CHAP. rrr.] I WRITE TO JONKER. 45
interior, a troop of men were sent who drove away all his ride, pack, and waggon oxen, and detained them till the season for travelling was gone by; the reason being, that if a free intercourse were established between the whites and Damaraland, the Damaras would soon buy guns and weapons, which wculd place them on more equal terms with the Hottentots. It can easily, then, be conceived with what temper Jonker and the others had heard of my landing, and intention to explore; a plan of sending men down to Walfisch Bay, and to cut me off there, was, as I found out afterwards, publicly discussed. Help or countenance from the Damaras was the last thing I could expect, for they would treat me as a Hottentot; and again, my men were so totally undisciplined and devoid of pluck, and had already cast back so many longing regrets toward the Cape, that I felt that the least check, in the first instance, to my success would dash the whole enterprise.
At the Cape my plans had already been thwarted by the emigrant Boers, who chose to cut off all communication with the north by the one side of the Karrikarri desert; and here were the Oerlams, their offset, as it were, trying to do the same on the other. The cases were as similar as could be; both parties were guided by British subjects,both were effectually barring out civilisation and commerce from Central Africa, and what I felt most peculiarly vexatious, both were barring out me.
Now when I was in Cape Town there was a very general feeling that the interior of South Africa would become an extensive and open field for colonial commerce, since the discovery of Lake 'Ngami had shown a way to it. Hence it was doubly annoying that the emigrant Boers, whose treatment of the blacks was not very many shades better than that of the Oerlams, should not only keep us from these countries, but also generate a hatred on the part of the blacks against white faces, which years: of intercourse on our part might not efface. His Excellency the Governor, guided by these views, took advantage of my intended expedition, and also of Mr. Oswell's, who was then in the neighbourhood of Lake 'Ngami, by formally requesting each of us to establish "friendly relations," on the part of the Cape Government, with the black tribes, who were subject to the attacks of these marauders. We were simply to convey expression of good will and strong assurances that the proceedings of the Boers met with no countenance on the part of the colony. I, therefore, knowing that Jonker still felt some fcgr of and respect for the Cape Government, wrote him a long letter