HC Deb 27 March 1879 vol 244 cc1865-950

in rising to move— That this House, while willing to support Her Majesty's Government in all necessary measures for defending the possessions of Her Majesty in South Africa, regrets that the ultimatum which was calculated to produce immediate war should have been presented to the Zulu King without authority from the responsible advisers of the Crown, and that an offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity or adequate preparation; and this House further regrets that after the censure passed upon the High Commissioner by Her Majesty's Government in the Despatch of "the 19th day of March 1879, the conduct of affairs in South Africa should be retained in his hands, said, from the year 1843 down to a recent period, the Colony of Natal had enjoyed complete peace upon its Zulu Frontier; and, similarly, from 1852 downwards, a condition of general peace was the lot of the South African Colonies generally. During the past three years, however, and especially during the last two, the condition of affairs in South Africa had greatly changed. They had seen a rapid succession of wars, the number of which was variously estimated at four, five, and six, according to the degree of importance attached by different persons to the disturbances which had occurred. The state of things existing in South Africa at the time of the arrival of the present High Commissioner, Sir Bartle Frere, was clearly indicated in a private letter which he had received from an old Colonist. His informant said— Sir Bartle Frere's predecessor, on leaving the Cape, declared that whatever difficulties might fall to the lot of his successor, it was satisfactory to know that the legacy of a Kaffir war was not one of them, unless the 'scare,' or war party, were allowed to work their will. Well, "the scare," or war party, had been allowed to work their will, and the question naturally arose—Who was responsible for the change? In contrast with the circumstances of Sir Bartle Frere's arrival in the Colony, it was interesting to note his own account of the present condition of affairs there. Speaking of Natal, he said— The capital and all the principal towns are at this moment in laager, prepared for an attack which, even if successfully resisted, would leave two-thirds of them in ashes, and the country around utterly desolated. From every part of South Africa, outside the Colony, where Native races predominate, come the same reports of uneasiness, and of intended risings of the Natives against the White man, while the majority of the Transvaal European population is in a state of avowed readiness to take any opportunity of shaking off the yoke of the English Government. Some years ago, a dispute had arisen between the Zulu Kingdom and the Transvaal Boers with regard to the possession of certain territory; and when the Transvaal was annexed, Her Majesty's Government informed Parliament that the object in view was to restore tranquillity, and prevent a collision between the Zulus and the White population. When the South African Bill was discussed, his hon. Friend the Member for Lis- keard (Mr. Courtney) warned hon. Members that they were being misled; but the Government and their supporters, who were themselves misled, and not misleading, adhered to their views. As for the House of Commons, their policy in the affair was undoubtedly one of peace and friendliness towards the Zulu nation. They desired that no more wars should disturb our Colonies in South Africa; and it was with that view that they supported the Government in passing the Bill. It was in the face of the protests and arguments of those who opposed the Bill that statements such as he had referred to had much weight with the great majority of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen), quoting the words of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, said that— Her Majesty's Government could not accept or be a party to any of those monstrous extensions of territory by the Boors; and it was clear that the idea of the House was that by the policy to be adopted the Zulu Kingdom would be protected against the aggressive action of the Boers. As for the disputed land claims, they were told by Sir Arthur Cunynghame, who was the General in command at the time of the annexation, in a book he had recently published, that the Boers claimed a large extent of country which they asserted Cetewayo had sold to them, an assertion which he denied, and that, acting as mediator between the parties, Sir Theophilus Shepstone had taken the part of the Zulu King. That was a fair summary of the case. Now, with respect to those lands, something might be gathered from the rates at which they were sold. Sir Arthur Cunynghame stated that 1,800,000 acres had been sold at three-halfpence an acre, although the land was good. It was customary for the Boers, as each man came of age, to give him a plot of territory extending to 6,000, 10,000, and even to 12,000 acres; and Sir Arthur Cunynghame stated that a large number of farms had been measured by a Government surveyor, and that some of the farms which were represented as containing 6,000 acres each were found to contain 9,000 and some 12,000 acres. The measurement of one plot of land was stated to be 160,000 acres, but on being measured it was found to extend to 240,000 acres; and he added that, though most of the Boers had far more land than they could manage, yet every one of them desired to have more; and with reference to those claims generally, he said that quarrels and bloodshed were the result of their being made. Well, the Government of Natal—even Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who was at that time the adviser of the Government—and Her Majesty's Government itself had all stated their strong disapproval of the conduct of the Boers. Sir Theophilus Shepstone, however, appeared to have changed his mind about the time Sir Bartle Frere changed his. Which of the two had instigated the other to do so he could not, of course, say. All through the Papers it would, however, be seen that the Government of Natal had acted as a Government having a real head—a Government not run away with by passion or terror, a Government which was in complete contrast, from the first line of the Blue Books to the last, with the Government of Sir Bartle Frere. In one despatch the Government of Natal said that the Zulus had never given up their claim to the lands in dispute; that they had offered the land to the Government of Natal; had asked for the intercession of the Government of Natal, of which they professed themselves to be friends. After the annexation of the Transvaal the disputed lands were occupied by the Boers and were forcibly held by them, and the Zulus complained that they had been driven from their lands. He asked the House to remember that, for it was clear that Sir Bartle Frere, in the face of the plainest evidence, had altogether contradicted and denied the fact, and had said that the Zulus were taking the law into their own hands and had driven our people away from their lands. In another despatch the Natal Government pointed out that the messengers from Cetewayo had arrived, and had, in his name, asked for an arbitration on the question; and, as a matter of fact, at the end of 1877 or the beginning of 1878, an arrangement for arbitration was come to, and it was agreed between the Government of Natal and Cetewayo, and approved by the High Commissioner, that there should be arbitration on the-subject. Arbitrators were appointed; and if this step was not taken at the sugges- tion of the Zulu King, at all events, when it was put to him by the Government of Natal, he at once assented to it. Messengers were sent to him on our behalf, and they reported that they were thoroughly satisfied as to the King's desire for peace, and that the story that he had invaded the disputed territory and set up a military kraal there was untrue. They said, too, that he had offered to abandon his claim to a considerable portion of the disputed territory, and had spoken of writing to the Queen, stating his strong desire to remain on good terms with the British Government, and they added that no one could doubt that he strongly wished that the dispute should be sent to arbitration. Sir Bartle Frere admitted that such was Cetewayo's wish; but he added that if the arbitration had gone against him he would not abide by it. It might be thought by some that if the arbitration went against Sir Bartle Frere he might avoid it by some convenient pretext. The Blue Book contained the answer in full of Cetewayo to the suggestion as to arbitration of the Natal Government, and it would be seen, on reference to it, that it was couched in the most friendly terms. The Government at home concurred in the view as to Cetewayo's friendliness. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies wrote to say that he was disposed to think that it would be advisable to accept Cetewayo's offer, and he modified the proposal of the Natal Government, and accepted that of the Zulu King. Thus, it would be seen that there was then a general feeling of a conciliatory kind existing between the two Governments. Cetewayo received a second embassy, who informed him that negotiations for arbitration were on foot; he said what he heard had lifted a weight from his heart; that they were words he was glad to hear. They added that the chief men about the King did not wish for war; but appeared like men who had been carrying a heavy burden, and were told that they might put it down and rest. The Natal Government suggested that, as regarded the disputed lands, the status quo should be respected, and Cetewayo gave a promise to that effect. Sir Bartle Frere had since said that that promise was broken; but not only was there no evidence of that, but it was clearly the opinion of the Natal Government that the promise was kept throughout. The Papers in the hands of hon. Members set forth the arrangements which were made for the arbitration, and that Sir Theophilus Shepstone—and this was the first note of discord, the first sign that mischief was brewing—recorded his dissent. The Transvaal Government at that moment were against the arbitration, although they afterwards came round, apparently because they had been persuaded that the arbitration would be favourable to their views. Sir Bartle Frere accepted the inquiry, but asserted that it would be adverse to the Zulus. He said— I cannot say that I see much hope of permanent peace being obtained by means of the intervention at present suggested. I should rather expect that the Zulu King, like many other military despots, will be willing to accept an intervention that will give him what he desires without fighting for it, but that he will not accept with equal readiness a decision adverse to his claims. It proved to be Sir Bartle Frere who would not accept a decision adverse to his claims. What did Sir Theophilus Shepstone say at this time? At this moment he received a deputation of Dutch Boers, representing the people who had settled on the disputed soil, and told them that it was an absolute necessity for the Government to accept the arbitration. He said that when a man like Cetewayo proposed a resort to peaceable means for the settlement of a difficulty, it was the duty of a Christian country to accept his proposals. He also told them that the result of the arbitration would be in support of their views. His words were— I told them that Cetewayo had consented to arbitration, and that, whatever our individual views might be as to the practical issue of the remedy, we were bound to show at least as great a desire for a peaceful settlement as the Zulu King was said to have shown, of whose character the memorialists had used such strong language. I told them that I would do all in my power to obtain for the State its just rights, but that the use of force was at present out of the question. I pressed upon them the necessity for abstaining from the commission of any act that might prejudice those rights, and begged of them to bear their burdens as best they could, in the hope of a fair and righteous judgment being ultimately secured. Thus, he told the representatives of the Transvaal that he would maintain before the Commission claims which he now called their just rights, but which he had previously condemned in the strongest language. Sir Henry Bulwer, replying to the Government of the Transvaal that the Dutch Burghers had expressed their disappointment at what had been done in view of putting off war, said—"They object to arbitration, and they will resist any decision that goes against them." The Natal Government also said that the object of the memorialists was war with the Zulu nation, and that they seemed to lose sight of the fact that war with the Zulus no longer concerned Transvaal territory alone. The Natal Government pointed out how dangerous it would be for all the Governments to appeal to arms for a settlement of the dispute. A message was then sent to Cetewayo, who treated the embassy with high consideration; and yet, in the same month, Sir Theophilus Shepstone telegraphed that there was imminent danger of war with the Zulus; and Sir Bartle Frere, who was bound to believe the Government of Natal in preference to the Government of the Transvaal, expressed his approval of the views of the latter Government. He reported home that the Government of the Transvaal was in favour of war; but he failed to report home the views of the Government of Natal, which were in favour of peace. Sir Bartle Frere, as soon as the opinion of the Commission appointed to settle the boundary question was known to be opposed to his own views, began to seek for fresh occasion for war—a war which, in the opinion of the Government at home, would not be for the benefit of the Colonies. Sir Bartle Frere had, in his opinion, kept back the award for nine months. The Commission was appointed in March, and Sir Bartle Frere was informed in April that the views of its members would be in favour of the Zulus, and against the claims of the Dutch Boers. The Commission finally reported at the end of June. The decision was officially communicated to Sir Bartle Frere at the beginning of July, and he had known what it would be since the middle of April, yet he kept back his final award until the month of December. On the 15th of May, when Cetewayo had heard the details of the decision, he said— He now sees that he is a child of this Government (the Natal Government), and that the desire of this Government is to do him justice; had it acted in any other way than it has now done, fear would have overcome him, and he might have fled from those whom he now feels satisfied are his friends and wish him to live in peace. Cetewayo and the Zulu people are awaiting with heating hearts what the Lieutenant Governor of Natal will decide about the land that the Boers have given them (the Zulus) so much trouble about, for the Zulus wish very much now to re-occupy the land they never parted with, as it is now the proper season for doing so. The Governor of Natal, on the receipt of that letter, promised that no time should be lost in coming to a settlement, and yet the award of Sir Bartle Frere was not communicated until the month of December. The Government of Natal, writing in July, pointed out that Sir Bartle Frere had the whole of the case of the Commissioners in his hands; and Sir Bartle Frere then began those small, petty, unworthy, and miserable cavils, in which he continued to indulge for four or five months—cavils with the Commissioners, the Government of Natal, the Bishop of Natal, and others who represented the interests of the Zulu nation. The arguments of the Government of Natal were well worthy of consideration, as the party most interested in the maintenance of peace was naturally the Government of Natal, representing, as they did, the Colony upon which the brunt of a war with the Zulus must necessarily fall. The Colony, it should be remembered, had been the neighbour of Cetewayo for over 20 years, and during a large portion of that period it had been garrisoned by half a single British battalion, although the whole Zulu military system was lying upon its Borders just as well prepared for war as at the present time. The decision was expressed in July, and it ought to have been communicated at once. But Sir Bartle Frere had made preparations for an offensive war; he had laid his plans for the concentration of four columns upon the Zulu Frontier, and in July and August he was gaining time by cavilling in detail with the award. An admirable paper by Sir Henry Bulwer on the disputed boundary completely answered all the objections of Sir Bartle Frere. In August, Sir Bartle Frere expressed his views to the Government of Natal, and they again replied to them. The Government of Natal denied the statement of Sir Bartle Frere that the Zulus had taken the law into their own hands. The Government of Natal said— In this matter it was the Government of the Republic, or its subjects with its sanction expressed or unexpressed, who, bent on acquiring a portion of the Zulu country—and, possibly, with the view of ultimately becoming masters of the whole country—pushed the boundaries of the Republic further and further into Zulu-land, disregarding the rights of the Zulu nation, and refusing to listen to their complaints and to the proposals that were made for the dispute coming under the cognizance and judgment of a neutral Government. By force of circumstances, the subjects of the Transvaal were enabled to hold the lands thus acquired by them for several years; and now, when the day of settlement has come, they may turn round and say that they are the aggrieved and that the Zulus are the aggressors. These were not his words, but the words of the Government of Natal, and they accompanied those words by saying that the decision ought to be given to the Zulus without delay. Sir Bartle Frere, in his answer to this, cavilled and raised objections to the views of the Government of Natal, saying, as though he would put a kind of conundrum—"What precisely do the Zulus claim in the disputed territory? What rights do they wish to exercise there, and how do they wish to exercise those rights?" In reply, the Governor of Natal said— I think it is clear that what the Zulus claim in the 'disputed territory' is actual possession and use of the country as Zulu country for the Zulus. More Sovereignty, with the colonization of the country by European colonists in any number, they know very well would, in a short time, come to mean either the sovereignty of the White man or conflict with him. Such were the views of the Government of Natal. The Papers showed that Sir Bartle Frere wished at this very moment to send ships off the coast of the Zulu country; but the Natal Government prevented him from doing so. Again, we knew that the Government at home was informed early in September that all the arrangements had been made for an offensive war. In his Resolution he assumed that the Government at home refused to give leave for this offensive war; but, at the same time, it appeared to him that they must have been very remiss, if they did not see early in last year that it was the intention of Sir Bartle Frere to make an offensive war. Sir Bartle Frere continued his cavils by saying—"The decision of the Commissioners was not such as would have been given in a Court of Law." The Lieutenant Governor, in a dignified manner, replied—"It was the decision of a Court of Equity." In his opinion, no more dignified rebuke was ever administered by an inferior to a superior officer. Sir Bartle Frere, having become aware that he would have to give up the disputed territory, at all events in name, sought out other causes for a war which he, no doubt, thought necessary in the interests of the Colony. He said he considered that an organized Zulu Army threatened the very existence of the Government of Natal. But the Government of Natal, not having lost their heads, replied— The maintenance of a standing and well-organized Army, it should be observed, is according to the custom of the Zulu nation, which in all its traditions and instincts is warlike, and does not in itself prove that there is any set purpose of aggression in the mind of the King. The Government of Natal had shown from first to last, according to the Papers, that it was not a Government to be frightened or to be easily put out of its mind. Sir Bartle Frere next raised a question which figured afterwards in the Ultimatum, observing that— The Zulus had claimed a vast extension of the existing boundaries of the Zulu Kingdom. There was no evidence whatever in the published Papers to justify that statement. Sir Bartle Frere used language which showed how determined he was that the Zulus should never again really possess the disputed land. He said, with regard to the comparative title of the Zulus and that of the Boers— The Boers had force of their own and every right of conquest; but they had also what they seriously believed to be a higher title in the old commands they found in parts of their Bible to exterminate the Gentiles and take their land in possession. Sir Bartle Frere added— We may freely admit that they misinterpreted the text, and were utterly mistaken in its application; but they had at least a sincere belief in the Divine authority for what they did, and, therefore, a far higher title than the Zulus could claim for all they acquired. "And, therefore, a far higher title." When a man wrote in language of this kind, was it right to censure him for one proceeding only, and not to blame his whole policy? Passages of this kind in his Reports showed that Sir Bartle Frere was a man who ought not to be left for one moment at the head of affairs. At page 49, Sir Bartle Frere used words of almost similar type, which were, equally disrespectful to the opinion of his Commissioners. He said— Had the means then at the disposal of the Transvaal Government sufficed, there can be no doubt that Government would have been justified in ejecting the Zulu intruders and replacing and protecting the Transvaal occupants. Again, Sir Bartle Frere cavilled at the rejection of Transvaal evidence by the Commissioners, and he attacked them and the Natal Government upon this point. What did the Commissioners say, however, about this evidence which was produced on behalf of the Transvaal? They said— The next document put forward by the Transvaal Government (No. 9), purporting, with other matter, to give an account of a meeting between Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the Secretary for Native Affairs of Natal, Panda, the Zulu King, and Cetewayo, is plainly a fabrication, because Sir Theophilus Shepstone did not arrive at Nodwengu from Natal to meet Panda and Cetewayo until the 9th of May, 1861, whereas the Transvaal document is dated the 16th of March of that year. These Commissioners were thoroughly acquainted with the facts, and as competent to pronounce an opinion as any men who could be found. They were—Mr. Shepstone, the Secretary for Native Affairs in Natal, the Attorney General, and the gallant Colonel Durnford, who lost his life afterwards at Isandlana. All the dates were given, by which it became clear that Sir Bartle Frere had the facts really in his hands in April. The Commissioners began to sit in the early days of March, 1878, and all was over by June. By the end of July Sir Bartle Frere had all the Papers which were necessary for the consideration of the case, and by the end of July he was in as good a position as the Government of Natal to give his award on the case; but he kept back his award till the middle of December, when all his plans were prepared, and when he was ready with his troops and his Ultimatum. The last reference he had to make respecting the disputed territory was to Command Papers 2,222, p. 196. Lord Chelmsford was appointed British Resident in Zulu-land, and instructions were given to his Lordship as to what he was to do with regard to the disputed territory. Those instructions were— His Excellency also knows that it is a part of the plan of the future settlement of Zululand that in the disputed territory all of the former White settlers who wish to remain on the farms occupied by them in the land now declared to be Zululand, shall be permitted to continue there under the protection of the British Resident, and subject to no further payments for their land than they would have paid to the Transvaal Government had the district been assigned to the Transvaal. So that these Boers, who had taken all the good land and had acquired their title in the nefarious manner he had described, were to be protected not only in their lives and moveable property, but in the possession of the whole of their lands on the same terms as they held them from the Transvaal Government. In Command Papers 2,252 would be found a long argument between Bishop Colenso and Sir Bartle Frere on the question of the award. The Bishop attacked him for having taken back with one hand what he pretended to have given with the other, and on the other points of the Ultimatum. It was strange that Sir Bartle Frere had not put the Government in possession of the Bishop's last letter. There was no document which he had seen in which the position of Sir Bartle Frere was more triumphantly refuted. He said so, because it was stated on Tuesday in "another place" that the Bishop approved Sir Bartle Frere's proceedings. But he did not. In the Paper he had referred to, the Bishop from first to last demolished the defence which Sir Bartle Frere had set up. Sir Bartle Frere was still in command in South Africa; though he had been censured he had been continued in command. In Correspondence 2,260, p. 24, would be found this passage— After what I had seen of the disposition of the Natal officials where Dutch interests were concerned, it would be a mockery to have entrusted the care of the poor Transvaal farmers to them. How could officials be expected to carry out a policy which they disapproved, when they were condemned in the language he had read? [Sir Michael Hicks-Beach asked him to read on.] The rest of the passage was, "Even if I could have been assured of a continuance of the just rule of Sir Henry Bulwer." The right hon. Gentleman himself would be of opinion that that did not alter the matter. He had the highest respect for the character of the Governor of Natal, and the greatest pleasure in reading that testimony, though it came from Sir Bartle Frere. When the Zulu King was waiting our decision and had been kept quiet by the promises of the Governor of Natal, surely it would have been wise that Sir Bartle Frere should be able at the earliest date to report the decision and award? A message was despatched from the Commission to Sir Bartle Frere, showing which way their opinion would go, as early as the 14th of April. But he had begun his preparations for the Zulu War as early as the month of January, 1878; he had sent ships to the Zulu coast in March; and had spies out at that time, who were learning the best way to invade Zulu-land. Sir Bartle Frere, as appeared from the Papers, expected a decision in his favour; but the decision went against him, and he then looked out for a cause of war, which he thought would be necessary for the Colony of Natal. On the 25th of July occurred the raid of Sirayo's sons, and the pretext for war was given which Sir Bartle Frere wanted. He would now prove that the whole of the points put forward in his Ultimatum were of two kinds—either points on which satisfaction could be obtained, or points upon which in no circumstances was it possible to obtain satisfaction. Sir Bartle Frere spoke of the raid of Sirayo's sons as an outrage on the Natal territory; but the Government of Natal did not see it in that light. The Government of Natal had been in the habit of sending for prisoners into Zululand, and had, therefore, violated Zulu territory. It appeared that two of the wives of the great Chief Sirayo had fled with lovers into Natal; they had been followed by the sons of Sirayo; had been taken back, and, it was said, killed. The view of the Natal Government was that a large compensation for this outrage should be demanded, and the view of Cetewayo was that a large compensation should be paid. He would prove that from the Papers; but he believed they had not before them the whole of the documents which passed between the sending of the Ultimatum and the crossing of the Frontier. The second of the outrages was that on the engineers, which was not an outrage at all, because the two engineers were military spies of the English Government, sent out to make a survey with a view to invasion. While they were engaged in that survey Zulus came down, took away a pipe and a pocket-handkerchief, detained the engineers an hour or an hour and a-half, and sent them back again. For that no compensation should have been asked; but it was demanded, and an offer was made that it would be paid. The next point put forward by Sir Bartle Frere was that of the Swazi territory and of Umbellini. Umbellini was, as a matter of fact, the rightful heir to the Swazi Throne. This man, over whom Cetewayo had no control, had invaded our territory; but because he came from Zululand, Sir Bartle Frere assumed that he was a subject of Cetewayo. He had heard that this very man had gone back and was now aiding Cetewayo in his war with us. If that was true, it would only show with what astounding rashness Sir Bartle Frere had added to the difficulties which already existed in that country. There was another demand for the fulfilment of the promises made by Cetewayo on his Coronation; but it was never for one moment supposed that we were to hold Cetewayo to the performance of those promises. If he had dreamed that they would be put forward in an ultimatum, he never would have entertained them. He hoped there would be no defence by the Government of Sir Bartle Frere on this ground. He believed the Government themselves had been deceived with regard to the missionaries. The leaning of Sir Bartle Frere's mind from the first had been in favour of an offensive war; but the Secretary of State had been prompt in repudiating that object. He had been prompt, also, in repudiating what had been put forward on the part of the missionaries. When similar claims were proposed in favour of the missionaries in China, the great societies with which they were connected altogether repudiated them. He believed they would now be repudiated by their leading Representatives in that House, who would never be parties to the steps which were recommended by Sir Bartle Frere in order to force the Gospel on a savage people. Then came the question of the British Resident in Zululand, who was to try all cases in which the missionaries were concerned. The last point concerned the Zulu Army. That Army had never been a terror to Natal. At one time Natal was wholly stripped and denuded of troops, through the policy of Sir Bartle Frere, yet Cetewayo did not invade the Colony and committed no act of aggression. It was true he had assembled his troops, but only after a greater force of British troops had been assembled in Natal, his only object being to meet apprehended aggression. Sir Bartle Frere repeatedly tried to justify himself on this point with reference to the Zulu Army. He frequently referred to the expression used by the Zulu King of "washing his spears," as if it had been used against the British. But it was altogether otherwise. It was used with reference to his enemies on the Frontier, who had taken his cattle and plundered his border. He asked us to allow him to punish them and to "wash his spears." Yet Sir Bartle Frere had put forward this expression in such a way as to deceive the Government. Sir Arthur Cunynghame declared that throughout Cetewayo had been on good terms with us, and that his Army was not improved as a military machine. Sir Bartle Frere had greatly exaggerated the strength of the Zulu Army. It was not adequate to an offensive war, and was only intended for defensive purposes. Sir Bartle Frere spoke of the Zulu Army as numbering 40,000 to 60,000, well armed, prepared to invade the Colony. Sir Arthur Cunynghame stated the whole population of the country to be only 150,000 men, women, and children, the Army not being more than 20,000. The Colonists themselves did not believe that the Force was capable of overrunning Natal. Sir Bartle Frere had pictured the Zulu King as burning to invade Natal. On the other hand, Sir Arthur Cunynghame said he spoke of the Queen as his mother, and used the phrase—"We are the children of the Queen; come and save us from our enemies," meaning the Boers. Throughout, his language was most friendly. Sir Bartle Frere tried to make out that Cetewayo's conduct had been suddenly changed, and that he had become atrocious, warlike, and bloodthirsty; but he admitted that it was merely a supposed intention of which he was speaking. The man had been 23 years virtually upon the Zulu Throne, and had never made any hostile use of the warlike machine under his control. Sir Bartle Frere admitted that the Natal Government told him that the great majority of the Zulu people were altogether in favour of peace, not of peace with us alone, but of peace as a principle; that the great mass of them did not want to go to war at all; yet he said that the younger men wanted to "wash their spears." So far from this phrase being a menace to ourselves, it was used in a friendly conversation between Cetewayo and the Native messengers of the Natal Government, and it was understood that the people he wanted to attack were the Amaswazies. The Papers showed that up to the last moment the language of Cetewayo was friendly; but yet Sir Bartle Frere insisted, without any evidence, that his intentions were otherwise. He told the embassies that his intention was to remain at peace; and he assembled his fighting men only because our preparations caused him to be apprehensive of attack. There were several statements which went to show that the man was not an aggressive savage, but one who wished to remain friendly with us. His language was friendly long after the annexation of the Transvaal, which Sir Bartle Frere thought had changed his disposition. An important document, which had attracted little or no attention, was to be found in Command Papers 2,220, of December, 1878, at page 35. It was a despatch dated the 13th of May, 1878, but sent on the 30th of July. The despatch communicated the report of a spy who had been sent over a large tract of country between the Transvaal and the sea. It was spoken of as Swaziland; but, judging from the map, it appeared to include Zululand also, and in the despatch accompanying the report, Sir Bartle Frere said— It will be found necessary, sooner or later, to extend the British Protectorate in some form or other over all the tribes … between the sea and the present Transvaal Frontier, and the longer it is deferred the more troublesome will the operation, become. Here annexation was distinctly spoken of; but the Government did not then, as they now did in view of this debate, repudiate annexation. They said, in reply, that they "would not express a definite opinion." It was clear that Sir Bartle Frere commenced aggressive operations when there was no reason to begin them at all; yet language had been used on behalf of the Government which suggested that they took a different view, for they said that Sir Bartle Frere was censurable for beginning war without permission, as if they suspended their judgment on the further question whether the war was necessary, which was abundantly negatived by the evidence in the Papers. Sir Bartle Frere told the Government that, in his opinion, a settlement could not be delayed, and he spoke to them in the tone of a despotic Sovereign addressing a Minister of whose proceedings he disapproved. He quoted their words, and said he could not agree with them, in a tone which implied that they were a set of nincompoops, and he was sorry for them; and yet the Papers furnished abundant condemnation of the course he had pursued. He talked of the necessity for immediate action, and he sent a telegram to the Government, in which he said— Troops asked for urgently needed to prevent war of races. On the other side of fordable river Zulu Army 40,000 to 60,000 strong; well armed, unconquered, insolent, burning to clear out White men. Diplomacy and patience have absolute limits. But it was on his own side, and not on the other, that the limits existed. His excited language proved that he had lost his head, in a great emergency. It was clear that, so far from being the fittest man to be there, even under a Vote of Censure, he was about the most unfit man who could be found. He tried to bribe the Government, by pretending that he was carrying out a part of their great Imperial policy. In a sort of peroration to his despatch, he said— I have no doubt that if the Lieutenant General Commanding in South Africa had adequate means at his disposal he would settle the Zulu difficulty as promptly and effectually as he did that in the Cape Colony, and that any troops now sent to this country might, in a few months, pass on to India, improved in organization and training. And he added that the Colonists— When their own difficulties were settled, would yield to none of their fellow-subjects in other Colonies in their desire to send a Colonial contingent to assist Her Majesty's Forces in any extended scheme of Imperial defence. Here he tried to bribe the Government, by adopting their grand language; and in another passage of a similar kind he assured them that he would give them "peace with honour." Sir Bartle Frere evidently contemplated aggressive warfare, for in one despatch he said— When the sickly season is over, about March next, we may hope that all difficulties with the Zulus will have been settled. He announced that he proposed to "follow up" the award with a statement of guarantees, which he considered necessary, in order to insure peace in our future relations with the Zulus. Could it be believed that the demands accompanying the award were of a character to secure peace? He not only asked for reparation for alleged outrages, but he asked the Zulu King to destroy the whole fabric of his power, to give up his Army, to give up his power as an independent Sovereign, and to place himself and his Administration entirely in the hands of a British Resident. It was clear Sir Bartle Frere knew these demands meant a war, which he hoped would have been over by this time. Questions were put in this House in December, and it was clear, from the answers of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that he had been misled, if not deceived, by Sir Bartle Prere. He stated, in reply to the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. H. James), that Sir Bartle Frere had informed Cetewayo that he was prepared to communicate to him the award with respect to the disputed territory. Being asked by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) whether Sir Bartle Frere had addressed an Ultimatum to the Zulu King, the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Colonies said— The last telegram which I received from Sir Bartle Frere was dated November 19, and was in the following terms:—'We have desired Cetewayo to summon his councillors, and send proper persons to receive the award regarding the disputed territory, and further communications regarding our future relations.' That, I think [continued the Secretary of State], must be the message which is described in The Times telegram of November 26 as an ultimatum. So far from bearing the character ordinarily attached to that term, I think there is good reason to hope that it may lead to a peaceful settlement of the question at issue. Thus, while everybody else knew that an Ultimatum had been sent, the Government were in profound ignorance of it. They were told by Lord Chelmsford and Sir Bartle Frere that preparations were being made for the defence of the Colony. At the same time, Lord Chelmsford was sending home Memorandums to the War Office which, if attentively read, must have shown the Government that the "defence" contemplated by Lord Chelmsford and Sir Bartle Frere was what was ordinarily understood by "offence," and that it was to take the shape of an advance by four columns of troops upon Cetewayo's capital. Nevertheless, the fact remained that Sir Bartle Frere did undoubtedly hold to the Government language of the same character as that used by the Government in that House; and the question was whether, that being so, he ought to be retained at his post? Sir Bartle Frere showed clearly his disgust at the award in the matter of the disputed boundary being given against him, and that circumstance contained the key to the whole of his subsequent conduct. In defence of his Ultimatum—having been beaten upon all his smaller grounds—he alleged the necessity of putting down Cetewayo, because he was a savage despot, and because he was in the habit of killing his subjects. But Sir Bartle Frere ought to have known, what every Colonist knew, that Cetewayo was in the habit of killing malefactors, simply because he had no prisons to put them in; and it was just at the time when, according to the Natal Government, Cetewayo was about to abandon that practice, and build a prison, that the Ultimatum was sent to him. The war, moreover, was undertaken in the face of Cetewayo's consent to yield some of the points demanded of him. What opinion the Government ultimately expressed upon Sir Bartle Frere's policy the House was aware; but during a long period they did nothing but "mark time" to his proceedings. They received from him despatches which clearly showed his intention of committing offensive and aggressive acts, and yet they contented themselves with a simple acknowledgment of them. From the 23rd of January till the 19th of March not a word of censure was passed upon his acts. That Sir Bartle Frere contemplated annexation was clearly revealed in his statements as to the necessity of replacing Cetewayo by a White Ruler; and it was a remarkable fact that the despatch in which he declared for annexation was written the very day after he had received his first censure from the Government. His answer, in fact, to the slight censure first passed upon him was virtually to tell the Government that they did not know what they were writing about—that he was master, and intended to have his way. Knowing perfectly the opinion of the Government with regard to the war which he was about to begin, Sir Bartle Frere seemed to have argued with himself that if he gained a triumphant success and added a new Province to the British Empire all his faults would be forgiven. No doubt, he was challenged by many only because he had failed; but if the Papers before the House proved anything, it was that he deserved to be challenged whether he gained a triumphant success or not. The war was commenced with very inadequate preparations. From a Report of Colonel Pearson's, we learnt that few of the officers or non-commissioned officers of the Native Contingent could speak Kaffir, and some not even English. The result was seen in Lord Chelmsford's despatch of the 3rd of February— Of the seven battalions of the Native Contingent, all but three have disbanded themselves; these three have not been engaged. The Natives were allowed to leave in batches, receiving a month' spay and their blankets, at which they were naturally delighted. The Government censured Sir Bartle Frere and still allowed him to remain at his post, and they acted as they had done notwithstanding the extraordinary imprudence which he had displayed. His policy had led to an offensive war, which he had commenced before he had received the whole of the reinforcements which were necessary for carrying it on. Yet it was contended that he was the only man to whose charge the administration of our South African Colonies ought to be committed. The Government had placed the Resolution which was now submitted to the House in their despatch of the 19th of March; it censured Sir Bartle Frere, but yet he was given to understand that he still retained their confidence. Again, in the despatch of the 20th of March he was told that even the terms of peace were not to be laid down by him, and that he was not to carry out the policy of annexation. The Government, in fact, would not trust him to make a single move; and yet the man whose hands were thus tied up, and who had been utterly discredited, was the only man whose authority in South Africa they were prepared to support. When the Government had been that day asked a Question as to Burmah by his hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard), it was stated that they would communicate by telegraph with the Indian Viceroy; but there was no telegraph to Natal, and for that reason our Representative there should be a man who possessed the confidence of his superiors to the fullest extent, not only as regarded the making of war, but of peace. To tie his hands as those of Sir Bartle Frere had been tied was to treat him like a whipped child; and if the High Commissioner, acting like a man of spirit, should resign, all the plans of the Government would be upset. Would it not, then, he would ask, have been better for the Government boldly to have made up their minds to censure his policy? Were they sure that the course they had taken would not set a bad example in other portions of the world? If the offence of Sir Bartle Frere were condoned, how was it possible to say that some English Governor or Viceroy, inspired by his example, might not pursue a course of policy which was his own, and not that of the Government whom he served? Sir Bartle Frere said that danger might have come upon us had we waited, and he therefore rushed to meet it. Now, there could be no policy, he maintained, more likely to prove fatal to the British Empire than that of digging up our dangers in every quarter of the globe. It was an evil policy for any country to adopt; but it was a still more fatal policy for us than for any other nation, seeing the responsibilities which rested upon us in every direction. Was it not the more prudent course to follow, instead of exhibiting a might-errant boldness, for an English statesman to act in a spirit of watchful care? Sir Bartle Frere's conduct, although censured by the Government, had been, to some extent, defended by Members of the Ministry in "another place;" and we had now no security against being plunged into repeated wars, in defiance of the wishes of the Executive at home, whenever war was recommended to a British Governor by his fears, by his temper, by his poetical fancies, or by his religion. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving his Resolntion.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House, while willing to support Her Majesty's Government in all necessary measures for defending the possessions of Her Majesty in South Africa, regrets that the ultimatum which was calculated to produce immediate war should have been presented to the Zulu King without authority from the responsible advisers of the Crown, and that an offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity or adequate preparation; and this House further regrets that, after the censure passed upon the High Commissioner by Her Majesty's Government in the despatch of the 19th day of March 1879, the conduct of affairs in South Africa should be retained in his hands."—(Sir Charles W. Dilke.)


in rising to move at the end of the Motion to add— And that a war of invasion was undertaken with insufficient forces, notwithstanding the full information in the possession of Her Majesty's Government of the strength of the Zulu Army, and the warnings which they had received from Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford that hostilities were unavoidable, said, he felt that he was placed at great disadvantage after the very able and eloquent speech of the hon. Baronet—a speech in which he thought even those who differed from the hon. Baronet would admit that he had shown a power and grasp of the subject rarely equalled. For his own part, in placing upon the Paper his rider to the Motion of the hon. Baronet, he entirely disavowed being actuated by any Party motives or considerations. He thought it was pretty well known on both sides of the House that he regarded Foreign and Colonial affairs from an independent standpoint, and formed his opinion on his own judgment. Knowledge acquired in early clays of the countries with which England was now dealing, and many melancholy recollections connected with those countries, and with the loss of friends and relatives in war, combined to lead him to take an interest in this question for which he need not apologize. When the news of the despatch of the Ultimatum was first received in this country, he was very chary of forming an opinion as to the action of our Commissioner. Colonial Governors were often placed in difficult positions, and especially those who governed Colonies bordering on savage but warlike nations, and a decision was often more difficult when warnings reached the seat of government that the natives were restless and discontented. After war was declared the Colonists knew their position, and could go into the fortified towns and villages, and in them find shelter and succour. He thought but too likely that experienced Colonists living upon the Border [had come to Sir Bartle Frere and said—"Is it to be peace or war? Are we to leave our homesteads, or are we to remain where we are? For God's sake let us know!" It did not appear, however, from a study of the Blue Books, that in the present instance anything of the sort had taken place. The English had admittedly, almost from time immemorial, been at peace with the Zulus. The Zulus had never committed raids upon our territory, and even in the unsettled state of matters consequent upon the annexation of the Transvaal, Cetewayo had declared with perfect truth that not: one chicken, not one goat, and not one man of ours, had ever been hurt by him. He believed that the Zulu King spoke the truth; and, unquestionably, the balance of opinion in the Colony as to the danger of an invasion by Cetewayo was in favour of the belief that he had no such intention. The real reason of Sir Bartle Frere's policy was his dread of the large Army of the Zulu King. Our High Commissioner had, as all hon. Members must have, a horror of the practices of the Zulus and of this Monarch; but, instead of taking a broad and statesmanlike view of the difficulties which surrounded us in South Africa, Sir Bartle Frere would appear to have had but one idea in his mind'—his determination at once and for ever to 'crush Cetewayo. When that determination was formed, the whole of South Africa was in a very restless state. "We had just concluded a contest with the Kaffirs; the Pondoes were in a state of semi-warfare, there were the difficulties connected with the annexation of the Transvaal, and, contrary to all the expectations which had been formed in this House, and in this country, it had by degrees transpired that instead of the Boers being satisfied with the annexation, only a very small section desired it, while a large proportion were exceedingly discontented and even disaffected to our rule. There was not peace and tranquillity, but dissatisfaction and turbulence in every direction. In these circumstances, what policy ought Sir Bartle Frere to have pursued? What could one have expected him to say to himself? One would have expected him to say—"These Zulus are terrible people. Their King is cruel. Their laws are abominable, and the time may come when we must fight them; but surely this is not the time. "The first thing he should have done was to have endeavoured by every peaceful means, trusting to the influence of time and good government, to secure the friendship of the Boers; but this was not done. As it was, it appeared to him (Colonel Mure) that the real interest of the Boers at that moment, in order to prevent the Zulus from making a raid upon their country, was to profess themselves to be no friends to the British. Sir Bartle Frere was undoubtedly a good man and equally an able man; but he was a man of a very strong will and of a very determined—and even autocratic—disposition, and when he arrived in that country he seemed to have said to himself—"It is my mission to crush this cruel people and this horrible King," and the result was that they were now plunged into this unfortunate and disastrous war. In his Amendment he had said that Sir Bartle Frere had warned the Government that hostilities would take place, and that they were inevitable. These warnings were given to the Government from time to time, from the very first moment that Sir Bartle Frere set his foot in South Africa. Even before he went up to the Transvaal, he began to warn the Government that, in his opinion, war with the Zulus was unavoidable. The first despatch which he wrote on the subject was dated not in the Transvaal, but from Cape Town, on September 10. In that despatch he said that while everything within the Colony bordering on Kaffraria proper seemed settling down satisfactorily, it was clear that along the whole Border of Natal, wherever the Zulu influence was felt, the war feeling had not been allayed, and that it must be mitigated or crushed before they could ever have a condition of permanent peace. On the 12th of September he wrote home that reinforcements must be sent out. What did that point out? It pointed out that Sir Bartle Frere anticipated immediate war. He had even then resolved that the whole force at General Thesiger's disposal in Natal would, with the reinforcements, still be less than was necessary. Could anything be clearer than this—that at that early date Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Frederick Thesiger's opinions were, rightly or wrongly, pointing in the direction of war. Well, in the despatch that was received at home on November 1st Sir Bartle Frere said that, on a review of the whole situation, he was bound to state that, in his opinion, it was impossible to imagine a more precarious state of things. What did that mean but a bordering upon a state of war? Sir Bartle Frere also said that while the Zulu King professed to desire peace every act of his showed an intention to bring about a war, and that intention was shared by the majority of his people. He said, further, that there was no hope of peace, and that it was the intention of the Zulu King to put England in the wrong, if possible, by compelling her to strike the first blow. In the despatch Sir Bartle Frere went on to remark upon what Sir Garnet Wolseley had said. When he spoke of the two regiments that were necessary, he said that even with these there would be a smaller Force at the Cape than Sir Garnet "Wolseley had thought to be necessary even before the Transvaal was annexed. After describing, in more or less forcible terms, the danger of the situation, Sir Bartle Frere went on to say that there was nothing but the forbearance or incapacity of the Zulus which would prevent the whole Colony from being devastated by an invading force. He might quote despatch after despatch to show that from the very first moment that Sir Bartle Frere was in the Colony he had been warning the Government that the Native Tribes were manifesting a desire for war, and that the Colonists were in the greatest danger. So much for Sir Bartle Frere and the warnings he gave to the Government that hostilities were probable. In his Amendment he stated that Her Majesty's Government had full information of the Zulu power. It was unnecessary for him to enter into a description of that power. Unfortunately, they had had lately only too good evidence of what that power was. They knew how their gallant soldiers had suffered from the ability and bravery of the Zulu Army, and he would only quote the despatch of November 5 upon that subject. That despatch said that on one side of a fordable river were from 40,000 to 50,000 Zulu soldiers, well armed, well trained, and burning to destroy the White man, while on the other were the British Forces, consisting of about four regiments of Infantry, and no Cavalry whatsoever, excepting a few mounted levies. Under those circumstances, he was sure that Sir Garnet Wolseley's estimate of the number required was not too large. He might here remark that at this time a most unprecedented step was taken by Lord Chelmsford. He was so impressed with the power of the Zulu Army, and with their ability, that he actually had a pamphlet printed describing their numbers, their discipline, their courage, and the way in which they moved, and other details, and had it circulated amongst the commanding officers of his Force. He (Colonel Mure) had had some experience of war; but he never remembered, in his experience, any commanding officer being so impressed with the power of a savage enemy as to publish a pamphlet and circulate it among his officers. He now came to what appeared to him to be a very grave question, and that was the frequency of the demands for re-inforcements, and the refusal of those demands. He confessed that he felt a very great sense of pity for Lord Chelmsford. He was not now talking of the disaster at Isandlana. Whether they believed or not that Lord Chelmsford acted wisely, he was quite certain that every man in that House, and in the country, sincerely pitied him. He pitied Lord Chelmsford on account of the unhappy position in which he was placed by the Government. Whether rightly or wrongly Lord Chelmsford believed, and Sir Bartle Frere believed, that an invasion was imminent. Nevertheless, they had those two honest men, who, from the best advice they could obtain, believed the invasion of Natal to be inevitable, sending home for re-inforcements for purely defensive purposes, in order to save the Colony from one of the greatest calamities that could happen to any country, and, in answer to these earnest appeals, receiving refusals or contemptuous silence. On the 10th of September Sir Bartle Frere, writing from Cape Town, and before he reached Natal, suggested the expediency of two more battalions being sent from this country; and again, on the 14th of September, he wrote stating that General Thesiger, in a telegraphic communication to him, expressed his desire to be supplied with two more re- giments and a Cavalry regiment. Sir Bartle Frere trusted there would be no delay, thus emphasising the General's demands. What could, be stronger? One would have imagined that there being no telegraphic communication with the Cape, which was many thousands of miles away, on a demand made for troops, not for aggression, but in order to save the Colony from a calamity of the most terrible kind, reinforcements would have been sent out, even if it were not so very clear to the Colonial Minister that they were immediately required. But what did the Secretary of State for the Colonies do? The right hon. Gentleman wrote a remarkable despatch, dated October 17th, which they might call the famous refusal despatch—a despatch unparalleled in the history of the Colonies for the responsibility it undertook— Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to comply with the request for the reinforcement of troops. All the information which has hitherto reached them with respect to the position of affairs in Zululand appears to them to justify a confident hope that by the exercise of prudence, and meeting the Zulus in a friendly spirit, war may be avoided. What was the use of Sir Bartle Frere and all his advisers on the spot if this was the way their opinion was to be treated? He was not saying whether the views held by Sir Bartle Frere were wise or not. He was putting before the House the extraordinary incompatibility of counsels that existed at home and abroad. There was incompatibility of counsels in the Colony, because Sir Henry Bulwer did not agree in the belief that war with the Zulus was imminent. He (Colonel Mure) believed that the Secretary of State for the Colonies was as anxious for peace as any man in that House, and that he clung to the skirts of Sir Henry Bulwer. But Sir Bartle Frere, with his powerful will and his determination to destroy this Zulu people ever before his eyes, was more in harmony with the War Party in the Cabinet. He now came to the three despatches not published in their proper place in the Blue Book; but, on an after thought, published in a supplementary sheet. The House would remember how he pressed the Government to give information as to those re-inforcements. He had no doubt that the unearthing of these despatches was the result. On the 30th of September Lord Chelmsford sent home for three additional British regiments for the defence of the Colony. That was received on November 1. On the 1st of October he again wrote— The Zulus are more menacing, and I want those three regiments to defend my Colony. But there was no recognition of that. On the 2nd October a despatch was written by Sir Bartle Frere which was received on November 18th, stating that the news from Zululand was more and more threatening, and that Sir Henry Bulwer—observe, now Sir Henry Bulwer was convinced!—and Lord Chelmsford both concurred in the opinion that it would not be safe to delay sending out more troops. The demands for reinforcements were, indeed, quite spasmodic. The High Commissioner, the Governor, and the Lieutenant General, were in a state of mind bordering on panic or despair, for week after week they sent home asking for these re-inforcements. Three times they were peremptorily refused by the Minister for the Colonies, who wrote saying that he had received information from another quarter which convinced him that Sir Bartle Frere was talking nonsense. [Sir Michael Hicks-Beach dissented.] Had not the right hon. Gentleman stated that All the information we have received shows us that these re-inforcements are not required, and therefore I refuse them? Was that not the case? This was the first recorded censure of the High Commissioner. Could the House conceive a greater censure on a High Commissioner, who had sent home for troops to defend his Colony, than a message informing him that the Minister at home had received other counsel, on which he preferred to act? It was nice encouragement for the Governors of the Colonies of this great Empire when they learnt that a Governor thousands of miles away from home had sent six successive telegrams for re-inforcements only to have them refused. [Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH: No, no!] He had hitherto been dealing only with the defence of the Colony. The House would allow him to say a word upon the invasion. On September 28, Lord Chelmsford wrote a despatch which was received on November 1, saying that the troops asked for were for defensive purposes only, and that the Natal and Transvaal Colonies required three battalions of Infantry in addition to what they had already received. In the despatch of November 11, he says— Three and a-half battalions of British Infantry, 14 guns, and a few mounted police and volunteers, are all the troops at my command for the defence of 300 miles of an exposed border frontier. I venture to express an opinion that the demand for two extra battalions cannot be considered unreasonable even for purely defensive purposes. Observe the words "defensive purposes only!" When this was written, the General did not know that the Secretary of State for the Colonies had at last, on the sixth application, agreed to send out more troops. It was in the despatch of the 21st November that the right hon. Gentleman declared his intention to send out re-inforcements. Lord Chelmsford said— A defensive plan, however, cannot be considered as satisfactory unless there is the possibility of taking the offensive at the right moment. This I am doing my best to prepare for; and so soon as my Native contingent is mobilized, I shall be ready, so far as my limited means will allow, to enter Zululand, should such a measure become necessary. He pitied Lord Chelmsford, knowing, as he did, the power of the Zulu Army, preparing to invade their country with his limited means. What did the poor man say?— I cannot but feel that my columns are barely strong enough for the purpose, and it will be difficult for me to keep open my lines of communication. Three more battalions were sent out to him; two from England, and one from the Cape Colony, thus denuding it entirely of protection! He added— It will be wise economy to send out strong re-inforcements to bring matters to a speedy settlement, Surely this expression "strong re-inforcements" referred to something further than these three—the three regiments being, he considered, sufficient for defensive purposes only: "strong re-inforcements" undoubtedly referred to the possible necessity of an invasion by us as a defensive measure. He (Colonel Mure) now came to a recommendation by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to take one of the most dangerous courses ever adopted in South Africa. In his despatch of the 21st November he recommended the Colony to provide means for its own defence against the dangerous Natives within and the dangerous Natives without the Colony; and then, in the next sentence, he recommended that those dangerous Natives within the Colony should be armed, and should be employed as auxiliaries with the British Army. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would admit that recent terrible occurrences had raised in his mind some misgivings as to the wisdom of this advice. A more dangerous and disastrous recommendation was never given by a Home Minister to a Colonial Governor. He could understand a certain number of Natives being employed as auxiliaries; but, as a matter of fact, these Native levies formed the main Army, and a small body of English troops were the auxiliaries. These Natives numbered 8,000, and there was only one rifle to every 10 men; on the whole, perhaps, that was as well. He contended that the position of Lord Chelmsford was not one in which the Cabinet of a great country like England should have placed a general officer in command of a British force. It was, in his opinion, one of the most melancholy epochs in our Colonial history. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary of State for War sent out as many troops as were necessary for merely defensive purposes, and evaded the fact that Lord Chelmsford would probably have to undertake an invasion of Zululand. The next part of his subject dealt with a matter in regard to which Her Majesty's Government undertook a most terrible responsibility. The House knew that we had no telegraphic communication with the Cape. It took five weeks or a month for the re-inforcements to arrive, and two weeks for telegraphic communication to reach this country. On the 27th of December the Secretary of State for the Colonies knew that Lord Chelmsford had invasion in prospect, or that he might be obliged to invade. The General also knew that his regiments were not sufficient for the purpose of invasion, but only for defence. The Minister, at the same time, was well aware that Lord Chelmsford had barely a sufficient force even for that purpose—in fact, he knew that Lord Chelmsford was in about as bad a way as any General over was in this world. But Lord Chelmsford, like all good English soldiers, obeyed orders. There was a sentiment in the heart of the English soldier, an un- written law, which told him to obey the command under any circumstances. Lord Chelmsford knew he had not a sufficient force at his command, but he did his duty and obeyed orders. He was placed between Scylla and Charybdis; if he obeyed, he courted defeat and disaster. If he had refused, he would have been disgraced. He did not refuse, and everybody knew what the result had been. Then Sir Bartle Frere wrote a despatch, giving a short and merely sketchy account of the Ultimatum which was sent out to Cetewayo. Inclosures, giving full details, should have accompanied it; they were, however, delayed, and did not reach the Colonial Office till the 2nd of January. On the 25th of November, however, Lord Chelmsford wrote to the Secretary of State a despatch, in which he told of the terrible Ultimatum, the main point in it being a demand for the disbanding of Cetewayo's Army; it reached England on the 27th December. Therefore, it was clear that on the 27th of December the Secretary of State knew the condition of our Army in South Africa, and that the Ultimatum had been sent to Cetewayo. It was impossible to conceive that an English General, the Governor of a Colony, and the person in command of the Frontier, could have sent an Ultimatum to a savage Ruler, and then wait for the enemy to attack. Of course, the Ultimatum was followed immediately by an attack by us. But what course did the Minister adopt, having now clearly everything before his eyes? The Minister took no notice of the first despatch for a whole month—namely, Lord Chelmsford's. The inclosures arrived on the 2nd of January, and from that time to the 23rd of the same month—the day on which Lord Chelmsford walked amongst his dead comrades on the battle-field of Isandlana—no answer was sent to the despatch. He quite understood the propriety of delay for the proper consideration of the startling policy that had developed, in order that a well-considered answer should be sent to Sir Bartle Frere; but no delay was justifiable for the consideration of the military position, for it was too well known. One would have thought that if no answer was sent out for some little time to Sir Bartle Frere, the Secretary of State for War would have sent out troops to place Lord Chelmsford in a better posi- tion. But he did not do that, and, indeed, nothing was done until a month elapsed and news of the terrible event at Isandlana was received. Of course, nothing could have saved our troops from the fate they met at Isandlana; but the Secretary of State for War might have sent out troops at once, so that they would have arrived at Natal immediately after that disaster, and relieved the intense strain of feeling to which we had been subjected. The Secretary of State would have acted like a wise Minister, if he had said—"Here is a great and terrible event; an Ultimatum has, without our knowledge, been sent to Cetewayo; this leaves no other course open but an invasion; an invasion has commenced. I must at once send out forces." Small bodies of English soldiers have been sitting on the Frontiers of Cetewayo's Kingdom paralyzed in the presence of a savage foe; Colonel Pearson has been cooped up in Ekowe, with nobody venturing to relieve him; and hundreds of our countrymen lie unburied on the field of Isandlana, none of their friends and comrades daring to go near them and bury them. What a melancholy picture! He wished to point out the present position of the Colony. Whether in June last Lord Chelmsford wrote the sad letter to the Duke of Cambridge, whose receipt and disappearance was a mystery not yet unravelled, he knew not. His Royal Highness had no recollection of its receipt. At any rate, it was clear from this communication that, at the time in question, Lord Chelmsford felt unequal to his task; and it was equally clear that the present time was one at which there ought to be in charge of the Army a Commander full of strength and confidence. Then they had Sir Bartle Frere, as their High Commissioner, lying under a heavy censure—the second censure—he was, in fact, no longer their High Commissioner, with plenary powers; he was the censured agent of the Colonial Minister. A more excellent or a braver man than Sir Bartle Frere never lived; but if they had a High Commissioner who was, in the eyes of the Colonists, disgraced, and a Commander of our Forces who, by his own admission, felt weak for the task he had before him, and who was discredited already by disaster, by what terms could we describe our position? It certainly was not a posi- tion likely to encourage the Colonists to come forward and give their best services to the British authorities. The fact was, that the minds of Her Majesty's Government had been all this time in Afghanistan, and that the Zulu War hail stolen upon them like a thief in the night, and with the disastrous results they all now deplored. The hon. and gallant Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.


rose to second the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure), because he considered it to be a very useful addition to the Motion of the hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke), inasmuch as it directed attention to several points of importance upon which would, probably, take place an extended debate. After examining the Papers presented to the House, he felt that he could only arrive at the conclusion that the war in South Africa had been undertaken by Sir Bartle Frere both with inadequate means and with inadequate preparation. He was, moreover, of opinion that Her Majesty's Government had received sufficient warning to induce them to send out to the seat of war certain re-inforcements, which, however, they had omitted to send—especially the re-inforcement of Cavalry, so urgently asked for, and which had been described by Lord Chelmsford as "of enormous importance. "What could have been stronger than the language employed by him on that occasion? Yet on the 12th of October, 1878, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies telegraphed to Sir Bartle Frere his reason for not sending the troops in these words— It may be possible to send out some special service officers; but I feel some doubt whether more troops can be spared. He would like Her Majesty's Government to tell the House what were the occurrences taking place during the month of October last which constituted a sufficient reason for the troops not being spared? That wretched bugbear, the Russian aggression, had disappeared at the time in question; so that could not be the reason which induced Her Majesty's Government to say that they could not spare a regiment of Cavalry from Aldershot when it was so urgently required at the Cape. He would remind the House of what some hon. Members would, no doubt, recollect—namely, the remark of Captain Gardner, who had given evidence at the Court of Inquiry upon the Isandlana disaster, and said—"If we had had a squadron or two of Cavalry this could not have occurred." On that occasion, owing to the want of Cavalry to reconnoitre the country, the Zulu Army passed the preceding night within two miles of the camp, and in sight of our head-quarters. On those grounds, therefore, he very greatly sympathized with the officers at the Cape for not having had at their disposal the materials necessary to carry out the needful operations. He also desired to draw attention to the notice of Sir Bartle Frere's conduct which was taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, both before and after the news of the disaster reached this country. The news had not arrived on the 23rd of January; on which day the right hon. Gentleman wrote to Sir Bartle Frere, acknowledging the receipt of five despatches, which extended over a period of more than a month—from the 8th of November to the 12th of December—and said— I have now before me the full statement on the demands with which Cetewayo has been called upon to comply, together with your own description of the situation with which you have had to deal, as well as throe very important memoranda by Sir Henry Bulwer, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, and Mr. Brownlee. There are, in addition to these documents, many others which are very voluminous, but the perusal of which is necessary to a complete understanding of your position and of the conclusion at which you have arrived, and, as yet, it is, of course, impossible for Her Majesty's Government to examine the whole of the case as it is now placed before them; but I observe that the communications which have previously been received from you did not entirely prepare them for the course which you have deemed it necessary to take. The representations made by Lord Chelmsford and yourself last autumn as to the urgent need of strengthening Her Majesty's Forces in South Africa were based upon the imminent danger of an invasion of Natal by the Zulus, and the inadequate means at your disposal at that time for meeting it. In order to afford protection to the lives and property of the Colonists, the re-inforcements asked for were supplied, and in informing you of the decision of Her Majesty's Government, I take the opportunity of impressing upon you the importance of using every effort to avoid war. The terms which yon have dictated to the Zulu King are evidently such as he might not improbably refuse, even at the risk of war; and I regret that the necessity for im- mediate action should have appeared to you to be so imperative as to preclude you from incurring the delay which would have been involved in consulting Her Majesty's Government upon a subject of so much importance as the terms which Cetewayo should be required to accept before those terms were actually presented to the Zulu King. In making these observations, however, I do not desire to question the propriety of the policy which you have adopted in the face of a difficult, and complicated condition of affairs. There was no distinct statement that the Secretary of State for the Colonies did not question the policy adopted by Sir Bartle Frere And further on, the right hon. Gentleman says— I sincerely trust that the policy you have adopted may be as successful as the very careful consideration which you have given to it deserves; and that, if military operations should become necessary, the arrangements which you have reported may secure that they should be brought to an early and decisive termination, with the result of finally relieving Her Majesty's subjects in Natal and the Transvaal from the dangers to which they are exposed. Now, it was his (Sir Alexander Gordon's) contention that if the result of that policy had been successful they would never have heard of that reprimand which had been passed upon Sir Bartle Frere, and which was written after the news of the disaster had arrived; and he therefore sympathized very greatly with the two distinguished officers—Civil and Military—who were carrying on the affairs at the Cape, for the manner in which they had been treated. He would also remind the House that Sir Bartle Frere gave it as Sir Garnet "Wolseley's opinion that a much larger Force was necessary for the safety of the South African Colonies when the war broke out than had been considered sufficient by Her Majesty's Government. With reference to the recall of Sir Arthur Cunynghame, he would point out that the whole of the operations conducted by him at the Cape were successfully carried out, and that, notwithstanding this, he had been recalled, without any warning, without being informed why, and after he had been told that he should remain. That officer had, however, expressed his opinion of the policy which had been pursued with regard to the purchase of arms by the Natives, and had said— You are encouraging the Natives to purchase arms for the sake of the revenue which it brings to the Colony, and you will rue it at some time or other. Those words ought to have acted as a warning to Her Majesty's Government; but they did not like his advice, and therefore took steps for his recall in, as he (Sir Alexander Gordon) considered, a most improper manner. Further, it was stated in one of the last despatches to Sir Bartle Frere, that he was not to conclude peace until he had consulted with Her Majesty's Government. He asked the House to reflect what was the meaning of such an order? It meant that the war was to be continued until communications could take place with England. He need not remind the House that in the conduct of military operations it was most important to know when peace could be demanded. It would be a very serious thing to be obliged to say—"We will send home to ascertain when peace can be concluded;" because it would be easily understood that during that interval the enemy was not likely to stand still. He hoped that the Government would make up their minds to send out instructions to Sir Bartle Frere to make peace as soon as the proper moment arrived—if, indeed, they could make up their minds—for it appeared to him that they were acting in the present case in precisely the same manner as they had in the case of the Afghan War, and were waiting to see the course of events, so as to shape their opinion according to circumstances. He had considered it right to make these remarks in seconding the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire.

Amendment proposed, At the end of the Question, to add the words "and that a war of invasion was undertaken with insufficient forces, notwithstanding the full information in the possession of Her Majesty's Government of the strength of the Zulu Army, and the warnings which they had received from Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford that hostilities were unavoidable."—(Colonel Mure.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."


said, he could not agree either with the Motion or the Amendment. In his opinion, they were mutually destructive. The great argument of the hon. Member for Chelsea was that throughout Sir Bartle Frere's communications with the Home Government he had concealed from them the plans which he had in contemplation, and which were calculated to precipitate war. On the other hand, the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure) had attacked the Government because, having, as he said, been fully informed both by Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford of the necessities of the case, they had failed to send out the needful re-inforcements after they had been demanded. One hon. Member seemed to think the Government had been kept in ignorance, while the other implied that they had been fully supplied with information. With regard to the Preamble of the Resolution, affirming the willingness of the House to support the Government in all necessary measures for defending our Possessions in South Africa, he congratulated the Opposition on their newborn zeal for the maintenance of our Colonial Empire. The Preamble, however, was, so to speak, but the sweetmeat with which the bitter pill was accompanied in order, if possible, to make it palatable to the House. The second part of the Resolution was a severe censure upon Sir Bartle Frere; and the last part was a censure on the Government because they retained that officer in his post of High Commissioner. Well, he thought it could easily be proved that the Government were really not to blame in the sense attributed to them by the Motion. The addition proposed by the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire was ambiguous, it being open to question whether it was a charge against the Government for not anticipating an invasion of Zululand, or whether it was a further condemnation of Sir Bartle Frere. The hon. and gallant Member had called the Colonial Secretary's despatch of October 17, 1878, the despatch of refusal; but anyone who read that despatch dispassionately could see that Her Majesty's Government were in favour of peace, and peace only; that the principle to be acted upon by the High Commissioner was defence, not defiance; and that the troops were to be used, not for aggressive, but strictly defensive purposes. The Colonial Secretary's despatch to Sir Bartle Frere, dated November 21, 1878, said that the Government had resolved to send out some re-inforcements, not to furnish the means for a campaign of invasion and conquest, but to afford such protection as was necessary at that juncture for the lives and property of our Colonists. The despatch further stated that the primary duty of making some adequate provision for defence against the Natives had been deplorably and discreditably neglected by the Colonies; adding the expression of a hope that a strong contingent of Volunteers or of Militia would soon be established, and the organization of Native levies be proceeded with without delay. With respect to the boundary question, the Secretary of State wrote also that he trusted Cetewayo would be informed that the decision respecting the disputed boundary would be speedily communicated to him. Again, on December 18, 1878, another despatch from the Secretary of State explained that the re-inforcements had been sent out to assist the Local Governments in providing for the protection of the Settlers in the present emergency, and not to carry out any aggressive operations. That showed that the Government took a firm and, at the same time, a moderate course. The hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire had asserted that there were two antagonistic policies striving for mastery in the Cabinet—that of peace, and that of war. He should have thought that the time had come when hon. Members would discard these idle rumours, and would be satisfied that, whatever might be the private opinions of the Members of the Cabinet, they had only one public policy, and that was a policy of peace all over the world. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies had shown throughout his despatches the utmost desire for peace in those parts of Her Majesty's Dominions. To say that Sir Bartle Frere had calculated upon being backed by the war party in the Cabinet in the event of the invasion of Zululand being successful, was a most unfair and a most unjust charge to make against him. The real policy of Her Majesty's Government was that of an honourable peace. Turning to the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, it was characterized throughout by a very strong condemnation of Sir Bartle Frere, and he had laboured to show that the High Commissioner had always kept Her Majesty's Government at home in complete ignorance of his plans. The hon. Baronet's attacks upon the High Commissioner were of a most serious kind, and required to be supported by the strongest proof. He trusted to be able to show the House that the hon. Baronet had completely and grievously misrepresented the conduct and language of Sir Bartle Frere in several particulars. The conduct of the Government in reference to the High Commissioner at the present crisis was characterized by a feeling which the House would respect. The circumstances under which they had to act were of peculiar difficulty. Sir Bartle Frere was an officer of high rank and of great experience, both in India and the Colonies, and had shown in a great crisis—that of the Indian Mutiny—that he possessed great coolness, courage, and firmness, as well as intelligence. It was for that very reason that he had been selected for his present duties, and entrusted with extraordinary powers, which would enable him to take any measures which he thought necessary for the defence of the Colony and the maintenance of its peace and safety. The Government would never allow itself to be influenced by personal motives; and if it was thought advisable for the public service to recall Sir Bartle Frere that would be done, but such a course appeared to him (Mr. Marten) fraught with evil. In the House of Lords, the other night, a distinguished Member of the Liberal Party stated that in a similar case Lord Palmerston defended an absent Governor in public, but in a private letter conveyed to him expressions of severe condemnation. The hon. Member opposite said that the Government ought to have done the same now; but they would have been greatly to blame if they pursued so disingenuous a course. This was, however, a high question of State. There was a war in progress, and the Government had to deal with an existing state of war. They were hardly in a position to be able to discharge the High Commissioner. Who could be appointed in his place? There would be great difficulty in finding a man offhand ready and capable of taking up the reins of power under present circumstances. If Her Majesty's Government had found it difficult to control their Representatives in distant parts of the world, the missionary associations had found it equally difficult to restrain the ill-regulated zeal of those connected with them, and who frequently brought these wars about with savage countries. Putting the Zulu War out of the question, Sir Bartle Frere had been, in many respects, a most successful High Commissioner, and had conferred great benefits on South Africa by his measures. The hon. Baronet had referred to the controversy between the High Commissioner and the Bishop of Natal. He thought the details of this controversy, as they were recorded in the Blue Books, had furnished the hon. Baronet with a great deal of his thunder. But anyone who read the account of that controversy would see that it was only certain points of the High Commissioner's policy which were objected to by the Bishop; and, after all, it was surely not for the Bishop, but for the High Commissioner, to decide. There were several particulars in regard to which the hon. Baronet had not done justice to the views of the High Commissioner. He had, for example, made merry over a passage in which the High Commissioner referred to the Boers' belief in a divine authority to exterminate "the Gentiles" and take possession of their land. But, if the whole passage were read, it clearly showed that Sir Bartle Frere was only describing the origin of the colonization by the Boers. His argument was, that the Boers had come into a country in which brute force constituted the only title to possession, and that, therefore, they had as good a right to the land as the savages themselves. There was another point which had been misrepresented. The hon. Baronet could not find words to express his disgust and indignation that the High Commissioner should go into such minute details after he had received the Report of the Boundary Commission. This he characterized as mere cavilling on the part of Sir Bartle Frere. He supposed the hon. Baronet would call a great proportion of the arguments in a Court of Justice cavilling. But these matters of detail could not be rejected as unworthy of attention. It was the High Commissioner who had to make the award, and he was bound to consider all the details of the matter. Then, again, to pass to another point, the hon. Baronet urged that even before the Ultimatum was presented Sir Bartle Frere had decided who was to be Resident in Zululand. But the passage in which the hon. Baronet founded his argument did not bear out this suggestion. The High Commis- sioner was merely deciding what should be done in the event of certain contingencies occurring. He was stating who the Resident would be, and what would be his duties in the event of a favourable answer being returned by Cetewayo; and at that time it was believed that a favourable answer was not out of the question. He would notice one more passage that had been misrepresented by the hon. Baronet—that, namely, in which Sir Bartle Frere had spoken of the Natal officials. The whole of the despatch in question should be read; but it would be enough for him to state to the House that it discussed the position of the Boers who had occupied the disputed territory. It was clear that Cetewayo had not fulfilled the promises made by him in 1861, and the question was—What would happen to the 80 Boers who had settled in the debatable land, if they were summarily ejected or left to Cetewayo's tender mercies? Sir Bartle Frere had only said that their case ought not to be left to the Natal officials. The House, then, would see that one single deprecatory remark of that kind did not amount to a general condemnation. Passing from minute details to more important matters, he would point out that by the hon. Baronet and others the Zulu Force had been considerably under-estimated. Instead of its consisting of no more than 20,000 men, as the hon. Baronet had stated, it appeared, from the most authentic information that could be obtained, that Cetewayo's Army numbered quite 40,000 men, in 33 regiments, 26 of which were able to take the field. The total population, too, was not 150,000, but 300,000, or thereabouts, and the Zulu country was extraordinarily difficult for military operations. As for Cetewayo's disposition, he did not believe that he had ever been friendly to us; but, on the contrary, that he had followed the policy of his predecessors, and that, while endeavouring to play off the Dutch and the Boers against us, he had temporized with all his neighbours for his own purposes. His high-flown language, therefore, would not have much significance if used at a time when he favoured the Boers. However, there was a very marked change in his tone towards us after the annexation of the Transvaal, as was abundantly evident from the arrogance of his messages to the Lieu- tenant Governor of Natal. In conclusion, he begged the House to remember that the question involved the welfare of one of our South African Colonies, and that the Government were charged with an extraordinarily difficult duty. The recall of Sir Bartle Frere would have had the effect of disarranging everything, and of interrupting the measures that it was imperative on us to take for the safety of the Colony and for our own honour. Instead of recalling him, the Government had expressed their disapproval of the course he had taken in declaring war without consulting the Home Government. That was a warning that would not be lost on any of our pro-Consuls; but, at the same time, he hoped that the House would concur with the Government in considering that, though the censure they expressed openly was necessary for the public service, yet the circumstances of the case did not require the withdrawal of the confidence placed in the High Commissioner.


said, the debate had turned mainly on two despatches, and what needed explanation was the apparent inconsistency in the conduct of the Government in having, in the first place, branded a high official in the strongest censure ever passed in this generation; and, in the second place, assured him of their continued confidence, and desired that he should retain his post. He thought the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Marten) had not contributed much to the solution of the difficulty; nor did he think the Government would thank him for his suggestion that they had borrowed their policy from the conduct of certain missionary associations who had not recalled their missionaries, even when they had provoked hostilities and outbreaks among the tribes to whom they were sent. At the same time, he thought there was in the hon. and learned Member's suggestion great injustice to the missionary societies in question; and, as he had said, something not very complimentary to the Government. Up to the last week no one would have supposed there were more than two courses open to the Government—these two courses being completely antagonistic and inconsistent the one with the other. The Government might, on the one hand, have given Sir Bartle Frere their cordial support. On the other hand, they might have recalled him; but one never would have supposed both these courses would have been taken, and that in one paragraph of a despatch he would be severely censured, discrediting him in the eyes of this country and the Colonists among whom he lived, and in another sentence he would be assured of continual approval and support. Hon. Members on his side of the House sometimes thought the Government were inclined to strain the Prerogative of the Crown, and had neglected to consult, as fully and as promptly as they should have done, the House of Commons on the question of peace or war; but here was a self-willed official usurping the Prerogative of the Crown, and waging war on his own account against the express warnings sent out by the Government, and then the Government meet the contemptuous disregard of their authority with an expression of continued confidence in the experience, ability, and energy of this official. No one could deny the energy of Sir Bartle Frere—he had energy, and to spare. Indeed, it would have been better for our South African Dominions if he had been a little less energetic. He would not for a moment presume to doubt the ability of the High Commissioner. In other positions he had shown it, and might in other positions still show it in the service of the Crown. He would admit, also, he was a man of high integrity of purpose and great conscientiousness; but these qualities only made him the more dangerous, because ability misdirected was more fatal than ignorance itself. The conscientiousness of Sir Bartle Frere could only lead to one conclusion—that he was not likely to change opinions he had maturely and deliberately formed, and which he had so frankly expressed. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Marten) thought that continued confidence in Sir Bartle Frere was necessary, in order that he might bring present difficulties to a satisfactory conclusion. But he (Mr. Chamberlain) did not see the logic of the argument. He thought that the man who had unnecessarily raised these difficulties was the least likely person now to allay them. Sir Bartle Frere was sent to the Cape to accomplish a great object—the Confederation of the South African Colonies—an object which it was presumed all would think desirable. At the same time, he was instructed to place on a proper footing the relations between the White and Native population. Well, what he could not help saying now, on a review of all the circumstances, was that Sir Bartle Frere had shown himself incapable of performing this great task. He had raised obstacles in the way of its accomplishment, and his recall was desired, not as a personal retribution for an error committed, but to accomplish the great object more rapidly. The Government had shown some doubt of the propriety of the course they had taken, because never had a high official been complimented with such warm assurances, and, at the same time, been fettered with instructions so precise as those sent to Sir Bartle Frere in the last despatch. There were good reasons for these instructions. As late as February, 1879, Sir Bartle Frere was found to be still contemplating the subjugation and annexation of Zululand. The Government had enjoined him to take no steps to ensure that object without their approval. Yes; but they sent him instructions, perhaps not quite so explicit, but just as clear to an intelligent man with the ability with which Sir Bartle Frere was credited, to take no steps likely to lead to war. If those were disregarded, what security was there that the later instructions would not be disregarded in the same way? Again, another reason for urging this course on the Government was this: Surely the circumstances under which the war was commenced should lead every reasonable fair-minded man to consideration for the vanquished. The time would come—and, no doubt, soon—when our arms would be again victorious, and those unfortunate savages would have to sue for mercy. The past, of course, could not be recalled; the blood shed would never be wiped away; and the lives lost on the bloody plain of Isandlana were gone for ever; but he would have greater hope for the future of our South African Dominions, and greater hope for that "peace with honour" which Sir Bartle Frere promised, if he thought that at the conclusion of the peace not only British interests would be regarded, but due consideration would be shown towards the Native population. A distinction was sought to be established between the cases of Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford, and it had been said—he thought with little generosity to the latter, who, in his opinion, had received but a scant measure of justice—it was said that, whilst Lord Chelmsford was not wanted in the Colony, Sir Bartle Frere was still needed there. Now, the accusation against Lord Chelmsford at the present moment amounted to this—that he failed to take the necessary precautions in an enemy's country. He had paid dearly for this error, and no one imagined he would be likely to repeat his mistake. But what possible security was there in the case of Sir Bartle Frere, where the error was not one of detail, but one affecting his whole policy? What security was there that he would be able to change his whole course at the bidding of the Government, and that he would be able to adopt and carry out a policy which approved itself to the Government, but of which he (Sir Bartle Frere) could hardly find language sufficiently contemptuous to express his disapproval? It was a mistake to suppose Sir Bartle Frere's error was one of detail, and he hoped to show the House it was a mere incident in the policy of the High Commissioner, and if there had been no Zulu War, none the less we should have been involved in difficulties perhaps as great in other quarters. His hon. Friend (Sir Charles W. Dilke), in his able and exhaustive speech in moving the Resolution, mentioned that before Sir Bartle Frere's appointment in South Africa the Colony had enjoyed a period of nearly 30 years' profound peace. For nearly a generation—although, of course, there had been outbreaks here and there—there had been nothing approaching an Imperial war; but now, in the short space of two years, all was entirely changed. Tribes previously friendly, relying on our support, became irritated, alienated, and disquieted throughout the whole of our vast Dominion. These tribes lived under various conditions, and were spread over the country, and separated by hundreds of miles of territory; therefore, it was reasonable to suppose that a sudden visible change of sentiment was due to a change in our policy and treatment of them. A despatch from Sir Bartle Frere, dated December 14, was the key-note of his policy, and gave his idea of the relations which should exist between a civilized State and the Native Tribes on the Border. He said experience, especially in India, proved the possibility of a comparatively uncivilized Power co-existing with a civilized Power, and being gradually raised to a more civilized state, provided that the supremacy of the civilized Power was established. This meant that the civilized Power should at once try conclusions, and assert the supremacy over the uncivilized. There might be in most periods of our Colonial history a precedent for such a doctrine; but he wished to show the House that it was this doctrine that led to the Zulu War, and the irritation excited in that part of the world. And how did Sir Bartle Frere propose to carry out his policy? Dr. Sangrado said that there were only two remedies for all diseases—the bleeding his patients, and dosing them with hot water. The practice of the High Commissioner was equally simple. He, too, bled his patients, and gave them plenty of hot water, his treatment being embodied in one prescription, which he called an Ultimatum. He would call attention, briefly, to the circumstances of six wars in Africa, because he thought they illustrated the doctrine which Sir Bartle Frere had been propounding. First, there was a war with a tribe called the Galekas on the north-east of Cape Colony. Some years ago some land was confiscated and given to the Fingoes, who were formerly slaves to the Galekas. This transfer did not contribute to cordial relations between the two tribes, and there were continually petty outrages between the Galekas and the Fin-goes, until Sir Bartle Frere appeared on the scene. He adopted the cause of the Fingoes, and, with regard to the Galekas, took his usual course—that of sending an Ultimatum to them. That war cost £500,000. The second war was the Galeka War. The Galekas consisted of several tribes, the Chief of one of which was friendly to the British. No sooner did the Chief enter into British territory than Sir Bartle Frere insisted on immediate disarmament. The tribe had been warriors for generations; they threw themselves upon Sandilli, a Chief of the neighbouring tribes of Galekas, and a very much more powerful warrior, and thus we had two enemies instead of one; because Sir Bartle Frere wished to impress the tribe with a due sense of our superiority. The third war occurred in Griqualand West, a large territory on the west side of the Orange Free River State. The rights of the Native Settlers were interfered with, and they were left to get their remedy in the British land Courts. The procedure therein was totally foreign to them, and they could not afford the expense of it. They lost their lands, and they were driven to such a state of irritation, that a rebellion broke out. There was another war in Griqualand East, which he believed also arose out of land difficulties, which might have been settled in an equitable spirit. And, lastly, before the Zulu War began, there was a fifth war which had been going on with Secocœni, and which had only been postponed until we had settled with Cetewayo. Previous to the annexation of the Transvaal, the Earl of Carnarvon wrote that the war of the Boers with Secocœni was unjust. Yet, within a month of the annexation, Sir Theophilus Shepstone sent Sir Bartle Frere's usual remedy to Secocœni—he sent an Ultimatum. In all these struggles, the real cause of dispute was the ownership of land which the Natives originally possessed, and which British subjects had either encroached upon or coveted. A disgraceful indication of the spirit which was only too prevalent in our South African Colonies was to be found in a notice, signed by Lieutenant A. C. Potts, 80th Regiment, and posted outside the Court House at Pretoria during the late hostilities against Secocœni. This advertisement was conceived in the spirit of the bill of a music-hall on the Surrey side of the Thames, and contained the following passages:— Volunteers wanted for the front. Grand attack on Secocœni's town. Loot and booty. Better prospect than Blue Bank Diggings. Same rations as the General. Enrol before it is too late. One of the terms offered to volunteers was— Half share of money realized by sale of cattle and spoil captured from the enemy. Let the House consider what was likely to result from such temptations as these He was informed that in the course of these wars with the Natives friendly Natives had their places looted, their property taken from them by the volunteers, which business the volunteers found more convenient than storming Secocœni's town, near to which they had not got yet. The policy against which he protested—and especially the policy of disarming the Natives—had embroiled us with powerful tribes, and we might hear at any day that an addition had been made to the number of our enemies in South Africa. He did not charge upon Sir Bartle Frere the direct responsibility of the several wars to which he had referred; but he did say that the doctrine embodied in the despatch of our Commissioner covered the whole of them: and that the spirit of which he was the chief spokesman at the Cape was certain, if carried out, to lead us into further and greater difficulties. If the policy of Sir Bartle Frere was to be further developed, then they were only at the beginning of their difficulties. He had never seen a more extraordinary document than a memorandum which Mr. Rudolph, the Landdrost of Utrecht, Transvaal, had supplied to Sir Theophilus Shepstone as to the relations between the Transvaal Government and the Swazi King and people. Mr. Rudolph said— The Swazies are a very stupid and obstinate people, and their young King almost an imbecile. I am sorry to say that, although the Chiefs and people pretend to show the greatest respect, love, and friendship for the Government, I have noticed that they wish to remain a free and independent people. So it was a crime for a nation to wish to remain free and independent. Although, however, such a theory was repugnant to all the natural instincts of Englishmen, it followed naturally, from the doctrine of Sir Bartle Frere, that all our Native neighbours must be at once brought into proper subordination to British authority. Suppose that Sir Bartle Frere thought fit to annex Zululand in spite of Her Majesty's Government, where would he find himself? He would find himself in direct contact and conflict with other tribes—more barbarous than the Zulus, more fierce and savage, equally men-destroying gladiators, and equally proud of their independence; and so we would be called to fight tribe after tribe, in order to impress upon the Natives a due sense of our superiority, until we had taken possession of the whole Continent of Africa. We were undoubtedly the greatest colonizing nation on the face of the earth. Surely it was time for us to lay down clearly and plainly—to define accurately—the spirit and temper in which we were going to discharge the vast obligations which we had undertaken. Everywhere we held territories acquired in the first instance by aggression and conquest; everywhere, with a reputation which he was sure was not calculated to secure the love of our neighbours, we came into contact with tribes more or less savage, more or less independent, more or less powerful; and everywhere our Colonists called upon us to exert the whole force of this country in order to secure the proper subordination of those Native tribes to the handful of Englishmen who claimed the right to be supported by the whole power of the British Empire. He asked the House, where was this policy to stop? It seemed to him, if it went on as it had commenced, they would have very shortly the whole responsibility of the government of South Africa on their hands, as well as of vast areas of country in other parts of the world. When a man like Sir Bartle Frere asserted the high moral obligation of imposing their superiority on his neighbours, they might be sure that a pretext for war would not be wanting. Sir Bartle Frere said in his despatches—which read more like the productions of a partizan than of a statesman—that Cetewayo had been anxious to fix a quarrel upon the English nation; that his system had been likely to produce a conflict; and that war with him was not only a precaution against attack, but also a duty, in order to save the Zulu people from the tyranny to which they were subjected; but, throughout all the Papers on the question, there was not sufficient proof of these allegations. Sir Bartle Frere talked of the King's messages being empty excuses, and often insolent defiances. He was unable to read between the lines, as Sir Bartle Frere had done. His messages were the messages of a man—ignorant, if they liked—but of a man perplexed and in despair that those to whose support he had been accustomed had suddenly changed their policy and temper. He saw the toils slowly gathering around him, and he began to lose faith in the honour, justice, and fair dealing of the British people. In a certain sense it was true the position of Cetewayo had been a standing menace to the Colony of Natal. It was true, in the sense that every powerful State was a standing menace to all its neighbours with whom it might have a difference of opinion; and it was an argument—if it was an argument at all—against all strong neighbours. The British Empire could bear no strong country in its neighbourhood; but there was no occasion of recklessly forcing on a war before it became necessary. The representations about the character of the King were curiously in contrast with a message of Sir Henry Bulwer, that he would do "nothing to forfeit the good opinion he had gained in the eyes of the great Queen;" yet two years afterwards this man was described as a monster of iniquity, who was not to be allowed to live. He was not going to say that Cetewayo was a model Ruler according to our ideas of a Monarch. His message to Sir Henry Bulwer betrayed evident signs of irritation at our interference with his Sovereign authority; but when he said that he would go on killing as he had hitherto killed, he referred to those executions which he regarded just as reasonable and proper as when we hanged men at Newgate for premeditated murder. As to the Zulus who were said to have left Zululand and settled in Natal, they were not, he believed, Zulus in reality, but rather the original inhabitants of the country who had been expelled some years ago, when the Zulus swept down from the North in obedience to the law which had obtained in South Africa as well as in Europe. But there were signs that these people now preferred to live under this intolerable tyranny of Cetewayo to remaining under the beneficent government of the High Commissioner; and in the last year or two the emigration of Natives from Natal into Zululand exceeded the immigration into the Colony from the kingdom of Cetewayo. Cetewayo was no better nor worse than other savage Chiefs; and he was much better than some of those Turkish Pashas whose conduct incurred the censure of Her Majesty's Government, but who still occupied a high position in the Turkish service. There had been a sudden change in Sir Bartle Frere's conduct, and the difference between the sensitiveness which Sir Bartle Frere displayed recently contrasted strangely with the perfect indifference with which the conduct of the Zulu King was regarded be- fore it was desired to annex and subjugate his territory. The Zulu King was called upon to disarm his people, and change their customs. What did that amount to? It amounted to the entire extinction of the Zulu power as it was now. No doubt, disarmament was very desirable, not only in South Africa, but in Europe; and he did not suppose England proposed to force disarmament upon Europe by war, and without regard to time or opportunity. In his opinion, it was a piece of pedantic obstinacy. In the last few weeks there had appeared in The Times a most ominous suggestion, to the effect that Her Majesty's Government had it in contemplation to disarm the Native Princes of India. That would be an act more defensible than in the case of the Zulus, because the Zulus had to protect themselves against their hereditary enemies, the Swazies; whereas the Indian Princes could have no enemies but ourselves. At the same time, it did not require a prophet to predict that if any such attempt were made they would drive the Native Rulers into a rebellion, because they would regard it—and not unnaturally, and not unwisely, and not untruthfully—as the inevitable precursor of the taking away of what remained of their independence. If the Ultimatum to Cetewayo had been submitted to the Government, it would have been disapproved of. The Government repudiated responsibility for this war, he thought justly. But they had thrown upon Sir Bartle Frere the heaviest charge that could be brought against any man in his position. They charged him with engaging in a war not urgently necessary, and, consequently, he was blamed for having lost valuable lives, and plunged hundreds of families into mourning, and placed burdens on our finances which they could ill bear. Still, the Government gave him their continued confidence. He thought he could understand the difficulty in which the Government was placed. Although they had shown themselves disposed to hold back this self-willed official, they might find it painful altogether to condemn him for having pursued in South Africa the identical policy which he recommended, which they adopted and approved, and which was now being carried out in Afghanistan. He (Mr. Chamberlain) could not see any great distinction between the pro-Consul in Africa, who waged a war on his own responsibility and against the express warnings of the Government, and the General who annexed a Province larger than England and Wales, 70,000 square miles in area, which it would cost millions of money and thousands of men to defend, under general instructions to detach Native tribes from their allegiance. The Colony of Natal was just as much or just as little in need of a scientific Frontier as India was. This new Imperialism of the Government had affected the minds and judgments of those to whom were necessarily delegated the power and authority of this country in distant lands. Unless this spirit were, either by Parliament or by the people at large, severely and sternly repressed, there could hardly be a limit to the responsibilities which might be fastened upon us, and none to the difficulties and even disasters yet in store for this country.


For some weeks past, in view of the grave disaster which has occurred, and the serious danger of the moment, there has been, I think, but one feeling in this House and in the country—a feeling that everything should be done to help Her Majesty's Government in repairing that disaster, and that no discussion should be raised on the subject which now engages us, until everything was before us that was demanded by justice to the absent. On behalf of Her Majesty's Government, I wish to acknowledge that feeling; and I recognize it also in the action of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea; but I would add, that I think I detected in his action some little restlessness under the obligation of silence which he so very properly felt to be incumbent upon him. Because, on the first evening of the present Session, he somewhat roundly accused Her Majesty's Government of being the authors of this war in South Africa, as part of some general policy of aggression which he was good enough to attribute to us; and on a subsequent evening, not very much later, he is reported, in addressing a meeting in the country, to have said that—"This war was one of the latest and most flagrant cases of distinctly aggressive policy that he had noticed." But when the hon. Baronet came to read the Papers, I think his views must have been somewhat modified, because he then put a Notice of Motion on the Paper of the House, censuring nobody in particular, but regretting the fact of the war; and, after that consultation with other authorities on that side of the House, which I have no doubt he felt to be necessary, he so far modified even the vague terms of that Motion as to make it almost indistinct in its censure, and absolutely indistinct as to the parties on whom that censure ought to rest. And now, having everything before him, he has added a rider, which is the real kernel of the discussion which we have commenced this evening, for it censures Her Majesty's Government for not having recalled Sir Bartle Frere. I listened with great interest to the able speech of the hon. Baronet—a speech which, if he will permit me to say so, showed not only ability, but an amount of research into this question which did him the greatest honour. But it showed also an absence of fairness, which I am sure was unintentional, in the consideration of the question, which really entirely marred the character of the speech. It seemed to me that when he told the House that Sir Bartle Frere was wanting in that temper and that spirit of calm power which ought to belong to an English Governor, and that such want on his part made it wrong for Her Majesty's Government to leave him for one moment longer at the Cape, the hon. Baronet entirely forgot the character and history of Sir Bartle Frere. He must have forgotten that Sir Bartle Frere was appointed, not by Her Majesty's present Advisers, but by Her Majesty's former Advisers, as Chief Commissioner to Scinde and Governor of Bombay; that he was entrusted by them with a most important mission to Zanzibar on the subject of the Slave Trade; and that his conduct in the Indian Mutiny was of such a character that he received, on two separate occasions, the thanks of Parliament. I think the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, in his desire to censure the conduct of Sir Bartle Frere in South Africa, must at least have forgotten the manner of man with whom he was dealing, and the way in which that man has devoted his life to the service of the country. I do not think, moreover, that was the only evidence of a want of fairness in the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea and that of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain). To both of those hon. Members the King of Zululand was the type of everything that is good. Let me, therefore, describe the condition of Zululand as set forth by an authority which I think will not be disputed by either of the hon. Members— The internal misgovernment of the country had gone on from bad to worse. … It is plain that it is now reduced to great misery, and that the Sovereign and people are killing and 'eating up' one another. We learn that multitudes of Zulus, including at least three Christian converts, are, in Zulu phrase, 'smelt out' as witches and put to death, nominally on this ground, but really because the King and Chiefs want their property. The murder of a number of young women for refusing to marry Cetewayo's soldiers appears unquestioned; and to our remonstrance against these barbarities, Cetewayo replied by furiously declaring that he intended to govern his own country in his own way, and that the blood he had already shed was a mere foretaste of what he intended to do. These are not the words of Sir Bartle Frere, but of Lord Blachford, whom I believe to be one of the authorities principally relied upon by hon. Gentlemen opposite in the treatment of this question. I do not quote these words as showing any necessity for interference on the part of Her Majesty's Government with the affairs of Zululand; but as some little proof to the contrary, when we hear such descriptions of the character of the Zulu King and his rule as we have been favoured with to-night. As I have always understood, the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea and the hon. Member for Birmingham are opposed to the principle of standing Armies; but on this occasion they appear as the advocates of a standing Army, not in their own country, but in Zululand. And when the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea spoke of the killing practised by the Zulu King as a mere punishment of criminals, and of the philanthropic intention of the King to provide a prison for those who had committed offences, I confess my mind reverted to the views maintained by many hon. Gentlemen opposite as to the policy of capital punishment in this country, and to the singular and very strong expression of opinion we heard from them last year with respect to the failure of a certain nation in Europe in the proper treatment of criminals. The Resolution of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea proposes, in the first place, to censure Her Majesty's Government for not recalling Sir Bartle Frere. I will postpone dealing with that point for the present; for I think the speech of the hon. Baronet was not entirely directed to his Resolution. His Resolution is a censure upon the Government; his speech was a censure upon Sir Bartle Frere. He would also censure Her Majesty's Government for their failure, as he conceives it to be, in two other respects. He says we ought to have seen long ago that Sir Bartle Frere meant to go to war. That sentiment was cheered by many hon. Members opposite, and I would say, with respect to it, that it is very easy to be wise after the event; but I would also ask hon. Members to be good enough to look for themselves carefully at the despatches which we have received from Sir Bartle Frere, and to see at what date the first idea of an aggressive policy, so to speak, appears in those despatches. I will venture to assert—and I do not believe it can be contradicted—that the first hint of the kind appears in a despatch received by us on the 11th of December. It is all very well to say—as I think was said by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure)—that before that time there were preparations reported by Lord Chelmsford with regard to a possible invasion of Zululand. That is quite another matter. The despatches of that date, and up to that time to which I refer, distinctly point to a defensive policy against a Zulu attack; and, of course, it is obvious that it may become a very necessary part of a defensive policy against attack to invade your enemy's country after he has attacked you. There was good reason for fearing an attack at the time, for there had been action on the part of the Zulu King—not merely in the shape of raids into Natal territory, but notices to quit issued to British subjects at Luneberg and the disputed country, and the absolute driving of peaceful farmers from their holdings in other places. All of these things might have necessitated a Zulu War, which would have been by no means an aggressive war; and it was with that view that the despatches were written in which Lord Chelmsford referred to the possible necessity for an invasion of Zululand. The third charge which the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea brought against Her Majesty's Government was that for two months, between the 23rd of January and the 19th of March, we delayed to express our opinion upon the action of Sir Bartle Frere. The hon. Baronet, perhaps not unnaturally, thinks that our action should have been similar to his own, and that we ought to have taken some step or other without having full information before us; but we, on the other hand, thought it only fair and right to a man in the position of Sir Bartle Frere, holding a high and distinguished, as well as an extremely delicate, post on the other side of the globe, to wait for a reasonable time in order to hear what he had to say in his defence; and, therefore, we felt it absolutely impossible at first to express a more definite opinion than was expressed by me on the 23rd of January. For aught we knew, there might have been good grounds why he, acting under the powers and with the responsibilities of his commission, might have felt it necessary to take action without consulting Her Majesty's Government, and why we should, after hearing what he had to say, have exonerated him from blame. I think we should have failed in our duty if, before hearing his defence, we had expressed any opinion beyond that which was expressed on the 23rd of January on his conduct. I will now turn to the terms of the Resolution of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea. I can assure him that Her Majesty's Government share fully in the regret which he asks the House to express— That the Ultimatum which was calculated to produce immediate war should have been presented to the Zulu King without authority from the responsible advisers of the Crown. I need not dwell upon that point; but I would add, if it was necessary to discuss it, that it is at least questionable whether there is any real reason for asking this House to express an opinion upon it. The Resolution then proceeds to ask the House to affirm its regret That an offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity. Now, I think that that is scarcely a fair representation of the question that should be put to this House. The ques- tion is not so much whether an offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity, as whether the demands contained in Sir Bartle Frere's Ultimatum were necessary and justifiable; because really the whole question turns upon the demands made in that Ultimatum. I do not suppose anyone will argue that those terms, having been once dictated to the Zulu King, it was possible, with any safety, to withdraw from them. There is no question, I think, judging from the Papers, as to the view taken by the Zulu King of those requirements. He never formally acknowledged even the receipt of the Ultimatum. He sent contradictory messages through his agent, Mr. Dunn, as to his intentions with regard to it; but I do not think the hon. Baronet stated—and I am confident there is no proof in the Papers—that any further delay would have led to the acceptance of those terms without war. It is fair to Sir Bartle Frere to say that he stated in one of his despatches that if Cetewayo had even temporized, or availed himself of any opening left for discussion, he would have postponed any active operations. But I think the Papers clearly show that Cetewayo never really meant to accede to any of the demands at all. Therefore, I will pass from that question, and proceed to the demands themselves. Now, the first of these is the boundary award. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea accused Sir Bartle Frere of delaying this award by what he called small, petty, miserable cavils, and he said that when Sir Bartle Frere thought the award would be against the Transvaal he began to seek fresh occasion for war. I am bound to say that, in my opinion, that view is as entirely unwarranted as the statement of the hon. Baronet that Sir Bartle Frere ever put forward Cetewayo's request to "wash his spears" in such a way as to deceive the English people into thinking that Natal was to be attacked. I do not believe that Sir Bartle Frere ever did anything of the kind. Then the hon. Baronet accused Sir Bartle Frere of delaying the award. He admitted that the award did not reach Sir Bartle Frere till July; but he failed to tell the House that at that very time Sir Bartle Frere was engaged in the Cape Colony at the conclusion of the war there, in a way which rendered it absolutely impossible for him to leave the Cape Colony before the time at which he did leave, and that the delay was by no means Sir Bartle Frere's fault, but was absolutely incumbent upon him if he was to perform his duties to Cape Colony. As soon as he could he went to Natal. It was necessary for him to go there to discuss the question with those who were well acquainted with it before he pronounced the award that he was authorized to make; and when he got there, of course he found that the subjects requiring discussion were many and important, and that it was necessary for him to continue that discussion until they were settled to the satisfaction—as they were ultimately settled—of all the authorities in the Colony. Then the hon. Baronet, I noticed, also blamed Sir Theophilus Shepstone, and I must say that of all the statements the hon. Baronet made, I thought there were few really more unfair than that. Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the Administrator of the Transvaal, was absolutely blamed by the hon. Baronet for supporting, as he said, the just rights of the Transvaal in the matter of this boundary award. It might be true that Sir Theophilus Shepstone had changed his views. But why had he done so? Because he had evidence placed before him which he had not before seen; and if a man in that position were not open to change his views, his opinion, I think, would not be worth much, either at its inception or at its conclusion. Now, I proceed to the points of the boundary award. The hon. Baronet found great fault—and it has been found elsewhere—with the reservation by Sir Bartle Frere of the private rights of the European Settlers in that part of the disputed territory which was to be made over to the Zulus. Now, I think it should be remembered that in great part of the disputed territory there had been for many years past a bonâ fide exorcise of Sovereignty by the Transvaal Republic and a bonâ fide occupation by the farmers, who had built on their farms and cultivated and improved the land; and that many of these farmers, during the winter of 1877–8, had actually been driven away from their farms by notices to quit sent by Cetewayo through his agents, and, consequently, their homesteads had been ruined and deserted. I think it is a fair argument that when a private person settles in a country where there is a latent dispute as to the Sovereignty, he ought not to lose his estate by reason of the Government under which he took bonâ fide possession of his land being finally ousted. I make this statement, because this is simply what we ourselves have admitted in South Africa under similar circumstances. What happened in the case of Griqualand West? It was taken over by the English Government in October, 1871, to the exclusion of the Orange Free State, which claimed it, and, with Lord Kimberley's approval, the titles of private holders of farms granted in the Province by the Orange Free State were recognized by Sir Henry Barkly; although, by our very action in taking it, we denied that the Orange Free State had any right to grant those titles. That is precisely what Sir Bartle Frere really proposed in the matter of this disputed territory. Bishop Colenso stated that Sir Bartle Frere intended to take from Cetewayo by an afterthought what had been solemnly ceded to him in the Queen's name. But what does Sir Bartle Frere say? He had no intention of recognizing any rights except those of bonâ fide possession, occupation, and improvement by persons who had every reason to believe that the Transvaal Government had full right to grant a valid title. He "wished to secure against loss those who had settled, built, and stocked farms" from which they had been driven by the Zulus. If hon. Members would, take the trouble to look at the boundary award—which, after all, is the real and authoritative statement of Sir Bartle Frere on this question—they will find the same principles carried into effect there. I am bound to say—as I have before remarked—that there seems to me to be a singular inconsistency in the view taken of this question by the hon. Member for Chelsea, and by many of those who sit near him, as compared with the view which they take on similar questions nearer home. They, I suppose, are the great supporters of tenant-right, fixity of tenure, and everything that has been ever asked for on behalf of farmers or occupiers of land in any part of the United Kingdom; and yet they object to grant these very similar rights to bonâ fide occupiers in Zululand, which Sir Bartle Frere wished by his award to secure to them. The next demand was for compensation for the raid of Sirayo into the Natal territory. The hon. Member for Chelsea did not, I think, dwell very much upon that, and I will not detain the House at any length upon it. But I would say that Sir Henry Bulwer, who seems, very properly, to be accepted as a high authority by the hon. Member for Chelsea, described it as a most serious offence. Unquestionably it was a very serious violation of British territory, and there was very cruel treatment of the persons taken out of British territory. It was absolutely necessary to prevent similar violations in the future, and for the security of both the White and the Native population of Natal, that proper redress should be made for this violation. What was the redress offered? A mere payment of £50. What was the redress demanded by the Natal Government in August, and most properly insisted upon by Sir Bartle Frere in December? The surrender of the offenders. That had been an old bargain between Cetewayo and the Natal Government. It was a bargain that should especially have been carried out in a case of the kind; and, therefore, Sir Bartle Frere was entirely justified in including this in the message which he sent to Cetewayo. Then, as to the treatment of the surveyors, that I shall not dwell upon. I think it a very small matter. I said so in my despatch to Sir Bartle Frere; and I think Sir Bartle Frere himself attached no very great importance to it, and it could have been easily settled one way or another. Now I proceed to the further demands in the Ultimatum, which were unknown to Her Majesty's Government until December 19. I had every reason to suppose that Sir Bartle Frere would communicate the boundary award to Cetewayo as soon as he had made it, and, from what had passed between Sir Henry Bulwer and Cetewayo previously, that he would accompany it with the demands for redress to which I have referred. In adopting that course, I think he was perfectly justified. But of the demands not known to me until the 19th of December, the first was that a British Resident should be placed in Zululand. I need not discuss that, beyond stating that Cetewayo himself had, in February, 1876, requested that a representative of the Government should be sent to him. For every reason, I think it desirable that someone duly authorized by the Government should have been placed in Zululand to represent the views of the Colonial Governments of Natal and the Transvaal to the Zulu King, and to protect the interests of British subjects who might be passing through Zululand. I do not think that is a matter which needs discussion, and, therefore, I will pass on to the next demand—the extradition of Umbilini, who had made a raid of considerable importance into British territory. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea admitted that Umbilini had made that raid, but said that he was not a subject of Cetewayo. What does Cetewayo himself say? He says— That at the time when he ordered the German settlers of Luneburg to leave that place, he did not know that they were subjects to the Government; but that, as he knows now that they are such, they may remain and occupy the land, as they will not be molested by any Zulus or by Umbilini. Is not that a distinct assertion of his authority over Umbilini? ["No, no!"] I think it is; and, if it is, the argument of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea falls to the ground. The next demand is with respect to the missionaries. I quite admit what the hon. Baronet said on that point. My Predecessor informed Sir Henry Bulwer that Her Majesty's Government could not undertake to compel Cetewayo to permit the maintenance of mission stations in Zululand. I regret that Sir Bartle Frere should have included that demand in his Ultimatum. I quite adhere to the opinion that the enforcement by the Government of missionary enterprize is a thorough and entire mistake; and certainly, so long as I hold my present Office, I should be not only reluctant, but entirely disinclined, to take any steps for that purpose. Then comes the final demand, and the important one of all—the demand for the disbandment of Cetewayo's Army. That, I think, is the real question in the Ultimatum. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea has expressed the opinion that Cetewayo's Army was not a terror to Natal or the Transvaal. If he had reflected for a moment on the position of Natal and the Transvaal, he might have found reason to change his opinion. Natal and the Transvaal have a White population of about 1 in 10 to the Black population—that is to say, in Natal there is, I believe, a population of about 25,000 Whites to 250,000 Kaffirs, and in the Transvaal a proportion of about 35,000 to 350,000. Cetewayo's Army was organized under a thorough military system, and was well armed; and when the hon. Baronet meets me with an opinion as to the want of power of that Army, I fear I can only refer him to what actually happened at Isandlana. That, I think, is a sufficient proof of the danger to the neighbouring communities from the existence of an Army such as that maintained by the Zulu King, because it cannot be compared with the Armies maintained by civilized nations. A savage despot, like the Zulu King, whatever his good qualities may be, cannot be expected to be restrained by those feelings by which Rulers nearer home who maintain large Armies are influenced. And I must say, whether we look to facts, or whether we look to the opinions of those who are most competent to form them, there can be no question whatever of the serious danger that this Army has been to Natal and the Transvaal. I believe the danger is such as to have rendered a war at some time or another with Cetewayo absolutely inevitable. I think some confirmation of that view may be found in the history of the case. What had been Cetewayo's previous position? He had been distinctly subordinate to the Natal Government—that is to say, he had invited a representative of the Natal Government to assist at, and sanction, his Coronation, and had voluntarily made to that representative certain promises relating not to the dealings of the Zulu with Natal, but to the internal government of his country. I do not want to dwell on these promises themselves; I merely allude to them, as showing the position in which Cetewayo found himself with regard to the Government of Natal. But what followed? The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, I think, attributed a good deal of what has occurred to the annexation of the Transvaal; but he ought to have gone further back. The source of the evil, I believe, was this—the sale of guns in large numbers at the Diamond Fields to the Kaffirs throughout South Africa. That gave them arms, if not equal, at any rate nearly equal, to those possessed by the Whites. With, the knowledge that they possessed these arms came the growth of a new generation who had not known defeat by the Dutch Boers or by the English. Then came also the desire for war, natural to a people whose Constitution will be admitted by all to be based on preparation for war. The young men appealed to Cetewayo for an opportunity to "wash their spears." In September, 1876, many months before the annexation of the Transvaal, Cetewayo, recognizing the position which he had held towards the Government of Natal, asked leave of the Government to "wash his spears." That leave was refused. What says Sir Henry Bulwer in his Despatch 165 of Blue Book 1,748? He states that— It is evident, if the information that has reached us is correct, and there is no reason to doubt its correctness, that Cetewayo has not only been preparing for war, but that he has been sounding the way with the view to a combination of the Native races against the White men. Whether that combination has been effected, or whether it can be effected, we are not yet in a position to form an opinion; but that messages have been passing on the subject between Cetewayo and other Native Chiefs there can be little doubt. Sir Henry Bulwer—I agree with the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea—is no alarmist; and those are his views distinctly stated to the Home Government at the time. He goes on to say— In the present message Cetewayo throws off any concealment of his intention to 'wash his spears,' and repudiates the moral influence which this Government has exercised with him since his father's death, and especially since his formal recognition and installation as King of the Zulus by Sir Theophilus Shepstone. What was the message? No doubt it is familiar to many hon. Members. What did Cetewayo, this moral despot, say? I do kill, but do not consider that I have done anything yet in the way of killing. Why do the White people start at nothing? I have not yet begun; I have yet to kill. It is the custom of my nation, and I shall not depart from it. Why does the Governor of Natal speak to me about my laws? I shall not agree to any laws and rules from Natal. Have I not asked the English to allow me to wash my spears since the death of my father Umpandi, and they have kept playing with me all this time, treating me like a child. Go back and tell the English that I shall now act on my own account. The Governor of Natal and I are equal; he is Governor of Natal, and I am Governor here. That was the condition of Cetewayo in the autumn of 1876. He was then aware of the weakness of the Transvaal, and it may have encouraged him to take the line of declaring himself independent of the Natal Government; but there is, at all events, a clear distinction between the independence he then assumed and his former position. Then, in the spring of 1877, came the collapse of the Transvaal, owing to the bankruptcy of the Government and the internal dissensions of the country. It has been said that the annexation of the Transvaal to the English possessions led to the war with the Zulus. I would say, on the contrary, that I believe it postponed the war. Had it not been for Sir Theophilus Shepstone's action, I think it clear from what passed that Cetewayo would have attacked the Transvaal, which he naturally believed to be in a desperate condition. Had he done so, he would have overrun the country, to the great loss and destruction of the inhabitants, many of whom were British subjects, who had petitioned for protection. Having succeeded in this, his position would have been one of great menace and danger to the Colony of Natal. Therefore, I am inclined to think that the annexation of the Transvaal rather postponed than precipitated the Zulu War. But the identification of Natal with the Transvaal by the annexation had, no doubt, an influence on Cetewayo. His object had been, as is clear from the passages I have read, to "wash his spears." He saw the position of affairs was entirely changed; that he was surrounded by territories either belonging to English subjects or under their protection; closing the safety-valve for the warlike spirit of the Zulu nation that had existed before. The result of all this was a great distrust, in his mind, of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who had only done his duty—which distrust showed itself in the action which Cetewayo took on the occasion of the interview between his delegates and Sir Theophilus Shepstone in the autumn of 1877. If hon. Members would refer to the record of that interview at the Blood River, they will see a tone of insult, almost of defiance, on the part of the Zulus never exhibited before towards Sir Theophilus Shepstone. While the meeting was being held to discuss the question of disputed boundary, notices to quit were sent by the Zulu Indunas to the farmers who were living on dis- puted territory; and the difficulties of Sir Theophilus Shepstone's position were very considerable, bearing in mind the small force at his disposal, the natural desire of the farmers to protect their homesteads, and the desire he felt to avoid a war with the Zulus. It has been stated by the hon. Member for Chelsea that Cetewayo made no such claim to large increase of territory as is attributed to him; but he unquestionably did make claims to a part of South Africa which had never been considered to belong to him, beyond the Pongolo River. Sir Henry Bulwer stated that Cetewayo had no just claim to that territory. That I believe to be the absolute fact, and that claim was not included in the question referred to the Boundary Commission; but it still remained unsettled in spite of the Commission, so that the Report of the Boundary Commission, even if adopted in full, would not have satisfied the full claim of Cetewayo. Another important point of it was not touched upon by the hon. Member for Chelsea; but I think there can be no doubt that Cetewayo's action with regard to other Native Tribes had been of the nature which is described by Sir Henry Bulwer. Unquestionably, Cetewayo had been sending emissaries for some time past to the various Native Tribes, with the view of enlisting them in a general rising against the Whites, or of getting promises of assistance provided he himself got involved in a quarrel with the Whites. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) stated that we had taken up the quarrel of the Transvaal Republic against Secocoeni. That is contrary to the facts reported by Sir Theophilus Shepstone. Secocoeni and a neighbouring Chieftainess—I believe his sister—attacked Natives under the protection of the Transvaal Government, and initiated the war. There had been a demand for the tribute which Secocoeni had agreed to pay to the former Transvaal Government, but Sir Theophilus Shepstone had waived it for a time; and the quarrel which we now have with Secocoeni is entirely owing to that Chief's own action, and was not, so far as I can judge, due to the former war in the Transvaal. In 1878, Sir Theophilus Shepstone inclosed a despatch from Captain Clark, stating that Secocoeni had received a messenger from Cetewayo, telling him that his people had by strategy taken one of the houses of the White people; Secocoeni, therefore, should begin at once, and he would easily get the upper hand. In other parts of South Africa, according to Mr. Brownlee—for some time member of the Cape Government and possessing a greater knowledge of Native affairs in the Cape Colony than perhaps any other man—Cetewayo's hand had been clearly traced in our recent troubles on the Cape Frontier. In Pondoland, in July and August, 1877, after satisfaction had been expressed with the decision of Sir Bartle Frere in regard to the surrender of the murderers, Cetewayo appears upon the scene, and matters are changed. A mission was sent for the establishment of friendly relations with the Pondos; and it was reported that the Pondos had been urged not to comply with our demands. In July, 1877, it was reported that Cetewayo had sent messages to other tribes that he wished to combine against the White man. In October, 1877, Sir Henry Bulwer reported that Cetewayo had made offers of support to the Pondos if they took up arms against us. Several other statements of this character, with regard to the Natives in Griqualand West, appear in these Papers, and I can assert confidently that the general opinion of all competent to express one was that Cetewayo was everywhere engaging in action of this kind. A Report, received by Sir Henry Bulwer from Delagoa Bay, stated that Cetewayo despatched an Induna—Deenessa—to inquire why the Governor of Delagoa Bay would not let him have any more powder; also to tell the Governor that Cetewayo could see by his refusal to do so that the Portuguese were on friendly terms with the English, who were the Zulu's deadly enemies. The Report continued:— Deenessa went on further to say that within a very short time the Zulus would overrun Natal, pillage, set fire to everything, and kill every White person they came across. He stated further that the policy of Cetewayo, at the commencement of hostilities, would be to endeavour to draw on the English troops to the centre of the Zulu country, and then surround and massacre all with what he terms his legions."—[P.P., C-2,220, page 311.] I do not wish to attach too much importance to that as an evidence of Cetewayo's feeling; but I quote it as corroborating what I have stated to the House as to the views of those who are qualified to express an opinion on this subject. From the facts I have stated, I think it is, at any rate, clear that there was some reason for the demands which Sir Bartle Frere made upon Cetewayo for the disbanding of his Army. At any rate—and this is a point the hon. Member for Chelsea omitted to refer to—this, as well as all the other demands made had the concurrence of all authorities, official and non-official, in the Colony of Natal. I need not quote Sir Theophilus Shepstone and Mr. Brownlee; but I may quote Sir Henry Bulwer as one who, according to the hon. Member for Chelsea, is not carried away by passion or terror. Sir Henry Bulwer said— I have read and considered with attention the Minute of the High Commissioner regarding the terms to be proposed to the Zulu King. I beg leave to express my concurrence generally in the views of the High Commissioner, and in the terms which His Excellency proposes to lay down. I entirely concur in His Excellency's decision on this point, as also in the conditions which he has laid down, and which have been communicated to the Zulu King. They are conditions for the better government of the Zulu people and for their great advantage, and conditions also which it may be said are indispensable for securing peace in South Africa. Now, the hon. Baronet referred to Bishop Colenso's opinion. I should not have quoted that opinion had it not been for the reference the hon. Baronet made. Bishop Colenso said— I hoped and believed that Cetewayo would agree to those demands"—namely, the demands relating to the sons of Sirayo and the surveyors—"and expressed my cordial assent to the main points of the message—namely, those requiring the disbandment of the military forces, and an entire change in the marriage system, as being, though measures of coercion, yet such as a great Christian Power had a right to enforce upon a savage nation like the Zulus. Subsequently, no doubt, Bishop Colenso wrote a letter to the effect that he did not like the manner in which those demands were made, or the steps by which it had been sought to enforce them; but I really fail to see how he could have proposed to enforce the demands, of which he approved, when they had been complied with, except by an invasion of the Zulu country, which he deprecated, or by taking the property of the King—in other words, the Zulu cattle. I come now to the question raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure) as to the adequacy of the Forces for invasion. On this point, I think the hon. and gallant Member is under a misconception. When I wrote the despatch of October 17—as will be clear from the Papers before the House—it appeared to me that the great difficulty with the Zulus was the boundary question, and that if that question could, as I hoped it would, be satisfactorily settled, the danger of a Zulu War might be avoided. I expressed that opinion more than once. I declined, in that despatch, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, to comply with a request for reinforcements on that ground. Subsequent despatches pointed to a danger of another kind—the imminent danger of an invasion of Natal by the Zulus for other reasons than those connected with the boundary dispute. These despatches reached England about the beginning and middle of November. They were considered carefully by Her Majesty's Government, and were replied to in my despatch of the 21st of November, in which I stated that certain reinforcements, which were described in detail by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Secretary of State for War, and which satisfied all the demands that had been made, would be sent. Well, these reinforcements were sent out, of course, with a view to a defensive policy. Her Majesty's Government, in that despatch, deprecated any aggression. It was not until we received, on the 19th of December, Sir Bartle Frere's despatch, stating the demands that had been made on Cetewayo that we had any reason to anticipate anything that could be fairly characterized as an aggressive policy. After those reinforcements had been sent, no further reinforcements were applied for. We had every reason to believe that Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford possessed all the means they thought necessary for carrying out the policy they had proposed.


I distinctly quoted the despatch, which states that three regiments only were sent; but what I complain of is that when it was known that the Ultimatum had been despatched and that consequently invasion was a certainty, reinforcements were not sent.


I have merely to repeat that no further reinforcements were applied for—that all the reinforcements asked for had been sent; and that we had every reason to believe that all the authorities concurred in thinking that the reinforcements sent were adequate to the occasion. And I am bound to say that I think the military authorities on the spot were not without grounds for that opinion. Now, why does the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire reproach me for my recommendations to Sir Bartle Frere to employ the Natives of Natal as the Natives of Cape Colony had been employed?


The Kaffirs of Cape Colony never were employed in the Kaffir War. The Fingoes were employed, as being the enemies of the Kaffirs and the friends of the English, but Kaffirs never.


Well, I think the facts warrant another view. However, I will not argue as to whether Fingoes or Kaffirs were employed. I recommended that, as had been done in the Cape Colony, the services of the Native population should be employed, if necessary, in the defence of Natal. That recommendation was made on the 21st of December; but before it could have been received in Natal, the authorities on the spot—including, I believe, all those who thoroughly knew the Natives of Natal—had taken active steps towards raising the very Native levies which I suggested should be raised, and they certainly had, I think, many good reasons at the time for forming a favourable opinion of the qualities of the Native regiments. The report of the first engagement, before the disaster of Isandlana, clearly, I think, showed that but for the panic caused by that disaster the Natives would have proved a very valuable Force indeed. The Forces that were engaged were considered to be adequate for all that was required. It was thought, by such authorities as Sir Henry Bulwer and Sir Theophilus Shepstone, that the Zulu power was likely to fall to pieces when touched—that as soon as our troops crossed the Border it would fall to pieces suddenly. If hon. Members refer to the number of troops engaged in the Kaffir War, they will find that four times the number of British troops were engaged in Zululand. Of course, it may be argued that events have shown that even such a Force was inadequate; but the disaster at Isandlana might have happened if 50,000 British troops had been engaged instead of 6,000 or 7,000; and, although it is now absolutely necessary to send out a very large Force to repair the disaster which has occurred, it by no means follows that the smaller number would not have been sufficient if the disaster had not occurred. Sir, the last clause of the Resolution is this— That the House regrets that, after the censure passed upon the High Commissioner by Her Majesty's Government in the Despatch of the 19th day of March 1879, the conduct of affairs in South Africa should be retained in his hands. Now, first of all, I should like to repeat what has already been stated "elsewhere" as to the blame which has been awarded to Sir Bartle Frere by Her Majesty's Government. The hon. Member for Chelsea spoke of Sir Bartle Frere as discredited. I do not know why; but those who have been most anxious to see Sir Bartle Frere recalled have, I think, been disposed to attribute the greatest weight to the blame conveyed in the despatch of the 19th of March. It is right that the extent to which blame has been awarded should be clearly understood. That blame has been awarded, because Sir Bartle Frere took a certain course of action without first consulting Her Majesty's Government. On the question of policy, I think, as I have ventured to put before the House, there is a great deal to be said on the part of Sir Bartle Frere. I have not entered into that question so much in order to justify the action of the Government as with a view to controvert some of the statements which appear to me to be unfair to Sir Bartle Frere, and which have been made by the hon. Baronet. Whether it was wise or whether it was not wise to send the Ultimatum which was sent to Cetewayo at the time it was sent is a matter which, it seems to me, can scarcely be decided now. The present state of circumstances in South Africa, at any rate, requires us to look rather to the future than to the past. The point which Her Majesty's Government have felt themselves called upon to deal with is whether Sir Bartle Frere was justified, under the circumstances, in acting as he did without their sanction. On that point they have expressed their opinion in the despatch of the 19th of March. But when it is said, as I have heard it said, that this is an unprecedented censure on a Governor who is retained in office, I think it would be very easy to show, without any very lengthened research through the archives of the Colonial Office, that it is nothing of the kind. I do not like to re-open questions that have been settled, or to mention names in a way which might, perhaps, give pain to valuable servants of the Crown; but the House may take this from me—I hope it will, at least—that within not many years past a censure ten times exceeding in severity that which has been awarded to Sir Bartle Frere was awarded by the Colonial Office to a Governor of a Colony for acting against directions which he had received from Her Majesty's Government, and a distinct line of future policy was laid down for that Governor different from that which he himself had wished to follow, and yet he was not recalled, but was maintained in his office to the great benefit of the Colony, and now holds, also to the great benefit of the Service, the government of one of the most important Colonies of the Empire. The despatches on that subject were laid before Parliament, and any hon. Member who likes to look at them can trace the matter for himself. Therefore, Sir, what has been done, so far from being unprecedented, is a very slight reproof, indeed, compared with what has formerly occurred. It is given solely upon the ground I have mentioned. I myself—and I think I may venture to say Her Majesty's Government—retain complete confidence in Sir Bartle Frere; and when the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea tells us in one breath that he wishes to support Her Majesty's Government in all necessary measures for defending the possessions of Her Majesty in South Africa, and in another, censures us for not recalling the Agent in whom we have confidence, I venture to say that his Resolution is a little inconsistent in itself. I should hope that the House will support us, not only in such expenditure as may be required, but in our right, as Her Majesty's Government, to the selection of Agents to carry out our policy. We are, of course, responsible for failure, if failure occurs; but unless the hon. Baronet is ready to take the responsibility of the measures he desires to aid us in, I do not think he ought to ask the House to pass the Vote of Censure he proposes. Now, it is asked why we do not recall Sir Bartle Frere. I say, because we have still confidence in him; because the fact that he has been blamed for exceeding his authority—great though that authority is; greater, in fact, than that of any other Governor in the Colonial Service—will not, we believe, detract from his power for usefulness and good work in South Africa. We have not blamed him for incapacity. The blame that has been cast upon him has been rather for excess of zeal—for excess of zeal in a course which was, I believe, considered by every man in South Africa, at the time that he took it, to be the right one—and which has commended him more than ever to the good wishes of the Colonists of South Africa. I know it will be said that the Colonists will support any Governor who spends Imperial money. But remember what has happened in South Africa. Sir Bartle Frere has not only dealt with Imperial money in the operations he has felt it necessary to take. He has guided the actions of the Colonists at great cost of men and money to themselves; and their action has been, through his influence, in almost unprecedented harmony with the Home Government. If there has been anything which has in previous years rendered the difficulty of South African policy especially great, it has been, I will venture to say, the disinclination of the Cape Government to co-operate with the rest of South Africa in a complete and uniform Native policy. Sir Bartle Frere has done not a little to bring that co-operation about. There are further difficulties before us. I think that if hon. Members fairly consider what those difficulties are, they will not readily weaken the hands of Her Majesty's Government at this crisis. You have to deal in South Africa with a vast Native population within the Borders of your Colonies—a population in every state of civilization, varying between the civilization of the Whites and actual barbarism; a population whom you would desire by every means in your power to wean from their savage customs and gradually to bring under the influence of our laws; the authority over whom you would wish by degrees to transfer from the Native Chiefs to White magistrates, and upon whom you would specially impress the doctrine of individual property in the soil, as one which, above all others, will tend to lead them to those habits of labour and industry which will make them a valuable and useful population to our Colonies. By so doing, I believe you will better deal with that other difficulty, the vast tide of Native immigration into our Colonies from the North, than by any other means that you can devise; for I think that if the Native population in our Colonies is fairly regulated under equal laws, there will be less temptation than there has been for fugitives or tribes to move from the North to a State which they have hitherto considered to be merely one of barbarous and safe independence. Then, again, you have a White population, which is still, I am sorry to say, divided to a great extent. I think, in the whole of the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, the omission which, perhaps, was most noteworthy, was this—that he appeared entirely to forget the views and. even the prejudices of the Dutch population. That is a difficulty, perhaps, greater than any other which has to be dealt with at this moment in South Africa. But all these difficulties maybe dealt with by that policy of Union or Confederation—call it by what name you like—which would secure self-government to local White communities, and at the same time the adoption of a uniform and coherent Native policy—a policy which, commencing under the necessary control of this country, might by degrees be freed from that control as the Colonists become—as they are now becoming—alive to a sense of their own true interests and responsibilities, and thus ultimately tend to relieve this country from those responsibilities in South Africa which now so heavily press upon it. I will venture to say there is no man who could have been chosen who is so well qualified as Sir Bartle Frere to carry out such a policy. Look at what he Las done already!—[Ironical cheers.] If hon. Members opposite had waited until I had finished my sentence, they would have seen to what I alluded—look what he has done already for the Cape Colony! I do not wish to find fault with any action of my Predecessors; but I do think that it was, at any rate, a doubtful policy to give the boon of self-government to the Cape Colony without, at the same time, securing that that Colony should take measures for its self-defence. Sir Bartle Frere, since he has been there, has guided the Cape Colony into those very measures which have too long been delayed, even against the powerful influence of the Ministry whom he found in office. He has induced the Parliament of the Cape Colony to pass most valuable measures for the establishment of a Yeomanry Force, a Burgher Force, a force of Volunteers and of Cape Mounted Riflemen, for regulating the possession of arms by the Natives; and he has induced the Parliament to give even more practical proofs of their anxiety to move in the same direction by the very great expenditure in men and money—not less a sum than £1,250,000—which they have incurred in repressing the rebellion and the war on the Borders of the Cape Colony, and also by entirely denuding themselves of Her Majesty's troops in order that those troops might be sent to the defence of Natal, at a moment when, owing to the disaster which had occurred, the Cape Colony itself must necessarily have been in the most serious danger from the Native population within its Borders. Well, I think that if hon. Members had known what I was about to allude to, they would, at any rate, have admitted that this was no slight service in a path which I believe they would wish Her Majesty's Representative in South Africa to pursue. I do not understand that anything which we have laid down as to our future policy in South Africa has been objected to by those who have spoken to-night. It has been said that that policy is inconsistent with Sir Bartle Frere's ideas. I distinctly deny that assertion. If the hour were not so late, I would quote, as I could do, from repeated despatches of Sir Bartle Frere, his views as to a system of Residents among the Native Tribes on our Borders similar to that which I believe will be the best solution of the future of Zululand. Other main points included in my despatch of the 20th of March are practically in accordance with the views which Sir Bartle Frere has expressed. I believe that if you maintain him, he will carry out the policy which you approve better than any other man. I believe that this war—if you but support us on this occasion—costly in men and in money as it may be, will in the end prove to be a turning-point in the history of South Africa. And of this, at any rate, I am confident—that you have in Sir Bartle Frere—although on this occasion he has taken a course with which fault has been found—a man thoroughly qualified not only to act with firmness and judgment in the crisis which even while we are debating may be passing in South Africa, but also to lead our Colonies in that Continent on the path of prosperity, peace, and self-government, including in that term those necessary measures of self-defence which their sisters in other quarters of the globe have before now taken upon themselves.


said, that the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge (Mr. Marten) had commenced his speech with a sneer at what he was pleased to call the newly-awakened zeal for the Colonies upon that (the Opposition) side of the House. He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) had heard such remarks before; they generally appeared in the articles of second-rate newspapers, or in letters from anonymous correspondents; but even when they came from such an illustrious quarter as to-night, he only noticed them to give an emphatic denial to their justice. The affection which existed between Her Majesty's subjects resident in these Islands, and those who inhabited our Colonial Possessions, was deep, genuine, and general, and was not to be claimed as the peculiar property of any one political Party. It was the desire of every Party, and of every section of a Party which possessed any influence whatever, to maintain and cherish the connection between the Colonies and the Mother Country. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had stated that he did not wish to find fault with his Predecessors, and he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) might appeal to him to admit that from him (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) he had never received factious criticism since his accession to Office. And if he thought that any harm to the Colonies could result from the vote which he intended to give that night, no power on earth should induce him to give it. On the contrary, he should vote in the firm belief that the course he was taking was that which, in the interests of the Colonies as well as of England, ought to be taken. It had been said that night that the present war arose out of the Transvaal annexation. He was happy to be able to commence his speech by a cordial agreement with the right hon. Gentleman opposite that such was not the case. He had given a loyal support to the Government upon that question. It appeared to him that there had been an overwhelming preponderance of argument in favour of the action of the Government. A great deal of nonsense was sometimes talked on both sides of the House—he begged pardon, on both sides of the question outside the House, for within those walls, of course, no nonsense was ever spoken—upon this subject of annexation. In such a country as ours, it was just as foolish to say—"We will never annex," as to say—"We will always annex." The fact was that each question of proposed annexation must depend upon the condition and circumstances under which the proposal was made, and in the case of the Transvaal the balance was in favour of the step. But one great reason why he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen), and many others on that side of the House supported the Government upon that occasion, was their belief that whilst greater tranquillity and a more settled state of things would be obtained in the interests of the White population, the Zulus and other Native Tribes would be treated with more consideration and kindness. And they never would have supported the annexation, if they had not felt that this would be a certain consequence, and one imperatively necessary. Whatever might be said in favour of the Dutch Boers, they had not treated the Natives well. It had been said that night that they had emigrated in order to practise their religion with liberty. No description could be more erroneous. They had pushed on from British Settlements, because they desired the institution of slavery, which in such Settlements could not be allowed; and they had persistently acquired land from Native Tribes by means which could not be defended. Large tracts were sometimes obtained by the payment of a few head of cattle in a manner which was by no means just or fair. And when we talked about the Zulus giving notice to Boers to quit their lands, we must consider who were the original aggressors in this respect. The Zulus might not be a very ancient tribe, but they were in the country before the Boers; and if a proof of the iniquity and the enormity of the land transactions of the latter was desired, he might point to the Proclamation, of a recent President of the late Transvaal Republic, in which he coolly claimed as Transvaal territory the whole of the country up to the Portugese Possessions at Delagoa Bay. But he would now quit the general land question, in order to come to its particular bearing upon the conduct of Cetewayo, with whom they were principally concerned that night. Now, let them first look at the evident feeling of Cetewayo towards the inhabitants of the Transvaal before its annexation by us. In the Papers presented in April, 1877, upon the Transvaal War, it was conclusively shown that the origin of the war was the claim by the Boers of lands belonging to the Natives. At page 14 was Cetewayo's message to the Lieutenant Governor of Natal, complaining of the message he had received from the Transvaal Government to the effect that all Zulus in the Amaswazi country were to remove at once, and also from the territory in dispute between the Boers and the Zulus; "if not, they would be removed by force." He goes on— Cetewayo asked, in reply, what he had done to be turned out of his own house? He urged that the Zulus had not been aggressors in any way. He desired his messengers to urge upon the Government of Natal to interfere to save the destruction of perhaps both countries—Zululand and the Transvaal; he requests them to state that he cannot and will not submit to be turned out of his own home. He is fully aware of the cause of jealousy'—namely, that he was crowned by the Representatives of the British Government. He concludes by saying that Zulus heretofore occupying the lands now claimed by the Transvaal Government have been already ordered to desist from cultivating the soil. The matter is, therefore, urgent, and as he does not intend to submit to this dictation, great mischief will happen unless the Government can take some measure to avert it. There was, therefore, fair warning to the Cape Government that the hostility between the Boers and the Zulus was likely, if left to itself, to break out into open war; but these Papers all showed that, whilst Cetewayo was animated with hatred to the Boers whom he longed to light, he was always deferring to the Natal Government. As one among many pieces of evidence to this effect, in April 1877, a young Zulu who had killed a White man, having been sent to Cetewayo for trial by the Natal Government, he refused even to try him, saying that "the White people were his, Cetewayo's fathers, and this Zulu who had killed one must die;" and, accordingly, he killed the offender at once. And now let them ask what was Cetewayo's feeling about the change in the ownership of the Transvaal? Be it remembered that up to the time of annexation the Zulu King had held but one language to the Natal Government with reference to the land disputes. It was the fashion now, among a certain class of politicians, always to represent Cetewayo's words and actions as those of a wily savage playing off one country against the other for his own purposes. He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) felt bound to say that the evidence scarcely bore out that view. No doubt, the Zulu King often complained of the Boers to the Natal Government; but it was clear enough that he perceived the difference between the policy of his two neighbours, the Boers continually seeking to encroach upon Zululand, whilst the Natal people were satisfied with their existing boundary, and only wanted to be let alone. The language of Cetewayo was uniform throughout the whole negotiations up to a very recent period. As far back as 1861 he and his father sent to complain that the Boers were threatening them with hostilities, and endeavouring to cheat them out of land. In 1863 (c. 1961, page 8) he complained that—"The Boers were eating into his country to an alarming degree," and said— He feels certain that before long he will be compelled to quarrel with them, or he will have no territory left. Instances of the same kind might be multiplied throughout the mass of Papers that had been presented to Parliament; and there was always a profession on the part of Cetewayo of respect for the Natal Government and the English people, which might have been more or less owing to his belief in their power, but of the sincerity of which there was no reason to doubt. That being the case, let them come to the 4th of July, 1877, when Mr. Fynney, of whom Sir Theophilus Shepstone wrote that He speaks the Zulu language as fluently as lie does his own, and is intimately acquainted with Cetewayo personally, makes a most interesting Report, after a lengthened interview with the Zulu King, held at the request of Sir Theophilus Shepstone. Mr. Fynney had represented to Cetewayo the disquiet caused in the Transvaal by rumours of warlike preparations in Zululand, and the complaints that he had not fulfilled the promises made at his Coronation. Of these promises, by the way, he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) thought that a great deal too much had been made; and when Sir Bartle Frere spoke of Cetewayo as not being an independent King, he had always thought that, so far as a savage Monarch could be independent, there was no more independent King than the Ruler of Zululand. The assumption that these promises were made us at the command of a superior Power was wholly unwarranted. In his interview with Mr. Fynney, Cetewayo, after replying that if the English would have stood aside he should have successfully fought the Boers, and swept them out of the country altogether, declared—"I am glad to know the Transvaal is English ground; perhaps now there may be rest." He then went on to say— The Boers are a nation of liars; they are a bad people—bad altogether. I do not want them near my people. They lie, and claim what is not their's, and ill-use my people. "Where is Thomas?" (Mr. Burgess, the President of the Transvaal Republic.) Mr. Fynney told him that Mr. Burgess had left the country. "Then," he said, "let them pack up and follow Thomas." Throughout the whole of this interview, there was the same friendly spirit towards the English evinced by Cetewayo; but there were three things which should be steadily kept in view by anyone who wished to judge fairly of the sequel. The first is that the land disputes between the Boers and his people were prominently in the King's mind, and that their settlement was imperatively necessary on every account. Secondly, the King had an exaggerated opinion of his power, but that power was undoubtedly considerable; and he was very proud of his Army, which was, in fact, the main support and foundation of his authority. Thirdly, both he and his people had become much annoyed by the missionaries. His ministers (p. 47) spoke very bitterly on the subject of the missionaries endeavouring to make converts of the Zulus. Umnyamana said— We will not allow the Zulus to become so-called Christians. It is not the King says so, but every man in Zululand. If a Zulu does anything wrong, he at once goes to a mission station, and says he wants to become a Christian. If he wants to run away with a girl, he becomes a Christian. If he wishes to be exempt from seeing the King, he puts on clothes, and is a Christian.…This Christianizing of the Zulus destroys the land, and we will not allow it. We do not care if the missionaries go or stay; but they must not interfere with the Zulus, that is all. The missionaries desire to set up another power in the land, and as Zulu-land has only one King, that cannot be allowed. And Mr. Fynney says (p. 50)— I found there were all sorts of wild rumours going about from station to station—one that the British Government intended to annex Zululand at once. I am afraid that this, and like rumours, have done harm. Several of the missionaries have been frequently to the King of late, and, as he told me, have worried him to such an extent that he does not want to see them any more. Now, bearing these three things in mind, let the Houserecollect that the three things upon which especial emphasis was laid in the Ultimatum were the disbanding of the Zulu Army, the settlement of the land question in a manner eminently unsatisfactory to Cetewayo, and the reception of the missionaries who had already worried him so much. And Sir Bartle Frere had received ample warning of the irritation these conditions were likely to occasion. In November, 1878, Sir Theophilus Shepstone had informed him (c. 2,222, page 133) that he, indeed, agreed with him that the Zulu military organization must be changed, and other points in the Ultimatum enforced; but he added these significant words— These measures are what appear to me to be necessary before any commencement even can be expected in the change that is required to make the Zulu people safe neighbours and an improving community. But they involve the extinction of the Zulu power as it now is; and the attempt to adopt them must, if decided upon, be made with the knowledge that the Zulu Chief will oppose them, whatever course the head men and common people may adopt. Of the means which Cetewayo had to oppose these changes Sir Bartle Frere had also full warning, for Mr. Fynney had reported his opinion after having seen the kraals of fighting men upon the occasion of the interview with Cetewayo already mentioned, and he estimated the number as exceeding 40,000 warriors. But with regard to the position of the Zulu King, and the effect which the aggressive policy of Sir Bartle Frere was likely to have upon that position, perhaps the most important despatch in the whole of the Blue Books presented to Parliament was that from Sir Henry Bulwer, bearing date September 30, 1878 (No. c. 2,222, page 33). In this despatch, after a lucid statement upon the boundary question, he points out the manner in which the annexation of the Transvaal had altered our position with regard to the Zulus, and said that they "look with great suspicion upon the new state of things." Then, after alluding to the character of the King, his standing Army, his desire to employ it, and his apprehension of danger from our doings in the Transvaal, Sir Henry Bulwer uses words which it would have been well, indeed, if his superior officer had laid to heart— Nor does Cetewayo stand alone in this apprehension. The nation at large is ill at ease as to what our intentions are, and alienated as are the sympathies of his people from him, gladly as they would welcome relief from his personal rule, and readily as, it is believed, a large portion of the nation would accept English protection and the establishment of a just rule among them, they are not prepared to accept the invasion and loss of their country without fighting for it. The defence of Zulu soil would, in fact, it is thought, he made a common cause, and rally the whole of the Zulu nation round the King. These were words pregnant with meaning—words which, if they had been understood and appreciated by the High Commissioner as they should have been, might have saved hundreds of precious lives, averted disaster from the British arms, and left to many and many a British home the light which was quenched on that fatal day of Isandlana. Yes, Sir, for what warning did those words convey? The Zulu King and nation had, indeed, become suspicious of England; but they had still their respect for British power, and their belief in British prowess. Insecure upon his Throne—uncertain of his policy, exposed to all those manifold dangers which surround tyrants—the King dared not attack the Power to which he had so long deferred, and to which many of his people still looked with no unfriendly eye. One step only could be taken which should solve his difficulties and place him at the head of an united and enthusiastic people. With all their faults and weaknesses, these untutored savages held close to their hearts one virtue—or that quality, at least, which we White men had ever lauded to the skies as a great and noble virtue—they loved their country. Her soil was sacred to them, and the feet of the intruder could not be set therein without rousing to the utmost their patriotic ardour. Persecuted, enslaved, oppressed; liable to be slain at any moment at the will of a despotic and bloodthirsty King, the moment their country was invaded they forgot their injuries and their oppression, and saw in him only the representative of the nationality whose existence was threatened. This one step—the invasion of Zululand—could alone unite Zulus against England, and this step we took. And now—how did we take it? With Forces scarce sufficient for the defence of our own Colony. What said Lord Chelmsford on that point? Upon the 28th of September, 1878, Lord Chelmsford writes— So soon as my Native contingent is mobilized, I shall be ready, as far as my limited means allow. I cannot but feel that my column will be only barely strong enough for the purpose, and that it will be' difficult to keep open our means of communication.… No greater mistake can be made than to attempt to conquer the Zulus with insufficient means. His (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen's) contention was that, even supposing that Sir Bartle Frere had been right in declaring war, he did so with an inadequate Force; though, as a matter of fact, there was no immediate occasion for declaring war, and a pretext of equal justice might have been found at any time during the last 10 years. He had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and had been unable to discover whether or not his object had been to justify Sir Bartle Frere. He sympathized with the difficulty under which the right hon. Gentleman had laboured, of having to do two things at the same time. Hon. Gentlemen opposite said that the censure passed upon Sir Bartle Frere only referred to his doing something without orders; but they did not make it clear whether, after the receipt of orders, he would have been supported in the same policy. What he complained of was that the House did not, even up to the present moment, know what the opinion of the Government on the question was, and that it had received no indication of their policy. The Government had not yet told them what was their view of Sir Bartle Frere's policy, and that was a point on which the Government ought to have an opinion. It was not fair to the House or to the country that the Government should be in the position of having no definite opinion upon this policy; that they should place themselves in such a position as would enable them hereafter to say, if the policy succeeded, they approved of it; or, if it failed, they did not; and it was because the Government would not give an opinion on that policy that they on the Opposition side of the House were obliged to ask the House to express an opinion. But, to allude to the last despatch of Sir Bartle Frere, he might observe that while deploring in that despatch the disasters which had happened to our troops, he ascribed it to a disregard of the orders of the General. Now, he was not going to discuss the military capacity of those who were serving in South Africa; but although he suspended his judgment on that point, he must altogether decline to follow Sir Bartle Frere in his endeavour to bury the faults of the living in the graves of the dead, and against that attempt upon the part of a person in Sir Bartle Frere's position he must record his indignant and solemn protest. Sir Bartle Frere went on to say that the Army of Cetewayo might invade Natal; but everybody was aware, months and years ago, that that Army existed, and that, notwithstanding its existence, Cetewayo continued to be our friend, and not our enemy, so long as affairs were properly managed. The last paragraph of the despatch referred to the inexpediency of making peace until Her Majesty's unquestionable superiority was acknowledged as far as Delagoa Bay; and that sentence gave, to his mind, the koy to the whole of Sir Bartle Frere's South African policy. Let it not be supposed that he wished to say an unkind word of Sir Bartle Frere. He was quite aware of his eminent services. But the more eminent the services he had rendered in one part of the world, the more it was to be regretted that he had failed in another; and in this instance he had brought about a war which had not only shaken British but European prestige in South Africa, and which would probably still lead to the shedding of much blood. He (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) could sketch out a future of South Africa, which he thought every Member would approve. He would wish that all the territories of South Africa were well governed and civilized, and he could see a distant future for South Africa in which this might be the case, and Zululand included in confederation with Natal, the Tranvaal, Basutoland, the Orange Free State, Griqualand West, and the Cape Colony, might be part and parcel of a civilized and prosperous community, from Table Bay at the South-Western, to Delagoa Bay on the North-Eastern extremity. We White people had a theory—very comfortable to our own vanity, and possibly true—that wherever White and Black nations came into contact, and savages were placed in juxtaposition with civilized communities, the Black savages became absorbed, and eventually disappeared. Very likely Sir Bartle Frere had the same idea; but such a result was the work of generations, only to be gradually effected, and a man who could not wait, but tried by force to bring about that result, which required a long series of years to be worked out, was likely to ruin himself and to cause disasters to his country. He believed that Sir Bartle Frere's fault was that he could not wait. It was with regret that he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) rose to speak words in condemnation of the course adopted by a distant Governor. He felt for Sir Bartle Frere; but duty to one's country rendered it impossible not to blame the course he had adopted. He thought the conduct of Her Majesty's Government with reference to Sir Bartle Frere was unfortunate. Either he had been guilty of only a trivial offence, in which case their censure was undeserved, or if they were of opinion that he had been guilty of grave indiscretion, it was their duty to recall him, and not to express their continued confidence in him in the sentence following that in which they charged him with want of prudence. What had the Government done? They had censured Sir Bartle Frere, but they had taken refuge in this—that they had expressed no opinion on his policy. It was difficult to deal with an Administration like this. It was impossible to know what they would do next. The last thing they had done was to forbid Sir Bartle Frere to annex Zululand; but from his (Mr. Kuatchbull-Hugessen's) knowledge of the antecedents of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that very order convinced him that if they were in Office for three or four years more they would certainly annex it, for he had never known them assert a principle with unusual vehemence without being about to abandon it at the right moment for their convenience, and to start again from a fresh point. The Government could come to speedy conclusions. Everyone recollected "the 10 minutes'" Cabinet meeting, when an important change was made in the whole of the British Constitution in consequence of the resolution arrived at in that short space of time. Let the experiment be repeated. Let the Cabinet hold a meeting to-morrow. They had condemned Sir Bartle Frere; now lot the Government follow that up with its legitimate sequence, and recall the individual who was responsible for the policy. They would in any case be followed by what it was the fashion to call their "numerical" majority; though for his (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen's) part, he had never yet known a majority which was not numerical, and they had a precedent without going far to look for it. It would not be the first Governor who was recalled by them. Sir Benjamin Pine had been recalled for an act falling far short in its consequences of that laid to the charge of Sir Bartle Frere—namely, for the energetic repression of a rebellion for which he received the gratitude of the White population of Natal. But this was not merely a question of the discretion or indiscretion of a Colonial Governor, nor a question of the conduct or misconduct of a Ministry; but it was a question of the relations in which Colonial Governors should stand towards the Government at home. It was, therefore, one of the utmost importance in regard to our Colonies generally, for if it was to go forth that a Governor might declare war without having to submit the case for instructions from home, with only a censure hanging over him and not his recall, the greatest mischief might be done. If he was not recalled, then the Government ought to have identified itself with his proceedings. He knew very well that the people of England would not be satisfied until the slaughter at Isandlana had been avenged, and knowing what the consequence might be, he thought it aggravated the error of Sir Bartle Frere. That was a fatal error; but he thought the error of the Government in censuring him and according him their confidence was still more fatal. They did not know how Sir Bartle Frere might take the censure passed on him. He might wish to come away, and then the Government would be in a worse position than ever. Throughout the whole of the last two years, Sir Bartle Frere appeared to have attributed all Native misbehaviour in any part of South Africa to the machinations of Cetewayo; but there was no evidence to support such a theory. The only conclusion to be drawn from the facts was, as far as he could judge, that Cetewayo had been to Sir Bartle Frere what "old Bogey" was to naughty children. He appeared to have Cetewayo on the brain, and to have acted accordingly. In the course of the debate, the House had heard much of the Old Testament. He wished they would not forget the New, in which it was written that they who take the sword shall perish by the sword; and that there would be no further persistence in the attempt to force Christianity down the throats of the Zulus at the point of the bayonet. Sir Bartle Frere, whose eminent services to the country he desired to acknowledge, had made an initial error in this matter, and the Government had fallen into one of equal magnitude, which he feared would not be easily, if at all, explained away; and he was confident that the course which they (the Opposition) had felt bound to take would meet with the ultimate approval of the English people.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Hanbury.)

Motion agreed to.

Debate adjourned till To-morrow.