§ (In the Committee.)
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,000,000, be granted to Her Majesty, beyond the ordinary Grants of Parliament, towards defraying the Expenditure which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1880, in consequence of the War in South Africa.
§ MR. DODSON
would not question the calculations of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the estimated surplus revenue of £1,900,000 above the ordinary expenditure, and as to the estimated cost of the 123 Zulu War; but, at the same time, he could not but remember that in March last in his Budget speech the right hon. Gentleman was confident that the Zulu War would be wound up, and that Bonds to the amount of £600,000 for the same Zulu War incurred last year would be defrayed out of the so-called estimated surplus of £1,900,000. The right hon. Gentleman was then doubly confident that in any case the Zulu War would be wound up, even if the Bonds were not paid off out of that surplus. He observed that the right hon. Gentleman to-night spoke of winding up the Zulu War for £3,000,000 with less confidence than in March last for £1,900,000. He also observed that the Vote of Credit itself was a net estimate, after taking credit for the amount to be realized from the sale of horses and waggons and surplus stores, so that if by any accident that sum should be delayed, or fall short of the amount reckoned upon, his expectations would be frustrated. But he would now assume that the expectations of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to revenue would be realized; he would assume that the cost of the Zulu War in the present year would be met by the sum of £3,000,000 now asked for by a Vote of Credit, and he would also assume that he would not have in the present year any Supplementary Estimates beyond those upon the Table of the House, or, at all events, that if he had any Supplementary Estimates, they would not be greater than could be met out of the savings on the other Votes of the year. Now, at the end of the present financial year, if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer realized his expectations, there would be a surplus on the year of £36,000; but there would be outstanding Exchequer Bonds amounting to £4,750,000 for the expenditure incurred in connection with the Russo-Turkish War; there would be Bonds outstanding to the amount of £600,000 for part cost of the Zulu War in the last financial year; there would be Bonds to the amount of £1,200,000 for the cost of the Zulu War within the present year, and there would be the Loan to India, without interest, of £2,000,000. On the whole, there would be outstanding charges to the amount of £8,550,000, and it would be remembered that already in connection with these matters we had in the last 124 two financial years paid out of the Revenue of the country £2,900,000, and that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to pay £1,800,000 more towards these same objects out of the Revenue of the present year. All this expenditure for military purposes came on the top of a normal increase of the Army expenditure under the present Government of £1,000,000 a-year, and of a normal increase of £1,500,000 for the Navy, which had been referred to by the Homo Secretary in a speech at Liverpool in October last, and justified on the ground that it was to make our Army and Navy ready for any cloud that might arise. He wished to examine a little more closely the position in which we should be at the end of the financial year, assuming that the Chancellor of the Exchequer's expectations were realized. We had, within the space of about two years, incurred an expenditure, on the part of this country and its Dependencies, for three wars, and a scare of war, which amounted to £16,000,000. Deducting from that amount £1,500,000, which he understood was expected to be paid by India in respect of the Afghan War, and £1,250,000, which it appeared by the last South African Blue Book was paid by the Cape towards the cost of the Transkei War and the Gaika rebellion, there remained £13,250,000 to be provided by the country. The right hon. Gentleman hoped to recover for this country from our Dependencies a considerable portion of that sum. He hoped to receive from India the return of the Loan of £2,000,000 without interest; the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies hoped to recover from the Cape, according to the last Blue Book, a sum of about £350,000 for further incurred cost of the Transkei War, the Gaika rebellion, and the South African imbroglios generally; lastly, the right hon. Gentleman hoped to get back from the Colonies interested £1,200,000, the amount of the Bonds about to be issued. These sums, altogether, made £3,500,000, which he hoped to recover from our Dependencies in aid of the £13,250,000 provided or to be provided towards these wars and this alarm of a war. He did not know whether, in his heart of hearts, the Chancellor of the Exchequer felt very sanguine about the recovery of all that money; but the 125 finances of India were not now in a very flourishing condition, and we had been told that the Afghan War was caused, entered into, and carried out, for Imperial purposes. It was, therefore, not very unreasonable to suppose that a considerable portion of the £2,000,000 might ultimately remain as a gift from this country to India. But, at all events, whatever amount were repaid, no part of it would be got into the present financial year; even if the right hon. Gentleman did receive anything, it would be only one half-year's instalment of the whole amount, which had been spread over seven years. Again, it was admitted by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies that against any claim which he might be able to make upon the Colonies would have to be set a claim on the part of the Colonies for conveyance of Imperial troops by railway. Looking at the state of finances at the Cape, and the expenditure already incurred by the Colony, he asked whether the right hon. Gentleman felt very sanguine as to the recovery of any money from the Cape? He was only speaking of the difficulty of obtaining it within any period that would make it of material assistance to the finances in the present year. Then there remained the £1,200,000, the amount of the Bonds about to be raised this year for the Zulu War, and he could not think that the prospects of recovering that amount at an early date could be looked upon as particularly brilliant. He did not know what was the Revenue and Expenditure of Natal for the last year, or for the present year. The last year for which he had any account was 1877, and he observed that in that year, and in the three or four preceding years, the Revenue of Natal varied from £250,000 to a little over £270,000. It might have increased in 1878, and he thought the right hon. Gentleman had said that it had done so; but, at all events, it was not likely greatly to exceed £300,000. Then he observed, with regard to the expenditure of those four years, that in three of them it had been in excess of the Revenue, and that the Expenditure had exceeded the Revenue on the whole, taking the four years, 1874–5–6–7, together. In addition to that, he saw that Natal, which had a population of only about 25,000 White persons, had a Debt, in round numbers, 126 of £1,250,000. Again, if he looked to the Transvaal, he found by the accounts that the estimated Revenue in 1878 was £89,000, and that the estimated ordinary expenditure—a very ominous expression—was very nearly equal to the Revenue, and amounted to £87,000. At the same time, the Transvaal had an external Debt of £150,000, besides a local debt to bankers within its own boundaries. Looking, therefore, to the Revenue, Expenditure, Debt, and population of the two Colonies, the prospect of recovering from them the sum of £1,200,000 within a very short time was not promising. He endorsed the views expressed by the right hon. Gentleman and others that, in views of the almost exclusive share which those Colonies had in bringing about the present war, it was perfectly fair that they should be called upon to share its cost; but he was afraid that, after all, the main burden would fall upon this country. There was another matter to which he desired to call attention, and that related to the Vote of Credit for £3,000,000. Up to about three weeks ago, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had constantly spoken of presenting a Supplementary Estimate of the cost of the Zulu War; but, about a fortnight since, he had altered his expression, and began to speak of a Vote of Credit. That was the Vote which he had now presented to the House. He (Mr. Dodson) did not want to exaggerate matters, but, at the same time, there was a significant difference between an Estimate and a Vote of Credit. When a Minister, a contractor, or whoever it might be, gave an estimate for expenditure, he gave what was understood to be something in the nature of an undertaking that the expenditure would be defrayed out of the amount set down; at all events, there was reason to expect that it would be. But when a person asked for a credit it rather implied that he had before him an indefinite amount of expenditure, which he could not measure, and, therefore, asked for around sum to be placed at his disposal, on which he might draw for the purpose of carrying on the business. That was always understood to be the difference between an Estimate and a Vote of Credit. Now, there was one thing which he desired to urge, and he felt sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not complain of his doing 127 so, with respect to this Vote of Credit, and that was that the Treasury would be strictly vigilant in seeing that it was only applied to the Service for which it was granted. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman had had time to examine the second Report of the Committee of Public Accounts, which had been presented to the House; but, of course, he well knew the value of the labours of that Committee, and the great weight which attached to their Report. That Committee called attention to the statement of the Comptroller and Auditor General, that the Vote of Credit for the Russo-Turkish War had been applied to some rather doubtful estimates and expenses. For instance, the sum of £4,555 was applied out of it to the payment of part cost of a railway in Woolwich Dockyard. And, again, £47,386 was supplied out of the Vote of Credit for shields for the inner line of sea defence for fortifications. He did not know whether these shields were actually within the sanction of the Acts for the erection of fortifications by the Defence Loan Fund; but, at all events, Parliament had not been consulted about the matter, and, so far as he remembered, it had been given to understand that the idea of putting up these shields, if not abandoned, had been indefinitely postponed. It also appeared, from the Report of the Committee of Public Accounts, that of the Vote of Credit taken in 1878, the Government employed the sum of £228,600 to make good deficiencies on ordinary Votes, whereby they converted what would have been a deficit on the Army Accounts into a surplus, in round numbers, of £135,000. He would trouble the Committee by reading three or four lines from the Report of the Committee of Public Accounts, in which they point out the mischief which might arise from this lax proceeding. The Report said—If a Vote of Credit is considered applicable to meet deficiencies in the ordinary Votes, the due control of Parliament over expenditure would "be at an end as soon as a Vote of Credit is granted.He trusted, therefore, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would keep a tight hand over the spending Departments, and take care that no part of the Vote of Credit of £3,000,000 should be applied to any purpose other than that 128 for which it was asked by the Government and granted by Parliament.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, the observations which he proposed to address to the Committee would be confined almost entirely to the policy which had resulted in this Vote of Credit being asked for. Her Majesty's Government had asked for a Credit for £3,000,000 for certain distinct purposes and to be used for certain definite ends; but, before the Committee gave this Vote of Credit, they ought to be assured whether those purposes were likely to be secured by the policy now being pursued by Her Majesty's Government, and whether those ends could be attained. It appeared to be thought that the war with respect to which these £3,000,000 was asked for was, practically, at an end. He did not wish to suggest any uneasy doubts as to that; but, he must confess, it did not appear to him to be so near an end as many hon. Members and the outside public seemed to think. But, putting that entirely aside, the next question raised by the demand for these £3,000,000 and referred to both by the right hon. Member for Chester (Mr. Dodson) and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was this—"What chance is there of getting back these £3,000,000 from the Dependencies for whose account the expenditure has been incurred?" The Chancellor of the Exchequer appeared to indulge in the hope that a certain portion would be recovered. He (Mr. Courtney) was not prepared to deny that a certain sum ought to be recovered, but he had a very clear opinion that no substantial amount would be; and he thought that there were very good reasons for believing that no part of the cost of the war would be recovered. In the first place, with regard to the Cape Colony, if any hon. Member would put himself in the position of a Capo Colonist, he thought he would repudiate the obligation of making any contribution towards this sum. This expenditure had been mainly, if not entirely, incurred in the Zulu War, and the interest of the Cape Colony in the Zulu War was, at least, distant. People, in speaking of Zululand and Cape Colony, did so from an English point of view, and supposed them to be in close contiguity; but, in fact, they were about 1,200 miles one from the other, and there was no appreciable danger, even supposing the Natal 129 anxiety to have been well-founded, of the Zulu War reaching Cape Colony. Therefore, if he were a Cape Colonist, he should repudiate any contribution to this sum, because it was incurred in a war in Zululand in which he had but a feeble interest. No doubt, the flames of war might gradually have spread down to Cape Colony; and, no doubt, some anxiety might be expressed on that account. But the anxiety lest the flames of war in Zululand should spread to Cape Colony was no more real than the anxiety of the people in this country lest the plague in Southern Russia should spread to England. Again, this expenditure had been incurred by a policy in which the Cape Colonists had no share. It was brought upon them in pursuance of directions which came from the Mother Country. It was Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Froude, and subsequently Sir Bartle Frere, who had brought that war upon South Africa, and if the Colonists had been left alone they would not have brought it about. It was perfectly true that certain of the Cape Ministers had supported Sir Bartle Frere in his policy, and, probably, they might be trusted to support him to the end with a comparatively small majority. But when the question came of contributing to the cost of the war; he thought there were many who would refuse altogether to acknowledge any obligation in that respect. For these reasons, he thought that the Cape Colonists would repudiate altogether any liability in the war. There was another reason which would have great weight with them, and serve as an excellent excuse for getting rid of their moral obligation. They would say—"Whatever we may have to do with this war in Zululand, it was finished in a way which we entirely disapproved; we were advocates of Sir Bartle Frere's thorough-going policy; but if you choose to send out another High Commissioner charged with the duty of bringing this war to an end, while we are left in an unsettled position, you will have to bear the expense of the war;" and that was the final reason why he thought the majority of the Cape Colonists would refuse altogether to contribute to the expenses of the war. As to Natal and the Transvaal, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chester had, he thought, sufficiently shown, from an examination of their finances, that nothing was to be expected from them. 130 The financial position in the Transvaal was the most hopeless possible. No taxes were collected there except certain duties, and the ordinary Expenditure was not made up by the ordinary Revenue; and, in addition to that, there was a large debt remaining unpaid. Therefore, if one looked at the political situation of the Transvaal, it would be seen that it was hopeless to expect from it any useful contribution to the expenses of the war. It was possible that deficiencies might not continue for ever, and that there would be some recovery of trade and prosperity, and there might be a change in the financial situation, resulting in a surplus, where, for some years past, there has been a deficiency. But the real and important question was—"Are you, in relation to the South African Colonies, about to continue this policy, or do you intend to abandon it?" If the Government did not intend to abandon the course in which they had lately indulged, if they insisted upon a policy of supremacy, they would never get back any part of the £3,000,000, but would, on the contrary, year by year, add more millions to them. The Zulu War might be at an end; but, as he had before pointed out, that war was merely an episode in the affairs of the Cape. It was only a part of a series of events which must be gone on with one after another if the present policy was to be continued, of which the Zulu War was the expression. It was simply the result of the application of one particular principle of policy which, if it was continued to be applied, would raise other enemies not more easily subdued than Cetywayo. The Government had been asked what was to be their policy in the future; and they had laid upon the Table certain Papers which, however, did not contain a most important despatch that should have been given to the House as explaining what were their views with respect to South Africa. This despatch, which related to Confederation, had been sent by the Colonial Secretary to the Cape Government, and had been referred to as having been received by Sir Bartle Frere, and it had also been published in South Africa. The House, however, knew nothing of this despatch, and were, therefore, altogether in the dark as to what was the policy of Her Majesty's Government with respect to the funda- 131 mental question in South Africa. They knew that Her Majesty's Government were in some way or other committed to the policy of Confederation; but the Cape Colony did not think the time was ripe for promoting that principle. It was known that Her Majesty's Government favoured the idea from the express statement of the Colonial Minister, who said last Friday that they had not abandoned the idea of Confederation. This was a policy of active extension, because Confederation meant self-assertion and extension. We had inherited the fatal legacy which Lord Carnarvon left to the Government, and which he thought they might, without any dishonour, have repudiated on the first opportunity. They had, in spite of precedent and argument, retained that policy; they had not taken their stand upon the solid ground of throwing upon the Colonies the responsibility of behaving in a decent and just manner with its neighbours; they would not leave the Transvaal in the position of freedom which it once occupied; they insisted on maintaining the policy of extension. When the Cape Colonies were told that if they ran into war they must bear the consequences there were 25 years of peace, which had only been disturbed when this policy of vain ambition and folly was entered upon. It was true that the case of New Zealand had been referred to, where, by withdrawing the Imperial troops, and by throwing upon them the responsibility of conducting their own affairs, a certain period of peace had been secured. But he was told by the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) that the cases of the Cape and New Zealand were not parallel; and it would, he thought, be instructive to inquire why they were not so. They were not parallel, because in New Zealand the proportion of Englishmen to Natives was such that they could hold their own and assert their superiority. What did that mean but that in New Zealand Englishmen were big enough to domineer? In South Africa they were not numerous enough to do this. The right hon. Member said you could not leave Englishmen alone in South Africa altogether as you could in New Zealand; in other words, you must let Englishmen domineer there, and you must assist them. But if that was the policy of morality, he would like to hear the right hon. Member for Bradford 132 defend it upon that ground. If Englishmen dealt justly with their neighbours in South Africa, instead of making them slaves, then he held that there was no excuse whatever for not adopting the policy there which had been adopted in New Zealand. This was one of those subjects on which hon. Members went wrong, because they would not think out the question. If it was felt that Englishmen must be "cocks of the walk," and that they must be defended in assuming a position of superiority, whatever might be their position with regard to the neighbouring Tribes, then he repeated that that policy was absolutely immoral and productive of a continuous flow of money treasure and blood in any country where it was adopted. What he was saying had been said in so many words, without any circumlocution, by Sir Bartle Frere. Sir Bartle Frere was a man whose character had been very much elucidated by his position in South Africa. But they were bound to credit him with insisting that in South Africa there could be no settlement whatever unless the first principle was established of the unquestioned supremacy of Englishmen. In other words, this was Sir Bartle Frere's principle—and the principle which he (Mr. Courtney) believed was unconsciously entertained by many hon. Members—that we could have no neighbours. The people who were near us must be in a subordinate position to ourselves; neighbours and equals they could not be. Now, if you took that as your first principle of action in South Africa, was it not clear that you must go on and on in pursuit of that dream of abolishing neighbours until you lost yourselves in the middle of South Africa? You might get rid of the Zulus, and you then had the Swazies. You might get rid of them, and then there would be some other race to deal with, until at last you would be landed at the Zambesi, where there would be no necessity of persecuting neighbours any further. As long as we countenanced the Colonies in their notion that they must be supreme in their conduct with their neighbours, and as long as they felt that in all their difficulties we should come to their assistance, so long would they go on calling upon us to do so. He wished to point out, with reference to the state of affairs in South Africa, what was the position in which we were 133 now, and how impossible it was that we should go on with this policy. They had listened that evening to a very able speech from the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) on the necessity of requiring a contribution to the expenditure incurred in their behalf. And the other evening they had had a speech from the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) in favour of sending out a Royal Commission to South Africa, in order to investigate the relations between our Colonies and the Native Tribes. But it would appear that both those hon. Members had failed adequately to grasp the meaning of the fact that we had given self-government to the Cape Colony. We had given the Colony self-government, and, in doing so, we had given them practical independence, which altogether forbade our intruding upon them if we went there with a Royal Commission, for example, to inquire into the relations between the Colony and the Native Tribes. We had given them self-government because we could not help it; for, as Lord Blachford had shown, the Cape Colony had resisted us to such a degree that self-government could no longer be withheld, and it was accordingly granted. But the gift entailed important consequences and placed the Colonial policy of the Cape beyond our control. Canada had acquired self-government, and she had taken advantage of the power thus obtained to adopt a tariff hostile to British trade, and to dismiss the local Governor of Quebec whom the Colonial Secretary would desire to keep in his position. But, having given self-control to Canada, you could not control the action of Canada with respect to the Tariff, nor in respect of the local Governor. In the same way, having given self-government to the Cape Colony, you could no longer control its action with respect to the Tribes annexed to it. You might affect to do so; but you had not the power. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford had argued that, as we must aid the Colonies in their need and contribute to the cost of their policy, we must have a share in controlling that policy. But he (Mr. Courtney) ventured to say that, as we could have no share in controlling their policy, we should refuse to contribute to the cost. The author of an able paper in The Quarterly Review had suggested that we might withdraw self-government from the 134 Colony; but everybody acquainted practically with politics would know that this was absolutely impossible. You could not retract what had been given in this way, and if you could not retract the power of disposition and control of Native policy, then it was in vain to say because we pay we must have a share in that policy. The alternative was, because we could have no share in that policy we would have no share in the payment. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) had laid before the House facts which appeared to be conclusive; he had given an illustration of the conduct of the Cape Colonists towards the Natives, and he had given an illustration of the way in which the Judges treated cases in which the rights of the Natives as against Englishmen were concerned. It was enough for him to say that it had been shown in that House that, in the Cape Colony, society was permeated with a different feeling and with a different morality to that which prevailed here. You could not, in a society with a different morality from your own, introduce your morality to make that society act contrary to its own morality. That appeared to him to be a self-evident proposition. There existed in the Cape Colony a different morality to ours with regard to the treatment of Natives; and it was idle to shut our eyes to this fact and its consequences. Besides this, there was another element in the question which could not be controlled and which was independent of our action—namely, the contest for land. The Colonial Secretary, he believed, denied the existence of this greed for land as an explanation of the difficulty in South Africa. He said that the whole thing was explained by the fact that Englishmen had a tendency to move towards the North and the Natives towards the South. But these two facts, which he would term the "Compass theory" of the right hon. Gentleman, were insufficient to explain the whole difficulty. Why was it that Englishmen moved towards the North, and that the Natives moved towards the South at the Cape? The answer was that the English were too numerous for comfortable living in the sea-side settlements, and were moving towards where they could get more space, and, in the same way, the Natives, who were getting more crowded in the North, were moving towards the South. It 135 was a question of the means of existence in both cases. We, in England, could not control the action of this struggle for existence in South Africa, and the only way to restrain it within decent limits was to throw on English Colonists the complete responsibility of their acts. In Natal and in the Transvaal the situation was even more serious than at Cape Colony. If we looked at the Transvaal, we should find a morality still more diverse than ours than that which prevailed in Cape Colony. There was, in the Cape Colony, a respectable minority whose views were analogous to those of Englishmen in this country, and had some influence on the conduct of affairs in the Cape. But in the Transvaal this was not so; and we could not, except by exercising force, make the policy of the Transvaal agree with our own. Again, we could not make the policy of the Transvaal agree with the policy of Cape Colony with respect to this question. The difference in the ideas and morality between these different States and Territories was such as, in the judgment of men who had given most attention to the subject, would render Confederation impossible. He had referred to an article in The Quarterly Review known to be written by a most distinguished historian, who went out to the Cape expressly for the purpose of promoting the scheme of Confederation. That writer said that Confederation was impossible, at least, during the life-time of the present generation. Lord Blachford had approached the question from a totally different point of view, but had agreed absolutely and entirely with the historian to whom he had referred that it was impossible to make these States confederate together, since their views, their ideas, and the policies which they pursued were different. With respect to the Transvaal, he would ask the Committee to allow him to go-into a few details, in order to show that there were insuperable difficulties in the way of the policy of Confederation to which the Government were pledged, and with respect to which they must add expense to expense. He trusted hon. Members would pardon the length to which his observations were extending; but it was of importance that with respect to the Transvaal the House should understand what was the attitude of the people in 136 the Transvaal towards ourselves; and in this matter he was sorry to say that we had not had that assistance from the public Press which was desirable. Last year he had expressed his regret that the Correspondence between the Colonial Secretary and the Delegates of the Transvaal had not been accurately reproduced in the newspapers, which resulted in the public getting one side of the story and not the other with reference to what had happened in the Transvaal. He had again to complain of the action of some of the newspapers. Sir Bartle Frere had sent home in the spring an important despatch, describing interviews which he had had with some of the Transvaal Boers at Bloemfontein. That despatch was telegraphed by the correspondent of The Standard at the Cape; but, as it was not known to be authenticated, it was not sufficiently published. Later it was known that the despatch was authentic, and still later it was laid upon the Table in a Blue Book; and in the analysis of those Papers which appeared in the most widely diffused newspapers of the day this despatch was entirely overlooked. He would very briefly show how impossible it was for this country to maintain in the Transvaal the first condition of Confederation. The Transvaal ought to be a member of any Confederation that might be formed in South Africa; but no sooner was the annexation of the Transvaal made than the Boers began to protest against it, and sent over a deputation to Lord Carnarvon. They were told that they did not represent the people; thereupon, a Memorial was drawn up, protesting against the annexation, and the Memorial was signed by about 6,000 adult males out of a population estimated at 8,000 adult males. That Memorial was brought before the Colonial Secretary, who said that the thing was done, and that it could not be looked to; he also refused to investigate the matter, or to take any notice of the remonstrances. What happened then? The Delegates went back, and told their story to the Boers; a meeting was held, and the result was such a demonstration of anger against the English Government as to produce a very considerable anxiety in Natal. The Boers met together, and Sir Bartle Frere met them. The whole Transvaal was then in a most anxious and critical 137 condition, and the English immigrants who were in the country were in a tolerable state of funk. They got into the town of Pretoria, and took precautions against surprise, and patrolled the streets in their anxiety lest the Boers should come from their camp and make themselves masters of the city. The Transvaal Boers were not likely to do that, because it would have embarrassed the English Government in the prosecution of the war in Zululand. They waited until Sir Bartle Frere came to them, and then they laid their remonstrances before him. What was their attitude, and what were their views on that occasion? He would read a few extracts from the Blue Books to show what were the characters and habits of the Transvaal people, whom they so perfectly ignored in their policy of Confederation. A document sent by a number of farmers at Wonderfontein began in words which were seldom heard in that Assembly, and, perhaps, it would be rash to repeat it there. It commenced—In the presence of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, and prayerfully waiting on His gracious help and pity, we, burghers of the South African Republic, have solemnly agreed, as we do hereby agree, to make a holy covenant for us and for our children, which we confirm with a solemn oath. Fully 40 years ago our fathers fled from the Cape Colony in order to become a free and independent people. Those 40 years were 40 years of pain and suffering. We established Natal, the Orange Free State, and the South African Republic, and three times the English Government has trampled our liberty and dragged to the ground our flag, which our fathers had baptized with their blood and tears. As by a thief in the night has our Republic been stolen from us. We may nor can endure this. It is God's will, and it is required of us by the unity of our fathers and by love to our children that we should hand over intact to our children the legacy of the fathers. For that purpose it is that we here come together and give each other the right hand as men and brethren, solemnly promising to remain faithful to our country and our people, and with our eye fixed on God, to co-operate until death for the restoration of the freedom of our Republic. So help us Almighty God!That was a message which the Boers of the Transvaal sent to this country, and it indicated the temper of the mind in which they assembled together. Sir Bartle Frere went to see these men. Before he got to them he thought that their importance was overrated, and that they were, in fact, only a small number of discontented, ignorant people to whom little attention ought to be paid. But when he got closer to them he found it 138 necessary to alter his opinion; and, before he came back, he admitted frankly that the gravity of the situation was unquestionable. The Boers had assembled in their camps to the number of 4,000, and, he believed, in a perfectly sober, orderly way, waiting for Sir Bartle Frere. They waited patiently, in their modest way, until Sir Bartle Frere came to them in order that they might put their views before him. What happened then was best seen by the despatch of Sir Bartle Frere of the 17th of April, one or two pages from which he would ask permission to read. He said—They maintain that their independence was unjustly taken from them by the act of annexation, an act which they allege was grounded on incorrect representations of the state of the Transvaal and the feebleness of its Government. They desire that their independence may be freely and unreservedly restored to them. They desire nothing more in the shape of concession and they cannot be content with anything less. By 'independence' they understand the same entire freedom from all control in choosing their own form of government and their own administrative machinery as was guaranteeed to them by the Sand River Convention of 1852. In making this demand, they claim to represent the wishes of the very great majority of the Boer population of the Transvaal. They consider that the Boers now assembled represent the very great majority of that population. How far this is the case I have, of course, had no opportunity of judging personally; but there can be no doubt that I may say, as the result of my own observations in the camp and elsewhere, that it certainly is a very strong party that has kept up this movement to the present time; and, as a proof of their earnestness, I can confirm the fact that they have been in an open camp for four weeks waiting my arrival. And looking to the bearing and the temper of the members of the committee whom I met, who are men of position in the country and respected, and leaders who have since the earliest establishment of the Republic taken a prominent part in the government of the country, I think I may say that their representations are worthy of your earnest consideration.That was a letter which Sir Bartle Frere drew up and engaged to them to send home, and, later on, he sent another despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies couched in even stronger language. He said he felt assured that the majority of them considered themselves deeply wronged, and that only the highest motives restrained them from asserting their claims. Meanwhile, the taxes that ought to have been paid three months before remained uncollected, and the government of the country was virtually in abeyance outside the capital. He would ask hon. Members whether they sincerely thought that it was possible for this 139 country to maintain its rule over a population of that kind, where three-fourths of the people indignantly repudiated interference, and, in their solemn way, had expressed their determination to be free as their fathers had been? If this country were not going to thrust upon this people an unwilling dominion, what did it mean by promoting the Confederation which, for no other reason, would be impossible, by the absolute impossibility of maintaining any authority over those people? To the expense of the matter he would not refer; but would only say that, at the present time, the Transvaal did not pay its way. Was this country going to the expense of keeping an English soldier for every Boer in the Transvaal? Attacked, as they were, in purse, if not in conscience, it was plain they would have to abandon their policy. The principle of the Confederation, understood in the Cape Colony, meant—first of all, the inclusion of Natal and the Transvaal, and the subjugation of Zululand. Assuming the war to be finished, the £3,000,000 which they were then voting was only a very small part of the expense which would have to be incurred. Whatever might be said, he could not help thinking that the victory of which they had heard so much was one of the most moderate military transactions ever achieved. Certainly, that was the general opinion, and they would have expended £3,000,000 in securing that. But how far would that money go in accomplishing the policy which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies said was that of Her Majesty's Government, and which the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) approved of? What would he do if there were to be Residents placed here and there in Zululand? It was found difficult enough at present to govern Natal; but to govern Zululand would be still harder. Then they would have the Transvaal, with its invincible repugnance to their Sovereignty. They would have to retain a permanent military Force, and would find that £3,000,000 was a very small portion of the expense which would be incurred. If hon. Members did not approve of the policy which had been pursued in South Africa, then the Vote ought to be rejected altogether. In accepting that alternative, they would leave the Cape Colony to maintain itself as a self-governing community. They 140 would leave Natal to be, as hitherto, a settlement rather than a Colony—a settlement of Englishmen living peaceably and dealing honestly with the Natives among whom they lived. The doctrine that unless English Colonists were strong enough to domineer over their neighbours this country ought to assist them was opposed to the most elementary principles of morality. If the Government would not reject it as immoral, they would have to abandon it as too costly, for the £3,000,000 now asked for would be but a small instalment of the expenditure such a policy would involve.
§ MR. DALRYMPLE
said, that in the speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) a great point was made by him as to their desire to be "cocks of the walk." He would venture to say that there was no man in that House who, in reference to the war in South Africa, had any desire to be a "cock of the walk." It was impossible to feel any very great enthusiasm with reference to that war, and he thought that nothing was further from their minds than the policy which had been indicated. He could not but think that the pages of The Nineteenth Century, in which certain hon. Members—even eminent Members of Parliament—were in the habit of finding relief for their feelings, from time to time, in language stronger than they were in the habit of using in that House, would have been a more appropriate arena than the House for the speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard. He said that in no flippant spirit, for he was sure that it would be worth perusing. But the time and the occasion did not seem to him to be the most appropriate that could have been chosen for discussing lines of Colonial policy. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the speech of the right hon. Member for Bradford; but, for his part, he preferred the views of the right hon. Member to those of the hon. Member for Liskeard, for the right hon. Gentleman seemed desirous of maintaining their Colonial Empire, and all matters connected with Colonial populations excited his sympathy. As to the speech of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands), he would only remark that the hon. Member was somewhat unfortunate in choosing the occasion he had for suggesting reasons why the Colonists should not contribute towards defraying the cost of the war. He thought that very 141 few hon. Members were not of opinion that the Colonists should bear their share of the expenditure, and he hoped that they would be made to contribute their proportion. He, therefore, thought that the time was scarcely well chosen for suggesting reasons why they should not contribute. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chester (Mr. Dodson) had an awkward habit of placing his finger upon weak points in an adversary's case, and when a speech from him was well over the Government might fairly be considered to have got out of a good deal of their difficulty. So far as he could make out, his speech was directed to the discussion of the mis-spent part of the £6,000,000 voted last year, and he considered that it was the duty of the Government to look very sharply after a certain £93,000 that had been referred to. He gathered from the criticisms of the right hon. Gentleman, and also from those of the hon. Member for Liskeard, that they had not much to say against the present Vote. He had no doubt but that the Committee were of opinion that the Vote was not an unreasonable one, and he was quite sure there must be a general feeling in the Committee that if that Vote represented the expenditure that had been necessary for the war they would have got out of it very cheaply. He had no reason to doubt that the calculations upon which the Vote had been based had been carefully framed; and, looking to the character of the war, and the circumstance that it was not a war provoked by Her Majesty's Government, and for which they were not responsible, he did not doubt that the Committee would agree to the Vote.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
had considerable misgivings as to whether the sum now asked for would suffice to meet all the expenses of the war, more especially when he found that the transport of troops to and from the seat of war was only put down at the sum of £450,000. He feared that during the Recess considerable expense might be incurred without the House having had any opportunity of expressing any opinion upon it. For the last four months the war had been carried on without the money being voted by Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had explained the way in which that had been done. He wished to call the attention of the 142 House to the matter, for they had strong misgivings that they should find that very great expenditure had been incurred without the House having had the least opportunity of expressing any opinion one way or the other. They knew that for the last four months the money which had been spent had been taken from a mysterious source of supply which had been described as the Military Chest. Very few hon. Members understood what the Military Chest was, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been good enough to explain its nature. The explanation was that the Colonial authorities had carte blanche to spend what they liked by drawing long bills on this country. The right hon. Gentleman, however, told them that the bills drawn were long dated. The result, practically, was that the Colonial authorities had been allowed to borrow from the Colonial banks without any sanction from Parliament, and, so far as he knew, without the sanction of the Home Government. The long-dated bills were only one form of borrowing. What he very much wished to know was whether the system of long-dated bills was to be carried on while Parliament was not sitting, as, if so, the credit of the country might be pledged to the payment of £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 sterling, in addition to the Vote of Credit now sought for. He hoped that they would be clearly informed how that matter stood. As the matter stood at present, he thought it would be better for the Colonial authorities to borrow money upon their own credit rather than to have carte blanche to draw long-dated bills upon this country. With regard to the Transkei War, he had put several Questions during the Session. He had asked whether it was intended that Imperial funds should not only be devoted to the expenses of the Imperial troops, but that advances should be made from the Imperial Exchequer for the Colonial troops and for the forage and transport of the Colonial Force? Advances had been made from the Military Chest in respect of these matters. It was said that those advances had been made on the responsibility of the Government of the Cape; but he should like to know how that responsibility had been fixed and ascertained? They had heard nothing in the late Correspondence about the responsibility of the Cape Government for advances made for purely 143 Colonial purposes, and on purely Colonial accounts. A Blue Book had recently been presented to Parliament, and he had looked carefully through it to find any acknowledgment by the Cape authorities of their responsibility. He willingly admitted that the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Colonies had written a number of very admirable despatches setting forth what the responsibilities of the Cape Government were. But he had looked in vain in their replies for any recognition on the part of the Colonial authorities of those responsibilities—there had been hundreds of addresses sent home expressing confidence in the Government, but not a single despatch acknowledging the liability. It seemed to him that the system of allowing the Cape authorities carte blanche to draw long bills upon that country for expenditure, acknowledged to be Colonial expenditure, was a very dangerous and discouraging practice. He hoped that the Government would give an assurance that in future such a practice should not be carried on, and that they would not be drawn into another expenditure of £5,000,000 or £6,000,000 by the Colonial authorities spending that money without the consent or control of Parliament. Having said so much with regard to the responsibility of the Cape authorities for the money advanced for purely Colonial purposes, he must, on the other hand, say that it seemed to him that in that debate to-night, speaking generally, considerable injustice had been done to the Government of the Cape Colony. In justice to the Cape Colony, it should be remembered that a little while ago the minority in the Cape was a majority. They had some insufficient information concerning the Colonial administration; but he believed that the Cape Government, in its treatment of the Native Coloured population, had set an example which might be with great advantage followed in other countries. This example stood out in very favourable contrast to other Colonies, which had passed laws, which he was sorry to say had been sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government, of a very unfair character to the Chinese immigrants. In the Cape, on the other hand, the franchise had been extended to the Coloured population, and the Natives were treated by their White fellow-citizens as being on an entire equality with them. He thought, there- 144 fore, that the language used by the hon. Member for Liskeard upon this subject was not justified by the facts. The Cape Colony had been the first of all British Colonies which had granted the franchise to the Natives, and in that respect it deserved commendation. The hon. Gentleman had been very hard on the Dutch element in the Colony. He thought that it should be borne in mind that the Ministry now in power did not represent the Dutch element in the Colony, but the English. But they had been told of objectionable measures for which the present Ministers of Cape Colony were responsible. It was, however, but just to remember that the present Ministry, who were immediately responsible, had been imposed upon the Colony by a British Governor, and maintained in power by the support of British troops and money. With regard to the future, he was strongly of opinion that they might now reasonably call upon the Cape Colony to pay for such wars as should be carried on within the Colony itself. Now that the Transkei war was finished he agreed with the hon. Member for Liskeard that the Cape Colony ought to be self-supporting and to bear its own expenses absolutely and entirely. It should not be allowed to draw upon the Military Chest; but if it wished to raise money in the future it ought to do so upon its own credit and not upon that of this country. The Colony should be self-governing and self-supporting. Whatever, therefore, might be the case with regard to wars, he trusted that they might not again be called upon to pay for any war in the Cape Colony itself. His observations did not apply to any possible complications in Natal, but were limited to the Cape Colony. With regard to the subject of Confederation, he wished to express the opinion that it could not be brought about in a practical manner by means of the present Confederation Act. They had been told that it would be necessary for them to give military assistance to the Colonists and to control the Native policy. The means by which that could be effected had not, however, been yet discovered, and they had not yet solved the problem of combining military assistance from the Mother Country with a proper control over the Native policy. He did not think that there was any one instance in which they had succeeded in solving the problem. He sincerely hoped Her Majesty's 145 Government would succeed in doing so. Meanwhile, they ought to make the Cape Colonists feel that if they should again draw this country into war it would not be a conflict in which all the loss would be on the side of Great Britain and all the profit on theirs.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
did not wish to detain the Committee at any length, but only to reply to some remarks that had fallen from the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney). The hon. Member seemed to think that he was of opinion that in New Zealand, where the Whites were strong, they should be left alone to commit any injustice they pleased; but at the Cape, where the contrary was the case, this country should interfere. Nothing could by any possibility be more contrary to his convictions than that idea. If the Natal Government were then stronger than the Natives, and were to commit any injustice upon them, and he was convinced that an act of injustice had been done, he could not say exactly what he would do; but he certainly would not be responsible for their acts. The hon. Member could not have any stronger feeling upon that point than he had; but the contrast between New Zealand and South Africa was very great. If they were to let New Zealand alone she would be well able to take care of herself; he believed they would be doing wrong to disavow the responsibility that belonged to them, but no harm would happen to the people of New Zealand, for they would be able to contend with the Natives. On the other hand, if they withdrew from their South African Colonies and all their possessions in South Africa the Natives were so numerous and so well armed that he thought they would be able to contend with the Whites. If the Blacks in South Africa got the upper hand atrocities would be committed upon the Whites which would be retaliated, and a general feud might take place. The Blacks in South Africa were very courageous, whatever else might be said concerning them, and from their contact with European nations they obtained such instruction in military matters that they would put the Whites in all parts of South Africa in very great danger, including Cape Colony and Natal. And if either the Zulus or some other Tribe were to put English Colonists in danger, was it likely that the English people 146 would not go to their rescue? This country could never stand by and see them murdered. That being the case, what were they to do? He regretted the wars that had hitherto been undertaken, and he believed that the last war was not only an unjust and unnecessary, but a wicked war. He hoped that they would have no such wars in future. Why were they going on with the war? It seemed to him they were bound to do so for two reasons. First, because there was always a feeling in South Africa, which they must expect to have to contend with, that wherever Whites were brought into contact with Blacks—the men of high civilization with the men of low civilization—the former would wish to domineer over the latter. That tendency ought to be checked by the Home Government, and he believed that the Government wished to contend against it; but he wished that they had done so with more vigour. A Governor and High Commissioner was sent out to contend against that feeling; but he had allowed himself to be led away by the War Party and to commit the country to what he (Mr. W. E. Forster) considered to be an unjust and unnecessary war. That war had cost them a large sum of money, and had only brought discredit on their arms. By the most recent appointment to the position of High Commissioner, the Government had placed over them a gentleman altogether opposed to the Native policy. They would, see what would be done for the future. The hon. Member for Liskeard proposed to sever the connection between the Mother Country and the Cape. He did not believe that the English people would assent to any such proposition. He would go further, and say that he did not think they ought to do so. They were, in his opinion, responsible for what happened at the Cape, and were bound to look to the safety of the Colonists. His hon. Friend had two lines of argument. In one part of his remarks he said that what was being done at the Cape was immoral and ought to be condemned. The answer to that was that this country was doing its best to put things in a proper state. Then the hon. Gentleman contended that the Colonists were free people, and ought to be left to themselves. With respect to the Transvaal, for every Boer there were 10 or 20 Blacks, and such a matter as 147 that should be taken into consideration. What was to be done under the circumstances? He entertained the strongest conviction that they ought not to break off their connection with the Cape. On the other hand, they were determined to do everything in their power to prevent the recurrence of another unnecessary, useless, and unjust war. They were necessary to the Colonists, who would be left in great difficulties without them. Whatever was said, yet the fact remained that if left to themselves the Colonists would be in very great difficulty, and would have no power to contend with the Natives of South Africa. But he thought they should take advantage of their position to make terms with the Colony. First, they should insist that they should do something for their own defence. A day or two ago the Secretary of State for the Colonies said that one thing which seemed to him to suggest that for the future the Government would insist upon the Colonies in South Africa organizing some defensive Forces. He thought that was the proper course to take, and that this country should say to the Colonists, that "if you accept our assistance we must have some voice in your policy; we must have some voice over your cost within your own Borders." On that point he fully agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy. They ought so to govern their Black subjects at the Cape, and the enormous multitude in Natal and the Transvaal, that at least there should be no wars or disturbances amongst them. He believed that was exceedingly difficult, and that it was one of the most difficult problems that ever came before any country to settle. He did not know, however, that there was any other policy they could take. They could not leave the Colony to shift for itself, and take the consequences of its own action. On the other hand, England was determined that it would not pay the expenses of such wars as this in the future. One thing we might do precisely opposite to what we had done, which was, that instead of sending out a Governor who made arrangements immediately after the annexation of the Transvaal, and who at once set to work with greater forces and power to carry out the policy which had brought the Transvaal Boers into misfortune, and so leading them into dis- 148 aster, they should send a man who, instead of getting up a war which was not wanted, and which was not necessary, and which was unjust, would use his very strong influence in preventing any such things. That was what the Government might very fairly do, and he had no doubt it was what the Government wished they had done. He hoped that this discussion would not cease without Government saying a little more of their intention with regard to their policy in the future than they had yet done. So far as he could tell, and he had watched these matters with some care and attention, the one practical measure suggested by the Government was that requiring the Colony to establish some defensive organization, and that he regarded as a very good measure. He thought a time had now come when, if the Government had a policy in regard to the Cape, and intended to meet this difficult problem, they ought to tell them what it was. He did not want to make an attack upon the Government, for he admitted their difficulties; but he must condemn, as he had always felt it his duty to condemn, the policy of Sir Bartle Frere. He felt also that Sir Bartle Frere had some right himself to complain. The Government ought to have known the very difficult problem they had to solve, and what sort of a man to solve it with. They ought to have known it—and if they did not know it before, it showed an amount of ignorance and want of foresight on their part that he could hardly suppose them guilty of—and if they did know it, they ought to have taken action with Sir Bartle Frere long before they did. They knew who he was, and what a remarkable combination he was of strength of will and of power of being misled by his own imagination—at the same time, of sincerity of purpose, and yet of a possibility of absolutely defying them in any instructions given to him. His letters and despatches, replying to the Colonial Secretary, showed pretty clearly what it was he meant to do. He could not but believe that the Government were in the same position as this. They thought—"Well, he may succeed in what he is going to do; we will leave him, and see what happens." Of course, it was very easy to judge after the event. That might be an easy thing to say now. Therefore, he made allow- 149 ances for the Government in that respect. Still, he thought they would themselves now regret very heartily that they did not act with more vigour and determination, and did not recall him or put him under instructions and restrictions from which he could not possibly have departed. Now, however, they had come to this point. They asked the Government to tell them fairly what was their line of policy? As regarded Federation, he thought they were right in making a Federation, if they would only tell them how they hoped to do it. If the Government would tell them the terms on which they would assist them, it would be an enormous advantage to deal with one body at the Cape. What was done several years ago was merely to give power to bind together the different States in the Federation. He had seen it stated sometimes that if the Divisions in the House on certain memorable occasions had succeeded in their object this war might have been avoided. But the South African Bill had nothing whatever to do with the war. Its sole object was to give the Colonists the opportunity of federating, if they pleased, and had no more to do with the war than any other possible thing that could have happened. When the Government trusted men like Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Garnet Wolesley, hoping that in some way or another they would solve this problem, they ought to give the House also some information of what their policy was to be.
§ MR. ONSLOW
observed, that he had never said a word against Sir Bartle Frere; but he thought Her Majesty's Government ought to be very careful. He had worked with him many years ago, and he knew his character. The despatches he had written home were exactly in the same line as those he sent, when he was Governor of Bombay, to Lord Lawrence, then Viceroy; and it was now incumbent on Her Majesty's Government to tell Sir Bartle Frere, considering all that had happened, that he was not to take the government of the Colonies under his control without the previous sanction of Her Majesty's Government. For every action of his out there the Government were responsible, and as they knew the kind of man they had to deal with, and could see the great mischief he had already worked, they ought to take warning. As a humble 150 but very strong supporter of the Government, he would tell them that his policy had not met with the approval of the House or the approval of the country. The right hon. Gentleman had talked about Federation; but it was a most difficult thing to settle, as might be seen from the important despatches written by Sir Henry Bulwer on this subject. For his part, he hoped nothing would be done so long as Sir Bartle Frere was at the head of affairs. He should be sorry to say that of any man who had served his country; but having studied his character, and knowing his previous history, he thought, seeing that Sir Bartle Frere had not the confidence of the House or the country, he should not, perhaps, be recalled, but, at any rate, he should tender his resignation.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
thought it a great pity that, entertaining the sentiments which he had just expressed, the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) did not vote with those who sat opposite to him on questions relating to our South African policy. But now that this question of Sir Bartle Frere had come up, and that they had had the pleasure of hearing the right hon. Gentleman's (Mr. W. E. Forster's) views of his character, and had heard him say that the Government ought to have known what manner of man he was, and ought to have looked rather sharply after him, he really thought he must come to the defence of the Government. A Friend of his had brought him a copy of Hansard, and he read with great interest in that volume the remarks made by the right hon. Gentleman on the 26th July, 1878. The Committee had heard the opinion of that right hon. Gentleman as to what the Government ought to have thought about Sir Bartle Frere. But what was his own opinion of him? He said—We have certainly in the Governor of the principal Colony a man whom we can entirely trust for motive, for sense, and for ability in this most difficult matter. I entirely agree with what the right hon. Gentleman has said. I think we might search the whole of our Public Service and with difficulty find any man who has that combination of feelings of justice and firmness of character which fits him to deal with this most difficult question. I do not know that the Government can do more than strengthen his hand as much as possible."—[3 Hansard, ccxlii. 474.]Sir Bartle Frere seemed to him a representative of the result of this policy 151 which they were called upon to discuss that night. There had been some question earlier in the evening of the discussion of the policy of the Afghan War on the Vote of Thanks; but there was no doubt that when they came to vote money they were entitled to discuss the policy which rendered the money necessary. As the Prime Minister had said quite truly, "expenditure depends upon policy." Then it seemed to him a grievous thing, in the present state of the country—a state of dissatisfaction and suffering—that they should be called upon to vote this extra £3,000,000 for this war. He thought that night they had supped full of horrors. They had passed a Vote of Thanks to the Army for carrying on a war in Asia which half the House thought to be unjust. ["No, no!"] Well, then, he would say nearly one-half of the House, or, at any rate, one-third of the House. ["No, no!"] Well, hon. Gentlemen seemed very strictly accurate. He maintained that more than one-third of the House did not approve this war. ["Oh, oh!"] It was no use crying "Oh, oh!" because it did not alter the fact. Early in the evening they had passed a Vote of Thanks to the Army for successfully prosecuting a war which more than one-third of the House considered to be unjust, and now they were called upon to vote £3,000,000 for a war which the whole House believed to be unjust. ["No, no!"] In his opinion, this was a war which everybody thought to be unjust except the hon. and gallant Admiral (Sir William Edmonstone). They had the despatches of Her Majesty's Government, in which Sir Bartle Frere was condemned for beginning this war; and, therefore, he supposed he was justified in saying that the Government would not have said, if they had not thought it, that Sir Bartle Frere had acted wrongly and unjustly in this matter. In fact, Sir Bartle Frere seemed to him to have thought, not that he was the Governor, but that he was the Government, and could carry out any policy that he liked. And then an hon. Member went so far as to say that the Home Government was not responsible for the war. If a public servant begun war and was then condemned, that was, practically, condemning the policy he adopted. If they read English history, they would never find that we had 152 carried on before a war which was avowedly admitted to be unjust. He did not believe there was anything like it in our previous history. In every other war the people had been told it was for some noble purpose, or was to defend this or that interest; but here they were told by the Government themselves that it was unjust, and yet they were called upon to vote £3,000,000 for carrying it on. They had not gone much into the policy of the war that night, although his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) had taken a wide sweep, and had discussed our whole Colonial policy. But what could be more wretched than the excuses put forward for this war; and could anything be more miserable? They were told that we made war with Cetywayo because he kept a large standing Army. Why, we in England worshipped a standing Army, and spent night after night in discussing it in all its details, and in providing for its perfection. They had 200 Members in that House more or less connected with the Army, who proved by their conduct that they believed that the country was made for the Army, and not the Army for the country. Then Sir Bartle Frere said war was made because Cetewayo did not allow his soldiers to marry till they were 40. Was there ever such a pretext as that? Why, we did exactly the same with our own Guardsmen. They had had a debate on this subject, and the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) took them through the whole matter, and explained all the proceedings. Then they heard another reason. It was charged that two or three men had come over the Border and stolen a pipe and handkerchief. These were all mere pretexts, and nothing else. Then, another reason given to catch the superficial was that we wanted to put down the great cruelties which Cetywayo practised on his people. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Elcho) made a speech, in which he used very hard language about Cetywayo, and told some most extraordinary stories which horrified that House, although there was no evidence to show that they had any warrant, and no evidence had been brought forward since to prove them true. For his part, he believed these stories were merely the exaggerations of some disordered brain. They talked 153 about going to war to stop cruelties, as if Cetewayo was the only man who committed cruelties. He had heard of a man called Chefket Pasha, or some such name. Did England go to war to stop his cruelties? On the contrary, we raised £6,000,000 to keep him going on in the same practices. Then, after all these pretexts for war, we went to war. England might talk about Poles and Hungarians, and sympathize with them in their struggles for freedom and liberty; but he believed there never was a nobler struggle than that which these savages had made against us who had gone wickedly to war with them. They talked about the prestige of the country being restored. Future generations would say that we, with our perfect means of scientific slaughter, had found ourselves outwitted and defeated by these poor, half-naked savages. Now the end, he supposed, was come. About a fortnight ago news arrived that we had gained a great and glorious victory. We had shot down some 1,000 or 1,500 of these poor savages, losing 10 men ourselves. That we called a glorious victory. He maintained it was a crowning disgrace, and as unjust and wicked a war as ever this country entered into; and he believed that at some future day that night would be looked back on, not with pride, but with regret, by all those who had supported the policy which called upon the House to vote this large sum.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I do not know that it is possible for me to enter as fully as the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. W. E. Forster) seems to desire into the discussion of the prospective Colonial policy of the Government. We have a question before us which is of importance, though it is a comparatively narrow question—the question of the Vote which we now ask the Committee to agree to, the sum which appears to be necessary for the expenses of the war in which we are engaged. It is perfectly natural that the House of Commons, on being asked to make that Vote, should take an opportunity of expressing its opinion upon the war itself, and upon the general question of our policy in South Africa. I would remind the Committee, however, that the House has already, upon more than one occasion, discussed a good many parts of this 154 question. They have discussed, in former years, the general policy of the relations of the Colonies one to another in South Africa. They have discussed the question of Confederation; they have discussed the conduct and policy of Sir Bartle Frere, and the conduct which has led to the war now going on, and which, I trust, is now coming to a conclusion. Within a very few days we have also discussed some of the general questions which arise with regard to our future policy. The Government have not endeavoured to evade a discussion of this question. They have laid before the House, as candidly and fully as they were able, the views which they entertain with regard to the relations of the South African Colonies one to another; and the House is perfectly well aware what the general ground was upon which this was recommended some time ago, and to how great an extent the difference in the relations between European Settlements and the Native Forces was the cause of our desire to establish some system of relations between these different European races which might bring about a better state of relation with the great Native communities. It was not absolutely necessary that that arrangement should take the form of a Federation. That was the form suggested, and we agreed to recommend it to Parliament as the best thing which we could ask the States to entertain and agree to. Although that was one of the methods suggested, it was not the primary and cardinal object to arrive at a settlement in that particular way. What was really necessary for these varying communities of European descent and habits, living in immediate contiguity to a large and powerful class of barbaric nations, was that there should be that amount of understanding between them as might regulate their relations with these savage nations, and, as might prevent or obviate causes of quarrel, and, in the case of quarrels unfortunately arising, might enable the whole of the Powers which existed to be concentrated in order to prevent the series of difficulties which might happen from contention among them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) has, on more than one occasion, pointed out how very delicate is the question of the relations between the 155 White and the Black races in that part of the world. How difficult, and practically impossible, it is that we should leave those who are now planted in South Africa to entirely take care of themselves, and what lamentable consequences must follow from their being left, unassisted, to maintain a conflict such as he apprehends might take place between them and the great Native races by which they are surrounded. These are all points upon which we have been thinking for years—upon which there have been discussions for years, both in the House and in the despatches between the Mother Country and he Colonies. We are endeavouring, as far as we can, to arrive at a proper settlement with regard to the relations which ought to be established. I think my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies has communicated, as far as is possible for him to do, what the general lines are upon which we are now discussing the questions that press for a solution. It is obvious that the very first thing we have to do is to settle the present difficulty—to finish the present war in which we are, unfortunately, engaged, very much against our will, and, as we are disposed to think, without absolute necessity. At the same time, I think it is unfair to the distinguished statesman who is our Representative at the Cape to represent this as if it were a pure piece of wantonness on his part. We have never attempted to say that we do not think he committed an error of judgment in what he did; but, at the same time, it is a little unfair to suppose it was a mere wanton act of aggression on his part, when he fairly tolls you in his despatches that he acted under the belief that unless he had done what he did there would have been an outbreak of the savages, and consequences which we cannot estimate. I am not going myself to defend his conduct; but it must be remembered, in justice to him, that he had what seemed to him the very strongest cause to justify his act. This is not a matter in which we ought to condemn Sir Bartle Frere, as if his action had been altogether without reason. We have to get rid of the difficulties in which we find ourselves placed. We have to judge of the steps we are to take to bring this war to a conclusion, and we are to consider the question of the expenses incurred in 156 connection with that war. Beyond that, we have to consider what is to be the future system which we should endeavour to establish in order to prevent the recurrence of similar misfortunes. In regard to the expenditure, only one course is at the present moment offered to Her Majesty's Government—namely, to ask Parliament for a Vote of money which will be sufficient for the present exigency, and for the payment of the bills actually incurred. We ask for this Vote in order that we may be enabled to meet the claims which we know will be made on the Treasury Chest on account of the expenditure already incurred, and also to meet such expenditure as is likely to be incurred between this time and the time when the troops will begin to return. In the Vote which we are asking, we are not only taking what we believe to be enough for the maintenance of the troops in South Africa up to the present time, and for some time longer, but we are also taking a sum of £500,000 for the Navy, the greater part of which will be devoted to expenses incurred in conveying the troops home. The next question is as to how the cost is to be apportioned between the Mother Country and the Colonies? We are all agreed, I think, that the Colonies ought to bear a proportion of the expense, and that every effort must be made to bring the Colonies to a conviction of their obligation in that respect, and to provide that they should take their proper share of the burden which has been incurred by us on their account much more than on our own. I cannot help regretting that the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) should have taken this opportunity of putting into the mouths of the Colonists arguments to induce us to admit that they ought not to be called upon to pay. If such arguments are used hereafter, we shall have to thank the hon. Gentleman for having done what he could to prevent the Colonists taking upon themselves that share of the burden which everybody in the House agreed that they ought to take. We shall not venture into any discussion of the arguments of the hon. Gentleman. I believe there would be, on the part of the Colonists, a disposition to do what lies in their power. They will have their difficulties, but I do not know that those difficulties will be 157 insuperable; and, at all events, it will be the duty of Her Majesty's Government to arrive at such a settlement with the Colonists as will give us the best terms possible. It may be that the Colony of Natal has not a very large Revenue, but I believe it has a Revenue which will enable it to contribute a substantial amount to the expenses of the war; indeed, I am of opinion that means will be found to obtain from the Colonies a very substantial contribution towards this money which we are now asking Parliament to vote. What we desire to see in the future is that which we have desired to see for some time past. We desire to see established a system of arrangements which we believe will take the form of a Confederation between the States of South Africa organized on a proper footing, placed in proper relations with the Home Government, and having for its object the throwing, to a great extent, upon the Colonies in that part of the world of the responsibility of providing for their own defence and for their own Frontier policy. But, at the same time, that system must be adopted with a sufficient control—a sufficient influence on the part of the Mother Country to prevent mischiefs such as those which I have glanced at as being of a dangerous kind. If you have the establishing of such a system as that, and when you have to conduct your arrangements with a Colony which has the right of self-government, you are undertaking a task which is necessarily one of delicacy, and which will require some considerable amount of correspondence and communication. We cannot pretend, at the present moment, to lay down in detail what will be the regulations which we can hope to propose. My right hon. Friend is now in communication with the Colony of the Cape, the principal Colony, upon this subject; and I believe that he is at this moment expecting soon to receive a despatch from them, conveying their views upon that policy; and Sir Bartle Frere is, no doubt, exercising his influence—and it is a very considerable influence—in endeavouring to promote that settlement at the Cape. I think it would be premature to go, at the present stage of the negotiations, into a discussion in this House as to the particulars which we shall desire to insist upon in laying down our policy. My right hon. 158 Friend has said that one great object which we have in view is to induce the Colonies, in forming themselves into a Union or Confederation of this kind, to establish an organized system of self-defence. Her Majesty's Government think it a very important matter that their defence should not be left to mere irregular and chance Armies, but that there shall be something in the nature of a well-organized Colonial Force. We have no doubt that assistance may very properly be rendered, upon judicious conditions, by the Home Government, for the training, maintaining, and forming the nucleus of such a Force; and Her Majesty's Government are desirous that the relations between this country and the Colonies, both with regard to administration and legislation, and also to the important question of expenditure, should be put on a footing which, while it properly leaves them the due control of their own domestic concerns, will obviate, as far as possible, the danger of our being called upon, on Imperial grounds, and on grounds of humanity and of kinship, to save them from a fate which might be provoked by incautious and high-handed measures on their part, and will enable us to check and control their action as far as possible, before the mischief has arisen. I do not think it is possible, at the present moment, to go more fully than that into that question. We know quite well how difficult has been the problem of Colonial government. Reference has been made to the old and valuable debates; and, much as we have learned since Sir William Molesworth discussed that question and threw more light upon it than had, perhaps, up to that time existed, still the problem before us is one of great difficulty, and I only hope that the House of Commons will not force us to make either inconvenient or embarrassing declarations prematurely at a time when we are really not able to say anything that might be entirely conclusive and satisfactory.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Sir, I think the Committee must have observed a somewhat remarkable omission from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. It would, perhaps, be unreasonable to-night to enter into the large question of the future of South Africa. And it would, perhaps, be equally unreasonable at 159 this period of the Session that the right hon. Gentleman should feel himself pledged to a particular course. I very much agree with what fell from him to the effect that the most urgent duty before us was to finish the Business in hand, and to put an end, as soon as possible, and upon the most satisfactory terms we can to the unnecessary war in which we are engaged. But what the right hon. Gentleman entirely omitted to notice was the terms on which this war can be put an end to, and this is what we are entitled to ask. The Committee, I think, has been placed by Her Majesty's Government in, perhaps, the most remarkable position that it was ever placed in, being left in total ignorance both as to the objects with which the war was commenced, and as to the terms upon which it is to be concluded. We are in this position—that we all unanimously in this House are agreed as to the inadequacy of the object for which this war was commenced by Sir Bartle Frere. But while the Government have repudiated all responsibility for bringing about the war, they have declined to recall Sir Bartle Frere, whose acts have led to it. To do Sir Bartle Frere justice, he has never, for a moment, wavered from the opinion that the war was a just one; and, probably, whatever may be said, he will not alter his view of the subject, while it is evident that, whatever may be the private opinion of Her Majesty's Government, they have determined to do their best to shield Sir Bartle Frere from blame. The result of this is that, although we have partially superseded him, this country has had to pay, altogether, £4,500,000 for a war as to which we are entirely agreed that the object for which it was entered into was insufficient. That is done and past recall. The war has been entered into, and must be paid for. But the terms upon which peace may be made are still, to a certain extent, within our control. We know very clearly what are the views of Sir Bartle Frere upon the subject of peace, for we have before us his Ultimatum in which they are contained; and those terms, I have no doubt, are the only terms on which Sir Bartle Frere would ever have consented to make peace. The Government laid before us a despatch containing a criticism upon the terms of that Ultimatum; but we do not know how far 160 Sir Bartle Frere was expected to think that he had their authority to proceed, or how far, in the opinion of the Government, the terms of the Ultimatum were to be departed from. When Sir Garnet Wolseley was sent out to supersede Sir Bartle Frere, endeavours were made to get some information as to the terms upon which he was authorized to make peace; but we received one excuse after another, until, finally, the Blue Book has appeared, and we find that no instructions have been given to him. I understand from the Secretary of State for the Colonies that Sir Garnet Wolseley had been made colloquially acquainted with the views of Her Majesty's Government, and that he was perfectly aware of the terms of peace which were to be required from Cetywayo. Why can we not now be placed in the same position as Sir Garnet Wolseley, even if the views of Her Majesty's Government are, as is very probable, incapable of being placed in an intelligible form upon paper? Why cannot we colloquially learn what are the terms of peace which Sir Garnet Wolseley is to demand? The Ultimatum has, very probably, disappeared; but that does not put an end to the difficulty. What security has been taken by the Government—even supposing that the power of Cetywayo, and the system established by him has disappeared—that another Cetywayo, with another military system, may not take his place? We have heard something about substituting a system of minor Chiefs, who are to divide amongst themselves the authority hitherto exercised by Cetywayo. But what position towards the British Government are these minor Chiefs to occupy? Are they to be independent, or under the control of this country? Does the Government accept the opinions put forward by Sir Bartle Frere in the latest despatch of his which we have before us, where he lays down the policy which, in his opinion, Sir Garnet Wolseley and the Government ought to follow. He says, in that despatch, that a Native policy uniform in its great principles is an essential preliminary to the establishment of a permanent peace in South Africa, and that such a policy must rest upon the fundamental principle that the supremacy of the British Government, as representing a civilized Power, should be 161 unquestionable in any Native State surrounded, as the Zulus are, by British subjects and their allies. In other words, a Zulu State, bordering on the Dominions of the British Crown, must, according to the doctrine of Sir Bartle Frere, acknowledge the supremacy of the British Power. It is extremely easy to say if this policy be adopted where it will lead us. It will lead us to practical annexation. The British settlers will, of course, colonize the territory, which would then only become an extension of the British Colony, and then we shall have new neighbours, amongst whom, according to Sir Bartle Frere, it would be necessary to assert the supremacy of the British Government. Where, as the hon. Member for Liskeard has asked, is this policy to stop? Are the Government aware of any limit within which they can rest and be thankful? Where can they expect to find no Tribes that may not possibly become enemies of the British Colonies? The House of Commons has a right to ask these questions. I have no intention of enforcing these at length; but I did think that the Government would have taken the opportunity to make some statement as to their views with regard to the terms of peace. The statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to me to be so manifestly inadequate in this respect that I could not omit to ask for some more information as to the terms upon which peace will be made.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
Sir, the noble Lord has said that the House has unanimously pronounced its opinion as to the insufficiency of the reasons for the present war. It appears to me, however, that the only opinion pronounced by the House was the rejection, several months ago, of the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea; and that, if I may say so, we are wasting time in now discussing the causes of the war, and the policy which led up to it. I will venture to say that, whatever may be the views of the House as to the policy of the war, it has, at any rate, been unanimous in the opinion that it has necessary that the war, once begun, should be brought to a satisfactory clusion, and that is the object of the Vote for which the Committee are asked this evening. The noble Lord has asked for information as to the terms on which Sir Garnet Wolseley has been instructed 162 to make peace, and with that puestion he has mixed up a reference to the despatches of Sir Bartle Frere, which I should have thought to be quite unnecessary. Her Majesty's Government have sent out Sir Garnet Wolseley to South Africa, placing in his hands authority over certain parts of the country for reasons stated in despatches which have been laid upon the Table, and I would ask that we may be judged by reasons given by ourselves rather than by those attributed to us by the noble Lord. We have sent out Sir Garnet Wolseley in order to bring this war shortly, as we hope, to a satisfactory conclusion. The noble Lord has said that there has been delay and hesitation in publishing the instructions issued to Sir Garnet Wolseley; but I should like to know whether any instance can be given in which the particular instructions given to a General have been made public before the conclusion of a war? It appears to me that any such course would be calculated to defeat its own object. There have been given to the House the general instructions of Sir Garnet Wolseley, indicating the line of policy to be pursued. He is told in those general instructions that it is the desire of Her Majesty's Government that the present war should be brought to an end as soon as it can be done consistently with the honour of our arms and safety of the British Colonies; and that, in considering the conditions of peace, he is to bear in mind that the object of the Government is not to add to the extent of the British Possessions, but to relieve them from the danger to which they have been hitherto exposed, and that the best means of obtaining that object is to establish friendly relations with the Zulu people on a basis that might secure permanent peace. Yet the noble Lord charges us with the desire of extending our Dominions, and asks when we are are going to stop? That, I think, is scarcely a fair charge to make, after the direct and concise statement contained in the despatches before the House. I will remind the Committee of my despatch of the 28th March. That despatch pointed to the absolute necessity of breaking the military power of Cetywayo; it pointed to a system of British Resident Agents, fairly to represent British interests and protect British subjects in Zululand, and to that despatch Sir Garnet Wolseley 163 was referred. Finally, having had the advantage of constant communication with myself and other Members of the Government conversant with the details of this difficult question, Sir Garnet Wolseley was intrusted with complete power to carry out the general policy of the Government by such detailed arrangements as to him might appear advisable. Arrived on the spot, he found Cetywayo's Army dispersed, the King a fugitive, and the principal Chiefs submitting to us, and professing themselves tired of Cetywayo's rule. By the exercise of those diplomatic qualities with which Sir Garnet Wolseley is endowed, there appears to be an opportunity of bringing this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, which will secure permanent peace without the annexation of territory. I do not think it well to enter into the details of the plan by which this may be done. I can assure the noble Lord that Sir Garnet Wolseley's instructions are in accordance with the general principles contained in the despatches which I have laid before the House, and that we have full confidence that he will carry out those instructions in the manner and in the spirit in which they were given.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, that before the Vote was taken he wished to ask the Government what they proposed to do with regard to the revolution in Basutoland. At present there was a Chief there defending his stronghold from the attacks of the Colonial and Government Forces who were endeavouring to subdue him. He wished to know whether any favour able terms would be granted to that Chieftain? What terms did the Government propose to give him, or did they simply intend to hang or shoot him if they laid hands upon him? They had heard a most heartrending account of the way in which the Colonial troops had been acting. The Colonial troops would not have had power to attack the Basutos in the way they had done unless they had received help in another direction from the Govern-Forces. Before the Vote was taken, he thought it was right that they should understand from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies his ideas of the way in which the rebellion in Basutoland was to be terminated; whether he thought that the Colonial troops were to be allowed to go 164 on burning and killing women and children, and blowing them up with dynamite, or whether favourable terms of peace were to be given to those who surrendered? He did not call terms of peace favourable which treated them as guilty of treason and felony, and sent them to penal servitude for life or to perpetual imprisonment. He did think that they ought to have some more definite announcement of the intentions of the Government in this matter. Then, with regard to Cetywayo, an impression seemed to have got abroad that it was intended to deprive him of his Kingdom and of all power, and that his Kingdom was to be divided among other Chiefs. Did the Government intend to adopt that course, or would they make such terms of peace with Cetywayo as would give him power over the remainder of his people? If the Government had not decided what course they would take with regard to Cetywayo, he thought that the Vote ought to be postponed until the Government had made up its mind.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, that with regard to Cetywayo there was one point which had to be kept in view. Whatever steps might be taken with regard to him, of course they would include such measures as would preclude him from again attaining a menacing position towards the White population. There was no desire, however, to deal harshly with him if he fell into our power. The hon. Member had also asked him how they proposed to terminate the rebellion in Basutoland. He was happy to inform the hon. Member that, according to the latest telegrams, there seemed good reason to hope that the war in Basutoland had terminated, and that the rebels had submitted. But any further measures which it might be necessary to take in reference to it concerned the Colonial rather than the Home Government, inasmuch as Basutoland was within the limits of Cape Colony, which possessed a responsible Government, and the operations had been conducted by Colonial troops at the expense of the Colony. If there were anything in the conduct of the operations which appeared to the Government to require it, they would remonstrate with the Colonial Government. He knew very little of the way in which those operations had been conducted; and he 165 might add that he had asked Sir Bartle Frere to send him a Report thereon.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary had not communicated to the House the instructions that had been given to Sir Garnet Wolseley. Those instructions, he had informed the House, were chiefly in despatches, and he thought that the House was entitled to know what they were. They had been told that many of those instructions were given in conversation only; but there must have been written instructions as well. As they had now heard, those instructions seemed to be of the most general and uncertain character, probably very much of the same character as those given to Sir Bartle Frere when he undertook the government of South Africa. What had been the result in that case? The result had been such as the Government had lamented as strongly as any of them. And they had now been told that Sir Garnet Wolseley had carte blanche to act as he chose. Sir Garnet Wolseley had been told to break the power of Cetywayo. That might mean that his Army was to be absolutely destroyed, for the military power of Cetywayo would not be broken while his Army could be got together again. So long as they left 20,000 men with arms in their hands they would not have broken the power of Cetywayo. There was another point. What was to be done with Cetywayo himself, and how was Sir Garnet Wolseley to act with regard to him? He objected to grant the Vote on an estimate of the expense that probably would not be anything like the sum that would be required. He would like to know a little more definitely and distinctly what instructions had been given, so that they might be enabled to judge whether the Vote was sufficient or not, or whether it was too much. Personally, he did not object to the Vote, because he felt perfectly sure that it would not be nearly enough for the war. He felt sure, by the despatches of the Government, and from the Correspondence that had been laid before the House, that the present Vote would not be one-third of the expense that would be incurred. But sufficient information had not been given to the House, and they would like more. He sincerely hoped that the sanguine expectations of the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary would be realized, and that 166 they had heard the last of the complications at the Cape.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that at that time of the evening he would be altogether wrong unnecessarily to prolong the debate. He would not do so; but he would like to hear some explanation from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies with reference to the inquiries that had been put to him from various parts of the House. There were also two questions upon which he thought it would be well for them to have a clear answer. The first question was with respect to the terms of the settlement that Sir Garnet Wolseley was empowered to make. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies had stated that the terms of the settlement had been explained verbally to Sir Garnet Wolseley, and had reference to the communications addressed to Sir Bartle Frere so far back as March last. It was generally understood that information had come within the last day or two from the Cape that one of the probable arrangements for the settlement of Zululand was that Cetywayo being a fugitive, and his power broken, his country would be divided into a number of districts and each placed under a Chief, with a Resident, to be appointed by the Government, at the head-quarters of the district. He need not say that to support the Resident it would be necessary to have some kind of military force. That would virtually be annexation; and he wished to know, therefore, if such an arrangement was consistent with the instructions that had been given to Sir Garnet Wolseley? That was the first question he wished to ask. The other question was not one which he wished to ask by way of reflection upon the Government, but because he thought it would be well to obtain an answer before the present Vote finally closed the right hon. Gentlemen the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and especially the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had spoken as to the prospective arrangements in South Africa which might be presumed to have a tendency to prevent a recurrence of the heavy charge on the English public which the last and the present war had entailed. Now, the whole question of the cost of wars at the Cape was care- 167 fully considered by the Committee on Colonial Military Expenditure of 1861, of which he was one of the very few remaining Members. That Committee reported, in reference to South Africa, that there security against military aggression should be provided for by local effort, and that the main object of any system adopted by this country should be to encourage local effort, not only as its first object to diminish expenditure, but to stimulate self-reliance in the Colonists themselves. Having regard to the fact that, two Sessions ago, they passed an Act to enable the South African Colonies to confederate, remembering that while that Act was passing through the House they had never dreamt of this country being drawn into a policy from which an expenditure of £5,000,000 had ensued, and bearing in mind that the Confederation was spoken of as the last step in a series of steps which would place South Africa in a similar position as the Dominion of Canada, he wished to ask the Government whether they would not now, once for all, insist upon those Colonies adopting for the future such internal arrangements between each other as would, in the spirit of the Report to which he had alluded, and in the spirit of the Confederation Act, absolutely secure the recurrence of the present state of things? He thought that the Government ought to give some explicit assurance that they would not only, in form, call on the Colonies to do more for military defence against internal enemies, but that they would absolutely insist, as a condition of local self-government, on specific securities from those Colonies against the British public being required to provide for such defence; and he (Mr. Childers) would gladly support some concession to the Colonies in respect of the cost of the present wars, if we were made secure in this respect for the future. He did not ask these questions in any spirit of hostility against the Government.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
could not go into questions of detail at so late an hour. He might, however, say, generally, that it was no part of the instructions given to Sir Garnet Wolseley that an Imperial Military Force should be permanently stationed in Zululand. With regard to the second question of the right hon. Gentleman, 168 he understood that he desired that an Imperial Military Force should no longer stay in South Africa.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that that was not his point. On the contrary, he left the question of the withdrawal of the Military Force now in South Africa entirely in the hands of the Government. What he said was, that after what had passed, and looking to the spirit of the Confederation Act, and on the lines of the Report of the Committee of 1861, he should like some assurance from the Government that the recurrence of exceptional charges similar to these would be obviated in the future by a binding agreement with the self-governing Colonies at the Cape.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, the Government had kept that object steadily in view in all the communications that had passed.
§ Question put, and agreed to.