Imatges de pàgina

Havelock baffled, or beaten, or butcher'd for all that we knew

Then day and night, day and night, coming down on the still-shatter'd walls

Millions of musket-bullets, and thousands of cannonballs

But ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.

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Hark cannonade, fusillade! is it true what was told by the scout?

Outram and Havelock breaking their way thro' the fell mutineers!

Surely the pibroch of Europe is ringing again in our ears!

All on a sudden the garrison utter a jubilant shout, Havelock's glorious Highlanders answer with conquering cheers,

Forth from their holes and their hidings our women and children come out,

Blessing the wholesome white faces of Havelock's good fusileers,

Kissing the war-harden'd hand of the Highlander wet with their tears!

Dance to the pibroch!-saved! we are saved!—is it you? is it you?

Saved by the valour of Havelock, saved by the blessing of Heaven!

'Hold it for fifteen days!' we have held it for eightyseven !

And ever aloft on the palace roof the old banner of England blew.




THOUGH on some minor points I might be inclined to differ from Lord Blachford, the view he has taken of the causes of the Zulu War in the excellent paper he has contributed to the last number of the Nineteenth Century seems to me substantially correct. But in this paper Lord Blachford has confined his attention to the immediate, without adverting to the remoter, causes of this deplorable war, and on these last I am anxious to offer a few remarks. What is now going on in South Africa I regard as the natural result of the altered view as to what is the true interest and the duty of England with respect to her colonies, which has gradually gained acceptance both with the public and the majority of statesmen. Formerly it was the generally received opinion that the power and greatness of the British Empire mainly depended on its possession of large colonial dominions, and it was held to be alike the duty and the interest of the mother country to watch over the welfare of the colonies, to defend them, and as far as possible to promote their prosperity. But in the last twenty or thirty years a totally different view has prevailed. It seems to have been assumed that the great object of our policy with regard to the colonies ought to be to reduce to the utmost our expenses and our responsibilities, telling them that they must manage their affairs as they choose, not looking to us for advice or assistance, and, above all, taking care to cost us nothing. I do not mean to say that this policy has ever been avowed in such plain words as those in which I have now described it; but this is what is really implied by the language used by several of our leading statesmen, by the despatches which have been written, and by the measures adopted by successive Governments of both the great parties in the State. I regard this policy of mere selfishness as contrary alike to the interest and the duty of the nation. I do not deny that the opposite policy was formerly carried to a mischievous extreme. During the long war at the beginning of this century, a system grew up of reckless expenditure by the mother country in the colonies, coupled with vexatious interference in their internal affairs; and more than fifty years ago, when I entered the House of Commons, I heartily supported those who tried to check this extravagant and meddling policy. But

if the policy of the nation erred formerly in one direction, it has of late erred as much in the other. For the last five-and-twenty years the action of the Government and of Parliament has tended more and more to reduce the connection between England and her most important colonies to a merely nominal one. In these colonies the appointment of governors is now almost the only function left to the Imperial Government; these governors, when appointed, being practically powerless, and unable even to perform efficiently the duty which properly belongs to them, as representing the Crown, of checking those abuses of power into which colonial administrations are sometimes led by the virulence of party spirit.

I believe it to have been a great mistake thus to throw away the authority formerly exercised by the Imperial Government in the colonies, because I hold the maintenance of the British Empire in its integrity to be of vital importance both to the mother country and to the colonies, while I am unable to understand how the connection between them can be preserved with advantage to either, unless the Imperial Government is enabled to exercise such a measure of authority as is necessary in order to insure due regard, in the measures of the several colonial governments, to the general interest of the whole empire. This it does not receive at present; and it would be easy to show what unfortunate consequences to all concerned have followed from the weakness with which the ministers of the Crown and Parliament have allowed to slip out of their hands the power of preventing the different colonies from adopting measures injurious to themselves, to each other, and to the empire as a whole. This practical abdication of authority by the Imperial Government and Parliament has produced evils in more than one branch of the administration of the colonies, and especially in their commercial legislation, to which I may perhaps on a future occasion endeavour to call attention; but at present I wish to confine my remarks to pointing out how our acting upon the view of colonial policy which has of late been popular has tended to bring about that state of things in South Africa which we have now to deplore.

The principle of this policy is that British colonists should be left perfectly free to manage their own affairs according to their own judgment; but, on the other hand, must trust to their own exertions for their defence, except perhaps from foreign enemies. From what I have already said, it will be seen that I do not admit that absolute freedom of action can with advantage be accorded to any of our colonies; but, without stopping now to consider what limits should in other cases be set to this freedom, I have to observe that in those colonies in which a comparatively small number of British settlers are placed in the midst of far more numerous barbarous or semibarbarous tribes, there are special reasons for retaining a larger measure of authority in the hands of the Crown than is elsewhere


required. In such colonies to entrust all power, both legislative and executive, to the white settlers by giving them representative institutions with what is called 'responsible' or party government, necessarily tends to cause the affairs of the colony to be administered in a manner which is not fair or just to the inferior but more numerous race, and thus to produce discontent among them, which ultimately, if they are a warlike and high-spirited people, leads to war. I have said that under the system of responsible government' we must expect that a numerous native race, to whom little, if any, share of political power can be given, will be treated with injustice. It has always been admitted that, however valuable representative institutions may be, there is no yoke more grievous than that of a popular assembly over a class of the population which is excluded from any share of political power. In the old Irish Parliament and its laws against Papists we have an example of what is the natural result of such institutions. When the dominant class is further divided from the inferior one by a difference of race and of colour, the abuse of power is likely to be still greater.

There is another consideration which must not be lost sight of. If British settlers are, according to the doctrine now in vogue, to be left to defend themselves and to manage their affairs according to their own discretion, without the support of the mother country, or the control which would naturally go with it, what we must look for is a war of extermination between the races. While an important authority is exercised by the officers of the Crown supported by a regular military force, justice to both races may be secured, and war generally averted. While the natives are justly treated and at the same time see that there is a force with which they could not easily contend ready to put down violence or outrage, they will seldom venture to break the peace. But when they are placed under a system of government which it is morally certain will give them good ground for complaint, and they also see that the settlers have not the support of a regular force, we cannot be surprised if they seek to revenge themselves by plundering and murdering the white men for the wrongs they conceive themselves to have suffered. These outrages, of course, lead to retaliation, and under the influence of fear (which is always cruel) the whites are apt to carry on the war with little more respect for the rules of humanity than their savage enemies.

This is what we might have expected beforehand from the new system of colonial policy, and experience has but too sadly proved that the expectation would have been well founded. The recent history of New Zealand exhibits in the clearest light the contrast between the old and the new systems of colonial policy and their opposite effects. Soon after New Zealand was colonised, quarrels arose between the settlers and the natives which at length broke out

into open war. At first this war was very disastrous to the British; but the late Earl of Derby, who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies, sent Sir G. Grey to assume the government of New Zealand, and by his wise and energetic measures the natives were first defeated and then conciliated, peace was restored, and a firm and just system of government was established which gave to the colony thirteen years of peace and eight or nine of undisturbed tranquillity and prosperity.

During these years-from 1847 to 1856-New Zealand continued to advance in wealth, and the natives made such progress in civilisation that there was a fair prospect that they would by degrees become amalgamated with the colonists and form a united population. But in 1852 the fact was recognised that the time was come when representative institutions must be extended to New Zealand; and unfortunately this was done in a manner which led to great calamities. The constitution Parliament thought fit to confer upon New Zealand seemed to me at the time so obviously unfitted to its circumstances that I was unable to understand how any man could expect it to work well. Not to mention other faults, it introduced a principle altogether new in the history of English colonies by entrusting the executive authority in the several provinces into which the colony was divided to elected superintendents. The governor, who could only act through these superintendents, and could not remove them if they disobeyed his orders, was thus virtually deprived of any real authority. Nor was this all; it was soon determined that ' responsible government' should be established, so that whatever authority was left to the general government fell into the hands of the colonial ministers. For a time a reservation was made that the governor, in matters relating to the Maories, should be free to exercise his own judgment, and not be required to accept the advice of his council. But this scheme soon broke down, as it was sure to do from its manifest absurdity. The Act of Parliament giving its constitution to New Zealand was passed in 1852; but it was near two years before the new system of government was brought into full operation, and a little longer before its fruits became apparent, though symptoms of the coming misfortunes were soon perceptible. In 1854 the governor, in his speech to the Assembly, congratulated it upon the good feeling existing between the races. In its address in reply the Assembly expressed its concurrence with the governor, and its satisfaction at the existing state of things. In the earlier part of 1855 the reports from the colony still continued favourable; but a change in the temper of the Maories began to be perceptible, and in September in that year the governor reported to the Secretary of State that, while the natives were well affected towards the Government, they were not equally well affected towards the Assembly or towards the provincial councils, because they were suspicious as to

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