HC Deb 05 April 1852 vol 120 cc734-68

House in Committee of Supply.

460,000l. towards defraying the Expenses of the Kafir War, beyond the ordinary Naval and Military Estimates.


said, he should not at present discuss the causes of the present state of South Africa, nor what should be the future policy of this country towards South Africa. He should merely confine his observations to the question now before the Committee, namely, our expenditure on account of South Africa, He wished more particularly to call the attention of the Committee to the great and increasing amount of that expenditure, as shown by returns which had been lately presented to Parliament. That expenditure had gone on steadily and rapidly increasing for the last twenty years. On the average of the three years ending 1850, it had amounted to 500,000l. a year, or to about three times the average of the three years ending 1836, or to about 5l. a head a year for every European colonist in South Africa, or to about 20s. in the pound upon our exports to South Africa. Those exports rose and fell pretty much as our military expenditure increased or decreased, and were greatest immediately after a Kafir war. The reason was simple: our exports to South Africa consisted chiefly of merchandise for our troops, with some muskets and ammunition for the Kafirs; and during, or immediately after, a Kafir war, there was abundance of British gold in South Africa, and commerce flourished. Therefore, if we could withdraw our troops from South Africa, and, as a compensation for so doing, were to make the colonists a present of all our merchandise which they actually consumed, we should make a most excellent bargain. The great increase in our South African military expenditure had arisen chiefly from two causes, namely, from the great increase in the extent of our South African dominions, and from the abolition of the old and cheap system of self-protection by the colonists. In the course of the last ten years the British empire in South Africa had been more than doubled. In 1842 it covered an area of 110,000 square miles; in the course of the next six years, 120,000 square miles had been added to it, and it was extended to nearly the 27th degree of south latitude. If a line were drawn in about that latitude right across South Africa, from the Indian to the Atlantic Ocean, it would be about 1,000 miles long, and would constitute about the northern boundary of the British dominions in South Africa. The territory lying to the south of that line might be called British South Africa, because nine-tenths of it were British dominions; the remaining tenth was the territory inhabited by our Kafir enemies, and which was now surrounded on all sides but the seaside by British dominions. The area of British South Africa was 260,000 square miles—about the same as that of the Austrian empire. Its population amounted to about 700,000 persons; of these, one-seventh, or about 100,000, were of European origin, the greater portion of whom were discontented; about 150,000 were Hottentots and mongrel races, generally disaffected; about 350,000 were Kafirs and kindred tribes, most of whom were our avowed enemies; and the remaining 100,000 were Toolahs in Natal, of doubtful allegiance. In the midst of this discontented, traitorous, or hostile population, we had about 10,000 British troops, who, alone and unaided, were, according to Sir Harry Smith, carrying on a war over an area of three times the size of the United Kingdom, with tribes as fierce as the Circassians or the Algerines. No fewer than 80,000 French troops were required in Algiers. He thought, therefore, the state of South Africa was critical, and it was no wonder that our military expenditure on account of it had increased of late years. The other cause of the great increase in bur military expenditure on account of South Africa had been the abolition, in 1833, of the old and cheap effectual system of self-protection by the colonists. With regard to that system, he must observe that it was similar to that which had been used by our colonists in North America in their conflicts with the Indians. In South Africa it had originated with the Dutch, when the Dutch and the Kafirs first met on the eastern frontier of the colony of the Cape. The superior cattle of the Dutch had irresistibly tempted the cupidity of the Kafir. A petty warfare had ensued, like that which had raged in former times on the borders between England and Scotland. The Boers, as the frontier Dutch were called, had combined for mutual assistance, and formed a regular system of irregular defence called the commando system. When the cattle of a boer was stolen, he seized his loaded musket, mounted his horse, and his friends together, went off in pursuit of his property, and righted himself with a strong hand: if he recovered his property, so much the better; if he did not, he had nobody to blame but himself. In these expeditions the boer classed the prowling and marauding savage with the beast of prey, and shot down with equal zest the cattle-stealing lion and the cattle-stealing Kafir. By these means the boers had defended themselves as effectually on the eastern frontier of the Cape of Good Hope, as their descendants had done on the Orange territory and Natal, and now did under the tropic of Capricorn, whence they had offered to come to our assistance. The commando system had continued in full vigour up to the year 1833, when it was abolished. He asserted that the system had worked well on the whole, in protecting the lives and property of the frontier farmers. He found that under that system our military force in South Africa had been steadily and gradually diminished since the war; and consequently our military expenditure had also been steadily and gradually diminished. He found that in 1816 our military force in South Africa had amounted to 4,500 men; that in almost every subsequent year, down to 1833, it had been regularly diminished, till in 1833 it amounted only to 2,000 men, and in that year our effective military expenditure was 100,000l. Since then it had gone on steadily and rapidly increasing, both in periods of peace and in periods of war. If each of these periods were compared separately, it would be found that our peace expenditure and our war expenditure had each of them increased very nearly in the same ratio since 1833. For instance, on the average of the two years of peace, ending with 1834, our effective military expenditure on account of South Africa had been 100,000l. a year; on the average of the three years of peace, ending with 1846, that expenditure had increased to 280,000l. a year, or to nearly three times what it had been in 1833; and, lastly, on the average of the two years of peace, ending with 1850, that expenditure had amounted to 380,000l. a year, or to nearly four times what it had been in 1833. Next, with regard to periods of war. There had been no war of any importance in the interval between 1819 and 1833. Since 1833 there had been three Kafir wars: the first was said to have cost 500,000l., the second had cost nearly 2,000,000l., and we should be lucky if 3,000,000l. covered the expense of the present one. For the year of war 1835 our effective military expenditure on account of South Africa bad been returned at 240,000l. On the average of the two years of war, 1846 and 1847, that expenditure had amounted to 860,000l. a year, or more than three times what it had been in 1885; and during last year that expenditure must have amounted to 1,000,000l., or fully four times what it had been in 1835. Therefore, since 1833 our peace expenditure and our war expenditure on account of South Africa had each of them increased fourfold, and our last peace expenditure had exceeded by a large percentage our former war expenditure. Therefore the year 1833 constituted an epoch in the history of our South African expenditure. From the peace up to that year our expenditure had gone on gradually diminishing; in that year it reached its minimum. Since then it had gone on steadily and rapidly increasing, and would increase if the present system should be adhered to. In 1833 a great change had been made in our South African policy; the old cheap and effectual system of self-protection by the colonists had been abolished, and the Colonial Office had substituted for it the system of protecting the frontier by treaties made with savages, and enforced by British troops. By those treaties we had theoretically transformed the South African savages into the citizens of a regularly-established State; we had vainly expected that their chiefs would recognise and observe the law of nations; we had entered into diplomatic relations with them; we had appointed agents to reside amongst them; we had stipulated that the chiefs should prevent depredations, should restore stolen property, or make compensation. Those stipulations bad been ill kept; for the Kafirs were, to use the words of their own great chief, Sandilli, a nation of irreclaimable thieves, and there was no difference between chiefs and followers. The chiefs had been utterly faithless. They had displayed the greatest skill and ingenuity in evading the provisions of the treaties. The frontier farmers had bitterly complained that the British Government, which had deprived them of the right of redressing their own wrongs, had not sufficiently protected them against the depredations of the Kafirs. Some of these complaints had, without doubt, been well founded. With regard to others, he (Sir W. Molesworth) must observe that when individuals had to redress their own wrongs, and when in so doing they had to incur considerable risk and trouble, they were apt to overlook minor wrongs, which were not worth the risk and trouble of redressing; and this had been the case under the commando system. But when, as under the treaty system, a Government undertook to redress the wrongs of individuals, then every wrong, however trifling, real or imaginary, became, if unredressed, the source of grievous complaint against the Government. Thus, whenever, under the treaty system, a sheep had been lost, or an ox had strayed on the eastern frontier of the colony of the Cape, the farmer had invariably assumed that the Kafirs had stolen it, and that the Government ought to recover it. Therefore, partly on account of real, partly on account of imaginary depredations, the Colonial Government had been contantly called upon to enforce the provisions of the treaties with the savages. But those treaties could only he strictly enforced by constant recourse to armed force, and that would lead to war. Some governors rashly engaged in war; others endeavoured to avoid war. For instance, Sir George Napier, who had been Governor of the colony of the Cape of Good Hope, from 1837 to 1344, had stated in his despatches, and in his evidence before the Kafir Committee, that he had been repeatedly urged to make war upon the Kafirs, and that there were many persons in South Africa who profited largely by Kafir wars. Sir George Napier had stated that he thought it a great folly for a great country like England to be easily provoked into a Kafir war; that he had declined, for the sake of a few head of cattle, to incur the expense of a Kafir war; and he had proposed, instead of going to war, to pay, in certain special cases, compensation out of the public purse to persons who had suffered from Kafir depredations. With regard to this this policy, he (Sir W. Molesworth) must mention a fact well deserving of attention, namely, that the interest of one-fifth of the sum which a year of Kafir war would cost, would more than cover the average annual loss from Kafir depredations. For Sir George Napier had stated that during the six years of his Government the average annual loss from Kafir depredations had not exceeded 6,000l. a year. The Committee knew that a Kafir war now cost about 1,000,000l. a year. He (Sir W. Molesworth) found that the statements of Sir George Napier were confirmed by official returns: he found that on the average number of the six years from 1837 to 1843, the average number of horses lost were 220 a year, and of oxen about 900; their value, at about 10l. each for horses, and about 3l. 18s. a head for cattle, would be less than 6,000l. a year. Therefore the cost of one year of Kafir war would more than cover the loss from a century and a half of Kafir depredations. This was a somewhat mercantile view of the question, but he (Sir W. Molesworth) thought it a sensible one. For the six years of Sir George Napier's Government, there had been no Kafir war. Sir George Napier was an old soldier. He knew the toils and cost of war. He would not rashly engage in it. He thought that neither the honour nor the dignity of Great Britain required it to treat savage tribes as civilised nations, nor to engage in regular war with Kafirs, as with an European community, for violation of treaties and for offences against the law of nations. The policy of Sir George Napier had not been followed by his successors. In 1846 Sir Peregrine Maitland had involved us in a Kafir war for the loss of one axe. In 1847 Sir Henry Pottinger had renewed that war for the loss of two goats. Great Britain had about 2,000,000l. to pay, and the consequence had been, that British money had abounded in Cape Town, and commerce had flourished. The present war would be more expensive than the last one, for we had now in South Africa half as many troops again as we had in the war of 1846. The present war had been produced, partly by causes similar to those which had produced former Kafir wars, partly by three special causes. Those causes had been—1st. The conduct of Sir Harry Smith in making himself, in 1847, the Mkori Mkalu, or Great Chief of British Kafraria. 2nd. The frontier policy of Sir Harry Smith, which had consisted in perpetual and vexatious interference with the affairs of the Kafirs, and in a continual and galling attempt to destroy the authority of their chiefs. 3rd. The ignorance of Sir Harry Smith of the feelings which the Kafirs entertained towards him and his frontier policy. He (Sir W. Molesworth) had proved these positions at length last year. He would not do so again, for they had not been contradicted, and in fact they had been admitted in the last despatches of Earl Grey. He thought that Sir Harry Smith ought to have been recalled long ago; in fact he ought never to have been appointed Governor of the Cape of Good Hope. He spoke only of the civil proceedings of Sir Harry Smith, He did not feel competent to pronounce a decided opinion upon the military proceedings of Sir Harry Smith; he must, however, say that he could not discover any essential difference between those tactics and those for which Sir Harry Smith had acquired great renown in the Kafir war of 1835. Those tactics had been to starve the Kafirs into submission by invading their fatnesses and sweeping off their cattle. For the success of these tactics it was indispensable to prevent the Kafirs from simultaneously invading our colony, and sweeping off the cattle of the colonist. For these purposes two armies were indispensable, namely, an invading army and a protecting army. Of one of these armies Sir Harry Smith had been deprived by the discontent of the Dutch, and the disaffection of the Hottentots. Therefore, when Sir Harry Smith invaded the fastnesses of the Kafirs, and swept off their cattle, the Kafirs turned our flank, invaded the colony, and carried off the cattle of the colonists; and when Sir Harry Smith returned from the fastnesses of the Kafirs, bringing along with him, their cattle, the Kafirs returned to their fastnesses, taking along with them the cattle of the colonists. Therefore, for the ill success of Sir Harry Smith's tactics, those persons were chiefly to blame who had produced discontent amongst the Dutch, and disaffection amongst the Hottentots. Into the causes of that discontent and disaffection he would not inquire at present. He must say, however, that, when he considered the position of our gallant troops in South Africa, in the midst of a population one-half of whom were hostile, and the other half were, in about equal proportions, discontented, disaffected, and doubtful—when he considered that those troops had not suffered one positive defeat, had not lost one single convoy, but had accomplished many gallant feats of arms, he thought that they deserved great credit for themselves, and reflected credit upon their veteran commander, whose health had been well nigh worn out in the service of his country. A high military authority had expressed his opinion, in another place, that when the fastnesses of the Kafirs were stormed by our troops, they ought to be destroyed, and roads ought to be made into them. With the utmost deference to that high authority, he (Sir W. Molesworth) doubted whether those things could be done by any amount of military force which we could send to South Africa. The fastnesses of the Kafirs were of two kinds, either steep mountains, capped with sandstone, resembling vast fortifications, with huge masses of sandstone rising several feet from the surface of the ground; or deep, narrow, gloomy ravines called kloofs. Both mountains and ravines were covered with the peculiar bush of South Africa. In that bush, and behind the masses of sandstone, the Kafirs lurked and skirmished with impunity, retreating as our troops advanced, advancing as our troops retreated. Our troops had stormed some of these fastnesses three or four times over, with considerable loss to themselves, and with a loss to the Kafirs too frequently doubtful; for it was uncommonly difficult to kill the Kafirs. They were very tenacious of life, and their spare diet of milk, and healthy climate, enabled them to recover speedily from wounds which would be certainly fatal to Europeans. Now, our troops could not occupy these fastnesses, for they could not live in them. To open roads into them over the mountains and the kloofs would be a task of immense engi- neering difficulty, and would cost an immense sum of money, both in making and keeping in repair. And when the roads had been made, unless the bush on both sides were destroyed, they would only be narrow defiles, and the Kafir lurking in the bush would shoot with impunity at our passing troops. But to destroy the bush would be a task of herculean labour, for the bush would not burn; it was composed of plants of so juicy a nature that flame would not communicate from one plant to another. The peculiar bush of South Africa was unlike anything in any other part of the globe. It was more difficult to destroy or penetrate than the densest thickets of the tropics. It consisted of various thorny succulent plants of genera which must be well known to many hon. Gentlemen; for instance, of plants of the Aloe, justly called ferox by botanists; of plants of the Zamia, most appropriately termed horrida; of plants of various kinds of Euphorbia, some with tall columnal stems, beset with formidable spines, others resembling prickly clubs, others like vegetating pincushions; others, when cut, pouring forth an acrid milky poison, which, coming in contact with the human skin, produced virulent ulcers. An European could not make one single step in this bush without cutting his way, except in the paths made by wild beasts. But the Kafirs, with wonderful dexterity and agility crept through the bottom of the hush like snakes and other reptiles, and none but Hottentots could follow them. To destroy this bush, it must be cut down by the hand of man; and it must be kept down, or it would soon spring up again. To cut it down an army of labourers would be required; whilst doing so, an army would be required to protect the labourers; and, when done, the ground would be so sterile and arid, that it could not be applied to any useful purposes. Therefore he thought it probable that the bush of South Africa never would nor never could be destroyed, and would continue to afford hiding-places for Kafirs as long as Kafirs should exist: consequently he deemed it impossible to put a stop to Kafir wars by destroying their fastnesses and making roads. He was afraid that the present Kafir war was not at an end. Pie believed, however, that the commencement of the termination had begun. It was a most important question, what should be done to prevent the recurrence of similar wars? He should not discuss that question at present, except to repeat a warning which he had given to that House four years ago, namely, that if our present South African policy should be adhered to, there would be a Kafir war at the end of every four or five years, unless, indeed, we were to attempt to prevent a Kafir war by keeping a large military force permanently stationed in South Africa. He thought that under the present system at least 7,000 British troops would be required to be permanently stationed in South Africa to preserve peace and order within the British dominions; for instance, 4,000 men on the eastern frontier of the colony of the Cape, 1,000 in Natal, 1,000 in the Orange territory, and 1,000 for a garrison and reserved force at Cape Town. Those 7,000 men would cost in effective military expenditure probably 500,000l. a year on the average of years. This was not an extravagant estimate. For the seven years ending 1850, our effective military expenditure on account of South Africa had amounted to 3,334,000l., or about 480,000l. a year; and the average number of British troops in South Africa during that period was 4,800. There could be little doubt that, under the present system, the military expenditure of this country on account of South Africa, for the next period of seven years—namely, that ending 1857—would be greater than that for the period ending 1850—because the present war was a more formidable one than that of 1846 and 1847; because Natal and the Orange sovereignty, which had been acquired in the former period, were beginning to become expensive, and because there could be no doubt that, immediately after the termination of the last war, Sir Harry Smith, with a view to economy, had made too large a reduction in the military force of South Africa. Under the present system there was this dilemma with regard to South Africa; if you made too large a reduction in your military force with a view to the saving of money, the savages were emboldened to disregard their treaties more than they usually did, and then, if war followed, more than your savings were soon spent; on the other hand, if you wish to enforce treaties and preserve peace, you must constantly maintain in South Africa a large military force, and incur almost a war expenditure. He thought, therefore, that under the present system no prudent Secretary of State for the Colonies should, after the termination of the present war, undertake to preserve peace and order in British South Africa with less than 7,000 British troops. He might, perhaps, for a time do with less, and if he were lucky and the tenure of his office short, he might get some credit as an economist, but in all probability he would bequeath a costly Kafir war to his successor. For instance, had Earl Grey not returned to office at the beginning of last year, the finance accounts for the last years of his administration would have shown a considerable diminution in our military expenditure on account of South Africa, but he would have bequeathed to his successors the whole of the present Kafir war. Therefore, if we were determined to adhere to our present South African policy, we must make up our minds to pay annually about oil a head for the defence of every European colonist in South Africa, or about 500,000l a year. In his opinion a great change ought to be made in our system of South African policy. We ought to give to the colonists of South Africa the freest institutions and the complete control over their local affairs. We ought as soon after the termination of the present war as circumstances would permit, to require those colonists to take upon themselves the defence of their frontier against the native races; and finally to reduce the military force in South Africa to be maintained at the expense of this country to a garrison at Cape Town, with a proportionate reduction in our military expenditure. He would choose another opportunity for discussing these questions.


wished to know to what period this Vote extended; whether fox the whole of the year, or for a portion of the year; and he also wished for accounts to be produced from the colony, to enable the Committee to judge respecting the probability of a continuance of this expenditure.


said, the present Estimate for the expenditure of the Kafir war was up to the present time—that was to say, up to the 25th of March. With regard to the future prospects of the war, it was impossible for him to form an estimate, but he trusted that the next mail would bring them cheering prospects.


Sir, in reference to what the right hon. Gentleman has just stated, I hope the Committee will not rashly infer from what he has stated I have no doubt with perfect good faith—that this Vote of 460,000l. to-night to- gether with the Vote of last year, amounting to 300,000l. represents anything like the total expense of the war. Because the right hon. Gentleman is perfectly aware, and the Committee, I have no doubt, will bear in mind, that these votes, on the contrary, represent only the extra expenditure of the war, or rather only a part of the extra expenditure; because, if we want to get a full pecuniary view of the case, it is necessary that we should charge that war with the whole expenditure of the military force employed in it. But, Sir, the figures of the pecuniary expenditure are not the entire, and perhaps they are not the worst, part of the evil; but these figures are frightful, and in themselves almost incredible. The tales of our frontier policy at the Cape, and the losses which that policy has brought upon this country, when they are recounted to those who come after us, will appear all but fabulous. It will appear the height of extravagance that this country should have gone a hunting, as it were, to the uttermost ends of the earth to find means and opportunities of squandering its treasure and the lives of its subjects for no conceivable purpose of policy. It had not been done with a view to found colonies, or to extend them with a greater effect than might have been done under a different system, but to deprive them of the opportunity of learning the lessons of freedom, of self-reliance, and of independence, which can alone train them to social union, and ensure their permanent connexion with this country. The Committee are much indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) on this occasion, as on many former occasions, for having laid before us in a form the most luminous, and with a diligence the most praiseworthy, many of the facts which bear upon this interesting and most painful question. I think it is unnecessary for me to follow him over the ground which he has taken up, though there is abundant scope for that arithmetical calculation and computation which will bring vividly before the popular mind of this country the enormous absurdities which we are perpetrating in South Africa. When you are told that the government of South Africa, not in one or two isolated years, but constantly and permanently, costs more per head of the population than the government of Great Britain and Ireland, you will think that Strange, and begin to look grave. But look at it in another aspect—ask your- selves what is the character of the province you are defending—what is the amount of its European population? Sir, there is a return laid upon the table of this House which gives the different population of the white and coloured inhabitants; and from that return it appears that 5,500 souls is the entire white population of the provinces of Albert and Victoria, in the district of Kafraria. If you were to buy up these 5,500 souls, men, women, and children, ten times over—if you were to transport them all in carriages and four from the provinces which they inhabit to districts where they would be in a condition of security, the expenditure would not amount to one-fourth of that which you are now expending on a Kafir war; and for what? What conceivable object have you in view? I would not urge this pecuniary view of the question were it to induce you to forego the object of conferring some permanent benefit, some great advantages, upon South Africa; but, on the contrary, the system which you are now pursuing confers upon South Africa no benefit whatever, but ensures the perpetual recurrence of wars with a regularity which is perfectly astounding. Now what is the course which the Parliament and the Government ought to pursue? It would be needless, on this occasion, to resume old quarrels. We are not here to discuss the conduct in particular of this or that Governor, or of this or that Minister, except that in justice to Sir Harry Smith I must say, with my hon. Friend who has just sat down, that I am not aware of any valid ground for censure on that gallant officer's military character. I set aside all retrospect of a controversial character, but I hope I may be permitted now to repeat words similar to those which I believe I used on a former occasion, when the last Kafir war was drawing to a close. On that occasion I followed the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith), in beseeching and entreating Parliament seriously to consider the question of our frontier and colonial policy, to take advantage of that golden opportunity when the public mind was smarting under the sufferings which had been entailed by our past course of proceeding, and when subjects, though connected with one of our most remote dependencies, no longer appeared dry and uninteresting, but when arguments thus addressed ad crumenam were felt to have weight, and to show that attention to a question which, not on economical grounds alone, but on public and political grounds, was felt to be of the deepest interest. There is, however, one passage in the instructions which have been addressed by the late Colonial Secretary to the gallant Officer who has gone out to Assume the Government at the Cape, to which I cannot refrain from adverting, because it is a passage which may be characterised as eminently prospective. I will not answer for the verbal accuracy of my quotation, but I think that General Cathcart is instructed by the late Colonial Secretary, in the first instance to address himself to the conclusion of the war. He is instructed next td expedite the operation of the constitution; and he is instructed, lastly, to Consider fully the question of our frontier policy, and to make a report on that question, which is to be submitted to the Government, and to the British Parliament. Now, Sir, the prospect thus Opened is one, I confess, by no means satisfactory to me. I am perfectly convinced that the debates which have taken place in this country with regard to the difference between one system of colonial policy and another, are, ill the main, idle, futile, and mischievous debates. They are all based upon the false assumption that the regulation of the relations between the European settlers and the barbarous natives of South Africa, are matters to be settled by a gentleman sitting in Downing street. These schemes all proceed on the false assumption that the mainspring, the moving power, of tile operations of frontier policy, is here, and not in the colony—that the responsibility for every depredation committed rests on this country, and not on the inhabitants of South Africa. It is not in the present century that for the first time these things hive been considered, and we are not without the light of experience to guide us, but Unfortunately We have chosen to reject it. The colonists of North America had aborigines to deal with. Did they trouble this country for armaments, and for votes of 500,000l. or 1,000,000l., or ask for the lives and blood of bur gallant men in order to defend them against the attacks of barbarians on their borders? No. They knew well how to defend themselves; and in defending themselves they not only exempted us from the burdens, but they regulated their affairs infinitely better than if we had spent the Whole of our national resources to do it for them. I wish also to enter my most respectful protest against the fundamental fallacy which appears to me to be involved in the instructions given to General Cathcart. It is not for any Government or Parliament of the country to devise any new system of frontier policy for the Cape of Good Hope; and I am certainly amazed that a nobleman, possessing such great experience as the late Secretary of State for the Colonies, should announce gravely his Conviction that the time has now arrived when it is necessary for this country to consider some change in the frontier policy of the South African Colonies. Sir, we have been considering little else for the past twenty-five years, and every change we have made has only left matters worse than before. We have been changing the frontier policy for years past, just as a suck man, When weary of lying upon one side, turns to the other, not because he has any hopes of deriving relief from the change, but because the excessive weariness and disgust of the position in which he lies makes him believe that no other position can be worse. Do not let us enter upon the consideration of such a subject with feelings like these. We have seen a large expenditure exhausted—we have 386ri all that the ingenuity of men can do—we have seen all that benevolence can do—all that courage can do has been done, and in vain; and the result of all this is that your position is worse; and worse prospects still ate before you, unless you change the fundamental policy Which has dictated all your past proceedings. Sir, if I am right fn My opinions, it is to the colonists themselves that we must look for the change in the frontier relations of the colony; We must not only look to then for the determination of their frontier policy, But we must leave the colonists to determine what that frontier is to be. It will not do to send gentlemen from this country to disport themselves in the Wilds of Kafraria by-adding once a week Or once a fortnight some space of country as large, or two or three times as large, As Great Britain, to the British dominions of the Cape. Whatever is done there must be done under the responsibility of the popular constitution you are about to accord to the colony. Rely upon it if you will give the boon of local liberty without stint, and having regard, of course, to Imperial unity? if you will give the colony this boon of local liberty without stint and without limitation, you will find no disposition on their part to grudge the sacrifice and efforts which will be necessary for the self-defence of the Colony. I am not so Visionary as to say that we can expect at once to put an end to our military system upon the frontiers of the Colony. What I want to see done is the centre of responsibility and of motion which has been wrongly placed in this country by modern and vicious policy, in despite of ancient and better experience, carried back to that place from which it ought never to have been brought. I want to see the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope in full recognition of the principle that its first duty and first responsibility is its own self-defence. I am convinced that in urging that, I am urging what they themselves will be free to urge if you give them the freedom which the American colonists of old enjoyed. What, then, are our functions in regard to the colonists? It is our duty, undoubtedly, to protect them against enemies of their own, such as they could not be expected successfully to cope with. It is our duty, of course, to defend them against attacks of civilised or European Powers. I would go even further. I say that you must not grudge your money in the first instance, and you must continue to assist them till you have extricated them from the effects of the bad and vicious system which has so long existed. I am sure that even the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), careful as he is, and justly so, of the public funds, will not dissent from that opinion. We cannot, in a moment free ourselves of the consequences of our past conduct. What I venture to suggest is, the formation of this central responsibility at the Cape, which should treat this frontier question as a Colonial one. This is no unreasonable demand. It is surely no question of British or Imperial interests whether the frontier of the Cape Colony should be the Fish River, the Orange River, or the Keiskamma. These are matters which none but colonists should be permitted to consider and decide for them. These are matters which, if you allow them to consider for themselves, they will gladly undertake. If given the freedom to which they are justly entitled, they are perfectly ready to discharge the duties which belong to the condition of freemen. Rely upon it that by doing everything you can to foster and support freedom and self-reliance, you will, upon the one hand, he giving a most powerful stimulus—far more powerful indeed than if you continue to pour forth your resources upon the sands of Africa—to the growth of the colony and the development of its power. You will, by so doing, upon the other hand, I am well convinced, be contributing to rivet, with a force greater than any you can now apply, those bonds of attachment which connect that Colony with the mother country.


said, he had listened very attentively to the right hon. Gentleman's address, in the hope of hearing a solution of the difficult question of the government of the colony of South Africa; but the right hon. Gentleman had left that question, at the conclusion of his eloquent speech, in the same position in which he found it. The question to be discussed in the middle of the nineteenth century was not the same as that which arose in North America in the seventeenth century. The first expeditions to North-America consisted sometimes of merchant vessels, adventurers under commissions from the Crown, and sometimes of buccaneers. These parties founded there a settlement upon some part of the coast, and if in two or three years that settlement was swept away,, and its inhabitants murdered by savages, no account of it reached this country for perhaps, two or three years, and then the rumour of the loss was perhaps confined to Plymouth or its neighbourhood, and spread little, if any further, into this country. Other adventurers followed; they grew in numbers, and, adopting a wise policy, they resisted the incursions and attacks of the Indians, and in process of time they not only succeeded in keeping their ground, but gradually drove them away and exterminated them; and the intelligence of the destruction of the natives Was regarded with as little interest as that of the slaughter of settlers had previously been. It was this indifference to the origin of our American colonies which gave rise to the remark that those colonies were the growth, not of our care, but our neglect. There was no resemblance between such a case and that presented by the Colony of South Africa, or even with the present state of the frontiers of that great country which is now called the Republic of the United States. When the right hon. Gentleman referred to the example of America with respect to frontier policy, he could not have been aware that the Secretary of War for the United States reported this year to Congress that the expense incurred by the Central Government in repelling the incursions of savage tribes in Mexico, was 700,000l. more than that of the previous year. In South Africa we chose, not as the United States had done, to acquire territory by a treaty of peace after a war with Mexico, but we chose in 1819 to plant a settlement there, far beyond the metropolis of the country. We established farmers in that settlement, and a grant was made by the House for that purpose. The question, then, was this—was the policy carried on with regard to South America, if policy it could be called, one that would be applicable to the frontiers of the Cape of Good Hope? It was true that there happened in South Africa such scenes as were described by the Secretary of the United States as occurring on the boundaries of that country. The houses of the farmers were burnt, and men and women butchered, and the people were obliged to fly to arms for their own protection. But, this being so, would it be satisfactory if that House, after establishing the settlement and sending out these people, were to say, "It is no business of ours; it is a matter for the colonists—if they have put themselves in the neighbourhood of the Kafirs, let them look to their own safety" He did not believe any Government of this country would maintain such a policy. He knew, at all events, that under different Governments and under different Secretaries of State, including Lord Stanley and Lord Glenelg, as well as Earl Grey, there had at no time been a determination to say that we should withhold our hands, and that we should be indifferent to the fate of our fellow-subjects in South Africa. But neither were the colonists permitted to defend themselves by committing injustice against the savage tribes, and destroying them when they were innocent. Id 1835, when it was thought that injustice had been shown to the aborigines, that House immediately interfered. Questions were asked with regard to the treatment of the savages; and the House declared that, while, on the one hand, they would not allow the British colonists to be murdered, so, on the other, they would not allow injustice to be done to the aborigines, and that at the same time they would take care that the savages did not go to war and murder one another. This system of interference arose from the wish of Parliament and of the country to do justice, to act with benevolence and philanthropy, and, while they maintained the British Government strong and powerful, resolved not to allow any tribe to be oppressed or injured. At all events, that was a very honourable feeling on the part of this country, and it was certainly a very different one from that which, prevailed two centuries ago. Seeing, then that they had had wars in 1835, in 1846, and in the past year, the question no doubt arose when our military men had done their best, and our military forces had exerted that courage which they usually showed, what was to be done for the n future government and future policy of the colony? Upon that question the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) stated that it was a great fault in Earl Grey to instruct General Cathcart that he ought to make a report to the Government at home on the subject. In that advice he (Lord John Russell) cordially concurred; and before General Cathcart left the country, he had an interview with him, and pointed out the difficulties he was likely to encounter, at the same time telling him that much would depend on the judgment he might form when he reached his destination. As a proof that the right hon. Gentleman was not entirely in the right on the matter, he might state that on the report which was sent home by the Governor might depend a very important question, with regard to the amount of forces that should be sent out to support him. If he were to say that we should defend Cape Town, and a small territory round it, a small garrison would in that case suffice, and few troops would be sent out, so that in this view alone it was of importance to know what was the opinion; of the Governor. The right hon. Gentleman said this was a question for the colonists, and, under the influence of a free Government, they would soon be able to settle it. Now, the great difficulty of the white population placed in South Africa consisted in this, that their number was small compared with that of the native population; and in this respect their position was entirely different from that which our countrymen held for a very long while in North America, because in North America the white population had gradually increased, and, as it did so, and improved in. all the arts of civilised life, they were able to take advantage of the improvidence and want of care shown by the natives, and thus the tide of population by degrees rolled out the wandering tribes of North America. There had not been however, from 1835 to the present time—or rather he should say from 1819 to the presents time—that increase of population in South Africa which enabled them by means of that population alone to make a strong frontier and drive out the savage tribes. The different Governors who had been sent out, Sir Benjamin D'Urban, Sir Peregrine Maitland, Sir Henry Pottinger, and Sir Harry Smith, had endeavoured, one after another, by military force to do so; and this had entailed upon the country an enormous expense, and added not a little to the difficulties of the case. With regard to our future policy, he believed that we had probably great difficulties to encounter. He did not think it would be satisfactory to this country to withdraw the troops, and that all the population sent out by the Government and by grants in 1819 should be left to the protection of the colonists, or, in other words, should receive an insufficient protection, and be overwhelmed by the incursions of the native tribes. He thought it would bring dishonour on the British name, and that it would afford a lament-able prospect for the future maintenance of the Colony. On the other hand, they could not continue the policy of maintaining an immense frontier that was, in fact, of no use to this country, from which we derived no advantage whatever. They would be obliged to adopt some policy which was between the two, a policy neither abandoning those who were planted there by our care, nor, on the other hand, keeping up an immense frontier entirely by military resources, and by means of votes from Parliament. He thought such a policy might be established; but upon that policy would depend the question whether they had to send a greater or less military force into South Africa. If they continued the present policy, they could not much diminish the forces. If they were to say that they would allow a general massacre to take place throughout the settlement, then they might with a very small force maintain Cape Town and its neighbourhood. If they took the policy of maintaining a sufficient protection, and not pushing their frontier too far, he should then say that a military force of no great amount would be sufficient to protect the Colony. Undoubtedly a system of self-government was a matter of great importance to the Colony. He did not, however, believe they could have any form of government to the Cape, of a Representative Assembly, that would consent to make the efforts we had made: he did not believe that, if they looked at the amount of their revenue, they would be able, even if they were willing, to do so. By the aid, how- ever, of British troops, the colonists, strengthened and invigorated by the freedom which they would derive from representative institutions, would find themselves in a very improved position. There had been every wish of late years that the Cape should enjoy those institutions. He was sorry that a misunderstanding arose on that point. The late Government, no doubt, thought they were in the right, while, no doubt, the party acting with Sir Andrias Stockenstrom also thought they were in the right; but, at any rate, that misunderstanding prevented the establishment of free representative institutions in 1850 and 1851. Having now got them, however, he believed that they would conduct those institutions in a different spirit from that which had been spoken of tonight with regard to the Ionians. He believed the Dutch colonists, as well as our own countrymen, understood the working of representative institutions, and when the constitution was in operation they would to a great extent be guided by the opinion of the colonists themselves; and, in combination with British power, he believed those representative assemblies would be able to maintain the Colony of South Africa. He could not conclude his remarks without saying a word with regard to Sir Harry Smith. He was of opinion that with regard to Sir Harry Smith's military service, nothing had occurred that ought to impair his high reputation. He should be sorry indeed if that great reputation which Sir Harry Smith had gallantly won for himself in the battlefield of India, and which was confirmed by the opinion of his gallant fellow-soldiers, should be at all injured by what had taken place. He thought that, as Governor, unfortunately he was deceived by that which appeared to the late Government to be a merit in his appointment—his former knowledge of the character of the Hottentots and Kafirs, which he acquired in that country at different times. In that it appeared he was deceived. He should most deeply regret if anything which had passed, or any opinion expressed by Her Majesty's late Government, should be supposed to cast the slightest tarnish upon the military reputation of Sir Harry Smith.


said that, after having listened with attention to the able speeches of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth), and of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. (Gladstone), in a great portion of which he fully concurred, he had heard nothing which tended to solve the question raised by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, as to what ought to be the future policy of the Government with respect to the boundaries and frontiers of the Cape Colony. With the settlement of this question great practical difficulties were connected, and these had been greatly complicated by the events of the past few years, which rendered those difficulties greater than they would otherwise have been. The question was one of great difficulty, and the difficulty was much increased by late events; and it was a question on which it was the first duty of the Government to exercise the greatest care and caution before committing themselves to pledges or principles of policy. He might observe that, when seeking a Vote of Supply on account of this Kafir war, nothing could be more natural than that a discussion of this kind should arise. Yet, at the same time, he should say he thought it was somewhat premature. Both the hon. Members to whom he had referred had pressed upon the attention of the Government the necessity of bestowing the bless-sings of free institutions upon the Cape Colony. One of these hon. Gentleman had said that we ought to bestow upon the colonists a greater degree of freedom, and leave them to settle their own boundary for themselves. With respect to their conferring upon the Colony the boon of freedom, it had been already done, though somewhat tardily he thought, by the late Secretary of State for the Colonies. A constitution had undoubtedly been sent out to the Cape of Good Hope, which was now Under the consideration of the legislature there; and since he (Sir J. Pakington) had been in office, he had done all in his power to facilitate its consideration, and to impress upon the Council there the desirableness that no time should be lost in discussing and deciding upon the subject. When, however, they came to consider the future policy which the Government ought to exercise, although he wished to draw no invidious comparison, he could not refrain from saying that the question had been complicated to a most unusual extent by the conduct which had within the last few years been pursued. It was impossible to deny that great dissatisfaction and discontent had been produced in the Colony by the acts of the British Government. First, the question of slavery; then the struggle with respect to the admission of convicts; and, lastly, the great delay which had occurred in granting the constitution to the Colony. The first duty of the present Ministry will be to take care that, at all events, we shall not suffer the mistake of permitting that enormous extension of territory which has been carried oh of late years under the late Administration. He had no desire to speak with the slightest disrespect of Sir Harry Smith. He had listened with the most sincere pleasure id the language in which his military success had been spoken of by the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell), and the hon. Member for Southwark. The last despatch which he (Sir J. Pakington) had received from the Cape, went far to show that that distinguished officer was still serving his country with the same vigour and ability which he had displayed in so eminent a degree on the plains of India; and if he (Sir J. Pakington) had one hope and one feeling more than another, it was, that before the House met again after the approaching holidays, the Government might have received accounts from South Africa, not only showing that this distressing war had been brought to an end, but that it should be completed before the painful recall of Sir Harry Smith should prevent him achieving the great object in which he had been engaged. Indeed he knew of no intelligence which to his feelings would be more gratifying, or which he felt certain would afford greater pleasure to the people of this country. But at the same time he could not fail to recollect that it had been under the administration of Sir Harry Smith, owing to the great and rapid acquisitions of territory, that the causes had arisen which had involved this country in its present war. Upon the arrival of Sir Harry Smith at the Cape in 1847, he had not been there more than a fortnight before he wrote home to Earl Grey to state that he added the neutral ground beyond the Fish River, a large extent of country of some 50,000 or 60,000 square miles, to the British territory. Within another fortnight he wrote home to say that he had made another great addition to the British territory of the tract of country known as British Kafraria; and a short time after that a large tract adjoining the Orange River was added. Allusion had been made to the comparatively small white population; but this fact was easily accounted for by the rapid accession of new territory. To this increase of territory Lord Glenelg, in 1835, refused to give his assent; but Earl Grey, within the last four years, gave his consent in rapid succession to every one of those great additions to the dominion of the British Crown in South Africa. What was the language of Lord Glenelg on this subject? In an able despatch to Sir Benjamin D'Urban, dated December, 1835, Lord Glenelg said— Te claim of sovereignty over the new province, bounded by the Kieskamma and the Kei must be renounced. That was the very province of British Kafraria the annexation of which Earl Grey most precipitately sanctioned. Lord Glenelg went on to say— The territory of the Kafirs, I am aware, is in itself a fertile and salubrious region, contrasting but too favourably with the prevailing sterility of our own possessions. But the great evil of the Gape Colony consists in its magnitude; in the vast space for which it encroaches on the continent, and the consequent extent of its boundary. We are thus brought into contact with tribes numerous and warlike, and a scale of establishment is required, both civil and military, extensive beyond all proportion to the number and wealth of the inhabitants. That was a very different line of policy from that pursued by Earl Grey. The noble Lord further said, that "the restitution of invaded rights in that as in many other cases, would involve injuries more formidable than could be imagined." Having once taken possession of these parts in the name of the British Crown, it was a most difficult thing to retrace our steps, and retract or renounce the policy which led to them. But this country was now entangled not only by Earl Grey having consented to add those great districts to the British dominions, but by the fact that in September last Earl Grey wrote out to desire that the step with regard to the great kingdom of the Orange Sovereignty should be revoked; and now despatches were daily expected from the Cape with the report of the Assistant Commissioners, who had been directing their attention to the best mode of governing this district of the Orange Sovereignty. Sir Harry Smith, about the time of receiving that report, would receive also the despatch of Earl Grey, directing him to abandon that Sovereignty. It was under these circumstances that the Government had to address themselves to the difficult task of extricating this country from the embarrassments in which it had been involved. It would undoubtedly be most agreeable to the Government if they could take the more popular course of saying, "We have resolved to throw this question to the colonists;" or, "We have at once resolved to adopt this line or that;" but he hoped that House would agree in the wisdom of the course which the Government were disposed to take. It behoved them to act with all possible caution. This he could promise, that their best attention should be given to the subject, and he thought they were bound to wait not only for the information which might be daily expected, but for the termination of this unhappy war. He hoped, by taking every pains in their power, the Government would be able, with due care and caution, to adopt a policy which should give the blessings of freedom and safety to the Cape without impairing the honour of the Crown.


said, the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, apparently did not understand the question at all. There was far more behind than he had touched upon. There was far more behind than the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) and the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had touched upon; and that was the feeling of the people of the country. It was clear that if British colonists were allowed to take possession of a country, and import there into all the power. I which their arts of civilisation gave them, I they could resist the barbarous tribes around them. But for that purpose they must be left to act for themselves, and completely for themselves. But the Colony of South Africa had not been allowed to do so; and the difficulty of the whole question was this. There was a place in this City called Exeter Hall, and the people assembling there said, "You have no right to; go to South Africa." But the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University Of Oxford, and the Colonial Secretary, did not say so. They were all prepared to go there. These people in Exeter Hall said, "Your going there is a breach of the rules of morality, and you are taking English civilisation and power there for a purpose contrary to morality." The people complained that the power of England had been employed for the purpose of maintaining conquests in that country. He would ask the right hon. Secretary for the Colonies this question—was he prepared, first of all, to maintain the colonists in that country? If so, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman how were they to be maintained? They must be maintained against the aboriginal rights; and if they were to be thus maintained, they would be best maintained by giving the people themselves the right of governing themselves. But this would most assuredly be the consequence—if power should be given to the colonists of England to maintain their own dominion, they would exterminate the aborigines. This was one of those lamentable consequences in human nature over which there was no control. It was a fact from which there could be no escape, that the black man would disappear before the white man. Let him not be misunderstood. There was only this alternative—we must either withdraw our colonists, or maintain them. We could only maintain them by giving them power to maintain themselves, and that power would give them power over their frontier. That frontier they would extend whenever it might suit their interest, and whenever it suited their interest they would exterminate the aborigines. When Columbus approached America, some of the most fertile portions were possessed by a few tribes. England sent there the most religious of her sons. The Puritans exterminated the natives. There was nothing more horrible than the violence and ferocity exercised by them towards the native tribes. That system existed up to the planting of Pennsylvania, where a more mild and beneficial mode of establishing a colony was attempted; but even there it was found impossible to maintain the white population against the red man without the power of extermination. England was now about to people South Africa. The first steps might be painful. There might be much cruelty—there might in reality be great unfairness and immorality. But the result would be the planting of a population far more moral, far more capable of happiness, spreading science and Christianity over those regions. This, however, could be done by no means but by means of the population themselves. Every two or three years would bring about a Kafir war, and if the Kafirs were to be subdued by English arms, there would be no end of the expense. The English people would not bear it. They would not have this species of war. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies would find himself totally unable to govern this country and the Colonies on the principle for which he contended, unless a fair and candid statement was made to the people of England of the great difficulties which exist. It was for them to decide whether we should have Colonies in South Africa.. If they should so decide, let them under stand that it would be at the expense of the aborigines, and that no power of theirs could prevent the extermination of that unfortunate race.


said, that the right hon. Secretary of State for the Colonies had observed that we ought to deal with the subject at present under the consideration of the Committee with caution and deliberation. He (Mr. Adderley) should agree with him if delay were possible in such a matter, but he begged to point out to him that the course of our future policy with respect to the Cape must be to a great extent determined by the despatches that would be sent out by the next mail. The right hon. Gentleman might rely upon it that another chapter of accidents would fall upon this country through the omission to send out distinct and positive orders by the next mail; and those orders should be to close the war, and leave the colonists to take up their own future line of self-defence. No Kafir war had ever been really concluded, but peace was patched up flagrante bello. The colonists would form an effectual cordon of militia against its recurrence. With respect to the remarks which had fallen from the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell), he (Mr. Adderley) felt glad to hear the expressions which he had made use of regarding Sir Harry Smith. They were a noble and generous testimony to the merit of that gallant officer, and such as might be expected from the character of the noble Lord, and he believed that they had, elicited the sympathy of the whole House. Whatever the mistakes of that gallant office had been in his attempt to manage the savage tribes around him, he (Mr. Adderley) did not think there was one man in this kingdom who justified the despatch by which he had been recalled. The noble Lord also took credit to the late Government for conceding a constitution to the Cape. He agreed with the noble Lord that he had done his utmost to give that constitution; but he believed that the noble Lord had not taken sufficient precaution to prevent his object from being frustrated oil the spot. The noble Lord tile Member for London said that he did not wish to diminish the Empire, and that we must go on for the present with the existing frontier, but that he hoped that we should ultimately fal1 back upon a narrower frontier. But even if that were desirable, it would not be pos- sihle; for the colony, when it had complete power. of self-government, would not give up any of Her Majesty's present possessions, though, it would maintain them at a much smaller expense of both blood and money than was possible for a Government at home. As to the Vote that was now proposed, the only fault he found with it was that was to small; for it no more paid up the expenses of this war than did the Vote of last year. We must, however, pay the whole, for the expense was incurred by our own Minister, and was a penalty we had to pay for one of Earl Grey's experiments: he feared it would not be the only very expensive one. But the matter for the Committee to consider that evening was as to the mode in which the recurrence of such an expense could best, most safely, and most honourably, be prevented. He did not wish to enter into a discussion of the policy that had been adopted by Earl Grey towards the Cape, because he understood that such a discussion would he raised after the holidays, and also because the noble Earl the author of that policy was now out of office, and therefore no practical end would be gained by it; but he would say he was convinced that the first despatch of the present Colonial Secretary to the Governor of the Cape would give satisfaction to the colonists, as it had given to those individuals in London who were interested in the Colony, and would lead them to hope for what they believed to be the panacea of all the evils of the colony, namely, an immediate and bonâ fide carrying out of the promised constitution. There was, however, one thing he wished to press upon the attention of the Committee—that by the next mail they might hope to hear that the war was over; first, because Sir Harry Smith had for the first time a sufficient force for the war, and would no doubt, when he knew that he would be superseded, act with the greatest vigour to secure a triumph before his successor arrived); secondly, because he (Mr. Adderley) had, a belief in that justice that overruled the, world, that Sir Harry Smith would not be allowed to suffer from the unjust censure that had been cast upon him, but that the man upon whose pressing instructions, he had acted would have the responsibility cast upon him, and that the success of the, war would still, in the eyes of the country, show that Sir Harry Smith had done his best with the scanty means put at his disposal, and that the conduct of the Minister had been the cause of his temporary defeat; and, thirdly, they might hope to hear of the termination of the war because nothing was more easy than a Kafir victory, excepting, perhaps, the creating a Kafir war, for in a Kafir war there was no declaration, or any of the rules of regular warfare; and so, on the other hand, there was no necessity for a cessation of hostilities in order to arrive at a treaty of peace. The war being over, then would come the question how to rearrange the frontier. General Cathcart had instructions, after he had concluded the war, to offer suggestions for the protection of the frontier. If the suggestions of Her Majesty's agents in the Colony were to be followed, instead of leaving the colonists in their own Parliament assembled to make their own suggestions, wars would break out again, and, of course, still at the expense of England. He was afraid that the neglect of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Pakington) to send out a despatch qualifying those instructions to General Cathcart, would mix him up with the policy of his predecessors, and endorse that policy which had been so fatal in our hands. The Cape was ready to take the matter into their own hands, and to carry on all the wars which they undertook. The rebel boers of the north had shown how readily they maintained their own territory. If they were drawn within our allegiance, we should have as strong a colony in South Africa as those which, in another hemisphere, had raised us to eminence as the greatest colonising nation on the earth.


said, in most debates there was some point which seemed miraculously to escape notice. In the present case, the missing point was, "How did the war begin?" Could nobody tell? Was knowledge on this subject tabooed, or was there any rule of that House, when 400,000l. had been expended for a certain purpose, no question should be asked how the necessity had arisen? Did this war begin about a bullock, or was it about two goats? No; this war arose from the depositary of British power in South Africa imitating one of the worst examples in all history—the example of a certain Gesler, who, hanging up his hat and demanding that obeisance should be made to it, lost the house of Austria the whole of Switzerland. Imitating this wretched example, the depositary of British power in South Africa demanded to put his foot, net figuratively but literally, upon the neck of a Kafir chief with whom he was engaged in negotiation. Suppose the Kafir chief had demanded to put his foot upon the neck of an English officer, what sort of an outcry would there have been then? If a Roman general had ever done such a thing in his contests with our rude ancestors, would pot the Senate and people of Rome have sent him to Sicily, under surveillance, and fed him upon hellebore? [A laugh] The feeling created in the country on this subject was most perilous; it went to break up the bonds of civil union, and make men look upon the Government as their foe. It was not a little thing that would make Englishmen pray that the arms of their country might be unsuccessful. But he had heard a public assembly, led by their teachers of religion, and standing in the presence of that Deity whose eyes are upon all men, but particularly as was the ancient belief, upon assemblages of men met to consult upon their duties and their rights, pray solemnly that He would send defeat upon their country's arms; because they thought those arms were employed for felony. There might yet come a period when England would wish she had gained the affection of other countries. Who loved us at present? Who did not hate us? Was it the inhabitants of the Ionian islands? Was it the Ceylonese? Was it the people at the Cape? At the last of these, the governing power had chosen to raise the fearful question of the difference of colours. The Kafir chieftains well knew, that no Europeans ever asked to put their feet on one another's necks. They knew that it was only asked, because they were of African race. The Hottentot population knew the same; and therefore they joined the others. We called ourselves Anglo-Saxons, and by that name meant a claim to oppress all other nations. It had beep stated to-night that the war must cost three millions already. If every acre in South Africa were brought to the hammer and sold, what equivalent should we have for the loss of popularity, of fame, and of union at home? For his own part, he hoped that there would be a division against the vote; for he did not see how those who disapproved of this vote could mark their disapprobation and detestation of it in any other way than by the voting against it.


said, he owed it to Earl Grey, to make an observation with refer- ence to one subject which, had been alluded to in the course pf the debate. It would be in the recollection of the Committee that the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) had placed a notice upon the paper of the House reflecting very severely upon the conduct of Earl Grey, and alleging that he, waft desirous, of shifting from himself to the Governor whom he had recalled, the, responsibility of the affairs of the Cape—a state of affairs which it was, said resulted, from his own mismanagement and maladministration; and fn the public press, in, places where they had no opportunity of offering anything on behalf of Earl Grey, whenever the subject of the Cape bad, been introduced, Earl Grey's name had, always beep brought forward in connexion, with that; discussion, and no pains had been spared to place him and his conduct in the most unfavourable light before the country. All he (Mr. F. Peel) should say was this, that in that House, where they had liberty of voice, where they courted inquiry and challenged investigation, whenever the hon. Member for North, Stafford shire, or the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir W. Molesworth), might choose to bring forward a Motion calling in question the policy of Earl Grey with reference to that colony, he (Mr. F. Peel) should he prepared to enter into the fullest vindication of the course pursued by Earl Grey, and particularly to substantiate every statement contained in that despatch in which Sir Harry Smith was informed of his recall. The present discussion, however, had a different object. It was said that so long as the Parliament of England insists, upon regulating the affairs, and attempting to determine the relations of the colonists at the Cape to the tribes which are, continually pressing upon the frontier, so long would there be a recurrence of these devastating and harassing wars which are, sp costly and inglorious to this country. It was said that now was the time to transfer to the colonists the management of their own affairs. But he thought that with the imperfect materials we had upon which to form an opinion, if would he premature as yet to lay down any definite course, of policy. The course which the late Government intended to pursue was in every way the most desirable. They had sent out competent Assistant Commissioners to inquire into and report upon the state of affairs at the Cape, and upon the colonial frontier, and it was their inten- tion to have submitted to the House the communications of those Commissioners, and not to have decided upon anything without first taking the sense of the House upon their Reports. It was said that their policy had been marked by a lust for territorial acquisition—a desire to aggrandise the sovereignty and dominion of the Queen. Certainly territorial acquisition had been made, large tracts of country had been added to the dominion of the Cape during the administration of Earl Grey, and especially during the period of it coincident in point of time with the governorship of Sir Harry Smith: but when a fitting opportunity was offered, he (Mr. F. Feel) should be able to prove that those acquisitions were simply and solely for the benefit of the Colony itself. And so with respect to their policy on the eastern frontier, that was adopted from a desire to provide protection for the lives and property of the colonists. As to the delays which were alleged to have taken place in the changes in the political constitution of the Cape, the Government, and more especially Earl Grey, were exceedingly desirous to expedite the establishment of representative institutions at the Cape. The delays arose from those very parties whom the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Adderley) appeared to have taken under his special protection; from those who claimed to be the foremost advocates of self-government, but who had used all their tactics in endeavouring to throw obstacles in the way of the accomplishment of that which they professed to be so desirous of seeing accomplished.


said, he greatly regretted that the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Adderley) had not brought forward the Motion upon this subject to which the hon. Member (Mr. F. Peel) referred. After what had been said by the hon. Member, he felt it his duty to do a simple act of justice toward Sir Harry Smith. If the noble Lord (Earl Grey) had pleased to censure him for having pursued a line of policy contrary to the instructions which he had received, it was for the noble Earl to do so, and to recall him from the Government, if he pleased. But when the noble Earl presumed to censure the military operations of Sir Harry Smith—[Cries of "No, no!"]—the noble Earl did censure his military operations, as would be seen from that despatch. Yet, what were Sir Harry Smith's qualifications and experience? what was his education, that the noble Earl should so find fault with his military conduct? When he (Mr. H. Drummond) saw in opposition to that the express answer of the Duke of Wellington, who was competent to judge of these matters, who was not an ordinary man in Downing-street—when he saw the Duke of Wellington censuring that despatch, and giving his testimony, which was worth something, to the military character of Sir Harry Smith, he (Mr. Drummond) said this despatch was a shame. He haft never given a vote for a factious Motion in that House. He had often voted for the Government when he thought they were indefensible, because he thought the Motion made was not so much upon the merit of the case, as an attempt to overthrow a Government. But when he recollected having thus reluctantly voted during the whole of that dirty Ceylon business, be could not help thinking that if Sir Harry Smith had ever been, like Lord Torrington, a Lord of the Bedchamber, or a relation of a Cabinet Minister, that despatch never would have been written. And what was more unmanly still, the despatch was thrown down upon the table of the House before they had time to hear any answer to the charge, in order that the character of Sir Harry Smith might be blackened prior to any debate upon the merits of the case. It was a very dirty job.


said, this question of the Cape was not one that could be settled in Downing-street. The only mode by which it could be settled was on the spot, by those who would, if they were allowed, manage their own affairs. If the hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Peel) could defend Earl Grey in this matter, he believed he was the only man in England who could. In the House, and out of the House, he had heard but one universal expression of condemnation of Earl Grey's despatch to Sir Harry Smith. He trusted that Government would speedily give to the colonists at the Cape a free Government, and entrust them with the responsibility of managing their own affairs.


Sir, I feel that I cannot avoid saying a few words after the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Surrey (Mr. H. Drummond). I will therefore take upon myself to say a few words with reference to that matter. My opinion is, that Earl Grey was very reluctant to recall Sir Harry Smith, although he had been for some time convinced, and I had been at one time of opinion, that it was a matter of doubt whether Sir Harry Smith did not take too sanguine a view of his own operations, and whether he was not misled by his own too favourable anticipations. However, the Government was anxious that Sir Harry Smith should have an opportunity of bringing that war to a close. At length, however, the information which reached us from the Cape was to the effect that there was no reason to expect the speedy termination of the war which Sir Harry Smith in his despatches evidently latterly anticipated. It was then that Earl Grey proposed to the Cabinet that Sir Harry Smith should be recalled, and the Cabinet unanimously agreed in that opinion. My belief is, that Earl Grey came with pain to that decision; and I am quite sure that no want of uprightness or of generosity, no wish to throw any blame upon others which he ought to incur himself, is rightly to be attributed to Earl Grey. That is not a part of the character of my noble Friend. Then the hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. Drummond) said, repeating an insinuation which I have heard, but which I should not have expected from him, that if Sir Harry Smith had been, like Lord Torrington, a relation of a Cabinet Minister, such a despatch would not have been written. Sir, there is no doubt that Lord Torrington is a distant relative of mine. But he does not owe to that relationship the appointment to the Governorship of Ceylon. I had mentioned to Earl Grey three or four persons whom I thought qualified to hold that important appointment. Earl Grey proposed the appointment to each of those persons in succession, and it so happened that each declined it. Earl Grey then informed me that he had received a suggestion—I know not now from whom—that Lord Torrington would be a fit person to conduct the Government of Ceylon. I gave my acquiescence in that recommendation, which had not originated with me. My own opinion, however, is, so far from Lord Torrington being treated with any favour, Lord Torrington underwent an unfair and unjust trial, and that it was partly on account of that misfortune of being related to me that unmerited blame was attached to him, and repeated faults were attributed to him. Lord Torrington's governorship was successful. Whatever difficulties he had to encounter—whatever disturbances had taken place—he had suppressed; and when he left the Colony he left it in a better state than he found it. The investigation which took place before a Committee of this House produced, by inquiry and by cross-examination, a private correspondence that had taken place, and on that ground he was recalled. My belief is, that never was a man subjected to such an ordeal as Lord Torrington was, and that, so far from deserving censure for his general administration, he deserved the praise that was given to him by Earl Grey. Unfortunately that private correspondence showed that he had not preserved harmony amongst his subordinates in Ceylon. But when the hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. Drummond) imputes to the Government and to Earl Grey that he showed favour to one man because he was related to his colleague, and passed censure on another because he was not so related, he does a gross injustice both to Lord Torrington and to Earl Grey.


said, he regretted that the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. F. Peel) had not taken that opportunity of justifying the vast accession of territory which Earl Grey approved, because the present was not a party Motion. He (Mr. Hindley) thought that the policy of Lord Glenelg was the right policy, and that it would have been much better if we had confined ourselves within the boundary of the Great Fish River. If that had been done, we should not now have the Government asking for votes like the present. He was sure that the sooner we returned to the policy of Lord Glenelg, the better would it be both for this country and for the colony of the Cape.

Vote agreed to. House resumed.