Imatges de pÓgina

portions there would be no difficulty in determining, were the principle once admitted; and in fixing them, another proportion might also be agreed upon as due to the State, the primary holder and legal owner of all land, to inaugurate a system which would be equivalent to the re-enactment of the Land Tax of William the Third at present values, and the first step towards the attainment of a perfect system of direct taxation, copied as the Land Tax of William the Third probably was -from the policy of the greatest ruler of Ancient Egypt, as recorded in Genesis xlvii. 20, 23, 24, 25, and 26:

And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.

Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

And it shall come to pass in the increase that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

And they said, Thou hast saved our lives; let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.

And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.

Were a system arranged by which our food-producers would have the encouragement of a fairly remunerative proportion of their produce, a wholesome stimulus would be given to their exertions, and our native soil might soon be rescued from the neglect under which it has too long languished.



This system of participation in results, if once fairly set going, would soon extend into other branches of our industries. It has been shown what unsatisfactory results are derived from piece-work; and if we are to avoid the Scylla of skulking' in time-work, and the Charybdis of scamping' in piece-work, it may only be accomplished by enlisting the labourers' own interest and co-operation, by permitting then to share in the results of their labour in some equitably just way, calculated to insure proper industrial, application, and the highest personal interest in their respective productions.

We have seen that it is impossible to get labourers to attend to quality under piece-work, and some (the minority, it is only fair to add) will not perform a fair amount under time-work; but if all were labouring knowing that they were to have a certain fixed share in the value of their produce, then they would endeavour to increase this share, by working assiduously to obtain the greatest possible quantity consistent with quality, at the same time aiming at quality, as essential, if not in all cases for its own sake, as it ought to be, still to be sought after in every case, if only to secure the highest value of the thing produced.

The consideration of the best methods of cultivating the soil of

England seems to be inseparably connected with the continued welfare of all her other industries, and it is open to any observer to conclude that, owing to the incubus of heavy land rents and colossal holdings, the land of England is gradually going out of cultivation, and it should be patent to all that this may some day unexpectedly bring a famine within our shores. And to prevent this possibility, whether immediately or remotely probable, it may be necessary for this doctrine to be preached in some practical form: The land to those who can best cultivate it for the general benefit.'


And as an ordeal of a severely trying kind seems to be threatening the prosperity of our manufacturing industries, there may be the greatest necessity for more attention to be given to these subjects, to prevent our labouring population from being reduced to still greater hardships and privations than those which already exist.

The leading advocates of measures calculated to improve the condition of the people, who have most deservedly won the gratitude and esteem of every well-wisher of his country, are turning their attention to the land question as the great question of the near future, and they may be respectfully solicited to consider whether they have sufficiently calculated the probable effects of their proposed remedy, 'free trade in land.' This remedial measure, if ever tried, may be productive of more harm than good, as every succeeding sale of land at a higher price will intensify the already severe monopolistic pressure of the holder's claims for rent, to the increase of the burden to be borne, by its cultivators in the first place, and by the consumers of its produce-the public-in the second.

The advocates of this doubtful remedy point to France, in support of their theory, as a flourishing agricultural country, and attribute its prosperity to its eight millions of peasant proprietors; but there may be a slight fallacy here. The prosperity is not the direct result of the proprietorship, but of the perfect cultivation; and this latter is quite as compatible with an equitably fair tenure as with a proprietorship, and much more within the reach of peasant labourers. Many labourers would be able to commence the cultivation of a small farm, were their rents to be a proportional part of the crop after it was reaped, but how many would be able to embark in the scheme if they were required to purchase the land out and out before they were permitted to put a spade into it? Free trade in land may enable capitalists to become landholders, but it would rather hinder than help labourers to become cultivators, by placing heavier rent-charges upon the land to pay interest on the increased capital, and would inevitably lead to the production of a relatively dearer food-supply for the people. Between free trade in land,' then, and an increase of 'peasant proprietors and peasant cultivators,' there are great gulfs fixed.




THE history of our relations with the Zulus Zulus divides itself naturally, for my present purpose, into three periods of very different length-one from our settlement in Natal to the annexation of the Transvaal, the second from the annexation of the Transvaal to the award of certain commissioners on a disputed land claim, and the third from the date of that award to the invasion of Zululand by Lord Chelmsford.

We all now know that the Zulu kingdom was founded by one Chaka, a man of great military genius and unbounded ferocity—a terrible conqueror, not so much regardless of human life as greedy of blood and empire. Yet this man, having saved the lives of a few Englishmen, contracted a respect amounting almost to deference for the English. In his own merciless but picturesque phrase, reported by Sir Theophilus Shepstone, 'he was willing to rank next to the English, but he would permit no black power to share the sunlight with him.' Sir Theophilus adds that the Zulus still consider this declaration of the chief whose memory they most respect to be sacredly binding on them.'


Accordingly, when the colony of Natal was founded, the most friendly relations were at once established between the English and Panda, the then king. The Tugela and Buffalo rivers were then established as our boundary, and have remained so ever since. Crowds of malcontents flying from Panda's tyranny sought protection under the British flag, but the exodus caused no ill feeling. By a singular compromise the cattle of the immigrants were restored; but the people (now with their descendants amounting to 300,000) were protected, and, thanks to the constructive genius of Sir Theophilus, have been moulded into a contented population from whom, if something may be feared, still more perhaps may be hoped. We have had no encroachments on one side, no cattle-stealing on the other. Our neighbours, with all their faults, are not, it seems, petty pilferers.

The following paper on Natal policy is drawn up at the desire of the Editor of the Nineteenth Century. I am afraid that the time allowed me for its composition will scarcely enable me to do justice to my own strong convictions on that anxious and difficult question.



'We are not,' says Cetywayo, 'thieves like the Basutos. But when a Zulu thinks he ought to have a thing, he takes it.' Occasional outrages therefore, I presume, have occurred; but they caused no ill blood. And the result has been a position of deferential inferiority on the part of the Zulus, which they lost no opportunity of acknowledging, which they professed to ground on our equity and moderation, which they contrasted with the scorching' injustice of the Boers, and which led them to seek our ratification of their choice of a king and of the promises which he made at his investiture. What is still more remarkable, they begged us to settle a question of disputed territory between them and the Boers by taking it for ourselves; failing this, they desired our arbitration; and when, from our negligence or the suspicious backwardness of the Dutch, this also fell through, and the Dutch proclaimed their sovereignty over the territory, and proceeded to tax the Zulu inhabitants, Cetywayo at our desire refrained from taking the law into his own hands, and remained inactive, even when his enemies were reduced to the last extremity of helplessness by their bankruptcy and military misconduct. All this being clearly established, it appears to me that, whatever may be Cetywayo's subsequent misdeeds, Sir B. Frere, Lord Chelmsford, and Lord Carnarvon are scarcely justified, on no better authority (as far as I can see) than that of the Boers, in describing him as playing off English against Dutch. There is every appearance of his having accepted from the beginning, and held till quite recently, a kind of wild but friendly subordination to the English.

His quarrel, or rather that of his nation, with the Dutch was a real one. Everything shows that the Zulus were determined that the Boers should not have this disputed tract of land, and this (as we have seen) not so much for the sake of the land itself, though now occupied jointly by Zulus and Boers, as because they did not want Dutch neighbours. On occasion of his investiture, Cetywayo entered at once into earnest conversation about the encroachments of the Transvaal Boers, and declared that he and every Zulu would die rather than submit to them.' Year after year-in 1865, in 1869, in 1870, in 1872-he and his father were pressing the question upon us; and in 1870 they use these remarkable words: Panda and Cetywayo,' they say, both beg to press their request for the decision of this question, because they fear that longer delay will cause serious difficulties to arise; they are also very anxious that the British Government should establish itself between them and the Transvaal, so that the Zulu boundary may be, as the Tugela is, the British boundary.' Perhaps these Zulus may have known-what seems to have been the fact that the colonial authorities, including Sir Theophilus Shepstone, thought ill of the Dutch claims and well of theirs. But at any rate their practice and profession went together; they were

ready to place themselves in our hands in respect of rights for which King and people were ready to die.'

And let it here be remembered what the King and people were. In 1873 Cetywayo was described by Sir T. Shepstone as a man of considerable ability and much force of character, remarkably frank and straightforward, and ranking in every respect far above any native chief I have ever had to do with;' not very warlike (this judgment Sir Theophilus would probably now wish to qualify), but 'naturally proud of the military traditions of his family, especially the policy and deeds of his uncle and predecessor Chaka, to which he made frequent reference.'

His army is estimated by a very intelligent Natal officer at about 60,000, said by him, Captain Clark, and Commodore Sullivan to be good shots, admirable marchers, patient of fatigue, well disciplined, and thoroughly warlike.

The influence exercised not only over 300,000 subject natives, but over such a king and such a nation, by the Government of a colony containing 20,000 whites and garrisoned by a few hundred soldiers, may be precarious, as moral influence is; but, in regard to native policy, it is to my mind one of the most remarkable, and was till within the last few months one of the most hopeful, facts in our colonial history. It is a standing proof that where there is a will there is a way, and a condemnation of those who say, as if they knew all about it, that there is but one method of dealing with savages.

This was the state of things in Natal when the counter policy of war and appropriation broke down in the Transvaal, and the bankruptcy, defeat, and disorganisation of the Boers raised, both here and in Africa, a natural apprehension for ourselves. For it was plainly possible that their black enemies might first overwhelm them, and then, flushed with success, make the war one of colonies, in which case our own colonists, like the Dutch, would have had to fight for their existence. Plainly the question so raised was a difficult and anxious one. My own opinion is that the crisis was one for watchfulness and preparation, but not as yet for interference-certainly not unless it were asked for. It would have been, I think, our wisdom, as long as we could do so with advantage, to interpose our influence between the lawlessly ferocious savage and the deliberately cruel and encroaching Boer, between whom, from faults which we cannot mend, no modus vivendi is possible; but, if this could not be, to keep out of the war ourselves till we were injured or till it was clear that by interference we could put an end to it. There are, of course, objections to this and every other course. If it were not so, the case would no longer be difficult. And without venturing to pronounce myself in the right, or stopping to support my opinion, I go on to point out, not the dangers to which the course actually adopted was liable, but the evils which have in fact resulted from it.

« AnteriorContinua »