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SOUTH AFRICA (ZULULAND)—CETEWAYO (RELEASE FROM CAPTIVITY).
MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS.
HC Deb 17 April 1882 vol 268 cc756-88
, in rising to move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to release Cetewayo, the Zulu King, from the unjust captivity in which he is now held, said, he felt quite sure that the Government would understand him when he stated that he did not bring forward this Motion with the intention of inaugurating any Party attack on the policy of the Government in South Africa, for on the question of the Zulu War he had always been a supporter of the present Government. He might even say that he believed there was no difference between the two great Parties in the State in reference to this policy, because neither the Conservative nor the Liberal Party would maintain the justice of the War which was waged against the Zulus.
The late Government did everything to stop it, and refused the reinforcements which were asked for by Sir Bartle Frere for the purpose of commencing the War, aud sent him direct Instructions on the subject; but he was, unfortunately, so anxious to carry out his policy that he commenced the war before he had received the Instructions of Her Majesty's Government. There was no one in that House who would defend the celebrated Ultimatum which he sent to the Zulu King—an Ultimatum which, in the first place, he had no right to send; and, in the second place, one of which it was quite impossible to fulfil the conditions. Moreover, the Ultimatum did not reach the Zulu King before the War commenced, so as to allow him to fulfil the conditions of it, or even to consider it, though it had reached John Dunn; and there was no doubt that it was merely devised for the purpose of throwing dust in the eyes of the philanthropic public at home. In the debate which took place in 1879 no one attempted to defend the justice of the war; and he did not think the position of the late Government could be better summed up than in the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach).
On the 23rd of January, 1879, that right hon. Gentleman, who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies, wrote to Sir Bartle Frere, saying— The terms which we have dictated to the Zulu King are evidently such as he cannot refuse even at the risk of war.
After such a statement as that no Minister could say that the War waged was just. He did not propose to trouble them with an argument to show that that War was unjust; but he thought he should be assisting the House to understand the present aspect of the question if he were to point out two fallacies which were asserted and generally received in 1879. The first was that the Zulu King, at the time of the War, had framed an intention to invade the Colony of Natal. The report of that intention created quite a panic in Natal, and he believed that almost every Native war had its origin in a senseless panic of that kind. It was a curious fact that the alarm was most intense at the greatest distance from the boundary.
Sir Bartle Frere had stated that farms of the Dutch and English settlers on the boundary were deserted in consequence of fear of the Zulus. But there could be no doubt that the real cause of that desertion was want of water. That had been proved by a gentleman who was travelling in the country at the time, who had also shown conclusively that it was not the intention of the Zulu King to invade the Colony. Even after the disastrous battle of Isandlana Cetewayo had no intention of invading Natal, though, if he had done so, a most dreadful disaster would have befallen that Colony. The Zulu operations after that battle were limited to an attack upon Rorke's Drift; and even that attack was undertaken against the will and against the direct order of the King, who would have killed the leader of the force which made it had he not been a Prince. Everybody recollected the story of the waggoners, fugitives from Isandlana, who, having crossed the Buffalo River, fell exhausted on the Natal shore.
The Zulus who pursued them followed them across the river, and were about to kill them, when their officers compelled them to retire, as the King had given no orders that Natal should be invaded. The fact was that there never had been any invasion of the Colony of Natal until the 25th of June, when an attack was made on the Colony in retaliation for a great number of raids which had been made upon Zululand by the orders of Lord Chelmsford, and against the orders of Sir Henry Bulwer and of the Executive Council of Natal. All these facts were convincing proofs that it never had been the intention of the Zulu King to invade Natal. The second fallacy which the events of the Zulu War had entirely exploded was that the Zulu King was a cruel tyrant, who had so misgoverned his country that he was hated by his people, who wished to get rid of him. To show how utterly this idea was at variance with the truth he would refer to The Cape Times of September 11, 1879, in which it was stated that when the Zulu force was utterly broken and the King was a fugitive from the British force, which was hunting for him, not one of his people could be induced, either by fear of death, of the destruction of their homes, of the loss of their cattle, or by the offer of a large bribe, to disclose his hiding place. One Zulu, who appeared to have yielded to the inducements and the threats which had been held out to him, had led our forces into the bush, and had then given them the slip.
These facts showed that, so far from hating their King and from regarding him as a cruel tyrant, the Zulus were devoted to him. What, then, was the position in which we now found ourselves? Here was a man who, according to the admissions of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, had done no wrong in resisting our invasion of his country in the course of a war which had been denounced by the great Liberal Party as wholly unjust, and who was yet detained in a sad and melancholy—he would not say a cruel—captivity. Could hon. Members realize to themselves what this captivity meant to this man? He would take the liberty of giving some account of that captivity from the small book published by Lady Florence Dixie, and which was published in September last. The statement first appeared in the columns of The Morning Post anonymously; but everyone knew by whom it was written. When visited by Lady Florence Dixie, she remarked how changed he was; his features had assumed in repose a sad and constrained expression, while his face had become wrinkled.
It was said by those who were about him that he was fretting a good deal, and was subject to long fits of depression. "A little longer of this," he said, "and I shall die." He also said that his people wished to have him back in his land, where his heart was, that he was heart-sick and weary of waiting, and he asked— When will England be just and let me return? Do they think that because I am a Black man I cannot feel, or that I suffer the less by this long and weary captivity P England has given the Transvaal back to the Boers, and Basutoland back to the Basutos, and all are free but me.…I am weary and sick at heart. I have applied to England, who, they tell me, is great and just, and I have applied to her Queen, who they tell me is merciful; but my prayer is unheeded. That was the position in which we kept a man, who, the Secretary of State for the Colonies said, was perfectly justified in what he had done. He had been asked what arguments he relied on in demanding the release of Cetewayo; but the presumption was all in favour of such a demand.
He, however, contended that it was not his duty to show reasons why the King should be liberated; but that he ought to ask the Government what arguments they were going to put forward to show that he should be still kept in prison. He wished particularly to call attention to this point; and he would assert that it was for the Government to prove that it was necessary that the King should be kept in confinement. It was said that the release of Cetewayo would spoil the settlement which was come to of Zululand; but was that a good reason for his continued captivity? He did not quite recognize the morality of keeping a man in unjust captivity because he might interfere with a policy which was being pursued elsewhere. He had fancied, until the Papers on Zululand were placed in the hands of hon. Members, that some argument would be used, to the effect that in the present position of Zululand people should hesitate before letting loose a source of disturbance like Cetewayo. He had, therefore, read with interest and curiosity the Correspondence relating to the affairs of Zululand lately laid upon the Table of the House.
At the same time, he would warn the House that those Blue Books were, in a great measure, untrustworthy, because they never contained the whole truth. He did not attribute to the officers of the Government any intention of wilfully falsifying any statements which had been made; but in forwarding documents to the Colonial Office there was necessarily a selection made. In the selection nothing favourable to the Government was omitted; but sometimes those things which were unfavourable were left out, and the most favourable view was put before Parliament.
Taking the Blue Book as an absolutely true statement of affairs as they were at present in Zululand, he would venture to say that if any man would read it through, separating the really important documents it contained from the mass of rubbish in which they were concealed, he would come to the conclusion that there existed in Zululand a most disgraceful and most alarming condition of barbarity and bloodshed, and that in the midst of that bloodshed the British Resident was absolutely incapable. Two or three particulars of facts, which would be found in the Blue Book, would show the condition in which Zululand was. He found that in two districts out of the 13 in which Zululand had been divided, there had been, from an early period, quarrels between the Chiefs appointed to rule over those districts and the inhabitants.
It was singular that the malcontents and the disaffected against the Government were in the one case the man who had been Cetewayo's Chief Induna, or Prime Minister, and in the other case his brother, or half-brother. Those men appeared to have acted with such severity that even Sir Evelyn Wood appeared to have thought it was far beyond what ought to have been inflicted. In the despatch dated May 30th, 1881 (page 30), Mr. Osborne, the British Resident in Zululand, said, with reference to the punishment inflicted upon some of the malcontents, that he was certain the seizures, to the extent to which they had been made, were out of proportion to the gravity or nature of the offences for which the punishment had been inflicted. That was the sort of treatment to which the Chiefs whom we had established had been subjecting their fellow-creatures. In those two cases the High Commissioner, Sir Evelyn Wood, himself, had inquired into the history of the events, and. had decreed that the two Chiefs should restore one-third of the cattle which they had taken from the people.
Up to the present day that distinct judgment and order of Sir Evelyn "Wood had never been fulfilled by either of the two Chiefs in question; and one of the Chiefs, according to the Report of the British Resident, evidently did not intend to fulfil them. So much for the respect felt by the Chiefs towards the Government which had appointed them. Again, a stranger recently made his appearance in one of the districts in the character of a usurper. The Chief in possession abandoned, his territory to the new comer, and took refuge with John Dunn, who proposed to interfere in order to reinstate him.
Both the Secretary of State in Downing Street and the High Commissioner peremptorily for bade John Dunn to interfere. Nevertheless, John Dunn collected an army and marched into the disputed territory, completely destroying the forces of the usurper, who had agreed to submit his claim to the decision of the Resident, and capturing a large number of women and cattle. Some women also, it appeared, were killed. All this, apparently, was done in defiance of official instructions to the contrary.
A few days previously—that was to say, on July 25 of last year—John Dunn, it was true, had a conversation with the Resident, as the result of which the latter agreed to "advise" the other Chiefs to "assist" in ejecting the usurper. It would be interesting to know whether any record of that conversation had been sent to the Colonial Office. The presumption was that John Dunn flatly told the Resident he would not obey orders. At all events, two days afterwards, the Resident did advise the other Chiefs to act; and as no one had a force ready but John Dunn the work fell entirely to him, with what result they heard from the Natives sent by the Resident to watch the proceedings. Such of the captured women as had relatives to ransom them were allowed to be ransomed; the others remained the property of their captors. That was the sort of thing done under the protection of the British Government in Zululand! The cattle taken were mostly divided among the victors, a large number being appropriated by John Dunn himself.
That was the story told by the messenger whom the Resident had sent, and who would naturally not make the situation worse than it was. Then he said that in the course of conversation afterwards Dunn remarked that the people of Zululand would in future pay no regard to the Resident, because he only talked, and never did anything. Here, then, was the Chief Dunn, whom we had set up, deliberately despising the orders of the Government, marching into the disturbed territory, attacking the Chief, capturing women and cattle, distributing them as he liked among the people, and saying that the Resident was nobody. Was it surprising, then, that this man Dunn should announce his intention of annexing the territory and saying that the British Resident had ordered him to take charge of it? But that was not all.
A traitor—one of Cetewayo's brothers—who had come over to us in the course of the War, and who was chosen as the Chief over one of the territories, attacked a neighbouring tribe against the distinct orders of the British Resident, and destroyed every male that could be laid hold of, and some women. A woman described what had been done. She said that the Chief arrived at the kraal at sunset, and seized the cattle. The women fled. When they had gone a certain distance they met three armed men, who at once charged towards them. The women ran, but were soon overtaken, and three of them were stabbed to death. Here was a Chief, under our protection, and who, but for our protection, would not have been able to do it, stabbing women to death.
And now it appeared that the Boers were making a settlement in Zululand, and refusing to go away when directed to do so by the Resident of the British Government. On the 19th of September, 1881, two messengers came to the British Residency and said that they were sent by their Chief to inform the Resident that the Boers were located in his territory, and positively refused to go away in obedience to his orders.
The Boers said if the Chief sent any more messengers ordering them away they would shoot them. The Boers had built three houses, and it was expected that more Boers would follow. Nor were the Boers without excuse. In a despatch written on the 16th of last January to the British Resident at Pretoria, the Boer Government said that in order to prevent further bloodshed and disorder in Zululand they begged Her Majesty's Government to release Cetewayo. They added that a number of Zulus had been driven within their borders, and they could not force them back without exposing them to a bloody death. Here, then, we had the Government of the Transvaal, which we had reproached for its inhumanity, retorting the charge upon us, and pointing to the murders committed by a Chief whom Her Majesty's Government had placed in power. He had not half exhausted the description of disorder and bloodshed contained in the Blue Book; but he thought he had said enough to lead the House to question whether the present condition of Zululand was satisfactory.
"What he wanted to point out was that the present condition of that country afforded no excuse for the detention of Cetewayo. If we left the people of Zululand to themselves, and washed our hands of any connection with the country, we might say that we were not in fault; but by keeping Cetewayo a captive we were interfering in the most positive manner with the affairs of Zululand. He did not enter into the question whether, if Cetewayo came back, he would be at once accepted by the people. If he had no following in the country, clearly no harm would be done by setting him free. But if his freedom would lead to his immediate restoration, then our keeping him in captivity was a manifest interference with the affairs of Zululand. There were two grounds upon which we might go. We might either wash our hands of the whole business, and then we should incur no responsibility; or, if we took responsibility upon ourselves, then we should put a stop to the effusion of blood that was going on. Let us either cease to interfere at all, or let our interference be such as would put an end to bloodshed and disorder. All our authorities were in favour either of restoring Cetewayo or of annexing Zululand to the British Crown. Lord Chelmsford said that the settlement we had made would be vain. Our Resident said it was necessary that Zululand should have one head. He pointed, probably, to annexation. Bishop Douglas and Mr. Robertson, while opposed to the restoration of Cetewayo, were in favour of annexation. He hoped Her Majesty's Government, if resolved to keep Cetewayo in captivity, would say why they did so. He begged to move the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
, in seconding the Motion, said he wished to show by his action with regard to it that this was in no sense a Party question, but simply an act of justice. The real question they had to consider in connection with that matter was the one which the Zulu King himself had set forth in the remarkable letter that he wrote to the Queen, which no one could read without emotion, and in which he wished to know what he had done to justify his being imprisoned for so long a period. Now, he (Mr. W. Fowler) owned that he had never yet been able to answer that question satisfactorily. In the Blue Books he found a great many statements, but no evidence that Cetewayo had done anything to justify his imprisonment.
Much depended on the way in which they viewed the character of that man, and on whether they thought he could be trusted or not. In a clear and admirable letter, written by the Dean of Maritzburg immediately after the War, speaking of the Zulus, the Dean said that they never went to war with us; that they had always been excellent neighbours; that Cetewayo had defended his country bravely and had committed no excesses; that the War had been ours, not his; that he had never overrun Natal, and had never shown any disposition to do so, and that we were stronger than we had been willing to allow. A great deal had been said about the military ambition of Cetewayo, and the only argument which Lord Chelmsford used in his recent letter to the papers against the restoration of Cetewayo was that we should have a restoration of the Army of Cetewayo, and that Army would be a standing menace to Natal and that part of South Africa. But what was it that had led largely to the military ambition of Cetewayo?
It was our vacillation, and the vicinity and the action of the Boers. That was no fault of Cetewayo; he was very anxious in regard to the Boers; but he had never shown a disposition to attack us, nor did he attack the Boers, because we persuaded him not to do so. Therefore, with regard to military ambition, it was a strange argument to be used by European Powers. Why, they were in far more danger from the vicinity of France and Germany than from anything Cetewayo could do. It was said that Cetewayo was cruel and violent. He had seen a great many anonymous statements to that effect, but no evidence. He was regarded as a firm Ruler, but not as a cruel one; and, in his letter, he said that the great complaint against him was that he was not half as firm as his father.
All the evidence went to show that the people loved him as a Ruler, and looked upon him with the greatest possible affection, as was strikingly shown by the way in which they concealed him when he was attacked and pursued by our troops. Anything more miserable than the story of the way he was caught could not be conceived. An hon. Member sitting beside him (Mr. W. Fowler) had visited the country six years ago, and his impression was that it was very quiet and peaceable.
Then, again, the man who was described as a savage had evinced remarkable forbearance in the hour of victory. After the battle of Isandlana, he might have swept Natal of every White man in the place; but he did not. And why was that? Because, as he told them, he did not feel himself an enemy of England, or want to quarrel with her, nor did he wish to destroy the White people.
All through he had shown good faith to us, and even when he had the opportunity he did not use his power to punish or injure White people. As to the character of the King, there was one incident which should be mentioned. One of the officers who had the custody of Cetewayo was killed in the Transvaal War, and when the King heard of it he ate no food for a whole week, so much was he affected by the loss. His conduct as a prisoner, moreover, had been extremely dignified, and worthy of a man of far higher origin. The opinions they had heard from the Bishop of Natal, who had had great experience of the Native races, as to the character of Cetewayo, could be placed against those of Sir Bartle Frere, Sir Evelyn Wood, and others, who did not know him half so well. As regarded the settlement of the country, he fully appreciated the argument that it was unwise to unsettle a settlement. There were 13 Kings at present, instead #444444">The hon. and learned Member opposite had shown that it was not, but only confusion; and the Government might have expected confusion when they set up 13 persons in place of one. Last summer Sir Evelyn Wood had a meeting of the Chiefs, and shortly afterwards there were most serious disturbances, and the terrible massacre to which the hon. and learned Member opposite had referred. Great cruelty had been inflicted on those who desired to have the Zulu King back. In Zululand, under Cetewayo, there was, no doubt, a great Army; but the state of the country was one of comparative quiet. The King was not all that we might desire; but, at any rate, he did not interfere with us; and, although we professed to be very much afraid of him, the best evidence he could find was that the fear was needless.
Sir Henry Bulwer said he did not consider there was the slightest ground for it. On the other hand, Lord Kimberley, in his Instructions to Sir Henry Bulwer on his new appointment, spoke in terms of entire dissatisfaction with the present state of things in Zululand. On that point he might read the following passage from a letter, dated October 27, 1881, from the Rev. E. Robertson, of Zululand:— You have heard, no doubt, of the recent slaughter of the Abaqulusi. I am told that it was greater than that of Isandlana. I fear there will be more yet. In fact, I am expecting every day to hear that the Usutu (Cetewayo's own tribe) have broken out. Their patience has been sorely tried, and it needs just a little more provocation to bring about another crash.
Maduna is strong enough to make mincemeat of Hamu and Zibebu any day. What he will end in doing I know not. If we relied on the different Kinglets we had set over the country we should rely on a broken reed. On the other hand, if we depended on Cetewayo, we should, at all events, depend on a King who had had universal authority over Zululand, and not on the half-breed Chief who had been placed over a large part of that territory, and who had applied to the Government to be made supreme Chief, an application which had been, happily, refused. It seemed that these Chiefs had broken all the conditions on which they entered into power.
Two of those conditions were that they were not to go to war with each other, and that they were not to have guns. It was quite evident that John Dunn had guns. The Correspondent of The Daily News, writing from Maritzburg, stated that to leave things as they were in Zululand was impossible; that the ultimate outcome of the present situation, unless something was done to cure it, was a combination between two or more of the most powerful Chiefs to exterminate the others; and there were only two ways out of the difficulty—either the country must be placed under British rule, according to Lord Kimberley's original intention, or Cetewayo must be sent back. He (Mr. W. Fowler) believed that if Cetewayo were permitted to return to Zululand the power of the other Chieftains would disappear like dew, and that he would be restored rapidly to full control over the country, for his character was such that if we placed him in power he would do right to his people.
One great argument used by Lord Chelmsford was that if we restored Cetewayo there would be a danger of a renewal of the Zulu War. But if we restored him we could restore him on such conditions as would make it safe that nothing of the kind should occur. At present we had a Resident in Zululand, and we could have a Resident there then after restoring Cetewayo; and, at any rate, we might try to restore order through him. He saw an argument the other day that we must not put Zululand back again into the unmitigated barbarism in which it was under Cetewayo. He denied that there was unmitigated barbarism under Cetewayo. He believed that Cetewayo's rule was a remarkably mitigated barbarism, because it was a barbarism under the control of an eminently intelligent Ruler of remarkable powers, used, as far as he (Mr. W. Fowler) could discover, with judgment and discretion. They were told there was great danger of further unsettlement. He could not see how any unsettlement could be greater than the present one. Lord Kimberley fully admitted that in his despatch.
He, further, did not believe there was anything in the argument that, as we had made an enemy of Cetewayo, it would be dangerous to release him, for Cetewayo not only was not vindictive, but had expressed his strong wish to be on friendly terms with England. Only a few months ago a gentleman in Cape Town went to see Cetewayo, who said that he had always been English, that his father had been English,
that he (Cetewayo) was now more English than ever, for the English had spared his life, and if the English restored him to power he would never fight against England. Cetewayo had felt the power of England, and he would not be the man to fight with her again. Another argument against Cetewayo's restoration to power was that we should have to make compensation to the existing Kings. He did not think that because the Government had that difficulty to get out of was a reason for keeping the King in captivity. It was our fault if the power had been given to men unfit to use it, and we must settle the matter in the best way possible.
It was said that the public opinion of Natal would be very much against a restoration of Cetewayo. He had seen all sorts of statements on that question. Sir Garnet Wolseley, speaking of the public opinion of Natal, said, on the 13th of February, 1880— Their desire is to annex Zululand to Her Majesty's South African Dominions, if not by a straightforward declaration to that effect, at least by imposing taxation on the Zulu people, by placing British magistrates in every district of the country, and by making Her Majesty's authority paramount. If that was the opinion of Natal, he did not think we should much regard it. There was another argument used against a restoration of Cetewayo to power, and that was that he was a nigger; but surely we ought to do justice to this man, whether he was black or white. There were, however, some English people who thought it was not of much consequence what happened to a nigger.
He did not think that in modern history there were to be found more than two cases like this—one was the case of Napoleon, and the other that of Toussaint L'Ouverture. If Cetewayo could be trusted—as those who knew him well would testify—he ought no longer to be detained; and the Government should at once accede to all that was asked for on his account—namely, to liberate him, and to give to him the common rights of the commonest man. The more he had investigated this matter the more he was convinced there was no proof that this man deserved the great and cruel punishment that had been inflicted on him—a punishment that was more severe to him than it would be to an ordinary Englishman. The punishment was also severe because the Government had degraded him by turning him out of his Monarchy and putting him into a prison. He had done nothing against this country, and he had asked what was the right of every man—namely, a trial; and if we did not release him within a reasonable time we should not only be doing him great injustice, but continuing a state of things which was a disgrace.
§ Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to release Cetewayo, the Zulu King, from the unjust captivity in which he is now held,"—(Mr. Gurst,) —instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
Sir, this question having been brought forward as an Amendment to the Motion that you do leave the Chair, we are not asked to meet the Motion of the hon. and learned Member by a direct negative. I am so far glad of that, because there is no reason why Her Majesty's Government should represent themselves as being at issue with him upon the question of principle relating to the matter which he has brought before the House. The contention I shall make is that the interference of the House in this matter would be entirely premature, and would lead to serious mischief; that the facts are not ripe for decision, even by the Government, much less are they ripe for decision by the interference of this House.
One word as to the language used by my hon. Friend who has just sat down, which is to a certain extent sustained by the terms of this Motion. The hon. and learned Gentleman has moved that Cetewayo ought to be re-released from the unjust captivity in which he is held; and my hon. Friend who followed him has entreated us to release him from prison, and no longer to permit him to be locked up. I will not deny that Cetewayo is under restraint; it is, perhaps, questionable whether he is detained in captivity, but it is a complete inaccuracy to say that he is in prison, or that he is locked up. He has been placed upon parole within certain local limits—that is an exactly true description of his present condition.
I do not intend to represent that fact as one of a light character; it is a fact of a grave and serious character, but it is a different one from that which the case would present, if, as my hon. Friend supposes, he were locked up in prison. Let us consider the chief points which have been made in the two speeches we have heard. It has been truly said by the Mover of this Motion that this is no Party question. I frankly own that I am glad that such a strong sympathy with this individual does exist in this House, and that it is not confined to one side of the House. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) has founded himself in some degree upon the injustice of the Zulu War, which, he says, is admitted by both sides of the House. I know not whether that is so, though I am afraid the hon. and learned Gentleman is, perhaps, a little precipitate in that assumption.
At any rate, I am not here to dispute the justice or the injustice of the Zulu War, though I have seen no cause to alter my opinion upon that subject; but I do not wish to dwell upon it at this moment—first, because it tends to introduce into this discussion topics of difference which we are willing to avoid; and, secondly, because it is not the question. Whether the Zulu War was just or unjust is not and cannot be, in point of right, the governing consideration in our minds with respect to the course we are now taking with regard to Cetewayo.
Our business is to be governed by the interests of South Africa, and especially of Zululand; and nothing will justify us in diverting our view from the question of what is best to be done in the present state of the facts, and in the present state of our information with reference to the interests of that country. The hon. and learned Gentleman has stated that the War was unjust, and my answer is that, agreeing with him, I hold that that is not the point we have now before us, and that we must look to considerations of a different order. He has also dwelt very much upon another point, which I am not here to contest.
If I were here to contest it, I should be speaking in entire contradiction to the despatches which have been sent out by the Government—namely, that the present condition of Zululand cannot be regarded as satisfactory. Though his description of the situation of the country as being that of anarchy and bloodshed is, perhaps, not perfectly accurate, yet that regular and suitable government has not been established there is undeniable, and that the results of the Zulu War—quite apart from the question of its justice or injustice, in substituting the present state of things for the rule of Cetewayo—have been unfortunate is also, in my opinion, undeniable; but none of these questions are before us. The question before us is—"What is the best to be done for the permanent welfare of that country?" How does the hon. and learned Member meet that vitally essential point? He proposes to us this dilemma—either Cetewayo has no friends at all, and releasing him will thus do no mischief, because if he is released no one will care for him; or, possibly, the Zulus are longing for his restoration, and, in that case, his restoration is the best thing that could happen.
I think it is impossible for anyone to contend that Cetewayo has no friends in that country. If it should finally appear that the mass of the people in Zululand are for Cetewayo, so that something like unanimity should prevail, so far from regarding him as an enemy of England and wishing him ill, and so far from being disposed to take anything but the most favourable course that the welfare of the country would permit, I should regard the proof of that fact with great pleasure; and that would be the sentiment of my Colleagues. But, besides those two propositions which have been put by the hon. and learned Gentleman, there is a third, which is much more probable than the proposition that Cetewayo has no friends, for that I hold to be entirely opposed to the evidence we have now before us. It is quite evident that he has friends; and that he is, or would be, a power in the country were lie free to take whatever measures he pleased, and to apply his own personal energies to the promotion of those measures. But, supposing, on the other hand, that, instead of an unanimous reception of Cetewayo, there should be a serious division of opinion, is it right for us, until we have taken every step in our power to obtain the best information and the best advice, to send Cetewayo into the country with the moral certainty we possess that he would be a power, and that if he were not the cause of pacification he would be a very serious cause of disturbance and bloodshed?
Both the speeches we have heard tend to rest upon an undeniable premiss—a conclusion which has nothing whatever to do with it. Both hon. Gentlemen say, justly enough, "You cannot represent this as a satisfactory settlement." No, Sir, we have not so represented it. They say the authorities are opposed to it. They are opposed to it; but they are not at all agreed upon the alternative to which we should resort. On the contrary, there is a most serious difference among the authorities as to the restoration of Cetewayo. We are not justified in setting aside the opinion of the authorities who are opposed to the restoration, at all events, until we have satisfied ourselves that we have done the best in our power to acquaint ourselves with the actual condition of facts. The hon. and learned Gentleman has most fairly admitted that there was this difference of opinion, and that there are those who hold that the annexation of Zululand to the British Empire is the proper course to be adopted.
I, for one, hope that that may not prove to be the case; but I am not prepared to say that we should be warranted in taking a course which assumes a full knowledge of the facts, when the very Papers we have laid upon the Table demonstrate that neither we nor the House are in full possession of the facts. At the same time, it is a patent fact that we have done the best that in us lies to obtain the very best information in our power; we have sent to a neighbouring Colony a gentleman in whose judgment, ability, and impartiality we have entire confidence, and we have called upon him to lose no time in applying his mind to the consideration of the affairs of Zululand.
We have just heard of his arrival, and in the course of a few weeks we hope to be in possession of his opinion. We look to him—as he is well entitled, from his great ability and experience, to be regarded—as a mediator between the opposing opinions that have been laid before us. My hon. Friend who has just sat down made very light of the question, whether or not we are under any obligations to the 13 Chiefs who are now in actual or nominal possession of Zululand. But, Sir, these obligations are not to be got rid of—at all events, without something like definite evidence as to the unfaithfulness or the incapacity of those Chiefs. I admit that two cases have been quoted; but it would be absurd to say that those 13 men are to be condemned because two of them have proved unfaithful to their Government. It may be that the others are unfaithful; but we have not such distinct and detailed evidence and responsible judgment upon that point as is absolutely necessary to warrant us in coming to a conclusion. I may point out that the Motion is incomplete as well as premature. It puts one alternative before us; but it may be our duty to do more than release Cetewayo. To release him is simply to renounce all responsibility in the matter, and to leave him to do what he can towards establishing himself or towards disturbing the country, and to wash our hands of the affair.
I doubt whether we have the right, in the present state of our information, to take that course; but it is quite possible that we may find the state of facts to be such that we may find it to be our duty to release Cetewayo, and do something more—to give him the moral support of this country in replacing him in his position. My hon. Friend who has just sat down has indicated that there are serious difficulties in this matter. He admits that great objections have been taken to the idea of a restoration of Cetewayo and his army. He says that we ought to release him and put him back; but put him back upon conditions—upon condition that he will not restore his military organization. My hon. Friend asks us to take this step without evidence from our own responsible authorities in the country.
I say it would be a very grave resolution, indeed, to arrive at to bind ourselves to the opinion expressed by my hon. Friend—an opinion to which I do not object, but which I say is premature. We are asked to determine to release Cetewayo upon condition that he will not reinstate his military organization, and if that condition is broken we are to tell him that we shall invade his country again. I do think my hon. Friend, upon consideration, will see that we are not asking too much in begging him to refrain from pledging the House on the present occasion in a manner which would be precipitate, and might be dangerous to a definite opinion on the subject. Suppose the House gave a judgment adverse to Cetewayo. I am glad to say that a vote against the Motion would, in its nature, be more a vote for the Previous Question than a vote adverse to Cetewayo; but in the country it would be taken as a vote adverse to Cetewayo.
I should, however, be very sorry that any vote adverse to Cetewayo should be placed upon record in this House. I should regret any vote which would hamper us in giving scope, should we find facts to justify it, to the views entertained by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and which, I believe, would be found almost universal in this House. But, at the same time, if I were to contemplate an arrival at a vote in favour of the Motion which has just been made, I cannot anticipate any advantage from such a result. But suppose the Motion is carried, and the release takes place, I do not see that there would be any relief from the responsibility which we have already incurred. On the contrary, I think there would be a serious addition to that responsibility.
But it will be urged that we are asked to decide in favour of non-interference, and are not asked to commit ourselves to a fresh policy. But I answer, we are dealing with facts as they are; we are dealing with a state of facts in which the essential circumstances are that Cetewayo is under restraint, and that an alternative system has been established in Zululand. No doubt, that system is unsatisfactory; but we are endeavouring to get at the best information and the best mode of dealing with the case.
Under these circumstances, and before we know the best mode of dealing with it, to release Cetewayo, and allow to pass into Zululand one whose presence there might entirely fail in recalling the people to their allegiance—and if it did so fail, it would be a new cause of political disturbance and an extensive shedding of human blood—that is not a course which the House can wisely or justly be called upon to take. I do not think that it is necessary for me to go further into this matter.
The hon. and learned Gentleman said that he declined to inquire whether Cetewayo would be accepted by his people as King or not. If he declines that inquiry, I beg him to go a little further, and not vote for his own Motion; for he certainly ought not to vote for his own Motion unless he has satisfied himself as to that inquiry. If he believes, upon evidence which we do not find sufficient, that Cetewayo will be accepted, he may consistently proceed with his Motion. But he declines to face that question. My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) says he will be accepted as King; but then my hon. Friend thinks himself in possession of evidence which Lord Kimberley does not find himself in possession of. My hon. Friend says it is difficult to find out the sentiments of the people, but yet that they would accept Cetewayo. My hon. Friend's convictions are a matter of great importance to himself undoubtedly, and ought to have great weight with this House. But until we are happy enough to arrive at similar convictions the Government will not be justified in taking measures for putting such convictions into effect.
I venture to hope that upon information of this kind we shall not be called upon to exhibit a variety of opinion which can do no good, and may do very serious evil, and which, at any rate, would lead to the opinion that we are substantially divided upon matters as to which I was sanguine enough to hope there was a general agreement. I do not question—although I think my hon. Friend has a little exaggerated in his statements about the condition of Zululand—that the new settlement has done nothing as yet towards making good its title to our approval. I may refer to the despatch of my noble Friend to Sir Henry Bulwer of the 2nd of February, in which my noble Friend carefully and elaborately set out the various alternatives which were open to us, and suggested inquiries conceived in the largest sense into the entire subject. That course of inquiry is one that has, I have no doubt, by this time been put in force, and I hope that no long time will elapse before we shall probe the matter to the bottom, so far as it admits of being so probed.
Then will be the time when we shall be in a condition to arrive at a judgment, and to act upon that judgment; and I assure the hon. Member and the House that they have not the slightest reason to fear that when that time arrives we shall approach the subject under the influence of any adverse prejudice towards the person on whose behalf he is so full of benevolent and patriotic intentions. It is impossible to think of the situation of Cetewayo without commiseration.
Without any desire to resuscitate the debates of three years ago, I may say that the public opinion of the country is that Cetewayo has claims upon our consideration. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered that the peace and welfare of the country ought to be the dominant consideration. We hope that the interests of Zululand itself will lead in the same direction as the sympathy which we must all feel for one who has suffered so much. At all events, the spirit in which we shall approach the decision of the question will be one of which we are sure that the House will have no disposition and no cause to complain, and the time at which we shall be able to approach it is, we trust, very near at hand.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
said, that there was a great deal in what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) with which he agreed. This was no Party question. It would be in the recollection of many hon. Members that in 1879, in the debate on the Zulu War, he (Sir Henry Holland) had felt himself compelled to differ from the opinion of, perhaps, the majority of those with whom he ordinarily acted, and that he had denounced the war as unjust and unnecessary. He would not now take up the time of the House by a re-statement of all the reasons upon which he arrived at that conclusion, because, as was stated by the right hon. Gentleman, the question of the justice or injustice of the Zulu War was not directly before the House; but he would briefly refer to one principal reason, as throwing some light upon the conduct and character of Cetewayo, which formed an important element in the consideration of the question now before the House. He showed in that debate, from a careful examination of all the proceedings of Cetewayo from the time he succeeded Panda, that, with the exception of sudden outbursts of temper, Cetewayo had been uniformly friendly to the British nation.
He constantly sought the assistance and advice of the Lieutenant Governor of Natal and of Sir Theophilus Shepstone; and he did what many who sought advice did not do—he almost invariably took that advice, though often very unpalatable to him. Thus, he over and over again, in conformity with the advice and wishes of the Lieutenant Governor, restrained his own strong desire, and that of his Chiefs, to attack the Boers and other neighbouring Tribes. He (Sir Henry Holland) urged, as a proof of this view, that Cetewayo did not invade Natal when it was denuded of troops, and when we were engaged in the troubles of the Transkei War; and this at a time when we were asked to believe that he was bitterly hostile to us.
He (Sir Henry Holland) desired to express his entire concurrence in the remarks made by the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Mr. Gorst) as to the treatment of Cetewayo shortly before war was declared. There was no doubt that for some months before the war Cetewayo was irritated at the apparent unfairness of the English Government in not settling the boundaries between Zululand and the Transvaal.
That irritation was not unreasonable, for he (Sir Henry Holland) felt bound to admit that the final settlement was unduly delayed; and it was not unnatural that Cetewayo should believe that, after we had annexed the Transvaal, we did not care to decide the matter. Again, there was no doubt that Cetewayo was alarmed and uneasy at the movement of troops towards the Natal Frontier—a movement which Sir Henry Bulwer had strongly deprecated as likely to cause that very alarm and uneasiness which it did, in fact, create in the minds of Cetewayo and of his Chiefs. But that irritation and uneasiness could have been removed by the exercise of a little tact and judgment. There was a fair opportunity for doing this when the award, by which the boundaries were defined, was sent to Cetewayo.
But what was done? Instead of sending that award as a message of peace, untrammelled by any conditions, conditions were attached to it which were unfair and unreasonable. And more than this. With the award was sent an ultimatum, with the terms of which it was impossible for Cetewayo to comply. Acceptance of those terms would have amounted to an extinction of Zulu government and power, and to the practical dethronement of himself. It followed, from what he (Sir Henry Holland) had said, that he regretted the necessity—perhaps unavoidable after war, however unjust, had commenced—of taking Cetewayo prisoner, and of detaining him as a prisoner of war. It was only just to the Cape Government to say that, acting in accordance with the wishes of the Imperial Government, they had done all they could to alleviate his captivity and to make it as little irksome as possible; and he should be glad to learn that any further alleviation could be granted, or any restrictions removed, consistently with Cetewayo's remaining in the Cape Colony.
But the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Chatham advocated an immediate release without any conditions; and both his speech and that of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. W. Fowler) pointed to the desirability of his being restored to Zululand. Now, he (Sir Henry Holland) was certainly not prepared to take any step towards restoring Cetewayo to Zululand, or even towards settling him upon any location near Zululand. Whether, after the conclusion of the war, Cetewayo might have been left as paramount Chief under certain conditions, and with limitations of his power, he would not now stop to inquire. But the House was now asked to forma judgment upon a totally different state of things.
Zululand had been partitioned out among certain Chiefs, and solemn engagements had been entered into with those Chiefs, which would be most flagrantly broken if Her Majesty's Government were of their own free will to allow Cetewayo to return to power in that country. The whole nature of the arrangement was inconsistent with such return; and, if not in express terms, they had impliedly bound themselves not to adopt such a policy. It had been contended that the present state of Zululand was deplorable. Without accepting all the reports—many made by Natives on hearsay—as to the state of things in that country,
he would admit it to be probable that the arrangement made at the conclusion of the war had not worked in an altogether satisfactory manner, and that acts of bloodshed and cruelty had been perpetrated; but sufficient time had not yet elapsed to satisfy us that, with modifications, that arrangement might not practically work well. If the state of things described by the hon. and learned Member continued, it would undoubtedly be the duty of Her Majesty's Government to interfere and put an end to it—by deposing those Chiefs who behaved in this outrageous manner; by strengthening the hands of the British Resident; and by appointing, if necessary, more Residents and Magistrates. But how would the state of Zululand be improved by the return of Cetewayo? He would ask the House to consider in what capacity Cetewayo could be restored. Was he to go back as paramount Chief?
This would be a clear and distinct breach of our engagements with the Chiefs, by which we had vested in them certain denned powers. It appeared to him that Cetewayo could only be so restored at the unanimous desire and request of all the Chiefs—a contingency which had not happened, and he thought was not very likely to happen for some years to come, if at all. Was Cetewayo, then, to return as a subordinate Chief, and to have a district allotted to him? In the first place, no district was vacant, and we could not, consistently with our engagements, now insist upon a forced sub-division of a district for the purpose of fixing Cetewayo there. And even if there were a vacancy, he questioned whether we could properly appoint Cetewayo to such vacancy. He was not sure whether, under the arrangement made at the conclusion of the war, a Chief had the right to appoint his successor, or whether such right was vested in the people of the district; but such right, whether vested in the Chief or people, would be infringed by the forced appointment of Cetewayo to fill the vacancy. And, further, he would ask the House to consider whether it would not be highly undesirable to place Cetewayo in a position of equality with Chiefs over whom he so lately ruled?
If, then, it would be dangerous to restore him as paramount Chief, or as a subordinate Chief, would it be less dangerous to allow him to go back and settle there as a private individual? It would be very difficult to prevent him from plotting to regain power if he were so inclined. There were now in Zululand many members of his family and household, and many who held high position under him when in power, who were disaffected, and would gladly assist him to regain that power, by which they would profit. Here would be one source of danger. But assuming that he would not be inclined to intrigue for power, would not his mere presence in the country tend to intensify any quarrel that might arise between two Chiefs, and to increase any disaffection or ill-feeling that might arise between any Chief and his followers? He (Sir Henry Holland) would have hesitated to have pressed so strongly this opposition to Cetewayo's return to Zululand had this view been only held by himself. But he must remind the House that the people of Natal had most strongly protested against Cetewayo's restoration;
and great attention should be paid to that opinion, as the people of that Colony were most deeply interested in the welfare of Zululand, and would be most directly affected by disturbances there. He had within the last week also had the opportunity of seeing a letter from John Dunn, in which the danger of allowing Cetewayo to return was most strongly pressed. Of course, it would be said that John Dunn was an interested party. That was true, but that very interest made him alive to the danger; and whatever might be alleged of John Dunn, no one could deny that he was a very shrewd observer, and that he knew the Zulu Natives better, probably, than anyone else in South Africa. As he had mentioned the name of John Dunn, he would venture to say a few words on behalf of a man to whom he thought scant justice had been done, and who certainly had been assailed that evening in very strong language.
John Dunn rendered most loyal and important services to the British after the war broke out. Without those services our success must have been delayed, the war must have been prolonged, and many valuable lives must have been lost. Upon this point he might, without hesitation, refer to the evidence of Lord Chelmsford, Major General Crealock, and Sir Garnet Wolseley, and others in command. John Dunn had been accused of treachery to Cetewayo; but he was at a loss to see upon what grounds. Before the war John Dunn had used all his great influence with Cetewayo to prevent that war. When the war was imminent, or just after it was declared, Cetewayo informed John Dunn that he was unable to protect him, and, therefore, he crossed the Frontier with the full knowledge of Cetewayo, and quite openly, Since the conclusion of the war John Dunn had governed his district with great ability and judgment. He had passed Liquor Laws to prevent the introduction of spirits into his district; he had facilitated and improved the administration of justice; and had introduced a simple and effective Criminal Code based on the Native Laws.
Not only this, but he interfered most usefully when a quarrel broke out be- tween two Chiefs; he localized that quarrel, and prevented a general disturbance. Upon this point they had the high testimony of Sir Evelyn Wood. Returning again to the question before the House, he (Sir Henry Holland) desired to state one more reason which should make the House pause before passing a Resolution in favour of Cetewayo's return to Zululand. They must consider the character of Cetewayo. Now, no doubt, since he had been in captivity, he had given expression to many dignified and humane sentiments, though he (Sir Henry Holland) could not help thinking that the reports of his speeches were some what highly coloured, and he had certainly impressed a great many people in his favour. But dignity in captivity was quite consistent with cruelty when in power. There could be no question that Cetewayo was cruel when in power, and that by his acts he had alienated many of his followers. Had those who now so highly praised him forgotten that in 1876 he coolly put to death a very large number of innocent young persons and children, and thus drew down upon himself the indignant and strong remonstrances and rebukes of Sir Henry Bulwer.
And this act he committed in distinct contravention of most solemn promises which he openly made with Sir Theophilus Shepstone and the Zulu people, when he was proclaimed King. When remonstrated with, he replied by a letter, in which he said that he would kill—that it was the custom of his nation, and that his people would not listen to him unless he killed.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, it was not a letter, but a message.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
At all events, those were the actual words of the Chief who delivered the message, and they were never denied by Cetewayo. Indeed, the only defence raised for them was one raised in this House by the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. James), in 1879, that they were attributable to rum, or a sudden outburst of temper. He would ask the House to consider what security we could have against a return of like acts of cruelty if we replaced Cetewayo as paramount Chief. In conclusion, he would ask the House to allow him to refer to one matter, very directly bearing upon the question before the House, but to which no allusion had been made. A few days before the House rose, the Under Secretary of the Colonies, in reply to a question put by him (Sir Henry Holland), announced that Her Majesty's Government had decided to bring Cetewayo over to this country.
Now he for one, trusted that Her Majesty's Government would reconsider that decision. He could not see what possible good could arise from Cetewayo's coming here; unless, indeed, it was decided that he should be restored to Zululand. In that case, it would be desirable that he should go back fully impressed with a sense of the greatness, of the power, and of the resources of England. It was, doubtless, for this reason that, in 1731, Governor Oglethorpe brought over from the newly-founded Colony of Georgia several Creek Indian Chiefs, whom he took back with him after their visit here. And the address of the head Chief, when presented to the King, George II., showed that he thoroughly understood the position and force of the reason. The Chief was reported to have said— This day I see the majesty of your face, the greatness of your house, and the number of your people. I am come in my old days.
Though I cannot expect any advantage to myself, I am come for the good of the children of all the Natives of the Lower and Upper Creeks, that they may he instructed in the knowledge of the English and of their power. O great King, whatever word you shall say unto me, I will on my return faithfully tell them to all the Kings of the Creek Natives. But what good would be gained by impressing his mind with a sense of the greatness of this country, unless he was to return to Zululand—a step which he trusted he had convinced the House would be highly inexpedient? It had, indeed, been urged that he should be allowed to plead his own cause here in England. But with whom was he to plead it?
With Her Majesty's Government, or with the people of England? Surely not with the former. The Government knew all the bearings of the case, and were not likely to alter their views upon it by seeing Cetewayo in person. Was he to plead with the people at public meetings? Those who were already interested in his case had full knowledge of it from the Papers presented to Parliament, and from the very full reports of the many interviews that he had had at the Cape, and they could gain no further information by statements made in public through an interpreter.
As to the rest of the public, they would, no doubt, rush to see him, as they would to see Jumbo, or any other unusual sight; but what weight would their opinion, if favourable to Cetewayo, have with the Government, seeing that they had not studied the rights of the case, and merely taken his statements without testing their force or accuracy? If, indeed, Cetewayo had signified any desire to settle down in this country, the case would be different; and, he (Sir Henry Holland), believing as he did, that the war was unjust and that his detention was to be regretted though unavoidable, would be disposed to meet his wishes in every way. But he was not aware that Cetewayo had ever expressed any such desire, and the Government had not put it forward as a ground for their decision. He should, therefore, feel bound to oppose the bringing over of Cetewayo to this country, because no good could come of it, unless Cetewayo were to be restored to Zululand, which he thought would be a course fraught with danger, and inconsistent with the engagements we entered into at the conclusion of the war. He hoped the hon. and learned Member for Chatham would not press the Resolution to a division; but if he did, he (Sir Henry Holland) would be obliged to vote against it.
said, it would, perhaps, be for the convenience of the House if he said at once that, after the very satisfactory statement which had been made by the Prime Minister, he had no desire whatever to do other than follow the advice which the right hon. Gentleman had given on this occasion, regarding him as his Leader in this matter. If the House would allow him to follow the right hon. Gentleman's advice, he would be most happy to do so.
§ SIR DAVID WEDDERBURN
said, that, after the speech of the Prime Minister, there remained very little for a friend of Cetewayo to say in this House, and he would only allude to one particular point. Having very recently returned from South Africa, he would say a few words upon the local public opinion on this matter, and he would deprecate its being misunderstood in any way by Her Majesty's Government, who had yet to form a final opinion on this important question. If they went to Cape Colony, they would find that the Cape Colonists considered themselves to be a good way off from Zululand, and that they did not take a very keen or practical interest in Zulu affairs. In fact, if Cetewayo himself did not happen to be a captive within their limits, he thought they would take very little interest in the question at all;
and as far as he could gather public opinion there, it was very much divided. Some said, "Oh, he had better go back to his own country;" and others seemed to think he should be retained in prison. But when they came to those countries which were nearer to Zululand, and which were, therefore, more closely interested, they found opinion among the public at large to be very definitely felt and expressed. To begin with the Transvaal Boers; it was evident that they, so far as they had expressed themselves through their Government and Rpresentatives, were in favour of the return of Cetewayo, not merely of his release, but of his restoration, and the ground they put it upon was, that it would be a pacific and peaceful solution of the difficulty. In Natal opinion was somewhat different.
While he was in Natal a large public meeting was held at Durban to discuss the question of the restoration of Cetewayo. No doubt, by a large majority it was decided that it would be dangerous to the prosperity of Natal if Cetewayo were restored; but the meeting was not unanimous, and it had been undoubtedly brought together by the un-friends of Cetewayo, and those whom he might call, perhaps, the friends of John Dunn. Apart from this, he would point out that the public opinion of meetings such as that held at Durban ought not greatly to influence Her Majesty's Government or the decision of this House. Meetings in such a place as Durban upon general political questions would be as worthy of respect and attention, and perhaps more so, than any meetings held in a town of the same size in this country. There was an intelligent and an educated public opinion, no doubt; but if they came to ask how much those gentlemen who attended a meeting of that sort knew about the Zulus, they would find that their knowledge was probably limited to acquaintance with a few who had come to seek service in the town. Not one in 500 of them knew anything of the Zulu language, of the Zulu people, or of their country.
If they consulted those few, the select few, who had travelled through Zululand, who were familiar with the language, and had obtained a certain amount of the confidence of the people, they would certainly find that opinions differed even there. No doubt many missionaries, who were well entitled to speak, deprecated the return of the King; but against that he would set the opinions of many others—he should think, on the whole, the majority—though, as to that, he was perhaps not able to speak with confidence—the opinion of many others that the return and the full restoration—because he did not think the mere release of the King would be a satisfactory way of dealing with the matter—that the restoration of Cetewayo would tend to the pacification of the country. It ought to be borne in mind that war, as it had hitherto been conducted in Natal, had no great terrors for the Colonists—indeed, the palmiest days of Natal were during the late Zulu War. Enormous sums of Imperial money were spent there.
Everybody who had anything to sell got about double price for it. Spirited and energetic young men found good pay and employment as Volunteers; and he would venture to assert that a war which would result in the annexation of Zululand would be an exceedingly popular war now in Natal. Therefore, he would not infer from the fact that the population of Natal deprecated Cetewayo's restoration that on that ground they greatly dreaded a war. Then, as had been justly said by an hon. Member opposite (Sir Henry Holland), the Chief John Dunn was one of those who thoroughly understood the affairs of Zululand. He could not tell with certainty what John Dunn's opinion was as to his probable position were the rightful Monarch to return. He only knew that he had been taking measures to put a certain amount of his property beyond the reach of danger.
While he was in the Colony, it was believed that John Dunn had brought on one occasion £5,000 to place in the bank at Durban. He certainly had brought a large sum of money. He would only infer from that that he did not consider his position there a very secure or permanent one; and, from all that he had been able to learn from those who knew the Zulus best, whatever other matters might be in doubt, there seemed to be no doubt whatever of the steadfast devotion of the great bulk of the Zulu community to their former King; and it was more than probable that a great number of the present Chiefs would at once resign their authority into his hands if he were to return with the moral support of this country. The difficulty with some of them, no doubt, would be that they were not Zulus—one was a Basuto, and another was, as they well knew, a Scotchman. He was inclined to think that in their case it was only just to give a certain amount of compensation. If two or three of them were compensated, he believed the others would willingly accept Cetewayo. He was only making these remarks because he had had some means of ascertaining what the local opinion was; and he trusted that Her Majesty's Government, in making up their minds, would accept these expressions of public meetings with some caution, and that, in finding out what the real truth was, they should only consult those who spoke the Zulu language, and were familiar with the country.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, he also had been to South Africa, and could confirm the remarks of the hon. Baronet. In the Blue Book issued before the House rose for the Holidays there was a reference to a despatch to the British Resident at Pretoria. He wished to ask whether that despatch could be laid on the Table of the House? He listened with gratification to the remarks which fell from the Prime Minister. He thought the course recommended was the best they could pursue. He was glad to hear the Prime Minister speak with a kindly feeling towards the unfortunate Monarch. He hoped the Government would take his case into their consideration. It seemed to him that there were only three courses to adopt in dealing with Zululand. They could restore Cetewayo. They could adopt the suggestion advocated by John Dunn, and nominate him paramount Chief or King of Zululand.
They could adopt the plan advocated by Mr. Osborne, our Resident Minister, and annex the country. He thought they might dismiss the last-named course, although it was advocated by so high an authority. He did not apprehend that the Government were prepared to annex Zululand. That course had been repudiated by the late Government, he believed; and it had been equally repudiated by the present Government. If submitted to that House, he was convinced it would meet with little support. A point had been made with regard to the justice due to the 13 Kinglets established by Sir Garnet Wolseley. It appeared to him, after a perusal of the Papers, that the settlement of Sir Garnet Wolseley had completely broken down. The setting up of these 13 Kinglets had turned out a great mistake.
To introduce anarchy into the country was unworthy of England, of its honour and its name. The principle of the present system must come to an end. It was evident that John Dunn thought that the best course would be to appoint him paramount Chief—in other words, King. He (Mr. R. N. Fowler) strongly deprecated making John Dunn paramount Chief. Whatever were Cetewayo's faults, he preferred a native Zulu to a renegade Englishman or Scotchman—for he understood the hon. Gentleman (Sir David Wedderburn) claimed John Dunn as a Scotchman. At all events, he preferred Cetewayo to a renegade Britisher—a man who had renounced the virtues of civilization. He thought the best proof of Cetewayo's friendly disposition towards England, and the absence of any intention on his part to invade our Colony, was the fact of his abstaining from any attempt at attack when Natal lay at his mercy after the battle of Isandula.
He had heard many stories in Natal of how Lord Chelmsford frightened the Colonists by leaving his Army after Isandula, and coming down to superintend the fortification of Maritzburg and Durban. But, whatever the faults of Cetewayo were, he acted on the principle of defending his own country. Cetewayo informed him, at an interview he had with him, that be and his family wished to maintain friendly relations with England. Those relations commenced some 50 years ago, when his Predecessor rescued a British ship on the Coast of Natal. His hon. Friend the Member for Midhurst (Sir Henry Holland) deprecated bringing Cetewayo to this country. He could not agree with him. Considering the injustice which had been done to the unfortunate man, it was only right that they should accede to his wishes, and give him an opportunity of laying his Petition before the Queen and Government of this country. By bringing Cetewayo over to this country, the Government would pursue a wise course, and he hoped it would be carried out. The best course, in his opinion, would be the restoration of this unfortunate Prince to his native country, and then they would get rid of the anarchy which at present prevailed there.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
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