Letter from Reverend John White to J. H. Thomas (17/09/1924)

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[[MS 2750/255/37]]


[pre-printed letterhead] Wesleyan Methodist Church. From REV. JOHN WHITE, Chairman and General Superintendent, Rhodesia District. NENGUBO, MARANDELLAS, RHODESIA.


The Right Honourable J. H. Thomas, M.P. 
His Majesty's Secretary of State, for the Colonies, 
c/o/the High Commissioner, Downing Wh[?] 


17th September, 1924.


Dear Sir,


The following quotation is from a Paper that circulates widely in this Colony of Southern Rhodesia. In the course of a leader entitled "Land for Natives" which appeared in the Bulawayo Chronicle on September 3rd, 1924, the writer says: "Mr. Cripps "quotes from Mr. J. H. Thomas's well known book "When Labour Rules", "as to which the Colonial Secretary, speaking at Port Elizabeth a "few days ago, said he could no longer attempt to solve the problems "of the Empire by reference to what he had written in "innocent days". Mr. Thomas had acquired greater breadth of vision, and we are convinced that he or any other Minister of the Crown, whether in Britain or Rhodesia, together with the members of the present Rhodesian Commission, will seek to do justice to the Natives, while providing adequately for that larger European settlement of this Colony which is a chief hope for the full and stable civilisation of these parts of the Empire. The mere allotment of large areas of land to the Natives can never assure their security and progress."


This statement is a little disconcerting to some of us who are trying to secure fairplay [sic] for this 'under dog' of South African economic arrangements. I had the honour a short time ago


to ......





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to be elected chairman of the Southern Rhodesia Missionary Conference - a body, I may say, to whom the Government here frequently defers where Native matters are concerned. It is in this representative capacity I now write. Would you of your kindness and sympathy re-assure us on one point? Would you tell us that whatever else you may see fit to disallow in "When Labour Rules", you have not seen fit to disallow its noble pronouncement in favour of a Native-Peasant policy in Anglo-Africa. If you would be good enough to re-assure those friends of British-Justice-for British -Native subjects on this point, you would materially assist us in our efforts.


I have the honour to be, | Sir, | Your obedient servant, | J.W. [handwritten initials]


[the bottom of the page containing handwriting has been torn off. The words 'this Synod' can be made out]

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Source: MS 2750/255/37

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Letter from Reverend John White to J. H. Thomas (17/09/1924)



University of Reading, Special Collections

Archival Folder:

Reverend John White writes to discuss a quote that is circulating in a newspaper which he finds disconcerting. He asks for reassurance on the matter.


typescript letter signed