§ MR. ADDERLEY
presented a petition from several persons connected with the Cape of Good Hope, praying the House to recommend to Her Majesty to appoint a Commission to proceed to South Africa, and inquire and report as to the best mode of adjusting the relations between this country and the Kaffir tribes. That petition was signed by several of the leading merchants connected with the Cape of Good Hope in London; and be believed, from the information he had received, he might safely state that if there had been more time almost every merchant connected with the Cape in London would have signed it. It was not only signed by those merchants, but it was also signed by an individual whose signature conveyed more weight to it than the signatures of all the merchants who had signed it. That was the signature of a gentleman who was delegated from the Cape of Good Hope to represent the grievances of the colony to Her Majesty in England. Whatever might be considered of that gentleman's character it mattered very little; for a man who had filled the position he did in troublous times must have many enemies as well as friends; but at all events it was certain that this gentleman represented in this country (as he could prove by written documents) the opinions of at least nine-tenths of the whole electoral body which was proposed to be formed in the Cape of Good Hope. He was the organ of at least nine-tenths of the future constituency of the Cape of Good Hope. The petitioners stated that at this moment the Colony and its Government were in a most dangerous predicament, and they prayed Her Majesty to send a Commission to the colony to inquire and report upon the best mode of removing the causes of complaint. He had been asked to represent the feelings of the colonists, and to lay their case before 227 the House. He felt the duty he had to perform was of considerable importance, and he was fully impressed with a sense of the responsibility of the task he had undertaken. But he would not shrink from stating plainly, and he hoped shortly, their case. He threw himself upon the consideration of the House, and claimed their attention and indulgence while he made that statement. He appealed to the House to consider the question gravely, and not to look at it at all as a party question. He hoped they would calmly and temperately consider the very serious case he would lay before them. A-t that moment there was no such thing' as a Government at the Cape of Good Hope, nor had there been a Government there for the last two years. The Governor and Council—or the Governor- he should say, alone, and not the Council, for the Council had not been filled up for a year and a half—the Governor was obliged to act on his own responsibility. He had not been able to get the estimates or votes of supply, and he had been obliged to bear the expenses of the Government upon the pressure of the case; there was also a dangerous war on the frontier, and it appeared that the policy of this country with reference to the native tribes on the frontiers of the colony had utterly and entirely failed. There were two propositions before the House with reference to the state of the colony: there was first the proposal which he (Mr. Adderley) had the honour to make, and that proposition was, that an inquiry should be instantly made, and that the object of the inquiry should be to put an end to the present policy which this country maintains towards the Cape of Good Hope; to get rid of the responsibility they assumed, without having the power to discharge it; to wind up altogether the outstanding engagements, treaties, and agreements, which Her Majesty had entered into with the tribes and settlers at the Cape of Good Hope, in order that with the concession of a representative government, the Cape of Good Hope might take upon itself the responsibility of its own defence in future. That was the object of the inquiry which he proposed, and he proposed to make it by Commission, such as was sent out there in 1827 with the same object, while Lord Charles Somerset was Governor of the Cape, and Earl Bathurst was Colonial Secretary. That Commission was entirely identical with the Commission he now pro- 228 posed to send out to the same spot, and was a precedent to act upon. The next proposition was the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government; the noble Lord thought, with him, that some inquiry was necessary—as head of the Executive he acknowledged that the Executive was at a dead lock—aiid the noble Lord came to the House for information and advice how to proceed; but the noble Lord's object and purpose in making an inquiry was very different from his (Mr. Adderley's); the purpose of the noble Lord's inquiry was not to put an end to the present policy, but, on the contrary, to remove obstructions from the present policy that it may go on again. That was a different purpose and object from what he (Mr. Adderley) proposed, and he had observed the great difference of the noble Lord's proposal from his own, when the noble Lord took out of his hands the notice he had given of a Motion for a Select Committee, by his omission from the notice of the words "definitive adjustment," showing his object to be an inquiry into the relations between the native tribes and the Government of this country, to discover the causes of disturbance, and to enable them to proceed again with the original policy maintained there. The idea of the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of the Colonies of that policy had been expressed the other clay; his idea was that the colony must be retained by the retention of their present military system, and that he (Mr. Adderley) considered a very grave responsibility resting upon them, without really any effectual means of discharging that responsibility. The noble Lord's taking the same view of the case showed this inquiry was to be made to enable him to proceed with the same military system of maintaining the authority of England over this colony. How the noble Lord should wish for such an inquiry he could not tell, for it seemed to him that if the noble Lord was already in possession of sufficient information to initiate this policy, he must certainly he in possession of sufficient information to go on with it at present, if he were so determined. The difference of the noble Lord's proposition from his (Mr. Adderley's), however, not only consisted in the difference of purpose and object, but also in the mode of his inquiry. The noble Lord proposed, instead of a Commission, that a Select Committee should be appointed; and he would beg of 229 the noble Lord to observe, that a Select Committee, such as he proposed, would consume a considerable time. There was no doubt that before such a Select Committee there would be laid the theories of half a dozen different kinds of men, and there would be presented to it half a dozen different views on the subject. The amount of the information laid in the year 1827 before the Aborigines Committee, which now fills two folio volumes in the library of the House, would be repeated all over again; they would have to receive the opinions of philanthropical men, financial men, military men, and economists; and the length of their labours would be such that at their termination the object in view would be entirely lost. He now begged to read a letter which he had received from a gentleman residing at the Cape, showing the danger of delay. He says—The fact is that parties are forming in the colony, and here is a ground for immediately constituting a Parliament at the Cape, which might restore good feeling between the colonists and Her Majesty's Government. Delay will beget party, and certain want of confidence in the sincerity and good faith of the British Government. There is yet time for repressing these evils, by appointing a Commission of Inquiry. But if the next steamer leaves this country without certain intelligence of either, the opportunity will be lost never to return. If we knew what Lord Grey has done, we might be able to say what should now be done, that is, instantly, for the loss of a single month may be the ruin of the colony. The commission should be similar in character to that appointed in Lord Charles Somerset's time.There was a third proposition, which was to be brought before the House by the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark; the hon. Baronet thought that this country neither needed nor ought to institute any inquiry, as he wished to throw the whole responsibility of the past policy on the Executive here; but it should be considered that the Executive had confessed its inability to act practically; and therefore that proposition threw the responsibility of our own past policy on the colony. That was scarcely consistent with the justice, honour, and dignity of this country. After this country had framed a policy of its own, which indeed had caused infinite disturbance and confusion on the spot, this country was bound in honour to wind up and finish that policy before it threw on the colony the task of instituting a new policy. It appeared that, if they were to set the colonists by the ears amongst themselves, and with the tribes around them, and then assume Jove's attitude of contemplation while the colonists 230 struggled out of the difficulty they had put in their way, they would be playing a part that was very cruel and unjustifiable. He begged to read to the House an extract from the work of Mr. Forrester upon the Capo of Good Hope, which was very material in considering the point to which he (Mr. Adderley) was referring, namely, that this country could hardly with justice throw at once upon the colony the task of framing a future policy without making an arrangement to get them out of the difficulty which the policy of this country had created. Mr. Forrester says—It certainly is very easy to say, 'Finish this war, and then throw at once all future defence on the colony.' But the Dutch defenders will say, 'Who disallowed the ordinances for the organising of our old burgher militia for frontier defences, and substituted an English military system?' Frontier settlers, English and Dutch, will say,' You have both carried on aggression, and destroyed our system of defence. Put us back where we were before you leave us?' Caps Town will say, 'You have assumed new positions and policy, and established sovereignties independent of our colony; you cannot leave us to defend your work. Clear away your work, and we will make a better arrangement.' Boers at Natal will say, 'We are emigrants sent out and located by you.' Tribes at peace will say, 'What becomes of the treaties you have made, and forced upon us? You accuse us of breaking treaties. What are you doing?' Military villagers will say, 'Your policy has placed us old used-up soldiers in dangerous front of a system of military colonisation; you are bound to defend us or put us back in safety; for, to say the truth, though you put us here for your defence, there are no people more defenceless.' The state of the native question has been the work of the Imperial Government. To take away the troops without first establishing a new native policy, which might be maintained without our troops, would be a monstrous cruelty.That was the objection which he had to the hon. Baronet's proposition; but at the same time he must say that, although it was objectionable in point of justice, it was, at all events, an effectual proposition; and if he (Mr. Adderley) were not able to carry his own proposition, it was one he would prefer to the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He (Mr. Adderley) would now very shortly defend his own proposition, and would state the circumstances that rendered an inquiry necessary, The circumstances were these: an apparently needless and hopeless recurrence of native wars on the frontier of the colony, equally destructive to the lives, liberties, and prosperity of the colonists themselves, keeping up a state of hostility with the native tribes, and ending neither in their civilisation nor subjugation, and causing enormous waste and extravagance 231 to this country, and great perplexity to the Imperial Government. There were two main grounds for the existence of this state of things: the first was that this country had, for some reason or other, continued up to the present time to postpone the period for giving a representative government to the colony, and their promise on the subject remained yet unfulfilled; the other main point of their policy was, that it was marked by vacillation; there was a perpetually irritating system of vacillation in their frontier policy. Those were the two main features of their policy that had caused the disturbances in the colony. With regard to the concession of a representative government, he hoped their policy was in process of change, and that their intentions would not be much longer obstructed by officials on the spot. The refusal of the Government to lay on the table of the House papers and correspondence he had repeatedly asked for, compelled him to delay the discussion of the question of a representative government. It appeared to him useless to bring forward the question until he got the papers. It was only on one point that information respecting the colony had been laid before the country, though not before the House, by moans of a quasi-official communication that had appeared within the last few days; he meant the publication of the leading articles of a new paper called the Monitor, which was a Government organ, printed at Cape Town. That paper very clearly showed, and unblushingly avowed, that it was the determination of the officials at the Cape to counteract and thwart the intentions of Her Majesty's Government, and prevent thorn from being-carried into effect. In this publication it was said—Since the real feeling of the colony has been fairly represented by the Monitor, opinion is growing daily amongst persons of influence, that we are by no means in a position for two elective Houses. But now, if the colony is to be saved, we must not talk of elections. One prompt and determined stop must be taken, and that step is a temporary return to our form of government in 1836, viz.—a governor, and executive council, with legislative powers. This, and this only, will save the scenes exhibited in Canada in the years 1839 and 1810, from being transacted here. This will be justice to English loyalty, Dutch interests, and to Negro, Hottentot, and Fingo. This, in a word, will inspire confidence to our flagging commerce, respect to British prosperity, and peace and prosperity to all.The colony wanted a Representative Government; but the intention of this country with respect to conferring it on them was 232 counteracted on the spot, and they were prevented from getting it by the leading Members of the Government there. He would not say more on this subject of the constitution, but should hope that Her Majesty's Government would rather stand by their own enlightened intentions, than by the selfish prejudices of their officials on the spot, who desired to obstruct their intentions, and induce them to neglect the universal remonstrances of the colony, which were not safely to be trifled with. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies had-talked the other day of the invariable policy of encroachment in the colony; but he (Mr. Adderley) wished to correct his views, and to show that the policy of encroachment was not an invariable policy, and that the fault of their policy was rather its perpetual change and vacillation, than its constant encroachment. In the history the hon. Gentleman gave, he omitted an important interval in which that policy was reversed. Whatever might be said of the policy of Sir Andries Stockenstrom, during ten years at least there was a longer peace than had ever been known in the Cape colony since this country had been in possession of it, Kaffir wars having succeeded one another generally in quinquennial intervals on an average since they became possessed of the colony. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hawes) alluded first to the great ceded territory of Sir Rufane Donkin; then he referred to the neutral territory of Lord Charles Somerset; then he alluded to the ceded territory of Sir Benjamin D'Urban. After Sir Benjamin D'Urban there was a reversal of that policy, until the old policy began again under Sir George Napier and under Sir Henry Pottinger, and more largely than ever under Sir Harry Smith, who conducted it on a scale that eclipsed the former proceedings, taking about 30,000,000 of acres of fresh territory into his hands at once. What he (Mr. Adderley) wanted to call the attention of the House to was the vacillating policy to which the Kaffir tribes were invariably subjected, throwing them first backward and then allowing them to occupy their country again—a policy which was neither subjugative of the Kaffirs on the one hand, nor humane nor conciliatory towards them on the other. With regard to the manner in which Sir Harry Smith carried out those gigantic encroachments, he would call the attention of the House to a few facts. The hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies had said that it was not 233 fair generally to accuse an absent man, especially an absent governor, in time of war. He (Mr. Adderley) wished the hon. Gentleman had acted upon that advice with respect to the case of Lord Torrington. That noble Lord, in his speech in the House of Lords the other day, said that Her Majesty's Ministers, when once a Committee had been appointed to investigate his mode of governing Ceylon, whether his conduct were defensible or not, should instantly and at once have recalled him from the spot, where his government sub judice could only be prejudicial to the colony. The principle involved in that case was applicable here. Immediately on his arrival in the colony, Sir Harry Smith, with the full recollection of his former military exploits in India in his mind, and the scenes of former exploits under his eye, mapped out fresh territory for conquest, and took the leading natural boundaries of the country for his limits. He called the chiefs together, and told them he was going to lay down a new frontier line. Some of his more cautious advisers remonstrated with him, and reminded him of Sir Henry Pottinger's promises, which had just been made to the Kaffirs. Sir Harry Smith replied that he had a plan of his own, and proceeded, in the presence of the chiefs, to tear up the existing treaties; he then placed his foot on the neck of one chief and threatened to hang another, and proceeded to frame a new treaty, of which his side was to have the sole advantage, whilst the other side was simply to be deprived of a considerable portion of territory. He then proceeded to divide the new territory, partly into new provinces, and partly into military commissionerships a wholly new kind of government. At the end of 1849 he reported to Earl Grey that his new commissionerships were in a perfectly tranquil and satisfactory state. His plan of military colonisation, he said, was proceeding satisfactorily; his Kaffir police had answered; his Kaffir apprentices, and indeed the whole system of his commissionerships, were successful beyond his most sanguine hopes. It was not until October, 1850, that he reported home for the first time the existence of what he called the restlessness of Kaffraria. That was one of the new commissionerships. But it was singular that the colonists know nothing about how that commissionership was administered, what were its limits, or how the public money connected with it was raised or expend- 234 ed. Her Majesty knew nothing about these matters any more than the colonists, and he did not think Her Majesty's Government themselves had shown any knowledge of what was going on there. Sir Harry Smith stated that the two main causes of that restlessness were starvation, and the influence of wizards. But did that starvation result from any other cause than the restrictions imposed on the territory which was the sustenance of the native tribes; and did the influence of those wizards spring up from any other circumstance than the daily increasing antipathy which those tribes felt towards British rule? What were his remedies for these two evils? As to the starving chiefs, he proposed to depose some of them, and to pension others; as to the wizards or prophets he said he could throw them away with ridicule. To depose a chief was impossible; he was just as much a chief in prison as out of prison; while to pension a rebel, was to secure not his allegiance but his contempt. It would be better to shoot the prophets, as Lord Torrington did, than to ridicule them. In the history of the world he had never met with an instance in which a national superstition had been put down by ridicule. But when the summary process of deposition was sought to be executed in the case of Sandilli, Sir Harry Smith in a moment found the tables turned, and that the whole province was up in arms. The whole policy of Sir Harry Smith, failed in an instant, and the Governor found himself a prisoner amongst his own subjects. It was indeed astonishing how utterly deceived the Governor bad been; and if the House would bear in mind that Lord Grey would take information relative to the colony from no other quarter than Sir Harry Smith, they would be able to understand how little he was likely to know of the state of the colony. Information came to Earl Grey from every quarter of the colony, warning' him as to the designs of the native tribes; but he seemed to rely most, if not exclusively, upon the despatches from the Governor. A gentleman from the Cape, now in this country, the other day told him (Mr. Adderley) that he sent a warning to Sir Harry Smith, who, in consequence, requested an interview with him. At that interview Sir Harry Smith told that gentleman to mind his own business, and that he (Sir Harry Smith) was capable of understanding his. Did the House for a moment think that a 235 local representative government would have been so far deceived as Sir Harry Smith had recently been? If there had been a representative government in the colony, it would have been utterly impossible for recent events to have happened there without the local government having been warned of them. He would not trouble the House by entering further into the sequel of the history; but he would state that at this moment the Kaffirs were in possession of almost the whole of one side of the colony, and that Sir Harry Smith was as much a prisoner as ever, with this difference, that he was now a prisoner with 5,000 troops at his command, instead of the comparatively small force previously at his disposal. How could the Under Secretary for the Colonies say he thought the insurrection a matter of very little importance when he knew that the Governor was unable at this moment to move out of the fort of King William's Town? Sir Harry Smith still talked of the fidelity of Pato and some other chiefs; but Pato was only shamming, as in the last war, and was biding his time to take the side of the strongest. The massacre of the six military villages, filled with people unable to defend the colony or themselves, must be a painful matter to Lord Grey, who had placed them there to illustrate a raw and immature experiment; but it was to be feared more blood would be yet shed in a similar way, for Lord Grey was not cured of this love of experiment. Let it be borne in mind by the House, once for all, that this was a very serious war, and that it was not likely to be so easily put down as the hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies seemed to think. The main point to bear in mind was that this was not a mere war of plunder, but a war for the recovery of lost territory. It was not a war on the part of the native tribes against the colonists, but one on the part of those tribes against the British rule. Sir Harry Smith had not to fight against the Kaffirs, as the Governor of the Cape, but in his capacity of High Commissioner of British Kaffraria; and the real wizard who excited all this confusion was Sir Harry Smith himself. He (Mr. Adderley) believed at this moment that the whole colony was weary with each successive system of government failing one after another, and that they longed to be trusted with the management of their own local affairs. They believed also, if they could obtain the ear of the Queen, that the whole system of governing the colony would be 236 changed. He (Mr. Adderley) wanted simply to put an end to that system, and to remove the management of the colony to the shoulders of the colonists themselves. It was a system which tended neither to the complete subjugation of the native tribes, nor to their civilisation through the medium of our institutions. Sir Harry Smith had destroyed the authority of the chiefs, with the idea that he could place himself in their position, and in that way introduce British laws and institutions. Calling himself the father of the tribes, he had required them to give up their old customs—such, for example, as polygamy—and had tried to introduce British customs in their stead. The authority of the chiefs had been destroyed, as Lord Grey had pointed out; but Sir Harry Smith had not succeeded in substituting his own. The system of Sir Harry Smith, if fairly carried out, would be eminently effectual, because in that case it would be a system of extermination; but he knew this country was too humane to carry out such a system to its legitimate results. Another system was to recognise the rights and nationality of the tribes, to preserve intact their laws and institutions, and to raise them through the medium of the inevitable and irresistible example of civilised neighbourhood. Any policy which went between those two systems must fail, unless it fell into the hands of some man of genius, who could carry out his system simply through the force of his own genius. Lord Grey, in one of his despatches to Sir Harry Smith, said—It is not enough that this alarm should pass away, we must sift the causes of discontent. We have relaxed and broken up the ancient ties of dependence to chiefs. The people appeal to us for help against injustice, and in our assistance we unfortunately break up your authority. This imposes on the British Government the task of supplying the place of that authority. We must not wholly destroy the ancient organisation, but maintain it as much as possible, correcting its abuses, and supplying its defects. This has been my policy since 1847. Make up the loss of authority to chiefs by salaries, and make their people constables with fees. Take away from the chiefs the power of punishment, and impose taxes in the shape of tithes.Now, could anything be more clear than that it was the intention of the noble Earl to break up the old authority of the chiefs, without replacing it by anything but a mere military policy, which he knew this country was unable to carry out to its own legitimate results? The House knew perfectly well that we must finish this Kaffir war, 237 and that we must pay for it. We could do it, and we must do it. The only thing was this, what would be done afterwards? For the proposal which he (Mr. Adderley) now made to the House, he conceived he had a precedent in the Special Commission sent out to the colony, in the time of Earl Bathurst. He (Mr. Adderley) had great objection to the proposal of the noble Lord at the head of the Government for a Select Committee, because it contemplated the maintenance of our present policy in the colony. The proposal of the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Moles-worth) to withdraw the troops at once, was a very effective and simple plan, yet he (Mr. Adderley) thought it was wanting in strict justice to our present policy. He should, however, prefer it to the scheme of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. With these remarks he begged to submit his Motion to the House.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to appoint one or more Commissioners, with instructions to proceed to South Africa, to inquire and report as to the best mode of adjusting' the relations between this Country and the Kaffir tribes; and also, of determining the engagements entered into by Her Majesty's High Commissioner in his settlement of the extended territory.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Sir, I rise to propose an Amendment to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman, at the commencement of his speech, stated very fairly that this was not a party question, and that he did not wish to treat it in a party spirit. I own I could have wished that the hon. Gentleman had kept to that line of debate; for, instead of investigating fairly what might be the merits of the case, and what were the remedies necessary to be applied, he simply contented himself with finding fault with the policy of Sir Harry Smith and my noble Friend Earl Grey. We ought, I think, to look rather to what are the general interests of the country, and to what has been the history of this Cape colony, with respect to which we have a serious question at issue. Now, on looking back to the history of this colony, we shall find, when the Dutch were in possession of the Colony, they did not confine themselves to the possession of Cape Town, but that they had extended the limits of the colony to a considerable distance, and had gone so far as the limits of the Fish River. In 238 that state we, on our first conquest of the Cape of Good Hope, found the province; and General Dundas devoted all his care and attention in endeavouring to reconcile the interests of the colony with the habits of the savages, who had no other notions of property, than that it was a tempting spoil, on which they could seize if it were loft unprotected, and without the possession of it they should cease to live under the rule of their conquerors. After the second capture of the colony in 1805, this question became still more urgent, and I think there was a further extension of the colony about 1807; but, in 1819, there was a proposal made in this House, that 50,000l. should be voted for the purpose of sending out emigrants from this country to be settled in the district now called Graham's Town and in the surrounding country. That proposal was very much approved of by this House. It was thought very desirable that persons suffering from the inadequacy of their means in this country should be able to live in comfort in a colony so healthy as the Cape of Good Hope; and, with scarcely any debate, the House agreed to the proposal. The only speech which I believe is recorded, is the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) on that occasion, who complained that the Government had not gone far enough, and that a further grant ought to be proposed. But, however, there wore certainly a number of persons sent out, and the district to which they were sent became, in process of time, a very flourishing district, and the English and Dutch colonists were in possession of a very considerable amount of property. In 1848, it was stated that the export of wool was about 2,250,000lbs., the value of which was about 143,000l.; the annual agricultural produce of the eastern district was valued at 269,000l.; the live stock at 2,297,000l.; and other fixed property, not otherwise included, at 2,136,000l.; making the value of the property in the eastern district altogether to be considerably upwards of 4,000,000l. But those persons thus settled—and a great portion of whom had been settled by the direct intervention of the Government, and with the unqualified approval of this House—complained from time to time of the depredations which were made on their cattle; that their wives and habitations were not safe; that the Kaffir tribes made continual incursions into their districts; that their farmhouses were constantly robbed or de- 239 stroyed, and their cattle carried away, and the members of their families exposed to outrage. Now, it should be observed, that not the Governors of the colonies alone, but the British nation and the British Government, could not be indifferent to such complaints as those. The emigrants of those times had taken possession of the colony from the Dutch, and having had it formally ceded to us by a treaty of peace, it was but natural that the people who were in command of the colony should seek to remedy such evils. Now, the hon. Gentleman must allow me to say that this House is not to be deceived by blaming the officers who happen to be in command of the colony. Sir Harry Smith is a man distinguished for his military services, and one whose acquirements are not inferior to any military commander. It must be known to the hon. Gentleman that Lord Charles Somerset, Sir Benjamin D'Urban, Sir Peregrine Maitland, and Sir Henry Pottinger had all preceded Sir Harry Smith in the government of the colony, and had all, according to their several abilities, though by different means, endeavoured to find a remedy for the serious and very palpable and extensive evils which had from time to time afflicted the colony. One of the observations that was made was, that the frontier of the Fish River had been a very ill-chosen boundary—that it was surrounded by thickets on each side—that savage tribes had come unperceived to the borders of the river—that they got across without being noticed, and that they could make their incursions on the neighbouring farms in the British territory unperceived by the military posts, and that the bad choice of the boundary was itself the great cause of those mischiefs. In 1819, according to those views, the boundary had been extended further to the east than in the first instance. According to the ancient system of the Dutch, there had been a regular organisation for defending the colonists against the incursions which were made for the purpose of stealing cattle, called the commando system, which was a system of great rigour, but it was certainly liable to great abuse, and often gave rise to acts of violence. When I had the honour of holding the seals of the Colonial Department, I remember seeing a man who lived on the frontier, and who described that system to me, which was certainly not one which cither this country or this House would wish to approve; because if, on the one hand, there 240 were incursions frequently of a very barbarous nature, resulting in the burning and destruction of farmhouses, and the carrying away of cattle; on the other band, the Boers and farmers were not unfrequently found avenging their losses by dealing with the tribes by whom those incursions were committed without justice or without any observance of those laws of which military commanders were so carefully observant towards those who were found on the territory on which they were in command. It was, I suppose, the knowledge of those abuses that, when the ordinance was sent home for consolidating that commando system, led to its being disallowed in 1833 by Lord Stanley, who then hold the seals of the Colonial Office. But the observation to which the hon. Gentleman who has made this Motion has adverted, is naturally an observation for the colonies to make: If you say that you do not approve of our manner of defending ourselves—if you think that our mode of resenting those outrages, and our mode of preparing ourselves against future outrages, is attended with inhumanity, and is not consistent with justice to those native tribes—then take care that you give us an efficient defence at your own cost. Either take one system or the other; allow us, if you want to save expense—if you think that the maintenance of the Army, that the maintenance of the friendly tribes on the frontier of the Cape, is too great a drain on your Imperial resources—allow us to frame our own system in the most vigorous and the most efficient way in which it can be framed, and let us put that system into operation without reproach or intimation on your part—that it is not consistent with your notions of justice to the native tribes. But if, on the other hand, you complain that that system is a source of injustice, then give us a defence which you think efficient, and let us be secured according to your own manner, and then don't complain of the expense of that system. Now, I cannot but allow that this statement of the settlers, whether English or Dutch—whether originally founded there before us when we had the colony ceded to us, or whether made by the settlers that went out with our sanction and approbation—is one that carries a great deal of force. Well, Sir, the commando system having been dissolved in 1835, Sir Benjamin D'Urban, being then Governor of the colony, had to report that 10,000 Kaffirs bad invaded the eastern district; that they had 241 destroyed the farms and villages—that they had swept away everything they had encountered—and that they had converted a flourishing province into a desert waste. Sir Benjamin D'Urban took military measures of great vigour, though with no great regular force, and directed with the ability which he was known to possess, in order to meet the Kaffirs who had just made those encroachments; he was successful, but the commando system having been rejected, the evils and inconveniences of the other system began to be felt, and you had the cost of that system. It appears that the ordinary charges for the military defence of the colony in 1834 had amounted to 96,000l.; and that during 1835 the extraordinary expenditure amounted to near 154,000l.—forming a total charge of 249,790l. in that charge; and the estimated charge of the military chest during the year ending the 31st of March, 1837, could not be less than 206,349l. Now, I don't think that that was an extravagant expense under the circumstances. Sir Benjamin D'Urban states, that before the war began, the Kaffirs had, between the 21st of December and the 1st of January, murdered every man they could find, burnt 450 farmhouses, carried off 4,000 farm horses, about 100,000 head of cattle, and about 150,000 head of sheep and goats, and loft Albany and Somerset a desert. I think this will show the House that the evils with which we have now to deal are not evils either new in themselves, or evils that can be met at once, by declaring that what has been done has been done wrong, and that some other steps must be at once adopted. Sir Benjamin D'Urban carried his hostilities far into the country of the Kaffirs, and even went beyond the Kei river, and severely chastised those tribes who had either themselves led or had encouraged and protected the invasion by the 10,000 Kaffirs; but, he said, if the Government wished to have greater security for the future, it was necessary to extend the frontier; and he proposed that the frontier should be extended beyond the Keiskamma, and he even recommended that the boundary should be beyond the Kei river. Now, here we have a proof that those plans of the extension of frontier are not some green projects of Sir Harry Smith; but that they had been proposed so long ago as 1835, as a means of giving greater security to the Albany and Somerset districts, which, it should always be remembered, were fairly entitled 242 to protection. The Cabinet of that day took this matter into very serious consideration. The authority of Sir Benjamin D'Urban stood very high. The military ability he had shown, and the success that had attended his operations, induced them to give great weight to his representations. On the other hand, it was stated in this country, and stated with great effect on the public mind, that the native tribes had been treated with injustice; that the incursions of the Kaffirs had in fact been provoked; that the European settlers themselves had been the cause of those great outrages that had been committed; and that a new system ought to be adopted, with conciliation, and continual endeavours to act with humanity towards the natives. Lord Glenelg, with the assent of the Government, at length gave his directions that the new province which Sir Benjamin D'Urban had taken possession of should be abandoned, and that recourse should be had to the former frontier; and that, instead of a system of subduing a certain portion of the country, and the tribes inhabiting it, a treaty should be made with the Kaffir chiefs, and reliance placed upon those treaties as a means of preserving the peace of the colony. Sir George Napier went to the Cape not long afterwards, to carry these instructions into effect; and Sir Andries Stockenstrom, a man of considerable talents, and who had great influence with those with whom he came in contact, was appointed to carry out these transactions at the frontier, and to conciliate as far as possible the Dutch settlers, whose confidence he possessed, and the native tribes, by whom he was respected. There were, however, from that time forward (though not immediately open war, since the success of Sir Benjamin D'Urban had been so striking and remarkable)—there were from that time continual complaints of the colonists' cattle being stolen, and there wore constant incursions made (and supposed to be favoured by the chiefs, though continually disavowed by them), by which the colonists lost much of their property, and were put to much trouble and expense in trying to recover it. Sir George Napier went more than once to the frontier, to stay the chiefs, and oblige them to pay greater observance to the treaties to which they were parties. However, it was not finally found that this system, any more than the one to which I before alluded, procured permanent peace to the colony. In 1845–6, during the time 243 Sir Peregrine Maitland was Governor, a fresh war arose, which appeared more dangerous and extensive than any that had gone before. Sir Peregrine Maitland described the circumstances of that war; and in parliamentary papers delivered from time to time will be found his account of the first apparently trivial disturbances, and afterwards more aggravated occurrences, that led to the war. It appeared that, in the first instance, the Kaffirs rebelled, not at all on account of any incursions made, or invasions of their rights attempted, by the colonists, but because the British authorities, in a part of the British colony, had proposed to punish a Kaffir guilty of an offence against the laws. A party of Kaffirs was sent to rescue the prisoner, and it was found that the attempt was not an insulated enterprise, but was suggested and prompted by one of the chiefs. Sir Peregrine Maitland, when he went to the colony, had, there can be no doubt, the most benevolent intentions towards those native tribes; and all his connexions and associations would lead him to adopt that opinion, which had been taken up by the missionaries especially, that our wars were owing to our want of conciliation. But in the address he wrote to the inhabitants of the colony, he bears remarkable testimony to the conduct of the colonists from the time I have mentioned:—Frequent attacks have been made, and the depredations recently have assumed a more audacious character, the reason being that the party in Kaffir-land who prefer war to peace without plunder, have gained an unfortunate ascendancy. So far as the rising could have boon provoked by any one act of violence or injustice committed by the colonists on the Kaffirs, it is without excuse. Certainly, no Kaffir can charge the colonists with one such act during the last seven years. It is with pride and pleasure I make this statement, which I believe to be accurate to the letter.Now, I think the House will believe that Sir Peregrine Maitland would not have made that statement without having the fullest assurance that he was doing no injustice to the Kaffirs in stating that there had been no act of offence on our part, but that the war had arisen by reason of the preponderance of the party in the colony who preferred war to peace without plunder. This war continued for a considerable time, and was more costly to the Treasury than the wars which had previously arisen. Sir Peregrine Maitland and afterwards Sir Henry Pottinger carried on the war with the success which had attended former wars, and ultimately the 244 Kaffirs were completely defeated. Sir Peregrine Maitland then had to consider what was to be done to secure the colony from similar depredations. And what he recommended was, that the frontier should be extended to the Kei river, and that the Kaffir tribes should not be allowed to come within the district adjoining the British territories, which should be colonised, if possible, by friendly tribes. Sir Henry Pottingcr took a view not very dissimilar. My noble Friend Earl Grey, at the same time, gave instructions to the same effect, saying that, if possible, it would be well to govern the Kaffirs through their chiefs, by obtaining their co-operation in discountenancing practices abhorrent to British feelings, and by endeavouring to improve the moral habits of the Kaffirs, so as to obtain a healthy ascendancy over them, and at the same time preserve their allegiance, and maintain peace. Sir, the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Adderley), among others, thinks that the Kaffirs should be left without control. But there are practices which belong to those tribes, with which the British dominion has never been able to assimilate; for instance, that to which the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) referred the other evening with some species of pleasantry—the practice of witchcraft. It is a custom among these tribes, if they see a man flourishing and becoming wealthy, to have him accused of witchcraft by some accuser, easily discovered, and to put him to death, in order to divide his property. These and other instances of murder and confiscation could not occur in a colony under the immediate eye of the British Government, without meeting their reprobation, and their attempts to put down practices so revolting to humanity. Earl Grey, Sir Peregrine Maitland, and Sir Harry Smith have all endeavoured to put down such practices; but it was not attempted at all to destroy the authority of the chiefs; on the contrary, it was the chiefs who were looked to as the means of governing the natives under them. Sir Henry Pottinger laid down very ably and in detail a plan by which the colony might be secured from these wars; and, as those who had gone before him, he thought that the frontier ought to be extended to the Kei river; and that we could not safely adhere to the boundary of the Keiskamma river. Sir-Harry Smith has been accused of despotic habits of government, and almost of tyranny and cruelty. But I have seen objections 245 made against him very different—that he behaved with too much lenity on some occasions. One letter I have seen stated that, had he secured Sandilli, and sent him to a convict settlement, or imprisoned him, or even hanged him, instead of setting him at liberty, the colony would not have been in such danger. He has been also accused of placing too much confidence in these Kaffir chiefs, and with not distrusting them, and putting them under restraint, or bringing them to trial for their treacheries and ill conduct. I admit, Sir, that he was deceived in his anticipations as to Sandilli, and that he believed that no insurrection was intended, and that he did not expect the war would take this character. But that he was not unaware of circumstances of danger existing, is clear from his leaving the Cape, and writing to say that the circumstances of the frontier required his presence to meet danger he apprehended. He did not certainly expect that it would assume so formidable a shape as it has assumed; and numberless instances show that men of great talent have been surprised by the breaking out of insurrections they might want means to prevent. He had, as was well observed the other evening by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies, the able assistance of Colonel Mackinnon, an officer well acquainted with the frontier and with the whole of the district, and capable not only of assisting him in the field, but of giving information as to what was to be done after the war had broken out, so similar in character to several other wars of which we have had to encounter the cost, and the colonists the peril. There is one circumstance, however, to be remarked, that we do not hear, as in 1835, that a large body of 10,000 Kaffirs has broken into peaceful and settled parts of the colony, but dangerous hostilities are carried on more at a distance from those parts of the colony. So far, we have gained by the measures which have been carried. But undoubtedly there are further measures to be considered, and these further measures, I think, ought to be considered most dispassionately, with reference to the engagements into which we have entered, and as to the promise of protection, which on taking possession of the Cape during the war, and having it ceded to us by the treaty of peace in 1815, was implied on our parts, with reference to the safety of the settlers, and the well-being of those tribes of men who belong to the territory, whose inter- 246 ests ought, if possible, to be protected by us. In considering that question, I think we cannot say, as the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) said broadly, the other night, that "we will let the colonists have a free constitution, and then take their own course, and let us not be at any expense for the future." I am fearful, Sir, that, if we took that course, we should be responsible for an immense amount of bloodshed, for a dreadful civil war, for a war of races which would immediately take place in the colony, while we should be looking on, nominally as governors and protectors, but in fact the contented spectators of scenes of murder and of rapine which it would be revolting and horrible to contemplate. Dismissing then that alternative, there come other questions which, I think, may very fairly be considered with reference to this subject. We may consider the plan which was adopted by Lord Glenelg and the Government of Lord Melbourne—that of endeavouring rather to restrict than to extend the frontier, and to make treaties with the native tribes in the hope that they will observe those treaties. I should remark that this plan has been fairly tried by men who wished it every success, but that its success has not been commensurate with the benevolence of the project, or the abilities, the care, and the zeal of the men who were selected to carry it out. Then comes, lastly, the plan which has been adopted, on the advice of Sir Benjamin D'Urban, of Sir Peregrine Maitland, of Sir Henry Pottinger, and of Sir Harry Smith—that of extending the frontier to th6 borders of the river Kei, where we may have military posts to observe the incursions of the savage tribes who may seek to infest the colony; endeavouring, under the best system that could be devised, to reduce the tribes within those limits; and, at the same time, having scattered through the colony a train of forts as places of security for any military force employed. Sir, my opinion is that this system, after all, with its hazard and its expenses, is most consistent with security on the one hand, and humanity an the other. I think that, in point of security, it promises better than the plan of restricting the frontier; and that, in point of humanity, it is better than the plan of leaving the native tribes to fight with each other to determine which is the strongest. That, then, is the plan I should feel inclined to adopt. But at the same time, as it is a plan which has now thrice—in 1835, in 1845, and in 1851 247 —been tried, and has caused great military movement and large expenses, I think it right that the House of Commons should delegate to a Committee the task of obtaining all the information it can upon the subject, and giving their opinion to the House whether it is a plan upon which the Government ought to proceed. Hitherto they have proceeded upon it according to the best authority they could obtain on the subject, and I do not think that a Government can do better than appoint the ablest men they can find, and the fittest for the duty, and to take their reports, after much consideration, and after consulting with others in the colony as to the state of affairs there. But I think that the Committee should consider the course which has been thus adopted, always assuming that the first thing to be done is to give Sir Harry Smith the reinforcements he may require to enable him to meet all dangers. I think it would then be advisable that he should have some assistance in endeavouring to settle and pacify the colony. I am now supposing that he may, by military movements, have again to subdue the natives. There are persons in the country perfectly able, from their own immediate knowledge of the colony, to be of great assistance in treating with the Kaffirs, and arranging the mode in which they are in future to live, and their relations to the colony and to British authority. If this House should appoint a Committee, the views of the Government will of course be stated fully to that Committee, and it will be then for them to consider, dispassionately—as a great question which concerns the interests of the empire, and not as a question concerning the person who may be at present Governor of the colony, or who may at present hold the seals of the colonial department, but as affecting the great interests of the empire—it will be for them to consider whether the policy pursued be sound; or whether, if it be not, any better policy can be adopted, likely to lead to more beneficial results. The Committee will spend its time better in that way than by endeavouring to ascertain whether Sir Harry Smith was wrong in a certain proclamation, or at a certain interview, or whether Earl Grey did right in receiving certain communications with approval. It is with this view, therefore, of recommending to the House to appoint a Committee, that I shall in the first place move the Amendment. The House might be of the opinion that, instead of the plan 248 the Government proposes, and instead of sending assistance to Sir Harry Smith, there should be sent a separate Commission to the colony, as the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) proposes. They may come to that conclusion; but I think it will be premature to decide such a question, and think it far better that the whole question should be placed before the Committee, before adopting that suggestion. I therefore move the Amendment of which I have given notice.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'a Select Committee be appointed, to inquire into the relations between this Country and the Kaffir and other Tribes on our South African Frontier'—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
MR. VERNON SMITH
said, he should certainly escape one imputation which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had cast upon the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley); for so undeniably impartial was he (Mr. V. Smith) that he objected both to the hon. Member's Motion, and to the noble Lord's Amendment. His idea was that the subject was entirely one for the Executive. He objected to a Commissioner being sent out, while there existed a Governor in the colony. The appearance of a Commissioner must cripple his authority, and weaken the control which he ought to possess over the colony. The natives were quick enough in discernment; and the moment the Commissioner appeared, the Governor would be considered as superseded, and the measure would be regarded as one of obloquy on Sir Harry Smith. Therefore, in this case as in that of Ceylon, he should oppose a Commission being sent out. He also objected to a Committee of Inquiry, because he could not conceive what course it was to pursue which had not been already, or might not as well hereafter be, pursued by the Executive, and as to which the Government did not possess better means of information. His noble Friend (Lord John Russell) said, "Put aside all question as to whether Earl Grey or Lord Stanley was in office;" but if a Committee were appointed, the very first persons to be called would be those very Gentlemen whose opinions the House was thus expected to put aside; for the Secretaries of State must of course be called to know what they thought, and to afford whatever informa- 249 tion they possessed. And when his noble Friend said there were persons in this country capable of giving information, he confessed he had misgivings; for though he knew one or two persons able to give information, he too well remembered that in the Committee on the Military Estimates it was found, practically, a very difficult and delicate thing to say, "such a superior officer failed to do so and so," or, "such a civil subordinate incurred extravagant expenses," and so forth; and, in fact, he had found on that Committee, and on this very subject, that a person was able to give information, yet at the same time most unwilling to do so. Nor did he doubt that similar would be the result of this Committee. Conceive a Committee considering the question of the frontier line, for instance. Why, were there fifteen Members in the House who had sufficiently studied the map of the Cape colony to be able to give an opinion as to where the frontier line ought be drawn? It was impossible practically to separate this Motion from that of the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Moles worth); for the Cape of Good Hope was a sort of sample to prove or disprove the proposition of the hon. Baronet; and though the hon. Baronet had wandered "the wide world over" in his able speech, he had dwelt with more emphasis on the case of the Cape of Good Hope, which was certainly a remarkable specimen of our colonial system. Now, his noble Friend had admitted that every plan of policy pursued since 1816 had failed. [Lord JOHN RUSSELL: Not exactly.] To a certain extent, I understood my noble Friend to say that the systems pursued had been unsuccessful; and, certainly, his own Amendment implies no eulogy upon Sir Harry Smith. The truth was, there must be a complete reversal of policy. That was Sir Henry Pottinger's opinion, who had written this remarkable sentence: "Instead of adding to, I would gladly retrench, the limits of the colony." In 1819, Mr. Vansittart had proposed to send out emigrants. Yet had the colony ever been a favourite one for emigration? No: on the contrary, it was astonishing to see how few went there, considering its great advantages—only about 700 in a year. His noble Friend said these persons were to be protected. But how far was that doctrine to be carried out? Would it apply to every man who settled in any distant spot on the face of the earth under our protection? Was 250 military protection to be given to those who cared not to afford it to themselves? Because he could prove that the Cape colonists had been extremely unwilling to advance money even for their own protection. They depended on our military detachments, and as long as these were sent, they would continue to do so. It had been said that they had upwards of 4,000,000l. worth of property to be protected; but here there appeared to be a discrepancy between the statements of the noble Lord at the head of the Government and those of the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies; for while the noble Lord seemed to consider every reduction of force as equivalent to the dismemberment of the empire, the Secretary for the Colonies had been writing intimating the withdrawal of forces from all quarters, and had even written to Australia to tell the colonists that they must endeavour to defend themselves. Accordingly, the Governor of that colony had told the colonists that if they had an amount of property, they should spend some of it in defending the rest. And why should not the Cape colonists be told in the same way, if they had accumulated 4,000,000l., to spend some of their money to protect their property? Yet Sir Henry Pottinger stated, in a publication which was issued at Graham's Town, that, though he had offered the burghers liberal terms for serving in the force to protect their own property, they had deserted their duty, and returned home within a month; notwithstanding which, such was the system pursued that rations were served out to them after their desertion; and at one time it appeared that the whole population were receiving rations, and that by some mistake women received four ounces more meat than men. Why now, could English workwomen, who paid for these wars, obtain such rations and allowances? The system of expenditure, in case of a war in that colony, was most extravagant—although to some extent necessarily expensive. He saw many Gentlemen who had been on the Army Estimates Committee, and who were aware of the difficulty of controlling the Commissariat. Surely, if such were the expenses of a war in the colony, the utmost care should be exercised to avoid it. It was a notorious saying in the colony that the war would last as long as the expenditure went on, and would begin to end when the expenditure declined, or, as the phrase was, "when the price for the hire of waggons fell." The report of Sir 251 Henry Pottinger—he did not know whether it was at yet placed in the hands of hon. Members—was one of the most conclusive documents he had ever read respecting these matters. Speaking of the Katt River settlement, which was supposed to be a pattern settlement, it says—"The truth is, the whole affair, from beginning to end, is a most transparent humbug, which was got up to serve an intrigue." He (Mr. V. Smith) should like to know whether any Committee or Commission had been appointed to inquire into the expenditure of the late war, or the charges which had been preferred against the British Army, when the whole system which prevailed there was designated as one of entire corruption and peculation; or, if the petition for inquiry of an hon. and gallant Officer who denied the assertion and prayed for an inquiry, had been acceded to. Sir Henry Pottinger declared that there had been no Commission of Inquiry—no audit of accounts; and our own auditor declared that the accounts were in such a state of confusion that it was impossible to investigate them. The accounts so remained, and now another war had broken out, and possibly the same scenes and the same charges might be renewed. His noble Friend at the head of the Government had spoken of the commando system, which he said had been abolished by the Government of the day as being inhuman. Now, what was the state of the case? Sir Harry Smith has called on the people to levy en masse; he calls on every settler to bear arms in defence of the colony. Well, surely this is the commando system repeated again, and it shows that you must alter your present system. Their experience proved that they could not have peace with the Kaffirs; their extermination might be a thing very horrible to consider, although in truth, he believed their extermination was an impossibility, for the centre of Africa would still supply hordes of these barbarous and sanguinary wretches, on whom no dependence could be placed. To civilise them appeared to be equally impracticable. In 1837 a book was published by Mr. Boyce, a missionary, in which the peculiar and inveterate vices of Kaffirs were described; and it was a curious coincidence that Sir Harry Smith was at that time serving in the colony as Colonel Smith, and holding the same language to those barbarous people which he was addressing to them now. Sir Harry Smith addressed them in language which 252 was at once poetical and suited to their comprehension. He told them that the Britons were once as naked as they were, but that now they wore clothes and were more comfortable, and he recommended the Kaffirs to do the same thing; and then he stated that there were some abominations which he bogged of them to forego. The first was, eating one another up; the second was murder and robbery; the third was witchcraft; the fourth was addiction to perjury; the fifth was the practice of setting houses on fire; and, the seventh (now they were annexed to the British Crown) was the crime of treason. These were the seven deadly sins of the Kaffirs in 1836, and they were the seven deadly sins of the Kaffirs in 1850. No progress had been made with these men at all; they had done nothing in the way of instruction in the shape of lasting progress. They had sent their missionaries among them, who had made no lasting converts; and their military, who had effected no permanent conquests. Sir Henry Pottinger, writing in 1846, says, "I have as yet seen little proof of a change wrought by our missionaries among the natives." In 1818, Sir Harry Smith says, "The most laudable efforts have been made, which I am sorry to say have all been abortive." With respect to the extension of their frontier, as long as they had governors there would be an inclination to extend their frontier until they gave them a check by a refusal to supply them with a military establishment to enable them to retain it. A wide frontier, no doubt, was a very good thing if they had an unlimited supply of troops to maintain it; and there was not a doubt with any Governor that the feeling of the House of Commons would be to furnish them with an unlimited force the moment they were aware that a British subject had been slain. It was true that such was the feeling of the House of Commons; and it was therefore necessary, by the adoption of such a course of action as he recommended, to warn governors not to put themselves in a position which they could not defend. He was prepared to contend that the colony of the Cape of Good Hope was not one which could fairly call on that House to incur a considerable outlay, for not only had the colonists not defended themselves, but he must say that they had acted lately towards us in a manner which deserved no great encouragement from the Home Government. He could not agree with the hon. Member for North 253 Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley); and from those who sided with the colonists in the quarrel which they recently had respecting convicts sent to them from this country, ho differed very much; and he thought that his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies had a perfectly fair right to ask that they should take from this country the reformed convicts which he proposed to send to them. As long as we extended to them the benefits of military protection, so long had we a right to ask from them the assistance we then demanded. Not wishing to rest the question upon this point by any means, he had only placed it before the House as an additional reason for adopting the course which he suggested. Indeed he thought the whole of this question was involved in part of that raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth), which he was afraid would not be easily renewed that night; and he must say that ho could not agree with his noble Friend at the head of the Government that the principle contained in the question propounded by the hon. Baronet was one of dismemberment of the empire. On the contrary, he thought the dismemberment and the dissolution of the empire was far more likely to be contained in the converse of that doctrine. The question of extension of your empire is not merely a question of extension, but of how many more points you open to attack. It was said of old, melius civitati consulit, qui terminat quâm qui imperii fines propagat. He believed that doctrine to be sound—it had been proved to be so in ancient times; and for these reasons, thinking that peace should be- preserved, and abstaining from entering into the questions as to the conduct of one particular governor or of another, but merely stating his belief that there had been a blunder somewhere, he should divide against both propositions. He trusted that after the opinions which had been expressed, the Executive Government would take upon themselves to decide whether they would advance the limits of the colonies or retrench them. If they resolved on the former course of action, our forces would be found utterly inadequate; if upon the latter they would be able to diminish our expenditure, not only on the ground of economy, but on that of sound and statesmanlike policy.
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, that the question before them was one of very great difficulty; and he thought that the argu- 254 ment of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was conclusive against the appointment of a Commission. At a moment like this the Government should have full power, and such irreclaimable savages as the Kaffirs deserved to be made to know that England was determined to hold the colony against their aggression. He approved of the Amendment for a Committee to investigate the subject, because it seemed to be significant of a wish on the part of the Government to conduct colonial affairs upon the full information and well considered opinion of those abroad, rather than the vacillating policy which prevailed at home. There were so many changes in the Colonial Office, so much uncertainty, so little consistency, that he saw no wonder in the Kaffirs at length evincing a distrust of the permanency of any arrangement that might be made with them. There were three different proposals before the House, or at least there would be—that of the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), for a Commission to investigate the subject at the Cape; that of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) to send the matter before a Select Committee of the House; and that of the hon. Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth), imposing on the Government the duty of immediate steps to relieve this country from the expenses of a Kaffir war. Ho (Mr. Scott) thought the expense of a war ought to fall upon those who had been the occasion of it; and in this particular instance, he thought the policy of our Government, both at home and in the colony, was answerable for the war. It was well, therefore, that a Committee of the House should be appointed to investigate that policy, with a view of averting any such unfortunate effects being produced in future. Such a Committee would also give its sanction to the course to be taken in the present case by the Executive Government; but the appointment of such a Committee could not but be viewed, both by Parliament and the country, in the same light as was that which investigated our affairs in New Zealand, or that upon our policy in regard to Ceylon, which was opposed by the Government themselves as a direct censure upon the Colonial Office, as well as the Colonial Government. Our policy at the Cape had been extravagant and expensive, and therefore he would support the Amendment of the noble Lord. The Committee would have to inquire into our policy with the Kaffirs much in the same 255 way as the inquiry had been conducted with regard to our proceedings in Ceylon, however different the first appearance of the two cases; for in Ceylon we had been harsh and cruel in our treatment of a timid and docile race, while in South Africa we had been lenient and conciliatory in dealing with a sanguinary and irreclaimable set of savages. There were three causes to which the war with the Kaffirs was principally attributable. First, the discontent of the colonists, arising out of the apprehension that we were to make the Cape of Good Hope a convict settlement; whereupon the Kaffirs and the Boers, seeing the colonists disunited, and believing that the proposals of the Governor would not receive the support of the colony, concluded that to be their opportunity. The next cause of the war was the discontent arising out of the land payments and tenure. But the third and principal cause, was the support afforded to the Kaffirs when they came into collision with the Dutch, as in the Richmond riot, when, because they had given some Kaffirs a good thrashing, Mr. Hope took part with them against the Butch, to the great discontent of the latter, and a feeling of triumph was excited thereby in the minds of the Kaffirs. Our policy with regard to the Kaffirs also had been a very main cause of the war. We had imposed quit rents, we had prescribed limits between them and ourselves, and we had taken away the authority of their chiefs, offering them money instead, as though that could be viewed by these savages as any equivalent for the barbaric pomp and state of their chiefs. The boundary question, too, had contributed to inflame the war. The noble Lord had stated to the House that one uniform system had been approved and adopted by Sir Benjamin D'Urban and the other governors, to extend the boundary; and he (Mr. Scott) admitted the policy of Sir Benjamin B'Urban had been to extend it from the Fish river into an open country, where, if we did come into collision with the natives, there was no danger of the bush. But that was not the policy of later Governors—they had first abandoned Sir Benjamin D'Urban's frontier, and afterwards had selected another line of boundary beyond that proposed by Sir Benjamin, and not possessing the advantages he had pointed out. And so little uniform was the actual conduct pursued at the Cape, that the very latest complaint of the Kaffirs was of the per- 256 petual change and vacillation in our policy. One point he desired to press upon the House was, that whether governors or commissioners were to have the management of our colonies henceforth, the persons entrusted with it ought to be better informed than Sir Harry Smith appeared to have been with regard to the character of the Kaffirs, for only two days before the outbreak took place he wrote to say that all danger was at an end. The writer of the following letters, an officer in the service, states—That Sir Harry Smith had for several weeks previously been warned of what was going on, but to no effect, the commissioner of Kaffraria, Colonel Mackinnon, having persisted that everything was peace, and that the reports and rumours were all false, when suddenly, on the 25th of December, an immense force of Kaffirs, about 5,000 men, fell on a patrol sent by Sir Harry Smith to Sandilli's kraal.Here he would beg particular attention—Attacked them when unprepared (Colonel Mackinnon choosing to have the men not loaded), killed and wounded several men and officers, and they had to fight their way back to the camp at Fort Cox through thousands of savages. The Kaffirs, at the same time, attacked the military villages, and murdered every soul of them. Sir Harry 'Smith, who had gone into the Amatola mountains to Fort Cox, with a force of about 1,000 men, was surrounded by the savages, and could not get out.The writer continues, that—Colonel Somerset, on the 29th, finding all communication with head-quarters cut off, took 200 men, and endeavoured to force his way there, in order to throw in some provisions to Fort Cox. After advancing five miles he was assailed by several thousand men, front and both flanks; he charged these fellows with the Cape corps and 91st regiment, but the force opposed was so large he could not proceed, and, unfortunately, the trail of the 31b. gun broke and became useless. We had a splendid fight of it. On returning we lost several men and two officers killed.Colonel Somerset had previously reinforced Sir Harry Smith with 180 men of the Cape corps. As soon as he returned he sent off a secret express to Sir Harry Smith, telling him that his only chance of getting back to King William's Town was by taking the men of the Cape corps he had and forcing "his way through the Kaffirs before daylight, but not take any infantry. The moment he got the letter he did so." This was the history of the escape from what the hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies termed the accidental circumstance of the Governor being shut up in Fort Cox; nevertheless at the time when the letter was written— 257All communication with every town on the I frontier was cut off and the country strongly occupied by the enemy; and had not Colonel Somerset arrived at Fort Hare when he did, and made most essential general arrangements, the whole of the Fort Beaufort district would have been in ruins, and Fort Beaufort itself burnt.The writer, after describing some of the horrible ravages committed by Hermanus' followers, says—The rapine, murders, and mischief that they have done is untold. He was well acquainted with the country, from being an inhabitant. He has destroyed property, seized stock, and burnt houses to an enormous extent; numbers of defenceless families have been murdered, and the havoc and destruction has been appalling. When it is all to end, God knows. Martial law has been proclaimed, but the burghers are very slow in coming forward, and unless they do it is impossible to say what will occur.This is a sufficiently glowing picture, taken by one who was on the spot, and was actively engaged in the scenes which he described. He was not about to impute the blame of having caused the war to any one individual, or to any one circumstance; but certainly it was requisite to inquire into a course of policy which had led to such disastrous results, and one can hardly conceive such credulity or ignorance of the actual state of affairs or feelings of the Kaffirs as that shown by Sir Harry Smith on the eve of the outbreak of the war. It is only to be accounted for by his reliance on the accounts given by Colonel Mackinnon, who was so reckless of the lives of his men and officers as to lead them into a jungle and defile without their muskets being loaded, and who, from his own despatches, appears to have discredited all reports of the intentions of the Kaffirs. The hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) had said, on a former occasion, that there were two questions—First, Who had caused the war? Second, Who were to pay for it? He believed that the policy of the English Government had materially caused the war by rendering the Boers discontented, by irritating the Kaffirs by the occupation of their country, by limiting the authority of their chiefs, and then by introducing these irreclaimable savages among the colonists; and as he believed the policy of the Government had, in a great measure, caused the war, he felt sure the English people would have to pay for it. He should therefore support the Amendment of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, as the means of controlling future expendi- 258 ture, and as a measure of direct censure upon the management of the Colonial Office.
§ MR. MACKINNON
Sir, the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has been singularly inconsistent in his declarations. He commenced his remarks by stating that he would avoid all personal allusions, and he has concluded by reading an anonymous letter containing unfounded insinuations against my gallant relative, Colonel Mackinnon. Sir, that distinguished officer's character stands too high in the Army, at the Cape, and in this country, for me to condescend to answer anonymous insinuations made in this House against him, or his gallant commander, Sir Harry Smith. It is very easy for Gentlemen opposite, knowing nothing whatever on the subject, to get hold of the pamphlet of some discontented or ill-advised individual who has left the colony of the Cape—it is easy, I say, for the parties in this House to make a speech from such a pamphlet; and this has been done on the present occasion, for the speech we have just heard is in fact taken entirely from this publication I hold in my hand, written by a person of the name of Freeman. Now, I cannot say that the course adopted and followed in the present debate is quite a fair one. The real purpose of this Motion is to attack the Colonial Secretaries in this House and the other House of Parliament; for this purpose the fire is directed against the Chief Commissioner in Caffraria and his gallant associates, that the shot may, through them, roach the colonial officials here. Members sitting at ease on the benches opposite, without any accurate information whatever, or knowledge of military matters, find fault with the proceedings in Caffraria, to worry the Ministry at home. The Chief Commissioner, Sir H. Smith, is accused of occasioning this war by his overbearing and despotic conduct towards the Kaffir chiefs, and of wishing to keep the colony in a state of constant warfare. How does this accusation accord with the facts of the case? When the Chief Commissioner first took the command, the hostile tribes of the Kaffirs were in open hostility with us: did he not by his judicious conduct, his firmness and energy, speedily after his arrival at the Cape, bring matters to a satisfactory settlement, and restore peace to the colony. During the period that he has held the chief command, the colony has enjoyed, with two exceptions, a state of peace and quietude 259 superior to that it enjoyed under former governors until the late outbreak. Let us, for a moment, take a view of what has always taken place between civilised man and barbarous tribes. Look at the Carib race in our West Indian Islands: these poor savages once possessed these colonies—where are they now? They have entirely disappeared. Look at North America and the United States: where are those warlike Indian tribes who occupied that immense continent, and who bartered with Penn when he first settled in Pennsylvania? They are fast disappearing: those that remain are driven westwards to the Pacific Ocean, and gradually melt away. Everywhere, when it once gets a footing, civilisation overcomes barbarism. Is it therefore a subject of wonder, or a question of blame, for the Chief Commissioner, that contests should arise between the colonists and the fierce and warlike tribes of Kaffirs? Can he be blamed for adopting the policy of his predecessors in establishing a sort of neutral territory which should form a line of demarcation between the colonist who advances, and the Kaffir who recedes. The Kaffir tribes are a pastoral people; to them it probably matters little whether they occupy one portion of land or another: all pastural communities migrate with facility from one spot to another. Either you must admit the principle that as civilisation increases, barbarism recedes, and allow the Chief Commissioner to act accordingly, provided he acts with moderation, prudence, and justice; or give up the colony entirely, and shut yourselves up in Cape Town and its immediate vicinity. Far be it from me not to deplore the sufferings of humanity in this progress of civilisation, although certainly a great benefit to mankind thereby arises! Compare, for example, the magnificent town of New York, and the wealth, science, prosperity, and happiness of Canada and the United States, with the miserable wigwams, the squatting Indians, the state of starvation and constant warfare, spoil, and cruelty, in which were placed the savage and half-naked tribes of North American Indians. We learn from the chronicles of those days that the early Puritans who settled in America were not quite so humane, or imbued with that meek spirit of forbearance and humanity that ought to be exercised by a Christian people, as might be desired. Often were the poor Indians sacrificed to their caprice, fears, or interest: it is however unnecessary to dwell on that subject. 260 In reference to the remark of the hon. Gentleman in his opening speech, that Sir H. Smith had behaved in a wanton and cruel manner towards Sandilli and others in placing his foot on the neck of the chief, I think before we blame the Chief Commissioner, the accuracy of the statement ought to be ascertained, and the circumstances fully investigated before judgment is passed on that distinguished commander. My reasons for voting against the Motion "that a Commission should be sent to Caffraria," are that such a Commission would be tantamount to a vote of censure on Sir H. Smith; that it would lower his authority in the colony, prevent any energetic measures on his part, and inflict a deep injury on an upright, honourable, and distinguished man. How can one vote for such a measure without any evidence brought before us, and solely on the reliance of the veracity of rambling statements made in letters or by pamphlets of discontented persons from that colony? At the same time, I am one of those who think that the proceedings of the Executive Government in the colonies ought to be closely watched, and that this can only be done by the Houses of Parliament. I shall give my sincere support to the proposal of my noble Friend the First Lord of the Treasury, that a Select Committee of this House be appointed on the subject of the recent outbreak in Caffraria, by which middle course the whole business can be fully investigated, and full credit given to the gallant officers who have suffered so many hardships and evinced so much skill, energy, and judgment, in repelling the aggressions of the Kaffir tribes.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had proposed to the House, by way of solving the question of the Kaffir war, a philosophical theory which might be very ingenious and very reasonable. He had stated that war might be considered as one of the incidents of the contact of civilisation and barbarism. That might be true; but were those incidents between civilisation and barbarism capable or incapable of proving correct conduct on our part? It was enough for him (Mr. Gladstone) to say that a theory of this nature did not absolve us from the necessity of taking practical measures with regard to the question itself. At the same time, he agreed with the noble Lord at the head of the Government that the more we separated this question from the inculpation of individuals, the bet- 261 ter, partly because the matter was so difficult, and partly, also, because that House must come in for its full share of blame. What was past he was willing to consider as past. He had very little hope that the House would be able to establish as against the colony any portion of claim for the expenses of the present war; but if the Government should be able to effect that object, all he could say was, that they would deserve eminently well of their country. What he was most anxious to impress upon the House was this—that the future was in some degree in our power, and that we should not commit ourselves with respect to the future by any act of indiscretion or any omission of that which it was our duty to do now. He was very much in the predicament in which the right hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith) had stated himself to be. He did not agree with either of the proposals now before the House; and he so fully coincided in all which had fallen from that right hon. Gentleman, that he should have no hesitation in resting his vote on the grounds the right hon. Gentleman had laid before them. The right hon. Gentleman had stated all that could be stated with respect to the appointment of commissioners. All that could be done by a commissioner could be done by a governor, if the House had confidence in the latter, and if not, he ought not to be your governor. With regard to the appointment of a Committee, he would not dwell on the old objection so common to all questions of this kind—that it tended to shift the responsibility from the Executive Government to others—because that argument, however true and important, might be capable of being modified. But in this particular case, all the objections to a Parliamentary Committee had special force. It was obvious that one effect of a Committee would be, to hang up the question for a lengthened term, and to stop the discussion of it probably for two Sessions of Parliament. We could all sketch out what the proceedings before it would be. The Committee would meet. It would be composed of Gentlemen having a multitude of other avocations. They would examine the witnesses who might be ready at hand. They would send for others from the Cape. Those other witnesses would not arrive until the end of next Session. We should then have the old story again, and we would be in great good fortune if we had the report ready for discussion in the Ses- 262 sion of 1852. [An Hon. MEMBER: 1853.] Well, very possibly it might be postponed to 1853. It was sometimes deemed advisable to postpone the discussion of a public question; but in this case, such a postponement would be objectionable in a tenfold degree. At present the House and the country were smarting under a sense that there was something wrong in the policy which led to these continuous and successive wars; and so long as we were suffering from those smarts, and our bill remained unpaid, and the mischiefs were pressingly urgent, there was hope that the attention of the House would be directed to the subject. But let the war pass away, and lot the name of it no longer appear in the estimates, the subject would quickly be dismissed into the region of dreamy speculation. Any propositions to revive it would be met by insinuations that they were about to dismember the empire; a spirit of patriotism and national pride would be evoked; and all their discussions would be considered a waste of time. Unless the discussion was taken now, and while they were suffering mortification and shame from the enormous mischiefs of their present policy, all future consideration of the case was hopeless. A Committee was a bad instrument for examining the question. It was the result of his own convictions and experience that the local government—a government centred in the colony—was the only government that could be sound and healthful for a colony constituted in a legitimate and normal manner of freemen of our own race. But if we were to have a Government hero, let it be the Queen's Government. If we wanted to govern the colonoes in England, we should only aggravate the mischief by taking the charge of any Government into that House. The Secretary of State was the proper officer in such cases. He had the necessary experience; the House had not. His mind was constantly directed to the subject, and it was impossible to find fifteen Gentlemen of that House who could apply themselves to the consideration of the question with anything like the advantages possessed by the Secretary of State. If he looked at the question as a matter of reason, then he thought the Secretary of State ought to be the best Governor of a colony. If he looked even at the practical experience of Parliamentary Committees, then he must say that he was not always satisfied with the results of the labours of such Committees. 263 He had heard some allusion that night to the affairs of Ceylon. Now he did not think that the character of that House, or of the Committees of that House, had been at all elevated by the results of the investigations of the Ceylon Committee. In the history of the Cape question they would find other illustrations of the evils of following that course now proposed to be taken. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had that night done no more than recount the failure of their policy in this direction. The most decided change and the strongest group of measures ever adopted by the Executive Government of this country with regard to the Cape of Good Hope, wore adopted in the time of Lord Glenelg, upon the recommendation of a Committee of that House. The Committee sat in 1835–6. He (Mr. Gladstone) had served on that Committee along with the late Sir Fowell Buxton, who, if not the Chairman, was at least the conductor and manager of the inquiry; and he was bound to say that he had never seen a Member of Parliament discharge his duty with more zeal, energy, and ability, or with a greater command of the subject before him, than in the case of Sir Fowell Buxton in the course of the sittings of that Committee. But what was the result? A total change of policy was recommended and was adopted; and that total change afterwards proved a total failure; and the fact was that the wars in that colony since that period had been more bloody, costly, and ruinous than they had ever been before. There was here, then, no encouragement whatever to proceed to appoint another Committee to examine into the relations of this country with the Kaffir tribes of the Cape frontier. But he had a still greater objection to this course. He believed that the appointment of a Committee would be a decided step in the wrong sense and in the very worst direction. He was convinced that it was utterly impossible for them, in this country, to devise any satisfactory system of adjusting their relations with these Kaffir tribes. It was absolutely necessary that this should be done by the men on the spot. He would not pretend to say that this could be done in a moment. It was an unfortunate fact that the effects of a false policy long pursued could be but slowly rectified. They would have to endure much before they could get round these effects of the past system and establish a better one—if that might be. But still he would say, "Don't, at all 264 events, let us take a step in the wrong direction." What would this proposal really do? It would erect a new domestic authority to give a new sanction to the system of managing the affairs of the Cape frontier from England. He objected to managing these affairs from Downing-street; he objected still more to the aggravation of the evil of that system which would follow from the attempt to manage them through a Committee of that House, representing one branch of the Legislature. They felt now their responsibility with regard to the expenses of the wars which had arisen during the maintenance of the system whereby the management was left with the Secretary of State. He would ask them in what position they would be placed after transferring the management to a Committee of that House, should a war again break out? Why, they would be even more responsible then than now; and still more nugatory than now would then be the discussion whether they or the colony should undertake to defray the costs of hostilities with the frontier people. These were the main objections which he had to the appointment of a Committee. But he must fairly confess that he was not prepared to propose any other remedy of a domestic character. He was satisfied that this country could never do it; and the only conclusion to which, it was possible to come was, that it was advisable, by measures as cautious as they pleased, but in a manner as speedy as they could, to transfer the management of the whole matter into the hands of the colonists. Perhaps this was not the time to discuss that measure in full. But he agreed with the right hon. Member for Northampton as to the important principle involved, and he could not separate it from the consideration of this particular case. The main inducement he had to vote against the appointment of a Committee was in the anxiety he felt to avoid any step the effect of which would be to give a fresh parliamentary sanction to the most mischievous and unsound system of managing the local affairs of the colonies from home. He contended that these wars on the Cape frontier were altogether local affairs. And if they asked him why he was anxious to throw on the colonists the burden of conducting these wars, he would reply that it was not entirely, not even mainly, but because of the great public economy which he believed would result from the adoption of that policy. Ho was not ashamed to 265 say that after reference to public honour, no duty was more incumbent on that House than to lessen, wherever possible, the weight of taxation pressing upon the public. It was at any rate not for them—the representatives of the people, and specially sitting there to use the taxes of the people—to do anything which could render those taxes larger than the real exigencies of the empire demanded. Therefore, it was not for them to be ashamed of propounding principles of economy, in connexion with the Government. He nevertheless felt that there were much higher principles now involved: and it was not on grounds of finance alone that he advocated the bestowal on the colonists of the unrestricted regulation of their own local affairs, and among those local affairs, the management of their wars with the aboriginal and frontier tribes. This was no visionary scheme. He granted it could not be accomplished in a day. They had deviated far already from a sound system of colonial policy; and it might not be easy to get back at once to a healthy system. All he entreated of them was not to travel from it, to keep it in view, and whatever steps they took to make certain that those steps were in the right direction. It was certainly not a visionary system. It was the system under which they had reared their old American colonists. Those colonists never asked the mother country to carry on the colonial wars with the Indians. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had alluded in very forcible terms to the massacre and butchery of Her Majesty's subjects in the villages on the Cape frontier. But the noble Lord could not mean to say that these results occurred only in cases where the colonists were left to themselves to resist the invasions of the aboriginal people; because the noble Lord would recollect that the very town in New Zealand which had had the honour of bearing his (Lord J. Russell's) own distinguished name, had been sacked and destroyed by these aborigines, this having taken place under circumstances by no means consistent with the theory against colonial self-government. But this was not a question to be regarded as only a question of economy. The question really and truly was, how the plague and the scourge of these colonial wars could best be destroyed. His argument was that the plague and scourge of these wars never could be kept down unless when the community which was exposed to the war was likewise re- 266 sponsible for its expenses. For the burdens of war were the providential preventives of war, and operated as a check upon the passions of mankind, the lust of territorial acquisition, and the heats of international hatreds. What would this country have been if the expenses of its wars had been borne by another nation? [A laugh.] The supposition was doubtless ludicrous; but under such a system the colonists existed. Had this country not been herself responsible for the cost of her wars, she would never have known peace. The moral sense would have interposed and acted as a check in some respects; and he hoped that this moral sense was not wanting in the colonies as well as here. But weak and infirm human nature, amid human temptations, must be backed up by far other considerations; and the practical corrective check upon colonial wars was the imposition on the colonists of all the responsibility of the wars. It was notorious that scandalous extravagance, he would even say scandalous corruption, invariably accompanied the management of the Cape wars. Public authority was in their possession for the assertion that peculation and corruption of the most offensive description had disgraced the details of the expenditure of the Kaffir wars at the Cape. The Indian wars of the North American colonists had never cost this country millions. Their system, then, was natural and had worked well; their system now was unnatural, and consequently worked badly. He asked them not to continue in the vicious system. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Mackinnon) had urged upon the House the impolicy of forming opinions from pamphlets, and advancing arguments upon the theories of public writers. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman's principle, and only wished he had acted upon it. He (Mr. Gladstone) could not go with the hon. Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) in the assertion of any abstract principles in these questions. The proposition of that hon. Member was that a large class of the colonies should be required to bear their own military expenses. To that proposition he agreed; but he entertained the greatest objection to the assertion of the principle by the House of Commons. It was calculated to excite undue hopes, and, on the other hand, undue fears. The House might fall short of its assurances, and both with those who hoped and feared all confidence 267 would be lost; and the consequence would be that those relations which ought to bind the Legislature to all those whom it called on for obedience, would be weakened and relaxed. He could not, therefore, approve of the enunciation of any abstract principles of a colonial policy generally. But this he would say, when they had a practical question before them, let them assert their abstract principle in a practical form. He knew only one valid or fair objection to the system of imposing responsibility for wars upon the colonists themselves. An appeal might be made to their humanity, and it might be said, "You are not going to expose weak colonists to the mercies of barbarian tribes." His answer was, that they did not know that there was this danger, and that they were not likely to get any exact information as to how the matter stood. He had a shrewd suspicion that in this particular case the colonists were very well able to defend themselves. But if not, he was very sure that this country would always be found ready to extend its aid and its protection. Only, however, let the Legislature make the colonists responsible for that which they were enabled to prevent. That could only be effected in one way; by permitting the colonists unrestricted freedom in the control of their own local affairs. And let not this country quarrel with them about this or that policy; for unless they were unrestricted they would never feel their responsibility. Here, he felt called upon to enter his protest against the doctrine that the normal system in regard to the colonies was what was called "preparing them for freedom." He granted that when a colony was trained in servitude, a great deal of what was called "preparation" for self-government might be required. It was taken for granted by many of our statesmen that that doctrine was correct which taught that the best system of colonial policy was to deal with a colony as with an infant. First, it was to have long clothes, and then short clothes; it was to be taught to walk; and the hope of freedom was only at intervals to be held out to it. This, he maintained, was a great practical fallacy, and moreover the most mischievous fallacy. They must found their colonies in freedom if they would have them really free. Their present system was the reverse of this. A colony was founded and trained in political servitude. All the elements of social order were displaced; the colonist was 268 taught to place his reliance where it ought never to be placed; a governing class was roared up for the purposes which the colony ought to fulfil itself; and, above all, as the climax of the evil, a great military expenditure was maintained, which was regarded as a premium on war, and always encouraged war. They were, then, in this matter, to look to the burdens which the existing colonial system inflicted on the taxpayers of this country; but they were to look further and higher than that, and the evils with which they had primarily to deal were the social demoralisation, the corruptions, the bloodshed attending the frequency of war in the colonies, which were the palpable results of the existing system, and which would continue ineradicable until that most vicious system was entirely done away with. Let them, therefore, whatever they did, beware of giving any sanction to the principle maintained in this system, which sanction they would give in permitting a Committee of that House to decide on the relations, and to regulate the relations, between this country and the Cape tribes. Let them, at once, through the Executive Government, and the agents of that Executive Government, at the Cape, endeavour, as soon as possible, to endow the colonists there, and every free subject in the colony, with entire liberty in their local institutions, and to impose upon them thereby the absolute responsibility of managing their local affairs, including their relations with the Kaffirs—always, of course, reserving to this country to interpose its powerful arm to defend them in case of need. In advocating this, he had no apprehensions of provoking the "disemberment of the empire." If they spoke of that, he would call on them to recollect that no colonies were ever more fondly attached to England, or more disposed to make sacrifices in war, than the North American colonies, before the American revolution; and that the fact was, that not one of the colonies sought or desired the miserable bribe to allegiance of military expenditure; and that each one of them would have resented the insult, if it had been attempted to send troops among them as a standing army, under pretence of protecting them against the frontier savages.
§ VISCOUNT MANDEVILLE
said, he rose, not so much to answer what the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had said, but, from having been in the colony, he 269 might be enabled possibly to state what would be of use to the House. The right hon. Gentleman said, there would be no use in appointing a Committee. There was a Committee now sitting on steam navigation, yet no doubt there were Members of the Government who had information on that subject. Besides, the Committee had the advantage of being at a distance from the scene of action, and, consequently, removed from the party strifes and disputes which would bias the judgment of persons in the place, The right hon. Gentleman seemed to speak as if the colony wished for war. There might have been persons, certain contractors, who, deriving a profit from it, wished for it; but the colony itself suffered too much to wish for war. The hon. Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) stated, that the wars were caused by our encroachments. The reverse was the case—our encroachments were the consequence of the wars. The war was caused by Kaffirs' depredations. The war of 1846 was caused by the murder of De Lange, whose cattle had been stolen after the Fingoe who watched them had been killed. The Boer was shot when ho attempted to overtake the depredators; and the war, he believed, was caused by the dissensions consequent on the refusal of the Kaffirs to give up the offenders. The hon. Baronet had a very erroneous impression as to the extent of our frontier. The portion threatened could not be much more than a tenth part of what the hon. Gentleman had stated. The whole Orange River frontier was thinly inhabited by people who never attacked us. The Orange River sovereignty, he would observe, was taken on account of the Boers, not of the Kaffirs; the only part on which were Kaffirs was between the Winterberg and the sea. The whole of Natal was surrounded by Zoolus, not Kaffirs. There were none in any part of it. These Zoolus were perfectly peaceable, as had been stated by the hon. Under Secretary on a previous occasion. The hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), in the same breath that he affirmed that not a month was to be lost, recommended a commissioner to be sent out. This appeared to him (Viscount Mandeville) to be a strange contradiction. The Committee itself could decide whether a commissioner was desirable, and, meantime, far better than a local commissioner, provide a constitution, and decide what portion of the 270 expense should be paid by the colony. The right hon. Member for Northampton, when he talked of Boers on the Katt River, laboured under a great misapprehension, for the whole population there were Hottentots. Appoint a Committee, and the Government, no doubt, would be ready to lay all the papers before it, and there would be found plenty of people in England able and willing to give information on the subject.
had heard no answer to the allegation of the hon. Mover, that there had been distinct breaches of treaty, to which was to be referred the origin of this war. On the other hand, circumstances had been mentioned which strongly bore out that allegation; something had been said, for instance, about putting the foot upon the neck of a chief;—was that part and portion of existing treaties? What would have been said had Sandilli proposed to put his foot upon the neck of somebody else? The House had heard too of a brass-headed stick, which seemed likely to turn out the dearest jest of a Governor, since Gessler hung his hat upon a pole. Though not attended, it might be, with much éclat, he had, both in Africa and in Asia, seen abundant evidence, that to treat semi-barbarians with justice, was the sure road to their attachment and good faith. The question was, who had applied the match to the train? Gunpowder, every body knew, was explosive, and so were Kaffirs. But the question always was, who applied the match, and why? We had paid two millions before, and were to pay two millions again, with a prospect of two millions after that, and so on to an unlimited extent. This was the prospect before us; and those were the successive fines for our absurdity and guilt. The use he meant to make of it now, was to protest against making any promise to the world that we would drive the Kaffirs here, or drive them there. Many a man had sold the bear's skin and failed in hunting him; and such engagements were, by the world's consent, foolish and indecorous. There were certain duties imposed by the necessity of self-defence; and in this view it would be quite sufficient for the House to say, that in case of need, it would protect our fellow-subjects in that part of the world from being overwhelmed in the old settlements. But as to any proposition that we would conquer a new and extensive portion of the African continent, and thrust back what 271 hon. Gentlemen called the "irreclaimable savages," who had insulted nobody, injured nobody, but who had been evidently treated with the most gross and childish insults for the purpose of provoking them to injury, it was clear we had only to carry the process far enough, to discover that though Providence did not interfere upon the instant to punish crime and folly, it was as true as ever, that "the mills of the gods ground slow, but ground small;" and so we, in the end, should find it.
§ SIR E. N. BUXTON
said, it was not his intention at that late hour to enter into particulars respecting the treatment of the aborigines by us, or the position of resistance they had assumed. But it did appear to him that there were ample grounds for considering that great encroachments had been made upon the lands and possessions of the natives of South Africa, especially the Kaffirs; and they being a courageous people, had done only that which might be expected in resisting and attacking us in return for our aggressing. We possessed at this moment an empire three times as large as Great Britain itself. Two years ago the policy of Lord Glenelg had been reversed; after that there was a war, and now another war. Now, he declared his opinion to be, that it would be dangerous to give up the affairs of the colony to the colonists themselves. Not that he had any fear of the colonists being unable to defend themselves, but he feared it would be in such a manner as to be entirely dissatisfactory to the Christian people of this country. He found it was the general habits of the Boers and white colonists in all colonies where there were aboriginal tribes, to make aggressions upon the land. An hon. Member had truly observed, that the moving cause of the outbreak was the famine of last year. Why, the constant complaint of the natives was, that the boundaries of their land were so small that they had not sufficient to grow their food and graze their cattle. We had taken their land from them, and their cattle had died off. It was his decided opinion, that if we left the colonists to themselves—if this country ceased to interfere—the Kaffirs would be, to use a native phrase, gradually eaten up, and that that process would be effected by every species of cruelty and oppression. Lord Glenelg, in speaking of conflicts with the natives, not of South Africa, but of Australia, said—The causes of those hostilities are to be found in a course of petty encroachments and acts 272 of injustice committed by the settlers at first submitted to by the natives, and not sufficiently chocked in the outset by the leaders of the colony.He afterwards added—It yet remains to try the efficacy of a systematic and persevering adherence to justice, conciliation, forbearance, and the honest acts by which civilisation may be advanced, and Christianity introduced amongst them.He hoped that the House would consider these observations of the noble Lord before they agreed to give over the natives of Africa to the tender mercies of the Boers.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, the hon. Member who had just sat down rather excited than mollified his desire to express his opinion on this question. The hon. Member talked about justice—he spoke about humanity—he wanted the Legislature to adopt principles, in regard to England and our colonies, which were adopted between nations of equal civilisation. But he wished that neither the hon. Gentleman nor the House would bind themselves to this one grand leading circumstance—that we began with a gross injustice as far as our ordinary principles were concerned. What had we done in Kaffraria? We began by taking away a people's country, and then we were asked to follow out a principle of justice. We began with the greatest possible injustice, and then we were asked to follow out principles the very reverse of that on which we had founded our position. Was there anything which would justify our aggression? He said there was. He was quite prepared to begin with injustice as between man and man. He kept his eye wide open to the injustice. He admitted it; he justified it; he exacted it. How did he mean to justify it? Take, for instance, America, discovered by Columbus in an island, and by Cabot in a continent. Take the people, the human happiness which that vast continent then contained, and compare it, not with what it was now, but with what might be its splendid expectancy. He weighed the immediate mischief, great, enormous, overwhelming as they were—terrible as was the conquest of Cortez or of Pizarro, horrible as was the bloodshed by the Puritans in Massachusetts, miserable as was the devastation in Virginia—with the great exhibition of civilisation in the wide stretch of a continent, possessing the benefits of all the discoveries of modern science. He took the two—he took the horrors which intervened—he weighed the miseries against the great advantages—and he accepted the latter. Did not the history of 273 colonisation tell him that wherever he found the white man, and more especially the Anglo-Saxon by the side of the aborigines—whether it was in North America, in South Australia, in New Zealand, or South Africa—the inferior man vanished before him? and the only question was the long agony of pretended justice, and the immediate exclusion of the aborigines. Now he begged that there might be no false modesty or false philanthropy about the matter. We were going to exclude the natives, and it was a fallacy, a practical pretence, to say we were going to do anything else. Let them take one of the colonies. Let them begin with Massachusetts. It was a beautiful thing to have historical record on that matter. That was a very religious colony. A pure people went out to cultivate the vineyard of the Lord, according to their own peculiar language and their views of religion. What did they do? One morning they rose up and said they were about to smite the heathen hip and thigh—they were about to draw the sword of the Lord and Gideon. They did draw the sword, they did strike hip and thigh, and they did exterminate the natives. That was what they did, and they did it in the name of the Lord. Take Massachusetts now, and what was it compared with the state in which the Puritans found it? He accepted the difference. He mourned over the intervening circumstances; but he did say it was impossible to avoid the consequences. He wanted to apply this practically. We had no business in Kaffraria, except on the understanding that we were about to plant in Kaffraria a people of a higher intelligence. He would not enter into the question whether that was the peculiar organisation of man, but there was a class of men who reached a higher state of intelligence, a greater point of civilisation. Such a class of men we were about to plant in Kaffraria. The savages, unhappily for themselves, were there now; the savage was a degraded being, and the question was, could be be raised to the state of civilisation of the man placed by his side? All history said that was impossible, and those men would vanish before the face of the white man. The commencement of colonisation proved it. The Kaffirs lived by hunting, which required a vast expanse of territory. We took that territory. We began by seizing the most fertile spots. Nature told them to fight—to oppose cunning to force, artifice to knowledge; but cunning and artifice must 274 sink before knowledge. Then came poor Sir Harry Smith, and he talked as if these people had committed some dire offence against morality when they rose against his dominion; and the hon. Baronet (Sir E. Buxton) asked them to do unto others as they would be done to. But suppose the hon. Baronet were a Hottentot, or Member for Kaffraria, would be then apply the golden rule? Or, suppose the Hottentots came to England, and seized it, and some brown Sir Harry Smith were to begin talking about his tender mercies, would the hon. Gentleman think that he militated against morality by putting a musket ball through him? Why, he would think that he was doing a patriotic thing, and that his name would be held up to future ages as a Miltiades, a Themistocles, a Wallace, or any other patriot. But to return; having begun with a gross act of injustice, by dispossessing the country, he yet said that if they were enabled to introduce a large body of English colonists there he was quite prepared to go the whole length of the conquences; but it was an utter pretence to talk of honesty, in the ordinary sense of the term, of justice, or humanity. They ought not to mix up this matter with the question of the colonisation of the Cape of Good Hope, because British Kaffraria was in no way connected with the Cape colony. British Kaffraria was a large tract of territory taken possession of by the British Government, into which they had sent soldiers, but no colonists. The Kaffirs had risen, because they thought a gross injustice had been done them. They were right for so doing, and we could only put them down by force. Those men had steeled their hearts with the deepest sense of injury. We had deprived them of that which was dearest to them. The lands over which they had been used to roam in quest of the means of subsistence we had taken from them. We had circumscribed their means of living, and could it be wondered at that they should rise against us? We had planted in their nation military colonies, and we were about to destroy them as a people. He wished Englishmen to understand that we were about to introduce among a people rather more than usually populous for the extent of territory, an English Power, with the ulterior object of placing there English colonists. English colonists could not be placed there without the inevitable consequence of annihilating the aborigines. That was what had been done in New Zealand, in Aus- 275 tralia, in North America, in all our colonies, and that was what would be done in South Africa if the present system were continued. Let the British people make up their minds whether to colonise or not. He was prepared to say colonise: the object was to substitute a highly civilised for a savage population. That could not be done without entailing great sufferings upon the savages. He was prepared for that. It was absurd to say you could attain the end without incurring the consequences. They were inevitable: it was a long agony they were about to inflict. Tell the colonists—"We will plant you here—we will protect you from aggression against the great nations of the earth—seaward, you shall be safe—against the aborigines you must protect yourselves." We knew what we were about to do; but the end justified the means. ["No, no!"] He might shock some Gentlemen; but they might depend upon it they would have to go through it all, as he had told them. It was a vast population they had to dispossess before they could get possession of their land. What would be the consequence? A militia would be at once formed; we should march into the midst of the country and plant a town; an insurrection would arise; we should put down the Kaffirs; punishment would follow: we should dispossess them of their land, and the poor wretches would be driven back and exterminated. That was what had been done in Massachusetts, in Virginia, in New York. The colonists had put down a gallant and chivalrous race—a race warlike, and possessed of many high qualities. We had dispossessed them; and where now, he would ask, was the North American Indian? Ho lived in history—he was unknown to fact—and scarcely in the whole range east of the Mississippi could be found one single nation of the aborigines that was not like a wandering tribe of gipsies—all their high chivalry gone—all their claims as a nation melted away. They had become the subjects of romance. In their most cherished resting places the axe of the Anglo-Saxon had cut down and crushed the vast forests through which they had been wont to wander, and their hunting-grounds had become the seats of art, of civilisation, and of human happiness in a different form. This made all the difference, and this, he said again, we must face, if we intended to extend the present system to South Africa. As regarded the proposition of the noble Lord 276 (Lord John Russell), he looked upon it as a complete abdication of the power of Government. He (Mr. Roebuck) could put a meaning upon it, because he could suppose a Government so weak and so incapable of governing as to be glad of any excuse for getting rid of a difficulty. A responsible colonial Government shrouded itself under the miserable subterfuge of a Select Committee, and in the mean time money was to ho spent, war and slaughter were to be perpetrated, and the great name of England was perhaps to be prostituted. Time was when the noble Lord would have said, had such a proposition been made to him, "Do you think we are going to abrogate our functions as a Government?" But he said to the noble Lord, if he were willing to abrogate the functions of the Colonial Office to a Select Committee, lot him abrogate the functions of a Government altogether, and confess he was so weak as to be unable to control what belonged to England. The Ministry was responsible for the government of the country. That House was not to take upon itself the administration of affairs, but was to stand separate and was to be the judge in the last resort over the Administration. Let not the House then cede to a Committee of their own body those functions of Government which the noble Lord and his Colleagues truly held, but did not adorn.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, following to some extent the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), but greatly exaggerating his views, had expressed his surprise that the Government should have proposed to appoint a Select Committee to consider a very grave and important point connected with the colonial policy of the country. The hon. Gentlemen had both spoken as if they thought that Government had taken a quite unpredented course, and that such a recommendation could only come from a weak Government. He (Mr. Labouchere) must say he was astonished that such an argument should have been employed by two Gentlemen so well acquainted with the history of our colonies. He remembered, in the case of Canada, at the time of a very interesting crisis in the affairs of that colony, that Mr. Huskisson, a Colonial Minister not of small repute, acting under no less a person than the Duke of Wellington, asked the House to appoint a Select Committee to consider the whole affairs of 277 Canada. There had been at that time disputes as to the Government of Canada, which called for decided interference on the part of this country. Mr. Huskisson was not the man to shrink from that responsibility, and the Duke of Wellington was not the man to permit any Secretary of State to act a mean and truckling part with respect to the policy to be pursued by this country. And what was the course pursued by Mr. Huskisson? Why, all he asked was that the House should grant him a Select Committee, to inquire into the state of affairs with regard to Canada. He (Mr. Labouchere), though then a young Member, served upon that Committee, and he well remembered what their proceedings and recommendations were. He believed that they were some of the most important recommendations that had been ever made. They pointed out an entire change of our policy with regard to Canada. Those recommendations had been to a great extent acted upon by that and successive Governments; and in his conscience he believed that to them in a great measure we owed it that we still retained Canada as a colony of this country. A similar course was adopted on perhaps the most difficult and important colonial question that it had ever fallen to the lot of a Government to deal with—he meant the condition of the slave population in the West Indies. The whole course of legislation with regard to slavery in those colonies was the fruit of the anxious investigations of that Committee. Slave emancipation was ushered in, supported, and, in fact, carried by the authority of that Committee. Again, the same course had been pursued with reference to the apprenticeship question, when the Colonial Secretary—a man not wanting in firmness and energy—Lord Stanley, he believed—did not think he was lowering the authority of his office by asking for a Select Committee for the settling of that important question. Unless they said, then, that the affairs of the colonies were to be left entirely to the Colonial Office, without any care or solicitude on the part of the House, he did not see what reflection there could be upon the Government for asking from time to time, as occasion required, for the assistance of a Select Committee to consider important political questions. Again, in the case of the Cape of Good Hope, some of the many courses of policy with reference to the treatment of those aborigines had been recommended by a Committee of the House of Commons, 278 of which he believed the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had been himself a Member. The right hon. Gentleman had argued as if the only danger to be apprehended at the Cape of Good Hope was that the white population might be overwhelmed by the coloured population; but the Committee of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member took a very different view of the subject. He (Mr. Labouchere) believed that if the white population were left to themselves in that colony, without any assistance from this country, although they might at first be exposed to danger from the natives, and there might be scones of bloodshed and devastation, the ultimate danger was that the extermination of the aborigines would ensue. That was the view taken by the right hon. Gentleman opposite as a Member of the Committee. [Mr. GLADSTONE: No, I opposed it.] If that were so, he (Mr. Labouchere) must admit that the personal argument, so far as the right hon. Gentleman was concerned, fell to the ground; but he was entitled at least to claim the authority of the majority of the Committee as being in favour of such opinion. The Report of the Committee of 1837 was this—That it was the special and sacred duty of the Government and the Parliament to exercise their authority wherever British colonies were planted in juxtaposition with great masses of aboriginal inhabitants, to prevent the frightful consequences that must ensue from allowing the passions of the white and black population to be excited and arrayed against each other, thus loading to dreadful scenes of carnage and desolation.He begged to remind hon. Gentlemen what were the questions really before them. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) had proposed that a Commission should be sent out to the Cape of Good Hope. He Mr. Labouchere) thought the general sense of the House was against that proposition. He considered, that if the Governor and the other chief officers of that colony deserved the confidence of the Government, they were at least as much to be depended on as any commissioners who could be sent out to make inquiries; and the necessary effect of sending out a commission would be to weaken the authority of the Governor and other official persons at a moment when it was of the utmost importance that their authority should be strengthened and upheld in every possible direction. The other proposal before them was that of his noble Friend (Lord John Russell), that a Committee of that House should be appointed to 279 consider the whole of the complicated and difficult questions connected with the relations between this country and the tribes on our South African frontier. The Government had been charged with endeavouring to evade responsibility in making this proposal; but they in no degree shook off responsibility in requesting the aid of a Committee, not to consider what measures were requisite to meet an urgent and instant state of things, for that was the duty of the Executive Government, but to consider deliberately, and to report to the House, what should be the fixed and settled policy of this country with regard to the question of the Cape frontier. That was no more a subject peculiarly, and solely, and exclusively belonging to the Executive Government, than were the questions relating to Canada in 1837, or the questions as to the West Indian slavery, with regard to which Committees of that House had been appointed; and he thought it was a subject upon which the Government, without giving up the least portion of that responsibility which attached to them, might justly and properly ask for a Committee to assist and give weight to their deliberations. These were the grounds on which the Government proposed the appointment of a Committee. He thought them as sufficient and complete as those upon which the appointment of any similar Committee had ever been demanded; and he hoped the House would not refuse to aid and encourage the Government in the course they had pursued by consenting to the Amendment of his noble Friend.
§ MR. HUME
thought the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere) had forgot that the prevalent desire was now to get rid entirely of the colonies, and allow them to govern themselves. [Laughter.] He was aware of the advantage that had been taken of the phrase, "get rid of the expenses of the colonies." What he meant was, that by the course of policy latterly shadowed out by Earl Grey, the only means was provided of securing the continuance of the colonies in connection with this country. The colonies were all indisposed to submit to the trammels of the Colonial Office any longer; and the course of policy that should now be pursued was one that would enable those colonies to direct their own affairs, which they would do in a much better manner than the Government of Downing-street. The proposal of this Committee was, no doubt, made with the intention of divesting the Government of 280 responsibility; and in answer to that opinion the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade related the appointment of some other Committees; but he (Mr. Hume) believed that these Committees had been the commencement of a great deal that was wrong. Now, last year we had Orders in Council drawn up, recommending that the colonies should have independent Governments to manage their own affairs and free us from the expense. But the speech of the right hon. Gentleman now was quite opposed to that. The people in the colonies believed that they were quite able to conduct their own affairs with perfect security. Let the colonists have a responsible Government, which would acquire the confidence of the people. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) said the colonists had never acted cordially, and had never assisted the Government of this country. But why should they? They had been treated as so many cattle, and had had no share in the government of the colony they resided in. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith) had read extracts from the papers of Graham's Town, and from the despatches of Sir Henry Pottinger, which must have satisfied the House of the impossibility of continuing the system which had so long kept the colony in an unsettled state. The time had now come when the colonies must be left to the management of their own affairs; and he felt confident that their position would ensure good conduct on their part, and good behaviour on the part of the Kaffirs. The people of the Cape of Good Hope had sent a delegate here to endeavour to make an arrangement, but he had been kept here four months without being listened to. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had given the House some examples of the advantage arising from the appointment of Committees, and he had inquired, "Was not the abolition of the slave trade carried by a Committee?" Quite the reverse. The late Sir Fowell Buxton's Committee, after taking evidence one Session, recommended a further inquiry in the next Session. But what followed? Lord Stanley said he would not be guided by any Committee, but would take on himself the responsibility of acting; and he introduced a proposition on the responsibility of the Ministry, and carried his project into effect without any assistance from a Committee. The Ceylon Committee had also been referred to. That Com- 281 mittee, however, was not appointed to give advice to the Minister, but to expose abuses which the Minister denied. That was a very different inquiry from the one now proposed by the noble Lord. He hoped the House would not agree to the appointment of any such Committee, the only effect of which would be to shelve the question for twelve months, and perhaps longer. He considered the appointment of a Commission would be very advantageous. Let disinterested and independent Commissioners be appointed to judge between the aborigines and the colonists, and see fair and proper arrangements made. This would be the best mode of settling the differences which now existed between the contending parties. He admitted that some considerable time must elapse before they could come to any satisfactory settlement; but the Commissioners would be able to see how far the interests of both parties were affected. He would ask the Government why they had not acted on the Resolution of last year?—why they had deferred giving the colonists a responsible Government which would have relieved this country from a large amount of expenditure with which it was now saddled? It would be of great advantage both to this country and the Cape, if the colonists were allowed to manage their own affairs, and he did not see why the House should stand in the way of their doing so forthwith. He would do all in his power to assist Sir Harry Smith in putting an end to the war; but he decidedly objected to the appointment of a Committee.
§ MR. J. BELL
could not allow the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) to pass unnoticed, because, if he were to do so, it might be suposed that the House acquiesced in principles at variance with morality, honour, and Christianity. The hon. and learned Member had laid down the principle that it was proper to do evil that good might come; and he stated that he was ready to justify injustice, for he said it was proper and justifiable for England to take possession of a foreign country simply on the ground that the English are a superior people, that they are Christians and highly civilised, and that we are justified in exterminating a people who have done us no injury. If that principle was recognised, he should like to know where the mischief was to end. They might as well say, because some cottagers were less civilised than themselves, they had a right to take possession of their village, and plant therein 282 persons calculated to promote the happiness of mankind. If it were impossible to obtain possession of foreign nations by any other means, he should say it would be better to remain as we are than to obtain them at the price of blood. But it was not impossible to obtain foreign countries by different means. It was known that the inhabitants were willing to sell the land at a moderate price; that they were open to terms of capitulation; and that by various means they might be partially civilised. Experience had shown that a great deal might be effected without absolute extermination. It was well known that principles of honour existed among savages which some people did not give them credit for; but whatever might be the fact with respect to their dispositions, nothing could justify that bloodthirsty and rapacious spirit which appeared to be recommended by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield.
§ MR. S. HERBERT
said, the House was placed in a situation of some difficulty with respect to the form of the Motion, and the manner in which the votes were to be taken with respect to the propositions before the House. He had looked forward with some hope to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere), because he expected he would have given some justification of the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government for the appointment of a Committee. But the precedents of the right hon. Gentleman were not at all applicable to the present case. The Committee on the subject of Canada had quite a different object from the Committee now moved for by the noble Lord. That Committee was appointed to inquire into the allegation of grievances. It was a Committee sought for by the colonists in consequence of a long struggle between the colony and the mother country, and the idea that they were oppressed by misgovernment at home. The Government were in a manner impeached, and it was thought necessary to appoint a Committee to inquire into the allegations then made. The other Committee referred to was that of Lord Glenelg to examine into the question of apprenticeship in the West Indies. That appeared to him to be a singularly infelicitous precedent, for this reason, that the Committee did sit and report, and the House reversed their decision, and told the colonists that the system of apprenticeship could no longer be maintained. He did not think the appointment of the Committee now asked for would do much towards a 283 solution of the difficulties which now existed. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) said, the other night that the country was governed by speeches. [An Hon. MEMBER: Some not very intelligible.] Sometimes Motions were not very intelligible, and that was case with respect to the one now under discussion. Here was a Committee, to be appointed on the same principles as the Official Salaries Committee. That Committee made a report, which the noble Lord read, but which he perhaps put into the fire, for he never acted upon it. So far as that Committee was concerned, much time was wasted. The precedents which had been referred to were altogether inapplicable. Now was this a case which would justify the appointment of a Committee? The Kaffir war was going on. It was necessary that the Executive at the Cape should be unshackled by any doubts as to the intentions of the Government, and should have either definite, clear, and unmistakeable instructions from home, or an unfettered discretion to act as circumstances might arise. Between the two propositions before the House, the appointment of a Commission appeared to be a much more rational thing than the appointment of a Committee. A Commission might receive definite instructions, or act according to circumstances. But a Committee sitting in this country would be in ignorance of what was going on, and portions of evidence might arrive at the Cape, which would cause the Governor to say, "Am I right in doing this and that—the Committee take a humane view of the matter?" The appointment of a Committee would be a delegation of responsibility which was not authorised by the circumstances which had occurred, but the contrary, and would be likely to lead to serious impediments to the public service. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade said, it was the special duty of the Governor of the country to deal with questions like this. In that observation he (Mr. S. Herbert) perfectly concurred. In arguing against the proposition of the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), the right hon. Gentleman said, that a Governor on the spot is as good as a Commissioner. If so, might it not be said that a Government is as good as a Committee? He apprehended the proper course would be to vote, in the first instance, against the Amendment of the noble Lord. The Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. Adderley), would then become 284 a substantive Motion, and he should then have an opportunity of voting upon that Motion.
§ MR. BOOKER
intended to give his vote in favour of the Government, because ho thought they had shown becoming vigour and manliness in their attempt to maintain our great colonial empire. He did not think that the House ought to refuse the Government their support and co-operation when they asked it on an emergency like the present—an emergency unexpected by any one in that House. The state of the Cape of Good Hope was one of vast difficulty, and he could not but feel that the Government had done all they could in sending out an officer of consummate ability—one who enjoyed and who deserved to enjoy the unlimited confidence of the country and of that House. He believed that the spirit in which a Committee would enter into the investigation would be the means of strengthening those tics which ought to exist between the Cape of Good Hope and this country.
§ MR. HAWES
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert) seemed to think that if the Committee was appointed, some very serious evil would happen to the colony—that because the power of the Executive here would be affected, the policy to be pursued for terminating the war and protecting the colony would thereby be materially impaired. But he had not informed the House how that result was likely to follow the appointment of a Committee. Now what was the object in appointing a Committee? The Government desired to inform the Gentlemen on the Committee fully and entirely with respect to their past policy, but that House was not the best place to communicate it in. He was not without grounds for saying so, for when the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) addressed them with a full statement of his policy, there was hardly a House present, and some of the most distinguished speakers were absent. The hon. Member for Montrose talked of the misgovernment of the Cape of Good Hope. Now, he (Mr. Hawes) would venture to say that when the subject was clearly investigated, it would be seen that the policy adopted was not the exterminating policy mentioned by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), but a policy which would lay the foundation of a great and important colony. He saw no reason why an improvement should not take place in colonisation as 285 well as in other matters. No doubt early colonisation had been marked by the extinction of the native races; but that was no reason why we should not proceed without following the same course. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) referred to New Zealand. Now, he (Mr. Hawes) must say, that was an instance in which European colonisation was progressing alongside the native race, which was also progressing in civilisation; and he could not help protesting against the doctrine which the hon. and learned Gentleman had laid down, that white men are to be placed in a colony with unlimited power over their uncivilised neighbours, and that the power of the Crown is not to be exerted to protect the natives. He trusted the House would, in conformity with the views of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, do this justice to the Government, give them the opportunity of laying before a Select Committee all the information and evidence in its possession, in order to prove that the policy pursued at the Cape of Good Hope has not been that policy which has been misrepresented by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Sheffield.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
only wished to say one word in reference to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Lymington (Mr. Mackinnon). He (Mr. Adderley) did not intend to throw any imputation either on Sir Harry Smith or on Colonel Mackinnon, as the hon. Member appeared to suppose. On the contrary, he believed there were no more efficient or brave officers in the service. Neither did he make any charge against Earl Grey or his Colleagues in the Government, except so far as they were the exponents of a system which he considered bad. The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) said that there was nothing which a Commission could do at the Cape of Good Hope which a Governor could not do. Now, all that he (Mr. Adderley) wanted the Commission to do was to wind up those treaties which had been formed between the colonists and the natives, and then he would leave the colonists to manage the affairs for themselves. As it appeared that his proposition was not very favourably received by the House, he thought it would not be advisable to press it to a division, but he would, with the permission of the House withdraw it, and let the division be taken on the Amendment of the noble Lord at the head of the Government.
§ Question put.286
§ The House divided:—Ayes 59; Noes 129; Majority 70.
|List of the AYES.|
|Arkwright, G.||Keating, R.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Lockhart, W.|
|Bankes, G.||Manners, Lord G.|
|Beckett, W.||Meux, Sir H.|
|Burghley, Lord||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Cardwell, E.||Monsell, W.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Mowatt, F.|
|Child, S.||Naas, Lord|
|Christopher, R. A.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Cocks, T. S.||O'Connell, J.|
|Deedes, W.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Disraeli, B.||Palmer, R.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Dundas, G.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Dunne, Col.||Scully, F.|
|East, Sir J. B.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Edwards, H.||Spooner, R.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Stafford, A.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Fox, W. J.||Stuart, II.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Urquhart, D.|
|Goold, W.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Greene, J.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Guernsey, Lord||Wakley, T.|
|Halsey, T. P.||Wegg-Prosser, F, R.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Williams, W.|
|Herbert, rt. hon. S.||TELLERS.|
|Hornby, J.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|Hume, J.||Adderley, C. B.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adair, H. E.||D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Douglas, Sir C. E.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Duncan, G.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Anson, Visct.||Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Ellice, E.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Ellis, J.|
|Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.||Evans, J.|
|Bell, J.||Ewart, W.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Forster, M.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Fortescue, C.|
|Bernal, R.||Fortescue, hon. J. W.|
|Best, J.||Freestun, Col.|
|Bethell, R.||Geach, C.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Booker, T. W.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Grenfell, C. P.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Brotherton, J.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Grey, R. W.|
|Butler, P. S.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Carter, J. B.||Hawes, B.|
|Cavendish, hon. G. H.||Headlam, T. E.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Heald, J.|
|Clay, J.||Heywood, J.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Hindley, C.|
|Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Coke, hon. E. K.||Howard, Lord E.|
|Collins, W.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Howard, hon. E. G. G.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Kershaw, J.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Lawley, hon. B. R.||Rice, E. R.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Rich, H.|
|Locke, J.||Romilly, Col.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Rumbold, C. E.|
|M'Gregor, J.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Mahon, The O'Gorman||Russell, hon. E. S.|
|Mandeville, Visct.||Seymour, Lord|
|Marshall, J. G.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Marshall, W.||Smith, J. A.|
|Matheson, Col.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Melgund, Visct.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Milnes, R. M.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Moody, C. A.||Thompson, Col.|
|Morison, Sir W.||Thornely, T.|
|Morris, D.||Towneley, J.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Townley, R. G.|
|Norreys, Lord||Townshend, Capt.|
|Norreys, Sir J. D. J.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Ord, W.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Wilson, J.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Wilson, M.|
|Parker, J.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Pinney, W.||Wood, Sir W. P.|
|Plowden, W. H. C.||Wyvill, M.|
|Price, Sir R.||TELLERS.|
|Pusey, P.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Rawdon, Col.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ Words added; Main Question, as amended, put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 128; Noes 60: Majority 68.
§ Select Committee appointed, "to inquire into the relations between this country and the Kaffir and other tribes on our South African frontier."
§ The House adjourned at One o'clock, till Monday, 28th April.