HC Deb 28 March 1879 vol 244 cc1991-2090

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [27th March], 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.)

And which Amendment was, 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 again proposed, "That those words be there added."

Debate resumed.


said, before referring to some remarks made by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Knatch bull-Hugessen) who addressed the House immediately before the adjournment, he wished to notice one observation, which had not yet attracted attention, in the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke). In the middle of his peroration, throwing aside his voluminous notes and giving full vent to what was evidently the ruling thought in his mind, the hon. Baronet said that his Motion had been adopted into the despatch of the Government. The hon. Baronet's Resolution certainly had a somewhat checkered history. It was placed on the Paper some days—almost weeks—before the despatch of Sir Bartle Frere had arrived in this country, on which the censure of the Government was founded. They were, therefore, bound to remember the difference between the two censures. The censure passed by the Government was the calm and impartial decision of a Judge with all the facts before him; the other was like the opinion given before a Judge by the policeman or attorney only anxious for a conviction. Such a Resolution was likely to act most prejudicially on the minds of Colonial Governors, when they saw it was possible that a Motion of this kind could be placed on the Paper, and continued day after day, even before the defence of the accused could reach this country. It was all the more remarkable, because it had been taken up by a great Party and supported by the skill and experience of the hon. Baronet. The Motion, as it first stood on the Paper, seemed to him to partake of a Micawberish character—it was waiting for something to turn up. The hon. Baronet was "willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike." Something did turn up; it was the despatch of the Secretary of State. But that, although it conveyed a censure, was a judicial and a discriminating censure, whereas the Motion of the hon. Baronet was that uncompromising condemnation which seemed always ready to fall on the head of anyone who was serving his country abroad and was guided by a Conservative Administration at home. He could not help thinking that the speech of the hon. Baronet was throughout an attempt to magnify and exaggerate the faults of Sir Bartle Frere, and to ignore those remarkable merits which went far to minimize, if not to excuse, his faults. What was the great charge against the present Government? Not that they did not censure Sir Bartle Prere, but that they had not recalled him. Now, this was the very worst moment when any Governor could be recalled from South Africa. It was notoriously very bad policy to change horses at any time; but Sir Bartle Frere was the one man who, in South Africa, had been able to bring about co-operation and self-defence on the part of the White population. This had been shamefully neglected by that Government which withdrew Imperial troops without taking care to effect co-operation on the part of the Whites. The crisis in South Africa had not been occasioned by Sir Bartle Frere; it had been becoming more intense year after year. It was due entirely to the introduction of firearms and the state of the Transvaal Government. These were sufficient to account for the excitement which prevailed over all South Africa. In such a state of things, when they knew not what insurrections might be going on among the Native Tribes, they wanted a High Commissioner who, like Sir Bartle Frere, was not afraid of responsibility, and who was not a mere Under Secretary of State, a mere marionette of his Chiefs, and was at all times very much at the mercy of permanent officials. His very fault was itself a virtue in excess. If Sir Bartle Frere could have been proved to have acted against orders, even his great career and great personal influence in South Africa should not have justified him; but his offence was in no sense acting against orders; it could only be said that he acted without orders. What were the facts? Up to September, Sir Bartle Frere was not in Natal at all. The Government, therefore, naturally paid more attention to Sir Henry Bulwer. It was the Lieutenant Governor who communicated with the Colonial Office; and in the absence of telegraphic communication such a system was most likely to come to cross purposes. In September Sir Bartle Frere returned to Natal, where he found things much worse than he had supposed, and he sent home three alarming despatches at intervals of a week from each other, followed by two pressing and urgent telegrams to the Colonial Secretary. These were distinctly answered by the Home Government. Yesterday there was issued by the War Office a series of despatches which it was rather remarkable were not published before. Until these despatches were issued it was generally supposed that the answer which had been sent to Sir Bartle Frere was the despatch of the 25th of November, which hampered him with necessary conditions, and which would reach him long after the Ultimatum had been sent to Cetewayo; but, to his astonishment, he found in the military despatches a telegram from the War Office of the 25th March, which in all probability reached Sir Bartle Frere before the Ultimatum was sent, and which hampered him with no conditions at all, but which simply gave him carte blanche to do what he liked. If that despatch reached him before the Ultimatum was sent the censure of the Government was entirely undeserved. The House was entitled to some explanation from the Government as to whether they had any information of the time at which that despatch reached Sir Bartle Frere. Looking to the fact that he had asked for reinforcements and they had been refused, and seeing that now he had asked for them and they had been sent without hesitation, if the telegram reached him before the 11th of December the Government could not blame him in the least. He felt that it was of much more importance than any Party consideration that justice should be done to the men who were administering the affairs of our Empire. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: Would the hon. Member state where the telegram is?] He could not at the moment; but it was sent on the 25th of November. He wished to have a statement from some Cabinet Minister as to any information they had about the receipt of the telegram by Sir Bartle Frere. If it did not reach him before he sent the Ultimatum it certainly reached him two or three days after, and it was an almost complete justification of what he had done. Undoubtedly, he had gone beyond his orders, but to that the censure of the Government ought to be limited, and technically they were justified in sending it. At that point there came a great divergence of opinion between the two sides of the House. There were those who defended the policy of the Ultimatum, but said it was inopportune; and there were those who said, whether it was opportune or not, its policy was bad. In the course of his speech last night, the hon. Member for Chelsea asserted that Natal had not been invaded for 30 years; while the right hon. Member for Sandwich alleged that Cetewayo had had an Army for 20 years, but had never threatened Natal.


What I stated was that at any time during the last 10 years there had been equally as much occasion for war as now.


said, that, from the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, no one would have supposed that we had annexed the Transvaal, for the only danger he anticipated was an invasion of Natal. But it was important to recollect that we had an- nexed the Transvaal when an invasion of it by Cetewayo was imminent; he replied to Sir Theophilus Shepstone that he was glad to hear of the annexation, because the Dutch had tried him, and he intended to fight them and drive them out. If we were called upon to defend Natal, much more, if possible, were we called to defend the Transvaal, having annexed it because it was unable to defend itself against Cetewayo. It did not appear from the Papers that the Zulu King thoroughly realized the change involved in the annexation, because he spoke only of his strong desire to continue on friendly relations with the Government of Natal, which he regarded as the English Government in contradistinction to that of the Transvaal. In two letters from the Bishop of Natal's son, it was stated that the Zulus were hostile to the Boers in the Transvaal, and would fight them but for the fear of being involved in a quarrel with the English, and that Cetewayo himself, who was wise and peaceful, had no desire to fight the English in Natal. Since our occupation of the Transvaal a part of it on the boundary of the Swazi territory had been invaded by the Zulus. Although the arbitration gave certain lands to Cetewayo, it did not give all he claimed; and from the first his people declared that they would not surrender anything without fighting. The complaint that more time was not allowed to Cetewayo was answered by a statement which entirely discredited all his peaceful professions. There was a remarkable passage attributing to him the statement that if the English did not intrench his people would offer them no opposition. He was afraid we had been misled by statements of that kind, and we now knew to our bitter cost how unwise it was to place any reliance on them. Whether Cetewayo was or was not loyal to Natal, he was not loyal to the Transvaal. He believed that personally Cetewayo had no wish to enter into war with the English race; on the contrary, he was most anxious to avoid it; but this admission was by no means a yielding of the whole case, for, as Mr. Witt told us, Cetewayo, by disregarding our wishes, had alienated the great mass of his people, who were naturally opposed to his cruel and bloodthirsty practices. There were two classes who wished for war—the young men, who wanted to wash their spears, not caring very much in whose blood; and a stronger and more important party, the Indunas, who wanted to embroil Cetewayo in war with the English, in order that they might get rid of his bloodthirsty rule. The Indunas felt that the only means of producing a revolution in the country and getting rid of Cetewayo was to embroil him with the English, and Cetewayo, knowing their object, was no doubt profuse in his declarations of loyalty. Up to 1876 he took every possible opportunity of showing his dependence upon the English Government; but when he found the Transvaal power broken down, his tone suddenly changed. He threw to the winds the promises made at his Coronation, and announced that he was the equal of the Governor of Natal, and that he meant to kill as he pleased. This change from a state of dependence to one of equality on the part of the Zulu King was a most formidable fact, and the House might be sure the next step he contemplated was the assertion of his superiority to the White man. Lord Kimberley, who was Colonial Secretary at the time of the Coronation of Cetewayo, declared that Cetewayo's Coronation promises were mere froth, and were never intended to be kept. Considering the circumstances of the case, the statement was hardly a creditable one for an ex-Secretary of State for the Colonies to make. At different periods previous to the death of Panda, Cetewayo expressed his allegiance to the English, styling himself and the Zulu people their children; but in 1870 he asked—Why should the promises of the English only be "smooth words without action?" This was the first trace of his annoyance at the policy of the Government. For a longtime he was favourably disposed towards the English; but he finally lost patience with them, and for a good many of the crimes which that man had since committed the Government then in Office might fairly be held to be responsible. In 1873 Panda died, and the Zulu Government, being without a head, sent to Natal for Sir Theophilus Shepstone to crown their new King. Sir Theophilus Shepstone accordingly did go to Zululand in a public, not a private capacity. "I crossed the Tugela," said he, "as the Representative of the Government of Natal. I carried with me the dignity of the Government that sent me." Everything, in fact, went to show that even then the Zulu people regarded themselves as the "children" of the English. An incident which occurred in 1875 bore strong testimony to the same effect. The Governor of Natal wrote that by the last ship from England Her Majesty the Queen had sent for presentation to Cetewayo a handsomely-ornamented copy of the report of his installation, and that it was intended to remind him of the promises he had made to Her Majesty's Government, which promises he was to be told he would be expected to keep. What could be more evident than the dependence established between Cetewayo on the one hand and the Natal Government on the other? And yet Lord Kimberley got up in "another place" to say that Cetewayo's promises were merely idle words. Now, when they were so bound to a people as they were to the Zulus, they were obliged at all cost to take care that such promises were fulfilled. The question involved in all this was whether Sir Bartle Frere's demands upon the Zulu King were of a mere Quixotic character or not. There was no obligation upon any Colonial Governor to carry civilization into savage countries from motives of pure philanthropy; but in view of the peculiar relations existing between the Zulus and the Natal Government, it was impossible for Sir Bartle Frere to maintain a passive attitude. No doubt, there was the question whether his Ultimatum was not premature; but in justice to him it ought to be remembered that he had had some experience of summary Ultimatums. He had been commissioned by the late Government, without regard to Treaties, to present to the Ruler of Zanzibar one of the most monstrous Ultimatums ever sent to an independent Ruler. With a Treaty in one hand and a pistol in the other, he had demanded that the Sultan of Zanzibar should sign the Treaty, with a threat of at once bombarding his town if he refused. Sir Bartle Frere was hampered by his association with the very men who were now the first to condemn him. In considering the Ultimatum sent to Cetewayo, it should be borne in mind that the Zulu-loving Bishop Colenso, the calm and dispassionate Sir Henry Bulwer, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, and every man of authority in South Africa, backed up Sir Bartle Frere in the policy of that Ultimatum, while the gallant defence of Rorke's Drift showed how much it was possible for a mere handful of disciplined troops to effect against the Zulus. If Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford had waited two or three months longer, the River Tugela, which was then swollen and could only be crossed at two or three points, would have been dry, and the invasion of Natal would have been rendered more easy. Then he also saw the importance attached to gathering in the harvest. There could be no doubt that it was necessary to defend both Natal and the Transvaal, and to place every obstacle between the Zulu King and Natal. It should be remembered, too, that Sir Bartle Frere had the troops on the spot, and that in an immense emergency he must have felt that if Cetewayo was to be fought at all he must be fought when the troops were at hand. But it had been said that Sir Bartle Frere ought to have borne in mind that another war was going on in Afghanistan. Well, with an extended Empire like ours, we must expect that these wars would occur now and then, as they had occurred under the Government of both Parties. Sir Bartle Frere did not neglect the state of affairs in Afghanistan; for he stated in one of his despatches that, from all the information he had received, he believed the war would be over so soon that the troops might proceed on their way to India. On the other hand, another consideration absolutely bound Sir Bartle Frere down to send the Ultimatum to Cetewayo. What had happened? For 16 years constant disputes had gone on between the Transvaal Government and the Zulus, who believed that Government to be strong. On one pretence or another the award on the arbitration had been kept back, and in 1869 was allowed to drop out of sight in the Colonial Office at home. Cetewayo naturally, therefore, looked upon arbitration with suspicion, and if there ever was a time when it was dangerous to make the award known to the Zulu King, it was the precise moment when Sir Bartle Frere was compelled to communicate it. It made concessions, and concessions were regarded as a sure sign of weakness, and at that time were calculated to intensify the excitement which prevailed among the Zulus. The illusion as to the strength of the Transvaal Government had disappeared, and, more important still, the chief, Secocoeni, who had defeated the Transvaal Government, had succeeded not in defeating, but in repulsing, soldiers of the English Government itself. It was at that critical moment, while the armed Natives despised the White man and were confederating among themselves, that Sir Bartle Frere was bound to present the Ultimatum with a view to balance an award of weakness. From the beginning, Cetewayo and his messengers had stated that, whatever was the result of the arbitration, they were determined to have possession of the disputed territory and much more. Well, was the Ultimatum likely to be accepted by Cetewayo? Bishop Colenso said he thought it would, and it was justified by every man of authority in South Africa as one likely to be accepted by the Zulu people themselves, who wished for the termination of the cruel rule of the King. The young men of the Army, it was true, wanted to wash their spears; but they looked forward to but one engagement, their object being to get rid of the tyrannous ordinance of the King concerning them, which would have enabled them to marry and settle down. But it was quite possible that they might have backed up the English, because the Ultimatum was framed in their interests. From first to last, these men—the most powerful in the country—stated distinctly that they were most anxious to have the promises Cetewayo made at his Coronation carried out, for that the existence of a large Army was a thing to which they thoroughly objected. There was one thing which he thought Sir Bartle Frere ought not to have raised by the Ultimatum, and that was the question as to missionaries. He knew that Cetewayo was more inflexible on that subject than on any other. He had refused to give any promise with respect to them at his Coronation, though he, no doubt, consented to tolerate them in his country. He regarded a Zulu Christianized as a Zulu spoilt. Indeed, it would seem as if he would have been a worthy member of the Birmingham League itself, for he said that, although he had a strong objection to the missionaries teaching Christianity in his country, still, they were men who knew a good deal, and that, for his part, he went in strongly for secular education. He desired to make an allusion before he closed to a very important document—namely, the terms of the appointment of Sir Bartle Frere himself. They were terms for which the present Colonial Secretary was, he believed, in no way responsible, as he was not a Member of the Cabinet at the time his Predecessor in Office drew them up. In the first place, it was said that Sir Bartle Frere was chosen to go to South Africa because of his courage, and then he was charged in these terms— We do hereby require and enjoin you as such our High Commissioner in our name, and on our behalf, to take all such measures and do all such matters and things as can and may lawfully and discreetly be done to prevent any incursion into our possessions of the tribes of neighbouring States, and for maintaining our possessions in peace and safety. What other Governments, he asked, had ever been placed in the same position? But there was a still more monstrous clause, if he might use that epithet, which ran as follows:— He is to do everything in his power for promoting the good order, civilization, and moral and religious instruction of the tribes aforesaid—namely, the Zulus—with a view to placing thorn in some more settled form of government. Looking at the terms of that commission, though Sir Bartle Frere must be censured, and justly censured, for taking so important a step as offensive war without giving information beforehand to the Government, it would surely not be right to say that he was not justified in taking the steps he did in the great emergency in which he found himself. It being a fact that Sir Bartle Frere was not only entitled to proclaim offensive war, but was to engage in a harum-scarum mission throughout the whole of South Africa in order to Christianize tribes that were only very distantly connected with us, any vote of censure that might be passed upon him for interfering with the Zulus must necessarily be to a great extent limited. Strong as the terms were in which the Government expressed their confidence in Sir Bartle Frere, they were, in his (Mr. Hanbury's) opinion, hardly strong enough. He hoped, however, that the Government, looking at the result of the recent Divisions in the other House, and at the strong feeling which existed on the subject in the House of Commons, even amongst some Members opposite, even if Sir Bartle Frere should act as a man of high spirit was not unlikely to act in the circumstances in which he found himself and send in his resignation of the post he held, would do everything in their power to retain in office, for the benefit of this country and of South Africa, a man whose vast experience in India, whose influence with the people of South Africa, and whose high sense of responsibility and willingness to do and dare were indisputable facts. He hoped that Sir Bartle Frere would remain in South Africa, and the Government would do what it was their duty to do if they impressed upon him how important his presence was to the Colony.


Sir, until I hear some sort of answer to the admirable speech delivered yesterday by my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), I think I shall do most wisely not to attempt to tread upon ground which has been so fully and so fairly occupied by him. I shall, therefore, in the few observations I propose to address to the House, confine myself to a much humbler task—a task which has been in some degree imposed on me by the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down—namely, of calling the attention of the House to the exact question placed before it, and to certain circumstances connected with it. The hon. Gentleman appears to me to have warmed rather on the subject since the time when he put down the Previous Question. I cannot think, after the fervid eloquence with which he concluded his speech, if he had been impressed at the time when he put clown that Question as he is now, that he could possibly have cooled himself down to be content with so tame a means of meeting the question. The hon. Gentleman, in the course of his speech, has said that Sir Bartle Frere is not only not worthy of censure, but is perfectly right, and it is only just now that he has admitted that some sort of censure should be passed on the High Commissioner. I think it is very desirable indeed that we should clearly understand the history of the Motions that are before the House, as I think it will be found to be instructive. The first Motion that was put down was, in substance— That this House 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 offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity or adequate preparation. Well, how did the Ministry meet that Motion? They met it by the Previous Question. What did that mean? It meant, I apprehend, according to the usages of Parliament, that they were not prepared to dispute or deny all, or, indeed, any of the propositions contained in that statement; but that they did not think it opportune that the statement should be made at the present time. They were, therefore, at that time, as I understand, not prepared to deny—I suppose I must not say to admit—that the Ultimatum was calculated to produce immediate war; that it was made without authority from the Ministers of the Crown; and that there was no pressing necessity for adequate preparation. Well, Sir, that, it seems to me, was the meaning of moving the Previous Question, and, therefore, if it had gone to an issue, it would have been a very tame affair indeed, as we should, I apprehend, all have been at one on the subject. At all events, there would have been no serious difference of opinion as to the merits of the case, but merely as to the prudence of making any statement with regard to it at the present time. So far, therefore, the thing seemed to be extremely simple; but then it did not stop there, because, very shortly afterwards, Her Majesty's Ministers, not content with the Previous Question, took upon themselves to do that which the House was asked by this Motion to do, and passed themselves a most severe and cutting censure in all respects upon Sir Bartle Frere, which went far beyond that which the hon. Member for Chelsea proposed to ask the House to inflict. They took the matter out of the hands of the House, and of themselves published to the world at large, in a most elaborate manner, a censure on Sir Bartle Frere. I confess, therefore, that we are rather aggrieved by the manner in which we have been treated, because it really looks as if Her Majesty's Ministers thought they had in some sort of way acquired a right to the monopoly of abuse. It was as if they said—"You want to censure one of our men, we have got a majority, and we will not let you do it; but all the censure that you could have bestowed upon him, and a great deal more than you were disposed to bestow upon him, we will put upon him ourselves, and we do." Surely that is rather hard on the House of Commons. How is it that we have sunk so low, that the right of abuse is to be limited entirely to Her Majesty's Ministers? We have opinions as well as they, and why may not we express them? The only reason I can imagine is that contained in the words of Shakespeare— That in the captain's but a choleric word, Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy. What the House of Commons must not dare to say or think of maybe said with impunity by Her Majesty's Ministers. So far, at any rate, I do not observe any inordinate affection on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers for Sir Bartle Frere. Certainly, they did take a step which shielded him from our attack; but he had no great reason to be obliged to them for that, because, it seems to me, they only did it to inflict a much greater wound on him themselves. I do not say that the Government were actuated by any strong or burning affection for Sir Bartle Frere, and I beg the House to take notice of this. Well, then, everything seemed to be going on in the best of all possible ways. We were all agreed. The Government had had their fling at Sir Bartle Frere, and we wanted to have ours; and really after the Government had been to the trouble to put in very good language all we wanted to say about Sir Bartle Frere, it did not so much matter if they had carried the Previous Question afterwards. And, therefore, everything seemed in the most comfortable and happy state, when some subterraneous agency—I suppose it must have been—moved my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea to put down an addition to his Motion. Hitherto, you will observe the whole fire had been directed upon Sir Bartle Frere, and acquiesced in with the utmost complacency on the other side; but now the lines have been changed, because my hon. Friend proposed to add— That 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. Then there came a most remarkable change. All went smoothly as long as the censure was confined to Sir Bartle Frere; but it is a very different thing when you propose to touch Her Majesty's Government. It has been a matter of great amusement to me, since the addition of my hon. Friend, to watch the gradual approximation of the Government towards Sir Bartle Frere. That which was at one time very wrong indeed is now apparently right. That which was very cool at one time is now ripening into the strongest possible friendship. It seems to me that a common danger or a common difficulty has drawn them together, and that the tone of the Government has gradually changed, so that the feeling between them and Sir Bartle Frere has become one of the most cordial affection. We know how severe the censure was which was passed upon Sir Bartle Frere. Let anyone compare that with the speech, for instance, of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies last night, and observe the difference between them. The House will remember that in the letter that was written to Sir Bartle Frere censuring him there is a very strong expression indeed. He is, however, always treated now as if he was only censured by the Government for a single offence—that of going beyond his powers without consulting them. It is a mistake to suppose that this was the view taken by the Government, for the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, writing to Sir Bartle Frere, said— I have previously impressed on you that every effort should have been used to prevent war; which was quite a different thing from saying—"You were wrong in making war without asking our leave." The language that was used was in substance informing Sir Bartle Frere that he had violated the precept laid upon him, not merely to refrain from acting without the consent of the Government, but to refrain from doing anything by means of which he could become the engine of producing war. This has now all to be got rid of; but let us see how it is got rid of. Just let us remember how the Secretary of State for the Colonies spoke last night of this man—Sir Bartle Frere—whom they had only a short time previously condemned for having taken on himself authority which he had no right to assume, and had produced an unnecessary war. The Colonial Secretary said— We cannot decide these questions now. We are to look to the future rather than to the past. But the Government retain complete confidence in this gentleman. The Colonial Secretary says in substance that he thinks Sir Bartle Frere has been pretty nearly right, on the whole; that there was a great deal to be said for him; and that whether the Ultimatum was, or was not, right, can hardly be settled now. That is the tone taken now by the Government. It only shows what a wonderful difference was brought about in the state of things by reason of the simple fact that the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea made a slight addition to his Resolution. Let us consider for a moment the question as it stands now. The question, as it now stands before the House, is in substance—

[The right hon. Gentleman, who had been speaking with some difficulty, at this point abruptly resumed his seat.]


Sir, I feel that there was a great deal of force in the remarks which my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London has just made with reference to the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea. As that Motion stood originally, everybody must, I think, have agreed as to the censure passed upon Sir Bartle Frere; but the rider which he had added has evidently made a great change in the opinions of Her Majesty's Government. I agree also in what fell from my right hon. Friend as regards the speech of the hon. Gentleman who sits below me (Mr. Hanbury). The hon. Gentleman treated this as a very frivolous matter. He said that if the Motion of the hon. Baronet had stood in its original terms, it would be easy to "pooh-pooh" it by the Previous Question. But he says—"You want now to find fault, sitting at your ease at home, with a Governor who is now at the Cape, and who has rendered important services to the country," and he went on to say that he is a Governor who holds such a monstrous commission that it is impossible to understand the censure which the Government have passed upon him. I confess I could not under- stand the weight of the remarks of the hon. Gentleman. But I come now- to the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, and I must say that during the course of this debate, I have more than once heard it asked—Who is responsible for the state of affairs in South Africa? The hon. Baronet, in his most comprehensive and lucid statement, asked that question, and said there was reason to believe that for months before the issue of the Ultimatum on the 11th of December, the Government knew of the High Commissioner's intention to engage in an offensive war. If that is the case, it is a very serious charge against the Government; and I confess, speaking honestly and without Party bias, that I do not think the assertion of the hon. Baronet can be carried out to the fullest extent. The hon. Baronet was followed in the debate by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Marten), who, with his usual animation, answered more or less on the part of the Government. He tried to establish some legal point, which the House was unable to see. But he went on with more satisfaction to himself, and said—"Do not be led away by what you see in books. The language of Cetewayo must not be taken in a literal sense, as it was merely illustrative of Eastern allegory." I suppose most of us must have known that. Well, to use the words of the American humorist, I shall leave my hon. and learned Friend "to digest his alligator." There is, however, one remark of the hon. and learned Gentleman to which I must allude. He said of Sir Bartle Frere that, putting the Zulu War aside, he had been a most successful High Commissioner. What, putting the Zulu War out of the question! That may be all very well to the legal mind; but in our common-sense view of the question, I must say that it seems absurd. We are discussing an offensive war undertaken by this High Commissioner without authority, without adequate preparation, and without necessity; and are we to be told that, glutting such a war aside, the high official in question has been most successful? It is all very well for the hon. Member for North Staffordshire to say that this is a frivolous question.


rose to Order, but as Sir Robert Peel did not give way,


said, that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth was in possession of the House, and if the hon. Member for North Staffordshire wished to correct any statement he had made, he would, with the indulgence of House, have an opportunity at the end of the speech.


I take it that the House drew the same inference that I did from the remark of the hon. Member—that the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) might be easily pooh-poohed by the Previous Question. What we want to know is, who is responsible for the present state of affairs? The country asks for the information, and we in the House of Commons ask for it. We ask that those who have acted in direct violation of their duty should no longer be permitted to serve their country at the Cape. I do not mean to say that we do not know what the policy of Her Majesty's Government has been. It seems to me to have been, in familiar phrase, "as plain as a pikestaff." He who runs may read—provided he is strong enough to carry all the Blue Books which have been issued on the subject, and I hold in my hand one of the latest productions numbered 2260. In fact, if ever a superabundant supply of Papers laid bare a policy, here you have it. [A laugh.] You may treat the matter lightly if you please; but this is a very grave and serious matter. I do not remember before that public opinion has suddenly taken so great an interest in a question as it has in this. I never before saw the Press of the country take so extraordinary an amount of interest in a public question like this. There is one point to which I wish particularly to refer, and it is this—that I do not believe, certainly not within the last three years, any Question has been asked in the House of Commons which directly raises two more important issues than those involved in this South African business—this unfortunate affair, as Lord Chelmsford calls it. The first of those issues—and I beg the attention of the House to it—is the ready practice of our Commissioners and Residents abroad to summon troops, issue Ultimatums, and declare wars without the consent of Parliament, or even the Government of the day. We have already got enough wars on our hands, and I was alarmed lately at the Secretary of State treating very lightly a demand to send three regiments in consequence of a disturbance in Burmah. Parliament must, more than it has done in the past, exercise a control over this facile practice of issuing Ultimatums and going to war, whether on the part of the Ministers of the Crown or of their agents abroad. The second grave issue raised in this matter is connected with the military arrangements consequent upon this facile practice of issuing Ultimatums. Those arrangements irresistibly press upon our minds the conviction that the principles upon which our military system rest is thoroughly unsound, and that the maladministration of our Army is keenly felt. We pay some £16,000,000 a-year for the maintenance of a Parliamentary Army, and it is clear that there is something which is not right and straight and sound in the principles on which our military system is carried on. I believe there is no hon. Gentleman here who looks the matter fairly and honestly in the face who will not concur with me on this point. The Colonial Secretary said last night that great forbearance had been shown by the House of Commons in postponing discussion on this subject. I agree with the right hon. Baronet that, with the exception of the preliminary conversation raised by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Jenkins), who thought it necessary, from a strong sense of public duty, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself admitted, to anticipate this debate, the House of Commons has exhibited great forbearance, and has given the Government ample time to prepare their case. I thought we had their case before us without waiting for more Papers; but when we look at all the Papers which have now been issued, it is obvious that the business assumes a very serious aspect. Until last night we had no Parliamentary official utterances, with the exception of those alluded to by the hon. Gentleman below me. The only satisfactory assurance we have received is that if you want to change horses you had better not undertake that process in the middle of a stream. That is one of the reasons why we should not recall the High Commissioner. The other assurance we had was not a very comforting one. It was "Boldness, bold- ness, always boldness! That is the policy which ought to guide the policy of our agents abroad, because it is the policy which has made Great Britain what it is." I was surprised to hear a sentiment like that fall from the lips of a Secretary of State. De l'audace, de l'audaee, et toujours de l'audace, were the words once used by a man who little thought of the degradation and humiliation to which his country would be reduced by acting upon the maxim. Well, Sir, with the exception of what we have heard in this House, these are all the official utterances and justifications we have had respecting the policy pursued. But we can have no doubt as to this. Everyone will agree with me that never before, in all our Diplomatic and Colonial history, have two men been so thoroughly at variance with, and yet so pleasantly appreciative of, each other as the Colonial Secretary and the High Commissioner. I do not know whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer had any conversation with the hon. Baronet opposite; but it has been said by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the front Bench opposite that it did not appear as if the hon. Baronet did not know what the Government were going to do in their censure, and that the Government had adopted the very policy laid down by the hon. Baronet. Observe that Sir Bartle Frere is censured because he forced on a war for which there was no immediate necessity, and precipitated events which have resulted in failure. The Colonial Secretary wrote to him— I fully appreciate your great experience, but I fail to discover any necessity for your conduct. Again, the right hon. Baronet says— You have omitted to follow the course which was peculiarly incumbent upon you. Your future policy is to be based on that of the Colonial Secretary, which is distinctly opposed to your own. Yet the hon. Gentleman below me just now tried to show that Sir Bartle Frere ought not to have received censure for acting not against instructions, but without instructions. I maintain that Sir Bartle Frere acted against instructions, and that is why the country feels so strongly on this matter. The despatch of the 19th of March censures him as strongly as any man was ever censured, though I am told that with that very despatch of censure there went out private letters from official and even higher sources, urging him in the strongest terms not to resign and not to accept the censure. I want to have a denial of that from the front Bench. I believe, and I may say I know, that when the letter of censure went out, on the 19th of March, letters were sent not only by the Government, but by many persons connected with the Government, begging Sir Bartle Frere not to consider the censure, but to remain at his post and to act as he would wish to act. The despatch of censure itself ended thus:—"But I have no desire to withdraw the confidence hitherto reposed in you." It is the old "confidence trick." What a pleasant thing it is to have confidence in your officials, particularly when you know that the House of Commons and the country have no confidence in either of your officials, the High Commissioner and the Commander-in-Chief, and when, for the matter of that, the Commander-in-Chief has certainly no confidence in himself! On the 14th of March, the hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) asked the Secretary of State whether, seeing there had not been any invasion of the Colony of Natal, he would suspend further military action until an opportunity had been afforded for a peaceful adjustment of the differences with the Zulu King? This was a most righteous and charitable request to make of the Government; but how was it met? The reply was in effect—"No; we have been surprised, out-generalled, and defeated, and therefore our defeat must be avenged before anything further is done." Will the House credit it, that, on the very day Colonel Pearson crossed the Tugela River, he received a message from Cetewayo saying that he had not refused to listen to the voice of the Government, and asking the great Chief to give the Zulu nation time to reply. Colonel Pearson sent the message to Sir Henry Bulwer, and Sir Henry Bulwer, who was a wise and prudent man, said—"What am I to do with this message which I have received before an advance has been made?" Sir Bartle Frere replied— These words are not more satisfactory nor more binding than the King's previous verbal and informal messages. I therefore agree with your Excellency that the messengers should be told that, as the King did not do anything which was required of him within the time specified, the further enforcement of the demands will be intrusted to the Lieutenant-General, Lord Chelmsford. Why, Sir Henry Bulwer had never made any suggestion of the kind, and Sir Bartle Frere had no right to attempt to throw the responsibility upon him. Then the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) put a Question, whether there was any further necessity, in the interests of the Public Service, in delaying the discussion of this question? The answer to the hon. Gentleman's Question was that further Papers were on the way. Those further Papers are now in our hands, and they greatly aggravate the position of Sir Bartle Frere and of the Government. We now see by these further Papers what a state of affairs Sir Bartle Frere has brought about, and in the Transvaal and Basutoland there is the strongest opposition to the Government. In fact, all the inhabitants of those regions are excited to a degree which is hardly to be exaggerated. I now come to the last Question, which was put by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Jenkins). He asked—"Do the Government propose to supersede Lord Chelmsford in his command?" And the answer was—"As at present advised, No." Well, since that answer was given Papers have been received, and we have had the melancholy despatch of the 9th of February from Lord Chelmsford himself. I think that despatch of Lord Chelmsford, coupled with the conduct of Sir Bartle Frere and the action of Sir Henry Bulwer, forces upon us this conclusion—that, in this South African business, there have been clearly three policies working. The first policy was the policy of the Government, the second was the policy of Sir Bartle Frere, and the third, from the 4th of January, when Sir Bartle Frere gave the entire responsibility to the Commander-in-Chief, was the military policy of Lord Chelmsford. Now, I shall speak with every fairness—the policy of the Government up to a certain date was clear and distinct. The policy of Sir Bartle Frere, whatever you may say of it in the House, had, at all events, this quality—it was bold, energetic, and determined, and it resulted in a most complete fiasco. The third policy was a military policy, with full responsibility of action from the 4th of January, and that policy of Lord Chelmsford, as we all know, resulted in that great disaster of Isandlana. Now, I make this assertion, and I am sure the House will agree with mo, that if the policy of the Government had been really adhered to, both the fiasco of the High Commissioner and the disaster of the Commander-in-Chief would in all probability have been avoided. Now, let me put to them this one question—What is all this business about? There seems to be only one prudent man there—Sir Henry Bulwer; but then Sir Henry Bulwer could not stay the hand nor check the rashness which precipitated this war. No; Sir Bartle Frere had made up his mind that it should be made. He says—"For two years it had been brooding, because Cetewayo is a bloodthirsty and treacherous despot." Now, the more proximate cause of the war was the policy of Lord Carnarvon with regard to the Transvaal; but apart from that, it has been the policy pursued by Sir Bartle Frere in dealing with Cetewayo. I was surprised to hear the Colonial Secretary say, in reply to the hon. Baronet opposite—"The hon. Baronet seemed to have forgotten the manner of man with whom he was dealing," in speaking of Sir Bartle Frere. No, Sir, we have not forgotten the manner of man we are dealing with. His services, no doubt, may have been great in the past; but when a man makes a great mistake like this—mistake? No!—when he acts in direct violation of instructions—if he is not punished for it, there is an end to government, at any rate, to Colonial government, altogether. And then we are told we do not know what manner of man we are dealing with. I will tell you what one error of judgment cost an able and illustrious officer of this country. I recollect having read how, in 1756, an illustrious officer, highly connected, although that may not be of any account, forfeited his life solely on the ground that he had committed an error of judgment. But this man (Sir Bartle Frere) not only commits an error of judgment, but acts in direct violation of all the orders and instructions he had received, whatever may be said about his monstrous commission. These troubles began, no doubt, with the annexation of the Transvaal in 1877; it began with the policy of Lord Carnarvon. Sir Theophilus Shepstone went there to observe the country, and then in 10 weeks he annexed it. That is the way to conduct your Colonial business. And so the Boers, and their boundary disputes, we have taken upon our shoulders. The hon. and learned Member for Cambridge (Mr. Marten), with his usual animation, alluded to that, and endeavoured to show us—I do not know that I shall be justified in quoting his expressions—but he spoke of the taking over of these Boers; and really the way in which Sir Bartle Frere talks of the character of the Boers, with his prejudice against Cetewayo, requires to be brought under the notice of this House. He stood up for these Boers, and said— Poor people, they have left their homes in Europe to seek freedom in Africa, to govern themselves and to worship God after their own fashion. Yes, it was after their own fashion. They have worshipped God and followed His precepts. What did Sir Theophilus Shepstone say when he went to the Transvaal in January 1872? "When I arrived at Prætoria I found slavery rampant." That was the way they worshipped God and cultivated freedom. Sir Bartle Frero goes on to talk about the Boers. This is the manner of man we are dealing with. He says they seriously believed they had the highest title to the land, because they found it in the precepts of their Bible—I wonder what Bible it was—"to exterminate the Gentiles, and take their lands and possessions." Sir Bartle Frere says he thinks they were wrong unmistakably; but, at least, they had a sincere belief in the Divine authority, and, therefore, a far higher title than the Zulu. Ever since 1846 we have lived in the Transvaal at peace with the King and people of Zulu-land; but when we took upon ourselves this unfortunate business in the Transvaal all that was changed. Now, it is evident, as I have said before, that Sir Bartle Frere had an animus agaist Cetewayo. Over and over again, Sir Henry Bulwer and Sir Theophilus Shepstone assured him of the character and of the past services of this savage. Sir Henry Bulwer, in 1874, says— The Zulus are separated from our territory of Natal for more than 100 miles by only a stream of water; both hanks are inhabited to the water's edge by the subjects of the two Governments, and our intercourse with them in the nature of things has been frequent; it has been so since the establishment of Natal 30 years ago, but it has been effectual in maintaining peace and goodwill between our Government and the Zulus. In 1876, Sir Henry Bulwer writes— I believe that Cetewayo would do nothing which could lessen the good opinion which his conduct has received since he ascended the Zulu Throne; and he describes the relations between the English and the Zulus as having been always friendly. When you find these opinions expressed in direct contradiction to the sentiments and animus shown by the High Commissioner, I really think he is open to very grave censure for the way he has acted in this matter. But in an important despatch which he writes to the Colonial Secretary are these words— One of the few grounds on which we can expect the willing submission of the Transvaal population is that we are able to give them real security against the Zulus. It may possibly occur to others that a settlement of the Zulu question may be deferred to a more convenient season; but I cannot think that this can safely be done. We must forcibly coerce the Zulus, in order to secure the allegience of the Transvaal. Why, what a policy is that? "We must forcibly coerce the Zulus, in order to secure the allegience of the Transvaal." And this was at a time when the award was being made. The award was made in June 1878. Sir Henry Bulwer begged over and over again, in order to allay excitement in the savage mind, that the award might be speedily made known; yet it was the 7th of December before the High Commissioner did communicate it. And he communicated with it an Ultimatum, not in his own name, but in the name of the Soverign of this country. Let me allude to that Ultimatum. It is one of the most monstrous documents that ever disgraced the archives of the Colonial Office. In the first place, the three sons of Sirayo and the brother of Sirayo were to be given up. Why? Because two loose women had crossed the Frontier, and the sons of Sirayo had crossed to bring them back. It was admitted that the boundary line of Zululand and Natal was not of a very well-defined character, and that such disregard of the Frontier boundary frequently took place on both sides. The High Commissioner goes on to say that the promises made by the King at his Coronation Oath had not been observed. Administrative reform, I suppose. "All the young men," he said, "are taken as soldiers." What is this but the law of conscription? It occurs in France, Germany, and Russia, and I believe it would be a good thing if it occurred in this country. "They cannot marry when they desire to do so," says Sir Bartle Frere. I do not suppose our soldiers can marry when they desire to do so. "There is no real need," says Sir Bartle Frere, "for the Army at all, and therefore the Army must be disbanded." Fancy saying this. Let us take France. What advantage is there in France keeping up 800,000 men? Germany might sav it is not necessary, and the French Armymust be disbanded. And yet that is Sir Bartle Frere's representation in the name of the great Queen to the King of the Zulus. And then he goes on to say that "every man, when he comes to man's estate, must be free to marry." I never recollect such a bonus on improvident marriages as that. "No one is to be punished unless he is tried and found guilty." The idea of this regulation! Why, these regulations do not exist in Russia. "The promises made by the King at his Coronation Oath must be kept." We know that the Government of the day, when they were made, never supposed they would be kept. "Men are to be left to live in their homes in peace and to be allowed to marry." These are to be the duties of the Deputy who is to reside in Zululand. I cannot conceive a more pleasant duty than in going about and making good marriages. But fancy the responsibility of this Deputy when there was a divorce case in the Matrimonial Causes Court. Even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) would have his difficulties upon that point. These are the terms of the Ultimatum sent by the High Commissioner to the Zulu King, and an answer must be sent in 30 days. Scruples about a Coronation Oath! The Colonial Secretary told us last night that this war may be costly in men and money; but it will be the turning-point in the history of South Africa. What! an unnecessary war, begun without authority, to be the turning-point in the history of South Africa? That is not the policy we wish to see advocated in this House. The Colonial Secretary told us it would be costly; more blood and money must be sacrificed—money from the pockets of the taxpayers of this country, who are already suffering, heavily burdened with two or three wars on their shoulders, because the Zulu King neglected his Coronation Oath. Money will be spent and blood shed, and there will be a vacant chair in the home of many a gallant fellow who has gone to the war because the Zulu King has not kept his Coronation Oath. The lives of thousands of savages—brave and gallant savages—will be sacrificed on the plea of Sir Bartle Frere that the Zulu King has not kept his Coronation Oath. Why, he is not the first King who has had scruples about his Coronation Oath. I well recollect, and have often heard from the distinguished men of that time, and you may read in Lord Malmesbury's Diary, of the unmanly and imbecile conduct of George IV., as regards his scruples about his Coronation Oath. There were Lord Eldon on one side, and the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel on the other, pulling him one way and then another, he blubbering over Curaçao, without which he could not be brought to the scratch. Lord Eldon told him—"If you pass this measure"—it was the measure respecting Catholic emancipation—"it will be in violation of your Coronation Oath, and the sun, of Great Britain will set for ever;" but Lord Eldon did not make war on the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel because George IV. did not keep his Coronation Oath. This lamentable history must impress on us the necessity of Parliament having a vigilant control over High Commissioners involving this country in a costly war, although we are told it will be the turning-point in the history of South Africa; and on the face of the Papers before us, it is a war as unnecessary and unjust as any that ever occurred in our history. The hon. Member below me (Mr. Hanbury) said that Sir Bartle Frere did not act against authority, he only acted without authority; but the Government, all through the piece, till a recent date, impressed on the High Commissioner the absolute necessity of observing caution and forbearance, abstaining from any hostile aggression. A peaceful solution of the difficulty was, above all things, urged upon him. Reinforcements were sent out, but for defensive purposes only, not for invasion or conquest. Nothing could be more honest or straightforward than the despatch of the Colonial Secretary. Why, these despatches of the Colonial Secretary are admirable for their good sense and judgment; if the Government had consented to act upon these, and to reject the unsound policy of the General and of the Commander-in-Chief, all would have been well. These two despatches of the dates referred to conclusively prove to my mind, and to the mind of most of the country, that the intention of the Government at home clearly was that Sir Bartle Frere should act only on the defensive, and certainly was that he should not undertake any offensive operations. But Sir Bartle Frere would not listen to it. He sends word to the Government by telegram that the 30 days he had allowed for a reply to be sent to the Ultimatum had elapsed, and that he had consequently placed the further prosecution of all demands in the hands of the Lieutenant-General. In other words, "I have given him all the responsibility." I have shown that the Government, in answer to the hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan), had said that they intended to avenge the defeat before doing anything to bring about peace. Yet, actually before the troops had crossed the Tugela, they had received from the King of Zululand an intimation of his desire to try to come to terms. And this war is going on. There is a notification issued by the High Commissioner, saying that the British Government have no quarrel with the Zulu people; that it is not fighting against them. Every despatch which we have received during the progress of the war contains the information that our troops had "lifted" so many head of cattle, or killed so many people; that the people ran away, and that their villages were burnt. Is that what you call not making war upon the Zulu people? What is the meaning of "lifting" cattle belonging to the Zulu people, if our quarrel is confined to the Zulu King, and that, too, because he has failed to keep his Coronation Oath? On the 4th of January the whole responsibility devolved upon Lord Chelmsford; and this is the most painful part of the business. Lord Chelmsford ac- cepted the responsibility, although he knew his own weakness. I have heard it stated that it is no business of Parliament to discuss the conduct of military commanders; but the conduct of the military commander is directly involved in this Motion, and in the policy pursued since January 4. As it is said that we must not discuss the policy of military commanders here, I have looked back, and I find that Fox, Burke, and the Duke of Wellington did not think so; and the right hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole) would not say so. On the 11th of March I saw with regret a letter in The Times, in which it was stated that the hasty and inconsiderate conclusions of the public did not represent the judgment of well-informed military minds. I dare say the military mind thinks differently from what are called the hasty and inconsiderate conclusions of the public; but the hasty and inconsiderate conclusions of the public carried the day at the commencement of the Crimean War in the midst of all the incompetency that then prevailed; and, unless the Government and the authorities at the Horse Guards think well, the hasty and inconsiderate conclusions of the public may effect a very permanent change in the arrangements which are now being made, although they may be adverse to the conclusions of what are called well-informed military minds. It was said here the other night by a military Member, or rather insinuated, that it was not the business of the House to discuss military matters; but he wrote a letter to a newspaper, in which he said— Of course, I did not mean that; but I meant that occasions for it might arise when a nation had become wearied with undoubted proofs of incompetence. Then, he said, it was necessary. I think the nation has become pretty well convinced in this business of South Africa by undoubted proofs of incompetence. But the House of Commons has always asserted its right. Mr. Burke did not refrain from condemning in the strongest terms the action of General Burgoyne. Mr. Fox made a Motion in 1778, which was resisted by the War Minister of the day—a most incompetent man, indeed, but not the only incompetent War Minister this country has seen. Lord George Germain was the War Minister then, and how did he answer Mr. Fox when he said he would have the conduct of General Burgoyne fully discussed on the floor of the House? He used much the same language that is used in these days; he said that military men were the most proper judges, and he did not see the propriety of Parliamentary interference. And then the Duke of Wellington, in the House of Lords, when a predecessor of Sir Bartle Frere (Sir Harry Smith) was recalled from the Cape, did not hesitate to criticize the conduct of that distinguished officer and comrade, and to say that it had been unjustifiable, and had led to the frittering away of his Forces. What stronger censure can you have? I recollect during the Crimean War what discussions we had in this House. The right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) said that the character of the Commander-in-Chief required that a Parliamentary Inquiry should take place. Mr. Henley condemned the Government; and, of course, no one was more severe than Mr. Layard. What did Mr. Sidney Herbert say as War Minister of the Government of the day? He did not shirk discussion, as the well-informed military minds of the present day would. I have always thought that Lord Raglan was unjustly treated in the earlier part of the campaign; and that the errors were not his fault, but the fault of the Administration, was proved over and over again. What did Mr. Sidney Herbert say? He admitted with sorrow that the Army under Lord Raglan had been reduced to a stage which produced deep anxiety in the mind of every Englishman. Therefore, I think it may be permitted to me to refer to the circumstances connected with the acceptance of responsibility by the Commander-in-Chief after the 4th of January. I recollect reading the other day on the monument of Havelock, the bravest and most heroic of soldiers, that when he led his brave companions in arms—only one-sixth more of British troops than will shortly be in the Cape fighting against these savages—against 100,000 Sepoys, he said—"Soldiers, your sufferings, your privations, your valour, will never be forgotten by a grateful country." We might say the same for the gallant fellows who fell in that miserable affair at Isandlana—53 officers and nearly 1,400 men—through the gross incompetence of a General upon whose head rests the blood of these men. ["No, no!"] Upon whose head it rests, until he has been tried by court martial and acquitted. As many officers fell in that battle as fell in the great battle of Inkermann. Hon. Members say "No!" I say "Yes!" I have it that 53 officers fell in that fatal battle at Isandland and no more fell at Inkermann. But even if that was not the case, was there not blood enough to make us think of the way in which those gallant fellows fought for the honour and dignity of the country? But what can be said of the conduct of the Commander-in-Chief? What can be said in his defence? I intend to say in Parliament what I hear in every quarter out-of-doors. The Commander-in-Chief told the Government, on November 11, that it was not in its power to appreciate the gravity of the military situation. Lord Chelmsford knew what it was. A pamphlet has been sent me from the Cape, compiled by direction of the Commander-in-Chief, in which he tells his Army the strength of the Zulu Force; he says that it consists of from 40,000 to 50,000 men, well equipped for warfare. He consents to accept the responsibility, and he advances into this country with 200 Cavalry, without taking precautions to ascertain whether the enemy may be at close quarters. He divides his Force—admitting it is insufficient—into three columns, widely separated, and in this way this competent commander advances to maintain the honour of his country. I grieve to say that the despatch in which he describes the disaster at Rorke's Drift is about the most melancholy one ever written. He talks about the men not remaining face to face with the enemy. Why, they were surrounded by the enemy! The impression civilians must have from reading the despatch is that the troops, in the opinion of Lord Chelmsford, showed cowardice and ran away. Making every allowance for Lord Chelmsford, he must have been sadly wanting in the feelings of common justice when he penned such a despatch. Lord Chelmsford blames Colonel Durnford for not having fortified the camp. Why, he was there 48 hours himself with the whole of his ammunition for the campaign, and during all those 48 hours he never made the slightest attempt to do what he says Colonel Durnford should have done in four hours. The other day I asked a distinguished General his opinion about Lord Chelmsford's conduct, and his answer was—"It is to me perfectly incomprehensible. He seems to have left the camp with all his ammunition, and to have gone fiddling about looking for a parade ground, with a hostile army of 30,000 men on his flank." After the disaster we find him riding and flying for his life. And hero is one of the most painful circumstances of the whole affair—Lord Chelmsford arrives at the desolated camp at nightfall and leaves before daybreak. So far as the Papers go, he does not seem to have made the slightest search to see whether any of those poor brave, gallant fellows might not be lying in the field dying, if not, perhaps, quite dead.


I rise to Order. The light hon. Gentleman is discussing the military conduct of tins war, and I can find no words in the Motion to justify him in so doing.


Among the allegations contained in the Resolution of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, there is one to the effect that the war was begun without adequate preparation, and the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure) certainly refers to the conduct of the war. The observations of the right hon. Baronet therefore, are not, strictly speaking, out of Order.


People in this country are not surprised that the spirits of Lord Chelmsford are depressed at the disaster. I have seen comments on the disaster, and I have seen how his military conduct has been attacked. He is not the first General by a great many who has been out-generalled, out-manœuvred, surprised, and defeated; but I venture to say he is the first General who has ever been surprised with compliments on the bloody results of a defeat. General Burgoyne went to crumble up the Americans; but when he was defeated and recalled, was he received with compliments by George III.? Why, George III., when he demanded an audience, refused to receive him. That was the way incompetent Generals were dealt with in former days. Nous avons changé tout cela. And here I cannot help alluding to the remarkable divergence in the statements made by the Secretary of State for War in this House, and by the Prime Minister in "another place," in reference to the message of confidence sent to Lord Chelmsford. The Secretary of State for War said it was sent on his own responsibility, without consultation with his Colleagues. The Prime Minister distinctly said it was sent with the concurrence of the entire Cabinet, and that it was not unconstitutional in any way. I never said it was unconstitutional; but I do say it is a wholly unprecedented thing that the statements of two Cabinet Ministers should be in absolute contradiction with each other. I shall leave it to hon. Members to reconcile these statements. Well, the conclusion I come to on the whole matter is this—Taking the case as it stands in the Blue Books, I see no ground for believing that we are engaged in a just or necessary war. All through these Papers I am painfully impressed with the conviction that the worst construction has always been put upon Cetewayo's acts by the High Commissioner, contrary to the obvious opinion of Sir Henry Bulwer, and guided, I fear, to a very great extent by the vacillating judgment of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, particularly as regards the boundary question between the Transvaal and Zululand. Now, I admit that the political and the military situation is very serious. I suppose everyone will admit the necessity of upholding our power in Africa. At all events, everyone, I suppose, will think that any dismemberment of our possessions in South Africa would not commend itself to public opinion in this country. But remarkable words were used by Lord Grey in 1853. "I think it would have been far better for this country," said Lord Grey, "if the British territory in South Africa were confined to Cape Town and Simon's Bay." Be that as it may, we have now increased duties and responsibilities to discharge. Our commerce and our civilization spread all over the world. Yes, it is no unworthy desire to wish to see fresh channels of communication open to the wealth and enterprize of this country, so that under the genial influence of civilization and the active enterprize of commerce we may be enabled not merely to enlarge the resources of our own Empire, but at the same time, under God's blessing, confer a real benefaction on mankind. Those are works which carry in their train the blessings of peace and order, and it is the adoption of such a policy that would, in my mind, tend to the civilization of the Natives of Africa and the prosperity of our Colonists. But in dealing with savage and dangerous nations, we should never forget that keen sense of justice and right which should ever guide our action, and which, in the present instance, it appears to me, has been strangely overlooked. I make every allowance for the actions of those who may not unnaturally have been swayed by local influences, and who may not unreasonably have thought that those on the spot were better able to judge of the real issue at stake than persons at a distance. Nevertheless, I cannot conscientiously, upon the face of these Papers, acquit the High Commissioner and the Commander-in-Chief of rashness in precipitating, in direct and flagrant violation of instructions received from home, the events which led to the great military disaster of Isandlana—a disaster which has so considerably weakened our prestige, at all events, for the moment, in an important Colony of the British Empire, and which has so deeply moved in all its courses the public feeling in this country.


appealed to the House for indulgence for a short time while he defended an old comrade and an absent man. He meant Lord Chelmsford. He promised the right hon. Baronet that he would meet the question as fairly as he had himself met it, and he would be more moderate in his language and more considerate of those who were unable to defend themselves. The first charge brought by the right hon. Baronet against Lord Chelmsford was that on the 4th of January he took over from Sir Bartle Frere the responsibilities of the position, or, in plain language, that he obeyed the orders of his superior. With regard to the plan of the campaign, the right hon. Baronet had criticized that with great severity; but, unfortunately, he was not possessed of what he was pleased to call "a well-informed military mind." The plan of that campaign was submitted to competent military authorities in this country, and was approved. The difficulties which Lord Chelmsford had to face were not of his own creating. After he had crossed the Tugela and got to the camp at Isandlana, he remained there making some reconnaissances, and with practically his whole Force. He did not, therefore, think it necessary to intrench the camp, and he (Sir Charles Russell) ventured to challenge the right hon. Baronet, who had spoken of that as a single instance, to point to a single case where a General moving with his whole Force had ever in Cape warfare intrenched his camp. He would go to the length of saying that even small detached parties did nothing of the kind. That was well known in Cape warfare, and he defied the right hon. Baronet to show one instance in which a laager defended by British troops had ever been taken. Well, Lord Chelmsford, hearing that the enemy was somewhere to the North-East, went with a large Force in search of him, and some time after he left he became engaged with a Force, and was occupied four hours in driving back that Force. When he left the camp, he sent a written order to Colonel Durnford to come up and take the command of the camp. The witnesses differed as to whether the order directed him to "strengthen" the camp; but he wrote by his military secretary to Colonel Pulleine to give the camp over to Colonel Durnford, and to "defend the camp." Lord Chelmsford had left before daylight. Now, as he should have to cast some reflection upon those who were dead and gone, and who had nobly died in discharge of what they conceived to be their duty, he trusted the House would not think he was in the least degree dealing to the memory of those gallant men so cruel and unjust a blow as that which the right hon. Baronet had dealt to the living. But the House would agree with him that, however much they might respect the memory of the dead, they were not entitled to give them that respect at the cruel expense of the living. His gallant friend, Lord Chelmsford, after he had left the camp before daylight—he spoke from memory, and without his notes, for he little dreamt that in a discussion of a Motion in which all mention of Lord Chelmsford's name had been left out a discussion of this sort would take place. He was not, therefore, prepared by reference to his marked Blue Book to give chapter and verse for everything he said; but he assured the House that he would state nothing that he could not prove. After Lord Chelmsford left the camp, Colonel Pulleine had notice that the enemy was accumulating in force on heights about four miles off. He assembled his Force and put them to the east side of the camp, keeping them under orders for some time, when they were sent to their parades. At 10.30 Colonel Durnford arrived and took the command of the camp. It was abundantly evident that some discussion took place between Colonel Durnford and Colonel Pulleine. Colonel Durnford said he had seen some of the enemy on his left flank, and he asked for a couple of English companies with which he would go out and look for them. "No," said Colonel Pulleine, "I dare not do so, for my orders are to defend the camp," and that, Colonel Durnford's aide-de-camp said, was repeated over and over again. Ultimately, as if the poor fellow had a strange presentiment, Colonel Durnford said to Colonel Pulleine, "If I get into difficulties will you come to my rescue?" They had the testimony of one survivor of the rocket battery which accompanied him that Colonel Durnford attacked the enemy, with the result they all too well knew. Had the troops remained in camp and a laager been formed, which could have been done in half-an-hour or an hour—had the orders received been obeyed and the camp defended—the defence would have been complete and perfect. But it was said that the General sent back Captain Alan Gardner with an order to intrench the camp. He did so, but that was when he had found another camping-ground, which he determined to leave to Colonel Glyn, and in sending back for ammunition and provisions he added—"Intrench your camp." And why? As long as he had his mounted force at the camp he was sufficiently strong; but when he sent the order the force was divided. Let them now look to what occurred at Rorke's Drift. There they had an hour's notice that the enemy were about to attack, and that the camp was to be defended. Did Lieutenant Chard say—"Give me some men, and I will go out to meet the enemy?" He did not; but he and Lieutenant Bromhead set about throwing up defences, and they succeeded in repelling what was in proportion a larger Force than that which made the attack at Isandlana. Thus it was clear that where the men obeyed and clearly understood the General's orders, the defence was com- plete. Another point on which the right hon. Baronet made an attack on his (Sir Charles Russell's) absent friend was as to an alleged want of feeling which he showed when he left the camp at Isandlana before daylight on the morning after the disaster. But why did he go before daylight? He did so for two reasons—first, because he felt obliged to hasten to the assistance of the little garrison at Rorke's Drift; and, secondly, because he very properly wished to spare his men the horrible sight of the mutilated corpses of their comrades; for he need hardly remind the House that in African warfare it was notorious that the Zulus never left a wounded man living on the field. Where the wounded were not carried off for more brutal purposes, they were killed on the spot. If, indeed, Lord Chelmsford had incurred the risk of further loss, he would have deserved some small portion of the blame which the right hon. Baronet imputed to him. Let him remind the House of Lord Chelmsford's career. He had served the country for 35 years; he was present in the Crimea and attained the medal and clasp. His high courage was known to him and to everyone else who saw Lord Chelmsford, and they would give him credit for great capacity. Then, again, he served in the Indian Mutiny and attained the medal, and as Assistant Adjutant General he accompanied the Abyssinian Expedition and was present at the taking of Magdala; and in one of his despatches Lord Napier of Magdala said he desired to speak "specifically of his great ability and great energy." Was the man who had thus served his country, and who one day met with a disaster for which, in his conscience, he believed—and he said it on his honour as a gentleman—Lord Chelmsford was utterly irresponsible, to have his career in life cut short because charges such as they had heard, and which were incapable of being sustained, were, in his absence, made against him? If so, they were going to take a course which would not only be a grave injustice to the General himself, but also to the Forces that served under him. He did not quite understand the allusion of the right hon. Baronet to the case of Admiral Byng? Did he understand him to mean that they were to have such another murder?


was understood to explain that he had no wish to refer to the practices of by-gone days, further than to show what was then the consequence of an error of judgment such as Sir Bartle Frere had committed.


said, it might be some consolation to the friends of Lord Chelmsford that, if a military execution was to take place, it would be on Sir Bartle Frere. The right hon. Baronet talked a great deal about what popular opinion did in regard to the Crimea; but the real state of things was exactly the reverse of what had been represented. It was only when the officers of the Army had clamoured till they were tired, and had pointed out the shortcomings, that the people of England awoke to the necessities of the case. He must say that, when it was remembered that a grave responsibility was cast upon Lord Chelmsford, a clearer and more distinct charge should be brought forward than the accusation that the blood of the brave men who lost their lives rested on his head. He coupled that strong—he would go further, and say that outrageous—language with the suggestion that Lord Chelmsford should be tried by court-martial. Why did not the right hon. Baronet move for such a trial openly and boldly in the House? Why did he not take some step to secure the military inquiry which lie suggested should be held? He would undertake to say that if Lord Chelmsford only received that fair play which he was happy to say the noble and gallant Lord was receiving at the hands of Her Majesty's Government, the day would come when those who clamoured against him would appear as those now appeared in the eyes of this generation who clamoured against the illustrious Duke of Wellington and demanded his recall at the outset of his career in the Peninsula, and who, had they been listened to, might have prevented those great and glorious results which the country derived afterwards through the exercise of his magnificent genius. Lord Chelmsford was the last man who would wish him to draw a comparison between himself and such a man as the Duke of Wellington; but there were some points in which small things might be compared to great. It was true that Lord Chelmsford had been sustained in what must have been to him a terrible trial by that which was touching to every man—namely, the confidence expressed in him and his brave soldiers by his Queen. He apologized to the House for the length at which he had detained it; but he could not sit still and hear an absent colleague severely censured without rising to claim for him what the House was always so ready to accord—fair and honest play.


said, that if anything could have induced him to vote with the Government, it would have been the amusing, irrelevant, specious, and altogether unfair speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel). At the same time, when he heard the Resolution of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), he felt it impossible to vote for it. But, on the other hand, he found it impossible to vote for the Government, because, though the Resolution dealt hardly with Sir Bartle Frere, yet he thought the treatment of the Government had been infinitely worse, because censuring him without recalling him made his position most difficult, while they were not in a position to have the right of censuring him at all. The speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, he thought, was most unfair, as in it no allowances were made for the difficulties of Sir Bartle Frere's position, and it contained assertions to the effect that the High Commissioner had acted in direct violation of the instructions he had received—assertions that were founded upon the despatch of the 21st of November, which the right hon. Baronet must well know did not reach Sir Bartle Frere until after he had issued the Ultimatum. He would prove that the High Commissioner received no instructions whatever before the issuing of the Ultimatum, and had every reason to believe, by the language and tone of Her Majesty's Government, that he, as High Commissioner, was authorized to settle the existing difficulties to the best of his judgment and ability. He held that when Sir Bartle Frere arrived at the Cape it was absolutely necessary either that he should fight the Zulus or the Boers, or retreat from the Transvaal. If he (Mr. Ashley) had been High Commissioner, he should undoubtedly have adopted the third course, and advised Her Majesty's Government to give back the Sovereignty of the Transvaal, as in 1854 had been done in the case of the Orange Free State. It was an ill-advised annexation, founded upon wrong information. But Sir Bartle Frere may well have doubted whether the home authorities would have consented so soon to stultify an act which had been loudly proclaimed as a deed of wise statesmanship. The whole tenor of Sir Bartle Frere's communications pointed to offensive measures, and the Government tacitly acquiesced in leaving the discretion to him. By the middle of September the Government had in their possession the plans for the hostile invasion of Zululand, and the very words of Lord Chelmsford stating that it was in contemplation. Now, what language would they expect a Government to use wishing to curb and check a high official who had expressed strong views, and to lead him to understand that the responsibility of declaring war would be his responsibility, and not theirs? The language of such a Government would be civil, but it would be language not to be mistaken. It was all the more incumbent upon the Government to do that, when they were using Sir Bartle Frere's name as a name to conjure with in respect to a similar expedition in Afghanistan to overcome the great mass of Indian authorities on the other side. What was Sir Bartle Frere to think with respect to an invasion of the Zulu country, when he was quoted as an authority with respect to the invasion of Afghanistan, which was on all fours with the one he was projecting? He had received nothing but two wretched despatches referring to anything like a check on his movements, and he must have thought that the Government were not inclined to take the responsibility off his shoulders, that they were too much engaged with other matters to form a policy for themselves, and that they wished him to form a policy. If Sir Bartle Frere had been successful, they would have heard nothing in the way of censure—they would have heard nothing but praise. One of the despatches in question was a telegram, dated October 5, in which the Colonial Secretary only said he still hoped there was a good chance of avoiding war; and the other was a despatch, dated October 17, in which the Government refused the reinforcements, which were afterwards sent out. In the latter despatch, Sir Bartle Frere was merely told the Government had a confident hope that, by meeting the Zulus in a spirit of forbearance and reasonable compromise, it would be possible to avert war. There was no suggestion then that Sir Bartle Frere should not take the responsibility on his shoulders. When the Government received information of the delivery of the Ultimatum they did not condemn it; for in a despatch, dated January 23, they merely said that the communications previously received had not entirely prepared them for the course he had thought it necessary to take. The policy of Sir Bartle Frere had been ratified by the Government keeping him in office. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: No.] It meant that they sanctioned the policy, but condemned what they now styled the hasty and indecorous way in which he had urged it on. The despatch of January 23 said— In making these observations, I do not desire to question the advisableness of the policy which you have thought it necessary to adopt in difficult and complicated affairs, and I sincerely trust the policy you have adopted may prove successful. From that date to the 19th March there was not a trace of any animadversion having been passed on Sir Bartle Frere; but after the arrival of the news of a military disaster, the Government had thought that they must do something to satisfy the public and to divert attention from themselves. He quite agreed with the remarks which had been made as to the inexpediency of leaving these grave issues to the arbitrament of pro-Consuls abroad; but the proper way of checking such laxity of administration was by a Resolution directed against the Government which permitted it, and not against the Governor, who only exercised to the best of his ability the discretion which had been left to him. He condemned the policy of which Sir Bartle Frere had been the willing instrument; but the responsibility did not lie with the agent, but with the principal. To sum up, Sir Bartle Frere had, in his office as High Commissioner, received very scant justice at the hands of the Government, and it was not likely that zealous and conscientious men would be found to fill similar offices in the future unless a different line of conduct was adopted towards them.


said, that, having spent some years of his life in Natal and Zululand, he wished to say a few words upon the Motion now before the House. In the original draft of it, the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea had carefully confined himself to an expression of regret that the Ultimatum had been sent without the sanction of the Government, and so far he (Colonel Chaplin) was not disposed to disagree with him; but it should be borne in mind that there was something underlying it which conveyed a censure upon Sir Bartle Frere, which was in no wise merited. Again, the hon. Baronet fell into the mistake, than which nothing was more foolish and absurd, of contrasting the conduct of civilized nations with that of barbarous tribes. From his experience of the States of South Africa—and he had a vivid recollection of it—there existed there a feeling of great uneasiness among the White population of what might be their fate should anything be put into the heads of the Blacks that the Whites were not of a race vastly superior to themselves. The growth of any such opinion as that was the greatest and gravest danger against which they had to guard. This was a point which the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea had entirely overlooked. The great fear entertained by Sir Bartle Frere and the European population was that there might be a rising of the Natal Kaffirs in conjunction with all the Native Tribes surrounding the Colony. And what the consequence of such a rising would be in a country where the Blacks were to the White population in the proportion of about 13 to 1, he need not dwell upon. It had been proved by the Blue Books that Cetewayo had been endeavouring to excite the Black population for years, and the result of a general rising on their part would be the complete massacre of the White inhabitants, men, women, and children, and the annihilation of the Colony. And if that happened, what would be the fate of the other Colonies? The feeling of uneasiness to which he had already alluded so far from abating, had of late years largely and gravely increased, the chief cause of which was the continually increasing power of Cetewayo. He denied that, as stated by the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), the Zulu military system was, for over 20 years, just as well prepared for war as it was now. When he was in Natal, 10 or 12 years ago, the Zulu Army was not nearly so formidable; but as the strength of his Army increased, the conduct of Cetewayo had been growing more overbearing and insolent. During the last 12 months the feeling of uneasiness at his conduct had been increasing so much along the whole line of Frontier that some of the settlers had absolutely fled from their homes. Such a state of things could be tolerated no longer if we desired to keep our Colonial Empire. Soon after Sir Bartle Frere arrived in the Colony, he wrote home to say he found "the state of affairs more critical than even he expected." These were significant words; and hon. Members who had no experience of savage races could only appreciate the situation which Sir Bartle Frere described by being suddenly transported from that House to Natal. It had not been denied that Sir Bartlo Frere was a man of great experience and ability, and had won a deserved reputation by his previous services to his country. Being on the spot, he must be far more able to judge of the necessities of the case than people at home. Having faith in the ability of Sir Bartle Frere, and also in his perfect honesty of purpose, he felt bound to offer his stringent opposition to the Motion of the hon. Baronet. With reference to the military position, he agreed with the hon. and gallant General the Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir Alexander Gordon) that a regiment of Cavalry would have been of the greatest use in the operations against the Zulus; and he was surprised, when the first appeal for reinforcements was made, that the Government had declined to send out any Cavalry. He thought, however, that the Liberal Government, which had disbanded the Cape Mounted Rifles, shared in the responsibility; and he believed that, at the present time, there could be no more efficient regiment for service in South Africa than that corps. In cases like the disaster at Isandlana the tendency was to find a scapegoat, and the one selected on this occasion, he regretted to say, was Lord Chelmsford. It was painful to approach this subject, for they must criticize the acts of the dead as well as those of the living. It was natural to throw all the blame on the General commanding, and in almost every instance it was right to do so if his orders were obeyed. Now, the hon. and gallant Member for East Aberdeenshire said that on the night of the 21st of January the Zulu Army was two miles from the camp at Isandlana. He could not tell where the hon. and gallant Member got his information from; but having carefully studied the Blue Books without finding any information as to the whereabouts of the main body of the Zulu Army, he came to the conclusion that it was much nearer 20 miles distant on that night. Anyone who had seen the Zulus on the path knew well the enormous distances they could travel without intermission. The first intimation of large bodies of Zulus was at half-past 7. Colonel Durnford arrived at half-past 10. The distinct orders left by the General were that Colonel Pulleine should "defend the camp;" and had those orders been obeyed, and not distinctly disobeyed, the disaster, which they all deplored, would never have occurred.


said, the position of Natal differed from that of every other Colony. The House remembered how the subject of Confederation was discussed last year. The question with which they had to deal was not either who was to blame for the disaster nor how it was to be retrieved, but how they were for the future to deal with the Black races in South Africa, who, instead of dying out as the Whites advanced, as was the case in Canada and Australia, increased in numbers pari passu with the Whites. He should not have troubled the House had it not been for his Motion a year ago, when he proposed that the subject of our Native policy in South Africa should be investigated by a Royal Commission, not with the object of weakening Sir Bartle Prere's powers, but rather strengthening them. The conduct of the high officials in South Africa had been made the subject of strong animadversion. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel) had made a severe attack on Lord Chelmsford. As an Englishman, he must say it was a great mistake, whenever any great disaster occurred, to insist on having a victim. He did not know Lord Chelmsford; but after the explanations which had been made by the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for Westminster (Sir Charles Russell), he should be the last man in the world to lay blame on Lord Chelmsford in the sense in which the right, hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had spoken. If it was possible for the men whose bones lay bleaching on the ground which was the scene of the late disaster in South Africa to speak again, they would be the last, he was convinced, to join in the blame which had been so unsparingly visited upon Lord Chelmsford. The position of Sir Bartle Frere was a very painful one. It was painful to find a man of the remarkable character and philanthrophic services of Sir Bartle Frere blamed for the war. He did not think he only was responsible. The blame, in his opinion, was rather due to the Government at home. The Government had paid too little attention to what was going on in South Africa a year ago. They must have known that the annexation of the Transvaal must inevitably kindle the most hostile feelings in the minds of Cetewayo and his warriors. He feared very much that missionary influence was at the bottom of these wars in South Africa, though all the missionary societies repudiated the idea of spreading Christianity at the point of the bayonet among savage nations. He certainly had no faith in the Christianity which was forced on a people by such means. They had already enough to do, and as they enlarged the mission field they would encourage not merely a civilizing and Christianizing influence, but promote the spread of a dangerous and mercenary spirit, place the lives of the Colonists in jeopardy, and endanger the Native races. It would be well in the future, if, instead of avenging disasters, we recognized the service rendered by men who prevented them by averting the misunderstandings out of which they arose—a service which had been effectively rendered, in relation to other tribes, by Mr. Percy Nightingale, who had recently returned to this country. If we had had peace in the Colony for 20 years, it had been largely owing to the wise and sagacious conduct of Sir Philip Wodehouse and Sir Henry Barkly. So long ago as 1842, an agreement was come to with the Zulus as to their boundaries, and the manner in which they had abided by the arrangement then made showed that they did not act aggressively. All this difficulty had arisen out of the annexation of the I Transvaal, and the high-handed conduct we had since pursued. The encroachment of the Boers upon the Zulus had been the subject of the strongest animadversions by Sir Theophilus Shepstone, and Cetewayo had complained to us that we had not fulfilled our engagements to him to restrain the Boers. The oft-quoted declaration of Cetewayo, that he was governor and would kill, was mentioned in a despatch, accompanied by an inclosure, which came from Mr. Osborne, the magistrate at Newcastle, from which it appeared probable that excessive rum-drinking was mainly to blame for this outburst of threatening language. He hoped that when this unfortunate affair was settled and peace was restored, we should do at the Cape as we had done at New Zealand, where Maori wars ceased with the withdrawal of the Imperial troops. He was afraid this war was only another instance of the oppression of that spirit of independence which was the true heritage of peoples; and though, perhaps, it was not now possible to arrest it, he trusted that our statesmen and generals, recollecting that the Creator had made of one blood all the nations of the earth, would so conduct their mission into Zululand as to make it one, not of cruelty, but of mercy.


said, that he need hardly express the regret which he felt in differing from those with whom he ordinarily acted, and for whose judgment he had an unfeigned respect. He regretted, also, to have to advocate that a harder measure should be dealt out to a Governor of tried ability, who was not present to defend himself. But the subject was one of such grave importance in the present and in the future that it was raised above the level of a Party question; and as to Sir Bartle Frere, he had so fully stated his defence, in many ably-written despatches, carried up to a very recent date, that one felt that all that could be said by him had been said. After the most anxious and careful perusal of the Papers presented to Parliament, he felt bound to express his concurrence in the terms of the Resolutions which had been brought before the House, except as to the words "without adequate preparation," which were apparently intended to convey a censure to the Government for not having sufficiently met the case and supplied Lord Chelmsford with troops. He entirely denied that any censure ought to be applied to Her Majesty's Government upon that ground, inasmuch as it appeared to him that they had done everything asked of them. They had been asked for troops sufficient to defend the Colony, and they sent out all that were asked for by the two officers at the Cape. They could not anticipate an act which plunged them into war, and, therefore, he could not help believing that the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure) had really misconceived their case, and misunderstood their views. It was perfectly clear that the Government did not intend any offensive attack upon the Zulus. There was one point that might fairly be urged against Sir Bartle Frere in connection with the adequacy of his preparations, which was very important, as showing his determination for war. It would be well to call the attention of the House to the fact that he had pressed for troops; and on November 4, he received a telegram stating in substance that additional officers had been sent, but that no more troops would be sent. On October 17, 1878, the Colonial Secretary wrote him a despatch, expressing a confident hope that war might be averted, and added, "that the Forces at your disposal should suffice to meet any other emergency;" and that despatch Sir Bartle Frere should have received about November 20. The telegraphic despatch was received by him on 4th November last, at which date, therefore, he knew that no more troops would be sent; and on the 5th of that month he wrote, urging again that more troops should be sent. It appeared that in the meantime the Government at home had received further despatches, and had determined that more troops should be sent. Accordingly, in the despatch of 21st November, the Secretary of State for the Colonies announced that further troops would be sent. That despatch, however, did not reach Sir Bartle Frere until he had placed his Ultimatum in the hands of Cetewayo's officers on the 16th December last. He had acted, therefore, apparently, without having what was in his own judgment an adequate Force. The view which he (Sir Henry Holland) desired to submit to the House, and which he believed was clearly supported by the Papers, was briefly that, whether we looked to the past or to the future; to what had been done, or to what there remained to do; Sir Bartle Frere should have been recalled. First, as to the past; the Papers showed that he had sent his Ultimatum to the Zulu King without the sanction of Her Majesty's Government, without their having had sufficient time to consider the terms or the mode or time of delivering it. And, by that course, he had forced the hands of the Government, assumed the Prerogative of the Crown, and declared war upon his own responsibility, and against the wishes of the Government. He (Sir Henry Holland) held—and here he parted company with Her Majesty's Government—that for that act alone he should have been recalled. Wherever it was possible, he was fully prepared to admit that it was not only loyal but expedient for a Government to uphold their servants. He held that if a Governor in time of difficulty assumed a policy approved of by the Government at home, he should be upheld, though he might have committed errors of judgment in giving effect to that policy. So, again, a Governor should be upheld who, in like difficulties, had taken a course within his powers, but not altogether approved of by the Home Government. He would go further, and say that if, in the face of some terrible and immediate emergency, threatening danger to life and property, a Governor felt himself called upon to assume an authority beyond his powers, his policy should be approved, and he should not be recalled. The present case fell under the third head. It was not that Sir Bartle Frere had committed errors in carrying out a course within his powers; it was not that he had taken a course within his powers, but disapproved by Her Majesty's Government; but that he had adopted a policy beyond his powers. He had assumed the Prerogative of the Crown, and declared war without the authority of Government, without the existence of that terrible and immediate emergency which could alone have justified him in following that course. The onus was, therefore, upon him to prove the existence of such an emergency, and it was all the more necessary for him to do so in the present case as he had acted against the wishes of Her Majesty's Government, who sent out troops to defend the Colony, but not to attack Cetewayo. The Ultimatum which he sent to the Zulu King could only be justified by his clearly showing that there did exist an emergency of the kind referred to, and if he failed to show that, he failed to justify his conduct. Before the last Government despatch of the 19th of March was published, it was not known whether Her Majesty's Government were prepared to censure Sir Bartle Frere or to uphold what he had clone; and those who supported the Resolution were therefore prepared to show that there was no such emergency. All doubt, however, upon this point had now been removed by the Government declaring that to be their view, and the opponents of Sir Bartle. Frere were to that extent relieved from the necessity of proving that part of their case. However much the Government attempted now to explain away the censure passed upon Sir Bartle Frere in that despatch, it was clear that they agreed that he had taken a course against their views and without their authority. That being the case, after so grave an error as that committed by Sir Bartle Frere in declaring war without authority—a proceeding which was unprecedented in our Colonial history—he maintained that Sir Bartle Frere should have been recalled if there was any desire and intention to retain a proper and necessary check upon the action of our Colonial Governors. So much for the past, As to the future, his recall was in his (Sir Henry Holland's) judgment no less necessary, for the war yet remained to be ended, and the terms of peace negotiated. Her Majesty's Government had declared their confidence that Sir Bartle Frere "would conduct our difficulties in South Africa to a successful issue." The Colonial Secretary had made an able defence of the general policy of Sir Bartle Frere, and of what he had done in the Colony. He (Sir Henry Holland) did not propose now to discuss that policy; but he confessed that he looked with some hesitation upon it, and thought that perhaps it might be defined as a policy of annexation to please the Dutch malcontents in the Transvaal. On the other hand, he was not disposed to dispute the good work done by Sir Bartle Frere during the earlier part of his rule in South Africa. The present difficulty, however, with which Sir Bartle Frere had to deal was the conduct of the war, how to end it, and the terms of peace to be arranged. He thought that the Papers before the House furnished proof that Sir Bartle Frere was not the proper person to end the war, or to make peace; for he believed it might be shown that Sir Bartle Frere had misconceived his position as Colonial Governor, and that he had put forward grounds in defence of his conduct which were in no way sufficient, even upon his own showing, and highly-coloured as they were in his despatches. Those grounds would, in themselves, have amply justified a reference to the Home Government; they would have justified him in urging upon that Government the expediency of allowing him power to make conditions with the Zulu King, and to enforce the performance of such conditions, if necessary, by war. But he had put them forward as reasons for the course which he had taken, of declaring war at once upon his own responsibility. The Papers also showed that Sir Bartle Frere had grievously erred in the manner of making and sending the Ultimatum; and that he had acted with precipitancy and un-statesmanlike rashness. He had misconceived his position in this—that he appeared to think that all that was necessary to justify his action was to show, in the first place, that Cetewayo was a cruel despot, and that he had broken through certain promises made at his Coronation. Secondly, that raids had been committed on British territory, for which no reparation had been made. Thirdly, that settlers on parts of the disputed territory had been warned off and obliged to leave their farms. Fourthly, that the military organization of Zululand was a standing menace to the Transvaal and the Colony of Natal. But for the purpose of his argument, all that might be admitted. Admit, if necessary, that redress would have to be obtained; that some change would, sooner or later, have to be enforced on the Zulu Government; or assume, with Sir Henry Bulwer, that— The relations of the Zulu Government with us could no longer, with safety, he left as they were. Yet all those grounds were only sufficient to justify Sir Bartle Frere in appealing to the Home Government, and would not, in any way, justify Sir Bartle Frere in the immediate action which he had taken. They did not show that invasion was imminent, and that it was not possible to consult the Government before declaring war. That, however, Sir Bartle Frere failed to see, although the Government at home clearly admitted it. He would go further, and say that the examination of the Papers showed that not only was there no emergency which would justify the action taken by Sir Bartle Frere, but that, with tact and judgment, the war might have been avoided, at all events, for some time to come. Sir Bartle Frere had, according to the Papers laid before Parliament, done but scant justice to the Zulus and their King; he had not endeavoured to place himself in their position and to understand their wishes; while he had over-coloured and given undue effect to certain acts and words which were in themselves reprehensible, and, perhaps, required compensation and apology, but did not threaten immediate danger to Natal, nor justify the stops taken by him. In the last despatch from the Governor, of February 12, he had used the very remarkable words, "the die for peace or for war has been cast more than two years ago." Now, he (Sir Henry Holland) wished the House to consider whether that was really the case. Down to November, 1876, Cetewayo and the Zulus were on friendly and intimate terms with the Natal Government. Sir Henry Bulwer, on November 28, 1875, expressed his pleasure "at the satisfactory relations that have always existed between this Colony and the Zulus." In April, 1876, Sir Henry Bulwer was sensible that— Cetewayo has always paid much attention to the wishes of this Government with regard to his relations with the Government of the Transvaal, and His Excellency has not failed to bring this circumstance under the due notice of Her Majesty's Government. Such expressions would be found in several of Sir Henry Bulwer's despatches. In August, 1876, when the "recent conduct of the Government of the Transvaal had served to exasperate a restless and warlike feeling," Cetewayo sent a message that— He had never taken steps without reporting them to the Natal Government, nor had he any wish to do anything not approved by that Government. He asked leave now, as he had done before, to wash his assegais," [otherwise attack some other tribe]. On that occasion he was advised to keep quiet, and he remained so. And that happened over and over again. In September, 1876, he desired to take action and attack the Swazies, and, in compliance with the advice of Sir Henry Bulwer, he again refrained. It might readily be admitted that too much stress ought not to be laid upon the words and acts of Cetewayo, for he feared our power—he knew we did not want to annex—and he desired our alliance; he had attempted, to a certain extent, to play us off against the aggressive Boers; but still he was friendly in language and acts; and sufficient weight was not given by Sir Bartle Frere to that fact. In September, 1876, Sir Henry Bulwer remonstrated against the killing of a considerable number of young men and women—an act both brutal and cruel in itself, and also one which was in violation of the laws proclaimed at his Coronation by Sir Theophilus Shepstone. And here it might be convenient to make some observations as to what took place upon that occasion, for it seemed to him that Sir Bartle Frere relied too much upon the non-performance by Cetewayo of these laws; and he had been surprised to hear the Colonial Secretary say last evening that the Government were of opinion that we were bound to secure the fulfilment of those promises. On the contrary, he held it to be manifestly improper that any stress should have been laid in the Ultimatum upon the non-observance of those laws. Sir Bartle Frere, however, acted as if the Natal Government were bound to enforce them. But, in the first place, it was not correct to say, as he said in one of his despatches, that Cetewayo was made King in 1873 by the influence of the British Government, for in 1861 Sir Theophilus Shepstone had, by personal influence, induced Panda to nominate Cetewayo as his successor, lie had been practically ruling for some years, and he would have succeeded Panda in due course, though Sir Theophilus Shepstone had not been present in 1873. No doubt, it was very much to the advantage of Cetewayo that Sir Theophilus Shepstone should be present at his installation, and assist in the ceremony, as Representative of a friendly and paternal Government—most important for him as regarded his position with the Zulus, and still more so as regarded his position with the Boers—but his presence was not necessary. Again, Sir Bartle Frere was wrong in stating that the making of those laws was a condition imposed upon the King by Sir Theophilus Shepstone, or, "a price required by the British Government in return for its countenance and support." Looking back at the share taken by him at the installation of Cetewayo, it appeared that the only condition made by him was that no Zulus should be killed at the time of the Coronation, and that no blood should be spilt while he remained in the country. There was, moreover, with respect to these laws which were made in Sir Theophilus Shepstone's presence, a rather curious point to be observed. Sir Theophilus Shepstone tells us in his account of the proceedings, that he, by Zulu law, represented Chaka, and was a Chief in the place of Cetewayo's father. In this capacity of Chief he had naturally great influence among the people, and at the Coronation, and just before the proclamation of these laws, he asked them publicly whether he did not stand before them in the place of Cetewayo's father, and as representative of the Zulu nation? So that, upon his own showing, he proclaimed the laws in question, not so much as the representative of the Natal Government, as the friend of the Zulu Chiefs. Again, he had no power or authority whatever to bind the Natal Government to the enforcement of those laws, nor was it then supposed that he had done so. Upon that point he (Sir Henry Holland) had the direct authority of Sir Henry Barkly, then Governor of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner, who had permitted him to state positively that it was never for a moment supposed that the Natal Government was bound to see to the performance of those laws. And that view was clearly confirmed by the despatch of Sir Benjamin Pine, then Lieutenant Governor of Natal, who, when sending, in 1875, an account of the proceedings of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, wrote— He has succeeded in inducing the King to alter some of the fundamental laws of his Kingdom in such a manner as to cheek cruelty. It is, indeed, likely that the new laws may not be strictly adhered to; but their promulgation will, doubtless, work ultimate good. Sir Benjamin Pine contemplated, there- fore, the non-observance of the laws; but he never hinted that there was any obligation or right which bound the Natal Government to enforce their observance. It appeared to him (Sir Henry Holland) that the Secretary of State for the Colonies was right in his despatch of December 31, 1878, when he said— The power of imposing obligations upon the Zulus, in matters relating to their internal government—which Sir Theophilus Shepstone, somewhat unexpectedly, found to be attributed to him at Cetewayo's Coronation—was rather a concession on the part of the Zulus to his personal influence than a recognition by them of the authority of the Natal Government. In truth, therefore, the Natal Government had a strong moral right to remonstrate, but no right to interfere by arms to enforce the observance of the laws. And the fact of Cetewayo's non-observance of these Coronation laws was no proof of hostility to the Natal Government. To return to the summary of events. In November, 1876, in answer to Sir Henry Bulwer's remonstrances for killing the young men and women, came the hostile message so much relied upon by Sir Bartle Frere, and dwelt upon in the course of the debate. No doubt, in this message Cetewayo says— He will kill—that it is the custom of his nation; that his people will not listen to him unless he kills; that he shall not agree to any rules or laws from Natal, though wishing to be friendly with the English; that the Governor of Natal and he are equal—he is Governor of Natal, and I am Governor hero. And he complains that the English will not allow him to fight. No doubt, also, Sir Henry Bulwer reports that at this time he "evinced a great desire for war." But, in the first place, the men he wished to fight were the Amaswazi, or the Boers, and not the English; and again, if too much stress should not be laid upon his words of friendship, too much should not be laid upon this message, whether it was, as the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. James) had pointed out, attributable to the influence of rum, or to a sudden outburst of temper. This was only fair to the Zulu King, and for the following reasons:—First, because, in fact, he did not carry out his threats to wash his spears, but again yielded to the counsel of the Lieutenant Governor. Secondly, because his state- ment of independence was strictly correct, Panda having been formally recognized as an independent Sovereign by the Natal Government when Natal became a British Colony. This had been frequently admitted by Sir Theophilus Shepstone, and especially in a carefully-prepared memorandum of June 25, 1876, in which the history of the disputed territory and of the Zulus is clearly stated. It was perfectly impossible to understand how, in the face of the reiterated statements of Sir Theophilus Shepstone that Panda was declared an independent Sovereign, it could be said that the Zulu King was in any way dependent on the Government of Natal. And he (Sir Henry Holland) must here call the attention of the House to the great difference between the views taken by Mr. Shepstone, Native Secretary of Natal, who, by his great tact and ability, kept the Natives quiet and contented for so many years, and attained such just influence over them, and those of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, Administrator of the Transvaal. The difference was most marked, and he (Sir Henry Holland) appealed from the judgments and statements of Sir Theophilus Shepstone of the Transvaal to those of Mr. Shepstone the Natal Secretary of Native Affairs. And the more hon. Members looked into the Papers, the more they would see how much he had been influenced by the change of position. Another reason why the hostile message of Cetewayo, in November, 1876, should not be dwelt upon too much was—and this was very important—that since that message had been given he had resumed a distinctly friendly attitude towards the Natal Government, though not so friendly an attitude as he held before. Sir Bartle Frere was always recurring to that message, and, indeed, attached far too much importance to it from the first. But he (Sir Henry Holland) begged the House to note what had been the conduct of Cetewayo since it was delivered in 1876. In January, 1877, Sir Henry Bulwer reports that Cetewayo had sent "a tolerably satisfactory" reply to the message respecting certain Zulus crossing the boundary and carrying off a Zulu girl; and the messenger reported that Cetewayo was kind and the country quiet. Again, in March, 1877, though he was displaying great hostility to the Boers, he handed over to the Government of Natal a Zulu accused of murdering a White man in Zululand. That was done of his own accord and free-will, and not upon any demand made by the Natal Government. The Transvaal was annexed on 12th April, 1877, and it was important to observe Cetewayo's reply to the announcement of the annexation. He says— I thank my father for his message. I intended to fight the Dutch and drive them over the Vaal. It was to fight the Dutch I called my armies together; now I will send them back again. And he did, accordingly, disband his Army. Was it fair, or just, then, in Sir Bartle Frere to say that "the die for war or peace was cast in 1876?" No doubt, subsequently, Cetewayo became restless and uneasy at the change of position, and began to distrust his old friend Sir Theophilus Shepstone and the English in the Transvaal. The position was so clearly recognized and stated by Sir Henry Bulwer, that he would venture to trouble the House with an extract from one of his despatches to Sir Bartle Frere— Then followed the annexation of the Transvaal, an act the immediate bearing of which they were unable at first to comprehend, but which they soon perceived had essentially altered the position. … It was an act that filled them with surprise and disappointment, followed up by a feeling of disquietude on their own account, for a report got abroad that the annexation of the Transvaal would be followed by the annexation of the Zulu country. Moreover, the redress which they had so long, and it must be admitted so patiently waited for, of their alleged grievances against the Transvaal Boers seemed further off and more hopeless than ever. … It is this matter which has been uppermost in the Zulu mind ever since the annexation; and their fear has been that the English, to whom they had for years been bringing their grievances against the aggressions of the Transvaal, should now turn round and confirm these aggressions in their own favour. This fully accounted for the threatening attitude adopted, in October, 1877, toward the messengers sent to Cetewayo, who had by that time begun to distrust the English. No doubt, in November, 1877, matters were critical. The Indunas and Cetewayo were more bitter in language against the Boers and Sir Theophilus Shepstone about the disputed territory. But this was not to be wondered at, as no steps had been taken to re-assure them. However, in December, 1877, Sir Theophilus Shepstone did not, as he says in one despatch, anticipate any overt attack. And now he (Sir Henry Holland) came to a very important part of the case—namely, the effect produced upon Cetewayo by the offer of arbitration made to him in December 1877, and accepted by him, as Sir Henry Bulwer reports, "in a proper spirit." It appeared that this offer had produced a great alteration in the King's mind, for the messengers who delivered it reported that "it seemed as if it had lifted a weight from his heart;" and he said—"The words you have brought me are good words." That offer seemed to have "entirely changed his tone and temper," as was reported by other messengers sent early in 1878, who said—"It was Cetewayo, but Cetewayo born again." He was apologetic and courteous. These were not, then, mere suggestions of the men who brought Cetewayo's reply to the offer of arbitration; for the messengers, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, and Mr. Dunn, all agreed in the fact of the change which had taken place in Cetewayo's tone and manner, and attributed it to the fact that he had received Sir Henry Bulwer's message of peace. Again, in May, 1878, he expressed satisfaction at the way in which the inquiry as to the disputed boundary had been conducted; he pressed for a speedy settlement, as the Zulus wished to re-occupy the lands they never parted with, and he said he saw he was the child of the Natal Government, and that their desire was to do him justice. Now, how could Sir Bartle Frere speak of the die of war as having been cast two years ago, when it was clear that in May, 1878, Cetewayo was again assuming his former friendly tone, and had again admitted that the Government of Natal was a paternal Government? The statement, in his opinion, was perfectly monstrous. Now, doubtless, about that time, there were parties of armed Zulus warning off settlers on the disputed territory south of the Pongolo; but those movements were also fully explained by Sir Henry Bulwer in his despatch of August 12, 1878, in which he says— There has been, I think, a good deal of misconception and exaggeration in the matter. What action of the Zulus has been taken since the Commission sat has, I believe, been taken with the object of preventing the subjects of the Transvaal returning to their farms in that portion of the disputed territory from which they retired in December last when a collision seemed inevit- able. After the Commission had concluded its inquiry at Rorke's Drift, some of the Transvaal subjects made an attempt to return to the lands which they had formerly occupied in this portion of the country; and this was a disturbance of the status quo which irritated the Zulus, who, looking upon it as an attempt on the part of the Transvaal people to re-establish themselves in the country, determined to resist it and to maintain the assertion of their own claim. That was just the case; the Zulus were not at all desirous that the farmers should prejudge the award before the Commissioners had sent in their Report. Why were the Dutch farmers to go and settle on the land in dispute? It was most important to Cetewayo not to allow them to settle there, and thus attempt to establish any rights. Sir Henry Bulwer continued— We must not forget, if the action of the Zulus has of late been of an aggressive character, that it is aggression by those who hold themselves to be the aggrieved, and that it has been in vindication of Zulu rights suffering injury from alleged Transvaal aggression. Surely they might set the calm and well considered judgment of Sir Henry Bulwer thoughout the case against the highly-coloured and exaggerated statements and views of Sir Bartle Frere. In July, 1877, there was the raid—as it is called—by Sirayo's sons upon British territory, and the carrying off of two Native women, upon the character of which raid, and the importance to be attached to it, he (Sir Henry Holland) would make some comments later on. Again, in October, 1877, two more outrages were reported. First, the seizure and detention, for two or three hours, of Messrs. Smith and Dighton; and, secondly, the proceedings in the territory north of the Pongolo, to both of which he would refer hereafter. No doubt, again, about that time, Cetewayo was collecting his troops. What was the reason for this? In his despatch of October 6, Sir Bartle Frere admitted that the movement of troops in Natal caused great anxiety to Cetewayo; and in this he was confirmed by Sir Henry Bulwer, who, several times, deprecated that movement as likely to cause Cetewayo to suspect the honesty and justice of our proceedings. This was also confirmed by Mr. Dunn, who had lived in Zululand, and knew every thought and turn in Cetewayo's mind; by Sir Theophilus Shepstone; and by one important witness, the Induna Uhamu, who, in November, 1878, when sending a friendly message to the English, desired the messenger to say— That Cetewayo had not called his people together to commence war, but only to put everything in order to be prepared to resist the Government Forces when they came to invade his country, because he is afraid, seeing so many troops approaching his country from all sides. Now, if Cetewayo had said that, it might have been urged that it was all nonsense, and an attempt to throw dust in our eyes. But it was made known to Sir Bartle Frere, in November, 1878, by a powerful Chief disaffected to Cetewayo and friendly to the English. That brought us down to the month of November, when Sir Bartle Frere had made up his mind to send the Ultimatum—in other words, to go to war. Now, if the summary, which he had laid before the House, was correct—and he was satisfied that the closer the examination of the Papers the more would its correctness appear—it showed that Sir Bartle Frere had laid far too much stress on the single message of November, 1876, and had not given sufficient consideration to the acts and conduct of Cetewayo since that date; that there was no danger of immediate invasion; that Sir Bartle Frere had over-coloured the state of things; and that he had far too hastily assumed that there was no chance of coming to terms with the Zulus. And the grounds which he had put forward in defence of his action failed him when fairly considered. He would just state the different grounds put forward by Sir Bartle Frere for sending the Ultimatum. Take first the raid on British territory by Sirayo's sons. No doubt, it was a serious outrage; but it had not been previously sanctioned by Cetewayo; it was not in the nature of an organized attack; it was not likely to be repeated, and it was not in any way an act of hostility to the English; a semi-apology had been given, and compensation had been sent. True, it was only £50; but that sum probably appeared to a Zulu King to be a more substantial sum than it did to the Natal Government. And, lastly, it could in all probability have been peaceably settled, had not the demand for a settlement been coupled with a demand for the extinction of the Zulu Government. Now, the point with regard to the threats to the farmers had already been disposed of, as he had pointed out, by the explanation of Sir Henry Bulwer. There was exaggeration and misconception as to these proceedings. The Zulus feared that the Boers were prejudging the award, and they took action to maintain their rights. The claim, afterwards made by Sir Bartle Frere—that the occupation rights of these settlers should be allowed by the Zulus—afforded, in truth, strong ground of justification for these proceedings. Take, again, the state of things in the territory north of the Pongolo. That was also explained by Sir Henry Bulwer, in Blue Book 2242, page 88, where he said— Then, across the Pongolo, there is another question arising out of the conflicting claims between the late Government of the Republic and the Zulus as to the relations in which they respectively stood towards the Amaswazi; and, whatever the merits on either side may be, it is certain that the claim of the Zulus dates many years back, whilst those of the Transvaal Government are comparatively recent… With regard to this matter also, it is not a question now first raised by the Zulus; it is one the existence of which was recognized by Her Majesty's Government before the annexation. The proceedings involved no threat or danger to Natal, and were no proof of hostility to the British Government. As to the attack on Messrs. Smith and Dighton, he was astonished to find Sir Bartle Frere attaching any importance to it. Both Sir Henry Bulwer and the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary agreed in thinking it a very slight matter; and he would, therefore, not condescend to notice it any further. But it was urged by Sir Bartle Frere that Cetewayo was getting up a combination of Natives against the White men. Of that there certainly appeared to be no direct evidence, and he thought Sir Bartle Frere had lent too ready credence to reports. Sir Henry Bulwer, as late as June, 1878, disputed the fact, and in his despatch of 12th June he said— So far as I can offer an opinion to your Excellency upon this point, I would say that hitherto there has been nothing to show that what has taken place in different parts of the country are portions of any general combination movement or understanding among the Natives. … To some extent, whatever is passing in one part of the country, and with one tribe, will affect other tribes in other parts, perhaps unsettling or exciting them, perhaps only interesting them. But there has been nothing as yet to show that what has taken place up to this has arisen from or has been a part of any general combination or movement. There could be but little doubt that Sir Bartle Frere, in his heated imagination, had conjured up that combination of Cetewayo and the Native troops against the Whites. Lastly, there was the fact of the collection of armed Zulus not far from the Frontier; and that, in truth, appeared to be the only ground for fearing invasion or direct danger to the Colony of Natal. But first, Sir Henry Bulwer, in a despatch of September 30, 1878, said— The maintenance of a standing and well-organized Army 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. He goes on to admit, as we all must admit, that this consideration did not remove the cause of danger that a large standing Army in a savage nation must always be to its neighbours. And, secondly, it was clear, as he (Sir Henry Holland) had before pointed out, that the regiments were collected for the purpose of defence, not for attack. Cetewayo and his Chiefs firmly believed that they were to be attacked by the English. It was then not only natural, but laudable, that they should unite to defend their country. On such a question as this, the same standard applied to Zulus as to Englishmen. They loved their country as much as we did ours. Should we not have rallied round our Sovereign to defend our Borders if threatened? Let us be just to the bravery and patriotism of the Zulus, although they were opposed to us. It could not be doubted that Cetewayo and his Chiefs feared invasion. Why, therefore, should they not have collected their Forces? Had they not done so they would have been unworthy the name of patriots. Moreover, was there not good reason to hope that, if the award had been sent alone, Cetewayo would have disbanded the troops? He did so in 1877 after the Transvaal was annexed, and when he was thus freed from the fear of the Dutch; and he (Sir Henry Holland) thought it more than probable that he would have immediately disbanded his Forces when he was freed from the fear of any attack on the part of the English, and when he saw that they desired to act justly by him. We had seen the effect produced on him by the mere offer of arbitration—would not the actual award, and the handing back to him of territory wrongfully taken from him, have pacified him? Sir Bartle Frere admitted in one of his despatches that Sir Henry Bulwer, and many persons of experience in Natal, hoped that such a proof of our desire to do impartial justice would satisfy the Zulus. Again, Sir Bartle Frere dwelt far too much on the bloodthirstiness of Cetewayo, and his desire to "wash his spears." But, first, it was not against us that he desired to wash them. As the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) pointed out, if Cetewayo wanted to wash his spears in our blood, he would hardly have asked our permission to do so. And, further, if he was so intent upon attacking us, why did he not do so during the Transkei War, or on some other of the "favourable opportunities" to which Sir Bartle Frere refers in one despatch, and when the Colony was denuded of troops? Sir Bartle Frere had a most extraordinary way of accounting for that fact. He said it was owing to the "half-hearted-ness of a suspicious barbarian despot." But if Cetewayo was half-hearted in 1877, and if he feared to attack then, when the Colony was denuded of troops, why should he have become wholehearted in 1878, when the Colony swarmed with troops? Was he more whole-hearted because, as clearly shown by the Papers, his Chiefs had become more disaffected? Suspicious he was at the end of 1877; but would not his suspicions have been put to rest if he had been dealt with fairly, and if he had seen that we desired to do justice, and not to attack either his land or himself? He (Sir Henry Holland) contended that there was nothing to justify the precipitate action of Sir Bartle Frere. It was possible that war might have been avoided altogether by tact and judgment, and it would seem that Her Majesty's Government were of that opinion; but whether it could or could not was not the question before the House—which was whether Sir Bartle Frere was justified in forcing an immediate war upon the Zulus, and also whether our confidence in him must not be shaken when we considered the grounds he had put forward for such immediate action? There existed also other reasons why, in his (Sir Henry Holland's) judgment, confidence in him must be shaken, and he desired to point them out to the House as briefly as possible. He asked the House, in the first place, to consider the impolicy and unfairness of coupling the Ultimatum with the award. What was our position in 1878? The Transvaal had been annexed, and as it had been said, and as it would be said during the debate, that that annexation had led to the mischief, and as he (Sir Henry Holland) had supported the annexation, he begged to be allowed to interpose a few words on that point. We annexed the Transvaal because, in spite of repeated remonstrances, the Boers persisted in aggressions on the Zulus, which led to collisions of a serious nature; and as the Boers were at that time utterly bankrupt and insolvent, and had been beaten in action by the Natives, there was every danger of the latter feeling that they were getting the better of the White man. If this feeling spread, there was great danger to the peace of Natal. But, having annexed the Transvaal, our first duty was to hand back any land which had been improperly taken; and if Sir Bartle Frere had done this in a friendly and just manner, the annexation of the Transvaal would have been a step towards peace and safety. He had failed to do that; but for his conduct those who advocated the annexation were not responsible. Well, the offer of arbitration had been thankfully received by Cetewayo in December, 1877. In October and November, 1878, the King and his Chiefs were in great alarm of invasion, and troubled at not hearing anything of the award and final settlement of the question of disputed territory. The Zulus were doubtless disturbed by the "law's delay," for, unlike us, they were not accustomed to it, and they believed we had held out to them false hopes. It was clear that there existed about that time an important party amongst the Zulu Chiefs who, together with a great number of the people, were disaffected towards Cetewayo, and our first object should have been to endeavour to secure those people upon our side. Had we presented the award and allowed it to be fully understood by them that we intended to do justice, we should have secured them. It was only necessary to convince them of our justice, and that we neither intended to attack them nor encroach upon their territory. The award should have been sent, as Sir Henry Bulwer advised, with a friendly explanation; time should have been given for the Chiefs and people to understand the purport of it; it should have been allowed to sink into their hearts. It might have pacified Cetewayo, looking to his past conduct; but it certainly would have enlisted the Chiefs and many of the people on our side. But that chance had been thrown away by Sir Bartle Frere, most improperly and unjustly. He offered, with one hand, to give up land wrongfully taken, and with the other he presented conditions requiring the extinction of the existing Zulu Government. So that the message of peace was coupled with a message of war; and Sir Bartle Frere, instead of pacifying the Zulus, had brought about what Sir Henry Bulwer prophesied—that, if attacked, the Zulus would, in defence of Zulu soil, rally round their King to a man. Sir Henry Bulwer wrote strongly against coupling the award with the Ultimatum. It was true that finally, when he saw his superior officer determined on war, he expressed concurrence in the necessity of imposing some terms on Cetewayo and in the general terms of an ultimatum; but his despatch was guarded in several passages by such phrases as "it is considered," "it is said," and he did not anywhere, that he (Sir Henry Holland) could find, express any belief that it was necessary or urgent to send in such conditions, or, indeed, any conditions, without first consulting Her Majesty's Government at home. Again, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, as late as November, 1878, while agreeing to the terms of the Ultimatum, declined to offer any opinion as to the form which the communication should take, or the time at which it should be delivered. Sir Bartle Frere, in his despatch of December, 1878, admits that there was a considerable party in Natal and at the Cape Strong in numbers and intellectual powers, strongly opposed to coercion being employed in order to enforce compliance with our terms on Cetewayo. So much for the impolicy of coupling the Ultimatum with the award. But further, this mode of proceeding was unfair to the Zulu King. It was right to make demand for reparation for the outrage committed by Sirayo on British soil; and 20 days were given to make reparation for this and for the other outrages. But how could Sir Bartle Frere expect reparation to be made when, at the same time, the King was called upon, within 10 days more, to assent to the extinction of the system of Zulu Government? It was noteworthy, also, in connection with the question of time, to observe that Sir Bartle Frere only extended the time at Sir Henry Bulwer's suggestion. It would hardly be believed that a Colonial Governor could call upon the King of a neighbouring country to assent in 15 days to the destruction of the existing system of his Government and to the disbanding of his Army. The 15 days were extended to 20 for the outrages, and to 30 for the extinction of the King's Government. The House would do well to mark the undue proportion of time allotted for the replies. Only 10 days more granted for re-modelling the Constitution of the country beyond the 20 granted in respect of those trifling outrages! He must beg the House, in the second place, to consider the conduct of Sir Bartle Frere with reference to the award itself. He had, from the first, done his best to whittle down the award—from the first he cavilled at the Report of the Commissioners. He found fault with the reception of some evidence, and with the rejection of other evidence and documents. The hon. and learned Member for Cambridge (Mr. Marten) had defended this conduct of Sir Bartle Frere; but he forgot to observe that the First Commissioner was not a military man, who however skilled in defining a boundary would not be skilled in legal technicalities, but an experienced barrister—the Attorney General of the Colony of Natal. However, Sir Bartle Frere argued against his decision with as much vehemence, if not with so much knowledge of the law, as the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cambridge. Again, Sir Bartle Frere took up another extraordinary position with regard to the award. He proposed to hand over the Sovereignty of the land to the Zulus, but to deprive them of the occupation. He insisted on Cetewayo acknowledging the rights of the farmers who had settled on the land when it was wrongfully held by the Transvaal Government. He treated the question—and he (Sir Henry Holland) was astonished to hear the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge do the same—as if it were a question of cession of territory; as if the rights of the farmers had been acquired from persons legally entitled to grant such rights. Sir Bartle Frere spoke of the Sovereignty of the Transvaal; but the Transvaal Government never had any Sovereignty there. They were simply wrong-doers. If the farmers had any claims at all, they were against the Imperial Government or the Government of the Transvaal. But Sir Bartle Frere assumed that they had rights against the Zulus. Was there ever a more monstrous proposition than that practically advanced by the Governor? It amounted to this—"A man comes and, despite my protests, squats upon a field which has been temporarily taken from me by a wrong-doer. The law decides that the field is mine and always was mine, and yet I am called upon to admit the right of the squatter to continue his occupation." Those facts, and many others with which he could not venture to trouble the House, whose indulgence he had already tried too long, showed, to his mind, a determination on the part of Sir Bartle Frere to force on a war and to subdue Cetewayo. What had influenced him in that course? It was very important to inquire into this, as showing what would be likely to influence him if he remained in the Colony. He believed the state of the case to be as follows—First, that Sir Bartle Frere had a strong desire to secure the object—a very proper object—for which he was sent out as Governor—namely, the Confederation of the States of South Africa. He knew full well that this could not be secured until the Native questions were settled. The Cape Colonists would never consent to confederate with Natal till the Zulus were subjugated: And, secondly, he had a keen desire to propitiate the Dutch malcontents in the Transvaal and to put an end to our troubles there. Many passages in his despatches showed how deeply this influenced him. In support of this view, it was sufficient to cite from one despatch of November 5, 1878— But even if there were any hopes of real peace by deferring a settlement with the Zulus, it is quite impossible to hope for a solution of our difficulties in the Transvaal, till the people of that country are assured that we have some better reason for abstaining from coercing the Zulus than a sense of our inferiority and weakness. This feeling accounted for his determination to protect the occupation of the Dutch settlers in the disputed territory to which he (Sir Henry Holland) had already referred, and for the gallant but illegal defence of the farmers, whose views he had adopted in all his dealings with the Zulu people. Thirdly, he seemed to have given a too ready credence to the stories of the Norwegian missionaries, who had said to him that— Nothing less than the disarming of the Zulus—the breaking up of their military organization, and the appointment of a Resident, will, in our opinion, settle the Zulu question satisfactorily. That was the first mention to be found in the Papers of those definite points; and it was very curious to note that from that time the phrases "disarmament of the Zulus," "breaking up their military organization," and "appointment of Residents" were constantly employed by Sir Bartle Frere, who seemed to have yielded a little too much to the language as well as to the opinions of the missionaries. It was admitted by the Government that Sir Bartle Frere had exceeded his powers and plunged the country into war without authority and with undue precipitation. Nevertheless, they still retained him in the position of Governor. He (Sir Henry Holland) saw in that concession to Sir Bartle Frere difficulty in the future and danger in the present. Difficulty in the future, because a precedent had been created which it would be hard to get over. For how could any Governor be recalled, if we allowed to remain in office a man whose conduct had been such as to deserve the severest censure ever passed on a Colonial Governor? No graver offence could be committed by a Governor than that committed by Sir Bartle Frere, in assuming the Prerogative of the Crown and declaring war without authority. Therefore, he asked, how could a Governor at a future time be recalled for a less offence, though his proceedings were injurious to the interests of the Colony over which he presided, and were opposed to the policy of the Home Government? And he (Sir Henry Holland) saw danger in the present, because, if he read the Papers aright, Sir Bartle Frere had failed to show that calm and dispassionate judgment which alone could carry us through these troubled waters. On the contrary, he had shown a partizanship, a haste and determination to go to war, which certainly did not qualify him to be the negotiator of peace. Moreover, his influence in the Colony must be materially diminished by the heavy censure passed upon him by the Government, despite all the excuses put forward by them on his behalf. How could the Colonists and others place confidence in one whom the Government had tied down so carefully—whose judgment they evidently mistrusted, though they gave him a chance to regain his position? One could not help reading between the lines of the last despatches of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and seeing that, although the Government expressed confidence that Sir Bartle Frere would not hit anyone else, they took good care to tie his hands. To conclude, he (Sir Henry Holland) deeply regretted the course taken by Her Majesty's Government. This country prided herself, and justly, upon her Colonies spread all over the world, and upon her government of those Colonies. She prided herself, and he thought justly, upon her treatment and management of the vast number of Natives within her possessions, and upon her relations with Native Tribes outside those possessions. That proud position she had attained by dealing out evenhanded justice to all alike, of whatever colour, of whatever creed. If she failed to do this, if she swerved from the path she had marked out for herself, she must so far forfeit her proud position and diminish her influence and power of doing good. We must, therefore, view with jealousy any proceeding which tended to cast a doubt upon her honesty of purpose and love of justice. We must view with jealousy any attempt to palliate and soften down, even out of regard to the individual, any high-handed and arbitrary act of injustice, such as he (Sir Henry Holland) believed to have been committed by Sir Bartle Frere. For these reasons, he should have desired to see Sir Bartle Frere recalled. He had now only to thank the House for their kind indulgence, and again to express his regret at having to oppose Her Majesty's Government in that important case. But it was because it was one of such grave importance, both now and for the future, and because his personal conviction in the matter, whe- ther right or wrong, was so clear, that he felt bound to lay aside all Party feeling, and to support the Resolutions.


* : Sir, what I have heard to-night has altered my opinion, which I formed during the debate last night—an opinion, too, which I think might be formed from a careful perusal of the Papers which have been presented to Parliament—namely, that Her Majesty's Government and the supporters of Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to exhaust in argument and debate all the reasons which they might allege in support of the course which they have seen fit to take in not recalling Sir Bartle Frere. Her Majesty's Government and the supporters of Her Majesty's Government are driven, in opposing the Resolution, to act at once on the offensive and the defensive in relation to Sir Bartle Frere. They are driven to act on the offensive, in so far as they vindicate the censure which has been passed upon him; and to act on the defensive, in so far as they defend what Her Majesty's Government have done in not following up that censure to the logical conclusion which is desired by those who sit on this side of the House. But Her Majesty's Government and the supporters of Her Majesty's Government are driven to assume even a more singular position, in so far as they are obliged to defend a policy on which but very lately they announced their intention to reserve their opinion. We have had some reasons from Her Majesty's Government why they do not recall Sir Bartle Frere. We have been reminded—we were reminded last night, by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach)—that he is an eminent and distinguished public servant, that his career in India has been marked by conspicuous ability and devotion to the Public Service, and we have been reminded that his administration of the Cape Colony has been a most able administration; and I think the impression left upon the House was that Her Majesty's Government can find no one so well fitted to carry on the work which has been commenced in South Africa, and which, whatever may be thought of it, must be brought to some definite conclusion. But I venture to think that there is cogent and material reason why Her Majesty's Government have not recalled Sir Bartle Frere which has not been mentioned. We have heard a great deal about justice in this debate. The word "justice," and the expression "justice to Sir Bartle Frere" have frequently escaped the lips of hon. Members opposite. But has full justice been done to Sir Bartle Frere by Her Majesty's Government? I venture to say that Her Majesty's Government are not in a position to recall Sir Bartle Frere, and for this reason—that by doing so they would be committing an act of great injustice, not because the act would be of itself one of great injustice—I am far from thinking that; but because it would be an act of injustice when committed by Her Majesty's Government. Sir, Her Majesty's Government are responsible for the fact that this war has been commenced, and they cannot escape from that responsibility by casting on the shoulders of a subordinate the whole burden of the blame which in justice they should share. Ever since last autumn—the early part of last autumn—they have received warning after warning that great events and great difficulties were impending in South Africa. But they grasped or grappled with a situation of growing difficulty, and they allowed the country to drift, and at last to be precipitated, into a position and into a war which it is neither in the power of Parliament nor Her Majesty's Government to arrest or to control. But, nevertheless, it is a war which, if they had exercised due vigilance, if they had exercised due caution, they might have arrested weeks and even months before that despatch of the 23rd of January was written, which affirms that Her Majesty's Government, on the 11th of December, were not entirely prepared for the information which they had received. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State told us last night that they had received no information from Sir Bartle Frere previous to the 11th of December which would warrant them in believing that he contemplated an aggressive policy. I beg respectfully, and with all due deference to the right hon. Gentleman, to demur to that statement. On November 1 they received—Her Majesty's Government received—from Sir Bartle Frere a despatch in which there is an express and distinct allusion to a proposed Ulti- matum. The High Commissioner informed the right hon. Gentleman that in the event of adequate reparation not being made for the violation of British territory, which he held had arisen out of the abduction of the refugee women by Sirayo's sons, it would be necessary—these, I believe, are the words of the High Commissioner—"to send to Cetewayo an Ultimatum which would put an end to pacific relations with our neighbours." Surely this was an intimation deserving of some speedy and special notice; but what did Her Majesty's Government do? They waited for three weeks before answering that despatch, and when they did answer it they took no notice whatever of his alarming proposal. The High Commissioner was informed that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to reinforce the Army in South Africa; and yet, while fully aware that the High Commissioner intended to take a step which could result in nothing else but war, which was but the preliminary and forerunner of war, and the prelude not to a defensive but to an offensive war, they contented themselves with informing the High Commissioner that it was not their intention to furnish him with the means of conquest and invasion—an expression which was utterly inadequate to place a veto upon a course designed not for conquest and invasion, but to exact swiftly and surely reparation for an offence, and bring matters quickly to an issue. Well, what followed? Twenty-three days after they received that telegram from the High Commissioner, which was referred to by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), and which informed Her Majesty's Government that diplomacy and patience had absolute limits, six days after they received Lord Chelmsford's October memorandum, and Sir Bartle Frere's despatch of the 28th of October—both containing a distinct allusion to the possibility of the immediate commencement of operations. General Thesiger, in his October memorandum, C. 2220, p. 353, says— Feeling the necessity of a personal inspection of the country and of the roads lying in the vicinity of the Zulu Border, and of judging for myself of the host means of defending it against Zulu attack, or of directing our own columns in the case of an invasion of Zululand becoming necessary, I proceed via Greytown," &c. In Sir Bartle Frere's despatch of the 28th of October, p. 357, he says— The Lieutenant Governor will probably follow this up with a reply to the message about the abduction and murder of the two refugee women, and he will remind Cetewayo of His Excellency's request that the matter should be referred to the Great Council, and ask whether this has been done. And then he goes on to say— It is possible that by these means hostilities may for a short time be delayed; but a final peaceful solution seems to be more hopeless than ever. In paragraph 14 of the same page he says— The unusual drought continues to present a serious impediment to the movement of even very small parties of men, and is, for the moment, a practical obstacle to offensive operations; but a few showers, long since expected at this season, may any day remove this obstacle. Nevertheless, we have it on the authority of this despatch that Her Majesty's Government were not entirely prepared. But why did not Her Majesty's Government act? The case was urgent. The information of the 11th of December was one of the most alarming character. There was not an hour to lose if they wished to avert hostilities. Sir Bartle Frere's despatches deprecated delay. It was evident also that the commencement of hostilities did not depend upon the arrival of the reinforcements. Lord Chelmsford, in his memorandum to the Secretary of State for War, says, page 18— Her Majesty's Forces are at this moment (including, I believe, those of the Transvaal) in the position intended by me to resist attack or to make a further advance if ordered. On page 19 he says— A defensive plan, however, cannot be considered as satisfactory unless there i3 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. It was evident that they would only arrive in time to find hostilities commenced. Why did not Her Majesty's Government telegraph? I ventured to put a Question to the right hon. Gentleman yesterday, and he told the House that he was not in position to reply by telegraph to the telegram received on the 23rd. But he could have replied by telegram on the 12th of December to the despatches received on the 11th. I have taken pains to ascertain the fact that it was possible to have sent a telegram to Sir Bartle Frere, which would have been in his hands on the 5th of January—one day before Colonel Wood's column crossed the Blood River, and six days before the General himself crossed the Frontier. But what was the course taken by Her Majesty's Government? They waited until the 18th of December, and on that day they sent a despatch—and it is remarkable that it was the first despatch which seems to have raised in the mind of the High Commissioner the faintest suspicion that he was acting without authority—which only reached Sir Bartle Frere the day before the fatal 22nd of January, and when it was too late to stop the columns. When I remember these facts, when I remember that Her Majesty's Government allowed precious weeks to be lost, and even months; when I remember that decisive language was never used, and that even in the despatch of the 18th December the threatened invasion was no more directly and unequivocally forbidden than it was directly and expressly sanctioned, I cannot record my vote in favour of the Resolution without expressing at the same time my opinion that in this case Her Majesty's Government have not shown that vigilance or used that caution which the case demanded, and that in censuring Sir Bartle Frere they have endeavoured to put entirely upon his shoulders the burden and the blame which they should have shared. Sir, in this instance, neither Sir Bartle Frere nor Her Majesty's Government have followed a precedent which they should have followed and remembered; and if I may be permitted to do so, I will bring it to the recollection of the House. In 1863 we were involved in a war with Ashantee. That war presents some analogy with the present; but as regards their origin at least there are some important differences, and not the least important difference is this—that the war of 1863 arose not because the Governor of the Gold Coast had seen fit to present an Ultimatum to the King of Ashantee, but, on the contrary, because the King of Ashantee thought the time had come when it was necessary to send an Ultimatum to the Governor of the Gold Coast—that is to say, he demanded that certain of his subjects who had fled from what he was pleased to call justice should be given up to him. And what was the conduct of the Governor? He incurred that responsibility which a Governor must always be ready to incur. He vindicated the honour of the British flag, and refused to surrender those who had once set foot on British soil. His action was sanctioned and approved by the Home Government; yet it involved the Colony in tremendous danger, for we had at that time but a few hundred British soldiers on the Gold Coast, and these, with some thousand indifferently armed and ill-organized Native levies, were all that he had to depend upon in order to defend the Protectorate. But what followed? Remaining always on the defensive, as, indeed, he was bound to do, ever uncertain as to the movements and intentions of the enemy, the Governor was at length obliged to face the difficult question whether the circumstances did not warrant him in carrying the war into the enemy's country. I beg to remind the House how he carried the resolution he arrived at into effect. He applied to the Home Government for assistance; but he did more—he told them exactly what he intended to do with the troops when he had got them. And what was the reply of the Home Government? It will be found in a letter addressed by the direction of the Duke of Newcastle from the Colonial to the War Office. The principle of all military proceedings on the West Coast of Africa should be that of defence and not of aggression. It is upon this principle alone that the Governors are authorized to make war, and no invasion of neighbouring territories can be sanctioned unless it can be shown that it is really a defensive measure, safer, less costly in blood and money, and more likely to be decisive in its results, than waiting for an attack which is being prepared, and which no peaceful measure can ward off without loss of that dignity and position which are essential to our security. Sir, had such decisive language been used in the present instance, we would not now be involved in war, and Her Majesty's Government would have had no occasion to censure Sir Bartle Frere. With the permission of the House, I will return for one moment to the despatch of the 23rd of January. That despatch was written in answer to de- spatches received on the 11th of December, and also in answer to despatches on the 2nd, 10th, and 15th of January. Her Majesty's Government were consequently in possession of full information. They had had ample time to form and pronounce an opinion, and consequently Her Majesty's Government did pronounce an opinion. They expressed in that despatch no censure. They find "powerful arguments" in support of a policy the propriety of which they did not question. But what is the language of the despatch of the 19th of March? When that despatch was written, Her Majesty's Government had received full details of the disaster at Isandlana. It was not written in a moment of triumph, but of humiliation; it was not inspired by the spirit which attends success, but it was dictated under an overwhelming and overpowering sense of failure and national dishonour. Two months had elapsed since the Government were in possession of all the facts and all the arguments. Yet now, for the first time, they express censure, and they reserve their opinion of the policy of Sir Bartle Frere. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea has pointed out that there arises a strong presumption from these facts—the presumption, namely, that Her Majesty's Government had gone within an ace of approving the policy of the High Commissioner, but had left themselves an opening for escape of which they availed themselves after they had received news of the disaster, and after the Resolution of the hon. Baronet had been placed upon the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies said yesterday that the censure which was expressed in the despatch of the 19th of March was grounded solely upon the fact that the High Commissioner had sent an Ultimatum to Cetewayo without the advice of the responsible Advisers of the Crown. But Her Majesty's Government were in possession of that information when the despatch of the 23rd of January was written, and therefore censure should have been expressed in that despatch. Sir, I think there is no one—at least, amongst those who sit on this side of the House—who can entertain the shadow of a doubt that if, on the 7th of February last, instead of hearing that we had suffered a great and terrible defeat, we had heard that that gallant band of men who fought at Isandlana had beaten back the hordes by which they were surrounded, and if we had received intelligence that success had attended our arms in every quarter of the invaded territory, this despatch of the 19th of March would never have been written; but that henceforth it would have been open to Governors and High Commissioners intrusted with great and responsible commands to act upon the dangerous application of the maxim—dangerous, that is to say, when the lives of hundreds of men are at stake—dangerous when the fate of a Colony depends upon the issue— He either fears his fate too much Or his desert is small, Who dares not put it to the touch To win or lose it all. Sir, holding these views regarding the conduct of Her Majesty's Government and the character of these despatches—believing that Her Majesty's Government are in part responsible for the fact that an Ultimatum was sent to Cetewayo—it has appeared to me doubtful how far I could consistently support a Resolution which did not directly convey a Vote of Censure upon Her Majesty's Government. Sir Bartle Frere has been censured by the Government because he sent an Ultimatum to Cetewayo without the approval of the responsible Advisers of the Crown. Now, if there were exceptional reasons to justify the despatch of the Ultimatum, it might, of course, in those circumstances, be possible in some measure to excuse his conduct. But no one in this House can for a moment accept as evidence the arguments which Sir Bartle Frere has offered in his defence. He appeals to the authority of his commission from the Crown, and he defends himself by an appeal to that suprema lex, the law of self-preservation. As Her Majesty's High Commissioner, he had authority to repel an invasion, but he had no permission to invade. Neither can his conduct be upheld on the ground of self-preservation. If there were dangers to the Colony before the disaster of Isandlana, how greatly must not the danger have been increased after that terrible reverse. The position taken up by Sir Bartle Frere had not been justified by the event. It is because I think it of vital importance that Parliament should guard more carefully than the Govern- ment have guarded that Prerogative of the Crown which relates to the declaring war and making peace, and because it is essential that an emphatic protest should be made against the establishment of a precedent which would render the country never safe or secure from the danger of sudden and distant wars, that I shall vote for the Resolution of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea.


Sir, I do not think it is incumbent on me, or that it would be convenient to the House, that I should refer in detail to the points of Colonial policy which have influenced the action of the Government in the course of the proceedings which have formed the subject of this debate. It is all the more necessary for me to do so, after the full explanation which has been made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies. He has shown, it seems to me conclusively, the reasons why the House would not be justified in accepting the Resolution before us. But, although I do not propose to traverse the ground he occupied, it will be my duty, before passing to that which is my province in dealing with the Resolution of the hon. Baronet and the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire, to touch upon one or two points, in order to correct some mis-statements which have been, of course, unintentionally, made. The hon. Baronet made a statement to the effect that Sir Bartle Frere had found the Colony in a state of peace, and that it became, under his High Commissionership, in a state of war. But it is hardly necessary to refer to the Papers to show that that view of the case is erroneous, and that, so far from South Africa being in a state of peace, there was an apprehension of grave danger in many directions. In 1876, Sir Henry Barkly reports that there were troubles in Griqualand West, and again, in the same year, he reports the commencement of troubles in the Transvaal with Secocœni, and he at that time suspected there was an understanding between that Chief and Cetewayo. In July, again, of that year, Sir Henry Barkly reports the commencement of the war between Secocoeni and the Transvaal, and he reports that danger threatened Griqualand West, and that it may become necessary for our Government to intervene. In the same month he reports that there was a rumour that Cetewayo was endeavouring to bring about a combination of the Tribes, and that there was even then an understanding between the Zulus and the Basutos. Again, in September, Sir Henry Bulwer reports that Cetewayo was preparing war, and sounding his way towards effecting a Native rising against the White men. I do not wish to cite the authorities at length; but I cannot help referring to them in contravention of what has been stated by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, that Sir Bartle Frere succeeded to a Colony in a state of peace and left it in a state of war. I now pass on to the military Papers, which is the portion of the case with which I am specially connected; and I may here say I have placed upon the Table all those which have reference to the present war. I think that the first mention, so far as military considerations are concerned, of those circumstances to which I need allude is contained in Despatch No. 2, in which Lord Chelmsford, writing from Pietermaritzburg on August 23, speaks of various movements of troops; but this has reference merely to the disturbed state of Secocoeni's country; and Lord Chelmsford adds that he is unable to say that active operations against the Zulus were necessary, the general impression in the Colony appearing to be in favour of that opinion. The next of the military Papers is dated September 14, and in it the High Commissioner states that he has received a despatch from Lord Chelmsford, in which he points out that his views as to military requirements in the event of hostilities with the Zulus were that he should have a certain number of special-duty officers and the support of two regiments of Infantry, and that the presence of Cavalry would be of immense importance. That is the first point to which I desire to call attention; but, inasmuch as the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure) has alleged that the war was undertaken with insufficient Forces, and has laid some stress on the want of cavalry, it is as well that I should refer to the Correspondence that has passed with regard to those subjects. I have carefully examined the sketch which General Thesiger at that time had framed with a view to possible hostilities, and I carefully examined every Paper, however indirectly bearing upon this question, and I am utterly unable to find that any reference was made to the necessity of having more Cavalry sent out. I should like to refer to a statement of Colonel Pearson which appears in one of the most recent Blue Books, in which, after he has had experience of the campaign, he points out with great force the reasons why he does not think that Cavalry should accompany his column. He says, as regards the composition of the Force, mounted men would be of immense value, yet, considering the large amount of forage that would have to be conveyed and the consequent increase in the amount of transport that would be required, it would be better that it should not form part of the column. Then, attention has been drawn to the memorandum commencing "In the event of the invasion of Zululand being decided upon." All I can say in reference to the memorandum is that, the Frontier being at that time in a somewhat disturbed state, the General Officer proceeded to the Frontier to examine the lines of defence, and, as he has said more than once, he undoubtedly felt it to be his duty to consider the possibility of defensive operations being turned into offensive ones. There is no question that, had he omitted to do so, he would have been guilty of a positive act of neglect, and he would, in the event of war breaking out, have found himself in the position of the French when, at the outbreak of the Franco-German War, they had maps of the enemy's country, but none of their own. The paper he prepared, however, was nothing more than a military sketch, setting forth the number of troops that would be required in the event of hostilities, and the manner in which they could best be utilized. I will pass over the Correspondence in which Lord Chelmsford points to the difficulties he found himself in with regard to transport, and will come to the time when, the Frontier becoming more and more disturbed, we were originally pressed by the Government at the Cape to send out further re-inforcements. We have been blamed for sending out inadequate reinforcements, and on this point I should wish to refer to the despatch which was received by us on the 1st of November, in which Lord Chelmsford expresses what he thought were the real require- merits for the military defence of the Colony. It is true that before that time we had received information from the Government at the Cape that reinforcements might be desirable; but we had not thought it consistent with our duty to send them, because we were anxious to avoid doing any act that could in the remotest degree be regarded as indicating that we were desirous of plunging the country into war. On the 18th of October I forwarded a telegram to General Thesiger, informing him that it was not our intention at that time to send out more troops, but that we would send out the special-service officers, in order to remedy the defects in the transport; and, although not placing any actual restriction upon him, we requested him to keep down the expense of the transport as much as possible. A further application for more troops was replied to by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies on the 21st of November, and by myself on the 25th of November. At that time my right hon. Friend and myself were in possession of further information that led us to believe that not only for offensive operations, but for the actual defence of the Colony, it would be necessary to send out additional troops. To show how groundless are the complaints which have been made as to the inadequacy of the additional Forces sent out, I will cite a passage from the memorandum which Lord Chelmsford sent to us, and will show how the requirements set forth in that memorandum were complied with. On the 29th of September Lord Chelmsford writes that the possibility of resisting a sudden raid in Natal appeared to him to be almost hopeless, and that he was afraid that this fact must be well known to the Zulus, and that the danger then to Natal appeared very great, through the encroachments and claims which had been made by Cetewayo. Now I call attention to this memorandum, because I think it shows conclusively the reason for which forces were sent out by Her Majesty's Government. It shows that, however tardily, in the opinion of some persons, they fully complied with Lord Chelmsford's request. Lord Chelmsford, in the conclusion of the memorandum, says he considers that for defensive purposes alone the Natal and Transvaal Colonies require three battalions of Infantry, in addition to what they have already got. The requirements of Lord Chelmsford were met by Her Majesty's Government in the reinforcements they sent out on the 6th of November.


The Secretary of State for War would leave it to be inferred that the whole of the regiments were sent from England. Two battalions only were sent from England, and the third was taken from the Cape Colony, that Colony being denuded of all excepting Colonial levies.


I am quite willing to make the matter more clear; but if the hon. and gallant Member will read the despatch, he will see that this is how Lord Chelmsford suggested the troops should be sent. The hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure) says we hesitated to send out a further reinforcement of troops, because we were then wholly occupied by the Afghan War. I do not know that we were fully occupied with that war, though while it was going on I think I should have been unworthy of the position I hold, if my attention had not been directed to the reinforcements which might be required there. I do not wish to shelter myself even under the supposition that because Lord Chelmsford did not ask for more troops, therefore we did not give him more. Lord Chelmsford was an able soldier, who had served in India, who could see what was going on in other places, and what demands were likely to be made upon our troops by these contingencies of war. He, therefore, as a chivalrous Commander, asked for as little aid as he could. On the 25th of November, 1,940 of Infantry, and 240 Engineers were sent to the Cape, which we considered a strong reinforcement. It was the duty of the Secretary of State to impress upon Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford that, in supplying these reinforcements, it was the desire of Her Majesty's Government not to furnish troops for a campaign of invasion, but for the protection of the lives and property of the Colony. That, I think, explains clearly the position of affairs up to that date. Meantime, the state of the Frontier was gradually getting worse. Outrages had occurred, and the presence of the Zulu Army upon the Frontier was becoming more and more in the opinion, I believe, of almost all men, a standing menace to the prosperity and to the peace of the Colony. The mobilization of Cetewayo's Army was continually taking place under the pretext of hunting parties; but the men bore their shields, and there is evidence over and over again that the attitude under which the Zulu troops were mustered really meant war. I confess I find it difficult to reconcile the argument of last night, that we were blameable for not sending out sufficient reinforcements, with the statement that the Zulu Army was no menace whatever to our Frontier. As a matter of fact, we have sent out troops to the full number that we were asked for. The hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire said that despatch after despatch came from Lord Chelmsford, but they were never attended to; and he said, further, that absolutely no answer was made to the requisition from Lord Chelmsford until we were awoke by the disaster of Isandlana. With regard to that I shall have a few words to say presently; but where there is no telegraphic communication there is always a risk of error, of being at cross-purposes. It has been said that the Forces were considered as insufficient. I do not at this moment intend to go into that; but I will quote the words of Sir Bartle Frere in one of his latest despatches. He says that although a larger Force would lessen the chance of successful opposition, there was no reason to suppose that the Force at their disposal was too small for the task attempted; and then he gives the opinions of those who were most intimately acquainted with the Zulus and Zululand, the effect of it being that the military power of the Zulus was over-estimated, and that after an action or two the military system of the Zulus would collapse. There is always the possibility in these things of taking too sanguine a view. It is perfectly possible that even those best acquainted with the country, those upon whose opinion we have the best reason to rely, traders and others, might have formed in their ordinary dealings with the Zulus an insufficient estimate of the warlike character of that nation. What we have seen shows them to be a people of courage, remarkable not only among Black races, but among any race. Their agility, their fearlessness of death, and the manner in which, as one despatch points out, they advanced over their dead, mowed down, show that they are a military force worthy of opposition to our own troops. At the same time, the Force sent out was held by those most conversant with it to be sufficient for the operations in the field; and I must point also to this fact—that although one disaster has occurred, the recollection of which it will be difficult to efface from our military annals, that is the one and sole occasion on which, under any circumstances, our troops have been worsted. In all other actions the Zulus have retired even before a comparatively small Force. Some stress was laid upon the fact that the officers and men did not speak the same language; but in this connection, I hope the House will allow me to refer to a few words in the despatch in The Gazette, which will be in the hands of hon. Members to-morrow. In this despatch Lord Chelmsford refers to officers specially under Colonel Wood, and shows that the fact that they could not speak Zulu did not destroy their efficiency. It is clear, therefore, that this difficulty is disposed of; and I may refer to my gallant Friend, Lord Giffard, who won his Victoria Cross at the head of Natives who followed him in all directions, although they hardly knew a word of the command. Then there is another important factor which I must refer to in the composition of our Forces. I hope I may not be supposed to be trenching upon that feeling to which an hon. Gentleman on the other side lately contributed a classical name, when I refer to that feeling—the feeling which leads one to believe in the power of the White race. Even in the gloomiest times, that has been the bright side to which we could always turn with honour and with satisfaction. I will cite three cases which have come to my knowledge within the last few days. They seem to exemplify particularly that courage on which even small numbers may rely, and which has often made up for disparity of numbers. A short time ago I saw an account, not meant exclusively for my own eye, describing how a paymaster in charge of certain remittances passed through a hostile country from one column to another, escorted only by two Natives. Nevertheless, he proceeded without doubt and without demur, not hesitating in the slightest degree in his duty, although it was obvious that from the first his life was exposed to many risks. There came an alarm, and the two Natives thought discretion was the better part of valour. I am given to understand that, notwithstanding this, the paymaster went on alone; and although his journey was one of many miles, and he had to swim across two rivers and to pass through a bush which was infested with hostile troops, he persevered in his duty and carried on the supplies to the column. I will take another case, the facts of which can be vouched for by more than one person. In the fatal disaster at Isandlana two pathetic sights were seen. A blue-jacket, the servant of Lieutenant Milne, of the Navy, who was fighting against any odds, got his back to a waggon and kept off his opponents, laughing the whole time as if he were making a joke of the matter. I am sorry to say that that gallant man met with the common fate. In another case I heard of similar bravery being shown by a drummer-boy. In the action he was overpowered, and his last act was to thrust his sword into the face of one of his opponents. I do not wish to enter into these subjects in order to excite emotion; but these are no unimportant factors on which Lord Chelmsford could rely when he felt that men such as he commanded were good against odds which at other times might be overpowering. Now, Sir, I come to that which is to me a most painful and unpleasant duty, but which is no less on that account a duty to be discharged. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), in the course of his speech to-night, entered first into a discussion of the general policy of the Government; then he proceeded to challenge the military policy of the Government, although the latter policy might have been discussed at a more fitting opportunity on the Motion of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Jenkins). However, the right hon. Gentleman has thought it his duty to enter to-night upon a criticism, of which I do not complain in regard to its effect upon the Government, though I think it scarcely found an echo in the feelings of this House. But when he spoke of our military system as being unsound, I felt that if the right hon. Gentleman chooses to formulate a Motion on the subject at any future time, I should be glad to meet him upon that ground. He spoke of the position and the military policy; but he went on to denounce at a time like this the General Officer in command of the Forces, and all the officers in language such as I have seldom heard in this House, and which appeared to me to be more worthy of a meeting of the Commune than of the British House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman cried for vengeance and military execution, whether on Sir Bartle Frere or Lord Chelmsford, and demanded such a hecatomb of victims as would hardly be equalled or surpassed even by those of which we have heard in connection with Cetewayo. But when he went on to say, with regard to this disaster at Isandula, that the blood of the men who died there was on the head of the General in command, I heard those expressions with surprise—I had almost used a stronger word—and I must ask the leave of the House for a few moments to touch upon that point, which otherwise I should not have approached. It is true, Sir, that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Westminster (Sir Charles Russell), than whom no man in this House is bettor qualified to speak of such matters, did not allow a moment to elapse after the fame of a brother-officer had been thus impugned, but gave an emphatic denial to the assertion, and protested against it. I believe my hon. and gallant Friend conclusively showed, in the opinion of the House, that the disaster was in no way attributable to Lord Chelmsford in the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to fix it. I do not know whether it is necessary for me to turn to details which have been before the world. We have not hesitated, even in the darkest hour, to place the fullest information before the public, and to let them see exactly what has passed, whether it was good or whether it was evil. I have therefore but little to add, except that, though I speak with a feeling of natural reserve upon the subject, I am bound to go one step further than my noble Friend, Lord Chelmsford, and to say that, though the Court of Inquiry pronounced no opinion, and that he himself did not think it necessary to pronounce any opinion, nevertheless the circumstances were pretty clear that it was, to use the mildest term, owing to a neglect of his orders that the unfortunate disaster occurred. I wish to refer for a moment to the opinion given before the Court of Inquiry by the military secretary of Lord Chelmsford, who had been the means of sending the orders to the camp. He states that it never for one moment occurred to him that the Force left at the camp could have been insufficient for the purpose of defence. Some stress has been laid upon the fact that the camp had not been intrenched and the waggons not drawn up in laager; and though, for obvious reasons, we shall never know the whole truth as to the cause of the disaster, still I think it is perfectly evident that, whatever may be said, it was not to be expected that the course suggested should be followed by a Force in process of moving, and which, from the very rapidity of the attack, was prevented from assuming a proper position of defence. I pass on to another point, on which I am bound to defend my noble Friend, Lord Chelmsford. He was accused of having, after this disaster, after his return from the camp—and the accusation was spoken in no measured terms—of neglect of duty in having left the camp before daylight not sure whether his men were alive or dead. I am sorry to say that the fact shows that Lord Chelmsford knew only too well the customs of Zulu warfare; for it is an undoubted fact, established by the evidence of a deserter, as well as by corroborative testimony, that none were spared, and that there were no wounded left on the ground. Therefore, it was Lord Chelmsford's duty, as has been pointed out, to pass on to the defence of Rorke's Drift, and we know that he just arrived in time, and in no slight degree contributed to the ultimate defence of that post. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that Lord Chelmsford was the first General whom he had ever heard of as being complimented upon a bloody defeat. I need hardly point out to the House what an abuse of language that is. I did not expect that such an attack would have been made, and I hope that, as in "another place," hon. Gentlemen would have been content to attack the policy of the Government, and would have left the personal question out of sight. Therefore, I have not with me the telegram to which reference has been made, and which I must, therefore, quote from recollection. But I remember it well enough to say that it contained no compliments upon a bloody defeat; but contained only an expression, if I may so, a womanly expression of sympathy with those who were in sorrow and suffering and of confidence in the bravery of officers and men. Something has been attempted to be made of a discrepancy of language between myself and my noble Friend in "another place" in an explanation given. Whether my noble Friend stated that the telegram was sent with the knowledge or with the concurrence of the Government I do not know; but I have never disavowed the sending of the telegram, and in similar circumstances I would send it again. The right hon. Gentleman has not thought it unfitting at this moment, when so much depends upon the feeling of confidence between the officers and men, and between the officers and the General in Command—he has not thought it unworthy of himself to abuse the great powers of his oratory to discredit, I would have almost said to blacken, Lord Chelmsford in the eyes of the world. He has spoken of Lord Chelmsford in terms to which I have already referred, and he has spoken of him in connection with the late despatch as a General who had no confidence in himself; but I venture to say, with regard to that despatch, that the right hon. Baronet has endeavoured to attribute to the words a meaning wholly foreign to them. It is very easy for us here to frame our words with care; but allowance must be made for one who had undergone such a strain of anxiety and such sorrow in seeing so many friends swept away from his side, and who was not only exposed to considerable hardships, but in great vicissitudes, and, therefore, had scarcely much leisure to write. Though I admit that it might bear the interpretation put upon it, yet I read that despatch of the 9th of February in a wholly different light. Lord Chelmsford lays before me his opinion that he thinks it desirable, in the view of further contingencies, to send out an officer of rank to South Africa without delay. He points out, further, that Sir Bartle Frere concurs in the recommendation that the officer should be competent to succeed him in the office as High Commissioner. I read that, not as has been attempted to be represented, as the statement of a man wanting confidence in himself, and therefore likely to lose the confidence of others; but I look upon it as the calm and dispassionate utterance of a brave man, knowing that he was running daily risks, not afraid of looking death in the face, and anxious only to place before us the contingencies he thought might possibly occur, and thus give the earliest warning in order that provision might be made. The House is fully aware of the provision that has been made to meet these requirements. I have defended Lord Chelmsford, but I have not gone into details as I otherwise might have attempted to do; but I have felt it incumbent upon me, both from my present position and from other causes, to endeavour to vindicate, as far as possible, the character of an officer whose reputation I believe has thus been unduly aspersed. I have endeavoured to give my contradiction to that aspersion. It is not only because I can speak of a friendship of over 25 years' duration—a friendship I was never more proud of than at the present moment; not only because I can refer to Lord Chelmsford's brilliant services in the Crimea, in India, in Abyssinia, in almost every part of the world where of late years active service was to be found; not only because in all those duties which he has discharged he has earned the love, respect, and esteem of those with whom he has been brought in contact; it is not only because the representations of officers who have been his superiors have invariably been in his favour; it is not only because those officers who have served with him, and whose opinions are valued in the country, have considered that if an officer were to be selected for the command in South Africa, Lord Chelmsford would still be the man to select; it is not only for these reasons, but because I feel, in face of the aspersions which have been made, the paramount importance that the imputations cast on the Commander-in-Chief of the Army in the Field should not go unanswered in the House of Commons, that I give them this positive denial. None of the accounts I have received from South Africa have expressed any lack of confidence in him by the Army in the Field; on the contrary, all the accounts I have received from South Africa incline me to believe that confidence in him has been in no way shaken. I have no right to state private letters or impressions; but this I can say—that I have seen and heard nothing which would in the slightest degree bear out the aspersions which persons in this country have thought it their duty to make, and I believe that Lord Chelmsford at the present time as fully possesses the confidence of those under his command as at any previous time. Now, Sir, I only wish to touch for one moment on the matters referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland). I wish to do so merely because, upon the matter of policy, he has quoted the opinion of Sir Henry Bulwer as an authority against the policy of sending the Ultimatum to Cetewayo. In the despatch of December 12, and the inclosure therein sent by Sir Henry Bulwer, he says— I have read and considered with attention the Minute of His Excellency the High Commissioner dated the 13th instant, regarding the terms to be proposed to the Zulu King after the delivery of the award in the matter of the disputed boundary question in common with certain others in dispute or in question between us and the Zulus, and more particularly in connection with the future relations between the British Government and the Zulu King and people, and with the future condition of government in the Zulu Country. I beg leave to express my concurrence generally in the conclusions of the High Commissioner and in the terms which His Excellency proposes to lay down. Sir Henry Bulwer continues, in paragraph 9— The course of events during the last two years has so altered the position of British authority in South Africa, it has so multiplied our responsibility, and the political and the military situations have become such, that the relations of the Zulu Government with us and the condition of the Zulu country can no longer with safety be left as they are. It has now become a matter of positive necessity to do something. I fully concur in the views of His Excellency the High Commissioner, that we have the right and that we are bound to interfere in the government of the Zulu country, both for the safety of the British countries in the neighbourhood and for the safety of the Zulu people themselves. In paragraph 24, he says— The terms here mentioned are terms which I think the British Government has a right to make, and, if they are rejected, a right to insist upon. In respect of the mode of conveying these terms, they should, I think, be set forth as conditions deemed by the British Government absolutely necessary in consequence of the state of affairs in the Zulu country, and as such laid before the King and the Councillors and the whole nation for their due consideration. The proposals, however, are new, and aiming, as they do, at the root of the whole Zulu system of Government and being, as they are, for the good of the people, they are of an importance which deserves that they should be only known to and considered by the nation, and a period of 15 days from the date of the delivery of the communications to the Zulu Representatives at the Lower Tugela Drift will hardly be a sufficient time for this purpose. As a matter of fact, the time was doubled. My hon. Friend the Member for Midhurst used an extraordinary argument, for he said that Sir Henry Bulwer, upon whose opinion he so much relied, had probably been overruled by Sir Bartle Frere. In those Minutes I find no evidence of his being overruled; and I think it a poor compliment to pay to the ability, or even to the conscience, of Sir Henry Bulwer, to say that in a matter of this description he allowed himself to be overruled. If the argument is to have weight, it much diminishes the authority with which Sir Henry Bulwer should be quoted on other matters. I have endeavoured to prove, though very briefly, upon the question of policy, that the state of affairs in connection with Cetewayo, which has been described as a state of peace, did not exist, and that, even in the opinion of Sir Henry Bulwer, it had become such as to render interference necessary. I have endeavoured to prove that the Forces we sent out were sufficient, in the opinion of competent persons, for the military operations which were contemplated, and that I should be willing to enter into the subject at some more fitting opportunity, such as the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Jenkins) proposes. I think I have sufficiently proved for the purpose of this debate that Her Majesty's Government have nothing to reproach themselves with, or to be reproached by others. With regard to the last point raised—namely, the comments upon what the Government thought fit to write to Sir Bartle Frere—the right hon. Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) has made merry over what he thought was a change of front on the part of the Government. He said that they were at first content to move the Previous Question, but that they had now taken other ground, and altered their form of reply. The answer to that is plain; the form in which the Motion stands in the Paper is one which the Government can only meet with a prompt and decided negative, and that is the course they have taken on this occasion. We certainly will not dispute with hon. Gentlemen opposite for what the right hon. Gentleman would call the monoply of abuse. We are quite sure that there is no fear of its falling into disuse in their hands in respect of our Parliamentary proceedings. With regard to the observations concerning a subterranean agency, by which the change might have been made, I confess, for my own part, that, being only an observer, I am unable to trace any of the subterranean agency of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke, unless it be a private meeting between my hon. Friend (Sir Henry Holland) and the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, which, I suppose, may have taken place in a room not far from this. Whether that was subterranean agency or not I do not know; but I do deny, with regard to the position of the Government, that there has been, so far as I am aware, any change whatever. It is said that the Government have changed their tone with regard to Sir Bartle Frere, and the noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) contrasted the language of my noble Friend in January with the language of the despatch in March. The answer to that is plain, for my right hon. Friend at the time of the receipt of Sir Bartle Frere's despatch in January was not in possession of the further information for which in December he had written to Sir Bartle Frere. That information arrived in this country between the two dates, and it was in consequence of the facts which Sir Bartle Frere had to urge in explanation of his conduct that the despatch of my right hon. Friend in March was written. It has been said that we are inconsistent in the terms in which we have expressed our views with regard to the conduct of Sir Bartle Frere in the Ultimatum. Whatever language may have been used, Her Majesty's Government endeavoured to indicate the lines upon which his policy was to be governed. We felt it to be our duty plainly to indicate the points upon which we disagreed with Sir Bartle Frere, and the lines within which we thought his policy ought to be. At the same time, we felt that the whole of his past career, those great services which he has rendered, not to one, but to many Administrations—which he has rendered in many circumstances and in various parts of the world—we felt that these were also to be taken into consideration; and we felt that for an officer of such experience, and who had rendered such distinguished services in the past, that we ought to do the utmost in our power to endeavour to retain him, for the sake of securing to the country his services in the future, and that we should not look back on what had occurred, but should look forward with confidence to retain Sir Bartle Frere's services for the future government of South Africa. We thought it desirable, at the same time, to indicate for his guidance, considering the very extensive powers which he enjoys—to indicate clearly to him what lines Her Majesty's Government thought his policy should pursue. We have pointed out everything that ought to be done, and everything which we think ought not to be done; and it is with firm confidence that, guided by the policy thus indicated, and the views which Her Majesty's Government have made clear to him, he will, with an exhibition of the public spirit which has characterized all his former acts, be contented to render to the Government and the country in the future as great services in South Africa as he has already rendered in other parts of the world, that we look forward to the future.


wished to bring the attention of the House back for a few moments to one point that did not seem to have been much touched upon in the course of the debate, and that was that the Government were placed in the position of either having censured Sir Bartle Frere unfairly, or that they were bound to inform the House whether they considered Sir Bartle Frere acted properly in sending the Ultimatum. The country had a right—and the House, as representing the country, had a right—to ask that question, the answer to which had never yet been given to the House; and he asked the Government to state whether such an Ultimatum was rightly sent to Cetewayo? Upon that would depend the question whether the Government were justified or not in the censure passed upon Sir Bartle Frere? Apparently they were agreed at the first that Sir Bartle Frere had done wrong, for it was a justifiable inference that as the Government had been strangely silent upon the point they did not agree with the policy of the Ultimatum. The House had a right to ask the Government one of two questions upon this matter. He hoped, before that debate was closed, the right hon. Gentle- man the Leader of the House would tell them whether the Government thought it was right, just, and fair of an English officer to send to an independent Sovereign this message—that he was to give up that which for 15 years he had possessed, and which was the basis of his power; that he was to give up his Army within 30 days—he had almost said within 20 days—of receiving the notice, or there should be war? Was it fair or unfair to make such a demand upon an independent Sovereign, however brutal or savage he might be; and it must be remembered that the Governor of Natal had acknowledged the independence of the Zulu King? He thought the Government was bound to say whether they considered the High Commissioner was justified in sending to that independent Sovereign this message—that if within 20 days he did not reverse the whole of his policy, and give up that upon which his power was based, war should be declared? And more than that, did the Government think that, with that demand made to this independent Sovereign, it was right that there should be also demands that he should guarantee that the missionaries should be protected in his land? The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies had told the House that he thought that was a mistake; but did the right hon. Gentleman remember that that was part of the Ultimatum, and that upon non-compliance with it war was threatened? How could they subject the Sovereign to whom the Ultimatum was addressed to this demand? It was a part of the ultimatum, and war was to be the result of its not being complied with. The right hon. Gentleman forgot to explain to the House that, if Cetewayo had given up the sons of Sirayo, he must have agreed, at the same time, to all other parts of the Ultimatum; for if he had complied with this, how would it have been possible for him to have refused compliance with the other demands of the Ultimatum? All the demands were bound up together, and non-compliance with one of them was war. He thought, also, the Government ought to give some indication of their opinion as to whether Sir Bartle Frere was right in thus binding up together all those demands as an Ultimatum; and, for his part, he would venture to say that it was most unjust. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies had, he thought, in some measure allowed that it was unjust to bind them together, and that if they were not complied with within 30 days there should be war. If the Government was prepared to say that the Army of Cetewayo was a danger so pressing and immediate that Sir Bartle Frere was justified in forcing on war, then he could not understand how it was that so severe a censure had been passed upon him. He ventured to think that there had been a number of points left out of this discussion regarding Sir Bartle Frere. He had known Sir Bartle Frere for many years, and he had the highest respect for him; but, from the despatches recently published, he was forced to come to the conclusion that Sir Bartle Frere was carried away with the idea that Cetewayo was so great a danger to the Colony that he must be destroyed. Owing to that, he was not prepared to deal fairly with that savage Chief—that was clear from the way in which he wrote upon this subject. In many ways he had shown how utterly unable he was to use ordinary fairness as between man and man in conducting the negotiations. He would only allude to one passage he had written concerning Cetewayo. He complained that the Zulu King made raids before the publication of the award; whereas, as a matter of fact, the raids to which he referred were made, not by Cetewayo, but by a Chieftain from whose territory Cetewayo was separated by 50 or 60 miles. That was the way in which Sir Bartle Frere treated Cetewayo, and it was clear that Sir Bartle Frere was utterly unable to distinguish in his own mind what was fair and just in our dealings with this South African Chief. If the Government were prepared to say that the Ultimatum was right and honest, and that they supported Sir Bartle Frere in it, they ought to tell the House so, and to tell the country so. It was not fair to treat the country as they did, and it seemed to him that it was not fair to Sir Bartle Frere himself that the Government should decline to say plainly whether they considered the Ultimatum was right in itself and sent at the proper time. If the dangers of the Colony were at the moment so great that Sir Bartle Frere was justified in making war, he did not think that he ought to have been censured for the Ultimatum. If the Government thought the Ultimatum right, they should say so; but if they did not think it right, it was equally their duty to state it plainly, and to recall Sir Bartle Frere.


thought the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken was ignorant of the fact that the reason of the censure was that the Government did not approve of the Ultimatum, for he called upon Her Majesty's Government to say whether or not they disapproved of the Ultimatum. It could not be said that Her Majesty's Government had at all deceived the public, or Sir Bartle Frere, in the censure which they had passed upon him. They had a distinct right to say that they did not approve of the Ultimatum; and he, for one, as a genuine supporter of Her Majesty's Government, would not have voted with them on the present occasion had they not done so. The noble Lord the Member for Argyllshire (Lord Colin Campbell) had accused the Government of throwing upon the shoulders of Sir Bartle Frere the blame which ought to rest upon their own. If that were the opinion of hon. Gentlemen who sat upon the Government side of the House, there were many on this occasion who would have voted against Her Majesty's Government. The noble Lord had accused Her Majesty's Government of political cowardice. Although, on many occasions, hon. Members on this side of the House were prepared to support the Government, yet, if these charges could have been supported, he, for one, would not have done so. He was prepared, on that occasion, to vote with the Government, although with some reluctance, because he thought that they were no way responsible either for the war or the issue of the Ultimatum, and that they should be supported now that the war in Zululand was on their hands. He believed that the war was due wholly and solely to Sir Bartle Frere. As the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies had said in his speech, which had been so much commented upon, he had no idea at the time of the despatch that Sir Bartle Frere intended to issue the Ultimatum which had resulted in this disastrous war. Mention had been made in the course of the debate, and very strong remarks had been made, such as he had never before heard since he had had the honour of having a seat in that House, with regard to the conduct of this war. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel) had used language with regard to Lord Chelmsford such as he trusted no one on the Government Benches would ever use. The hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for Westminster (Sir Charles Russell) had conclusively shown that Lord Chelmsford was in no way to blame for the disaster which had occurred. Knowing Lord Chelmsford as he did, he should be very unwilling to say anything in disparaging terms of him, and he firmly believed that no blame in respect of the disaster was owing to him. He wished that subject had been kept out of the debate. But it was impossible, if they went into details, to avoid speaking in praise of those who so nobly shed their blood in defence of their country at their posts at Isandlana, but who, he was bound to say in common with many others, that day committed a grave and fatal mistake. He thought it much to be deprecated that the conduct of the General in the field should be put in the question, and that so many scribblers in the newspapers, and anonymous writers, should attack him. It was not fair to the General in the field that he should be vilely slandered in the public journals by anonymous scribblers, and it was a most monstrous thing that newspapers which supported Her Majesty's Government should have admitted such letters as they had read. If he might use the expression, he thought it was a disgrace to the Press that had done so much on behalf of the country, that these letters should have been allowed to appear. After the discussion which they had had in that House, he hoped that both hon. Members, and the general public outside, would see that Lord Chelmsford had not been to blame for this great disaster that had fallen on the British nation. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, in the very able speech which he had delivered, spoke most strongly against Sir Bartle Frere; and, for his part, although he was well acquainted with the great services and abilities of Sir Bartle Frere, he was not one of those who eulogized him. The hon. Baronet had brought forward his Motion merely on one issue—namely, that a Vote of Censure should be passed on Her Majesty's Government for not recalling Sir Bartle Frere; but the speech of his hon. Friend, and the speeches of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), and of the right hon. Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) had not been confined to the terms of the Motion; but they had abused the Government for their whole conduct before the war. It was only fair and just to the House and to the Government that they should have brought forward some Resolution condemning the whole of the policy of the Government, if their real intention was to attack that policy, rather than they should have raised an issue only concerning Sir Bartle Frere. Why was that not done? Because they were afraid of their own supporters, who, they thought, would not follow them in that course. If that were the case, he deprecated that unfair way of condemning Her Majesty's Government by a Resolution, which, while it did not raise the issue, yet enabled hon. Gentlemen to make accusations with regard to the policy of the Government. No one had used stronger language than the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrewshire (Colonel Mure), who had accused Her Majesty's Government of not sending out sufficient troops. He could only say this—that it had not been shown that Her Majesty's Government had not sent out what everyone considered to be sufficient Forces for the occasion. If Her Majesty's Government intended to make an aggressive war, they were wrong in not sending out a greater Force; but considering that, by their instructions to Sir Bartle Frere, the troops were to act only on the defensive, Lord Chelmsford had been sent sufficient Forces. He defied the hon. Baronet to say that, in these circumstances, Her Majesty's Government had any such an idea as the undertaking a war of aggression. The hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had glorified Cetewayo in terms which he thought were hardly just, or hardly appropriate. He had tried to prove that Cetewayo was injured, that he was an angel, or something more. That had been the policy of the Opposition ever since he had been in the House. The Opposition had tried to make out in the case of Afghanistan much the same thing as they now tried to prove in the case of the Zulu King. It was a curious form of political warfare which made the Opposition glorify the enemies of the country. From the whole policy of the Opposition, it appeared to him that they were doing everything and saying everything in favour of the enemies of the country, and ridiculing Her Majesty's Government, infinitely preferring the enemies of the country. In analogy to the Afghan Committee, he thought they should have had a Zulu Committee. He was glad that no such Committee had been formed, and that right hon. Gentlemen had taken to heart the serious lesson which they were taught by the failure of the Afghan Committee, and had not organized a similar affair with regard to the Zulus. He did not pretend that what Sir Bartle Frere had done in this instance, or in former years, was altogether what he approved. But still he could not help thinking that the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea had overstated his case. He could not agree to such utter condemnation of Sir Bartle Frere. Sir Bartle Frere, no doubt, had acted contrary to the spirit of our Constitution when he issued the Ultimatum, and, in his opinion, no Governor of a Colony—not even the Viceroy of India—should ever, on his sole authority, be allowed to declare war. The Viceroy of India, who held the most responsible office under the Crown, might, in former days, when there was no telegraph and only a service of sailing-ships round the Cape, on certain occasions have the right to declare war; but, in modern days of telegrams and steam communication, he most strongly protested against any Governor, under any circumstances, declaring war against a people having no less than 40,000 well-trained and well-disciplined warriors, without waiting for instructions. And he might here mention that, according to reports, well authenticated, this estimate was far below the mark. He approved, therefore, of the action Her Majesty's Government had taken in censuring Sir Bartle Frere. As everyone knew, Sir Bartle Frere had always displayed great zeal towards missionaries; and he could not help thinking that a great deal of this war was owing to his superabundant zeal towards that body. He did not wish to say one word against missionaries, whom he had seen, in India and elsewhere, earnestly endeavouring to carry out their duty; but they should not be under the impression that the country was prepared to spend blood and treasure in assisting them, wherever they might go. He was afraid that Sir Bartle Frere had so strong an idea that the missionaries should be supported that he had undertaken too much on their behalf. He did hope that the result of this matter would show the missionaries that, however much their zeal might be appreciated, the country was not prepared to defend them in whatever barbarous country they might choose to put themselves. With the extended Frontiers of this Empire in India and all parts of the world, it must always be expected that we should be in trouble with some tribe or nation. Whenever it did arise, it would be the duty of those on the spot not to declare war without the sanction of the Government of the day, but only to use sufficient force to prevent an invasion of our territories. With regard to what had taken place in Burmah, he approved of the course taken by Lord Lytton, who, on this occasion, had neither declared war nor intended to do so; but had only taken measures to protect British subjects and British territory in that country. On our extended Frontiers we must expect, at any time, to find ourselves in difficulties with some Border Tribe. Much had been said of the Ultimatum issued by Sir Bartle Frere. For his part, he must confess that he did not approve of it; nor could he help thinking that if Her Majesty's Government had seen it they would not have allowed it to go into Cetewayo's hands. He did not wish to go into details; but there was no doubt that Sir Bartle Frere had not on this, as on other occasions, waited for instructions before proceeding. He recollected that when Sir Bartle Frere was in Bombay there was great speculation in that country in consequence of the American War. An enormous amount of cotton was sent to this country, and an enormous amount of speculation took place in India. Sir Bartle Frere, if he did not encourage speculation, did nothing whatever to stop it. He knew what a responsible position Sir Bartle Frere occupied in Bombay; but no one left his Province in such a grievous state of financial ruin as he did. For his part, he did not look upon Sir Bartle Frere as one of the most able of Administrators. Supposing Sir Bartle Frere to resign—and it was quite possible that he might do so after receiving this censure—he wished to point out to the Government that they ought to look out as soon as possible for a successor to him, and that they ought to coach that gentleman in the affairs connected with Zululand and South Africa. That was not a matter which could be learned in a few days; and he did hope that, in view of this contingency, Her Majesty's Government would find out some suitable successor to one whom he could not think had been any great success. With regard to what had been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite as to why Sir Bartle Frere had not been recalled, he would state his belief that so great was their stake at the Cape, and so great were their interests in South Africa, that it was not politic to recall him at the present time. He believed that Sir Bartle Frere had, to a great extent, ingratiated himself into the feelings and sentiments of the Colonists at Cape Town; and it was for this reason that Her Majesty's Government, looking at the grave considerations involved, had come to the conclusion that it would not be wise to recall Sir Bartle Frere on the present occasion. They had warned him that they would never sanction such conduct as he had indulged in, and he hoped that the censure would have a practical effect upon him, and that he would not think himself, in future, superior to the Government, but would obey the commands of his superiors at home. In conclusion, he could only say that, looking to the policy which the Opposition had adopted ever since he had had the honour of a seat in that House, it seemed to him to have been a policy of recall. Hon. Gentlemen had wished to recall Sir Henry Elliott, Sir Austen Layard, and Lord Lytton, and now clamoured for the recall of the Governor of another of the Colonies. With all sincerity he said it, that this was the best case that they had ever had against Her Majesty's Government since 1874; for, in his opinion, there was a great deal to be said in favour of the recall of Sir Bartle Frere. But, putting all things together, and looking at the danger to the Colony from the possibility of the rising of tribes considered friendly, he could not help thinking that Her Majesty's Government had exercised a wise discretion in leaving Sir Bartle Frere the option of remaining at his post or returning, as he pleased.

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

Motion agreed to.

Debate further adjourned till Monday next.

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