William Jesser Coope to High Commissioner for Zululand, 27 September 1888, C129/34-34a

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Coope, William Jesser









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C129-34


[Umgwamana?] Kraal
Sep 27 1888


I have the honour to inform your Excellency that I have obtained, on behalf of the Mapootaland Syndicate Lmt (a registered British Company) concessions from the independent Zulu chiefs Umgwamana and [Usebondi?] whose territories be north of the M’Kusi and therefore outside British Zululand for railway canal and harbour.

One object of the Company for which I am acting is as I have already informed HMS Secy of State for the Colonies, to facilitae the extension of British trade in S.A. by establishing a route to the gold fields and interior which shall, for cheapness of carriage possess equal if not superior advantage to those now held by Delagoa Bay.

The Company will therefore receive the support of the Chambers of Commerce of [York?] and … who are fully alive to the benefits which such a route would confer on the woollen and cotton trades of Great Britain. To obtain these concessions for my Company I and my party have reached the territories of these chiefs at considerable personal risk owning to the disturbed and excited state of the country, but I have learnt what I feel sure will cause both surprise and regret to your Excellency.

It appears that after the Zulu war terminating with the battle of Ulundi, these chiefs [properred?] their submission to Mr John Dunn. They assure me that they have not since borne arms against the British Goc yet a few days ago the Zulu chief Usihepu accompanied by six other horsemen and several hundred dismounted kafirs made a raid upon their outlying kraals, burnt some of [Usebondi’s?] and murdered under circumstances of great atrocity such as burning alive many women and children of [Umgwamana’s?] people carried off some of the latter into captivity and cleared the country as far as they penetrated of cattle and money.

The chiefs have expressed to me their surprise that England who professes such regard for the lives of women and children should sanction such atrocities as those perpetrated by a chief whose only power is derived from the support he receives from Great Britain.

By my advice they now offer through me their submission to the British Gov. I have been able to persuade them to this by assuring them in the name of my country that English justice will demand restitution to be made them of:

1. The children carried away into captivity.
2. The cattle raided.
3. The money stolen.

In support of the statement made by these chiefs I may add that what I have myself seen fully confirms it, such as deserted and ruined kraals. Ungqamana hiding with the residue of his women and cattle in the dense bush in such [abject?] fear that it was some time before we could persuade him through messengers to present himself to me.

I feel sure that your Exc. will be only too ready to redeem the pledge which I have given these people in the name of England that justice will be accorded to them at the same time I would respectfully bring to your Exc.’s knowledge the bad effect which the raids have on the natives outside British Zululand. Before we entered the territory of Umgwamana we were informed of this raid by the subjects of [Umgwamanzi?] whom we found in … a similar raid upon themselves and were ourselves reproached by them as members of the nation which countenanced such acts.

I am forwarding copies of the letter to H.E. Sir H Robinson and the chairman of my Company. I also enclose for your Excellency’s information a copy of a letter which I have … to address to the British Resident with Msipepu.

I have
Signed Wm Jesser Coope

H.E. the High Commissioner
For Zululand