Thomas Durant Philip to Frederick Chesson, 11 February 1882
Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C145 – 1
Author(s): Thomas Durant Philip
Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson
Sent from: England
Date: 11 February 1882
33 Guilford St W.C.
11 Feb 1882
My dear Sir,
I called at your office on Thursday afternoon but as no one responded to my knock I suppose you were not in. Can you give me information whether anything is likely to come of the talked-of lecture?
After reading your pamphlet about the Basutos and Cetywayo and the Zulus I hardly know what I would add of value to the controversy, except if he because public opinion is only influenced by [itoration and reiteration?]. Although I have been so many years a resident in the Cape Colony, my residences have never been upon any of the frontiers where war has been raging. My facilities for obtaining information have therefore not been superior to your own, probably inferior on such questions as border news and dealings with [homogeneous?] native tribes. My more immediate sphere of observation has lain among the natives living within the Colony, and legislation concerning them. Until the advent of Sir Bartle Frere and his lieutenant Sprigg, the disabilities under which they have laboured of late years have been more social than civil, and the great danger to be apprehended respecting them arise from the frequent tendency to return to that class legislation, by which the Boers in [previous?] times kept them in a state of degeneration and depraved them of civil and personal liberty. How far England can interfere in the domestic … legislation of the Cape Colony is a question.
The news about Basutoland of course raises opportunity. The whole question of England’ control over relations with native tribes on the borders, and suggests the whole question whether the mother country really benefits native races by assuming any protectorate over them.
We are now requested to interfere? Are we simply to take up the colonial quarrel with that people at the point it has now reached and simply enforce the colonial terms? The colony was fairly beaten in the war, and yet wants the Basuto to come to terms as if the has been beaten. Froude pointed out some time ago that this would be the course of events. The colonists will always remain reckless whatever they undertake if they can always fall back upon the empire to retrieve their disasters. And if the empire undertake their government of these native tribes as an imperial duty, the colonists will ever be finding grievances about these native tribes and clamour for their redress. It is very sad.
If the imperial govt declines to interfere, then they say they throw up Basutoland and hint that they join the Afrikander Bond in a crusade against all native rights and liberties.
I did not mean to do more than ask you a question when I began, and I am giving you a letter. I return to the question.
T. Durant Philip