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chosen for pressing it, and the manner in which it was placed before the country, was resented by the Cape, and, as we believe we can prove most clearly, was very justly resented.
Cape statesmen and the Imperial Governor and High Commissioner were agreed in their judgment that the present was an inopportune time to broach the subject. The people on the spot had shown themselves fully able to take care of their own interests, and were the best judges of the most fitting time and method for the introduction of so momentous a change. If the Home Government in its wisdom thought a conference desirable on the subject, the obvious course would have been to take the proper constitutional means for bringing the suggestion before the Free Parliament of the Cape, and so testing the feeling of the Colony by the opinions of its constitutional representatives. This is no theoretical suggestion, but has the seal of successful precedent in the case of Canada and is what has been pursued in Australia. No Imperial despatch was sent to Quebec announcing a conference and naming representatives, much less was this accomplishment of the will of the Home Government made a matter of agitation by any oratorical commissioner from headquarters.
From the time of Lord Durham's report, published in 1839, the union of the Canadian Colonies had formed a prominent subject for discussion. In 1858 it was made a ministerial measure, and the Home Government was addressed upon the subject. Delegates were sent over in 1858 to consult with her Majesty's Ministers upon the matter. Finally the Canadian Parliament deputed representatives to propose the federation of all the British North American Colonies, and at that conference resolutions were drawn up and formed the basis of the Imperial Act. Lord Blachford, who was himself present throughout the sittings of the Canadian Conference, tells us that Sir John Macdonald was the ruling genius and spokesman' and did all the work,
while Lord Carnarvon's presidency was disappointing.'' Sir Charles Adderley, Under Secretary for the Colonies at the time, says :
The Imperial Legislature acted extraneously, so to speak, to the transaction, having not to institute the arrangement, but only to ratify and confirm the colonial compact. . . . The Act of Union simply embodied in an Imperial enactment the provincial resolutions passed at Quebec.?
It is strange that with this knowledge of the history of the federation of North America, Lord Carnarvon should have fallen into the grave errors which characterised his actions in connection with the proposed federation of South Africa. He seemed quite unable to apply the knowledge he possessed and the principles of which he often spoke to the complicated and difficult problem with which he rashly attempted to deal.
There was now to be seen a tremendous reversal of Imperial policy towards South Africa. In 1854 the Orange River Sovereignty was peremptorily abandoned despite the protests of its inhabitants. In 1877 the Transvaal was annexed notwithstanding the protests of its Government and people. These events mark the limits of the two extremes.
| Letters of Lord Blachford, p. 301. ? Sir Charles Adderley's Colonial Policy, pp. 47 and 49.
MR. FROUDE AND THE CONFEDERATION DESPATCH.
Mr. Froude selected-His Character-His Mission-Disclaims official character
–His first Visit-Lord Carnarvon's Proposals—They startle South Africa--Lord Carnarvon appeals directly to the People-Mr. Froude's Letter—Mr. Molteno advises delay- Reception of Proposals by Cape ParliamentDebate-- Their Rejection.
The key-note of Lord Carnarvon's policy was the contraction of British responsibilities in South Africa and the reduction of the Imperial forces maintained there. With this object the Cape Colony was to be made responsible for the government and defence of the whole of South Africa. In the sequel we shall see that the unwise prosecution of this object (in itself most excellent) led to a vast extension of the employment of the Imperial troops in South Africa and an enormous loss of life and treasure. As a beginning he proposed to himself the task of ridding the Imperial Government of the troubles and responsibilities of Griqualand West and Natal. If this object could be accomplished by means of a great federation of the Colonies and the States so much the better; but if not, then it must be the main object of his South African policy to make the Cape Colony responsible for Griqualand West and Natal.l
Mr. Froude, whom Lord Carnarvon called to his aid in this project, was a man who confessed that his mind and
· Mr. Froude in his famous Report of the 10th of January, 1875 says, to Lord Carnarvon : 'I brought him [Mr. Molteno] back to your real purpose, the Griqualand question and the native question.' And he explains that he means Natal by the term 'native question.'—I. P., C—1399, p. 67.
cast of thought had been formed in the unexhilarating atmosphere of the library rather than in that of practical life, a man of high and brilliant attainments and scholarship, but a man extremely unreliable, a man who rapidly drew conclusions from premisses as to the truth of which he did not sufficiently assure himself. He took a hasty and superficial view, and where facts did not fit his theories he assumed facts which did.
If Lord Carnarvon really desired to extend responsible government in South Africa he certainly made choice of a strange instrument. Was not Mr. Froude the panegyrist of tyranny? Has he not himself told us, 'I do not pretend to impartiality'? His ‘History of England' has been not unfairly criticised as an attempt to glorify tyranny. His words spoken at Port Elizabeth rise to mind: 'I invented reasons -I confess not altogether true ones.' He had neither the patience nor the will to get at the bottom of any question. When offered the examination of the masses of historical
in the muniments of Hatfield, he accepted the offer and stayed one day! Lord Beaconsfield's papers were offered to him while writing his short life of that statesman: he was content with a Saturday to Monday visit ! His Life of Cæsar' shows that he had not taken the trouble to master Cicero's letters. When visiting Jamaica with a view to writing his ‘English in the West Indies,' he sat in the shade reading Dante instead of investigating its institutions for himself. His History of the English in Ireland' was written avowedly with a view of showing the futility of conciliation ; and we find so strong a Unionist as Lecky condemning it in unmeasured terms and saying :
In this and in other matters he is a complete disciple of Mr. Carlyle, whose influence, inspiration, and peculiar antipathies may
· For these details I am indebted to the obituary notice of Mr. Froude in the Times of the 22nd of October, 1894.
be traced in every page of his book and who, as is well known, is of opinion that despotism is the ideal form of government; that England since the time of Cromwell has been steadily declining, and that her free Parliament is her greatest curse."
In the field of literature such imperfect methods, such empirical views, and such errors as naturally follow upon them, are serious; but not so serious as when in the arena of statesmanship they are translated into action. This is what Lord Carnarvon undertook to do with the views of South Africa, which Mr. Froude had formed on a sixty days' acquaintance with a continent. We cannot be surprised at the disastrous character of the results which followed this attempt. It was to end in the blood and iron of the Zulu and Basuto wars and the Transvaal uprising, in the dictatorship of Sir Garnet Wolseley, with its retrograde passion for methods of repression, which destroyed the free constitution of Natal.
Throughout we find the whole question of the Federation of South Africa governed by the 'impatience of orderly and peaceful solution, in powerful contrast with the wise, patient, and orderly development which we have seen was the cardinal principle of Mr. Molteno's policy-Confederation he held would come naturally and by degrees, the natives would be gradually accustomed to our rule and become civilised, and in this manner their barbarism would be disarmed from evil. Lord Carnarvon said 'No' to this policy. His estimate, given in a letter to Sir Bartle Frere, was that the confederation might not only be brought about but consolidated in two years, and his policy transmitted through that official was always of the same tenour: You must confederate at once; the Zulus must be destroyed as a power at once, the Transvaal must be seized and forced into a confederation, the natives must not slowly turn their
Macmillan's Magasine, June 1874. ? Life of Sir B. Frere, vol. ii. p. 162.