HC Deb 26 May 1879 vol 246 cc1235-6

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, If his attention has been drawn to a statement by the special correspondent of the "Daily News" at Pietermaritzburg, to the following effect:— Bishop Colenso affirms that repeatedly Cetewayo since that affair (of Isandula) has sent to Lord Chelmsford messages setting forth his anxiety to receive terms and asking for peace. He tells a narrative of some Natives recently reaching the Tugela with a flag of truce and being tired upon, but four Zulu Christians standing firm were allowed to pass into Natal to Bishop Schruger, and thence to Lord Chelmsford at Maritzburg. The latter pointed out to them that they were not men of sufficient consideration to be bearers of overtures and sent them back to Cetewayo from Maritzburg, with an intimation that men of consequence or indunas sent by Cetewayo would find him in Dundee. The Bishop is satisfied that Cetewayo is not the savage he is represented, and that he would gladly accept reasonable terms and be again in amity with us. He would do every- thing Sir Bartle Frere demanded before the war, and reduce his military force within due limits, and meet us generally on every point, if only we did not insist on utterly and, abjectly humiliating him; and, whether there is any truth as to these overtures for peace on the part of Cetewayo; and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government will, in consequence of such overtures, order a cessation of bloodshed and enter into negotiations for peace?


Sir, I really do not know on what grounds Bishop Colenso has formed that opinion, which, it appears from this quotation, he has expressed as to the intention and wishes of Cetewayo; nor do I know what means of communication he may have with the Zulus. The only overtures which I have heard of as having been made since these messages, duly reported in the Blue Books, which were received before the Tugela was crossed, are, in the first place, a message, which appeared to come from certain Zulu Indunas, and not from Cetewayo himself, which was delivered early in March to the frontier magistrate, and passed on by him to Sir Henry Bulwer. The reply to that message was that any overtures must come from the King himself. A further message came to Lord Chelmsford at the end of the month. Two messengers arrived asking for a conference, and referring to Cetewayo's promises at his coronation. Lord Chelmsford was then on his march to Ekowe, and those messengers were informed that a flag of truce would always be respected, and that if he had any messages to send they would be received by him at his camp. Since that time, and the relief of Ekowe, I am not aware that any messages have arrived.