and British Annexation
For the next few years an uneasy peace prevailed. Moshoeshoe,
real'ising his precarious position, sought British
protection from Sir Philip Wodehouse, the new High
Commissioner, who arrived in the Cape in 1861. Hostilities
with the Orange Free State again broke out in the Seqiti War
of 1865. Thaba Bosiu was itself besieged but not taken and a
boer commandant, Louw Wepener, was killed, during an assault
on the mountain.
A short armistice followed during which Moshoeshoe renewed
his entreaties to Wodehouse for protection. In 1867 Free
State forces again overran much of Moshoeshoe's land and
conquered almost every lowland fortress except Thaba Bosiu.
In this hour of crisis, Sir Philip Wodehouse finally secured
the permission of the British Cabinet to annex the country.
On 12 March 1868, Moshoeshoe's prayer was granted, and by
proclamation of Sir Philip Wodehouse, Lesotho became a
Moshoeshoe died in 1870 soon after seeing his country saved.
He was buried as have been nearly all principal chiefs
since, in the graveyard on the summit of Thaba-Bosiu.
The after-effects of the war were serious. Casualties had
been heavy, missionaries expelled and mission stations taken
over, livestock lost, and, worst of all, a large area of
land had been annexed by the Orange Free State. In the
Convention of Aliwal North of February 1869, the boundaries
of Lesotho were laid down in their present form.
The British protection sought by Moshoeshoe proved to be a
mixed blessing, for Britain found it convenient to annex
Lesotho to the Cape Colony which in 1872 was granted
internal self- government by London. The move was
unfortunate for Lesotho, since the Cape Colony soon began to
apply to Lesotho the same laws and methods which it found
convenient for administering other areas already annexed by
Matters came to a head with the imposition of the "Peace
Preservation Act", by which all fire-arms were to be
surrendered. Within a few months the whole countryside was
in open rebellion.
The Gun War of 1880-81 cost the Cape Government dearly in
men and money. Civil strife created further administrative
problems. By 1883 chronic misgovernment induced the Cape
Government to request Britain to restore direct rule over
Lesotho, in return for which it was even prepared to pay any
deficit in the annual recurrent budget.