HC Deb 01 August 1879 vol 248 cc1853-94

in rising to call attention to the administration of Native Affairs in South Africa, especially in connection with the origin and conduct of the late War with the Galekas and Gaikas; and to move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire on the spot into the policy which has led to these and other wars in South Africa, and which has resulted in large annexations of territory and increase of responsibility, in spite of repeated protests from successive British Governments; said that, looking at the importance of the subject, he hoped the House would consider a few hours passed in the discussion of the question time not wasted, even at that late period of the Session. At the outset, he might say that he was aware he could not put his Motion for a Royal Commission; but, even if he could, he had no intention to press it to a Division; so that if the Motion which had just been made by the hon. and gallant Member for Hereford (Colonel Arbuthnot) had been negatived with the object of preventing a vote from being taken those tactics had been quite unnecessary. He did not propose his Resolution as a Party one, or with a view of making it a vehicle for any attack upon the Government; neither did he intend to bring the Zulu War within the discussion, with the exception of saying that it did not stand alone, but was only an incident, an illustration of a whole course of policy—bad fruit from a bad tree, which, if not cut down at the root, would bear more bad fruit in future. The history of our rule in South Africa, and of the proceedings of the Colonial Government, was really the history of periodic Native Wars; originated, in many cases, in direct opposition to the instructions of the Government of the day, and ending in results which the Home Government and the British Parliament had over and over again deprecated. The present war, which all agreed in deploring, he hoped would soon be terminated. It was a war commenced in injustice, and prosecuted in disaster, and would have a termination only to be considered satisfactory, because it was the end of a war which should never have been begun; but it was a war that, unless we went deeper than there had hitherto been an inclination to go, would soon recur again. The history of these Native Wars was not unlike the course of zymotic disease. Medical scientists told of outbreaks of scarlet fever and smallpox as recurring at periodic intervals. They came in waves, they reached their maximum, and at last subsided—to be followed, after a term which could almost be exactly predicted, by fresh outbreaks. In regard to these outbreaks, we dealt with each as it occurred; but the present state of our knowledge did not permit us to discover the underlying causes, so that they might be dealt with in a way to insure their extirpation. So, also, with these South African Wars; we had dealt with each as it arose, not making a provision against the recurrence of future wars. A brief review of the history of the Colony would show similar causes continually producing the same results, and would show the Home Government, under different Administrations, powerless to prevent the execution of a policy which it constantly disapproved, against which it had repeatedly protested, and of which it foresaw the fatal consequences. In 1806 we took final possession of the Colony, a most unfortunate acquisition, as it turned out. Never had it become a Colony in the ordinary sense of the word—in the sense of such Colonies as those in America or Australia, where many millions of our own blood had founded homes and lived out prosperous and useful lives. At the present time, all the vast territory belonging to the Crown in South Africa was inhabited by a mere handful of men and women of English blood. The latest Return showed only 120,000 of English descent in. the whole of the Colonies; while, on the other hand, the Dutch population was three to one of the English, and the Native population five times as numerous as the English and Dutch together. Therefore, all that had been done, and all the money spent in these Colonies by us, had not been so much for the benefit of our English fellow-subjects, but partly for the advantage of the Dutch, with whose views on Colonial policy in many respects we could have no real sympathy, and chiefly, we must suppose, for the good of the millions of Natives brought under our rule. The House would soon see how far this last presumption had been justified in the event. We had hardly taken possession of the Colony before we found ourselves in hot water, and squabbles broke out—the first of a series—with the Kaffirs in 1811. That war broke out, as most of them had, from the greed of the Colonists, leading to a land dispute; and it ended, as all these wars had, with a large annexation of territory, with increased responsibility, sowing the seeds of new and increasing troubles. In 1811 the Native Tribes were driven across the Great Fish River, and that river was established as our line of boundary; but in 1819, after a second Kaffir War of some importance, as he learned from subsequent debates in the House, the Great Fish River was considered an unscientific Frontier, and it was said that, owing to the banks being lined with thick bush, Native inroads were encouraged, and it was necessary to carry the Border line further North and East. Accordingly, that was done, with the promise, or the anticipation at least, that we had, with the new Frontier, come to an end of our troubles. But a third war, more serious than the two preceding it, broke out in 1834, and on that occasion Cape Colony was invaded by the Kaffirs, who committed great devastation and outrages. Well, the command of the troops was intrusted to Sir Harry Smith, and, after various vicissitudes, the Natives were defeated, and Sir Harry Smith, not satisfied with the scientific Frontier, annexed the country to the Kei River, and declared the Tribes subject to Great Britain. This was not done, however, with the approval of the Home Government, and Lord Glenelg, then Secretary for the Colonies, declared that the Kaffirs were amplyjustified in the rebellion into which they had been driven, and directed that the country which had been annexed should be evacuated, and the independence of the Tribes restored. And here he (Mr. Chamberlain) would just refer to an astounding statement attributed to Sir Bartle Frere, on the occasion when the Boers had met to hear the opinions of the High Commissioner. Sir Bartle Frere told them that never in the history of the country had any territory over which the British flag had ever waved been restored to independence. Now, here, he (Sir Bartle Frere) spoke in ignorance of, or in direct contradiction to facts, for not only was there the restoration of this territory on the side of the Kei; but, on another occasion, there was the Orange River Free Territory restored to independence. An hon. Friend near him mentioned the Ionian Islands; but he (Mr. Chamberlain) preferred to confine his observations to South Africa merely. The opinion of the Government and of Lord Glenelg was confirmed by that of the House; and a Committee, upon which sat many distinguished men, among others the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), reported that the war had arisen from "systematic forgetfulness of the principles of justice on the part of the Colonists." The next step in this sad, eventful history was reached in 1846, when war again broke out—and here he would urge the House to observe how past experience showed all through the history the constantly fruitless efforts on the part of the British Government to control the action of their servants in the Colony, who were, as Sir William Moles-worth said, "possessed with an insane desire for worthless empire." Lord Grey wrote to Sir Henry Pottinger, who was in command of our troops, that it was not desirable To extend the dominions of the Crown in South Africa, fresh acquisitions being not only worthless, but pernicious. It was like the irony of fate that, 33 years later, we found similar instructions being sent out by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and, it was to be feared, with as little good result. What happened in 1846? It was all very well for Lord Grey to send private instructions to Sir Henry Pottinger; but that war ended as all wars to come seemed likely to end, and as its predecessors had ended, in annexation. The scientific Frontier of 1819 was found to be unscientific, and the land which had been restored after the war of 1834 was once more taken possession of. The Colonial Administration forced the hand of the Government at home, and 200,000 square miles of additional territory were annexed—a country as large as the whole of Germany, the greater portion a mere desert, and thousands of miles without a White inhabitant. The natural result of what occurred in 1846 was a fifth war, which broke out in 1850, when Lord Grey, apparently still sanguine, again declared that Great Britain had no interest in further acquisitions. In spite of that declaration, however, the war ended in fresh annexations. One good result, at least, followed the outbreak of 1850. The nation was alarmed at the constant succession of petty wars involving a continuous drain on its resources, both in men and money. Public attention was directed to the subject, and there were frequent debates in Parliament, in the course of which our whole policy was reviewed and criticized. It was curious, in reading the debate of 1851—in which one found the names of so many well-known Members, most of whom had since passed away—to see how strictly it applied to the present circumstances. Mr. Adderley (now Lord Norton) said-— The circumstances are these—An apparently needless and hopeless recurrence of Native wars on the frontier of the Colony, equally destructive to the lives, liberties, and prosperity of the Colonists themselves, keeping up a state of hostility with the Native Tribes, and ending neither in their civilization, nor subjugation, and causing enormous waste and extravagance to this country, and great perplexity to the Imperial Government."—[3 Hansard, cvi, 230.] Still more strongly did Sir William Molesworth condemn the policy in South Africa which fomented little squabbles—mere matters of police interference—into wars; and he pointed out how the aggression of the Colonists provoked reprisals, until British troops had to be brought on the scene. These debates produced a great effect on public opinion, both at home and in the Colony; and the result was that, thanks to them, and, perhaps, also to the prudence and wisdom of successive Governors and Administrators, for some 20 years the Colony enjoyed comparative peace and tranquillity. But now all this had been reversed. Once again they were in the midst of a war cycle; once more the war wave had raised its crest; and, with the advent to office of Sir Bartle Frere, the old causes of war were brought into prominence, with the old unfortunate results. In fact, since that advent, there had been six or seven petty wars, to every one of which he might apply almost the same words as those used, by Lord Glenelg, in regard to previous Kaffir wars, and say that the Natives were not without some justification in the quarrels in which they found themselves involved. Without referring to the Zulu War, as to which public opinion was sufficiently informed, he would call the attention of the House to others less known, because less disastrous in result and less expensive in prosecution, but not, on that account, less unjust in their inception. If the whole circumstances of any one of these wars could be stated fully in the House by one who had sufficient influence to secure, not only a patient, but a favourable hearing, then the simple narration of the horrors which had been committed in the British name would create such a feeling that, once for all, the recurrence of such things would be put a stop to. If English Gentlemen knew what was being done in South Africa under the British flag in the English name, by men protected by British soldiers and provided with British money, there would go forth such a cry as would be a warning to all Colonial Governors in the future, and would, once for all, bring the Colonial Administration to book. There had been two wars in Griqualand, East and West; but of those he would say nothing in detail, but would simply quote the words of a responsible official—namely, Mr. Southey, late Lieutenant Governor of Griqualand West, who, speaking in his place in the Cape Legislature on June 6, said— He could not undertake to say why the Griquas had rebelled; but he thought that if he had been treated as the Griquas of Griqualand West had been treated he would have rebelled himself, although he was a loyal man, and had a high respect for the British Government. He must not either say anything about the astounding aggression committed on the St. John's River Territory in Pondoland; but he would call attention to the Transkei War with the Galekas and the Gaikas. Although it was not the worst of these wars, it was important, having regard to the expenditure which it involved and the results which followed it. He would, first, state to the House the cost of this outbreak—both in money and in life. It was stated by Mr. Gordon Sprigg, the Prime Minister, to have cost the Colony the sum of £1,250,000 sterling; but he (Mr. Chamberlain) thought that in that amount was included the ordinary military expenditure which a State must expect to have to bear as a provision for defence and the preservation of internal order. There was, however, in addition to that sum, a charge of £611,000 paid by this country. Therefore, assuming the accuracy of Mr. Sprigg's estimate, the total cost of the war was close upon £2,000,000 sterling. But it would be a mistake to suppose that that sum represented the whole military expenditure in the South African Colonies, exclusive of the Zulu War. Prom 1871 to 1879 this country had paid £3,316,000 for wars in the Cape, Natal, and the Transvaal, and against that had only received back £163,000. The total expenditure by this country in South Africa was of such a character and of such a magnitude that he did not wonder in the least at a statement made by a Colonist to a special correspondent of a newspaper that, as far as the class to which he belonged was concerned, war beat sugar cultiva- tion into fits, and that as long as war continued the Colony was sure to be prosperous. In 1851 the same idea was expressed in different language. It was then almost a proverb in the Colony that war would never end till the price of wagons fell." In our most recent experience the price of wagons had exceeded anything known before, and it was not surprising that the High Commissioner's policy was popular with those who found their profit in it. Looking, then, at these wars solely in reference to the amount of money which they cost, it was worth the while of Parliament seriously to consider the causes which had led to them. He should like to know how much of this expenditure the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to recover? The ordinary Revenue of the Cape Colony was only about £750,000 a-year, and that of Natal £250,000, and he did not see how the £3,000,000 now overdue, and the £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 for the Zulu War, was to be re-paid out of that. Coming next to the expenditure of human life, he found that 193 Europeans were said to have lost their lives in the Transkei, and, in addition, 3,680 Natives were known to have been killed, and there were others of whom no account could be gathered. That was the result of the philanthropic and beneficent rule of which we had heard so much. Now, let the House consider what was the origin of that war. A party of Galekas invited a party of Fingoes to a beer-drinking. One of the Galekas was killed in a dispute with a Fingo, and several petty frays ensued, in which two or three Natives on both sides lost their lives. The quarrel was one of no serious importance, and might have been put down by the police. But it was not to the interest of our Colonial Governors that causes of war should be dealt with in that summary way. One of the Galeka Chiefs, Kreli, was summoned to his presence by Sir Bartle Frere; but he declined to surrender, although he implored that a messenger might be sent to him, and promised that he would receive him and listen to anything he might say. Mr. Eustace, however, to whom the conduct of the matter was left by Sir Bartle Frere, again summoned Kreli, who again refused to surrender himself. Mr. Eustace complained that Kreli had not restrained the Galekas, upon which Kreli retorted that the British Government found difficulty in restraining the Fingoes, and it was to be expected that Kreli would find it difficult to restrain the Galekas. That statement was not made without good foundation, for Mr. Eustace himself admitted that, on two occasions at least, the Fingoes had been the aggressors, and had made raids on Kreli's territory. The Government, however, deposed Kreli from his position as Chief, and confiscated the whole of his lands—a proceeding which seemed to him (Mr. Chamberlain) like that of selling the skin of the lion before the lion was himself taken. The proclamation to that effect was issued on October 5; and on November 13 it was followed by public advertisements, offering Kreli's land in allotments of 3,000 acres and less to intending settlers. It was impossible not to connect this eagerness to dispose of Kreli's land with the arbitrary haste by which Kreli had been almost driven into rebellion. In fact, all our dealings with the Native Tribes of late had been characterized by indifference to the necessary consequences of such proceedings. The idea of our true policy, expressed by Sir Bartle Frere in one of his despatches, was the idea which found favour with the Colonists. Sir Bartle Frere wrote, on December 14, 1878— Experience in every part of the world, but especially in India, proves that it is quite possible for a Native and comparatively uncivilized Power to co-exist alongside a European Power, and to be gradually raised by it to a higher stage of civilization, without losing either its individual existence, or such natural customs as are not inconsistent with civilization. But it is undoubtedly necessary that the two Powers should settle from the first which is to be the superior, and -which is to be subordinate."—[Parl. P. C. 2,222, p. 211.] No doubt the Colonists were honestly persuaded of this necessity—they were anxious to settle this question of supremacy—and assuming, as they did, that war must come, they were altogether indifferent to the justice of the pretexts which led up to a foregone conclusion. Kreli having been driven into rebellion, the mischief did not end there. We soon found ourselves committed to a struggle with Sandilli also, who was the Chief of a still more powerful Tribe called Gaikas. What drew Sandilli into the contest was not quite clear; but it was stated that he was induced to join the rebellion by the representations of a Galeka Chief named Mopassa, who had come into British territory when the dispute with Kreli began, and had been immediately disarmed, with his Tribe, in pursuance of Sir Bartle Frere's policy in this matter. This question of disarmament was a very difficult and important one, and deserved more consideration than it had hitherto received. In the first place, it should be borne in mind that the Colonists themselves had connived at the arming of the Native population till very recent times. In six years the Cape Colony had received £750,000 of Revenue from the importation of arms and ammunition. In Gri-qualand West, under the administration of Mr. Southey, the Natives were tempted to work in the diamond mines by the expectation of obtaining guns and powder. At that time the idea was that it was good policy to put the Natives in. a position to hold their own against the Dutch in the Transvaal; but when we annexed that Republic we found ourselves "hoist with our own petard." After paying the Natives with arms, as a kind of truck, thinking they would be used against the Boers, the Colonial Government suddenly turned round and threatened openly to disarm all Natives, loyal or rebel alike, as soon as they found that these arms might be turned against the Colonists. The whole thing appeared to be illegal; but that did not much concern the authorities at the Cape. Arms were taken from the Natives in districts which were not disturbed or proclaimed in accordance with the provisions of the Colonial Act; and, although the rifles were taken, no compensation was given as the Act provided. No wonder there was a general feeling of discontent and disaffection among the Native Border Tribes. The Cape Argus said— In the wars which have hitherto taken place the disaffection may have been "widespread; but the grievances of each Tribe were local. Disarmament affects all; the Government makes no distinction—every black man, Fingo or Galeka, loyal or rebel, must give up his arms. He hoped the attention of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State would be directed to these proceedings, and that he would take care that they were conducted with some reasonable show of discretion. It was this that led to the rebellion of Moirosi, the Chief whose submission it had since been attempted to compel, by the use of dynamite, to drive him from the caves, in which, with his women and children, he had taken refuge—aproceedingunknown in civilized warfare, and which brought lasting disgrace on the perpetrators. He had spoken of the policy of the Colonists as having been constantly directed to enforcing British supremacy on the Native Chiefs without much regard to the justice of the case. He would now take one illustration, out of several with which he had been furnished, of the method and spirit in which this policy was pursued. The instance which he desired to bring before the House was that of Tini Macomo, a Gaika Chief, whose forefathers had possessed a portion of the land on the south side of the Kei, which was now British territory. This man, some years ago, bought back from the Colonists a considerable portion of the land formerly owned by his Tribe, and settled upon it with many of his people. His presence in their midst was distasteful to the surrounding settlers, most of whom were of Dutch origin. There ensued a series of angry disputes; and it was alleged that Macomo's people stole the cattle of their neighbours, and this, added to their refusal to work for the farmers as day labourers, exasperated the Europeans, who established a post of Fingo police on Macomo's land. The Fingoes were the hereditary enemies of the Gaikas, and Macomo protested in strong language against the proceeding. Thereupon, he was immediately served with a warrant to appear at the Circuit Court, and to answer a charge of rebellion. To show what sort of danger was to be anticipated from this Chief, he (Mr. Chamberlain) might mention that the warrant was served personally by the Deputy Sheriff, who went down alone to Macomo's location for the purpose. Macomo, however, refused to obey the warrant, from a fear, which was not unnatural under the circumstances, that he would be detained as a prisoner. His own father had been imprisoned by the Colonial Government on a somewhat similar occasion, and had been killed in trying to make his escape from confinement in Robben Island, a punishment almost worse than death to a savage accustomed to a free life in the open air. No attempt was made by the Colonial authorities to re-assure the Chief or to settle the quarrel amicably; but a large armed force of 1,200 men, consisting of soldiers, free lances, Fingoes, and others, went at night, burnt all his huts, shot down his people right and left, and carried off women and children to gaol. They were not particular as to the ownership of the cattle they stole, nor as to the particular Tribe of the Black men they killed. In this expedition, not a single man on the Colonists' side was killed or wounded. He had seen a letter from a Colonist on the spot, in which, speaking of this affair, he said— Our proceedings in the Fort Beaufort district have been disgraceful in the extreme. True, there were cattle thieves there; but why go with soldiers and the riff-raff of the country, in the night, to make war on innocent and guilty alike, burn their houses, steal their cattle, and shoot them down like vermin? It was an act of bloody, brutal, barbarous murder, and it was time the right name should be applied to an action which almost made a man ashamed to be an Englishman. After this exploit of the Colonial Forces Macomo became a rebel, in fact, and joined Sandilli. He was taken prisoner, and sentenced to be hanged. The sentence had been since commuted to a long term of penal servitude. He might multiply instances of the kind, for he found them throughout the Papers which had been sent home, and considered that they were due solely to the fact that the Colonists knew they were protected from the consequences of their own acts by the presence of the British troops. Sir William Molesworth, in 1851, said— The presence of the troops encouraged, facilitated, and hastened the encroachments of the Europeans on the lands of the Caffres, and on various pleas we took possession of their territories and claimed authority over their chiefs. The Caffres resisted, stole the cattle of the Colonists, and committed numerous depredations. The Colonists retaliated; the troops were called out, and a Caffre war ensued. With the termination of each war we added to our territories, and thus sowed the seeds of more cattle stealing and more wars."—[3 Hansard, cxv. 1386.] He had something more to tell the House than these facts concerning the injustices connected with the commencement of the war. He had to speak now of the cruelties and excesses which had accompanied the prosecution of the war. He was glad, however, to believe, both, from information he had received from individuals and from what he had read, that none of these excesses had been committed by British troops. They were due entirely to Colonial troops, and to a class of adventurers almost peculiar to unsettled Colonies, who always came to the front in connection with lawless deeds of the kind he had to narrate. It was one of the most distressing consequences of these wars with inferior races that they had a tendency to brutalize all who were concerned in them, and practices unheard of in civilized warfare were openly avowed and defended in the course of these miserable contests. A good number of Questions had already been put and answered in the House in reference to alleged outrages by British and Colonial troops. In some cases the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had been able to contradict the statements which had been made; and, no doubt, there were often great exaggerations. But having carefully looked through the Papers, and having conversed with several gentlemen who had lately returned from the Colony, he (Mr. Chamberlain) was afraid that where there was so much smoke there was some fire, and even if the worst stories were untrue, yet the state of feeling among many of the Colonists was such as at least to make these outrages possible. No doubt, there were some men of a curiously depraved imagination, who actually boasted of offences they had never committed, and took a strange pride in making themselves out to be worse than they really were; but, making all allowance for this perverseness, he did not see how the cases he was going to quote could be satisfactorily explained away. Thus, he found that Mr. Justice Dwyer, in his address to the jury, on opening the adjourned Circuit Court at King William's Town in April last, stated that— They all knew that the Kaffirs were often fired on in a most wanton manner. He mentioned as an instance that, as he was coming from Grahamstown, just after passing the Kieskama, he noticed an old Kaffir in a red blanket going along the side of the road quite harmlessly, and without any arms. Directly afterwards they heard firing, and, looking back, saw that one of the passengers in Thomas's cart, and one, if not more, of the police had fired at this old man without any provocation or reason. In another case, a coloured corporal, named Jackson, went out with a detachment of men, and coming across a party of Kaffirs, a party much smaller than his own, shot one of them dead without more ado. Those Kaffirs turned out to be loyal men, and Jackson was sentenced to three years' hard labour. So far there was nothing very remarkable, save that the retribution for the offence was altogether insufficient. What, however, called for comment was the way in which the conviction was received in the Colony. Numerous meetings were held, attended by persons of alleged influence, and, in reference to the point, he would read the following extract from The Port Elizabeth Telegraph, dated July 23, 1878:— A public meeting was held with the view of obtaining a remission or commutation of the sentence passed on Charles Jackson for shooting a rebel. Commandant Sprigg (brother of the Colonial Secretary) said—'I might be brought up on a similar charge to-morrow. If I do not go out of the corps in which I have served, I could go and swear information against five officers who are as bad or worse than Jackson. The five officers would include Commandant Brabant and myself. If these prosecutions are to be, let us have some of the big ones in. Here are five men who are guilty of very similar crimes for which Jackson has been sentenced. I defy, I dare, the Government to prosecute all those five; and I am ready to supply all the information requisite.' If this was the spirit in which the Colonists treated such a question, was it not likely that many similar outrages were perpetrated of which no one in England ever heard? Here was a Commandant in the Colonial Forces, a brother of the Prime Minister, publicly accusing himself of crimes for which another man was justly undergoing a felon's punishment, and. clamouring to stand beside him, and to be written down a scoundrel. He would next quote an extract from a Correspondent's letter, dated January 11, 1878, which appeared in one of the Colonial papers— If the men marching against Sandilli will take my advice, they will shoot every black face they come across; let the expression 'cold blood' be cast from your minds; shoot every Kaffir you see, whether he shows fight or not, always remembering the deaths of those three good and valued men who were so murdered and mutilated at the Kwelegha. Don't listen to the cry of 'We are "school" Kaffirs fighting for government;' depend upon it they are as bad as the rest, if not worse, as their education ought to teach, them better, the uncivilized barbarians. He did not desire to press too far the conclusions which might be drawn from such a letter as that, but it must be assumed that the writer knew something of the public he was addressing; and if a statement of that kind could appear in a newspaper without a universal cry of horror and indignation, did not the House think it was possible that men might be found bad and base enough to take the advice thus given? He would give two other instances, with the view of showing what value was attached in the Colony to a black man's life. A Swede, named Mark, was brought up at the King William's Town Circuit Court, presided over by the Chief Justice, and charged with shooting a Kaffir, who was out on an errand from an English magistrate. His defence was that he thought the man was a rebel. He was found guilty, recommended to mercy, and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. At the same Assizes a man of Dutch extraction, when passing some Kaffirs, who were going quietly along the road, turned round, and, without the slightest provocation, shot one of them. The Judge told him he had been guilty of an act of pure devilment, but only sentenced him to three years' hard labour. At the same time, a son of the Chief Sandilli was charged with rebellion, and sentenced to 20 years' penal servitude. He pleaded guilty, and said, in his defence, that he had only obeyed the commands of his Chief. He added that he had killed no one, neither man, woman, nor child. Therefore, for shooting a Kaffir without cause, a man was only sentenced to three years' imprisonment; whereas another man, for the simple act of rebellion, was sentenced to 20 years. These things, although, perhaps, not done by men of our blood, were done by people under our authority, and we were morally responsible for them, so long as English soldiers were employed, and English money expended in protecting the Colonists from the consequences of their injustice and wrong-doing. And our responsibility did not cease even with the termination of the war. At that moment the English flag was covering a system of openly taking men, women, and children belonging to the Native Tribes and placing them in what was called forced labour, but which, he ventured to say, the House would be unable to distinguish from Slavery in its worst form as it once ex- isted in the Southern States of America. It was pretended that the object of these arrangements was to save the women and children of rebels who had been slain in the war from starvation; and the right hon. Baronet opposite the Secretary of State for the Colonies had, until recently, been under the impression that the system was purely philanthropic; but he thought that within the last few days the right hon. Gentleman had seen very good reason to doubt the accuracy of his opinion. It was undoubtedly the fact that while the men were in the Bush their wives and children were kept separated from them by the act of the Colonial Government, and others were kept in actual slavery—being allotted out to different districts. In the Papers just presented to the House there appeared a copy of a Proclamation, signed by the Secretary for Native Affairs, declaring that it was inexpedientto grant passes to Kaffirs for the purpose of fetching their wives and families who were indentured in the Western Province, and directing all commissioners and magistrates to refuse such passes accordingly. He (Mr. Chamberlain) had only recently had the pleasure of conversing with a gentleman, representing an American newspaper at the seat of war, and that journalist had told him that he had himself seen a cargo of women and children, many of the latter not more than two years old, brought down to be placed out in the East London district. Their husbands were fighting or fugitives in the Bush; the elder children had been stopped and placed out with the farmers on the Frontier, while they themselves were going to work many miles away. In 1878, thousands of Native men, women, and children, some of whom were the families of men in rebellion, and others were starving, consequent upon a severe drought and political disturbances, were sent by shiploads to Cape Town, and moved by other means to the Northern and Western districts of the Colony. Government called upon all persons who wanted servants to apply for them to the several magistrates or special officers, and this invitation was very freely accepted. Men, women, and children were allotted to applicants at a very low rate of wages, and in many cases for no wages at all, by the officers of Government, who always stipulated for clothing and rations—the clothing clause was a dead letter from the very first, excepting in a few rare instances; and the rations were so poor and insufficient that Government had to publish a notice on the subject, and to fix the amount of food the people ought to get. The compulsory indenture of these people was not provided for by law excepting in this way—there was an Act rendering it penal for them to be in the Colony without a pass, unless in service; so, after being conveyed into the Colony, they had to choose between going to gaol, or going into service on terms and for periods in which they had no voice whatever. Families were in this way divided, children torn from their parents, and husbands from their wives. The young were treated as destitute children, and indentured accordingly, as farm servants, for longer or shorter periods, according to ages in most cases, till they were grown up, in opposition very often to the letter and spirit of the law; and, in all cases, to the spirit of it. Even when the letter was observed the system was exactly the same as that which was prevalent in the Transvaal, before annexation, and with which we found so much fault. The Cape Dutch said, and their sentiments had been echoed by the majority of English Colonists— At last the English Government is adopting our plan; they see that schwart schapsals (the black creatures) were meant to be the white man's slaves, and they are acting accordingly. Was there anything to distinguish such a system from the worst form of South American slavery? When the Boers practised it we had no words strong enough to express our horror, and it was even made one of the grounds of our interference in the affairs of the Transvaal. But it was openly and un-disguisedly carried on under English authority. He would admit that the right hon. Gentleman had called the attention of Sir Bartle Frere to the question; but he (Mr. Chamberlain) feared that was poor satisfaction. They would get replies which would probably tell them of the beneficence of the law which he had shown was constantly evaded. Unless there was somebody on the spot intrusted with the duty of putting things straight, in spite of all opposition, he was certain the present state of affairs would continue until such time as a reform would come too late for some of the poor creatures to profit by it. The Prime Minister of the Colony, the Hon. Mr. Sprigg, in a recent speech at Cape Town, remarked that no good impression could be made upon the old people, but that it must be made upon the young; and for this purpose he actually proposed to bring the children from their families, and to put them out to compulsory service. In a succeeding passage the hon. Gentleman said— I quite agree with Dr. Ross that it would be a good thing to bring down every year a certain number of young people from the locations and put them out to compulsory service. But if we do that, we must be prepared to meet with strong opposition from home. During the late war we brought down some 5,000 or 6,000 people from the Frontier, who were settled down here, and, in consequence of that, the attention of the House of Commons is to be called to the great cruelty we were guilty of in bringing them down here and sentencing them to compulsory service in Cape Town. I myself should be very glad to carry out the scheme suggested by Dr. Ross; but it would be said if we did so that we were endeavouring to set up slavery in the Colony. But that charge ought not to be a sufficient reason to prevent our doing so. We are not to be dismayed by public opinion in England, for we have the government of the Colony in our hands, and understand better how to manage Natives in this Colony, how to administer the government for their benefit, and how to lead them on step by step to civilization than any man in England. He asked the House whether it was tolerable that this thing should continue to go on, and be covered, as it were, by their English responsibility, and that millions of money should be taken from the British taxpayers for the benefit of gentlemen who publicly repudiated any deference to English opinion? Let him just recall the fate which had befallen these so-called rebels. Thousands of Natives in the Transkei War had been killed; thousands more had died of starvation; the survivors bad had their lands taken from them, and had seen their huts burnt, and their women and children enslaved. Surely those wretched people had suffered more than sufficient retribution. But what had been the treatment of the loyal Natives? After submitting themselves to English authority, they were ruthlessly deported to a new location which was totally inadequate for their support. Government sent Mr. Brownlee to "make known its word" to the loyal Gaikas of Sandilli's Tribe, and this was what Mr. Brownlee was reported to have said— If you do not go willingly, you will get yourselves into trouble and force will be used. Government says go, and you must go. Place no difficulties in the way as to invalids or cattle. I say again, the sooner you go the better for you. Fifteen thousand Natives, loyal and rebel alike, were driven into a territory 26 miles by 12, which, as he had said, was quite insufficient to support them. A correspondent of The Cape Argus, who said it was heartrending to know that half-starved people were driven like slaves from their homes, which were then committed to the flames, and that the sick were abandoned in the open air, asked whether these things were done by a Christian Government? The question for the House was, whether they were approved by a Christian Government? In the Resolution he had placed upon the Paper he invited the House to resolve that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that an impartial Commission should be sent out to investigate the allegations which had been made. Commissions had been appointed on previous occasions with a like object in view—notably, in the case of Jamaica—and it appeared to him that he had made out, at all events, a sufficient case for a careful, impartial, and an immediate inquiry. If they did not do that, what alternative was suggested? We could not leave things as they were, nor could we adopt Sir Bartle Frere's policy, which would involve us in war with the Native Tribes until we had reduced them to slavery to prevent them "festering in idleness." He said, on page 1,447 of the Papers, C 2374— It must be a fundamental principle that the supremacy of the British Crown as representing civilized government should be unquestionable in any Native State, surrounded as the Zulus are by British subjects and their Allies. And, again— Large masses of uncivilized Natives must not be left within our own dominions to fester in idleness. Sir Bartle Frere in his latest despatch still urged on Her Majesty's Government his old policy—still unchanged by what had happened, still unconverted by the unhappy results we had experienced; and he (Mr. Chamberlain) was of opinion that unless this headstrong Governor was either recalled or controlled by a most stringent instruction, sent to him by Her Majesty's Government, we should find that shortly we should be involved in further troubles. Her Majesty's Government appeared still to incline to the policy of Confederation; but a Confederation would lead to a policy in which Dutch influence would be predominant, and what that meant we knew from Sir Bartle Frere's earlier despatches, which stated that the Dutch Boers derived their notions of the rights of the Natives from accounts in the Old Testament of the dealings of the Hebrews with the Tribes whom they encountered. He admitted that the question was an extraordinarily difficult one, and that was why he did not desire that his Motion should be considered a Party Resolution. It seemed to him that the question was one upon which all Parties might fairly combine, in order to endeavour to prevent the recurrence of the evils which all persons alike deplored. One thing he, however, hoped the British Parliament would not do—namely, that it would not sit down in the spirit of Mahommedan fatalism and accept as the manifest destiny of this country that, in spite of repeated protests, headstrong officials at the Cape, or circumstances of any kind, should be too strong for us, and should prevent the execution of a policy upon which we had determined. The hon. Gentleman concluded by reading the Motion of which he had given Notice.


pointed out that the hon. Member could not now move his Resolution as an Amendment.


said, he would have seconded the Motion, if the Forms of the House had permitted his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) to move it. In the consideration of questions of Imperial interest, there was some danger of a subject of this kind being lost sight of; and, therefore, his hon. Friend had done well in calling attention to the matter. The condition of the Colony was very unsatisfactory when it was described by Mr. Froude, and he (Mr. W. H. James) believed that it had. got much worse since. It would appear, from the statements of Judges made upon the Bench, that Natives were wantonly murdered; in consequence of which retaliatory proceedings were taken by the Natives, as appeared from an article in The Revue des Deux Mondes, the writer of which dwelt upon the dangerous condition resulting from the uncomfortable feeling that prevailed between the White and the Black races in South Africa. On the occasion of a disturbance in Griqualand East, which arose out of a squabble in a booth or tent, two Chiefs were arrested. One of them escaped into Pondoland, returning some time afterwards with a Pondo Chief and a number of Griquas. They were met near the capital by a force of Colonial police. The Pondo Chief hoisted a flag of truce, but it was disregarded. The police attacked, and a number of Griquas were killed. The prisoners taken were, it was said, to be tried as prisoners of war; but now it was understood they were to be treated as rebels, as others had been who were now working as Colonists, which was exceedingly unjust and unfair. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give the question some attention, and, if he found it possible, permit these poor people, after the war was over, to return to their homes. He threw out the suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman, if he were anxious to redress the wrongs and woes which had sunk deep into the minds of the Native population, whether it would not be advisable to take that course, and by an act of justice grant free pardon to all who had been implicated in the late rebellion. He did not wish to claim any monopoly for those who sat on that side of the House for humane sentiment, and he appealed to hon. Members opposite to aid them. There was no doubt that the Colonists were in favour of war. The speeches made by them at public meetings in aid of Sir Bartle Frere's policy proved that. He earnestly hoped that a new start would now be made, that a new policy would be adopted, and that all who were concerned in the late rebellions would be amnestied. He would be surprised if we ever got a penny from the Colony for the expenses of this war. The remedy which was required was very plain and practical, and, as a part of the new policy, he trusted that no assistance of a military kind would in future be given to the Colonists. A promise to that effect had been given by Lord John Russell, in reply to a Question put to him by Sir De Lacy Evans as far back as the year 1851, and it had frequently been mentioned since. In future, that policy ought to be strictly given effect to. They might take a useful lesson from what had happened in the case of New Zealand. If they were to deal with the Cape Colonies in the same way as they had dealt with New Zealand, the recurrence of those Native wars would be most improbable. In the old days of the Colonies of America, the Colonists used to drink to "The Memory of the Last War, and the Success of the Next War;" and he much feared that some such sentiment existed among the inhabitants of South Africa. He disapproved of the policy of Sir Bartle Frere, who had encouraged the sending of troops to the Colony, instead of discountenancing the practice; and he was satisfied that unless the Government should write in the very strongest terms to the effect that England would not be willing in the future to incur the expense involved by the employment of her soldiers in South Africa, there would be an indefinite prolongation of such wars as that which we were now waging. He contended that it was hard upon our soldiers that they should be engaged in filibustering wars, and would conclude by expressing a hope that the Government, in order to promote a policy of peace in South Africa, would remove, as soon as possible, all the Imperial Forces which had been sent out to our Colonies in that part of the world.


said, that a more interesting and instructive speech than that delivered by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) had seldom been made in that House. The most noticeable point about the speech to which he referred was the significant manner in which the hon. Member was able to show that these South African wars had all begun, been carried on, and ended in the same way. The lesson which he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) desired should be drawn from the present state of affairs was that the Government should now open a new chapter in connection with our rule in Africa; that they should either form a policy of their own and adhere to it, insisting upon its being carried out; or they should allow the Colonists to form a policy of their own, and carry it out at their own responsibility and risk. So long as we sustained the Colonies in any policy in which they chose to indulge, so long hould we find ourselves engaged in incessant and constantly recurring wars. The wars of South Africa always began in the eagerness of the Colonists to obtain the land of the Natives. It was time, he thought, that we should put an end to what was the most shocking chapter of our history; but the chapter would not be closed until a radical change of policy should have been effected in our African Colonies. He feared that no such change could be expected from Sir Bartle Frere, for what indication was there of an intention on his part to treat the Imperial Government as a master instead of a servant? There was a passage in Shakespeare which said— You know the man; How unremovable, and fixed he is In his own course. Well, he hoped that, however fixed the policy of Sir Bartle Frere might be in his own mind, the Government would be able to show that they were stronger than the High Commissioner, and that he was not unremovable. He confessed that there was nothing he dreaded more in connection with their Colonial affairs than, a Clive in a wrong place, or a Warren Hastings out of time. He was not, however, without a certain admiration for that tenacity of purpose and faith in himself which Sir Bartle Frere had shown. No one could read through his despatches without feeling a certain regard and admiration for that power and resolve; but he thought it would be a great mistake if the Government were to allow that kind of personal policy to prevail, since it must lead to nothing But constantly recurring wars in South Africa. Now, it was time to put a stop to that, or if they would not put a stop to it, then to accept that as their national policy, and once for all drop their hypocrisy on the score of Russia and other Powers who believed in their manifest destiny to fulfil a certain civilizing mission. He hoped that, from that time at least, this country would start a better chapter of South African history; but that could only be done by the Government either maintaining a policy of their own, or leaving the Colonists to their own policy and to their own responsibility. He would earnestly appeal to Her Majesty's Government to be strong and just in their policy towards South Africa in the future.


said, he thought it was clear from what had been said in the course of the debate that many things had been done in regard to the Native races, not only in South Africa, but also in other Colonies, of which this country had cause to be ashamed. He agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. H. James), that the withdrawal of the Imperial troops from the Colonies had a good effect. He was certain, from his own observation, that it had caused the cessation of hostilities in New Zealand, and he believed the same result would follow their withdrawal from the Cape. It must, however, be borne in mind that in the former case the Maories, though brave and warlike, were comparatively few in number, and that the Colonists were able to defend themselves. It would, therefore, be unfair to compare South Africa with New Zealand owing to the overwhelming number of Kaffirs and other tribes to be dealt with in the former country. He considered that the present war should be brought to a speedy close at any sacrifice, and at any cost—he did so in the interest of humanity; and that the Government should then give the Colonist to understand that in future they must, under all circumstances, defend their own Frontiers and conduct their own wars; and if that were done he believed that we should have fewer wars on hand than we had at present.


desired to say that the feelings which had been expressed on the other side were, to a certain extent, shared by hon. Members on that side. He had listened with pleasure to the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), who had placed the facts before them in such a forcible manner, and with such great moderation and ability. He must, however, admit the grave difficulties encountered by the Government in dealing with the question. He thought when they remembered that in the case of Colonies such as the Motion referred to they were dealing with a White population which numbered only some 20,000, while the Natives were, perhaps, a hundred times that number, they could but be right in taking some opportunity of impressing upon Her Majesty's Government the extreme caution which they ought to exercise in selecting the people to un- dertake the administrative duties. It was true they could not dispute the facts as brought for ward by the hon. Member; and he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the desirability, not only of speedily terminating the present war, but also of taking steps to prevent the recurrence of a similar outbreak.


said, he was gratified at the pleasant character of the debate, and he believed that on both sides of the House there would be found a unanimous expression of opinion with regard to the case so ably put before them by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain). He understood that the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Government were placed in a very difficult position with regard to the serious problem which existed as to our relations with the South African Colonies. He was sure that all of them had sympathized with the Government in the dilemma in which they were placed by recent events, and he hoped that in making any criticism upon the action of the Government he would not be supposed to entertain any Party feeling in the matter, for he honestly desired to make every allowance for the difficulties which the British Government had had to encounter. His hon. Friend had pointed out in his speech, which was not historically correct, but exhibited a perfect appreciation of the position, what was the nature of the policy which had been forced on Her Majesty's Government by the combined efforts of the local Legislatures and the Representative of the Government of England in the administration of the Colony. Well, they had a right to criticize the Government with regard to its policy, and the first question which arose was, how was it possible for such a state of things to come into existence, when they had the Colonial Office in constant communication with the Colonies, provided with constant information on every act which took place, and keeping a sharp lookout—f or if they did not they would soon be reminded of their duty by outsiders on all that took place—how was it that in these circumstances these successive wars had been allowed to arise, and that a very strong amount of repression had not been placed upon them by the Go- vernment at once? He did not blame the Colonial Office for not being able to force their will on the authorities of the Colonies. The real difficulty was the inability of the Colonial Office to force their will on the local Legislatures, particularly when that influence was combined with the influence of a headstrong Representative of the Home Government. There was no doubt as to the facts, and the Government would have been almost free from blame if they had not accepted Sir Bartle Frere's policy, and backed him up and supported him with almost Party virulence. If it had not been for that, he (Mr. Jenkins) would not have attached any direct responsibility to the Government in the matter. In spite of the views held upon the subject by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), he (Mr. Jenkins) was not one of those who believed that what had taken place was a necessary consequence of the annexation of the Transvaal. If a correct policy had been followed after that act, he did not think the facts which were now complained of would have happened. This, as the hon. Member for Birmingham had pointed out, was only the culmination of a principle which had inspired the policy of the various Governments of the Cape up to the present time. Well, now the House had not only to consider the frightful results of the events of the last few months, but something more. In spite of the remonstrances of the Government, they found there still remained at the Cape a High Commissioner, who referred in his last despatch to his views formerly expressed, and seemed to give an indication of his intention to carry out a policy which the majority were anxious to repudiate. His hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham had proposed to send out a Commission to take information on this subject, as they were thoroughly convinced that they could not rely on the official information with which they were supplied. As to the correctness of his view on the subject of the information furnished there could be no mistake. Anyone who examined their Blue Books, and compared them with the information they got outside, would at once see the truth of that view. Attention had again and again been called to the fact that if information was wanted it was not to be had from official sources, and that they had to resort to extraordinary means in order to obtain it. But the question here was, what was the use of sending out a Commission, when they knew the exact nature of the problem they had to solve? What hope was there that it would show them any way out of their difficulties? It had been suggested that they should carry out the New Zealand policy with regard to the Cape Colonies; but he was sure the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Colonies would repudiate that idea. Was the right hon. Gentleman prepared to withdraw the troops from the Cape, and allow a war of extermination to go on between the Whites and the Native races? That must be the inevitable result of withdrawing the troops, and they could not do that. Every humanitarian sentiment in the country would revolt from such a course. We were responsible as a nation for the position of our fellow-countrymen there, and we could not allow them to commit any acts which, would be discreditable to the nation. Then, what was the alternative? If the troops were withdrawn, and they threw the responsibility on the Cape Legislature, then they must give to that body the right to do as it pleased. If not, if we supplied them with troops, we must at the same time limit their right. We must do one thing or the other; that the House should distinctly understand. In this case, he thought they could not pursue the New Zealand policy; or, at all events, not for some years to come. It might be gradually introduced, but it was not practicable now. Well, that being impossible, the country ought to know that the responsibility rested on us, and would rest upon us. The only alternative was for a while, at least until we had succeeded in tiding over present difficulties, to increase the power of the High Commissioner—he hoped another one would be appointed—and to restrict to a certain extent the powers of the local Legislatures. We must not continue to be hurried into wars by petty Legislatures. The House quite appreciated the difficulty of the situation. He could not conceive of anyone coming forward, whatever his influence or authority, and saying what should be the policy of the Government. Therefore, all they could do was what had been done by his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham that day. He had shown them the frightful results of the policy which had been pursued, and asked them, at all events, to give some sort of assurance that they felt the gravity of the circumstances, and that steps would be taken to tide over the period, which must be, for many years to come, one of difficulty and trouble.


said, he was sure he could not in the slightest degree complain on his own part, or on the part of the Government, of the course of the debate, or of the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain). They all appreciated the fact that the problem before them was one of exceptional difficulty, a problem, perhaps, unique in the history of Colonial administration. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman had very properly treated this as by no means a Party question—a question with regard to which, though he felt it to be his duty to bring it before the House, he did not attempt to lay down any definite line of policy; but he was anxious to express, from his own point of view, his desire to support the Government in their attempts to deal with it. There were two points which he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) wished to dismiss with a few words. First of all, the suggestion that the Native question in South Africa was identical with the same question in New Zealand. All those who had looked at the matter would see that, owing to the respective numbers of the White and Native population in South Africa and in New Zealand, the circumstances were as distinct and as dissimilar as any two cases could be. The second point was the suggestion—for it was no more—of the hon. Member for Birmingham that a Commission should be appointed to go out to South Africa to deal with this question. The hon. Member did not press this himself, and the speakers who followed him had not treated it as a practical proposal. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) thought that it could not be so treated, because it must be remembered that they were dealing, not with a Crown Colony like those to which previous Commissions had been sent, but with a Colony to which responsible government had been given by Parliament; and whether he looked at the proposal as viewed from the effect which the appointment of such, a Com- mission might have on the Black races of South Africa, and the excitement that it might cause in their minds, already sufficiently excited by what had passed; or whether he looked at it from the point of view which the Colonists, to whom had been intrusted the management of their own affairs, would be disposed to take, he thought that from neither point was the proposal one which could be considered as a satisfactory solution of the present difficulty. No doubt, in the view of some hon. Gentlemen, a Commission of Inquiry might be desirable merely to obtain information; but, speaking on behalf of the Government, he would venture to state that he had complete confidence in the information supplied by the High Commissioner—he might say the two High Commissioners—now in South Africa; and, so far as any inquiry was concerned, he was convinced that no inquiry would be conducted more effectively by any Commission than it would be by the High Commissioners. He must refer now to the main arguments of the able and eloquent speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, who said that the history of South Africa was a history of periodic Native wars. That, he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) feared, was too true. But as that had been the history of South Africa long before Sir Bartle Frere went there, it did not appear to him to be fair of the hon. Member at the same time to blame Sir Bartle Frere as the cause of it, and to accuse Sir Bartle Frere of having begun six or seven wars, as to every one of which the Natives had justice on their side. The hon. Member said that, in his opinion, all these wars to which he referred had arisen from the greed of the Colonists leading to land disputes with the Natives, and that the Colonial Administration had forced the hand of the Government at Home; but that our state of knowledge did not allow us to go to the underlying causes of these outbreaks. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had endeavoured to make himself acquainted with the origin of these incessantly recurring wars in South Africa, and he might put forward a view with regard to this point which was not merely his own, but the view of men to whose knowledge and authority everyone would defer. So far from agreeing with the hon. Member, that those wars had been due to the greed of the Colonists for the land of the Natives, he believed they were due to two facts, in which the history of South Africa among our Colonial possessions was unique. The first was the movement of the Whites to the North, and the second was the movement of the Blacks to the South. There had been constantly, ever since the British annexation of the Cape Colony, a desire on the part of a certain number of White inhabitants of that Colony for political reasons to push forward into the wilderness to the North. What had that led to? It had led to contests between them and the Native Tribes in whose territory they found themselves—contests attended by circumstances which all regretted and deplored. He could not blame the emigrant settlers for the circumstances which occurred: they were few against many, and were fighting for their lives. But the contests arose, and then the attention of Parliament was from time to time called to the facts; the danger arising from them to our settled Colonies was urged, and a further extension of our Dominions was found to be necessary. But these wars had sometimes arisen without any action of this kind on the part of the Whites. Look at what occurred in the years between 1885 and 1846. In 1835 Lord Glenelg repudiated the action of Sir Benjamin D'Urban, who had annexed the territory between the Kei and the Keiskamma, and directed withdrawal within our former boundary, giving the land from which we withdrew over to the Native Tribes under their Chiefs. What was the result? The result was repeated acts of cattle stealing on the Border by those very Native Tribes, in spite of the Treaties with the Chiefs to whom the land had been restored. No redress could be obtained from those Chiefs. Treaties of a more stringent character were tried; but they were also broken. Prisoners were rescued and murdered within the Colony, and at length the necessity arose of taking measures for the restoration to the Colony of the authority over the land, and thus Lord Glenelg's policy was reversed. That was an instance of the working of the second cause to which he had referred. The extension in this case was not due to any greed on the part of the Colonists; it was due to the pressure from the North, of the Black Tribes, who, pursuing pastoral rather than agricultural habits, increasing largely in numbers from the comparative peace which they enjoyed, owing to the neighbourhood of the Colony, and pressed on the other side by Tribes from the North, desired, on their part, an extension of their boundaries to the South. He would return to the other point—the desire of the Colonists to press to the Northward. There was a strong instance of that in the case of Natal. "What occurred? Some considerable bands of Dutch Colonists migrated from the Cape to Natal, being mainly led to do so by the reversal of the policy of Sir Benjamin D'Urban, and certain restrictions which had been placed upon their relations with their Native servants. Disputes arose between the Dutch and the Natives, and disturbances followed, there being cruelty on both, sides. Danger arose to our organized Colonies, and the Home Government had to interfere, and how was that interference brought about? In 1840, after authentic information had been received of the massacre of some of the Dutch pioneers by the Zulus, the position of those who remained was regarded as so dangerous, not only to themselves, but to the safety of the whole European element in South Africa, that the Government was obliged to extend its possessions by the military occupation and annexation of Natal. That extension was absolutely advocated at the time by the Aborigines Protection Society, in the interests of humanity, against the reluctance of the Imperial Government. Such instances as these which he had given showed the real causes which had been at work in our connection with South Africa, and that the cause of the various extensions of territory was not, as the hon. Member for Birmingham had stated, the greed of the Colonists for the land of the Natives. The hon. Gentleman went at great length into the circumstances which accompanied and followed the Transkei War, and he referred to the policy of disarmament of the Natives, which had been adopted after the conclusion of that war. The hon. Member told the House that it brought about not only Sandilli's outbreak, but also Moirosi's in Basutoland. Judging so far as he could from the statements he had received and laid before the House, he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) did not believe the policy of disarmament had anything to do with either of these outbreaks. Then the hon. Member said that this policy was carried out illegally, and without any discrimination. On the contrary, it had been carried out, he believed, with the utmost care and caution by the Cape Government, and if there had been any breach of the law it would, no doubt, be questioned by the Opposition in the Assembly at Cape Town. He did not agree with the suggestion of the hon. Member, that the possession of arms generally by the Natives of South Africa was a desirable thing. He thought it was an extremely undesirable thing; and to the confidence in their own strength, which the Natives had derived from it, was, in his opinion, mainly due the late series of wars, at the conclusion of which, he hoped, the country had now arrived. Then the hon. Gentleman referred to the question of indenturing Natives; but he did not quote the despatch of July 3 to Sir Bartle Frere. In that despatch, which had been laid on the Table, he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had expressed the views of the Government on that subject; and they were, he thought, in accordance with those held by hon. Members on both sides of the House. If the notice issued by the Cape Government was accurately reported, it was a notice which was not justified by anything which had been reported to him, and he had taken such steps as were in his power to deal with the matter, remembering that although it appeared to be authentic its authenticity had not yet been ascertained, and it was, in any case, only right that an opportunity for explanation should be afforded. The hon. Member had also referred to the speech of Mr. Sprigg, the present Prime Minister of the Cape of Good Hope. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) should receive with reserve the reports of speeches made at dinners in the Colony, unless he knew from what source the speeches were quoted. The report which had been quoted might have been obtained from an Opposition newspaper, and he was afraid that Opposition newspapers in the Colonies were often not more scrupulous in their treatment of Members of the Government than Opposition newspapers in other countries. No doubt, if the report quoted were correct, the sentiments enunciated were entirely objectionable; and he did not doubt that in that event the influence of the Governor of the Cape Colony ought to be, and would be, exerted in the direction which they would all desire. Hon. Members opposite attributed to Sir Bartle Frere grave misconduct with reference to the Zulu War; and on this they seemed ready to heap any number of other charges. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), however, did not know any charge which, could be made against Sir Bartle Frere with less justice than that of attributing to him, as the hon. Member for Birmingham had done, a desire to introduce forced labour into South Africa, or indifference to anything which could be characterized as similar to slavery. Any such conduct would be contrary to the whole history of Sir Bartle Frere's life and action. The hon. Member next dealt with the way in which the Gaikas had been removed to Galekaland, and he referred to the correspondence of an Opposition newspaper, The Cape Argus, containing certain opinions on that point. It was only right to hear also the story as told by the Ministry themselves; and he would read two paragraphs from the speech of Sir Bartle Frere at the opening of the Cape Parliament. Sir Bartle Frere said that he was glad to be able to state, on the testimony of the magistrates and of the Gaikas themselves, that their removal was carried out without hardship, and had been attended with the happiest results. The sale of intoxicating liquors was strictly prohibited, and, instead of indulging in idleness and dissipation, they had settled down to agricultural labour, and promised to be distinguished as a peaceable, orderly, and law-abiding people. As to the allegation that the number of the Galekas had been reduced from 80,000 to 15,000, it was to be remembered that the higher calculation of their number was anterior to what was known as the cattle-killing madness in South Africa, in which, by the mad action of the Kaffirs themselves, there was a large destruction of their supplies of food, and numbers of them perished. In addition to that, they had to bear great suffering from drought. Sir Bartle Frere stated that most of those who objected to the removal of the Gaikas at first now ad- mitted that it was good for the Gaikas themselves, and they unanimously approved the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors, and of the system, of giving individual titles to the land. The hon. Member related—and a painful relation it was—the stories which had reached him of the cruelties committed in these wars. He should be the last to defend any such actions as those which had been described; they were a disgrace to any who perpetrated them, and they reflected disgrace upon us in this country. But he must again remind the House that many of these stories, coming from the correspondence—often, of course, anonymous—of Opposition newspapers, were liable to, at any rate, the suspicion of exaggeration. When the hon. Member composed the sentences passed on White men for crimes committed against Natives and the sentences passed on Natives for crimes committed against White men, it was impossible to follow him in such a comparison without a knowledge of all the circumstances of each case; and, in fairness to the Colonists, statements of the kind ought not to be too readily believed. He was bound to say that some of them, into which it had been his duty to inquire, had been proved to be unfounded; and with regard to others, as the hon. Member admitted, the Colonial Government had discharged its duty by dealing with them promptly and satisfactorily. He feared it was but too possible that there had been actions in these wars which would be liable to the strongest epithets which had been used with regard to them by the hon. Member for Birmingham. But we must remember that this Parliament, some years ago, gave to the Cape Colony the benefit of responsible government; and it was the duty of the Government of the Cape Colony, with which alone it rested, to deal with these matters as they occurred and properly to punish the authors of these crimes. How was it that any circumstances of the sort could have occurred? We ought, he thought, to picture to ourselves precisely the position of affairs at the Cape. There was, unquestionably, a general rising among the Native races, or, if not a general rising, a general feeling of dissatisfaction against the White population of the Colony, who were comparatively small in number, and were often so scattered among almost innumerable Natives as to be comparatively powerless in the event of an outbreak. We were bound to make allowance for men placed in this position; and while we ought to expect from them that, as British subjects, they should be guided by feelings of humanity, he should be disposed to attribute any cruelties that might have occurred to the position in which they were placed, and not to blame the Colonists themselves so much as the system that had been pursued. We had given to South Africa responsible government, and when we gave it we did not accompany it with that which would have secured proper administration with regard to the Native races. We did not take measures to secure that, with the responsibility of administering their own affairs, the Cape Colonists should also undertake their own defence against Native aggression or insurrection. If he had time to go into the circumstances, he could prove that there were real outbreaks on the part of the Natives, not provoked by any action of the Colonists, and when these outbreaks had occurred the Colonists had found themselves without any organized force to deal with them. Volunteers were called for, temporary levies were raised; and he would venture to say, if any of these stories could be traced out, it would be found that they were true only of persons who had not been accustomed to discipline and had not been placed under proper regulation for the conduct of war. It seemed to him. that the proper remedy for this was not that suggested by the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. H. James)—merely to tell the Cape Colonists that you would never send any more troops to South Africa, without taking any other action at the same time. He feared that that had been said by his Predecessors on more than one occasion. We ought to endeavour, if we could, to take such steps as would induce and enable the Colonists to make a permanent provision of organized force for their own defence. That was the way in which we might lighten the responsibilities which hitherto had pressed so heavily upon this country. That was the way by which we might secure the successful and humane conduct of future Native wars, should any unhappily arise. We must impress upon the Colonists that it rests with them to provide for the management of Native affairs, and to protect themselves against the consequences of mismanagement. In that way, we should give them the strongest possible inducement for the proper management of these Native questions. We must induce and enable the Colonists to provide a permanent force, properly disciplined, for their own protection—a force with which they could deal with any emergency that might arise, and deal with it humanely, and at the same time so promptly as to prevent the outbreak from spreading so as to endanger the Colony. The hon. Member for Birmingham had very rightly attributed to Her Majesty's Government a desire to press forward the Confederation of the South African Colonies. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) believed that such a policy would be the right solution of this great question. He believed that such a policy might be made to effect the results he had indicated; it would enable the Colonists themselves to deal with Native affairs, subject, of course, to that general control by the Imperial Parliament which was reserved by the provisions of the South African Act passed by this House two years ago; and it would give so much local self-government to those who were anxious for it as would enable them to obtain that real independence which they professed to desire. It would enable them to base their general policy with regard to Native questions on a uniform and coherent system; to encourage the civilization of the Natives not by forced labour for others, but by leading them from a pastoral and barbarous life to the cultivation of their own property as freeholders; and by the very means discouraging the barbarous customs inseparable from their former mode of life, which, in some cases, had been tolerated too long. In that way, the Natives would be trained by degrees to the restrictions, as they would at first appear to be, of our civilization. Such a policy, by bringing the Native population within the Colonies under what would be, to barbarous tribes, the irksome control of civilized law, would do not a little to discourage that great migration Southwards of the Native Tribes—one of the causes which had led to these constant and repeated wars. That was the policy Her Majesty's Government would, wish to pursue, and which they had already im- pressed upon those who were intrusted with the administration of affairs in South Africa; and he thought he might venture to hope after the discussion of that day, and the desire shown by hon. Members of opposite political opinions to assist the Government as far as they could in the solution of this great problem, that it would command the support of the country.


said, it was not easy to over-estimate either the ability of the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) or the obligation the House was under to him for having brought forward and initiated a debate which he trusted would be of real use. With regard to the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Colonies, he (Mr. W. E. Forster) very much agreed with the tone of it and the intentions which it discussed. It was only by such a policy as he had indicated, based on the principles of justice and humanity, that they could hope for any amelioration of the present state of things. Although that was the case, it was with great pain that he heard his hon. Friend's (Mr. Chamberlain's) remarks on the present condition of our South African Colony. Many years ago, it had fallen to his (Mr. W. E. Forster's) lot to study the state of the Cape Colony carefully, in order to become convinced of the extent to which the spirit of slavery and the spirit of oppression prevailed against the Coloured race by the White population. He had hoped for a great change for the better; but from much which his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham had stated, it would appear that he was too sanguine in that hope. Nevertheless, he could not but trust that, in spite of what they had heard, there were facts also on the other side. There was one hope for the future of the Cape Colony, especially in relation to the Coloured race, which contrasted most favourably with the condition of that race 20 or 30 years ago, and that was that there was now, as the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) said, a strong Opposition Party. It was a fact that such a Party now existed, comprised of men of great influence in the Colony, and not only men of philanthropy and benevolence, but also men of position and property who advocated a policy of justice and humanity towards the Black man as essential to the prosperity of the Colony. It was the existence of that Party more than anything else that made him more hopeful that the result of the Federation scheme would be accomplished. He was glad the right hon. Gentleman did not give up his hope of a Confederation. He agreed with him that it was only by a Confederation the Cape Colony could be made to feel its responsibility, and give men of justice and humanity in the Colony a chance of their views being carried out. Now they came to the question—What could be done for the future of the Colony? There had been a general feeling throughout the House of sympathy with the Government for having to deal with a very difficult question like this—one of the most difficult questions a Government could have to deal with. No one could rest contented with the present state of affairs, or bear with any kind of equanimity, or even forbearance, what had happened so often, and what would happen now in South Africa. Enormous sums of money and loss of life were being spent in wars which many in that House thought ought never to have been undertaken; while upon the policy which led to these wars, they had hitherto had but little control. How, then, were these things to be stopped? The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. H. James) came forward with a very strong and a very drastic remedy. He said—"Withdraw all your troops." He (Mr. W. E. Forster) did not think we could do that. On the contrary, he thought that meant dissolving our union with the Cape. The time might possibly come—he trusted it would not—when they might be compelled to do that; but they ought to do all they could to prevent it. It had been said that that policy had been successful in the case of New Zealand; but the case of New Zealand was far different from that of the Cape, where the Native element was stronger. It was quite time we could leave the Colonists of New Zealand to deal with the Natives; but if we were to leave, entirely and absolutely, the Colonists in South Africa to deal with the Natives, one of two things must happen—very likely both. Either we should hear terrible stories of the mode in which the war was being carried on—stories that would make us feel we could hardly bear further connection with the Colonists, who would probably wage war after the manner of the Native population—or we should hear also that the White men and women were in danger of being utterly destroyed by the Natives. The country would resist an act like that. The hon. Member for Gateshead would not get the English people to approve of that policy. They would say—"After all, these are our fellow-countrymen, of our own race and religion, and we cannot absolutely leave them to themselves." In these circumstances, we should be obliged to come to their rescue; but even if the possibility of the dissolution of the union were admitted, he did not think it could be admitted this country was, after all, irresponsible for the present state of things in South Africa. His conviction, was that we ought to have given up our control over the Boers and their incursions northward. Still, they could not do that as matters now stood. He was delighted to hear that the Government intended to insist on the Cape taking its share of its own defence; and he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that it was by the Colonists organizing themselves, and bearing their own part in the defence of the country, that we should be most likely able to prevent those acts of cruelty which they were so sorry to hear. They had now a responsible self-governing community to deal with at the Cape. Whether it was a mistake to give self-government to the Cape was a grave question. For his own part, he did not think it was a mistake; at all events, they could not now take that self-government away. The problem of the Government was a fresh departure. They must ask themselves—"What terms shall we make with the Governments of the South African communities generally for the future?" That was to say—on what terms should they consent, in any case in the future, to assist the South African Colonists with our own troops? He thought the time had come when the Government ought to say, with the greatest possible determination, that the terms must be different from what they had been. They must say—"They shall be definite terms. You shall not find the policy, and we find the money and men to carry it out. We must have our share in the policy. We shall have an alliance; but on such terms that we shall be able to hear our voice guiding you, asking you about your frontier policy and your treatment of the Natives, and as to the mode in which you conduct your war. We also claim the right to demand from you, for our own and for your sake, that you shall take a share in your own defence." He was not at all surprised at the Government seeing very great difficulty in sending out a Commission; but he thought it was a suggestion that ought not to be dismissed as an impossible alternative. A very strong Commission, sent out not for the purpose of inquiring into the past, but for the simple purpose of reporting to the Government their views as to the terms of our future relations with the Colony, would, he thought, be attended with, great advantage. At the same time, he thought there was something in the remark of his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), that a Governor was not the best mode of obtaining information. He did not wish to make any charge against individuals. Deeply as he (Mr. W. E. Forster) regretted the policy of Sir Bartle Frere, he did not wish to make a remark personally as regarded him. What he would say was, he thought they now saw that a Governor of a Colony—a Governor of even so strong a will as Sir Bartle Frere—was liable to be influenced by the Party in the Colony which held the reins of power; and he doubted if the Government would be able to make their terms, in the future, with the Colony through the High Commissioner, or through any Governor of Cape Colony. They might, however, be able to do so through Sir Garnet Wolseley. That was a responsibility which must be left with the Government. He was very hopeful when a man like Sir Bartle Frere went out that they were going to have a new era in the Cape Colony. He knew him personally, and knew also how anxious he was for a just and true consideration of the Natives. Well, the argument in favour of the annexation of the Transvaal was this—that the Boers were engaged in a policy which was unjust, and which brought them into quarrels with their neighbours, and that we could not let them take the consequences of that policy and be massacred, because there was reason to believe that before their destruction their policy would have brought on a general Native war. He did not blame Sir Bartle Frere; but what was done was, that the policy which the Boers were performing in the Transvaal was carried out by our Government, but with greater power and force, and therefore, in one respect, with more evil consequences. They now saw the result. He might make the same remark as to the Zulu War, as to which they would be obliged to admit that the Opposition Party in Cape Colony had almost as much ground to complain against the Representative of the British Government as against the Colonists themselves. However, he (Mr. W. E. Forster) believed there was really one feeling in the House of Commons and the country on the question, which was, that our relations with the Cape Colony must be put on a different footing; that we would not join in unjust wars; and that we would not be responsible for the ill-treatment of the Natives. It should also be made known that we did not think it right that the Colonists should not take their full share in their own defence, and, at the same time, that, if they were willing to agree with us as to equitable terms, and showed that they meant to conduct their policy upon principles of justice and humanity, we should not refuse to give them the assistance that they absolutely required.


said, that the principle had been referred to that all Colonies should be protected to this extent by the Imperial Government—that that Government should be responsible for wars which were undertaken to carry out Imperial policy. It would, however, be difficult to apply that principle in all cases. That was not the case as to New Zealand. Our troops were withdrawn, and Maori wars ceased. The case of South Africa was, however, exceptional. There were something like 2,000,000 Natives in British South Africa, while the White population did not number more than one-seventh of that amount. Again, a very large proportion of the White population was of Dutch origin. Within the three-quarters of a century during which we had possession of the Cape Colony they had been engaged in six Cape wars, almost all of which were occasioned by the circumstance that the Dutch population had trecked from the old Colony and settled beyond its borders. The Transvaal was so settled; so, to a large extent, was Natal. The troubles to which he referred arose, to a great extent, from the quarrels of the Boers with the Native population, and England found herself engaged in wars occasioned by those who had trecked away from her rule. They had not been able to apply the principle to which he first referred to South Africa, for this reason—that we had been meddling and making in those wars from time to time, and the Colonists, therefore, fathered upon England the cost incurred. What he should like to see was encouragement given to the formation of Colonial levies. Such a policy would tend more to the creation of a spirit of self-defence than any other course which could be adopted. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), in his Motion, had suggested the appointment of a Royal Commission. He (Mr. A. Mills), however, hoped the suggestion would not be adopted; for he thought it would be a very great misfortune if another set of Commissioners were to be sent to South Africa to advise, and, perhaps, to contradict, Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Garnet Wolseley. He, therefore, hoped that course would not be followed; but that the principle suggested by the Committee of 1861 would be adopted, in accordance with which the Colonists should be told that they must fight their own, battles and pay their own bills.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.