Robert Lester to Frederick Chesson, 26 August 1881

Robert Lester to Frederick Chesson, 26 August 1881

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C140 – 91

Author(s): Robert Lester

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: Cape Colony

Date: 26 August 1881

Cradock, Cape Colony
26th August 1881

F.W. Chesson Esq
17 King Wms St
Charing Cross
London, W.C.

Dear Sir,

I enclose you cutting from the Graham’s Town Journal newspaper by which you will see that the convention has hardly been signed before murders of the unfortunate natives recommenced. Slavery with all its horrors will of course soon follow if indeed it has not done so already. The Boer accused of this murder ‘Eloff’ is a relative of President Krugers, and although arrested, if you watch the case in the papers, you will see that he will be tried by a ‘Boer’ jury and acquitted in direct opposition to evidence. This is always the case, as I told you in my last, a Boer jury has never been known to find a Boer prisoner guilty. So what with brutal murderous Boers and perjured Boer witnesses and jurors, the unfortunate natives will notwithstanding the boasted protection of Mr Gladstone’s government, in future have to bear with cruelty and injustice too horrible to contemplate.

I remain, dear Sir,
Yours …
Robert Lester
Barrister at Law

[Newspaper cutting]

‘The Boers in the Waterberg district protest against the Convention, and dispute the debt altogether.

Later news re alleged Rustenberg murder, says that Eloff, who is a relative of Kruger, treated the Kafir brutally, placing his head between his legs and twisting the body till his neck was broken.

Ellof arrived, and was lodged in prison at Rustenberg.

A number of people have left Pretoria since the signing of the Convention. A large number of artisans intend leaving the Transvaal as soon as possible. The Convention has caused dissatisfaction on all sides, British, Boers, and Blacks.’