William Pleydell Bouverie to Chesson, 13 November 1883, C126/67

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Bouverie, William Pleydell






Great Place



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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C126-67


Great Place, Pondoland
13 November 1883

F.W. Chesson, Esq
Sect, Aborigines Society

Dear Sir,

Your letter of 27 Sept has been forwarded on to me here (where I am staying for a few days). I have read it to the Paramount Chief, who has desired me to convey to you his heartfelt thanks for the kind expressions of sympathy contained in your letter and to assure you that nothing will tempt him to resort to arms while he has the slightest chance of getting his greivances redressed peaceably.

At the present time he is distracted by all kinds of trouble in connection with the Amatembu. The enclosed copy of a letter to Mr. Brownlee will show you the course of action the Paramount Chief has decided upon – which I trust you will approve of.

I do not think the Pondoo can possibly raise sufficient money to send a deputation home, and I do not see how the greivances of which they complain can otherwise be properly represented. It grieves me to think that at no very distant date these people – who are fully determined to fight unless they obtain redress – will be engaged in a bloody struggle with the government, which will result in immense slaughter on their side, and loss of their beautiful country; they are not like (despite what your have may have heard to the contrary) the Basutos and Zulus, a warlike nation, nor have they the difficult country that those two tribes have for warlike operations, so it is not difficult to fortell theresult of a struggle between them and the government, and I have no hesitation in saying that the colonial people are eagerly waiting for an opportunity of taking the country. The Pondos are now entirely surrounded by the government, who from their encroachments evidently intend to leave them the choice of two evils, i.e. to fight to go into the sea.

I trust your will not think I am exaggerating the state of affairs. I can assure you it is impossible for anyone not a resident in the country to know to what a strait these poor people are driven, and I sincerely trust your Society will be able to help them in sending a deputation home.

I am also desired by the Paramount Chief to inform you that he has heard that a certain Mr. Welbourne – who at one time held the appointment of diplomatic agent and secretary to him – has been acting on behalf of the Pondos with your Society and the home government. If this is true, he wishes to inform your that Mr Welborne has no authority whatever to act on behalf of the Pondoo, and be trusts you will not treat with him in any way on their behalf as he – Mr. W – left the country in disgrace having previously squandered a large amount of the money which had been collected for the purpose of sending a deputation him, and in other ways misconducted himself.

I will as you request write to Mr. Irvine, although I do not think he will be able to do much for the Pondoo as I believe he has already without avail raised his voice on their behalf.

The Chief is anxiously awaiting your reply to his petition.

Believe me to be
With kind assurances from Umqikela
Yours very faithfully
W. Pleydell Bouverie

My address is
Via Kokstad