Robert Lester to Frederick Chesson, 10 September 1884, C140/99

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Lester, Robert








Cape Colony

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C140-99


Cradock, Cape Colony
10 Sept 1884

F. Chesson Esq
Ab Pro Society

Dear Sir,

I enclose you a cutting from the Grahamstown Journal of the 9th instant (yesterday) from which you will see that the natives at Taungs are actually starving. The Boers having stolen 3000 head of their cattle all they had, now not only leave them thus to starve so that they may take their country from them … to be rich with gold but continue to fight or rather murder them wholesale and this is the sort of promised protection rendered by the English government. For we are ourselves quite helpless to assist them here and are threatened by the Boers and unable to help ourselves at present, and unless god should help us we too may all be murdered men women and children by these infamous Boers. Pray do your utmost for us all. You are on the spot and having influence can do much more than any representations we may make can effect. All cry to your Society in despair to render us aid. The Boers believe in nothing but force and it was a cruel thing to send out Mr Mckenzie unassisted to talk to them … he has escaped with his life. And since then the governor of the Cape have sent a Mr C Rhodes in his place who has been insulted and badly treated by the Boers and has started on his return, but not having been heard of since. It is feared the Boers have followed and murdered him. The only man they were afraid of one [Scotty South?] the Cape Government or rather the governor has caused to be arrested and thrown into jail under pretence that he attempted to commit murder, when in reality all he did was to fire on a Boer after warning him who was about to shoot and did shoot a native. What a farce to arrest a man for attempting to commit murder when they are afraid to arrest those Boers who actually do commit murder wholesale daily. Pray do not let my name appear in print or be published or I shall be murdered next as the Cape Boers all sympathize with the Transvaal Boers and are nearly if not quite as bad. So keep this information private but publish the cuttings in the English papers and information without my name appearing. It is all alas quite true, but I do not want to die a violent death if I can help it. Although my age makes it impossible I should live much longer.

I remain
Dear Sir
Yours faithfully
Robert Lester
Barrister at Law


No time is to be lost with this talk, talk, and do nothing policy that is ruining the Colony and us all.

Joubert mentioned in the telegram … as General Joubert one of the delegates to England. The very man the English government say they depend upon to maintain peace and he is the one who is now urging on these murderers.