Troubador Dashing Dragoon, Anguished Emissary

Released: 27/08/2015

eISBN: 9781785894008

Format: eBook

Review this Book

Dashing Dragoon, Anguished Emissary

The story of William Samuel Hogge in southern Africa (1843-1852)

by

This is the story of a former cavalry officer thrust into the turbulent politics of mid-19th century southern Africa. During service with the 7th Dragoon Guards in Cape Colony he establishes a reputation as a leader of native irregular troops and receives accolades from his superiors. Following a brief period as a country gentleman in his native Bedfordshire, he is called out of retirement by Earl Grey, Colonial Secretary of HM government, and is sent to Cape Colony, accompanied by his young wife and infant daughter, to assist the colonial authorities to bring about peace between settlers and displaced tribespeople on the eastern frontier of the colony. With little support from the irascible governor Sir Harry Smith, he struggles to negotiate peace agreements between warring tribes and recalcitrant Boer farmers. Travelling for days on horseback under a blazing African sun he manages to secure a landmark deal with obdurate Boer leader, Andries Pretorius, and initiates agreements with Moshoeshoe, chief of the Basuto people, but his success is marred by tragedy. The story is told mainly through official despatches and letters, some written by Hogge himself to his adored wife, and provides new insights into the character of some of the personalities with whom he was involved.

William Samuel Hogge would still be a household name today, like Roberts or Kitchener, has he not died aged 40 in 1852 while engaged in exhausting diplomacy between the warring tribes of Xhosa, Boers and Brits in the frontier regions of Southern Africa. A soldier of high courage and acute intelligence, he established his reputation as a leader of native levies (in much the same way that others of his ilk were to lead the firqats of Dhofar in the 1970s). Thereafter, and known to the Colonial Secretary in Whitehall, Hogge returned to the region as Assistant Commissioner, a job-description which no-one could quite define but which involved trying to repair the damage to inter-tribal relations inflicted by that celebrated but erratic pro-consul Sir Harry Smith. Drawing much on contemporary documents and maps (and letters to Hogge's dearly beloved wife), Hugh Tweed brings to life an era of British imperial history now disappearing, wrongly, from our horizons. Hogge was too bright to have been a Dashing Dragoon and too robust to have been an Anguished Emissary. He was instead one of those excellent men who made the Empire what it was, to whom communicating with the indigenous warriors and cattle-thieves was second nature, to whom also dying under the pitiless African sun was the risk such men took. This is a considerable short book, whose brevity and detailed research are amongst its many strengths.

by Ian Thorne


Hugh Tweed has produced a meticulously annotated and referenced story of William Samuel Hogge and his part in the history of the times. This is not the average dry historical tome. It is enlivened by the personal aspect of the letters to his wife, to Lord Grey, Colonial Secretary, and also the seldom mentioned critical comments about Sir Harry Smith, Governor of Cape Colony.

The handling of William Samuel’s activities on the eastern Cape frontier during the 7th Frontier War (1843 – 1847) and his role in the signing of the Sand River Convention 1852 makes for fascinating reading. This book will be of profound use to all serious students of that era who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding of the period and its influence through the years down to the present. The book brings a sharp focus on the individual, Major William Samuel Hogge of the 7th Dragoon Guards and by so doing casts an illuminating spotlight on the violent complexities of the contact between Whites and Blacks in southern Africa in the 19th Century.

Dashing Dragoon, Anguished Emissary is basically an account of two parts: the first being Major Hogge’s part in the military campaigns and his role in the violent conflicts on the frontier in the eastern Cape, conflicts of race, land and influence still on-going in South Africa today. Any work that records the tumultuous history of South Africa will provide insight to, and an understanding of the present. Part of the reason for the deep-rooted animosity between Whites and Blacks in the eastern Cape is because this area was the cauldron of racial conflict. The deadly squabbles over land and cattle and the residual, often subconscious hatred that blights race relations and the attitudes of Whites and Blacks towards each other to this day is a hangover from the violent past with its injustices of colonialism. Yet there are often examples of great cooperation, understanding and affection between the racial groups.

So, the second part of the story deals with William Samuel Hogge, as a civilian, travelling vast distances on horseback arranging a peaceful settlement of the trouble brewing between the Boer farmers of the Free State, the Transvaal and the Basotho nation under Moshesh. Along with Mr Charles Owen, his colleague and co-Assistant Commissioner, the nearly impossible task of settling the region was successfully attained at the signing of the Sand River Convention which gave independence to the Transvaalers and made peace possible along the Caledon River. That Hogge was instrumental in bringing about this rapprochement is an example of what could be done to foster amicable relations between the competing race groups.

On a technical note, the book has a dramatic cover – a view through the spokes of an ox wagon wheel revealing the wide open veld of the hinterland of South Africa. The binding of the book is very strong and the whole book is printed on superior quality glossy paper. The research and presentation are meticulous and simple without sacrificing depth or interest. The narrative structure is engaging and interesting as it focuses on Major Hogge and his place in the wider historical panorama of South Africa. This book is a valuable addition to the scholarly canon of the eastern Cape in particular and South Africa in general.

by Quentin Hogge


Hugh Tweed has produced a meticulously annotated and referenced story of William Samuel Hogge and his part in the history of the times. This is not the average dry historical tome. It is enlivened by the personal aspect of the letters to his wife, to Lord Grey, Colonial Secretary, and also the seldom mentioned critical comments about Sir Harry Smith, Governor of Cape Colony.

The handling of William Samuel’s activities on the eastern Cape frontier during the 7th Frontier War (1843 – 1847) and his role in the signing of the Sand River Convention 1852 makes for fascinating reading. This book will be of profound use to all serious students of that era who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding of the period and its influence through the years down to the present. The book brings a sharp focus on the individual, Major William Samuel Hogge of the 7th Dragoon Guards and by so doing casts an illuminating spotlight on the violent complexities of the contact between Whites and Blacks in southern Africa in the 19th Century.

Dashing Dragoon, Anguished Emissary is basically an account of two parts: the first being Major Hogge’s part in the military campaigns and his role in the violent conflicts on the frontier in the eastern Cape, conflicts of race, land and influence still on-going in South Africa today. Any work that records the tumultuous history of South Africa will provide insight to, and an understanding of the present. Part of the reason for the deep-rooted animosity between Whites and Blacks in the eastern Cape is because this area was the cauldron of racial conflict. The deadly squabbles over land and cattle and the residual, often subconscious hatred that blights race relations and the attitudes of Whites and Blacks towards each other to this day is a hangover from the violent past with its injustices of colonialism. Yet there are often examples of great cooperation, understanding and affection between the racial groups.

So, the second part of the story deals with William Samuel Hogge, as a civilian, travelling vast distances on horseback arranging a peaceful settlement of the trouble brewing between the Boer farmers of the Free State, the Transvaal and the Basotho nation under Moshesh. Along with Mr Charles Owen, his colleague and co-Assistant Commissioner, the nearly impossible task of settling the region was successfully attained at the signing of the Sand River Convention which gave independence to the Transvaalers and made peace possible along the Caledon River. That Hogge was instrumental in bringing about this rapprochement is an example of what could be done to foster amicable relations between the competing race groups.

On a technical note, the book has a dramatic cover – a view through the spokes of an ox wagon wheel revealing the wide open veld of the hinterland of South Africa. The binding of the book is very strong and the whole book is printed on superior quality glossy paper. The research and presentation are meticulous and simple without sacrificing depth or interest. The narrative structure is engaging and interesting as it focuses on Major Hogge and his place in the wider historical panorama of South Africa. This book is a valuable addition to the scholarly canon of the eastern Cape in particular and South Africa in general.

by Quentin Hogge

by Quentin Hogge


This is a very well researched book regarding the less understood aspects of the political issues of 19 century South Africa. However more important are the personal trials and tribulations of one Englishman thrust into the melee to assist the colonial authorities in peace~keeping. His struggles with the authorities and his aim to achieve peace between the warring parties is admirable. The author is a descendent of William Hogge and his conversational literary style gives the book great charm.

by Carol S


A very interesting book, shedding light on a part of history with which I was broadly familiar, but not in as much detail as I would have liked. This adds a human interest as well as filling out the details of the politics and events of the times.

by A.A.RAY


  • Buy as an ebook
  • £4.99
  • Find this ebook at your favourite retailer
Also by Hugh Tweed / Related Books