"Offer most gratefully accepted in principle. Details to be arranged later. No difficulty expected."
January 12th, 1900
Following letter from Mr. Chamberlain:-
January 12th, 1900
"My Dear Lord Strathcona.
I received your letter of the 10th, inst. at three o'clock yesterday, and after communication with the War Office I telegraphed to you that your offer war gratefully accepted in principle, leaving details to further discussion, and that no difficulty was expected.
I found Lord Lansdown most appreciative of your munificent offer, and desirious to avail himself of it do not imagine that anything will now arise to prevent its full realization. The provisio as to details is only an ordinary precaution, but I do not know any detail at present upon which questions arise.
In order to save time, I think it would be desirable that all further communications should take place directly between you and the War Office, to whom I have sent a copy of your letter. If, however, the slightest difficulty should occur, I beg you to use me to arrange it, and I shall always be at your service for this purpose.
I see that your offer has been made public in Canada, which will, of course, prevent the secrecy to which you attach importance. I cannot say that I am sorry, for I think it is right that honor should go where honor is due, and there is more probability of your example being followed when the facts are known. In any case, you will, I am sure, believe that I have endeavoured scrupulously to carry out your wishes, and have accordingly said nothing about your proposal to anyone outside the
Yours very truly,
(Signed) J. Chamberlain"
January 12th. 1900
Mr. E. S. Clouston, the General Manager of the Bank of Montreal, empowered to act as Lord Strathcona's representative in Canada in connection with the matter. Mr. Clouston to work in conjunction with Sir Wilfred Laurier and the Department of Militia and Defence.
Janizary 12th, 1900:
Lord Strathcona informed Sir Wilfred Laurier that the horses for the corps were to be purchased in the North West by Professor McEachran. That men and officers to be engaged on the same terms, and to be equipped in the same way as the Canadian Contingents. Matter to be entirely non-political only qualification being thorough fitness and suitability of officers and men for services required; and asking to have benefit of experience of the Department of Militia and Defence in selection of men, horses, arms and equipment. Names of all officers nominated to be submitted to Lord Strathcona for approval.
Military Historical Society
I agree with Mark and thank you for posting these interesting communications.
There must have been other such 'behind the scenes' exchanges as preludes to the many irregular units raised during the Boer War. Most existed for only a short time (e.g. Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, but one survives to this day (i.e. Imperial Light Horse, now the Light Horse Regiment, which still has its headquarters in Johannesburg.)