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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C141-220
23 Aug 1885
My dear Mr Chesson,
Since writing to Mr Thompson we hear that a Crown Colony has been decided on for Bechuanaland.
A Land Commission is also to sit – 3 officers R.E., Shippard (first Administrator) to be their chairman.
A Committee has sit and presented its report – a copy of which I should like to send you – concerning cases of coercion and injustice in the Stellaland settlement of Mr Rhodes. There are some results, hardly …
But the strong tendency of all Cape Town influence is for annexation to the Colony. This will be the efforts of Cape politicians at home. Rhodes Upington Scanlen are agreed as to this and they are all on your side, or on their way.
Now can I be of any service other there in connection with what has still to be done? There is Khama’s country, there is Zululand, there is the condition of Basutoland to be rightly stated, not merely going against the Basutos, as some would wish done, and there is the very important question of the High Commissionership. This ought to be the last case of the Union of Offices in one officer. Sir H’s time will soon be up, so that the question is a pressing one. These and other points induce the feeling in my own mind that I could do some good over there. It would however strengthen my view if my friends on that side stated their opinion. I have also consulted Mr Thompson as to whether the work which I would likely do would not in a real sense be for the good of the natives: and whether it could not be managed that if I gave time to this department of work I could be sustained in so doing as the coworker of those who might have views such as mine and a strong desire that they should prevail. Being without private means I am compelled when I remember my family getting their education in Scotland to write thus. I may not belong to the class ‘without ostensible means of livelihood’. I have asked Thompson to be good enough to wire any decision you may come to after consulting together. I feel you will not misunderstand me. I want to do certain work. I am afraid I am not able to do it just alone and by myself.
There is other work imminent which I could do, going to Lobingule and getting a boundary line from him. He would much more cheerfully give us a hundred more miles of land – which is quite unoccupied – than not be consulted, or feel that we were honouring and exalting Khama who is not a Zulu at all but one of the large class of ‘dogs’ from a Zulu point of view. Sechele in the same way objected to young man like Khama giving away a certain block of country – which he said was his. So Sechele gave it also, I felt it was a harmless humouring of the old fellow which Khama would not object to.
Ever yours sincerely,