30 DECEMBER 1882, Page 13


LTO TEE ED/TOE OF THE " $kitOTATOIL" 1 1 a;—Will you allow me to make a few remarks on your criticism, in the Spectator of November 4th, on Sir Bartle Frere's article entitled "The Future of Zululand." I shall say -nothing on the main question of whether the march of British influence and empire can be arrested at the Tugela or not; what I want to call attention to is the view you take of the development in South Africa of anti-English feeling, and the causes which have given rise to it, and which will continue to intensify it. You admit the reality of the danger, but you deprecate much weight being attached to it, on the ground that the probable discovery of gold will cause such an influx of British immigrants as will ones for all give to the colony a paramount English character. But supposing this discovery, if it takes place at all, is delayed for ten or twenty years, and the anti-English movement goes steadily on, separation will have taken place, and the character of South Africa will be Dutch, and not English. Whether that is expedient or not for South Africa, or for the Empire, it is not necessary to say ; but it is important to consider what is likely to promote such a state of things, and what is likely to pre- vent it. The policy of the Colonial Office towards South Africa must be either one of politic intervention, or one of abstention ; but neither policy can be successful, unless it is carried out consistently. Lord Kimberley has tried and is trying abstention ; but it has been impossible for him to be thorough in his abstention, and it will become still more impos- sible, as events develop themselves. It was well known that in the last Basuto war the natives had the moral support of the sympathy of the Imperial Government ; and that has un- doubtedly encouraged the Basutos in their present attitude, which defies the conciliatory measures of Mr. Scanlen as effec- tually as it did the warlike ones of Mr. Sprigg. Moreover, colonists are made to understand that though the Imperial Government will not lend them a soldier, either for love or for money,to help in putting down the Basuto rebellion, and though it will not take the government of Basutoland off their hands, yet that it claims a voice in the disposition of the lands of the rebels when the colonists have fought their own battles. It seems, then, as if the Colonial Office existed only to evade our responsibilities, but yet to assert its right to interference, whenever party pressure at home makes in- terference on behalf of the natives politically expedient. The same evasion of responsibilities is visible with re- gard to the natives on the Trausvaal borders, and loyal colonists watch with bitter regret the acquiescence of Lord Kimberley in the gradual extinction of one friendly chief after another, —chiefs who took active parts on the British side in the Trans- vaal war, by affording protection and food to British refugees. The only method of carrying out abstention with regard to the Transvaal is to put an end to the Convention, and unless that is done, intervention of some sort is inevitable. It is impossible to advocate such a course further than to say that it would be far less unjust to English, Dutch, and natives than the present state of things. The impression among loyal Dutchmen and Englishmen is that the present Government at home is indifferent as to whether this colony separates itself from the Empire or not ; and therefore they can have no motives of loyalty for opposing the aggressive spread of the Africander agitation. They are literally " driven " into it. The fate and the sufferings of the Transvaal loyalists are before their eyes. They see the impulse given to the cry for a Republic by the retrocession of that country, they foresee the still stronger one which will be given by the abandonment of Basutoland to the Free State, and they ask themselves what, if anything, can keep the colony from ceasing to be part of the British Empire. By all means let Lord Kimberley leave a colony with responsible government to settle its own internal difficulties; but the best way to effect that is either to cordially assist them to face external disturbances like the great Native question, or else to take such a question out of their hands. Most colonists would welcome the latter course, and natives, who will defy the Colonial Government, will submit quietly to the rule of the Queen. Natives left in the lurch by the Imperial Government become extinguished, and their territories become Dutch. The more this goes on, the better for the extreme Africander party, and the worse for loyal English and Dutch. Lord Kimberley's present policy, actuated, doubtless, by the best motives, encour- ages disaffection, handicaps heavily English influence, and must lead to native wars ; no one who is acquainted with the Dutch theory of governing natives will dispute the last fact. If Lord Kimberley protects the natives, and values the loyalty of Dutch and English alike, he will find that many a one who has been driven into being a member of the Africander Bond, is really,