HC Deb 24 July 1877 vol 235 cc1743-91

Order for Committee read.


, in moving that the House go into Committee on the Bill, said, that the discussion which took place on the second reading showed that there was a general concurrence of opinion in favour of the principle of the Bill. It was true exceptions to it were taken by certain hon. Members, notably by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), who freely criticized the conduct of all directly or indirectly connected with the affairs of South Africa for some years past, but whose views were not shared generally by the Members of the House. One subject to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded was the recent annexation of the Transvaal. It would, however, be unnecessary to refer further to that matter at present, because the House would have an opportunity of discussing it, when he moved for a Vote of £100,000, to defray the expenses of that new Colony. On the second reading he felt bound to avail himself of the first opportunity of explaining the grounds upon which the annexation had been assented to by the Government, because Ministerial statements were not the order in that House, and opportunities for Members of the Government to declare their policy upon any subject did not arise unless some Member brought forward a Motion thereupon, but having done that he should now leave the matter until the Vote was proposed. The speeches addressed to the House on the second reading of the Bill were, taken as a whole, most satisfactory from a Government point of view. An able and convincing speech in support of the Bill was made by the right hon. Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen), whose advice, however, as to the duty of a Member in moving the second reading of a Bill he could not adopt, for he did not admit it was his duty to provide material for replies or padding for comments on the Government scheme. He had purposely abstained from troubling the House with any remarks on the elementary principles or early history of Confederation, and he passed over the mission of Mr. Froude because it was now an old story, and he did not care to exhume the, perhaps, forgotten views of periodical reviewers. He did not think that a subject which when fresh had failed to command any very general interest was one which it was wise to intrude on the notice of the House. The mission of Mr. Froude was a matter of comment at the time, and an hon. Member gave Notice of his purpose to call attention to the subject, but somehow he failed to do so, and, although the Government desired an opportunity of making explanations which would then have possessed some public interest, such an opportunity never presented itself. Afterwards, when the Vote of £1,000 for the travelling expenses was moved silence reigned supreme. It would be unbecoming in him, nor did he feel called upon, to justify the whole of Mr. Froude's proceedings to the House. While that gentleman had rendered most valuable services to the Colonial Office and to this country, and while he had most efficiently performed a patriotic and thankless task, he (Mr. Lowther) could not accept the obligation of accounting for all the proceedings of this eminent man during his absence from this country. Mr. Froude was in no sense a representative of Her Majesty when he went out to South Africa. He was not a Governor, but was employed in a special service without remuneration, and the Colonial Office was not therefore called upon to be responsible for all his movements. While Mr. Froude was no doubt performing great public services he was quite as much justified in attending a dinner in Port Elizabeth as he would have been at home in attending a "Bag and Baggage" meeting at St. James's Hall. The hon. Member for Liskeard had sought to represent this great principle of Confederation as a personal crotchet of the Secretary of State, and he had spoken as if Lord Carnarvon, in season and out of season, had endeavoured to force this policy upon the unwilling Colonists. It was true that his noble Friend had performed a great public service, and that his name would always be honourably distinguished in connection with the British North America Act; but as in this project of South African Confederation the Government could look for the support of both sides of the House and of the British Colonists throughout the world, it was impossible to accept the compliment he desired to pay Lord Carnarvon exclusively. He could not admit that his noble Friend was the only man who could lay claim to any credit in connection with Colonial Confederation. The Secretary of State had had predecessors and successors who had laboured earnestly in this cause. While it had fallen to the lot of his noble Friend to carry the British North America Act, yet the Confederation of the Leeward Islands in 1871 was carried by the late Government, and there was ample proof that this policy had commended itself to both sides of the House and to men of all political opinions. Then, could it be said that this was a policy forced upon unwilling Colonists? He would only point to the proposed Confederation of the Windward Islands which had been suggested at different times by the Colonial Office and by various Governors. When, however, it appeared that the subject had been brought forward prematurely, and when, owing in great measure it must be admitted to the indiscreet manner in which the subject had been locally handled, the Colonists decided not to go forward with it, the subject was immediately abandoned by Lord Carnarvon, and no attempt was made to force the system upon the Colonies. Again, the subject of the Confederation of the Australian Colonies had been frequently mooted, and often recommended. It had not appeared, however, to Lord Carnarvon that the time had arrived when that great subject could be brought forward, and there had been no attempt to obtrude this policy upon any Colony which was not ripe for its discussion. The agitation of this particular project was therefore not due to any anxiety on the part of Lord Carnarvon to force it upon the Colonists. The hon. Member for Liskeard said that there was no chance of the successful adoption of this Bill by the South African Colonies, and that there was no disposition to accept the principles involved. Now, what were the facts? In 1858 the Orange Free State passed a resolution that they were convinced that the alliance with the Cape Colony, whether it became the basis of Confederation or otherwise, was desirable, and therefore it was resolved that a correspondence should be entered upon with the authorities for the purpose of planning the approximate terms of the Confederation. This subject was also considered at the Cape. It was true that the authorities of the Cape had not signified their actual approval of the Bill, but the subject had received the very favourable consideration of the Colony. A Committee or Commission which sat in 1871 reported that while some whose opinions were entitled to respect thought that until the Free States of the Transvaal and Natal showed a disposition to Confederation, and until certain districts named had been annexed, no change was necessary or could be expected, yet a time might come when the advantage of union among the South African Colonies for the formation of a strong Government powerful enough to protect and, to a certain extent, to control the several members, would become apparent to all. He believed that that day was not very far distant. In 1875 it had been proposed that a Conference of the Colonies and States of South Africa should be summoned to consider this subject. The Council of Natal passed a resolution endorsing the principle of Confederation. The Legislative Council of another Colony passed a similar resolution. Therefore, so far from this policy originating in the Colonial Office, and being forced upon unwilling Colonists, it was evident that it had originated in the Colonies themselves, and that the action of the Government had been confined to placing within the reach of the Colonies the powers which they considered it expedient to possess. The essential principle on which the Bill was framed was the establishment of certain general outlines, leaving the details to be filled in according to local requirements and circumstances, and enabling the Colonies, or any of them if they thought it expedient, to form themselves into a Union. The principal Amendment of the hon. Member (Sir George Campbell) referred to a subject which had been most carefully considered by his noble Friend (Lord Carnarvon) and himself. It would be impossible to accept Amendments in the clauses which were contrary to the principle of the Bill; but the Government had acted with a sincere desire to approach a subject which had nothing to do with Party in a spirit of conciliation and compromise. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy to which he referred, dealt with what he would admit to be the cardinal difficulty of South Africa—the question of the Natives. The Government had the same object in view as the hon. Gentleman, only he proceeded in a different way. The hon. Gentleman proposed by a stroke of the pen to lay down a compulsory hard-and-fast line with regard to the treatment of the Natives. The Government, on the other hand, held that while special caution was required as to the control of the central authority over the action of the local Legislatures, the details of that, as of many other matters of local government, should be left to the consideration of the Colonists themselves. One feature of the Bill was that all measures affecting the Natives, and all measures passed by the Union Parliament for dealing with the Natives, should be referred for Her Majesty's approval—or, in other words, for the decision of the Home Government. That was a greater protection to the Natives than anything that could be inserted within the four corners of the Bill. The Bill would remove from the local races all jealousies as to the treatment of the Native tribes, and would retain in the hands of the Home Government that control which the hon. Gentleman by his Amendment sought to secure in a diluted form. The Petition spoke of the abolition of all distinction of race, colour, and creed, and that was a very easy thing to say and sounded extremely well. But let them take the Colony of Natal for instance, with its 17,000 White inhabitants and its 280,000 Black. The suggestion which had been made by the hon. Member for Liskeard would simply establish in South Africa a principle of government which of late had brought such discredit on the southern portion of the United States. The history of the world showed that while the uncontrolled predominance of the White races over the Black had not always been tempered with justice and reason, the predominance of the Native races did not tend even to their own credit, and that it was not productive of good government. Some modification, therefore, of the proposal would be necessary if the House thought that the provisions and special reservation of the Bill did not meet the necessity of the case. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), in whose judgment on this question the House would be disposed to place great confidence, would be prepared to assist the Government in framing words to meet the necessities of the case; and he assured the House that Her Majesty's Government would approach the subject with every desire to obtain such a settlement of the question as would satisfy the House, and be acceptable in South Africa. With regard to the clauses of the Bill, their main features resembled those of the British North America Act. Many details which found place in that measure were absent from this—the position of that Bill being more advanced, having been previously subject to much local consideration. With respect to the South Africa Bill, it had been found necessary to leave to local consideration many matters which could not be made the subject of the Bill. But in its main features it resembled the Act to which he had referred. There were to be two Chambers in the Union Parliament possessing the same characteristics as the two Houses of Parliament, with the exception that there was no hereditary Peerage to fall back upon in South Africa. The constitution of the Upper Chamber had been left for further consideration. The different Colonies of the world had not adopted by any means a like system of election to their Upper Chambers, and it was felt that that subject should receive careful consideration, and that local susceptibilities should be narrowly consulted. The Colonial Legislatures would consist of a single Chamber. The object of leaving those matters for further local consideration was one on which he need not dwell. He might be asked, if they left so much to the consideration of the localities, why did they put in any framework in the Bill? His answer was that, whereas many details required local consideration, general principles should in the first instance be laid down. Accordingly, the general principles on which the future union might be framed were indicated in the measure. The object of the Bill in another respect was to promote a commercial union. The existence of Customs regulations and duties in the various Colonies would by the Act be removed, and it would secure the very great advantage of free commercial intercourse between the various Colonies and States in South Africa. The reason why the Bill had been urged now upon the attention of Parliament might require a word of explanation. It might be said why, if the matter was not fully decided upon in the localities, and there being so great a pressure of Business at this late period of the Session, hurry the Bill forward? Well, the state of affairs which had for some time existed in South Africa, and which had recently culminated in serious military events, did not allow them longer to dally with the question. In the matter of Canada and other Provinces federation was a matter of mere convenience— a measure for the promotion, among other things, of greater economy of administration; but in the case of South Africa it was one of vital and prominent importance. The Kaffirs, no insignificant foes at any time, had of late years availed themselves of great facilities of purchasing arms; and the power of organization among other Natives was much greater than was popularly believed to be the case. The facts which came before the Government from time to time showed that it was necessary that some measures should be taken, and that promptly, if the White inhabitants of South Africa were not to be landed in the horrors and perils of a Native war. It was said that recent events as regarded South Africa were a reversal of the policy which prevailed in 1852. That policy, he was happy to say, was one which bore no resemblance to the declared policy of Her Majesty's Government. For his part, he looked back with feelings not unmingled with shame to the events which occurred at the time. Considerable apathy then existed in the minds of the public with regard to our Colonies; and while the public voice was silent a small minority arrogated to themselves the expression of public opinion, and declared that that opinion was in favour of a policy of abandonment. He believed that that policy was not a true test of public opinion. The almost unanimous voice of the public pronounced clearly and unmistakeably against any such policy; and he believed there was no determination arrived at by Her Majesty's Government in which they were more strongly supported upon both sides of the House and throughout the Colonies, than the resolve that whatever changes might occur with regard to the Colonies of the Crown, their diminution would not be the prominent feature of their policy. On the other hand, there was no greater mistake than to suppose that the Government had acted upon an aggressive policy. The present and the late Governments had always maintained friendly relations with the bordering States in South Africa. Recent occurrences had revealed the friendly relations which existed between the British Government and the Dutch Natives of the Transvaal. The wish of the Government had always been to work cordially along with them, and to cooperate without jealousy with those whom they always regarded as their partners in the great work of carrying civilization into that Continent. He could assure the House that the Government, far from wishing to interfere with the rights of others, would sanction no infringement of liberties except in cases of emergency where danger was very imminent. The Government were not in any way disposed to consider the policy of abandoning the Colonies, nor had they any desire to coerce them into union; but, in his opinion, they had done their duty in placing within their reach the means of protecting themselves against local danger. It had been the fashion at the time to which he had referred to speak of the Colonies as sources of expense and anxiety in time of peace, and of danger in time of war. It was possible that in the past there might have been some truth in those gloomy views; and, no doubt, Colonies which possessed no means of defence, but which always required the support of the Home Government and of the British Army, had to a certain extent formed a tax on the national purse and the resources of the country. It was to remove that anxiety and responsibility which had hitherto been borne by the Mother Country that the Government wished to make the Colonies self-sufficient and self-dependent in all ordinary contingencies, and able to do without the help of the Mother Country, except in the case of a general and extended war. He desired that the Colonies should themselves have the necessary means of carrying out the scheme, and all that the Bill did was to enable them to strengthen those bonds of loyalty and affection which always united the British Empire. He trusted, then, that the House would give those important Dependencies of the Crown the means of increasing not only their own strength, but also that of the Empire.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. J. Lowther.)


, in rising to move, as an Amendment, That no measure establishing a self-governing Federation for South Africa will be satisfactory, unless direct provision is made for a settlement of the relations of the white and the black races, said, that the previous discussion had not been at all satisfactory, and he was very glad that another debate should be held, and that the House should hear the very clear exposition of policy by the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. His Amendment raised a very important issue, and one which it was in every way desirable to discuss. He could not, therefore, concur with the hon. Member opposite in deprecating further debate. He congratulated himself that the hon. Member had expressed himself willing to meet suggestions made on the subject, especially by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). Now, it was quite a mistake to imagine that the Amendment was intended to suggest a hard-and-fast rule of treatment for the population of all the Colonies; that was not at all his object, and he was not prepared to make any such suggestions. But some principle, at any rate, ought to be laid down for dealing with this most important subject of Native races, before the Colonies were cast adrift and rendered self-governing. The hon. Member had said that from the experience of the United States it would not do to lay down a general rule that all men should be equal before the law. That might be very likely the case; but then, on the other hand, the domination of the Whites over the Blacks had been a complete failure. The Amendment was intended to advocate a course between the two extremes. No question would arise if the House were dealing only with Whites; but the mixed Colonial population constituted the difficulty, and nowhere presented greater obstacles than in South Africa. In America and Australia the Natives had disappeared before the White man, and the Native population of New Zealand was extremely small; but in South Africa the number of Natives was very large indeed, and the question how they might best be dealt with was proportionately great. The Bill did not grapple with the difficulty adequately or properly; but, on the other hand, it practically created a vast new Empire. It was, in fact, so important that it was hardly right to leave it till the fag-end of the Session, unless, indeed, the matter were very urgent. But the hon. Member opposite had failed to show that the Bill would provide a way out of the difficulties he had enumerated. All he had done was to read two or three extracts, some of them not quite new, tending to show that Confederation might be a good policy. That, however, was no proof of the necessity of the Bill, and he would remind the House that the Colonies had not desired it. He doubted, therefore, whether it were wise to proceed with the Bill. He had great faith and belief in the patriotism of Lord Carnarvon, but the scheme of the Bill might, perhaps, not be carried out in his time, and he knew not in whose time full effect would be given to it; but in any case it would be in the time of some Minister who must to a certain extent be permeated and saturated with the influences of the Colonial Office, which were not always of a healthy character. It was quite clear to his mind that just as the British Empire had advanced in America and India, so it was destined to advance in Africa till its territory included all the districts which had hitherto been visited. We had the great question of the White and Black races to settle. We had to determine if we passed this Bill whether South Africa should be a new America or a new India; in other words, whether the Government should be one in which the White race should entirely prevail over the Black, or whether, as in India, the Mother Country should hold a strong and even hand between the two races. The right principle was that the Colonists of White race should govern themselves if they chose. He asked, did it necessarily follow that White men settled among a Black race should not only govern themselves but every one else? That was the question we had to settle. There was a very great want of some fixed system in the government of our Colonies; in that respect we had vacillated a good deal. While we at one time governed them for their own benefit, we now went to the other extreme, and allowed the Colonies to govern themselves in a manner which made them practically independent. He was unwilling to hand over the Black race, without protection, to the White. If this Bill passed, the independence of the Natives would depend entirely on the Governor sent out from this country. These Governors generally did justice to the best of their power; but they were subjected to strong influences to which they yielded too often. Wherever Sir Henry Barkly, himself one of a slave-owning family, had been, injustice had been done to the Natives. Still, all men spoke well of Sir Henry Barkly. But in the case of other Governors who had done justice to the Natives, their lines had not fallen in pleasant places; they had been sent into exile in unpleasant posts. In South Africa we had not only social difficulties, but political difficulties of an overwhelming character to deal with. Where the Natives were in possession of arms, as in South Africa, the question of the relation of the White and Black races was much more complicated than elsewhere. This Bill did not deal with the question. The difficulty had been acknowledged, but this thing was only clear with respect to the Bill— the Bill was the skeleton of a skeleton. It did not provide for much; but for one thing it did provide, that the Constitution should be on the model of the Constitution of Free Colonies and the Assembly should be entirely elective. If the Bill passed, there would be an end to the system of nominee members. It was not contemplated that the Natives should have votes in the first instance, as far as regarded the Legislative Assembly of the Union at any rate. Lord Carnarvon had said— I am disposed to think, for a time at all events, and until the civilization of the Natives of South Africa has made considerable progress, it would he desirable that they should not be directly represented in the Legislative Assembly of the Union. It was provided in so many words that Native affairs should be in the province of the Colonial Legislatures. He admitted that in section 58 it was laid down that all laws relating to Natives and Native affairs should be reserved for the pleasure of Her Majesty. But supposing there were no laws with regard, to Natives and Native affairs, and that the Colonial Legislatures said— "We shall have only one law for the Black and White races." What would be the consequence? Under the semblance of equality, there might be oppression of the Natives, in the absence of special laws for their protection; for the power that was reserved to the Crown and the British Parliament would in practice be almost nominal, and was one which, except under extreme circumstances, it would be impossible to exercise. If we interfered at all, it would be said that we must bear the responsibility and the cost; and, in order to prevent a difficulty of that character, we ought to provide a machinery by which the relations of the two races should be settled satisfactorily. Among the subjects within the power of the Provincial Councils was that of immigration, which substantially meant the immigration of the Black races; and the necessity for special laws with regard to the immigration of the Natives of India, which had already begun, was shown by the fact that there was a difference between the India Office and the Colonial Office on the subject, the former declining to encourage emigration, because the Natives of India were not protected in the Colonies. The passing of this Bill as it stood would amount to a washing of our hands of the South African Dominion, and the result would be that we should not have power to protect the dark races. The Bill was one which ought not to be rushed through Parliament at the very fag-end of the Session, without any necessity whatever for such hurried action. There were many important points to which due consideration had not been given. In the Cape Colony much had been done towards solving the problems involved in the government of the Black races, to a large section of whom political and social rights had been given; but there were passages in the Papers pointing to an idea that the federation might not include the Cape Colony, so that the dark races would lose the benefit of its influence and experience, which none of the other Colonies would be able to supply, as none of them had done anything to educate and elevate the Natives. Cape Colony was most important to us in an Imperial point of view as being the chief station on our route to India in the event of the Suez Canal being blockaded, and it was not likely that in case of this confederation being brought about, it would be English either in nationality or in sentiment. If the Bill contained a provision binding the Colonies to give due protection and securing justice to the Native races, and the Colonies accepted it with that provision, he, for one, would vote for Confederation. If such a condition was not accepted, he said that no Confederation should take place. He hoped the Government would see its way to accepting the Amendment which he had placed on the Paper. He hoped that hon. Members would fully weigh the gravity of this subject; for he believed the time would come when the proceedings of Parliament in connection with it would be found to constitute a turning-point in the history of the world. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "no measure establishing a self - governing Federation for South Africa will be satisfactory, unless direct provision is made for a settlement of the relations of the white and black races,"— (Sir George Campbell,)

—instead thereof.


observed, that the Amendment of his hon. Friend who had just sat down, and still more his able speech, certainly pointed to a subject of great interest, and which involved considerable danger. It must be remembered that this was practically a debate upon the second reading of the Bill before the House, and that therefore a discussion might fairly be had upon it. Without going quite so far as his hon. Friend in asserting that this was a turning-point in the history of the world, he could not but feel that this measure was one which involved the future of our South African Colonies and of millions of Natives. He believed there was a general feeling in the House in favour of confederation. That feeling was prompted by the hope that confederation would strengthen the Colonies, and was an evidence, if evidence were wanting, that the old-fashioned jealousy which used to exist between the Mother Country and the Colonies had now entirely departed. There was nothing which they more desired than to see the Colonies prosperous and powerful; and they looked forward with satisfaction to those Colonies associating upon equal terms with ourselves at some future time. But he did not think that the explanation which had been offered in regard to the Bill now before the House was quite sufficient. While they were all agreed that confederation was desirable unless there were special reasons against it, the House must remember that the present measure was of a very remarkable character. It was not a Bill which declared the confederation of the South African Colonies, but one which gave power to the Government of the day to make the conditions upon which those Colonies should confederate. In these circumstances, there never was a Bill which had been brought before Parliament which required more explanation than this measure did. He did not dispute for a moment that a most satisfactory explanation of the measure might be given, and, on the whole, he thought that the Government was right in making this proposal; but it was rather an extraordinary demand that Parliament should give carte blanche to the Colonial Office in this matter. There was the greatest possible difference between this Bill and the Canada Act in this respect. By this Bill the discretion given was carried to an extreme, and it would permit any two of the Colonies, however small, to confederate; whereas he was inclined to agree with the hon. Baronet (Sir George Campbell) that any South African Union ought to include Cape Colony, the civilization of which would extend to and benefit the whole community. The words "as the Queen may direct" occurred very frequently in the Bill, and they meant that discretion was left to the Colonial Secretary on the important question's whether there was to be Federation or Union; whether the Cape was to be in the Union; whether the Cape was to be divided into two Colonies; whether the Upper Chamber should be nominated or elected; and whether the Natives should or should not have the franchise. All these matters were left to the discretion of the Colonial Secretary, and the only body that under the Bill would absolutely lose all power of interference and never get it back again was the Parliament of England; because the 59th clause said that after the Union Parliament had assembled, and after the bargain had been settled between Lord Carnarvon and the Colonies, "this Act and any Order in Council made hereunder may be amended by an Act of the Union Parliament." No doubt this was a slip, and would be amended, but still these were the words at present in the Bill. If we gave discretionary power to the Government we ought not to give it for ever. A certain term of years should be fixed during which, and during which only, the Act might be fulfilled; and if not made use of within that definite period the Act should expire, and the powers given to the Colonial Office should cease. He thought five years might be the term fixed, and he could hardly conceive that the Government would object to the introduction of a clause of that description. With reference to the present occupant of the office of Colonial Secretary, he did not suppose hon. Members looked forward to the Earl of Carnarvon or his Colleagues always remaining in their present places; but he must say that he had great confidence in his Lordship, and especially in his treatment of the Native races. Since this Bill was introduced there had been a curious illustration of the rapid changes which occurred in South African affairs. In bringing in the Bill Lord Carnarvon alluded to the Transvaal Republic as a State which he hoped would voluntarily come in. There was no notion of compulsory annexation in his Lordship's speech. He could not quite agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy that the annexation of the Transvaal had nothing to do with the Bill; but after the changes which had occurred in South Africa since its introduction, he thought the Government ought to explain why they proceeded with it in its present shape. We could not altogether ignore this fact of the annexation. Instead of agreeing with his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), he approved that annexation. He believed it to have been an absolute necessity. He was convinced that if the annexation had not been effected there would have been utter anarchy in an enormous district; and that until it was made there was the greatest possible danger of a most bloody and destructive war. The White population of the Transvaal were bringing on a most dangerous war, in which, in all probability, they would have been defeated and very nearly destroyed. Some might say that they ought to have been left to take the consequences. Practically, however, this country could not have suffered that result. It would have felt bound to come forward in their defence. For his part, he believed there had never been a more decided attempt to use words in order to hide facts, or rather to pervert facts, that that which had resulted in the protest framed in Holland against the annexation of the Transvaal. The large majority of the Whites appeared to be in favour of that annexation, and as to the Natives nobody could dispute that the vast majority of them were favourable. Hon. Members might not be aware, however, of what the annexation would probably cost this country. It was no slight burden we had taken upon ourselves. The Transvaal was a country about as big as France, and the important part of the matter was that the annexation doubled the Native population under the British Crown in South Africa. Again, it was doubtful whether, in consequence of the annexation, the South African States, and especially the Cape, would be more disposed than they would otherwise have been to avail themselves of the opportunity offered them of forming a Confederation. The reason in the minds of many persons in South Africa for desiring Confederation was that they might get rid of the great danger of a Native war, arising from the independent attitude of the Transvaal Republicans. Confederation seemed to be the only way in which that danger could be got rid of under Colonial or Imperial management. Now, however, that we had annexed the Transvaal, the Cape would, perhaps, say—"Let us wait a year or two and see how they get on." Still, this did not in his opinion make it any less the duty of Parliament to pass the present Bill, in order to give an opportunity to all the Colonies of confederating. There was no doubt as to the advantages which the Whites would derive from confederation. In the matter of public works, for example, it would be a very great benefit. The real danger to be feared was connected with the Native policy of the States. There could be no doubt that if these Colonies became one self-governing State, they would have a power of carrying on their own affairs as they thought right, without this country being able to interfere with the same success as it could at present. This was a danger which would have to be faced. With regard to the treatment of the Native tribes there might be different views at home and in the Confederation, and there might be a difficulty in exercising a control over the policy of the Confederation. On the other hand, it was of great importance to have a uniform policy carried out by the different States. It was most unfortunate to have on the part of the various Colonies such a different treatment of the Natives that they did not know what to expect, and contrasted their treatment in one district with their treatment in another. This was noticeable particularly in the matter of arms. In starting this great, powerful, and self-governing community it was necessary that certain principles should be laid down as the conditions of the exercise of its power. He did not say that they ought to be inserted in the Bill, but he had no doubt that Lord Carnarvon would have them inserted in the agreements with the Colonies. There were principles which England could not give up, and the Colonies must not suppose that if they disregarded those principles they would be left to themselves. Our Imperial position would not allow it, and the more frank and open we were on this subject with the Colonies the better. There was the principle that slavery was not in any way whatever to be renewed. It was not as unnecessary to make that statement, as some people might suppose, because slavery might exist although not mentioned by name. He believed that among the Kaffirs there existed a most disgraceful woman slavery, a man having the right to buy and sell his wives; and it was important that in our wish to act justly towards the Natives by governing them according to Native law such a point as that should not be overlooked. Leaving the question of slavery, he was sure they would all admit that there ought to be social equality independently of race and colour. A Native, for instanced ought to be allowed to hold, land, which he was now debarred from doing in one or two of the States. As to the franchise, it was, no doubt, a matter of great difficulty. The first idea that occurred to his mind in connection with this subject was that the franchise ought to be given indiscriminately. A colour franchise was to him a most repulsive thing. On the other hand, a large proportion of the coloured men were undoubtedly savages, and it was clear we could not give them all votes. If we were to have a franchise without distinction of race or colour, it would require to be a very high one both as regarded property and education—so high, indeed, that it might exclude a great many of the Whites. He did not know that there would be any great harm in that; but still the question would have to be faced. One of the best conditions to attach to an indiscriminate franchise would, he thought, be a knowledge of either the English or the Dutch language. Such a test, at all events, had been found advantageous in New Zealand. But although he suggested these considerations to the House, he hoped hon. Members would not suppose that it was impossible for the Natives to take part in a representative system of Government. On the contrary, Natives in South Africa had votes at this moment; and, for aught he knew, might be Members of the Legislature, like the Natives in New Zealand, a very able speech by one of whom he had read that very morning. He thought that in the matter of the franchise they ought to aim at two things—first, that they should look forward to the time when the qualification for the franchise should be independent of race or colour—and, secondly, that as long as any portion of the population by reason of their being savages were excluded from political rights there should be some representation of their interests in the Colonial Assembly—some guarantee that their interests should not be disregarded. No man, he believed, was more anxious to arrive at that result than Lord Carnarvon, although some words in a despatch of his to Sir Henry Barkly in December, 1876, seemed capable of a somewhat different construction. The noble Lord, speaking of the question of the franchise in South Africa as one of special difficulty, said he was disposed to think that, until the civilization of the Natives throughout South Africa had made considerable progress, it would be desirable that they should not have direct representation in the Legislative Assembly of the Union, although they might in some cases be allowed to vote for members of the Provincial Councils; but he (Mr. Forster) trusted those words had been penned by the Secretary for the Colonies without due consideration. He could not help fearing that Sir Theophilus Shepstone, in declaring that the Natives of the Transvaal were not to have equal rights with the Whites, had been somewhat indiscreet. If he meant that they ought not to have votes immediately, he was right; but if he meant that they were not ultimately to have equal rights with the Whites, he went too far. He trusted that although we had arrived at a late period of the Session, the House would approach the discussion of the subject with all that consideration due to so important a measure, in the hope that out of it might come a Bill which was calculated to promote the interests of such a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects.


, who had a Notice on the Paper to move— That this House, while approving generally of the principles of this Bill, and of the Confederation of Colonies which are contiguous and associated in interest, regrets that no effectual reason has been given by Her Majesty's Government why the initiation of a scheme of Confederation should proceed from the Imperial Government, and not from the Colonies themselves, said, he regretted that the discussion had taken so wide a range as partly to conceal from public view the importance of the question which had been raised when the scheme of confederation was brought before the House. At that moment the Government appeared before the House with a Bill in which the interests not only of the future of the Colony immediately concerned were involved, but possibly the interests of this great Empire, inasmuch as the principles it embodied might be adopted in the case of groups of Colonies in other parts of the world than South Africa. As one who had given a great deal of attention to questions of Colonial policy, he felt that they owed a great debt of gratitude to Lord Carnarvon for the spirit and the ability with which he had conducted the Colonial policy of this country. The noble Earl brought to it not only ability, but that sincere desire to maintain the connection between this country and our Colonies which would alone lead to a wholesome and healthy administration of our Colonies. And when his hon. Friend (Mr. Courtney) found fault with the noble Earl he should have remembered that the difficulties the Department now laboured under were, to a great extent, the legacy left by previous Governments. Former Colonial Secretaries, in dealing with questions of the utmost importance to succeeding generations of Colonists, had hastily come to decisions which were afterwards found to be serious mistakes of policy. The result was that the Colonial Office was now but an imperfect organization. It had not a sufficient staff of officials to conduct the business of the Office properly. Hon. Members had again and again been able to provide the Colonial Office with information which it ought to have been in possession of long before. When the Government had a period of leisure therefore he hoped they would turn their attention to the re-organization of the Colonial Office with a view to systematize it on something like a great Imperial principle. With regard to the action of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, after reading the despatch in which Lord Carnarvon conveyed his instructions to that gentleman, it appeared to him that the present administrator of the Transvaal was free from any suspicion of having exceeded his powers. While cordially agreeing with the principle of that Bill, he thought the manner in which those proceedings were initiated was open to criticism. He regretted that in moving the second reading of the measure the Under Secretary had not shown what were the grounds on which Her Majesty's Government had acted in undertaking that initiative. Granting that it was legal and constitutional for them to have done so, it might not have been expedient. He knew that the Colonies were jealous, and that once they obtained responsible Government they seemed ungratefully to lose sight of the interests of the Empire to which they belonged, trying to get as much as they could and to give as little as possible in return. That, however, he believed, was the result in a great degree of a reaction from the tone and spirit of the past administration of the Colonial Office. Lord Carnarvon said that the isolation of those Colonies from each other, the diversity of occupations in which those who were developing such new countries were absorbed, the existence in them in some cases of questions as to their boundaries, and other causes had retarded that approximation between them which was so much to be desired. These, he thought, were hardly adequate reasons for the Colonial Office Government in that particular case now taking the initiative in bringing about a unity of action and a harmony of interest between those different Colonies. A more legitimate ground for it, though one which could scarcely be given in a despatch, was that the variety and complication of the questions which arose in the South African Governments as regarded their relations towards each other and towards the Native races occupied so much of the time of the Colonial Office that it could not undertake the proper management of those Colonies, and must therefore get rid of the responsibility of settling those complicated issues and shift it to the Colonial Governments themselves. It must be admitted that whatever was to become of our Colonies, if those poor and ignorant creatures the Natives were left to the tender mercies of the Colonists they might find themselves subjected to all sorts of hardship and wrong. Though Mr. Froude's mission was badly conceived, he did not think it had been badly carried out. He went out, but not as a Special Commissioner. But, after all, if the Government was in error in initiating the proceeding before the time and the circumstances were ripe for it, yet, looking at the present position of things, he did not think the House for that reason ought to take hostile action against this Bill. He thought that more good than harm would come of this Bill. The question was whether the general provisions of the Bill and the principles upon which they were based were such as that House could approve of? The provisions were the same as in the Canadian Act, which was the result of a great deal of consideration, and under which the Dominion Confederation was brought about. On these grounds he hoped that the House would allow the Government to proceed with the Bill, to which he intended to give his cordial support.


We have travelled somewhat from the original Motion before us of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell); but it may save time if we deal at once with his Motion and that of the hon. Member for Dundee, and I will address myself first to the latter Motion. The point that he has made was raised and discussed in the Cape Parliament, and I will read to the House the brief but complete answer made by Lord Carnarvon in his despatch, of July 15, 1875, in which he points out, first, that he cannot too distinctly protest against any such doctrine as that Her Majesty's Government, in courteously inviting a group of Colonial Governments and independent States to deliberate upon questions of common interest, infringe the rights of a Government should it not approve of the invitation; and, secondly, that Her Majesty's Government are alone in a position to invite communities wholly independent of each other to meet and to confer. I ask the House to consider this question of Confederation, not only from the Colonial point of view, as affecting Colonial interests, but from the Imperial point of view, and to see how deeply it affects the Empire as a whole. If Confederation strengthens the Colonies, develops their resources, and makes them more self-reliant, the Empire is strengthened, and gains in proportion. It is hardly disputed that Union gives strength by united action; but there are other advantages arising from Confederation, which I will briefly point out. First, by Confederation we gain uniformity of legislation upon all the most important questions affecting the Confederated Colonies, whether as regards their relations between the Mother Country and foreign countries, or as regards their internal and social development and improvement. Secondly, Confederation tends to raise up a school of statesmen and legislators, who by their position are required to take a larger and more liberal view of the important matters submitted to them. The legislators of a Central Legislature are raised above the smaller questions and disputes which prevail in a Provincial Assembly—their political area is widened —and their sense of the grave responsibility imposed upon them is increased. And, thirdly, to those who like myself, and I believe the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), hope to see these great outlying Dependencies linked more closely to the Mother Country by some kind of direct representation, Confederation affords the only chance of our seeing that hope realized. You cannot have 20 or 30 small Councils and Assemblies represented here; but link together in Confederation the West India Islands, as you have linked the North-American Provinces;—join together the South African States; the great Australasian Colonies; and perhaps our other Eastern Colonies, and you have four or five Central Legislatures, which might, at some future time, be directly represented here. This may be an "airy nothing;" a dream; but Confederation alone can give it "a local habitation and a name." Now, if this was Lord Carnarvon's view of Confederation and its advantages, Imperial and Colonial, why should he not suggest to these South African States and Colonies the consideration of the subject? That it was, and is, his view, is clearly shown in his Despatches and in his speech to the Conference which met here in London. His manner of raising the question has been found fault with; but a reference to his Despatch of May 4th, 1875, will show how moderately he proceeded. He suggested a Conference at the Cape upon several important questions, including the Native question, and then he adds— If in the free exchange of communications between the representatives of the different States concerned, the all-important question of a possible Union of South Africa in some form of confederation should arise, Her Majesty's Government will readily give their earnest and their favourable attention to any suggestions that may be made. What could be more moderate, what less calculated to give offence even to the most sensitive? How was his proposal received? True, that the Cape Cabinet, under a misapprehension of his meaning, resented the suggestion of a Conference, as an interference with responsible Government. They feared, also, from a suggestion he made as to the sending a Representative to the Conference from the Eastern Province of the Cape Colony, that he intended to advocate a separation of the East and West Provinces. These misapprehensions must have been removed by the frank statements given in subsequent despatches. But how was the Earl of Carnarvon's proposal received elsewhere? The assent in the Colony was almost universal. Sir Henry Barkly writes on October 20, 1875—"The feeling of the country is loudly expressed in most districts in favour of the Conference, and the yearning of the colonists of Dutch descent for re-union with their kinsfolk beyond the Orange River has been powerfully excited." The Legislative Council of the Cape passed a resolution appreciating the deep interest taken by the Earl of Carnarvon in the welfare of South Africa. The Legislature of Natal agreed to the Conference, and desired Confederation. The Executive Council of the Orange Free State and the President of the Transvaal concurred in the enlightened sentiments expressed by his Lordship, and stated their sense of the interest he took in South Africa. I think the House will agree that the Earl of Carnarvon was justified in what he did. Turning, then, to the Motion of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, I admit the importance of discussion, but I must again press on the House the urgency of this Bill. I must also enter my strongest protest against his unprovoked and unjustifiable attack upon Sir Henry Barkly. I can testify, from my experience at the Colonial Office, that Sir Henry was most humane in his treatment of Native races, most anxious to promote their welfare, and to protect them against harsh legislation. The Motion is not strictly applicable to this Bill, which is not a measure for establishing a self-governing Federation. Broad principles are established to assist the Colonies and States, and to show them where and how far the Imperial Government would interfere in settling the details of Confederation. But an Order in Council is necessary to establish a Federation. Again, what is meant by "direct provision for a settlement." If it means a "final" settlement, the Motion is inexpedient and impracticable. The circumstances of each case are not only now various, but are constantly varying. Some Natives are far advanced in civilization, and habits of peace and order; some are in a far more backward state. If it does not mean a "final" settlement, what better plan can be suggested than that provided in the Bill? We must trust some one to settle details. Parliament could not undertake the matter. They have no means of acquiring the necessary information upon this most difficult question. But Her Majesty's Government can by official and confidential information and Reports, by discussion at Conferences and interviews, place themselves in a position to judge the details set before them. I trust the Government will accept the limitation of five years proposed by the right hon. Member for Bradford, but during that time you must trust Her Majesty's Government. Before Confederation they will have full command over the mode of dealing with the Native question, and treatment of Natives, as it rests with them to advise Her Majesty to issue or withhold the Order in Council. After Confederation, they reserve power to Her Majesty to veto laws on Natives and Native affairs, and that veto will be exercised carefully, as it has been in other cases.


, having put a Notice on the Paper for the rejection of the Committee on this Bill, wished to explain how it happened that one who had identified himself with the Federation of Ireland should oppose the Confederation of the South African States and Colonies? The difference between the two cases was that Ireland desired Federation, while the Confederation of these States was sought, not by the Colonists, but by the Imperial Government for its own interests. He denied that in introducing the Bill the Government had any regard to the interests of the Colonies. They sent a distinguished historian (Mr. Froude) to South Africa to induce the Colonists, if he could, to assent to the scheme, and if he could not, to compel them by some legerdemain, to do so; but in that he failed, as the Colonists did not want what was offered to them. History showed that England always neglected the interests of her Colonies. She annexed Fiji for example, then introduced the measles, and then taxed the people to pay the expense of the annexation. The Bill was a specious one, for while it affected to have Federation for its object, it struck at the principle of Federation, and destroyed the powers of the local Legislative Assemblies. It had been argued among other things against the restoration to Ireland of its native Parliament that, in that event, it would be impossible to define what matters pertained to the local, and what pertained to the Imperial Parliament; but, in that respect, Her Majesty's Government showed a remarkable inconsistency in dealing with these South African Colonies, because by this measure they did define those matters, and appeared to find no difficulty about it. He refused to support this Bill, because there was no proof that the South African Colonies desired the proposed Confederation, and because he maintained that any Confederation of the kind ought to be voluntary and spontaneous, and not forced. The hon. Member referred to the relations that existed between the Irish and the English, and between the Blacks and the Whites in America, to show the difficulties that might arise in establishing a Constitution among these South African Colonies. He protested, in the interest of the Colonies, and in the interest of the Business of the House, against the Bill being proceeded with at this period of the Session. It would not become law this year if the Government was determined, as had been announced, that the House should rise on the 9th of August. Even supposing there were constant Sittings, the measure could not be properly discussed before the end of September. Therefore, he ventured to speak in the interests of Public Business, as well as of the Colonists, when he asked Her Majesty's Government not to waste anymore time on the numerous Amendments that would have to be made in this Bill, but to lay aside this scheme of Mr. Froude's and Lord Carnarvon's for Confederation, which was not necessary, which was not wanted by the Colonists, and which could not be carried out during the dying days of the Session.


said, he concurred to a large extent with the views expressed by his hon. Friend the Member for Meath. There was an air of unreality about the Bill, and considering its permissive and almost fancy character, it seemed to him most inopportune that they should be called upon at so late a period of the Session to legislate upon a Bill affecting so important a subject. It answered no want, was demanded by no interest—it was the mere emanation of the brain of the Colonial Secretary. There was no proof whatever that the people of South Africa were in favour of this Bill. No meeting of the people of that country had been held on the subject. They had nothing before them but the sensational declaration of Mr. Froude, the statement of Sir Henry Barkly, and the dictatorial assertion of Lord Carnarvon, that the people of South Africa were favourable to this proposed Federation scheme of the Government. All the information they had on the subject pointed to the fact that the population of South Africa were not ripe for the power of self-government which it was proposed by this Bill to confer upon them. He could not understand the motives that influenced the Government in giving Federal legislative power to the population of South Africa in the way contemplated by the Bill before the House. He was almost tempted to suspect that the real object of the Government was to burlesque and discredit the principle of Federation. There was a country, very near to the shores of England, that annually asked to have the privilege of self-government—not for the purpose of separating itself from the Empire, but to prove its desire to be loyal and true to the governing Power— yet Her Majesty's Government manifested its direct hostility even to consider that question, which had been shown to be one of such deep interest to the people of the country to whom he had referred. He could not, at all events, conceive how they could consistently grant those extensive powers of self-government to South Africa and refuse Home Rule to Ireland. The hon. Member was proceeding in this line of argument, when—


moved that the House be counted.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present—


resumed, having spoken less that 15 minutes, amid the marked impatience of the House, which was again reduced to a few Members, saying that his position reminded him of the story of Dean Swift and his sexton, when—


called the hon. Member to Order, directing him to confine himself to the Question before the House.


said, he thought he was confining himself to the Question, and was apparently proceeding to comment upon the several clauses of the Bill, when—


again called the hon. Member to Order. He was not at liberty to comment upon the clauses of the Bill upon the Motion for going into Committee on the Bill.


again resumed, begging to assure the Speaker that he had misunderstood his remarks, and proceeded to argue that, whereas the South African Colonies had progressed without confederation, the condition of Ireland had deteriorated in consequence of the loss of her separate Parliament, and he very much doubted, accordingly, whether a pure zeal for local prosperity was at the bottom of the Government measure, when—


again moved that the House be counted.


, however, immediately said that 40 Members were present, and it was unnecessary to count.


proceeded—the hon. Member was understood to say that Her Majesty's Government had declared their undying enmity to the Federation of the Slavonic States of Turkey, with which they had no sympathy, and yet they proclaimed it in reference to the Republic of the Transvaal, which they proposed to annex to themselves. What had the Republic of the Transvaal done to provoke this policy of compulsory Federation, that Her Majesty's Government and the British nation had not already done themselves in getting footing in South Africa, and in all places which they had annexed? But the South Africans did not want the Federalism which the British Government so plausibly, so smoothly, and with such large promises of happiness, tried to induce them to accept. It was an attempt by Her Majesty's Government at the forcible annexation of an independent State of South Africa under pretence of a Federal arrangement. But there was another point which deserved the most serious consideration, and which in all other countries would receive that consideration. He referred to the fact that the forcible annexation of the independent Republics of South Africa had taken place in a time of peace, and in violation of the most solemn covenants entered into by Her Majesty's Government. On the Continent of Europe this transaction had been spoken of in terms very different from the smooth and airy sentences in which the Representatives of the Government had introduced the subject to the House. He held in his hand copies of Protests against this annexation drawn up and signed by most eminent Corporations of that old home of liberty, the ancient Republic of the United Provinces. One of them was signed by the Professors of Leyden and Utrecht, headed by the Professor of International Law, and another was signed by an enormous number of the ministers of religion in Holland. These protests denounced the intended annexation as an odious attempt and act of brigandage that ought to be branded and denounced, and as the people of the free Dutch State they appealed to the free people of England against it. The proposal, they said, was a violation of the guarantees given to the South African Republic in the name of the British Crown. The Transvaal Republic had had to struggle on under innumerable difficulties, and now there would have been no danger to it but for the intrigues which had been carried on for the purpose of overthrowing it. Assuming that the Government had a right to declare war against the Transvaal Republic, there was a vast difference between the just limitation that should be imposed after a righteous war, and the needless exaction of unjust conditions. Suppose the Swiss Republic became dangerous to the German Empire, it would be justifiable that the cause of disturbance should be removed; but no public morality would be held to justify the German Government in blotting out that sovereign State of Europe, and it would not be justifiable that the Transvaal State should be blotted out by the English Government. What would they say if the United States of America were to talk of annexing and federalizing Jamaica. Already the boundaries of Her Majesty's Government in South Africa were not very far from the Equator; and how did they extend them? By overcoming the various races and annexing their territories. The manner in which England got possession of the Cape of Good Hope was well known. In fact, the British Government, which accused the Dutch of despoiling the Natives, had never thought it incumbent upon them to give back to the Natives any portion of the Dutch acquisitions. It was a safe morality which denounced the robbers, but kept the stolen goods. If the Government believed that their conduct in this annexation of an independent foreign State was justifiable, he invited them to establish their assertion before a Board of Sovereigns, or to refer it to the judgment of the civilized world. But they were, conscious that before such a tribunal they would fail to make out their justification. Perhaps, considering the recent history of Europe, they might not be averse to referring the matter to the Emperor of Russia for his Imperial and impartial decision. He trusted that the judgment of the English people would on this question be on the side of right and justice; and he called upon them to undo an act of injustice. [The speech of the hon. Member, which occupied, one hour and twenty-five minutes was spoken amid great inattention and confusion, arising from continued cries of "Order!" and "Question!" the interruption of several "counts," and the distraction arising from the assembling and dispersion of Members on each occasion.]


said, he was a supporter of the Bill, and had no desire to delay its passing by any unnecessary talk. Still, he thought some further discussion than there had been on the second reading was not only desirable, but necessary. It was an accusation repeatedly made against the House in the Colonies and in India, that while personal questions and paltry matters of Privilege attracted large audiences and excited much interest, important projects affecting the welfare of millions of their fellow-citizens in distant Dependencies were only curtly considered in the presence of a small assembly of Members. The force of this complaint was made manifest in the languid debate they had had a fortnight ago. A more complete consideration of the Bill, therefore, was required, both for the credit of Parliament, and for the interests of those who were to be affected by it. The contention of his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) was, that the Government of the Transvaal ought to be maintained, because it acted as a buffer between the Cape Colony and the warlike and semi-civilized Natives in the North. If this were the case, it would be an argument—not a conclusive one, but still an argument—in favour of his hon. Friend's Resolution, but he did not read the facts in that way. They presented themselves to his mind in another light, and as tending in an exactly opposite direction. The spring of the buffer had been broken, and its elasticity, if it ever had any, had been destroyed. The Government of the Transvaal was in a hopeless state of insolvency. There was civil discord within its boundaries, and war, that threatened to be a war of extermination, without. The Administration was not only in a state of confusion, but of chaos. President Burgers declared in the last speech he delivered to the Volksraad, that the people had lost confidence in the Government, faith in themselves, and trust in each other. That authoritative statement did not comport with much that had been affirmed by the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell). The question at issue had been mystified by an unnecessary amount of words. It really lay in a small space. It could be soon stated, and very easily understood. Upwards of 30 years ago, a number of Dutch settlers at the Cape of Good Hope migrated beyond the Vaal River. Their independence was recognized by the English Government at a conference held at Sand River in 1852. Commissioners representing England, and delegates from the Boers met at that time, and the conditions of separation were agreed upon. It was incorrect to state that England accorded the people of the Transvaal the absolute right of Sovereignty. Anyone referring to the correspondence that took place at the time, would see that the rights accorded to the emigrants were more covered by the new-fangled word autonomy, than by that of supreme authority. The point was scarcely material to the question, but in view of what had been said by the previous Speaker, it was right that they should recollect that such were the conditions under which the Transvaal Government was formed. His hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard strove to excite commiseration for these Dutchmen by telling the House that they declared themselves free of British rule, and went into the wilderness, and carved out a settlement for themselves. He stated what was quite correct—that these men had had differences with the Colonial Government which led to a separation. He would have had the House to regard them, however, as a sort of modern Pilgrim Fathers, who had shaken the Monarchical dust off their feet, and penetrated into unknown and dangerous regions with a view to build up a State clear of the tyranny that distinguished the Government of Great Britain. This was simply romance. The Boers left Cape Colony, not because they were persecuted, but because the English Government refused to allow them to persecute the Natives. They emigrated, not in consequence of being denied all legitimate freedom, but because this country would not allow them to deprive the coloured men of like privileges. The difference between the Colonists and the Dutchmen, which the hon. Member for Liskeard so mildly described as referring to a different mode of treating the coloured races when resolved into plain language, was no other than this— England practised an anti-slavery policy, and the Boers the most brutal and barbarous system of enforced labour. When the negroes in the West Indies were emancipated, the provisions of that measure were extended to the Colonies at the Cope of Good Hope, and the Dutchmen never willingly acquiesced in the beneficent edict of the British Crown. He had no wish to revive old and unpleasant disputes, but he was stating what was literally the fact, when he said that the coloured populations of the world had never been treated with greater harshness by White men than the unfortunate Bushmen of South Africa had been treated by the Dutch settlers. Now, as to their Republicanism, mentioned by the hon. Member for Dungarvan, he (Mr. Cowen) would certainly not utter one syllable in disparagement of that honoured word. Not only the form, but the name of Republic, had an attraction, and a striking fascination for his mind. But a Republic respected the rights of all. The Republicanism of the Transvaal was nominal, its despotism was real, and its despots were a multitude. What they wanted, was not freedom from British control, but they desired to exercise the "right divine for governing wrong." The Constitution of the State was not settled until 1858. It was never a thriving Government, for no body could prosper that had at its root the canker of slavery. But it rubbed along with fair success for a few years. About 1866–7 deposits of diamonds and gold were found in the valley of the Orange River and in various other districts in that part of Africa. The announcement of these discoveries brought a rush of adventurers from all parts of the world to the spot. These men came, not with a view of following the occupation of Colonists, but for the purpose of digging diamonds, or gathering gold as rapidly as possible, and having accumulated wealth, their design in most cases was to leave the country. They were not, however, specially successful in this enterprize, and the indiscriminate crowd who had thus been collected associated themselves with the Boers in the Transvaal. They commenced a series of raids upon unoffending Natives. They went to the settlements of peaceful Kaffirs, drove off their cattle, carried away the produce of their lands, slew the male members, took the children into what they mildly called apprenticeship, but which was really slavery, and carried the women into a condition that was worse than slavery. These nefarious proceedings in time produced an inevitable revulsion of feeling, and led to combined resistance on the part of the Natives. War was declared by the larger tribes against the Transvaal Government. In that war the Boers were beaten—disgracefully beaten. They did not display their traditional courage or pertinacity. An unsuccessful war produced a depressing influence on the best-ordered community; but its effects upon a young, struggling, and ricketty State like the Transvaal was simply disastrous. The people refused to acknowledge the authority of President Burgers and his Colleagues. They refused to pay the taxes in many cases. They gave subsidies to Native Chiefs to purchase immunity from attack. Villages were deserted and homesteads were destroyed. The whole country was in a state of disorganization, and the people in a state of demoralization. The President had not funds to meet the expenses of the postal service—one of the first payments a State was called upon to discharge. When an order was made upon President Burgers for £1,000, he declared he had not a single shilling in the Treasury wherewith to meet it. It would be difficult to conceive even a newly-formed State in a more depressed and dispirited condition than that in which the men of the Transvaal found themselves at the close of last year. He did not contend that their weakness was a justification for England to interfere. If the British Government had to assume the direction of every weak State that lay upon its borders, our dominions would soon be nearly co-extensive with the human race. Even the existence of slavery was not a sufficient reason for their intercession. The cause of their action was not the feebleness of the Transvaal Government, but the fact that this feebleness endangered the position of the Cape Colonies and the safety of our fellow-citizens in that part of the world. Let them look at the facts. The Transvaal territory was larger in extent than Italy— nearly as large as France. It had a frontier line of more than 1,600 miles. No fewer than 1,200 out of this number abutted on the possessions of the hostile races. Only 400 miles adjoined friendly States. There were upwards of 1,000,000 coloured people in the territory, and alongside of them there were 40,000 Whites. Calculating one male adult to every five of the population they had only some 8,000 men in the Transvaal. About 1,000 of these were engaged in trading operations, and lived in villages, 400 or 500 of them were miners, and it thus left little more than 6,400 or 6,500 men to whom the defences of the State could be entrusted. Supposing everyone of these 6,000 Boers were willing and able to take up arms, they would be called upon to hold a line three times as long as between Kent and Caithness. The House would see that to expect them to do this was to expect them to do an impossibility. The Kaffirs were one of the most warlike and resolute of all the aboriginal races, with whom Europeans had come into contact in the work of colonization. From 1818–19 to 1853–4 this country was constantly at war with them in South Africa. They were no mean adversaries then, although they were little more than an organized mob. Their weapons consisted for the most part of bows and arrows, spears and clubs. Even thus inadequately accoutred they were able to hold their own against English soldiers for the better part of 40 years. Since then a great change had taken place. The Kaffirs had become possessed of modern weapons of warfare. The men had been regularly drilled to military service. One Chief, not a very important one, close to the Transvaal, had at his disposal an army of 10,000 properly trained and equipped soldiers. Another, and more powerful Chief, was able to take into the field fully 40,000 men equally well accoutred for battle. As illustrating the spirit that animated some of these warlike Natives, he might cite the declaration of Cetwyawo, the King of the Zulus. When this Kaffir recently had an interview with the Commissioner from Natal, he told him he had no ill-feeling towards the English He respected their authority, and wished to live on friendly terms with them. On the other hand, he had cause of quarrel with the President of the Transvaal and with some of the tribes who lived within the territory. He declared, too, that fighting was his vocation, that it was a tradition of his tribe to kill men; that his father and grandfather had been accustomed to do this slicing, and that he did not mean to abandon their time-honoured practices. He reminded the Commissioner, also, that he had recently become Ruler, and that it was desirable for him to prove his capacity to his followers by showing them his prowess in battle. He further declared that the young men of his tribe were desirous of having an opportunity of washing their spears. For these reasons, therefore, Cetwyawo was meditating war on the people of the Transvaal, both Boers and Natives. This man was a simple savage. He said straight out what he meant. If he had been a European and Christian Emperor, he would have prefaced his intention of declaring war by issuing a Proclamation abounding in fine sentences and philanthropic phrases. He would have called God and man to witness that he had been driven into war against his inclination, for the purpose of freeing the bodies of his neighbours from physical thraldom, and their minds from degrading superstition. Not having learned the arts of modern Christian diplomacy, Cetwyawo had the candour to declare that he meant to commence war for the simple purpose of showing his capacity as a Chief for killing his enemy, and giving his braves an opportunity of washing their spears in the blood of hostile tribes. These Chiefs and others, he repeated, were not at the time hostile to England, but no one could foretell, if they once went upon the war-track and put on their battle-paint, where they would stop. Their first attack would be on the Transvaal, but their blood being stirred and their passions excited, they would require little inducement to carry their hostilities into the English Colonies. A war of this kind, once begun, would spread desolation, destruction, and death from the confines of the Cape Colonies to the boundaries of the Sandy Desert. In dealing with the coloured tribes, loss of prestige was not only loss of power, but loss of security. The Government of the Transvaal being unable to resist the advance of their warlike neighbours, having had serious quarrels with them, it was the duty of the English Government to use their authority, with a view to prevent the breaking out of such a disastrous conflict as he had foreshadowed. This was the justification, and to him a sufficient one, for the action that had been taken by Sir Theophilus Shepstone. The hon. Gentleman who had preceded him had described it as a war of aggression. He demurred to such a description of the proceedings. There had been no war and no aggression. England had no earth-hunger, no longing for more land. She had territory in abundance and to spare. She would never repeat a series of deeds as dark and doubtful as those which characterized her conquest of India. She never would follow the bad example set by the Spaniards in South America, or the Russians in Central Asia. If he knew the wishes of his countrymen, he did not think they would spend a shilling, or discharge a musket for the simple purpose of adding to the boundaries of their Dominions. They would defend the existence of their present possessions if assailed; but extension of territory would be got only as a consequence of the peaceful pursuits of commerce and civilization. He objected to the phrase applied by the hon. Member for Liskeard, when he said that the Transvaal had been annexed. The word "annexed" presupposed the exercise of physical force, and on that ground its use in this instance was incorrect. Germany annexed Alsace, Russia annexed Poland, but Italy incorporated Rome. Between the words incorporation and annexation there was, to his mind, a wide difference. Incorporation was union by mutual consent, and he held that that was the proper description of their recent action in South Africa. Anyone who had read the Blue Books must admit the correctness of his statement. The English Commissioner's visit to the Transvaal was known beforehand, and he was met on the borders by the carriage of the President of the Republic. He was welcomed as a friend, not as an enemy. A striking incident occurred as he was crossing the frontier, and it might be stated as a curious illustration of the feeling of the Natives towards England. The Dutch farmers received the English Commissioner by discharging a volley of fire-arms in his honour, and some of the Kaffirs who saw this proceeding thought it was an attempt to shoot Sir Theophilus Shepstone. They conveyed the news to Cetwyawo, and he sent word, to the Governor of Natal, that if such had been the case he would have punished the Transvaal people for their attempt to kill the representative of his friends the English. President Burgers and Sir Theophilus Shepstone discussed the conditions of the Confederation, not as opponents—certainly, not as enemies—but more like the managers of two competing lines of railway considering the terms of amalgamation. When the Proclamation was issued, there was not a hand or voice raised against it in the market-place of Pretoria. The President desired the State Treasurer to hand over the keys of the Government House and the Treasury to the English Commissioner, and he in his turn handed them back to the Treasurer. Every official of the Republic was re-instated in his office; not a single change was made in the law or mode of government of the State; all the regulations, customs, and staff of officers were retained. The only difference was that by the fact of the Transvaal passing into British possession the accursed system of slavery became destroyed. The only change made was, that the protecting ægis of the British name and authority was thrown over the territory. The whole work was accomplished by Sir Theophilus Shepstone, with the assistance of six or seven attendants and 25 mounted policemen. The Boers would be compelled to abandon their manstealing practices; but in consideration for any benefit, if it could ever be a benefit, that came to them from obtaining forced labour from the poor Natives, they would enjoy in return a more settled and stable rule. The Natives in the State would have their liberties assured, and would be relieved from the incursions of filibusterers. The Natives outside the boundaries, on the other hand, would not be compelled to engage in warfare, knowing the power and capacity of England, while the Colonies at the Cape would, by its union, be free from the uncertainty and discomforts of pending hostilities. He did not know, in the history of colonization, any extension of territory that had ever been made with purer motives, less opposition, or more calculated to benefit all parties concerned. Both inside and outside the borders of the Transvaal the inhabitants would be served by it. The hon. Member for Liskeard admitted the soundness of the principle of Confederation. Indeed, there was no difference of opinion on the question in the House, or amongst politicians generally. Everyone who had thought on the subject admitted that it was desirable to unite a series of Colonies such as those that existed in South Africa; the only difference arose as to the time, the circumstances, and the character of the union that was to be effected. He would not, therefore, discuss the principle of Confederation, as he supposed that was admitted by all; but he contended that if there was another argument required for the South African Confederation, it was supplied by the recent proceedings in the Transvaal. In dealing with the Natives, there were three things required. They should be treated with justice, firmness, and uniformity. The two first conditions had been for years supplied in South Africa. The Natives had been treated both justly and firmly by the English Government, and hence their continued period of peace and prosperity; but there had not been a uniform mode of dealing with them. One State gave them greater privileges than another, and some of the Native Chiefs had confused the Dutch Republic with the English Colonies, and had attempted to make the latter suffer for the unjustifiable proceedings of the former. If the principle of Confederation were practically established, there would be a uniform and unbroken course of treatment observed to the whole of the Kaffir tribe, and that, combined with the advantage of British rule, would contribute to the peace of the territories and the welfare of the Colonies. A remarkable fact, and one highly creditable to the English rule, he might state. It had been usual, when the White race had come in collision with the Coloured race, that the Red Man had first retreated and then disappeared. This had been the case in New Zealand, in Australia, and in America. At the Cape, however, the result had been the very opposite. There, notwithstanding the British rule, the Native races had gradually increased in numbers, and several of them—the Fingo tribe, for example—had become perfectly acclimatized to the British mode of living. They had become farmers and prosperous traders, had amassed wealth, and were regularly civilized citizens. This encouraging state of affairs ought always to be borne in mind when they were considering the condition of the English Colonies. The hon. Member for Liskeard instituted a comparison between the principles of Confederation in North America and that in South Africa. He approved of the project in one place, but did not approve of it in the other. He could not follow his hon. Friend in his argument. If there was any difference, he thought the principle of Confederation was more applicable to Africa than it was to America. The hon. Member for Liskeard said there were differences amongst the Colonists in Africa that rendered union not possible at the present time; but he begged to remind him that, if the African Colonies were of Dutch origin, the American Colonies were of French origin. They had in Lower Canada still a distinctly French population. That part of the country was really a piece of old France. It was France before the Revolution, minus the Monarchy and the aristocracy. The people had all the thrift and industry, the want of enterprize, the moderate competency, and fair share of attainments that characterized the ordinary French peasantry 150 or 200 years ago. They had made little progress, and retained all their old modes of life. They were really Colonial Rip Van Winkles. In Upper Canada, on the other hand, they had aggressive and pugnacious Presbyterians from Scotland, and Orangemen from the North of Ireland. It was impossible, therefore, to conceive a greater contrast than between the inhabitants of these two Colonies. There was much greater diversity of character existing between them than there was in any section of the people in South Africa. Again, a Confederation was of more value for regulating external politics than the internal Government. Now, in Canada, they had no external questions to disturb them. The Indians were harmless. There was a time when union with the American Republic was supported by a large party in the United States. But that had passed. Before the Civil War there was a constant craving for increased territory by the American Republic. The slaveholders sought to extend their dominion towards the South, because every additional State in that direction gave them increased legislative and executive authority. With a view to balance this extension, the Abolitionists favoured a union with Canada. All this, however, was now past. Slavery being destroyed, there was no necessity on their part to seek to add to their territory. The United States might, without much trouble, have incorporated San Domingo, Cuba, and part of Mexico. They had not done so, simply because they had no desire, and the parties within the Union had no motives for adding State to State as they had previous to the abolition of slavery. There was, consequently, no external question likely to be served by Confederation in Canada. It was exactly the opposite in South Africa. There the external question was the most important in dealing with the Natives; and, as he had striven to show, Confederation would certainly help them to solve the difficulty by establishing an uniform mode of acting towards the Kaffir tribes. Another objection to the Bill was, that it was permissive. He confessed that that to him appeared its greatest merit. He did not approve of permissive legislation on all subjects; but if there was a question that could be dealt with by a permissive Bill, it was surely this one. Confederation, to be successful, must be spontaneous and voluntary. It must spring from the parties to be directly affected by it. If it was forced upon them by any outside influence, instead of producing union, it was calculated to produce antagonism. The Bill gave the South African Colonists the power to unite, or not to unite, as they desired. All it did was to lay down the framework of Confederation, the details to be filled in by the Colonists themselves. The wisdom of union was admitted. Parliament drew a measure containing the basis of a scheme, they sent that to South Africa, and all they asked was that the States themselves should, if they approved, complete its clauses to their own liking. If they did not approve of the Bill, it remained a dead letter. The hon. Member for Liskeard objected to the power that was given to the Queen in Council. That was merely a phrase. For his part, he had no wish whatever to increase the power of the Executive. He was disposed to limit their authority, and increase that of the people's Representatives. There did not occur to him anything in that section of the Bill to warrant the condemnation that his hon. Friend had so oracularly uttered against it. What he understood from the measure and the correspondence that preceded its drafting, was that the Colonies themselves should adjust all their difficulties, settle the details of the Act, and, having done that, voluntarily and freely, the Home Government would be empowered to give it the force of law. There were necessarily a great many points upon which the Home Government could not form as sound a judgment as the Colonial. For example, in Natal there were only 18,000 White people and about 30,000 Coloured living on an area of about 20,000 square miles. In Cape Colony, on the other hand, there were 275,000 Whites and 450,000 Blacks, and. they covered an area of 200,000 square miles. It was manifest that some difficulty would arise in adjusting the relative Representatives that should be accorded to the Whites and the Coloured peoples in these two Colonies. That was a point that was relegated by this Bill to the Colonial Legislature; and, having themselves agreed upon it, all the Home Government were required to do was to put the impress of their authority upon the conclusions that the South Africans arrived at. If the Bill had been compulsory, instead of permissive—if it had been forced upon the Colonies, instead of being voluntarily offered for their acceptance—he should have opposed it; but the very principle of voluntaryism that was the basis of the measure was, to his mind, the best reason for its adoption.


said, he could not allow the eloquent and able speech which had just been delivered to pass without notice. The speech of his hon. Friend and of the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) turned entirely upon the propriety of our having annexed the Transvaal; but he (Sir Charles Dilke) maintained that that was not the question involved in the measure before the House. This Bill had no bearing on that question. His hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle had told the House that the annexation of the Transvaal was necessary, because if the war had spread the result would have been to entail untold calamities on our Colony of Natal; but what had been the result? Telegrams had been received which showed that Secocoeni was engaged in war at the present moment, and that British subjects were flying before him because of the anger he manifested at the annexation of the Transvaal or the manner in which it had been carried out. At all events, until the House had full details before them, they could not say definitively one way or the other whether annexation had increased or removed the difficulties of the Colony of Natal. His hon. Friend drew a parallel between Confederation in Canada and Confederation such as was proposed by this Bill; but his hon. Friend forgot to tell the House that the French in the Dominion formed a very small minority of the population; whereas in these African Colonies the Dutch were the majority of the White population in numbers, and, perhaps, also in wealth. Consequently, the argument of his hon. Friend fell to the ground. Of course, they were all in favour of Confederation in the abstract and would welcome a Bill for the Confederation of the Australian Colonies for instance; but it was well known that there were difficulties which prevented the passing of such a measure at the present time. Why, then, should there be an African Bill before the House? For his own part, he saw no great difference between the cases of Africa and Australia. It had not been shown that there was any such anxiety for Confederation in the African Colonies as made it necessary for us to pass a Bill this year. His hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Lowther) had stated that this was not a measure for establishing a self-governing Federation, but that an Order in Council and not the present Bill would at some future time establish the Federation. That statement was a sufficient reason to induce the opponents of the Bill to continue their opposition to it. There was nothing to show that any such Order in Council would ever be made and that this Bill would not remain a dead letter. He should continue to vote against the Bill, because he believed that it was a fancy of Lord Carnarvon's and that it had been forced upon the Colonies from the outside, and was not spontaneously originated by them. There was nothing to show that it would be accepted by them.


protested against the distinction which his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) drew between the annexation of Alsace by Germany and the annexation of Borne by Italy. Alsace was annexed after a long campaign, whereas Rome was seized in the midst of peace by armed violence. He hoped the occupation of Rome by Italy would be only temporary.


said, he did not think it was necessary to import such an argument into the present discussion. As, however, it had been adduced, he would correct the hon. and gallant Member's statement. It was by the concurrence and wish of the population of Rome that the Italian Army defeated the Papal soldiers, occupied Rome, and made it the capital of their Kingdom. That was an incorporation like this and not an annexation.


regretted that his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Cowen) had brought forward the question of the annexation of the Transvaal, as it formed no part of the present subject, and as moreover the House would have ample opportunity of discussing it on a future occasion. On the occasion of the second reading, the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies assumed that Members were all in favour of Confederation. That assumption was quite unfounded. Tonight, however, he had addressed himself to the real question. The hon. Gentleman had, it might be remarked in passing, spoken of Mr. Froude as not having been the Representative of the Queen in South Africa; but Lord Carnarvon had said in a letter—"As the Representative of this country he did not think they could find a better qualified man than Mr. Froude"—


explained that he had spoken with reference to the part Mr. Froude had taken at a dinner, and that he had meant to say the Government were not accountable for his proceedings as they would have been in the case of a Governor.


said, that if Mr. Froude was not the Representative of the Queen in South Africa, he did not know what a Representative of the Queen was. This, however, was a small matter. An important question to consider was, how far this scheme of Confederation had originated or been accepted in the Colonies; or, on the other hand, how far it had originated in the Colonial Office and been pressed upon the acceptance of the Colonies. It seemed to him, it had neither originated in the Colonies nor been cordially accepted in any one Colony, and he challenged the statements of the hon. Member on this point. The hon. Gentleman had referred to a Vote of the Volksraad of the Orange River Free State, passed in 1858. This, however, proved nothing as to the feelings of the population at the present time, and, as a matter of fact, the State had lately resolved to have nothing to do with Confederation. The hon. Member had also referred to resolutions in favour of the principle of Confederation, passed by the Legislative Councils of Griqualand and Natal; but as these were both Crown Colonies, it was altogether misleading the House to cite the Votes of the Legislative Councils as a proof of the willingness of the States to confederate. Then it appeared that in 1871 there was a Committee of the Legislature of Cape Colony on this subject, and the Report of that Committee had been quoted in favour of the scheme; but the only passage in favour of it was one to the effect, that certain persons whose opinions deserved respect thought that at some future time, if the Orange River Free State, the Transvaal and Natal were willing, it would be a good thing to consider a scheme of Confederation. We were not told who these persons were, and the conditions to which they referred were not yet realized. There was ample proof of dissent on the part of the different States. The Representative Assembly of Cape Colony had resolved, by 36 votes against 22, to have nothing to do with Lord Carnarvon's proposal. At one time, no doubt, there was a feeling in the Eastern Province in favour of Confederation; but this was because it was thought the scheme would mean separation from the Western Province; but when Mr. Froude explained that he had no authority to say anything about such a separation the feeling on the subject changed. If it was the case, as he contended it was, that there was actual dissent in all the separate States of South Africa, it followed, of course, that the scheme would be a failure. A. Permissive Bill might be sent out, but the powers of the Permissive Bill would not be accepted, except, perhaps, in this way—that an union would be established of the Transvaal which we had annexed, with Natal which we already possessed; and such an union would be one of the most perilous which could be made if we had at heart the defence of the Native population against the White population, which would control these States. It might be said that as the Bill was only permissive, no harm would be done by passing it. This seemed to him to illustrate one of the political dangers of the time. There was a passion for putting abstract propositions on the records, either in the Journals of the House, or in the Statute Book, without paying due regard to the difficulties they might lead to. For his part, he was not in favour of "Confederation," or "Dissolution," or any other abstract word. Confederation might or might not be a good thing; but for a man to say that he was in favour of Confederation was like saying, without any regard to the particular illness, that he was in favour of Holloway's pills. Before picking up these abstract notions we ought to consider, in the first place, whether Confederation was in any form good for the South African Colonies; and, in the next place, whether the South African Colonies desired it. For he held most strongly, that even if we ourselves were persuaded of the benefits of the scheme, we ought not to force it on States like those of South Africa. He denied that there was any evidence before us that this scheme had been examined with reference to the condition of South Africa, or that any one State of South Africa was willing to accept the scheme. Taking this fixed element that there were to be two Chambers, was there any evidence to show that any one of the States wished to have two Chambers? The only State that had two Chambers was the Cape Colony, and he was not sure that the Cape Colony would not prefer to have but one. In fact, there was no proof that this scheme of two Chambers was desired by any of the States proposed to be confederated by this Bill. It was not true that Confederation always brought strength. Mr. Froude had made a speech in which he attempted to prove that it did, and he referred to Canada in proof of his position. But what was the great gain which Confederation had brought to Canada? It was that it separated the French and Catholic Canada from the Scotch and Presbyterian Canada, and gave each of them a complete autonomy. But in South Africa the circumstances were entirely different. In fact, Confederation might be like twisting several weak threads together to make 'one strong thread, or like tying several weak threads one to another to make one long weak thread. Mr. Froude had referred to Germany, and said—"Look to the strength which she has gained since Sadowa." No reference could be worse for his argument. There was a Germanic Confederation before Sadowa, and it was weak; the strength which had come to Germany since Sadowa was owing to this—that they had cut out from the German Confederation those parts which before did not work in harmony with the rest. He repeated, that there was no evidence whatever that there was any desire for Confederation among the States proposed to be confederated; on the contrary, the evidence showed that they desired to remain separate. It was proposed to allow any two or more of those Colonies to be confederated together, and the only two which were likely to adopt that course were Natal, a Crown Colony, and the newly-annexed Transvaal. And what was it proposed to do in their case? Why, to establish a Legislature which should have supreme control over Native affairs in the confederated territory. They would thus be doing there what they had not done in India or anywhere else—namely, confiding the care of an immense Native population to a small body of English and Dutch settlers, without retaining that control in the hands of the Home Government which they now retained in the case of India and all the Crown Colonies. In Natal there were 17,000 Whites, not all of them English. In the Transvaal there were 40,000 Whites, almost all of them Dutch. Thus they would have fewer than 60,000 Whites in those two States, which contained. 1,300,000 Blacks; and it was proposed to give fewer than 60,000 Whites the supreme control over the interests of that vast population of Blacks; and among those Whites were the very Boers whose conduct, they said, had compelled them to annex the Transvaal. Nor was there any sound reason for expecting any large increase in the White population. The Colony of Natal was nearly as old as the Colony of Victoria, and the latter had a White population of about 500,000, while the former had one of only 17,000, though its climate was superior. Why, then, had the Whites increased so rapidly in Victoria and so slowly in Natal? The reason was because in Natal the Blacks lived so peaceably by their side. They could not get any development of a White population in a country where Blacks lived and worked side by side with Whites, because the Blacks took upon themselves the whole of the manual labour of the Colony, and the Whites would not consent to work with them in that way. The few Whites who went out became disgusted with the conditions of labour there, and did not send for their friends, and thus the stream of emigration was checked. Therefore, the expectation that they would have a large White population in South Africa was an idle fancy. He had not been able to make out from the speech of the Under Secretary why that Bill should be passed. It was a measure, on the face of it, to enable certain Colonies to confederate together; but why not leave them to negotiate between themselves for a Confederation, if they wished it? And then, if a scheme were elaborated and brought before Parliament, Parliament could approve it. Why should not the plan which was followed in the case of Canada be followed in this instance? They had spent the whole night over the Motion for going into Committee on the Bill; and it was perfectly plain that if it was persevered in they would have a week spent in Committee. One hon. Member (Mr. O'Donnell), who was not distinguished for the brevity of his remarks, had placed 70 Amendments on the Paper, and the Bill after all, if passed, would be a dead letter. To press it on, therefore, at that stage of the Session, appeared to him a prodigal and almost a criminal waste of time; and he hoped that the Government would yet spare them that unnecessary labour, and also spare Parliament the humiliation of putting on the Statute Book a law which would not be adopted, and which was inapplicable to the circumstances of South Africa.


replied, observing, in answer to the last Speaker, that he thought he had previously made it clear to all who had followed the recent history of South Africa, that the present organization of the Native tribes, the improved arms with which they had supplied themselves, and their recent triumph over the White inhabitants of a neighbouring State, had brought the relations of the British Colonists and the Natives to such a state that some steps must be promptly taken to guard against the imminent danger of a Native war. He wished also to notice one statement made by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), that in the various Colonial Governments which had been administered by Sir Henry Barkly, the oppression of the Natives had been a distinguishing feature. In answer to that, he ventured to say on his own responsibility—and he believed his testimony would be confirmed by those who had previously held office—that that was not the experience of the Colonial Department. Throughout a long and honourable career Sir Henry Barkly had served his country in no respect to greater advantage in his treatment of Native races. He thought it only fair to state that much on behalf of an old and most valued public servant.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 221; Noes 22: Majority 199.—(Div. List, No. 249.)

NOES— Biggar, J. G. Cameron, C.
Chamberlain, J. Dilke, Sir C. W. Dillwyn, L. L.
Earp, T. Fawcett, H. Gray, E. D.
Ingram, W. J. Martin, P. Meldon, C. H.
O'Clery, K. O'Conor Don O'Donnell, F. H.
O'Gorman, P. O'Shaughnessy Parnell, C. S.
Power, J. O'C. Power, R. Redmond, W.
Rylands, P. Sinclair, Sir J.
TELLERS—Sir George Campbell and Mr. Courtney.

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 229; Noes 5: Majority 224.—(Div. List, No. 250.)

NOES— O'Donnell,F. Parnell, C. S.
Power, J. O'C. Power, R. Sinclair, Sir J.
TELLERS—Mr. Biggar and Major O'Gorman.

Bill considered in Committee; Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.