John Mackenzie to Frederick Chesson, 6 May 1884, C141/196

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Mackenzie, John









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C141-196


I referred in my letter to Mr Forster to the ‘situation’ as regards Cape Town, and especially as to the indecent haste with which Cape politicians had made a ‘rush’ for Bechuanaland by annexation to the Cape Colony, altho they would not move an inch to fight for that country as against the Transvaal, or in the interests of its native owners. Mr Hill, Member of Cape Parliament for Barkley West, went to Stellaland with a petition in his pocket (he told me so) for annexation to the Cape Colony. He found another in circulation which had a clause demonstrating myself as a self-seeker and false man. Hill got them to take out this clause, and then encouraged its signature. He is a member of the extensive firm of Hill and Paddon of Kimberley and Barkley West and is said to be deeply interested in the fortunes of some of the Stellaland people, especially that their land should be negotiable at the earliest date as they are heavily indebted to messers Hill and Paddon. I could not prove this: it is the talk of the district. I heard it at Kimberley, at Barkley West, and here in Bechuanaland. I made Mr Hill somewhat ashamed of what he had done in forstalling Her Majesty’s Government in Stellaland and charged him quietly and firmly with the utmost inconsiderateness if not disloyalty.

The fact is, land questions are so complicated that the natives will lose almost everything and be homeless if every paper and every claim is allowed…I wrote out a treaty between Her Majesty and Mankoroane, guided by formal advice from the Attorney-General of the Cape. I showed the draft to Donovan, Mankoroane’s ‘agent’ because I wished to be perfectly above-board. Donovan’s objection to the treaty, as stated to me, was that there was no mention of land questions in it. All bona fide grants by the chief should be ratified by the treaty, and then it would be without fault. I declined to insert ratification of land grants in the treaty. If they were all ‘fair and square’ they would no doubt be granted, but why say so in a treaty between two powers, the land question would come up afterwards when the treaty was signed.

There are vacant lands in Bechuanaland…Do not let those lands be parcelled out by Cape politicians, if you do you will have a war. Let them be parcelled out by Imperial officers under the High Commissioner.