HL Deb 12 April 1875 vol 223 cc664-714

, who had given Notice to call the attention of the House to the Papers lately laid before Parliament by Her Majesty's command relating to the Kaffir Outbreak in Natal; and to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to allow the Act of the Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope, No. 3. of 1874, to continue in operation, said, he could assure his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies that in bringing this Motion forward he was not actuated by any spirit of hostility to him or to Her Majesty's Government. On the contrary, from the time the present Administration was formed he had always earnestly wished it success, and especially did he wish success to the Administration of his noble Friend, whose appointment as head of the Colonial Department gave him great satisfaction. But it was notorious that both in Natal itself and in the Cape Colony very strong objections were entertained to the policy with regard to the former that had been pursued by Her Majesty's Government, and such being the case, he thought it right that these objections should be stated in that House, in order that, if they were well-founded, they might receive proper consideration, or that, if ill-founded, they might be removed by the explanations which would, no doubt, be offered on the part of the Government. He was glad also to find that his noble Friend was himself of opinion that if any discussion at all on this subject was to be raised, this was the proper time to raise it, as he understood from him that the whole of the case was now before the House in the Papers which had been laid on the Table, and that it would not be for the public convenience that the discussion should be further delayed. That being so, he would proceed to state the grounds on which he intended to conclude by moving an Address to Her Majesty to allow a certain Act of the Cape Parliament to continue in operation. And in the first place he would give a slight sketch of the Colony of Natal. The territory of the Colony was estimated to be about one-third the size of England. Of its inhabitants there were 18,000 persons of European descent; perhaps now somewhat less, as the attraction of the diamond fields beyond the territory had led some of the inhabitants to leave Natal:—of the entire number of the population of European descent, about 8,000 lived in two towns; the remainder lived in farms and stations which were scattered widely throughout the different parts of the Colony. The Colony was also inhabited by large numbers of Natives. He believed the Native population did not fall short of 300,000. All those were not of the race of the original inhabitants. Towards the close of the last century or the beginning of this, the country was densely inhabited by the Kaffir tribes; but the bloody wars waged by a famous Zulu conqueror who invaded the territory had so nearly exterminated or dispersed its former inhabitants that when about 40 years ago the first settlers entered Natal from the Cape Colony, they found the country an almost uninhabited waste. After a time, when the Colony was formed, and the English rule established, many of the old inhabitants came back, and put themselves under British protection, which was also sought by a far larger number of the Zulus. These Zulus were in many respects a fine race of men, and they were by no means absolute savages, though not far removed from barbarism. They had among them recognized forms of laws and social customs, and a state of society which, in its own way, maintained a kind of rude order among them. After the establishment of British authority, large numbers of the Zulus continued to come into the Colony; sometimes individuals or families escaping from the tyranny of their chiefs; sometimes whole tribes flying from the attacks of stronger ones—indeed, they did so to such an extent that at last it was found necessary to impose certain restrictions on their immigration. Some of these Zulus lived among the settlers as servants and assistants; and he found that many of them displayed considerable skill as carpenters and in bricklaying and other handicrafts, so much so that some were even found capable of attending to steam machinery. A case was mentioned of a Native, living within 20 miles of the port of Durban, who possessed £600 worth of steam machinery, with which he was now manufacturing sugar from canes grown and planted by other Natives, without the and of any White assistance or intelligence whatever. The Kaffirs supplied a large part of the domestic servants of the Colony, and to them was entrusted the postal delivery all over the territory, which they performed with punctuality and despatch. But those who were employed in these useful callings constituted but a small portion of the Zulus in Natal, who were part of the great Kaffir race spread over the South of Africa. The great mass of the race had made much less progress, and were living as tribes according to their old customs on land assigned for their use by the Government. It was obvious that the existence of so large a population of that description, though their services were valuable to the settlers, was necessarily a source of constant anxiety and danger to the Colony, and they required to be managed with great firmness and great prudence to keep them under control. These Native tribes living under the English rule were governed exactly upon the same system as the tribes beyond the boundary, who were ruled by their subordinate Chiefs, each of whom in his turn owed allegiance to the Zulu King. In like manner the tribes within the boundary were governed by their own Chiefs under Her Majesty's Representative, the Lieutenant Governor of the Colony, who, by an ordinance of the Natal Legislature, was made the supreme Chief over the Zulus, and who exercised over them the same authority as the Zulu King did in his territory. They were required to pay very light taxes, and to abstain from all acts of violence; but while they submitted to these rules there was as little interference as possible with the authority of the Chiefs. Such of the Native laws and customs of those people as were not repugnant to humanity were allowed to remain in force. This was the system which had been in successful operation in the Colony during the last 80 years. In the course of that time the interruptions to peace had been but very few; there had been no disturbance of any consequence, but order and security had been maintained; and favoured by these, the British settlers had amassed a large amount of wealth and property. The exports and imports of Natal for 1872—the last year for which he had seen the accounts—were just under £1,500,000, and the productive power of the Colony was extending itself very rapidly. Well, when Sir Benjamin Pine arrived at Natal as Lieutenant Governor in 1873, he found that great doubts respecting the loyalty of a powerful Chief were entertained by some of the principal officers of the Government, and by nearly the whole of the White population. He would not enter into the details of the circum- stances which had created these doubts, and which appeared very fully in the Papers laid on the Table; it was sufficient to state that in October, 1873, Sir Benjamin Pine and his advisers thought it necessary to send a force to enforce the obedience of the Chief he had referred to, who bore the very difficult name of Langalibalele, who had been three times summoned to appear before the Governor, and evaded or neglected the summons. That would not appear to be a very grave act of disobedience to persons ignorant of Kaffir customs, but it derived great importance from the light in which it was regarded by these people. According to Kaffir law, the refusal of a Chief to obey the summons of his immediate superior was an act of rebellion deserving of the severest punishment; and in the opinion of Sir Benjamin Pine and his advisers, Langalibalele, in refusing to attend when summoned, was deliberately taking the first step in a rebellion he had been long preparing. One of the circumstances which led them to that conclusion was that he was observed to be removing the cattle of his tribe beyond British jurisdiction. Now, that also, according to Kaffir law, was regarded as a high misdemeanour and a sign of rebellion. In consequence of those proceedings and of his disobedience, an officer of the Government, supported by a force composed of Native troops and White Volunteers, was sent to him with the view of inducing him to obey the summons, and, that attempt failing, of compelling him to do so. The force was divided into different parties, in order to surround the Chief and his followers. One of the parties came upon a portion of the tribe driving cattle away from the British territory. The officer in command commenced a parley with them in order to induce those Natives to return and again place themselves under British authority. They seemed inclined to obey; but they managed to prolong the parley for two hours, and during that interval get an increased number of the Chief's followers into a commanding situation. This accomplished, they, without warning, suddenly and treacherously fired on the officer and his party, killing five of the latter and wounding him. After that open act of revolt, of course there was nothing left for the Governor to do but to put down the rebel- lion by force. The hostilities which ensued were only of short duration, and they ended in the driving of the rebellious party out of their strongholds in the Colony, and by the active co-operation of the Cape Government and of a subordinate Native tribe, the Chief and some of his principal followers were made prisoners beyond the frontier. Governor Pine then proceeded to try Langalibalele according to Kaffir law. Having been adjudged guilty, he was sentenced to transportation to Robben Island, and the Legislature of the Cape passed an Act to authorize his detention there. For his conduct in these transactions the Governor had been censured and recalled by the Secretary for the Colonies, and if he (Earl Grey) understood the Papers correctly, his noble Friend had arrived at this decision mainly on two grounds—first, that Sir Benjamin Pine had been too hasty in employing force against the Chief; and, in the next place, that justice had not been done to the latter in his trial and sentence. There were other points adverted to in the despatch of his noble Friend; but, as he felt the necessity of not taking up more of their Lordships' time than he could avoid, he would abstain from entering into them, and would confine himself exclusively to the two main points which he had just mentioned. On the first of these points, he submitted to their Lordships that his noble Friend had fallen into a mistake in attempting to review in this country the judgment formed by the Governor on the spot. Whether Sir Benjamin Pine was right or not turned on the question whether the Chief was or was not meditating rebellion when a force was sent to compel him to obey the Government summons. There could be no doubt that the Chief had declined to obey that summons more than once; there was no doubt that some of his excuses were false; and there was no doubt that in order to maintain the authority of the Government, it was absolutely necessary that the obedience of the Chief should be obtained either by expostulation or compulsion. So far his noble Friend and the Governor were agreed; but Sir Benjamin Pine and his advisers were convinced that the conduct of the Chief implied a determination to rebel which made it unsafe to temporize, while the Secretary of State had come to an opposite conclusion, and stated in his despatch that he could not divest his mind of the conviction that, if greater pains had been taken to sift the matter, a more just conception would have been formed of the attitude of the Chief, and that by more conciliatory measures the fatal necessity of putting a force in motion might have been avoided. Now, in his (Earl Grey's) opinion, it was a great error on the part of his noble Friend to attempt on such a question as that to review the judgment arrived at by the Governor, and, for his own part, he declined to go into an examination of the reasons which influenced the Governor on the one side and his noble Friend and the Bishop of Natal on the other in coming to the opposite conclusion at which they had arrived. He declined to balance those conflicting reasons, because he was persuaded that the point was one on which it was utterly impossible that a sound judgment could be formed in this country. To enable one to form such a judgment required an intimate knowledge of Kaffir habits and manners, and a far more accurate knowledge of the circumstances than could be conveyed in written despatches. Even if all the facts could be made known to his noble Friend, there might be many of them which in England might appear insignificant, while they might be very significant in the mind of the Governor and others seeing matters on the spot. He said it was a great error of his noble Friend to question the judgment of Governor Pine and his advisers upon a matter of this sort; because he held that the judgment of a Colonial Governor under such circumstances should be accepted as right, unless there were some very strong reasons for believing that he had been wrong. There was this strong reason for adopting this as a general rule—that unless the Governor could act on his own judgment, with full confidence that he would be supported by the Government at home, unless he were manifestly wrong, it would be utterly impossible that a people like the Kaffirs could be governed with the firmness and promptitude that were required. With regard to any Colony, it was impossible to carry on its government efficiently from Downing Street, and too much interference from home with the measures of the local authori- ties was always a mistake; but in the ease of a barbarous and warlike race like the Kaffirs to attempt to govern a Colony in that way could not fail to have fatal consequences. It was obvious that the Governor of such a Colony as Natal must be prepared to act with vigour in circumstances of emergency, if peace and the obedience of an almost barbarous people many times out-numbering the White population was to be preserved; but how could you expect him to act with vigour if he knew that he could not be safe in taking decisive measures unless there was a case of necessity not only to satisfy his own mind, but also sufficient to satisfy an imperfectly-informed Secretary at some thousands of miles distance? If Governor Pine was right in his view of the situation, and if the Chief was really plotting rebellion, immediate action was required. By this the mischief might be stopped at once—as it was—but if there was delay—if time were given to Langalibalele to go on preparing for revolt, and to gain adherents, and if other tribes were encouraged to join him by the apparent indecision of the Government, a formidable rebellion would have been likely to break out; and, if so, though in the end it would have been put down, it could not have been so till much blood had been shed, and there had been a very considerable sacrifice of life on both sides, and a great destruction of property. He would remind their Lordships that in Natal the lives and property of a very large number of scattered settlers, whom it would have been impossible to protect, depended on the stifling of the rebellion. This had been pointed out in a very able paper written by the Treasurer of Natal. If once law and authority were set at defiance in that Colony, we should have to deal not only with the 300,000 barbarous and warlike Kaffirs within the Colony itself, but also with a large number of Chiefs and their tribes outside the Colony, who were in constant communication with the Kaffirs within, and whose love of war and plunder would be speedily excited by an outbreak in the Colony itself. The consequence might be a war of races, the results of which no man could foresee. Our policy in the ease of such a Colony ought to be to support the Governor as long as there was no decisive proof that he was acting in flagrant error. Was a man like Sir Benjamin Pine likely to act in that way? He had been in office at Natal more than 20 years before, and his conduct here met with high approbation. From Natal he was transferred to other and most important posts on the West Coast of Africa and in the West Indies, and had throughout maintained his character as an able, energetic, and honest Governor, an able administrator, and one sincerely humane and very desirous to promote the civilization of the barbarous races. The present system of government in the Colony had been established for 30 years, and had been approved by successive Secretaries of State; the Governor, therefore, was entitled to believe that it was his duty to adhere to it, and to take those energetic steps, without which, in his opinion, there was no doubt that the whole territory would have been in a state of rebellion. Then how was his conduct in respect of Langalibalele viewed in the Colony? Why, the opinion of the colonists, including the missionaries, English, Scotch, German, and American, was in his favour—and some of those missionaries thoroughly knew the Colony from an experience of 30 or 40 years in Natal. They were well acquainted with the character and language of the Natives, for whose welfare they had shown the most praiseworthy devotion. These missionaries, with the exception of a few followers of the Bishop, had, in the strongest manner, expressed their approval of the conduct of the Government; and at a meeting of farmers in the Colony, regret was expressed that the action taken by Sir Benjamin Pine had not been taken five months before, and the Natal papers which reached this country on Saturday last contained further expressions of opinion on the part of the colonists that the Governor was in the right. He ventured to ask whether, in the face of such a concurrence of colonial opinion on the side of Sir Benjamin Pine, it was wise in his noble Friend to assume that in spite of his well-known character and his reputation for sound judgment, the Governor was wrong in respect of this Kaffir Chief? He was glad to observe that as regarded the proceedings which were adopted after hostilities commenced, and before the trial of the Chief, his noble Friend did not express any censure, and did not seem to think that the charges of reckless cruelty were well-founded so far as related to any officers of the local Government. It was not to be denied that some acts of cruelty had been committed, and, of course, those were to be regretted; but such acts were committed in wars in which the most civilized countries were engaged, and it was not to be wondered at that troops consisting of Natives, assisted by settlers who had wives and children and property in the Colony, should have done some cruel acts in the course of hostilities which had been commenced by murder and treachery on the part of the rebels. But for these acts no blame had been imputed to the Governor by his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies. What he condemned him for was his proceedings against Langalibalele and his followers after the revolt had been put down. As he had already stated, in accordance with Kaffir law that Chief had been tried by his superior Chief, whose summons he had disobeyed, and his noble Friend had declared, in the first place, that Langalibalele ought not to have been tried by Kaffir law; and, in the second place, that the sentence of detention for life in Robben Island was too severe. It appeared to him (Earl Grey) that his noble Friend, in objecting to Sir Benjamin Pine's having himself tried Langalibalele as his supreme Chief, and especially his having refused him the privilege of being heard by counsel, had fallen into the mistake of forgetting that our whole system of administering the law, and the technical rules by which it was governed, were only means adopted in order that justice might be done. They were, on the whole, well adapted to attain their end in our state of society, though even here it might be doubted whether the end was not sometimes sacrificed to the means, and whether a failure of justice did not occasionally happen from too rigid a regard for technicalities. Be that, however, as it might, he thought it clear that our system was not fitted for rude tribes in the very infancy of civilization. In such a state of society, a much rougher mode of proceeding worked better. Among the ancient nations of Palestine, they read in the Bible that the King sat in the gate of the city and judged his people; and, even up to the present time, in a great part of Asia, judi- cial authority was in the same hands as executive power—the Kings and Chiefs were the Judges. This was precisely the Kaffir system; and, in his opinion, Sir Benjamin Pine had done wisely in adhering to it, and in himself judging Langalibalele his supreme Chief. That was wise, because it was of extreme importance that the proceedings in this case should be rapid; that they should be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible, and that they should be so conducted as not to cause unnecessary excitement among the Native population. If the trial had been conducted in accordance with English forms, with all the technicalities of English law, the proceedings would have gone on for a very long time, and in the end there might have been a miscarriage of justice, which would have been attended with the greatest danger. But if the Governor was to judge the culprit as his Chief, it would have been out of character with the whole proceeding to have allowed counsel to be heard in his defence. With regard to the refusal to hear counsel, on which so much stress had been laid, it ought to be remarked, too, that it was not so long ago that even, in this country, the privilege of being heard by counsel was first given to the accused in criminal cases. The Governor acted in the exercise of his discretion; and, whether he was right or wrong in the course he took, it was unfair to find fault with him for merely having followed what was an established custom of the Colony, unless it could be shown that in following it he had done some substantial wrong. There was all the less reason for finding fault with Sir Benjamin Pine on this ground, because three or four cases had previously occurred in which trials were conducted in accordance with the Kaffir law, and the Governor had not been censured in any one of those cases by the Secretary of State. And whatever opinion might be entertained as to the propriety of the mode of proceeding, could anyone say that owing to it, any substantial wrong had been done? Langalibalele had been taken in open and armed rebellion—about that there could be no doubt—and in the revolt several of our troops were killed. It appeared to him that even the Bishop of Natal confessed that there was an actual rebellion. He had read his very long, very confused, and very obscure state- ment; and though he did not feel very confident that he understood it correctly; if he did, it did not amount so much to a denial of the rebellion as to an argument that Langalibalele had been driven into rebellion by harsh and unfair conduct on the part of the Governor, and that therefore the Chief was entitled to be treated with indulgence. This brought him to the last point in the case—that of the too great severity of the punishment. His noble Friend held that the sentence was too severe, or, in other words, that the plea set up on that head by the Bishop was just. He altogether dissented from that view of the subject; he believed that by every nation, and at all times, armed resistance to the Government had been considered as a great crime, for which death was the appropriate punishment—and justly so; because there was no crime which tended so much to the destruction of society and led to so much evil and so much misery. We might not feel the same detestation for a rebel as for an ordinary criminal, because his crime did not imply the same moral degradation as that of a murderer or a robber; but still, looking to the consequences of rebellion, by the common consent of all nations, no crime had been regarded as greater than that of armed resistance to the State. That being so, he would remind their Lordships that in this case the crime was not merely rebellion, but rebellion accompanied by treachery and murder committed under circumstances to which he had already called attention. The Bishop, however, contended—and he presumed that view was adopted by his noble Friend opposite—that the Chief himself was not responsible for the attack made upon our troops during the parley; and that he was at a distance from the spot at the time it was made. Having considered the whole of the circumstances of the case, he (Earl Grey) must say that though there might be no proof that it was done by his direct orders, it seemed impossible to believe that the treacherous onslaught did not form a part of the general plan of rebellion to which the Chief was a party. And even though he might not have had anything to do with the crime beforehand, it was asserted in the Papers, and he (Earl Grey) could not find that it was anywhere denied, that when those who had perpetrated the crime immedi- ately afterwards joined the Chief openly carrying the arms taken from their victims, he did nothing to show disapproval of their conduct, and allowed them to keep the arms they had thus obtained. By doing so, according to the principles not only of Kaffir, but of British law, the Chief became an accomplice after the fact in a most treacherous murder of British subjects, as well as having been guilty of rebellion. He (Earl Grey) held that if the Chief had been sentenced to capital punishment, and that punishment had been inflicted, no blame could justly have been passed on the Governor. But Sir Benjamin Pine believed that the peace of the Colony would be secured, and that a sufficient example would be made by inflicting a milder punishment, and he wisely as well as humanely determined to follow the precedent of what had been done, with the full approval of the Home Government in the case of Macomo, and he sentenced Langalibalele to detention for life on Robben Island. The Cape authorities concurred in that course, and on the advice of the Ministers, an Act was passed, authorizing the Chief's detention. His noble Friend the Secretary of State in the first instance doubted the legality of what had been done, but he had since recognized that it did not involve even any technical infraction of the law. He adhered, nevertheless, to the opinion that the punishment inflicted was too severe, and had announced his intention of advising the Queen to disallow the Act, though he had for the present postponed doing so. To disallow the Act, before some other legal provision had been made on the subject, would involve the necessity of giving liberty to Langalibalele, and that would, in his (Earl Grey's) opinion, be as dangerous as it was uncalled for. It was uncalled for, because for the reasons he had stated, he considered the punishment to which the Chief had been subjected, to be a lenient one under all the circumstances of the ease. It would be dangerous in the highest degree, from the effect the liberation of that Chief would have on the minds of the whole Kaffir race. On that point he would call their Lordships' attention to the opinions expressed by persons of the very highest authority on such a question. Mr. Brownlee, one of the Ministers and Secretary for Native Affairs in the Cape Govern- ment, said, in a Paper, dated January, 1875, that— In considering the effect on the Natives of the release of Langalibalele, it cannot be overlooked that he possesses even greater influence from his reputed powers as a magician than he does as Chief of a large and powerful tribe. Their Lordships were doubtless aware that the belief in magic and witchcraft prevailed universally amongst the Kaffirs, and exercised a most powerful influence over their conduct. The most dangerous war of 1850–53 was brought about, as Mr. Brownlee observed, by the agency of a magician; and with reference to that well-known fact, he said that heavy floods last year in the Transkei district were attributed to the captivity of that Chief, and their continuance was predicted; the still greater floods which had occurred when Mr. Brownlee wrote would, he said, enhance his importance and confirm the predictions of last year, and he then proceeded to state that— All the Natives feel, and those friendly to us admit, that Langalibalele has received substantial justice. His release would be considered as a sign of weakness rather than as an act of clemency on the part of the British Government, and would be attributed to his power as a magician. His importance would thus be magnified in the eyes of all the Native tribes both in the Colony and in Natal. Their minds would become unsettled and our influence impaired. Such was the opinion deliberately expressed by the Cape Secretary for Native affairs, of whose knowledge of the people, and ability, there could be no doubt. Another of the Cape Ministers expressed the same opinion; in a letter dated December 24, 1874, after observing that Langalibalele had deliberately defied the Government of Natal, and that had he not been made prisoner quickly, it was almost certain that very serious disturbances would have taken place among the Native tribes. Mr. Molteno added— With all the Native tribes the one opinion and idea is that this Chief has been checkmated and defeated in his purpose, and is now justly undergoing punishment; indeed, that he has been leniently dealt with. Should he now be released, the idea with these people will be that it is from fear and distrust on our part as to the success of our policy, consequently, our difficulties in the management of the Natives would be increased enormously, so much so, that it would be impossible for us to preserve peace and the satisfactory state of affairs which has now existed for the last 20 years and upwards, in which case the question would necessarily arise as to whether the Home Government could leave us to ourselves, to bear the brunt of a policy essentially their own. Their Lordships would not fail to notice the significance of the last words of the extract he had read from Mr. Molteno's letter. That country had now for some years acted on the policy of telling the Colonists that they must rely on themselves for protection, and that if another Kaffir war should come, they must not expect to be relieved from the necessity of providing for their own defence. He (Earl Grey) disapproved of that policy; but it had been adopted by successive Administrations; and, if it was to be adhered to, it surely would be, in the highest degree, unjust to use the power of the Crown—which was not to be exerted to protect the Colonists—in order to prevent them from employing the means they believed to be necessary to avert war with the Native tribes. Such a war, if it should once begin, could not be limited to one of the two Colonies, but would be sure soon to become a war of races, and to extend over the whole of South Africa. To take a step which involved the risk of causing so fearful a calamity would, in his opinion, be utterly unjustifiable, and it was that consideration which had induced him to make this Motion. Much as he disapproved of the policy of the Government, he might have abstained from bringing it before the House, if it had been irrevocable; but the Act had not yet been disallowed, nor the Chief released. The intention of disallowing it had been announced; but the carrying it into effect had been suspended, and he therefore asked the House to interpose its advice, and by an humble Address, to submit to Her Majesty the inexpediency of disallowing the Act of the Cape Parliament. He hoped that there might be no occasion for his pressing the Motion; he hoped that his noble Friend might be able to tell them that having already determined to delay the step he contemplated, to give time to the Cape Parliament to make some other provision with respect to Langalibalele, he would go a little further, and assure them that he would continue this delay until some arrangement had been made with the concurrence of that Parliament. Such an assurance would be perfectly satisfactory to him he believed, indeed, that the place where the Chief was now detained was the best and safest that could have been selected for the purpose; but if an Act should be passed by the Cape Parliament which, in its judgment, would secure the two Colonies from having their peace disturbed by Langalibalele, without keeping him in Robben Island, that would be quite enough; but, simply to disallow the Act, and thus make it necessary to release him, would be a course he considered so unjustifiable that he trusted his noble Friend would be able to assure them that it would not be adopted.

Before he sat down, he hoped he might be allowed to add a very few words on another point of great importance to the welfare of that interesting Colony, though it had no direct bearing on the Motion he had to make. He observed that in the despatches laid on the Table his noble Friend had told the Governor that he contemplated a great change in the policy hitherto pursued in Natal, and it appeared that one object of this change would be to break down the power of the Chiefs. That announcement alarmed him. Hitherto the policy pursued had been to govern the Natives mainly through their Chiefs. He admitted that that system was not in all respects satisfactory; it tolerated for the present the continuance of many evil customs and practices which we should all be glad to get rid of, and especially polygamy and the oppressive treatment of women by their husbands. These things had been allowed to go on, because it had been the opinion of the ablest servants of the Crown employed in South Africa, that an attempt suddenly and violently to change customs which had so long existed and had so strong a hold on the minds of the people, would do more harm than good. Unless a large number of efficient European officers could be sent out to work a new and better system of laws, and unless their authority could be supported by a large military force, England must for the present be content to govern Natal through the Native Chiefs and by Native laws and customs. Those laws and customs might be gradually and cautiously improved if peace and order were maintained, and all violence and bloodshed were sternly put down, as they had been of late years. Security and intercourse with a civilized race would by degrees create new wants among the Natives, and call forth industry to supply them; in the meantime, the efforts of the missionaries and the increase of education would produce their effect on the rising generation, and the habits of civilized life would grow up among them. Facilities also might be given to those of the Natives who desired to withdraw from their tribes and settle among the Colonists under the same laws and with the same rights as the Whites. That was the policy which for nearly 30 had been pursued, and though improvement had not been so rapid as might have been desired and expected—in some degree owing to the continued influx of additional immigrants from the surrounding tribes keeping up the element of barbarism—still it had not, on the whole, been unsuccessful—peace and friendly relations between the White and coloured races had been maintained. Industry had begun to increase, and European implements of industry were coming into use, while education was extending among the young. The first steps of civilization, which were the hardest, had been made, and every year that went by the progress was likely to be more rapid, as the number of White inhabitants increased, and the means of communication were improved—as it was to be hoped they would be—by railways. More had been probably accomplished than if the Government had attempted to go faster, since it was not enough that changes in the laws should be good in themselves—to be really useful they must be fitted to the people among whom they were to be introduced. He therefore looked with apprehension to what had been announced as to the intentions of the Government, and especially with regard to the attempt which it seemed was to be made to break down the authority of the Chiefs. He hoped his noble Friend would be very cautious how he proceeded in that design, and that he would not forget that both in Africa and in New Zealand, the breaking down of the authority of the Chiefs from their contact with Europeans before there was anything to replace it, contributed more, perhaps, than any other single cause to produce the discontent and disaffection among the Natives which led to the calamitous wars with them in which we were involved. It was that experience which suggested the policy which had been pursued successfully in Natal, and he felt convinced it would be wise to adhere to it, and that instead of attemping to break down the authority of the Chiefs, it would be better to regulate and control its exercise, and by degrees to convert them into paid and responsible officers of the Government. The first step towards that had been made by the practice which had been introduced of deposing any Chief who grossly abused his power, and appointing another in his place. By a different policy they might easily rouse their hostility, and if a war of races should once be kindled, civilization would be thrown back for generations. But that was a subject far too large to be fully discussed on that occasion, and he had to apologize to their Lordships for having made even these very imperfect observations upon it. He would now conclude by moving the Address of which he had given Notice.

Moved that an humble Address he presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to allow the Act of the Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope, No. 3. of 1874, to continue in operation.—(The Earl Grey.)


My Lords, I certainly have no cause whatever to complain of my noble Friend who has brought forward this question—neither as to the time he has chosen, nor the manner in which he has discharged his self-imposed task. If, indeed, the policy of Her Majesty's Government is to be called in question, and if it be necessary that such a Re-solution as this—which I beg your Lordships to observe is a direct censure upon the policy which has been pursued—should be seriously pressed, from no one sooner than my noble Friend would I be content to accept it. I say so for this reason—I know well that no personal feeling has entered into the question with my noble Friend, and that he has been actuated solely by a sense of public duty. In fact, if it were necessary that the question should be stated against the Government at all, it could not have been more fairly, clearly, or ably stated than by him. My noble Friend begun by reviewing the early history of the Colony. Into that I will not enter. I believe his statement of it is substantially correct. But when he comes to the later period in the transactions with the different tribes I feel myself obliged, in some degree, to traverse the same ground, because, as your Lordships are aware, the same facts admit of very different colouring. It is because I look at the transactions which my noble Friend has reviewed from a very different standpoint from him that I am obliged in part to recapitulate the facts to which he has referred. My noble Friend stated, at the commencement of his speech, that the censure I had cast upon Sir Benjamin Pine fell under two heads—first, that he had acted too hastily, and secondly that the trial and the proceedings connected with it were wrong. Now, as to the hasty action, although I admit I have touched upon it in the despatches, I do not think it is a point worth discussing. Whether the action was soon or late is of comparatively little importance. But when I come to the proceedings themselves—to the trial and its consequences—I must join issue distinctly and completely with my noble Friend. I can hardly accept a single expression which he used in connection with that matter. Throughout the greater part of his speech my noble Friend begged the whole of the question at issue, and dropped words which, were I to accept them, would not only prejudice my case but absolutely cut the ground from under my feet. He spoke of doubts and suspicions, long entertained respecting this Chief and his tribe. If there were any such doubts and suspicions, why have they not been stated to us before? Why do we now hear of them in this House for the first time? I challenge my noble Friend to go through the Papers and point to anything relating to such doubts and suspicions, beyond the most vague and cursory allusion. There has never been any doubt expressed or any well-founded suspicion alleged in these papers from first to last. My noble Friend speaks of the defiance which this Chief gave when he refused to attend the summons of the Government. If the Chief had defied the power of the Government a great part of the case of the Colonial Office would have been gone. I contend that he acted entirely under the impulse of fear and panic. My noble Friend speaks of the affair as a rebellion. It is a mistake to characterize it as a rebellion. If it had been a rebellion I admit it should have been put down with a strong and high hand. But I believe it deserves rather the name of a disturbance, which a few policemen would have effectually dealt with. And if it had been animated, as my noble Friend says, by motives of treachery, I fully admit that I should not have a leg to stand upon, and that a great part of what Sir Benjamin Pine did or sanctioned with regard to this particular Chief would have been only what the justice of the case required. But it is because I demur absolutely to the views expressed by my noble Friend that I propose to run over the main facts connected with these disturbances. The difficulty in question arose about October, 1873. It had a variety of causes, one of which was an unfortunate marriage law, which imposed a certain tax upon the number of wives which a Kaffir Chief might purchase and own. But it arose in a greater measure, I believe, from ordinances passed for the registration of guns. A large number of the Kaffirs in their dealings with the Whites were paid in guns instead of money, and these transactions seemed to be recognized by the authorities. At all events, when the Natives brought home the guns which were the price of their labour, the Natal Government summoned them to have those guns registered. In many cases the guns were brought in for registration. But I have to call your Lordships' attention to two important facts—namely, that sometimes guns which were taken away from the Natives for the purpose of registration were not returned; that the tribe of Langalibalele were guilty of disobeying the law in a lesser degree than other tribes, against whom no proceedings whatever were taken. My Lords, if it was fair to insist on the registration of guns in this tribe, obviously it was only fair to insist upon guns belonging to other tribes being registered also. This Chief it appears was summoned no less than three times. At first he made excuses; but subsequently, knowing that he had failed to comply with the law, and fearing the action of the Government, he fled, and his tribe fled with him. The Colonial authorities at once started a force of Volunteers in pursuit. They came up with the retreating tribe; a parley ensued, and then—not, as I conceive, by any premeditation or treachery—for of this there is really not a shadow of evidence—a gun was fired, an unfortunate panic seized the White Volunteers, Langali- balele's men fired upon them, and in the fray five valuable English lives were lost. It was a deplorable event altogether; but I own I cannot see throughout these Papers any evidence of any premeditation, still less of any treachery such as my noble Friend has described. Scarcely had this affray occurred than the whole tribe seemed to be seized with panic, and again fled. They were pursued, the Colonial forces get up with them, and there was, I am afraid, a great deal of bloodshed. My noble Friend says I have failed to censure the Natal Government for what occurred at that particular time. When I reflect, however, on the difficulty of holding the Native auxiliaries in check, I feel I am not in a position to press that part of the case against the Natal Government. There was no wish or intention on their part to run to any excesses, and I prefer to draw a veil over proceedings which will not bear the light of day. For the next step in this unhappy business, Sir Benjamin Pine and the Natal Government are unquestionably responsible. The action was directed against the tribe, the tribe was broken up, its lands were harried, women and children were summarily expelled from their homes and placed in servitude, their property was confiscated by the State; and no less than £50,000 or £60,000 in cash was paid into the Colonial Exchequer. This was a severe punishment for a tribe which, so far as I know, had taken but little part in the disturbances. But the Natal Government went on to take proceedings against a neighbouring tribe against whom I am absolutely unable to find anything in the Correspondence involving guilt or complicity. The utmost I can discover as furnishing a reason why it was considered right to take measures against this tribe was that they had harboured some women or cattle of another tribe. The dispatch went on to say—although I am at a loss to follow the argument—that even under English law such an offence would make the offender amenable to punishment. This serves, at all events, to show the somewhat exaggerated view which, under the influence of the moment, was taken of the matter. Well, the next point of my noble Friend is the trial of Langalibalele. Langalibalele having been captured beyond the frontier was brought to trial. I cannot go into this part of the case without pointing out Low anomalous in many respects are the circumstances of that trial. The Court itself was a very singular tribunal. The head of it was Sir Benjamin Pine himself, the Commander and Chief of the Forces and Governor of the Colony, and who combined in his own person the position of Judge and prosecutor, he being, in order to sum up the anomaly, head of the Court to which an appeal would lie. Then came the heads of tribes which were hostile to Langalibalele, and who would naturally follow the ruling of the White Judges; and, in the next place, certain colonists formed part of the tribunal. Of them, however, I prefer to say nothing, except that it seems to me for the sake of appearances to be unfortunate that one of those White Judges should have been the father of one of the young men who had most unhappily lost his life on the frontier. It would, I cannot help thinking, have been more wise and more prudent—although I am sure no personal feeling was allowed to influence his mind—if he had abstained from sitting as one of the Judges in the ease. Lastly, I may observe that to complete the anomaly, the members of the Court did not sit continuously, some coming and going throughout the whole trial, some sitting only part of the time, and others at other times. Thus much for the composition of the Court. But my noble Friend says that in the despatches contained in these Papers I have objected to the employment of Native law. Now, I never did anything of the sort. My objection was not so much to this Chief being tried under Native law as to his trial being conducted under a mixture of Native and English law. Therein consists, it seems to me, the gross anomaly of the whole proceeding. My noble Friend has pronounced a panegyric on Native law; but originally it was retained in the Colony on the understanding—firstly, that it was to be applied to Natives as between themselves, and, in the second place, that it was to be maintained only so long as was absolutely necessary, and that the moment a higher system could be attained it should pass away. In this case it was not applied as between the Natives themselves, for the issue was between Natives and Whites. Its application, therefore, was most preposterous and dangerous. I admit it is a very convenient weapon to make use of, under certain circumstances, against the Native Chiefs, and Sir Benjamin Pine, being described by law as a Native Chief, is held to be absolute. But in a despatch written by my noble Friend in 1848, I find his definition of a Native as one who is ignorant of, and unfit by habit for, the duties of civilized life; so that your Lordships will at once see that Sir Benjamin Pine, being described by law as a Native Chief, answers the terms of one who is unfit by habit and ignorance for the discharge of those duties. But what, my Lords, I so much object to is not, as I said before, Native law, as the mixture of Native and English law. Let us have either one or the other. To have recourse to both is likely, I think, to be productive of unfairness, for it scarcely seems right when you fail to reach a man by Native law to have recourse to English law, and when you fail to reach him by English law to fall back upon Native law. One or two words more as to the Court and its procedure. One of the Native witnesses produced stated that the Chief ordered the messenger of the Government to be put to death; and it was no doubt believed that he had been stripped of his clothes, which would have been a great insult to the Government of Natal and a manifestation of the worst intentions. When, however, the matter was examined into it turned out that all the messenger had been compelled to do was to take off his cloak, and that upon the ground that on a previous occasion when the cloak was kept on a pistol had been used with serious effect upon the Natives. Yet upon that evidence in a great measure the prisoner was convicted. The next step in the trial to which my noble Friend alluded was, in my opinion, a fatal one. The prisoner was denied the assistance of counsel and never even saw the indictment against him until the very morning of the trial. His plea of "Not Guilty" was, moreover, construed by the Court as a plea of guilty:—and I am perfectly lost in astonishment to find that a tribunal, partly composed of English gentlemen, could have thus acted. The result of the trial was that the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to confinement for life. I was advised that that sentence was one which it was wholly beyond the power of that Court to pass, and that it was illegal. It was impossible to carry it out without having recourse to the assistance and co-operation of the sister Colony. The Legislature of the Cape of Good Hope, with the best intentions of rendering assistance to a neighbouring Colony in what was felt to be a great and a critical difficulty, came forward and passed the Act to which my noble Friend referred, under which the prisoner was transported and confined on Robben Island; and although the actual confinement may be legal, the sentence to which that Act was afterwards applied is wholly and unquestionably illegal. It only remains to say, in conclusion, on this particular point that there was an appeal first to the Executive Council and subsequently to the Supreme Court, and that, as might have been expected, inasmuch as the Judges in each case were the same, the appeal was in each case dismissed. My noble Friend, among the charges which he has thought fit to bring against me, has not, I think, accused me of this, although I have been greatly accused of it in the Colony, and I wish to say one word about it. It has been said that I have acted hastily. My Lords, no charge could possibly be more unfounded. I can appeal to these Papers and to the whole of the facts of the case, which are in the recollection of all who have followed these transactions, to show whether I have at any time acted with haste. It was long before I brought my own mind to any conclusion on the subject. When, last year, I was strongly urged to lay all the Papers before Parliament, I declined to do so simply because I felt that the production of the Papers at that particular stage might give an unfair colour to these transactions. My Lords, I am in this difficulty—that if, as sometimes happens in correspondence, I have expressed a strong or, as my noble Friend says, a peremptory opinion, I am then told that it is Downing Street tyranny and oppression that is being revived. If, on the other hand, I endeavour to deal gently and considerately—as, for instance, in the despatch in which I announced to Sir Benjamin Pine that he was relieved of his duties as Governor—then I am told that I am so uncertain in my expressions that I do not know my own mind. That is rather hard, and an unfair dilemma in which to be placed. My noble Friend has more than once spoken of the peremptory tone of my despatches. Now, I would rather be judged by these despatches than by anything I say here to-night, because they were written with the utmost care and consideration that I could give them, and, as far as I know, there is no expression and no word in them which I regret or am prepared to recall. I cannot for one moment lament having expressed my strong view of the illegality, of the unwisdom, of the injustice of those proceedings. I should have been unworthy, as it seems to me, to hold the Seals of the Colonial Office, if holding such an opinion I had refrained from giving expression to it. If there be any truth whatever in our theory and idea of Empire, surely it is in this—that the servants of the Crown are bound to have a conscience in this matter, and bound, also, to have a voice; and when an act of wrong or injustice has been done in any part of the Empire it is their duty to raise their voice in its condemnation. If the ties of the Empire really will not bear that strain upon them, then I say the whole Imperial theory becomes an absolute fiction, and worse than fiction. My Lords, I have been constantly accused—and there was much in what my noble Friend said which endorsed the charge—of having sacrificed the whole merits of this case to some notion of abstract justice. I can only say that I do not know where abstract justice exists. But if it is meant that I have sacrificed to some theoretical and fanciful notion of abstract justice what was expedient and practicable in this case, I utterly and entirely deny that allegation. I have thought all through of that which was expedient, and that which I believed was practicable; and my hope and belief is that when this question is brought to its final conclusion it will be found that the course which Her Majesty's Government has taken has not only been wise and safe, but also eminently founded on what was practicable under the circumstances. My noble Friend dwelt strongly, and most severely perhaps, on the utter impolicy and folly of which I was guilty in attempting to govern Natal from Downing Street. He asked how was it possible that any Minister sitting in Downing Street could be so conversant with all the details of Native affairs as to interpose in such a quarrel as this, and to issue a mandate deciding on the ques- tion at a distance of thousands of miles? Surely my noble Friend must see that there is some limit to this argument, and if it is pressed home not only is there an end, as I have said, of all justice, of all right, of the expression by the Home Government of what they think to be just and right, but an end also of all that control which I hold it is the business of the Minister here to exercise. If you tell me, on a question involving the lives and property of 15,000 Natives, and also 15,000 of Her Majesty's subjects, where I believe, on good evidence, that wrong has been done, that injustice has been committed, that the Colony itself is placed in a dangerous position by that injustice, that I am not to pronounce an opinion in any degree affecting the decision of the matter, then I say you make the Colonial Minister a mere puppet, and the sooner you abolish the Colonial Office and the Colonial Minister the better. But I deny altogether that that is the case. There are many views which are best to be seen at a distance. It is not always those who stand close to mountains who really can take in their full proportions or distinguish their true character. While I admit that it is very difficult for a Minister here in England to be accurately informed of a thousand and one local details, it is, on the other hand, competent for him—and he is often best qualified, I think—to judge, being at a distance, of the broad outlines of truth and justice and of right and wrong. One of these days the Colony itself, I hope, will do me better justice than I have now received. At present this is the day of public meetings, of condemnatory resolutions, and I cannot expect at this moment very much mercy at their hands. Still, I think that as time goes on, under a calmer view of the circumstances, the colonists will feel that I have, at all events, been actuated not only by friendly feeling towards them, but by no desire to interfere in their local concerns more than was absolutely necessary to me as a responsible Minister of the Crown. My noble Friend dwelt with great force—and it had all the more force because it was done indirectly—upon the danger with which an unadvised step might precipitate such a Colony as Natal. He hinted in no doubtful language that, with the numbers, the strength, the power of organi- zation which existed in the various tribes, the risk of any mistaken action now might involve us in trouble, and possibly in war. To whom does my noble Friend say that? Does he conceive that these dangers, these risks, could have for one moment been absent from my mind? I venture to say that no one in this House has thought of them more or more anxiously, more fully, and in every point of view, than I have endeavoured to do. There is not one single step that I have taken in which I have not endeavoured to the best of my judgment, knowledge, and ability to give them their due weight. When I urged on the Cape Government to allow the prisoner to locate, as it is termed, under certain restrictions, near Cape Town, it was with a view to those risks. When I recently advised Her Majesty's Government to send out a distinguished officer—but who goes there, not in a military, but civil capacity—it was with the same view to meet those risks. Anyone who knows anything of the state of a South African colony, where we are in contact with large masses of the aborigines, must be aware that no matter of any importance can arise in that part of the world in which there is not or may not be the germs of serious danger. But I say it is no reason because there is danger for saying, as my noble Friend does by his argument, that you are bound to throw the whole control into the hands of the Local Government, and may yourselves dispense with the administration of those functions which reside in the Home Government, and so absolve ourselves from all responsibility as to the administration of justice and the rights and liberties of the nations over whom this country claims dominion. What, therefore, is my conclusion? It is this:—I have had to deal, first of all, with certain proceedings in Natal which I have already described; secondly, with the Act which has been passed by the Cape Legislature. As regards those proceedings in Natal, I have said it was impossible for Her Majesty's Government to accept them. We could not make ourselves parties to them. It was in their power to express the opinion they held, and as far as possible to find a remedy. But when you come to deal with the Act, that is altogether a different matter. Let me ask your Lordships to consider for one moment what that Act was. The sentence which had been passed by the Natal Court was, I venture to say without fear of contradiction, not only unjust, but also illegal. Ignorant of that illegality and actuated by the best intentions towards a sister Colony, the Government of the Cape came to the rescue and passed that Act in order to give the power of transportation to Robben Island. The Act consequently gave effect to that which was an illegal sentence. Her Majesty's Government could not accept such a position. They proposed to the Cape Government the release of the prisoner; but, at the same time, conscious that there would be a risk in bringing him back to Natal, and desirous to avoid all possible danger, they proposed that he should be located—as the term is—somewhere in the neighbourhood of Cape Town, where he could be placed under surveillance. The Cape Government, while expressing anxiety to meet Her Majesty's Government in every possible way, argued that it would be difficult to impose such restrictions upon the prisoner when he was released as would give a security for his retention in that particular part of the country, and they urged—and urged in very reasonable language—that his escape beyond the Cape frontier, and his return to his own country and to his allies would be a fruitful source of danger. On these grounds they declined for the moment to give effect to my earlier despatch. My Lords, in a certain measure, as I think, I have shown that I can sympathize with the difficulties which the Cape Government felt:—some of the arguments, however, I cannot subscribe to. When I read in Sir Henry Barkly's despatch the observation that the disallowance of the Act might be construed as an improper interference with the self-government of the Colony, I confess I was at a loss to understand the argument. I believe it arose from a pure and absolute misconception of the facts—certainly from an entire misapprehension of the intentions of Her Majesty's Government. I think I have set that matter at rest. I have explained that there cannot be the slightest desire or intention on our part to interfere with the system established in the Colony, and have shown that the Cape Government themselves by passing that Act contributed in a certain degree to produce the present difficulty, and therefore that it is only reasonable and fair they should meet us half-way and co-operate with us in seeking to arrive at a satisfactory settlement. My noble Friend urged that the disallowance of the Act might be fatal to the peace and safety of South Africa. I quite admit that if this man were released without any restrictions being placed upon him, there would be a risk of dangerous consequences. But I beg the House to observe that that never was our intention, and was distinctly stated in the last despatch not to be our intention. Her Majesty's Government have consented, indeed, that the Act should not be disallowed until legislative provision has been made as best it can for placing the prisoner under the restrictions which seem necessary. If the Cape Legislature could pass an Act for the imprisonment of this man, they can also pass an Act for surrounding him with such safeguards as the public security demands—there is no difficulty on that point: and when therefore my noble Friend asks what course Her Majesty's Government will take with regard to the disallowance of the Act, my answer is that I fully hope and expect that the Government and Parliament of the Cape will meet us half-way, and that, acknowledging the mutual and reciprocal obligations which in this as in many other things bind the Colony to the mother country, they will endeavour to meet Her Majesty's Government with the same good feeling that we are disposed to extend to them, and will at once consent to adopt the course of passing an Act which will surround this man with the proper restrictions after his release. If—what I believe to be almost impossible—the Cape Government should decline altogether to co-operate with us, then I can only say that Her Majesty's Government must take that most extraordinary state of things into their consideration, and act with reference to it according to the best lights they have. But I am bound to say at once that it is an entire mistake to suppose it possible for us to consent to the indefinite continuance of that Act, for it is an Act which clearly gives effect to an illegal and unjust sentence of perpetual imprisonment passed upon a man who is, after all, a British subject and entitled to all the rights of a British subject. I wish to add a few words with reference to the concluding remarks of my noble Friend—which, as he himself acknowledged, travelled somewhat beyond the actual scope of his Motion. I quite admit that the question does not end with the mere release of Langalibalele. Matters must be placed henceforward upon a surer basis than they have been in the past. It was with that view that Her Majesty's Government sent out to Natal so able and distinguished a man as Sir Garnet Wolseley. I hope and believe that many changes in the Native law will be carried out, with the best possible results. But let me point out that there has been a great alteration in the state of affairs since the noble Earl was Colonial Minister. Let me remind your Lordships with whom we have to deal. First, there is the Cape Colony, with its responsible government. Next there is the Colony created and founded by my noble Friend opposite. Then there are two Dutch Republics, which are really united with us by many ties. Then there are districts such as British Kaffraria, governed by independent Chiefs; there are the Zulus; and lastly there is the colony of Natal. At the time my noble Friend was Secretary of State there were not, I think, 100,000 Natives in the Colony. Now there are between 300,000 and 400,000. The tribes live in a state of segregation, and are the centres of armed strength—it may be even of rebellion. Barbarous customs, which it was the intention 25 years ago gradually to get rid of, have been in some respects strengthened rather than weakened. In the interest both of the public safety and of civilization, it is important that this state of affairs should come to an end. Hitherto the interests and systems of all the States in South Africa have conflicted with each other. My wish is to see those interests and systems brought into greater unity. I desire, in the first instance, to see a greater development of those great resources which South Africa possesses. Secondly, I desire to see a uniform system adopted in these States, because as long as different systems exist among them there will be a perpetual source of danger. And, lastly, I look most earnestly to a better understanding being created between the two Dutch Republics and ourselves. I think it would be to the interest of all parties to concur in demanding that there should be a better understanding and a more conciliatory course of action between those Republics and our Colonies. None of the great objects which I have indicated can ever be realized unless they are founded upon justice; they cannot rest on an Act which is tainted with injustice and illegality, and it is on that ground, and on that ground alone, that I must meet the Motion of my noble Friend with a direct negative.


said, he could assure his noble Friend opposite and the House that he was far too sensible of the difficulties which surrounded Government at all times in dealing with the complicated affairs of South Africa to be desirous of saying anything which would create any addition to the embarrassment under which the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies laboured. He had read the Papers with great care, and he was obliged to say that he concurred in the main with the views expressed by his noble Friend (Earl Grey) as to the policy which had been pursued by Her Majesty's Government with regard to the matter which he had that night submitted to the consideration of the House. He could not concur in the proceeding of his noble Friend the Secretary of State with regard to this Act. He could conceive that his noble Friend should come to the conclusion that the policy pursued by the Natal Government ought to be to a certain extent revised; but he could not understand how his noble Friend could have proceeded to pronounce a decision without first adopting the very simple expedient of taking time to ascertain the views of the Cape Government. He might be quite wrong—and he should be glad if he was wrong to be set right—but his strong belief was that Her Majesty's Government had no power to direct the removal of Langalibalele from Robben Island to a place within the Cape Colony, with strong restrictions against his re-entering Natal. The present system of Government at the Cape by a responsible Ministry had been established but a short time: he believed that thus far it had worked well, but it was obviously especially necessary that Her Majesty's Government should do nothing which would weaken its authority. So far from doing this, however, the noble Earl, without first ascertaining whether the Cape Go- vernment would assent to the course which he proposed, informed Langalibalele that he would be released from Robben Island, and caused to be issued a Proclamation in which he pledged himself that when released from the island, Langalibalele should not return to Natal. Further, the noble Earl seemed to have contemplated establishing the whole Amahlubi tribe in the place to which Langalibalele was to be transferred from Robben Island.


said, the noble Earl had misunderstood the line of action which was contemplated. It was only intended that Langalibalele should be accompanied and surrounded by his immediate relatives and friends.


said, his misunderstanding was due to the vague terms in which, unfortunately, the Proclamation had been drawn. He had no desire to suggest to the Cape Parliament that they should refuse to comply with the wishes of Her Majesty's Government, and he certainly hoped that a course would be taken in which the Imperial and Colonial Governments would be able to agree; but, at the same time he strongly deprecated the taking of any dictatorial course by the Home Government in reference to the Colonial Legislature. The inevitable result of such a course must be to land this country in responsibilities and possible consequences of no light description. The noble Earl who had brought this question forward (Earl Grey) took what seemed to be the correct line when he said that Parliament at home was scarcely competent to deal with questions involving such intricate local details of Colonial Government as were raised in the question before the House, although, no doubt, the Imperial Parliament ought to reserve to itself the right to review, and, if necessary, to revise the decisions arrived at by Colonial Governors and legislative bodies in Crown Colonies, such as Natal. His noble Friend the Colonial Secretary contended that it was begging the whole question to say that Langalibalele had been guilty of a great crime; and further he said that the Chief in running away acted simply from fear. This, however, was not nearly the whole of the offence that was charged against him. A charge having been made against Langalibalele and his tribe, the Chief was called upon to answer it, in accordance with the whole sum and spirit of Kaffir law and tradition, which held the Chiefs of tribes responsible for the acts of their subjects and followers. The noble Earl himself admitted that a serious crime had been committed, and added that his recommendation to the Queen to remit the punishment was based upon the fact that, in his opinion, the sentence was too severe. The noble Earl himself said in his despatch— For this, which he (Langalibalele) knew to he a serious crime according to all the conditions and usages of his tribe, he was deservedly and justly punished. And no one could doubt that he had committed a serious offence. He was legally summoned by the Supreme Chief the Governor, to appear at the seat of Government; he did not appear to give any account of his proceedings, and having treated the messenger sent to him with indignity, a force was sent to compel him to appear. This force was attacked by some of the Chief's followers and five men were slain. Having made the despatch of this force necessary by his disobedience, he must be held to be guilty of the murder of these five British subjects. By the whole system of Kaffir law and tribal relations the Chief was responsible for the acts of his followers; and Langalibalele had not only permitted his men to keep their arms, but had identified himself with them after this most treacherous murder. His noble Friend (the Earl of Carnarvon) held that the trial to which the Chief was subjected was not a fair one. Now he quite admitted that Sir Benjamin Pine would have been better advised if he had simply dealt with the case by his authority as Supreme Chief administering Native law; but, at all events, the intention of Sir Benjamin Pine was that the trial of the offenders should be made more full and fair than they were entitled to by adding to the Native law—to which they were amenable—some of the forms and procedure of the English Courts. So that, in truth, no injustice had taken place in respect of these proceedings, for ail the changes that had taken place were in extenuation and mitigation of the Native procedure. It was not difficult to imagine a more perfect legal system under which the trial could have taken place; but the only course open to Sir Benjamin Pine was to administer to the best of his abi- lity the law as he found it. It was said that the sentence was illegal; but, if so, how would it be cured by the substitution of an Act, as suggested by the noble Earl, for confining Langalibalele on the mainland for the Robben Island Act? The noble Earl who had introduced the subject (Earl Grey) had laid down the policy that it was exceedingly undesirable that the Crown should be advised to set aside the Acts of Colonial Governments. In this principle he (the Earl of Kimberley) concurred. He held that it was not desirable to interfere with the discretion and judgment of those on the spot, unless a very clear case indeed was shown that they had committed a serious error. In this case he did not think that it could be shown that any such error had been committed. He thought that with a smouldering state of rebellion in the Colony the Government of Natal were justified in calling upon Langalibalele to give an account of his actions—that when he did not respond to their orders they were right in sending a force to coerce him—that when they had sent that force and it had been treacherously fired upon they had no alternative but to follow him; and that, having captured him, they had no alternative but to try him, and that the sentence passed upon him was not too severe. So far as the Chief was concerned he (the Earl of Kimberley) did not think the punishment either unjust or excessive; but he was ready to admit that the Government had punished the tribe too heavily—it would have been sufficient to punish the ringleaders. He also agreed with the noble Earl (the Secretary of State) that the punishment inflicted on the Putili tribe was not justifiable: it was only fair, however, to the Natal Government to remember that even before they received an intimation of the noble Earl's opinion they had taken steps to remedy this injustice by replacing the tribe in its location. No doubt some cruelties had been committed. They must, however, make an allowance for a population of 15,000 or 16,000 White people placed amid 300,000 Natives; and though things had been done in hot blood which were to be regretted, no cruelties had been committed in cold blood. He would say nothing of Sir Benjamin Pine's merits, as he was responsible for his appointment, except that he believed him to be a singularly humane man; but with regard to Mr. Shepstone he was a man who for many years had conducted successfully the most difficult relations with Native tribes that existed in any part of the world. Mr. Shepstone approved and counselled every step of Sir Benjamin Pine; and would it be believed that, having been the prime counsellor in these proceedings, and the Governor having been recalled the Imperial Government sent out another Governor, with instructions that he was to rely on the advice and assistance of Mr. Shepstone. He (the Earl of Kimberley) did not wish to say anything unkind of the Bishop of Natal; but when he read his confused, illogical, and unfair pamphlet, and when he set against it the opinion of Sir Benjamin Pine, Mr. Shepstone, and Sir Henry Barkly, he was surprised that his noble Friend should have acted simply on the views of the Bishop. [The Earl of CARNARVON: No, no.] His noble Friend had taken the precise course which the Bishop of Natal recommended. In a preface to his pamphlet the Bishop suggested that Langalibalele "may be suffered to retire into private life under proper surveillance for a time." So much was the Bishop carried away by his feelings that he could not find in his pamphlet a single word of regret for the murder of the White men; and though he (the Earl of Kimberley) did not wish to make that an accusation against the Bishop, who was certainly actuated by perfectly pure and honourable motives in the course he had taken, he complained that this matter should have been judged on the views of the Bishop, to the neglect of the views of other persons more competent to form an opinion. He trusted that his noble Friend would be able to reconcile his action to the Cape Government, and he hoped that the Cape Government would look at this matter calmly, and remember that any dissension between the Colonial and Imperial Governments could not tend to their benefit. He hoped also that Her Majesty's Government would be able to find a way out of the difficulties in which they were involved, and would greatly rejoice if this affair should lead to no further embarrassment.


My Lords, I feel as much as any of your Lordships the necessity of upholding the Government of this country, and of strengthening the hands of those who administer public affairs in our distant Colonies. I sympathize as much as anyone with what I believe to be the feeling of our fellow-countrymen who are in the Colony of Natal—a small hand-full of Englishmen in the face of an overwhelming Native population. I sympathize in their anxieties, and in what cannot be described otherwise than their natural apprehensions, lest anything should be done to endanger their position in the face of tribes with whom their relations are so often unsatisfactory. This is a subject on which, however, I feel unable to keep silent. I should be ashamed to occupy the place I have the honour to hold, if I did not protest against the observations which have fallen to-night from the two noble Earls who support this Motion. England exercises too wide a sway, has too large an Empire, and interests much too high at stake, to allow or tolerate that which is an absolute and thorough injustice to be perpetrated with impunity in any part of her dominions. I will show your Lordships that this is no question of technicality; no question on which a quibble can be raised as to what was the law under which the prisoner should be tried. It is not a question which can be slurred over and buried, or with regard to which we can say—"Well,"—to use the expression of the noble Earl who spoke last—" it was not satisfactory, but after all the man who was tried was a very bad man, and if he had not committed the offence which he did, he would have tried to do something else; so the best thing we could do was to confine him." England, my Lords, cannot afford to hold language of that kind, or to shrink from expressing its approval or disapproval of an act done under the authority of one of its colonial Governors. And when I hear that any statesman can approve what has been done in this instance, I can only express my most unfeigned astonishment. I ask your Lordships to consider for a moment what is the state of the case. I am not going to enter into some of the acts charged against this Native Chief, which, according to the law, were punishable, or into what the exact amount of punishment to be assigned to them should be. I believe him to have been rightly acccused of not having obeyed the sum- mons to appear before his Chief. I am not going to dispute that he was in fault when he proceeded to withdraw his cattle and the members of his tribe across the frontier. But the great offence on which he might most properly have been convicted in proper form was that he was said to be guilty of the murder of five men, who were killed in the collision between the troops of the Colony and his tribe. Now, what occurred was as follows:—This tribe was believed to be retreating; with their women and children across the frontier. Their Chief had not attended when summoned; and for that reason the Governor proceeded to undertake against the tribe what he calls in some places a proceeding to arrest the Chief, but which was in reality a military operation. I do not complain of the Governor for undertaking that operation; but it was a military excursion in pursuit of a warlike tribe engaged as I have described. It was, under the circumstances, all but inevitable that a collision should occur. So the Governor thought; but he issued the very prudent and humane order that his troops should not be the aggressors. The Chief of the tribe, Langalibalele, had gone forward with some advanced portions of it; they had crossed over the border, and were not on the spot where the collision occurred. That is proved by the evidence of the Government of Natal itself. A parley was held, but without effect. Meantime a sudden panic arose among some of the troops, engendered, as is stated by the Governor, by the cowardice and folly of one of the Volunteers. He called out that the troops were surrounded, and a retreat at once commenced. Then it was that—obviously without any premeditation—the firing took place on the retreating body of soldiers, ending in the very disastrous result of the death of five men. Now, I do not say one word as to what should be the punishment of a person actually engaged in such a transaction; but to make a man who was miles distant, and who could know nothing of what was going on behind him, responsible for the murder of these men is, according to any idea of law which we have, out of the question. It is said that because, at a later period, when Langalibalele was arrested there was in his company a man who was present when the occurrence took place, he must on that ground alone be held responsible, is simply absurd. Now, I beg your Lordships to consider what was done on this occasion. In the first place, let me advert to the Judges before whom Langalibalele was tried. I do not, let me at the outset observe, concur in the criticisms which have been made on the fact that the Governor was at the head of the Court, for under the Colonial Act it was provided that a fit and proper person should be appointed. But one of the five Judges was the father of one of those who had been killed at the collision while in command of some of the Volunteers. What, I would ask, would be thought of English justice, if the father of a man said to have been murdered was appointed to try a prisoner accused of the crime? Is it possible that noble Lords can stand up in this House and say that this is a matter of no importance—a mere matter of form—and that that opinion is to go forth to our Colonies as our idea of English justice? Is there not, I would ask, a Supreme Court in Natal? I want to know if this prisoner was to be tried by an admixture of English and Native law, why was it that the Judges of the Supreme Court were not associated with the others in the trial? What reason could there be except that the ingredient of law was to be excluded from it? But that is by no means all—worse remains behind. Let us see what occurred at the trial. The Governor explained to the tribunal what they were to do. "We are assembled, "he said, "to try Langalibalele for the greatest crime a human being can commit against society—for rebellion against the authority of the Queen." He then goes on to say that while the Court was willing to give the prisoner the benefit of an inquiry according to Native law, they would temper that law as much as possible with mercy. "We are Christian men and live under a Christian dispensation." Well, the prisoner is called upon to plead—the forms of English law being thus resorted to—and his plea, which the Court construed into a plea of guilty, is the longest I have ever seen, for it occupies more than a page. But it was in reality a plea of not guilty. The prisoner's plea admitted some of the facts stated, but alleged that if the prisoner's view was right, the conclusion drawn from them was entirely erroneous. It was a plea which the youngest magistrate in this country would immediately have ordered to be entered as one of not guilty. But it was taken at once as a plea of guilty; and, thereupon six of these impartial Judges—Native Judges—pronounced judgment. Mafingo (one of these Judges) said that among Natives there would be very little talk over such an offence as this. The prisoner occupied the position of a dog, which if it bit its master would be killed with little consideration…and 'his conduct had disgraced every black man in the Colony and made every native feel resentment towards him.' Another (Nondonise) said 'no black man, no white man, but lifted up his hands in amazement at the course he (Langalibalele) had pursued.' Another native Judge (Manxele) concurred in all that had been said and felt that if he said anything he would be only needlessly taking up the time of the Court. So that you commence with an allegation of not guilty being entered as a plea of guilty, and then you have six of the Judges pronouncing sentence on that plea of guilty. The prisoner was then removed. The Court re-assembled next day—and will your Lordships believe what happened? The night, I suppose, had been spent in considering a little the position in which they stood, because on the Court meeting again it is said, "The Court will now proceed to hear evidence." Will your Lordships believe that this occurred in a British Colony among sane men, professing to administer law and English justice? It is said that they met "to place on record the extent of the prisoner's crime." The second day they spent in taking evidence, after the man had been pronounced guilty. On the third day a complete change of scene occurred. The Court re-assembles and the Lieutenant Governor says—"I wish, before we commence business to-day, to state that I have determined to allow counsel to the accused in the person of an European advocate." The Lieutenant Governor went on to say emphatically that this was not allowed in any Kaffir Court, that it must not be taken as a precedent, which would be a dangerous thing in the Colony and that he was only induced to permit it on that particular occasion, on account of the importance of that trial in the view of the public; that although it was contrary to Kaffir law and usage, he was going to allow a European advocate "to say what he can fairly and justly say for the prisoner." That is the promise made. If it had come a little earlier, it might have been pretty well. But they finished the evidence without the presence of the European advocate, who was not sent for and who was apparently to come in at the close as a sort of ornament. At the end of the third day they thought they would ask the prisoner whether he should like to have counsel. The prisoner said he should, and he left it to his Excellency's discretion whether it should be a Kaffir or an European counsel. Mr. Eseombe was the gentleman who was to act as counsel for the prisoner and he applied to the Resident Magistrate, the proper person, for permission to see the captive. What could be the use of counsel if he was not to be allowed to see the man he was going to defend? That permission was, however, refused. Is that English justice? What happened next? When the Court reassembled on the fourth day the Governor said— I stated at our last meeting that we intended to allow counsel to appear for the prisoner, and we selected Mr. Eseombe for that purpose. Mr. Eseombe, on being informed that this Court was of a peculiar nature and jurisdiction, and that he must confine himself within certain limits, could not accept the duty, and I think properly. He said that as an English counsel he must ever be at full liberty to say or do what he liked, or he could not take up the case at all, and therefore he had declined; but looking at the peculiar character of this Court, and its being so directly contrary to Kaffir usage, custom, and law to allow counsel, I made up my mind that it would not be desirable to allow or ask any one else to say anything or act for the prisoner; he could only say something in extenuation of the guilt of the prisoner because he had admitted it. Counsel must not say his client was not guilty; he could only be allowed to extenuate his guilt. Was there ever anything written in the wildest novel equal to that? The prisoner was taken to have pleaded guilty when he pleaded not guilty; yet he must be tried all the same. The evidence was heard, and after it had been taken counsel was to be called in for the prisoner. The Governor then said counsel could not be permitted to say anything, except in extenuation of the prisoner's guilt, because he had confessed it; and then his Excellency observed—"We shall be as merciful as the circumstances permit of." The very Governor who had invited counsel to come, who had begged him to come and "say what he fairly and justly could say for the prisoner," after- wards shuts his mouth and says he must not open it in favour of the accused because he has pleaded "Guilty." Was there ever anything that had darkened the annals of British justice like that? And is this what Her Majesty's Government at home are to wink at and slur over, and say we must not look at or criticize because it happens thousands of miles away, and therefore we are not able to pronounce an opinion upon it? This, the noble Earl says, is what Parliament and the British public are to accept without remonstrance. But the matter does not stop there. Mr. Eseombe is not heard; and at a later period, after the Governor had had the Benefit of the remarks of my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, he said on this point himself— There is much force in your Lordship's objection to our not allowing counsel for the prisoner. Looking at the question as it is regarded in England, and from a purely English standpoint, I regret that we did not allow counsel. But so far as the administration of strict justice is concerned, I feel certain the prisoner would not have benefited by the concession, but rather the reverse. According to the noble Earl (Earl Grey), we are not to take any notice of that. Well, my Lords, the trial went on, and further witnesses were examined: and hero is the account of the close of the fourth day. His Excellency says— Before I go away I want to say one word with regard to the speeches the Chiefs made to me on the first day of the trial. It is obvious that even in the Colony itself it was matter of observation that it was Jedburgh justice to pronounce the decision first and examine witnesses afterwards. His Excellency went on to say— Some fault has been found with their giving their opinions at that stage by persons who do not exactly understand the usages and customs of the Kaffirs. I suppose, indeed, that the Kaffir nation is the only one in the world where such usages as those here brought before us could prevail. But I thought this was a Christian trial, or one, at all events, tempered by the usages of Christianity. From the kaffir point of view it is true what was done may have been quite right. His Excellency proceeds— Langalibalele has confessed his guilt,"—I have not found where he did so, "Langaliba- lele had confessed his guilt, and stated circumstances which he considered were an extenuation of his guilt, and according to Kaffir law and usage the trial was over. In their point of view the Chiefs were quite right, and I thanked them for the opinions they gave. All the subsequent proceedings which have taken place are in conformity with our own ideas of justice. I must demur to that. Standing here, I say those proceedings were not in conformity with our ideas of justice; and I want it to go forth that your Lordships are not of opinion that they accord with our ideas of justice. In no part of the world can a colony thrive which holds that proceedings such as those are in conformity with enlightened principles of justice. We wanted," continues his Excellency, "to find out what extenuating or mitigating circumstances there might he. That would not have occurred in a strictly Kaffir court; but, according to our own notions of justice and propriety, we thought it proper to go and ascertain any circumstances which might mitigate or extenuate his conduct. Again, on the fifth and sixth days witnesses were examined. Then we come to the judgment—and I want your Lordships to understand exactly what the Chief was sentenced for. The heads are as follows:— 1. The prisoner has for a considerable time past set at naught the authority of the magistrate to whom he was immediately subject, in a manner not indeed sufficiently palpable to warrant the use of forcible coercion according to our laws and customs, but perfectly clear and significant according to Native law and custom. 2. The prisoner has at least permitted, and probably encouraged, his tribe to possess themselves of firearms and to retain them, in direct violation of the law. On this point the evidence is clear and precise. 3. It also clearly appears from the evidence that, with reference to the unlawful possession of these firearms, the prisoner set the authority of the magistrate at defiance, and on one occasion insulted his messenger. With regard to the insult to a messenger, had an advocate been permitted to appear for the prisoner he would have pointed out a circumstance which in this country would have been fatal to this charge—namely, that of the two messengers, both of whom gave evidence, one spoke of the insult and the other said not a word about it. The judgment proceeds— 4. It has further been brought to light that after the Supreme Government had been called upon by the magistrate to support him, the prisoner set even that authority at defiance by refusing to appear before it; excusing his refusal by evasion and deliberate falsehood, till at last, emboldened, as it would seem, by the extreme forbearance of the Government, he insulted their messengers sent to deliver to him a message full of mercy as well as justice. 5. We come now to the final stage of the prisoner's proceedings. It has been proved that he directed his cattle and other effects to he taken out of the Colony under an armed escort, thereby manifesting a determination to resist the Government with force and arms. Now, on this subject the Court wishes to remark that, according to Native law, as administered under the Native Chiefs, the mere removal of a tribe with its cattle out of the jurisdiction is an act of treason and rebellion. This law has been so far recognized by this Government that it has always been in the habit of giving up cattle brought into the Colony by refugees; but it has not given up the people, on the intelligible ground that it has no means of judging by itself how far the people may have been guilty of treason, except by such act of removal. But this Government has never recognized the mere act of such removal as an act of treason, if unaccompanied by any criminal acts; and it cannot be too clearly understood that any tribe in this Colony is at liberty to remove itself and its cattle out of our jurisdiction if it does so peaceably and with the cognizance and previous consent of the authorities. The case before us, however, is quite different. It is that of a tribe flying from the jurisdiction, after having set the authority of the Government at defiance, and thereby endangered the peace of the country. We come now to the affair at Bushman's River Pass. A great deal has been said upon this subject, in the Colony and elsewhere; but all we have to do with it is to look at the evidence submitted to us as it concerns the prisoner. It has been proved that a force sent by this Government, under Major Durnford, to intercept the prisoner's tribe and prevent them from leaving the Colony, met at or near the Bushman's River Pass with a portion of the tribe, under the command of the Induna Mabuhle; that Major Durnford entered into a lengthened parley with that Induna and members of the tribe, in which he earnestly and for some time endeavoured to persuade them to return to the Colony and to their allegiance; that the Induna and those with him led Major Durnford to believe that they would consider his injunctions, and so prolonged the interview till they had brought up an additional force. It appears that then, after many threats and insulting gestures and language, the tribe fired upon our forces and killed five of the Queen's subjects, who were doing their lawful duty by attempting to support Her Majesty's authority. It is needless to say that this act of firing on the Queen's forces, even had they, in obedience to authority, opened the fire, amounted in the eye of the law to rebellion and murder. But to fire on Her Majesty's forces and to kill her subjects, who had not thought it right to commence firing, and whose leaders were trying their utmost to avoid the shedding of blood by an appeal to reason, was wilful and deliberate murder. The law of England declares that any person who in committing any felonious act causes, even accidentally, the death of another is guilty of wilful murder. The next question is, who committed this act of rebellion and murder. It was proved in evidence that the Induna Mabuhle commanded the portion of the prisoner's tribe at the pass, and, therefore, presumably commanded them to fire. He is, then, the immediate traitor and murderer. But, now comes the inquiry, in what relation did this Induna stand with respect to Langalibalele? It has abundantly been proved by the evidence before us that Mabuhle was one of the most trusted, perhaps the most trusted, of the prisoner's Indunas; that he always formed part of any important mission sent by the Chief to the magistrate. It has been further proved that he took a prominent part in the communication which latterly took place between the prisoner and the Secretary for Native Affairs. But, more than all, it has been admitted by the prisoner himself that Mabuhle was the commander of the military portion of his tribe; in fact, as we should say, Commander-in-Chief of his army. It has been proved and admitted that the prisoner himself was, at the time, actually with that portion of his tribe who were some distance in front; that is, that he was personally with the armed array which was leaving the Colony, of which array the divisions under Mabuhle formed a part. It has further been admitted by the prisoner that the killing of the Queen's subjects was reported to him by a messenger sent to him by this same Induna Mabuhle. Lastly, it has been proved that this Mabuhle was in company with Langalibalele when he was taken prisoner. Thus, in every way, before and after the fact, the prisoner was identified with the actual perpetrator of the murders, so as to render him as directly responsible for those murders as if he had himself commanded on the spot. That is to say, that a man who was in front of a retreating force is made answerable for shots fired by men in the rear with whom he had no personal communication. Then comes an important part of the judgment— 6th. The charge against the prisoner of treasonable communication with others out of the Colony has not been inquired into, in consequence of the length of time which it would take to collect evidence, and also because, in the presence of the grave charges proved against him, it was not thought necessary to press this charge. On all the other charges we find the prisoner guilty. The prisoner Langalibalele, therefore, appears before us convicted on clear evidence of several acts, for every one of which he would be liable to severe punishment under the Native law; for some of them he would be liable to forfeit his life under the law of every civilized country in the world. For which of these offences would he be liable to forfeit his life under the law of every civilized country in the world? The concluding passage is— Our unanimous judgment, therefore, is that the prisoner Langalibalele, the late Chief of the Hlubi tribe, is, under the law which we are bound to administer, liable to the punishment of death; but, taking into consideration the extenuating circumstances alluded to, and giving them the greatest and fullest force, and also the punishment he has already undergone by deposition from his office and confiscation of his property, we sentence the prisoner to banishment or transportation for life, to such place as the Supreme Chief or Lieutenant Governor may appoint. Add to this that the sentence was perfectly illegal—the Governor had no power of transportation—there was no law in the country which empowered him to transport the prisoner. Are we to overlook that? Are the Government at home so weak, powerless, and paralyzed that they are to allow this gentleman—of whom I must speak with the greatest respect as a man of experience and ability—to carry out an illegal and unjust sentence, merely because the place is some thousand miles away? What is Sir Benjamin Pine's own view of the proceedings, as expressed in a despatch of the 24th September, 1874? He wrote— The trial, so called"—so called!—"of Langalibalele, commented on by Mr. Advocate Moodie, was not a trial of a prisoner in the ordinary sense "—I quite agree with him there—" but was an inquiry to ascertain the whole circumstances of the case and its ramifications so far as other tribes were concerned. If that was the nature of the proceeding they were holding, they were not trying Langalibalele at all, they were only investigating some historical circumstances to ascertain the relationships between certain tribes. I only wish if this be so they had not issued that illegal sentence. I should be surprised to hear anyone say that at this so-called trial, justice was administered as it is in this country. The only other matter referred to by the noble Earl (Earl Grey) was the phraseology of the despatch of the Secretary of State with regard to the colony of Cape Town. I see nothing whatever in that. The Secretary of State was justified in saying that this sentence could not be supported and that the clemency of Her Majesty must in some form or other be extended to the prisoner. I do not in the slightest degree wish to suggest that this man was not a very troublesome Chief, or that he did not commit an offence for which he ought to have been punished; but it is a different thing to say that a trial such as this was, for an offence such as alleged, followed by a sentence such as I have described, is a thing to be desired.


said, he agreed with his noble and learned Friend who had just sat down that the proceeding against Langalibalele in no respect deserved the character of a judicial process. It violated, in the several ways which he had pointed out, not only the rules of judicial proceedings as observed in this country, but those necessary to give any such proceeding the character required by the rules of substantial justice. But, when this was most fully admitted, it appeared to him to go but a very short way towards the decision of the present question, which really depended, not upon forensic, but upon political considerations. Granted that there had been no trial, in any proper sense of that word, and therefore no judgment founded upon a proper trial. But it did not follow from that, that what was called the sentence in this case, was therefore illegal and void. That question, as the Papers showed, was brought in a formal and legal manner before the Supreme Court of the Colony, and the Supreme Court of the Colony—from whose decision on that point, if wrong in law, an appeal would doubtless he to Her Majesty in Council in this country—determined that there was nothing to show that what was done might be warranted by the powers of the Native Chiefs, and, under the circumstances, held that there was no law in force in the Colony enabling any Court of Law to interfere with the execution of the sentence. No doubt it had been pronounced by a political authority in the exercise of arbitrary powers. No doubt it was impossible, with any propriety, to apply the term law to the proceedings under which this Chief was sentenced—still he (Lord Selborne) was not able to follow the proposition that the order for his banishment was altogether ultrâ vires. As a sentence of an Executive Government armed with arbitrary power, it appeared to have been supported by a legal decision in the Colony, and until the Court of Appeal in this country should have otherwise determined, he, for one, must hesitate to express a confident opinion as to the illegality or incompetency of that sentence. Indeed, but for the speech of the noble and learned Lord, he should have supposed that this was the opinion of the Secretary of State for the Colonies himself. The noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies in his despatch had stated that the punishment was excessive, and ought to be mitigated. But if the sen- tence was altogether illegal and unjust, it would necessarily follow that no punishment whatever ought to be inflicted. How, if he regarded the sentence as simply illegal, could the noble Earl consistently treat the case as one for mitigation of punishment, and not for total remission? Upon the general merits of the case, he was far from differing with his noble Friend the Secretary of State. He agreed with him in wishing that further means had been used to test the good faith of Langalibalele before such strong measures were taken against him. He agreed in wishing that the most lenient measures possible might have been, and might still be taken, as far as the safety of the Natal and Cape Colonies would allow, with respect both to the Chief and his tribe; and he agreed in thinking that the severities practised against the other—the Putini tribe—were unjustifiable. On the other hand, he thought, as the Secretary of State did, that Langalibalele was confessedly guilty of some serious political offences; and his noble Friend seemed to him to be quite justified in dealing with the whole case upon its merits as a political one, and of looking calmly at all the facts as far as they could be ascertained, apart altogether from the abuse of the forms of legal proceeding which had followed upon the commission of the offences. He regretted, however, that, under the circumstances, his noble Friend had not communicated with the Cape Legislature before forming and publicly announcing the decision at which he had arrived—because it was above all things necessary in a case like the present, that there should be co-operation and agreement between the Imperial and Colonial Governments. But as matters now stood, he could not vote for the Motion of the noble Earl (Earl Grey), if for no other reason, because it was not possible to know what was now passing in Natal, and while their Lordships were addressing the Crown with a view to the continuance of the Act, the coming mail might be bringing to this country—as he sincerely hoped it might bring—a decision of the Cape Legislature in favour of some alternative course which would have the effect of reconciling the existing differences.


said, that Governor Pine, whose judgment had been praised so much, and which, it had been suggested, was to over-ride that of the Colonial Office, had when on the West Coast of Africa projected an expedition through Central Africa, and, he believed, had been censured by either the noble Earl (Earl Grey) or by the late Secretary of State for the Colonies. He was certain that he had incurred the ridicule of the leading journal for his proposal to carry the British flag in triumph through Central Africa. The noble Earl (Earl Grey), in his speech introducing the Motion, had begun by speaking of the imports and exports of Natal, and the interests of the Colonists; but, except by using the words "rebellion of the Kaffirs," he had said nothing which showed that Her Majesty was Sovereign of the Kaffirs as well as of the Colonists, and therefore owed them also justice and protection. A circumstance similar to that now under discussion had taken place in the Algerian Colony of France. In 1862 the French in Algeria attempted to deprive the Arabs of their lands; but the Emperor appointed a Commission to report to him, and on the receipt of their report he quashed the attempts to deprive the Arabs of their land, saying that in Algeria he was as much the Emperor of the Arabs as of the French. The consequence was that out of gratitude to the Emperor the Arabs remained quiet during the Prussian war. Her Majesty's Government would not have to regret having done justice upon this occasion.


said, that if any fault had been committed in this matter by the Government of Natal, he should be much disposed to think that the fault rested not so much with the Governor, Sir Benjamin Pine, as with some of the subordinate officials, on whose information and advice he had acted. He would say nothing as to the legality or illegality of the trial, but what struck him most forcibly was the anomalous nature of the whole proceedings. But while he refrained from commenting upon the result, as far as the sentence was concerned, he wished with regard to the subsequent proceedings to call attention to the appeal brought before Sir Benjamin Pine under the 10th section of the Ordinance of 1849. On that part of the case he must express his regret that the Governor in Council, sitting as a kind of Court of Appeal, had confined himself solely to the evidence given on the first occasion, in accordance with the practice of English Courts of Appeal, instead of admitting anything which would have been adduced in the prisoner's favour But supposing that the whole proceeding was irregular altogether, how was the Secretary of State to investigate a sentence that was altogether illegal? If the sentence was illegal, as was contended, it could not be mitigated, but must be remitted altogether; and this course, as he understood the matter, was to be followed in the present case. He did not understand that the Government proposed to give an absolute pardon, but that the Chief would be permitted to return to the colony and set at freedom, such precautions being taken as might be necessary to prevent his return to that part of Africa in which his influence with the Natives might be used against British rule. He was, further, glad to know that Her Majesty's Government intended to make certain alterations in reference to African customs where British rule prevailed. He hoped these alterations would reach the practice of polygamy and the custom of magistrates assigning wives to the Natives whether they liked them or no. He commended the appointment of Sir Garnet Wolseley to the governorship, in succession to Sir Benjamin Pine, as one which was likely to lead to the best results. Sir Garnet Wolseley had a great reputation. He would be sure to act with decision if the occasion required it, and he would be almost quite sure to be supported by public opinion at home in doing so. He referred to the opposition which had been made at the Cape to the action of his noble Friend (the Earl of Carnarvon). Although he had great respect for public opinion there, yet Colonial public opinion was apt to be influenced by prejudice, and he hoped that when the Colonists came to re-consider the very courteous request made to them for assistance in carrying out his noble Friend's views, they would see their way to falling in with his wishes. It was his opinion that the Government had adopted the best course that was open to them under the circumstances.


said, that the noble Lord, who had last occupied the Woolsack, had abundantly proved that the banishment of Langablbalele was lawful, and he himself had been told of the commutation of his sentence, and had gladly accepted it. He (Lord Denman) believed that the Parliament of Cape Town would gladly and the Government in finding a suitable locality for the banished man and his family. He found in the Papers presented to this House that the presiding over the Court of Appeal by the Governor had been compared to, and justified by, the worst sort of case that could arise in an appeal before their Lordships; but he (Lord Denman) believed that the debate would do a great deal of good, inasmuch as it would prove to the Colonies that they might always rely upon their affairs receiving a full and fair discussion in the Imperial Parliament.


, in replying, observed, that he had never contended that the Secretary of State was always bound to accept the judgment of Colonial authorities, or that their judgment might not in many cases be properly overruled by the Government at home, but that in cases where a knowledge of local circumstances was required—in such a case, for instance, as that of Langalibalele, which they were now discussing—where the Colonial authorities had the best means of knowing the truth, and where instant and prompt action was required, a Colonial Governor ought to be supported by the Home Government, unless it could be clearly shown that he was in the wrong. With regard to the trial of Langalibalele, he entirely agreed with his noble and learned Friend near him (Lord Selborne) that it had been a great mistake to mix up two things so inconsistent with each other as an act of authority of a Kaffir Chief and a trial according to the practice of an English Court—that made the proceedings of the trial a perfect mockery, and Sir Benjamin Pine would much better have dealt with the Chief according to his own judgment as Supreme Chief. Still, in spite of this error in the form of the proceeding, substantial justice had been done, and that was what was really important. The objections taken by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack to the infliction of a just punishment, because the culprit had not had a chance of escape by a trial conducted with all the technicalities of English law, were like the objections of a professional sportsman to the shooting of a fox without giving him a fair run for his life. He begged to remind the noble and learned Lord that there were cases in which a fox was so dangerous that any mode of killing him might be resorted to. In the present ease, the lives and property of the colonists of Natal were in danger from a person who was beyond all doubt a rebel; and, under all the circumstances, he maintained that the action of the Colonial Government was perfectly justifiable. As to the Motion, after what had fallen from his noble Friend behind him he would consent to withdraw it provided the noble Earl opposite would assure the House that he did not contemplate the unconditional discharge of so dangerous a person as Langalibalele, and that his liberation would be accompanied with such restrictions as would prevent him from inciting the Natives to rebellion, and thus causing a serious disturbance.


said, he could give no more distinct assurance on the subject than that which he had already conveyed to the House. He wished, he might add, further to state that he had not, as was by some supposed, acted in the matter on the advice of Bishop Colenso. Both Dr. Colenso and Mr. Shepstone had come to this country, and he had had the advantage of hearing from them both sides of the question before he came to a decision upon it; but, as a matter of fact, the conclusion at which he had in the first instance arrived was substantially that which he afterwards adopted, which clearly showed that he had not been influenced by what Bishop Colenso had urged. As to Mr. Shepstone, of whose great experience he had the highest possible opinion, he had consulted him on the various questions of Native policy. He found, he might add, that that gentleman concurred generally in his views, and had promised, so far as lay in his power, to carry them out in the Colony.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.