The DUKE of WELLINGTON
My Lords, I was unable to address your Lordships two nights ago, when you voted the Address to Her Majesty, to which She has returned the gracious answer which we have just heard read. The Motion now before you is, that the Address be entered on the Journals of the House; and I wish to avail myself of this opportunity of expressing my sense of the services of General Sir Harry Smith, now in command of Her Majesty's troops at the Cape of Good Hope. Sir Harry Smith is an officer who, from his high reputation in the service, ought not to require any commendation from me; but having filled a high command in several important military operations long before, carried on under his direction, and having now been recalled by Her Majesty's Government, it is but justice to him to say that I, who am his commanding officer, though at a great distance, entirely approve of all his operations, of all the orders which he has given to his troops, and of the arrangements which he has made for their success. I highly approve of the conduct of the troops in all their operations; I am fully sensible of 175 the difficulties under which they have had to labour, and of the gallantry with which they have overcome all those difficulties, and of the great success which has attended their exertions. My firm belief is, that everything has been done by the commanding general of the forces, and the other officers, in order to carry into execution the instructions of Her Majesty's Government. I have myself had the honour of holding the command of British troops, and superintending different miliary operations in a similar country, under three Governors General of India; and I am proud to say that I have not observed any serious error in the conduct of the whole of these operations of my gallant Friend Sir Harry Smith. He has no doubt committed errors as others have done before him. The operations of the Kafirs have been carried on by the occupation of extensive regions which in some places are called jungle, in others bush, but in reality it is thick-set, the thickest wood that could be found anywhere. The Kafirs having established themselves in these fastnesses, with their plunder, on which they exist, their assailants suffer great losses. They move away with more or less celerity and activity, sometimes losing and sometimes saving their plunder, but they always evacuate these fastnesses. Our troops do not, cannot, occupy these places. They would be useless to them, and, in point of fact, they could not live in them. The enemy moves off and is attacked again; and the consequence is, to my certain knowledge, under the last three Governments, that some of these fastnesses have been attacked not less than three or four times over, and on every occasion with great loss to the assailants. There is a remedy for these evils: when these fastnesses are stormed and captured, they should be totally destroyed. I have had a good deal to do with such guerilla warfare, and the only mode of subduing a country like that, is to open roads into it so as to admit of the transport of troops with the Utmost facility. I have recommended that course to the noble Earl (Earl Grey) opposite, who, I believe, has ordered it to be adopted at the Cape. It is absolutely necessary roads should be opened immediately into these fastnesses. The only fault I can find with Sir Harry Smith's operations is, that he has not adopted the plan of opening such roads, after he had attacked and taken possession of those fastnesses. I have, however, instructed 176 him to do so in future; but it is a work of great labour—it will occupy a considerable time, and can only be executed at great expense. The noble Secretary of State has ordered that region to be laid open; and the truth is that the war at the Cape has come to that point that unless such a measure is adopted, there can be no peace in that part of the world—there can be no enjoyment of the social comforts of civilised life. The Kafir chieftains at the head of 10,000 or 20,000 men establish themselves in these fastnesses within the boundary of Her Majesty's territory, and they are not accessible to any portion of Her Majesty's troops. I say then, that such a measure must be adopted; it will take time, and can only be effected at great expense; but the effect would be to give peace, and to enable the people to enjoy the blessings of social and civilised life—and the expense would not be a tenth part of the expense of one campaign. If this was not done effectually, there would be no peace and no cessation of armed bodies making inroads upon the people in that part of the world. He thought it but fair to say what he had said of his gallant Friend Sir Harry Smith; and that it was also right to say that all which ought to be done had not yet been done to lay the foundation for that which was the object of all war, namely, peace.
§ LORD LYNDHURST
wished to know whether the papers laid on the table on Tuesday night contained any account of the proceedings of the Legislative Council, the legality of which was discussed at such length during the last Session of Parliament?
§ EARL GREY
said, the papers laid on the table contained a full account of the proceedings. There were two sets of papers laid on the table, one set confined to the circumstances of the war, and the other to measures of legislation. The latter contained all the proceedings of the existing Legislative Council with regard to the body, the legality of which was so much contested by the noble and learned Lord last year. If he referred to those despatches, he would find that the Governor did not call together the Legislative Council until he had completed it to the number of which it previously consisted, and it would continue until the new Parliament came into operation.
§ EARL GREY
It was never summoned 177 in its reduced state, and Sir Harry Smith was always desirous of having it, if he could, in its full number. The instructions to him required him, in case of his inability to complete the Legislative Council to its original number, to proceed with the reduced number; but if he could produce satisfactory nominations, he was desired to complete it to the increased number.