Imatges de pÓgina

With a view, I suppose, to the dangers I have noticed, and with an eye to confederation, Sir Theophilus Shepstone-whose genius, determination, and earnestness of purpose, no man admires more than I do was sent out to the Transvaal, with instructions to annex that territory if he could obtain the consent of the inhabitants, but with powers which enabled him, in fact, to annex it with extremely imperfect evidence of that consent.

Under these powers, we know that the Transvaal was declared British territory in spite of the outspoken opposition of the President and Volksraad, and of the known reluctance of large numbers of the people, some of whom are said, in consequence, to be 'trekking' away out of our reach, to make fresh trouble in the interior. The assumption of sovereignty was favoured by the English residents and by an unascertained number of the Dutch who were conciliated by the expectation of increased security and protection for themselves, their farms, and, of course, their territorial acquisitions. Demonstrations still continue, which, from Sir T. Shepstone's mode of treating them, do not appear wholly insignificant; and successive deputations are sent to England, who represent themselves as expressing the discontent of the people.

Sir Theophilus, having committed the Government by acting perhaps somewhat in excess of his instructions, is now, of course, bound to show that in spite of appearances the people are not illpleased. But, though some of the opposition is plainly factitious, it is most certain that he will not be able to prove his point if his first step is to surrender instead of upholding the Dutch land claims. If on grounds of policy he leaves the redoubtable Sikokuni in peace, if on grounds of abstract equity he requires the Dutch farmers to retire from the territory claimed by the Zulus, it is quite plain that he will be viewed not only as an imperious invader, but as a false traitor. He will destroy all the chance which he ever had of governing the country with its own goodwill, and will expose himself to the charge of having imposed on the Home Government by allegations of consent which a few months show to be illusory.

It is impossible not to take into account this necessity when we find that Sir T. Shepstone, now no longer protector of the natives in Natal, but administrator of the Transvaal, assumes a wholly new attitude, adopts the advancing policy of the Boers, resumes, with very ill success, their war against Sikokuni, takes up the alliance of the Amaswayis, the enemies of the Zulu King, and, what is more to my present purpose, discovers, among the Transvaal records, documents which at once alter his opinion as to the merits of the Zulu and Dutch controversy.

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And so, by a kind of political necessity, we find ourselves obliged to take over with the Transvaal the ill-omened traditions of Boer policy. We find ourselves involved in wars which we have not occasioned, in

which, I see, we cannot get any effectual backing from those from whom we inherit them, and by engaging in which we forfeit our own best inheritance-our reputation among the natives for justice and moderation, which we have acquired of late years in the Cape, and had always enjoyed in Natal.

This change of attitude in the man on whom, more than any other, their fate depends, was, of course, not lost on the Zulus, and is the beginning of evil. It leads to bitter complaints from Cetywayo, who appeals from the Transvaal administrator to his old friends the Natal Government.

Cetywayo says he cannot trust the Transvaal Boers any longer. They have killed his people, they have robbed them of their cattle, on the slightest grounds. He had hoped that Somsen (Shepstone) would have settled these matters, but he has not done so ; he wishes to cast Cetywayo off. He is no more a father, but a firebrand. If he is tired of carrying Cetywayo now as he did while he was with the Natal Government, then why does he not put him down and allow the Natal Government to look after him as it has always done?

Add to this that projects for disarming the natives were now rife in South Africa, that respecting such projects the natives learn at least as much as the truth from Europeans who harbour with them, and that Cetywayo was now beginning to feel the reality of these projects by finding himself prevented from obtaining guns through the usual channel, the Portuguese settlement of Lorenzo Marques. Add also that his destruction had been clearly predetermined by Sir Bartle Frere, and the great probability that a resolution of this kind should have made itself apprehended in some of the numerous indications (like that of this Lorenzo Marques prohibition) by which such things get bruited abroad. Add all these things together, and it is not very surprising that a warlike, self-willed, and untutored, though probably crafty, savage should be betrayed into what is called insolence, should make a menacing parade of his power and of his soldiers' enthusiasm, should be severe on those whom he had reason to suppose spies, and should feel the pulse of his neighbours to see how far he could obtain their assistance to repel or forestall an attack.


Yet meanwhile this strange man, though desirous to wash his spears' after the manner of his ancestors (a desire unhappily not eonfined to uncivilised princes and people), was unwilling to do so without British connivance, and was steadily anxious that the really critical question of the disputed territory should be settled by the Government of Natal.

I wish you to ask Somsen to allow me to make one little raid only, one small swoop-it will not be asking much. Why will he not listen to me? He knows where I want to go, and so do you too, only you won't admit it. It is the custom of our country, when a new king is placed over the nation, to wash their spears, and it has been done in the case of all former kings of Zululand. I am no king, but sit in a heap. I cannot be a king till I have washed my assegais. . . .

Again :


Cetywayo hears what the Governor of Natal says about sending for people from across the sea [from England], if Cetywayo wishes it, to settle the question of the boundary between the Transvaal and the Zulus, and thanks him for these words, for they are all good words, that have been sent to Cetywayo by the Governor of Natal: they show that the Natal Government still wishes Cetywayo to drink water and live. . . .

Before sending for people across the sea for the settlement of the boundary, Cetywayo would be glad if the Governor of Natal would send his representatives to see what the claims of Cetywayo are, and hear what he says; and if these cannot come to an understanding on the matter, then a letter can be sent beyond the sea for other people to come and see what can be done.

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'I am glad to hear what you say, I shall now be able to sleep,' were the words with which he received the announcement that a commission of arbitration, which he had been so long applying for, was at last appointed.

Meantime the internal misgovernment of the country had gone on from bad to worse. On the investiture of Cetywayo, some of his brothers, contrary to previous custom, had been allowed to remain alive, and at the instance of the English the habitual solemnity of a massacre had been dispensed with. It had also been announced by universal consent that missionaries were to be respected, and that no man should be put to death without trial. Sir T. Shepstone, indeed, did not affect to suppose that these promises were to be kept. The constitution of the country, uniting the evils of despotism with a confessed law of the strongest, forbade such a hope. Still less did he engage the British Government to guarantee their performance. Least of all had he any idea of following the policy charged by foreigners upon Indian Governments of former times-that of entangling native princes in impossible treaties, which furnished at all times a standing pretext for complaint and subjugation. He hoped only that something would come of the mere public announcement in the sunshine' of a principle of humanity. He seems to have been soon and greatly disappointed. It is difficult to estimate the magnitude and multitude of alleged horrors without specific testimony from trustworthy witnesses or the power of cross-examination. But it is plain that the country is now reduced to great misery, and that the sovereign and people are killing and 'eating up' one another. We learn that multitudes of Zulus (including at least three Christian converts) are, in Zulu phrase, smelt out' as witches and put to death, nominally on this ground, but really because the King and chiefs want their property. The murders of a number of young women for refusing to marry Cetywayo's soldiers appear unquestioned. And to our remonstrances against these barbarities Cetywayo replied by furiously declaring that he intended to govern his own country in his own way, and that the

blood he had already shed was a mere foretaste of what he intended to do. Meantime disaffection was said to be spreading. The people expressed it freely to our messengers. The King's brother sent to tell us that, in case of war, he would join us. On the point of foreign policy feeling was thought to be divided. There was reason to suppose that, while the young men, with the King at their head, were ashamed of not being equal to the warlike traditions of their race, and so constituted a stirring 'glory-at-all-price' party, a more sober policy prevailed among the elders of the nation. One even of the young soldiers said to a Natal officer, 'We are willing to fight any but the English; you will never see a man of this country fight with them. I speak for myself and my regiment.' The statement, though it belongs to a class on which no wise man would rely, was doubtless made; and, viewed in the light of subsequent events, and in connection with the state of things which I have just described, it helps to show that the Zulu kingdom, though capable of being cemented under the stimulus of a popular war, was decomposing, and if let alone would have torn itself to pieces perhaps soon, almost certainly on the death of the present King.

This was the state of things when the Natal Commissioners-the Attorney-General, the native Secretary, and two officers of the army, Colonel Durnford and Captain Jackson-gave their award on the burning question in which, it is everywhere evident, the minds of the Zulus were passionately interested, and on which the issues of peace and war might be supposed to depend.

That award was, on the points which were disputed seriously, in favour of the Zulus. Written alienations of land from savages to civilised purchasers are generally contested on one of two groundsthat those who sell it are not entitled to dispose of it, or that they do not know what they are signing away. On both these grounds, and on that of continued occupation, the Commissioners decided, in accordance with the opinion held by Sir T. Shepstone till he was administrator of the Transvaal, that the land in dispute had not passed to the Boers.

And now, on the supposition that peace was desirable, there was an occasion for securing it, and for putting an end to the divided occupation and disputed dominion which had given occasion to so much of border outrage. If we could only make up our minds to do what our own officers declared to be just, the sole question which was really critical was effectually put out of the way, and a road was open to the settlement of the rest.

The Home Government, as is shown by repeated despatches, which are now so well known that it is unnecessary to quote them, was unequivocally of opinion that peace was desirable. Sir Bartle Frere as plainly had long held a contrary opinion, and was determined to act on it. I do not suppose myself to be stating anything which

he would not at once admit and justify when I say that, whatever might be the desire of the Government he served, he was determined that peace should not be made. He explains with force and clearness that Natal cannot be safe in the neighbourhood of such a king and such an army.

My previous despatches (he says) have detailed many of my reasons for believing that our own safety in Natal imperatively requires an entire change in the military system of the Zulus; that we live at present on sufferance, in what is practically an armed truce, and that, if we desire either peace or security in Natal or the Transvaal, we must come to a clear understanding with Cetywayo whether this part of Africa is to be governed on Chaka's principles or on those of the British Government. . . .


The true ground of our present dealing with the Zulus is a regard for our own safety and for the instincts of self-preservation.

Nor is he less clear as to the urgency of the matter than as to its importance.


It may possibly occur to Her Majesty's Government that a settlement of the Zulu question may be deferred to a more convenient season. I cannot think this can be safely done as regards the Zulus. . . . I have no doubt that if the Lieutenant-General commanding in South Africa had adequate means at his disposal he would settle the Zulu difficulty as promptly and effectually as he did that in the Cape Colony.

And this happy freedom from doubt enables the High Commissioner to take in hand, with a light heart, the enterprise of subjugating a kingdom which can bring into the field perhaps 60,000 hardy, brave, and effective warriors. He does so out of his own head, in reliance on his own foresight, without the consent of the British nation, who will bear the cost of it in blood and treasure, and contrary to the plain opinion, if not the direct instructions, of the Government which represents that nation and which he is bound loyally to obey. I observe, in addition, that the war is one which is likely to be waged not only with uncivilised savagery on the part of our enemies, but with civilised cruelty on our own part. I mean that such wars are too often carried on, and that officers of ours are now carrying them on, by the method of starvation-a method which not only extends the miseries of war to women and children, but is likely to affect them first and most terribly before the combatants allow themselves to suffer. In the neighbourhood of Sikokuni this is now going on. And I have noticed (though I cannot at this moment lay my hand on the passage) that by one valuable officer it is made a specific charge against some of our so-called allies that they supply food and shelter (not only to fighting men but) to these poor perishing creatures. Some of this may be a necessity. But it is at any rate a

2 I am glad to observe that that admirable officer Colonel Lanyon, who has shown what a colonial force can do when properly led, has extorted the thanks of his enemies by his humanity to non-combatants. That is the way to carry on war,

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