Mankoroane to William Forster, 25 January 1886, C142/22

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C142-22


25th January 1886

The Honorable W. E. Forster, M.P.

My friend,

As you fought in the imperial parliament so nobly the case of myself and the chief Montsioa against the Boers, I trust you will not mind my troubling you to do a little more for me. I am sadly disappointed with the treatment I have received at the hands of Her Majesty’s representatives in the country in proof of which, I forward for your information certain copies of petitions and letters and the replies thereto from which you will see that I have not been fairly treated by those who have represented our Great Queen in this country.

When Mr Mackenzie came as deputy commissioner he got me and my council to sign a treaty which he represented was only intended to give us protection and that our country could not be proclaimed British Territory without our consent first being obtained. Last September I was informed by my legal advisor Mr Donovan that the imperial government intended shortly proclaiming my territory British Territory and not hearing from His Excellency the high commissioner upon this matter I addressed to him a letter dated the 17 September last putting on record the conditions upon which I was willing for the British government to take over my territory.

When the proclamation appeared shortly after this I was greatly surprised to find that me and my people were prohibited from enlisting the services of a legal advisor and are by the law now in existence compelled to appear in person before the law courts, whereas Europeans may enlist the most able legal practitioners in their cases. We are still praying that this injustice may be rectified and that we be placed at least on the same footing as other subjects of Her Majesty the Queen in the law courts.

We have also been deprived of the services of our legal advisor Mr Donovan in whom we have unbounded confidence and cannot therefore understand why the representatives of Her Majesty’s government in this country persist in objecting to Mr Donovan acting for us unless it is, as is well known, that he is a gentleman who acts for our interests. He conducted my case before the establishment of the protectorate in May 1884 and was fully recognized by Her Majesty’s representatives as my agent at that time, and I cannot therefore understand why he is now objected to, as he is well known as a man of good fame and character and a practitioner in the courts of the resident magistrates of the Cape Colony. I crave therefore that you will be as kind as to bring these my grievances to the notice of Her Majesty’s government in order that justice may be done.

With greeting and again thanking you for your kindness.

I am your friend,
Mankoroane Molehabang
Paramount chief
His x mark
A.W. Graaf
C.K. Khan
Private Secretary