(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £9,425 (including a Supplementary sum of £3,808), be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for certain Changes connected which the Orange River Territory, the Transvaal, Zululand, and the Island of St. Helena.
I rise to propose the reduction of this Vote by the amount necessary for the salary of the Resident in the Transvaal; and I am sorry that it is necessary for the Committee to express its sense of the results of the Government policy in the Transvaal by a Motion of this character. That, however, is not my fault. At an early period of the Session an opportunity was given to the House of Commons to debate upon a formal decision as to the fulfilment of the Transvaal Convention by the Transvaal Government; and although the Prime Minister thought it right to put on record a Motion on that subject, yet from that day down to the present the subject has been adjourned from time to time by Her Majesty's Government, and it has stood until this very day on the Notice Paper, the House of Commons never having been allowed to come to a decision upon the matter. My reasons for objecting to this Vote, and which I shall state at this period of the Session as concisely as I can, are that 1660 the maintenance of a Resident in the Transvaal is perfectly useless for any purpose whatever. When the Convention was signed by the Transvaal Government, and when a Resident was appointed, it was supposed that he would be useful to three classes of persons—first, the British subjects who happened to be in the Transvaal; secondly, to the Natives, who were, certainly, subjects of Her Majesty, who might need protection on remaining in the Transvaal; and, thirdly, the Native races outside the Transvaal Borders who, I may say, would be specially under his personal protection. The Papers laid before the House recently by Her Majesty's Government give specimens and examples of the extent to which the Resident in the Transvaal has been useful to these three classes of persons; and, as briefly as I can, I propose to call the attention of the Committee to the extent and degree to which he has been useful to them, and I shall then ask the Committee if it is worth while to continue to spend money on this functionary at all. In the first place, in regard to British subjects, such as the case of the unhappy man M'Gillivray, who was murdered in Transvaal territory. The attention of Her Majesty's Government was called to this case almost simultaneously, at the beginning of the year, by the Government in Cape Town, and by my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. Hubbard) here. They brought under the notice of the Government certain facts which are very well known. This man M'Gillivray was accompanied by a man named Smith, and both were taken prisoners in 1882 by the filibustering Boers who were attacking one of the Native Chiefs. The men were put in irons and brought to a laager, and on the 8th of September they succeeded in effecting their escape. One of them was followed, shot, and buried, or half-buried, outside the Transvaal territory. With regard to the other man, a corpse was discovered in the Transvaal territory, having shackles on the legs, and having beside him a stick, on which was cut the words "J. C. M'Gillivray, Beaufort, Cape Colony, September 12, 1882," being four days later than the date the unfortunate man was found to have escaped. Moreover, it was asserted, not only by the Press, but by the brother of the murdered man, 1661 that the body had been found close by the boundary of a farm called Kanye in the Transvaal, to which he was known to be going; and it was discovered by a Boer who lives there, named Peet Van Zyl. These facts are well known, and they are all to be found in the evidence of a man called Campbell Johnson, a traveller in Bechuanaland, who came to a knowledge of the facts through his own investigations. The matter having been brought under the notice of the Government, Lord Derby and Sir Hercules Robinson both thought it necessary to order the Transvaal President to make a rigid inquiry into these facts, with a view of discovering by whom M'Gillivray had been murdered. The result was that, in the first place, the only notice taken of the matter by the Transvaal Government was an impudent assertion that the man M'Gillivray was still alive, and in support of that assertion they told a trumped up tale. The next thing, after asserting that the man was still alive, was an assertion that the Chief Montsioa had murdered, him. In the next place, a despatch was sent by the Transvaal Government to Montsioa, quite contrary to the terms of the Convention; because, under the Convention, the Transvaal Government had no right to communicate with Montsioa, except through the Transvaal Resident. But the Secretary to the Transvaal Government wrote direct to Montsioa, telling him that they were going to send a Commission to inquire into the reported atrocities which had occurred at Montsioa's place—the alleged atrocities being that human remains had been found there with chains on the legs, for which it would seem that a man had been first caught and put in fetters, and afterwards done to death. This letter was addressed to Captain Montsioa, Land Goshen. After threatening Montsioa, finally, an investigation was made by a Commission of the Transvaal Government, outside its own boundaries, and an expedition was made into Bechuanaland, and the result of that inquiry was a deposition that they knew nothing about it. A great number of depositions were forwarded to Her Majesty's Government, and are contained in the Blue Book; but the gist of them is that the persons examined knew nothing at all about it. There was, however, one remarkable omission. There never seemed 1662 to have been any inquiry made by the Transvaal Government concerning Peet Van Zyl, at whose farm the body of the man was discovered, and who had been charged over and over again with having committed the murder. Peet Van Zyl was a Transvaal subject, and his farm was in Transvaal territory. So much for the investigation of this unhappy murder of the man M'Gillivray; and I think the Committee, and everybedy else, will disagree with Lord Derby's final conclusion on page 102—I fail to see that any useful result is likely to follow from a further inquiry into this case on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. There is no evidence that a murder has been committed; and looking at the length of time since the supposed death of M'Gillivray, and to the circumstances of the country, I do not consider it at all probable that any fresh evidence would be forthcoming which would clear up the uncertainty as to M'Gillivray's fate. Nor can I take upon myself the responsibility of suggesting to M'Gillivray's relations that they should hold an inquiry themselves; but I think that the Papers in the case should be communicated to them.Lord Derby says that there is no evidence that a murder has been committed. I think Lord Derby, in expressing that opinion, stands almost alone in the civilized world. The noble Lord goes on to say that, looking at the length of time since the supposed death of M'Gillivray, and to the circumstances of the country, he did not consider it at all probable that any evidence would be forthcoming which would clear up the uncertainty as to M'Gillivray's death. As Lord Derby thinks there is no necessity for making further inquiries into the death of a British subject in Transvaal territory, I would ask the Committee to agree with me in rejecting this part of the Vote. The next case is that of a British subject named F. J. Wells, who was most grossly assaulted, by being shot at and severely wounded, on the 19th of February last at a place in the Transvaal territory, in the immediate neighbeurhood of the Border of Bechuanaland. Mr. Wells made his complaint on the 12th of February to the Resident, and gave the whole circumstances of the case, together with the name of the man who shot him, Adrian do la Rey, a man who was well known in these parts. So that on the 12th of February there was a statement made by a British subject that he had been shot at, and very nearly killed. The name of the man who shot 1663 him was given; and yet, from that day to the present, nothing has been done in the matter. What is the use of a British Resident in the Transvaal who cannot get justice done, even when a man complains, and gives the name of the man by whom he had been shot and injured? But, although the Transvaal Government did nothing, this man Adrian de la Rey, who is one of the founders of what Sir Hercules Robinson calls the Republic of Stellaland, declined to let the matter rest where it was, and issued a Proclamation on the 12th of February—page 42 of the Papers—signed by G. J. Van Niekirk, Administrator; A. J. G. de la Rey, Member ofi the Committee of Management; Theodore Dome, Member of the Committee of Management and Secretary to David Massouw, which is published in De Volkstem, and in which it is stated that—Whereas the said James W. Honey, being on his way as aforesaid, under escort, was followed by certain mounted and armed persons, named James Streak, alias Campbell; Frank Wells, alias Captain Wells; Horwitz, a certain Basuto, by name Cetchwayo, son of August Rapport, with the intention of delivering the prisoner from his guard and out of the hands of the law, and with that object the above-mentioned persons attacked the escort.In other words, that Captain Wells and these persons had made an assault upon officers of the Stellaland Republic, the assault consisting of the fact that Captain Wells had been fired at, shot, and wounded—The Proclamation, therefore, declares all the above-named persons to be outlaws in this territory:—That is to say, that the said persons, for the safety of their lives, will never be allowed in this territory.Thus you have this unfortunate British subject complaining to the British Resident, and the Administrator of the Stella-land Republic coolly pronounces him an outlaw, on the sole ground, as far as I can ascertain, that he has been shot and assaulted by Adrian de la Rey. I myself received a letter, in February last, giving the evidence of an eye-witness as to the nature of the assault committed; but I was obliged to ask the Government under no circumstances to betray the author of that communication, because British subjects in the Transvaal already found their position extremely precarious, and any knowledge coming to the Boers of a person having made a 1664 complaint to a Member of this House would certainly bring upon him the vengeance of the Boers. I come now to the case of the Natives who were till lately the subjects of our Queen. May I call the recollection of the Committee to the fact that at the beginning of the Session I brought forward an authentic account, furnished by an eye-witness, of certain women and children having been smoked to death in a place called "Hell," and promises were made to me that the matter should be inquired into. A despatch was sent from here to the Transvaal, asking for a Report on the subject; but, unfortunately, at the time the statement was made in the House a noble Lord who represented the Government in "another place" was good enough to take an opportunity of entering into a defence of the use of dynamite against the Natives, than which, he said, nothing could be more humane. Now, it seems to me that the Government mixed up two things, and that they were far more anxious to defend the noble Lord in regard to the use of dynamite against Mapoch than to investigate what took place at this stronghold called "Hell." The case I had referred to was not that of Mapoch at all, but it occurred elsewhere; and it was not a case of the use of dynamite, but of smoking a number of women and children out of a cave, most of whom died in the course of the operation. An inquiry was made of the Transvaal Government, and the answer of the Transvaal Government will be found at page 43. The British Resident, in his Report to the High Commissioner, seems extremely anxious to make out a case for the defence of his official Chief, the noble Lord who had said in "another place" that nothing could be more humane than the use of dynamite. Mr. Hudson says that ample opportunity was given to the people to go out of the cave before it was blown up; and there was no reason whatever to suppose that the use of dynamite deserved the reprobation of Parliament or of the civilized world. This statement of the Resident is supplemented by an indignant protest on the part of the Transvaal authorities themselves, who got Mr. A. H. Nelmapius to make an affidavit that he never saw a single woman or child killed by dynamite except in the Army under Sir Garnet Wolseley,who, in the storming of Sikukuni's stronghold, were known to 1665 have murdered women and children by wholesale. I will leave these people to fight out the matter as they like. There is neither a despatch from the Transvaal Government nor from the Resident himself which touches the point whether there were women and children stifled by smoke or not. Thus we have an opportunity of seeing how far the British Resident succeeded in obtaining protection for Natives in the Transvaal who were British subjects. In the month of November, 1882, the Transvaal Government made use of the British Resident, sending a telegram to him asking him for two field pieces; and it seems that on the 24th of November the Governor laid before his Executive Council a Minute of this subject, which is not found in the Papers. Now, I should like to know what a gentleman like Sir Hercules Robinson said in answer to the telegram asking for these two guns. I do not know why the statement is omitted from the Blue Book, and I have no doubt that every hon. Member in this House would like to know what it was. I will give the reference which is to be found on page 27. Mr. Scanleu, Premier of the Cape, says, in a letter from the Colonial Secretary's Office, Cape Town—I acknowledge the receipt of His Excellency's Minute of the 24th instant, covering copy of a telegram from the British Resident, Pretoria, preferring a request on behalf of the Transvaal Government for the loan of two seige guns, with ammunition, to operate against the Chief Mapoch. Ministers have to state that there are at King William's Town three 6-inch howitzers and three 8-inch mortars, and that one of each class will be readily placed at the disposal of the Transvaal State with 300 rounds of ammunition per piece. The Transvaal Government will have the option of returning guns in good order, or of purchasing them at cost price, at which rate also the ammunition will be charged. The weight of the howitzer, carriage, and limber is 81 cwt., and of 300 rounds of ammunition, 29,000 lbs.; the weight of the mortar, carriage, and limber, 28 cwt., and of 300 rounds, 14,000 lbs.I do not know what the Governor said; but I am curious to know, and if the Secretary for the Colonies would give us the substance of the Minute by Sir Hercules Robinson, I think it would be exceedingly interesting. It seems that the siege guns were promised to the Transvaal Government; but that they were not immediately sent, and the Transvaal Government, therefore, got impatient, and on the 12th February they telegraphed 1666 again to know why these field pieces were not coming. They seem to have had notice that it was part of the business of the British Resident to procure these field guns that were to be used against Mapoch, and in that telegram the British Resident says—That the latest intelligence of Mapoch's commands was not satisfactory; that certain Boers have been killed without securing any compensating advantage.And he also mentions that as yet no communication had been received from the Transvaal Government in reply to the latest representation as to payments duo for interest on the British advances. I do not know how it was, but at this time the conscience of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies seems to have been alarmed, and on the 19th February he telegraphed to the Cape Government to ask for information about these guns. The Under Secretary of State for the Colonies told us that these telegrams are not printed in the Blue Book, but that the substance was given in subsequent despatches. I must confess that this is a very inconvenient mode of dealing with the matter, and that when the government of a Colony is carried on by telegraph, it is most desirable for this House to have the actual text of the telegrams which were sent by Lord Derby placed before it. I shall show presently how inconvenient the course actually pursued was, because the account of the telegrams given in the despatches are not always consistent. On the 19th of February, Lord Derby appears to have telegraphed to ask about these siege guns, and he got an answer on the 20th from the Governor, in which he was informed that the guns had been lent to the Transvaal Government for use in the operations against Mapoch. Well, then, on the 15th of March, the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies wrote a despatch on the subject of lending the siege guns for the operations against Mapoch, which I think is one of the most degrading documents which ever proceeded from the pen of a British Minister, because, after clearly expressing his disapprobation at the course pursued, the noble Lord goes on to say—I am not in a position to raise any objection against this transaction, though there is unquestionably a strong feeling in this country 1667 that, having regard to the terms and object of the Convention with the Transvaal State, Her Majesty's subjects should not assist in operations against the Natives whether within or beyond its boundaries.That despatch was written on the 15th of March, and on the 13th there had been a strong speech delivered in this country by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster). I am not at all sure that the despatch is not accounted for by the effect which that speech produced on the conscience of the country. The noble Lord is content with saying—I should, however, be glad to receive from you a Report on the subject stating to what extent arms and ammunition have been furnished from the Cape Colony to be used either by the Transvaal Government, or by persons acting independently of it, against Natives during the past year, and showing whether and how far the Cape Government has been concerned either in providing or permitting the provision of such supplies.Lord Derby's conscience was alarmed, and he wished to have some Report from the High Commissioner at Cape Town which he might produce to Parliament in case the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) should press the criticism a little further, and make inconvenient inquiries about the use of arms and ammunition by the Cape Government against our subjects in the Transvaal. Then comes the phrase which I call de-grading—I shall also be obliged by your informing me whether, in your opinion, it would now be possible to prevent the continuance of such supplies, and whether a representation from Her Majesty's Government would be favourably received and attended to.So that a Minister of this great country, feeling and knowing that these supplies are improper, and wishing to put a stop to them, dare not address a remonstrance to the Government of Cape Colony until he had first found out from the Government of Cape Colony whether his representations would be favourably received. He says, in effect—"If you think the Cape Government will not be very angry I will send a remonstrance. If you think the Cape Government will be angry, then I must chance the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), and hold the matter up." Such an instance of feeblenesss and vacillation I say—and I use the word advisedly—is degrading. The subse- 1668 quent story of the operations against Mapoch is, that Mapoch, by the means of these two guns, has boon defeated; his stronghold has been reduced; and we are told by Her Majesty's Government that the Volksraad have passed a Resolution that his people shall be apprenticed out for five years to servitude, or what we call in this country by the shorter name of being sent into slavery. Yet Her Majesty's Government do not know whether this is true or not. Their Resident apparently does not keep them so well informed as the Correspondent of The Standard keeps his employers informed. The British Resident has not told them whether this is true or not, and he has not been able to tell the Government what measures are going to be taken, or whether they are going to appeal to the Convention, or to the still older Sand River Convention, against this kind of treatment. It is under such circumstances as these that I invite the Committee to say that the establishment of a British Resident is quite useless. I now come to the last part of the case—namely, Bechuanaland—and we know from the Papers recently placed on the Table a great deal more of Bechuanaland than we did when the subject was debated in March last. The Government have managed to keep their counsel well. When Notices were put upon the Paper about Bechuanaland the conscience of Lord Derby became alarmed again, and he sent a telegram on the 21st of February to the High Commissioner at the Cape suggesting the formation of a police force to act against British subjects and deserters in the Bechuana country. On the 22nd he is informed by the High Commissioner at Cape Town that the Ministers of the Cape Government would give the desired facilities; but that they agreed with Lord Derby in thinking that the proposal would effect no appreciable good, as nine-tenths of the freebooters of Bechuanaland were neither British subjects nor deserters. It appears that the opinion of Lord Derby is not recapitulated in the telegram. The original telegram sent is not recorded in the despatches at all. It appears from Lord Derby's despatch that—You (Sir Hercules Robinson) were of opinion that the only effectual course would be for Her Majesty's Government to clear the terri- 1669 tory from all marauders, and to retain in it for a small time a small force to prevent their return. Five hundred mounted police would, you thought, be sufficient to clear the country; if 100 remained on for 12 months, matters would probably settle down. You estimated the expenditure at £100,000. You added that time was of great importance, as further delay would increase the difficulty and cost of intervention.Lord Derby goes on to say—I replied to you also by telegraph on the 27th, that as you thought the only effectual course would be to clear the country with a large force and afterwards occupy it, I feared that no present action was possible, as Her Majesty's Government could not undertake large military operations and the protection of the territory where only one-tenth of the marauders were British.All we know of the original telegram is contained in the first despatch of Lord Derby's letter—On the 27th ultimo I inquired of you by telegraph whether, if Her Majesty's Government should decide to organize a force of British police to act against British subjects and deserters in the Bechuana country, the Cape Government would afford all the necessary facilities?That is all; and it is only from the reply on the 22nd that we learn that there is something more in the telegram than what is there recorded—namely, an expression of opinion on the part of the Colonial Government that the proposal of Her Majesty's Government would effect no appreciable good. I certainly think the Committee would like to have seen what the telegrams themselves were; but it appears that, in the opinion of the Governor, the only effectual course was for Her Majesty's Government to clear the territory of the marauders, and to keep on a small force for a short time to prevent their return. The amount of the force and the amount of money which it would cost seemed to have been stated, although in this House, when the debate took place a fortnight later, we heard much more extravagant estimates made by the speakers on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. What Sir Hercules Robinson thought necessary was 500 mounted police to clear the country, and if 100 remained on for 12 months he was of opinion that matters would probably settle down; and he estimated the expenditure roughly at £100,000. Sir Hercules Robinson also appears to have added that time was of great importance, as further delay would increase 1670 the difficulties of the situation and the cost of intervention. On the 27th of March, Lord Derby replied, also by telegram, that, as the Governor thought the only effectual course would be to clear the country with a large force and afterwards occupy it, he feared that no present action was possible, as Her Majesty's Government could not undertake military operations where only one-tenth of the marauders were British, notwithstanding the fact that the people attacked were Allies of Her Majesty's Government, and that they were attacked by Boers of the Transvaal in defiance of the Convention made between the Transvaal Government and Her Majesty's Government. I think I am right in saying that the despatches did not disclose the whole of the telegram, because if hon. Members will refer to page 31 of the Papers they will see there are two despatches from Sir Hercules Robinson to the Colonial Secretary, and it will be seen that there are two stars with a notification that the telegrams to which they refer have not been printed. At the end of the second despatch, Sir Hercules Robinson inquires whether—He was to inform Mankoroane and Montsioa that, in the sense of his Lordship's message of the 27th ultimo, no action on the part of Her Majesty's Government was possible, and they had better make the best terms they could with their enemies?Now, I should like to know whether Sir Hercules Robinson is either misrepresenting Lord Derby, or whether Lord Derby did telegraph to Cape Town to tell Montsioa and Mankoroane that they were to make the best terms they could for themselves? As I see that the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies has left his place, I presume he has gone to make that inquiry. After Lord Derby had sent that telegram, he got a long telegram in reply from Sir Hercules Robinson. It is dated the 1st of March. On the 1st of March Lord Derby is informed that Mankoroane had lately visited Sir Henry Barkly, and had written a letter—Which was forwarded to you on 12th February, stating that the whole of his country is being appropriated by freebooters, and asking for a definite reply as to whether he can look for any help from,Her Majesty's Government, or must submit to his enemies. I pointed out that our obligations are not limited to responsibility for the acts of marauding British subjects. Shortly before the Transvaal troubles, Sir Bartle Frere, as High Commissioner, wrote 1671 to Mankoroane assuring him that if he behaved loyally to the British Government he might rely on receiving every reasonable support. This Chief and Montsioa are now on the point of being exterminated in consequence of their fidelity to the British Government, and because of the assistance they gave to British subjects in the Transvaal War.I remember over and over again that Members of this House, I myself among the number, were taken to task by the authorities at the Colonial Office for reiterating again and again that this was a war made upon Montsioa and Mankoroano because of their fidelity to the British Government in the Transvaal War. I recollect distinctly, on one occasion, that the present Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Courtney) was extremely severe upon hon. Members for making that statement. In another despatch from Sir Hercules Robinson, on the same date—the 1st of March—The High Commissioner says—In continuance of my telegram of to-day, I thought it well to explain in a further message that, in stating that action was hazardous, I meant that there were the risks of the force sustaining a check, and of the freebooters receiving support from their friends in the Transvaal State. But I thought that if the matter were taken in hand at once, with a thoroughly efficient force, before the difficulties with Mapoch were disposed of, these dangers would not be realized. If, however, action wore delayed till after the freebooters had entered upon the occupation of their farms, and until the hands of their kinsmen in the Transvaal were free, the attempt to dispossess them would then probably give rise to a struggle which might assume large and wide dimensions.The High Commissioner obsorves—I observed that I saw clearly all the serious risks entailed by armed intervention, and that I, in consequence, hesitated to press such a course upon Her Majesty's Government; but I was anxious that they should have fully before them both sides of the case, and realize that, if our Native Allies were now abandoned, the Convention might as well be dropped. I pointed out that no stronger claim for forcible intervention could well arise under the Convention, or one less difficult to deal with, as our nominal opponents in this case would be the freebooters, and not the Transvaal Government.Sir Hercules Robinson adds that—If these Chiefs are now abandoned, all the others to the West, including Bore the Chief of the Battoros, would soon share the same fate.Therefore, on the 1st of March, Lord Derby had in his possession the most full information and the most urgent representations on the part of the High Commissioner. Well, he did not immediately answer the telegrams of the 1672 High Commissioner, but he waited until he got a letter from Mankoroane, which was upon its way to this country at that time; and a few days after the telegram of the 1st of March, Lord Derby got this letter, and it constituted one of the materials on which the ultimate decision of Her Majesty's Government is based. It is, therefore, well worthy of the attention of the Committee, and it will be found at page 16 of the Blue Book. It sets out the facts which have over and over again been stated in this House, and which now, it appears, have received the confirmation of the High Commissioner, as to the loyalty of Mankoroane, and as to his conduct in the Transvaal War in protecting the English, having been the main cause of the war waged against that Chief. That letter contains the names of leading men and owners of property in the Transvaal State, who have taken part with the fillibusters; and amongst them will be found Adrian De La Rey, whom I spoke about just now, and other men, whose names are also given. He also informs Her Majesty's Government that some of the Colonial Boers, who were British subjects from Griqualand West, were taking part in the fillibustering expedition; and he gives the names and addresses of several of our own subjects who were in arms against us. He also gives an extract from The Diamond Fields Advertiser, of the 30th of January, containing a Proclamation from the so-called Stella-laud Government, with a list of licences and various regulations which people who ventured into Mankoroane's country wore to pay, showing that a de facto Government had been established in that territory by these marauders. Still, Lord Derby appears to have hesitated, and on the 13th of March, the very day on which the debate took place in this House, he sent a further telegram to the High Commissioner at the Cape. His Lordship seems to have felt what it may be supposed most people felt when they heard the speech of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster)—namely, that it might be called infamous to desert Allies who had boon promised our support; and he wanted to know again, whether it was really true that any pledges had been made by Her Majesty's Government to these two Chiefs? He sent a telegram asking for that information, and he got the information 1673 from the High Commissioner, who gave him references to the various despatches in which the pledges of the Government to the Chief Mankoroane were to be found, and asked whether a further Paper, which was dated 14th of September, 1880, had been received? That despatch will be found referred to in a letter from the High Commissioner at page 32, in which Sir Hercules Robinson says—In reply to your telegraphic despatch of yesterday, inquiring whether Sir Bartle Frere's promise to Mankoroano was reported, authorized previously, or ratified, I have this day informed you by telegraph that Sir Bartle Frere's letter of the 14th of September, 1880, to the Administrator of Griqualand West, sending a message to Mankoroane, does not appear to have been reported home, or specially authorized; but in this connection I called your attention to Sir Henry Barkly's speech of the 16th of January, 1877, and Lord Carnarvon's reply of the 20th of February, 1877. I also requested reference to Sir Bartle Frere's despatch of the 14th of January, 1879, reporting Mankoroane's capture, under pressure from us, of Gasibone, Mankoroane's present enemy, who is now employing the freebooters against him.Sir Hercules Robinson promptly replied to the telegram from Lord Derby, and I should like very much to have seen the identical despatch; but I suppose it is inconvenient to produce it. [Mr. EVELYN ASHLEY: What despatch 7] It is a telegram despatched on March 3rd, and described by Sir Hercules Robinson as a telegraphic despatch inquiring whether Sir BartleFrere's promise to Mankoroane was reported, authorized, or ratified. Sir Henry Barkly's despatch of 1877 to Lord Carnarvon was one in which he expressly asked whether any assurance was to be given to Mankoroane, and there was a reply to that despatch by Lord Carnarvon. Lord Derby further referred to another despatch of Sir Bartle Frere, and an inquiry was made by the High Commissioner whether the text of the material part of Sir Bartle Frere's letter of the 14th of September, 1880, should be sent to Lord Derby. So much for the attempt of the Government to get out of their obligations. Then, about the time the debate came on in this House, the Government appear to have formed the idea embodied in the Resolution which has stood on the Papers of this House during the whole of the Session, that they should make provision for these Chiefs in the Cape Territory; and in the telegram sent out on the 13th 1674 of March, asking the High Commissioner if that proposal was acceptable to the Cape Government, the Cape Colony replied that they had no means of providing either for the Chiefs or their Tribes. It was quite evident that Sir Hercules Robinson looked for provision for the Tribes as well as for the Chiefs, and Sir Hercules Robinson pointed out that the Cape Government had no power to provide land for so large a number of persons; and, finally, finding no other outlet, this disgraceful Resolution of the Government was at last announced in a telegram, which was to be communicated to those two loyal Chiefs. These are the words in which the Resolution of the Government was announced—Tell Mankoroane Her Majesty's Government cannot intervene by force for his protection; but will consider, in the event of either he or Montsioa being driven out of their country, what assistance can be given them.The Government of Great Britain, in fact, confesses its impotence to interfere by force for the protection of its Allies whom it had pledged itself to assist; but if they got worsted, and driven out of their country, then this heroic Government would consider what assistance could be given to them. Now, I consider that a most disgraceful Resolution. It was ultimately communicated to these Chiefs on the 11th of April. Let me now ask the Government to consider what has been done in Bechuanaland under the Transvaal Convention and under the administration of this Officer for whom they now ask us to vote a salary. They have allowed the Boers of the Transvaal state to establish what the High Commissioner himself calls "two robber Republics;" and there is ample information that the officials of the Government have been taking part in these operations. There is the evidence of Colonel Ferreria, who was sent down as a Boundary Commissioner in league with the Administrator of Stellaland; and there is information that the supplies furnished to these marauders came from the Transvaal Government. Part of the ammunition appears to have belonged to the Gatling guns at Potchefstroom. The Transvaal Government entered into an engagement to restore the ammunition and guns, and this very ammunition found its way into the hands of the marauders, and was used against Montsioa. The names of persons belonging to the Trans- 1675 vaal State were over and over again supplied to the Transvaal Government, and documents sent by Mankoroane were submitted by the British Resident to the Transvaal Government which contained the names of a number of Transvaal officials who had been engaged in these depredations. Let me give an example. At page 69 of the Blue Book there is a sworn declaration made by a person whose name is, of course, omitted, because it would be only to subject the writer to the vengeance of the Transvaal Government if the name were given. At page 69 there is a sworn declaration, in which a distinct account is given of the mode in which the ammunition was supplied to these volunteers, together with a list of the Transvaal burghers with landed property who were David Mason's "Volunteers;" and the writer says he knows the whole of them personally. He gives the names and districts, and amongst them will be found the name of—Jacobus De Beer, Commandant of the Bloemhof district, joined while holding the above appointment, which he still holds. He has three substitutes.Which means that he has three other persons in his pay. Then we have the name ofPiet de la Rey, a Member of the Volksraad, and two substitutes.And there were actually persons from Pretoria—Hendrick Grobelar, four substitutes; Jacobus Smit, one substitute; Hendrick Smit; Colonel Ferreira, C.M., Special Commissioner at present by appointment of the Transvaal Government for its South-Western Border, nine substitutes.Thus, you have a Commander of one of your own Orders, and a Special Commissioner by appointment of the Transvaal Government, whose name is included in this sworn declaration as having been engaged With nine substitutes against the Native Tribes under our protection. The Transvaal Government, no doubt, deny these charges. Ultimately, after a considerable lapse of time, the British Resident called the attention of the Transvaal Government to the matter, and asked them to remove Colonel Ferreira. The Transvaal Government did not venture to deny the particulars of the accusations made to them; but they expressed extreme astonishment at what they heard, and 1676 proposed to make further inquiries. Finally, when all these things have been going on for a considerable time, Her Majesty's Government yield to the suggestion of the Transvaal Government that the only course in the present state of things is to let them have their own way, and allow them to annex these territories to the Transvaal, because the matter is almost beyond the control of the Government now. The Transvaal Government have never ceased to write letters to the Resident asking for the annexation of these territories; and on the 1st of May they finally ask the Resident to cablegram to the Home Government their desire to have them. The Resident declined to incur the expense of a cablegram, thinking that would not do at all in a matter of this kind; but, although he does not like to incur the expense of a cablegram, Mr. Hudson says—Have long representations from the Transvaal Government urging again sanction of Tier Majesty's Government to their direct intervention at once beyond the South-Western Borders; they also urge me to send their representations by cablegram to England. Have replied that I did not feel at liberty to incur such great expense, and think it less necessary, in view of late announcement by Lord Derby, as telegraphed, that Her Majesty's Government is prepared to consider subject of modification of Convention. That I would, however, inquire by wire whether your Excellency has yet received any intimation of the nature of any proposed modification, especially in regard to the South-Western Border.The statement made by the Resident almost amounted to a promise that the application of the Transvaal Government should be favourably considered. When that came to the knowledge of Lord Derby, Lord Derby wrote to approve of his action; so that Mr. Hudson, having virtually promised that the Boundaries of the Transvaal State should be extended over Bechuanaland, Lord Derby approved of it, although he refused subsequently to ratify that promise. I think that I have now made out my case, and that I have said enough to prove that this Office of Resident, and the expenses of the Office, are absolutely useless for the protection of British subjects, or for the protection of the Natives outside the Transvaal State, whom we are bound to protect. It does seem to me, that when the honour and credit of the country are involved in such a matter, it is something 1677 like bathos to say the question is one of mere finance; and I confess that I should not like to make a Motion for the reduction of the Vote by so paltry a sum as this officer's salary, if, unfortunately, the Government had not acted in such a manner as to prevent me from taking any other course. But, as the action of the Government has prevented the sense of the House from being taken in any other way upon this Transvaal Convention, I invite the Members of the Committee to follow me into the Lobby for the purpose of protesting against so useless and so ignominious an Office as that of British Resident in the Transvaal State.
Motion made, and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £7,105 (including a Supplementary sum of £3,808), be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for certain Charges connected with the Orange River Territory, the Transvaal, Zululand, and the Island of St. Helena."—(Mr. Gorst.)
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
The statement which the hon. and learned Member has made is so clear, that it will not be my duty to detain the Committee long. I do not see how we can avoid this discussion, although, no doubt, it would have been more convenient if we could have had a debate on a definite subject. It was absolutely necessary that the House should have an opportunity of expressing its opinion, and that we should know the present opinion of the Government before Parliament separates, especially in view of the fact that a deputation is coming from the Transvaal Government, at the invitation of Her Majesty's Government, asking the Government to reconsider the Convention, or to make inquiry into its working. These are the terms used in the telegram which has been given to us. Probably any attempt that is made to settle the question must be made before Parliament meets again. Now, I am unable to vote for the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham, and I do not know whether he intends to go to a Division upon it. The reason I cannot vote for it is that, although I think it is most abundantly proved that the Resident is not of much use in the present circumstances, nevertheless, the Convention 1678 was established by the Government as the sole mode in which they thought the interests of the Natives could be protected, and our obligations to them fulfilled; and I am not disposed to support the cancelling of it without knowing what is to be put in its place. What I wish to do—and I hope to speak with as much moderation as it is possible for me to speak with when I feel so strongly in the matter—what I wish to do is to press most earnestly on the Government, and especially on my right hon. Friend, that the cancelling of this Convention will not cancel our obligations to the Natives, either in the Transvaal or out of it. I have just one word to say with regard to the Natives of the Transvaal. After the facts which have been given by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham, I need not dwell upon that matter at any length; but I must make allusion to one remark of my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, who has called Mapoch and other Chiefs, "Native rebels." Upon the most purely technical definition of the term "rebel," perhaps this man Mapoch may be called a rebel; but it seems to me to be a straining of the term beyond anything that is necessary. What is the position of this man? He has never paid taxes to the British Government. He has never accepted our Sovereignty, and he has never been conquered by the Transvaal until now. He has never accepted the Transvaal form of government or rule. He is willing to accept our rule; but he has never accepted the Transvaal rule, and I think that he has declared himself unwilling to accept their rule. I did not expect to find that the Cape Government lent the cannon at the instigation of our Representative in the Transvaal; I think certainly that that was a matter in which the Resident ought not to have engaged; but it appears that he did sop and I have reason to believe that the Cape Government had no hesitation about lending the cannon, because they supposed that the request of our Resident was approved by the Government at home. However, thanks to the cannon and the dynamite, the Chief is now conquered; and, perhaps, if he attempts any forcible resistance hereafter, he may be called a rebel. But I think, whether the Convention be cancelled or not, it is our bounden duty to see what becomes 1679 of that man and his people, and to find out how far it is or is not true that this Tribe is being broken up—which means that the people are driven from their land without their cattle; that they are not merely beaten in battle, but that their means of subsistence is taken away from them. We should find out the truth of this matter, and ascertain whether there is any chance of their preservation in the future. With regard to the Bechuana Tribes, perhaps the Committee will recollect the position in which this matter was left when the question was debated in April last. I think it was admitted on that occasion that the Tribes were despoiled; that they were unjustly deprived—in other words, robbed—of their means of subsistence. There was some question as to how far the Transvaal Government were responsible at the time; but I do not wish to deal with that, because our business is with the present and the future of this people, and, having regard to the honour of England, on looking back, I think the less said the better. I cannot help remarking that Sir Hercules Robinson remains of the same opinion which he hold last year, that the Transvaal Government connived at these freebooting raids. He says, in his despatch of May 26th, which will be found on page 71 of the Blue Book—I think the time has now arrived when a decision, whether the Convention is to he insisted on or abandoned, can be no longer delayed; and the policy which may be decided upon in this respect will govern the reply to be given to the application which the Transvaal Government have again advanced to be allowed to annex to the State the territory which has been so unjustly seized upon by the freebooters, whose proceedings the Transvaal Government have throughout connived at.Notwithstanding the differenceof opinion which existed as to how far we were bound to those Tribes, there was an agreement; and I think it was admitted by all the Members of the Government who spoke on the occasion I have referred to, that some obligation rested upon us with regard to them. Although the line of protection was considered to be too costly, I think there is proof that the cost was over-estimated. The plan of the Government was, as stated by Lord Derby in "another place," to compensate the Chiefs in some measure by land or money the Under Secretary of State for the. Colonies spoke of small 1680 pensions to the Chiefs. I venture to doubt whether the plan of compensation will succeed, because either that compensation must be given to the Tribes as well as to the Chiefs, in which case a large amount of land would have to be found, and in order to get a sufficient area of unpeopled land we should have to search throughout the whole of the Cape Colony; or, if the people wore not to be put in a better position as well as the Chiefs, then I say we should not be fulfilling our obligation to them. I must refer the Committee, for one moment, to the despatch of Sir Hercules Robinson, of March 19th, 1883, in which he encloses a copy of the Minute which he had addressed to the Cape Ministers on this subject; and it is worthy of remark that in this despatch Sir Hercules Robinson evidently supposes that the people were to be located on British territory as well as the Chiefs. He says, alluding to a copy of a telegram received from the Secretary of State—The Governor transmits, herewith, for the consideration of Ministers, a copy of a telegram which he has received from the Secretary of State, stating that Her Majesty's Government, admitting that the Chiefs Montsioa and Mankoroane have special claims through former services and promises, are willing to give them and others moderato allowances, if, when driven out of their country, they can be located in British territory. The Governor will be glad to learn from Ministers whether there is any available land within the limits of this Colony on which these unfortunate Chiefs and their people can be located.There is a reply from the Cape Ministers to Sir Hercules Robinson, which says—In acknowledging His Excellency the Governor's Minute of the 14th instant, covering a copy of a telegram from the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies, inquiring whether the Chiefs Maukoroane and Montsioa can be located on British territory, Ministers have the honour to point out that the public lands of the Colony cannot, save with the assent of Parliament, be alienated in any other way than that prescribed by the Land Laws. Even if there were no other obstacles Ministers do not think that a suitable tract of country, within the Colony, could be found for the purpose suggested in His Excellency's Minute, and the pressing nature of the responsibilities in connection with Native affairs, for which the Colony is already liable, precludes them from entertaining any project, the effect of which would be to increase such responsibilities.From this, it is clear that Sir Hercules Robinson thought the people were included. The despatch came to hand on 1681 the 13th of April last, and, from the speech made on the occasion to which I am referring, by the President of the Board of Trade, it makes me think that it could not have been read by him, because he expressed his opinion that it was quite impossible to do anything for the people. He said we were bound to do all we reasonably could to compensate the Chiefs, either in land or money, but not the Tribes at large. The right hon. Gentleman gave reasons in support of the view which he held; one was that we had given no pledge to the people, and the other was that the people would not be any the worse off by coming under the rule of the Boers. Sir, I believe that to be an absolute misconception. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the matter as if it were merely a change of masters, in the same way as the government of a European State might be transferred from one great Power to another. But I think my right hon. Friend will find, if he inquires of any person practically connected with affairs at the Cape, that it is not merely a question of handing over the allegiance of the Bechuanas, in the sense I have described, but that it is a question of their means of living after their farms have been taken from them. It has been pointed out that one Chief complained that 70 per cent of his pasture land and 95 per cent of his plough land had been taken from him, and that 1,300 farms were distributed by lot amongst the freebooters. Therefore, I say that the Government has to deal with the obligation we are under, not merely to the Chiefs, but to the entire people, who depended upon what we might do for their means of future subsistence. However, I believe an offer was made to the people; we have not the full particulars of it, but I imagine it was made in that telegram to which the hon. and learned Member for Chatham has alluded, in which the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies gave instructions that Mankoroane was to be told that we could not intervene for his protection, and asked what assistance could be given. Well, I suppose that was an offer of compensation; and I ask the Committee to listen to Mankoroane's reply, which, I think, does that savage credit. It will be found on page 68. Mankoroane says— 1682I have had the honour to receive the message sent to me through Captain Stewart, Civil Commissioner of Barkly, by Her Majesty's Government, but beg to point out to your Excellency that, if Her Majesty's Government delays its assistance until such time as Montsioa and I are driven out of our countries, our people will by that time have been almost exterminated, and the survivors enslaved by the Boers, for we are determined not to desert our subjects, and to defend our just rights against Boer rapacity to the last.That is just the answer I should have expected from what I learned from well-informed men, travellers and missionaries, who told me that the Chiefs would scout the idea of compensation, and of being located away from their own country. That was the plan of compensation suggested when the matter was last debated in this House; and I think it must be admitted that it has failed, because there is no land available for the people, and the Chiefs themselves will not desert their subjects. But there was another plan suggested, and that was combination amongst the Chiefs. It was a very difficult thing to suggest, because, no doubt, there would be a considerable outcry, if the combination took place, that the Home Government, or, at any rate, the Cape Government, ought to assist the Europeans against the Natives. The Under Secretary of State for the Colonies asked whether, if these Chiefs were united, anyone would suppose that the Boers, armed as they were, would be able to carry out their freebooting invasions? It appears by the Blue Book that there has been an attempt at combination. I observe that a Mr. Bothell, who seems to be a man of considerable ability and energy, has been trying to get the Chiefs to unite. I mention that fact, because I trust that if they do combine, in accordance with the suggestion I have referred to, the Government will not prevent their having a chance of success, although certainly what we read in the Blue Book shows that we are doing all we can to prevent it. Mr. Bothell, in one of his letters, said they wanted ammunition, and he earnestly asked that it might be forwarded. I have no doubt that the reply will be that the rules of the Cape Government cannot be broken, and that the ammunition cannot be sent. We must not, on the one hand, call upon the Natives to combine, and then complain of them, or sneer at them, if they do not succeed under such circumstances 1683 as these. It will, however, be a very difficult matter to effect, and I think it would be much better if the Government themselves would take it in hand, because it cannot be denied that there is some force in what Sir Hercules Robinson says—namely, that—If it is necessary on grounds of public policy to insist upon the Natives on their borders being kept without arms, it is at the same time the bounden duty of a civilized Government to prevent, if necessary, by force their own armed citizens taking advantage of the defencelcss condition of the Natives to despoil them of their lands.But why do I trouble the Committee with these accounts? After all, there are only between 25,000, and 30,000 of these people; and it may be asked why we should take so much notice of them? But, besides other considerations, the question of humanity is involved in this matter; and if hon. Members doubt that I will refer them to page 29 of Mr. Campbell Johnston'sReport, where they will find that in one struggle which took place women were shot down, and that for hours together there was firing at the people, and that those who finally surrendered were shot, whether armed or unarmed. It may be asked, what have we to do with this among the many cruel things that are done in the world? I think my hon. Friend alluded to this struggle as a hopeless tribal war; but I must confirm what has been stated by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), that we are specially bound to help these people, because they are Allies who have helped us in the hour of need. When we were hard pressed, when, in fact, we were beaten, we called upon them to protect our refugees at great cost to themselves, and they did it. We have abundant confirmation of that statement in the despatch referred to by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and I am surprised that, if the Government knew what had taken place, we did not hear more about it at the time. In one despatch Sir Hercules Robinson gave proof of the assistance afforded us by Mankoroane, where he said that to aid us this Chief, at the pressure of the British Government, had arrested another Chief whom the Boers had made use of. The real question is, what are we to do with regard to this Tribe? The Convention has to be reconsidered; and my object in bringing this sad story before the 1684 Committee and the Government is not for the purpose of finding fault with what the Government have done, but to remind them of what I believe to be their duty in the future. They have to reconsider this Convention, but they must not forget their obligations; and let me remark that, in considering those obligations, I hope they will not overestimate the cost of fulfilling them. I think there is abundant proof that the cost has been exaggerated. From all the information I could get, I came to the conclusion at the time that it would not be a very costly business either in men or money. It was suggested that the minimum force necessary would be 2,000 men; an occupation of years was spoken of, and millions of money were hinted at as the probable expense. But Sir Hercules Robinson says that 500 mounted police would be sufficient to clear the country, that if 100 police remained there for 12 months matters would have settled down, and that the cost would not be above £100,000. The Government had, of course, a perfect right to look at the cost of this undertaking; but I am surprised at one thing—namely, that on the page before that which contains Lord Derby's reply acknowledging the estimate of Sir Hercules Robinson, there is a copy of a letter from the noble Lord to the Aborigines' Protection Society, which says—I am directed by the Earl of Derby to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th instant, enclosing copies of letters addressed to the Rev. John Mackenzie from the Chief Mankoroane and from a Native teacher at Taungs. These letters had been already brought under Lord Derby's notice by Mr. Mackenzie, and have received his Lordship's careful consideration. There appears to be no reason for hoping that any substantial relief could be given to Mankoroane and other Natives in this country except by military operations on a considerable scale, followed by the permanent occupation and protection of the territory.The Government may be right, and Sir Hercules Robinson may be wrong; but if, as the Under Secretary says, he is wrong, it is a most extraordinary thing that he should be retained as Governor of the Cape Colony. There is no doubt whatever that the delay which has taken place has made the matter much worse and more difficult of settlement in this way—that the freebooting may be said to have reached its second stage. The first party of freebooters who drove the people away might have been easily 1685 disposed of; but they have sold their stolen goods, and they have let in another class of people who have some sort of right to the soil, having paid money for it to these robbers. Notwithstanding this increased difficulty, I think we should still see whether we cannot fulfil our duty, and whether, in the interests of the people and on the principle of economy, it would not be right and much easier to do so at once. I will not trouble the Committee with any more general remarks; but I think what has taken place is a lesson to us that no policy can succeed at the Cape which is not firm and consistent, and that we must make up our minds either to leave the country or, if we remain there, to fulfil our duties. I do not believe for one moment that public opinion in England, or that the interest of England, will admit of our leaving the Cape, although I believe there are some Gentlemen who advocate even that course. This thing is positively certain—that we cannot get that country governed without governing it, and we shall have to choose first or last—and it would be much better first than last, and much less costly—we shall have to choose between leaving matters as they were, and leaving the country. Above all, we must not leave the Native question in the hope that it will settle itself. It will not settle itself, and we shall be driven to the conclusion either to allow the English name to be stained by one act after another, of which we could hardly bear to hear, or to assert our supremacy. I am perfectly well aware of the difficulties of the position. They are very great—I do not want to enter into the past—but they must be met; and I do not know that I can do better than conclude my remarks by referring my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) to the remarks he made two years ago. That was a time when these South African affairs were in a state of great crisis. We had defeated the Boers—I mean the Boers had defeated us, although we had a large force with which we might have defeated them. I will not go into that question now. I never was one of those who thought it better to carry on war merely to re-assert our prestige; but I did suppose that, if we gave the Boers to understand that we would not carry on war for that purpose. yet we should, at the same time, make 1686 them understand that there were matters of injustice and wrong which we would not allow them to do. That was, to my great comfort, the notion of the Government, and, above all, of my right hon. Friend. I will conclude by reading his words, because I do not know anything with which I more thoroughly agree, and I do not think the time is past when they may be carried into practice. These remarks were made at a large meeting in Leeds—You may now perhaps better understand that what we attempted was to do equal justice, and in attempting to grant that justice to the Dutch population which we thought our Predecessors withheld, we never for a moment forgot what was duo to other considerations—to the rights of the Native Tribes and the general peace of South Africa; and those men are mistaken, if such there be, who judge that our liberal concessions were the result of weakness or timidity, and who think that because we granted much, it was only to encourage them to ask for more. I know not what is to happen — I hope the Convention is shortly to be ratified—but this I can tell you. We have not been afraid of reproach at home, as we have not been afraid of calumny in the Colonies, on account of indulgences which it was said we extended to the Boers of the Transvaal; and"— these are the words to which I desire especially to remind my right hon. Friend—So in what may yet remain to be done we shall recollect and faithfully maintain the interests of the numerous and extended Native populations; but we shall not be the less faithful to the dignity of this great Empire in the conduct of all our proceedings.
§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
I regret that a speech like this, which would be far more profitably dealt with on large grounds, taking in a particular view of our obligations and our power, should have been applied to following the detailed criticism of isolated passages from a Blue Book. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), as I understand, moves the reduction of the Vote on the ground that the British Resident in the Transvaal has been useless. I deny that the Resident has been useless. He certainly has not been useless to hon. Gentlemen opposite, for if that position had not been filled they would not have had the materials for the attacks they had freely made on the policy of the Government; but because the British Resident has not been able to do all that he might do, it does not follow that the presence of a British Resident is useless. The hon, 1687 and learned Member for Chatham actually comes seriously hero and begins his speech by saying that the presence of the British Resident is useless because a murder has been committed in the Transvaal. In the first place, the murder was not committed in the Transvaal. It was committed outside the Transvaal. Mr. Johnston stated that he did not know whether the spot where the corpses were found was in the Transvaal or not, but it was not very far from the Border. But the story is a very short one. M'Gilvray and his companion had evidently gone up and joined the freebooters. One of the rules of the freebooters' laager is that when a man has joined them he is not to leave them until the campaign is over. M'Gilvray got tired of this and escaped; but he was caught, and irons were put round his neck, and his body was found with the irons round him. Whether M'Gilvray was shot in pursuit, or died of starvation, is not proved; and Lord Granville's statement that there is no evidence of his having been murdered is perfectly consistent with the facts that are known. There is no evidence upon which you can convict anyone of the murder of M'Gilvray.
§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
The statement does not say it is in the territory. It is not proved to have been outside the territory; but the laager, of course, was outside the territory, and M'Gilvray was escaping from the laager, and, whether it was inside or outside the territory, it was not within the jurisdiction of the Transvaal. But the next case he quotes is that of Captain Wells. Does the hon. and learned Member mean that every act of violence committed in the Transvaal shows the inutility of the Resident? So far as I make out the story there was a man named Honey, who had been arrested by these freebooters. It appears to me that Wells was one of the men who followed them in order to rescue Honey from their custody, and they turned round and repelled Wells's party by firing shots at them. I may toll the hon. and learned Member that the Resident remonstrated with the Transvaal Government on the conduct of this man—Adrian De La Ray—and asked them to repress him; and, al- 1688 though I cannot state it officially, I have seen it stated in the papers which have recently arrived from that district, that this man has been tried in consequence of the remonstrances of the British Resident, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment for the assault on Wells. So far for those two eases. The only case made out for a want of efficiency on the part of the British Resident is the attack on these men. I recall to the Committee the fact that the letter which the hon. and learned Member quoted, and because of which we forwarded our inquiry, was a letter which stated distinctly, in the words of the informant, that this was an attack made on a body of Boers by certain Natives in a camp. Shots were fired, and some women and children were smoked and burnt. I do not know why the hon. and learned Member drags in the question of the guns supplied by the Cape Government to the Transvaal. With regard to Mapoch, no doubt at one time he was nominally a British subject, but he was not a very peaceful subject. He was called upon to pay the hut tax, but he refused; and when our Resident went to arrange the location of the Tribes he absolutely refused to allow him to carry out that work, or to approach his stronghold. He had, in the meanwhile, taken under his care the murderer of M'Gilvray, and, having refused to allow us to go near his stronghold, he then defied the Transvaal Government altogether. Is the Transvaal Government to have no jurisdiction over anybody at all?
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
What I stated was that he was merely called a Transvaal subject because he was within the map which they chose to draw up.
§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
I am glad to be able to tell my right hon. Friend that, in consequence of what he asked me the other night, we telegraphed out to the Transvaal Government asking the British Resident to report as to what steps were being taken, or were contemplated, with respect to Mapoch and other Natives, and whether anything was concluded with regard to slavery? The reply we have received is as follows:—Hudson reports the following proceedings are contemplated by Transvaal Government regarding Hapoch's and other tribes: first, general principle of dispersing tribes; secondly, detention for three years, but families not separated; conditions similar to those adopted 1689 by the British Government in the case of Mankaroane.That was under the late Government, and we have always maintained that it was not slavery. The Boer Government, following our example, are, according to this telegram, about to adopt the conditions which we adopted. I should like to refer the Committee to the Blue Book, where hon. Members will find the whole Correspondence and the conditions with regard to Mankoroane's Tribe. Further than that, we have received a despatch to-day from the Cape, in which it is stated that the Government have sent down a representative to watch the proceedings against the prisoners. I commend the following to the hon. and learned Member who says the British Resident is of no use:—I have used my influence, I believe sucessfully, with the Transvaal Government to have the trial connected with war with Mapoch held before the High Court at Pretoria, instead of before the Council of War.so that this Resident, who is no use, has obtained this much. [Mr. GORST: Has he succeeded?] He says—"I believe successfully." I venture to say that the indictment brought against the Transvaal Government is destroyed by charging thorn with things that cannot be brought against them. I venture to say there has been nothing in the war against Mapoch with which you could charge them which would be contrary to the usages of civilized war. Our Representative states that there has been no destruction of women and children, and nothing half so bad; and hero you have the Transvaal Government spontaneously sending down, without pressure from the British Resident, an advocate to watch the trial; and, at the request of the British Resident, taking away the trial from the Council of War, and transferring it to a civil tribunal. Of course, there is no duty upon them to watch Mapoch's trial; but my right hon. Friend must be aware that there are difficulties connected with the disposal of these Tribes, when it becomes necessary that they should not be allowed to remain in their strongholds. They must live somewhere; but the difficulties are so great that it has been found absolutely necessary, in order to provide for these people, to give them a choice of employment, and stipulated 1690 wages and term of service. The whole thing turns on the condition of the indentures; and we must not be in a hurry to say that the Transvaal Government have violated the Pretoria Convention, or the Sand River Convention, merely because they ostentsibly say what they have always said. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham refers to the telegram on page 31. He made a great point of there being inconsistency here, and asked whether Lord Derby had said that these Chiefs had better make the best terms they could with their enemy? I must take the Committee back for a moment to the 16th page; and, with all respect to the hon. and learned Member, I must confess that I can hardly find words to describe the inaccuracy with which he read the telegram. It is a curious fact that the two Boer gentlemen whom the hon. and learned Member for Chatham has specially selected for attack are the very men who were known as the last of the loyal Boers during the Transvaal War. But I do not understand what argument the hon. and learned Gentleman founded upon that part of his statement. The next thing I have to turn to is the reference of the hon. and learned Gentleman to that long list at the end of the last Blue Book of the officials of the Transvaal, alleged to have been engaged in abetting the freebooters. The hon. and learned Member says that their connivance is quite clear, and that, nevertheless, nothing has been done in the matter. Now, I do not blame him for bringing forward this subject; but I may point out that since this Blue Book has been on the Table of the House we have received from the Transvaal Government a statement of the result of the inquiry made into these charges at the request of the British Resident. They send us very voluminous affidavits, contradicting almost every one of the charges made against the Government of the Transvaal—affidavits on the face of them deserving of as much credit as the statement we have in this Blue Book. Those Papers will be laid upon the Table of the House as soon as possible. At this point I will refer very briefly to what the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Forster) said with reference to the non-supply of ammunition to the Natives. It must be clear to him that great difficulties stand in the way of supplying 1691 them. It is part of the policy of all the States in South Africa not to supply ammunition to the Natives; and, that being so, I do not see that Her Majesty's Government could do in this matter more than they have done. In such a case as this we could not coerce the Cape Government, who have full power to adopt what course they choose. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham was very indignant over a despatch of Lord Derby, and said it was most degrading that the Secretary of State for the Colonies should ask to be informed whether it would be possible to prevent the continuance of supplies to the Boers, and whether representations from Her Majesty's Government upon the subject would be favourably received. Sir, I cannot conceive what constitutes a self-governing Colony in the mind of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but of this I am sure, that if we had written despatches ordering the Cape Government to do this or that, we should have soon heard from them that we were out - stepping our position. Therefore, putting the circumstance together, the charge of the hon. and learned Gentleman is entirely unfounded. I say that the document in question is not a degrading despatch, but such a despatch as any prudent Secretary of State would write who knows how important it is not to arouse the susceptibilities of a free people. But I will ask the attention of the Committee to the despatch of Mr. Bethell to the High Commissioner, on page 99 of the Blue Book, which is as follows:—My permit for Montsioa's country the only one refused. Traders from all other Chiefs received permits. This will so increase rising distrust among Bechuanas of good intentions of Government, that disturbances will be accelerated with freebooters, and feeling will be embittered against Colonial Government, who the Natives have already fancied are opposed to their interests. This has been always opposed by Englishmen living among them, especially since despatch of Earl Kimberley in last year, on subject of ammunition for protection against freebooters. Montsioa's son expresses surprise that their Tribe only are refused permits, as they and Batlapins are attacked by Boers solely for protecting English subjects. I, as Baralong Agent, concur, and protest to Imperial Government against such action, more as expression of Colonial feeling than as of importance as regards ammunition, as that is to be procured at a price from West Coast and Portuguese settlements.It is to the concluding paragraph of this 1692 despatch, which treats the supply of ammunition as merely a matter of price, that I ask the particular attention of the Committee. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) has referred to a statement made by me on a former occasion to the effect that if these Natives only co-operated and joined together, they would hold their own against the freebooters. Sir, I am happy to say, that recent occurrences are a guarantee of the truth of that remark; and when the right hon. Gentleman says that we ought to intervene and put our police into the territory of the Bechuanas, I cannot help thinking how much more mischief would have been done, and in how much worse a position those people would have been, if we had listened to the proposal that was pressed upon us. The position of affairs now is that the freebooters are hemmed in by the Native forces, that the Chief is advancing against them at the head of 2,000 men, and that a Petition for annexation by the Cape Colony has been signed without opposition in the Republic of Stellaland. The telegram conveying that information arrived at Cape Town on the 13th of July, and only reached the Colonial Office to-day; the delay which has occurred in its transmission I regret I am unable to explain. In arriving at their conclusion upon this matter the question of cost was regarded by Her Majesty's Government as of minor importance, and was really not taken into consideration. The consideration which influenced Her Majesty's Government was that by intervening they would be assuming a responsibility which would lead to further difficulty. With regard to the estimate of £100,000, I would point out that it was based upon the assumption that we should enter the territory of the Bechuanas and leave it immediately the freebooters were displaced; but our view of the case was that directly we retired we should have to face the same state of things over again. I will conclude by saying that, after all that has occurred, I deny that a British Resident is useless at Pretoria; and, further, I maintain that a Resident or a representative of Her Majesty—by whatever appellation he is described—is necessary for us; and if we are to call upon the Transvaal Government to discharge their obligations, we must have 1693 someone at Pretoria to inform us of what is going on. In view of the fact that three Representatives of the Transvaal Government are coming over here at the end of October, it cannot be said that the re-opening of the question of the Convention has proceeded from Her Majesty's Government. It has proceeded from the Transvaal Government; and it is only bare justice to say that from the beginning the Government of the Transvaal have expressed their desire to wait until they had some experience of the Convention, and then approach Her Majesty's Government, if necessary, and ask them to reconsider the position. Mr. Kruger, the President of the Republic; Dr. Toit, the Minister of Education; and General Schmidt, are the three Representatives to whom I have alluded. I have no right to speak with authority as to the view which Her Majesty's Government will take when the wishes of the Transvaal Government are laid before them; but I am warranted in saying that the condition of the Natives of the Transvaal will not be forgotten by Her Majesty's Government at that time. I deny entirely that the Natives in the Transvaal have not gained greatly by the Pretoria Convention; and I would point out to the Committee that every case of cruelty that has been attributed by the hon. and learned Gentleman to the Boers, has occurred outside their territory. With regard to slavery, I am quite sure the Transvaal Government do not wish it to be restored in their country. I believe them to be perfectly honest in their declarations upon this subject made through their President when he was over here some time ago. The question was then dealt with very completely by President Kruger, who pointed out that, although, undoubtedly, some years ago there had been slavery in the Transvaal, it was dying out. But however that may be, however loose and ineffective may be the Transvaal Government, and notwithstanding the abuses which may be found to exist under it, I am certain that the Natives in the Transvaal have gained, and will continue to gain, by the existence of the Convention of Pretoria.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies had taken his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Chatham warmly 1694 to task for what he had styled his inaccuracy in quoting the Blue Books. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) did not think he ever heard Blue Books more fairly analyzed than those had been by his hon. and learned Friend; and if the Under Secretary of State had considered the number of efforts they had made to obtain a fair discussion of the whole question at the hands of Her Majesty's Government, and how those efforts had been thwarted, he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) believed the hon. Gentleman would not have commented so severely on the course taken by his hon. and learned Friend in raising this question that night. The Under Secretary of State for the Colonies referred, in the course of his reply, to those murders with the account of which the hon. and learned Member for Chatham commenced his speech. He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was surprised when he heard him speak of the Resident as having completely done his duty, when he found that the latest intelligence which Her Majesty's Government possessed with regard to those murders was contained in a newspaper telegram. He could not think that the hon. Gentleman fairly dealt with the position of Mapoch. No doubt, that Chief and his Tribe were included within the limits of the Transvaal, and were technically subjects of the Transvaal Government; but whose fault was that? It was the fault of Her Majesty's Government and the Commissioners they sent out to South Africa, who placed this Chieftain and his Tribe and hundreds of thousands of other Natives under the authority of the Transvaal Government, notwithstanding that they strongly stated their dislike and hatred to the Boers and their government. He was surprised to hear the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies say that the action of the Transvaal Government with reference to Mapoch had been justified, because, in his opinion, Mapoch had never paid taxes to Her Majesty's Government; and all he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) would say on that point was, that if the hon. Gentleman was right, it proved that there was less reason than ever for that decision to include this terriory in the Transvaal, which had been the primary cause of the difficulty. He must say he thought the Committee had been hardly treated that evening by the way in which more 1695 than one important piece of information had been convoyed to it by the Under Secretary. The hon. Gentleman had read a telegram stating that it was not a fact that the Mapoch Tribe was indentured for five years, but that it had been indentured for three years, the families not being separated. He would not take up the time of the Committee by entering into this question of indenturing further than to say that it had been the practice of Colonial Governments, as well as of more or less independent States, to indenture the Native Tribes whom they had conquered in war. But he did not think tire Under Secretary fairly stated the case, when he referred to the action of the last Administration in a matter of this kind. He had not, since the remarks of the hon. Gentleman were made, had time to refer to the case of the particular Tribe adverted to; but he had a most distinct recollection that when the Cape Government, during the time he was at the Colonial Office, indentured the members of some Tribes which they had conquered, for a period of three years, he at once wrote in strong and plain terms, requesting that the period of indenture should be altered to one year. With reference to the present case, then, he would suggest that Her Majesty's Government should take his view, which, he ventured to say, was right—namely, that the indenture should be for as short a period as possible, and that they should impress upon the Transvaal Government that the term of three years should be reduced to one. Before passing to those matters of larger importance to which the Under Secretary referred in the course of his statement, he wished to express his conviction that the hon. and learned Member for Chatham had not raised this question that night on a Motion for the reduction of the Vote by the amount of the salary of the Resident, from any feeling that the Resident had not to the best of his power endeavoured to do his duty. As he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) understood it, the ground on which that Motion had been placed before the Committee was that, whatever the Resident might have done, or whatever he might have attempted to do, his office had been practically useless, because his remonstrances had not been attended to by the Transvaal Government. He would now turn to the ques- 1696 tion of the way in which the Transvaal Government, and even the freebooters, had been provided with arms to be used against the Natives, while the Natives themselves had been precluded from obtaining them. He quite admitted the accuracy of much that had fallen from the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies respecting the difficulties which attended the free supply of arms to Natives. The reason of that was obvious, and it was nowhere more fairly stated than by Sir Hercules Robinson in the despatch which the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) had quoted in the course of the debate. He thought Sir Hercules Robinson was fully justified by the facts of the case in saying—If it is necessary, on grounds of public policy, to insist upon Natives in their own borders being kept without arms, it is, at the same time, the bounden duty of a civilized Government to prevent, if necessary by force, their own armed citizens taking advantage of the defenceless condition of the Natives to despoil them of their lands and cattle.It did not seem to him, from a perusal of the Blue Books, that there had been any really strong representation made by Her Majesty's Government to the Government of the Transvaal on this subject. He was quite aware of the rights of a self-governing Colony; but Natal, at any rate, was not a self-governing Colony, and when he saw, as they had all seen during the last few months, arms supplied to the freebooters, not only without any attempt to check their supply, but actually with the connivance of the Government of the Transvaal, he must say he did not think Her Majesty's Government had shown quite that conception of the necessity and justice of the case which Lord Derby informed Her Majesty's Representative at the Cape so widely prevailed in this country. The Under Secretary for the Colonies went on to allude to a combination among the Bechuana Tribes for their own defence against the common enemy, as the freebooters were considered, and the hon. Gentleman had referred to it almost in tones of delight, as if it was one of the best things that could happen in South Africa. Now, he (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) ventured to say that nothing could be more dangerous to the White population of South Africa than to encourage the Natives to defend themselves by such a combina- 1697 tion against their White neighbours. The Under Secretary stated that the Natives looked upon the White freebooters as their common enemy. No doubt they did so, and ever would do so; but it could never be forgotten, in dealing with South African affairs, that for generations past there had been these perpetual Border conflicts between the Whites and the Native Tribes; and if there was once any general combination among the Native Tribes of South Africa against the White men, he ventured to say that such a result would tax far more heavily the responsibility and power of this country to defend the settlers in South Africa than anything that could occur under present circumstances. The last remarks of the Under Secretary appeared to him to be by far the most important part of his speech. After all, they were not concerned so much that evening in discussing the past; it was not even necessary that they should discuss the present; but what the country was anxious to know was, what the intentions of Her Majesty's Government were in the future in regard to the revision of the Convention? It had been practically admitted in the debates which had taken place in the course of the Session that, to use the words of the President of the Board of Trade, the Transvaal Government had broken both the spirit and the letter of the Convention. It had been admitted that the Bechuanaland Chiefs had been attacked, despoiled, and plundered, at any rate, with the connivance of the Transvaal Government, and that these Chiefs, in the words of Lord Derby, had special claims on the Government of this country through former promises of protection. That was the position we had arrived at; and the question naturally asked was, what Her Majesty's Government proposed to do? What happened during the last discussion in the House of Commons on this subject? The Prime Minister came down to the House and announced his intention of moving a Resolution, which he must say, although he did not wish to make use of any offensive term, appeared to him to be one of the meanest propositions ever made by a British Government. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to ask the House to express its trust that Her Majesty's Government would make adequate provision for any Chief who might 1698 have just claims upon them, and suggested that this might be done by locating any such Chief in British territory. That proposal was further elaborated and interpreted by the despatch from the Colonial Secretary proposing to Sir Hercules Robinson that Her Majesty's Government should give all these Chiefs and others a moderate allowance if, when they were driven out of their country, they should settle in British territory. Although that proposal was suggested by the Prime Minister, and although at the time it was suggested the right hon. Gentleman stated it was desirable that the House should express an opinion on the subject, Her Majesty's Government had never dared to submit it to the House. Although they had been challenged to do this by himself (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), over and over again, or to take the judgment of the House in any other way upon their Transvaal policy, Her Majesty's Government had never ventured to do so; and why? Because he believed that proposal would have been scouted by the House, as it deserved to be. Instead, they had withdrawn it, and had made a proposal, very likely in consequence of some suggestions from the Transvaal Government, that there should be a revision of the Convention. Now, what was it that the Transvaal Government meant by a revision of the Convention? The Transvaal Government had never accepted the Convention as imposing upon their actions the smallest restriction, except so far as suited their convenience. When the Volksraad, in 1881, accepted the terms of the Convention, they asked, in the first place, for such modifications as would have altered the conditions of the Convention, and made it an instrument establishing the independence of the Transvaal. When they at last accepted it as it stood, they did so simply, to use their own words, subject to a practical test; and they immediately proceeded to test it. How did they test it? They tested it, as he could prove from the Blue Books, by omitting, in every instance, to carry out its provisions where those provisions caused them the slightest inconvenience. They had as little regard for their financial obligations as for the stipulations to which they had agreed with respect to the Native Tribes. In the Blue Book last published they set forth one of the 1699 most audacious statements that could possibly be made. Although they admitted their debt to this country, and their liability to pay the £100,000 which, according to the Convention, ought to have been paid a year ago, they trumped up an audacious counter - claim of £170,000—a claim, to use the words of Lord Derby, so absurd that it could never have been made seriously with any idea that it would be allowed. It was, therefore, clear what the Transvaal Government intended by the revision of the Convention—namely, that it was to be so altered in its terms as to recognize their independence. He wanted to know how Her Majesty's Government would interpret it when they were dealing with the Representatives of the Transvaal who were coming over to this country? Would they adhere to the interpretation given to Parliament when the Convention was made, and see that the solemn promises made by Sir Hercules Robinson to secure the interests of the Natives, whom we were beond to protect, were kept? Those solemn promises were that the Native interests would never be forgotten by us as their former Governors, or by our Representatives in South Africa. In accepting the ratification of the Convention by the Volksraad of the Transvaal, Lord Kimberley, who was then the Colonial Secretary, said that Her Majesty's Government would not entertain any proposal for the modification of the Convention, unless, after it had been ratified, the necessity for further concessions were proved by experience. He had never understood the meaning of those last words, for there was an expression used at that time by a distinguished Member of Her Majesty's Government—he thought the President of the Board of Trade—that everything had been conceded in the Convention which could, in honour, be given. If that were so, he did not see how any further concession could be made. And yet he fully recognized that the Convention might require alteration. Nothing could be worse than a Convention which one side repudiated in practice, and the other did not attempt to enforce, and which only held out false hopes to the Natives, without protecting the interests which it purported to protect. Therefore, he was glad that the Convention would be reconsidered, with a view to its altera- 1700 tion; but what he hoped was that Her Majesty's Government, in considering what the alterations were to be, would not make concessions to those whose wrong-doing had prevented it from working. It would be a very bad thing to put a premium upon freebooting in South Africa by allowing the establishment of these independent Republics, as they called themselves, of Stellaland or Goshen; but it would be even worse to encourage the Transvaal Government in a system of wrong-doing in attempting, directly or indirectly, to extend its boundaries, by allowing them to incorporate within their own territory the land of these Bechuana Chiefs. There had been a suggestion made to the Government of the Cape Colony, which suggestion appeared to have been most favourably received according to the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, not only by the Chiefs Mankoroane and Montsioa and the Natives of their district, but also by these very freebooters who had attempted to establish the Republics, and now found themselves in some little difficulty in regard to the matter—namely, that the country should be annexed by the Cape Colony, or placed under its Protectorate. That seemed to him to afford one ray of light in this unfortunate question. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would do their best to secure the consent of the Government of Cape Colony to that proposal to annex the territory, or to place it under the protection of the Cape Government. He felt that the responsibilities we had incurred towards the inhabitants of those regions; as stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), could not be cancelled by the mere cancelling of the Convention, and he saw no other way in which they could be satisfactorily fulfilled. He could well conceive that the obligations of this country under the terms of the Convention, in regard to the powerful Tribes to the North of the Transvaal, might be such as were practically impossible for this country to carry out, and which neither any question of good faith or of interest would make it incumbent upon this country to retain. If that were so, he could conceive that the Convention might well be revised in those respects. But he must venture again to impress most strongly upon Her Majesty's Government the hope 1701 that they would not concede, in the revision of the Convention, anything to the wrong-doers, so as to practically secure them in the enjoyment of the wrong they had done. He did not believe that this country would be relieved from any of the responsibilities which they had recently recognized in the action they had taken in Basutoland, or that anything would be done to secure permanent peace in South Africa by such a course of conduct as that. They might depend upon it that the Africander Party in South Africa were no more to be conciliated by action of this kind, or by concession, than was another Party who lived far nearer to Great Britain. What the Government ought to do was to recognize the obligations which had been incurred, and carry out those obligations in concert with the Cape Government, as he believed it was possible to carry them out. In that way, and in that way only, could they hope to extricate this country from the shame and disgrace which had so far attended their policy and action in South Africa.
§ MR. WODEHOUSE
said, the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had expressed a hope that Her Majesty's Government would use their influence with the Cape Government to obtain their consent to the annexation of Bechuanaland to the Cape Colony, or to its being placed under the Protectorate of that Government; but he would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that such a proposal had already been submitted to the Cape Government, and the Prime Minister of the Cape, in reply, said his Government were not prepared to entertain the idea of extending the boundary of the Colony in that quarter. And, indeed, it did not seem at all probable that the Colonial Government would undertake these new responsibilities at a time when it was asking the Imperial Government to release it from the burden of governing the Basutos. Although he was not averse to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman, he did not think there was any likelihood of its adoption at the present moment. He agreed with a great deal which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, who had spoken with much moderation. He agreed with him that the Transvaal Government would probably evade or violate any engagement which they might find either inconvenient or distasteful to 1702 observe. It was undeniable that the Convention had been flagrantly violated. We had as strong a case as could well be imagined for forcible intervention, if we chose to use it; but we had not intervened. We had Native Chiefs with confessedly strong claims upon us now threatened with extermination, partly because they had been our friends, and yet we did not intervene. There was no disguise about the reasons which had induced us to abstain from intervention. We abstained because, in our opinion, intervention would have involved sacrifices greater than we cared to make for the objects concerned. He did not make these remarks by way of taunt or accusation, but simply that we might realize under what conditions Her Majesty's Government would soon be negotiating with the Transvaal Commissioners. He supposed that those Commissioners would ask for complete independence, for a discharge of all their debts to the Imperial Government, and for an extension of territory on their South-Western Frontier, together with the removal of the Resident, or a modification of his functions. Now, in regard to the discharge of the debt, he thought the Government might consent to wipe it off; and in connection with the Suzerainty of this country, he thought we might modify the functions of the Resident, so as to reduce him to the position of a purely diplomatic officer. He trusted, however, that Her Majesty's Government would not sanction any further extension of Transvaal territory on its South-Western Frontier. Then, with respect to the question of the supply of arms and ammunition to the Natives, he hoped that, when the Government were negotiating with the Boer Commissioners, they would consider the expediency of abrogating the Sand River Convention, which precluded us from alliances with Native Chiefs, and from supplying Natives with arms and ammunition. No doubt the Transvaal Government would wish to continue to hold us to those engagements; but if the Imperial Government would not protect the Natives from aggression by freebooters, at least they might refuse to be a party to one-sided engagements, which operated exclusively to the disadvantage of the Natives. The Cape Government lent cannon to the Transvaal Government, and would do nothing to facilitate 1703 a supply of arms and ammunition to the Natives; but surely the Imperial Government might be impartial in this matter, and thus encourage the Natives to combine for their own defence. It might be said that the Sand River Convention contained valuable provisions in regard to the prohibition of slavery, and the apprenticeship of Natives; but it appeared, from the statement of the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, that the practice of apprenticing Natives prevailed in the Tranvaal, and therefore the value of those provisions of the Sand River Convention was questionable. A great deal in the future of South Africa turned on the settlement of the Bechuanaland question. Much of that country was inviting to settlers, and the main roads to the interior passed through it. It was a very serious thing, therefore, to allow it to pass into the hands of the Boers and freebooters. He must say, on the other hand, that it would be imprudent on the part of Her Majesty's Government to undertake a forcible intervention there unless they went in strength, prepared for the contingencies of sharp fighting and a costly occupation of the country afterwards, in which they would never be sure of a cordial support from the Cape Government. They could not count on effective support from that quarter, because a Cape responsible Ministry, dependent for its existence on Dutch votes, was always afraid of wounding Dutch susceptibilities; and it must be remembered that Colonial opinion, as regarded the treatment of Natives, was very different from English opinion. Intervention in Bechuanaland would have been a serious undertaking even a few months ago, and it would certainly not be less serious now. He did not believe that, even if Her Majesty's Government were ready to embark on such a policy, they would be properly supported in it by the public opinion of this country in its present mood and temper. But public opinion in this country was perpetually fluctuating in regard to South African questions. Hot fits succeeded cold fits. One day the British public was captivated by what the President of the Board of Trade called a "crusading enthusiasm," and another day it thought only of extricating itself from these everlasting South African entanglements. In the constant fluctuations of public opinion, the cru- 1704 saders might have their turn again some day; and if they then made an end of the Transvaal Republic, the interests of civilization and human progress would probably not sustain an irreparable loss. However much we might wish to shake the dust of South Africa off our feet, it was extremely difficult to do so. And he would point out that a policy of complete non-intervention in Bechuanaland would not be strictly consistent in spirit with the present policy of Her Majesty's Government as regarded Basutoland. They were going to take back the Basutos, and the Cape Government would probably press them to take over also all the Transkei territory. He did blame the Government for these proceedings; but, from the point of view of those who wished to get clear of South African entanglements, taking hack the Basutos was a retrograde step. Lord Derby's disclaimer of permanent responsibility for the affairs of Basutoland was not worth the paper upon which it was written. It would not shorten Imperial responsibilities by a single hour, nor diminish them in the least degree. Once in Basutoland, the Imperial Government would occupy a central and commanding position in regard to Native affairs. Every Native thought South Africa would be conscious of its presence there; and if its administration of Basutoland proved successful, as he believed it would, there would be continual demands, both from Natives and from Missionaries, for further extension of Imperial administration. He would not detain the Committee longer; but would apologize for the desultory and fragmentary character of the few observations he had ventured to make.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
thought that they were much indebted to the hon. Member (Mr. Wodehouse) who had last addressed them for his able and statesmanlike speech. He concurred with that hon. Member in thinking that it would be very doubtful policy to press upon the Cape Government the annexation of Mankoroane's territory. He feared a recurrence of what had happened in respect of Basutoland. He feared that, after the annexation, troubles and difficulties might arise; that the Cape Government would spend a good deal of money in endeavouring to put an end to these disturbances; and that ultimately they would disannex the territory 1705 again; and that this country would be asked to take over the Government of it, a request which we might have some difficulty in refusing. He might here state that he thought Her Majesty's Government had acted wisely in the course they had taken with respect to Basutoland; and he was of opinion that the conditions laid down by Lord Derby were fair and reasonable. Another point in which he very much agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Bath was with regard to the opportunity they now had of making more satisfactory terms with the Transvaal Government. If that Government could be convinced that we were prepared to act firmly, and to enforce the observance of any agreement made with them, we had a good opportunity of making satisfactory terms and of settling the disturbances along this Frontier, and securing tranquillity for the future. He thought the question of abrogating the Sand River Convention, and of making, as it were, a fresh start, was well worthy of consideration; and he was disposed to think that the Transvaal Government would not be opposed to this. But all depended upon whether the Government would act firmly. The Under Secretary of State for the Colonies had accused the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) of inaccuracy in his construction of the Papers in the last Blue Book; but he had signally failed to prove his charge. He had himself been inaccurate upon the point where Mr. M'Gillivray was killed; and he (Sir Henry Holland) thought he was no less inaccurate in his reading of the letter of Mankoroane at page 16 of C. 3,686. Mankoroane says that—The Boers were bitter against me because I was looked upon as an English ally, having befriended many loyal refugees from the Transvaal during the late war. Among these are many leading men and possessors of landed property in the Transvaal State,and then he gave some names. Mankoroane's grammar might be defective, and it was true that strictly speaking the word "these" should refer to the "loyal refugees; "but a glance at the names, and a comparison of those names with the names of the Transvaal burghers at page 69, who were fighting with Massouw, showed distinctly that the hon. and learned Member for Chatham was quite correct in assuming that the word "these" applied not to loyal refugees, 1706 which these men certainly never were, but to the Boers who were bitter against Mankoroane, and who formed part of his enemy's (Massouw's) volunteers. The Under Secretary of State disputed the statements as to Mapoch. Now, it was not necessary to defend all the actions of Mapoch. He might have been—indeed he probably was—a troublesome fellow to deal with; but it must be remembered that we could not properly throw off all obligations in respect of him, because he, undoubtedly, was at one time a British subject; and it was against his will, and in despite of his remonstrances, that he was made a subject of the Transvaal Government by the terms of the Convention. He would only refer to one other point in the speech of the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. He quoted a statement of a Mr. Nelmapius (page 50 of C. 3,686), as if it were correct, of the massacres committed at the storming of Sikukuni's stronghold; but he omitted to state that a despatch was found from Lord Derby on the next page, in which Lord Derby referred to the inquiries that were made in 1880 as to this matter, and says that—The published denials of those who were present on the occasion are entirely at variance, it will be seen, with Mr. Nelmapius's statements.He (Sir Henry Holland) hoped that the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) would not press this Amendment to a Division; because, in truth, the Resident was not to blame; but Her Majesty's Government were in default. The Resident remonstrated, and he could do no more. The fault lay with Her Majesty's Government, who were not prepared to support the Convention under which those remonstrances were made. That no heed was paid to remonstrances was, therefore, not to be wondered at. As he had had an opportunity, by the kind indulgence of the House, of stating his views upon the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in the Transvaal in April last, he would not repeat them now; but he must say that he had since then seen no reason to change his opinion. On the contrary, he thought that the last Blue Book presented to Parliament had considerably strengthened and proved the correctness of that opinion. They were, indeed, in a worse position than before. First, because two new Republics had been formed assuming Exe- 1707 cutive and legislative functions; and with these Republics formed of deserters and bad and violent freebooters they would now have to deal. If proper measures had been taken at an earlier period, such as he had suggested in the former debate, these men who were now organized and embodied could have been dispersed. And, secondly, because the condition of the Native Chiefs, their allies, was much worse. He had proved, as he thought, on a former occasion, the complicity of the Transvaal Government in the attacks on the Natives, and the more recent Papers confirmed this view, though it was then questioned by some Members of the Government here. The Transvaal Government again showed that they could have put down these disturbances and secured peace, if we had been willing to alter the terms of the Convention. They said—This Government feels assured that it would be able by its intervention to restore peace in those parts, and to render it permanent among the Natives.Why, then, did they not exercise this intervention if they were in earnest? But, again, the evidence now was overwhelming as to the character and position of the Transvaal subjects who were fighting against the Native Chiefs. There were not only common marauders, but there were Transvaal Field Cornets; a Commandant of the Bloemhof District; two Members of the Volksraad; Colonel Ferreira, a Special Commissioner, and other well-known men; and, as shown by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham, ammunition was supplied by the Transvaal Government. The Native Chiefs were losing men, cattle, and land; and why were they suffering this loss? Sir Hercules Robinson furnished the answer. He said Montsioa and MankoroaneAre now on the point of being exterminated in consequence of their fidelity to the British Government, and because of the assistance they gave to British subjects in the Transvaal War.It seemed to him (Sir Henry Holland) most remarkable that in the last debate in April, when Members of Her Majesty's Government were disputing the propriety of using the term "allies" in connection with those two Chiefs, and were disputing their obligations and responsibilities towards them, they actually had in their hands this despatch of Sir Hercules Robinson, which was received here on 1708 March 29; and he thought that this required some distinct explanation from some Member of the Government. Our obligation to these Chiefs could be very briefly stated. They had been and were our allies; the Convention which was made with the Transvaal Government had for one of its main objects the protection of Natives; and this was supposed to have been secured by the fixing of a boundary line, and by the retention of the Suzerainty. The Prime Minister himself had stated that the retention of the Suzerainty was as safe a protection to the Natives as if we had retained the Transvaal; in other words, it was, then, an absolute protection, for no one could doubt that if we had retained the Transvaal we could have prevented these attacks on the Natives. But what had Her Majesty's Government done in performance of their engagements? They had allowed the Boers to break the conditions of the Convention—that was admitted by Her Majesty's Ministers—and not ventured to enforce the observance of those conditions. They had left the Natives without any assistance to fight their own battles against these freebooters; and now what was their reply to the earnest entreaties of the Chiefs for assistance and protection? In the first place, he would remark, as a proof of the uncertainty of the action of the Government, that they seemed to have delayed returning any reply to such entreaties until Sir Hercules Robinson telegraphed that, in his opinion, the Chiefs "were entitled to a final and definite reply." And what a reply was then given. It had been characterized by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham as disgraceful, and he did not think that that term was too strong. Montsioa and Mankoroane were told that Her Majesty's Government could not intervene by force for their protection, but that, in the event of their being driven out of their country, Her Majesty's Government would consider what assistance could be given them. Not even actual assistance was promised to them; but after they had been defeated, and driven out of their country, Her Majesty's Government would consider what could be done for them. A most cruel reply, and aggravated, as it seemed to him, by the fact that at this very time the Government had learnt that they could not acquire land in the Cape Colony for the Chiefs 1709 and their people. They must, therefore, have known that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to find land elsewhere even for the Chiefs, still more for the Chiefs and their people, from whom the Chiefs would never willingly consent to be separated. There was left, then, no other mode of assistance than money, and such assistance would have been most inadequate, and would not have met the necessities of the case. It had been urged by the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies that the fact that the Republic of Stellaland had recently applied to us for protection against Mankoroane was a justification of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. He confessed he took a very different view. He was not surprised that such protection should have been asked for. When freebooters had secured their plunder, they would, of course, be glad to be protected with their ill-won gains. But the Government could not possibly give such protection; and thus more bloodshed must follow, whether the Natives conquered the freebooters or the freebooters defeated the Natives. Now, if the Government had intervened at an early period, and before the quarrels became intensified, with a moderate Frontier Police Force, composed of Boers and Volunteers, and paid at the joint expense of the Transvaal and the Imperial Governments, they would, in all probability, have saved this bloodshed. That was the opinion of Sir Hercules Robinson, who knew the position well; and it was difficult to see how the Government, if that were so, could be held clear of this additional fighting and bloodshed. In conclusion, he thought that the Committee and the country had a right to condemn the Government for their conduct in this matter, for the want of firmness, and for the want of good faith to those who were suffering in consequence of their fidelity to us. It was conduct that tended to impair the honour of this country, and to lower it in the eyes, not only of the Dutch population and of the Natives, but of the whole civilized world.
Sir Arthur Otway, I am rather surprised, after the long experience of the hon. Baronet at the Colonial Office, at the easy way in which he disposes of these Cape Controversies. He sees his way through the whole of them without the slightest 1710 difficulty, notwithstanding they have been the perplexity of British Cabinets for over 50 years. About that the hon. Baronet has no doubt—he sees no shadow upon any part of the question. [Mr. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT: Hear, hear!] He tells you what we ought to have done, and what would have happened; and the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) lends the hon. Baronet the support of his high authority. Let us see how this question stands with regard to the issue raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), and in speaking of the hon. and learned Gentleman I distinctly repeat what I said before—namely, that, in my opinion, the whole course of his proceedings on this matter shows that he has been animated by a public spirit in what he has said. He thinks that the Office of Resident ought to be abolished, because it has entirely failed as regards those who are still British subjects, and as regards Natives within the Border and Natives beyond the Border. My hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, in what I thought a very able speech, has stated the case as we view it on these points. We think the hon. and learned Member for Chatham, with respect to those who are still British subjects, made no case whatever; because the two persons to whom he referred, though they may have been British subjects, were persons who were apparently engaged in freebooting, and were persons who were not in the view of the Government, or of any Party in this House, when we endeavoured to frame this Convention. Then, with regard to the Natives within the Border, I will not say that the hon. and learned Gentleman has proved nothing, because my hon. Friend has admitted that with respect to the particular case brought up in the letter kindly supplied to us by the hon. and learned Gentleman we are not in a condition to give a perfectly full explanation. But even if I am to adopt the worst supposition, I still contend that an isolated case of that kind goes no way whatever towards the finding of a reply to the very great and broad question, which is really the question, and by far the most important of all the questions involved in this intricate subject—namely, what has been the case of the Natives within the Border under the 1711 Convention? There may have happened a particular abuse in the case of certain persons of subordinate authority at a particular spot; and yet the general operation of the Convention, or, at any rate, the general condition of the Natives within the Border, may be, on the whole, a satisfactory condition. With regard to the case of Mapoch, I must say I take entirely the same ground as that taken by my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. Mapoch was a rebel against us—that is to say, matters did not come to actual violence; but he was disobedient to our laws. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER: In what?] In not paying the taxes which it was his duty to pay. That appears to me to be an argument which goes very far indeed to acquit the measures taken by the Transvaal Government for the purpose of putting down a person who neither we nor they could persuade to perform civil duties. With regard to the Natives within the Border, I am almost afraid to say how many they number, for no one knows the fact perfectly; but unquestionably there are certainly many thousands of them. [An hon. MEMBER: 250,000.] Well, they exceed in numbers those persons beyond the Border, with regard to whom my right hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Forster) and others in this House have felt so much just anxiety. Though I am very far from saying that the Convention was proved to be a solution of all the difficulties connected with the Transvaal, yet I must say, as regards that main question, the presumption is that the operation of the Convention has been good; and certainly we are not in a position in which it would be wise to withdraw the salary of the Resident upon the ground that he has failed in the duties which he has undertaken in respect of those who were the objects of his special charge. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman, in professing to quote conclusive authority—he has certainly quoted high authority, and he was justified in giving the best in his power—has not convinced us that there is reason to believe that there was anything irregular in the case of Mapoch being withdrawn from the court martial, and his being tried as a rebel before the High Court. I will not detain the Committee upon the question of literary criticism on the interesting matter which has arisen upon 1712 the interpretation of page 16 of the last Blue Book; but it is admitted that the argument as to grammar is on our side. About that there is no doubt. I do not wonder that the hon. Baronet, who sees his way with such facility through all matters of political difficulty, should also see his way through all matters of grammatical difficulty, which are matters much more easy to get over. My opinion is, that my hon. Friend was quite right in following the grammar of the letter. If this letter had been the composition of an illiterate person, or of a savage, I could have better understood the contention raised. I do not suppose that anybody suggests that the letter was written by Mankoroane. It is rather a finished letter in its phrase and expression, and it has even adopted the very last administrative improvement in the framing of despatches by numbering all paragraphs. I have nothing to complain of whatever in the tone of this debate, which I think has been conducted with a seriousness and a directness of purpose which does credit to those engaged in it. We have, I am afraid, a good deal of difference of opinion amongst us; but, at the same time, I shall not hesitate to state my own opinions where they differ. I will in no case venture to state them dogmatically; but will give them with the reserve which I think is due to cases arising at a vast distance, in a country very difficult of access, and under circumstances with which we are most imperfectly and inadequately acquainted. It has been said by my right hon. Friend behind me, and by the hon. Baronet opposite, that matters would have stood much better had we interfered by force some four or six months ago. Well, Sir, that is directly the reverse of our opinion. Our opinion is, that the present situation, so far as we may presume to give an opinion, is better than it would have been had we interfered. It is all very well to say, and perfectly true, that Sir Hercules Robinson is a man of great ability, and that he supplied us with the opinion that if we sent 500 men to this place—1,000 or 1,200 miles off—we should have disposed of the matter in the course of a few months, and that by keeping a limited number of men there, in 12 months we could have left the country, and thus the whole question would have 1713 been settled. We have had lessons upon trusting to the opinions even of confidential, upright, and able men in distant countries, when they have been called upon to give their opinions on such questions. When we came into Office, we trusted to the opinions—and I believe we had no choice, according to the understood rules of action in this country, but to entrust to those opinions—of the eminent men who were actually in Office, or appointed to Office, in South Africa. I mean such men as Sir Bartle Frere, Sir George Colley, and Colonel Lany on.
Sir George Colley was appointed to Office at the time when we came in. These are gentlemen of whom I speak with most unfeigned respect. But the result of those opinions was entirely disappointing, and this country had to pay a heavy price for that disappointment. When such disappointments occur, responsibilities cannot be thrown on those who give the opinions; it must be thrown upon, and it must be borne exclusively by, the Executive Government of the day. Therefore, Sir, in receiving this opinion from Sir Hercules Robinson, we were not in a condition in which we could say—"We accept it, because it is your opinion; and we will pledge your authority in the face of Parliament if we find you are wrong." On the contrary, it was my opinion, and I believed it was also the opinion of my Colleagues, that however able Sir Hercules Robinson may be, or however conscientious his judgment may be, yet, from the very nature of the case, he could give no opinion amounting to more than his own probable impression under obscure and difficult circumstances; and that we, and not he, should bear, and justly bear, the whole responsibility if we had acted on it. I do not hesitate to say, with respect to that opinion, that there was on the face of it, in my opinion, the strongest reason why we should attach but slight importance to it. It was sustained by no reasonings; it was an opinion, and a mere opinion. It was a mere opinion, and an opinion without the props which are derived from illustration, analogy, and reference to former examples—and when applied to the legitimate facts of the case—the immense 1714 distance of 1,000 or 1,200 miles at which a force would have to operate, the length of time which must have elapsed in conveying communications, the difficulties of the country, unsettled and barbarous, through which these communications must have passed—and when we were told that we, the responsible Government of this country, should have been justified in coming down to our places in Parliament and saying we have sent 500 men a distance of 1,000 or 1,200 miles to a wild country and will bring them all back for £100,000, I think we should have been laying ourselves open to universal censure and reprobation; and we should have been told that, if misfortune did arise, the responsibility of that misfortune would have accumulated upon our heads in a degree almost beyond example. The hon. Baronet joins with my right hon. Friend (Mr. Forster) in the opinion, which they very frankly avowed—namely, that we ought to have threatened force, and to have used it. That is a most conscientious view on their part. I would, however, observe that those who have had responsibility in the matter, especially the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), and those among whom he sits—indeed, I think I am right in saying, even the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Gorst) —have never adopted that doctrine. They have pointed out and indicated that we have been wrong, and that there is something unknown and indistinct which we ought to have done, but which we did not do. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham did not suppose that we ought to have carried out another South African War—hon. Gentlemen have carefully avoided committing themselves to that opinion. Their statements of opinion upon this point have been rather remarkable. Well, I sympathize, to a great extent, with the feelings of my right hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Forster), and the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Henry Holland). I know—I do not disguise it for a moment—that there is much that is very painful to look back upon in the circumstances which have occurred; but, at the same time, we must be prepared to deal with those circumstances, not according to the impressions we may derive by a partial inspection of one portion of them, but from an examination of the whole case, 1715 and endeavour to estimate our case in the light of reason and possibility, recollecting that we are the stewards of the treasure, lives, and interests of the people of England, and that we have those to consider before we indulge the first impulses of our own mind in a desire to interfere for the purpose of gratifying that which I admit to be philanthropic instincts. My right hon. Friend said, in one portion of his speech, that the cost, after all, would not have been very heavy. Now, Sir, it was not the cost—and I am quite sure my right hon. Friend will give me credit for sincerity when I say this—that weighed upon our minds. Had we thought it to be a case in which a certain amount of good—and I admit that the settlement of Bechuanaland would have done great good—could have been obtained by an expenditure of a certain amount of money, neither the Executive Government, nor the House, nor the people of England, would have hesitated for a moment. It was no such thing. It was not primarily a question of money, but a question of blood. It was not only a question of blood; it was a question of dangers in South Africa lying in the rear of all those signs, and sometimes that appeared on the surface, of danger in South Africa, of stirring up animosities that would have pervaded the whole of the European communities, and the end of which it would have been difficult to foresee. With regard to the supposed complicity of the Transvaal Government with the freebooters, it is the duty of everyone holding Office to speak with reserve on such a subject; but I do not hesitate to say that it is very natural to suppose, in the absence of the most positive proof to the contrary, that there was considerable sympathy existing between the Transvaal Government and the freebooters. If that be so, it is that very circumstance that makes the whole question so formidable, for do not suppose that the sympathy was confined to the Transvaal Government. The same feeling went into the Orange Free State. ["No, no!"] But we have some evidence of expressions of sympathy made to caravans of travellers passing through the Orange Free State; and I do not hesitate to say that it is a sympathy of race, and would not have even been confined to the Transvaal and 1716 Orange Free State, but would more or less have pervaded the whole of South Africa. Those are great responsibilities, and I must observe that I am not ashamed to say, under these circumstances, that some effort ought to be made, if need were, to provide for any necessities of those persons who have suffered very severely on account of their attachment to us by some means other than making war. The hon. Baronet, let me assure him, is entirely mistaken in one reference he made to the former debate. He stated that the contention of the Government on a former occasion was that we were under no obligations to these Chiefs. That language was never used by my hon. Friend near me, or by myself, or anyone who spoke on the part of the Government. We do not deny that there were obligations towards these Chiefs; but what we said was that those obligations were of a character which could not be considered in a manner so obsolete, and so isolated from the view of other circumstances, as to cause us to look at them and nothing else. They were obligations which were qualified by our obligations, which in turn were qualified by the amount of sacrifices we were to ask from the people of England by the practicability or impracticability of the objects, and by the most serious doubt we entertained as to whether, if we intervened by force, as we were invited to intervene, we should not be doing more harm than good. We contended that the case was a case of tribal war, and that the freebooters were taking the part of one portion of the Tribes, and my hon. Friend suggested that nothing would be so desirable as union among the Chiefs themselves. Months have elapsed, and undoubtedly, without contesting at all the weight of the authority of the hon. Baronet, and my right hon. Friend and others, we do believe, in our own minds, that we are in a better position, and not a worse one, than we should have been if we had intervened by force four or six months ago.
My right hon. Friend speaks as though he had been there to-day. Are we not told that Mankoroane is marching with 2,000 men against Stellaland? That is the intelligence we have received. I venture to 1717 say there is much weight in the statement of my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Henry Holland) says that if we had interfered with a force of 500 policemen, five or six months ago, that interference would at once have tended to drive the freebooters into unity. The temper of the debate, however, has been such as to show that the chief anxiety of the House is in reference to what has to come. Of course, under existing circumstances, all I can say is, that we ought not to approach the question under the influence of any motives or ideas that ought to bias us in endeavouring to arrive at any partial judgment. Her Majesty's Government have certainly no vanity of authorship or affection of parentage in respect of the Convention. [Ironical cheers.] Those ironical cheers will not lead me to deviate from the path I ought to take in the matter, nor will they lead me into a statement of the reasons which led us to believe that the Convention was the best expedient remaining to us in a very difficult position. We do not claim for the Convention a complete and palpable success. The question will be, in what sense and to what extent the representations of the Transvaal Government respecting its modification ought to be entertained? It would not be expedient that I should proceed to indicate any leaning in any particular direction; but this I will say—we are fully sensible of our responsibility to Parliament; and we have no idea, and no desire, to carry into effect any views of our own irrespective of Parliamentary control. We will endeavour so to proceed as to commit as little as possible those on whose behalf we act, and who are entitled to represent in a special manner the sentiments of the people of England. I have the strongest conviction that it is an abuse of power on the part of the Executive Government, although they are obliged to claim for themselves, by high considerations of policy, the right and privilege of making Treaties—it is a gross abuse of their power if they interpolate their own peculiar views and fancies in the formation of those Treaties, if they do not endeavour to frame them according to the real demands and the justice of the case, and with a just and full regard also to the sentiments entertained 1718 by the people and by Parliament. The question does not admit of my saying much more; but there is one appeal, made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster), which I do not hesitate for a moment to meet and accept. My right hon. Friend says that in cancelling the Convention we should not cancel our engagements with the Natives; that the Convention is a written document; and that the abolition of that document would not at once reduce to a nullity all those relations which had prevailed between us and that country. We cannot undertake to set aside prudential considerations in anything we may do or decide; but I fully admit, in answer to my right hon. Friend, that we are bound, in good faith, to do what we can with regard to the future destiny of those Native Tribes who themselves have qualities which make them as races very full of interest, and with respect to whom our special relations have, undoubtedly, imposed upon us some degree of peculiar responsibility. I have to thank hon. Gentlemen generally for the way in which this question has been discussed; and I hope I have said nothing which would tend in any degree to suggest that I am unaware of the considerable responsibility under which we stand, or that I am too confident as to our being in possession of any special secret by which we might solve at once the difficult and complicated problem which has now for more than a generation perplexed our statesmen.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman one question bearing upon the remarks he has just addressed to the Committee. I understand him to say that Her Majesty's Government have no desire to carry into effect any views of their own, irrespective of Parliamentary control. Are we to understand that if any modifications of the Convention are proposed by the Representatives of the Transvaal Government no final action will be taken until Parliament has had an opportunity of expressing its opinion on the subject?
The opinion that I expressed was an opinion accompanied by qualifications. All I meant was that we should go as far as we could towards reserving the control and opportunity of interference on the part of Parliament; 1719 but I know not what political necessities may arise, and, therefore, I cannot give any pledge that we will take no steps before Parliament has been consulted.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
said, he agreed with the Prime Minister that this was one of the most difficult problems Parliament had had to consider for many years. He could not understand how they could avoid the carrying out of the Convention. They must maintain it or abandon it; and if the Natives were not to be altogether left to their fate, he apprehended that they must carry out the Convention. The Prime Minister had not said he had any desire to get rid of the Convention; but what he had said was that there were immense difficulties in the way of carrying it out. He (Mr. W. Fowler) thought that what they had just heard from the right hon. Gentleman must convince them of that fact. At the same time, he (Mr. W. Fowler) had great difficulty in understanding how they could possibly abandon the Convention consistently with their honour as a nation. They had deliberately entered into the Convention; and the Prime Minister assured them two years ago, that one of its great objects was to protect the Natives within and without the Frontier. The right hon. Gentleman stated that in deliberate and clear terms, and many hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House would never have voted with the Government unless they had thought the Convention would have been a real protection to the Natives, both within and without the Frontier. Now, they were told that the Convention was of no use. If the Convention was really and truly binding upon them it ought to be carried out. If it was of no consequence, and could not be carried out, they must throw it over, and admit that they had made a blunder. But, surely, those who made the Convention must have seen the possibility of defeat arising. It was distinctly laid down in the Convention that certain things were to be done by the Boers and certain things by the British Resident. For instance, the Boers were on no account to make any contract with Natives outside the Frontier; everything was to be done through the Resident. But the Boers were making contracts with the Natives outside the Frontier in defiance of the Convention. They had been making Treaty-arrange- 1720 ments about land, and they boldly told us that they had made such arrangements with the Natives, although they had entered into a distinct agreement with us that they would do nothing of the kind. He was particularly struck with the despatch of the 26th of May from Sir Hercules Robinson. That despatch had been referred to in the course of the debate. It was written in London after Sir Hercules Robinson's arrival here, and, it was to be supposed, after he had most carefully considered the question as a whole. He (Mr. W. Fowler) would like to point out to the Committee that Sir Hercules Robinson, on page 71 of the Blue Book, gave the deliberate conclusions he had arrived at after he returned from Africa. Sir Hercules Robinson said there were yet four courses open to the Government. The first was to clear the freebooters out of the territories belonging to Mankoroane and Montsioa by force. That, he said, Her Majesty's Government had given up. He did not say he approved or disapproved of this course; but merely said it could not be adopted without considerable expense. The next course, Sir Hercules Robinson said, would be—To cancel the Convention of Pretoria, reverting to the provisions of the Sand River Convention.Sir Hercules Robinson continued—This course, if adopted, would dispose of the present application of the Transvaal Government to be allowed to intervene on the South-West Border, as if the Convention of Pretoria were abrogated the Transvaal Government would be free, should they see fit to extend their Border to the Atlantic, which was claimed some years ago in a Proclamation by President Pretorius as the Western boundary of the Republic.The third course was—To adhere to the present Convention line, refusing to acquiesce in any extension of the Frontier, whilst abstaining from active intervention for enforcing it. The result of this course would be either that the freebooters will succeed in establishing the independent Republics, which they have proclaimed, and named Stella-land and Goshenland, or the Transvaal Government will persist in annexing the territory conquered by the freebooters without the permission of Her Majesty's Government.That would be a most extraordinary result, which he (Mr. W. Fowler) thought would hardly be satisfactory to the House. The fourth course was—To amend the Convention line, acquiescing in the annexation of the territories of the 1721 Native Chiefs Montsioa and Mankoroane to the Transvaal State. This is the course urged by the Transvaal Government in their application now under consideration.Sir Hercules Robinson then went on to say—Of these four courses, I think the last is the most undesirable, for the reasons which I explained in paragraphs 9 and 15 of my despatch of the 22nd of January last.He (Mr. W. Fowler) attached great importance to the words of Sir Hercules Robinson. Sir Hercules Robinson told them that to accede to the application which had been continually made by the Boer Government, to give up these lands which they now claimed, belonging to Mankoroane and Montsioa, would be the worst course of all to adopt; and he (Mr. W. Fowler) thought the House should insist that the Convention should not be thrown away in that sense. It seemed absurd that they should make elaborate arrangements, and then turn round and say it was impossible they could be carried out. After entering into this deliberate agreement, it did seem to him the strangest argument to say, within two years of the conclusion of the Convention, that it was an impossibility to carry it out. On reading through the Blue Book he observed a most marked change in the tone of the Correspondence of the Transvaal Government within the last month or two. Their last despatch was couched in very different terms to that about which he had heard Lord Kimberley in the other House use such strong language. It seemed to him that we were beset with immense difficulties; but the Prime Minister himself said that we were to meet difficulties. We had, no doubt, before us the danger of war; but he could not help thinking that if the Boer Government once understood that the English Government were determined to carry out this Convention, and that it was not a question of their being squeezed this way or the other, not merely should we have civility in despatches, but something like a reasonable agreement would be come to. The Committee had been told several times that this was a quarrel with which they had no business; and the question had been asked, why should they interfere in the quarrels between the Native States and the Boers? He admitted that there was a great deal to 1722 be said in favour of that view, which was very popular out-of-doors. None of them wanted to be dragged into another South African War; but he thought that this argument came rather too late. It would have been very true if it had been said, at the outset, that they had no business at all in South Africa; but now they could not say they had no business there. They had great responsibilities in South Africa, and they were bound to respect those responsibilities. Former generations had handed down those responsibilities to them, and they had to do the best they could to carry them out. There had been one argument used in the course of these discussions which he hoped they would not hear again. He referred to the argument that some sort of compensation ought to be given to the Natives. They had been told that the Natives should be compensated—that was to say, that land should be given to the freebooters, who had taken the land improperly from the Natives. In other words, it was suggested that they should pay money and give land up to people who had no right to it. Such a proposition could not be seriously entertained by the House of Commons. If they looked at the Blue Book, they would find that there was even a still more preposterous suggestion made, and that was that money should be given to the Chiefs, and no notice should be taken of the people. As a matter of fact, the land belonged to the Tribe and not to the Chief alone, and to give money to the Chief alone would be a most monstrous and outrageous thing. He could not help thinking that there was one danger which had not been much alluded to on this occasion. It was said there was a danger of arousing animosity between one race and another in South Africa; that there was a great danger that they might create a still greater feud between the English and Dutch races in South Africa. He, however, thought there was a still greater danger if the English ceased to be respected in South Africa. They had to take a course worthy of a great people, having great responsibilities, and not being afraid of those responsibilities, and they had to act with a real and genuine desire to do their duty on all sides. They could not ignore the Dutch, and they could not ignore the Natives. Surely it was not 1723 for those who were descended from the great anti-slavery advocates to say they did not care what happened to the Black man, and that they would rather suffer any indignity as long as they escaped war. That was the sort of argument he heard in the Clubs, and even in the Lobbies of the House of Commons; but hon. Members ought not to give way to any such feeling. There was no man in that House who had a greater detestation of war than he had; and he would be the last man in the world to say a word which he thought would have the effect of encouraging war. He believed, however, that if they acted in a careless and indifferent manner, only bearing in mind their own selfish needs, it might lead to disputes and to very serious wars hereafter. He had intended at one time to have gone into several other points in connection with this matter; but he would not trouble the Committee any further, considering the long discussion they had already had. He simply wished to intimate his deep sense of the difficulties of the position, and his desire that they should take a very large, temperate, and moderate view of it; that they should not lose sight of the rights either of the White or of the Black man; but should endeavour to carry out a Convention which they had deliberately entered into, and which ought not to he deliberately broken either by one side or the other, and endeavour to carry it out with the utmost consideration and regard for the feelings and rights of all parties concerned.
§ MR. ASHMEAD - BARTLETT
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had stated that the principal argument of those who opposed the active protection of the Natives in Bechuanaland and the Transvaal was the danger that they should be involved in greater difficulties, and possibly in extensive wars with the Dutch population. The hon. Gentleman spoke of that argument as being used in the Clubs, and whispered in the Lobbies of the House of Commons. He might have said that it was the principal argument which the Prime Minister of England had first put forward. The Prime Minister had denied, with great force and impressiveness, that any question of cost had entered into the consideration of the Government in refusing protection to the Natives of Bechuanaland; but he admitted a reason for the 1724 inactivity of the Government which he (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) ventured to say was worse than the reason of parsimony. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the reason why they had not protected their friends and allies was that they wore afraid to do so. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen dissented; but what other construction could be placed on the statement of the Prime Minister? So long as these slave-driving, perfidious, and canting Boers of the Transvaal were elevated into heroes by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) and the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Courtney), did hon. Members think they would hesitate to press exactly what they pleased on a Government, which not only showed itself by its actions to be afraid of them, but confessed itself afraid? The Prime Minister stated that this question must be judged from a regard of the general circumstances of the case. What were the general circumstances of the case? Here was a Convention which the Government of England made not two years ago, on the faith of which they induced the House of Commons to put up with the greatest disgrace and humiliation that had over been inflicted on this country since the Dutch ships sailed up the Thames in the time of Charles II. The Government promised that this Convention should be observed; but it had been broken, not in one or two main points, but in every single clause and item, and broken with the utmost degree of effrontery. The Convention was to protect British subjects in the Transvaal. How many loyal British subjects had remained there? British subjects had been chased out of the country, and their property had been confiscated. Their lives had been made miserable. They dared not remain, and the Government dared not send out a Commissioner to inquire into the state of affairs. What was the secret of the change of front—the extraordinary change of front—which the Government made not long ago with regard to the despatch of a Commissioner to the Transvaal? Within a fortnight of their statement that they intended to send out a Special Commissioner to inquire into their relations with the Transvaal, they came down to the House and stated that they were going to receive a Commissioner—that was to say, they were going to allow two or three 1725 more of the men who had proved themselves to possess no faith or honour to come over and make what representations they liked to Her Majesty's Government, and purposely to deceive them. There never was a more humiliating confession than that the Government were going to receive a Commissioner, and that they were to abrogate that Convention, on the faith of which Parliament accepted the Transvaal surrender. The Under Secretary of State had told the Committee that the Government knew all along that the Boers were not satisfied with the Convention, and meant to break it—that was to say, the Government signed the Convention, and brought it down to the House, knowing all the while that it would not be observed in the least. He doubted if such a confession had ever before been made on behalf of Ministers in that House. The Prime Minister told them that Mapoch was a rebel. They might have understood that statement in the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham; but for the Prime Minister to say that Mapoch, who had never submitted to British rule, was a rebel, because he declined to pay taxes, was indeed extraordinary. But who else refused to pay taxes? Why, the Transvaal Government bound itself by solemn pledges to pay us £100,000 with interest; but not one farthing of that money had been paid. Were they rebels; would Her Majesty's Government judge them by the same criterion as they applied to this unfortunate savage, who was willing to go to our rescue, and who had been indentured by the Boers? Well, the Under Secretary had read an extraordinary telegram to the Committee, to the effect that Mapoch had actually mustered 2,000 men, and was marching against the freebooters. Every Member in the House was impressed by that statement; and it was not until the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) asked the date of the telegram that the Committee became aware that it was nearly a month old—the date being the 18th of July. There had been many telegrams received by Her Majesty's Government since that time; but no mention had ever been made of this. He ventured to say that if there was the smallest amount of truth in that despatch it would soon be found that the Boers would send an overwhelming 1726 force against the Bechuanas and destroy them. The Prime Minister had again had recourse to his argument of blood-guiltiness; but did the blood of these unfortunate Bechuanas, murdered in thousands, count for nothing? He shared the opinion of a great many well-informed Gentlemen in that House, and the opinion of Sir Hercules Robinson, that if a little firmness had been shown by Her Majesty's Government Mankoroane would have been saved. The Prime Minister most unjustly threw the blame on the officials in South Africa, and a more unworthy act it was difficult to conceive. He had been astonished to hear the challenge thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman and the Under Secretary with regard to the attitude of the Natives inside the Transvaal. The facts were these. When the Convention was being made, Her Majesty's Commissioners in South Africa were met by deputations from all the Chiefs in the Transvaal, who represented 800,000 Natives; and these, with the strongest and most unanimous voice, complained of the treatment experienced from the Boers. They said as they had been treated in the past so they would be treated in the future, and they gave the strongest evidence of their loyalty to us. Their words were—We should like to have the man pointed out from amongst us who objects to the rule of the Queen. We were the owners of this country; we were here when the Boers came, and who, without asking leave, settled down in the country. … The English Government then came, and we have had four years of rest and of peaceful and just rule.They went on to say that the Boers pierced their noses and made them slaves. The same language had been made use of over and over again; and yet the President of the Board of Trade, not long ago, in that House, said that the Natives were under an obligation to the Boers for making the Transvaal habitable for them. But the contrary had been proved many times in that House; the treatment of the Natives by the Boers had been atrocious. The Convention of Pretoria had been violated at every single point; the loyal inhabitants of the Transvaal had not been protected by the Transvaal Government; and the Natives around it had been despoiled and massacred by thousands; the Article of Suzerainty had been broken; and, finally, the question of payment of 1727 debt had been completely put on one side. They had not heard a single word of the Vote of Censure passed by the Transvaal Government on the Government of Her Majesty. The Committee would have liked to hear something about that, and also about the future; but, as nothing had been stated, he ventured to say there was no real undertaking as to the future, either with regard to the Zulus or any of the Natives of the Transvaal. The longer the policy of the Government was persisted in the more serious would be the difficulty and the cost, he would not say of sustaining the honour of the country, for the Government had thrown that aside long ago, but of protecting the lives of the loyal Natives at the Cape.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, to which the Committee had listened, rendered any further defence of the Government policy in South Africa unnecessary. In all the attacks upon that policy not a single suggestion had been made of the course which would have been taken by the Opposition in the circumstances. The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Wodehouse) had addressed the Committee with extreme clearness, grace, and knowledge of the subject; and that hon. Gentleman had proved that almost every course was impossible. He had hoped that his hon. Friend, with his great knowledge of this matter, would have indicated some way out of the difficulty; but he had entirely failed to do so. Although no charge had been proved against the Government, they had shown that they would have been in a most undignified and unworthy position in trying to work a Convention which was not to be worked. He said they must, once for all, make up their minds as to the course to be adopted in future; in other words, they must either enforce the Convention or abandon it. It seemed to him impossible that they should enforce the obligation they had incurred unless they took possession of and administered the Native territory. The Convention was originally that they should take over from the Transvaal Government the purely Native territory; but they had departed from the Convention, and said—"We will make a Treaty to protect from injustice the Natives under the dominion of the Boers." Now, everything showed 1728 that that was almost impossible. Therefore, his argument was that they must either undertake the protection of these Natives or abandon all responsibility for it. They were not beund to protect Natives all over the world; and in South Africa, as elsewhere, they must endeavour to draw the line somewhere beyond which their responsibility should not extend; and his own opinion was that in the present case the line should be drawn on this side of the Transvaal. It seemed to him that they had given nothing in the nature of a distinct pledge to the Chiefs who were now in trouble. He did not understand, in other cases, the use of the word "rebel." Take the case of the Chief Mapoch. It was shown that he had consistently maintained an independent position; that he had refused to pay tribute to the Transvaal Government and to the British Government. In what sense, then, was he a rebel against either Government? It seemed to him that he had not been a rebel against the Boers, and also that he had no claim on the British Government, because he had never submitted to it. He thought they ought to recede from the Convention into which they had entered in a weak and unfortunate moment. He was not one of those who wished to withdraw from their position of responsibility in respect of pledges actually given in South Africa. There were many people there within the British boundaries to whom they were pledged. He was very glad that they had undertaken to fulfil those pledges with regard to the people, and he believed there were other States for whom they should undertake that duty; but, at the same time, he could not help thinking it a stroke of good fortune that the career of Cetewayo had been so speedily brought to an end. He would conclude by expressing a hope that they should establish the British Dominion within an intelligible boundary line, and that they should not undertake to protect the whole of South Africa and her people at an enormous expense.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) had told the Committee that all the attacks made upon the Government from that side of the House had failed; but he would remind hon. Members that the Government, who were the authors of the Convention of Pretoria, 1729 came down to the House and said they had made a Convention which in a satisfactory manner protected the interest of the Natives. That Convention had the effect of handing over 750,000 Natives to the tender mercy of 37,000 Boers, who were perfectly well known to be the most atrocious slaveowners in the world, and with respect to whom it had been stated two years ago, by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock), that they had been known to put a number of Native children to death by burning them alive. These were the people to whom Her Majesty's Government had handed over the unfortunate Natives; and the result of that policy had been clearly shown in the speeches of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster). If the Government had advanced at the proper time, they would have incurred some loss of life; but they would have restored peace and order in the country, and the Committee would not have had before them the harrowing details to which they had listened that evening. He had expressed his deep sorrow that Her Majesty's Government should have entered into this ill-starred and most unfortunate Convention of Pretoria, which had been fraught with the greatest human miseries that any act in the history of the world had produced. He urged on Her Majesty's Government to remedy the mischief caused by the Treaty of Pretoria; and he hoped that when the Transvaal deputation made its appearance in Downing Street they would be received in a firm spirit by Her Majesty's Government, and that they would find they were dealing with men who were determined to do all that lay in their power to promote the interest of humanity.
Question put, and negatived.
Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. GUY DAWNAY
moved to reduce the Vote by the sum of £1,200, the salary and expenses of the Resident with Cetewayo in Zululand. He was well aware that the Office in question had already been swept away by the interposition of a far different authority to that of the Vote of a Committee of the House; but however much circumstances might have 1730 changed in the last few days as a result of the policy of the Government, that change had not affected the question of the wisdom or justice of that policy in the first instance—rather it had added a burning point to the charge to be brought against the Government. Last year, on the debate on his hon. and learned Friend's (Mr. Gorst's) Motion for the restoration of Cetewayo, the Prime Minister stated that the Government could not listen to the suggestion until they had obtained the best information in their power as to what the effect of the restoration would be. The right hon. Gentleman used the following words:—But supposing that, instead of an unanimous reception of Cetewayo, there should be a serious division of opinion, is it right for us, until we have taken every step in our power to obtain the best information and the best advice, to send Cetewayo into the country, with the moral certainty we possess that he would be a power, and that if he were not the cause of pacification he would be a very serious cause of disturbance and bloodshed."—(3 Hansard,  771.)Those remarks induced him (Mr. Guy Dawnay) to forego his intention of addressing the House on the subject; but he had bitterly repented his decision ever since. The Government acted strictly in accordance with the declaration of the Prime Minister. They got the best information that was to be got; but they deliberately acted contrary to it, and upon their heads would be charged all the bloodshed which had taken place during the five months preceding and culminating in the death of Cetewayo. Ever since the adoption of the unfortunate policy which led to the restoration of Cetewayo he had done his best to obtain an opportunity for discussing it. He had not thought himself justified in availing himself of the facilities afforded under the New Rules of Procedure, because he held somewhat different opinions as to the propriety of such a course to those held by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Jesse Collings); and owing to the unfortunate delay in the issuing of the Papers, which should have been issued at the beginning of the Session, he was precluded from raising the question on the Address to the Speech from the Throne. The Government plea in that Speech for the restoration of Cetewayo was that it would "lead to the preservation of peace and 1731 order, and bring about a stable Government in Zululand." But instead of peace and order they had to look back upon a five months' history of bloodshed and violence in the land, wasting and destruction within its borders; while in place of a stable Government they had now to picture to themselves the dead body of the Zulu King, with a Zulu's assegai driven through his heart. He asserted that his condemnation of the Government did not depend upon the mere easy after-wisdom that followed in the wake of history; but that all information, all experience, and all common sense pointed conclusively and infallibly to the events he had referred to, as the natural and inevitable consequence of the policy he would condemn. He would only refer to the Zulu War so far as to remind the Committee that as the outcome of a campaign involving a most lamentable loss of life on both sides, and a very considerable expenditure of public money, they did obtain a settlement of the Zulu Question, which received the assent of all best qualified to give an opinion in the essential point of the removal and deposition of the Zulu King, who was at once the Representative of the warlike spirit of the nation and the embodiment of the bloodthirsty traditions of his race. But the present Government had gone out of their way to re-import that element of danger, and on what grounds? Not in deference to any general desire among the Zulus, either Chiefs or people; in direct opposition to the expressed wishes of our Colonists, against the wishes of those who wore entitled to have the utmost possible deference paid to their wishes, and in the teeth of the opinions of Sir Henry Bulwer. It was merely from a desire to complete in South Africa, as in India, Ireland, and elsewhere, the reversal of the policy of the late Government, and in deference to what was the mistaken sentiment of a false philanthropy amongst a small section in this country, and to the agitation which was carried on in Natal with the effect, if not the object, of fostering discontent among the Zulus, thereby discrediting the former settlement in the Zulu country and rendering its government impossible. With the permission of the Committee he would read one or two extracts in confirmation of this view. Sir Evelyn Wood said— 1732Every Zulu whom I met alone in my ride through Zululand told me, in the course of conversation, that the Zulus would not willingly go back to the old system which obtained under Cetewayo, preferring the present system. I gathered that the people in those districts that have been undisturbed greatly prefer the present state of things; but that all are earnestly desirous of being more directly under the British Government.And, again, Sir Henry Bulwer, in his Report, stated that—I believe that not merely the majority of the appointed Chiefs are individually opposed to the restoration of Cetewayo, but that great numbers of the Zulu people have no wish to return under this rule, and would regard any obligation to do so as one of the greatest misfortunes that could befall them, and that many would be compelled to leave the country.Did the Committee realize what was the state of Zululand under Cetewayo? In his own experience he had twice in one year, during the short time that he had spent in the inhabited districts of the country, come across companies of soldiers on their way to wreak the vengeance or to deal out the barbaric parody of justice of the King on some unfortunate and unsuspecting kraal. The soldiers would surround the kraal at night; at the first dawn of day the work of destruction would commence, and the sun would rise on the corpses of men, women, and children slain in an indiscriminate massacre, where it had set on a happy and prosperous village. Was it to be wondered at that the first question of so many Zulus at the installation to Sir Theophilus Shepstone was—"Will the King be allowed to send out killing parties, and to act, generally, as he did before?" When Sir Henry Bulwer complained of the slaughters which were committed, Cetewayo said—I do kill, and I mean to kill, and I do not consider I have done anything in the way of killing. I have not yet begun. It is the custom of our nation, and I shall not depart from it.What was it but such facts as these that peopled Natal with its thousands of Zulu refugees? The best comment on the difference of the state of the country under Cetewayo, and under Lord Wolseley's settlement was, that instead of the thousands of flying Zulus, Zulus escaping for their lives, that each year of Cetewayo's reign witnessed, the year 1881 saw 1,643 Zulus re-immigrating from Natal to Zululand. There was an expression which occurred more than once 1733 in the Blue Books, which contained in a few words a whole volume of eloquence. The Zulus said that in Cetewayo's absence "they could sleep with both eyes closed, and the barking of dogs no longer disturbed them." A charge of "Killing" had been brought by a Correspondent of The Daily News against some of the appointed Chiefs; but Sir Henry Bulwer had ascertained there was not the slightest truth in this charge, and the Correspondent in question was the same who, on so many occasions, had trusted to his imagination for his facts, or else had proved a perfect sponge, for the absorption and re-expression of the lying fabrications of others. In further proof of his assertion as to the real wishes of the Zulu people, he would refer the Committee to Sir Theophilus Shepstone's graphic account of his installation of Cetewayo; but he thought he had adduced overwhelming evidence to prove his views, and he would ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies what evidence he proposed to bring forward in support of his case? He denied that he could bring any evidence, except that of what had been so wrongly called "the great Zulu deputation"—the deputation of a few discontented headmen and relations of Cetewayo, who, as the Blue Books showed, wanted, in reality, not Cetewayo's restoration, but territories for themselves. He would ask the Government upon what they had based their views of peace and contentment in South Africa? They had entirely failed in making either the people of Natal, or Cetewayo, or the Chiefs contented. As regarded the Chiefs, the policy of Her Majesty's Government involved a deliberate breach of solemn engagements; and this was the expressed opinion of Lord Wolseley and Sir Henry Bulwer. Lord Wolseley wrote on March 23, 1882, to the Colonial Office—I wish to place on record my strong conviction that the return of Cetewayo to Zululand would be fraught with considerable danger to Natal, and would give rise to serious trouble in Zululand itself, while it would be in direct contravention of the guarantee I gave to all the 13 existing Chiefs of Zululand, that under no circumstances should Cetewayo be ever allowed to settle again in that country. Without that guarantee none of them would have accepted the position of Chief, with all its many responsibilities.But there was a still more weighty ex- 1734 pression of opinion—that of the Prime Minister himself, uttered last year in that House. The Prime Minister said—Our obligations to the 13 Chiefs in actual or nominal possession of Zululand were not to be got rid of—at all events, without some definite evidence as to the unfaithfulness or the incapacity of those Chiefs. I admit that two cases have been quoted; but it would be absurd to say that those 13 men are to be condemned because two of them have proved unfaithful to their Government." — (3 Hansard,  772–3.)What proofs of unfaithfulness or incapacity could be brought against Umbanawendhlela, against Hlubi, or against John Dunn? The Committee were entitled to demand some explanation of the deposition of John Dunn. It was 13 years since he first know him in South Africa; and he could, from years of acquaintanceship, bear testimony to his talents, his abilities, and his worth. He had won the golden opinion of all Europeans who had met him, and the regard of the Natives; and his name was mentioned with respect by both friend and foe in South-East Africa. He had proved himself a most loyal and useful subject of his Queen; a better friend to the Natives amongst whom he had cast his lot than any member of the Aborigines Protection Society; and a better Christian, in all the most essential principles of Christianity, than many that had professed it far more, and practised it far less. He had been accused of treachery to Cetewayo; but only by those who were totally ignorant of his previous history, and of the terms on which he held his Chieftainship. He had done all he could to prevent the Zulu War, and, when it broke out, he crossed, by Lord Chelmsford's orders, into Natal, and there waited quietly for the war to terminate —till that event happened which changed the whole complexion of the struggle, till a British and Colonial Force had been practically annihilated by the Zulus, while Natal was lying paralyzed by the disaster, momentarily expecting a rising of her own Native Tribes as a consequence of any further reverses, while a British Force was away in Zululand, hemmed in by the Zulus. Years ago John Dunn had told Cetewayo that if any hostilities broke out between Zululand and Natal, he would be found in the ranks of the King's enemies; and Cetewayo replied— 1735You are a White man; I am a Black man. If White men fight Black men, for whom should you fight but for those of your own colour?Of his services in the war it was needless to speak; of the estimation he was held in by the Zulus it was enough to say that a common demand of Zulu Envoys was—"Will John Dunn give us his word?" He could not himself understand how anyone who appreciated the effect of our first reverse on the Native mind, and the extent of the consequent panic in Natal, could blame John Dunn for refusing to remain a passive spectator of what then seemed the death-struggle between civilization and savagery, after the White man's dominion had received such a crushing blow as that inflicted by the Zulu assegai under the rocks at Isandhlwana. As regarded his administration of his territory, Sir Henry Bulwer had borne testimony to his good government; and it was owing to the confidence of the authorities that all the discontented Chiefs were quartered on his territory. The only single point upon which the Government could find the slightest fault with John Dunn was with regard to the Hut Tax. That was, however; one of the suggestions orginally made by him, and it was proposed to the assembled Chiefs by Sir Evelyn Wood, and unanimously agreed to by them; and it was utterly impossible for anyone placed in such a position to have done without some sort of tax of that kind, a fact sufficiently proved by the Government having adopted time same tax in the Reserved Territory, though they had increased it by 40 per cent. There could be no question or doubt of the improvements made by John Dunn in his territory; he at once set to work to make roads, he prohibited the import of spirits, he assisted the Missionaries, he gave ploughs and trained oxen to his headmen, he built six substantial stores for the creation and supply of that demand for necessaries and luxuries which was the best incentive to Native industry and exertion, and he had employed three White Administrators under himself at salaries of £200 each, and, in fact, had done all he could, and all that no one else would, to civilize the Natives and improve his territory. In that lay the best chance for the security of our Colony of Natal, and it did seem hard that the only recognition of all this was his 1736 deposition from that power he had exercised so ably—his removal from that post which he had filled so wisely and so well. He thought it was incumbent on the Government to furnish some proofs of the unfaithfulness or incapacity they had alleged against him. With regard to the restoration of Cetewayo, he had shown that it was not desired by the people of Zululand; it was a violation of the promises given to the Chiefs, and it was only due to the agitation of a few discontented relatives of Cetewayo, who thought their own claims to the exercise of a superior authority had been overlooked in the general apportionment of power—an agitation fomented and fanned to flame by unfortunate influences in Natal. It remained to view it from the point of view of the Colonists—that is, in regard to the effect that the restoration must have had on the Native Tribes around; and he asserted that, with every Native who knew that Cetewayo was restored, such a concession to agitation could only be looked upon as a further evidence of the wane of the power of the White man. He merely expressed the opinion of every White man in South Africa, when he said that the magic of the name of Englishman had lessened very considerably in Africa during the last two years, through the long, serious loss of prestige entailed on us by our policy in the Transvaal, through our defeat, and still more by our placid acceptance of defeat—by the disastrous, the humiliating termination of a war, entered upon with a light heart, and a careless confidence—conducted in a way which, if that war was unjust and was unnecessary, involved a heavy charge of bloodguiltiness on the Government which commenced it—a heavy responsibility for wasted blood and tarnished fame—and terminated after repeated reverses with a haste, and under circumstances, which they had been told, which some had been taught to consider manly and Christian, but which the misguided Kaffir persisted in considering as conduct craven and cowardly. Had our latest transactions in the Transvaal done aught to redeem our fame? Did the Government soothe themselves with the belief that, with regard to Montsioa and Mankoroane, these things had been done in a corner; that every Native, from the Kuysna to the Zambesi did no know that, not only had we been 1737 beaten in the miserable skirmishes that ended in the retrocession of the Transvaal, but that now the Natives who, as our allies, had assisted us in that war, had in their turn been plundered and despoiled, had lost lands and lives at the hands of the Boers, while the Suzerain power, to whom they looked for assistance, and to whom they made such touching appeals, had stood idly by, or only made its impotence more marked by helpless and unavailing remonstrances. And, finally, was Cetewayo's restoration necessary as an act of justice to himself? What was the claim of his family to the Throne; and how had that claim been won? It had been won by blood, and cemented by a succession of fratricides unparalleled in history. Chaka, the former King, first waded through slaughter to a Throne. He was killed by his brother Dingaan. The fratricide Dingaan was, in his turn, killed by his brother Panda, with the help of the Boers. No such Nemesis overtook the fratricide Panda in his own person; but his favourite son, Umbalazi, whom he had intended to succeed him, was attacked and killed by his brother, the late Cetewayo. And yet that was the Royal Family, and that the man whom the Government went out of their way to restore. From the first moment that Cetewayo's foot touched Zululand he began to break every single condition under which he had been restored, both with regard to the Reserved Territory, and to Usibepu, until, after the land had been turned into a perfect Pandemonium of savage civil war, he had fallen himself a victim to the fear and the dislike which the remembrance of his former tyranny had inspired—a tyranny which his absence had enabled his former subjects to realize. All experience and all history showed that, often in a civilized nation, certainly with the conquered Chief of a savage race, when once his former servile subjects have seen—The desolator desolate, the victor overthrown, The arbiter of others' fate, a suppliant for his own.That then—His spell upon the minds of men, breaks never to return again.In defeat and in captivity we had shorn the locks of the Zulu Samson; and we did but restore him to his country with sufficient strength left to pull down his 1738 country in ruins on himself. In bringing these charges against the Government, he was aware that such charges lost weight in coming from so young a Member, though he could say his hair had grown grey under an African sun. He asked—Would the Government deny that their policy involved a breach of faith to the Chiefs?—that faith which the Prime Minister owned had been pledged to them. Would they deny that they had acted directly contrary to the information by which the Prime Minister owned they should be guided? As regarded the future, the Government had now an opportunity of effecting a peaceful, lasting, and beneficent settlement of Zululand. All the difficulties which had been experienced might have been avoided if the Government from the first had accepted their responsibilities, and extended to the whole of Zululand that protection which they had given to the Reserved portion, as he had suggested last year. A Resident ought to be appointed to the whole of Zululand, whose power should be exactly the same as that possessed by the Resident in the Reserved Territory. The produce of a general Hut Tax should be assigned to him, for the expenses of government, and for the improvement of the country. Zululand would be self-supporting, and would be in no way a burden or expense to us. Such a settlement would be welcomed with joy and relief by every Zulu Chief, and by every Zulu man and woman. He thought that the services of John Dunn ought to be utilized in any settlement of the country. If any Chiefs should be unwilling to come under our protection some territory in the North might be allocated to them; but he believed that even Usibepu would prefer our Protectorate. He was confident that it was their duty, as a civilizing and Christian country, not to give up the power for good which had been given to them in that country. He looked upon their maintenance of their. hold there as a solemn duty; but he still would say, "Zululand for the Zulus." He did not want to see that country portioned out amongst White settlers, with a Native area growing each year smaller and more confined, like some Red Indian Reservation. If the Government would only, even at that eleventh hour, assert their paramount authority, and put an end to anarchy and bloodshed—if they 1739 would but listen to the repeated requests of the Zulus themselves that they should be brought under the protective rule of England, they would find a people—like the Israelites of old asking for a King —a people not only ready, but desirous to accept our control; and if they would accept that responsibility in a proper spirit, as a mission entailed upon them, as a superior race, as a conquering and a Christian nation, he believed not only that the present inhabitants of that country would learn to look back, without heartburnings or regret, to that July morning which first saw their King a fugitive, and his Army flying from the field, but that all the future generations of Zulus would learn to bless the day which gave up their land to the true mercy of the White man.
Motion made, and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £8,225 (including a Supplementary sum of £3,808), be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884, for certain Charges connected with the Orange River Territory, the Transvaal, Zululand, and the Island of St. Helena."—(Mr. Guy Dawnay.)
§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
The misfortune of dealing with this question seems to be that those who approach it are divided into two factions. There are the advocates of John Dunn, who may be called the Dunnites, and the advocates of Cetewayo, who may be called the Cetewayo Party; and those who are for John Dunn think there is no good in the Cetewayo Party, and the Cetewayo Party think there is no good in the Dunnites. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down is the Leader of the Dunn Party, and the Leader of the Party favouring Cetewayo may be said to be found in the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst). When the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Chatham strongly insisted upon the restoration of Cetewayo, the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down offered no opposition.
§ MR. GUY DAWNAY
In consequence of the direct appeal of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, I forewent my right to move the Motion I had down on the Paper.
§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
However, it is the fact that the hon. Gentleman was not here to oppose the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Chatham when he pressed on the Government the necessity of restoring Cetewayo. We at the Colonial Office are obliged to be made of sterner metal. We are not for John Dunn, and we are not for Cetewayo. We do not care for either. We have tried to take into consideration what is of far more importance than the welfare of John Dunn or the welfare of Cetewayo, and that is the welfare of Zululand. This is what has guided us, and not the interests of John Dunn or the interests of Cetewayo. The hon. Gentleman has talked to us as if the settlement that was inaugurated under the late Administration had been such a success that the only duty of the succeeding Administration was to leave it alone; and as if Her Majesty's Government, by a Quixotic conduct, and by their affection for Cetewayo, had caused disorder and disturbance where before there was peace and quiet. I would observe that the hon. Member very distinctly pointed in the course of his speech to annexation as the real solution of the Zulu difficulty. Well, Sir, I am not prepared to deny that at the time of the defeat of Cetewayo at Ulundi the great body of the Chiefs and Natives would have accepted our rule if we had chosen to assert it. But Her Majesty's late Government were not prepared to annex Zululand, and Zululand was not annexed. Instead of that, a system was invented by Sir Garnet Wolseley which was described in a Natal paper at the time as a system of establishing 12 Cetewayos where there had only been one before. How has that system prospered? What has been the result to Zululand of its establishment? It is absurd to suppose for a moment that during Cetewayo's three years' absence from Zululand the country was in a state of peace. As a matter of fact, there were many little wars between the Chiefs; and there was a great loss of life. There were disputes going on between Chiefs, and, in fact, there were constant disturbances. On this point I need only appeal to the authority of Sir Henry Bulwer, who was not a very ardent advocate of the restoration of Cetewayo. What does Sir Henry Bulwer say? In addressing the Legis- 1741 lative Assembly of Natal in 1882 he said—I regret to say the accounts from the neighbouring Zulu country are unsatisfactory. The general condition existing in that country under the settlement is, in many respects, such as to make it desirable that matters should be considered with a view to remedy defects, and with a view to a more satisfactory and assured state of things.This is what Sir Henry Bulwer said in June, 1882. Again, in his despatch dated August, 1882, Sir Henry Bulwer said that—Events have occurred in the Zulu country which not only have lent colour to the assertions against the appointed Chiefs, but have given an unfavourable impression of the working of the settlement.Further on he makes similar statements; but one quotation is quite sufficient for my purpose. What does the Transvaal Government say? They had no particular liking for Cetewayo; and, as far as I remember, they sent an official communication to Her Majesty's Government, through the Resident at Pretoria, dated October 24, 1881. In that communication it was stated that the Executive Council had passed a Resolution to the effect that the intelligence they had received showed that the condition of affairs in Zululand was so unsatisfactory that it would in future be a source of disturbance and continual danger to them and also to the residents on the Natal Border-line. It therefore appeared to them in the highest degree necessary, in the interests of the peace of the whole of South Africa, that the Government of Zululand should be placed on a satisfactory footing, and this could only be done by releasing the Zulu King, and restoring him to his rights. They added that Cetewayo would then be in a position to restore peace to the Kingdom, and to prevent the shedding of blood in such a barbarous manner as was then to be witnessed. Now, I do not quote these opinions to show that the Transvaal prophecy has turned out right. I do not pretend to say that; but I venture to say we had before us all these elements for our decision, and that we were not swayed solely, as the hon. Member stated, by the deputations which went to Sir Henry Bulwer. "Deputation" is a noun of multitude, and signifies many, and not much. I 1742 will allow that these deputations did not signify much; but, still, they were elements in the consideration of the question. But the chief element was this—Zululand was in a state of disturbance, and it was going from bad to worse. We had reason to believe that as long as Cetewayo remained in captivity there would he this agitation on the part of those who were at his back; and, above all, there was this great consideration, which Sir Henry Bulwer has dealt with so carefully in his despatch, and which, I think, will commend itself to hon. Members—there was this great fact—that the Zulu people, like all the Natives of such countries as Zululand, were accustomed to the existence of a paramount authority—that is to say, a power forming a Court of Appeal and the Sovereign power over the different Chiefs who came more immediately in contact with it — and this Sovereign power lay in the person of Cetewayo, their King. We took that paramount authority away, and we substituted nothing for it. If we had annexed the country, or established a Protectorate, we should have supplied that paramount authority; but in the plan adopted no substitute was found for it. It was perfectly evident that there would be no peace in Zululand until the paramount authority was re-established in some way or other. That there was a comparative amount of peace after the settlement of Sir Garnet Wolseley was due to the fact that the Zulus thought we had assumed that paramount authority; and it was only when they began to discover that the English Queen had not taken Cetewayo's place that disturbances broke out and matters went from bad to worse. I can put into the witness-box no less a personage than John Dunn himself, because there was a record in the Blue Books of about a year and a half ago of a letter from John Dunn to the Colonial Office, in which he says—This settlement cannot possibly last, and the only solution I can suggest is to make me King of Zululand.Well, Sir, that of course, might have been a solution; but we thought that the more just solution was to re-establish Cetewayo. In taking into account all these points of expediency, we must not lose sight of the question of justice, and there was a question of justice involved. Cetewayo had been removed from 1743 his position, without his having given us any real cause for depriving him of power. Whether war was well-advised or ill-advised; whether it was expedient or inexpedient, I think it is universally acknowledged that, as far as Cetewayo himself was concerned, he had not attacked us, and probably would never have attacked us if we had not first attacked him. This being so, there was a consideration of justice to be brought into play; and I maintain that we were bound, if we could, to restore Cetewayo; and the only consideration that ought to have prevented that restoration could have been, first of all, if we had thought that by restoring him we should have exposed ourselves to attack, or that by restoring him we should have brought trouble and disturbance to Zululand, where before there was peace. We had no reason to believe that he would attack us before, and we had much less reason still to believe that he would attack us after the experience he had gone through. As to the question of bringing disturbance and trouble to a country where before there was peace, I have already said there was no peace. The outbreak, perhaps, was not very acute; but disturbance there was. There was certainly no peace to disturb. Our belief at the time was that, on the contrary, Cetewayo's return would bring peace; and I think we had good reason to believe that, under the conditions we imposed upon him, his return would have brought peace, had he adhered to those conditions. It is quite clear, however, that he did not accept the limitations of territory which he had bound himself to observe. Why he did not, it is beyond my power to say; but I think if Cetewayo had been left a little more to himself, and had not been counselled by seeming friends, whose counsel turned out eventually to be more fatal than that of enemies — if he had not been encouraged by friends to believe that he could regain his former possessions in full—ho might have been content with what had been allotted to him, and he might now have been alive and in possession of a great part of his former possessions. The Reserve that we kept back from Cetewayo is, in itself, a reply to the charge that we failed to keep our pledges. As far as John Dunn is concerned, there is no doubt that he has nothing to complain of. The territorial 1744 system was meant for the good of the people, and not for his personal gain; and if he had made any personal gain he would have been unwarranted in doing so. He was left in possession of his personal property and of his tribal followers; and all he is deprived of is his territorial jurisdiction, with all its duties, and labours, and its privileges. The same thing applies to all the Chiefs. With regard to Usibepu, it is all very well to find fault with us for his having been left in possession; but he could not have been removed except by an expeditionary force, and after a difficult fight. It would have been an odd way of restoring peace in Zululand to tell one-third to go and take two-thirds; and Usibepu is well placed in a corner of Zululand. If peace has not resulted from the return of Cetewayo, that has entirely arisen from his determination to appropriate territory, and obtain the mastery over the whole country. Usibepu's conduct is strictly defensible. The first attack was made upon him by Cetewayo, and the last onslaught made by Usibepu's forces upon Cetewayo was made in anticipation of a united expedition by Swazis and Cetewayo's forces, which in a few days were going to attack Usibepu in his own territory; and I may say, in reference to the Question, I think, of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition the other day to the Prime Minister, as to the number of men Cetewayo had at his disposal, we have official information that in the last fight between Usibepu and Cetewayo,Cetewayo's troops numbered 6,000, while Usibepu had only 2,000 men; so that Cetewayo had not been hampered by any numerical inferiority. The Committee may like to know what is our latest intelligence respecting Cetewayo. Our latest information is that there seems to be very little doubt that he was killed, although his body has not yet been found; but the Reserve has remained unattached, and is in a state of tranquillity. Mr. Osberne, our Resident in the Reserve, has been instructed to go temporarily over into Zululand proper, in order by his presence to try to bring about a pacification, and a settlement of this difficulty; but, at the same time, he has been instructed to explain to the Natives that he is not to take any action implying that we are going to assume the government of Zululand. Mr. Os- 1745 borne is an old friend of many of the Zulus; he understands their language and their character, and his influence has already acted very well in the promotion of peace. Usibepu did ask, some time ago, for an English Resident; but, as will be seen from the Blue Books, the Government thought it unnecessary to appoint such a Resident; on the contrary, they thought it would be likely to bring about complications in the matter. I do not understand the hon. Member intended to move the reduction of the salary of the Resident with Cetewayo. [Mr. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT: Certainly.] I must say that the word "Resident" in this case is a mistake, because it implies a great deal more than the word "Resident" should do; for I must point out that from the earliest time of a Resident in Zululand proper—when the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), through Sir Garnet Wolseley, appointed a Resident—it was clearly understood that he was merely to be an adviser, without any authority to interfere, and no doubt it is very seldom that you can get very much influence exercised by a Resident; but, however that may be, and whatever may be the future of Zululand, it would not be right to withdraw the Resident at present. Whether it may be possible at some future time to withdraw him I do not know; but at present I believe lie is exercising very useful influence.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
I think it is a great misfortune that my hon. Friend (Mr. Dawnay) has not had an opportunity of bringing his Motion under the notice of the House, and that we are forced to take this debate as a second Amendment upon this Vote in Committee. Not only would my hon. Friend's eloquence have had a greater effect in support of a Motion on which he would have divided the House, but we should have had a fuller discussion on a matter which has not been completely entered into by the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. The hon. Gentleman said something about the different views held by the partizans of John Dunn and of Cetewayo. No doubt it is true that they look at this matter from a different point of view; but I am quite sure there is one thing in which they will all agree, and that is that, in spite of the grandiloquent phrases in 1746 which the hon. Gentleman has stated that the Government had endeavoured to consult the interests of Zululand and this country, there has seldom been a more signal failure in the policy of a Government than has resulted from their action in the case now before us. What do we see? We see that the Government, from certain motives, some of which the hon. Gentleman has described, and which I shall touch upon shortly, made up their minds to restore Cetewayo to Zululand; but they could not make up their minds to restore Cetewayo to Zululand in the sense in which the restoration was desired by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson), or by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst), or by those who have taken up Cetewayo's cause in South Africa. I am not blaming them for the hesitation with which they approached this matter. I think they were wrong in restoring Cetewayo at all; but this, at any rate, is certain—that in attempting to carry out the policy which they took up, I believe not on account of justice or necessity, but because it was forced upon them by certain hon. Members below the Gangway, they did not satisfy those wbe had pressed it on their notice. On the other hand, in the course they pursued they neglected the advice of those who were best qualified to advise them, and whose advice they, as representing the Government of this country, were specially bound to take, and I will mention one name, that of Sir Henry Bulwer. Nothing could be more contrary to the advice of Sir Henry Bulwer than the course decided upon by the Government in the restoration of Cetewayo; because what they did was to force him, little by little, very much against his own inclination, to suggest to them some plan for the restoration of Cetewayo, and then to emasculate that plan by taking out the very part which he considered vital for its success. The hon. Gentleman has told us that, after all, the conditions with which the Government had to deal were by no means satisfactory—that, in a word, the settlement of Zululand, of which Sir Garnet Wolseley was the author, and which was sanctioned by the late Government, had failed. I should like, if the Committee will permit me, to occupy their time for a few minutes upon that point. I do not say 1747 that that settlement had a very complete success; but why? In the first place, I will venture to say, on behalf of Sir Garnet Wolseley and the late Government, that that settlement would never have been made on the basis on which it was made had it ever been supposed that the authority of this country over the Transvaal would be withdrawn. The whole basis of that settlement depended on the maintenance of Her Majesty's authority over the Transvaal, and on the influence exercised by the prestige of British power over the neighbouring regions. That influence was lost by the retrocession of the Transvaal, and especially by the manner in which the retrocession was effected; and it was obvious that some substitute for it must be found, if the Zulu settlement was to be maintained. Such a substitute was suggested to Her Majesty's Government; but they would not adopt it. If hon. Members care to turn to the Blue Books, which are now so much a matter of ancient history, they will find that at the time of the settlement by Sir Garnet Wolseley, in the very despatch in which I gave the sanction of the Government of the day to that settlement, I called the attention of Sir Garnet Wolseley to the question of Sub-Residents, and expressed my opinion that in the working out of that settlement it would probably be necessary to appoint Sub-Residents to assist the Residents with the intelligence they could obtain, and with their advice. It is strange that within a year of that time—September, 1880—Mr. Osberne, who was then Resident in Zululand, suggested the very same thing, and also suggested the imposition of a Hut Tax; and, later on, he expressed the opinion that the condition of affairs existing in September, 1881, would have been prevented by the adoption of the plan he had recommended in 1880. But these measures were not adopted. The matter was left to itself. Sir Evelyn Wood called the Zulu Chiefs together to consult as to the state of Zululand; and at the end of 1881 the very same proposal was again made, and Sir Evelyn Wood supported it. Her Majesty's Government declined again to consider the proposal. They declined to extend any kind of authority over Zululand, even to the extent of appointing Sub-Residents possessing some kind of magisterial power. What happened?
1748 There arose a very remarkable agitation, conducted by the representatives of Cetewayo's family in Zululand, but directly fomented by White men in Natal, and by the Aborigines' Protection Society in this country. It is to that agitation that the policy adopted by Her Majesty's Government is really due. Lord Kimberley had telegraphed to Sir Henry Bulwer that the Government felt strongly the danger of prolonging uncertainty in Zululand, and the difficulty of justifying the continued detention of Cetewayo. That last sentence is the real key to the whole situation. Her Majesty's Government were pressed not merely by the deputations to which the hon. Gentleman has alluded, but by inconvenient Questions and Notices of Motion from below the Gangway. Sir Henry Bulwer stated that the agitation had arisen from statements that the Government was about to restore Cetewayo. I need not say, as my hon. Friend has remarked, how much the public belief in statements of this kind must have been augmented by the feeling aroused throughout South Africa by the policy adopted by the Government with regard to the Transvaal. Sir Henry Bulwer distinctly attributed to this agitation, conducted and fomented as I have described, all the troubles in Zululand. Then the Under Secretary of State went on to say that another matter which pressed upon the Government was the suggestion of the Transvaal Government that Cetewayo should be restored. He admitted that the restoration had not had the effect which the Transvaal Government had expected; and I am sure nobody would be more ready to join in that admission than the Transvaal Government themselves, for I have noticed that their complaints as to the action of the Zulus on the Border, and the complaints of the Zulus as to the action of the Transvaal Government, have been increasing instead of diminishing since the restoration. Then the third point to which the hon. Gentleman referred was that touched upon by Sir Henry Bulwer. Sir Henry Bulwer dwelt with great ability and at considerable length on the absence of any paramount power in Zululand. But how did the Government propose to deal with that? Not at all in the manner he recommended. What was his recommendation? He 1749 said they might restore Cetewayo over a small portion of Zululand, which was willing to have him back, but that it was vital to the success of the scheme that in the remainder of the country which was not willing to have him restored they should institute another paramount authority, and that must be the authority of Her Majesty's Government. That recommendation, I must say, was treated with contempt by Lord Kimberley; and Cetewayo, in obedience to hon. Members below the Gangway, was restored to a considerable portion of Zululand, while the recommendation of Sir Henry Bulwer, who was on the spot and knew the circumstances, was absolutely ignored. Now, the Government are surprised that this settlement of theirs has had worse results than the former settlement. I say worse results. Just now the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) told the Committee that one of the reasons which prevented Her Majesty's Government from enforcing the provisions of the Transvaal Convention with reference to Bechuanaland was the thought of the blood that might be shed. I do not think Her Majesty's Government could have considered that matter much before they sent Cetewayo back; but if they did, they have been disappointed, for I will venture to say that all the blood that was shed in the Zulu War was little indeed when compared with the loss of life and misery which has occurred in Zululand since the restoration of Cetewayo. The Under Secretary of State for the Colonies says it is all Cetewayo's fault, because he would not accept the limitation of his territory. This Blue Book clearly shows that when Cetewayo had an interview with Lord Kimberley, and was told generally how his territory, would be limited, and how he would have John Dunn for his neighbour, and the other conditions that would be required of him, he protested in the strongest way against the proposed limitations. Yet, in spite of his protest, he was sent back to Zululand; and it appears to have been expected by Her Majesty's Government not only that he would himself willingly observe these conditions to which he had objected, but also that, although he was sent back a man who had been defeated, and deprived of all authority over his people, he would be able to impose them upon his adherents without any force to assist 1750 him in carrying them into effect. All that I can say is, that of all the acts of Her Majesty's Government in connection with South Africa, I do not think there is one which will redound with so little credit to them as this restoration of Cetewayo. I cannot conceive any person to whom that restoration has been any benefit whatever; but this I must say—that it has been another exemplification of the entire incapacity of Her Majesty's Government to resist any agitation, however unreasonable, that could be raised against them, and to consider the fairest arguments in opposition to such agitation, even when put before them by those very men in whom they ought to have the highest confidence as thoroughly able to judge of the state of affairs in South Africa.
The right hon. Baronet has shown his capacity to deal with a question of this kind in the spirit of a Party politician; and I do not think I have heard during the present Session a speech more imbued with that spirit than this speech. A large portion of that speech has been an unnecessary vindication of Sir Henry Bulwer. Why have we all this about Sir Henry Bulwer? No one attacks him; there was no complaint against him, and no responsibility thrown upon him; yet what does the right hon. Gentleman do? He accuses and attacks the Government because they did not accept certain proposals made by Sir Henry Bulwer as to the method of restoring Cetewayo. They did not accept these proposals because they disapproved of them, and because Sir Henry Bulwer's plan appeared to them to come too nearly to a plan for the annexation of Zululand. Did the right hon. Gentleman approve of these proposals?
Then the right hon. Gentleman did not approve of the restoration? [Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH: No.] Then why did he not say so at the time? The right hon. Gentleman is exceedingly wise after the event. Cetewayo's restoration was a failure. There is no doubt about that. He has paid the penalty of his fault. The right hon. Gentleman had no other advice to give at the time when the matter was fully debated in this House 1751 on the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham. Is the right hon. Gentleman unaware of that? Has he reserved all his studies of this subject until he thought he had an opportunity of attacking the Government? Did he pay no attention to the subject of Zululand until that opportunity was given him? Is he unaware that the hon. and learned Member for Chatham, in a speech of great ability—and not a Gentleman on this side of the House, and below the Gangway, but on the other side of the House—opened up the subject, and not by agitation, and not by means of the Society for the Protection of Aborigines, or anybody else, but by his own reason, showed what we were not prepared to contest, and what we were aware of, that the state of things in Zululand was very unsatisfactory; and the right hon. Gentleman, with all his Colonial wisdom, of which we have had such an abundant display to-night, had not a word to say on the subject, and allowed this fatal measure of restoration to go forward without a syllable of warning. Why was Cetewayo sent back? It seems to the mind of the right hon. Gentleman a thing totally impossible to conceive, that anybody should be actuated by the idea of doing justice. He says my hon. Friend was guilty of grandiloquence. Why? Because he said in the simplest language—the right hon. Gentleman is pretty grandiloquent himself—that we had endeavoured to study the interests of England and Zululand. Therefore, he is guilty of grandiloquence. Now, I will repeat the statement, though I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman will accept it, with any credit, that a sense of justice did greatly and principally govern us with regard to Cetewayo. I thought the right hon. Gentleman had himself done the grossest injustice to Cetewayo. Our great desire was to repair what had been done; but the ruin that had been wrought in Zululand it was not possible for us entirely to repair. It is one thing to carry confusion and destruction into a country; but it is most difficult to gather together the broken fragments which are the monuments of the statesmanship of the right hon. Gentleman. These were the motives that led us to restore Cetewayo. Never did I receive any communication with greater pain, or an appeal of which 1752 I more felt the force, than the letter which Cetewayo addressed to me, pleading that he had done no wrong, and asking what was our justification for keeping him an exile from his home and his people. I had no answer to it. Had there been peace in that country, we should have been able to say it was our duty to make some reparation to him in some form; but if Zululand was happy, he must not ask us to restore him, or to wink at restoration, because the happiness of the country was the first thing to be secured. But the country was not happy. The right hon. Gentleman says it was, because the Transvaal had not been retained by us. If the Transvaal had been retained by us, in our judgment no part of South Africa would have been happy. That is our belief. So far from the state of Zululand being better, it would not have been better. [Sir MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH: No.) Surely the right hon. Gentleman said the retention of the Transvaal would have enabled the settlement which was tried in Zululand to work satisfactorily.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
What I said was, that the plan of Sir Garnet Wolseley's settlement was based on the idea of the retention of the Transvaal.
The retention of the Transvaal, if, as we believed it would, it had led to general disturbance and confusion in South Africa, so far from improving the state of things in Zululand, would have done exactly the reverse. I therefore do humbly assert, whether the right hon. Gentleman believes it or not, that we were greatly pained by what we thought the injustice which had been done to Cetewayo. I am sorry to have been obliged to revive that subject. I should not have wished to refer to it for a moment; but the right hon. Gentleman, by the Party speech he has made, compels me to refer to it, and to point out to whom it is due that all these difficulties have arisen. My hon. Friend the Under Secretary has stated what I am afraid is true—that, under what influences I know not, though I very deeply regret them, Cetewayo was unwilling or unable to execute the conditions of the settlement provided; and, as my hon. Friend believes, though I will not say I have been able fully to examine that matter, he has suffered for that, and has probably paid 1753 the forfeit of his life. But here, again, comes in the right hon. Gentleman, and seems to imply that Cetewayo was under no obligation to fulfil these conditions. And, pray, Sir, why? Because, says the right hon. Gentleman, he protested against them. Why, he had subscribed, and willingly subscribed, to them, in the sense that he chose rather to accept restoration with those conditions than to forego restoration. His case was entirely analogous to the case of the Government of the Transvaal in reference to their Convention. They protested against the conditions of that Convention, but they chose rather to take it with the conditions than to have nothing; and nobody has been more forward than the right hon. Gentleman in holding them to that Convention, because, although they protested against it, they accepted it with their eyes open. Cetewayo did exactly the same thing. He accepted the conditions.
The right hon. Gentleman has such a perfect knowledge of the intentions of people, and of the interior of their minds, that I will not follow him into that. It is no answer to me, nor any defence of the plea brought up by the right hon. Gentleman, that Cetewayo was not bound to comply with those conditions, and that the blame of his not accepting them falls on the Government. Therefore, I can only say that of all the different kinds of wisdom there is none that is less profitable to mankind than wisdom after the facts; and I have never known a finer or more full-blown specimen of that kind of wisdom than that with which we have been favoured in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman to-night.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
I should like to say, with reference to the personal attack of the right hon. Gentleman upon me for not having questioned the restoration of Cetewayo at the time when it was carried out, that it was quite impossible for me to do so. No doubt the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) raised the question in the early part of last Session; but it was then raised incidentally by him on a day when I was not present, and discussion was absolutely deprecated by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman himself. Then Her Majesty's 1754 Government, being in communication with Sir Henry Bulwer on the subject, waited—I do not blame them for that —until the end of the Session; and about the 12th of August announced their intention to restore Cetewayo. Everybody knows that at such a time, within a very few days of the close of the Session, it is quite impossible to call any Government satisfactorily to account in this House.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
wished to say a word or two, principally because the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had made many allusions to those who, in former days, pressed for the restoration of Cetewayo to his own country. With regard to the present state of Zululand, and what had been going on there in the last few months, they had not got quite sufficient information to deal with what had taken place. He had listened to this debate very carefully, and he had had some difficulty in knowing exactly what the point of discussion had been; but, so far as he could understand, there was a desire on the part of the hon. Member who had brought this Motion forward, and those who supported him, to obtain some sort of censure upon the Government for the restoration of Cetewayo to his Kingdom. In his opinion, the only fault the Government had committed in that matter was that they were too late in what they did. If they had done that some months before all these difficulties might not have occurred. But another fault in their proceedings, if it was a fault, was that when they did the thing they did not do it thoroughly; and he thought the speeches from the other side showed that hon. Gentlemen opposite were in that position also. They who were attacked for having pressed the Government to restore Cetewayo might clear themselves by saying that, although they contended that Cetewayo had been badly treated and ought to be restored, they never intended that the restoration should be carried out as it was. Bishop Colenso, who was a great friend of Cetewayo and of the Zulus, advocated that Cetewayo should be sent back. He did not think it was quite clear—although, perhaps, the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies might say it was—that Cetewayo was the aggressor in these proceedings. The Blue Books showed that our authorities kept telling Cetewayo, 1755 whatever he did; not to got into trouble, and not to contend with anybody; and Cetewayo refrained from attacking those who were continually attacking him. He did not press that, because he thought the whole thing was obscure; but he believed that something of that sort would be found to have been the case. At all events, whatever they thought of Cetewayo, they must all feel that this had been a very tragical and miserable affair, and that he, through a great part of his life, was very ill-used indeed; and he had been very glad to hear the Prime Minister make that able defence of Cetewayo to-night, and admit that great injustice had been done to him. The hon. Member for North Yorkshire (Mr. Dawnay) seemed to think this very much a question between John Dunn and Cetewayo. He himself was rather inclined to think that John Dunn was at the bettom of this last attack upon Cetewayo; because he saw a letter in The Observer of yesterday week, written in large letters, by someone who said he was a great friend of John Dunn, and knew all about South Africa. He was very much inclined to think that letter was written by the hon. Member, as the writer gave great credit to John Dunn for having been at the bottom of the whole affair, and as having been the man who attacked Cetewayo. He did not know John Dunn personally—he only knew him through the Blue Books, and he could not think he was the noble, grand character his hon. Friend made him out to be. What did the hon. Member say at the beginning of his speech? He told a number of anecdotes of the cruelties of Cetewayo when he was in power. Those things he had never heard of before, and he did not think anybody else had.
§ MR. GUY DAWNAY
said, he had stated that he had come across soldiers, and in One case he had heard shots fired which had killed women and children.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, the hon. Member did not know the whole history of the case, or how this quarrel arose; but his point was, that when these things were done John Dunn was the friend, adviser, and comrade of Cetewayo, and in alliance with him. Did he make any remonstrance, or do anything to stop these crimes?
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, there was another point with regard to John Dunn which he did not think his hon. Friend would deny, and that was, that while he was the Agent for Natal he was in the habit of sending guns to Zululand; and that, he (Sir William Lawson) thought, was not very much to his credit. But, after all, they were really speaking in the dark, for they had not sufficient information on these points, and he only made these observations in defence of himself and his hon. Friends in regard to this matter; and as to the future, he thought it was almost too soon to say anything. He had not observed that anybody had laid down any rule as to the future with respect to what was to be done; and he hoped that the Government, warned by the sad experience they had had, would refrain from that interference and those annexations which might show our strength, but which showed neither justice nor wisdom, and which, in the end, would do us very little credit.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
said, he thought the Prime Minister showed that in this case, as in the case of the Transvaal, he felt he had a doubtful case to defend, because he had made strong personal attacks on his opponents. The right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was well able to defend himself; but he (Sir Henry Holland) desired to say, in reply to the Prime Minister, who had accused him a few hours ago, in the debate on the Transvaal, of giving an off-hand judgment as to what the Government ought to have done in the Transvaal, without weighing or making allowance for the difficulties of the case, but as if it were all an easy matter, that he could not, of course, take up the time of the Committee by re-stating what he had said in the debate on the Transvaal in April last; but he had then most fully admitted the great difficulty of government in South Africa, which he was not at all inclined to underrate. As regarded the question before the Committee, he desired to point out that the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies had contented himself with reading two opinions of Sir Henry Bulwer on the settlement of 1879 which were given in 1882; but that he had omitted to inform the Committee of the well-considered judgment of Sir Henry Bulwer in 1883.
1757 In his despatch of February 15 of that year he writes—The settlement of 1879 had conferred great benefits upon the Zulu people, which every true friend of the Native Races ought to rejoice at, but which people—at the time of which I write, carried away by a desire for the release of Cetewayo, and impatient at the disorders which had occurred in some parts of the Zulu country, and, moreover, not fully understanding the nature of those disorders, which were, in great measure, the result of an agitation that had been promoted from outside—were apt to lose sight of. The settlement, too, was, in its general design, an admirable one.It would have been only fair if the Under Secretary had stated this later opinion of Sir Henry Bulwer's to the Committee. He (Sir Henry Holland) could not acquit the Government of want of judgment and foresight in restoring Cetewayo, as they had done. He was not himself open to the charge made by the Prime Minister against the right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) of not having remonstrated against this restoration before it was accomplished; because he had ventured last year, when the debate which had been referred to took place, to argue against the restoration of Cetewayo, either as Chief of the whole country or as Chief of a smaller district. He then prophesied that if the latter course were adopted, and if Cetewayo were returned as a Chief on the same footing as other Chiefs over whom he had ruled, troubles and disturbances were sure to arise. And this view had been proved to be correct. Cetewayo was, from the first, dissatisfied with the conditions imposed upon him, and jealous of the other Chiefs. Front the first he was hostile to Usibepu. In February, 1883, they find him saying that—Usibepu was his (Cetewayo's) dog, but land of the Zulus had been given to him (Usibepu), who bragged over him (Cetewayo). This could not continue. The Zulus could not stand all this.Sir Henry Bulwer had constantly to remonstrate with Cetewayo for this and other breaches of the conditions. Nor could he refrain from observing that when the Prime Minister spoke of the justice towards Cetewayo in restoring him to Zululand, he seemed to forget the injustice and broach of faith thereby shown to those Chiefs whose power and land had been secured to them by the distinct pledges of the British Government, to which reference had been made 1758 in the debate. It was said that those Chiefs had the power to go into the Reserved Territory, if they did not desire to serve under Cetewayo; but that was very materially altering their condition. And as the Government had not retained paramount authority over the Reserved Territory, the Chiefs not unnaturally distrusted this offer. Upon this point he might cite Mr. Shepstone's letter to Sir Henry Bulwer, of March 15, 1883, where he says—I would beg to bring to your notice the fact that Cetewayo has no authority whatever in this Reserve, and his claiming anyone here is a breach of the conditions—this referred to a distinct breach committed by Cetewayo in demanding money and labour from the people in the Reserve—and I may also point out that on my questioning those who had already decided on remaining, and who from the first expressed their determination to live, as they said, under the Government, they have asked me seriously as to whether the Government still doubts its own determination to retain this part of the country for such as do not wish to return to Cetewayo.The Native Chiefs evidently doubted whether this Reserve would not be, sooner or later, handed over to Cetewayo. This doubt would have been probably removed if Her Majesty's Government had openly declared their paramount authority over the Reserve; and by doing this they would have given confidence to those Chiefs and headmen who did not want to be under Cetewayo, and who desired either to migrate into the Reserved Territory, or to remain there. He (Sir Henry Holland) would not, at that late hour, detain the Committee any longer; but would conclude by stating that, in his opinion, the Government had shown a lamentable want of foresight, and judgment, and of fairness to the Native Chiefs in restoring Cetewayo to Zululand.
§ MR. GUY DAWNAY
said, he would withdraw his Motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question put, and agreed to.