HC Deb 31 August 1880 vol 256 cc879-921

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [31st August], "That the Resolutions which were then reported from the Committee of Supply be read a second time."

Question again proposed, "That the said Resolutions be read a second time."

Debate resumed.


said, that after a good deal of watching he had been seriously puzzled by the policy of successive Governments in regard to South Africa. This was not a Party question, for there had been a continuity of policy, and from his point of view there had been too much continuity. He had some distrust of the permanent policy of the Colonial Office. Successive Secretaries of State and Under Secretaries—and this applied particularly to his right hon. Friend the present Under Secretary—had always come in with the best intentions; but, somehow, it appeared to him that in the course of time their action hardly corresponded with their intentions, and they acted in the high-handed manner which was, perhaps, in some degree necessary in dealing with these subjects. What he might term the permanent spirit of the Colonial Office was somewhat too favourable to the White as distinguished from the Black Colonists. He was, however, far from asserting that their countrymen in the Colonies were particularly wicked or aggressive. A large proportion were Scotchmen, and he always found that they treated the Natives fairly; and if they did not get too much law—if they did not get too much control over the Natives—they were amenable to reason. He thought the despatch of Sir Garnet Wolseley, dated February the 13th last, ought to be pondered and well-considered by the Colonial Office. He had paid a great deal of attention to the subject of the Native races. After a visit to America, he came back with a sanguine view of the prospects of the negro race. The negro, when tamed and civilized, became a respectable member of society of the Nonconformist religious type. In the great American Republic there were something like 4,000,000 of Blacks out of a population of 40,000,000. Yet the Americans had had enormous difficulty in governing the Coloured population. How much greater must be the difficulty in South Africa? There the proportion was at least 10 Blacks to one White. Could it be safe to intrust the government of that large Black population to so small a minority? Could they thus solve a problem which had proved so difficult in America? It seemed to him that there was great difficulty in granting a responsible Government in such circumstances. What was called a responsible Government, would, in effect, be an independent Government. The policy of the present and the late Government with regard to South Africa, as far as he (Sir George Campbell) could gather from the Blue Books, was to give independent government to each of the Colonies so far as its internal affairs were concerned; and to make over questions of their external relations to a Confederation of the Colonies. He thought that a very great step had been made by the Cape Colony towards doing justice to the Coloured races, and that the views of Her Majesty's Government in regard to the Colony might possibly be justified. But in Natal and the Transvaal it seemed to him that independent government had been tried and had failed. In Natal, a few years ago, troubles and disturbances arose. There had been such injustice done to the Native races that the Government had found it necessary to interfere with a high hand, and Sir Garnet Wolseley was sent there and effected a great change. But when the Home Government had not interfered, the result had been that the constitution had been so far successful that the Colonial Government had been able to set the Home Government at defiance. It would appear from a despatch received from Sir Garnet Wolseley on the state of Natal, that the Natives had, in no sense, any direct representation in the administration of that Colony. In fact, the despatch showed that the Black population of Natal, amounting to 400,000, as against 21,000 Whites, was totally unrepresented. That system constituted the worst type of oligarchy which could be found in the whole world. The result, socially, was of the most painful and dangerous character. He believed the system would end in the practical enslavement of the Coloured population. He believed that the government of so large a number of Blacks by a small colony of Englishmen would be productive, not only of injustice to the Blacks, but of dangerous consequences to the British Empire. He thought the best course would be to establish a British dominion which should be responsible and independent of the Colonists, and administered by persons sent from England. He should like to give the Colony self-government as far as the White population was concerned, and to remove the rest of the Natal territory, which was principally inhabited by Natives, from the administration of White Colonists, and place it under special British administration. He thought it was now generally admitted that the circumstances of the annexation of the Transvaal were a mistake, and that the annexation was founded upon insufficient and erroneous information. But now that the enemies of the Transvaal had been conquered, and the fear of being overwhelmed by the Natives removed from the eyes of the White Colonists, it would, he admitted, be quite impossible to restore to the White inhabitants of the Transvaal the whole of the country which bore that name on the maps. These maps were, to a great extent, wrong, and included tracts of land which had never been under the rule of the White Colonists. As a matter of fact, the White Settlers had of late years receded from the limits they at one time reached. In the Transvaal, as well as in Natal, the jurisdiction of the White men might with advantage be limited to the country really colonized by them. He suggested that this should be done, and that then we should say to the Colonists—"We will put you inexactly the same position as that occupied by the Orange Free State; we will make you independent in your limited territory, and then you may consider whether in order to cope with hostile tribes or to meet other difficulties you will join a Confederation of the British Colonies under the British Crown." So much with regard to the internal government of these Colonies. With reference to the external government of the Colonies, he pointed out that even if they were confederated their expenses would be so great that he did not think they would care to take the responsibility of the management of their own affairs. The Government, indeed, had determined to hand over the responsibility of Confederation to the Cape Colony; but he doubted whether that Colony would undertake it. Coming now to the financial part of the subject before the House, he would call attention to the fact that the £2,000 that appeared upon the Votes by no means represented the real financial responsibility that was undertaken by this country. There was much expense incurred in connection with Natal that was not placed before the House. He referred to the late war at the Cape, which was undertaken by the Colonists in their own interests, but the British Government had to pay for it. English troops were sent out at the expense of the British Treasury, until there were at present in Natal and the Transvaal 5,000 regular soldiers, and yet we had to pay for the Colonial troops as well. Not a farthing of the expense incurred through them appeared among the Estimates. To disguise and conceal that expense in the general Military Estimates of the country was hardly a fair way of dealing with the House. The results, he might add, of our existing relations with the Colonists were that we in the end always had to pay the piper. Certainly the Government was told the Colony would pay for their own troops; and, in fact, they had promised to pay £40,000 a-month, but with the exception of paying a first instalment they had not paid a farthing. He was strongly convinced that the Government would not get another penny for the cost of that war out of the Colony, and if we ever became involved in another war we should be placed in the same condition. He did not think that we could satisfactorily get rid of our responsibilities in South Africa as we wished to do it. Africa was not like New Zealand, where there was an increasing White and a diminishing Native population. The circumstances in South Africa were totally different, for the Native population was constantly increasing, and his fear was that the Colonists might become involved with the Natives in some quarrel, and that the result would be that the Whites would be beaten. The Government could not, of course, allow the White Colonists to be driven out by the Natives; and the result would be that we should have to send over troops to their assistance, for which they would be unable to pay, and which would, therefore, have to be paid by the British taxpayers. If it was possible to get rid of the responsibility of our South African Colonies, his opinion was that it would be better to openly assume it ourselves. He would mark out clearly the limit of each Colony, and give it a separate Government; and then, if we could not get rid of our responsibility, his idea was that it would be the cheapest and best way out of the difficulty to take it directly upon our shoulders. It was in that view that he had submitted his views to the House; and he considered that if it was possible to carry out some such system as he had indicated, we might really be doing great benefits to humanity, and establish a dominion in South Africa of which we might be proud.


would, with the permission of the House, address himself, in the first place, to one or two of the many questions involved in a discussion upon the government of South Africa—a discussion which he regretted could not have been raised at an earlier period of the Session—upon which there was little, if any, difference of opinion. And, first, as to Natal. He believed it to be the opinion of most hon. Members upon both sides of the House that it would be, in the highest degree, inexpedient to grant responsible government to that Colony. He entirely concurred in the view taken by the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Earl of Kimberley) in his despatch to Sir George P. Colley of the 27th May last, and believed those arguments to be unanswerable. He thought the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) was under some misapprehension as to the former Government of Natal. There never had been responsible government there, but only a representative government, which was something between a responsible government and a Crown Colony government. This representative government had not altogether worked well, because the Legislative Council, without having proper responsibility as an executive body, had been able, in many cases, to thwart the policy of the Colonial Government. But it would be difficult now to make any alteration in it which would give more power to the Government. Secondly, as to Confederation. He (Sir Henry Holland) would urge upon Her Majesty's Government to be patient, and not to put any further pressure upon the Colonies to pass any measure of Confederation. They all desired to see Confederation of the South African Colonies; but the movement in that direction must now come from the Colonies. They must themselves be convinced of the advantages that would arise to them from Confederation; and any pressure from the Home Government would only defeat the desired object, and tend to increase the not unnatural jealousy which the Colonists felt of interference in their affairs. They were proud of the great Dominion of Canada; proud of its strength and prosperity; but they must remember that that Dominion was not built up in a day; that the difficulties which had to be overcome were very great, as those who framed the North America Act of 1869 could testify; and that, even after it was formed and welded into one body, one of the Provinces—Nova Scotia—tried to get free again from the union. They must, therefore, wait patiently, holding themselves ready, however, to give every assistance, by advice or legislation, whichever might be desired. Turning now to other subjects which had been brought before the House, he (Sir Henry Holland) desired to say a few words with respect to the recall of Sir Bartle Frere. It would be in the recollection of some hon. Members that he (Sir Henry Holland) had felt it his duty, by speech and vote, to protest against the course pursued by the late Government in that matter. He held then, and still held, the opinion that Sir Bartle Frere, able and zealous as he was, had committed the gravest error that could be committed by a Colonial Governor, in plunging this country into war without the previous sanction or authority of the Home Government. The error in this case was the greater, because the war was, in his opinion, unnecessary and unjust. He would not, at that time, repeat the reasons upon which he founded that opinion, but would content himself with one observation. The main ground of justification for the war, which was advanced by Sir Bartle Frere, was that there was imminent danger of an invasion of Natal by the Zulus. That was always disputed by the Lieutenant Governor of Natal (Sir Henry Bulwer), who surely was in a better position to form an opinion upon the point than those at the Cape; and now, after full consideration of the question, and after any feeling upon the point must have sub- sided, they found Sir Henry Bulwer, in his despatch to the right hon. Baronet the late Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), of April 4th, 1880, distinctly stating that— So far as regards the chances of an invasion of Natal territory by the Zulus, I believed then, and I believe now, that such a movement had never so much as entered into the counsels of the Zulu King and Chiefs, and that it would have been entirely repugnant to the views of the greater portion of the Zulu nation. And again— We not only did not anticipate the danger of an invasion by the Zulus, but considered that any overt act committed by us in the way of military demonstration would he a mistake, as being far more likely to bring about war and trouble than to prevent them. But assuming even the war to have been just, the error of Sir Bartle Frere in engaging in it upon his own responsibility, and in the absence of any overwhelming emergency, was so grave, that in his (Sir Henry Holland's) opinion the gravest penalty-—namely, the recall of the Governor—should have been imposed. It was true that Sir Bartle Frere was severely censured; it was true that his power were materially limited: but it must be remembered that although by taking that course his power of doing more harm was lessened, his power of doing good was also greatly diminished, and his just influence in the Colony lessened, as it showed that he had not the full confidence of the Home Government. But the state of things was very different when Her Majesty's present Government came into power. The Zulu War was over; the Governor's powers had been limited for the future; the offence that he had committed had been condoned by Parliament, or, at all events, not deemed sufficient to necessitate his recall. The present Government were, under these circumstances, not bound to recall Sir Bartle Frere, although so many Members of it had denounced him in such strong terms. He (Sir Henry Holland) would go further, and say that they were bound not to recall him for his past conduct, but to retain him in his office, if they could have given him that full confidence which should exist between a Colonial Governor and the Home Government. But if they could not feel that confidence, it would have been more just, fair, and generous to Sir Bartle Frere to have recalled him at once. What was the course pursued?

They retained him in office, on the ground that Confederation was all-important, and that he was the best man to carry out this scheme; but they kept open the question of his previous conduct in deference he (Sir Henry Holland) supposed, to the strong opinion of some Members of the Government, and to the pressure put upon them by hon. Members below the Gangway. The Prime Minister, by his speech of May 25th, deliberately suspended the sword over the head of this unfortunate Colonial Damocles. The Prims Minister after pointing out the importance of Confederation and of retaining Sir Bartle Frere for that purpose, said— When we can see our own way clearly in regard to the prosecution of that policy of Confederation, then it will he our duty to consider generally and at large our relations to Sir Bartle Frere, and to decide in regard to that great and able man, from whom we have differed so widely, whether we can leave him to be our Representative, and he responsible for his acts in the South African Colonics. That is not in the slightest degree prejudged…We have done and said nothing which tics us up to any particular judgment as to the continuance of Sir Bartle Frere in the office of Governor and Commissioner in South Africa, except so far as relates to the important course of proceeding which has been fixed and determined on with reference to the initiation of Confederation‖It will he our duty to make an impartial, dispassionate, and perfectly unprejudiced examination of that question when the time comes."—[3 Hansard, cclii. 462–3.] That speech, being interpreted, meant—"If you do not carry out confederation or when that question is settled one way or the other, we shall consider your previous conduct, and consider if we can trust you." Holding the views that he (Sir Henry Holland) did of the general policy of Sir Bartle Frere, and especially of his conduct in the Zulu War, he could not be expected to regret that Sir Bartle Frere was no longer Governor; but he could not approve of the time and way in which Her Majesty's Government had recalled him. Passing on from that subject to that of the Transvaal, he had listened with great interest to the very able speech of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney); but he was afraid he should fall very low in that hon. Gentleman's estimation, when he confessed that he was one of those who held that the annexation of that territory was necessary and justified. It had been said that they had not now to consider whether the annexation was, in the first instance, just or unjust, but only whether the territory should now be restored; but he could not quite agree in that view. If he thought that the original annexation was unjust, he should look far more closely into the special facts put forward to justify the retention of the territory, as an act of injustice could not too soon be redressed, nor ought they to be afraid to redress it. He would not now re-state the grounds of his opinion, as he had put them forward in former debates, and as, moreover, one of the principal reasons had been already stated, that evening by the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Grant Duff) and the late Secretary of State (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). The Government of the Transvaal had, in spite of all the remonstrances, constantly encroached upon the Native tribes bordering on the Transvaal, and the Boers could not be altogether acquitted of sundry acts of barbarity towards the Natives, and of enslaving Native women and children, in addition to seizing and occupying Native land. Now, what was the position of the Government that thus raised up trouble and strife? It was, as had been stated, absolutely bankrupt, and unable to enforce the collection of taxes. It was distrusted by the people, and he (Sir Henry Holland) had read few more sad speeches than that speech of lamentation, and confession of weakness and incapacity, raised by the President of the Republic before the Volks-raad shortly before the annexation. The Government could not raise a force equal to cope with the victorious and advancing Natives; and if that state of things had been allowed to continue, it must have led to disastrous consequences, not only to the Transvaal, but to the whole of South Africa. He (Sir Henry Holland), for these reasons, thought the annexation justified; and the present state of things in the Transvaal strengthened that opinion. There was now increasing prosperity, and an increasing Revenue; the taxes were readily collected; the safety of the lives and property of the steady and peaceable Colonists was secured; and good laws were passed. He would observe, in passing, that he could not understand why the hon. Member for Liskeard should speak in such contemptuous terms of the debates in the Transvaal Legislative Coun- cil, and of the opinions of the Members. They were not all "official;" but there were "unofficial" Members of property and good standing in the Colony: and was it to be supposed, as the hon. Member seemed to suggest, that the opinions of those Members were warped by the fact that they received, as Members did in many Colonial Assemblies, their travelling expenses? Their views of the improvement of the Colony and of the change of feeling of the Colonists were fully supported by Sir Owen Lanyon in his recent despatches to the Secretary of State. He (Sir Henry Holland) did not anticipate any further great difficulties in the management of the Transvaal, now that the question of annexation had been absolutely and finally decided. He thought that there was greater difficulty in dealing with that part of South Africa, which belonged to Native Chiefs, and lay between the territories in the Transkei lately annexed to the Cape Colony, and the boundary of Natal. He was not an advocate for annexation of Native territory, and, indeed, had always opposed it; but he was bound to say that he feared that some difficulties might always arise, until all the territory in question had come under British rule. But the danger of such troubles and difficulties would be materially diminished if a wiser policy were adopted, and one more fair to the Native Chiefs, than that which had of late prevailed. Hitherto, the policy had been one of interference, promoted very much, as it appeared to him, by the Residents, who either went beyond their instructions, or whose instructions were unwisely framed. The expediency of having Residents established where they had no authority at all, had been doubted by some; but the inexpediency was, to his mind, quite certain, unless they confined themselves to watching the course of events and reporting thereon fully to their Governments, and to giving friendly advice to the Chiefs, taking great care, however, when tendering such advice, to make it quite clear, that if such advice was not followed, it would not be enforced by British authority. There always would be quarrels, and raids, and cattle stealing between these Native tribes. But they should not interfere in these local disputes; for if they did, they really made themselves parties to the quarrels, which, if continued, assumed then the character of an aggression upon British authority. What had happened over and over again was this. The Chief who got the worst in a quarrel applied to be put under British protection; and if his application was granted, the Colonial Government was of course, for the future, involved in all the trouble, and bound to take up his cause. That was all wrong, and they ought to let the Native tribes fight out their own quarrels. He (Sir Henry Holland) desired to call the attention of the House to the case of Pondoland, a case of great importance, which was now receiving the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, and which very clearly illustrated the evils of the policy of interference which he so strongly condemned. The Pondos, up to 1877, had been on friendly relations with the British Government though they had disputes with neighbouring Tribes. One of those Tribes was the Bacas. It was admitted by Mr. Brownlee that "it did not appear that the Bacas were British subjects," and yet we find [C. 2484, p. 410] Mr. Oxland interfering in the dispute and siding with the Bacas. Owing to this interference, the continuance of the quarrel became, as it never ought to have become, an offence against British authority and a ground of complaint against the Pondos. Again, the Pondos made raids—justly or unjustly— against the Xesibes, an independent Tribe under a Chief, Jojo. He did not propose to discuss here"the question of the original settlement of this Tribe; but, according to Sir Henry Bulwer and according to Mr. Griffith [C. 2676, p. 57] the land held by the Tribe was at one time part of Pondoland, and under the paramount Chief Faku. Jojo had several times asked to be placed under British protection, as he was getting the worst in these quarrels; but his application was, for some time, wisely refused. The disputes were really only cattle stealing, and border disputes. But in 1878 he was taken under our protection. Why this change of policy? He (Sir Henry Holland) attributed it to the strong pressure of the Residents, not discouraged, as it ought to have been, by the Cape Government, and by the Governor. The raids were continued, and then they had to take up the quarrel as against persons under British protection, and as against British authority. Then the Chief Ma- gistrate telegraphed—"We must fight;" then Mr. Brownlee writes,— The Pondos will see that they will not be permitted to act arbitrarily and unjustly to other Tribes; and later on We are bound to grant redress to the Xesibes —this is a condition of their subjection to us, and nothing has tended so much to lower us in Native estimation as the manner in which we have submitted to the Pondos. That was the spirit in which the Residents had interfered, and of which he (Sir Henry Holland) complained. Then arose an exaggerated fear of the Pondos raiding into Natal, an alarm be it observed not felt by Natal, but, as was the case in the Zulu War, raised by Sir Bartle Frere from the Cape. Sir Bartle Frere pressed Sir Garnet Wolseley to send some troops to the frontier to overawe the Pondos. That, he (Sir Henry Holland) ventured to think would have been a most unwise step to take; and the refusal of Sir Garnet Wolseley was, in his judgment, wisely given. Sir Garnet Wolseley admitted the raiding and disputes, but he said— To compel restitution of stolen cattle, and compensation, is purely a police duty, and not one upon which Her Majesty's forces should be employed; and he added that he was— Anxious to keep Her Majesty's forces aloof from small tribal disputes. A very similar caution was given subsequently by the Earl of Kimberley in his Despatch of May 27th to Sir Bartle Frere upon that very case of Pondoland. He said: — The disputes between the tribes in Pondoland seem to me mainly cattle-stealing affairs, which should be treated as police matters…I see no reason why they should not be dealt with by the Colonial Magistrates and police, and you should discourage any expectation that Her Majesty's troops will be employed in redressing such local disorders. However, a more exaggerated view of these Pondoland raids prevailed at the Cape; and then came the final steps; the sure end of all this interference. First, in 1878, part of Pondoland, at the mouth of the St. John's River was made British territory; then followed the deposition of the Paramount Chief; and lastly came in Sir Bartle Frere, with his three propositions as to the mode of dealing with Pondoland: either to leave it altogether to itself—which he (Sir Bartle Frere) rejected as out of the question—or to turn it into a Crown Colony; or— To give the Cape Government power to take all necessary steps for supporting the authority of the Crown in, and for legislating in the Colonial Parliament for Pondoland, and other Coast districts. That was the course he advocated; and that practically amounted to suppression and annexation, if not immediately, certainly within a few years. He (Sir Henry Holland) had referred in some detail to this case, as it showed the mischief and danger arising from over interference in Tribal disputes; and he would only add that Sir Henry Bulwer in speaking of it said:—"Whatever difficulties we have are of our own creation;" and again, "If a blow is struck it will be our own fault." He ought not, however, to leave this part of the case without referring to the Treaty of 1844, made with Faku, then Paramount Chief, upon which Sir Bartle Frere relied in his dealings with Pondoland; but upon which he (Sir Henry Holland) thought Sir Bartle Frere had wrongly relied. In one despatch Sir Bartle Frere said that that Treaty gave a general Sovereign authority as controlling the Chief in his external relations, but leaving him at liberty to govern his own people in his own way, within his own territory. But the only clause relating to external relations was the 10th, and certainly gave no such Sovereign authority. It only stated that the Chief Wishing to live in peace gives his word and promise that he will, as far as possible, avoid making war on any of the surrounding tribes, and will endeavour to settle disputes in a peaceful manner, and in case of violation of his just rights he will call on the Colonial Government to mediate. In another place Sir Bartle Frere said— The Pondos bound themselves to a position of subordination to the British Government. Now, that was exactly contrary to the words and spirit of the whole Treaty, which, throughout, treats Faku on equal terms, and as a Paramount Chief. While fully admitting the difficulties of the case, he (Sir Henry Holland) ventured to suggest to the Government that their policy with regard to the Native Tribes should be mainly guided by the four following principles: — First, to discontinue interference in these Native disputes and raids, unless they attained such a height as to endanger the peace of the Colonies, or unless there was actual premeditated attack on British territory or British subjects. Border forays and disputes should not be treated as outrages which required to be resented as serious aggressions upon British territory; secondly, not to take Native Chiefs and Tribes under British protection merely to prevent their absorption by stronger Tribes, or because they were unfairly attacked by such Tribes. But if it should become necessary to give them such protection, then they should take care that the territory of such protected Natives was clearly defined and made known to the neighbouring Tribes, as constant difficulty had arisen from the want of such definition. It might well happen that raids might be made on territory not clearly recognized as under British protection. Such raids, though not intended, therefore, to be made in any hostile spirit to the protecting power, were liable to be treated as so made, and the attacking Natives were assumed to have been acting in defiance of our authority. Thirdly, not to allow annexation, unless a paramount necessity for such a step was clearly shown; and unless the Colony to which the annexation took place was prepared to undertake all the responsibility of keeping order, and defending the territory annexed. And, fourthly, when they had allowed annexation, then to give full and entire control over the territory to the Colonial Government, and not to interfere with their proceedings. That full control, free from interference by the Home Government, was asked for, and fairly asked for, by the Cape Government, when they were questioned if they would take the responsibility of governing certain Transkei territories, recently annexed to that Colony. That seemed a very simple matter, but it was not quite so simple in practice; and for the following reason: —There was a Society in this country-— the Aborigines Protection Society—composed of most excellent and zealous men; keenly alive to acts of injustice committed on Natives, and most anxious to secure impartial and fair treatment of Natives all over the world. But they were, not unnaturally, somewhat one sided in their views; they were too apt to accept as true all the stories with which they were furnished by correspondents abroad, stories frequently based upon imperfect information, and which broke down upon inquiry. Now, if laws apparently somewhat rigorous in their character—as, for instance, the Vagrancy Law—were passed, or if measures, such as the disarmament of the Basutos, were taken, that Society immediately put pressure upon the Home Government to interfere, and remonstrate against such laws and measures. The Government must be prepared to resist such pressure, unless, indeed, they were prepared to promise assistance, if troubles or difficulties arose from the adoption, by the Colonial Government, of their suggestions. That was practically out of the question; and he (Sir Henry Holland) contended that there should be no interference at all with the measures of the Colonial Government when once annexation had been sanctioned. He believed that if these four principles were acted upon, the troubles with which they had had to deal in South Africa would be much diminished. There were other points in connection with the government of South Africa upon which he should liked to have offered a few observations; but at that late period of the Session he would refrain from doing so.


said, that the recall of Sir Bartle Frere had been alluded to frequently in the course of the debate, and on that (the Liberal) side of the House, at least, his recall had given pretty general, if not universal, satisfaction. But the satisfaction of some hon. Members would have been greater had the recall taken place immediately after the accession to Office of the present Government. And it was argued on the other side of the House that the recall would have been more defensible then than it was now. But he did not himself find any fault with the course pursued. A Colonial Governor might be recalled because the Government condemned his proceedings; or because they considered him an unfit instrument to carry out their policy. Although he yielded to none in condemnation of the Zulu War, it had never appeared to him to have been the duty of the present Government to recall Sir Bartle Frere as a punishment for his action in regard to that War. When they came into power it had already been decided by the then existing Government and Parlia- ment, that Sir Bartle Frere ought not to be recalled; and to have suddenly reversed that decision, simply because there had been a change in the relative strength of political parties at home would have been to establish a precedent of evil influence in the government of the Colonies. The Government had, however, sufficient justification for recalling Sir Bartle Frere, upon the ground that he was not fitted to be the agent of their policy in South Africa. He was not a Governor of a supple type: he possessed in large measure the quality which friends call firmness and enemies obstinacy; Ministries and policies might change at home, but Sir Bartle Frere would not change with them. The spirit which inspired him to indite his vehement phillipics against Cetewayo, still breathed in his despatches respecting the Pondo tribe, the disarmament of the Basutos, and the appropriation of Moirosi's territory. The Papers laid before the House showed how wide was the divergence in the views of the Secretary of State for the Colonies and those of the Governor; how great was the estrangement of policy existing between them. To have promptly recalled Sir Bartle Frere would, therefore, have been the proper recourse of Lord Kimberley but for the question of Confederation. It was a critical moment in the history of that question; the recall of Sir Bartle Frere in May or June would have weakened the hands of the Cape Government in dealing with it, and left the Home Government open to the charge of helping to defeat a measure which they had pressed upon the colonists as one of first importance. Looking, therefore, at all the circumstances, he could not but think that the proper course had been adopted by Her Majesty's Government. With respect to the withdrawal of the allowance of £2,000 a-year, it appeared to him (Mr. Wodehouse) that that allowance was never meant to last throughout the entire term of Sir Bartle Frere's Administration; it was intended only that he should have it in the early years of his government, when he had to travel far and wide, and when his absences from Cape Town would be long and frequent. When Natal, the Transvaal, and Zululand had been taken from him, he had no longer to visit those distant Colonies, and as his travelling expenses within the Cape Colony were paid for by that Colony, the reasons for the allowance ceased. Notwithstanding the receipt of this £2,000 a year, intended to cover travelling expenses, Sir Bartle Frere had presented a bill for £3,800 spent in travelling. Evidently he had regarded the £2,000 a year, not as a travelling allowance, but as an increase of salary for special powers and responsibilities. Sir Bartle Frere had dwelt upon the immense difficulties and the bitterness of the prejudices and party spirit with which he had had to contend; but this was only the perennial condition of affairs in South Africa. Sir Bartle Frere also spoke of the heavy expenses imposed upon him by social duties; but he was not the first or only Governor expected to be hospitable. If the salary of the Governor of the Cape Colony was inadequate, it ought to be raised at the expense of the Colony; and until it were raised, the Governor ought to cut his coat according to his cloth. He hoped that the bill of £3,800 would be dealt with by the House in a generous spirit. But he doubted whether the records of the Colonial Office for many a long year contained any parallel case of such unsanctioned expenditure by a Colonial Governor. And now a few words upon Confederation, and two points intimately connected with it— namely, responsible government and the withdrawal of Imperial troops from South Africa. All the omens were against the accomplishment of confederation within any definite or measurable distance of time. Hon. Members who had read the recent debate in the Cape House of Assembly would have noticed how timid and faltering was the advocacy of Confederation by the very colonial Prime Minister who professed to stand or fall by it. He condemned the manner in which the question had been brought forward by Lord Carnarvon, and had not a word to say for the South Africa Confederation Act passed by Parliament in 1877. He assured the Cape Assembly that the Conference which he proposed would pledge them to nothing, and yet he failed to carry his proposal. Neither standing nor falling by Confederation, he ran away from his guns when he agreed to a Motion for the Previous Question. No doubt, the failure of the scheme had been attributed to the annexation of the Transvaal and the settlement of Zululand. The hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) believed the annexation of the Transvaal to have had a fatal effect on Confederation; and the hon. Member's Boer correspondents took credit to themselves for having done much to make the Conference a failure. Mr. Sprigg and other speakers in the Cape Assembly had blamed the recent settlement of Zululand, and represented it to be very prejudicial to Confederation. But, from his own knowledge of South Africa, he (Mr. Wodehouse) thought there was an undercurrent of insincerity running throughout that debate on Confederation. The truth was, Confederation had never found any genuine adhesion in the Cape Colony. The population of the Western Province, being exempt from Native difficulties and dangers, were naturally slow to bind themselves for better, for worse, to places where there were great masses of Natives. Even the ostensible friends of Confederation in the Cape Colony had always had some ulterior motive. An English Party in the Eastern Province hailed it as a stepping-stone to a separation from the Western Province; and a Dutch Party favoured it because they looked upon it as likely to fulfil their dream of "Africa for the Africanders," and prepare the way for a large independent South African Republic. The difficulties in the way of Confederation became apparent when they realized with what different aims and wishes the question was approached on this side and on that side of the ocean. We in England desired to relieve the British taxpayer from the burden of maintaining the internal defence of those Colonies, and, at the same time, we were anxious to secure the just treatment of the Natives. But while the Colonists claimed protection they demanded to be allowed to manage the Natives in their own way. Their idea was to have a maximum of independence in the management of their own affairs, with a minimum of responsibility for the consequences of their acts. As Mr. Sprigg, the Colonial Prime Minister, said, his policy was to be free from Imperial control, and if South Africa was to be governed successfully it was not to be governed from London. At the same time, he was certain to insist on the most generous terms as to the use of the money and the men of the Home Government. But surely government from London was a better thing, where the Natives of the Colony were restless and warlike and greatly outnumbered the European Settlers, than government by local politicians infected with every local passion and prejudice against the Natives, but comparatively secure from the consequences of their own errors in the protection of troops for which they did not pay. It was no easy matter to withdraw our troops from South Africa, as experience showed, for the upshot of all the pressure brought to bear by successive Secretaries of State had been absolutely nothing. Twenty-seven years ago the Duke of Newcastle was telling the Colonists they ought to undertake their own defence; and 13 years ago Lord Carnarvon called on the Cape Government to pay £40 for every infantry and £70 for every artillery soldier. Nevertheless, nothing had as yet been done in that direction. There were 5,000 troops now maintained in South Africa at the Imperial expense. As he feared that the prospect of withdrawing the troops was very remote, and as Confederation had just received a very heavy blow, he hoped the Government would be in no haste to extend the area of self-government in South Africa, and that they would be slow to part with the power of effective control in the administration of dependencies, whose internal defence continued to be an Imperial burden. Why was it that Ceylon, which never gave trouble, contributed a sum sufficient to pay for the entire military expenditure of the Island; while the Cape Colony, upon which we had lavished millions and millions, never contributed more than £10,000 a-year to the Imperial military expenditure? Because the Home Government retained full administrative control over the Government of Ceylon, and had parted with that control over the Cape Colony. He did not go so far as to say that responsible government should be withdrawn from the Cape Colony, but he hoped that we should proceed with extreme caution in Natal and the Transvaal; and if the Colonial Office required greater powers of control there, he trusted that Parliament would not refuse to grant such powers. He regretted that in Natal they were about to return to a Constitution of the worst kind; an half-and-half Constitution, in which the local politicians and Legislature had not the sense of responsibility induced by responsible Govern- ment, but in which they had sufficient power to thwart the policy of the Home Government. He had felt some doubts as to the expediency of retaining the Transvaal; but, upon the whole, he believed it to be the better policy not to abandon it. He would remind the hon. Member for Liskeard that the see- saw policy of undoing one day what they did the day before had been tried more than once in South Africa with questionable results. About half a century ago Lord Glenelg reversed an annexation of Transkeian territory. At a later date British sovereignty was proclaimed over the Orange River territories, and the sovereignty was subsequently withdrawn. But in those cases the reversal of policy led to so much embarrassment, and gave rise to so much ill-feeling, that the Government ought to be cautious before they added one more to the series of such measures. For his own part, he deprecated any hasty extension of the powers of self-government in the Transvaal. There were great elements of disorder there, and when things went wrong the mischief would have to be repaired at Imperial expense. Indeed, he hoped that, whether it were in the Transvaal or elsewhere in the British Dominions, the support of Parliament would never be wanting to the Home Government, not only when it called upon Colonists to bear their fair share of burdens, but also when it claimed full control of the administration of dependencies where there were grave elements of danger, and where the remedies in case of trouble had to be applied at Imperial cost. He believed the more that South African questions were looked into by hon. Members, the more fully would their complexity be appreciated; and the more would it be recognized that they were worthy to receive the attention of the best wisdom and statesmanship which could be found upon either side of the House.


said, the last two speakers had expressed approval of the recall of Sir Bartle Frere, who he considered had been treated in a way which was unjust to him as a man; while, in the treatment he had received, a wrong had been done not only to the Colony, but to the nation. He would, in touching upon this question, ask the House to remember the circumstances under which Sir Bartle Frere was appointed. The condition of things in South Africa was supposed to be one of great difficulty, and the Secretary of State for the time being had to look round for a man having the qualities necessary for the position of High Commissioner, and he selected the man who had shown he was able, courageous, and humane, and that his antecedents were such as promised well for his government in the difficult position in which he was to be placed. There was one point, however, that had not been touched upon, and that was the question of discretion. When His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales went to India Sir Bartle Frere was selected for the difficult post of his adviser; and when he was appointed his praises were naturally sung by those who appointed him; and in 1878 the present Chief Secretary for Ireland said, in a speech he then delivered, that in the Governor of the Colony of South Africa they had a man whom they could entirely trust for his motives, his sense, and his ability to deal with the most difficult case, and that it would be difficult to find another man with such a combination of feelings of justice and of firmness. That being so, it naturally occurred to anyone that, before condemning the action of Sir Bartle Frere in South Africa, hon. Members should consider whether he really possessed the qualities he was believed to possess, and for the exercise of which in India he had been twice thanked by Parliament, and whether a man who was possessed of all those qualities could have suddenly become, as it were, demented, and all those qualities have disappeared. Instead of condemning him, hon. Members would do well to consider whether they had not themselves taken a mistaken view of his conduct in that country. At the time of his appointment the Colonists were in a state of panic, a Defence Commission was appointed, there were demands for arms and troops, the Cape Frontier was in a blaze, and there were raids from Zululand. In consequence of the fear of the Zulus, Colonists were fleeing and taking refuge in the towns; and, as a general officer told him, the state of things was such that a White man in Natal who was not afraid of the Zulus was regarded as a curiosity. Cetewayo was supposed to be the Zulu of Zulus, and to be about to restore that country to the state it was in under its original founder Chaka. That was the state of things Sir Bartle Frere found when he went out there. He went out first to settle the question of the boundary between Zululand and the Transvaal, and he found an award given which he might confirm, nullify, or modify; and he modified it because he found it ignored some 80 or 90 settlers who were to be handed over to the Zulu Government without compensation for disturbance or security for the future. He modified that award to the extent of giving them the security which, as British subjects, they were entitled to. But, on inquiry, he found the state of things in that part of the country so intolerable, and the danger was considered so imminent that, after consultation with those in authority on the spot, with Sir The ophilus Shepstone, Sir Henry Bulwer, Lord Chelmsford, and with Admiral Sullivan, he came to the conclusion that it was necessary that state of things, if possible, should be grasped, that the state of imminent danger to the Colonies should cease; and he thereupon drew up terms that were submitted to the Zulu King. He confessed it was with extreme surprise he heard the despatch of Sir Henry Bulwer referred to by the hon. Member for Midhurst, in which Sir Henry Bulwer said that, after full deliberation, he had come to the conclusion that there was no necessity for the action taken at the time by Sir Bartle Frere, especially when the same Sir Henry Bulwer had given his consent to the action taken by Sir Bartle Frere as completely as it was given by Lord Chelmsford, Admiral Sullivan, and Sir Theophilus Shepstone.


What Sir Henry Bulwer said was, that there was no chance of the invasion of Natal by the Zulus.


said, whether there was a danger of invasion or not, Sir Henry Bulwer concurred at that time in thinking that something must be done to disperse the thunder-cloud of the Zulu Army, and that it was a case for active as distinguished from passive defence. He knew for an absolute fact that Sir Henry Bulwer was acquainted with the terms offered to Cetywayo, and corrected them himself, having them in his possession for 24 hours before they were sent. He would read the words of Sir Henry Bulwer himself, as they appeared in a despatch written December 16, 1878, when the terms in question were being discussed. It would be remembered that 30 days were given for Cetywayo's answer, and that the Army crossed the Tugela on January 20. The passage ran as follows:— The High Commissioner has judged it to he necessary, for reasons of the greatest moment to the welfare of this portion of South Africa, to place the condition of affairs in the Zulu country and our relations with the Zulu King and people on a more satisfactory basis than they now are. I concur with his Excellency's judgment on this point, as also on the conditions he has laid down, which have been communicated to the Zulu King, and which are conditions for the better government of the Zulu people and for their greater advantage, and are essential for securing peace in this part of South Africa. He (Lord Elcho) failed to see how Sir Henry Bulwer could reconcile the two despatches. Sir Bartle Frere, receiving no answer to his demands, put the matter in the hands of the military authorities in order to obtain redress, the points at issue being the dispersion of the Zulu Army, and compensation for the murder of certain British subjects. The question now to be considered was whether his course was necessary and justifiable. He believed, as all the authorities did, that it was necessary, in support of which view he might quote a statement given to him by a gentleman who had greatly distinguished himself in the campaign, and who had had an interview with Cetywayo. The Zulu King being asked who formed the war party among his people, answered— The whole nation; all the young men were determined on war; and he himself would have been killed if he had not fought. In reference to the small German settlement at Luneberg, where the Zulus had never been, and which had been saved by a detachment of British troops, Cetywayo, in answer to a question as to what he would have done if the settlers had stayed, replied that "his people would have killed them." According to the very good authority of the same gentleman— The war was looked upon by all the Colonists as certain and inevitable long before Sir Bartle Frere appeared on the scene. The Colonists lived in chronic fear. So much for the necessity of the war. Was it justifiable? He might possibly argue that whatever was necessary was justifiable; but, at any rate, judged by a European standard, it certainly was justifiable. In. Europe, when one country threatened and imminently endangered another by armed force, the country threatened was justified by all International Law in sending in a demand for the dispersion of that military force. He held, therefore, after looking at all the circumstances of the case, that the course taken by Sir Bartle Frere was completely justifiable. It was not for him to criticize the military operations; but he believed that the force that was annihilated at Isandlana ought, properly handled, to have sufficed for the protection of the camp. However, if that disaster had never occurred, and if the war had come to an end with little or no expenditure of men or money, Sir Bartle Frere, instead of being disgraced, would have received a Peerage and the thanks of both Houses of Parliament—["No, no!"]—and those who were now so loud in his detraction might have been sulky, but they would have been silent. That was his firm conviction; but, as things turned out, they had resulted in Sir Bartle Frere's recall. He had also been virulently attacked in this country from many different quarters. He had been attacked by the Aborigines Protection Society, by Members representing the Peace Society, by his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), and by a right hon. Gentleman to whom he should presently refer. In all tragic events there was an element of the comic, and he thought the action of the Aborigines Society was especially comic in this matter. Why had that Society attacked him?' Because he had endeavoured to protect not only the Colonists, but the people of Zululand from the tyrannies which they suffered from the Zulu King and from the military system under which they suffered so much oppression. He observed that the Mayor of Pietermaritzburg had expressed his regret that, owing to the prevalence of Party spirit in England, he had heard not one word of sympathy for the wrongs of the Zulu people, although great sympathy had been expressed for their King. He should have thought that the Peace Society would, of all others, have backed up Sir Bartle Frere, whose object was to break up the military organization of the Zulu King. He should have thought that gentlemen who were almost ready to shoulder a musket on behalf of peace principles would have applied these principles in that case, and sympathized heartily with a people who suffered so greatly from the military spirit. Then there was his hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, who had throughout been bitterly opposed to Sir Bartle Frere, and to whose action, he believed, it was in great measure owing that he had been recalled. Why, Sir Bartle Frere and the hon. Baronet were fellow-labourers in the same field. The one struggled for local option in England with a view to restrict the consumption of spirits, and Sir Bartle Frere had done all he could to limit the use of spirits among the Natives in South Africa. But the most astounding thing of all was the speech of a right hon. Gentleman to whom he should refer when confronted with another speech of the same right hon. Gentleman. He referred to the present Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Mr. W. E. Forster). On the 4th of August, 1879, that right hon. Gentleman had blamed the Government for sending out Sir Bartle Frere, and said that, instead of sending out a man to make war, we should have sent one out to prevent it. On the 26th of July, 1878, within 12 months of that speech, the same right hon. Gentleman spoke, as he (Lord Elcho) had already, in the highest terms, of the ability and justice of Sir Bartle Frere. It should, however, in justice to Sir BartleFrere, beremembered that, although formerly he had been sent out to bring about Confederation in South Africa, he was, in the terms of his commission, commanded to take all measures that might be justly taken to prevent the irruption of hostile tribes upon the Colonial territory, so that he had no other course to follow than that which he adopted. With regard to Sir Bartle Frere's recall, if Confederation were necessary and he was the man most fitted to bring it about, he was so still, and should not be recalled unless the policy of Confederation had been entirely abandoned by Her Majesty's Government. The failure of the Confederation scheme was in no way owing to Sir Bartle Frere. He did not believe that the reasons alleged for his recall were the true reasons. He should like to know if the Government were really in favour of disarmament or not. He did not see why the Natives should be treated in a different way on such a question from the way in which we should be treated in this country. There was only one more point with reference to Sir Bartle Frere's recall to which he would draw the attention of the House. In his opening remarks he said he believed the treatment of Sir Bartle Frere was a wrong done not only to the Colony, but also to the nation. A country like this, with great Dependencies in different parts of the world, required that those who undertook responsible duties for it should not be afraid of responsibility. Persons who undertook the discharge of such duties in a Colony were sent out with plenary powers, and consulted on the spot those who must surely know better about such matters than those who were sitting in safety on the banks of the Thames. If public servants were to be treated as Sir Bartle Frere had been treated it would be a bad thing for the State. That, unfortunately, was not the first instance of the kind, for Sir Henry Layard and Sir Henry Elliot had like attacks made on them, and every Consul had been more or less persecuted and his statements disbelieved with a view to Party purposes, or to stab the Government of the time. He, for one, would enter his protest against that mode of treating public servants. It was only on public grounds pure and simple that he had ventured to address the House on this question to-night. He apologized for having done so at so much length. He thanked them for having listened to him so patiently—that was to say, there were a great many Members on the Ministerial side of the House who were hostile to Sir Bartle Frere—and his object had been to do what he believed to be an act of justice to Sir Bartle Frere. He had no personal acquaintance whatever with Sir Bartle Frere. Sir Bartle Frere, he ventured to think, judging by his public acts, possessed all the qualities that they required in a man sent out to govern a Colony such as South Africa; and, instead of being recalled, they should have taken pride in such a public servant. He might conclude with the words of one who knew Sir Bartle Frere, who had known him in the late war, and who had an opportunity of seeing and judging of him. Sir Evelyn Wood said it was impossible for anyone to be associated with Sir Bartle Frere without being impressed by his intellect and humanity; and our sons would find that the prosperity of South Africa made a grand recompense for all our losses, and was a justification of the policy which inaugurated civilized rule in place of a distracted and barbarous despotism.


remarked, that the debate had extended over a wide range of different subjects, and the variety of these subjects illustrated at once the diversity and extent of our South African Dominions, and the difficulties we had brought upon ourselves by the extensions of territory which the Government of this country had been forced to accept. The first point to which attention was called was the annexation of the Transvaal; and he might say that the Government had no reason to complain of the very temperate and very instructive statement made in reference to that question by his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney). On the contrary, he could assure him that they had very great sympathy with his object, and with the statement he had made. He was prepared, on behalf of the Government, to accept a great number of the facts which his hon. Friend laid before the House. He was prepared to accept many of the conclusions that he drew from those facts, and he only wished he could accept the whole of them. He thought there was not a single Member of the Government who did not regret the annexation of the Transvaal and the time and the way in which it took place. The House of Commons acted under insufficient, inaccurate information when it approved the transfer, inasmuch as the general belief was that the vast majority of the inhabitants were in favour of it, and subsequent circumstances proved conclusively it was not so. He might go further, and say the Members of the Government would wish it were possible they could recommend that this country should be now relieved of the responsibility of that act. He was quite sure that neither the Prime Minister nor the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India would withdraw anything which they had said on the subject in their speeches. It was alleged, however, by the late Secretary of State for the Colonies that those speeches had been a cause of agitation; that they had done something to inflame the agitation in the Transvaal, and had rendered impossible the Confederation which they all admitted to be de- sirable. Now, in neither of those speeches was there a word which committed the Prime Minister or his noble Friend to the renunciation of the Transvaal. All that the Prime Minister did in his speech was to condemn, in emphatic terms, the annexation and the mode in which it was carried out; and his noble Friend went a little further, declaring that the time had come when the whole subject would have to be re-considered, and that he hoped no false dignity would prevent us, if it was found to be desirable, from reconsidering the decision which had been arrived at. Now, he did not believe that speeches of that kind had any effect in promoting the hostility of the Boers or in continuing the agitation. They had evidence before them that the hostility of the Boers to that annexation would have been declared whether those speeches had been made or not. But he regretted that the late Secretary of State for the Colonies had thought it right to indulge in recrimination of that sort, and had endeavoured to fix on the Government a responsibility which did not belong to it. When the speech of his noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) was made, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer did not take that view of its dangerous character which now seemed to be entertained by the late Colonial Secretary. Not only so, but the late Chancellor of the Exchequer used in his speech in that House language of much the same character as that to which the late Colonial Secretary now took exception; because, after stating that the annexation of the Transvaal was effected by a single British officer with a handful of policemen, that right hon. Gentleman said—"It is a most important matter, and it will require full consideration."If, then, the statement of his noble Friend that the matter required full consideration was a cause of agitation in South Africa, á fortiori the same statement from the lips of the then Leader of the House of Commons was still more calculated to have that effect. He might strengthen his argument by a reference to a despatch from Sir Garnet Wolseley, in which he appealed to the late Government to give him information as to what were their views respecting the annexation of the Transvaal.


said, that despatch was written after the speech of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India had arrived in the Transvaal, and on account of the agitation which was created by that speech.


said, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the then Government would give it full consideration; and, on receipt of that statement, Sir Garnet Wolseley doubtless found it requisite to address that inquiry to the late Government, and they declared that they adhered to the annexation. It was not necessary, however, to pursue that line of recrimination. The late Government decided to retain the Transvaal. When the present Government came into Office they considered the whole question most carefully. The hon. Member for Lis-keard thought they came to their conclusion rather rapidly. An immediate decision was, however, absolutely necessary. The Cape Parliament was about to meet, and it was then obvious that if the matter was left open serious evil might result. But they did not come to their decision without a most careful examination of the documents before them; and the conclusion at which they arrived, after some hesitation and regret, but finally with no doubt whatever, was that, whatever they might think of the original act of annexation, they could not safely or wisely abandon the territory. But, after all, the point at the present moment was whether they had reason to hope that the condition of the territory they had thus acquired would be improved in their hands. The hon. Member for Liskeard painted its present condition in too dark colours. He told them of the enormous Army requisite to keep the territory in order; but he omitted altogether an important element in his calculation of the population. There were only 40,000 White Settlers; but there were 800,000 Blacks to be kept in order with a force of 3,000 or 4,000 men, which was soon to be reduced by another regiment. Under our rule the Revenue appeared everywhere to be collected with the greatest regularity and order, which would hardly be the case if the intense hostility which the hon. Member supposed really existed. The unanimous opinion of the officials and the landroosts who travelled through the country apparently was that there was less agitation and less hostility than had been previously experienced. The next point was the question of the restoration of the old Constitution of Natal, as to which the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) asked for a distinct statement of the views of the Government. It was the intention of the Government to revert to the Constitution in existence in Natal before the Constitution granted by Sir Garnet Wolseley. It was going back to elected Representatives in place of non-elected Representatives. As regarded the great question of Confederation, he agreed with what was said by the hon. Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland), that, at the present time, this question ought not to be pressed on the Colony. At the same time, he agreed also with the late Secretary of State for the Colonies that they need not consider the decision of the Cape Parliament as the death-blow to the policy of Confederation. Whenever that question came up again the Government would feel it desirable, in the interests of the Colony, and also of this country, to support, though, at the same time, they would not attempt to enforce it on unwilling Colonies. Perhaps the most important question of all, however, was the position of the Government with respect to the supersession of Sir Bartle Frere. He did not suppose anyone expected him to follow the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) into the history of the Zulu War, upon which the opinion, not merely of the present, but of the late Government, and the whole of the people of this country, as represented in the Press and public meetings, had been almost unanimously expressed. It appeared to him that, by this almost unanimous verdict, Sir Bartle Frere had been found guilty of leading this country into an unjust and unnecessary war without the authority or sanction of the Government at home, and with most inadequate preparation. That was, of course, an error of judgment; but it was the most serious and the gravest error of judgment that could be brought home to any person in his position. He agreed that the Government would have been fully justified in recalling Sir Bartle Prere immediately upon entering Office, and he thought it was a natural question— why they did not do so? He could only say that the conclusion at which they arrived was arrived at under a sense of the greatest responsibility. As the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies had pointed out, Sir Bartle Frere had been superseded, to a large extent, by the late Government; and, latterly, he had been advised daily, by telegraph, how to act by the Home Government in matters of great delicacy and difficulty, and there was no doubt he would loyally carry out the instructions given to him. Under such circumstances, it was neither likely nor probable that he could do great harm, while his influence at the Cape might enable him to do great good. His very faults had given him an influence with the Colonists not to be expected from anyone else. The present Government thought that they should not do anything to destroy the chances of Confederation being arrived at, and the Government had no reason to doubt his zeal and ability and the earnestness which he brought to the discharge of his duties; but the result had been that the scheme of Confederation had been shelved sine die. There could be no doubt that the differences between the present Government and Sir Bartle Frere were not confined to the Zulu War. It had been stated in the course of the debate that it was an injustice to recall Sir Bartle Frere; but the answer to that had been given by the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Wodehouse). There had been a divergence all along between the policy of the Government and Sir Bartle Frere, and a full account of that divergence might be found in the Blue Books; and, when there had been a complete change of policy with the change of Government, it would have been unfair to have asked him to carry through a policy with which he had no sympathy. That divergence of opinion was also apparent in the despatches with regard to Pondoland. The circumstances were an exact parallel to those which led up to the Zulu War, and they might have been engaged there in another war had it not been for the good sense of Sir Garnet Wolseley, who refused to allow troops to be sent into Pondoland without consulting the Government at home. The Home Government was of the same opinion as Sir Garnet Wolseley, that nothing could be more injudicious than the making of intertribal squabbles an occasion for international war. Then, as to the disarmament of the Basutos. No more imprudent thing at a more imprudent time could have been suggested than the disarmament of the loyal Basutos—men who had been loyal for 40 years, and who had just used those arms, which Sir Bartle Frere wished to take from them, in our behalf. It was true Sir Bartle Frere spoke slightingly of their loyalty; but their loyalty was highly spoken of by Mr. Griffith, an able magistrate and an experienced administrator, and also by competent authorities in the district. Sir Bartle Frere told them, in one of those literary performances in which he defended his policy, that the disarmament of the Basutos was really a compliment to them, and, as civilized men were not armed, it was a compliment to the Basutos to disarm them; but Sir Bartle Frere forgot to mention that, while he was so anxious to disarm the Basutos, he made no proposal to disarm the Colonists. The question was one which might at any moment give rise to anxiety. All the Government could do was to follow the lines which had been traced by their Predecessors in Office, and which had subsequently been followed by Lord Kimberley—namely, to warn the Colonists against too hasty action, and to impress upon them the consideration that in the event of difficulties arising in consequence of any precipitate action on their part they would be expected to provide for their own defence, and that British money and British troops would not be forthcoming in the future. The Cape Government was not entirely subject to control; but from the tone of their latest despatches there was reason to believe that they would not rush inconsiderately into a conflict with the Basuto people. Well, it was evident that so long as Sir Bartle Frere was more Colonial than the Colonists themselves, it was inconvenient to retain him as the Eepre-sentative of Her Majesty's Government at the Cape. As regarded the Basuto question, the Government disagreed with the policy he had pursued, on the grounds alike of expediency and of justice; and with such a divergence between the Government and its Agent it was impossible for harmonious action to continue. Under these circumstances, the situation might be said to have become intolerable. After hopes of a Confederation had been abandoned, the Government had no alternative but to replace Sir Bartle Frere by a Governor whose views were more in harmony with their own. One word he might say as to the general policy of the Government in South Africa. Sir Bartle Frere's view was that by peaceful means or by force the Native populations should, in their own interests, be subordinated to the White man. The policy of the Government, on the contrary, was one of abstention from interference in the domestic affairs of neighbouring tribes and races, except when the peace of the Frontier was concerned; and Lord Kimberley strongly urged that border forays should, as far as possible, be treated as questions of police, instead of as constituting an outrage upon British territory. It was said that Sir Bartle Frere was extremely popular with the Colonists. That was, no doubt, true; but, inasmuch as he identified himself with Colonial opinion, it was not to be wondered at. Her Majesty's Government frankly recognized the enterprizing spirit of the Colonists; but they could not conceal from themselves the fact that that enterprizing spirit might sometimes be inconsiderate in dealing with the Native population. It was a most difficult problem which was presented by the South African Colonies, where there was an enormous Native population surrounding a small White element, composed largely of Dutch Settlers. It could not be said that hitherto England had shown any want of patience or generosity in dealing with the Colonists. England had spent millions of money and thousands of lives in South African wars. As we had made such great sacrifices we might fairly claim to exercise a moderating influence in the South African Colonies; and even if the policy of the Government was less thorough and drastic than that which sometimes commended itself to the Colonists themselves, he did not hesitate to claim their co-operation in the fulfilment of the object which both they and the Government had at heart—namely, the good government of this great Dependency, towards whose population, Coloured and White alike, we had undertaken such heavy responsibilities.


said, that at that late hour of that long discussion he should appeal to the House to listen to him, as being the only defender of the conduct of Sir Bartle Frere on that side of the House who could speak as an old personal friend. He had anticipated strong words of censure such as had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain); but he had entirely failed to hear from that Member of the Cabinet any proof of the truth of the assertions which that right hon. Gentleman had brought against Sir Bartle Frere. He (Sir George Balfour) had had the pleasure and honour of knowing Sir Bartle Frere for many years, both in the Council of India and elsewhere, and he knew how highly Sir Bartle Frere had been appreciated by statesmen of all kinds. Twice had he received the thanks of Parliament for his great services; but those noble recognitions were cast to the winds by a Liberal Government. Therefore, he regretted to find the Liberal Party treating this distinguished statesman in the way they had done. If there were one charge which he would bring against the Liberal Party, it was that they never properly recognized the services of public servants. The way the President of the Board of Trade had denounced the conduct of that able officer in the case of the Zulu War was an illustration of the indifference felt by Liberals to one whose character was dear to the country; and the hon. Baronet opposite the Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland) had also referred to that distinguished servant, but in much more moderate language than that used by the President of the Board of Trade. In support of these remarks, the hon. Baronet had quoted a letter from Sir Henry Bulwer dated 10th March last; but there was another letter on record from Sir Henry Bulwer, to which, if hon. Gentlemen would refer, they would find that the results of the Zulu War were stated very differently from what appeared in the quoted letter of the 10th March. The President of the Board of Trade had said that what ought to have been done was, that the Zulu King should have been left at the head of the Zulu nation; but Sir Henry Bulwer stated that such a course was ominous for the future safety of the Colony, and that, as the Zulu power had been bent and not broken, the King would have lost no time in reestablishing his great military power and organization. Such a course would have been, according to Sir Henry Bulwer, very dangerous and quite opposed to any settlement of the Zulu question, and would have been one which would have entailed the greatest danger, both present and future. By the abolition of the Zulu dynasty and Monarchy, it might be said that the possibility of that danger taking place was at least removed; so that, in point of fact, they had this Sir Henry Bulwer quoted as a very high authority, stating that great and useful results had followed from Sir Bartle Frere's policy in regard to that war. He contended that it was impolitic in the extreme to act as the Government had done towards Sir Bartle Frere, on the plea that he had not waited for orders from England before taking action against the Zulus. This recall was a great blow to independence of thought and action, so essentially needed on the part of the rulers of the many Colonies. Even at present, it was very difficult to get a man who was both able and willing to exercise that independent thought so essential for the good of, and to undertake the administration of, such countries; and, therefore, the Government ought to have calmly reflected on the evil that would result to good government before they took such a step as recalling that able officer, Sir Bartle Frere. At any rate, they ought not to have done so without a previous warning as to the views and intentions of the present Government, and as to Sir Bartle Frere's readiness, or otherwise, to carry them into effect. The hon. Baronet the Member for Midhurst had set forth a strong argument, showing that they had acted with unfairness towards those barbarous tribes in South Africa. But that plea had a wide application, and was spread over a long period of time. He (Sir George Balfour) would remind the House that the present Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Earl of Kimberley) was the man who first sanctioned any interference with the freedom of action of the Zulu nation and King. In 1872 that Nobleman permitted the Government of Natal to send officers into Zululand not only to crown the King, but to bind him by obligations of an onerous and grave character. For instance, he sanctioned the order that that King should no longer be allowed to put to death those whom he chose; but that he was to report to the Natal Government every case in which he desired to put a subject to death. What was the result of that? In less than four years after that condition was imposed by the present Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Natal Government found that the Zulu King had gone back to the cruel and barbarous way of putting numbers of his people to death. He was found killing young men and young women of his Kingdom because they chose to marry. These murders were so much opposed to his Coronation promises that the result was that Sir Henry Bulwer himself sent to the King to remind him of his Coronation Oath, in which he had promised not to kill his people. What was the King's reply? He said—"Why should the Government of Natal come to me; am I not governor of my own country, and can I not administer my own laws, and kill those that I choose?" Such was the result of the first interference sanctioned by the present Secretary of State. The second was with regard to the repeated raids from Zululand on territories belonging to England, or in connection with us. He observed that the President of the Board of Trade carefully abstained from making any reference to the many Zulu raids that were made before Sir Bartle Frere had incurred any responsibilities. So threatening and dangerous were these raids that Sir Henry Bulwer, of his own accord, interfered with regard to them. He sent several messages to the Zulu King of remonstrance, and that he forbade him to do so, and demanded redress. Yet the King took no notice of the appeals, and the raids continued to take place on the borders of the Tugela, until a body of our troops was sent up to protect the country. All that happened before Sir Bartle Frere arrived in Natal. This precautionary measure was a virtual act of war, as Sir Henry Bulwer himself admitted, and done before Sir Bartle Frere had at all moved in these local affairs. Again, when, in September, 1878, Sir Bartle Frere arrived in Natal, he found the country practically in a state of war. Only 12 days before his arrival the Zulu King had sent a large force on to the banks of the Tugela, and all the reports led to the belief that he was determined to carry arms into Natal and the Transvaal. Then, again, with regard to the Boer question about the land in dispute between the Zulu King and the Transvaal, the entire responsibility for the prompt and fair settlement of those differences was entirely thrown upon Sir Bartle Frere. For many years the discussion had been going on about these disputed territories. Even in the former administration of the present Secretary of State for the Colonies, the claims and demands of the Boers and Zulu King had been fully made known to him; but he had never tried, as far as could be learned from the Correspondence, to bring these dangerous differences to an end. But Sir Bartle Frere, when ordered to bring them to a close, even though the agents selected to inquire into the claims were not chosen by himself, yet did not hesitate to go into the Border disputes, and, after careful consideration, awarded to Zululand only parts of the vast territory in dispute. That decision was concurred in by the Lieutenant Governor of Natal, and so much approved that he claimed the right to send the decision to the Zulu King. Sir Bartle Frere had in that matter shown himself anxious to do justice, and the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had proved that his action had been approved by the Secretary of State for the Colonies of the late Government. He did not mean to say that the action of Sir Bartle Frere was perfect, or free from all criticism; but considering the great affairs he had to control, direct, and attend to, the points on which differences of opinion might be raised were few in number and unimportant, so far as his own responsibilities for their initiation were involved. This, at least, could be justly said of Sir Bartle Frere's administration—that there never was a time when the Cape and the East African Colonists had had the services of so able and such an efficient Administrator as he had been. It should be remembered that one great and useful result had been attained in the Cape Colony. They only now had 5,000 Infantry stationed in South Africa, and of those 4,500 were in Natal and in the Transvaal, and only 500 in garrison at Cape Town. Never before was the force at Cape Town so low. They should also bear in mind what had fallen from the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Grant Duff) with regard to the useful and important services rendered by Sir Bartle Frere in regard to the police and local forces raised or in course of formation throughout all the divisions of South Africa, and he thought that all would agree that the country had been well and wisely administered by Sir Bartle Frere. He would ever maintain that the people of this country would have been saved that yearly great expenditure for wars and military forces if the administration of South Africa under Sir Bartle Frere as the High Commissioner had been left. He contended that Sir Bartle Frere had shown himself an excellent Administrator, a man capable of assuming responsibilities and of acting with that sound judgment most useful to the Parliamentary Government of this country. Unhappily, there were signs of hostility to Sir Bartle Frere on the part of those who ought to have been friendly. He regretted exceedingly that the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) had shown himself so hostile to Sir Bartle Frere, as he should have thought there was no man whom the hon. Baronet would more admire for protecting the Natives against the curse of strong drinks. Now that midnight had passed, he would not detain the House longer; but he thought it necessary to say a few words on behalf of one who had shown himself to be so useful a public servant.


said, that there were one or two remarks in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade that were most satisfactory. As regarded the question of Pondoland and its population, he was glad to hear that the Government were settled in their views of that matter, and approved of the action about to be taken by Sir Bartle Frere. He understood that the hon. Baronet the Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland) had brought that subject before the House. He was not present at that time; but he had no doubt that the hon. Baronet had treated the subject much more fully and effectually than he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) could have done. If no one else had gone into the subject it was his (Mr. Justin M'Carthy's) intention to have done so. There were other passages of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade with which he could not so cordially sympathize. He confessed that he failed to see either logic or justice in the action of the Government with regard to Sir Bartle Frere. He must say that he agreed with the late Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) in thinking that the course the Government intended to pursue ought to have been distinct and clear when they came into Office, and that they ought to have recalled Sir Bartle Frere then, or not at all. It seemed to him to be idle to talk about allowing Sir Bartle Frere to retain office, in order that he might pursue the South African Confederation scheme. The only reason of the Government for recalling him was, it now appeared, that he had shown himself incapable of carrying out that scheme successfully. But everyone knew perfectly well that when the present Government were in Opposition they never talked about the accomplishment of that scheme being a reason for retaining him in Office, or sending him out of it. It was the unanimous opinion of the then Opposition that Sir Bartle Frere ought to be recalled, and that opinion ought to have been expressed in action when the Government came into Office. While the Liberal Party were in Opposition there was no talk about a compromise, by which Sir Bartle Frere was to be permitted to remain in office in order to carry out the Confederation scheme. Another point on which he could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman was, as regarded the occupation of the Transvaal territories. He held that if the Liberals thought that that occupation was unjust as they said it was at the time, and opposed to the principles both of statesmanship and morals, they ought not to have any further consideration about the matter, but withdraw at once from that awkward and indefensible position. As soon as they were in a condition to dictate a policy, they ought to have done the same as they had done with regard to Afghanistan and Abyssinia—namely, when they found that a territory had been invaded wrongly, to withdraw from a wrongful occupation. He found fault with the Government for not having been, in those few instances, fairly true to their principles and policy. He believed that the Liberal Party would never be thoroughly strong until they set the example of standing in Office by the very principles that they avowed and maintained in Opposition. It was, as regarded him, and those who thought with him, a matter of personal indiffer.- ence. Neither he nor any of his Party would ever be in Office on one side of politics or the other; but, nevertheless, he did not feel so strong an interest in the fortunes and future of the Liberal Party as to lament any evidence on their part of a lack of fidelity to principle. There should be nothing of inconsistency in the action of that Party; and, therefore, he regretted to see a distinct and palpable difference between the policy of the Liberals in Office on that South African Question, and that which all the House knew to have been their policy when they occupied the Opposition Benches.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolutions read a second time.

First Resolution agreed to.

Resolution 2.


said, the Amendment he was about to move meant the cutting off of the salary of the High Commissioner of South Eastern Africa, thus raising the question of retaining authority in the Transvaal, and the withdrawal of Sir George Colley. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had apologized for the continuance of British control in the Transvaal on the ground of necessity. But he (Mr. Courtney) was quite unable to understand why the matter should not have been allowed to remain an open question, as they were not bound to take any immediate action with regard to it. Although the House had been informed that the inhabitants of the Transvaal were becoming more and more reconciled to the authority of the Crown, he had not been able to find any facts in support of that statement. No doubt, Sir Owen Lanyon had reported that there was a tendency in the direction of contentment; but such opinions had been over and over again expressed, and there was nothing to show, even if the statement could be verified, which it had not been, anything more than a certain acquiescence in the authority of the Crown. He believed, in raising these questions, he was pursuing in the best way what was the desire, not only of himself, but of every other hon. Member of the House—namely, a union of States in South Africa; and he believed that in attacking the assumption of authority in the Transvaal he was striking at the part of our rule which hindered that union. He did not like the word "Confederation" as applied to the condition of things which he desired to see established, but would prefer the appellation of United States of South Africa in the sense of their coming together by their own act, rather than being forced by any act of ours, which, in his opinion, would tend more to hinder than advance the object in view. He believed that the States of South Africa, if left to themselves, and thrown upon their own responsibility, would form a union that would be far more lasting, efficient, and worthy of respect than any which we could force upon them. That opinion was founded upon mature consideration, and was also the opinion of eminent and practical men, and, in pursuance of the policy he had indicated, he held that we ought not to retain possession of the Transvaal.

Amendment proposed, to leave out"£24,319,"in order to insert"£22,319,"—(Mr. Courtney,)—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That '£24,319' stand part of the said Resolution."


said, he understood the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney) to say that having listened to the figures quoted with reference to the Revenue of the Transvaal, he did not understand whether they were actual receipts or estimates, and, in reply, wished to say that the figures in question were taken from the report of a speech made by the Administrator to the Council on the 11th June last. They represented actual receipts, and were not estimates at all. With reference to a point in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, he had ventured to say that there was no proof whatever of divergence of opinion in matters relating to South Africa between Sir Bartle Frere and the present Government since they came into Office, with the single exception of the question of the disposal of the land formerly occupied by Moirosi and his tribe, and to this view he adhered, in spite of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman as to the disarming of the Basutos. Sir Bartle Frere was not responsible for this; but had, on the contrary, exercised his influence with his Ministers in endeavouring to secure that the disarmament should be conducted with all possible consideration, for the feelings of the tribe.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 113; Noes 32: Majority 81.—(Div. List, No. 158.)

Second Resolution agreed to.

Subsequent Resolution agreed to.