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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C128-73
Orleans 19 June 1888
My dear Mr Chesson,
I write from Orleans where I intend to stay this week, but if you have any important news to send me, address your letters as usual, and my wife will forward it without any delay. I beg you will heartily thank in our name Lord Emby for his question to Lord Derby so strong and clear in argument and so commendatory for our mission. In stating that Basutoland is the key of South Africa, he held a ground which he must never abandon. It strikes me that Lord Derby does not feel sufficiently what might be the consequences for your government if the inhabitants of the Free State were in possession of the mountains and strongholds of the natives and it happened some day that the Free State should join with the Transvaal in a struggle against England. It is not sufficient to say that the abandonment of the Basutos by the Queen would seal their fate; it must be added that it might greatly entangle and endanger her own hold on South Africa.
I have written to Masuphu a most impressive letter, and so has my colleague Rev Jousse who has been till quite late the personal missionary of that chief and has always been much respected by him. We could not for that have recourse to a telegram. It should necessarily have contained too few words to produce a conviction and a salutory dread. We have also written to our brethren of the mission, although we know that they needed not be urged on making every effort to convince the chief and the tribe that to be replaced under the Majesty’s authority and protection was their last hope. Messers Mabille, Cuillard and the others know perfectly well for that purpose Mr Merriman was coming to England and had written to us that we could rely on them and had only to do our best here.
I trust, dear Mr Chesson, that you will keep for yourself and our most intimate friends my remarks in reference to the Free State.