27 JUNE 1896, Page 17


ARUMOUR that Salisbury, in Matabeleland, had fallen, which spread everywhere on Thursday, and was supported by two telegrams in the Daily Telegraph, has happily not been confirmed, but the news from Rhodesia grows worse and worse. Tribe after tribe is rising on the whites, and the rinderpest, which drives the natives crazy with fear of starvation, spreads farther every day. Fort Charter is surrounded, isolated parties are daily reported "murdered," often with horrible circumstances, a large stock of cartridges, twenty-five thousand rounds, has fallen into the insurgents' possession, and it is difficult to move stores because so many draught-oxen are dead of the plague. The armed settlers are being urged forward to defend Mashonaland, and their place at Bulawayo will be taken by regulars from Mafeking and the Cape, but there is evident doubt if the supply of soldiers is sufficient. Mr. Chamberlain has telegraphed asking for General Carrington's opinion, but we hope troops are also collecting at Bombay. What seems to be most necessary of all is the despatch of some great civil officer to the spot, with power to control everybody and regularise the entire defence. Failing such an officer, we shall have a scattered and meaningless war of colour, conducted guerilla fashion, and ending, when two years hence it does end, in permanent distrust and hatred between blacks and whites. That is the chronic danger of communities so mixed as those of South Africa.