W. V. King to Frederick Chesson, 7 January 1885

W. V. King to Frederick Chesson, 7 January 1885

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C139 – 199

Author(s): W. V. King

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: LeSotho

Date: 7 January 1885

To the secretary
Aborigines Protection Society

Thaba Bosigo
7th January 1885


I beg to enclose an extract from the Cape Times of 27th last. Comment on it is I think needless.

It is one of many cases out here calling for the intervention of your Society and I only trust on behalf of humanity and right that it will cause a reaching inquiry to be made into it.

The chief [Mapeh?] has always been faithful and loyal subject of the governing powers.

In 1876 he sent 1000 of his men fully armed to assist the late President Burgers in his attempt to subjugate the rebel chief [Licocain?]. I had command of these men all through that disasterous campaign. They fought splendidly and at the assault on [Licocolius?]’s town, stormed and took a large portion of his town and utterly destroyed it and only retired for want of support of the Boers themselves, who refused to advance.

In 1879 they again answered the call of Govt and fought side by side with the Imperial troops under Sir Garnet Wolsely in the attack and capture of [Licocolius?]’s mountain. I am certain that Lord Wolsely will only too gladly testify to the good service they did there from first to last.

So much for the loyal of the Chief [Mopoch?]. The renegade chief [Mampou?] after the murder of [Lecocolin?] took refuge with [Mapoch?] and the latter most foolishly but according to native custom refused to hand him over to the tender (?) mercy of the Transvaal Govt.

When he so falsely committed himself did the Imperial Govt’s representatives, Mr Hudson, go personally to him as in duty bound and try and induce him to hand [Manpou?] over to him, as the officer placed in the Transvaal by the Imperial Govt to protect the natives?

If he did not do so he most decidedly should have done so. And if he had [Mopach?] would have, I believe, obeyed Mr Hudson’s order as emanating from the Imperial Govt. Whatever may be the case one thing is certain, that our late loyal ally has been left to the tender mercies of men who only made [Mampoer’s?] ditintion a ‘casus belli’ to enable them to attack and subdue a Chief rich in cattle and valuable land, to seize the one and gradually absorb the other. I can only say god help [Mapoch?]!

How is it that the Imperial Govt under whose protection [‘Mapoch’?] virtually is, permits the Colonial Govt to send heavy artillery and ammunition to the Transvaal Govt for the purpose of battering down his stronghold and destroying the unhappy people. It seems an extraordinary policy to assist people who were quite recently determined rebels, and who beat us in most thorough and most ignominious manners, to enable them to utterly destroy a chief and tribe who have always been loyal and have afforded us material assistance in time of need.

For years the Boers have been looking with greedy eyes on [Mapoch’s?] cattle and country. They have also now the opportunity of testing the powers of the ‘suzerainty’ under which they live and the chance of throwing it off.

So much for [Mapoch?] our late staunch ally in peace and war.

… another case of a still more criminal nature is possible.

The chief [‘Mankoroani?’] in Griqualand West afforded the Colonial forces under Colonel Warren material aid during the rebellion of the rebel chief [Notlisetzo Gaziboni?] and assisting with cattle, wagons for transport and c and a large body of armed men and eventually seized the rebel chief himself and handed him to Colonel Warren. (I believe that up to the present time he has not been paid for the cattle slaughtered for food for the troops and wagons and cattle destroyed and killed during the war.) What sort of renumeration does this unhappy man and his people get?

He is suddenly attacked last year by a large force of Boers and natives from the Transvaal without any cause, as he had never interfered in any way against the Transvaal Govt further than he afforded protection to many English traders and others during the Transvaal war! When he found himself attacked by white inhabitants from the Transvaal, he went to Kimberley and asked for protection against this unlawful and criminal attack. All the satisfaction he gets is being told that the Colonial Govt cannot help him and have nothing to do with him further than to prevent his obtaining arms and ammunition to protect himself with!

He is referred to the representatives of the Imperial Govt in Pretoria in the heart of his enemies country! His pitiful cry for help only reaches the ears of that gentlemen when it is too late to save him and his tribe from destruction. A few Englishmen remain faithful to him notably Messers King and Daumas [Agenor Daumas and C. Cotte King] both of whom had held appointments under Govt as Nat. Commissioners until the Keate Award was abandoned after the Transvaal war.

Now Sir, look at the contrast in [Mankuroana’s?] and [Mopoch’s?] cases.

In the latter, the Colonial Govt assist the late rebel Boers with heavy artillery and munitions of war against our faithful ally and friend the chief [Mapoch?]. In the former, the Colonial Govt decline to protect Mankurane in any way against a horde of Boers and natives who have surrounded him and are killing his people, plundering in all directions, and burning his villages or even allowing him to purchase arms and munitions to protect himself with.

The Boers have again in this case have the same object in view as at [Mapoch’s?], acquisition of cattle and absorbtion of land and so it will go on. Years before the Transvaal war commenced the Boers had commenced taking all the … on the Keate Award. Mr Cecil King represented the matter to Govt over and over again but little or no notice was taken until Lt Col [Nooysey?] was sent to fix the boundaries and eventually remove the interlopers but as usually happens too late. I have lived amongst these people for over a year and can speak from experience of the sufferings they endure at the hands of the Boers. No body would believe what they suffer!

I most humbly pray Sir, that your Society will cause these two most flagrant cases to be laid before the House of Commons that a thorough investigation may be made and that both these unhappy chiefs and their tribes may eventually receive justice and support at the hands of Govt and protection from their enemies the Boers.

Knowing as I do the immense influence and power your Society wields and the amount of good it has done and is daily and hourly doing for the protection of the oppressed natives I look forward with feelings of certainty that my prayers may be heard for I can safely say after fourteen years sojourn in South Africa and living in Natal, Cope Colony, Transvaal, Griqualand and Basutoland, that there were never two cases that appealed for protection more than those of [Mapoch and Mankuroane?].

I was for four years Nat. Com. of Waterberg Dist in Transvaal both under the Transvaal and Imperial Govt and know how the natives groaned under the former and how glad they were when the Imperial Govt took the country over. When I left in 1880 they had begun to fully appreciate the change for the better in their rulers. What the revulsion of their feelings must have been when handed back to their old taskmasters I can judge pretty accurately.

Any information I can give that may assist in obtaining justice I shall only too readily afford.

Trusting the urgency of the cases may serve as excuse for the length of this correspondence.

I have the honor to be
Your obedient sert
W.V. King
Late St. Inniskilling Dragoons