Harold Stephens to Frederick Chesson, 5 August 1882

Harold Stephens to Frederick Chesson, 5 August 1882

Archive location: Bodleian Libraries, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 18 / C148 – 74

Author(s): Harold Stephens

Recipient(s): Frederick Chesson

Sent from: Cape Colony

Date: 5 August 1882

C/o Knights and Hearle

Attorneys at law


Augt 5/82


Dear Sir,


I send you two Kimberley newspapers today which contain something with reference to the border war against Mankoroane the loyal chief whose country adjoins the Transvaal and Diamond Fields, part of Cape Colony.


I warned you in my last letter that the Boers had offered to give this chief peace if he would cede them a portion of his country.


My letter to the Standard has caused the British Resident to do what he has never done during the whole time of the war namely go personally to the spot. Commandant Ferreira, on the part of the Boers, had already arranged an armistice (which shows that the Boers could stop the war whenever they liked) and when Mr Hudson (British Resident) arrived he tried to see David [Massoun?] the native chief whom the Boers put forward as the enemy of Mankoroane, with the object of making peace, but the Boers would not let the British Resident see [Massoun?] knowing that [Massoun?] was and has been all along anxious for peace. They kept [Massoun?] out of the way. Mr Hudson after getting an extension of the armistice left for Kimberley and afterwards for Cape Town.


Mankoroane seeing that Hudson was not able to effect a peace and tired and worn out with fighting and despairing of [succour?] from the English government has ceded to the Boers a piece of his country on condition that they stop the war, and now the Boers have gone up to reinforce their countrymen who are fighting against Montsioa.


The Home Government ought to insist on the Boers restoring this country to Mankoroane and also that they restore the thousands of cattle taken from him. This continued violation of the Convention will be a standing disgrace to England besides a brutal robbery.


If Mankoroane had been able to get ammunition he could have driven the Boers out of his country without any assistance but the English government have been the cause of his ruin.


What I am afraid of now is that the reinforcement of Boers who have gone up to help their countrymen against the other loyal chief Montsioa will prove too much for the latter and that without ammunition he will be forced into a similar cession of country to his enemies.


Pray make these facts public and bring all the influence you can to bear on the government to force them to relieve Montsioa and to restore Mankoroane his country.


The Boers are very cowardly and would yield if force were threatened. It is altogether a most scandalous business. I am pressed for time so excuse this hurried note, which I will enlarge upon.


Faithfully yours,

H Stephens.




Mr Hudson’s statements must be received with caution as he says one thing to one party, and another thing to the other and has all along played a double part.


Urge for an impartial enquiry into all that has taken place. I hope you will be able to read this letter.