we were earnest partisans of the Basutos. In the good sense of that word I can say that it was the case and the proof is that my wife and myself we have spent the best part of our life that, all of our children were born among them, and one is buried there near the church. It was our desire to remain on our station to end our days and be buried among our people. We had tried to do them good and we had succeeded, we had gained their affection and their confidence. They had been good and kind to us. They had never been hindered in our labours, we had been protected by the chiefs, and is it astonishing that we felt for them, in their trouble and took their part when we were convinced they were unjustly treated. But when they have done wrong during our long stay among them god is our witness that we have taken their part we had taught them what was right and wrong, as I could give many proofs of it.
The second accusation is that we brought ourself scarcely to receive with ordinary civility Englishmen residing in the Free State, with whom they had been previously acquainted if they had abstained from taking any part in the strife. This is very strong but it is regrettable that Sir Philip had not mentioned has not have had the generosity to mention some names in order that I might answer to the point and hear what men were who brought their complaint to Sir Philip. He ought to have said if it was on our station during the war or near Bloemfontain where we stay three months after our expulsion on the farm of Boers, now the acting resident who lent us his place without paying anything and was kind to us.
Or in Natal where we retired during about three years since our ejection from our home. During the war, all those who came to our house Englishmen or Dutch they were received, they were assisted with food or medicines.
Near Bloemfontein, all the Englishmen who had been in the war or not were received and kindly treated. For going to Natal we were invited in town from our encampment a cart was sent for the ladies and we spent an evening with English friend who had been in the war or not. We have still friends there with whom we correspond and who sympathise with us in our trouble. When we went to Natal it was a young Englishman who had gone in the war and took care of our … and brough safe to Maritzburg going back with the wagon which had been lent to us by two English gentlemen.
For Natal I can give proof that those who came down and visited us were kindly received. There is one exception, and suspect this person has been the one who has tried to speak against us to Sir Philip passing through the Cape to England. We met on the road to Maritzburg. This Englishman had been in the war not because he had lost anything as he had never had a homestead in the Free State. He had been often at our station before the war and was treated and received as every traveller who visited us. We had never seen him during the war. As he came to me on the road to Maritzburg I invited him to our tent to take [thea?] with us. Though he was at our table, he spoke so rudely so unbecomingly before ladies against the natives and what they deserved, that we were cut to the heart and astonished to not hear a word of sympathy. Sometime after he came to Maritzburg to see us, my wife retired before he was in because she was offended with his rude conduct on the road. He must have been offended, but I remain with him an general subject. That is the person with whom my wife would not see and speak my daughter been away from the house.
I am sure it is the only person who has been treated so and who has injured us. I challenge Sir Philip to name those who have not been well treated by us when they have come to our house. If there may be others, they must have deserved such a treatment but if such a man who have acted shamefully toward us they have not come near us.
The last accusation was that: it was also generally believed that the manifesto with which Moshesh opened the war was composed mainly if not altogether by one of these young ladies. I should like to know if Sir Philip has read this manifesto or if he has sent a copy to Earl Granville in order that he might form an opinion of the document. The [Home News?] compared the proclamation of Mr Brand and the manifesto of Moshesh and said that the one of Mr Brand was of a cannibal and the other of a gentleman. That document was not a manifesto or a proclamation, but a vindication of what the Basutos were accused. Moshesh did not open the war with it as it was the Boers who opened the war and marched in their territory attacked the natives.
The document was written in Basuto … approved by Moshesh and translated into English. She was my right hand in that work and she was translating always into English all what was sent to me or English into Basuto language as she now perfectly both languages. Could a document of the kind could have been refused had we not been for years the translators for the chiefs the governors the resident the magistrates I ought to have said the British residents. When the law has been made to forbid missionaries or missionary children to not translate anything. That vindication will [resound?] to the praise of the one who devoted her life to do good to the natives and who is gone to her rest and receive the reward which she has earned through her real and devotness to a good cause. I see also, my son has been mentioned on one of Sir Philip’s despatches no 29. I suppose Mr Bowker in sending his [repport?] had not seen my son a lad of scarcely 15 years old. Now fancy such a lad sent as an agent by the people of Natal. I will say what this was and how my son went to Basutoland. I send my son myself with great reluctance on account of the great distance, been the rainy season I had my messengers … natives who were going back and [farmers?]. My son entreated me to let him go, as we were intending to send him to school and that he should … any more Basutoland and our station his birthplace. I consented as I know he would be well taken care by my messengers grown up men. He was so little sent as an agent that the next day seeing the weather … rains, I sent a man on horseback to bring him home, but as he had proceeded he went on. I had not heard a word from my brethren about the settlement of affairs and I was very anxious to know if we could go back to our station. Mr Buchanan took the opportunity to write a letter which has been shown to the colonial office to the great chief to let him know if there was nothing more to do for and if he was satisfied with the arrangements …. That was the overture and it was on account of the dissatisfaction, that they wished to imitate the Boers and decided to send [Tlekelo?] and one of Molayo’s concillor to England. My son been there and knowing well the native language, as he has been the object of a dispache at fifteen, he could say if the deputation was sent by the chief or not. It is a no sens to that the natives became restless. The natives have never been so quiet. I read the friend of the Free State regularly and I have not seen a single case of theft or molestation since Mr Buchan letter was written to Moshesh.