(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Life and Times of Sir John Charles Molteno, K.C.M.G.: Comprising a History of Representative ..."

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 



at |http : //books . google . com/ 



SIR JOHN CHARLES MOLTENO 
K.C.M.G. 



VOL. II. 




tr/kw/ as. 



I He LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR 






^. r M.G, First Premier of Cape Coiot>v 
oinprismg a HistoiVoT Reprtsaibtivf^ 

\\ ii*»tlions and Responsible Govemrrjeiit 

-i he Cape and of Lord G^rniirvoa s^ 

nfederalion Micy ^ of SirBerrte fVerf's 

r cii Commissiojiership of Soiilli Aiika 

by 

-r i r fcN { ) . M A . : . L .^^ . : >> i n ; i y u^ll.:. »',i .c.^ y. ;■ . ; ' ■ doe. 
..:;iMOP. OF >. r=nrkAL ^^ith afpna' 



vol.. li, 






k ■ ' ^111; 



THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR 
JOHN CHARLES MOLTENO 

KCM.Gn First Premier of Cape Goloi^, 
Comprising a Histoor^ Represeniative 
Institofioiis and Responsible Government 
at the Cape and of Lord Carnarvon^st: 
Confedeiation Fblicy & of SirBarlle ImTcls 
High Commissionership of South Afrka 

by 

p. A JHOLTENO.M.AaiM TRINITY COLLEGE .CAM BR I DOE. 
^AUTHOR OF "A FEDERAL SOUTH AFRICA" 




VOL 11. 



LONDON : SMITH, ELDER & CO., WATERLOO PLACE 

1900 

[All rigbl* retervedj 



CONTENTS 

OF 

THE SECOND VOLUME 
CHAPTER XVI 

THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT. 1875 

PAOB 

Position of Parties — Decisive Action of Ministers— Censure on Mr. Froude 
— Mr. Molteno*s Speech— Debate— Receipt of Lord Carnarvon's Third 
Despatch — Mr. Solomon's Motion— Conciliatory Attitude of Constitu- 
tional Party — Mr. Solomon's Speech— House offers to assist Lord 
Camanron with Griqualand West -Ministerial Majority— Position of 
Question in England— Mr. Disraeli's Speech— The English Press- 
Lord Granville I 

CHAPTER X\n 
LORD Carnarvon's despatches. i875-7(i 

Lord Carnarvon attempts to turn out the Ministry— Directs a Dissolu- 
tion — Sir Henry Barkly's Reasons against — Reception of Despatch at 
the Cape— Improper Treatment of Mr. Molteno— Lord Blachford's 
Views — Lord Carnarvon's Criticism on the Debates— Ministers' Reply 
— They vindicate Self-government— Precedents in other Colonies- 
Lord Carnarvon adopts Fronde's Proceedings— Ministers' Reply — 
Debate in the Imperial Parliament — Results of similar Policy in the 
West Indies 40 

CHAPTER XVIII 

THE DESPATCHES CONTINUED, AND THE SESSION OF 1876 

Lord Carnarvon's Fourth Despatch — Inconsistency of the Despatches- 
Fifth Despatch— Reply of Ministers — Conference transferred to 
Xiondon — South Africa mast be left to itself — Lord Carnarvon rejects 



VI LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 



I'AOK 



Advice — Session of 1876, and State of Parties — Mr. Molteno proposes 
to visit England— House approves Ministerial Action— Work of the 
Session — Confederation excites Natives 70 



CHAPTER XIX 

MISSION AS PLENIPOTENTIARY TO ENGLAND. 1876 

Mr. Molteno proceeds to England— Lord Carnarvon arranges without Him 
—Free State Difficulty— Imperial Government asks Cape to pay — 
Correspondence with Lord Carnarvon — Interviews— Mr. Molteno pro- 
poses Annexation of Walfisch Bay— Lord Carnarvon refuses — Serious 
Results of Refusal to annex Damaraland— Mr. Molteno agrees to annex 
Griqualand West— Annexation of Transvaal — Mr. Molteno declines to 
discuss the Question— Urges Consolidation of South Africa by Unifica- 
tion, not Confederation 92 



CHAPTER XX 

CONFERENCE QUESTION IN ENGLAND. 1876 

Lord Carnarvon's Conference — Its Constitution— He invites Mr. Molteno 
— The Latter declines— Conference invites Him— Proceedings of Con- 
ference-Its Failure— Mail Contract 109 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE PERMISSIVE BILL. 1876-77 

liOrd Carnarvon's Intrigues with Mr. Paterson — He passes over Ministers 
—Announces Policy of Permissive BiU —Annexation of Transvaal— The 
Permissive Bill— Its Impracticability— Breach of Faith in regard to 
Griqualand West — Ministerial Protest— Lord Carnarvon admits its 
Validity — Reactionary Character of Bill — Discrepancy between Lord 
Carnarvon's Public and Secret Action — Letter to Sir Bartle Frere — 
Resolved to force his Policy — Hostile Reception of Permissive Bill in 
South Africa -Details of Bill— Attempts to coerce South Africa— Re- 
ception of Bill in Natal— In Transvaal — In Free State — In Eastern 
Province— In the West— Mr. Molteno's Speech at Beaufort— Banquet 
to Sir Henry Barkly — His Departure— Success of his Administration 
—Our great Colonial Governors 122 



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME vii 

CHAPTER XXII 

SIR BABTLE FRERE. 1867-77 

PAOK 

Indian Bnreauorat— Despotic Rule—Indian Experience— Unfitted for 
Cyonstitntional Ruler— Rashness, Want of Judgment and Patience — 
He forces Hands of Superiors — His Love of Popularity— Cotton 
Disasters — A Quinquennial GsBsar— Lord Blaohford*s Views— Mr. 
Molteno*8 Experience— Sir Bartle Frere's Views after Colonial Ex- 
perience—He advocates untrammelled Responsible Government — 
And Mr. Molteno*8 Unification Policy— Recommends Abolition of New 
Zealand's Parliament — And Establishment of Dictatorship — Sir 
George Grey's Views— Special Salary 158 

CHAPTER XXIII 

SIR BARTLE FRERE'S ARRIVAL. ANNEXATION OP THE 
TRANSVAAL. 1877 

Lord Carnarvon makes Sir Bartle Frere Dictator of South Africa— He 
complains of his limited Powers as Constitutional Governor— 
Disastrous Results of his Policy in Afghanistan — Australian Warning 
— Duty of Constitutional Governor — Ignorance of the English Press 
— The Governor first meets the Cape Cabinet— Presses his Views of 
Confederation— Mr. Molteno rejects them — The latter's Views on Con- 
federation — Their ultimate Justification— The Annexation of the 
Transvaal— Mr. Molteno not consulted— He refuses to involve the 
Cape in the Question— Lord Carnarvon's Promises broken . 184 

CHAPTER XXIV 

FIRST PARLIAMENTARY SESSION UNDER 
SIR BARTLE FRERE. 1877 

Meeting of Cape Parliament — Annexation of Damaraland— Position of 
Ministry —Attacks upon It — They serve to strengthen Ministry— Crisis 
with Ereli — Energetic and Successful Action — Defence — Burgher Bill 
— Unity of Colony maintained— Wise Native Policy— Mr. Solomon's 
Tribute — Annexation of Griqualand West — Discourteous Treatment of 
Mr. Molteno by Lord Carnarvon — Position of Confederation Question — 
Bouth Africa, except Cape and Free State, directly under the Secretary 
of State —Disastrous Results of Control from afar .... 207 



viii LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 
CHAPTER XXV 

SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR. 1877 

PA«F 

Native Disturbanocs — Kreli and Fingoes — Oovemor temporises — Dis- 
regards Ministers* Advice — Ministers* Preparations — They arge 
vigorous Action — Mazeppa Bay Landing— Relations of Imperial and 
Colonial Forces— Mr. Molteno urges immediate Advance — Proceeds to 
Frontier— Griffith in charge of Operations — Successful Clearance of 
Galekaland — Governor's Proposals for Settlement of Galekaland — 
Forces them on Ministers at Bisk of a Crisis— Their unsuitable 
Character -Ministers urge Governor's Beturn to Cape Town — Galekas 
come back 222 

CHAPTER XXVI 

THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAR. 1877 

Panic on Escape of Mackinnon— Gaika Outbreak— Necessity for Use of 
Native Allies— Imperial Troops used by Governor— Baises Forces in 
opposition to Ministers— Refuses to return to Cape Town— Chaos of 
Government Business - General's Inactivity — Allows Khiva to escape 254 

CHAPTER XXVII 

DISARMAMENT OP NATIVES. 1877-78 

Governor ignores Ministers— Announces Disarmamen of Natives—Fatal 
Effects— Gaikas driven to Desperation— The Governor refuses 
Ministers' Advice— Crisis in Relations- Mr. Molteno goes to Frontier 
— He vetoes Disarmament Policy — Martial Law — Governor refuses 
Attorney-General's Advice — Issues Illegal Proclamation — Subsequently 
withdraws Proclamation— Appeals for Imperial Troops— In Opposition 
to Mr. M(jlt<»noV Advice 281 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

KVKNTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL. 1878 

Arrival on Frontier — Griffith appointed Commandant- General — Military 
Mismanagement— Disastrous Betreat— Relations between Imperial 
Troops and Colonial Government — Difference between Governor and 
^linisters — Ministers insist on control of Colonial Forces — Governor 
resists — Correspondence between Mr. Molteno and Governor —Minutes 
between Governor and Mr. Molteno — Governor forces Cabinet 
Council 300 



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME ix 



CHAPTEB XXIX 

THE DISMISSAL. 1878 



FAQI 



Relations between Governor and Ministry—Oovemor suddenly inmmons 
Cabinet Gooncil — Mr. Molteno protests — Qovemor asks for more 
Imperial Troops — Mr. Molteno refuses Assent— Violent Crisis — Cabinet 
Council of February 2nd— Dismissal thereat— Letter of February 6th 
repeating Dismissal— Unconstitutional Aotion of Governor-— Ignorance 
of Constitutional Law— Questions at Issue— Governor ignorant of 
Colonial History— His Contentions upset by Secretary of State— Mr. 
Molteno's Speech on Dismissal — Constitutional Principles involved — 
Disastrous Results of Sir Rartle Frere's Dictatorship— Todd's account 
of Dismissal discussed 



CHAPTEB XXX 

DISMISSAL DEBATE. 1878 

South Africa under Despotic Rule — Free State alone independent — Sub- 
servient Ministry in Cape— Untrue Statements circulated — Denials in 
Press — Hostility of Press— Intrigues— Government House Influences 
—Governor misrepresents Position to Home Government— Confused 
and misleading Statement of Case — Dismissal Debate — Mr. Merriman*s 
Resolutions — His Speech— Mr. Molteno's Speech— Speaker intervenes 
-Mr. Stockenstrom*s Speech— Mr. Sprigg's Defence — Papers with- 
held — Real Issue not met — Mr. Merriman's Reply — Party Action of 
Governor— Fatal Results of condoning Governor's Aotion— South 
Africa convulsed— Mr. Molteno's Policy and Sir Bartle Frere's . . 364 



CHAPTER XXXI 

PERSONAL RULE RE-ESTABLISHED 

Effects of Personal Rule on Cape Colony— Costly Defence Schemes- 
Their Futility — Enormous War Expenditure — Sunmiary of Mr. 
Molteno's Policy — Success of his Administration — Irrigation to follow 
Railways— Extension of Colonial Boundary— Ultimate Federation of 
South Africa — Responsible Government an Object Lesson — Destroyed 
by pursuit of Imperial Policy — Lord Blaohford's Views — Machinery 
of Empire — Impossible without Responsible Government— Mr. Molteno 
retires temporarily from Public Life 402 

VOL. II. * a 



X LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 
CHAPTER XXXII 

POSITION OF CONFEDERATION AFTER DISMISSAL. 1878-80 

PAOI 

Sir Bartle Frere makes Diotatorehip more efFeotive — Asks for Control OTer 
Sir Henry Bolwer and Sir Theophilns Shepstone— Home OoTemment 
aooedes to this — Change in Tone of Despatches— Sir Henry Bulwer 
ignored— Znla Policy— Sir Bartle forces War on Cetywi^o— Presses 
for Reinforcements- Secretary of State disapproves Znln Policy— Ulti- 
matom to Zulu King— Censure of Secretary of State — Sir Qamet 
Wolseley sapersedes him in South-east Africa— Sir Bartle Frere retoms 
to Cape— Betams to Disarmament Policy — ^Basato War — Transkei 
War— Confederation Question in Cape Colony- Session of 1879— 
Evils resulting from Confederation Policy— Transvaal Constitution 
delayed — Promises to Transvaal broken — Impatience of Secretary of 
State— Attempts to hasten Confederation in Cape Parliament— Session 
of 1880— Proposals for a Conference — Unfairness of to Cape— Debate 
on— Rejected without a Division— Recall of Sir Bartle Frere— Govern- 
ment out of touch with People of South Africa— Afrikander Bond— Sir 
Bartle Frere misrepresents State of Affairs— Resentment of Transvaal 
People— No Want of Evidence of Feeling — Deputation of Cape Members 
urge Restoration of Independence — Sir Bartle forces Hand of Mr. 
Gladstone's Ministry— He declares Civil War result of Independence 
—Mr. Molteno returns to Public Life— Elected for Victoria West— Fall 
of Sir Bartle Frere's Nominee Ministry- Mr. Molteno becomes Colonial 
Secretary again — Condition of Colony on Sir Bartle Frere's Departure 
— War — Taxation — Stagnation — Violent Feelings and Resentments — 
Mr. Molteno resigns and retires finally 415 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

CONCLUSION 

Estimate of Mr. Molteno*s Character— Testimony of Colleagues— Of High 
Commissioners — Of Sir George Grey— Opponents* Views— Lord 
Wolseley's— Lion of Beaufort— Personal Reminiscences— Last Tears . 461 



INDEX 469 



ILLUSTRATIONS to VOL. II. 



PORTRAIT OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO FronHspiaee 



MAPS 



EUROPEAN SOUTH AFRICA IN 1878 tofacep.iOS 

EUROPEAN SOUTH AFRICA— PRESENT DAY ... ,,460 



LIFE AND TIMES 

OF 

SIR JOHN CHARLES MOLTENO, K.C.M.G. 

CHAPTER XVI 

THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PABLIAMENT. 1875 

Position of Parties— Dedsive Action of Ministers— Censure on Mr. Fronde — 
Mr. Molteno*s Speech- Debate— Beoeipt of Lord Carnarvon's third 
Despatch — Mr. Solomon's Motion— Conciliatory Attitude of Constitutional 
Party — Mr. Solomon's Speech— House offers to assist Lord Carnarvon with 
Griquahmd West — Ministerial Majority— Position of Question in England 
—Mr. Disraeli's Speech— The English Press— Lord Granville. 

IjET us now see what was the position of paxties in the 
Legislature. Was Mr. Molteno to be ousted and replaced 
by Mr. Paterson, or would Parliament support Mr. Molteno, 
as it had supported him in the previous session, in his 
refusal to join for the Colony in any Conference? Mr. 
Froude had boasted in his Port Elizabeth speech that his 
appeal had been to the people, who had answered that appeal 
in his favour; he held petitions and resolutions from a 
majority of the constituencies, and, by virtue of this com- 
mission from the people, he had vmtten to ask the Governor 
what he proposed doing on the reassembling of Parliament. 
He had even gone so far as to say that he would, through 
his Premier, Mr. Paterson, use his majority, in the first 
instance, to pass an Act of Indemnity for any acts of his 
own which were not constitutionally correct. The public 
*' VOL. n. B 



S LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

press of the Colony — could it be taken, as Lord Carnarvon 
took it, to really represent the feelings and wishes of the 
colonists — was largely in favour of his scheme of a Conference 
followed by confederation. The press was, however, merely 
the echo of the unreal and superficial support which an 
active clique, with money supplied from the Port Elizabeth 
Federation League, had galvanised into the appearance of a 
more solid and widespread feeling. 

Mr. Froude had evidently reported to Lord Carnarvon 
his sanguine views as to the support he would receive 
in the Cape Parliament. Lord Carnarvon adopted them, 
coinciding as they did with his ardent wishes, and inti- 
mated to Sir Henry Barkly his conviction that the Ministry 
would be defeated, if not immediately, yet on an appeal to 
the constituencies, which he directed him to make ; but the 
Governor, before Parliament met, had told Lord Carnarvon 
that the issue was at least doubtful, and that probably a 
resolution approving the Ministerial Minute would be carried 
by a very small majority; after the resolution of the Ministry 
had been published he reported that they expected a fair 
majority. 

Mr. Molteno had refused to be dragged out of the proper 
constitutional routine in official action by Lord Carnarvon's 
and Mr. Fronde's line of conduct. He refused to follow 
them in appealing to the people in the irregular and uncon- 
stitutional manner in which Lord Carnarvon by his de- 
spatches and Mr. Froude by his ' stumping ' tour had done. He 
had further refused to allow Mr. Froude or any unauthorised 
person to be made privy to the Minutes and Memorandum 
of the 14th of September, which had remained unpublished. 
In silence he had to endure the misrepresentations, the 
assertions, the mis-statements, and the imputations of un- 
worthy conduct hurled at him by his violent and bitter 
opponents; he had no means of meeting these mis-state- 
ments. Now, however, the time had come to give expres- 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PAELIAMENT 3 

sion to his pent-up feelings, and to speak out before the 
proper constitutional tribunal, which was also the proper 
authority to have cognisance before all others of the de- 
spatches which had passed between the Ministry and the 
Secretary of State. 

Not only was it desirable, but it was absolutely neces- 
sary, to speak out clearly and distinctly to vindicate re- 
sponsible government, the principles of which had been 
so seriously infringed by Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Froude. 
The Governor's speech on the opening of Parliament did 
not give Mr. Molteno the requisite opportunity, as the 
former refused to say all the Premier wished him to do. 
Before the Ministerial Minute and Memorandum of the 
14th of September were made known the issue had been 
doubtful, but Mr, Molteno had acted like the captains 
of old when at Trafalgar they reserved the fire of their 
double-shotted guns for the moment at which they broke 
the line, carrying irresistible destruction to the enemy. 
With a promptitude which took away the breath of his 
opponents, he laid these documents upon the table of the 
House immediately upon the assembling of Parliament, 
coupled with the resolution set out below. The Governor 
had thought that its boldness might stagger some of the 
Ministerial supporters. It had the contrary effect of 
strengthening any possible waverers. The issue was no 
longer doubtful. 

The resolution was as follows : — 

That in the opinion of this House the agitation which has been 
created and encouraged in this Colony by the Imperial Grovem- 
ment, in opposition to the Colonial Gk)vemment, on the subject of 
a Conference of representatives of the several Colonies and States 
in South Africa, as proposed by Lord Carnarvon, is unconstitu- 
tional, and such as to make the successful working of self-govern- 
ment in this Colony impossible ; and this House, having considered 
(he despatch of tiie Right Hon. the Secretary of State for the 
Colonies, dated the 15th of July last, is still of opinion that the 

B 2 



4 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

interests of the Colony would not be promoted by pressing forward 
at the present time such a Conference as the Secretary of State 
proposes. 

This notice had been considered and agreed to at a 
meeting of what was called the Constitutional Party, 
attended by Messrs. Sprigg, Solomon, and Fairbridge, and 
all the influential men of the party. When Mr. Molteno 
informed the Governor that he had given notice of a resolu- 
tion which charged the Imperial Government with having 
encouraged unconstitutional agitation with a view of pressing 
its views on the Colonial Government, the Governor expressed 
his surprise. Mr. Molteno explained to him that, when he 
found that he had refused to say all that he wanted him to 
say in his opening speech, he deliberately decided on this 
course, and thought it better to say nothing to him until 
afterwards. The Governor said that, even if the charge of 
unconstitutional agitation could be established against Mr. 
Froude, it was unfair to assume that Lord Carnarvon was 
ready to sanction all that Mr. Froude had said and done.^ 

* As the Governor infonned Lord Carnarvon, the feeling against Mr. Froude 
was very decided, even among the old Datch families around Gape Town, and 
it would kindle into flame if it were attempted to put down things with a high 
hand. Mr. Froude, himself, in his famous report, says, * with respect to myself, 
an opinion began to prevail that my zeal had gone beyond my discretion.* — 
I. P., C— 1399, p. 80. 

The character of the feeling now being called out was exemplified by the 
speech of Mr. Fairbridge, one of the members of Parliament for Cape Town, 
who was a most staimch Conservative. At the public meeting recently held in 
Cape Town to discuss Lord Carnarvon's policy he said : — 

*Mr. Paterson has appealed to the question of blood. Well, we have 
English, and French, and Dutch blood among us, and out of that blood will be 
made up the future South Africa ; and I will ask you all, of whatever blood you 
may be, are you going to give up your constitutional rights to please Lord Car- 
narvon or anyone else ? I will ask the Englishman, whose nation has long 
been regarded as the home of constitutional liberty, Will you give up your 
rights ? I will ask the Frenchman, who loves liberty. Will you give up your 
rights ? I will ask the Dutchman, whose mother country resisted the efforts 
of Spain for eighty years, Will you give up your rights and bow down to the 
dictation of Lord Carnarvon ? Should not an Englishman in the Cape show 
that he was as good and true as one who was out of it? Were there not 
English in Australia, and was the Englishman at the Cape of inferior blood ? 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PAELIAMENT 6 

The Governor informed him that he would hold himself free 
to disallow the proceedings of the Ministry in any way he 
might see fit. Mr. Molteno replied that they had foreseen 
this, and were fully determined to take all the consequences, 
whatever they might be. 

At a subsequent interview next morning, the Governor 
informed Mr. Molteno plainly that he was prepared to take 
any responsibility sooner than to let him move a resolution 
to that effect as a Minister of the Crown. Mr. Molteno 
informed him that he was indifferent as to the capacity in 
which he made the motion ; he quoted precedents from 
the other colonies to show that far more outspoken reso- 
lutions had been carried without the Governor attempt- 
ing to interfere, notably in the case of Victoria at the 
end of 1869 under Lord Canterbury, when the Assembly 
declared its readiness to support the Ministry against any 
interference on the part of the Imperial Government ; and 
he urged that responsible government in the colonies would 
be a farce if directly a Ministry complained of the action of 
the Secretary of State and his agents the Governor were to 
step in and attempt to stifle the free expression of opinion. 

The Governor urged Mr. Molteno to await the result of 

(Loud cheers.) I suppose if we had been a more powerful people the Home 
Oovemment would never have taken such liberties with us. 

* Or is it because we live in the West that we are unworthy of the rights of 
Englishmen ? This is not the first time Cape Town has had to take up a firm 
stand. There was the Anti-Convict agitation. It was said then that we were 
disloyal, and that we ought to do whatever the mother country told us to do, 
but we did not do it. We did not give way ; and I believe that if it had been 
necessary we should have taken up arms to maintain our position. Well, I 
hope the ooimtry will evince a similar spirit now. John Paterson is one of 
those men who were described by Mr. Merriman as coming here to make 
money and going away again as soon as they had made it. Well, I do not 
grudge him a fortune if he should make one, nor shall I envy him if they make 
a baronet of him, of which it is said there is a chance. But there is one on 
whom I think we can count to do his duty to the Colony, and that is John 
dharles Molteno.' 

This was significant coming from Mr. Fairbridge, who had so strenuously 
opposed Mr. Molteno when he desired to introduce responsible government at 
the Cape. 



6 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

the protest in the Minute against the course pursued by 
Mr. Froude, who, he suggested, might have gone beyond his 
instructions.^ Mr. Molteno then inquired whether, if the 
conduct of Mr. Froude alone were condemned, the Go- 
vernor would feel bound to interfere at the risk of a Minis- 
terial crisis and a dissolution, which would have the effect 
of throwing the whole Colony into confusion, and dividing 
it into hostile camps. The Grovemor consented to avoid 
this if the language used were moderate. The result was 
that after Mr. Molteno had consulted with his party the 
word ' by ' was omitted, and the words ' in the name of ' were 
inserted before * the Imperial Government,' and with this 
modification the Governor deemed it prudent to rest content. 

The Minute and Memorandum and resolution were wel- 
comed with acclaim at the time, as they will be treasured in 
the future by all who understand the principles of constitu- 
tional liberty and established law. They were felt to place 
the Cape Colony in line with and in the highest ranks of 
the most high-minded, freedom-loving, and constitutional 
colonies under the British Crown. 

It was indeed vain to deny that Mr. Froude had appealed 
to the people against the Ministry, and that he knew this 
to be contrary to constitutional usage, for he had candidly 
confessed that it was so. And an incident now occurred 
which showed the effects of his intrigues. A resolution 
in favour of a Conference was proposed in the Legislative 
Council. Advantage was taken of a technical rule of the 
Council to deny to Mr. Molteno when he presented him- 
self the right to be heard at all upon the resolution, thus 
showing the character of the means to which the Froude 
party were ready to resort. Mr. Froude had skilfully played 
on the fear of the effects of the Seven Circles Act, which 

* As Bnbseqaeni events proved, it was fortunate for the vindication of the 
rights of the Golony that Mr. Molteno did not take this advice, for Lord 
Carnarvon approved all Mr. Froude had done. 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PAEUAMBNT 7 

had always been distasteful to the existing Council, with 
the object of influencing the more deliberate and important 
debate which was taking place in the House of Assembly* 
The incident shows the danger of having a Chamber of so 
few representatives. The work of intrigue is made easy, for 
the effects of capturing even two or three votes is serious in 
a body composed of so few members. 

When the notices were called, the Premier rose, and, as 
the champion of the rights of the colonists of the Cape of 
Grood Hope, gave his challenge to the anti-colonial party. 
As was his wont, there was no uncertain meaning in his 
words, no equivocation, no necessity to read between the 
lines. The words of the resolution read like the utterances 
of the Englishmen who in British North America and Aus- 
tralia were building up nations worthy of the free institutions 
which they had generously received from England. The 
cynical philosopher who, in his books, had spoken with con- 
tempt of constitutional government ; the speculators whose 
interest in the farms of the Transvaal and elsewhere made 
them desire to see the English flag over them ; the office 
seekers, ready to grasp at the treasury benches, might 
unite if they pleased in opposing the resolution ; but every 
man who valued free government would rally round Mr. 
Molteno in thus boldly and manfully meeting the imperial 
agitator. 

A cheer of the kind that indicates deep feeling greeted 
the resolution, and the hope that the Assembly would take 
the government of the Colony out of Mr. Molteno's well-tried 
hands to place it in the keeping of the instrument selected by 
Mr. Proude was destroyed for ever. Separation had always 
been nowhere when brought face to face with the strong 
common sense of the Parliament. And now, however skil- 
fully Mr. Froude had worked his plans, and played his cards 
to gain supporters amongst the land speculators of Port 
Elizabeth and the Separationists of Grahamstown, amongst 



8 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 

the patriotic Afrikanders, and all the other interests, in- 
fluences, and agencies — now, when the arguments were put 
forward where they could be met and answered, the great 
house of cards collapsed at once. 

Mr. Molteno spoke in a manner characteristic of him, and 
worthy of the high position which he held as the defender 
and champion of the great constitutional privileges which 
the Cape now possessed, and for which he had fought through 
many a long day of discouragement. The success with 
which he had initiated responsible government was univer- 
sally admitted. He now proved that he was capable of its 
defence with equal courage and ability. There may have been 
a want of systematic arrangement or definite elaboration 
in the framing of the speech, but there was a broad, manly 
honesty and straightforwardness about it, of which every 
colonist worthy of the name might feel proud. There was 
nothing hollow, deceptive, tricky, or evasive in any single 
word, while there was an inteUigent and patriotic appreciation 
of true constitutional principles. With all his defects, the 
figure he presented and the attitude he assumed were worthy 
of the position he held as first Premier of the Colony of the 
Cape of Good Hope. 

Mr. Molteno began with a reference to the importance 
of the subject and his own inability to do justice to it : ' I 
feel strongly upon the question, and it is quite probable that 
I shall speak strongly, but at the same time I hope that any- 
thing I may say will not be deemed discourteous.' It was 
indeed remarkable to what an extent, considering the pro- 
vocation given, he succeeded in avoiding personal attacks, 
keeping the discussion on the high level of the great prin- 
ciples involved. He said there was a time in the history of 
aU nations with free institutions when the people were 
tempted to part with their privileges, and he passed on to 
the rise and progress of representative government at the 
Cape of Good Hope. He showed how, here, self-government 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 9 

followed the noble resistance of the Colony to the attempt 
of the Imperial Government to make it a penal settlement. 
Beferring to the share he himself had taken in the straggles 
to relieve this country from the mismanagement of Downing 
Street, he said he would go down to his grave with self- 
condemnation in his mind if he did anything to destroy the 
privileges it now enjoyed. 

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that in the history of all nations and 
Monies — especially young colonies — you find occasions of this 
kind arise where assaults are made on their privileges — privileges, 
perhaps, which they have been fighting for for many years. A 
time arrives when there is some kind of temptation, some allure- 
ment is held out ; and people, not thinking properly what they are 
doing, are apt to grasp at a shadow, and sacrifice perchance their 
valuable privileges for really next to nothing. I am rather inclined 
to think that this is the case here, that a number of persons at the 
present day in this Colony are thinking too Ughtly of this matter 
altogether, and are not asking what sacrifices they are going to 
make, and what they are going to get in return. I consider that 
in matters of this kind, if you once begin to pull away a brick here 
and a brick there from the foundation, you will very soon have the 
whole structure down about your heads. You require to be very 
careful what you are doing, and nothing but the direst necessity 
or the strongest possible groimds should induce a representative 
body to tamper in any way with or injure the privileges which, 
after a hard fight, and an agitation and discussion for years and 
years, they have obtained. 

Now, Mr. Speaker, I will go back a long time. This Par- 
liament has, I think, been in existence since 1854, and we know 
how it was that a constitution came to be granted to this country. 
Some of us, at all events, are able to remember the great an^- 
convict agitation, the resistance which was made to bringing 
^sonvicts here, and making the Cape a penal settlement. We 
can remember the strenuous exertions which were made to 
resist the measure proposed then by the Imperial Government. 
No doubt Earl Grey acted with the best intentions, and had no 
desire to sacrifice this Colony; but every thinking man must 
admit and feel that had this Colony submitted to that mea- 
Bare, then it could not have been the Colony it is. It was neces- 
sary at that time to stand firm and resist the measure which was 
proposed, and, in spite of all the weight and authority of the 
Imperial Government, we resisted successfully ; and I believe the 



10 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

very men who wished to impose that burden upon the Colony now 
see that we are right. The conduct of this Colony on that occa- 
sion has been held up to the admiration of all the colonies. It 
stopped the sending of convicts to the Australian colonies ; and 
we were considered generally to have taken a just stand on that 
most important question. 

After this it was foimd that it would no longer do to rule the 
Colony from Downing Street in the way it had hitherto been 
ruled, and out of that noble resistance sprang the constitution^ 
and an end was put to the close system which had prevailed 
before. In order to complete the structure, and to enable us 
to manage our own affairs, a movement was subsequently started 
for what was called responsible government; and it is now 
just three years since that consummation was arrived at. Many 
difficulties had to be encountered in attaining this, and there was 
a great deal of trouble and hard work. I had the honour of taking 
the leading part in that movement, and I have lived to see th& 
success of our endeavours in that direction, and our representative 
institutions crowned by that which can really make them useful 
and effective. Under these circumstances I was invited by the 
almost unanimous call of the country to become its first respon- 
sible Minister, and I happen still to hold that position ; and, hold- 
ing that position — having taken an inmiense interest in this ques- 
tion, and knowing the great value of what we obtained then — I do 
feel that I am placed in a most responsible position, not only as a 
member of this House, which I am outside my position as the first 
responsible Minister of this Colony, but I do tUnk I should go down 
to my grave with a reflection on myself if I did anything to de- 
stroy those privileges which we fought for and acquired. 

I regret to see men who believe in these institutions ready on the 
slightest pretext and the smallest inducement to surrender them. 
What we agitated for was the management of our own affairs. We 
object to gentlemen being sent out from England to manage our 
concerns, however well-intentioned they might be. They are unable 
to understand them as we can, and therefore it was we said ' Give us 
the management of our own affairs.' Even if we do not manage 
them to the exact satisfaction of those outside, so long as we do not 
interfere with their rights and privileges, let us get on as best we 
can with our own affairs, and do not let anything send us back again 
to the old close system. Therefore, I say. What is it you are doing 
to-day ? Beware what you do to remove the foundations of those 
valuable privileges which you have obtained ; and if you will 
sacrifice them, take care that you get something in the way of 
compensation, if it is possible so to do. 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 11 

He then passed on to the agitation and the agitator. He 
described, amid the laughter of his supporters, how Mr. 
Froude first came to the country and how he travelled over 
it by post-cart and other expeditious conveyances. He 
referred to what Mr. Froude had said of himself at that time, 
but briefly and with delicacy, as if he disliked using the 
terms that would properly describe these statements. The 
government of the Colony knew nothing more about the 
matter till one day, when occupied with his parliamentary 
duties, the Governor sent for him, and put into his hands 
the despatch of the 4th of May. * I was never more surprised 
in my life, and am really at a loss how exactly to explain 
my feelings.' It was then he received a private letter from 
Mr. Froude, urging him to carry out the views of the 
despatch. 

It was not left to the consideration of the responsible Ministers 
of this Colony to say whether it should be published or not, and 
yet it was a matter Tyhich was going to affect our deepest interests. 
Tet everything was all cut and dried ; and, virtually, we were told 
to accept it, whether we liked it or not. The Home Government 
did not think it necessary to consult the responsible Ministers of 
this Colony at all upon that matter — we who had been selected by 
this House as men in whom confidence could be placed. Yet we 
were entirely passed by. I certainly thought this an extraordinary 
proceeding. 

As the Governor was ordered to publish the despatch 
the Ministry thought that they would be cowards if in put- 
ting it before Parliament they did not express their opinion 
upon the document. They were now accused of having been 
rude in their Minute, but he was only a plain man who put 
upon paper what he honestly meant, and not a * polite letter 
writer,' who wrapped up disagreeable things in honeyed 
words. He scouted the idea of rudeness, and defied anyone 
to point it out. 

Then he went on to describe the second arrival of Mr. 
Froude, and how he was captured by a set of gentlemen who 



12 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

had never since allowed him to go out of their clutches. He 
caused considerable merriment by referring to the dinner 
which at the time was said to be non-pohtical, but which, 
when the Cape Town meeting was to be held, was referred to 
by its promoters as having given the opinion of the city on 
the question of the day. He next described how the same 
party had taken the ' eminent historian ' about the country 
and made a show of him. He was severe on the onesidedness 
of what he called the * Dutch press ' at that time. He 
referred to Mr. Froude's departure for the east when the 
separation cry was raised, and the * 14,000 petition ' was 
taken out of its pigeon-hole. 

So satisfied were the people with the introduction of respon- 
sible government, that addresses of congratulation poured in from 
all sides. I have them now, some fifty or sixty in number, and I 
defy any one to point out a single syllable where there was any 
such idea as separation. The thing, I say, was dead and forgotten, 
and we had all agreed to go on harmoniously together. We con- 
sented to sink all these things, finding in consequence of the 
Separation Commission that to support three governors and three 
ministers was altogether out of the question. There was no objec- 
tion to give all the localities an increase of local government, 
which is as much as large towns in England expect. They do not 
want a governor at every place, nor a Minister at every place ; 
they could not stand it. We agreed, therefore, to go on together ; 
it was resolved to carry on public works, and to let the hatchet be 
buried. We agreed to spend five millions on railways and other 
public works, and were going on most comfortably, when this 
gentleman comes out here and tells us we are in a pretty mess 
and do not know it. He told us that we did not know how to do 
this, and how to do that, and how to do the other ; but if we would 
only let proper people tell us we should get along all right, and 
there would be hope and salvation for us yet. 

We were to be taught how to cultivate our farms, drive our 
oxen, plough our fields, and do all those things about which we 
knew so little. It was considered that people at home could take 
a much larger view than we poor imfortunate folks. This literary 
gentleman said : ' You poor working fellows do not value, you do 
not know the capabilities of the country, and how they can be 
developed ; you must be guided by a superior intelligence.' The 
Ministry were stigmatised as the greatest set of rascals that ever 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 18 

existed, although a short time before they had been oourted and 
congratulated in every district, and told they were the most suit- 
able persons who oould possibly be selected for the first responsible 
Ministry. 

He pointed out how artfully it was contrived in the 
despatch of the 4th of May to fan the separation fire by reducing 
the Prime Minister of the whole Colony to be a representative 
of only a part of it, and how by making him a representative 
of the west it was intended to injure the Ministry in the 
east. He expressed his respect for public meetings properly 
convened and conducted, but derided those got up by busy- 
bodies who never took part in anjrthing except when mischief 
was on foot. Such things had been done by Mr. Froude, 
and in his presence, that he felt sure that Earl Carnarvon or 
any other British statesman would never approve of them if 
they were brought to their notice. At one dinner given to 
him, when the health of Sir Henry Barkly, the Governor of 
the Colony, and the legal and constitutional representative 
of her Majesty the Queen, was proposed, it was hissed, and 
Mr. Froude stood by and allowed the insult to go unnoticed. 

The Opposition party went on stirring up the strife, urging that 
it was a monstrous thing for the Ministry to set themselves up 
against the voice of the country. Why pay attention to the vote 
of the House of Assembly ? They say, Why do not the Ministry 
resign instantly ? I reply that I do not feel justified in resigning. 
The House of Assembly has put me in my present position, and it 
would be most cowardly on my part to resign. Whenever the 
country has had enough of my services and can find a better man 
I shall be only too glad. I have had a good deal of hard work, 
and shall not break my heart ; but I cannot desert my post. It is 
no crime to stick to the views of duty. I felt I was bound to do 
80 till I was relieved. When that time comes there is an end of 
the thing. But how can I take a small meeting here and there 
with cut and dried resolutions got up by a lot of busybodies as the 
views of the country? 

What had we to resign for? The people of the Colony had 
entrusted their af&drs to us ; we were tried men ; but instead of 
placing confidence in us it has been urged that attention should 



14 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

be paid to these noisy meetings all over the coontry, when there is 
no certain way of finding out how far they represent the feelings 
of the people. But are meetings of this sort to disturb the 
decisions of the legislature deliberately come to ? Do you want 
to get into the same state as Paris was ? I verily believe that if 
it was possible for Lord Carnarvon to be fully acquainted with 
these things, no British statesman would countenance such pro- 
ceedings, so utterly subversive of good government. For a man 
to come here and over-ride the Government of the Colony and the 
people, and arrogate to himself all these functions ! I do not say 
it in any offensive way. Mr. Froude, no doubt, is a man of large 
literary resources and so on ; but for all that he has come out here 
and agitated the country. To show the Imperial character of this 
gentleman, he is authorised, in his own opinion, to over-ride the 
Governor. He is Lord Carnarvon's trusted agent. I suppose 
Lord Carnarvon, as a constitutional Minister of the British Crown, 
can appoint a governor here, but can he appoint another person to 
over-ride him ? 

I will read what this gentleman said at Grahamstown, and 
truly I was astonished when I read it. ' My dear Mr. Mayor, — I 
must write a few words now, when the excitement of the first 
impression has cooled, to thank Grahamstown for the splendid 
support which it has rendered to her Majesty's Secretary of 
State.' What support, I would ask ? Is not that opposition to 
the Ministry and Government of the country in favour of Lord 
Carnarvon, after a matter has been properly decided by the repre- 
sentatives of the people ? Could anything be more extraordincuy ? 
I was utterly astonished when I read that, and I thought that Mr. 
Froude had better assume the governorship at once. He goes on : 
' I have to thank you further on account of my own self for the 
reception you gave to me as Lord Carnarvon's unworthy repre- 
sentative.' Now how can we have any other representative than 
the Governor ? By what constitutional course does Lord Carnarvon 
send another representative of the Queen here? By what 
authority, I ask, can a British Minister do anything he likes ? If 
this is an unconstitutional course, which it certainly seems to me 
to be, it is for us to look carefully into the matter, and ask the 
reason why. 

* Nothing, I can assure you, can give me more pleasure, or her 
Majesty's Gk>vemment.' Just look at the whole tone of the things. 
No governor could have written in stronger terms, for it seems to 
me to supersede everything and everybody. ' All the English nation.' 
What on earth have the Grahamstown people done for Lord Car- 
narvon to deserve the thanks of the English nation ? They certainly 
received this gentleman and gave him a good dinner, and made a 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 15 

great deal of fuss, bnt they had better have lain down in the streets 
and allowed him to walk over their neoks ' All the English nation 
thanks you on acooont of the hearty loyalty of the inhabitants of 
80 important a community as yours.' That is this gentleman's 
loyalty, to excite the people of the Colony, who have got a regular 
fixed Gk)veniment, and a House of Representatives, who have 
dealt with this matter — to call them together and speak to them, 
and say ' these people do not represent you. Tell them to make 
insulting remarks against the Ministry.' And then he concludes 
his letter, * To yourself as Mayor and the rest of the community I 
tender my gratitude.' After that, I think we had better all shut 
up. I really do not see what is to be done, or how the Govern- 
ment is to be carried on. I am afraid if this hterary gentleman 
were to write an additional page or two with regard to Ireland 
and picture such a state of things as anyone going and setting 
himself against the Gk)vemment, he would say he ought to be 
hanged on the highest gallows ; he would, in fact, be obliged to 
condemn himself from his own point of view. 

With reference to the petitions from the country in 
favour of the Conference, all in the same terms, and in the 
same handvmting, he said : — 

I had intended to remark upon the singular coincidence and 
similarity of all these petitions which have been presented, evi- 
dently issuing from one fount of type, and from one particular 
place. The only occasion when I remember anything similar was 
when Sir Philip Wodehouse sent down a Bill recommending the 
destruction of the constitution of this Colony. He proposed to do 
away with the Council, and reduce the House of Assembly to 
twelve members. Then a similar course was adopted of sending 
cut and dried petitions about the country. The moment we saw 
this proposal to cut down the constitution, we said, ' If we die on 
the floor we must stop this ; it will never do.' But you will find 
men sometimes who will support everything, so long as it comes 
from a certain source, and at that time we found gentlemen in 
this House ready to support the cutting down of the constitution, 
and petitions were got up and signed in much the same way as 
we see to-day. Now, we are asked virtually to destroy responsible 
government. Well, what is the use of responsible government if 
an Imperial agent is to come out here and arouse the whole 
country against the Ministry? I ask any sensible man, and it 
does not require one to go very deep into constitutional law 
and aU that sort of thing. It stands to reason and common 



16 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

sense. How can the government be properly carried on when 
an Imperial agent, commissioned by an English statesman, comes 
out here, gathers the people together, addresses them, receives 
their homage, and incites them against the Ministry ? 

The Ministry have laid before this House a memorandmn, 
and I think we were rather wanting in our duty in not at once 
denouncing the fact of the Secretary of State for the Colonies 
sending a despatch of this kind to the Governor, and passing by 
his responsible Ministers. It was in my opinion a gross breach 
of the rights and privileges of the Colony ; and here I will just 
read what the people in Victoria resolved, to show the stand they 
took when an attempt was made by the Home Government to 
interfere with their privileges. There was a series of resolutions, 
but I will only read two of the most important, and the House 
will see what an important bearing it has upon this subject : 
' The official communication of advice, suggestions or instructions 
by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to her Majesty's repre- 
sentative in Victoria on any subject whatever connected with 
the administration of the local government, except the giving or 
withholding of the Royal Assent to Bills passed by the two Houses, 
is a practice not sanctioned by law, and is derogatory to the inde- 
pendence of the Queen's representative, and a violation of the 
principles of responsible government, and the constitutional rights 
of the people of this Colony.' 

There they said the Home Government had no right to do any 
such thing. They might disapprove of Bills if they chose, but no 
communications affecting the rights of the Colony could take place 
except through the responsible Ministers. I know that Mr. Porter 
held these views very strongly, and he held even that such com- 
munications could not take place through the High Commissioner ; 
and, recollect, this despatch was not sent to the High Commis- 
sioner, but to the Governor, and he was not to wait. He was 
instructed to publish the despatch, and Lord Carnarvon censured 
the Governor for waiting a few days even in a matter of such vital 
importance to the inhabitants of this Colony. The responsible 
Ministers were to be passed by, and Government was to imme- 
diately communicate with the hon. member for Port Ehzabetb. 

Mr. Molteno now gave his view as to what course would 
have been wisest and best in regard to the despatch of the 
4th of May, and his explanation shows how unfair it was to 
charge him wdth precipitation and want of consideration 
to Lord Carnarvon : — 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 17 

My opinion from the first was this, that there were grave 
mistakes in the despatch ; but I thought it might be possible for 
the Gk)yemor to put it on one side for a little, and communicate 
again with Lord Carnarvon in the first instance the serious nature 
of the objections, with a view to the matter being reconsidered. 
I thought he must have been wrougly advised somewhere — that he 
had not gone to the proper source for advice. I told Mr. Froude 
that was my opinion of the matter, and although he used all the 
persuasion possible, and put the matter in every way, I remained 
firm. He said, ' Oh ! I can explain it all ; I can put quite a 
different light on the thing.' To this I replied : ' I am perfectly 
willing to receive from you any explanation. I think you have 
been accredited as a representative of the British Government for 
this Conference, and if you are in possession of further information, 
or have an3rthing to say which will materially alter the aspect of 
the thing, if you will put it in writing and submit it to me, I will 
take the opinion of my colleagues, and an3rthing we think ought 
to be conmiunicated to the people of the Colony constitutionally 
shall be done. I cannot, however, see how you can possibly pass 
by the Government, and go to the people direct as a representative 
of Lord Carnarvon in any ofl&cial capacity.' Mr. Froude replied : 
* There is something in what you say. I shall be obliged to justify 
the course I am taking, as it is recorded in the Colonial Office.' 
I then wrote to him to the effect that in my opinion it would be 
unconstitutional to communicate to the people of this Colony 
except through its Government. 

Dealing with the unfair character of Mr. Fronde's pro- 
ceedings, and the charge of disloyalty insinuated by him, he 
said that : — 

Having taken up the position of leader of this agitation, 
I suppose he communicates certain things to that party, as 
much as he thinks right : but the unfortunate and anomalous posi- 
tion we are in is this — that we have no such means of communi- 
cating with Lord Carnarvon as Mr. Froude has. The Government 
have no means of attending public meetings and entering their 
protests on the other side. Certain gatherings are called together 
and opinions expressed, and away they go to England, where Lord 
Carnarvon is duly advised of them, everything being placed before 
him in a certain light. But what chance have we, having no 
opportunity of communication except through the Governor in 
the official way ? All this has been carried on, and this is the 
sort of influence that is brought to bear. I saw in a paper only 

VOL. n. c 



18 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

yesterday a flaming article to the effect that I ought to be hauged 
for high treason for calling in question the expediency of this 
Conference. But we have heard that story over and over again, 
when we resisted Sir Philip Wodehouse's proposal to out 
down the constitution, and we heard that we were extremely 
disloyal when we refused to have the convicts. The moment 
you open your mouth, and do not acquiesce in everything that 
is done by the British Ministry, it is disloyal; but are they 
expected to do everything to perfection ? 

I only read just now one resolution of the Victorian Legis- 
lature in order to show how men there can assert their rights, 
and I am not aware that they are called disloyal, nor do they 
seem to go very much out of their way to put their feelings 
into such nice language as some of the hon. members in this 
House would like. When we get this polite letter-writer in the 
Colonial Office at a suitable salary, perhaps we shall be able 
to go in for that sort of thing. The other resolution I alluded 
to is an assertion of pohtical rights against any unlawful inter- 
ference by the Imperial Government in the domestic affairs of 
the Colony. That is how they assert their rights and privileges in 
Victoria. (Mr. Watermeyer : * Domestic affiairs.') Yes, and so 
the annexing of this Colony to the Free States and Natal is a 
matter about which the responsible Ministry here are to have no 
say ? If this is what the hon. member means I can understand it. 
Now he has put his foot down. Now where is his responsible 
government ? What is it worth in his hands ? Why, he would 
sell the Colony to-morrow if that is his view, if you only give him 
enough money, and he gets a quid pro quo, but I am not willing to 
do so imder any circumstances. I would rather not have what- 
ever they may be going to give us, than take it on those terms. 

As to the attitude of the Colony towards the Free State, 
he showed that there was the very best feeling between 
them : — 

I beg it to be distinctly understood on the part of myself and the 
Government, that in their opposition to join in the Conference there 
is not a particle of ill-feeling or any unfriendliness towards the 
two Free States. Not the shghtest ; and I cannot see how such a 
thing can be supposed. We have always been on the most 
friendly terms, and I see no possible reason why we should be on 
any other. I should be only too glad if we could ui any way 
co-operate with them ; but, as far as I can see, they have got their 
eyes open too. They are not so likely to have dust thrown in 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 19 

their eyes, but the hon. member for Colesberg is willing to have 
a oonsiderable amount of dust, and to look through the thing with 
a particular kind of spectacles. I have the utmost sympathy 
for those states, and always have had. I am well acquainted 
with many of the people there, and I was one of those who 
thought that Sir Philip Wodehouse dealt very harshly in the 
measures that he took, and I expressed myself to that effect. I 
have always been intimately connected with many of those people, 
old Dutch inhabitants, and a most scandalous and infamous 
insinuation was thrown out when it was said that I was hostile to 
the Dutch. We all know for what purpose it was done. Will the 
hon. member for Colesberg say he believes I am ? I say it is a 
false and scandalous libel. And it has only been put forward for 
the vile purposes of those who are working the oracle. I have had 
no opportunity of expressing myself, and I felt I do not know 
how. I could not enter into a newspaper controversy ; I felt that 
would be improper in my position as Prime Minister. I have had 
to bear all this ; but to-day I shall express myself. To-day I have 
a chance of expressing my indignation at the insolent and scanda- 
lous rumours. I can only hope that Mr. Froude has not identified 
himself with them. At any rate I do not think the people will 
believe it. My connection with this Colony is too fast and sincere, 
and has lasted too long to be knocked on the head by any schemes 
of that sort. 

Ringing cheers followed his challenge, and no one dared 
repeat in either House what had been circulated out of doors, 
with a view to destroying the support he received from 
members representing Dutch constituencies. 

In defence of his relations with and attitude to the Im- 
perial Government, he simply said that he had been publicly 
thanked in a despatch for what he had done for the Im- 
perial Government in the Langalibalele affair, and imder 
circumstances that placed the existence of the Ministry 
at stake : — 

Neither, Mr. Speaker, is it my desire in any way to evince an 
xmwillingness to meet the Home Government in any proposition 
they may make. In one of his despatches, Lord Carnarvon, I 
think, thanked the Ministers here for the step they took on a 
jecent occasion when they jeopardised their existence. The hon. 
member for Port EUzabeth (Mr. Paterson), who now says that the 

c 2 



20 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

Home Government ought to be supported, was the very man who 
went against them on that occasion. He was then Lord Carnarvon's 
bitter opponent. Now he stands up and condemns the Ministry 
because they will not sell the privileges of the country. I did not 
myself like Langahbalele being brought to the mainland. I con- 
sidered he was better on Bobben Islwd ; but Lord Carnarvon put 
the case most strongly : he was placed in an awkward position with 
the people of England, pressure was brought to bear upon him, 
and, under all the circumstances, I was willing to meet the Home 
Government and strain a point. But the hon. member was opposed 
then to the wishes of Lord Carnarvon. He will go with him now. 
... I say, then, do not come here and talk of disloyalty as 
regards myself and an indisposition to meet the Home Government 
in a fair and open manner. It is not from any surliness. If I could 
have written the Minute in any other way I would have done it, 
but I wrote it from conscientious motives and in the interests of 
the country. I cannot sell the birthright of the Colony for anyone, 
nor will I. I will let other men come in and do that dirty work. 

This was received with loud cheers. Then he turned 
to the danger of trusting to people newly arrived in the 
country, in preference to those whose knowledge and well- 
tried services entitled them to be heard : — 

In the course of my experience I have seen gentlemen come 
out here, some with letters of introduction to myself, and they 
have asked me various questions in regard to the country. Many 
of them have fancied that we are a poor, benighted people here, 
and really knew nothing about farming or anything else. They 
had an idea that they could teach us the right way to do this, and 
the right way to do that : but it has generally ended in their 
giving it up as a bad job, and finding out their mistake when they 
came to putting their ideas into practice. And yet we find some 
people who are willing to hand over all the affairs of this country, 
and cease to be guided by experience. We who have lived in the 
Colony for a number of years know its wants and requirements 
best. Mr. Froude may be an excellent man — I do not deny that 
for a moment — but he does not know sufficiently of the country 
and its people to steer things of this kind. I almost pity Lord 
Carnarvon, because I consider that he must have been guided mainly 
by the advice of Mr. Froude. That gentleman just rushed through 
the country, and fancies he understands the affairs of the Colony 
better than we do ourselves, but I do not subscribe to that 
doctrine. 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 21 

As to the character of the Conference and the objects to 
be attained by it, they could all be secured without this 
extraordinary body. No Conference was needed with regard 
to Griqualand West. He was not opposed to the ultimate 
federation of South Africa, but it must grow, and not be 
forced. Natal they could have nothing to do with at present ; 
we were prosperous, and had to complete the difGicult task 
of initiating responsible government : — 

I am not opposed to an ultimate agreement between the states 
of South Africa. The time will come when that may be necessary, 
but it is not now. It cannot be forced on, and I particularly 
object at this present moment to have anything to do with the 
Colony of NataL The Home Government have recently sent out 
a most eminent man to Natal ; the constitution there has been 
subverted, a new policy has been introduced, and that sort of 
thing is not done without difficulty. Let them manage their own 
a&irs there. Let them give us a lesson, or, if they like, let them 
take a leaf out of our book. . . . 

If we are all to be confederated together, the very best thing 
to be considered is defence; and do those who advocate this 
Conference rightly estimate all the consequences of that ? We see 
our way in so far as this Colony is concerned, and by judicious 
management are able to hold our own without a ruinous expendi- 
ture ; but I should be very sorry to be a responsible Minister when 
Natal has to be looked after, with its 350,000 people, under a 
system which has been admitted to be bad. A new system has 
been introduced, and therefore this is a most inopportune time for 
anything of the sort. The Cape Colony has a tolerably good 
revenue, and a good population ; there is something to work upon, 
and yet we are put in the despatch on only slightly different terms 
to the other states, that have scarcely anything. What is the 
white population of the Free State ? Perhaps the hon. member 
for Colesberg will say — about 25,000 I think. The Transvaal not 
as much ; and at Natal we know the white population is 15,000. 
While the other states have a revenue of 300,000^. or 400,0002. at 
the very most, ours is a million and a half. The burden, there- 
fore, would all be placed on our shoulders. 

I think the sooner Mr. Froude takes his departure, having 
found out what an incorrigible set of fellows we are, and that we 
insist on working our own destiny, the better. 

The Imperial Government would think no worse of the 



22 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

Colony for looking after its own interests ; and as to the 
taunts that the Ministers desired to adhere to office through 
everything : — 

Let me add that Lord Carnarvon will not think a bit the 
worse of this Colony for looking after its own afihirs properly : he 
will say it is luoky they have got a set of men there who do not 
follow my leader without knowing what they are going to, just 
haphazard. They know there, he will say, how to maintain tjieir 
rights against no matter what. I know very well all the taunts 
that have been made aboat the desire of the Molteno Gk)vemment 
to stiok to office, that they are afraid of being turned out ; but 
there is something better than office ; there is the conscientious 
knowledge of having done one's duty. That is far more to me 
than anything else. If you are determined that we are not the 
men to govern, then dismiss us. I certainly will never carry this 
measure out. That is quite clear. 

I have looked at this matter from every point of view, but I 
cannot see any good that will result from this Colony joining the 
Conference. 

As an illustration of the danger to free government from 
the action of Mr. Froude, he instanced the action of the 
Legislative Council, which, on the very first day of its 
meeting, raised a discussion on a most important question 
(the Conference), and when the first responsible Minister 
rose for the purpose of speaking, he was prevented from 
addressing them.* 

He warned the Colony that it was being misled : — 

Has any meeting been held where the matter has been properly 
brought forward and explained? Has anyone pointed out the 
liabihties we are likely to incur ? We see meetings called together 
here and there, and cut-and-dried resolutions passed, which only 
tend to mislead the country. I maintain that people have been 
misled ; and if this Conference should take place, and disastrous 
consequences ensue, I can see the result. I would not like to be 
in the place of those men who have fostered this agitation, and 
got people to sign petitions when they did not know what they 
were about. It was at Grahamstown, I think, that Mr. Froude 
took upon himself to allude to what is called the ' Seven Circles 

* See p. 6, supra. 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 23 

Bill/ and spoke of it in a most improper manner. An Aot passed 
by both branches of the Legislature, submitted for her Majesty's 
approval, and which had become the law of this Colony, was spoken 
of in a sneering and improper manner, and I could only account 
for it as another effort to bring the Ministry into contempt, and 
having a certain effect at particular places.^ I think I have said 
sufficient to show that the opposition which the Government make 
to this proposal does not arise from any ill-feeling or desire to affront 
Lord Carnarvon. We have no such intention, and I think the 
resolution put on paper now, must do away with anything of that 
sort. 

He concluded his speech by justifjdng the serious step 
which had been taken of calling Parliament together in 
special session : — 

I hope what I have said will be sufficient justification for the 
extraordinary step we have taken in calling you together to take 
counsel on this very important subject. No Ministry could pos- 
sibly do justice to the affairs of this Colony with such an agitation 
going on, and while such scandalous misrepresentations ,were 
being made as those at Grahamstown, where it was asserted 
that the officials were brought under compulsion and were not 
allowed to go out of their houses to attend a meeting. It is all 
nonsense. These statements, I say, were industriously circulated, 
and an endeavour was made in every way to bring the Ministry 
into disrepute, so that they might be hurled from power. I could 
not contradict these malicious statements. I had to bear them, as 
it would have been derogatory to the position I hold to have 
written in the papers. I hope we shall see an end of this one day, 
and that we shall have an opportunity of speaking to the country 
and seeing whether they will support this measure. 

After Mr. Molteno had sat dovm, Mr. Philip Watermeyer 
was the first to speak. He was the principal supporter of 
Lord Carnarvon's policy, holding that Lord Carnarvon was 
really desirous of doing justice to the Free State, whose 
rights Mr. Watermeyer had always championed, yet he now 

» Mr. Froude, in his defence, says (J. P., C- 1399, p. 81) :* If I really 
deserved the imputation which Mr. Molteno threw upon me, your Lordship mnst 
regret having confided so important a negotiation to a person so unfit to be 
tmsted with it.' It is for our readers to judge whether Mr. Molteno accurately 
stated the facts or no. 



24 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

laboured under the difficulty that the Free State absolutely 
refused to submit its claims on Griqualand West to such a 
Conference as Lord Carnarvon proposed. His opposition to 
the Ministry was based on various grounds. He urged that, 
judging by the numerous petitions and public meetings, the 
Colony was desirous of joining in the Conference; and he strove 
to impress his audience with the desirability of finding some 
means to satisfy the Free States, who thought themselves 
injured by the annexation of the Diamond Fields. He 
dilated on the danger to the Cape of a northern confederation 
of the Free States, Natal, and Griqualand West taking its 
trade ; the authority, strength, and stability which would be 
given by the proposed confederation to all the states composing 
it ; the advisability of a uniform native policy, and generally 
the necessity of showing some deference to the wishes 
of the Imperial Government in a matter which it was at- 
tempted to be alleged was not one affecting the internal 
administration of the Colony. 

The Attorney-General, Mr. Jacobs, followed in a powerful 
speech, in which he referred to the constitutional principles 
involved, and showed how Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Fronde's 
action had infringed on the rights of the Colony, not only as 
laid down in the text books of authority on constitutional law, 
but as stated by Lord Carnarvon himself when speaking in the 
House of Lords on Canadian Confederation. He vindicated 
the Ministry in their resolution to use their own judgment 
as to the wisdom or imwisdom of any course proposed to 
the Colony, however strongly such a course might be urged 
upon them by so high an authority even as Lord Carnarvon, 
the responsibility was theirs and could not be taken from 
their shoulders. 

The day after this speech was delivered. Lord Carnarvon's 
third despatch arrived, and as in the two former, it contained 
a peremptory injunction to the effect that it should be laid 
before Parliament, or anyway should receive full pubhcity as 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 25 

soon as possible. It was therefore laid on the table of the 
House at once. It contained much that was notable, but it 
is now mentioned because it changed the course of the debate 
and was taken to mean a withdrawal of the proposal for 
a Conference. The words of the despatch from which this 
meaning was drawn seemed plain enough. Lord Carnarvon 
subsequently said he could not for the life of him understand 
how they were so interpreted. However, readers may judge 
for themselves. Here they are : — 

It appears to me not improbable that the great amount of 
discussion which has been given throughout the Colony to the 
question of confederation may be held to have fulfilled most of 
the purposes of that preliminary Conference which I had originally 
suggested, and it may be thought, as I myself am disposed to 
think, that the time has arrived when her Majesty's Government 
should more specially explain the general principles upon which 
they are of opinion ^at the native policy of the future should be 
based, and the terms and conditions upon which they conceive 
that a confederation might be effectively organised.^ 

This was understood by the Governor, the Ministers, 
the whole House, and the portion of the press which supported 
liord Carnarvon, as a withdrawal of the Conference suggestion, 
though it is true a tentative proposal was thrown out that a 
meeting in England would be convenient, for explanations 
which her Majesty's Government desired to make. The situ- 
ation of affairs was now entirely altered, and Mr. Solomon 
moved the adjournment of the House. 

Mr. Molteno was never anxious to have any difGiculties 
with the Home Government — he had done his best to avoid 
them, even to the extent of risking his political existence 
over the Langalibalele question to procure harmony 
between the Colonial and Imperial Governments, and aid 
the Colonial Secretary in the difficult position in which he 
had found himself ; but Lord Carnarvon had so little appre- 
ciated this that his demands on colonial deference to his 

» I. P. C— 1399, p. 27. 



26 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

views had become more exacting. A chance now seemed to 
have occurred of shelving the difficulties, and Mr. Solomon, 
who also shared the desire to avoid friction with the Imperial 
Government, introduced a resolution with the assent of the 
Ministry : — 

As it appears from the despatch dated the 22nd of October, 1875, 
that the Bight Hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies has 
withdrawn his proposal for a Conference of Representatives of 
the several Colonies and States of South Africa, this House is of 
opinion that it is not now called upon to record its continued 
objection to the holding at the present time of such a Conference, 
or its condemnation of the unconstitutional agitation carried on in 
this Colony in connection with this question. 

To this was added, on the motion of Mr. Walter : — 

The House desires, however, to express its opinion that the 
Grovemment and Parliament should, if it be desired by the Imperial 
Government, give it their counsel and assistance in settling the 
difficulties which have arisen out of the extension of British juris- 
diction to the territory known as Griqualand West. 

Mr. Solomon made a convincing speech. He followed the 
previous speakers in condenming the course pursued by the 
Home Government, through Mr. Froude, as * unprecedented 
in the history of the British colonies since they possessed 
self-government, and because unprecedented, therefore, ac- 
cording to the theory and usage of the British constitution, 
unconstitutional.* He showed how the chief support received 
for Lord Carnarvon's proposals had been in the Grahams- 
town and Port Elizabeth districts, the old separation head- 
quarters, while in the west the aid had mostly come from 
those whose sympathy had been enlisted because it was 
represented that Lord Carnarvon's policy was one of concili- 
ation towards the Free State and Transvaal. * I could see 
under all the glamour thrown around the movement the 
feelings that were at work, and it was this that aroused my 
suspicion from the beginning.' He showed how he could not 
be called with any justice an opponent of confederation : — 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 27 

It will be remembered by those who took an interest in politioal 
matters in 1854 that I was the first man to give my sentiments in 
favour of a South African confederation. It was one of my dreams 
of, it may be, a distant future, and I still indulge in that dream and 
hope of confederation,which I said I hoped would form the United 
States of South Africa. I included in this union British Eaffraria 
(since incorporated with the Colony), the Free State, the Transvaal 
Republic, and Natal. This I mentioned in my first address to my 
constituents twenty-one years ago, and, therefore, so far as forming 
a great dominion in South Africa was concerned, I was not stag- 
gered with Lord Carnarvon's despatch. My objection was to the 
way in which the Conference was proposed, and the subjects which 
it was to discuss. . . . 

But all Mr. Froude's public utterances have manifested a 
decided preference for the native policy of the Transvaal Republic 
over that of this Colony, and so far as our native policy was con- 
cerned, I had grave apprehensions of a Conference in which the 
representatives of England seemed to entertain these views. . . . 
While I admit that the native policy of this Colony is not perfect, 
I assert that it is more perfect than the policy of those two Re- 
publics. ... I agree with the Memorandum of the Ministry on 
this point. . . . The only proper and effective native policy that 
we can adopt at present is to have laws based on principles of 
justice, whose administration may be extended and modified accord- 
ing to the circumstances of the times and the people on whom they 
operate. 

And then as to Natal : — 

Would it not be an act of madness for this Colony even to 
consider the admission of Natal into a federal union in these cir- 
cumstances and at this time ? Let Great Britain consolidate its 
native policy at Natal ; let it take precautions against any outbreak 
which might happen in the course of the experiment now being 
made ; let the time of transition go by, and then it will be time 
enough to ask us to admit Natal into federal union with this 
Colony. 

As to the charge of disloyalty in opposing Lord Carnar- 
von's policy, he said : — 

I am not one of those who are always boasting of their loyalty. 
I am a Cape Colonist, and I call myself an Englishman. Though 
bom in Africa, the hon. senior member for Colesberg will not 
admit me to the privilege of being an Afrikander ; the hon. mem- 



28 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

ber for Somerset will not, I know, allow that I am what he calls 
a Dutchman ; and, therefore, I must be content to consider myself 
as only an Englishman and a British subject, and I am content 
to be that. Nor am I disposed to exchange the rule of Queen 
Victoria for that of President Burgers, or the flag of old England 
for that of the Transvaal Republic ; and I believe this to be the 
sentiment imiversal among the Cape Colonists, both Dutch and 
English. 

As to the character of the support accorded to the 
Conference : — 

It will be as well, therefore, I think, that we should know a 
little more of this matter before we can decide who are in favour 
of confederation on its own merits, and who on the groimd of the 
profit they will derive from their land speculations; for, Grod 
forbid that the government of the country should get into the 
hands of land-jobbers. Let us keep clear of that. . . . That we 
are not too early in looking after our rights may be seen by the 
London ' Standard,' which arrived by the last mail. In a leading 
article in that organ of the Conservative Grovemment, we have this 
passage : ' Nor can it be admitted to be a local privilege of a 
British colony to determine when it shall be united for certain 
general and common purposes with other British colonies and 
foreign states.' Surely the time has come when we ought to resist 
and resent such a doctrine as that. If this Colony is to be sacri- 
ficed, we should, at least, let our voices be heard. If the interests 
of the empire require a colony to be sacrificed, that colony may 
surely protest against being made a victim. And it appears to me 
that the passage in the ' Standard's ' article is well illustrated by the 
attempt to fasten upon this Colony the Colony of Natal in its 
present circumstances. We did not oppose the Conference a bit 
too soon or too much, and Lord Carnarvon's withdrawal from his 
position shows that we adopted a right course. 

He defended the Ministers from the attitude of those 
who said that they were wrong in not agreeing to the Con- 
ference, for he showed how the House in the previous 
session was unanimous on the point of not agreeing to a 
Conference; the only question was, which resolution was 
most polite in its refusal. He showed the grounds of the 
support of Port Elizabeth to the Conference movement, 
quoting Mr. Paterson's speech there, when he descanted to 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 29 

the shrewd business men of Port Elizabeth on the rise in 
values, when every acre of land in the Free States and 
Transvaal would be more than doubled on the morning of 
confederation. No money gain with millions of acres 
suddenly doubled in value ! What prospects of increased 
security for their accounts I 

Beferring to the relation of Lord Carnarvon and Mr. 
Froude with the Free State and Transvaal, he said : — 

I was unable to understand many of the statements made in 
the coTurse of the agitation, for we find the Home Government, in 
the person of their representative, expressing themselves as 
repentant and humbled sons of injustice. At Worcester we heard 
of the Imperial Government being content if allowed to keep 
Simon's Bay, and the people of this Colony being asked to promise 
that in any foreign war the resources of this country would be placed 
at the disposal of the Queen. I could but ask myself what all 
this meant? This was so dififerent from the course usually 
adopted by the Imperial Government, and then there was Lord 
Carnarvon's second despatch, wherein he spoke of the Transvaal, 
and said that the proposed Conference was in order that the Home 
Gk>vemment might be advised what to do in reference to the 
position of the Zulus, and the arbitration about Delagoa Bay — I 
wondered what had happened to induce the Home Government to 
invite a foreign power to advise them ? I really felt ashamed of my 
country, and I was not at all sorry when I saw the last despatch 
from Lord Carnarvon to the President of the Free State, in which 
he assumes, as I think, a position which I will not say is right — 
though the hon. member for Somerset has to-day said it is— but it 
is at all events more creditable to the Home Government than that 
humiliating and abject position of pretending to be guilty of 
injustice which they could easily redress if they chose, or to have 
conunitted sins which I am sure the Home Government, when 
pressed to an issue, will not confess to have committed. 

As far as my own feeling goes, I would prefer that the Colonial 
Secretary should withdraw the original resolution altogether, as it 
seems to me that by the withdrawal of the proposed Conference 
the only reason for it has disappeared. As Lord Carnarvon has 
withdrawn his proposal for a Conference, all action on our part on 
that question ought, in my opinion, to cease, but there are many of 
those who vote with us and perhaps the Ministry too, who are not 
of that opinion. They feel that the withdrawal of the motion 



80 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

after all that has happened, with no other resolution to take its 
place, may be misunderstood and misapprehended ; that it may be 
supposed we have changed our opinions, and not that the circum- 
stances and the position of the controversy have changed. I have 
no such feeling as that myself, but in deference to these views, 
which are not unnatural, I think it right to propose the amend- 
ment which I have already read. We do no harm in saying that 
as this despatch withdraws the proposal for a Conference, we do 
not feel called upon to record our opinion as to whether there 
should be a Conference or not. 

As to the position of the Ministry and the possibility 
of its defeat, which was the principal object of the oppo- 
sition to it, and not the holding of a Conference, Mr. Solomon 
said: — 

But if Lord Carnarvon's last despatch had not changed the 
whole aspect of the case, I should have been sorry indeed to have 
seen the Ministry defeated on a question in which I think they 
have done the Colony a good service. They have fought our battle 
well and manfully resisted what they deem to be an invasion of 
this Colony's rights. And here let me say that although I think 
the Hon. the Colonial Secretary may have gone wrong on some 
points in this particular dispute, still I admire the courage, I 
admire the fairness, with which he adhered to his point — I admire 
the manliness with which he has asserted our constitutional 
rights. He would have many temptations to meet the views of 
the Home Government, and such a course might have been greatly 
to his own personal advantage ; we owe him therefore a debt of 
gratitude for having — ^whether we believe him to be right on all 
points or not — that he has resisted the pressure and blandishments 
that might have been brought to bear upon him. Though this 
Colony has no baronetcy to dangle before his eyes, he was faithful 
to what he believed to be its best interests and its constitutional 
rights. 

Mr. Sprigg showed how astounding was the position 
created by Mr. Froude and Lord Carnarvon, and how im- 
possible to defend : — 

There is no doctrine better understood or more firmly settled 
in England than this : that so long as the Ministry possess the 
confidence of the country, they are entitled to enjoy the confi- 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PAKLIAMENT 31 

dence and be sustained by the power of the Grown ; and it is 
that sound constitutional doctrine which we, who have taken up 
this question, contend has been infringed by the course followed 
by the Secretary of State and his agent, Mr. Froude. 

Now it must be manifest to the House that if the Grown is 
fighting against itself a divided house cannot stand — that the 
Government of the Queen in this Golony cannot be carried on if 
the Ministers of the Crown in England are fighting against the 
Ministers of the Grown in the Golony. The result of such a con- 
test must be to lessen the power of the Grown, and ultimately to 
bring it into contempt. This is the position we occupy upon this 
occasion. It is perfectly clear to my own mind, and I hope I 
have made it equally clear to the House. We say that the mem- 
ber for Beaufort and his colleagues are carrying on the Government 
of the Crown in this Golony, and then Mr. Froude comes out here 
claiming to be the mouthpiece of the Queen. That was his own 
statement at the public dinner in this town. He said that he 
spoke not merely the mind of Lord Carnarvon, but the mind of 
her Majesty ; or if hon. members do not wish to carry it so far 
back as that, Mr. Froude is undoubtedly the agent of Lord Car- 
narvon, who speaks the mind of the Queen so long as he holds 
office. When Lord Carnarvon speaks it is the Government of the 
Queen that is speaking, and consequently the Crown itself ; so 
that Mr. Froude is in fact the agent of the Grown, and, occupying 
that position, he appeals by agitation to the people of this country 
against the Queen's Ministers in this country. That is what we 
say is imconstitutional, and that is why we say that the successful 
working of self-government in this Colony is by this course of pro- 
ceeding rendered impossible. There is only one constitutional 
appeal by the Crown to the people, and that is by a dissolution. 
We contend that the Crown can only address the people through 
its own servants, the Ministry. 

It is not agitation on the part of the people of this Golony 
that we object to ; but we object to the Queen's Government in 
England carrying on an agitation against the Queen's Govern- 
ment in this coimtry. If we talk for ever on this subject we must 
come back to that at last ; and that is a proceeding which renders 
the successful working of self-government in this Golony impossible. 



Mr. Paterson of course supported Mr. Watermeyer's 
amendment, which asserted that the proposition of Lord 
Carnarvon ought to be accepted that delegates should be 
appointed, but that none of the conclusions of such Con- 



32 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

ference should be binding without the sanction of the 
responsible legislatures of the colonies and the states ; but 
even Mr. Paterson had to concede that it would be fatal to 
admit Natal to a confederation unless the Imperial Govern- 
ment agreed to keep 4,000 troops there for ten years at 
least. 

Mr. Laing, who had opposed Mr. Sprigg's resolution in 
regard to the confederation despatch in the previous session 
of Parliament, gave notice of an amendment, that the 
House could not give even an implied assent to any of the 
suggestions in paragraphs four and five of the original 
despatch, by which the holding of any Conference might be 
relegated to England instead of being held in the Colony. 
Even Lord Carnarvon's supporters had begun to take alarm at 
the high-handed manner in which he was urging this question. 

When Mr. Froude perceived that Mr. Molteno was 
likely to have a majority, he urged the Governor to use 
his influence to get him to concur in a rider to the reso- 
lution, offering, on behalf of the Colonial Government, to 
co-operate with the Imperial Government in effecting an 
amicable settlement with Grigualand West. He even 
desired the Governor to press Mr. Molteno to go further 
and agree to send a colonial delegate to directly negotiate 
with Lord Carnarvon on the subject. Mr. Molteno would 
not agree to this, but accepted the amendment moved by 
Mr. Walter, to the effect that the Colonial Government 
should, if it be desired by the Imperial Government, give it 
their counsel and assistance in settling the difficulties which 
have arisen within the limits of British jurisdiction in the 
territory known as Griqualand West ; and this was incor- 
porated with the substantive motion. 

The discussion and debate lasted eight days, and finally 
Mr. Watermeyer's resolution in favour of appointing dele- 
gates was negatived by thirty-five to twenty-two votes. 

Mr. Solomon's amendment, which had now become the 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 33 

main question, was adopted by thirty-six votes to twenty-two, 
a decisive majority in a small House consisting of sixty-six 
members. It was also an increased majority on the division 
in the previous session on a similar subject. A glance at the 
list of the minority shows that the old separation names 
are there in opposition as usual, together with one or two 
members, such as Mr. Watermeyer, who sympathised 
strongly with the Free States; but Mr. Froude's at- 
tempt to destroy Mr. Molteno's influence with the Dutch 
had absolutely and miserably failed; they supported him 
solidly. No western member but Charles Barry, sub- 
director-general, as he was called, of the agitation, and 
his brother, Mr. T. D. Barry, voted with the Opposi- 
tion. Taking the division lists from another point of view, 
we find that, out of the thirty-six, there were twenty-five 
English names against eighteen English names on the other 
side. No one could say that this decision of Parliament did 
not represent the opinion of the country. 

The debate had been ably and calmly conducted ; the 
great question had been fairly deliberated upon. The 
issue afi&rmed, firstly, two great principles — that, the Colony 
having been endowed with responsible government, should 
not be subjected to the dictation, control, or interference 
of any sort from home officials unacquainted with its wants 
and circumstances, and therefore incompetent to dictate 
thd policy best suited to its interests. Secondly, that an 
agitation could not be constitutionally carried on through the 
home officials by, or in the ncune of, her Majesty's Govern- 
ment in England against her Majesty's Government in 
South Africa. It showed moreover how diplomatic man- 
oeuvring could be detected and resisted by plain colonists, 
and that the great agitation, thought by Mr. Froude and pro- 
nounced by Lord Carnarvon, in his despatch of the 22nd of 
October, to be the opinion of the country, was nothing but 
the noisy exhibition of a minority in the Colony who desired 

VOL. n. D 



34 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

to make use of Mr. Fronde and Lord Carnarvon for their 
olterior objects. 

Thns, again, as on three previous occasions during the 
governorship of Sir Fhihp Wodehouse, had Mr. Molteno 
succeeded in parrying the assault on the constitutional privi- 
leges of the Cape, and had repelled it successfully ; the right 
to self-government was vindicated. Engb'shmen at the Cape 
had proved their brotherhood with Englishmen in every 
part of the world in preserving intact their free institutions. 
The result of the decision in the Cape Farliskment was 
looked upon throughout South Africa as the death-blow to 
the Conference, and to the confederation idea as well, for the 
present. One thing only was clear, and that was that South 
Africa desired to be left alone. Nothing now remained for 
Mr. Froude but to go home to the Colonial Office and 
inform his noble friend that he had done all that man can 
do by travelling, speaking, and writing, but that he had 
utterly failed in awakening the sympathies or enlisting the 
support of the South African people on behalf of the scheme 
for the confederation of the colonies and states of that 
portion of the continent. Mr. Froude had gained some 
experience from his present tour, and in the final paragraph 
of his Beport he tells Lord Carnarvon that ' plants of slow 
growth endure the longest, and the final consmnmation, 
however devoutly it be wished, can only be brought to 
wholesome maturity by the deliberate action of the South 
Africa/n, communities themselves.' ^ 

This advice was as unpalatable to Lord Carnarvon 
as was the decision of the Cape Parliament. We must 
briefly draw attention to the position of this question in 
England. Lord Carnarvon had been entirely misled by the 
numerous resolutions of public meetings and by the public 
prints into supposing that the confederation was acceptable 
to the majority of the people of South Africa. As a justiii- 

* I. P.. 0-1899, p. 88. 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OP PARLIAMENT 36 

cation of his action the blue-books on South Africa teem 
with the resolutions of pubhc meetings of this character, all 
organised, as we have seen, from the same office, with their 
petitions and resolutions written in the S8kme hand ' ; other- 
wise he could not have made the very serious mistake of 
introducing the confederation question into the Queen's 
Speech at the end of the session of 1875, nor would Mr. 
Disraeh himself have made his reference to it at the Guild- 
hall in November of the same year. After taking credit 
for the establishment of the Canadian Dominion seven years 
ago, he had said : — 

The same spirit animated her Majesty's Ministers at the 
present moment. There is every prospect that another federation 
of colonies and states, which will add power to our empire and 
confer immense advantages on the world in general, will be esta- 
blished in South Africa. These are the acts of a Government 
which has confidence in the Colonial Empire of Great Britain, 
and which does not believe— as some few beheve — it to be an 
exhaustive incumbrance on our resources and political life, but 
feels, on the contrary, that it ought to be, and can be, a source of 
wealth, power, and glory. 

We have already seen that the Canadian confederation 
was the work and real idea of the Canadians themselves, 
who had asked for it. The Cape had never asked for it. 
And we may observe that this question was to be dragged 
in the train of party triumphs at home — a very dangerous 
game to play with such interests, and a course which has 
always been deprecated by all thoughtful men who have 
considered the relations between the mother country and 
the colonies, and who have desired their permanence and 
their being placed in a position to involve no ill-feeling 
between the two. The Ministry had committed itself to 
the policy hastily and on insufficient and misleading infor- 
mation. It was natural, then, that the great organs of the 
press which supported them should desire to override all 
1 See note at end of chapter. 

D 2 



86 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

opposition, and should resent any hesitation on the part of 
the Ministers at the Cape in accepting snch a policy. 

In the coarse of the Langalibalele question it has been 
shown what violent resentment was roused in the Colony 
by the ' Times ' articles, written in that lordly fashion which 
denies to colonists either the right or the capacity to choose 
anything different from what they may have had indicated to 
them from England as being for their welfare. A series of 
inspired articles now appeared in the various public prints. 
These journals have no special knowledge of colonial sub- 
jects, with which they pretend to deal. They are blind 
leaders of the blind on all such questions ; they voice panic 
suggestions of the moment when crises arise; and, worse, 
they frequently voice the views of interested and active 
cliques who have their own ends to accomplish, and whose 
object is not the welfare of the whole community.^ 

As the 'Times* subsequently confessed on this very 
subject, in criticising Mr. Lowther's speech on the South 
Africa Bill : — ' Mr. Lowther assumed that the House either 
possessed an extraordinary intimacy with South African 
politics or was possessed by a culpable indifference to one of 
the greatest of Imperial questions. The truth is the House, 
and, for that matter, the country too, cannot pretend to 
any intimate knowledge of colonial affairs, and yet it is 
reasonably disinclined to surrender its right to criticise 
colonial policy.' 

* Sir G. 0. Lewis had long sinoe pointed oat that an appeal to the pablio of 
the dominant country was useless : — ' Nor are the ignorance and indifference of 
the dominant coontry about the concerns of the dependency limited to the 
supreme government. Hence if any dispute should arise between the depen- 
dency and the supreme government, and if the dependency should appeal from 
the government to the people of the dominant state, it will probably find that 
it has not appealed to a better informed or more favourable tribunal. On the 
subject of the dispute the people of the dominant country can scarcely be so 
well informed as their government ; and in any struggle for power between 
their own country and the dependency they are likely to share all the preju- 
dices of their government and to be equally misled by a love of dominion and 
by delusive notions of national dignity.'— Lewis, on Dependencies (Lucas' 
edition), p. 248. 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OP PABLIAMENT 37 

When, however, the report of the debate in the Cape Par- 
liament reached England even the ' Times ' was somewhat 
enlightened by a perusal of the proceedings. While support- 
ing Lord Carnarvon's proposals for a Conference, and his 
action generally, it was bound to confess and admit that 
'it is only fair to the Ministry to acknowledge that they 
have shown considerable skiU in the manner in which they 
have met the emergency, and that they have made the most 
of what undoubtedly has been a mistake on the part of those 
who have more especially represented the Imperial policy.' It 
then analysed the Premier's motion, condemning the agita- 
tion, and went on to say : 'It ought, we think, to be admitted 
that the Colonial Government have some reason to complain 
on this score, and the mistake of which they had taken 
advantage ought to afford a salutary lesson for the future.' 
Speaking of Mr. Froude's action, it admitted that he had used 
his prospective official authority and his ability to raise — 

a popular opposition against the responsible Ministry of the 
Colony, .... but it is reasonably inferred that he represented 
the mind of the Colonial Office, and from this point of view it can 
hardly be denied that his course was as unconstitutional as if the 
Oovemor of the Colony himself had raised a popular agitation 
against his own Ministers. The Governor may think them utterly 
mistaken, but he must be content to express his views to them 
directly, and he must leave it to other parties and other public 
men to urge his views on the country. The Governor is but the 
representative of the Imperial Government, and any course incum- 
bent on him is still more incumbent on the Imperial authority 
itself. Neither Sir Henry Barkly nor Lord Carnarvon, nor Mr. 
Froude as their representative, had any right to appeal to the 
people at large against the Ministry, which was supported by the 
majority of the regular representatives of the people. Mr. Molteno 
has had the skill to concentrate his opposition against this flagrant 
error, and if he gain an immediate victory, it will be the fault of 
those who have gratuitously played into Ids hands. 

Mr. Froude's proceedings had not altogether escaped 
attention in the Imperial Parliament. Lord Granville, in 
the House of Lords, referred to Mr. Disraeli's Mansion 



38 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

House speech and to Lord Carnarvon's action in the matter 
of South African confederation, taunting his noble friend 
with * errors which might have been avoided with a little more 
communication with the Governor of the Colony and the 
local authorities.' Lord Carnarvon interjected a remark that 
he had retracted any words which were offensive, and Ear! 
Granville immediately replied : — 

The noble Earl used language which, justly or unjustly, was 
sure to be irritating to certain persons belonging to the Colonial 
Government, and there can be no doubt that the noble Ear! 
did afterwards withdraw the names of those particular per- 
sons. There is also another point connected with this con- 
federation upon which the Government will be required to give 
explanations. I should desire to know what is the exact position 
of a very eminent man of great intellectual power — Mr. Froude — 
who has been sent to that Colony. We shall also require to know 
what are the conditions under which he has acted, and whether it 
is true that aftefr the noble Earl himself had laid down in the 
clearest manner the constitutional relations between her Majesty* s 
Chvemment and the Colonial Govemmenty the delegate, or the 
oommissioner (or whatever post Mr. Froude occupied), absolutely 
* stumped ' the Colony at meetings of the most hostile character to 
the existing Government of the Colony. I shall be curious to 
know whether that conduct has been approved or disapproved 
by the noble Earl. I do not see why, because a Colony having 
representative institutions is small, you should not be as punc- 
tilious in your relations witb it as you would be with the largest 
of your Colonies. 



Note. — ^We have called attention to Lord Carnarvon's improper appeal 
to the people of the Colony by directing the immediate publication of his 
despatches, and we shaU see how subsequently he referred to the local 
press for support for his policy. He thus passed by the constitutional 
channels of communication. The matter is so important that it is desir- 
able to state clearly what the proper constitutional practice is. 

The opinion of the people of any country is the opinion of their 
representatives in the Legislature. The Imperial Government has no 
right, nor has the High Commissioner, to go behind the opinion of the 
country or colony as expressed by its Legislature, and has no right to act 
on any other opinion. 

This is reaUy in accordance with common sense, as a moment's reflec- 
tion will show; but there is ample authority in support of this view. 



THE SPECIAL SESSION OF PARLIAMENT 39 

Todd, in his ' Parliamentary Gbvemment,' lays it down distinctly. * The 
House of Commons is the legislative organ of the people, whose opinions 
cannot he oonstitntionally ascertained except through their representatives 
in Parliament.' In a debate in the House of Commons in 1841, Sir 
Robert Peel said, ' It is dangerous to admit any other regular organ of 
public opinion than the House of Commons.* Mr. Gladstone, in a debate 
on the Reform Bill of 1867, said, ' I am not a lover of circumstances by 
which the business of governing this country is taken from within the 
walls of this House and transferred to places beyond.* 

Lord Carnarvon had curiously enough enunciated very clearly the 
correct view in the case of Canadian confederation. * The wishes of the 
colonists are likely to be more futhfully and effectively brought before 
the Home Qovemment by the local Ministers who are in immediate con- 
tact with the communities they represent, and through the Governor who is 
responsible to her Majesty for furnishing all requisite information, than 
by persons acting in pursuance of their own views.* You have a Governor 
in a Colony and a Ministry, and it is not proper to go to third persons. 
We have iJready given Lord Carnarvon's own authority for the statement 
that the Imperial Gt}vemment has undertaken to communicate with a 
colony possessing responsible government only through its properly con- 
stituted authorities. (See vol. i. p. 878, sttpra. See also p. 124, infrat 
for a similar statement of Lord Carnarvon.) When the attempt was 
made in the case of Queensland to follow the advice of non-representative 
parties, the Government of the Colony framed a memorandum in which 
the following occurs : * Considerable dissatis&ction has for some years 
been caused by the mischievous interference of pretended representatives 
of the colonies in England, and ask that in jfiiture no statement made 
at Downing Street by persons not formally and officially accredited by the 
Government of the Colony may be permitted to influence her Majesty's 
advisers.' We may further recall Lord Blachford's condenmation of a 
policy which forms a British faction in a Colony by means of the partisan 
action of the Secretary of State against local Ministers, or by similar action 
on the part of the Governor or High Conmiissioner. (Supra, vol. i. p. 
416.) 



40 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XVII 

LORD CABNABYON'S DESPATOHES. 1876-76 

Lord Carnarvon attempts to torn oat the Ministry— Directs a Dissolution — Sir 
Henry Barkly*s reasons against— Beception of Despatch at the Cape — Im- 
proper treatment of Mr. Molteno—Lord Blachford's views — ^Lord Carnar- 
von's criticism on the Debates— Ministers* Beply— They vindicate Self- 
government- Precedents in other Colonies— Lord Carnarvon adopts Fronde's 
proceedings— Ministers' reply— Debate in the Imperial Parliament— Beenlts 
of similar Policy in the West Indies. 

LoBD Cabnabyon having committed himself and Mr. 
Disraeli's Govemment to the confederation policy, meant to 
brook no opposition from a Colony which only a few years 
previous had to accept his rulings almost without question. 
In these distant parts of the empire constitutional procedure 
meant, in his view, delay to Imperial projects, and there- 
fore need not be followed. The Minister who would not 
obey him must be displaced. Intrigue had been em- 
ployed but with no success. He was to resort later, through 
Sir Bartle Frere, to the high-handed proceeding of dis- 
missing this Minister who possessed the confidence of the 
Legislature. 

The despatch of the 22nd of October,^ to which we have 
referred, was written by Lord Carnarvon in the evident an- 
ticipation that the Parliament would immediately turn out 
the Ministry. He expressed his personal gratification with 
the accounts which had reached him ' principally through 
the reports of the local press,' evincing the deep interest 
which was felt throughout the Colony in the proposals for 
a Conference, thus continuing to ignore the constitutional 

> I. P., 0—1899, p. 26. 



LOBD CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 41 

channels of information, deliberately setting aside the prin- 
ciples which he had laid down himself, to the effect that 
any information from the colonies to the Imperial Govern- 
ment should come through the Governor, and he went on 
to say: 

that the remarkable expression of feeling which had thus been 
elicited may be considered to have by this time sufficiently at- 
tained its object, and it may now be convenient to bring to its 
legitimate conclusion an agitation which cannot with advantage 
be indefinitely prolonged. 

This was to admit fully the authorship and approve the mode 
in which this agitation had been conducted. 

He approved of the summoning of Parliament, and added 
that he ' has no personal feeUng in the matter in regard to 
its effect upon local parties/ and that he ' cannot suppose 
that Parliament vnll fail to be in accord with the opinion of 
the country.' He thus accepted with a lordly complacency 
the hoped for disappearance of Mr. Molteno's Ministry; 
but to make this event absolutely certain, he continued : — 

If, however, from any cause there should appear to be a diver- 
gence between the decision of Parliament and the wishes of the 
community on a question of so great public importance, you will 
not need to be reminded by me that the true constitutional course, 
whenever it can properly be taken, will be to dissolve the Parlia- 
ment and to remit the question to the final and supreme decision 
of the constituencies.^ 

What did Lord Carnarvon mean by ' the subjects which 
principally occupied the attention of the country, and for 
which Parliament was called together,' and by ' the probable 
decision of Parliament as affecting local parties,' and by his 
supposition that Parliament would not fail to be in accord 
with the opinion of the country? The only question before 
it was whether Mr. Froude was right in his condemnation of 
the Parliament and Ministry, and whether his object in turning 

» I. P., C— 1899, p. 27. 



42 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

out the latter should succeed. If it be answered that it was 
the conduct of the Ministry in refusing to go into the 
Conference, then the reply is that Lord Carnarvon in this 
very despatch says that he thinks that Conference no longer 
necessary, though he may suggest another one. The only 
conclusion we can draw is that Lord Carnarvon looked to 
the overthrow of the Ministry as the special object of the 
assembling of Parliament, and as a vote of confidence by 
implication in himself and his agent ; in the event of this 
not being done Sir Henry Barkly was directed to dissolve 
the Parliament and appeal to the country. 

It was evident that Lord Carnarvon, finding himself so 
strongly supported by the press which he thought to be 
equivalent to the country, had felt it safe to show more of his 
hand, and that the Conference summoned in London was for 
no other purpose than to bring its members within range of 
those potential influences which are so largely at the command 
of the Imperial Government. 

Was it constitutional to hold a threat of dissolution over 
the Cape Parliament unless it immediately adopted Lord 
Carnarvon's policy? At the time this despatch raised a 
violent protest from the press ; the ' Argus ' called it ' the 
most marvellous despatch ever sent by a responsible Minister 
of the CrovTU in England to a constitutional representative 
of her Majesty's in any British colony endowed with free 
representative institutions,* and further, ' anything so mon- 
strous was never attempted by a constitutional responsible 
Minister of the British Crown before.' It was true Mr. 
Froude had frequently said to many persons, and in many 
places, that ' if the Parliament opposes us we shall compel 
Governor Barkly to dissolve,' but this statement was looked 
upon as another of his astounding and indiscreet utterances ; 
it now appeared that he had inveigled Lord Carnarvon into 
adopting it seriously. 

Condenmation of this despatch was not confined to the 



LOBD CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 43 

press which supported Mr. Molteno, the ' Grahamstown 
Journal/ an out-and-out Gonfederationist, said of it : — 

A more inopportune document it has seldom been our lot to 
read — what are we to understand by the despatch? The first 
three sections are probably clear enough, though we very much 
doubt the expediency of an Imperial Secretary of State prospec- 
tively dictating dissolution upon the Governor of a Colony 
possessed of responsible government. The * Journal ' has said that 
such a dissolution should take place, that it was meet and right 
for the inhabitants of the Colony to do so, but it would be time 
enough for a Secretary of State to administer his lecture when a 
Governor had failed in this duty. A Secretary of State 6,000 
miles off has no right repeatedly to assume because he has read 
the ' Journal ' and other newspapers, that the feeling of the country 
is against the Ministry for the time being. Technically, the 
country is represented by any Ministry in office, and ordinary 
esprit de corps would have guided the Earl aright if he had been 
discussing the question of a difference in which he had no special 
personal interest. . . . 

The only way to carry out Lord Carnarvon's original views, in 
which most of us are so earnestly interested, is to disown all con- 
nection with certain points in his Lordship's latest despatch. We, 
his followers, must disagree with him as to the non-necessity of 
the Conference, and by so doing endeavour to seal the fate of the 
Ministry, and we must disown all intention to submit our afibirs 
to a Conference in London I 

The * Volksblad', the leading Dutch paper at the other 
extremity of the Colony, and a strong supporter of the Con- 
ference, took this view also. Lord Carnarvon's despatch 
must be ignored by his supporters, and * just at present we 
want no meeting in England, nor any basis of confederation.' 

The unfortunate Conference party were utterly dumb- 
founded. Mr. Froude and his men endec^voured to say that 
the interpretation put upon Lord Carnarvon's message by 
Mr. Solomon and Mr. Molteno was not a fair one, and not a 
legitimate inference from the wording of the despatch. As 
we see from the views expressed above, Lord Carnarvon's 
strongest supporters took exactly the same view as did Mr, 
Solomon and Mr. Molteno. It is interesting to observe that 



44 LU^B AND TIMES OP SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

Lord Carnarvon, when he learned the effects of his despatch 
at the Gape, then turned round and said that he had never 
intended to v^ithdrav^ the Conference, but had only sug- 
gested its meeting in England I 

The position contemplated by Lord Carnarvon had now 
arisen. ParUament had refused to turn out Mr. Molteno. 
Happily for Lord Carnarvon, the man on the spot — the 
High Conmiissioner — had a better knowledge of the facts 
and a vnser discretion. In a despatch to the Secretary of 
State for the Colonies he entered upon a consideration of the 
question as to whether the dissolution suggested by Lord 
Carnarvon was 'constitutionally practicable.' Fortunately 
for the empire. Lord Carnarvon's despatch was received by 
a man whose experience of the working of the representative 
institutions granted to the colonies was unrivalled. 

He had initiated responsible government in Victoria ; he 
had himself been a member of the House of Conmions, and 
thus possessed an advantage denied to Lord Carnarvon 
himself. He at once saw the impossibility of carrying out 
the instructions for a dissolution, and did not hesitate to 
point it out. He showed that the decision of the Lower 
House was in striking contrast with the burden of the 
petitions presented to it, and with the resolution of the 
Legislative Council ; and that it was by no means certain 
that the agitation which had taken place, and the expressions 
of opinion, did really represent the feeling of the country. 

He pointed out that the result of a general election must 
be looked upon as uncertain, and depending mainly on the 
latent political feelings which might be evolved at any 
particular crisis ; and he drew conclusions to the effect 
that— 

these feelings would, judging from past experience, be readily 
fanned into flame by so high-handed an exercise of the prerogative 
of the Grown, as any attempt to turn out a Ministry with a large 
and increasing majority for the purpose of dissolving Parliament 



LOBD CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 46 

on a question of Imperial policy would be held to constitute, and 
that the result might prove disastrous ; 

and that though there was a divergence of opinion between 
the Upper and Lower Houses, yet upon any general election 
the Upper House would now be elected on the seven circles 
system, which would bring it into harmony with the Lower 
House. From considerations such as these he believed that 
Lord Carnarvon would recognise that this was not one of 
those occasions on which the course of appealing to the 
constituencies could be properly taken ; and Mr. Froude 
himself had come to the conclusion on wholly independent 
grounds ' that such an appeal at the present moment would 
in all probability raise a false issue, the result of which 
might be the indefinite postponement of any Conference.' 
Under these circumstances the Governor awaited further 
instructions from Lord Carnarvon.^ 

Apart from the unconstitutional character of the course 
directed by Lord Carnarvon, what are we to say of the vns- 
dom and justice of the Home Grovemment in proceeding in 
this way against Mr. Molteno ? Had he not assisted it most 
materially in persuading the Colony to decide upon accept- 
ing responsible government, thereby relieving it of a serious 
difficulty? Had he not taken upon the Colony the burden 
of its own defence? Had he not restored order to its finances ? 
Under his administration the Colony had been raised from 
a position of extreme depression to one of great prosperity. 
Its conservative inhabitants, owing to their confidence in 
Mr. Molteno's judgment, had undertaken enormous public 
works. On these public grounds, then, Mr. Molteno was 
entitled to the grateful support of the Home Government, to 
whom the Cape had hitherto always been a source of anxiety 
and difficulty. 

But upon Lord Carnarvon himself Mr. Molteno had a 

» I. P.. C— 1899, pp. 62 and 53. 



46 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

high claim to consideration in that when he was in 
difficulties over the Langalibalele affair, and appealed to 
Mr. Molteno to assist him, the former did so at the risk 
of his poUtical existence. What return does Lord Car- 
narvon make ? He replies by sending out Mr. Froude to 
upset Mr. Molteno. With Mr. Froude he intrigues with 
Mr, Paterson, a member of the Opposition. Mr. Froude 
pubUcly stated at Port Elizabeth that he had a majority in 
the Cape Parliament, and meant to supersede Mr. Molteno 
by Mr. Paterson. Lord Carnarvon, believing Mr. Froude has 
this majority, tells the Governor that if the Parliament does 
not immediately turn Mr. Molteno out on its assembling, he 
must give him the coup de grdce by a dissolution on the ques- 
tion. Lord Carnarvon's purposes were defeated by the Colonial 
Parliament, but he never desisted from his intrigues with 
Mr. Paterson until the latter's death, nor did he desist from 
his attempts to dislodge Mr. Molteno ; and eventually, as 
we shall see, he sent out Sir Bartle Frere to strain the royal 
prerogative, and dismiss him from office. 

The instructions for which Sir Henry Barkly waited 
came in the shape of a despatch, in which Lord Carnarvon 
stated : ' he was disposed to think that a dissolution of Par- 
liament is not necessary at the present moment to bring the 
Legislature and constituencies into accord ; and if not neces- 
sary, then undesirable.' But he added : * There being, of 
course, no sufficient ground on which Mr. Molteno would 
recommend to you such a step, you will be pleased to 
understand that with regard to any observations on this sub- 
ject in my despatch of the 22nd of October, you are relieved 
from the necessity of considering them.' * We must draw 
attention to the disingenuous character of this latter statement. 
Lord Carnarvon had directed the Governor to dissolve the 
Parliament — to turn Mr. Molteno out : yet now he sees he was 
wrong, and, to save appearances with those who did not 

* I. P., 0—1899, p. 68. 



LOBD CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 47 

know the circumstances, he pretended that he had suggested 
a dissolution by the Governor only on Mr. Molteno's recom- 
mending it to him. 

It might have proved (says Lord Blachford) rather unfor- 
tunate that about this time Lord Carnarvon recommended the 
Governor to dissolve the Parliament if he had reason to think 
that it did not represent the wishes of the people. If this had 
been done on the back of Mr. Froude's agitation (which it was not), 
a rhetorical reviewer of different poUtics might plausibly have 
denounced it hereafter as a dissolution unconstitutionally dictated 
by the Secretary of State in the crisis of an excitement unconsti- 
tationally got up by his agents, and in that view ' perhaps the most 
discreditable violation of the guaranteed rights of a free colony 
which is recorded in British colonial history.' ^ 

If this be said of a dissolution of Parliament, what 
are we to say of Sir Bartle Frere's action in dismissing 
a Ministry possessing the full confidence of Parliament, 
and carrying on a war by his nominees, whom he sup- 
ported with all the prestige and patronage of his position of 
an Imperial Governor and High Commissioner ? 

Lord Carnarvon wisely climbed down from a position 
which, had it been maintained, must have led to very serious 
consequences. Had he deferred with equal wisdom to local 
opinion upon the whole subject of confederation, it would 
have saved himself, the Empire, and South Africa endless 
loss and suffering. 

On the first receipt of Mr. Molteno's notice of motion in 
the House, Lord Carnarvon wrote to the Governor that he 
would wait to receive the report of the debate before he ex- 
pressed any opinion upon the motion, but he was inclined to 
take exception to its terminology.' On discovering that his 
expectation that Mr. Molteno would be ejected by the Parlia- 
ment was falsified by the result, and that Mr. Molteno was fully 
supported by the Cape Parliament, he indulged his feelings 

> EdMubwrgh Review^ February 1876, p. 91. 
• I. P., 0—1899, p. 40. 



48 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

in a despatch to the Governor. In his despatch of the 22nd 
October, it was clear that his reference to a dissolution of 
the Parliament if it supported Mr. Molteno showed that 
he no longer expected to co-operate with the latter, and 
that course having failed, he could only indulge in an attack 
upon him personally. Sir Henry Barkly wrote, on receipt 
of the despatch which now followed, that he was disappointed 
that Lord Carnarvon had felt it impossible to adopt his 
suggestion of endeavouring to conciliate Mr. Molteno, 'by 
far the most influential politician in South Africa.' 

When he saw Mr. Molteno after he had read this despatch 
it was evident all chance of that was at an end. Lord Car- 
narvon had based his observations upon the original form of 
the motion of which Mr. Molteno had given notice, which 
charged the Imperial Government with creating an agitation, 
but which was modified before discussion, so as to run * in 
the name of the Imperial Government ' : — 

I will, therefore, say little more than that I greatly regret that 
a gentleman holding the Queen's commission as the leader of the 
Gk)vemment in a very important Colony, should have so imper- 
fectly comprehended the nature and obligations of his position 
as to feel able to subscribe his name to a resolution reflecting so 
seriously on the servants of the Queen in this country, and charging 
them with conduct which, if it could be substantiated, would make 
them in my opinion unworthy of advising the Crown on this or any 
other subject. 

I am aware of Mr. Molteno's ability, and of the position which 
he holds in the estimation of his fellow-subjects in the Cape Colony, 
and I think it can only have been from a failure to understand the 
relations which must, both in language and in practice, subsist 
between the Imperial (jovemment and the officers of a colonial 
government, that he overlooked the fact that the terms of his 
motion were such as are, to the best of my belief, without parallel 
or precedent, even in cases which have been far more open to 
controversy than this can be said to be, and for obvious reasons are 
not adopted by persons continuing to hold office in colonies under 
the representatives of the Queen.^ 

» I.P., C— 1899,p.87. 



LOBD CABNAEVON'S DESPATCHES 49 

To this the Ministers replied as follows : — 

Ministers have had under consideration the despatch from the 
Bight Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 
24th January last, on the subject of the proceedings of Mr. BVoude 
in this Colony, and the subsequent delMite in the Colonial Parlia- 
ment on the proposals of Lord Carnarvon. 

The important constitutional issues raised in the first part of 
the despatch in question will, it is trusted, be their excuse for 
entering on the discussion of topics of a delicate nature, but upon 
which they conceive that their duty to the Colony demands tiiat 
they should give a decided opinion. 

They approach the subject in no spirit of controversy, but with 
an earnest desire that a clear understanding should be arrived at 
on points which he at the root of those constitutional privileges 
with which it has pleased her gracious Majesty to invest the 
Parliament and people of this Colony. 

Paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 of the despatch reflect on the form of a 
motion which Mr. Molteno felt it his duty to submit to the Colonial 
Parliament in the recent session, on the ground that the said 
motion expresses in an unbecoming manner an opinion adverse to, 
and reflecting on, the acts and policy of the present Secretary of 
State for the Colonies. 

To the justice of this censure Ministers feel it impossible to 
subscribe. They would respectfully submit that they, as well as 
the Bight Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, are 
servants of her Majesty, bound to give advice to her Majesty's 
representative in this Colony on all subjects connected with the 
Colony, without fea/r, fa^jour, or prejudice, even where such advice 
may be inconsistent with the opinions of her Majesty's advisers 
in Great Britain. 

Under the constitution which has been conferred on this Colony, 
Ministers are not only the servants of the Crown, but they are the 
lawful representatives of the people of the Colony, and the appointed 
guardians of the rights conferred by that constitution, which rights 
they understand to be a freedom to manage their own affairs, sub- 
ject in certain matters to the interests and general legislation of the 
Imperial Oovemment, They concei/oe that it is their bounden duty 
when those rights are interfered with, by whoever it may be, to 
bring it to the notice of the Parliament of the Colony, and to enter 
a solemn protest against the infringement. 

Acting in this spirit, they felt constrained to place on record 
their opinion that the presence in this Colony of a gentleman, 
acting under secret instructions from the Bight Honourable the 
Secretary of State for the Colonies, speaking in the name of the 

VOL. n. K 



50 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 

Imperial Goveminent, wriiing letters oonveying the thanks of her 
Majesty's Government to the political opponents of the legally 
constituted Government in the Colony, and armed with the prestige 
conferred upon him by his apparently official status, denouncing 
the conduct of the Ministry at public meetings, was incompatible 
with the successful administration of the form of government 
conferred by the constitution, detrimental to the peace and well- 
being of the Colony, and, in the words of the despatch under 
consideration, without parallel or precedent in the history of 
colonies possessing responsible government. ^ 

This view is surely the only view compatible writh 
responsible government, and is to-day become recognised 
without question throughout the Colonial Empire, in large 
measure, no doubt, through this protest by Mr. Molteno. 
It has the support both of authority and practice in the 
relations between the Imperial Government and the Colonies. 
Lord Kimberley, as Secretary of State for the Colonies, in 
addressing Sir G. Strahan, Governor of the Cape, on the 
14th of October, 1880, upon the subject of the relatioas 
between the Imperial Government and the Colonial Minis- 
try, uses words almost identical with those above quoted : — 

Colonial Ministers are bound to give such advice to the repre- 
sentative of the Crown as they believe to be most for the interests 
of the Colony; and although her Majesty's Grovernment may 
differ from them in opinion, and regret the course which may have 
been taken, it is not their province to call to account the Colonial 
Ministers for the advice which they may have deemed it their duty 
to give upon affairs which are placed under their control, and for 
which they, and not her Majesty's (jovemment, are responsible.' 

Nor are the words of the minute those of men who seek 
to fasten a quarrel upon the Home Government. It was 
none of their seeking ; they asked only to be left in peace to 
pursue the arduous work, which their position as the first 
Ministry under responsible government entailed upon them, 
duties which they had discharged with acknowledged suc- 
cess where they had been so left to themselves. They were 

» I. P., C— 1681, p. 12. « J. p.. C-2740. p. 84. 



LOBD CABNARVONS DESPATCHES 61 

gpoken becauBe they were necessary for the preservation of 
those principles of self-government accorded to the Gape so 
recently, and which had been equally accorded to the colo- 
nies of Canada and Australia. Englishmen at the Cape were 
no whit inferior to EngUshmen in other parts of the world in 
public spirit, and in the fulfilment and vindication of the 
public trust reposed upon them. 

From another point of view, it is of the utmost impor- 
tance to the empire that the system of responsible govern- 
ment should be a reality and not a sham. Looking to 
the vastness of the empire, it is impossible for any set of 
statesmen at home to cope with the government of the 
whole empire. Our only hope is that each separate part of 
the empire will learn to manage its own affairs, leaving only 
the large questions of general policy, and particularly foreign 
relations, to the care of statesmen at home. It is a most 
necessary and vital division of labour ; if the empire is to 
exist as the complicated congeries of states, which it now is, 
it must exhibit that higher tjrpe where specialisation of 
organs and their functions go hand in hand with their higher 
integration. 

But more than this. The Government of a great 
empire from one centre has never really been carried out in 
history, and it is not actually possible. The attempt affords 
an opportunity for a vast system of intrigue and corruption, 
which has in past times destroyed great empires. When we 
look at Bome, with whose empire ours is now comparable, 
we see this most clearly exemplified. The effete condition 
of the neighbouring peoples led to an extension of Eoman 
rule, which was forced on that mighty nation against their 
will. They at first endeavoured to support the Greeks as a 
series of independent states ; but the exhausted condition of 
this once great people was such as to defeat the attempt.^ 

' See Mahaffy's Introduction to Duruy's History of Greece, p. 102 ; and 
ef. p. 51 of the same work. 

K 2 



62 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Factions fought each other until the Pax Bomana was 
forcibly established. It was the same with other neighboms. 
The circle of empire thus rapidly widened. The result to Borne 
was the fatal miscarriage of the reforms which had been 
attempted by the Gracchi, and were necessary to the freedom 
and even the life of the Boman people. A terrible system 
of corruption ensued. The factions in the outlying portions 
of the empire purchased the support of the senators by 
enormous bribes,^ the result being misgovemment in the part 
affected, and the deterioration of the character and patriotism 
of the senate, while the exploitation of the new possessions 
brought enormous wealth to individuals, as in the case of 
Crassus.* 

We see a striking resemblance to this condition of Borne 
in the tendencies of the moment in the British empire, 
arising from the enormous extension of British rule to vast 
areas of the earth's surface. These extensions cannot be 
immediately assimilated. They necessitate large armaments 
for their defence, bringing us in contact as they do with all 
the other powers. The consequences of this state of affairs 
appear to be analogous to those which ensued on similar 
conditions in Bome. Internal development is checked. 
Where are the great principles of peace, retrenchment, and 
reform to-day? And the analogy proceeds still further. 
Have we not recently seen the vast wealth acquired in the 
exploitation of the possessions of the empire used to influence 
the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of a powerful party 
in a distant dependency ? Have we not seen eighty votes, 

* See MommBen's History of Rome (new edition), vol. iii. pp. 298, 294; for 
the further effect of permission to capitalists to exploit the sabjeots of the 
empire, see vol. iii. p. SSl. 

' Speaking of Crassus, Mommsen says, ' Half the senate was in debt to him ; 
his habit of advancing to ** friends " money without interest, revocable at 
pleasure, rendered a number of influential men dependent on him, and the 
more so that, like a genuine man of business, he made no distinction among 
the parties, maintained connections on all hands, and readily lent to every one 
who was able to pay or otherwise useful.' — Mommsen's History of Rome (new 
edition), vol. iv. p. 277. 



LORD CABNAEVON'S DESPATCHES 63 

more or less, in the House of Commons subjected to the 
influence of one individual for several sessions by the gift of 
10,0002. for the objects dear to those members ? Have we 
not seen large emoluments and positions of profit placed in 
the hands of members of both Houses of Parliament by the 
same individual ? May not the influence thus acquired and 
wielded be used for the purposes of a party in a distant 
country, of whose conditions and requirements the public 
here are necessarily ignorant ? Have we not seen a portion 
of the empire, and the administration of British subjects, 
handed over to private individuals for the purposes of gain ? ' 

Is it not clear, then, that if the empire is to avoid the 
fate of Bome, it must develop the principles of responsible 
government to their utmost limit, making each portion of 
the empire autonomous to the extent of being free from 
disastrous interference from a distant centre. Such inter- 
ference is too often dictated by the interested advice of party 
schemers for their own ends, and made possible by the 
general ignorance of the public on the questions involved 
and the interests at stake, the relationship, thus constituted, 
being one full of menace alike to the mother land and to the 
dependency. 

To return to our immediate subject. Let us see what 
precedent and authority have to say upon the question. 
Taking the action of other colonies on similar points, Mr. 
Molteno in his speech had referred to the resolutions of the 
Parliament of the Colony of Victoria. They were passed by a 
very large majority — forty to eighteen — in committee of the 
whole House, and they were afterwards agreed to by the whole 
House of Assembly without any division at all. They ran 
thus : — 

That the official communication of advice, suggestions, or 
instructions by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to her 

* This is really what was done when the charter was giyen to the British 
Sooth Africa Company. Compare with this the same result in Bome. Momm- 
aen, yoI. iii. pp. 294, 381. 



64 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 

Majesty's representatdves in Viotoria, on any subject whatsoever 
connected with the administration of the lociJ government, except 
the giving or withholding of the royal assent to, or the reservation 
of, Bills passed by the two Houses of the Victorian Parhament, is 
a practice not sanctioned by law, derogatory to the independence 
of the Queen's representatives, and a violation both of the princi- 
ples of the system of responsible government and constitutional 
rights of the people of this Colony. That the Legislative Assembly 
will support her Majesty's Ministers for Victoria in any measure 
that may be necessary for the purpose of securing the reunion of 
the exclusive right of her Majesty, the Legislative Council, and 
Legislative Assembly to make laws in and for Victoria in all cases 
whatsoever, and put an early and final stop to the unlawful inter- 
ference of the Imperial Government in the domestic afihirs of this 
Colony. 

That goes far beyond anything the Cape Ministry had 
done. They asserted that the Governor must receive advice 
through the responsible Ministers, and authority supports 
their view that this is the principle upon which responsible 
government should be carried on. 

The Legislature of the Colony of Prince Edward's Island, 
not a large colony like Victoria, in an address to the Queen 
relative to confederation, passed this resolution in the year 
1866 :— 

We do not deem it inconsistent with the most devoted and 
loyal attachment to your Majesty's person and Government to 
declare our firm conviction that in deliberating upon a question so 
seriously afifecting the hberty, happiness, and prosperity of the 
inhabitants of this Colony, we ought to be guided mainly by the 
well-understood wishes of the people whom we represent, even 
should their wishes unfortunately conflict, as in the present 
instance, with the declared policy of your Majesty's Government 
for the time being, the inhabitants of this Colony being in our 
opinion fully competent to decide upon so vital a question as the 
constitution of the country in which their lot has been cast, and 
the means best adopted to promote and perpetuate the stability 
and prosperity of that country. 

We may also quote a Minute of the Canadian Ministry. 
In 1859 the Duke of Newcastle merely threw out a sugges- 



LOBD CAENABVON'S DESPATCHES 56 

tion that the Home Ministry might have been induced to 
disallow the Customs Tariff Bill which had passed the 
Legislature. The Canadian Ministry took fire at the bare 
hint: — 

The Provincial Ministry are at all times ready to afford ex- 
planations in regard to the acts of the Legislature to which they 
are a party, but subject to their duty and allegiance to your 
Majesty, their responsibility in all general questions of policy 
must be left to the Provincial Parliament, by whose confidence 
they administer the affairs of the country. . . . Self-government 
fDOuld be utterly annihilated if the views of the Imperial Govern- 
ment were to be preferred to those of the people of Canada, It is 
therefore the duty of the present Government distinctly to affirm 
the right of the Canadian Legislature to adjust the taxation of the 
people in the way they deem best, even if it should unfortunately 
happen to meet the disapproval of the Imperial Ministry. Her 
Majesty cannot be advised to disallow such acts, unless her advisers 
are prepared to assume the administration of the Colony irrespec- 
tive of the views of its inhabitants. . . . The Provincial Govern- 
ment believes that his Grace must share their own convictions on 
this important subject, but as serious evils would have resulted 
had his Grace taken a different course, it is wiser to prevent future 
complication by distinctly stating the position that must be main- 
tained by every Canadian Administration. 

We draw particular attention to this resolution, which 
avers that self-government would be utterly impracticable if 
the views of the Lnperial Government were to be preferred 
to those of the people of Canada.^ 

Sir Charles Adderley, who had been Under-Secretary of 
State for the Colonies under Lord Carnarvon himself, writing 
in 1869, says : — ' With neither form of colonial government 
does the Lnperial Parliament ever interfere unless in extra- 
ordinary matters of general concern, and then only in the case 
of constitutional colonies, because the colonies cannot unite 
with it any sort of congress, and general interests cannot be 

* With these precedents may be osefoUy compared Bfill on RepresefUative 
ChvemmeiU, p. 181 (People's edition), and Erskine May, Constitutional 
Hiitory. 



56 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. G. MOLTENO 

discussed in separate assemblies, and in the case of Grown 
colonies, because Parliament will alwaj's control the actions 
of the Sovereign in matters however remotely involving its 
own supplies.' And again : — ' There need be no fear of causing 
separation by coming to a clear understanding of our true 
relations ; far greater fear should attach to any assumption 
of false relations which the day of trial will prove treacher- 
ous, and which the very pretence will have rendered worse 
than treacherous by having superseded necessary prepara- 
tion.' » 

Yet even if this country bred Scions for its ministers it is 
nevertheless true of free communities as of individuals that they 
must earn, not take, experience. Even if our colonies pass laws 
for themselves which seem unwise to us or hurtful to ourselves, 
so that they infringe not the common weal, it cannot be helped. 
This freedom is necessary for the exercise of their constitutional 
powers. The alternative is that they should cease to be English- 
men. ' Subordinate governments must indeed submit ultimately 
to a supreme assertion of general interests rarely exercised, but 
this subordination must not be at the sacrifice of the ordinary con- 
stitution, but is solely conceded for the sake of its integrity to 
extreme imperial necessity.' ^ 

So long ago as 1841 Sir George Comewall Lewis 
wrote : — 

If a dominant country grants to a dependency popular institu- 
tions and professes to aUow it to exercise self-government without 
being prepared to treat it as virtually independent, the dominant 
country by such conduct only mocks its dependency with the 
semblance of political institutions without their reality. It is no 
genuine concession to grant to a dependency the names and forms 
and machinery of popular institutions unless the dominant country 
will permit those institutions to bear the meaning which they 
possess in an independent community, nor do such apparent con- 
cessions produce any benefit to the dependency, but, on the con- 
trary, may sow the seeds of political dissensions, and perhaps of 
insurrections and of wars which would not otherwise arise.' 

I The Colonial Policy of Lord John RuaselVa Adrntnutration, pp. 875-377. 

< Ibid, p. 190. 

' Lewis on Dependencies, p. S07. 

Mr. Laoas foUows Sir George C. Lewis, and says :— ' The grant of self -goyem- 



LOED CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 57 

Mr. Molteno's Minute embodying his answer to Lord 
Carnarvon was adopted by the Gape Parliament at its next 
meeting. We are reminded of Sir C. Adderley's words : — 
'The normal current of colonial history is the perpetual 
assertion of the right to self-government.' Lord Carnarvon 
had omitted his usual formula directing the immediate pub- 
lication of this despatch, but Mr. Molteno supplied the 
deficiency. On its becoming public it was felt to be — 

Lord Carnarvon himself who had imperfectly comprehended 
the nature and obligations of his position, and not Mr. Molteno. 
The noble Earl ought to know there are Englishmen elsewhere 
than in England, and that Mr. Molteno is one of them. Whilst 
such men are loyal to the land of their birth, they are no less loyal 
to the land of their adoption, and if entrusted with the confidence 
of their fellow-colonists with high public trusts, they are neither 
to be cajoled nor bullied into doing anything contrary to their con- 
science. Mr. Froude did not succeed in driving Mr. Molteno 
from office by his campaign through this Colony. Lord Carnarvon 
will not drive him from office by censures from Downing Street 
based upon imaginary facts. The Premier of the Colony is in 
office because, whatever his faults may be, the people here know 
he will not betray them, and as long as they have that conviction 
Mr. Molteno can afford to look on the censures of the noble Earl 
as he did on the sneers of an eminent historian.^ 

Lord Carnarvon replied to the protest of the Cape Minis- 
try against Mr. Fronde's proceedings by fully adopting 
them all : — 

He has possessed from first to last my full confidence, accorded 
to him no less on account of his high character and ability than 
because of the unhesitating earnestness with which he has con- 
tended for the promotion of South African interests, and his 
general concurrence in my view of the manner in which those 
interests could best be advanced, and whilst unfettered in the exer- 
cise of his own discretion as to the event of the moment, with 

ment means the grant of virtaal independenoe ' (preface, p. xziii.). Also, ' The 
gift of responsible government was except in matters of foreign policy fall 
and unfettered.' See also pp. xlii. and xliii., where he shows that the self- 
governing colonies are no longer dependencies but protected states whose 
foreign policy only is controlled by the Imperial Government. 
' Argus, 



68 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

regard to which it is ohvious that I could not give, and for which I 
purposely abstained from giving, detailed instructions, he has been 
able to explain the general tenour of my wishes and objects with an 
eloquence and fulness and ability to which hereafter, if not now, full 
credit, I am convinced, will be given. And now that this visit has 
terminated I gladly take this opportunity to express my recognition 
of the great and lasting benefit which he has conferred upon South 
Africa by his untiring energy, by the high qualities which he has 
brought to bear on the particular question of the time, and the cir- 
cumstances of peculiar difficulty, and by the clear and forcible 
manner in which on many occasions he has inculcated a policy 
and principles not imnaturally lost sight of by many under the 
more immediate pressure of local questions. And if, indeed, he 
has been misunderstood and misrepresented in some quarters, I 
trust that he will have been well rewarded by the knowledge that 
he was taking part in no common or insignificant question, and by 
the consciousness of having done his utmost to render those 
measures in which he has been engaged really beneficial to all 
concerned in them, of whatever nationaHty or race. 

Nor ought I here to be silent on another point which, as I am 
aware, has excited some attention. During the course of local 
discussion, every kind of position, duty, and function has been 
attributed to Mr. Froude, motives have been freely imagined, and 
many suppositions have been entertained which a little inquiry 
would have easily removed. It might, however, have been known 
by anyone who cared to ascertain the fact, that Mr. Froude has 
acted in no capacity beyond that already indicated, and has 
received, in the strict sense of the word, no official instructions, 
and further that no formal correspondence has passed between 
him and this department ; for this reason, because I felt that all 
such correspondence ought to pass through you as the representa- 
tive of the Crown, and as the legitimate adviser of her Majesty's 
Government. I have, therefore, throughout the discussion of this 
question addressed my despatches solely to you, with a request 
^at you would communicate them to Mr. fVoude as well as to 
your Ministers.^ 

We have already drawn attention to the serious conse- 
quences to the Imperial Government from its adoption of 
Mr. Froude's statement and actions. When Lord Carnarvon 
says that it might ' have been knov^n to anyone who cared 
to ascertain the fact that Mr. Fronde has acted in no capacity 

» J. p., C— 1399, p. 89. 



LOBD CABNABVONS DESPATCHES 69 

beyond that already indicated/ what did he mean? Sir 
Henry Barkly had written on the 25th of June, 1875, to Lord 
Carnarvon, stating that Mr. Fronde claimed to be the direct 
exponent of Lord Carnarvon's views, while on the 14th of 
September the Ministry officially complained of the position 
which Mr. Froude had assxmied. Yet Lord Carnarvon 
did not reply to either of these complaints, and on the 
10th of October the Governor had written to Mr. Molteno 
to inform him that Mr. Froude had demanded in an ' official ' 
note that he should be treated as an agent of the Imperial 
Government. So that Lord Carnarvon had not, though 
appealed to, told the Governor or Ministry what Mr. Fronde's 
position was. 

So much for the subterfuges which an Imperial Secre- 
tary of State thought it necessary and desirable to pursue. 
We cannot wonder that England and South Africa have 
suffered bitterly for such conduct. With regard to Mr. 
Froude having received in the strict sense of the word ' no 
official instructions,' and * no official correspondence,* we 
have already seen that the most important events were known 
to him before the High Commissioner himself was informed 
of them. We have his own statement as to the possession 
of discretion to delay the Conference. We find him writing 
to the Governor officially as ' Agent of the Imperial Govern- 
ment.' His expenses were paid by the Imperial Govern- 
ment.^ The formal and non-confidential correspondence was 
addressed to the Governor of the Cape, but the informal and 
confidential was sent to his agent, who had, ' in the strict 
sense of the word, no official instructions.' Was not this a 
paltry quibble utterly unworthy of any statesman holding 
the high office of Secretary of State for the Colonies, under 
which Lord Carnarvon endeavoured to back out of official 
responsibility for passing by the legitimate adviser of her 
Majesty's Government in South Africa ? It is little to be 

1 See p. 61, infra. 



60 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 

Wondered at that Mr. Molteno was thoroughly disgusted and 
discouraged. 

Finally, when Lord Carnarvon and his agents were being 
accused, he constituted himself the judge and acquitted the 
prisoners, being — 

fully satisfied that no unconstitutional agitation has been carried 
on within the Gape Colony, I cannot but express my regret that 
expressions, which although indirectly implied such a fact, were 
retained in the amendment adopted by the Assembly on the 
motion of Mr. Solomon. They are not consistent with the facts 
of the case, nor, as far as I understand the debate, with the 
general spirit in which this amendment was moved. 

This was like many other of Lord Carnarvon's despatches, 
written for home consumption, where the facts were not 
known. To this portion of it Mr. Molteno repUed as fol- 
lows : — 

Ministers regret to learn that the proceedings of Mr. Froude 
meet with the approval of the Eight Honourable the Secretary of 
State for the Colonies, for they feel bound to place on record their 
opinion that such proceedings are subversive of the principles 
of responsible government, and incompatible with the constitu- 
tional privileges which have been so graciously bestowed on this 
Colony 

The result of Mr. Froude's utterances in the former case has 
been to set on foot in certain quarters an agitation for division 
which is, Ministers feel assured, most distasteful to the Colony at 
large, and which has renewed a strife which it was hoped hsid 
been set at rest ; while, with regard to the native policy, the crude 
and impracticable ideas of Mr. Froude, as expressed by himself, 
have led some to entertain the opinion that the Imperial Govern- 
ment are prepared to inaugurate a system which will be retro- 
grading from the principles which have hitherto been acted on 
by the Government and Legislature of this Colony ; and Ministers 
cannot but regret that the Bight Honourable the Secretary of 
State should, even by implication, have given the weight of his 
approval to the policy and principles inculcated by Mr. Froude. 

On these and other subjects Ministers have had the honour of 
submitting their opinion in Minutes from time to time addressed 
to his Excellency the Governor ; and, without asserting that the 
system of management of natives adopted by the Cape Parliament 



LORD CABNARVON'S DESPATCHES 61 

is incapable of improvement, they respectfully submit that 
advancement in this direction must be looked for in the gradual 
development of the same principles which have hitherto guided 
colonial legislation in such matters, and that the introduction of 
violent changes based on theory will, in all probability, have a 
most prejudicial effect on the safety of the Colony, and lead to 
disastrous consequences.' 

Lord Carnarvon made no attempt to answer this minis- 
terial Minnie, but contented himself with transmitting to 
the Governor Mr. Froude's observations upon the portion of 
it which reflected upon that gentleman's conduct. And it is 
significant that in introducing the South Africa Bill into the 
House of Commons Mr. James Lowther, the Under-Secre- 
tary of State for the Colonies, made use of the following 
language : — 

When the vote for 1,000Z. for Mr. Froude's travelling expenses 
was moved silence reigned supreme. It would be unbecoming in 
him, nor did he feel called upon to justify the whole of Mr. 
Froude's proceedings to the House. While that gentleman had 
rendered most valuable services to the Colonial Office and to the 
country, and while he had most efficiently performed a patriotic 
and thankless task, he (Mr. Lowther) could not accept the obliga- 
tion of accounting for all the proceedings of the eminent man 
during his absence from this country. Mr. Froude was in no 
sense a representative of her Majesty in South Africa. He was 
not a governor, but was employed in a special service without 
remuneration, and the Colonial Office were not therefore called 
upon to be responsible for all his movements. While Mr. Froude 
was no doubt performing great public services, he was quite as 
much justified in attending a dinner at Port Elizabeth as he 
would have been at home in attending a public meeting at St. 
James's Hall. 

At the same time Mr. Lowther presumed to such an 
extent upon the ignorance of the questions involved as to 
say, in regard to Lord Carnarvon's action, that Lord Car- 
narvon had not pressed the policy of confederation upon 

' J. P., G— 1681, p. 13. A warning most amply fulfilled when Sir B. Frere 
attempted to destroy the native chiefs of South Africa and disarm their subjects. 



62 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 

South Africa : ' The Council of Natal passed a resolution 
endorsing the principle of confederation. The Legislative 
Council of another colony passed a similar resolution. There- 
fore, so far from this policy originating in the Colonial 
Office, it was evident that it originated in the colonies them- 
selves.' This statement of Mr. Lowther's was not allowed 
to pass unchallenged, and Mr. Courtney pointed out that 
Mr. Froude had been called by Lord Carnarvon himself 
' the representative of this country in the Conference,' he 
challenged Mr. Lowther's statement that the movement had 
originated in the Colony, and showed how the resolutions of 
the coimcils of Griqualand West and Natal were those of 
Crown colonies, and therefore to cite them was misleading 
the House, while the Cape Parliament, the only free parlia- 
ment in South Africa, had rejected it by a majority of 36 
to 22. 

Mr. Froude is about to vanish from these pages, but it is 
impossible to take leave of him without referring to the 
famous ' Beport ' made by him to Lord Carnarvon upon his 
return, in which he gave an account of his mission, and 
defended his conduct.^ It is a composition of much literary 
merit, exhibiting in a high degree his intellectual power and 
thorough command of the English language; it discloses 
his defects of judgment in an equally prominent manner. 
On matters of fact of great moment it is hopelessly incorrect. 
The whole character of the Beport is utterly inaccurate. To 
those in South Africa the inaccuracies were so transparent 
that it was difficult to account for them except on the sup- 
position that they were to suffice for misleading the people 
of England. 

After the debate in the Cape Parliament, to which Mr. 
Froude had himself listened, he nevertheless tells Lord Car- 
narvon that the subjects of his despatch were Imperial and 
external, in which the Ministers of the Cape had no more 

' J. P., C— 8199, p. 6S. 



LORD CABNARVONS DESPATCHES 63 

right to initiate a policy than in the relation of Great 
Britain with Canada and Australia. Among these subjects 
are the sale of arms and ammunition, the surrender of 
criminals, and the native question. These are not external 
questions for the Colony with regard to which it has no 
right to initiate a policy. The Cape Government had 
actually dealt with them by successful legislation and by 
arrangements with the Free State and Transvaal. The 
Gunpowder Ordinance, the extradition treaties with the two 
Republics were not only initiated by the Colonial Govern- 
ment, but had received the sanction of her Majesty's 
Government, and had become law. Mr. Froude states 
that the eastern province had once a separate government 
of its own, and had never acquiesced in its incorpora- 
tion into the rest of the Colony. As a matter of fact 
there never has been but one Government for the Cape 
Colony, to which the so-called eastern province was always 
subject. Some minor administrative duties were at one 
time performed by a Lieutenant-Governor, but the eastern 
province was then as much as now incorporated with the 
rest of the Colony. 

Then, again, Mr. Froude says that the east ' objects to 
a Government so remote as Cape Town, and to sending its 
members to take part in an assembly the majority of 
which is powerfully under local influence, and that on 
critical questions eastern representatives find themselves 
invariably out-voted or overpowered.* The real fact is 
that if the numbers be counted by constituencies half 
were in the east and half in the west, but the Speaker being 
a western, the east had actually a majority of one in voting 
power. As to any objection to come to Cape Town, this 
was imaginary. The east was no further in distance than 
were Yorkshire or Northxmiberland or Scotland from Lon- 
don before the advent of railways ; that distance had never 



64 LIFB AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

been regarded as a reason for impcuring the efl&ciency of the 
Imperial Parliament. 

In eflfect his Report says, with reference to England's 
conduct towards the two Free States : — 

You abandon the Dutch colonies, and in spite of their entreaties, 
at a time when their territory was unproductive, but directly 
diamonds were discovered you tried to invent a pretext for 
resuming your sovereignty over the territory you formerly re- 
jected. Assuming that your claims to certain lands within certain 
boundaries were valid, you attempted to cheat the Dutch by 
falsifying those boundaries. When they fought and subjugated 
their enemies, the Basutos, you stood aloof till it was at an end, 
and then stepped in and prevented the Dutch from reaping the 
advantage of their successes. Your conduct towards the Dutch 
has been one tissue of selfishness, treachery, and fraud from the 
beginning, and now that the Dutch, by careful and wise govern- 
ment, and by the fortuitous circumstance of the diamond dis- 
coveries in their territory, have raised the fabric of a flourishing 
Bepublic, and aU your pretexts for encroachment on the coveted 
land are exhausted, you come and invite them to place themselves 
once more under the British flag, which the tradition of their fore- 
fathers, and more lately their own actual experience, has taught 
them to despise. 

When Mr. Froude began his agitation he knew nothing 
of the local conditions, and while carried away by party 
enthusiasm of the Separation party he had done his best to 
turn out the Ministry. Now, however, he confessed that 
* If the Conference party came into power after a general 
election vnthout a concerted programme of future action, 
difi&culties which I believe to exist would immediately make 
themselves felt. The Conference might be a failure after all, 
and the Ministers might prove to have been better justified 
in their opposition than I wish to see them.* Now he saw 
that all his hurry and his outside pressure had been a mis- 
take — it was another example of South Africa having to 
suffer for the education of a stranger to her politics and her 
difficulties. He distinctly came to the conclusion that as 
regards the objects of the Imperial Government the policy 



LOBD CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 65 

of the Cape Ministers was the wisest one. Let causes of 
contention be removed, and the mutual interests of the 
various colonies and states would eventually lead to their 
union. ' Suspicion will die out when the Imperial policy 
is seen to be disinterested — resentments will cease when the 
provocation no longer remains. But plants of slow growth 
endure the longest ; and the final consunvmation, however 
devoutly it be wished, can only he brought to wholesome 
maturity by the deliberate action of the South African 
communities themselves,* ^ 

This appears really to embody Mr. Froude's deliberate 

opinion, inasmuch as we find he wrote, on leaving Cape Town 

after the debate, to Bishop Colenso that he must hasten 

vdth all speed to England to undeceive Lord Carnarvon, 

* who imagines that the Colonies are ripe for Confederation.' ' 

It was natural that the Conference party should feel very 

much chagrined at the ' Beport,' for it was clear that Mr. 

Froude did not approve of its action in the special session. 

In fact he had not approved of the amendments proposed in 

the House of Assembly by the Opposition. Mr. Philip Water- 

meyer had moved for a general conference, and Mr. Laing 

that the conference should be held in South Africa, and not 

in England, as suggested in Lord Carnarvon's despatch of 

the 22nd of October. Neither of these proposals was in 

accordance with Mr. Froude's views as published in his 

report. On the contrary, he expresses his very great satisf ac - 

tion that Mr. Solomon's amendment was carried by a large 

majority. 

A change of Ministry was not desired by Mr. Froude. It 
seems clear that he never really entered into the objects and 
plans of the Opposition. He saw through their incon- 
sistencies, and estimated their capabilities below those of the 
Ministry. His agitation was Teally to bring pressure to 
bear on the Ministry, not to displace them. 

• J. P., C— 1899, p. 83. ' Life of Bishop Colenso^ vol. ii. p. 424. 

VOL. n. F 



66 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

We may close the story of Mr. Fronde's relations with 

Mr. Molteno by adding copies of two letters written when 

the latter was in England as plenipotentiary for the Gape 

Colony in regard to the affairs of Griqnaland West. It is 

interesting to observe that, in spite of the heat of battle and 

the terrible mischief wronght by Mr. Fronde to Mr. Molteno's 

hopes and aspirations for the government of South Africa, 

his personal relations were such as to inspire the sentiments 

expressed in the second letter. Unfortunately we have not 

the replies. 

5 Onslow Gardens, S.W. : 

August 9th, 1876. 

Deab Mb. Molteno, — I am sorry that I was out when you 
were so good as to call. In the deserted condition of Loudon I 
scarcely like to ask you to give me the pleasure of your company 
at dinner ; I feel so little confident of being able to find anyone to 
meet you that you would care to see. 

If, however, you have an evening at your disposition, and are 
willing to bestow it upon me, I should like to invite Mr. Forster 
and Mr. Lowe, or one of them, who, I am sure, would greatly 
value the honour of being introduced to you. I will ask you to 
name your own day, and if these gentlemen will still be in London, 
I think I can count on Mr. Forster at any rate. But dinner 
parties, unless they are the best of their kind, and unless the com- 
pany is really interesting, are, I well know, an infliction which 
we have no right to impose. If you had rather not be bothered 
in this way, do not hesitate to say so. 

Faithfully yours, 

J. A. Fboude. 

6 Onslow Gardens, S.W. : 

September 30th. 

Deab Mb. Molteno, — I have just returned to town. I hear 
that you sail next week : and as, in human probability, we shall 
never meet again, I should be glad to see you if you would allow 
me before you go. In spite of appearances, I have never wavered 
in the regard which you taught me to feel for you on my first visit 
to the Cape. Where mistaken impressions have left unpleasant 
feelings, it is well to remove them if possible ; and I really believe 
that if you would allow me half an hour's conversation with you, 
I believe I could show you that in some respects you had been 
under a misapprehension about my conduct. 



LORD CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 67 

If you shrink from seeing me or for any other reason are 
xmwillhig to let me to call on you, I will not press my request, 
but content myself with a hope that you may long continue to 
hold the high post in her Majesty's service which you have 
hitherto filled with so much distinction. 

Believe me, 

Faithfully yours, 

J. A. Fboudb. 

Confederation, if it ever comes, must be founded by the 
people of South Africa themselves, and not by outsiders, who 
<)an know but little of what they desire to change. Confede- 
ration is desirable in itself ; but where men are concerned, 
circumfitances must be considered as well as the thing itself. 
Circumstances were not favourable to confederation in South 
Africa at that time, and the Cape Ministry, knovnng this, 
said so to Lord Carnarvon, besides maintaining at the same 
time the rights of the Colony. In policy as in principle, the 
Molteno cabinet was right, and now they were being justified 
both vdthin and without the Colony. Mr. Froude himself 
had not failed to learn this lesson as a result of his fuller 
experience of South Africa.^ 

Our difficulties in South Africa are worrjdng and per- 
plexing, and sometimes seemingly inexplicable ; but a due 
understanding of the action of Lord Carnarvon will explain 
the origin of much of the trouble in South Africa. The 
Secretary of State told Sir C. Darling in 1865 : ' It is one of 
the first duties of the Queen's representative to keep himself 
as far as possible aloof from and above all personal conflicts. 
He should always so conduct himself as not to be precluded 
from acting freely with those whom the course of parlia- 
mentary proceedings might present to him as his confiden- 
tial advisers.' Lord Carnarvon's personal interest in forcing 
confederation made him forget this rule laid down by 

> Writing more than ten years after these events, he says : ' I had observed 
in Sonth Africa that the confusion and perplexities were diminished exactly in 
proportion as the Home Government ceased to interfere.' — England in ihe 
West Indiet, p. 8. 

w 2 



68 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

his predecessor, and supported by every constitutional 
principle. 

For an object-lesson on the dangers of stepping out of 
the neutral attitude of a constitutional governor into the 
arena of party conflict, the course urged upon Sir H. Barkly 
by Mr. Froude and Lord Carnarvon, we may turn to what 
was at this time taking place in another part of the 
Empire under Lord Carnarvon's rule. One of his schemes 
was to be carried out in South Africa, and the other in 
the West Indies. In a part of the latter Lord Kimberley 
had formed a confederation ; but some of the islands object- 
ing to that policy, the Liberal Secretary of State attended 
to their wishes, and did not press them to accept a form of 
government against which they protested. Lord Carnarvon 
was not so scrupulous ; and about the time Mr. Froude was 
despatched to the Cape Colony, Mr. Pope Hennessy received 
his commission as Governor of the Windward Islands. 

Both were sent forth as missionaries to propagate Lord 
Carnarvon's grand idea. They had this also in conmion, that 
both were furnished by the Secretary of State with private 
instructions. They had official despatches to be put before 
the constitutional authorities, and they had private communi- 
cations if they should have to go on the stump. At the Cape 
and in the West Indies the constituted authorities held 
opinions opposed to the expediency of Lord Carnarvon's 
policy under the existing circumstances ; and in both, no 
doubt in accordance with the private instructions received 
from the Secretary of State, an attempt was made to bully 
the constituted authorities into doing the will of Downing 
Street. At Barbadoes, as at Cape Town, the question was 
submitted more or less explicitly to the Houses of Assembly ; 
and when these bodies declined to have anjrthing to do with 
the matter, similar action was taken by Governor Hennessy 
and Mr. Froude. Public meetings were held, at which the 
most illusory speeches were made. Confederation was said 



LOBD CABNABVON'S DESPATCHES 69 

to be the panacea for all the ills of the State. No oppor- 
tunity was lost to delude the people. 

Fortunately, at the Gape the constitutional representative 
of England abstained from taking any part in the agitation. 
Sir Henry Barkly did not attend public meetings and tell one 
class of the population that under confederation they would 
be free from the oppression of another class. Neither did he 
go from village to village, raising race against race. Governor 
Hennessy, having no Mr. Froude to do the stumping, 
undertook that duty himself. He appealed to the people 
against the representatives. The West India Association 
charged the Governor with having presented the strange 
spectacle of the Governor and officials 'converted into an 
electioneering band for the purpose of forcing a ruinous 
policy on an unwiUing people.' He fanned class and race pre- 
judices till whites and blacks took arms against one another. 
And all this happened because the Governor of the colony, 
forgetting his position, became a partisan in carrying out the 
ill-timed policy of Lord Carnarvon. He disregarded ' consti- 
tutional principles,' and he received his reward. The colony 
over which he ruled was in confusion, and he was recalled. 
Sir Henry Barkly held firmly to the much sneered at ' consti- 
tutional principles,' and the Cape was peaceful. 



70 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XVni 

THE DB8PAT0HB8 OONTINUBD, AND THE 
SESSION OF 1876 

Lord GMnarfon's Fourth Despatch — IneonsiBteney of the Despatohes — ^Fifttt 
Despatch— Reply of Ministers— Ck>nlerenoe transferred to London — South 
AlHca most be left to itself— Lord Carnarvon rejects Advice— Session of 
1876, and state of Parties— Mr. Mdteno proposes to visit England— Hoiia» 
approves Bfinisterial Action — Work of the Session — Confederation exeitea 
Natives. 

Let 118 return to the history of Lord Carnarvon's despatches, 
the fourth of which now arrived. It was dated the 15th of 
November,^ and was therefore penned before he had received 
the result of the special session of the Gape Parliament. It 
commences by referring to the possible expediency of holding 
* a meeting on the subject of Confederation/ the decision 
of the Gape Parliament being of so Uttle importance to the 
conclusions which he had been led to form on the subject. 

In the next paragraph the meeting becomes a Gonf erence^ 
which is put forward tentatively to the Golonies and the 
States of South Africa ; but not ' The Gonference/ be it 
observed, of his previous despatches, which was to be held in 
South Africa, for this is to take place in England. For the 
benefit of the uninformed in England who will read his 
despatch, he says : ' In arriving at a decision on the grave 
questions which would come under consideration, the 
extent to which the interests of each community must be 
left to the Government which is responsible to it will have 

» /.P., 0—1899, p. 27. 



THE DESPATCHES CONTINUED 71 

to be carefully borne in mind.' What about Mr. Fronde's 
agitation which he had fully endorsed? What about his 
directions to Sir Henry Barkly to turn out Mr. Molteno ? 
Were these left to the Government of the Cape ? Did he 
consult the Transvaal Government when he annexed the 
country? 

The despatch suggested that a meeting should take place 
in England rather than the Cape to receive the views of 
her Majesty's Government, on the ground that it would ' be 
impossible to invest any person or persons with either plenary 
powers or adequate instruction on which he or they could 
safely act without further reference to this country.' Lord 
Carnarvon evidently perceived that he had made a mistake 
when he had suggested that Mr. Froude should occupy this 
position at the first Conference. 

After dealing with President Brand's objections to sit in 
Conference with Griqualand West, and agreeing with him 
that Griqualand West need not be there, the writer pro- 
ceeded to state that it would be for the Cape Government 
to select the two delegates, ' whom I still presume it 
will be the desire of the Colony to send as their representa- 
tives.' A somewhat cool assumption in face of the fact. The 
Colony had never expressed any wish to have represen- 
tatives at any Conference. He concluded with an assurance 
to the Colonies and States that the Conference would only 
deliberate, and its proceedings would not bind the Govern- 
ments of the respective delegates, but he nevertheless ex- 
pressed the hope that the final result would be such a 
general agreement as to satisfy the several Legislatures ' that 
it is most safe and desirable to confederate on terms not very 
dissimilar from those adopted by the Provinces which now 
constitute the great Dominion of Canada.' 

Lord Carnarvon had now sent out four despatches 
between the 4th of May and the 15th of November. No 
two of these were wholly reconcilable with each other, while 



72 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

the first and the last asserted different objects and different 
modes of procedure. Lord Carnarvon, before he became 
Colonial Secretary, was a brilliant classic, and had doubtless 
studied Aristotle in his early days. His cast of mind would 
seem to have fastened on the portions of the 'Bepublic' 
where it is laid down that a good deal of falsehood and 
deceit might be resorted to by rulers for the benefit of their 
subjects, such practices being as medicine in the hands of a 
skilful physician. As confirming this view there had cer- 
tainly been an absence of candour in his treatment of the 
Cape which a comparison of the despatches will bring out 
and which gave rise to a very proper resentment. 

At last Lord Carnarvon ventured to tell the country that 
Confederation was his sole aim and object. In the first 
despatch it was stated that at the Conference to be held 
ui South Africa the chief subjects for deliberation would be 
native policy, the sale of arms and ammunition, and other 
subjects of that character. Confederation being mentioned 
only as an incidental matter which might possibly come 
up in the course of discussion. In paragraph 7 of the 
despatch of the 4th of May he says : — 

It is then with reganrd to the native question that I conceive it 
to be most urgent at the present moment that there should be a free 
and friendly interchange of opinions among the neighbouring 
(Governments of South Africa ; and if it were for the consideration 
of this question alone, I should conceive that the assembly of a 
Conference, such as I am about to propose, of representatives 
of the Colonies and States, would be productive of the greatest 
advantage. 

Another section of the same despatch mentions Grigua- 
land West as pressing for urgent and careful consideration, 
and then a further reference is made to it : — 

The more immediate benefit which I should look for would be 
some satisfactory understanding as to native policy. 

The second despatch dealt with the reception of his pro- 
posals by the Cape Ministry and Parliament, and directed 



THE DESPATCHES CONTINUED 73 

the holding of a Conference at Maritzburg of the other 
Colonies and States, whether the Cape accepted the invita- 
tion or no. This Conference was, of course, never held 

The third despatch expressed his satisfaction with the 
agitation raised by Mr. Fronde, and his confident belief 
that it would suffice to get rid of Mr. Molteno's Ministry. 
The suggestion for a Conference in the Cape was withdrawn, 
with the hint that he was thinking whether a meeting in 
England might not be best, and that he would request the 
Governor and Mr. Froude to confer with him; this con- 
ferring being for the purpose of enabling her Majesty's 
Grovemment to ' explain the principle on which the native 
policy of the future should be based,' and the terms and 
conditions on which a Confederation might be originated. 

In the fourth despatch, either because the Minute of the 
Ministry of the 14th of September had clearly disposed of 
the various questions which Lord Carnarvon had put forward 
for discussion in the first instance, or because these objects 
were never seriously intended for discussion, but merely 
advanced as a blind, they are entirely forgotten, and Con- 
federation is the sole end and aim in view — native policy 
finally disappears. 

Thus Lord Carnarvon had pursued a course embracing 
serious inconsistencies which had led him into an altogether 
illogical position. The Eastern Province was naturally 
annoyed at this change of front, and did not hesitate to say 
so. The ' Grahamstown Journal,' one of his ablest and most 
influential Press supporters and no friend of the Molteno 
Ministry, wrote that : — 

' it meddles and muddles ' the situation more than ever. Taken 
with other despatches it is full of inconsistency. The last despatch 
spoke of the preliminary Conference being unnecessary, and gave 
no name to the gathering of the few men who were to meet in 
London. The despatch in to-day's issue speaks of that meeting 
expressly as ' The Conference.' Why cannot Lord Carnarvon do 
that which is the first lesson of statesmanship — let well alone ? 



74 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. G. MOLTENO 

The Earl sagely remarks that when the Gape Parliament has made 
its deoision, ' a distinct stage in the proceedings will have been 
oompleted.' Then, in Heaven's name, why could not his Lord- 
ship let OS reach that stage without his injudicious, ruinous, in- 
explicable interference ? And again, the whole country — ^that is 
to say, the whole Eastern Province— desires Gonfederation, which 
was nearly within its grasp. Lord Carnarvon's unwise inter- 
ference — ^we can call it nothing else — has indefinitely postponed 
the accomplishment of this great purpose. 

Conference and Confederation were made to look like 
the same thing in this last despatch, but they were not so 
in the views of the supporters of the Conference. In the 
debate just closed Lord Carnarvon's quondam supporters had 
resented the holding of the Conference in England. It was 
felt that a Conference, however constituted, which met in 
the Cape Colony, would be affected by the public opinion 
of the country and would be in touch with its leading views, 
and the interests of the Colonies and States would be to this 
extent protected ; but in London, away from the influence 
of the Cape and its surroundings, and subject to the full 
glow of blandishments such as Sir Garnet Wolseley had 
used so successfully in Natal, the few South African repre- 
sentatives would be exposed to serious risk and dangers. 
How true this fear was will be seen when Lord Carnarvon 
ostentatiously announced on the opening of his Conference 
of nominees in the ensuing year, that Sir Theophilus Shep- 
stone had been made a K.C.M.G., and thus it might be seen 
what good and dutiful delegates would get for themselves. 

Were South Africa as a whole desirous of completing 
Confederation, it is certain it would never consent to this 
method of bringing it about. As in the case of the Canadian 
Colonies, the people of South Africa would want to see the 
foundation of their future institutions built upon their ovm 
land. That in itself would be enough to cause the rejection of 
the suggestion for a Conference on such a subject being held 
out of South Africa. And here was Lord Carnarvon's plan : 



THE DESPATCHES CONTINUED 76 

that the Conference to settle the proposals for Confedera- 
tion shonld meet in London, that then the proposals should 
be sent back to the Cape, and what was finally agreed upon 
should be sent on again to London. All this was the reverse 
of what was done in the case of the Canadian Confederation. 
We now come to Lord Carnarvon's fifth despatch, 
written upon the receipt of the decision of the Cape Parlia^ 
ment.' In regard to the question of Conference or Con- 
federation he stated plainly, 'I have felt Confederation to 
be the question in the presence of which all others are of 
secondary consideration.' He accepted the resolution of the 
Cape Parliament offering its aid in the settlement of Griqua- 
land West difficulties 'as a substantial concession to the 
Imperial Government on points of real importance.' 

Not only has the Hoose declined to place on record the state- 
ment which would have been neither accurate nor becoming, that 
the Imperial Government has been connected with any un- 
oonstitutional agitation,^ but it has accepted, in terms which I have 
no doubt the Colony wiU understand, to imply substantial co- 
operation, the duty which I have repeatedly urged on your 
Government of redeeming those pledges which were given by a 
former Parliament, and in consequence of which Griqualand 
West was brought under British rule.' 

To the concluding portion of this paragraph the Cape 
Ministry took strong and well-founded objection as being 
not consistent with the facts, while we may again note thai 
the Cape Parliament, wishing to avoid a conflict with the 
Imperial Government, had abstained from passing direct 
judgment on the unconstitutional agitation condemned so 
strongly by the majority of its members ; and this was the 
way in which Lord Carnarvon received the olive branch ! I 

* We have already alluded to the paragraphs of this despatch which dealt 
with Ifr. Molteno's motion in the Cape Parliament, and the jostification of 
Mr. Fronde's action by Lord Carnarvon. 

' The reader should consult pp. 26-80 auprct, to see how flagrantly Lord 
Camarron had chosen to misinterpret Mr. Solomon's amendment. 

• J. P., C— 1899, p. 90. 



76 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 

He continued that ' he hopes to arrange for a Conference 
in London/ and suggested that any delegate sent over by 
the Cape to discuss the matter of Griqualand West should 
attend such a Conference. In section 19 he made the im- 
portant statement that if the two Bepublics saw their way 
to a resumption of their connection with' the British Crown 
by Confederation, it would be a result of great value ! So 
little acquaintance had Lord Carnarvon with South African 
history, that he here supposes that the Transvaal Bepublic 
had once been connected with the British Crown, which, of 
<K)urse, had never been the case. It was reserved for Lord 
Carnarvon to force it into its first connection with ihe British 
Crown. Equally egregious was the blunder of supposing 
that the real feelings of the people of the Free State and 
Transvaal were such as to permit of their voluntary union 
under the British Crown. 

This was one of the objects of Lord Carnarvon's policy, 
a very legitimate and worthy object, and one which would 
simplify South African questions; but Lord Carnarvon's 
mode of pursuing it has made it more improbable than ever. 
Had he left well alone, the unfettered development of 
responsible government would have proved to the two 
Bepublics that the ruinous consequences of interference 
from afar were no longer to be apprehended, and that a 
perfect liberty to manage their own internal affairs would 
be accorded them under this system. We have seen how 
eagerly both the Bepublics looked to this result when 
responsible government was first introduced at the Cape, 
we have now to see how these hopes were ruined. Lord 
Carnarvon failed to realise that nothing permanently good 
•can come of deception. The condition of South Africa since 
his action in this behalf has amply borne out this truth. 

He concluded with the prophetic paragraph: — *The 
termination of the late debates in Parliament closes the most 
important era which has occurred in the history, not only of 



THE DESPATCHES CONTINUED 77 

the Cape Colony, but of South Africa.' The tone of the 
whole despatch is what we may term 'Olympian/ The 
Colonists, with their ' petty parochial ' ideas, must sit with 
open mouth at the feet of the paternal instructor. English- 
men never have, and we hope never will, submit tamely to 
such treatment. The day they do they cease to be English- 
men. All colonial history is our witness. 

The reply of Ministers contained in their Minute dated 
the 14th of March stated that : — ' 

Ministers are pleased to learn that the Bight Honourable the 
Secretary of State for the Colonies rightly interprets the resolution 
of the House of Assembly as a wish on the part of the Govern- 
ment and Parliament of the Cape Colony to do all that lies in 
their power to aid in bringing about an equitable settlement of 
the difficulty which exists with reference to the territory known as 
Oriqualand West. They feel bound, however, to take exception 
to the statement contained in paragraph 22, to the effect that the 
redetnption of certain pledges has been repeatedly urged on this 
Government. 

If the Besolutions adopted by the Cape Parliament in 1871 be here 
alluded to, those might fairiy be held, without stopping to discuss 
their real tenor, to have been abrogated by the subsequent creation 
of Griqualand West into a Crown Colony without consulting this 
Gtovemment; and although the Secretary of State may have 
intimated to his Excellency the Governor his Lordship's dis- 
satisfaction with the arrangements then concluded, this dis- 
satisfaction has never been formally communicated to Ministers. 

It was further stated that Mr. Molteno would be ready to 
proceed to England during President Brand's visit to that 
country for the purpose of rendering on the part of the 
Cape Government its counsel and cordial assistance in 
settling the difficulties which had arisen out of the extension 
of British jurisdiction to the territory of Griqualand West. 
Mr. Molteno would thus further be able to discuss with the 
Secretary of State any further matters which might be 
considered desirable. But the Ministers were careful to state 

> I. p.. C— 1631, p. 12. 



78 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

that the question of the attendance of delegates at any 
Conference must, as ahready intimated, be determined by 
the Colonial Legislature. The Ministers added that they — 

regretted the terms of the Besolution adopted by the House of 
Assembly in the recent session should be taken by the Bight 
Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies to contain a 
misconception of his Lordship's meaning as to the withdrawal of 
the original proposal for a Conference. . . . Ministers observe 
with pleasure that no steps are to be taken in the important 
matter of Confederation without fall and anxious deliberation, and 
they share the hope that the proposed negotiations may tend to 
the promotion and continuance of those friendly relations which 
have hitherto subsisted between the Covemment of this Colony 
and the Governments of the Border Bepublics. 

Mr. Molteno was large-minded and hberal enough to 
sink any personal question between Lord Carnarvon and 
himself, and to give to the great interests at stake the 
full determiiiation of his action ; he endeavoured to do 
what was possible to meet the wishes of the Imperial Govern- 
ment, and to render such aid as might be wise and possible 
for the Cape to give so as to deal with the difficulties of 
the situation. 

Lord Carnarvon now turned over a new leaf and began 
a new chapter in the history of his Confederation movement. 
He transferred the question from the dust and heat of the 
Colony to the calmer atmosphere of Downing Street. He 
was no more successful here than he had been in South 
Africa itself, and he now made serious departure from his 
previous policy. He had followed Mr. Fronde's advice in 
the main until the period of the London Conference. After 
its failure he abandoned his comparatively gentle guide for 
more forcible counsels. 

In the event of the offer of the Colony to assist the 
Imperial Government in the Griqualand question being 
accepted, Mr. Molteno stated in a subsequent Minute * that 

» I.P., C-1631,p. 2. 



SESSION OF 1876 79 

he would be willing to proceed to England to discuss the 
matter with Lord Carnarvon. Sir Henry Barkly had ex- 
pressed to Lord Carnarvon his wish that Mr. Molteno 
should go to England to confer with him, but he informed 
Lord Carnarvon that unless he went at once he would 
hardly be back in time for the ordinary Session, and there 
would be so much disadvantage to the Colony from his 
absence that a good cause for going was essential. He 
further told Lord Carnarvon that the whole position of the 
question afifbrded another strong ground for not dissolving or 
exchanging a Ministry in some degree pledged to co-opera- 
tion as to Griqualand West for one that would not be so. 
As to his Lordship's invitation, Mr. Molteno thought it 
was not such as anyone would care to accept, particularly 
as his Lordship seemed to be of opinion that he could settle 
everything with President Brand, and there was no reason 
why he should not do so. 

The Colonial Parliament was again about to meet, and 
we must look at the position of parties. Lord Carnarvon's 
action had completely demoraUsed the Conference party. 
Through their principal organs in the Press they were 
accusing each other of deserting the cause. The ' Standard 
and Mail * and the * Volksblad ' in the West were reviling 
the 'Journal' and the ' Star ' in the East. The effect of Lord 
Carnarvon's despatch of the 22nd of October was evident 
as soon as it was published, for Mr. Sauer and other leaders 
of the Conference party immediately declared their hostility 
to any Conference in England. They distinctly repudiated 
Lord Carnarvon's course of action, and in strong language 
deprecated the holding of a preliminary Conference in London, 
and in terms of the motion in Parliament urged the party 
against giving ' even an implied assent ' to any of Earl Car- 
narvon's suggestions with respect to the London Conference. 

The Conference party might be said to consist of three 
distinct sections, the first being those whose expiring hopes 



80 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

of separation had been revived by Earl Carnarvon's pro- 
posals ; the second consisting of thoroughgoing Confedera- 
tionists ; and the third of people desirous of seeing the 
long-pending boundary question settled between the Home 
Government and the Free States. The first of these sec- 
tions had few adherents outside of Grahamstown and Port 
Elizabeth. The second consisted of a very small party, few 
people being sufficiently sanguine to see any prospect of an 
early Confederation with the Free States under the English 
flag. The third section was large and influential, the object 
in view being shared by every colonist. Both parties in fact 
here occupied common ground, the difference between them 
consisting in the means to be employed in attaining so desir- 
able an end. 

The Conference party insisted upon holding a general 
Conference, although the Government of the Free State 
had repeatedly intimated its unwillingness to submit the 
boundary question to such a tribunal. Earl Carnarvon 
endeavoured to force the Free State to be represented at 
this joint Conference by stating that providing this was done 
there would be no objection on the part of her Majesty's 
Government to holding direct communication with the 
President on questions of common interest, and to giving it 
satisfaction in settling the Diamond Fields disputes. 

The Ministerial party, on the other hand, whilst main- 
taining the inexpediency of the Conference on general 
grounds, were convinced that as a means of settling boundary 
questions it would be practically useless. The finnness of this 
party, and the no less resolute attitude of President Brand 
with respect to this matter, were not without effect on Lord 
Carnarvon, who at last consented to the President's states- 
manlike proposal — that the territorial difficulty should be 
considered by Earl Carnarvon and by a delegate from the Free 
State specially deputed for that purpose. With the view 
of promoting this arrangement, the Ministerial party in the 



SESSION OF 1876 81 

Assembly passed a resolution expressing the willingness of 
the Cape Goyemment to meet the Imperial Ministry with 
council and assistance in bringing this question to a close. 

This oflfer was accepted by Earl Carnarvon, and in 
so doing he said, ' that this decision of the Assembly 
embodied one of the first and principal results which he had 
thought a Conference likely to bring about.* * Under these 
circumstances it might now be expected that a speedy settle- 
ment of this question would be hailed with general satis- 
faction as a practical result which the vague originally 
proposed Conference could not have brought about. 

Nevertheless Lord Carnarvon had not withdrawn his pro- 
posal for a Conference in London, the main object of which 
now was to explain his ideas on the native policy of the future 
and the basis for forming a Confederation of the South African 
Colonies and States. The latter object being the major one 
included the minor. But had the Cape Colony asked for 
Confederation ? Had the Orange Free State or the Transvaal 
Republic? It was known that just the contrary was the 
case. The Cape had its hands quite full at that time with 
its own internal affairs, and required time to consolidate its 
existing institutions. The Transvaal Republic would come 
into a Conference only on the express condition that nothing 
should be done to impugn its independence. President 
Brand had recently expressed himself as follows in the 
Yolksraad : ' The great idea of Earl Carnarvon is a united 
South Africa under the British flag. He dreams of this,' 
and further, * I consider this very desirable, but under a South 
African banner. . . This Council cannot be in favour of a 
Conference where Confederation is to be discussed.* The 
above was a plain and honest statement which all were bound 
to honour and respect, and in the face of utterances like these 
it would be foolish as well as ungracious to insist upon 
Federal Union. 

• I. P., C— 1399, p. 90. 
VOL. n. G 



82 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Lord Carnarvon had treated the Republics with great 
deference hitherto ; the butter which he and Mr. Froude 
were spreading over the Presidents might well be calcu- 
lated to rouse distrust, and to be regarded only as a 
means of swallowing the Bepubhcs with greater ease. 
Lord Carnarvon's policy being the unification of South 
Africa under the English flag, his extreme courtesy to the 
Presidents had a suspicious look. It had the appearance of 
the invitation of the spider to the fly; if the annexation 
could be brought about by soft words well and good, but if not, 
other influences would be set at work and the independence of 
the liepublics undermined. The subsequent annexation of the 
Transvaal confirms this surmise. It was, however, becoming 
evident even at this time that Lord Carnarvon had designs 
upon the Bepublics. For the Cape he had shown less 
consideration than he showed at first to the Bepublics when 
he sent his agent, Mr. Froude, to back his unwelcome 
proposals. 

The strictly constitutional attitude of Ministers and 
Governor had defeated his designs on the independence of 
the Cape.' In regard to the Bepublics it was becoming 
evident that they were not ready to take the bait. There 
were public rumours of annexation despatches having arrived, 
and a policy of forcible union was being advocated in the 
Froudean Press, while the Attorney-General of Griqualand 
West had even asserted in a court of law that England 
possessed rights over the Bepublics. The Cape Ministry had 
let Lord Carnarvon know that the Colony was ever ready 

' It was dear to most observers who knew the facts that Lord Carnarvon 
was infataated with his Ck>nfederation scheme. Writing on the 31st of March, 
1876, Bishop Ck>lenso says : * I must conclude that he has made np his mind 
to sacrifice truth and justice to political considerations, especially to his 
desire to bring about the South African Ck>nfederation, for which he considers 
that he has special need of Mr. Shepstone*s assistance.'— i;i/« of Bxihop 
ColensOt vol. ii. p. 444. And again he says : * But he (Lord CSamarvon) seems 
infatuated about this Ck>nfederatlon scheme, which is quite premature, and, I 
strongly suspect, vnll end in a complete fiasco.' Ibid, p. 446. 



SESSION OF 1876 83 

to render its assistance to the Imperial Government in the 
difficulties caused by Imperial officials, but that it expected to 
be treated no worse than its sister Colonies in other parts of 
the Empire. This action had succeeded, and in so doing, the 
Cape was not only preserving its own rights but was acting 
as a bulwark to the freedom of the Bepublics. Were the 
Imperial officials allowed their own way at the Cape they 
would make short work of its neighbours, the Free State 
and the Transvaal. 

Under these circumstances Mr. Molteno on the meeting 
of Parliament submitted his answer to the Secretary of 
State, embodied in the Minute of Ministers of the 14th of 
March, at the same time asking Parhament to confirm the 
suggestion that he should proceed to England to arrange 
with Lord Carnarvon the difficulties which had arisen 
in connection with Griqualand West; the terms were as 
follows : — 

This House desires to express its approval of the action 
taken by the Government as specified in the Minute of 
Ministers of the 14th of March last, consequent on the Resolution 
agreed to by the House in the Special Session of November with 
the view of giving the counsel and assistance of this Government 
in settling the difficulties which have arisen out of the extension 
of British jurisdiction to Griqualand West, and the House further 
approves of the suggestion made in the same Minute that Mr. 
Molteno, while in England, should also discuss with the Bight 
Hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies any further matter 
which may be considered desirable, and thus among other 
advantages resulting therefrom, afford her Majesty's Government 
the opportunity which Lord Carnarvon states that he considers 
expedient for explaining more specifically the general principles 
upon which they are of opinion that the native policy of the 
future should be based, and the terms and conditions upon which 
they conceive that a Confederation might be effectively organised. 

As Mr. Molteno would be going to England he might 
take the opportunity of learning from Lord Carnarvon 
what his views were upon these subjects. There would 

o 2 



84 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTBNO 

be no Conference of an indefinite character which might 
bind the Colony, however much the latter might dissent 
from the conclusions which might be arrived at. Al- 
though nothing may be done at such a Conference so as to 
be binding on any Colony or State, yet certain moral obliga- 
tions are invariably contracted which it would seem ungra- 
cious to ignore. Nor is this the only objection, for ideas are 
started and questions raised which, though impracticable and 
even known to be such, often cause hurtful agitations calcu- 
lated to distract people's minds from matters of far more 
practical utility. Let your guarantees be ever so strong, 
depend upon it no Government ever comes away from a 
Conference so free as it entered upon it, and hence the inex- 
pediency of taking part in any official Conference unless 
some special and clearly defined object is to be attained. 

The Parliamentary Opposition was disorganised, and it 
was only at the eleventh hour, after the motion had been on 
the paper for ten or twelve days, that Mr. Maasdorp pro- 
posed an amendment to the Besolution suggesting that it 
was requisite in the interests of the Colony that Mr. Molteno 
should be assisted by at least two delegates to be selected by 
the Colonial Legislature. 

Mr. Molteno introduced his motion in a very short speech, 
as far as possible avoiding any controversial matter. In 
regard to the amendment proposed by Mr. Maasdorp he 
said : — 

We have not yet had an opportunity of hearing the views of 
the hon. member for Graaff Eeinet, and the reason for an addition 
of this sort. So far as I can see, however, what he proposes is 
entirely beyond the necessities of the case. It would be a very 
extraordinary thing to do what he proposes. I take it that so 
long as the Colonial Secretary possesses the confidence of this 
House he is presumed to represent the whole Colony, and in my 
opinion it would be quite sufficient for him to go to England for 
the purpose of giving counsel and assistance, and conferring with 
Lord Carnarvon on this important matter. Of course, it must be 
understood that whatever takes place would not be of a binding 



SESSION OF 1876 85 

character at all. It would be simply to ascertam the views of 
her Majesty's Government, which would be communicated in due 
course to this House, and its opinions taken thereon. Therefore I 
fail to see what object is to be gained by the Colonial Secretary 
being accompanied by two co-delegates, and it is difficult to know 
what assistance could be possibly afforded thereby; indeed, 
mstead of being an assistance it might turn out that it would 
gimply neutralise the action to be taken, and do more harm than 
good. . . . The Government think that a person occupying the 
position I do would be the proper person to represent the Colony. 
If the House thinks I am not the proper person, it would be a 
matter for the consideration of the Government. It will amount 
then, I may say, to a vote of want of confidence. Without arro- 
gating anything to myself I claim to represent this Colony, and I 
have no reason to believe that I do not correctly represent the 
people of this Colony, with the exception of a particular party, 
and that I confess I do not represent. That is the Separation 
party. I repeat it is the Separation party which is the only party 
I do not represent. 

The Constitutional party led by Mr. Molteno were still 
standing upon their original ground, resolutely refusing to 
go into a vague, indefinite Conference to discuss nobody 
knows what, leading to complication and difficulties of 
which no one could see the end; while the rights and 
privileges of the Cape of Good Hope are to be maintained 
against attacks coming from whatsoever quarter, the duties 
attaching to the citizenship in the British Empire would not 
be neglected. Having successfully resisted all encroach- 
ments on the privileges of self-government the Constitutional 
party were ready to assist in repairing the error, if any, 
conmiitted by the Imperial officers in their dealings vrith 
neighbouring and friendly States. 

The debate was naturally of a half-hearted character, and 
on the following day Mr. Saner moved an amendment to 
the effect that the Premier's mission to England should be 
confined to the Griqualand West question. He stated in ex- 
planation that he came forward as one of those who, having 
originally been in favour of a Conference in South Africa, 



86 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

were opposed to any attempt at holding it in London, 
which, in the face of the unwillingness of Presidents Brand 
and Burgers to take part, would in his opinion prove 
nugatory, and he held therefore that delegates be not 
appointed, and that Mr. Molteno's functions should be con- 
fined to aiding in the settlement of the boundary dispute 
with the Orange Free State. 

This amendment was seconded by Mr. King. Mr. Sprigg 
made a speech in favour of Mr. Sauer's amendment. Mr. 
Paterson then spoke, and was followed by Mr. Solomon with 
a scathing criticism of the specious and inconsistent argu- 
ments of the member for Port Elizabeth. Mr. Solomon 
likewise supported Mr. Sauer's amendment. Mr. Molteno, 
in his reply, declared that he had no desire to suggest a Con- 
ference — he had no intention of suggesting a Conference by 
the latter portion of his motion, and he readily accepted Mr. 
Sauer's amendment. In the course of his speech, replying 
to a charge of vacillation on the part of the Government, he 
said : — 

At this charge he was certainly surprised, for he thought that 
all along they had been regarded as too obstinate, that they 
took up a certain position from which it was impossible to move 
them. Everyone knew the circumstances under which the thing 
was opposed from the beginning; it was useless going over all 
that ground again, seeing that we had successfully resisted any 
interference with our political privileges. They all knew how 
that agitation resuscitated the Separation question. Even Lord 
Carnarvon had admitted that in some instances he was wrong 
and the whole of the English Press admitted it. In bis opinion, as 
first responsible Minister, it was his duty at all hazards to stand 
up and protect the constitutional rights of the Colony, and he was 
glad to say he had been successful. 

After denying that he had asked to be sent as a delegate 
to the Conference, and declaring that while he should hold 
himself at liberty to converse upon any subject which Lord 
Carnarvon might wish to discuss, he should only express 
his personal opinions, and should not represent the Colony 



SESSION OF 1876 87 

officially except as regards Griqualand West, he accepted this 
amendment on the ground that the latter part of the Govern- 
ment Resolution had been misunderstood. The omission of 
the latter part of the original motion was therefore carried by 
32 votes to 24. The addition proposed by Mr. Maasdorp was 
negatived afterwards by 31 to 25, and the first part of the 
original motion expressing the approval of Mr. Molteno's 
action was agreed to without a division. A similar Resolution 
proposed in the Council was carried there. Upon receiving 
this Resolution through the Governor, Lord Carnarvon 
stated that it would give him much pleasure to have the 
opportunity of personal discussion of these questions with 
Mr. Molteno on his arrival in England. 

We may briefly allude to the other work of this 
Session. When compared with previous ones we imme- 
diately recognise the comparative barrenness brought about 
by the excitement consequent upon the Confederation 
proposals of Lord Carnarvon. It was impossible to discuss 
calmly the ordinary business of the country. There were 
nevertheless one or two matters of considerable importance 
dealt with in this Parliament. A perusal of the Blue-book 
on native aflfairs shows that the policy of the Ministry was 
proving of the greatest advantage to the natives themselves 
and to the Colony; British rule was being gradually extended 
over great territories with the consent of the natives. An 
Act for the annexation of Tembuland was passed in this 
Parliament. This territory is the country lying between the 
Umtata and Tsomo Rivers, about 50 miles by 120 miles. 
There were fifteen mission stations and a population of 
about 60,000. The paramount chief was Gangelizwe. He 
and his people had asked to be annexed, no doubt owing to 
the fear which they entertained of Kreli, who was threatening 
them. Four new magistracies were to be created. The 
revenue was 5,000Z., estimated expenditure 4,287Z. 

It was at the same time announced that a special 



88 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Commissioner had been appointed to arrange with the native 
tribes between the Conene and the Orange Biver and the 
hinterland of Walfisch Bay for their annexation to the Gape 
Colony. We have already alluded to the immense impor- 
tance of this step, which mifortonately Lord Carnarvon 
refused to permit the Colony to carry oat. 

An attempt was made on the part of the members for 
Port Elizabeth and those interested with them to divert 
the great trunk Une of railway from Cape Town to Beau- 
fort, so that it should run vid Bobertson and Montagu, 
thus increasing the distance between Cape Town and 
Beaufort West, and preventing all chance of Cape Town 
competing with Port Elizabeth in the centre of Beaufort for 
the trade of that important district and the districts beyond, 
and destroying the principle of a great tnmk line to the 
Free States and the interior. Happily the Besolution pro- 
posed to this effect in Parliament was defeated by a majority 
of 40 to 17. A public meeting to urge the direct route to 
Beaufort had been held at Cape Town, and this strengthened 
the hands of the Ministry in the Parliament. 

Mr. Abercrombie Smith had been appointed in the pre- 
ceding year to the newly created office of Auditor-General. 
The Ministry was subjected to considerable criticism owing 
to this appointment having been made while he was a mem- 
ber of the Ministry. Mr. Sprigg moved a Besolution that 
while giving the Government full credit for being actuated 
solely by the wish to promote the public interest in recently 
appointing a member of the Cabinet to the office of Auditor 
and ControUer-General, the House desires to express its con- 
viction that such appointments are inexpedient, and should 
not be made without the sanction of the Legislature. To this 
Mr. Molteno replied that the Government were answerable 
to the House for all their actions, and the House could not 
be responsible for appointments to the Civil Service. He 
conscientiously believed that the Government, in acting as 



SESSION OF 1876 89 

they had done, had only done so in the best interests of the 
Colony. He believed Mr. Smith was an excellent man for 
the position, and possessed a special qualification for it. 

This was one of those occasions on which Mr. Molteno 
had been able to find the right man to occupy the position. 
He allowed no minor considerations to interfere with his 
decision when he believed the interests of the country 
demanded the appointment, even where he took a con- 
siderable responsibility and risked his political existence by 
so doing. In this year 1899, and for twenty-four years 
previously, Mr. Abercrombie Smith has most admirably 
discharged the duty of that office to the unanimous satisfac- 
tion of all parties. On the attempt of Mr. Philip Water- 
meyer to so alter the resolution as to make it a condemnation 
of the appointment, his object was defeated by a vote of 29 
to 18, and eventually Mr. Sprigg's Resolution was carried 
with the assent of the Ministry by 28 votes to 14. 

The Ministry had introduced a Volunteer Bill which 
gave it the power to move Volunteers to any part of the 
Colony. This gave rise to considerable objection, and 
eventually a compromise was arrived at by which it was 
decided to appoint a Frontier Defence Conmiission to deal 
with the whole question. 

The Government also announced, as on a previous 
occasion, that they would refuse to introduce Chinese labour 
into the Colony, although they were pressed so to do by 
certain portions of the Colony. They also announced that 
there was no truth in the rumour that Basutoland was to 
be annexed to the Free State. It had become necessary to 
apply to Lord Carnarvon for a definite denial of this rumour, 
which was causing considerable uneasiness among the 
BasutoB. Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Froude's actions were 
beginning to bear fruit in a disturbance of the native mind. 
It was reported to Lord Carnarvon by the High Com- 
missioner, that the talk of Federation among the whites 



90 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTBNO 

might lead to uneasiness among the blacks. Mr. Griffiths, 
the Government agent in Basutoland, a man experienced in 
native affairs, writing on the rnmoor that Basutoland was 
to be handed over to the Free State, and assuming that it 
was to take place, said : — 

Not only would the Basutos, and with bitter reason, become 
our enemies, but their cause would be taken up by, and the sym- 
pathy excited of, every native tribe in South Africa. Let the pro- 
posed cession be taken in connection with Mr. Fronde's recom- 
mendation as to the adoption of a common native policy, and the 
assimilation of our policy to that of the two Republics, which he 
seems to advise, and the chain of suspicion will be complete ; the 
proposal to hand over the Basutos or Basutoland to the Free 
State will then seem to be only a step in the policy recommended 
by Mr. Froude.^ 

The opinion of an officer in Mr. Griffiths' position, and 
of his experience in native affairs, would, under any 
circumstances, be worthy of the greatest consideration ; but, 
in addition, his opinions were supported by what had already 
occurred. 

He said : — 

If the vague rumours of Federation which have reached such 
men as ' Nehemiah ' and ' Tsekelo ' have alresidy been productive 
of inconvenience and expense, and have furnished materials for a 
plot, which, perhaps, only the timely and spirited action of the 
Government of Griqualand East has dissipated, what will not be 
the effect of the rumour which has now been set afloat ? Lately, 
when the Free State disarmed some of their native subjects living 
in the neighbourhood of Witsie's Hoek, a report obtained currency 
here that this was part of a concerted plan, and that our (Govern- 
ment intended to pursue a similar coarse, and disarm the Basutos, 
I was able to allay the fears of the Chief Letsie and the Basutos by 
treating the rumour with contempt, and telling them how unlikely 
and absurd it would be of us first to grant permits at the Fields, 
and thus to arm those we intended shortly afterwards to disarm. 

Here we see the beginning of that disturbance in the 
native mind which was, curiously enough, not unwarranted 

> J. P., C-134S, pp. 3S-36. 



SESSION OF 1876 91 

by what was to occur a little later under Sir Bartle Frere. 
It is an easy matter for gentlemen in London to rearrange 
the map of South Africa, but it was felt that the rearrange- 
ment prematurely effected might lead to consequences that 
the enthusiastic admirers of Lord Carnarvon's policy never 
anticipated. 

Only so recently as the autimm of the preceding year 
serious difficulties had arisen for the Colonial Government 
out of a quarrel between Kreli and Gangelizwe, but the 
knowledge of the natives, and the patience brought to bear on 
the question by Mr. Molteno and Mr. Brownlee, aided by 
the co-operation of the Governor, had prevailed. The crisis 
had been a serious one, and it had become necessary to 
move some of the Frontier armed and mounted Police 
across the Kei, together with some artillery. With the aid 
of this show of force the colonial diplomacy succeeded, and 
Sir H. Barkly writes to Mr. Molteno, under date September 
30th, 1875 : ' I am glad to see things are more settled in the 
Transkei ; it will be another triumph for Cape native policy.' 

A previous success for Cape policy had been secured just 
after the ministry entered upon office in 1872, when a state 
of war broke out between Bj:eli and Gangelizwe, threatening 
to involve the colonial natives in the trouble. Mr. Brownlee' 
had proceeded to the Transkei, and had succeeded in 
arranging the difficulty. On both these occasions, it may be 
observed that the Governor allowed his ministers, who had a 
more thorough knowledge of the natives, to manage the 
negotiation. At a subsequent period when trouble arose 
once more with Kreli, the new Governor, Sir Bartle Frere, 
endeavoured to conduct the negotiation himself and thwarted, 
as far as he was able, the wishes of the ministry, holding, as 
he did, that it was monstrous to manage instead of to 
command a native chief, and the natural result was the 
Transkei war of 1877-78. 



LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTBNO 



CHAPTER XIX 

MISSION AS PLENIPOTENTIABY TO ENGLAND. 1876 

Mr. Molteno proceeds to England — Lord Gftmaryon arranges without him — 
Free State Diffionlty — Imperial Ck>vemment asks C^>e to pay — Oorrespon- 
dence with Lord Gamarron — Interviews — Mr. Molteno proposes Annexation 
of Walfisch Bay— Lord Camanron Befoses — Serious results of Refusal to 
annex Damaraland-— Mr. Molteno agrees to annex Griqualand West- 
Annexation of Transyaal— Mr. Molteno declines to discuss the question — 
Urges Consolidation of South Africa by Unification, not Confederation. 

As soon as his duties in the Cape Parliament admitted of his 
departure, Mr. Molteno proceeded, on the 7th of July, to 
England in the Windsor Castle. His mission was that of 
plenipotentiary for the Cape Colony to give cordial assist- 
ance and advice to the Imperial Government in the difficulties 
which had arisen out of the extension of British juris- 
diction to Griqualand West. His instructions allowed him 
to discuss personally with Lord Carnarvon any matters con- 
cerning South Africa, but he was not at liberty to attend any 
Conference. The same vessel carried to England Mr. 8hep- 
stone, the official nominee of Lord Carnarvon, to represent 
Natal at any Conference which might be held, as well as Mr. 
Akerman and Mr. Bobinson,' who had been appointed by the 
Natal Legislature when it first met after the invitation to 
the Conference had been received from Lord Carnarvon. 

As soon as the decision of the Cape Parliament autho- 
rising Mr. Molteno to proceed to England with the object 
of meeting Lord Carnarvon became known, public meetings 
were held in the Eastern Province to urge that that por- 
tion of the Colony should be separately represented. Mr. 

> Subsequently first Premier of Natal. 



MISSION AS PLENIPOTENTIARY TO ENGLAND 93 

Paterson and Mr. Blaine were nominated at these informal 
meetings in that behalf, and Mr. Paterson proceeded to 
England by the same steamer as Mr. Molteno. President 
Brand had already arrived there. Lord Carnarvon had 
replied to the ofifer of the Cape Ministers that he would be 
pleased to receive the assistance offered, and he suggested 
that a representative of the Cape Government should be 
present to consult with him on this subject during President 
Brand's visit, and subsequently, on learning that Mr. Mol- 
teno would proceed to England to meet his wishes, he said 
he would be very pleased to receive him. 

The suggestion to remove the Confederation negotiation 
to London had been made by Mr. Froude during the special 
session in November, and had been adopted by Lord 
Carnarvon. South Africa had been thrown into a ferment 
by his unwise action in regard to Confederation. Better 
results were hoped for from its removal to the calmer 
atmosphere of Downing Street. We shall find that the 
difficulty was not in the place of meeting, but in the 
subject itself. No better result attended the effort in 
England made by Lord Carnarvon. He determined then to 
push his views once more in South Africa, and for that work 
Sir Bartle Frere was selected. 

The first news which met Mr. Molteno on his arrival 
in London was that Lord Carnarvon had arranged with 
President Brand the difficulties between the Imperial 
Government and the Free State. Lord Carnarvon had 
himself urged that the Parliament of the Cape by its 
resolution had intended to offer 'some substantial co- 
operation.' He had urged that the representative of the Cape 
Government should be in England when President Brand was 
there, and had accepted Mr. Molteno's offer to come over to 
confer. Mr. Froude had said that the Cape stood in the way 
of the Free State difficulty being settled, and Lord Carnarvon, 
in his despatch of the 24th of January spoke of the duty of 



94 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

' substantial co-operation which I have repeatedly urged on 
your Government of reducing those pledges which were given 
by a former Parliament, and in consequence of which 
Griqualand West was brought under British rule/ Lord 
Carnarvon's action showed that these arguments had been 
unreal, and that he cared little or nothing for Cape advice ; so 
long as they afforded a reason for urging a Conference they 
were pressed, now that President Brand had refused the 
Conference on this point Lord Carnarvon cared nothing for 
the Cape advice or assistance — he only desired the Colony 
to pay the bill when he had called the tune. 

Mr. Molteno, in order to meet Lord Carnarvon's wishes, 
had come over from the Cape, at great inconvenience to 
himself and to the public affairs of the Colony. He could ill 
be spared from the Colony, and this was the treatment he 
received. Was not the invitation merely a blind to secure the 
presence of a Cape delegate at the Conference ? Lord Car- 
narvon writes to Sir Henry Barkly excusing his conduct in this 
respect : * I should appear very immindful of the consideration 
shown to her Majesty's Government by the Cape Government 
and Legislature in resolving to offer advice and assistance 
in connection with Griqualand West, if I were to close the 
account of this transaction without some reference to the 
fact that they were concluded before it was possible for Mr. 
Molteno to arrive in this country,' 

He added that the approaching departure of President 
Brand had rendered it most important not to delay the 
settlement with the Free State, that the nature of the 
latter did not require the presence of the Cape repre- 
sentative, and that this accorded with the desire of the 
President that the negotiation should be conducted as 
between the Orange Free State and her Majesty's Govern- 
ment alone. 

Nevertheless, though the Cape Government had not been 
one of the parties, he intended to invite its representative to 



MISSION AS PLENIPOTENTIARY TO ENGLAND 96 

confer on the proffered assistance relative to the settlement 
of Griqualand West. Lord Carnarvon added : — 

Her Majesty's Government have left entirely untouched and 
open to free consideration hereafter the very important question 
of the future government and political position of Griqualand 
West, as to which it would have been improper, and indeed, im- 
possible, for me to attempt to arrive at any conclusion as a part of 
a specific negotiation with another Government, and without full 
knowledge of the views and feelings of the inhabitants of the 
province and the Cape Legislature.^ 

Lord Carnarvon now enclosed a copy of this despatch in 
his first communication to Mr. Molteno, which stated : — 

Lord Carnarvon desires me in the first place to express his 
satisfaction at your arrival in this country, invested by both 
Houses of the Cape Parliament with power and authority to give 
effect to their desire that her Majesty's Government should 
receive the assistance of the Colony in making provision for the 
future administration of the province, and in order that you may 
be in a position to enter into communication with his Lordship on 
this subject without delay, Lord Carnarvon thinks it desirable 
that you should have a correct account of his negotiation with 
President Brand, as to which inaccurate reports may not im- 
probably have reached you. 

The result of this negotiation which, as you are aware, was 
according to previous agreement conducted between the Orange 
Free State and her Majesty's Government alone, and to which no 
Colonial Government could be a party, is sufficiently explained in 
the despatch, of which I am to enclose a copy; and you will 
perceive that, by the rectification of a disputed frontier, and by 
removing all questions as to her Majesty's title to the territory of 
the province, it has cleared the way for the next and not less 
important step, namely, the consideration by his Lordship and 
yourself of the means by which it is to be maintained and 
governed.* 

We may observe that the terms of the resolution of the 
Cape Parliament said nothing about ' the future administra- 
tion ' of Griqualand West, and, further, Lord Carnarvon now 
says no Colonial Government could be a party to settling 

» I. P., C— 1681, p. 70. « I. P., C— 1631, p. 72. 



96 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

the qnestion with the Free State, yet the Cape Government 
had been invited to assist by Lord Carnarvon himself ; Mr. 
Fronde had made it a charge against the Cape Government 
that it had refused to take any part in the negotiations between 
her Majesty's Government and the Free State, while its 
assistance was vitally necessary for effecting a settlement. 
Now, however, Mr. Molteno is to be invited only to pay the 
bill. 

After much consideration of the subject Lord Carnarvon is 
disposed to think that the co-operation of the Cape can hardly 
avoid taking one of three forms, viz. either (1) The incorporation 
of Griqualand West as an integral part of the Cape Colony ; 
(2) The association of th& province in a Federation with the 
Cape ; or (3) The payment to the province of the customs duties 
levied in ports of the Cape Colony upon goods consumed in the 
province ; with any similar refund which may be found reason- 
able of revenue unquestionably contributed by the population of 
Griqualand West ; the Government of the province and its con- 
stitutional relations with the Cape remaining unaltered. 

With regard to the first alternative. Lord Carnarvon 
remarked : — 

that he has received representations from Griqualand West 
against this course, which would render further inquiry and 
reference to the province necessary before he could commit him- 
self to an opinion as to its expediency. 

The position was clearly entirely altered from what Mr. 
Molteno had a right to expect it would be on his arrival. 
The boundary question was already settled ; while the 
Province had been, without any reference to him, saddled 
with a debt of 90,000/. and lessened by a loss of several 
farms. This might well make Mr. Molteno hesitate on the 
very threshold of the negotiations. He had no right 
to force his views on the Government in the settlement 
of a question which had relation only to a Crown Colony 
and its neighbours. 

There was a further surprise in the course adopted by 



MISSION AS PLBNIPOTBNTIABY TO ENGLAND 97 

Lord Carnarvon. After the first interview, for the inter- 
change of compliments, instead of a series of interviews 
being arranged, in which to exchange his views with the 
Secretary of State, the above suggestions were handed to 
Mr. Molteno in a cnt and dried despatch. It is obvious 
that Lord Carnarvon laid stress on his second and third 
solutions by his reservation on the first. Mr. Molteno con- 
sidered the incorporation of the Province with the Cape to 
be the true solution of the question ; but how could he 
become its avowed advocate in the face of Lord Carnarvon's 
statement that the Province had petitioned against it, and 
his own avowed intention of silence concerning it? Yet 
curiously enough, Lord Carnarvon, after starting by saying he 
would not even express an opinion on the subject, winds up 
towards the end of the negotiations by urging its acceptance 
with unseemly vehemence. 

The evident intention of Lord Carnarvon's first letter 
was to bring on a discussion, which, under cover of reference 
to a particular State, would involve the general principles of 
confederation. The toils were well spread, but the quarry 
was wary. Mr. Molteno declined a written discussion, which 
might have taken place equally well had he remained at the 
Cape, and which might have given a handle to his enemies. 
For a statesman to make public a particular line of action 
on a matter involving strong feelings long before the 
possibility of consummating it can arrive, is courting difiGi- 
culties altogether gratuitously. He replied that under the 
altered circumstances of the case he should like to consult 
his colleagues before committing himself to any definite 
engagement, and that all objection to this postponement of 
the question was removed by the fact that Lord Carnarvon 
could not express any opinion on the first issue without first 
consulting the people of Griqualand West ; he therefore 
wisely declined the correspondence, and courteously hinted 
that if an interview were granted to him he should be 

VOL. II. H 



98 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

pleased to place any information he was able to give as to 
the affairs of the Colony at the service of Lord Carnarvon. 
He proceeds : — 

I would represent to your Lordship in the first place that the 
Minute of the Cape Ministry, upon which the Legislative resolu- 
tions authorising my mission were founded, expressly contem- 
plates my proceeding to England during President Brand's visit 
to that country for the purpose of rendering, on the part of the 
Government, its counsel and cordial assistance in settling the 
difficulties which have arisen out of the extension of British 
jurisdiction to the territory known as Oriqualand West; the 
presence of President Brand will no doubt greatly facilitate such 
settlement, and Ministers will do all in their power to promote it. 

I now learn from' your Lordship that a satisfactory arrange- 
ment of the difficulties in question had been concluded a fortnight 
before my arrival in England, and it would thus appear that the 
main object of my mission has been accomplished without my 
having had the opportunity of rendering that counsel and assist- 
ance which it was thought probable would be required. As 
regards, therefore, your Lordship's invitation that I should state 
my opinions and suggestions on the whole subject, and particu- 
larly as to the future government and maintenance of the province 
of Griqualand West, I desire to submit to your Lordship that the 
difficulty with the Free State having been overcome, there does 
not appear to be the same necessity for the immediate settlement 
of these important questions as would undoubtedly have existed 
hsid their adjustment constituted a requisite preliminary to con- 
cluding the agreement with that State ; and I note that your Lord- 
ship, in paragraph 6 of your letter under reply, recognises the need 
of a reference to Oriqualand West in regard to the first of the 
three alternatives mentioned by your Lordship, viz. the incorpora- 
tion of Griqualand West as an integral part of the Cape Colony, 
and also in paragraph 17 of your despatch to Sir Henry Barkly, 
the expediency of ohtaining, as respects the general question of 
the future government and poHtical position of the province, a full 
knowledge of the views and feelings of the inhabitants of the 
province and the Cape Legislature. 

While in view of these circumstances I am unable to perceive 
that any appreciable advantage would be gained by my now en- 
tering, at this distance from my colleagues, upon what I apprehend 
would be a long and tedious correspondence with your Lordship — 
from engaging in which I would gladly be excused — I wish at the 
jsame time to renew the assurance I have already had the honour 



MISSION AS PLENIPOTENTIARY TO ENGLAND 99 

of giving in my oommunioation of the 6th inst., that I a<n lUixioad to 
place your Lordship in possession of all the information which I 
oan render in this and kindred matters. From the interview which 
yoor Lordship was good enough to accord me on the day after my 
arrival in London, I was disposed to expect that I should be 
favoured with an intimation of your Lordship's wishes in respect 
to a convenient time for personally discussing with your Lordship 
those matters on which you might be desirous of consulting me, 
and I learn with pleasure from Mr. Ommaney's note of yester- 
day's date that your Lordship is only deferring the appointment df 
a further interview until the receipt of my present communication. 
The marked advantages attending a personal consultation, as 
compared with those afforded by official correspondence — advan- 
tages clearly recognised in your Lordship's published despatches — 
had much weight in determining the Colonial Legislature to sanc- 
tion my present mission, and I can entertain no doubt that conver- 
sation with your Lordship on the questions which you indicate will 
not only tend to facilitate a thorough understanding of them, but 
will also enable me, on my return to the Cape, to submit far more 
fully and satisfactorily than would otherwise be the case, these 
important matters for the consideration of my colleagues and the 
Legislature.^ 

Knowing that the first course, which was the only one 
with any chance of being carried out, was thus being reserved 
by Lord Carnarvon, it was idle to discuss the question 
hypothetically. Moreover, no Cape politician was prepared 
to annex Griqualand West except at the express wish of the 
Lnperial Government or of the Province itself. Mr. Molteno's 
reply has the sanction of wisdom and diplomacy. Its result 
was to force Lord Carnarvon's hand. 

The latter was evidently anxious to get the matter 
settled, and was at first unwilling to take the responsibility on 
himself, and desirous to throw it on Mr. Molteno. The latter 
was equally careful. He expressed his opinion verbally that 
incorporation or annexation to the Cape Colony was the only 
possible measure. But he declined to express his intention to 
take action on that opinion, or to avow it as his accepted 
policy. The Earl himself must express his own opinion, for 

» I. P., C— 1631, p. 75. 

u 2 



100 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

he was the present responsible ruler of the province. This 
Lord Carnarvon now did ; he withdrew his reservation and 
agreed to the expediency of annexation, but he did so by 
pressing it upon Mr. Molteno, even to the point of telling 
him that unless he could come to a definite arrangement 
about it at once, his visit to England would be valueless. 

How necessary it was to pin Lord Carnarvon to this course 
will be seen when we find him subsequently attempting to 
go back upon his own agreement and endeavouring to per- 
mit Griqualand West to come in as a province under his 
Permissive Bill. Mr. Molteno could now negotiate without 
seeming to grasp at a prize, or placing himself in a false 
position. His duty as a statesman doubtless called upon 
him to accept the responsibility of undertaking, on the part 
of the State which he represented, the administration of the 
affi&irs of Griqualand West ; but he would have ill represented 
the feeling at the Cape on the subject had he shown any 
desire for such consmnmation apart from pressure on the 
part of the Home Government or willing acquiescence of the 
State itself. 

After some personal discussion. Lord Carnarvon wrote 
that he understood that Mr. Molteno preferred the incorpora- 
tion of Griqualand West with the Cape Colony, and he 
recognised that Mr. Molteno did not feel ' able to take any 
action with reference to the association even of the single pro- 
vince of Griqualand West in a confederation with the Cape,' 
and he expressed his readiness to bring the proposal for 
annexation before the Government of Griqualand West. 
Then follow three paragraphs of great importance. The 
Cape Government had proposed the annexation of Tembu- 
land and Walfisch Bay. 

There are two other suggestions proceeding from the Cape 
Government for the annexation of territory to the Cape, whioh 
Lord CarnaiTon has for some time had under his consideration, 
and which you have in conversation urged upon him ; but his 



MISSION AS PLBNIPOTENTIABY TO ENGLAND 101 

Lordship is of opinion that he cannot properly or safely advise the 
Queen to sanction these annexations unless the case of Griqua- 
land West, which is now pressing, and has for a longer time 
demanded settlement, is at the same time provided for. 

If the Gape Government should be prepared to undertake at 
the same time the government of the three districts, those of 
Griqualand West, Walfisch Bay, and Tembuland, Lord Carnarvon 
is disposed to think that arrangements might be made for annex- 
ing them to the Colony, subject, of course, to the reservation of 
the necessary power of revising the boundaries, or even of again 
separating the newly added territories from the Gape in the event 
of any fresh provincial sub-division or any form of confederation 
becoming desirable. 

Lord Carnarvon trusts that you may be able to give him an 
early and definite reply on this subject, as his Lordship is most 
anxious to come to some satisfactory arrangement with you, and 
would for many reasons greatly regret your departure horn this 
country without making provision for a condition of affairs which 
demands immediate attention.^ 

To this letter Mr. Molteno replied by asking to be ex- 
cused from entering into formal negotiation on the subject 
by correspondence, or on his sole responsibility apart from 
his colleagues; but offering to continue to discuss the 
matters at personal interviews. As to the concluding para- 
graphs of Lord Carnarvon's letter he says : — 

I would briefly advert in conclusion to that portion of your 
Lordship's letter which refers to the proposed annexation to the 
Gape Colony of the Walfisch Bay country and Tembuland. After 
most careful perusal, I have failed in discerning the precise 
bearing which these proposed annexations have in your Lordship's 
view upon the question of Griqualand West, but I would most 
respectfully record my decided opinion that it is very desirable to 
amoid any unnecessary delay in dealing with the two proposals in 
question, and I cannot escape from the conclusion that any length- 
ened postponement of the extension of British jurisdiction to the 
districts referred to would be calculated to leave matters open to 
serums complications hereafter.^ 

To this Lord Carnarvon replied by arranging a fresh 
personal interview, but he expressed a doubt of the utility of 

» I. P., C— 1681, p. 7. » I. P., C— 1681, p. 9. 



109 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

SQoh a meeting if Mr. Molteno would not go further and 
pledge himself to annex Qriqualand West; and as to the 
last paragraph of Mr. Molteuo's letter : — 

Lord Oaroarvon feels oonstrained to add that if the delay which 
you deprecate in arriving at a settlement of the question of the 
Walfisch Bay and Tembuland is open to so much risk, the delay 
which you think yourself obUged to interpose in the settlement of 
the Griqualand difficulties appears to his Lordship to be not less 
fraught with objection and danger.' 

We may here observe that Lord Carnarvon had mixed 
up the annexation question with the confederation question. 
He at first said that Walfisch Bay would be a harbour for 
the province of Griqualand West in his proposed federation. 
Sir Henry Barkly writes to Mr. Molteno, under date Octo- 
ber 3rd, 1876 :— 

I had a letter a few days ago from Mr. Palgrave, who seems 
sanguine that the Damaras would ask to come under the Cape 
Oovemment. I hope you hofoe convinced Lord Carnarvon that 
Walfisch Bay could not make a seaport for Griqualand Weet. 

Mr. Palgrave was the Special Conmiissioner of the Cape 
Government to arrange with the Damaras for their annexa- 
tion to the Cape. Lord Carnarvon now makes his consent 
to the annexation of Walfisch Bay depend on the annexation 
of Griqualand West. Which was the more imperially minded 
statesman? Surely Mr. Molteno, who saw the difficulties 
which might arise in the future if this coast line was left 
open, and whose foresight has been so amply justified ; for 
this refusal of Lord Carnarvon allowed the Germans to take 
Damaraland, and now we have the greatest military power 
in the world settled behind our South African Colonies. The 
German Emperor's telegram of January, 1896, to President 
Kruger shows how embarrassing the neighbourhood of this 
power may become. Mr. Molteno endeavoured as a states- 
man to settle the matter at a time when there was no diffi- 

I.P., C— 1681, p. 9. 



MISSION AS PLENIPOTENTIABY TO ENGLAND 103 

culty in so doing. Arrangements were made with the 
natives, who were most anxious to come under our rule, and 
no claims of European powers conflicted with this extension 
of British territory up to the Cunene River — the Portuguese 
boundary proposed by Mr. Molteno. Lord Carnarvon 
prevailed on the latter to consent to the annexation of 
Griqualand West, but he deferred the annexation of 
Damaraland, as he thought it would act as a lever to force 
Mr. Molteno to fall into his plan of urging a premature con- 
federation of South Africa. The Empire has suffered the 
loss of territory, and has been put to serious expense in 
increasing the Cape garrison in consequence of this action. 
We feel to-day a sense of insecurity in South Africa, which 
would have had no existence had Mr. Molteno's proposals 
been acceded to by Lord Carnarvon, whose fancies and 
dreams of Confederation were allowed to interfere with the 
wise and practical steps for the consolidation of British 
territory in South Africa. 

Mr. Molteno brought up the subject of the annexation 
of Damaraland in the Governor's speech in every subsequent 
Parliament ; but Lord Carnarvon continued to refuse to give 
his assent to the letters patent, the only formality now 
wanting to complete the annexation to the Cape. 

Aiter another personal interview, Mr. Molteno writes 
that he did not understand Lord Carnarvon's expression of 
his readiness to bring the question of annexation of Griqualand 
West before that province to signify, as he now learned it did, 
that :— 

Your Lordship entirely concurred vdth me in the view that 
such incorporation would be the preferable course to adopt. But in 
conversation yesterday your Lordship was good enough to indicate 
that the import of the paragraph to which I refer was to the effect 
that if I could assure you that I was in a position to consent to or 
to undertake to press upon the Colonial Parliament the incorpora- 
tion of the province with the Gape, your Lordship was prepared to 
take measures, which, as far as Griqualand West itself was con- 



104 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

oemed, would virtually adopt the principle of incorporation, and 
prevent farther delay in the settlement of the question. ... I 
beg, therefore, to state that although, as I have already had the 
honour of representing, I should have preferred such brief post- 
ponement of the a&dr as would have enabled me to consult 
my colleagues in the Colonial Government, I am so impressed 
with the conviction that under all the circumstances the incorpora- 
tion of Griqualand West with the Colony will be the best and 
most satisfactory solution of the matter, that, in view of your Lord- 
ship's representation of the urgency of the case, and of my own 
earnest desire, as the representative of the Colony, to meet to the 
utmost of my ability the wishes of her Majesty's Government, I am 
wiUing to undertake the responsibility of supporting that course 
as the one which most conmiends itself to my judgment, and of 
pressing its adoption upon the Colonial Legislature accordingly.* 

In his reply Lord Carnarvon accepts the answer of Mr. 
Molteno as being such as to ' meet the present requirements 
of the case ' ; but he concludes with a significant request 
that it would afford him 

much assistance in the consideration of the very important ques- 
tions which are now coming forward with regard to the future of 
South Africa if you should feel yourself able to favour his Lord- 
ship with any views which you may have formed as to the general 
principles upon which the Colonies of Natal and Griqualand West, 
or the Transvaal Bepublic, if the cession of it to the Crown, as from 
recent information seem^ not improbable, should take pUice, can best 
be brottght into connection with the Cape Colony.^ 

To this Mr. Molteno replies, that he is gratified to learn 
that the views and intentions in regard to Griqualand West 

which I have had the honour of stating, appear to your Lordship to 
meet the present requirements of the case. Your Lordship is 
further pleased to invite the expression on my part of any views 
which I may have formed as to the general principles upon which 
the colonies of Natal and Griqualand West or the Transvaal 
BepubUc, if the cession of it to the Crown should take place, can 
best be brought into connection vnth the Cape Colony. Being 
now on the eve of my departure from England, and not having 
given to this question — which affects so intimately the future wel- 
fare of South Africa — the mature consideration which I should 
wish to bestow upon it, I trust that your Lordship will allow me 

' J. P., C-1681, p. 10. » J. P., C— 1681. p. 11. 



MISSION AS PLBNIPOTENTIABY TO ENGLAND 106 

to defer for the present any detailed statement on the subject, 
and will accept my assurance that, after my arrival at the Cape, 
the matter shall receive from the Colonial Government the atten- 
tion which its importance demands. 

I would at the same time beg to observe that, as your Lordship 
will have gathered from me in the course of conversation, I 
incline to the opinion, taking a general view of the question, that 
the mode in which the unification of South Africa could eventually 
be most satisfactorily effected and maintained, would be by the 
gradual annexation of the several minor colonies and states to the 
Gape Colony, due provision being made for relegating to local 
administration matters which may properly be regarded as local 
in character and application, not demanding action on the part of 
the general Government.^ 

We may observe that Mr. Molteno refused to be dravm 
into a discussion on the annexation of the Transvaal. It 
is of interest to observe that this appears to be the first 
public statement by Lord Carnarvon that he contemplated 
the annexation of that state. Mr. Molteno here formally 
enunciates his policy of Annexation as opposed to Confedera- 
tion. This policy would have been preferred in the case of 
Canada had it been possible there.* It is in conformity vdth 
the natural progress of settlement and development in South 
Africa. And, moreover, he possessed a complete knowledge 
of all the conditions and circumstances of South Africa, 
gained from a vride and lifelong experience; he brought 
to bear upon these facts large powers of observation and 
acknowledged sagacity, his grasp of South African questions 
was utterly beyond the reach of any stranger like Lord 
Carnarvon, whose life had been spent elsewhere, and whose 
energies had been spread over the whole extent of the Empire. 

Mr. Molteno rightly read the facts. A policy of an- 
nexation provided the method for assimilating the various 
outlying portions of South Africa as soon as they attained 
to similar conditions of development. This could not 
be attained simultaneously by all the colonies and states 

» I. P.. C— 1681, p. 11. 
* Colonial PoUcy of Lord John RusselVa Adminisirati on, . 49. 



106 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

and territories, and we have already drawn attention to the 
dissimilar stages in which they were when Lord Carnarvon 
made his attempt to confederate them. Mr. Molteno*s policy 
of annexation has hitherto given the best results in the 
direction of consohdation in Sonth Africa. When we examine 
the history of British rule in South Africa, we find that 
there has been an evolution of administrative development 
which has been successful in safeguarding the interests of 
the colonies and territories there, and has also safeguarded 
the interest of the tax-payer at home. Only where thi& 
evolution has been deliberately set aside to follow a delusive 
short-cut have we experienced loss and trouble. 

To state this evolution more clearly, we have had the 
Cape Colony, the first and oldest of our possessions, passing 
through all the stages. First, the Crown Colony, adminis- 
tered directly from home by Administrators or Governors 
responsible only to the Home Government ; then the local 
Council was added, then a part of this Council became repre- 
sentative and a means of ascertaining, and in some degree 
acting in conformity with, public opinion. Then part of it 
became elective, though this was necessarily a minority, and 
again a Legislative Council was established. At a later stage 
a Legislative Ajssembly was added also, but still without a 
government responsible to the local opinion through repre- 
sentative institutions. Finally, the last stage was arrived at 
in South Airica when, in 1872, there was established re- 
sponsible government in the Cape Colony as in Canada and 
as in Australia, the executive being composed of persons 
practically nominated, as in England, by the community. 
Grafted on to this main trunk we have a series of similar 
stages in adjacent and dependent territories. 

Natal has passed through all the stages in the same way 
as the Cape, and has lately become possessed of the fuUest 
measure of self government, the evolution being attended 
with equal success in that case. 

In regard to the territory of Eaffraria we have had a 



MISSION AS PLENIPOTBNTIABY TO ENGLAND 107 

similar process. First, while the population of European 
origin was extremely small, and the native population 
enormously outnumbered it, a Crown Colony directly 
administered by the Imperial Government through a 
lieutenant-governor under the High Commissioner. The 
white population grew rapidly, and as soon as their numbers 
sufficed to elect representatives the territory was annexed, 
in 1865, with its revenue and its public debts, to the Cape 
Colony, and in this manner, through its connection with 
the Cape, it came to enjoy representative institutions, and 
eventually responsible government. 

The history of Griqualand West presents similar 
features. Administered at first by the Crown directly, then 
receiving a Council who joined in all legislative measures, 
it was eventually annexed through the instrumentality of 
Mr. Molteno to the Cape Colony, by whom its debt was taken 
over ; but no charge was placed upon the Imperial taxpayer, 
and this territory, through its forming part of the Cape, also 
eventually enjoyed the benefits of responsible government. 
In this instance, too, the time which has elapsed since the 
annexation has shown the wisdom of that policy. 

Let us take another territory, the Bechuanaland Protec- 
torate, one in a low state of development, both as regards 
its white population and its natural resources. Here, 
again, a similar course was followed. England did its 
duty in first administering it directly by the Crown 
through an Administrator under the High Commissioner ; 
but so soon as the circumstances permitted, this out- 
lying and less settled portion was incorporated with the 
Cape Colony without any difficulty, thus relieving the 
Imperial Government of a charge, and giving the benefit of 
good government without the cost of a separate establish- 
ment. This course of natural and, on the whole, highly 
successful evolution of administration, furnished a valuable 
precedent for any future dealings with the less developed but 



108 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

adjacent portions of South Africa, whose possession by 
England was necessary for the security and prosperity of 
our already established colonies. 

Both subsequent and previous history have amply vin- 
dicated Mr. Molteno's policy. Lord Carnarvon summed up 
the result of his interviews and the arrangements arrived 
at in a despatch to Sir Henry Barkly, to whom he wrote as 
foUows in transmitting the correspondence to which we have 
alluded above : — 

I have had much pleasure in making acquaintance with Mr. 
Molteno, and I cannot doubt that the interchange of opinions 
and explanations at our repeated interviews will prove of material 
advantage in promoting a clearer understanding hereafter on 
many important questions. Mr. Molteno has, as you will fully 
learn from him, expressed himself in favour of the incorporation 
of Griqualand West with the Gape Colony as the preferable 
alternative, among several, which I had placed before him as open to 
consideration. I am gratified to find that the successful conclusion 
of my negotiations with President Brand has, by removing all ques- 
tion as to the ownership of the territory, removed also any difficulty 
which Mr. Molteno might have continued to feel with regard to 
entering into this undertaking on the part of his Government. 

You will observe that in my last letter to him I stated that it 
would be my first duty to request the Gape Government to have 
regard in settling the terms of annexation to the reasonable views 
and wishes of Griqualand West, and I have received with pleasure 
Mr. Molteno's assurance that they will be most carefully con- 
sidered. The circumstances of the province have materially 
changed during the last few months, and the failure of mining 
and other enterprises, with the consequent departure of a large 
part of the population, have tended strongly to confirm the 
opinion which I, with many others, have always entertained, that 
the machinery of a separate government is more costly than a 
country relying in great part upon a precarious industry could 
wisely attempt to maintain permanently. Matters have, in fact, 
been brought back to the condition in which they originally stood, 
when both my predecessor in this office and the Cape Legislature 
contemplated that, after a temporary administration under the 
Grown, the province should become an integral part of the Cape 
Colony.^ 

» J. P., C— 1681, p. 12. 



109 



CHAPTER XX 

CONFEBBNCE QUESTION IN ENGLAND. 1876 

Lord Gamaryon's Conference — Its Consiitaiion- He invites Mr. Molteno^ 
The latter declines — Conference invites him— Proceedings of Conference- 
Its Failare— Mail Contract. 

Wb must now return to the position of the Conference 
question on Mr. Molteno's arrival in England. In the 
light of his strenuous opposition to Mr. Froude, and to 
the attempt on the constitutional liberties of the Cape 
Colony made by Lord Carnarvon, as well as to the conspicuous 
success, admitted by all, of his administration of the Cape 
Colony, and, further, looking to the question whether he 
could be prevailed on to take any part in the Conference 
which Lord Carnarvon had decided to convene, there 
attached a considerable interest in Downing Street to Mr. 
Molteno's personality and character. 

Sir Eobert Herbert tells Sir Henry Barkly that Mr, Mol- 
teno had made a favourable impression in Downing Street. 
Lord Carnarvon invited him to visit him at Highclere, and 
several personal interviews at the Colonial Office enabled 
him to interchange ideas with the Colonial Secretary. 
The latter had so little practical acquaintance with the 
details of South African questions that he found it impossible 
to combat Mr. Molteno's arguments, drawn from such an 
intimate knowledge of South Africa as was possessed by 
hardly any other man in the Empire. As we have seen, 
Lord Carnarvon came to adopt his views as to annexation 
being the proper course in regard to Griqualand West. 



110 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Yet Lord Carnarvon was not frank with Mr. Molteno. 
He continued his intrigues with Mr. Paterson. He said 
nothing to the former of the Permissive Bill for South Africa 
which he was then drafting. Sir Henry Barkly had told 
Lord Carnarvon, in announcing Mr. Molteno's departure 
for England, that he would find him disposed to discuss 
freely Griqualand West and any other question which he 
might bring before him. He added that Lord Carnarvon might 
rely on his fideUty and power to fulfil any engagement he 
might enter into, and that he still possessed the confidence 
of the moderate persons throughout the Colony more than 
anyone else, and even in the event of a dissolution was most 
likely to be at the head of afiiairs. 

It was very necessary to secure Mr. Molteno's attendance 
at the Conference. Lord Carnarvon had succeeded in 
getting him to come to England — it was now necessary to 
make use of his presence there to further his policy, and at 
any rate save appearances. Lord Carnarvon would succeed 
in this if he could prevail on Mr. Molteno to attend the 
Conference as representing the most important Colony in 
South Africa, while his support for any policy there decided 
upon would be most important. 

Inmiediately on Mr. Molteno*8 arrival he received an invi- 
tation to attend ^ a Conference for the consideration of certain 
matters affecting South Africa.' Lord Carnarvon stated that 
the following gentlemen would be present : President Brand, 
Sir Garnet Wolseley, Mr. Froude, Mr. Shepstone, Mr. 
AJcerman and Mr. Robinson. He added that President 
Brand was not permitted by his ' Volksraad ' to discuss the 
question of Confederation, but was prepared to enter upon 
the consideration of other questions of importance. Lord 
Carnarvon expressed the hope that, though the Colonial 
Parliament had not empowered Mr. Molteno to be present 
as a delegate, yet he would still attend and take part in the 
consideration of some of the questions ; but he added that he 



CONFERENCE QUESTION IN ENGLAND 111 

had no desire to put any pressure upon Mr. Molteno.^ To 
this the latter replied in what was termed by Lord Car- 
narvon at the opening of the Conference ' a most courteous 
and considerate letter/ that, looking to the resolutions of 
Parliament and the minute of Ministers on which it was 
based, it would be contrary to the spirit and intention of 
those documents for him to assist at the Conference.^ 

Let us see what this Conference was which purported to 
represent South Africa. Its president was Lord Carnarvon 
himself ; its vice-president was Sir Garnet Wolseley ; its 
delegates were Sir Theophilus Shepstone from Natal, a Crown 
Colony, and Mr. Froude, designated by Lord Carnarvon 
without consultation with Griqualand West to represent 
that community.' All these were Imperial oflBcials and 
nominees of Lord Carnarvon himself. There were present 
Mr. Akerman and Mr. Eobinson from Natal, but they had no 
formal position. President Brand was there only in regard 
to the native question.* In fact, the so-called Conference 
consisted of but two men who were independent politically, 
Lord Carnarvon himself and President Brand ! The others 
were only there to make a show. Was not Mr. Molteno 
amply justified in refusing to submit the destinies of the Cape 
Colony to a Conference so composed ? Confederation was 
Lord Carnarvon's main object, but President Brand was 
entirely precluded from discussing this question and would 
withdraw at once if it came up. The Transvaal was un- 
represented, and its President had told the Yolksraad that 
he would resign at once if they had anything to do with it. 

It might tend to save appearances, for Lord Carnarvon 
to call together a meeting that he dignified by the title 
of a South African Conference, but, as the * Daily News * 
remarked, * the Conference is only the shadow of a repre- 

» J. P., C— 1681, p. 61. « J. P., C— 1631, p. 67. 

* See despatch of the 6th of October, 1876, C— 1681, p. 18. 
« J.P., C-1681,p. 62. 



112 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

sentation of the communities whose interests it is dis- 
cussing.* The London ' Standard ' stated that ' the South 
African Conference from which the Cape of Good Hope has 
excluded itself, in which the Transvaal Republic is not 
represented, and where the Orange Free State's delegate sits 
with tied hands, cannot be said to be such an assembly as 
Lord Carnarvon had in his mind when he first proposed the 
idea to the Colonies and States of South Africa.' It had no 
resemblance to the Conference originally proposed. Without 
the Cape Colony being represented by Mr. Molteno, it was 
the play of ' Hamlet ' without the Prince. 

This jejune representation of South Africa was itself of this 
opinion, for its first act was to pass a resolution urging Mr. 
Molteno to take part in its deliberations. Mr. Akerman was 
deputed to hand the resolution to him, and to press him to 
be present. Lord Carnarvon formally transmitted another 
resolution in a letter to Mr. Molteno,^ in which he informed 
him that it was adopted unanimously at a sitting of the Con- 
ference, and he would observe from the resolution * that in 
the opinion of the members of the Conference present it is 
essential that you should be earnestly invited to take part 
in discussing with them the policy to be adopted in reference 
to the trade in arms.' It was added that Lord Carnarvon, 

while anxious not to put any undue pressure upon you, cannot but 
concur in this resolution on general grounds, and I am further to 
acquaint you that in his opinion and that of the Vice-President's, 
the news received within the last few days respecting the hostilities 
between the Transvaal and the neighbouring native tribes has 
greatly altered the circumstances of the case, and renders it still 
more important in the interest of South Africa that some general 
agreement should now be arrived at as to the policy to be i^opted 
in relation to the trade in arms. He trusts that the resolutions 
of the Gape Parliament will not be considered by you to preclude 
you from conferring in the present circumstances on this par- 
ticular question with those best qualified to guide the decision 
of her Majesty's Government. 

» J. P., C— 1681, p. 74. 



CONFERENCE QUESTION IN ENGLAND 113 

To Mr. Akerman Mr. Molteno replied verbally that he 
was not anthorised by the Parliament to attend any con- 
ference, and further that his own view was that it was 
premature to press confederation upon South Africa, and he 
could take no steps with this object in view. Upon receiving 
Mr. Molteno's refusal to join the Conference or take part 
in its discussion Lord Carnarvon suggested that he might 
appear before it as a witness. To this Mr. Molteno replied 
that 

the grounds upon which I felt it my duty, as intimated in my 
letter of the drd inst., to respectfully decline your Lordship's 
invitation to assist at the Conference appear to me to apply with 
equal if not greater force to the present proposal. In my judg- 
ment, to attend the Conference as a witness and offer views and 
opinions for consideration, in the discussion of which I should not 
— ^from the position I have held it right to maintain — be able to 
take part, would be a course at once highly unsatisfactory and 
incompatihle with the tenor of the resolution of the Cape Legisla- 
ture. While, therefore, I consider myself bound to decline with 
all respect to appear before the Conference in the manner pro- 
posed, I desire most distinctly to assure your Lordship that I 
shall at all times be prepared to render your Lordship every 
information in my power on the matters to which the latter por- 
tion of your letter refers in accordance with the minute of the 
Cape Ministry.^ 

To the suggestion that the outbreak of hostilities between 
the South African Republic and the neighbouring native 
tribes augmented the importance of arriving at a general 
agreement between all the colonies and states as to the 
policy to be adopted in relation to the trade in arms, Mr. 
Molteno replied : — 

I am certainly (although well aware of the great importance 
of the question, and the very serious difficulties which beset it) 
not in a position on behalf of the Colony which I have the honour 
to represent to enter into any such agreement as that which 
appears to be in contemplation, however desirable it may be.^ 

' J. P., C— 1681, p. 76. • I. P., 0—1631, p. 74. 

VOL. n. I 



114 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

He stated at the same time that if his Lordship should 
think fit to favom: him with the result of the deliberation 
on the trade in arms at which the Conference with his 
Lordship might arrive, together with an intimation of his 
Lordship's views thereon, it would afford him much pleasure 
to give the same his most careful consideration, and he would 
then be enabled on his return to the Cape to bring the matter 
in its completeness before his colleagues and the Colonial 
Legislature. 

Lord Carnarvon, in reply to the latter portion of Mr. 
Molteno's letter, said that 

the South African Conference, under the presidency of Sir Garnet 
Wolseley, expressed its view upon this question in the following 
unanimous resolution : ' The Conference regrets extremely that 
Mr. Molteno feels prevented from attending the meeting of this 
Conference to assist in considering what is commonly known 
as the arms question.' Lord Carnarvon shares the feeling of 
regret thus expressed, and he will take a later opportunity of 
communicating with you upon the subject referred to.^ 

The Secretary for the Colonies opened his Conference on 
the 3rd of August, 1876, in a speech which exhibited no 
special knowledge of South Africa and no signs of marked 
ability, and which reminds us of Lord Blachford's observation 
that his presidency of the Canadian Conference was dis- 
appointing. To anyone with a real acquaintance of South 
Africa this opening speech was equally so. It betrayed its 
origin in the inspiration of Mr. Fronde's imperfect observa- 
tions of South Africa. 

He began with a welcome to the delegates, and as to the 
Cape he said : — 

I had hoped to have welcomed Mr. Molteno, the Prime Minister 
of the Gape Colony, though aware that he has come over from 
the Cape fettered by a resolution of the Assembly of that Colony 
which confines his official and formal communications to 

» J.P.. C— 1631,p. 79. 



CONFBBBNCE QUESTION IN ENGLAND 116 

partdcular subjects. At the same time it was due to him, due to 
the great Colony he represents, and certainly in accordance with 
my own feelings, that I should offer him a cordial invitation to be 
present here to-day. I have received from him a most courteous 
and considerate letter, from which I understand that while he 
would be personally very glad to attend, and also very glad, as I 
have no question, to give any assistance to the Conference, he yet 
feels himself so tied by the resolution of the Assembly that he 
doubts whether it would be in accordance with the spirit of the 
resolution of that body that he should assist at our deliberationB 
to-day. I feel confident from the tone of his letter that, so far as 
he conceives himself at liberty to do so, he wiU be ready to give 
us any assistance at any future stage of our proceedings.^ 

Lord Carnarvon then announced in an ostentations 
manner that Mr. Shepstone had received a mark of royal 
favour in the honour of the K.C.M.G. This was evidently 
held out as an inducement to the delegates to further his 
policy, personal honours being their reward. He again 
repeated that he did not wish to force his policy, it must be 
* the result of a clear conviction on the part of each state 
entering into it.' He did not, however, conceal from the 
Conference that in his opinion it was extremely desirable, 
and he added that ' it is clear that the effect of confederation 
would be to give to these great colonies even a fuUer and 
larger measure of self-government than that which has yet 
been accorded to them.' When we come to examine his 
Permissive Bill on which he was already engaged we shall 
see how far this was his real purpose and intention. 

He next proceeded to discuss the native question ; and in 
this he showed his complete reliance upon the imperfect infor- 
mation which Mr. Fronde had afforded him, and he made the 
extraordinary statement that ' the usual method of payment 
in South Africa for work done and labour given seemed to 
be by arms.' This was quite wrong ; in the Cape Colony the 
payments were made in specie by the Government and many 
private persons as well, while in the case of others it was made 

» 7.P., C— 1631,p. 62. 

I 2 



116 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

in stock. As to the possession of arms, a permit was required 
both for the purchase and removal of a gun by a native. It 
was only in Griqualand West, under direct Imperial rule, 
where the sale of guns was said to be an absolute necessity.^ 
There was, however, a further difficulty in the fact that large 
quantities of arms were introduced through Delagoa Bay ' 
and Walfisch Bay, which were quite beyond Imperial or 
Colonial control.' 

While engaged on the native question he took occasion 
to condemn the war with the natives, which was proceeding 
in the Transvaal, as a war for which he had ' seen as yet no 
sufficient justification,' while he held it to be ' unfair to the 
natives to deprive them of their means of self-defence.' We 
may remark that this is the man who sent out Sir Bartle 
Frere, who initiated the policy of disarming the natives in 
South Africa with such disastrous results. He admitted 
that so far as the treatment of the natives was concerned 
he was 

quite aware how much had been done in the Gape Colony, and 
how liberal the policy there had been, and it will, I hope, be 
possible, without coming into conflict with the resolution of the 
House of Assembly to which I have alluded, to obtain from Mr. 
Molteno information on some points as to the native policy which 
has been pursued there, and which it may be desirable that we 

should consider In our efforts to improve (the native races, 

we have to look not only to their civilisation in the ordinary sense 
of the word, but also to the conmiunication of a higher morality and 
a truer knowledge of religion than they unfortunately now possess. 
All these are considerations of the gravest nature, considerations 

> Sir H. Barkly writes under date the 16th of September, 1876, to Mr. Molteno : 
*I hope yon will still take the opportunity of stating your views to Lord 
Carnarvon, preventing his misapprehensions imbibed from Mr. Froude as to 
wages being paid in guns and importation by hundreds of thousands.' 

* Sir H. Bulwer to Lord Carnarvon, J. P., 0— 2000, p. 42. 

* We may observe that Delagoa Bay had just been lost to Great Britain as 
the result of an arbitration, as far as we oan tell, carelessly entered into, and 
that Lord Carnarvon had only just refused to Mr. Molteno to extend British 
Colonial jurisdiction to Walfisch Bay. 



CONPEBENCE QUESTION IN ENGLAND 117 

which have doubtless been before the mind of the President of 
the Orange Free State, have certainly been recognised both by 
the Cape and by Natal, and which in this country we accept as a 
duty and a trust of the highest possible nature. 

He concluded with an appreciation of the importance of 
South Africa to the Empire : — 

It would be idle, as it would certainly be contrary to my inten- 
tion, to ignore the fact that there are Imperial interests in South 
Africa of the highest possible value, interests which affect not 
only England, but India, Australia, and New Zealand, as well, 
indeed, as many other colonies. There has sometimes been 
misapprehension on this point, and it has been supposed that 
there might be indifference on the question, or even some dis- 
position here at home to neglect these considerations. No one 
could fall into a greater mistake. There is certainly not the 
slightest intention of abandoning any Imperial rights. Of course 
the concern of this coimtry in South Africa is not to be measured 
by the actual number of troops that are maintained at the Gape 
at any time. That number is imdoubtedly in excess at this 
moment of what strictly Imperial interests may require, though it 
is of very great advantage to every single member of the European 
family in South Africa. The presence of those troops is a 
guarantee beyond measure for the peace and consequent 
prosperity of that great continent. But England is not, and 
never has been, niggardly in these matters — she has no desire to 
make up a strict debtor and creditor account.^ She has accepted 
freely her position as the paramoimt power of South Africa with 
its duties and its responsibilities, and whilst determined generally to 
maintain her Imperial interests there, she rejoices to use her great 
power and means for the advantage of her colonies and her 
neighbours. 

' It is remarkable that Lord Camaryon sboold have used this language. 
The idea which he repudiates was what he had actually done. Lord Carnarvon 
had in his former term of office addressed a despatch to Sir P. Wodehouse 
as to the payment by the Gape for the troops there. * During the year 1869 
payment must be made at the same rate for all infantry in the €k>lony in 
excess of one battalion. And for three years after the expiration of 1869 
payment must be made for the whole force in the Ck>lony at the Australian 
rate — that is to say, at the rate of 40Z. a head for every infantry soldier, and, 
70Z. for every artilleryman. If at any time default is made in these payments 
her Majesty's Oovemment will be at liberty to withdraw the troops from the 
Colony either wholly or to such extent as they may deem expedient.' (i. P., 
C — 459, p. 1.) This money was a debtor and creditor account with a vengeance 



118 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

This is all admirable, and the only pity is that Lord 
Carnarvon, in acting on these views, did not utilise the 
experience of the High Commissioner in South Africa as well 
as the unanimous recommendations of the Colonial Ministers. 
The sequel certainly shows that immense loss of Ufe and 
treasure and great injury to both whites and natives would 
have been avoided, while the race feeling would not have 
assumed the serious importance which it has for us to-day, 
had Lord Carnarvon deferred to the opinion and advice of 
those on the spot who were well quaUfied by their experi- 
ence and the responsible position which they occupied to 
give him the best advice. 

As soon as he had finished his address President Brand 
rose, and stated that he could be present only at the discus- 
sion of ' the question about free trade in arms and ammu- 
nition, and a uniformity of law amongst the native tribes of 
South Africa,' but he could take no part ' in a negotiation 
with reference to a confederation of the colonies and states 
of South Africa by which the independence of this State can 
be endangered ' — he would withdraw at once should this 
question be discussed. As a matter of fact, as soon as 
President Brand withdrew the Conference expired, and 
confederation was never discussed in it at all. Lord Car- 
narvon did not stay to argue with President Brand as to 
his powers at the Conference, but took up the matter 
by correspondence, and as with the Cape, so vrith the 
Orange Free State, attempted to interpret to the respon- 
sible authorities the resolution of their own representative 
Chambers. 

The first resolution of the delegates to the Conference, 
as we have already stated, expressed their regret that Mr. 
Molteno was not present and, further, that it was ' essential 
that he should be earnestly invited to take part in discussing ' 
the sale of arms. A resolution as to the desirabiUty of 
encouraging individual ownership amongst the native tribes 



OONFEEENCE QUESTION IN ENGLAND 119 

wftB then passed, Mr. Akerman, one of the Natal dele- 
gates, dissenting. Another resolution asserted that no law for 
the restriction of arms was possible unless this course was 
agreed upon by the various European Governments in South 
Africa, and that her Majesty's Government should undertake 
to get the co-operation of all the governments concerned. A 
further resolution was carried that natives should be allowed 
to have a moderate quantity of alcoholic liquor, but that 
great care should be taken in carrying out this permission. 

The formal resolution of regret that Mr. Molteno was 
prevented from attending the meeting of the Conference 
was passed after Lord Carnarvon had submitted his corre- 
spondence with Mr. Molteno to the Conference, a corre- 
spondence the tenor of which we have already seen. A 
resolution was proposed by Mr. Froude as to the appren- 
ticeship system which he had advocated in South Africa, 
and which he now brought forward, but this the Con- 
ference refused to accept; it preferred 'not to advocate 
the adoption of the ancient European method of compulsory 
apprenticeship or any compulsion at all,' but that natives 
should voluntarily place their children under farmers and 
artisans where they might learn to become useful mem- 
bers of society. Finally, a resolution as to the native 
pass law in various states was carried, admitting the neces- 
sity of individual state action. But as already stated the 
whole proceedings were entirely abortive, and were never 
referred to again ; indeed, the resolutions to which we have 
referred above were never officially made public.^ 

When its composition became known in South Africa it 
was recognised that the so-called Conference might serve to 
blind the enlightened British public and to save the reputa- 
tion of Lord Carnarvon, but that it was in no sense a South 

' A report was handed to each delegate, and to the kindness of Sir John 
Akerman, who was a delegate, I am indebted for a perosal of this report fram 
wldoh the above partioolars are taken. 



190 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

African Conference. Looking to the debate and resolutions 
of Parliament, no surprise was manifested at Mr. Molteno's 
absence, and Griqaaland West raised a vigorous protest 
against Mr. Froude being called its representative. 

We are a freebom people, whose right to elect a representative 
at the deliberation of any measure oonoeming our welfare is as 
indisputable and perfect as the British Constitution. Lord 
Carnarvon should have known that unasked favours, like unasked 
advice, are never valued, and deeply sensible as we are of his 
Lordship's kind intention, when we put our future in the hands 
of Mr. Froude we cannot but express our dissatisfaction at the 
indifference which has been shown to our feelings. When an 
outsider like Mr. Donald Currie was invited to assess the damages 
we were to pay, and when Mr. Shepstone and others from Natal 
were asked to assist in that assessment, we were surely entitled to 
the poor courtesy of being cited to defend our interest. We 
respect Mr. Froude for many things, but we do not recognise him 
as our representative. 

There was one matter which Mr. Molteno had greatly 
at heart and which he was able to advance by his visit to 
Europe. The question of fast steam communication 
between the Colony and the Mother Country had been 
one to which he had given great attention, and to 
which he attached a very great importance. He had asked 
Parliament for power to conclude a contract for the convey- 
ance of mails with the two companies now serving South 
Africa, the Union Company and the Castle Company, 
dividing the service between them. A very lengthy nego- 
tiation ensued between him and the representatives of the 
companies, and the strongest pressure was brought to bear 
upon him to give up his demand for a weekly mail service. 
A service of forty-eight sailings per annum was suggested 
instead of fifty-two, which would be involved in a weekly 
service, but no argument could move his determination to 
have the latter. He was ready to pay for rapid communica- 
tion, which he thought so essential to the prosperity and 



CONFEBENGE QUESTION IN ENGLAND 131 

advancement of the Colony. It was arranged to give a 
large subsidy and premiums for speed above the contract 
maximum. This contract was most efifectual in inducing 
the companies to run at a speed never previously attained. 
It entailed very large payments for these premiums in the 
last years of the contract, but the success of the policy was 
complete. 



122 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE PEBMISSIVE BILL. 1876-1877 

Lord Oankarvon*8 Liirigaes with Mr. Paterson — He passes over Ministers — An- 
noonces Policy of Permissiye Bill — Annexation of Transvaal — The Permis- 
sive Bill— Its Impracticability— Breach of Faith in regard to Oriqoaland 
West — Ministerial Protest— Lord Camarvon admits its Validity — Beaotion- 
ary Character of Bill — Discrepancy between Lord Camarvon's Public and 
Secret Action— Letter to Sir Bartle Frere — Besolved to Force his Policy- 
Hostile Beoeption of Permissive Bill in Soath Africa— Details of BRl— 
Attempts to Coerce Sooth Africa — Beoeption of Bill in Natal — In Transvaal 
—In Free State— In Eastern Province — In the West — Mr. Molteno*s Speech 
at Beaufort— Banquet to Sir Henry Barkly— His Departure— Snooess of 
his Administration — Our great Colonial Governors. 

It was well known while Mr. Molteno was in England 
that Lord Carnarvon was continuing his intrigue with Mr. 
Paterson for the former's overthrow. Lord Carnarvon 
looked upon Mr. Paterson as a future Prime Minister of the 
Cape Colony, and he had made up his mind long since to 
promote his early advent to power as soon as possible. Mr. 
Paterson did not hesitate to tell his friends that the annexa- 
tion of the Transvaal to the British Empire was vital to him 
and his constituents, the merchants of Port Elizabeth, to 
whom, he declared, about a million pounds were owing 
from the Transvaal, of which there was small chance of 
payment unless the annexation took place. No doubt a rise 
would take place in the value of land, and the Transvaal 
' greenbacks ' are said to have risen from about Is. 6(2. to 
par on the annexation becoming a fact. 

Lord Carnarvon told the Governor, under date the 31st of 
August, Hhat though he could not recognise Mr. Paterson as 

» J. P., C— 1681, p. 6. 



THE PEBMISSIVE BILL 128 

a delegate at the Conference, yet he would not neglect to avail 
himself on an early occasion of learning his views, and indeed 
that he had ' already had the opportunity of receiving Mr. 
Paterson's representations on many points of importance.' 
Mr. Molteno had hardly left England before Lord Carnar- 
von gave public prominence to Mr. Paterson's representa- 
tions. On the 26th of October, just three weeks after bis 
departure, Lord Carnarvon gave public audience to a deputa- 
tion arranged by Mr. Paterson which purported to represent 
the Gape, but which was in reaUty a deputation of Eastern 
Province or Port Elizabeth merchants, and had evidently 
been arranged between Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Paterson 
to enable the former to prepare the public for his policy of 
the annexation of the Transvaal and his Permissive Bill for 
South Africa.^ 

The speakers began by assxuing the noble Earl of the 
unanimous approbation with which they viewed the success of 
his confederation policy. They urged that the opportunity 
afforded by the Transvaal war to interfere there under cover 
of extending ' the same policy with regard to the natives 
which had been so signally successful in the Cape Colony ' 
should be availed of. It was contended that, although the 
war itself was much to be regretted and was full of danger, 
it would, if properly used, afford a most admirable oppor- 
tunity which ought not to be let slip * to press forward the 
policy of confederation.' Sir Theophilus Shepstone's mission * 
was referred to with approval, and the hope was subsequently 
expressed that he might annex the Transvaal. Lord Car- 
narvon now stated that Sir T. Shepstone * would not go out 
there to carry out a policy which wets adverse to any views 
which her Majesty's Government have ever expressed.' He 
repeated his regret that Mr. Molteno was not present at the 

* For a report of the proceedings see J. P., G— 1782, p. 1. 

* Sir T. Shepstone had left England at the end of September with aeoret 
instructions. 



124 LIEE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 

Conference, and that it was impossible to have the opinion 
of men so well qualified as were the delegates chosen by the 
Eastern Province of the Gape. 

Bat every person in this room will readily admit with me that 
where representative institutions have been given to a Colony like 
the Gape, the Minister at home must be the first person to hold 
himself bound by, and scrupulously to respect the principles of 
those representative institutions; and therefore it is quite im- 
possible for me to receive a formal representation at such a 
Conference, except through the medium of persons who have been 
formally accredited to me by the Colonial Parliament. Whatever 
may be the differences which may exist within that Parliament, 
it is only through the voice of the majority of that Parliament 
that the Minister at home can receive any answer or can accept 
any representation. At the same time I hope that you will also 
do me the justice to feel that, placed as I was in a somewhat 
difficult position upon this point, I was anxious that outside the 
Conference I should not be debarred from the advantage of 
receiving the fullest representations that might be made to me by 
those gentlemen who I knew had the confidence of the Eastern 
Districts of the Cape Colony. It would be impossible to choose any 
men more competent to express the opinion of the Eastern District 
than Mr. Blaine and Mr. Paterson, and I rejoice to say that I 
have received from them, and I may particularly add from 
Mr. Paterson, information of the most valuable kind on many 
more than one single point — valuable in itself, valuable also in the 
sense of having been given by one so deeply interested in the 
Cape Colony in which he is so distinguished a member of 
Parliament.^ 

He mentioned that, although Mr. Molteno considered 
himself precluded from attending the Conference, 

I had the satisfaction of commimicating with him personally 
and most freely on many subjects which are of the highest 
importance. I arrived at a clear understanding touching the 
settlement of the Griqualand difficulty, and was enabled to discuss 
with him other questions, and so I trust to render the solution of 
that important subject which you have brought before me to-day 
easier than it ever has been up to the present time. 

But now he takes these unofficial members into his con- 
fidence and communicates to them what he had withheld 

» I. p., C-1732. p. 11. 



THE PBBMISSIVB BILL 125 

from the accredited plenipotentiary of the Cape Colony. 
He seemed to feel that he was not doing what was quite 
correct, and excused himself in the following words : — 

It was my wish to give all explanations to anyone accredited 
by his (rovemment to receive those explanations of the viewa 
which I entertain. Mr. Molteno's position was however such 
that it precluded him from entering fully into this question with 
me ; but as I have been repeatedly asked to explain, at length and 
in detail, the mode in which her Majesty's Government would 
desire to see their poUcy of confederation carried out, I think it 
will be convenient, and can give no possible cause of offence to 
any party in the Gape Colony or elsewhere, if I bring before the 
Cape Colony, through its Government, the general principles upon 
which it seems to me that such a confederation might fairly and 
properly be carried out. In fact, looking to the very critical state 
of things in South Africa, I think it would be hardly right if her 
Majesty's Government were any longer to be reticent on such a 
point and refuse to give that information which all parties seem 
to be entitled now to claim. 

With that view I may tell the deputation that I am at thia 
moment considering the principles of a measure which I hope may 
carry out the views which we hold, and which may repeat the 
general wishes of all the parties locally interested. It would how- 
ever be clearly wrong if I were to give any eocplanation even to such 
an important deputation as this upon matters of detail, when those 
explanations are justly due in the first instance to the Colonial 
Government. Everyone in this room I am sure will go along with 
me on that point, and will recognise my anxiety now, and in truth 
I may say always, to do nothing which could encroach upon the 
rights and liberties of the Colony, or to stint any of that considera- 
tion and the regard which the Home Government has ever paid to 
the Colony and its institutions. But I may say this, that such a 
measure as I am now contemplating, would, in its nature, be 
essentially a permissive one, and would be open to the spontaneous 
acceptance of each of the colonies and states of South Africa. In 
that Bill I desire as far as possible to provide the necessary power 
to confederate, giving an outline of the constitutional machinery, 
but leaving it as much as possible to local knowledge and experi- 
ence to fill up the details of the scheme. 

He concluded by pajring a powerful tribute to the 
native policy of the Cape : — 



196 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

I should think it very wrong when touching upon such a theme 
as this if I failed to do justice to that which I consider to be the 
extremely liberal and fair policy which the Cape has endeavoured 
for many years to follow in its relations to the native tribes. The 
Gape at this moment is receiving in a great measure the reward of 
that policy in the tranquillity of the frontier under very critical 
circumstances.^ 

Mr. Paterson forwarded the report of this deputation 
and Lord Carnarvon's reply in pamphlet form to the Cape, 
a step which gave rise to the following comment : — 

There can of course be no possible objection to any number of 
private gentlemen waiting on the Secretary of State and giving 
him their opinions as to the condition of affairs in South Africa, 
providing it is distinctly imderstood that in no sense do they 
oflSoially represent the Cape Colony. It has been too much the 
fashion for old colonists in England to assume that they know 
the feelings of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South 
Africa, forgetful that a few years, sometimes even a few months, 
make a great change in the current of public opinion. Carried 
away by their assumed knowledge of existing circumstances in the 
Colony, these gentlemen have sometimes taken upon themselves 
to speak for one or the other of the dependencies of the Empire, 
but as a general rule they have, unintentionally no doubt, given an 
erroneous representation of the state of things in any particular 
Colony. Some five or six years ago this threatened to become a 
serious danger, and some Colonial Governments — Queensland in 
particular — took strong exception to such unauthorised representa- 
tion, and begged that in future no statement made in Downing 
Street by persons not formally and officially accredited by the 
Government of the Colony might be permitted to influence her 
Majesty's Government.^ 

The same principle was stated by the Imperial Govern- 
ment itself, when Lord Carnarvon, speaking officially as 
Secretary of State, said that — 

the wishes of the colonists are likely to be more favourably and 
effectually brought before the Home Government by the local 
Ministers who are in immediate contact with the communities 
they represent, and through the Governor who is responsible to 
her Majesty for furnishing all requisite information, than by 
persotks acting in pursuance of their own views .... under 

' I. P., C-1782, p. 16. » Arffus. 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 127 

influences not always identical with those which are paramount 
in the Colony, and without the guarantee which their recom- 
mendations may derive from haying passed through the Gh>vemor'8 
hands. 

There can be no doubt that this is the correct yiew of 

the case, and therefore whatever weight may be given to the 

gentlemen who formed the deputation to Lord Carnarvon, 

they certainly were not authorised to speak for the Colony. 

Only the Colonial Parliament and those delegated by it can 

do that. And there were to be found among merchants and 

others interested in the Cape, but resident in London, some 

who fully realised this constitutional principle. In the 

London * Daily News ' of the 28th of October we find the 

following letter from Mr. William G. Soper : — 

As a merchant interested both in the Eastern and Western 
Provinces of the Cape Colony, suffer me to call attention to a 
principle, and as a matter of fair play to make an explanation. 
The principle to which I allude is that where — as in the case of 
the Cape — a Colony has its own representative institutions it 
cannot be other than prejudicial to the public interests to aUow 
partial representations of disputed points of Colonial policy to be 
made directly, and of necessity unofficially, to the Imperial 
Government, and in this way tend to produce the impression on 
the British public that it is the Cape which is speaking, whereas 
it is only a minority at the Cape. The voice of the Cape Colony 
to the Imperial Government can only be authoritatively annoxmced 
from her Parhament and through her Premier. The explanation 
which I venture to offer is that the gentlemen who yesterday 
waited on Lord Carnarvon represented only the supposed interests 
of the Eastern Province of the Colony. Mr. Molteno, the Premier, 
has left England ; Mr. Paterson, who has been marked out as his 
possible successor, is still here, and has succeeded in making a 
demonstration. My argument is that Colonial questions should 
be fought out in the Colony and not in England, and that if it be 
desiraUe to ventilate them here, let it be at a public meeting of 
merchants and others ' interested in the South African Colonies.' 

The Gape would neither be represented in Downing 
Street by self-appointed delegates, nor accept special 
conunissioners from the Secretary of State in place of the 
legally constituted authorities appointed by the Colonial 



128 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Parliament. Lord Carnarvon felt the falseness of the 
position so much that he immediately wrote to the Gk)vemor 
expressing a hope that what had passed with the deputation 
of Gape merchants would not create fresh difficulties at the 
Gape. The Governor replied to this that Mr. Molteno was 
very indignant and very sore that nothing had been said 
to him about the Permissive Bill when conferring with 
Lord Gamarvon. He feared that it would induce the 
Griqualand West Council to hold out against annexation to 
the Gape; and he had been urging Mr. Molteno to go to 
Eimberley to smooth matters down, but the latter now said 
that he would do nothing to appear eager for the annexation. 
The Governor, added Mr. Molteno, would now be more 
cautious than ever in deahng with the annexation question. 
Looking to the attitude of the two BepubUcs towards 
confederation, every step which Lord Carnarvon now took 
in this direction wideAed the breach between the South 
African ' patriots ' ^ and the Eastern Province parties, and 
threw the former into Mr. Molteno's arms. As the Governor 
told Lord Gamarvon, what Mr. Molteno feared was the cer- 
tainty of splitting up the Colony into fragments before 
there was any certainty that other territories would be 
added to it. This was in reference to Lord Carnarvon's 
statement to the deputation that he would have no objection 
to splitting up the Cape Colony at or before confederation.* 
Before Lord Gamarvon could receive the Governor's letter 
Mr. Herbert had written to Mr. Molteno the following letter 
to attempt the smoothing-down process : — 

{Private.) Colonial Office, November 29th. 

MydeabMb. Molteno, — I have been glad to hear of your safe 
return to the Cape, and I sincerely trust that the threatenings of 
native troubles on the frontier will soon be removed in the only 

* This was a tenn oommonly used at the time in South Afrioa to designate 
the more pronounced sympathisers with the two Republics who had received 
special encouragement from Mr. Froude. 

« I. P., 0—1782, p. 18. 



THE PBBMISSIVE BILL 129 

permanent manner, viz. by a complete change of policy on the 
part of the Transvaal. I should be mach relieved if that unhappy 
state were a province under the central Government at Cape 
Town, but nothing that we have yet heard justifies the expecta- 
tion that this is likely to occur immediately. 

You will have read the report of the proceedings when a 
deputation, comprising Messrs. Paterson, Blaine, and other South 
African notabilities, attended upon Lord Carnarvon. I hope you 
were satisfied and pleased with his speech, which was conceived 
in a spirit of mindfulness of what is due to you and your Govern- 
ment, and therefore necessarily dealt only in such generalities as 
I fear may have seemed somewhat insufficient to some at least of 
his hearers. You will not improbably receive all sorts of stories 
to the effect that Lord Carnarvon has made ilarge communications 
of policy to Mr. Paterson, or the Natal delegates or others. Such 
is not the case, as his Lordship has felt himself obliged to make 
all material disclosures and proposals to your Government in the 
first instance. Pray therefore do not pay attention to any 
rumours that may reach you. I do not of course mean that Mr. 
P. will say anything of the sort ; but others have and will. 

I think you will receive very shortly the draft Bill, which you 
will find to be one for union rather than confederation. The 
expression of your opinion that all the countries combining should 
be brought under one overruling Government and Legislature 
has had much weight. As you will remember. Lord Eimberley 
was advised by the law officers that an Imperial Act is necessary 
for uniting Natal to the Cape — so even for the purpose of *uniting 
Griqualand West to the Cape a Bill must have been introduced 
next session, and we shall take the opportunity of so drafting the 
measure as to make it sufficient to enable a larger union at any 
time hereafter if that is desired. You will thus be left quite free 
as to any further amalgamation than that of Griqualand West 
with the Cape ; and also quite free as to all the details of union. 
Of course we hope that you may see your way to become Premier 
of a considerable union at an early date ; but the Bill will not 
pinch or press you. 

Yours very truly, 

RoBEBT G. W. Hebbebt. 

To this Mr. Molteno replied : — 

Colonial Secretary's Office, Cape Town : 
January 16th, 1877. 

Mt deab Mb. Hebbebt, — I must apologise for having allowed a 
mail to leave without a line from me in acknowledgment of your 
VOL. n. K 



130 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

very kind note dated 29th November, whioh unfortunately oame 
by one of the slowest vessels carrying our mails, the Lapland, 

I am very much obliged to you for the information you give 
me relative to the draft Bill and other subjects connected with 
Confederation. 

The Bill itself only came to hand by last mail, and I have 
consequently had but little time to consider it, nor have I been 
able to give its accompanying despatch attention. 

But as far as I am able to judge, this Government is phkced in 
a somewhat awkward position with regard to the proposed annexa- 
tion of Griqualand West, upon which question I had hoped, after 
the full imderstanding and agreement arrived at with Lord 
Carnarvon before I left England, there would have been no 
further difficulty. The action then taken is generally approved 
of in this Colony, and there is but little opposition to it in Griqua- 
land West. 

I am not at all sure that the generally desired union of the 
several states and colonies of South Africa will be very much 
promoted by the line of action which his Lordship has decided 
upon taking, but am not prepared to enter fully into this most 
important and difficult subject. 

Believe me to remain, 

Tours very truly, 

J. C. MOLTENO. 

The object with which Lord Carnarvon received the 
deputation on the 26th of October was evident when we find 
that he transmitted a copy of the proceedings to Sir Henry 
Barkly with the request that he should publish them in the 
newspapers at the Cape, and he pursued a similar course 
with Sir Henry Bulwer, the Governor of Natal. It was 
clear that Lord Carnarvon continued to expect that he 
would succeed in displacing Mr. Molteno, and setting up 
Mr. Paterson in his place as Prime Minister of the Cape 
Colony. 

Indeed, Lord Carnarvon seemed incapable of receiving and 
appreciating the numerous warnings which he had received 
and was now receiving as to the dangers of forcing on his 
policy of Confederation upon South Africa. The High Com- 
missioner had warned him that if the policy were persisted in 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 131 

there was a danger of an agitation in which East would be 
ranged against West, Dutch against English, and Kaffirs 
against both. Lord Carnarvon was aware that Mr. Molteno 
shared these apprehensions, which had now become verified 
by actual facts in the first case, and in the last we have seen 
that uneasiness had begun to prevail among the natives. 
Mr. Akerman, the Natal delegate of the Legislative 
Council, warned Lord Carnarvon of the dangers of the 
course on which he was bent, and so much impressed was 
he with the serious character of the situation that he wrote 
to the ' Times,' * Daily News,' and ' Standard,' a letter of 
warning signed by himself, his official designation being 
attached, yet so imbued was the London press with Lord 
Carnarvon's ideas that each and all refused even to admit 
the letter to their columns ! 

There was, however, one man whose official connection 
with the colonies had ceased but who continued to take an 
informed interest in events there, and to him also it was 
clear how serious was the danger. Lord Blachford writes 
to Sir Henry Taylor, telling him that he was not pro- 
posing to speak in the House of Lords on the Eastern 
Question for he was engaged upon another subject. * The 
South African question is also a big one. It is capable of 
working up into the worst cluster of native wars that we 
have yet had.' * 

Mr. Froude had published his views in the * Quarterly 
Review ' for January 1877, and Mr. Reeve, the editor of 
the 'Edinburgh Review,' had asked Lord Blachford to 
answer him. This he did in an article in the April number 
of that periodical, which exposed Mr. Froude's improper 
conduct at the Cape and warned the country of the dangers 
of pressing the Confederation policy. 

On whom was Lord Carnarvon relying for advice when 

* Letters of Lord Blachford^ pp. 376, 877. A forecast too terribly borne 
OQt by the Galeka, Gaika, Zulo, and Basnto wars. 

K 2 



139 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

he pressed on his policy against all these warnings ? Even 
his own emissary, Mr. Fronde, had told him, after learn- 
ing the lesson of experience in South Africa, that Con- 
federation must be the work of South Airica itself, and 
could only be brought about by time. The sole support 
Lord Carnarvon received was from Mr. Paterson and the 
merchants whom he had brought with him as a deputation, 
and who really represented one town in South Africa, Port 
Ehzabeth, where resided the speculators and merchants who 
were to make money out of the annexation of the Transvaal. 

Nevertheless he now determined to press his policy 
more strongly than ever. In England he introduced the 
Permissive Bill for enabling a confederation of the South 
African colonies and states to be formed, and in South 
Airica he worked through the agency of a man who was rsrsh 
enough to look upon his own ignorance as superior to local 
knowledge, and to conmiit the country to the most reckless 
expenditure of blood and money to accomplish the policy 
which he confessed had been * dictated * to him by Lord 
Carnarvon, and which he meant in his turn to dictate in spite 
of all warnings to South Africa. It became known almost 
simultaneously that Sir Bartle Frere had been selected as the 
new Governor and High Commissioner for South Africa, 
and that the Permissive Bill was to be introduced into the 
Imperial Parliament. 

On neither of these matters had Mr. Molteno been con- 
sulted by Lord Carnarvon when he was in England. In trans- 
mitting the Bill to the Governor Lord Carnarvon in a lengthy 
despatch alluded to the deputation of the 26th of October as 
the opportunity of making public his intention as to the 
Permissive Bill. Though Mr. Molteno was the accredited 
plenipotentiary of the Cape, Lord Carnarvon selected the 
unofficial and self-elected deputation as the repository of his 
confidence. It is true he apologises to the Natal delegates 
when he addresses the Governor of Natal on the subject for 



THE PEBMISSIVE BILL 133 

Bot commonicating to them the Bill when they were in 
England.^ For his treatment of Mr. Molteno he does not 
venture to ofiEer an apology. 

Moreover, Lord Carnarvon had departed from his arrange- 
ment with Mr. Molteno as to the incorporation of Griqua- 
land West with the Cape Colony. Mr. Molteno had distinctly 
refused to be a party to any federal connection with 
Griqualand West as a province, and on reference to the 
despatch detailing the arrangement made with him during 
his visit, Lord Carnarvon clearly tells the Governor that this 
is so, and that he agrees 

that there is every reason to believe that, when more simply 
and inexpensively governed as a district of the Gape Colony, 
Oriqualand West would provide a revenue ample for the require- 
ments of its administration and its liabilities.^ 

Yet now, in transmitting to the Governor his Permissive 
Bill, he turns to the plan definitely rejected by Mr. Molteno 
and by himself. He says of the Permissive Bill : — 

It will serve either for the more limited purpose in the first 
instance of uniting Oriqualand West to the Cape, or for the larger 
object of confederating at any time hereafter the whole of South 
A&ica. 

And again : — 

The correspondence which I have lately transmitted to you 
has explained that after full communication with me, Mr. 
Molteno expressed, on the part of the Cape Government, their 
readiness to take measures for the incorporation of Griqualand 
West with the Cape. With regard, however, to the form and 
manner of such incorporation, I had received strong representa- 
tions from the people of the province, which I have, of course, 
kept in view during the preparation of this measure. They urged 
in effect that Griqualand West should not be subordinated to the 
Cape Colony as at present constituted, though they had no objec- 
tion to confederation. Now, while I am bound to say that no 
explicit reason was assigned for this request, and that it is one to 
which I could not in all circumstances deem myself under an 

» J. P.. C— 1782, p. 24. « I. P., C— 1681. p. 12. 



134 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. G. MOLTENO 

absolate obligation to aooede to (believing as I do that the Gape 
Gk>vemment would be fully able and willing to provide for all the 
reasonable claims and requirements of the province), I am glad 
to have been able to satisfy myself that under the machinery pro- 
vided by the Bill there need be no difficulty in admitting Oriqua- 
land West to the union as a separate province, by which course I 
apprehend that the views both of your advisers^ as expressed to 
me by Mr, Molteno, and of the memorialists in the province tvUl be 
adequately met} 

We have here a distinct statement that in the proposed 
confederation Griqualand West is to be admitted as a 
separate province. 

It is clear from a reference to the correspondence between 
Mr. Molteno and Lord Carnarvon that the latter had again 
played fast and loose and had departed from his engagement, 
and we see how amply justified was Mr. Molteno in his 
cautious treatment of the Griqualand West question with 
Lord Carnarvon during his visit to England. But as a 
practical question, what are we to say of Lord Carnarvon's 
proposals to unite the province of Griqualand West v^th 
the Cape Colony by means of the machinery of this BiU ? 
Lord Carnarvon appeared to dream on some lofty Oljrmpian 
peak of lesser men and states, and his dreams carried him 
far away into the empjrrean where unfortunately the affairs 
of this world are not to be practically carried out. We 
see here the ideal fancies of folks at home which vanish 
before the touch of practical men. 

What was Lord Carnarvon proposing by this method of 
incorporating Griqualand West ? We will describe his Bill 
later on ; it will suffice here to say that to join the diamond 
fields to the Cape Colony, the existing constitution of the 
Gape must be abolished, the elaborate machinery contained 
in the Bill must be created, providing for a Governor-General 
at 10,0002. a year vnih two or more provincial councils and 
as many presidents, and a general legislature as well. The 

> I. p., C— 1782, p. 17. 



THE PEBMIS8IVE BILL 136 

cost of all this to the Cape beyond that of its existing 
establishment was estimated at 40,0002. a year. Could any 
practical statesman be so incapable as to agree that the Cape 
should annex at such a cost a province with an area of 
about 25,000 square miles, and a population of about 20,000 
souls, of whom only 6,000 were whites ? Mr. Molteno was 
rightly annoyed at such a proposal being in any way 
looked upon as being sanctioned by him, and it became 
necessary at once to prevent any misunderstanding upon 
the subject. 

A minute of Ministers was presented on the subject in 
which, after thanking the Secretary of State for the oppor- 
tunity afforded them of expressing their opinion on the Bill 
in question before it was finally proceeded with, they con- 
tinued : — 

Tbey feel bound, however, without delay, to express their regret 
At the course which it seems proposed to adopt in dealing with 
the province of Griqualand West. It would appear that his 
Lordship is disposed to abandon the idea of that province being 
incorporated with this Colony as an integral part thereof. 
Ministers were prepared, fully confirming what had been done by 
Mr. Molteno, to propose to the Cape Legislature with every 
prospect of success that the arrangement recently entered into 
between his Lordship and Mr. Molteno in England should be 
carried out, but they fear that they will not be able to support a 
proposal for such a union of that province with this Colony as is 
contemplated in the Bill before them. 

About the nature of the arrangement entered into. Ministers 
apprehend there can be no doubt. On the 5th of August, 1876, 
three courses were submitted on behalf of his Lordship to Mr. Mol- 
teno with regard to the future of Griqualand West, one of which 
was its incorporation as an integral part of the Colony. On 
the 6th of September, in a letter from Mr. Herbert, the annexa- 
tion of Griqualand West, which is classed with that of Tembu- 
land and Walfisch Bay, is again pressed on Mr. Molteno. On 
the 22nd of September, after considerable delay and further 
communication both in person and by letter, Mr. Molteno 
expressed himself in favour of the incorporation, and pledged 
his Government to press its adoption upon the Cape Legislature. 
On the 30th of September the acquiescence of the Bight Hon. 



186 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

the Secretary of State for the Colonies was signified in the 
decision arrived at by Mr. Molteno, and the arrangement thus 
entered into was communicated in a despatch, bearing date 
4th of October, to his Excellency the Governor. In this despatch 
his Lordship stated among other things that her Majesty's 
Government would not under the circumstances be justified in 
recommending compliance with a petition which had been received 
against the annexation of Griqualand West to this Colony, and 
gave his opinion that the case would be adequately met by tiie 
proposed annexation, concerning which further details were 
promised. No further communication was received until the 
despatch of the 14th of December giving cover to the Bill before 
mentioned, which provides that Griqualand West may be a 
separate province of the union of South Africa, and apparently 
contemplates on the contingency of its union with the Cape the 
introduction of costly machinery for governing the two, and the 
abolition of the existing constitution of this Colony. 

In the able report of Lieut.-Col. Crossman, B.E., on the affairs 
of South Africa (paragraph 106), the white population of Griqualand 
West is given as 6,000 souls, and there is no reason to think that it 
has increased since that time. The nature of that population may 
also be gathered from the same report. The population of the 
Gape Colony consists of about 236,000 whites, even if all those of 
coloured or of mixed races be excluded. They are settled on the 
soil and enjoy a hberal constitution. The position of Griqualand 
West is such as to require immediate settlement, and in the 
opinion of Ministers the best settlement would be its annexation 
to this Colony, which would not in any way interfere with the 
general object of the Bill, and it will scarcely be contended that 
merely for the purpose of the annexation it is desirable to subject 
the Cape Colony to a revolution, which, whatever its other results 
may be, will certainly increase the cost of government, while it is 
doubtful whether, looking to past experience, the form of govern- 
ment suggested by the Bill would tend either to the prosperity or 
happiness of the province. In accordance with these views, and 
in fulfilment of the pledge given by Mr. Molteno to the Eight Hon. 
the Secretary of State and approved by his Lordship, Ministers 
have the honour to state that they will, during the next session, be 
prepared to carry out the course upon which, as already men- 
tioned, they had resolved previous to the receipt of the despatch 
under acknowledgment, and they venture to express a hope that 
either the Bill will be so modified or other arrangements made to 
enable them so to do.^ 

> I. P.. C— 1732. p. 82. 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 187 

The Governor in transmitting the minute suggested that, 
if an early settlement of the Oriqualand West question was 
desired by her Majesty's Government, it would be expedient 
that the Imperial Act should, as suggested in this Minute, 
be so worded as to admit of the possible alternative of 
the annexation of the province to the Cape Colony.' Lord 
Oatmarvon replied acquiescing in the views of the Ministry 
and the Governor, and he expressed his satisfaction at the 
clear and temperate manner in which the Ministers stated 
their views upon the point which appeared to them to be of 
the most immediate importance : — 

The Bill is drawn with no special reference to Oriqualand 
West, and, though it would permit of the union of that province 
with any other colony or state, does not in any way preclude its 
immediate incorporation with the Cape Colony. . . . The corre- 
spondence quoted in the Minute sufficiently proves that the 
incorporation of Oriqualand West with the Cape is the course 
which has not only appeared preferable to her Majesty's Oovem- 
ment, but which they have strongly urged, and recent oiroum- 
Btances have confirmed me in the belief that it should be taken as 
your Ministers advise without delay. I trust, therefore, that 
among the first measures considered during the approaching 
session will be one for this purpose. It will be desirable that it 
should be passed as soon as possible, in order that the necessary 
legislation may be completed this year.^ 

After endeavouring to explain his reference to the 
province in his despatch, and stating that the machinery 
of the Bill is more complicated than would be necessary 
for merely uniting Griqualand West alone, he concluded by 
saying :— 

I am, however, as I have said, quite prepared to accept the 
opinion of your Ministers, that there would be practical incon- 
veniences or disadvantages in using the machinery of this Bill for 
the particular union now under consideration, and I am fully 
satisfied with their undertaking to effect the object in the way 
they propose. 

» See I. P., C— 1782, p. 81. « I. P., C— 1782, p. 87. 



188 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

We come now to the larger question of the Permissive 
Bill itself. Lord Carnarvon had on several occasions stated, 
as had Mr. Fronde, most emphatically, that his desire was 
to extend self-government in South Africa. To his South 
African Conference he said, ' the effect of Confederation would 
be to give these great colonies even a fuller and larger 
measure of self-government than has yet been accorded 
them.' * While for Mr. Fronde's statements we may refer to 
his letter to Mr. Molteno suggesting even the abolition of the 
High Commissionership, and his reiterated assertions that 
Confederation was to extend responsible government, which 
had succeeded so well in the Cape Colony, to the rest of 
South Africa. 

What was the object of Lord Carnarvon's statements 
with which his actions were in continued contrast? We 
find him declaring publicly in his despatches and in his address 
at his South African Conference, where President Brand was 
also present, that ' Confederation in order to be enduring should 
be the result of a clear conviction on the part of each state 
entering into it that its political, social, and material interest 
as a whole will be advanced ; ' and again, ' I have said this 
much because I conceive that I was bound by my despatch 
to allude to the question of Confederation, but I do not wish 
to seem to press it upon you, and I have referred to it in the 
briefest and merest outline.' ^ But at this very time what 
were his real thoughts and intentions? They have been 
disclosed to us, for we find him writing to Sir Bartle Frere 
at this very time under date the 13th of October, 1876 : — 

A strong hand is required. ... I propose to press by all 
means in my power my Confederation policy in South Africa. 
« • . I do not estimate the time required for the work of con- 
federating and consolidating the confederated state at more than 
two years." 

» I. P., 0—1681, p. 64. » I. P., 0—1681, p. 64. 

' Martineao, Iri/0 of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. ii. p. 161. 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 139 

* I do not wish to seem to press it upon you' — No. Not to 
seem to press it, but to do so really with all his power. Was 
not this the invitation of the spider to the fly — come into my 
scheme to be freer than you were before, and come in of 
your own will ? This was the language ; the action was 
intrigue with every force of discontent, of difficulty or of 
danger to the estabhshed governments of South Africa. In 
the Transvaal it was the native difficulties which were to be 
made the cloak of force to make it come in. In the Orange 
Free State the difficulty over the diamond fields was to be 
used. In the Cape the desire of the Eastern Province for 
its separation from the West was to bring pressure on the 
Ministry together with the intrigue with Mr. Paterson and 
his deputation. A mild-sounding phrase, Permissive Bill, 
was to be used, and imder cover of this the liberties of the 
Cape as well as of the whole of South Africa were to be 
taken away. The official chosen by Lord Carnarvon to 
effect all this was, as the latter calls him, the 'pro-consul,' 
who was to be the instrument of his will, and who tells his 
hearers publicly, * I go out to carry out the policy dictated 
to me hy Lord Carnarvon,' and he was to dictate it to the 
country regardless of the true interests of that country to 
which he was sent. 

What then was the Permissive Bill which had come at 
last, and which was to embody Lord Carnarvon's ideas of 
advanced self-government ? We may look at it in two ways. 
If it were really intended to meet the requirements of a very 
difficult question and to settle it in accord with the circum- 
stances and conditions of South Africa, then it was utterly 
absurd and out of accord with the conditions. We have seen 
an instance of the absurdity, and Lord Carnarvon's admission 
of the fact, in the mention therein of Griqualand West. It 
had only to be read in South Africa to be rejected, 
whether in the British colonies or in the Free Eepublics. 
But if we regard its real purpose to be the destruction of 



140 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

the large measure of self-government already accorded to 
and enjoyed by the Cape and the destruction of the freedom 
of the Bepublics, we can understand its being the expression 
of Lord Carnarvon's dreamy ideas. 

Mr. Molteno had told Lord Carnarvon that unification 
was the proper way to consolidate South Africa, a way which 
he could support, and which the subsequent march of events 
has shown he was correct in forecasting. But this policy would 
not have afforded Lord Carnarvon the opportunity which he 
sought of revoliitionising the constitution of the Cape Colony. 
Lord Carnarvon therefore declined to adopt Mr. Molteno's 
▼iews, as by so doing he left his main purpose unaccom- 
plished. 

He was fully ahve to the enormous importance of the 
Cape Colony to the Empire, the Cape peninsula being the key 
to the maritime supremacy of the South Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans, commanding the route to Australia, India, and the 
East as well. His object was to tie South Africa more 
tightly to England, but in his heart he was a reactionary, and 
he had no love for or appreciation of constitutional government 
when it was popular in form. He misread Colonial history 
when he thought too much freedom had been conceded to 
the Colonies. He did not perceive that the more the formal 
bonds were relaxed, and causes of irritating disputes removed, 
the stronger became the real bond of sympathy and feeling 
between the Mother Country and the Colonies. He wished 
to step back, and therefore he chose Sir Bartle Frere, who 
had no experience of constitutional government, but had 
been trained in the inevitably arbitrary and despotic school 
of India, a country whose political condition differed abso- 
lutely and entirely from that of the self-governing Colonies 
of the Empire. The conditions of our colonial development 
rendered his real purpose of increasing the power of the 
Crown in the constitution of South Africa incompatible with 
the ostensible object of his Bill, the unification of South Africa. 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 141 

Lord Carnarvon's Bill aroused the opposition and indig- 
nation of every man in South Africa who valued free 
institutions, and who lived under the conditions which had 
so much advanced the prosperity of the Cape Colony. They 
marvelled that an EngUsh Minister could at this period of 
Colonial development put before a community having British 
institutions such an abdication of their freedom. What was it 
that Lord Carnarvon asked the people of the Cape Colony to 
do ? The Secretary of State, under the flimsy disguise of an 
Imperial Act of Parliament conferring on the Crown in Council 
general powers regarding South Africa, proposed to have in 
his own hands the right to divide the Colony as he pleased 
into provinces, and then to place at its head a kind of despot 
with the title of Governor-General, who was to receive, with 
or without the consent of his subjects, a salary of 10,0002. 
a year. 

Let us examine some of the provisions of the Bill. The 
preamble, it is true, refers to the wishes and opinion of the 
various colonies and states with respect to details, but there is 
nothing said as to the manner in which these wishes should 
be carried into effect. The authority to elect whether they 
should be put into effect or no, under the third section of 
the Bill, is the Queen in Council, and for Colonial purposes 
the Queen in Council is the Secretary of State, so that what- 
ever the local legislatures might resolve as to the terms of 
union, their decision might be overridden by the voice of 
Lord Carnarvon himself, a gentleman 6,000 miles distant, 
and who expresses his ignorance on the details of which he 
is to be the final judge. In other words, on a matter 
affecting the deepest interests of South Africa, the Colony 
was asked to give up its privilege of self-government and to 
submit itself humbly to the will of Lord Carnarvon ! 

The sixth section of the Bill says, * The union shall be 
divided into such provinces with such names and bound- 
aries as the Queen shall by any proclamation or order 



142 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

in Council issued in pursuance of section 3 of this Act declare 
and define.' ^ That is to say, the Secretary of State, acting, 
it may be, under influences inimical to the Colony, might 
divide it into as many provinces as he pleases, and group the 
divisions without any regard to their wishes ; he might divide 
it into East and West or West and Midland, or East, West, 
Midland and Border, or make any other arrangement he 
pleased, and the people of this Colony, heretofore supposed 
to have a voice in their own government, were not to be 
allowed a choice in the matter till the business is done. 

The people of the Colony were not even to have the 
choice of a place for the seat of government, for the fifteenth 
section provided that the seat of government of the union 
shall be in such place as her Majesty, i.e, the Secretary of 
State, should from time to time by proclamation direct. 
South Africa had already had experience of the evil efiEect 
of a peripatetic Parliament. Sir Philip Wodehouse held the 
Parliament at Grahamstown. Much worse would it be with 
peripatetic public offices as well. 

The Governor-General was to act in certain cases on 
his own discretion instead of on the advice of the Ministers 
having the confidence of Parliament. There was to be a 
Governor-General with a salary of 4,000Z. beyond the salary 
of the present Governor. There was to be a nominated 
Executive Council, whom the Governor might dismiss as 
well as appoint at pleasure. A nominated Legislative 
Council in place of the existing Elective Council and a 
nominated Speaker. It is true the Elective House of 
Assembly was allowed to remain, but the franchise was to be 
withdrawn from a vast number of the electors. The Colony 
was to be cut up into provinces, presided over by Presidents, 
appointed by the Queen. The control of native legislation 
was to be reserved for the Crown directly. There were other 
provisions of a character similar to these. 

» The BiU wUl be found in J. P., C— 1782. p. 20. 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 14» 

Mr. H. G. Jarvis, an old veteran in the fight for freedom^ 
whose experience extended over a period dating from Lord 
Charles Somerset's rule, who had for twenty years presided 
over the mmiicipality of Cape Town, the first and only 
popular body in the Colony before the Constitution of 1854 was 
established, and as its chairman had taken a leading part in 
the struggle for the Constitution after the anti-convict agita- 
tion, and who had sat as one of the first members for Cape 
Town in the new Parliament and later in tho Council, wrote 
as follows, expressing the feelings of those who had fought 
for and won the free institutions which the Colony then 



I have before me the ' Government Gazette Extraordinary ' of 
the 12th inst., publishing Earl Carnarvon's despatch of the 
14th December last with his ' Permissive Bill,' which he proposed 
to submit to the Imperial Parliament during the session of 1877. 

Does the Earl of Carnarvon for one moment suppose that the 
inhabitants of British South Africa will endorse, or submit to be 
beguiled into sanctioning, his scheme of federation in the spirit 
and on the terms he proposes? Does he forget our present 
position, and the struggle it has cost us to obtain it? ... . 

It is plain, therefore, what all this means. Too many con- 
cessions have been granted us, and it is proposed by this plan to 
bring us back again to the position we were in in the days of Lord 
Charles Somerset — a nominee Executive, a nominee Legislative 
Council chosen by the Governor-General, subject to dismissal at 
pleasure, whenever disobedient to his mandate. Can anything be 
more tyrannical ? Many of the details of this ' Permissive Bill ' 
are equally objectionable, disfranchising at least one half of 
existing voters, &c. 

Sufficient has been shown to open the eyes and satisfy my 
fellow-countrymen that we must be firm in resisting this measure 
if we wish to retain our present independent position, and, if 
necessary, remind Earl Carnarvon of the defeat of his predecessor 
in office (Earl Grey) when he attempted to make this Colony a 
penal settlement.' 

Mr. Molteno had, in the correspondence which we have 
already quoted, indicated to Lord Carnarvon the mode in 

' Argus, 17th of January, 1877. 



144 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

which he conceived that the anion of South Africa could 
best be brought about, by the gradual annexation of the 
minor colonies and states to the Cape Colony, involving no 
revolutionary changes as the development of each separate 
state or territory came up to the required standard. It was a 
scientific plan recommended by all the existing experience of 
South Africa, and Lord Carnarvon may indeed have entered 
into these views, as the following passage seems to indicate, 
yet its provisions entirely fail to give effect to them : — 

I have in the next place had special regard to the opinions 
expressed on behalf of your Grovemment by Mr. Molteno from 
time to time, and more particularly during his visit to this 
country. These opinions I may summarise briefly by saying 
that Mr. Molteno, while not unfavourable to the principle of Con- 
federation, repeated the wish that it should be reserved to the 
Cape Government and Legislature to decide as to the time at 
which, and the conditions under which, that Colony should enter 
any confederation, and he further expressed his opinion that the 
union should take the form of an incorporation under one legis- 
lature rather than an association of several co-ordinate legisla- 
tures. As the Bill will he found to he so framed as to satisfy and 
include these views, if they should meet with a general acceptance 
on the spot, I feel justified in the confident trust that it will be 
favourahly received by your Government} 

We ask where are the provisions in the Bill that * satisfy 
and include ' the view that the union * should take the form 
of an incorporation under one legislature rather than an 
association of several co-ordinate legislatures ' if the former 
* should meet with a general acceptance on the spot ' ? The 
fact is that the Secretary of State, assuming that the terms 
of the Bill were his final decision, which thus appeared to be 
the case, had deprived the people of South Africa of the 
choice which in the despatch his Lordship states is left open 
to them. In other words, South Africa was not at liberty 
under this Bill to select that form of union in connection 
with the Crown of England which in the opinion of those 

» J. P., 0—1732, p. 17. 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 146 

who knew the country might be best suited to its require- 
ments. 

Mr. Molteno could not, however much he might have 
desired to meet Lord Carnarvon's wishes, have agreed 
on behalf of the Colony to such a Bill. Lord Carnarvon 
made a mistake in the way he presented Confederation to 
the colonies and states, and he made the further mistake 
of ofiEering only one hard and fast form for the union — a 
form which was utterly distasteful to South Africa. Had it 
been ever so ready to form a union, by dictating the form 
Lord Carnarvon made it quite impossible for any union to 
take place under it. 

He was clearly trying to secure by this Bill the return of 
the Bepublics to the British connection, for by the admission 
of the Orange Free State or South African Bepublic the 4th 
section of the Bill expressly made their citizens ipso facto 
naturalised subjects of the Queen. He evidently feared the 
effect of this accession of Dutch subjects to the citizenship 
of British South Africa, and hence his curtailment of the 
freedom which the Cape Parliament already enjoyed, particu- 
larly in regard to its control of the native policy. He had fre- 
quently eulogised the native policy of the Cape, and had held 
it up as an object of imitation to Natal and the other states, 
so that it was not with a view to the modification of Cape 
policy that this provision was inserted in his Bill. 

In the curtailment of constitutional freedom proposed 
by the Bill, and the substitution of the nominee for the elec- 
tive principle, we may trace the same desire to get back 
a larger control of the Crown over South Africa. Lord 
Carnarvon failed to get his Bill accepted in South Africa, but 
he effected his purpose for a time in so far as the Cape 
Colony was concerned by unconstitutionally overriding 
its Oovemment. He had already revolutionised through 
Sir Garnet Wolseley the Constitution of Natal, and held 
complete control of its Legislature by the majority of 

VOL. n. L 



146 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

nominee members. He had control of Griqnaland West, a 
Crown province. He now was abont to annex the Trans- 
vaal, and so get control of that country, and the only two 
states which preserved their freedom were the Orange Free 
State, which for very shame he could not then openly attack, 
and the Cape Colony. 

He could not deprive the latter of its Constitution without 
its consent, but he could still send a Governor who might so 
work on the people as to cajole or bully them into carrying 
out his purposes. The Cape had been a Crown Colony up to 
1872. Eesponsible government had only been in existence 
for four years. The people would not yet have realised the 
change quite fully, and, as it was hoped, had not become 
accustomed to it. The High Commissioner might use his 
powers and his patronage again in the old way as when per- 
sonal rule of the Governor prevailed. Lord Carnarvon tells 
Sir Bartle Frere, in asking him to accept the position, that 
he is to go out * nominally * as Governor, but 

really as the statesman who seems to me most capable of carrying 
my scheme of Confederation into effect, and whose long adminis- 
trative experience and personal character give me the best 
chances of success.^ 

In this way the whole of South Africa was to be 
subordinated to Lord Carnarvon, and to be as clay in the 
hands of the potter. Confederations are not formed by 
theorists with maps and scissors, the component states being 
laid together in a conveniently damp condition so as to adhere 
perfectly and show no boundary lines. They are composed 
of living men, with all their traditions and habits and 
customs, their prejudices, their feelings and their virtues, and 
of these latter, where the component parts are British or 
Dutch, a love of self-government has ever been conceded 
to be one of the best and most powerful. This was Lord 

» Letter of 13th of October, 1876, Life of Sir B. Frere, vol. ii. p. 161. 



THE PBEMISSIVB BILL 147 

Carnarvon's paper dream, in attempting to carry out which 
he plmiged Sonth Africa into war and bloodshed, and fatally 
disturbed for a time the relation between the whites and 
blacks, and for a longer time, the end of which we have not 
yet seen, the relations between the English and the Dutch. 

We may ask, then, had Lord Carnarvon's Bill succeeded 
in establishing the form of confederation laid down in 
the Permissive Bill, would it have worked, and would it 
have eventually led to a better relationship between 
South Africa and England? The answer must be em- 
phatically No. This is proved by what actually occurred 
when Lord Carnarvon had control, after Sir Bartle Frere dis- 
missed the Constitutional Ministry at the Cape, of the 
whole of South Africa except the Orange Free State, and we 
shall see what diflSculties arose out of that control. The new 
and revolutionary restraint impressed on South Africa by 
the Permissive Bill would have given rise to inevitable fric- 
tion between the Mother Country and the Colony, and would 
have necessitated either an almost immediate modification in 
its form, or a rupture between the Mother Country and the 
Colony. 

Sir Henry Barkly reluctantly gave his views of this re- 
markable Bill, and concluded by advising Lord Carnarvon, 

the more the Imperial Act can be rendered of a purely permis- 
sive character, the easier will it be to arrange a general scheme 
under it. It should, I respectfully submit, give the barest outline 
possible of the conditions on which the colonies and states of 
South Africa may, if they think fit, confederate under the British 
flag, leaving all matters of detail to be filled in hereafter by the 
Boyal orders in Council.* 

Natal was not satisfied with its position under the pro- 
visions of the Permissive Bill. The Orange Free State would 
have none of it. The Transvaal was favoured with a copy of 
the Bill, but its death warrant was already in Sir Theophilus 

» I. P., C— 1732, p. 43. 

L 2 



148 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

Shepstone's pocket.^ In the Gape Colony it was condemned 
almost miiversally. The reception given to the Bill in the 
east, where Lord Carnarvon's strongest support was to be 
expected, was equally decided. In Mr. Paterson's strong- 
hold, Port Elizabeth, feeling was voiced by the * Telegraph,* 
which wrote : — 

We are utterly at a loss to understand how anyone who had 
been in communication with Gape Colonists so intimately as those 
who have inspired and drafted this Bill could ever have come to 
the conclusion that it would be acceptable to the colonists. All 
have been told by the advocates of Confederation — and this 
journal has been consistently one of those who told the people — 
that Confederation means an extension of the political advantages 
at present enjoyed, and expansion of the freedom we have become 
accustomed to, and would cause the development of our neigh- 
bours to as honourable a platform of political life. We can find 
no promise of anything of the kind in the Bill, nor can we see 
any way by which either by amendments or orders in Council any 
such libentl provisions can ever be imported into it. We shall 
be very glad if anyone who may advocate its adoption can point 
out any opening for rendering it useful in promoting the intended 
purposes, because that purpose is our purpose. We consider the 
adoption of Confederation to be worth all and more to us than 
Lord Carnarvon or even Mr. Froude has ever valued it at ; but, in 
our opinion, any endeavours to urge the adoption of the Bill as 
gazetted will only harden the prejudices of every division of the 
Colony against the consideration of even the principle involved. 

The gifts it brings us are dust and ashes. The privileges it takes 
away from us are such as men worth any Consideration, or who 
have any feelings whatever of independence or patriotism, hold to 
be the most precious that the citizens of any state can acquire. 
They are privileges for which the leading politicians, the press, 
and all intelligent citizens have struggled in this country until 
they attained to their possession. Some good Conservatives may 
think that the more adventurous section of the community are 
hasty sometimes in their desire to advance, but none of any 

^ It is interesting to observe that Lord Carnarvon kept up to the last the 
faroe of inviting the South African Confederation to join of its own free will. 
In a despatch dated the 12th of April, the very day on which the Transvaal was 
declared annexed to the British dominions, Sir Bartle Frere is directed to send 

a copy of the amended Permissive Bill to the Transvaal Government I. P., 

C— 17S2, p. 43. 



THE PEBMISSIVE BILL 149 

influence, however, ever ventured to raise the argument that the 
Colony did not do wisely when it ceased to be governed entirely 
by officials guided directly by views of distant statesmen, and took 
upon itself the responsibility of constitutional existence. The 
movement for Confederation has been conceived to be one made 
in advance, not in retreat ; the policy was to be one of progres- 
sion, not of retrogression. The Bill proposed would take all the 
life of our political being, and reduce everything approaching the 
representation of the people to the miserable condition of an 
impotent farce. . . . 

If the Bill were to destroy the Constitution of the Cape, root 
and branch, and make it once more a Grown Colony, we could 
understand its provisions, and possibly we might be content 
to be found in security, civilisation and large profits by the 
agency and expenditure of the home authorities. But surely if 
we are to be taken care of throughout, it is pitiful mockery to 
be offered the semblance of representation with a view to the 
Colony being saddled with responsibilities, debts, and taxation, 
while the opinions of those representatives when disagreeable 
can be brushed aside as mere cobwebs by the presmnptuous 
nominee Council, an obsequious Privy Council, and a magnificent 
Gk>vemor-General. 

The real aim of the Bill was seen to be the revolutionising 
of the Constitution of the Cape, after the precedent set by 
Lord Carnarvon in Natal ; the same ground for this change 
was put forward in both cases — namely, the native policy. 
Yet on the spot it was felt that the change in Natal would 
not prove ultimately of any advantage to it, or would in 
the end save her Majesty's Government any risk, trouble, 
or expense, while there was a certainty that any similar 
movement in the Cape Colony would result in a great dis- 
advantage and eventual loss, not only to the colonists, 
but to her Majesty's Govermnent also. There were 
no threatening native difficulties so far as the Cape 
Colony was concerned. Sir Henry Barkly told Sir Bartle 
Frere on his arrival, that there were no native troubles to 
be deialt with. The native question was a cloak to cover the 
force which Lord Carnarvon meant to use to confederate 
South Africa. As to the Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown 



160 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

hobby of a separate government for the Eastern Province, 
the references to it in the Bill were received by the 
* Telegraph ' as follows : — 

There are Major Lanyons and handsome comets of dragoons 
in plenty who would be only too happy to be nominated as 
Presidents, but when the Eastern Province seeks one we think it 
would desire something more truly Ck)lonial, and would not be 
particular about being able to legislate that property and civil 
rights or the mode of solemnising marriage should differ in that 
province from any of the others. An Eastern Province Council 
would like to have something more to say than is set down for it 
about its harbours, railways, and public works, and will not be 
anxious to levy new taxation for the purpose of paying additional 
officials and attending generally to ' all matters of a merely local 
or private nature in the province.' We take it that the Provincial 
Councils of the Act are framed more with the view to use by the 
outlying colonies and states. They will soon let us know what 
they think of such provision. 

The magnificence to be thrust upon the country did not 
find favour either : — 

We have heard the payment of the Governor-General 
commented upon a good deal, but though we consider 10,000/ . a 
year to be more than the Colony will be warranted in voting, we 
do not care to discuss the point at present. The crowd of suggested 
officials with their numerous underlings will all require so much 
money to swell the pomp of such a Governor's Court that the 
question will very soon right itself. Such an advance in the vote 
for the Governor's department would increase the expense of living 
throughout the Colony, as the example of lavish expenditure soon 
affects all classes. 

Similar comments appeared in other eastern papers. 
As to the reception in the west, the * Argus * at once 
attacked the plan tooth and nail. The 'Times* followed, 
but with more moderation, while the * Standard and 
Mail' was coldly critical, and suggested the postpone- 
ment of the introduction of the Bill into the Imperial 
Parliament until 1878, with a view to its being fully 
considered in South Africa. 



THE PEBMISSIVE BILL 161 

How amply justified was Mr. Molteno in his opposition 
to Lord Carnarvon's attacks on the constitutional privileges 
of the Gape I ' Obsta principiis * is a good maxim in all such 
matters. There are few occasions on which in the Gape 
Colony public men are afforded an opportunity of addressing 
the public when ParUament is not sitting. Mr. Molteno 
was visiting Beaufort about this time, and the presentation 
of an address of welcome in his constituency gave him the 
opportunity of saying a few words. 

As to Confederation, he insisted that he had been mis- 
represented on that subject. He was not opposed to unity, 
but there were several ways of doing a thing. Would the 
people of Beaufort be content to sacrifice any part of those 
institutions for which they had fought so long ? He thought 
not. He thought the Bepublics would willingly join the 
Colony if they could retain their own local institutions, and 
come in for a share of the benefits accruing from such a union 
or federation. But that required time to work out. Those 
matters must grow, they cannot be forced. When the time 
came he would gladly lay down his charge to others if they 
were true friends of the Colony. 

For his part, as long as he held his present position he 
would not give up the smallest part of the representative 
institutions. He advised his Beaufort friends to hold fast 
to that precious gift. Matters may at times seem a little 
out of joint, but as long as the present Constitution exists 
nothing very serious can happen. He himself would be 
among the last to forego any part of those priceless institu- 
tions. He might be considered a little too sensitive on that 
point, but it was best to be ever watchful. He must own 
he sometimes felt chafed at being misrepresented, but he 
always felt that in the end justice would be done to him. 
When once he saw his hne of duty he stuck to it, whatever 
might be said by outsiders. 

The reply of the Ministry to Lord Carnarvon's despatch 



162 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

on the main portion of the Permissive Bill, apart from the 
Grigualand West qnestion, was deferred until the arrival of 
Sir Bartle Frere, who had been selected to succeed Sir 
Henry Barkly as Governor of the Gape and High Com- 
missioner. 

The latter took his departure amidst universal regret, 
and at the farewell banquet given to him, Mr. Molteno took 
the opportunity of bearing testimony to the cordial manner 
in which Sir Henry had worked with the Ministers in the 
difficult part of introducing responsible government. 

I entirely bear testimony to the truth of what was stated just 
now with regard to Sir Henry Barkly. The success attending 
the introduction of responsible government and that success which 
has followed it are greatly due to the very kind and considerate 
manner in which Sir Henry Barkly has at all times treated my 
colleagues and myself, in the general assistance he has given us, 
and in the forbearance he has exercised towards us in views which 
did not agree with his own opinions. I have always found him 
willing to discuss any difficult subject, and we have generally 
come to an agreement on most points. Nobody knows the many 
difficulties which the Governor and his Ministers have had to 
contend with during the time I have held office, and I think they 
will never be known. Notwithstanding the state of the frontier 
and the other disturbing occurrences, Sir Henry Barkly has always 
endeavoured to advance the true interests of this Colony. 

Mr. Solomon, in his speech, entered a little more fully 
into the grounds for the congratulations to Sir Henry Barkly 
on the success which he had met with as Governor of the 
Cape : — 

It is not only in that capacity, but also as a token of respect 
to Sir Henry Barkly as Governor of this Colony, that we 
are assembled here to-day, as a Governor who, to a very great 
extent, has been successful in the administration of the government 
of this Colony. Sir Henry Barkly entered upon the duties of the 
government of this Colony at a difficult and critical time. He 
was preceded by Sir Philip Wodehouse, who succeeded to Sir 
George Grey, an extremely popular man who governed this 
Colony at a time of great prosperity. But a time of adversity 
came, and then there was something of a collision between the 



THE PERMISSIVE BILL 153 

Government and the Parliament of this country. It was then 
thought desirable by Sir Philip Wodehouse, in order to effect a 
reconciliation between the Government and the Parliament, that 
the power of the Parliament should be to some extent diminished, 
and the power of the Government increased. The home Govern- 
ment did not take that view of the question, and thought the best 
plan to adopt was to enlarge the power of the Parliament and 
introduce responsible government into this country. They looked 
around them for a man who was best adapted to carry that 
important change into effect, and they sent out a Governor of 
wide experience and reputation, Sir Henry Barkly, in order to 
carry out that I great change. He arrived here, and whatever 
opinions there may have been of the wisdom or otherwise of that 
form of government, I am quite sore that no Governor could give 
more satisfaction as regards the way in which it was introduced 
than has Sir Henry Barkly. 

Not only has Sir Henry Barkly introduced responsible 
government, and governed this Colony at a time when a great and 
important change was transpiring, but he has lent his aid in 
social, religious, and educational capacities. I am not here to 
sound his praises, but this I think we must all admit, that we are 
met here to-day to show our respect and esteem for a Governor 
who is about to leave our shores after having carried on the 
government in a most successful way. Moreover he became 
Governor of this Colony at a very critical time when, if he had 
not held the balance evenly between contending parties, probably 
we should have been launched into great difficulties, out of which 
perhaps we should not have escaped by this time. Though 
possibly from the position he occupied he may have been looked 
upon with some suspicion by the ruling authorities in England, 
we see by the despatch which has been already alluded to that 
the Government of Great Britain has expressed its entire 
approval, and that in words that cannot be misimderstood, of his 
conduct during the time he has administered this government. 
And I am sure this testimony is no more gratifying to Sir Henry 
Barkly than it is to the people of the Cape of Good Hope. 
We must all sympathise with the difficulties he has had to 
contend with, and we must aU admire the satisfactory way in 
which they have been surmounted. 

Mr. Solomon at the same time reviewed the work of the 
Ministry, and paid a tribute to Mr. Molteno : — 

I may be permitted to say that I know something of the 
difficulties which the first Ministry of this Colony had to 



164 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

encounier, but I am quite sure of this, that but for the ripe 
experience of Sir Henry Barkly, and but for his desire to do all 
in his power to carry out responsible government, it is possible 
that the difficulties we had to contend against would have over- 
whelmed us, and we should not have been placed in the happy 
position we now enjoy. It was confidently predicted that when 
we got responsible government there would be a rapid succession 
of changes, but I think that prediction has been amply refuted. 
Mr. Fuller has alluded in a very marked manner to the first 
responsible Ministry we have had here, and undoubtedly on the 
whole it has been a successful administration. Whether we agree 
with all that has been done or not, it has been successful, perhaps 
more so than we had any reason to expect in beginning so great 
an experiment. We have found that imder that administration 
railways if not inaugurated have been largely extended, tele- 
graphic conmiunication has progressed, the borders of the Colony 
have been enlarged, and above all, which I am sure must be most 
encouraging to his Excellency, the natives of this country are 
showing more and more confidence in the Government, and an 
increased desire to be incorporated within its limits. I say that 
an administration which could accompUsh such great results as 
that has not been a weak or an unsuccessful administration ; and 
I believe the natives will owe much to the policy of the present 
Gk>vemor, for without doubt, under his auspices, we shall find a 
policy carried out, not only approved by the Government of 
England, but by the people, which gives a tone and complexion to 
the Government. 

Sir Henry Barkly had, indeed, served the Imperial 
Government well. Up to the time of his arrival the 
condition of the Cape Colony had been a constant source of 
anxiety and trouble to the Mother Country, owing to the 
contests between the Legislature and the Executive, while 
its material condition was most unsatisfactory during Sir 
Philip Wodehouse's Governorship. Sir Henry Barkly had 
successfully inaugurated responsible government, and had so 
dealt vnth the problems of a most difl&cult situation as to 
deserve the highest reward at the hands of the Imperial 
Government. The introduction of responsible government 
had done away vnth the constitutional difficulties at the 
Cape. 



THE PEEMIBSIVB BILL 165 

Bat Lord Carnarvon was not content with the progresB 
made under the new system, and, in the words of Sir Bartle 
Frere, * like the impatient child who polls up the seeds he 
planted yesterday to see whether or not they are growing in 
the right direction/ > he was ready to upset responsible 
government which had already done so much, and to 
replace it by his Permissive Bill constitution. The mistakes 
of Sir Henry Barkly's successor, which plunged both the 
Gape and England into a series of wars, brought out in 
relief the wisdom and prudence of an administration which 
had dealt so successfully with a set of circumstances 
abounding in possibility of error, fraught with disastrous 
results. 

Sir Henry Barkly's eminent services in South Africa and 
in many other colonies and dependencies of our extended 
Empire were all forgotten by Lord Carnarvon, and he vented 
his displeasure at the non-success of his policy on the states- 
man whose conduct had been impugned by Lord Carnarvon's 
emissary, Mr. Froude. This displeasmre was made known 
publicly in despatches, to which we have already referred. 
Though the censures were entirely undeserved, Sir Henry 
Barkly was allowed to retire into private life on his return to 
England. It is true a despatch was received thanking him for 
his services, but no special mark of royal favour was accorded 
him. A fuller appreciation of the enormous difficulties which 
beset the Cape and the High Conmiissioner of South Africa 
has since been shown, in the fact that two of his suc- 
cessors in this office have received peerages from a grate- 
ful Government and country for their conduct in South 
Africa. 

The part played by our great constitutional Governors in 

the successful development of the Empire has not been 

properly realised or adequately acknowledged. Often 

trained, as was Sir Henry Barkly, in the House of Commons, 

' NineUitUh CtrUury, January 1881. 



166 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

they have gone out to our distant dependencies, where they 
have given a high and honourable tone to the civil services, 
of which they became the head. The honour of England 
has been safe in their hands. They have governed great 
territories under difficulties, of which a more settled and 
populous country knows nothing. They have carefully 
and sympathetically tended the growth of the young con- 
stitutions which have been planted in our now great and 
wealthy self-governing colonies, constitutions whose proud 
boast it is that they resemble as closely as the altered 
conditions will permit the Constitution which has made the 
Mother Country what it is, the home of free and self-reliant 
men. 

The difficulties with which they have had to contend 
and which they have overcome have been stupendous, and are 
a measure of the success which has crowned their honourable 
efforts. Justice has not been done them in the history of 
our Empire. This is an age of advertisement, and largely of 
self-advertisement. These men have never been advertised. 
Their work has been the silent, energetic, powerful action 
which is the basis of our national success. It shrinks from 
blare and fanfaronade. There is no self-boasting with such 
men. 

The best work of EngUshmen has been done in this 
silent and unobtrusive manner. Their matured experience, 
always at the disposal of the Crown, has been the surest 
safeguard against dangerous and fatal errors on the part of 
the Government at home in relation to its action in distant 
territories ; where this has been thrown aside as useless and 
valueless, as did Lord Carnarvon with Sir Henry Barkly's 
advice on Confederation, it is not to be wondered at that 
disaster follows as a sure and certain result. The Uves of 
our eminent Governors have yet to be written. Their pages 
will be read with interest and advantage by the whole 
Empire, and time will serve only to bring out in clearer 



THE PEEMISSIVB BILL 157 

prominence the splendid services which they have rendered 
to the Mother Country which sent them oat, and to the 
colonies and dependencies which received them, and in 
which they represented so worthily the administrative 
power, the might, the honour, the justice and the majesty 
of our Imperial rule. 



168 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXn 

SIB BABTLE FBEBE. 1867*77 

Indian Bareanerat—Despotio Bole— Indian Experienoe — Unfitted for CSonsti- 
tational Baler— Bashness, Want of Judgment and Patience —He forces 
hands of Saperiors — His love of Popularity — Cotton Disasters—A Quin- 
quennial CflBsar — Lord Blachford's Views— Mr. Molteno's Experienoe— 
Sir Bartle Frere's Views after Colonial Experience— He advocates un- 
trammelled Besponsible (Government— And Bfr. Molteno*s Unification 
Policy — Beeommends Abolition of New Zealand's Parliament — And Estab- 
lishment of Dictatorship — Sir George Orey's Views — Special Salary. 

LoBD Gabnabvon had foand a suitable instrument to carry 
out his policy and force on his views, despite the warnings of 
statesmen who were most conversant with the subject, not 
alone in South Africa, but in England and even AustraUa. 
He had turned to military men for his previous appoint- 
ments in South Africa ; his arbitrary and reactionary tem- 
perament instinctively looked to the essentially despotic 
character of miUtary organisation. Men who valued freedom 
had no countenance from him, witness his treatment of one 
of the most distinguished Englishmen of our Colonial 
Empire, Sir George Grey, and the still more recent example 
of Sir Henry Barkly. 

Precedent, as well as convenience, pointed to a man 
of some administrative experience being appointed to the 
office of High Commissioner, and by this consideration the 
ranks of purely military candidates were closed to Lord 
Carnarvon. Another source, however, was available. The 
necessity of ruling a subject people by despotic methods 
had produced in India a race of officials unused to the ways 
of freedom and the liberty of representative institutions, to 
whom obedience on the part of the people over whom they 



SIR BARTLE FRBRE 169 

ruled was necessarily one of the highest virtues. The history 
of the Eoman Empire has shown how the despotic govern- 
ment of subject races by a free people reacted on the latter, 
and gradually ate into their free institutions, till it eventually 
destroyed them. There is a similar tendency in the vast 
bureaucratic system of India to produce men who are ready 
to undervalue the free constitution we enjoy. 

It was to this school of despotism that Lord Carnarvon now 
turned for an instrument to over-ride the expressed wishes 
of the Cape Colony, the Free State, and the Transvaal — 
practically the whole of South Africa to which any free 
choice was possible, for Natal and Griqualand West were 
Crown Colonies. Sir Bartle Frere had just acted as drago- 
man to the Prince of Wales on his tour through India, and 
had been rewarded with a baronetcy and a G.C.B. He was 
now free for any great work which might satisfy his am- 
bition, bring him. further opportunities of giving scope to 
his active powers of mind, and enable him to put into 
effect those * Jingo ' tendencies which were so strong in him. 

Bumour, in the mouth of his friends, assigned him all 
offices. At one time he was to be the new Governor- 
General of India ; at another he was to be the Governor of 
Bulgaria under English administration ; then he was to 
return to Bombay, to serve another term as Governor in 
succession to Sir Philip Wodehouse ; again, he was to be the 
despot chosen to carry out his suggestion of a dictatorship 
for New Zealand. He was invited by the Khedive to 
become his Eailway Minister; he was consulted by the 
Government on Indian, Egyptian, and East Airican affairs ; 
his advice was solicited on the Eastern question. Whether 
any man was equal to advise on and to be entrusted with 
all these high matters is uncertain, and we need not stop to 
inquire, as he was not called upon to actively discharge all 
these offices ; but it is certain that he very egregiously failed 
in that office to which he actually was called. 



160 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

There was a consensus of opinion, among his admirers^ 
that such great abilities should not long remain unutilised 
by the country. Lord Carnarvon had used the prestige 
of a successful warrior combined with the despotic ten- 
dencies of a military ruler to deprive Natal of its free 
constitution. He did not search in vain among the ranks of 
Indian bureaucrats for a man ready to ' dictate ' his policy 
and to crush the opposition of all local men. Here was the 
very man of whom Lord Carnarvon was in search. Had 
. not the Ministry of Lord Beaconsfield already set the seal of 
their approval upon him ? Had not Lord Sahsbury already 
accepted his advice in regard to India ? And it is curious 
to remark that the Ministry had followed his advice in 
India, and were sending him to Africa, thus placing him in 
a position to control the policy of the Empire in two con- 
tinents. 

Hampered with no personal experience of English 
ParUamentary government, such as Sir Henry Barkly pos- 
sessed, with no special knowledge of our Colonial Empire in 
general or South Airica in particular, no objection would 
rise up from an intimate knowledge of the country and its 
history to make him hesitate to carry out Lord Carnarvon's 
policy. The prestige of his name would be likely to bear 
down all opposition of minor men. Was he not bold to a 
fault, and rash enough to rush in where wiser men would 
hesitate ? Lord Carnarvon offered him the Governorship of 
the Cape, with a view to carrying out the policy, 

for which I have now for two years been steadily labouring, the 
tmion of the South African Colonies and States . . . nominally as 
Gk>vemor, but really as the statesman who seems to me most 
capable of carrying my scheme of Confederation into effect, and 
whose long administrative experience and personal character give 
me the best chances of success. 

The Governor-Generalship of the confederated South Africa 
was held out as a further inducement. Lord Carnarvon 



SIB BABTLB FBEBE 161 

added that he was considering the details of a Bill for the 
Confederation of South Africa; and in regard to this he 
said : * I propose to press by all means in my power my conr- 
federation policy in South Africa.* * 

We must now see what was this personal character and 
this administrative experience to which Lord Carnarvon 
appealed, and what reason there was to anticipate that they 
wonld be guarantees for the success of his mission. 

In India Sir Bartle Frere had a great reputation for 
administrative ability; an idea carefully fostered by his 
circle of admirers, who took every opportunity of putting it 
forward, but which undoubtedly rested on his courage, 
ability, and unremitting attention to work. Joined, how- 
ever, to these excellent qualities there was a want of 
balanced judgment and careful weighing of the pros and 
cons which led him, in a country which, owing to the ex- 
treme poverty of its inhabitants, required the most careful 
and even painful frugality and parsimony in all dealings 
with the public money, to look mainly to the extension of 
British enterprise, and thus to be even lavish in his dealings 
with the public resources. 

In the same way he was ever eager to advance the 
influence of England by our arts and our arms, regardless of 
the cost to ourselves or to those who were to be influenced- 
Witness his views as to the policy to be pursued towards 
Afghanistan, and his advice, which led directly to the second 
and third Afghan wars. His line of action and bent of mind 
are well exemplified in his Governorship of Bombay. He 
brooked no control; he constantly forced the hand of his 
superiors, and defied the rules which had been drawn up for 
the purpose of regulating the relations between the Supreme 
Government and the Provincial Government — rules which 
were as binding on the Governor-General as on those who 

> Life of Sir Bartle Frere^ yoL ii. p. 162, qaoting letter of Lord Camarvoo, 
dated the 13th of October, 1876. 

VOL. n. M 



162 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

came below him. He ignored these rales withont scrapie, 
thoagh they had actaally been drawn ap when he was a 
member of the Coancil of the Governor-General. 

He hated estimates of any pablic work which he pro- 
posed; he liked to spend first and ask for an indenmity 
afterwards. * The responsibihty shoald be always retrospec- 
tive in the shape of praise or blame for what is done, and 
shoald never involve the necessity for previoas sanction ' ; ^ 
bat, as Lord Lawrence replied : * This mode of proceeding 
may prove very embarrassing to the financial department ; 
and there is one great objection in my mind to sach system 
— viz. that when once a man has adopted the line of acting 
first and reporting afterwards, the main indacement to report 
and explain vanishes away.' ^ 

The same aathority says of Frere : * I never saw a man 

like him for taking his own line.' And again : * One of two 

coarses shoald be adopted, either that he was made to obey 

orders or that he was declared absolately his own master.' 

To Willoaghby, a member of the Coancil of India, he 

says : ' I find it rather difficalt to get on with Frere, thoagh 

I am most anxioas to do so. He is bent on independence 

withoat its responsibihties. He insists on spending, not only 

his own revenaes, bat oars also.' These letters of Lord 

Lawrence were written in 1864, yet later on, the 11th 

Febraary, 1866, he again writes : — 

Our financial prospects are very gloomy indeed. The furor 
for expenditure is excessive. ... Sir Henry Rose and Napier have 
no regard for financial considerations, and Frere is worse than any- 
body. It was only the other day that he wanted to pay four lacs 
of rupees for twenty acres of land on which to construct a lunatic 
asylum near Bombay ! He has also allowed buildings to be self- 
erected at Kurrachi for the Telegraphic Department which will 
cost 2| lacs by the time they are finished. 

This want of sound judgment and careful discretion 

unfitted Sir Bartle Frere to deal with any real crisis. In 

' lAfe of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. i. p. 272. 
* Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii. p. 318. 



SIR BAETLE FEEEE 163 

the Indian Mutiny he had not to cope with the brant of the 
affair. He was in a subordinate position, his part was 
to send all help to those who were contending with the full 
volume of the insurrection ; and this he did nobly and well, 
and such action was wholly in keeping with his character 
viewed from a certain standpoint. It was John Lawrence 
who was in chief conmiand, a man who had all the qualities 
of forethought, the habit of carefully weighing all sides of 
the question, and the well-balanced mind which appreciated 
thoroughly the circumstances in which he found himself ; 
and in his practice he showed that he realised the enormous 
importance of decisions which affect millions of human beings 
and their interests. 

The contrast between the two men is so analogous to 
the contrast between Sir Bartle Frere and Mr. Molteno that 
we venture to quote Lord Lawrence's biographer on this 
subject : — 

Sir John Lawrence and Sir Bartle Frere were as different from 
each other in character, in business habits, and in general views 
as two very able, very public-spirited, and very self-reliant, strong- 
willed men can well be. Sir John Lawrence was for a careful 
economy of the public money; Sir Bartle Frere for a liberal 
expenditure of it in all directions. The first and almost the only 
question which suggested itself to Sir Bartle Frere, when some 
magnificent public work, such as a land reclamation scheme or 
the practical rebuilding of Bombay, came under consideration, was 
whether the work was good and worthy in itself. The first ques- 
tion asked by Sir John Lawrence was whether India could afford 
it ; and, if it could, whether it was worth the additional taxation. 
Sir John Lawrence thought he was bound to be just before he was 
generous, and to look before he leaped. Sir Bartle Frere too often 
leaped before he looked, and sometimes it may have been to the 
advantage of India that he did so; but he also found that his 
undeniably great works left him with an exhausted treasury, and 
sent him to beg as a favour from the Government of India what, 
if he had been content to keep rules, he might have been able to 
demand as a right. 

Sir John Lawrence was always for a minute investigation 
and specification of details, because he felt that such precautions 

M 2 



164 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

were the only security for due economy in the whole. Sir 
Bartle Frere thought sJl such precautions vexatious in the ex- 
treme, and for very much the same reason. Sir John Lawrence 
very possibly cared for popularity too little ; Sir Bartle very pos- 
sibly too much. Sir John was blunt and downright to a fault ; 
Sir Bartle erred equally in the opposite direction. The man who 
applied to Sir John Lawrence for an appointment for which he 
was not fit, and met with a curt refusal, very probably as he came 
down the steps of Government House called the Governor-General 
a bear ; but, after a little reflection, was not sorry that he had been 
told the worst at once, and admitted the integrity of his chiefs 
motives. The man who applied under similar circumstances to 
Sir Bartle Frere came down from 'the Land of Promise,' as 
Government House in Bombay was not inaptly called, charmed 
with the courtesy and grace of his reception, and thinking that 
his suit was granted ; but when he found, a few days later, that 
the place was given to another candidate, he was apt to turn 
round upon his chief and put him down, in his vexation, as a 
hypocrite. In the one case hopes had been unduly raised, in the 
other they had been too rudely crushed; but in each case, so 
public- spirited were both men that after a short interval the 
applicants were generally able to admit that the refusal was due 
to one and the same motives — the paramount claims of the public 
service. . . . 

That it was well for India that Sir John Lawrence held 
the supreme, and Sir Bartle Frere the subordinate, position 
will not be questioned by those who believe, in spite of his recent 
disclaimer, that the miserable Afghan War in one continent, and 
the equally miserable Zulu War in another, are the direct and 
legitimate consequences of the principles and proclivities of the 
Governor of Bombay.^ 

The failure to allow due weight to financial considerations 
had a very important bearing upon Sir Bartle Frere's con- 
duct in South Africa, as will appear in its proper place. 
His want of appreciation of the real inner meaning of 
affairs, and his consequent unfitness for any serious emer- 
gency, was amply revealed in the great cotton boom which 
for a time poured untold wealth into the hands of the 
merchants of Bombay. 

The American War had reduced the supply of cotton 
* Lift of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii. p. 314. 



SIB BABTLE FBEBE 166 

from America far below the necessary consumption of the 
mills of Lancashire, and India came in to snpply the place 
of the American article. The value of cotton exported from 
the Bombay Presidency rose from less than seven miUions 
in 1860 to 1861 to more than thirty-one millions in 1864 to 
1865. Enormous profits were reahsed by cultivators and 
merchants. Here was an opportunity of testing a man's 
soundness of judgment and his discretion. The prudent 
man who kept his head cool would feel there were serious 
dangers involved in the position, and would use his 
endeavours to turn to permanent advantages the tem- 
porary benefit, and above all do nothing to increase the fever 
of speculation. The plethora of money gave rise to a 
genuine desire for investment, and such investments as 
were justified by sound judgment would naturally be the 
proper outlet for this large capital; but unfortunately all 
kinds of wild-cat schemes were put forward, which any 
person who pauses to think for a moment must concede were 
never likely to make any adequate return for the capital 
invested — schemes for reclaiming land, for building, for 
concessions of foreshore, for harbour works, and many 
others. 

Of these the ' Back Bay ' reclamation scheme was per- 
haps the most famous; its object was to reclaim through 
the means of a commercial company a large tract of land 
known as Back Bay, to hand over to the Bombay and 
Baroda Railway such portion as was necessary for its pur- 
pose, and make the company's profits out of the sale of the 
rest of the land. The Government of Bombay had originally 
proposed that the railway should carry out the speculation, 
using so much of the land as it required and selling the rest, 
but the Home Government very properly objected to such a 
speculative transaction on the part of a railway which had 
its capital guaranteed. 

Sir Bartle Frere proposed that the Government should 



166 LIPB AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

take shares in this wild scheme, but fortunately the Secre- 
tary of State repUed that no money of the guaranteed 
railway could be placed in such a scheme. If the land were 
really required, the Government must reclaim and then make 
over to the railway the land required. In making his sug- 
gestion, Sir Bartle Frere says, under date 23rd of July, 1864 : 
'All Bombay have gone mad about Back Bay. I was 
anxious that the Government should have had a share in 
the work such as it has in the Bombay Bank, not so much 
to secure a share in the profits as to have the only possible 
effectual hold over the management in such matters as 
allotment of shaxes.'^ 

We shall see presently of what value such control was 
in Sir Bartle Frere's hands. It is clear that the Govern- 
ment were perfectly right in their decision. They had no 
right to give their sanction to these monstrous schemes by 
taking shares in them. A similar tendency to speculation 
had arisen in Calcutta, but it had been discouraged with 
success by Lord Lawrence, though he incurred considerable 
unpopularity thereby. The scheme eventually collapsed 
on the fall in the prices of cotton, and the losses were 
enormous. The works were abandoned to the Government. 

The bank above referred to was the Government Bank 
of Bombay, managed by nine directors, of whom three were 
appointed by the Bombay Government. The bank's capital 
was now doubled, and the game of lending money went fast 
and furious. It was only on account of a warning from Sir 
Charles Wood, the Secretary of State for India, that Sir 
Bartle Frere gave some attention to its affairs. The former 
writes under date the 3rd of March, 1865 : — 

I cannot help being in some alarm at the possibility of a crash 
in your Bombay speculations. We hear disagreeable rumours, 
and after the way in which they have been going on I am afraid 
that it is too probable. Pray look after your bank and currency 

» Despatoh to Sir G. Clerk. July 23. 1864 ; Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. ii. p. 7. 



SIB BARTLE FBEBE 167 



matters — we must stand clear. But I would send for your 
Gk)vemment directors in the bank, and desire them to look very 
carefully into what the bank is doing and to keep you informed.' 



1 



It was then found that there was gross mismanagement, 
and the losses had been enormous. The Calcutta Govern- 
ment complained on several occasions of the want of 
detailed information of the affairs of the bank. Frere prac- 
tically asked them to get it for themselves ; he relied upon 
his own judgment, and defied the Supreme Government. It 
was clearly his duty on the spot to see that a proper 
investigation was made. Early in May 1865 a native 
merchant failed, owing the bank 170,0002. A panic ensued, 
and a run on the bank. Frere telegraphed to the Supreme 
Government, and asked leave to advance, if necessary, 150 
lacs. To this the Supreme Government assented, and the 
run ceased. Surely this should have led to a proper investi- 
gation, but nothing was done. 

Just before Christmas of the same year Frere heard that 
there was only six and a half lacs of silver coin in the bank, 
and that it was for the third time in danger. He returned 
to Bombay and summoned the Government directors. Surely 
now the position should have been ascertained; but the 
financial imprudence which always characterised his pro- 
ceedings carried him to the excessive imprudence of allowing 
the bank actually to declare a dividend of 8 per cent, in 
January of the next year — that is, only a few days after this 
crisis. On the Slst of March, 1866, the Government direc- 
tors presented a report in reply to a letter from the Govern- 
ment of India asking for information and for an examination 
of the ofi&cers of the bank. 

Again the report was far too sanguine, and the true 
state of affairs was not discovered. A second committee failed 
to discover the true state of affairs. Enormous advances 
were now made to Premchund Eoychund. No proper 

■ Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. 11. p. 19. 



168 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

ingniry was made as to whether the advance would really 
save him, and no agreement with the other banks who had 
joined in securing the advance to him was signed. The 
money was paid before the full amount of security which 
had been agreed upon had been given. Can it be beheved 
that this would be allowed to be the position for a single day? 
It actually remained so for four months. When Prem- 
chund Boychimd failed, the securities, such as they were, 
were wholly insuflScient, and the irrecoverable balance due 
from him was 247,000^. 

This was not all. The secretary was allowed to advance 
to the Asiatic Bank, without any adequate security, so large 
a sum that, on its failing in September, 196,000Z. was due 
from it to the Bank of Bombay, and in February 1867 
there was another run, and then the latter was practically in 
liquidation. Black ruin fell on the shareholders, and the 
whole of Bombay was involved in disaster. Was ever a 
more extraordinary story told of reckless confidence, want 
of judgment and unwise defiance of sound and proper 
instructions? 

But the worst offender of all (says Lord Lawrence's biographer), 
the Bombay Bank, still held its own, though with a loss of half ite 
capital, still plunging itself and others, in spite of all that remon- 
strances from the Governor-General and urgent requests both by 
telegram and letter for information could do, more deeply into the 
mire ; till at last it fell, deep alike in ruin and in guilt, the full 
dimensions of which were only to be revealed by the Commission 
of Enquiry which an outraged people demanded, and at length 
succeeded in obtaining.^ 

We can hardly wonder that one of the Commissioners 
speaks of 'the supineness and inaction of the Bombay 
Government,' i.e. of Sir Bartle Frere, the real fact being 
that Sir Bartle Frere had, in conmion with lesser mortals, 
lost his head, his usual financial recklessness facilitating this 
result. 

* lAft of Lord Lawrence^ vol. ii. p. 866. 



SIR BARTLE FREEE 169 

We obtain some insight into Sir Bartle Frere's view of 
his position as Governor of Bombay from his letter to Sir 
John Kaye, in which he says that the Governor of Bombay 
was intended to be 'a biennial or quinquennial Cesar/ 
He evidently attempted to practise what he preached, 
and his relations with the Supreme Government were 
based on this theory. A further instance in addition to 
his other defiances of budget rules occurred when Dhuleep 
Singh arrived at Bombay on his way back to England 
after attending his mother's funeral, Sir Bartle Frere 
coolly lent him 2,000i!. of Government money, though there 
was no such provision made in the Government budget, 
and though he might have consulted the Supreme Govern- 
ment by telegraph. To justify this he wrote to the Governor- 
General. He says to Lord Lawrence : — 

I thought you would wish me to do this, if only to facilitate his 
return to Europe, and to prevent the necessity for his borrowing 
here in the bazaar ; so I have ordered 20,000 rupees to be advanced 
to him. I do not want him if he goes to the Treasury on the 
strength of my promise to find the door shut by a telegram from 
Calcutta conveying an order from you. 

To this Lord Lawrence replied : — 

You will have received my telegram regarding the advance to 
the Maharaja. As regards the other matters touched on in your 
letters Trevelyan strongly objects, as indeed do the other members 
of Council, to your using Government money in the manner you 
describe, especially without authority first obtained.^ 

Listead of loyally abiding by this decision. Sir Bartle 
Frere wrote a letter of great length, in which he claimed 
that all that was necessary was the subsequent approval of 
the imauthorised steps by the Calcutta Government. Lord 
Lawrence very civilly answered, * that budget rules were 
budget rules and must be adhered to.' 

There were other instances of Frere's reckless defiance of 

» Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. i. p. 433. 



170 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

definite instractions even from the Home Government 
itself, and as an instance we may mention a case in which 
he called down upon himself the strongest censure of the 
Secretary of State for India. The issue of Enfield rifles to 
a Bombay Native Infantry Bifle Begiment had been made 
by Sir Bartle Frere, and Sir Charles Wood says, under date 
the 12th of September, 1864 :— 

Whether, then, I look at the exercise of your own discretion or 
the regard which you ought to pay to what may be wise elsewhere 
in India and the possible opinions of the Government of India, or, 
lastly, to the deference which you are bound to have for the orders 
of the Home Government, I am sorry to say that you are equally 
wrong, and when in one and the same case you sin in all these 
three respects I cannot see any justification for you.^ 

This would appear strong enough, but even stronger 
expressions of censure, though expressed in a kindly tone, 
followed this letter. 

Again, in the matter of the census of Bombay, the 
Home Government telegraphed that they did not approve 
and refused their assent to the Act ; yet Frere, in face of this, 
determined to proceed, though as a volimtary matter and 
not under the Act.^ This was of course a colourable evasion, 
and again brought down the censure of the Secretary of 
State for India. 

His action in practically declaring war upon the Sultan 
of Zanzibar without leave of the Government who sent him, 
and thus forcing the hand of the Government, was in keeping 
with all his other acts. Fortunately the Sultan yielded, 
owing to the influence of Sir John Kirk. Sir Bartle Frere's 
biographer says : * Frere's letter seems to have fallen like a 
bombshell on the EngUsh Cabinet. It met to consider the 
matter, and appeaxs to have scarcely Uked either what he 
had done or what he proposed the Government should do.*' 

* Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. i. p. 460. 
« Ibid, vol. i. p. 460. » Ibid. vol. ii. p. 101. 



SIB BABTLE FBEBE 171 

His readiness to offer an opinion on subjects on which 
he had not had the same experience or knowledge, or 
responsibility as had others, was well exemplified in his 
attack on the poUcy of the Ponjaub Government for ita 
general frontier arrangements. Lord Lawrence says : ' I 
do not know from whom Frere takes his information. I 
know he has no personal knowledge of the country himself/ 
And the Secretary of State for India, Sir Charles Wood, 
who had studied Frere's attack and the reply, says : ' Nothing 
could be more precipitate or rash than Frere's tirade against 
the Punjaub policy.*^ We think that Lord Blachford's 
strictures on Sir Bartle Frere are justified by the history of 
his action in India. He writes : — 

I am angry with Frere, and have been (before this a&iry 
since I read this memorandum which is at the root of the Afghan 
war. It seemed to me then, on contrasting his paper with that 
of Lord Lawrence, that he was one of those over-confident men 
who make and ruin Joint Stock Companies in private life and 
destroy princes and nations who trust them in public. . . . 
I do not think Indian administrators understand the conditions 
under which Colonial Government has to be carried on. And 
I confess I think Frere takes his ignorance for superior know- 
ledge, and does not hesitate to over-rule and force the hand of 
his superiors.^ 

We shall find him ready to force the hand of his superiors 
in the Transkei war and the Zulu war and in the disar- 
mament of the natives of South Africa. Act first and report 
afterwards was his policy, and he was ready to pursue 
it in South Africa as in India. 

We have drawn attention at such length to these faults 
in the character of a very able man, for they were now to 
have a wide field for their operations. They brought about a 
series of wars and disasters involving the ruin of thousands 
of natives and the death of many a brave man, while tho 

' JW/b of Lord Laivrence, vol. ii. p. 300. 
* Letter to Sir Henry Taylor, p. 894 of Letters of Lord Blackford. 



172 LIFE AND TIMES OP BIE J. C. MOLTENO 

hatreds then engendered have not yet subsided. ' As time 
rolls on, when the desolation caused by war has been long 
obliterated, the passions which a sense of wrong have 
aroused do not cease to bum, but pass on from one genera- 
tion to another.' 

Mr. Molteno's character resembled that of Lord Law- 
rence in many ways. He had the same strong sense of 
duty, the same regard for the rights of all, whether it 
were the individual rights of Europeans or natives or the 
poUtical rights of the adjoining European or native States. 
He realised the inunense importance and responsibility of 
decisions which affect the happiness and welfare of whole 
peoples. He had the strongest sense of justice, he despised 
popularity ; he threw himself heart and soul into the work 
for which he had abandoned all his private interests. His 
attention to all the duties of his office was unremitting. His 
knowledge of the coimtry over whose destiny he presided 
was thorough and complete, gained by personal experience 
extending over a period of nearly fifty years. 

He had himself taken part in the native wars, and had 
thus gained personal experience of native character as well as 
of colonial susceptibilities, and ideas as to the conduct of 
operations. He had personally met Ejreli in the famous in- 
terview with that chief during Sir Andries Stockenstrom's 
expedition against him. His sympathies were entirely with 
the inhabitants of the Colony, whether of Dutch or English 
extraction ; he had none of the foolish feelings which lead 
to disparaging thoughts and remarks upon the habits and 
views of the farming portion of the community. He 
appreciated the sterling qualities of the Dutch and their 
aptitude for self-government, their conservatism, their cau- 
tion and their independence, while he was fuU of generosity, 
of energy, and of progressive ideas, and devoted to the 
practice of those principles of justice and right which have 
been the foundation of England's Empire. 

His political experience was co-extensive with the estab- 



SIE BABTLE FRBRE 17» 

lishment of representative institutions in South Africa. 
From the very inception of the Cape Parliament he had 
been one of its ablest and most active members, and had 
taken a very prominent part in all its proceedings, introduc- 
ing and supporting a large portion of the legislation which 
had been carried out in that Parliament even before he 
became Premier. Added to this was his further experience 
of five years* administration as Premier — years of enormous 
and unparalleled progress for the Cape Colony. His policy 
and his measures had met with unqualified success, a success 
admitted and acknowledged by Lord Carnarvon and Mr. 
Froude, as well as by all who were acquainted with the 
circumstances of the country. 

Inter-Colonial and inter-States relations were facilitated 
by his personal knowledge of the leading statesmen of 
the neighbouring colonies and states, with whom his rela- 
tions were intimate and cordial. Sir John Brand had been 
a member of the Cape Parliament with him, and had 
strenuously supported him in his efforts to perfect repre- 
sentative institutions by the establishment of responsible 
government, and these relations had remained on the best 
footing since Sir John Brand had been President of the 
Orange Free State. 

A sound and well-balanced judgment, which carefully 
weighed all the various considerations to be taken into 
account, a thorough sense of the responsibility attaching 
to all public acts, a knowledge more complete than any man 
of the political history of South Africa for the last quarter 
of a century, long administrative experience, together with 
a very wide knowledge of men and insight into character, 
rendered Mr. Molteno the fittest man for the position which 
he held. These qualifications gave a weight and validity to 
all his opinions on Cape questions far beyond that attach- 
ing to any opinion rapidly formed on necessarily imperfect 
acquaintance with the diflSculties in the way of government 



174 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

in South Africa. Had Lord Carnarvon had the wisdom to 
avail himself of Mr. Molteno's ripe experience, endless loss 
of life and snffering would have been saved to the Empire 
and its subjects. 

He was now well aware of Mr. Molteno's views upon 
the question of Confederation, views which were formed 
after the most careful and painstaking thought and with 
the ripeness of experience, and he was determined to 
override his opposition by force. The lengths to which 
he was prepared to go had been shown by the revolution 
he had effected in Natal; by the Froude agitation and 
his adoption and confirmation of it; and by his forcible 
annexation of the Transvaal. Sir Bartle Frere was the man 
to his hand. We have seen how he was put forward by his 
admirers for work of any and every kind. So little apprecia- 
tion did Lord Carnarvon have of the situation that he told 
Sir Bartle Frere that two years was his estimate of the 
time required not only to carry out but to consolidate Con- 
federation.^ 

Sir Bartle Frere's reply to the invitation of Lord 
Carnarvon is very characteristic. Without any special 
knowledge of the subject, without asking for time to study 
the policy which he was to force on South Africa, without 
consideration, he says immediately : * There are few things 
which I should personally like better than to be associated 
in any way with such a great policy as yours in South 
Africa, entering as I do into the imperial importance of your 
masterly scheme.* It was nothing to him whether the 
policy was for the real welfare of South Africa generally, 
and of the Cape Colony in particular, which he was sent to 
govern ; he did not trouble to inquire whether it was in 
accord with the wishes of the people on the spot. As Mr. 
Gladstone truly said of him, he had never 'been in a position 

1 * I do not estimate the time required for the work of confederating and 
consolidating the confederated States at more than two years.' Letter of Lord 
Carnarvon to Sir B. Frere : Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. ii. p. 162. 



SIE BAETLB FREEE 175 

of responsibility, never imbibed, from actual acquaintance 
with British institutions, the spirit by which English govern- 
ment ought to be regulated and controlled . . . apt to take 
into his own hands the choice of means in a manner those 
who are conversant with free government and with a 
responsible government never dream of.' 

It was sufficient that Lord Carnarvon had asked him to 
go, and had given him an opportunity of distinguishing 
himself. Lord Camaxvon had settled his decree ; nothing 
further was necessary than to carry it out. Here was an 
instrument who would ask no questions, but would kiU, 
slay, force, and disregard the wishes of whole peoples with- 
out demur. How differently the duties of a Governor were 
viewed by a man who had thoroughly imbibed the principles 
and spirit of English institutions may be seen by contrast- 
ing Sir George Grey's views on such a subject. 

I considered (he once said to the writer) that I had duties to 
discharge, not only to the Home Government who had sent me 
out, but also to the Colony whose interests had been placed under 
my charge ; and when I found that the varying and conflicting 
orders of the successive Secretaries of State were such as to 
endanger the safety and prosperity of the Colony, I felt it my duty 
not to silently carry out those orders, but to point out this fact to 
the Home Government, and suspend the operation of their orders 
until my representations could be dealt with. 

South Africa in previous years, as readers of these pages 
will know, had had to pay severely for the education of men 
ignorant of her history and the conditions of her government, 
yet sent out to deal with her vital destinies ; but in no case 
had she paid so dearly as she was to pay for the education of 
this masterly mind. No good physician accepts any diagnosis 
of a case in place of his own ; had Sir Bartle Frere acted 
in an analogous manner towards South Africa, and investi- 
gated the conditions on the spot, he would undoubtedly 
have given different advice and action to what he did, and he 
would have saved England and South Africa enormous loss 



176 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

and suffering. But he had a policy 'dictated' to him, and he 
wished to hear no objections to it. 

Sir Bartle Frere was able in the case of India to see the 
dangers involved in sending out a man of high ability to a 
C50untry of which he knew nothing ; and he writes to Lord 
Canning in regard to a Special Conmiissioner, who had 
been sent out to put the Indian accounts in order : — 

Whoever comes will feel he has, like a Roman consul, to make 
his name famous in a single year, or at most two or three, and 
will not be content honestly to carry out his predecessor's policy. 
An active man, even of the first class, will probably be actively 
mischievous, and a second or third class man, whether active or 
passive, will be far worse than useless.^ 

His own career in South Africa is ample proof of the 
truth and wisdom of these words. In sending out Sir 
Bartle Frere to be supreme Dictator in South Africa, Lord 
Carnarvon was making a return to the personal rule of 
the Governor, which was supposed by those on the spot 
to have been abandoned, as it constitutionally was, when 
responsible government was introduced into South Airica. 
Let us see what Sir Bartle Frere himself, after his bitter 
and fatal experiences in South Airica, thought of the 
wisdom of such a course. 

Writing after his return from South Airica in 1881, he 
says : — 

After a long series of dislocating Kaffir wars, the English 
Government resolved that the system of allowing colonial manage- 
ment of colonial affairs to grow and develop, instead of being ruled 
from England, should be practically tried. The plan has answered 
fairly in other far-separated Colonies. It has been for eight years 
only in operation at the Cape. I believe it has answered still better 
there than in Canada or Australia, for reasons which space does 
not now admit of my stating : but even if there are many disappoint- 
ments, what are eight years for the growth of such an organism as a 
nation ? Those who would withdraw from the Cape Colony the 
gift of responsible government ask us to act like impatient children, 

* Life of Sir BarUe Frere, vol. i. p. 327. 



BIB BABTLE FBEBE 177 

pulling up the seeds they have planted yesterday to see whether 
or not they are growing in the right direction. . . . 

When responsible government was given to the Cape Colony, 
the question was : Has the Colony arrived at that stage of material, 
social, and political development which renders the exertion of 
the direct parental authority of the Mother Country inexpedient 
or impossible? The English nation dehberately answered this 
question in the afi&rmative.^ 

And he then goes on to say that it is impossible to retract 
this gift of responsible government now. 

Again, in his letter to Mr. Gladstone he says : * As regards 
the Cape Colony itself, nothing more seemed to be needed 
than to let the Colony, under its existing constitution, work 
out its own political future.'" And, in regard to the native 
question, which was now made the ostensible reason for 
Sir Bartle Frere's mission of interference in South Africa, 
we find him, after his experience had been matured, stating 
in an address to the Colonial Institute in February 1881 : — 

The other difiSculty which has been urged to that more com- 
plete self-government to which union in South Africa is essential 
is connected with the native question ; there is still inherent in 
the British mind a belief that the South African Colonies cannot be 
trusted with the exclusive management of their native afihirs 
subject to no greater control from the Home Qovemment than is 
afiforded by the power of veto to any legislative enactment which 
is possessed by the Crown. 

I have stated to very little purpose my opinions regarding the 
present position of the native population in the Cape Colony, if it 
is necessary for me here to repeat my conviction that our country- 
men in South Africa are not]; only quite capable of dealing with 
all native questions as wisely and firmly as we ourselves are in 

1 * The Basutos and the Ck>n8titation of the Gape,' Ninet6mth Century, 
January 1881. Compare with this the speech of Lord Kimberley at the Colonial 
Institute, April 20, 1899. * Another measure which had far-reaching and 
valuable results had been the granting of responsible government to the great 
Colony of the Cape. ... He was content with the success which had attended 
that legislation. Frere, the Governor . . . had told him on his return that 
nothing had been more salutary and more successful than the establishment 
of a free and responsible government in South Africa.' 

> Letter to Mr. Gladstone, July 1881. 

VOL. n. N 



178 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

England, but that the best interests of the natives are quite ai» 
safe in the hands of the Colonial Government, constituted as that 
of the Cape is, as they would be if reserved for the exclusive 
management of the Home Government. It may be difficult to 
impress this conviction upon those who, for more than three 
generations past, have been in the habit of hearing nothing but 
evil of the colonists in their relations with the colonial natives, 
and who consequently disregard at once as unworthy of attention 
all opinions and statements of facts which come from colonists. 

But I am convinced that a very few months of sojourn in 
South Africa would conveii; any reasonable observer to the con- 
viction at which I have myself long since arrived, that in South 
Africa, and especially in the Legislature of the Cape of Good Hope, 
there may be found men as thoroughly conscientious in their 
dealings with the natives, as influential in their own Legislature, 
as fully alive to the best interests of the natives, and as determined 
to secure those interests as far as they can be secured by govern- 
ment action, as any members of the Imperial Parliament, whilst 
of course they possess an infinitely greater superiority in know- 
ledge of the facts of the case, and of the real requirements 
of all concerned. The popular English misgiving regarding the 
treatment of natives by colonists or by a colonial Government is 
justifiable only on the supposition that all our countrymen who 
go to the other hemisphere leave behind them the conscientious 
sense of moral obligation which guided them in this country. It 
is surely unnecessary to come at such a supposition. And I will 
therefore only conclude by once more expressing my deliberate con- 
viction that the best interests of the natives in the Cape Colony are 
quite as safe in the keeping of the Cape Parliament, as they could 
be in that of the Parliament of the United Kingdom} 

These opinions were formed by Sir Bartle Frere after 
a mature knowledge of the circumstances of South Africa, 
gained by painful experience there; but his views, before 
he had this knowledge were taken from Lord Carnarvon, 
and differed in toto from what we have just quoted. In 1881 
Sir Bartle Frere condemned unreservedly the revolution in 
the constitution of Natal : — 

It is quite unnecessary to dwell on the advantages of a consti- 
tution like that of the Cape. No one who has had opportunities 

* Address to Colonial Institute, February 22, 1881. 



SIB BABTLE FREBE 179 

for comparing the working of the government at the Cape with 
that of Natal can douht the deoided superiority of the former as 
far as relates to local progress, and the development of all those 
energies on which the welfare of the Colony must depend. Every 
kind of public business, it seemed to me, was better discussed and 
considered, and settled more in accordance with the interest and 
wishes of those concerned in the Cape than in Natal. ^ 

Sir Bartle Frere, after three years* experience, is no 
longer Sir Bartle Frere the minister of Lord Carnarvon, 
He now agrees with the local statesmen as to the value, and 
importance, and sufl&ciency of responsible government : — 

Responsible government was established in the Cape in 1872. . . . 
The question here naturally arises, How does the present constitu- 
tion suit the peculiar circumstances of the Cape Colony ? I can only 
speak from personal observation of the working of the constitution 
during three or four years, and it has yet been in operation for 
eight or nine years only. It may appear, therefore, somewhat prema- 
ture to speak dogmatically on the subject; but I think that anyone 
who has seen as much of the working of the Colonial Government 
as I have during my term of office would agree with me that, like 
most constitutions which have gradually grown, it is on the whole 
well suited to the present wants of the people. It is as free and as 
completely representative as any constitution which could be devised. 
It recognises no distinction of race or creed in the qualifications 
required for political or municipal franchise, and it contains within 
itself the necessary machinery for well-considered amendment 
or improvement. 

I have personally known almost every member of both Houses 
during two successive Parliaments, and I can safely say it would 
be difficult to find in Europe a body of gentlemen better qualified, 
by their intelligence and public spirit, to manage their own share 
of the affairs of the vast region for which they legislate. There 
was, when I first went to the Cape, a considerable body of 
colonists who sincerely doubted whether it was possible to find 
among those returned to the Legislature the number of men 
qualified, and at liberty to undertake, the duties of responsible 
Ministers. The results of two successive administrations have, 
however, proved that there is little foundation for this appre- 
hension; and I think I saw during my residence at the Cape 
a very sensible diminution in the number of colonists who 

' Address to Colonial Institute, February 22, 1881. 

N 2 



180 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO '^ 

doubted whether responsible goyemment m the form now known 
at the Gape would be a snccess.^ 

Here is a convert to Mr. Molteno's views, that in any 
future confederation the Colonial Parliament should be ex- 
tended, and representation be offered to the neighbouring 
states in that Parliament, and that the complicated 
machinery which Lord Carnarvon desired to introduce 
in his Permissive Bill was unnecessary and undesirable. 
Sir Bartle Frere says in February 1881 : ' Let provision 
be made for Natal being represented in the Colonial Par- 
liament and Executive Government whenever any of the 
class of questions I have indicated as affecting more than 
one state comes up for discussion.' ' Lord Carnarvon's 
policy was rejected by Sir Bartle Frere after he had had 
sufficient time and opportunity for observing its suitability or 
otherwise, yet on his first arrival he was its out-and-out 
advocate. 

In Sir Bartle Frere's reply to Lord Carnarvon's offer 
of the governorship he refers to the latter's 'masterly 
scheme ' ; but, as we know, the idea of Confederation was 
in no sense Lord Carnarvon's. The only scheme which 
could be called Lord Carnarvon's was the ill-advised and 
ill-conceived plan of forcing his form of confederation by 
means moral or immoral on the South African States ; this 
rash and immature judgment on the masterly character 
of Lord Carnarvon's scheme is on a par with other of his 
judgments, equally incorrect, and formed on a similar want 
of knowledge and sound discretion. 

As we see from the above extracts Sir Bartle Frere 
finally agreed with his predecessor, Sir Henry Barkly, with 
Mr. Molteno, and the leading statesmen of the South African 
constitutional party, that the unfettered development of 
responsible government in South Africa was the true solu- 

» Address to Colonial Institute, February 22, 1881. « Ibid. 



SIB BABTLB FBEBE 181 

tion of the South African question. And again in the same 
address he said : — 

The question of responsible government is a vital one as con- 
neoted with any union of the South African Colonies. I do not 
think it likely that a country in the position of the Orange Free 
State would ever voluntarily confederate with a Crown Colony 
unless with the assurance that responsible government would be 
substituted for the autocracy of the Governor. I am very certain 
that in the existing state of public feeling in the Cape, that Colony 
would never voluntarily assent to a union with an autocratically 
governed Crown Colony, or with a colony in which the repre- 
sentative institutions were not practically equivalent to those of 
the Cape. Whether, therefore, we look to the present efficiency of 
Local Colonial Government or to any prospects of future union 
between any two or more colonies, I regard the grant of respon- 
sible institutions to Natal as the key of the whole position.' 

What could be in greater contrast than this to the mea- 
sure proposed in Lord Carnarvon's Permissive Bill, by which 
a return was made to the Crown Colony form of government 
for the whole of South Africa ? It is again the difference 
between the man who knows and the man who does not 
know. 

Sir Bartle Frere's views of Colonial Government, when 
he spoke without knowledge, are amply illustrated by his 
suggestion for dealing with the difficulty in New Zealand. 
The news of Te Koote's massacre of the whites at Poverty 
Bay, towards the latter end of 1868, had seriously alarmed 
and puzzled the English Ministry, as they feared that all the 
loss and expense already suffered in New Zealand had been 
useless. Great friction had resulted between the Imperial 
and Colonial authorities in connection with the dual control 
of the military operations and the native policy. Ministers 
were at their wits' end. In this crisis Sir Bartle Frere strongly 
pressed upon the Ministry the plan of appointing a Military 
Dictator. He proposed that a large number of Indian Police 

> Address to Colonial Institute, February 22, 1881. 



182 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

sfaoold be shipped to New Zealand, that the constitution 
should be temporarily suspended, and the ablest man obtain- 
able placed in supreme power. 

Sir Bartle Frere had at that time no experience of colo- 
nial constitutions and their working, or the value attached 
by the colonists to the rights and privileges of representative 
institutions. His training in the arbitrary ways of Indian 
bureaucracy, which wielded large forces at its pleasure, crush- 
ing any unfortunate chief who showed a tendency to be 
rather less subservient than his fellows by moving down upon 
him the immense mobilised forces under its control, utterly 
unfitted him to give advice or to take part in the Government 
of a free community. Fortunately, before acting upon this 
advice, the Ministers took the opinion of Sir George Grey 
upon the scheme. 

With his ample knowledge of the character and feelings of the 
New Zealand colonists and their high spirit Sir George Grey saw at 
once that such a proceeding would be fatal to the good feeling 
existing between the Mother Country and the Colony ; and beyond 
the immediate effect of such an unprecedented course in the Colony 
more immediately affected, Sir G^rge Grey felt certain that this 
arbitrary act would do more n one day to sever the colonies from 
England than all the efforts of the economists could accomplish in 
twenty years. He pointed out that the colonists of New Zealand were 
a bold and resolute community ; they would resent such a sudden 
and uncalled for interference. Willing as they were to pay taxes 
levied, and engage in active service ordered by their own Parlia- 
ment, they would object to both exacted by a military Dictator.^ 

These difficulties and dangers did not occur to Sir Bart 
Frere, as they were not suggested by his experience and were 
such objections as his Indian training hardly fitted him to 

^ lAfe of Sir Oeorge Orey, vol. ii. p. 424. It is oorioos and interestiiig 
to observe that the Transvaal was deprived of its Volksraad and governed 
by a military Dictator, with results only too well known. Sir B. Frere, it is 
hardly necessary to say, approved this. He says to Lord Carnarvon, * I think 
Shepstone is quite right not to summon the Volksraad ' {Life of Sir Bartle Frere, 
vol. ii. p. 184). He approves Lanyon's mode of exacting taxes, writing to Mr. 
Herbert : * I will answer for Lanyon providing more than Sargeaunt estimates 
for the receipts into the Treasury * {ibid. vol. ii. p. 308). 



SIB BABTLE FBEBE 183 

appreciate. We caoinot wonder at his subsequent arbitrary 
acts in South Africa, when we remember that his first and 
only previous relation with colonial matters was of such 
ominous import for his future in that Colony. 

We must draw attention to another point in Sir Bartle 
Frere's reply to Lord Carnarvon on accepting the oflSce of 
High Commissioner. Sir Garnet Wolseley had been reputed 
to have succeeded by * a champagne and sherry pohcy,' when 
Dictator at Natal. Sir Bartle Frere foresaw a large draft 
upon his allowance in the carrying out of this change to Con- 
federation, and in the pursuance of the policy of cajolery and 
flattery which was so successfully adopted by him subse- 
quently — a hint of which has been given in the appellation of 
* the Land of Promise ' to Government House at Bombay. 

It strikes me (he wrote), that at a transition period such as you 
anticipate the unavoidable calls on the salary of the Governor 
would be greatly increased beyond the ordinary amount. 

It is significant that Sir Philip Wodehouse had reported to the 
Home Government on a proposition of the Cape Parliament to 
cut down the 1,000Z. paid to the Governor of the Cape as High 
Commissioner that : ' If by the introduction of responsible 
government his office be converted into a dignified sinecure in 
a very fine climate, 5,000Z. would be sufficient.' ^ Eesponsible 
government had been introduced ; but the Governor of the 
Cape still drew 6,000Z. Lord Carnarvon now arranged that a 
special allowance of 2,000Z. in addition should be assigned to 
Sir Bartle Frere for two years in his capacity of High Com- 
missioner of South Africa. There is no suggestion that he 
was in any sense moved by sordid motives in referring to the 
salary which he would receive ; but we protest most strongly 
against the view that it should be possible by any increase of 
the Governor's salary for personal purposes and for personal 
entertainment of the colonists to deflect them from the path 
of strict duty or from their true interests. Such a use of 
money in a colony is utterly and entirely reprehensible. 

> See despatch of the 11th of Ootober, 1865. 



184 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXIII 

8IB BARTLE PRERB'S ARRIVAL. ANNEXATION OP THE 
TRANSVAAL. 1877 

Lord GarnAnron makes Sir Bartle Frere Dictator of South Africa — He complains 
of his limited powers as Constitational Oovemor— Disastroiis results of hia 
Policy in Afghanistan — Australian Warning— Duty of Constitutional Oover- 
nor— Ignorance of the English Press — The Ooyemor first meets the Cape 
Cabinet— Presses his views of Confederation— Mr. Molteno rejects them — 
The latter's views on Confederation - Their ultimate justification - The 
Annexation of the Transvaal — Mr. Molteno not consulted— He refuses to 
involve the Cape in the question— Lord Carnarvon's promises broken. 

The condition of South Africa, thanks in large measure 
to Lord Carnarvon's policy, was one containing the elements 
of very serious mischief. The utmost prudence and caution 
were necessary in dealing with the situation. Sir Bartle 
Frere had shown at Zanzibar, when he declared war without 
the consent of the Ministry, that he was ready to force his 
superior's hand. In India the Governor-General was con- 
stantly under the necessity of controlling his rashness and 
putting a limit to his assxmiption. Lord Carnarvon now 
did his best to give him absolute power. He had made Sir 
Gurnet Wolseley Dictator of Natal. Sir Bartle Frere was 
to be Dictator of South Africa right up to Zanzibar. 

It has been determined to invest Sir Bartle Frere, who is about 
to assume the government of the Cape, with special powers not 
possessed by his predecessors in office ... he is to arrange a 
union of Natal with the Cape. And be will also be appointed her 
Majesty's High Commissioner for South Africa generally, instead 
of being merely High Commissioner for the Territories adjacent ta 
the Eastern Frontier.* 

* See despatch of the 26th of January, 1877, Colonial Office to Treasury, 
J. P., G — 2601, p. 8. These were secret instructions at the time, and were 



SIB BABTLE FBEBE'S ABBIVAL 185 

Before he left England to take up his new duties, Sir 
Bartle Frere was entertained at a great banquet in London, 
at which Lord Salisbury and many distinguished men were 
present. It is curious to observe in connection with Sir 
Bartle Frere how continually we are reminded of Eome. In 
the speech made by Lord Carnarvon on this occasion he com- 
pared Sir Bartle Frere's departure to that of a pro-consul 
proceeding to take possession of his province ; but we are not 
carried back to the best days of Bome, when its free institu- 
tions were sound, but to the period when the task of govern- 
ing the world was overtaxing the energies and the probity of 
the Senate, and making a Caesar a fatal but inevitable neces- 
sity. Sir Bartle Frere, as we have seen, compared himself 
at Bombay to a ' Caesar.' At last his time had come ; he 
was to be the Caesar of South Africa. 

But Caesar owed his success to the conditions of Eome 
at that time. The solution of Indian rule may be auto- 
cracy. The solution of colonial self-government was further 
self-government. 'The history of Caesar and of Eoman 
ImperiaUsm, with all its unsurpassed greatness of the master 
worker, with all the historical necessity of the work, is in 
truth a sharper censure of modem autocracy than could be 
written by the hand of man . . . Caesarism, where it appears 
under other conditions of development, is at once a caricature 
and a usurpation.' ' We shall see how true was this of 
Sir Bartle Frere's Caesarism in South Africa. 

only made public in 1880. They show that Lord Carnarvon considered it 
unnecessary even to consult Natal as to its onion with the Cape, sach was the 
use he meant to make of his power under the revolutionary constitution of 
Natal. Had this intended disposal of Natal been made public it would have 
raised a violent outcry in that Colony. 

* Monmisen, Hiit of Borne, vol. v. p. 826. The context of this passage 
is well worth quoting, for it admirably expresses one of the truths underlying 
the spirit of colonial self-government. ' According to the same law of nature 
in virtue of which the smallest organism infinitely surpasses the most artistic 
machine, every constitution, however defective, which gives play to the free 
self-determination of a majority of citizens infinitely surpasses the most bril- 
liant and humane absolutism ; for the former is capable of development and 
therefore living, the latter is what it is and therefore dead.' 



186 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Yet his first appearance in public was as a hnmble 
* GsBsar/ for has he not a master ? And he tells the audience : 
' I hope to carry out those views of colonial policy which 
will be dictated to me by Lord Carnarvon.' Lord Carnarvon 
evidently felt that this was letting the public too freely into 
his secrets, and in public he reminds Sir Bartle Frere that 
he goes out, not as Governor of a Crown Colony, but as one 
who will have to carry on the task of governing in conjunc- 
tion with local advisers. In regard to the Permissive Bill, 
Lord Carnarvon added that it was for the colonies and states 
of South Africa to take it or to leave it as they pleased ; 
but we know from his letter to Sir Bartle Frere that he in- 
tended to force his policy by all the means in his power ; 
and already the instructions were on their way to annex 
the Transvaal, in return for its refusal to come into his 
scheme. 

We can feel no surprise, then, when we find that Sir 
Bartle Frere's very first despatch after arriving at the Cape 
complains that his power is too limited under responsible 
government in the Cape Colony, and states that he would 
bow to constitutional usage only so long as he considers 
it conducive to his view of his duty to her Majesty's Grovem- 
ment.^ 

In sending out Sir Bartle Frere to force his policy on 
the Cape Colony, Lord Carnarvon was making a return to 
the old colonial theory of Earl Grey that the Crown, in 
addition to its proper place in the constitution of the 
colonies, had a sort of paternal superintending function 
as well. Against this assumption the colonists had pro- 
tested, and the Mother Country had admitted the cor- 
rectness of the protest. Lord Carnarvon no longer put it 
forward openly, but this function was now to be exercised 
by means of secret instructions to the Governor and by 
the weight of Imperial influence and patronage dispensed 

• I. P., C— 1980, p. 6. 



BIB BABTLB FBEBE'S ABBIVAL 187 

through his hands. While in public Lord Carnarvon 
reminded Sir Bartle Frere that he must take the advice of 
his constitutional advisers in South Africa, he told him 
privately that he meant to ' press ' his poUcy by all means 
in his power on South Airica. 

To the policy of confederation Sir Bartle Frere loyally 
adhered, but the means he adopted to further it were not 
such as Lord Carnarvon could have contemplated, and in 
the end they entirely defeated their object. Lord Carnarvon's 
sole purpose had been to relieve the Lnperial Government of 
serious habilities and of expenditure in South Africa, and 
not to increase them. He was the Minister who opened a 
debtor and creditor account with the Colony for troops, and 
told the South Airican Conference that there were at present 
more troops in South Africa than were really needed for 
Imperial purposes. While he told the Cape that it must 
prepare for the complete withdrawal of all the Imperial 
forces, Lord Carnarvon was not the man to suggest or 
desire a Zulu or Transkei war. 

Sir Bartle Frere, in taking the steps which led up to 
these wars, forced the hand of his superiors, and acted in 
accordance with the principles and procUvities which char- 
acterised him in India, and which prompted that advice 
which was then being followed in Aighanistan, with results 
which were equally disastrous. There is a striking parallel 
between the action of the Home Government at this time 
in its dealings with India and South Africa which clearly 
illustrates the danger of setting aside principles which have 
received the seal of wise theory tested by centuries 
of practical experience. The consequences of ignoring 
these principles brought disaster in countries widely sepa- 
rated and under conditions which were otherwise totally 
different. 

* On the 22nd of January, 1875, without having previously 
consulted the Government of India, Lord Salisbury sent out 



188 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

the first of those disastrous despatches to Lord Northbrook 
which made him begin to undo the work of thirty years, 
and in the direction recommended by Sir Bartle Frere.' ' 
Lord Northbrook, supported by the whole weight of his 
Council, stoutly resisted Lord SaUsbury's proposals for a 
whole year.* On the 4th of May, 1875, Lord Carnarvon 
sent out his proposal for confederation to the Cape, toithout 
having previously consulted the High Commissioner and the 
authorities at the Cape. The High Commissioner and his 
advisers also resisted Lord Carnarvon's rash proposal. 

In the case of India, Lord Salisbury relied on the advice 
of Sir Bartle Frere, who was not clothed with responsibility 
in the matter. In the case of South Africa, Lord Carnarvon 
relied on Mr. Froude, who spoke vdth no official knowledge 
and without the weight of official responsibility. The 
parallel is very close, but it proceeds. Lord Northbrook 
resigned, and it was only by putting a new man in his place 
who had no previous experience of India that Lord Salisbury 
succeeded in forcing his policy on the Indian Government. 
In South Africa the local authorities resisted, and the High 
Conmiissioner, notwithstanding the censures of Lord Car- 
narvon, refused to depart from his position as a Constitu- 
tional Governor and force Lord Carnarvon's policy. It was 
only when a new man with no previous knowledge of South 
Africa, and of the proper t5rpe, was put there that Lord 
Carnarvon could prevail in forcing his policy. 

We may remark in passing on the strange spectacle 
afforded by the fact that England was putting its fortunes in 
two continents on one horse, and that the wrong one. So 
far as India was concerned. Lord Salisbury was following 
out Sir Bartle Frere's policy absolutely. In so far as another 
continent. South Africa, is concerned. Sir Bartle Frere was 
sent out to deal with its destinies. In both cases the result to 

» Life of Lord Latorence, p. 479, vol. ii. 

' Lord Roberts, Forty-one Years m India, p. 829. New ed. 



SIB BABTLE FBEBE'S ABBIVAL 189 

England was enormous disaster, and disaster shared in 
by the portion of the Empire specially affected as well as 
by England herself. 

It was improper and wrong to force the Afghan policy 
on the Indian Government. The history of all Empires 
which have been called on to govern distant dependencies 
points to the impossibility of directly interfering with 
advantage in the local government of those dependent 
cies. Even the despotic Empires of Eome and of Spain 
recognised the impossibility of directly governing their 
dependencies from home, and the most complete power 
was entrusted to the local Government, directed though it 
was by the ofiScers of the supreme power. If it were 
improper to force a policy on the Indian Government, it 
was still more improper and wrong to force the Confedera- 
tion policy on the Cape Colony, possessing, as it did, 
responsible government. 

As we have already shown, Lord Carnarvon had received 
many warnings of the danger of the course on which 
he was bent, and yet another came to him from a colonial 
source. We have already quoted the vigorous protest of 
the Canadian and Australian colonies against the attempted 
interference of the Home Government in their local affairs. 
One of their statesmen had given some attention to the 
question of Confederation generally, and about this time 
addressed the Colonial Institute on the subject. The Hon. 
W. Forster, after referring to the abandonment of the Free 
States and the emigrant farmers in South Africa, said : — 

These are the penalties of disintegration, the consequences of a 
fatuous policy, the judgment that waits upon misgovemment. And 
to remedy these evils, to escape these penalties, we are called upon 
by the Government and urged by newspapers to establish by 
Imperial authority a system of Federation at the Cape. I have 
been somewhat surprised to learn — and I think it must surprise 
most people who take an interest in colonial affairs, and who have 
become acquainted with the result of Mr. Froude's late mission to 



190 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

South Af rioa and the local feelings it awakened — that the Imperial 
Government will persist, after all that has happened, in what may 
be termed their Federal policy for the colonies, and that a BiU 
b to be introduced next session into the Imperial Parliament for the 
express purpose of inaugurating or establishing a Federal system 
at the Cape. I am aware, as of course my hearers generally are 
aware, that it is quite possible that Colonial Federation may be 
advocated or defended upon other grounds than as a means of 
warding off or carrying on successfully a frontier war with 
neighbouring savages. And there can be no doubt that in their 
endeavours to establish a Federal system of Grovemment at the 
Gape the British Government must have other objects in view 
thim the benefit and the interest of the Dutch settlers, or to 
recover those insignificant states to the Imperial dominion. 

But, I ask, is this not another instance of fallacy connected 
with the question of Colonial Federation to suppose or take it for 
granted that such a system can be successfully introduced into 
any community, and much less into a British Colony, by the 
mechanical agency of remote, and what for practical purposes is 
in fact alien, legislation, and in direct opposition to or without the 
concurrence of local feelings, sympathies, and opinions ? How 
often have we been told that constitutions must grow, and that 
they cannot be made, much less extemporised to suit some 
apparent crisis or emergency ; that they must, on the contrary, to 
be of any value — to be effective as instruments or agencies of 
natural progress and prosperity — spring naturally out of the cir- 
cumstances, and adapt themselves to the character and disposition 
of a people. And why is an exception to be made in the case of 
Federal constitutions, which cannot but involve an extreme, if not 
a violent, revolution for the commxmities they concern ? 

These views are extremely interesting as showing that 
the Australian views coincided with the Cape view of the 
question. The warning fell on deaf ears — none so deaf as 
those that do not want to hear. As we have already said, 
Sir Bartle Frere in his first despatch from South Africa, 
which had naturally to do with the policy he was sent out 
to carry through, complained of his limited power as a 
Constitutional Governor. Writing to Lord Carnarvon, he 
says : — 

I pointed out to Mr. Molteno the very obvious fact that this 
very limited view of the Governor's functions must of necessity 



SIR BARTLE FRERE'S ARRIVAL 191 

either restrict within the narrowest limits the Governor's powers 
of usefolly assisting the Ministers in the consideration of com- 
plicated questions like that before us, or risk the creation of 
division in the Cabinet owing to the different effect produced on 
different members of the Cabinet by the same argument separately 
presented to them in their separate interviews with the Governor.^ 
But I let him at the same time clearly understand that as long as 
my duty to her Majesty's Government permitted I should care- 
fully avoid making any change in the existing practice as long as 
that practice was satisfactory to him and his colleagues. As 
far as I can judge from our first meeting of the Executive 
Council, which has been held since this conversation, my remarks 
were not without effect, for there seemed to be an evident inclin- 
ation on the part of Mr. Molteno and his colleagues to enter 
more into discussion and explanation on the papers before the 
Council than from his previous description of past practice I 
should have expected. I am bound to add that nothing could 
exceed the courtesy and cordiality of Mr. Molteno and every 
member of his Ministry on this and every other occasion since my 
arrival.* 

What are the functions of a Constitutional Governor? 
The * Times ' will not be suspected of placing his prerogative 
too low, or giving undue prominence to local pretensions, 
and yet writing upon the occasion of Lord Loch's return 
from South Africa, it says : — 

The first duty of a Constitutional Governor is to accept in all 
loyalty the principle of the responsibihty of the Ministers, and to 
act generally under their advice. There are, doubtless, many 
occasions upon which, in the exercise of a wise discretion, the 
opinion of the Governor unofficially expressed may determine the 
advice tendered to him officially by his Cabinet. But it is not his 
business to supply to the Colony over which he rules the energy, 



> Sir Bartle Frere had no knowledge of Constitntional Government. He 
desired to deny the right of Ministers to deliberate in private. A most 
elementary knowledge of Constitutional Government would have told him he 
had no right to ask this (see Todd, Parliamentary Ocvemment in the Colonies, 
pp. 11 and 47) ; while further he had no right whatever to discuss or attempt 
to influence Cabinet Ministers apart from their head the Premier. (See Todd, 
Parliamentary Oovemment in England, 2nd edit. vol. ii. p. 10 ; also pp. 12, 
13, 14.) 

« I. P., C-1980,p.6. 



192 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

tiie initiative, or the high ambition by foroe of which great reforms 
Mid far-reaohing schemes are conceived and carried out. These 
qualities, if they exist at all, must spring from the people of the 
Colony. They are proper to the political leader. The function 
of the Constitutional Governor is not to lead, but to preside. The 
tact, the patience, and the good manners of the man of the world, 
the instinctive toleration which accompanies an extended expe- 
rience of men and things, an equitable readiness to hear both sides 
of the questions that present themselves, are among the Ughter 
qualities with which he should be equipped ; nor are these suffi- 
cient without some touch of the genuine kindliness which feels 
pleasure in exercising that power of helpfulness which is always 
incidental to high station. Btrictiy as the (rovemors of the great 
self-governing Colonies are limited in the exercise of the constitu- 
tional authority delegated to them by the Sovereign, the position 
which they occupy is still one that offers many opportunities 
for success or failure. The gifts of the successful Governor 
are not always those which are held to command success in other 
positions. Brilliant attainments, decided views, strong political 
convictions, have been shown by experience to be frequentiy out 
of place.^ 

If this is a correct view, and we believe it to be so, 
then Sir Bartle Frere was very far from being a Constitu- 
tional Governor. It is true that at the period of which 
we write the ' Times ' had not attained to the clearer and 
sound views of the Governor as representing the Crown 
in a Constitutional Colony. It was at this time officially 
inspired, and in its support of the Ministry and Lord 
Carnarvon it cared little to form any independent opinion 
on the question. Its leading article on the appointment 
of Sir Bartle Frere contained, among other comments, 
the following : — 

In the eyes of the colonial public Sir Henry Barkly was iden- 
tified with a particular set of views which happened to be those of 
a powerful party in the Colony, and to be directly in conflict with 
those of the Colonial Office. It is, therefore, reasonable enough 
that Lord Carnarvon should wish to have his policy represented 
at the Cape by someone more sympathetic towards him, and, with- 

* Times, April 16, 1895. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE'S ARRIVAL 193 

out any disparagement of Sir Henry fiarkly's services or abilities, 
we may afSirm that the work which has now to be done in South 
Africa will be better done by Sir Bartle Frere. ... It is to be 
hoped that Lord Carnarvon's Permissive Bill will be accepted 
promptly and loyally by the British colonists in South Africa. 

Here is Mr. Fronde's old error of dividing the colonists 
into loyal or disloyal, according to the views they took of 
complicated questions deeply concerning themselves, and 
on which they had every right to form their own opinion. 
Is this noble word * loyalty ' to bear a corrupted meaning, 
and signify nothing more than the unreasoning acquies- 
cence ynth which a child is coaxed to swallow a dose of 
disagreeable medicine ? Is it desirable to see this kind of 
loyalty develop among the communities who are striving to 
extend the interests as well as the institutions of the British 
Empire ? 

Could English colonists worthily carry out this high 
mission if they were ready to receive like wax the im- 
pression of every hand in which the shifting politics of Eng- 
land may place for a time the reins of the Colonial Office ? 
Their loyalty is not to men, however eminent, nor to the 
Cabinet of the day, but to those principles which have made 
Great Britain the freest and best-governed country in the 
world, and which it is the hope of colonists will make 
Greater Britain worthy of its prototype. The condition and 
consequences of any measure must be thoroughly weighed 
and considered before it can be properly applied, and only 
if it be found suitable in the opinion of those who are to be 
responsible for its future working should it be accepted. 

Sir Bartle Frere, with his masterful spirit, backed by 
the unlimited confidence of Lord Carnarvon, and with no 
previous experience of the principles or practice of Consti- 
tutional Government, was naturally chagrined to find himself 
informed by Mr. Molteno that the Premier was responsible for 
the policy of the Cape Government, and not the Governor, and 
moreover, that the Premier and Ministry did not accept Lord 
VOL. II. 



194 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Carnarvon's Permissive Bill so far as the Cape was concerned. 
This intimation was conveyed to Sir Bartle Frere most politely, 
as we see from the above-quoted extract of his despatch ; but 
he acquiesces in this view only so long * as my duty to her 
Majesty's Government permitted.' This was not the last 
occasion on which Mr. Molteno found it necessary to remind 
Sir Bartle Frere that his was the responsibility for the Govern- 
ment decision. 

Sir Bartle Frere was constantly endeavouring to impress 
his views, and finally, as we shall see, he deliberately fol- 
lowed his own course in opposition to that submitted by 
his constitutional advisers. During the Langalibalele episode 
Mr. Molteno had thought it his duty to protest that the 
position of the Premier was one of separate responsibility 
from that of the Governor, and Sir Henry Barkly had ad- 
mitted the validity of his protest. Mr. Molteno was not to be 
moved by the influence of any great name or any pressure 
from the course he believed to be marked out by his duty 
to the Colony as Premier under responsible government. 

At the request of Sir Henry Barkly the remarks of the 
Ministry upon Lord Carnarvon's Permissive Bill had been 
delayed until Sir Bartle Frere could arrive. The latter 
tells Lord Carnarvon in his despatch above quoted that 
he had attempted to induce Mr. Molteno and his colleagues 
to express views more in accord with the policy of her 
Majesty's Government, but without inmiediate result ; and 
he then describes the views of the Ministry : — 

The favourite idea in this part of the Colony is naturally what 
they call ' unification.' The Parliament of the Gape Colony being 
in existence and in practical working order, having, as the advo- 
cates of unification assert, gained the confidence of the country as 
a useful representative body, and being understood and appreciated 
not only by the colonists, but by their neighbours, it is argued 
that it will be the more generally acceptable and easiest plan to 
advance it to the dignity of the Union Parliament — to add to it 
a fair proportion of representatives for each province which may 
be willing to join the union, increasing the powers of the divisional 



SIR BARTLE FRERE'S ARRIVAL 195 

oouncils as might be found necessary to meet the reasonable wants 
of the more remote provinces in matters of local regulation and 
administration. 

It is argued that this plan will avoid the obvious difficulty of 
finding competent men willing to give their services to the public, 
not only for the purposes of general legislation, but for the pro- 
vincial legislature ; and the equally obvious risk that with two 
kinds of legislature — the one provincial, and the other general — 
for the union, that there will be constant collision in legislation 
owing to the practical difficulty of distinguishing the precise class 
to which measures of any complexity belong. 

Mr. Molteno informed me that the Bill for the annexation of 
Oriqualand West, which is the subject of my despatch of this date 
to your Lordship, might be taken as an example of the mode to 
which he and his colleagues would propose to proceed.' 

Mr. Molteno's minute of the 16th of March, 1877, to which 
the Governor referred, after * accepting, as a conclusion from 
which few will be found to dissent, that such a union is 
eminently desirable,' and pointing out the unsuitability of 
the provisions of the Bill to the conditions of South Africa, 
concludes as follows : — 

The effect of the measure as submitted for their consideration 
in its present form will be, as Ministers conceive, to abrogate, on 
the union of any state or colony with the Colony of the Cape of 
Good Hope, the constitution which her Majesty has been gra- 
ciously pleased to bestow on this Colony, and to substitute for that 
constitution a legislature elected under the provisions of the BilL 
If this were absolutely necessary, however much Ministers would 
deplore it, they would feel inclined to yield ; but, seeing that this 
Colony is from its size, the number of its population, and its 
resources by far the most important of the South African communi- 
ties, and to a great extent may be considered as the parent of those 
communities, such a measure seems unnecessarily sweeping, and 
Ministers do not consider it would be either necessary or desirable. 

They would, on the contrary, submit for the consideration of 
the Right Hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies that in 
their opinion the end and object aimed at by her Majesty's 
Government, and in which Ministers concur, might be attained in 

' J. P., C— -1980, p. 7. This view was eventually adopted by Sir Bartle 
Frere, as we have already seen in his address to the Boyal Colonial Institute 
(supra, vol. ii. p. 180). 

o2 



196 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

a more simple, and, they venture to think, in a more effectual 
manner by preserving the Parliament of the Gape of Good Hope, 
and providing for the representation therein by the State or Colony 
willing to join in the union of members elected by such state or 
colony ; and the said Parliament might after such union be called 
the Union Parliament, the number of members to be returned by 
such state or colony, and the terms upon which the local govern- 
ment of such state or colony and the larger colony would be carried 
on respectively, to be settled by mutual agreement, and to be ratified 
by Proclamation or Order in Council, as provided in Clause 3 of 
the Permissive Bill. 

Subject to this general provision, they would propose that the 
whole arrangement of details should be left for settlement by the 
parties to the proposed union rather than that they should be 
fixed by the proposed Bill, the provisions of which in this respect, 
by provoking discussion and criticism, are likely to detract from its 
utility as a purely Permissive Bill.^ 

We have already drawn attention to the fact that this 
wise course would not suit Lord Carnarvon's purposes. 
It would afford him no opportunity of revolutionising the 
constitution of the Cape Colony with a view to obtaining the 
control of the legislation in regard to natives, or to in- 
creasing the power of the Crown in that constitution, as 
provided in his Bill. Though combating Mr. Molteno's 
views at the time. Sir Bartle Frere, after his three years' 
experience of South Africa, ultimately gave his adhesion to 
them. It is, therefore, hardly necessary to dwell on their 
soundness, as all who have studied the question with 
adequate knowledge, including Sir Bartle Frere after his 
education had been perfected on the subject in South Africa, 
admitted their wisdom and validity. 

Notwithstanding all the efforts of Sir Bartle Frere and 
Lord Carnarvon, the only consolidation which has since 
taken place in South Africa has been in the manner indicated 
by Mr. Molteno. British Bechuanaland has been success- 
fully incorporated with the Cape Colony, and sends its mem- 
bers to the Cape Parliament, while the Transkei has in a 

» I. P., C-1980, p. 9. 



SIR BAETLE FRBRE'S AKBIVAL 197 

similar manner been annexed to the Cape Colony, and is being 
endowed with representation in the Cape Parliament as its 
inhabitants become sufficiently advanced to permit of this. 
Thus has subsequent history in the Cape Colony justified 
the wisdom of Mr. Molteno*s advice to Lord Carnarvon. 
The process began with the incorporation of British Kaf- 
fraria in 1865, and all unifications since then have conformed 
to the rule of annexation as opposed to Federation. 

What, then, was Sir Bartle Frere's position ? Lord Car- 
narvon had told him that he hoped to confederate South 
Africa in two years. The revolutionary constitution of 
Natal was to last only for five years, and three of these 
had nearly run. On his arrival Sir Bartle Frere found 
Mr. Molteno in power, strongly supported by the Cape 
Parliament. As he tells Lord Carnarvon, no one at the 
Cape seems to regard federation as a practical question, 
yet he hopes the annexation of the Transvaal and the enact- 
ment of the Permissive Bill wiU 'force' their attention 
to it.' 

Lord Carnarvon had doubtless told Sir Bartle Frere of 
his overtures to Mr. Paterson, but no steps could be taken 
against Mr. Molteno in the present session, for he was carry- 
ing out the agreement arrived at with Lord Carnarvon to 
annex Griqualand West to the Cape Colony. No man 
newly arrived from Europe could be in a position to urge 
any new argument or place a fresh light on confederation, 
which had been before South Africa for several years. Sir 
Bartle Frere had tried to get Mr. Molteno to modify his views 
on Confederation, as we have already seen when he dealt 
with the reply of the Ministry to Lord Carnarvon's despatch. 
Besort was now to be had to threats. 

Lord Carnarvon had given up the farce of urging that 
South Africa was yearning for his confederation, for he told 

» See vol. ii. p. 190 of The Life of Sir Bartle Frere. The Permissive BiU 
was at that moment passing throogh the Imperial Parliament. 



196 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. G. MOLTENO 

the House of Lords in his speech upon the Permissive Bill 
at this time ' that ' her Majesty's Govermnent thought a 
measure of confederation ought not to be longer delayed,* 
and that while in the case of Canada 

almost every point of difficulty or controversy had been brought 
into the way of settlement by previous explanation and preliminary 
discussion — the same could not be said of this BilL ... as her 
Majesty's Government had been compelled to pursue a different 
course from that which was adopted in the case of the Canadian 
Act. . . . But if I am asked why the Government has not 
delayed this Bill for some clear and unmistakable indication of 
the exact feeling of the various states and colonies such as would 
enable us to bring in a Bill framed on the precedent of that for the 
Dominion of Canada, my answer is that we feel that a positive 
duty is imposed on us of at once placing within the reach of the 
South African communities a power to unite under the protection 
of the British Crown. 

It was here confessed that the imperial officials in Europe 
desired to bring about this result. It was not the imperial 
officials on the spot who desired, or thought desirable, to 
bring about this confederation. Just as at this time the same 
Ministry was forcing its fatal Afghan policy on the unwill- 
ing Government of India, so was it forcing its Federation 
poUcy on an unwilling South African Government. 

Sir Bartle Frere arrived at Cape Town on the 4th of 
April. No time was lost in pressing the policy dictated to 
him. Less than fourteen days after his arrival he had 
indited to Lord Carnarvon a despatch describing his argu- 
ment with Mr. Molteno, complaining of his limited power, 
and admitting that he appeared to have made no impression 
upon Mr. Molteno's views. Sir Bartle Frere enclosed with 
his despatch a copy of the notes he used as arguments with 
Mr. Molteno, and on perusal we cannot wonder that they 
did not affect Mr. Molteno's opinion.^ 

The Colonial Parliament was to meet very soon after 

» Speech of April 23, 1877. « See I. P., C— 1980, p. 9. 



SIB BABTLB FRBEE'S ARBIVAL 199 

Sir Bartle Frere's arrival. News of the annexation of the 
Transvaal was received shortly after the 12th of April, the date 
of the annexation.' Mr. Molteno had been in no way consulted. 
Indeed, Sir Theophilus Shepstone had taken his orders direct 
from Lord Carnarvon, and though his commission instructed 
him to consult the then High Conmiissioner (Sir H. Barkly), 
if possible before taking the step of annexation, he had 
ignored this clause, and had not disclosed it to the Transvaal 
officials when he was asked for his powers. 

Mr. Molteno was utterly and entirely opposed to the 
annexation and to Lord Carnarvon's policy, which he had 
consistently resisted. Lord Carnarvon had done his best to 
get rid of him by intrigue and by public censure, and by 
suggestion to the Cape Parliament to turn him out of office. 
He would not therefore take him into his confidence or 
expect any aid for his policy from him. He had not suc- 
ceeded yet in getting rid of him, but his fate was trembling 
in the balance, for Sir Bartle Frere was armed with a com- 
mission which empowered him to dismiss or disregard the 
advice of his Ministers, and it was not long before this power 
was exercised. 

At first, however, as Mr. Froude had done, so did Sir 
Bartle Frere endeavour to gain his purpose by the suaviter 
in modo. Mr. Molteno was informed of the high opinions 
of him held in England by the Colonial Office and her 
Majesty herself, as Mr. Froude had before stated. He 
was not to be moved in this way any more than by the 
threats which followed, and the Transvaal annexation soon 
gave rise to a difference between the two. Sir Bartle Frere 
desired to drag Mr. Molteno and the Cape Government into 
the Transvaal question. He offered to show him Sir 

* As the question of the rapidity of communication between the Transvaal 
and Cape Town has been raised, we may note that on April 17th Sir B. Frere 
was aware that the annexation had taken place on the 12th, as on the former 
date he telegraphed to Lord Carnarvon to that effect.— See I. P., C— 1776« 
p. 102. 



900 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Theophilus Shepstone's letters, explaining his reasons for 
the annexation, but Mr. Molteno said that the Cape had 
nothing to do with the question. He desired, as in the case 
of the dispute with the Orange Free State, to keep the Cape 
entirely free from any entanglement of this character, on 
which it had not been consulted and for which it was not in 
any sense responsible. He was not misled by the stories of 
the danger of annihilation of the Transvaal by the natives.^ 
Sir Bartle Frere desired inmiediately, and without waiting 
for confirmation of the annexation by the Imperial Govern- 
ment, to publish Sir Theophilus Shepstone's annexation 
despatch, and he asked Mr. Molteno whether he should do 
so as Governor or as High Commissioner. 

It has been contended that Sir Bartle Frere was not a 
consenting party to the annexation of the Transvaal. It is, 
however, clear from this action and from that which he 
desired to take on the assembling of Parliament, that he 
was fully in accord with the policy of the annexation of the 
Transvaal. Mr. Molteno thereupon wrote to Sir Bartle 
Frere under date the 3rd of May, 1877 :— 

In reply to your note of yesterday on the subject of republish- 
ing the proclamation which Sir Theophilus Shepstone has issued, 
it is the opinion of Ministers that should your Excellency consider 
it advisable to take such action you should do so as High Com- 
missioner. 

With this note he inclosed the following letter from 
Mr. Stockenstrom, who had recently succeeded Mr. Jacobs 
as Attorney-General : — 

It seems to me that his Excellency is going somewhat out of 
his way to give his formal sanction to Shepstone's proceedings. I 

> The idea that the Transvaal was in danger of being annihilated by the 
Zola power was quite absard U> those acquainted with the facts. A few farmers 
on the extreme Zulu frontier might be in danger of a sadden attack, but no 
native tribe could successfully attack the assembled Transvaal burghers, who 
would have certainly received, in case of any reverse, the aid of their brethren 
in the Free State. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE'S ARRIVAL 201 

should have thought that until her Majesty's pleasure is known, 
what has been done is quite sufficients—at all events that it would 
have been better simply to have published the documents for 
general information. It will not perhaps do for us to interfere, 
but you will see in my letter I have given a gentle hint. 

Mr. Molteno thus maintained the same attitude which 
he had consistently taken up for the Cape Colony since the 
receipt of the first Conference despatch from Lord Carnarvon. 
He refused to make the Cape a consenting party in any way 
to the proceedings of the Imperial Government and its 
oflScials. Sir Bartle Frere desired to lay Sir T. Shepstone's 
despatch before the Cape Parliament and to refer with 
approval to the annexation in the speech on the opening of 
ParUament, but Mr. Molteno would not agree to it.* On 
the contrary he desired to state that between the Colony and 
the Transvaal there had always been a most * friendly under- 
standing.' This difficulty was arranged by the insertion of 
an entirely neutral paragraph in the speech which ran as 
follows : — 

Recent events which have taken place in the Transvaal will, it 
is hoped, promote the peace, prosperity, and good government of 
that territory, and the contentment of its people, between whom 
and the people of this Colony so many ties exist. 

In regard to Confederation, Sir Bartle Frere desired 
Mr. Molteno to make a distinct announcement that if the 

* Sir Bartle wished to refer to the annexation in the following terms : — ' I 
have caused to be laid before yon the documents published by her Majesty's 
Commissioner specially charged with a mission to the Qovemment of the 
territory beyond the Yaal River. Those documents fully explain the grounds 
on which her Majesty's Special Commissioner has acted in declaring that 
territory, heretofore known as the South African Bepublic, to be British terri- 
tory, and in taking charge of its administration in her Majesty's name until 
her Majesty's pleasure shall be more fully known. 

* Bearing in mind the intentions of her Majesty's Oovemment, as repeated 
and very fully expressed with regard to the future government of her Majesty's 
dominions in South Africa, I cannot doubt that the results of the steps taken 
by her Majesty's Special Conunissioner will be found to promote, <fec., Ac' This 
was enclosed in a letter dated 19th May, 1877, arguing at considerable length 
against Mr. Molteno's draft, stating * that a most friendly understanding ' had 
always existed between the Cape and the Transvaal. 



902 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Permissive Bill now before the Imperial Parliament became 
law, it would be considered by the Cape Government with 
a view to its possible application to a union of the Colony 
with one or more of its neighbours. This Mr. Molteno 
refused to assent to, and the official minute of the Ministry 
stated that they would wait until a reply had been received 
from Lord Carnarvon to their remarks on the Permissive 
Bill. The same course was adhered to in the ensuing 
session of Parliament, and we may note that it has Lord 
Carnarvon's express approval.^ 

On the 29th of May came the reply of the Orange Free 
State to Lord Carnarvon's invitation to join in a South 
African union under his Bill. It was to the effect that, while 
fully assured of Lord Carnarvon's good intention, it would 
not be able to join the union and so sacrifice its indepen- 
dence.^ The matter did not look promising for the early 
reaUsation of the hopes of Lord Carnarvon and Sir Bartle 
Frere. The former continually talked of the paramount 
necessity of immediate confederation for securing the safety 
of South Africa, but this was his own uninformed opinion. 
Sir Henry Barkly, the High Commissioner, did not hold this 
opinion, nor did any of the authorities on the spot. 

In pursuance of this policy he had made the cry of danger 
to British South Africa the cloak for an unwarrantable aggres- 
sion on the Transvaal. When he first invited its President 
to a Conference, he expressly announced that he had no 
designs on its independence — its choice was to be free and 
unconstrained. Mr. Froude, his chosen emissary to South 
Africa, whose action he explicitly adopted and approved, 
had told the Transvaal public — 

That you rightly perceive that in proposing a ConfereDce 
between delegates of the several states of South Africa his Lord- 
ship is not encroaching on your independence, which he trusts you 

1 See despatch of the 16th of August, I. P., 0—1980 of 1878, p. 23. 
• J. P., C— 1980, p. 17. 



SIB BARTLE FBEBE'S ABBIVAL 203 

will maintain and defend so long as you conceive that your posi- 
tion as an independent community is of moral and material 
advantage to you.^ 

At the famous banquet at Cape Town, where he explained 

Lord Carnarvon's plans, he said : — 

So long as the people of the Free States desire to retain their 
freedom the Enghsh statesman is not bom who will ever ask them 
to surrender it, or endeavour to entice them back under the British 
flag unless they are willing to come back, and also that they con- 
sider it would be for their own benefit. 

Lord Carnarvon was now to be renoinded of these state- 
ments of Mr. Froude by the Dutch portion of the com- 
munity, who had in consequence given him their support 
in his confederation policy.^ The Transvaal President had 
been received on his recent visit to England in a most 
flattering manner by Lord Carnarvon and by royalty, and 
thus any complaints or any stigma in regard to alleged slave 
raiding operations had been condoned. Yet when the 
Transvaal presumed to refuse to come into the Conference, 
Lord Carnarvon makes it the first object of the policy of 
force, which, as he confided to Sir Bartle Frere, he meant to 
use in South Africa. 

* Extract from a publio letter of Mr. Froude dated the 28th of September, 
1875 f to Mr. Hutherford, who had addressed to him the resolutions of a meet- 
ing in favour of the Conference held at Potchefstroom, in the Transvaal. 

' See a petition signed by 5,000 persons in the Gape Colony against the 
annexation of the Transvaal : J. P., C— 1883, p. 28 :— 

Extract from Petition against Annexation of Transvaal. 

(3) That at a moment when the annexation of the Diamond Fields had led 
to new disputes between your Majesty's (Government and the Republics, and 
discontent reigned worse than ever, certain measures on the part of your 
Majesty's present Secretary for the Colonies, as explained to the Colonists by 
Mr. Froude, induced a large majority of the old Colonists to believe that a 
policy of conciliation towards themselves and the Republics was being inaugu- 
rated which would put for ever a period to the existing feeling of discontent. 

(4) That accordingly, notwithstanding the attempts of some parties in the 
Colony to inspire the old colonists with distrust of Lord Carnarvon's inten- 
tions, the majority of your Majesty's petitioners have cordially supported his 
Lordship's Conference plan, and that the organs of the Press by which the old 
colonists are more specially represented, have likewise strongly supported the 
Permissive Confederation Bill, by which it is contemplated to unite the several 
colonies and states of South Africa into one dominion. 



204 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

On the 22nd of September, 1876, before the Conference 
was held to which the Transvaal had been with the other 
States invited, Lord Carnarvon wrote to Sir Henry Barkly 
that * there can be no doubt that the safety and prosperity 
of the Bepublic would be best assured by its union with the 
British Colonies * : — 

Should the people of the Transvaal Bepublic consider it advi- 
sable under all the circumstances to invite her Majesty's 
Gtovemment to undertake the government of their territory on 
terms consistent with the now well-known policy of her Majesty's 
Government, I am of opinion that the request could not properly 
or prudently be declined.^ 

And finally the cloven hoof appears clearly. * It is obvious 
that my inclinations in favour of continuing to co-operate 
foith the Transvaal as a separate State may have to be 
modified,' Lord Carnarvon announced at the same time 
that Sir Theophilus Shepstone was to proceed to South 
Africa at once to deal with this matter.^ 

We may further refer to Lord Carnarvon's request to 
Mr. Molteno while in England in 1876 to give his opinion 
as to the mode of government of the Transvaal if it should 
be annexed. Everything goes to prove that he determined 
to seize the Transvaal by hook or by crook.* While osten- 

* Extracts from despatch of the 22nd of September, J. P., C— 1748, p. 103. 

' The Commission to Sir T. Shepstone was a most extraordinary one for a 
British Cabinet to issue, giving him power to annex any territory or state 
to the British Empire. Surely no such commission was ever issued before or 
18 likely to be issued again. 

' As to the annexation of the Transvaal, Bishop Colenso vnites : — * As to 
the Transvaal affair I hardly know what to say, except that the sly, underhand 
way in which it has been annexed appears to me to be unworthy of the English 
name, and to give the lie direct to Lord Carnarvon's public statements about 
Sir T. Shepstone being only sent to offer friendly offices to the Transvaal 
Government. It is plain that the whole was planned in England ; and I 
am afraid the scheme will be found to include other annexations — e,g. of Zulu- 
land, which will be a very serious affair indeed. But time will show how Sir 
T. Shepstone means to govern the Transvaal — as large as France and Ger- 
many together, so they say — and how he means to make a recalcitrant people 
pay for such government. The expense will enormously exceed that of the 
Boer Government. Is the British taxpayer to be bled for it ? ' {Life of Bishop 
ColensOt voL ii. p. 447). 



SIR BARTLE FRERE'S ARRIVAL 205 

sibly still inviting it to come in under his Permissive 
Bill, yet on the very day on which he addressed a despatch 
to Sir Bartle Frere extending this invitation, Sir Theophilus 
Shepstone had announced the annexation of the Transvaal 
in accordance with Lord Carnarvon's instructions. The 
seizure of this State at peace with ourselves, and to which 
we were bound by solenm treaty obligations, was an unholy 
act, which if wrongdoing by states as well as by individuals is 
punished, was certain to bring down the severest punishment 
on the Ministry who initiated it and on England, whose 
name they dishonoured by this act. 

Mr. Molteno had carefully guarded against being in any 
way made a party to this policy of force towards the Trans- 
vaal. He entirely disapproved of Lord Carnarvon forcing 
on Confederation. He resisted it until he was driven from 
office by Lord Carnarvon's pro-consul. He had been care- 
ful to maintain the position of the Cape Colony free from 
any quarrel with the Orange Free State over the Diamond 
Fields. In regard to the Transvaal also, he was careful 
not to allow the Cape Colony to be entangled in the danger- 
ous game which was being played, and when in England he 
informed Lord Carnarvon that he entirely refused to have 
anything to do with the policy which was apparently in- 
tended to be pursued towards the Transvaal. In his conduct 
of the relations of the Cape Colony to the Free States his 
was the view expressed by Mr. Gladstone during the Don 
Pacifico debate : — 

Let us do as we would be done by, and let us pay all the 
respect to a feeble state and to the iiifancy of free institutions 
which we should desire, and should exact from others towards 
their maturity and their strength. Let us refrain from all 
gratuitous and arbitrary meddling in the internal concerns of 
other states, even as we should resent the same interference if it 
were attempted to be practised towards ourselves.^ 

* Baraett Smith's Lift of Gladstone, vol. i., p. 199. 



906 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

What a different history would South Africa have 
presented since 1875 had the difficulties of the Free States 
been regarded with a genuine desire to treat them sym- 
pathetically, and to aid them on the part of the Imperial 
Government. The old fable of the wind and the sun and the 
traveller's cloak comes to mind. The principle is well 
expressed in Shakespeare's words : — 

When lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler 
gamester is the sooner winner.' 

This action of Lord Carnarvon's has had a most fatal 
influence on British prestige in South Africa and on the 
relations of the two races. The policy of entrusting South 
Africa with the management of its own afiiairs, a policy to 
which Lord Carnarvon often declared his adhesion, was 
now, in words used subsequently by Lord Blachford, ' not 
so much altered as reversed,' and with what fatal conse- 
quences will soon appear. 

' Henry V. act 8, so. vi. 



207 



CHAPTEE XXIV 

FIRST PARLIAMENTARY SESSION UNDER 
SIR BARTLE FRERE. 1877 

Meeting of Cape Parliament— Annexation of Damaraland— Position of Minis- 
try— Attacks upon it— They serve to strengthen Ministry— Crisis with Kreli 
—Energetic and Successful Action— Defence— Burgher Bill— Unity of 
Colony maintained— Wise Native Policy — Mr. Solomon's Tribute— Annex- 
ation of Griqualand West— Discourteous Treatment of Mr. Molteno by Lord 
Carnarvon— Position of Confederation Question— South Africa, except Cape 
and Free State, directly under the Secretary of State— Disastrous Results 
of Control from afar. 

Such was the position of affairs when the Cape Parliament 
met very shortly after Sir Bartle Frere's arrival. A subject 
on which Mr. Molteno felt very strongly was that of Wal- 
fisch Bay, which Lord Carnarvon still refused to permit the 
Cape Colony to annex. The attention of Sir Bartle Frere 
was drawn to the matter immediately upon his arrival, and 
Mr. Molteno in the Governor's opening speech to Parliament 
referred to it, stating that ' the Special Commissioners report 
was so satisfactory that a Bill would be submitted during 
the ensuing session for its annexation, but the letters patent 
had not been received from the Colonial Office, though it 
was believed that her Majesty's Government had approved 
the principle.' At the close of the session, the same state- 
ment, that letters patent had not arrived, was repeated to 
account for the non-introduction of the Bill and the success 
of Mr. Palgrave's mission was again referred to. It may be 
mentioned that subsequently, doubtless upon the strong repre- 
sentation of the importance of the subject by Sir Bartle Frere 
himself, Lord Carnarvon consented to the annexation of Wal- 
fisch Bay itself, and a small area of surrounding country, but 



208 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

not to the whole district proposed by Mr. Molteno to be 
annexed, viz. from the Orange River up to the Cunene River. 
During Sir Bartle Frere's absence on the frontier Mr. 
Molteno personally explained to the Commodore the steps 
which the Colonial Government desired him to take in 
hoisting the British flag at Walfisch Bay itself. We have 
already dealt with the serious consequence to South Africa 
and the Empire of Lord Carnarvon's restriction of the area 
to be acquired. Bills for the annexation of Griqualand 
West, in accordance with Mr. Molteno's undertaking to 
Lord Carnarvon, and for frontier defence, for irrigation, 
and various other purposes were announced in the same 
speech. 

At first the position of the Ministry seemed to be 
threatened by a more powerful opposition than the Parlia- 
ment had hitherto seen. Mr. Southey, late Governor of Gri- 
qualand West, who had been elected as member for Grahams- 
town, commenced, in conjunction with Mr. Sprigg and Mr. 
Paterson, a series of attacks on the Ministerial policy and 
measures. Mr. Paterson took up the rdle of financial critic ; 
but the misleading character of his statements, and the 
utter recklessness of his assertions, made it impossible for 
anyone to take him seriously, and his attacks only resulted 
in strengthening the position of the Ministry. 

The attack of Mr. Sprigg was rather directed to the ques- 
tion of frontier defence, though he joined Mr. Paterson in his 
financial strictures on the Government. An attempt was 
made to delay the discussion on the estimates with a view to 
forcing the Ministry to discuss defence first. Mr. Molteno was 
extremely indignant at the charge of neglect of the defence 
of the frontier. He had undertaken the responsibility of 
defending it with the resources at the disposal of the Colony, 
and in his reply he alluded to some of the measures which 
the Government had taken to allay the scare upon the 
frontier : — 



FIRST SESSION UNDER SIR BARTLE FRERE 209 

The honourable member might not perhaps make these state- 
ments Intentionally, but he certainly exhibited a great deal of 
oarelessness and recklessness in the way he manipulated his 
figures. He was prepared to admit that there was a considerable 
increase under the head of defence, but this had been inevitable. At 
the time he (Mr. Molteno) was in England he could not have been 
in ignorance of what was going on in the Colony, nor shut his eyes 
to the excitement on the frontier. Whether there was any ground 
or not for the * scare ' was another thing ; but, at all events, these 
facts were very detrimental. He sent out guns and a very large 
supply of ammunition, which the Imperial Oovemment, upon his 
representation, were pleased to give at a very large reduction in 
price. He also sent out an increased number of men for the Frontier 
Armed and Mounted Police, and in spite of all these precautions, 
the Government were now charged with neglecting the interests of 
the country, and failing to attend to its defensive resources. He 
might say that the Oovemment at that time managed to get the 
Buffs retained in the Colony by way of additional security, although 
the Colonel of the regiment had no instructions to take such a 
course, and ran the risk of being censured by the Home Oovem- 
ment. Many other things were done, and it was untrae to say 
that the Oovemment were insensible to, or indifferent to, the 
requirements and interests of the Colony. 

The discussion which followed brings out powerfully 
the high sense of dignity which characterised Mr. Molteno*8 
conception of responsible government. A charge being 
made by a leading member of the Opposition that the 
Ministry did not possess the confidence of the country, and 
several members showing a tendency to support the authors 
of the charge, he immediately said : — 

Both the honourable member for Port Elizabeth and the honour- 
able member for East London had, in the most distinct manner, 
challenged the Oovemment, and charged them with incompetency 
in managing the finances of the country, and with failing in pro- 
viding adequately for its protection. Two more serious charges 
than these it would be impossible to hurl at any Oovemment, and 
they accepted the challenge. ... It was not possible that any 
Government with a shadow of self-respect could sit in that House 
and have charges hurled against it, and not ask the House if it 
beheved them true ; and if that was its opinion of the Ministry, the 
Ministry must appeal to the House The whole of the 

VOL. II. P 



210 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

country was interested in what the House was doing. Let not 
consideration for himself or his colleagues weigh with the House, 
except the Ministry was still thought useful to the country. If 
the Grovemment receiyed an unmistakable vote on the part of 
the House (which had always favoured the Ministry with their 
confidence, and he hoped had not altogether withdrawn it), let the 
question be at once decided. There was no possibility of avoiding 
the issue, as the Government could not rest under the charges 
that had been made. 

This was Mr. Molteno's view of the duty of a Ministry in 
immediately meeting a vote of want of confidence, expressed 
or implied ; and as to himself personally, he said : — 

He did not think the country would be very much benefited 
by a change of Ministry just yet. Honourable members might of 
course say, * Oh I you want to keep your place.' He did not 
think any Minister had such a bed of roses after all, as was 
popularly supposed. He hoped he had higher aspirations and 
more lofty ideas than those of the mere continued possession of 
place, and a greater sense of his duty to his country than that. 
He would be willing to serve the country so long as he could do 
so honourably, but was perfectly willing to vacate his seat so soon 
as he was told, * We have had enough of you, and we want some- 
body better than you.' 

Finally, the Opposition did not dare to go to an issue on 
the question on which they had challenged the Government, 
by the mouths of their leaders, in terms the most distinct ; 
they feared to court an ignominious defeat on a division, 
and they surrendered the cause they had boasted they would 
maintain. 

A more pitiable spectacle (says the ' Argus ') than that presented 
by the Opposition yesterday, has never been seen in the House of 
Assembly. Member after member of the anti-Ministerial party got 
up and protested that he did not wish to turn out the Government, 
nor had he wished to obstruct the business of the country. It 
was a day of apologies. Then the valiant Mr. Paterson, after the 
manner of street boys caught throwing stones, ' Please Sir, it was 
not me, it was the member for East London.' The honourable 
member for Port EUzabeth had not made his criticism on the 
financial position of the Colony out of any spirit of hostility to the 



FIRST SESSION UNDER SIR BARTLE FRERE 211 

Government ; he made it out of the love and a£fection he bore for 
the occupants of the Treasury Bench. 

During the course of the debate, an incident showed the 
confidence of the Dutch-speaking members in Mr. Molteno, 
with whom a number of members generally voted as one man. 
Twitted with this, Mr. Botha rose in his seat, and in im- 
perfect English threw the taunt back, and said : — ' It was 
not because they did not make speeches that they did not use 
their common sense, and, for his part, he would rather follow 
the Beaufort lion than the Colesberg foxes * (Mr. Watermeyer 
and Mr. Cole). The confidence in the Beaufort lion was 
strengthened by the attacks upon the Ministry, who had 
never boasted of their acts, while they served to bring out 
clearly the wisdom and patriotism of their actions, which 
would otherwise have remained unknown and unpublished. 
As was well said at the time : — 

In regard to the present Government, Mr. Paterson performs 
a very useful office. In the Roman GathoUc Church, when it is 
proposed to canonise some departed soul of reputed sanctity, the 
tribunal is formed to investigate the act of the reported saint. 
Before this tribunal an officer appears, who states all the evils he 
can discover or imagine regarding the deceased ; and because of 
the nature of his duties he is called * The Devil's Advocate.' Of 
course the charges he brings are refuted, the sanctity of the 
deceased is proved, and the departed soul is placed on the rolls of 
the saints. It seems to us that, as regards the Molteno Ministry, 
Mr. Paterson played a part not unlike that of ' The Devil's Advo- 
cate.' He brings the most serious charges against the Govern- 
ment ; but they are refuted, and the administration stands higher 
in public estimation owing to the ordeal. 

We may remind our readers that this Mr. Paterson was 
the individual chosen by Lord Carnarvon to replace Mr. 
Molteno. 

We must now draw attention to the steps which were 
taken by the Government to force Kreh to respect the 
Governor's decision on the boundary question. They were 
prompt and vigorous, they had the desired effect without any 

p 2 



212 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

bloodshed, and served as a precedent for the action, which 
Mr. Molteno desired to take on the outbreak of the Galeka 
troubles, but which Sir Bartle Frere vetoed. 

On the 20th of July, 1876, Sir Henry Barkly had reported 
to the Secretary of State on the condition of the frontier, 
recounting the steps which had been taken by the Ministers 
vnth his full concurrence.^ Part of the ammunition which 
had just been purchased of the Imperial Government had been 
ordered by telegraph to be conveyed to various border towns. 
The Ministry did not believe there was any danger ; they did 
not, however, ignore the alarm which existed — they adopted 
all the precautions in their power. The assistance of Imperial 
troops was asked from the Imperial Government to the 
extent of the ordinary reliefs for the 32nd regiment being 
sent out some little time beforehand. The Buffs were sent 
for this purpose, and, on their arrival, the Governor desired 
Sir Arthur Cunynghame to move them to East London. 

In the despatch Sir Henry Barkly said : — * It may be 
hoped that the advance of a large body of police beyond the 
Eei will not be called for, but that the effect produced by 
the mere disembarkation of the 3rd Buffs at East London 
will suffice to induce Kreli to respect the decision on the 
boundary question.* It was further decided to augment the 
frontier police by at least 200 men, for which purpose 
active measures were being taken by the Government, and 
meanwhile its advance posts in the Transkei were being 
reinforced gradually and cautiously. By these means, and 
by the prompt suppression of all acts of insubordination, all 
risks of a serious outbreak were obviated. 

Thus the Ministry, enforcing its own policy in accord with 
the High Commissioner, did all that could be done to give 
protection to life and property on both sides of the Kei, and to 
maintain the supremacy of the Queen. They sent for troops, 

» J. P., 0—1748, p. 67 ; also J. P., 0—1776, p. 36, where Lord Caraarvon 
expresses his satisfaction with the steps taken by the Colonial Government. 



FIRST SESSION UNDER SIR BARTLB FRERE 213 

and used them judiciously without parliamentary authority ; 
they increased the frontier police; they forwarded 10,000 
stand of arms to the border ; they purchased cannon for 
use if war broke out.^ They acted vigilantly, vigorously, 
and with coolness, relying on the good faith of the Parlia- 
ment to support them in what they did for the defence of 
the country. 

The anxiety Mr. Molteno and his colleagues suffered at 
that critical time cannot be known to any but themselves ; 
but the attacks upon their administration served to bring out 
all these facts, which received the unanimous approval of 
the Parliament. Lord Carnarvon took the opportunity of 
again reminding the Colonial Ministers that they must 
provide against native disturbances, and that the Imperial 
troops must not be used for this purpose ; while, at the 
same time, he expresses his approval of their native policy : — 
' I have no desire to find fault with the course which has 
been pursued by your advisers on native affairs. On the 
contrary, I have given on many occasions emphatic praise 
to a policy which has been, in its dealings with these 
uncivilised or half -civilised races, prudent and hberal.* ' 

The mode in which Mr. Molteno treated the ques- 
tion of frontier defence serves to bring out the continuity 
of his policy as head of the Government, with the liberal 
spirit of the constitution of 1854, drawn up as it was by 
Mr. Porter, and interpreted and fostered by Sir George 
Grey's administration. It also served to bring out the 
importance which he attached to the preservation of the 
unity of the Colony for all purposes, and more particularly 
for that purpose which, above all, tends to bind the inhabi- 
tants of a country together, the defence of their common 
country. 

A conmiission on frontier defence had sat in the recess, 
presided over by Mr. Sprigg, and several recommendations 

» I. P., C— 1776, p. 88. » I. p., 0—1776, p. 8. 



214 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

had been made, some of which were adopted by the 
Government. There were, however, two of great importance, 
carried only by the casting vote of the chairman, which met a 
different fate. The one asserted that it was desirable to divide 
the Colony into two parts in respect of personal service 
during war time ; the other, that a line of distinction should be 
drawn between the whites and the coloured inhabitants 
of the Colony. Both these principles Mr. Molteno rejected 
in the Government Bill, and the House of Assembly sup- 
ported him in this aflBirmation of the unity of the Colony. 
In the defence of their common country there is not, and 
ought not, to be any difference made between east and 
west, any more than between north and south in England. 
It is the duty of all citizens to take up arms when the 
Colony is in danger. 

On the second point Mr. Molteno was equally firm that in 
the defence of their country, as in the suffrage, no line was to 
be drawn between the white and coloured inhabitants. No 
line was to be drawn between whites and blacks merely on 
account of their colour. The men of colour, loyal to the 
Queen, and faithful to the Colonial Government, were not 
to be excluded from the defensive forces of the country, and 
so be led to consider themselves as enemies and not friends. 
This action of the Ministry is interesting in the light of 
what was so soon to follow. The native was to be disarmed 
by Sir Bartle Frere and regarded as an enemy, upon whose 
neck the white man's foot must constantly be set. It was not 
to the colonists that this fatal attempt to put into operation 
a principle new to South Africa was due ; it was to the in- 
spiration of the Anglo-Indian, Sir Bartle Frere, who directed 
his nominee and henchman, Mr. Sprigg, to carry out his orders 
in this as in other respects. 

We may add in this connection very appropriately, what 
Mr. Solomon's organ in the Press wrote at this time of this 
treatment of the natives by the Molteno Ministry : — 



MEST SESSION UNDER SIR BARTLE FRERE 215 

It has often been said that the special mission of Mr. Solomon in 
this country was to obtain justice for the native races. If that be 
true, we say confidently, that the debates just ended show that 
the object of the mission has been accomplished. No retro- 
gressive law stands any chance of being passed by the legislature 
of the Cape of Good Hope, and statesmen of England may rely 
on the good sense and love of justice in this respect of the Cape 
Parliament. 

Eemembering Mr. Solomon's vdse, consistent, and un- 
flagging efforts in the direction of justice to the natives, no 
better proof of the fairness and justice of the Ministerial 
policy towards the natives could possibly be adduced. 
When we recall the fact that Mr. Molteno had the almost 
unanimous support of the Dutch members behind him in 
this policy towards the natives, we may realise the extra- 
ordinary success which characterised his Ministry. It is 
true that Mr. Watermeyer was opposed to him, but this 
gentleman had now become an out-and-out advocate of the 
Imperial policy of coercion towards South Africa, and in 
this session he not only expressed his approval of the 
annexation of the Transvaal, but actually threatened the 
Cape Colony with the loss of its constitution if it did not 
immediately fall in with Lord Carnarvon's confederation 
proposals. Mr. Molteno was quite correct when in the pre- 
ceding session he had shown that responsible government 
in Mr. Watermeyer*s hands would be worthless. 

The man who was to change all this harmony was 
already in South Africa, with a great philanthropic reputation 
to back him, and to mislead even men like Mr. Solomon 
into supporting him, till it was too late to prevent the 
evil he was about to perpetrate. When a division took 
place upon the Frontier Defence Bill, several members 
who voted against Mr. Molteno were immediately taken to 
task at public meetings convened by their constituents, 
while others would have voted VTith the Government had 
they thought it in any danger. A journal which had pre- 



216 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

dieted great things of Mr. Sprigg's generalship among the 
principal Opposition members, was now compelled to con- 
fess that — 

on many occasions daring this session we regretted to see the 
course taken by Mr. Sprigg, but last night we really pitied him. 
The party of which he so much boasted was broken asunder, and 
they showed the rent to the world. Out-generaled in tactics, his 
last effort before a full House was turned into ridicule, and he was 
hoisted by his own petard. We are sorry that such a spectacle 
should have been presented, but it proved, what we have said 
tiiroughout, that the party was a rope of sand and a sham. The 
Opposition of the session of 1877 is dead. Let it be buried with 
all decent speed. Even the abihties and energy of Mr. Sprigg could 
not create a party to live out of such materials. 

It is this Mr. Sprigg whom Sir Bartle Frere chose, a few 
months later, for his minion, and whom he kept in power 
by the prestige and patronage of the Imperial Governorship 
and High Commissionership. 

It is clear that Mr. Molteno remained unquestionably 
the only man who really possessed the confidence of the 
Parliament and the country. Sir Bartle Frere must have 
recognised the ridiculous character of Lord Carnarvon's 
intrigue with Mr. Paterson, and that it was foredoomed to 
failure, while he himself would have a most difficult task in 
any attempt to displace Mr. Molteno from the position he 
held in the Parliament and the country by any legitimate 
and constitutional means. 

The fact to which we have already alluded, that Mr. 
Molteno was now carrying out his promise to Lord Car- 
narvon that he would annex Griqualajid West to the Cape 
Colony, precluded Sir Bartle Frere from taking any active 
steps against him. But Sir Bartle Frere still tried to bring 
Griqualand West into union by confederation, and only 
discontinued his efforts in this direction when Mr. Molteno 
definitely declined to proceed except by annexation. 

This Act for annexation was introduced by Mr. Molteno. 



FIRST SESSION UNDER SIR BARTLE FRERE 217 

He shortly sketched the history of the question, and said, 
that the * only reason why the House had refused before to 
annex the Diamond Fields was in consequence of the dis- 
pute with the Orange Free State, but this had now been 
settled.' On finding this to be the case, on his recent visit 
to Engljtnd the question arose of the future government of 
the province of Griqualand West, and he there gave it as 
his opinion that annexation to the Cape Colony would be 
best in the interests of the province itself as well as of 
the Imperial Government and the Colony; he firmly 
beheved that it would tend to the welfare of the whole 
of South Africa, as well as to the advancement of the 
province itself. 

In the debate which followed, Mr. Southey, ex-Governor 
of Griqualand West, confirmed the view which Mr. Molteno 
had always held and had put before the Imperial Govern- 
ment, that by the erection of Griqualand West into a 
separate government the Cape Parliament was absolved 
from all responsibility or liabihty which might have attached 
to it owing to its resolution in 1871 in favour of the annexa- 
tion of Griqualand West to the Colony. On a show of 
opposition being made, Mr. Molteno at once stated that the 
refusal to pass the second reading of the Bill could only be 
regarded as a vote of want of confidence in the Ministry ; 
it was not a question which could be treated lightly see- 
ing that he had pledged himself to the Secretary of State 
for the Colonies to do his best to carry the measure 
through. 

Thus Mr. Molteno once more risked his pohtical ex- 
istence to carry out arrangements made to suit Lord Car- 
narvon's wishes. We may contrast with this the treatment 
which Mr. Molteno received at Lord Carnarvon's hands 
on this subject. This was not alluded to in any way by 
Mr. Molteno in the debate, but it was referred to by Mr. 
Marais, who said : 



218 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

He especially deprecated the way in which the Colonial Secre- 
tary had been treated when he went to England last year only to 
find that the question of the boundary dispute had been already 
settled. He regretted the great act of discourtesy on the part of 
the Imperial Government, and the insult to the Ck>lony at large 
He was among those who voted for the introduction of responsible 
government, but really it seemed as if we were governed as much 
from Downing Street as ever. 

The Bill was eventually carried without difficulty. Mr. 
Molteno felt the serious character of the step which 
was to be taken. Griqualand West was now in a very 
depressed condition, its population was a floating one with 
at that time no permanent stake in the country. It was 
of a very miscellaneous character, and derived its wealth 
solely from the mines. Seeking the earliest opportunity 
of leaving the country with its savings or its fortune, it 
was not a desirable population to trust with much political 
power. It was apparently of a turbulent character, for 
a rebellion had only just been quieted by the despatch of 
Imperial troops. It was moreover uncertain how long the 
mines would continue to yield, and admit of taxation suffi- 
cient to meet the expenses of its government. 

The concentration of the mines in one spot, and the 
Eiver Diggings in jtnother well defined area, enabled the 
electoral constitution to be clearly and sharply defined, and 
four members were assigned to Kimberley, and two to 
Barkly, thus adding six members to the Colonial Par- 
liament, while one member was added to the Legislative 
Council. The success of the management of this province 
upon its annexation to the Cape Colony, compared with its 
financial deficit and political unrest culminating in open 
rebellion in the period preceding its incorporation with 
the Colony, attests the superior efficiency which attends 
colonial administration on the spot in comparison with the 
distant and more difficult control from England herself. 
It affords an illustration of a numerous class of cases all 



HEST SESSION UNDER SIR BARTLE FRERE 219 

proving that while the Imperial Parliament may be trusted 
in the settlement of general principles, relying on the 
wisdom that has descended through generations of states- 
men to the political leaders of the present day, yet in the 
application of these principles to other countries, and under 
other conditions, the Imperial Parliament, from want of 
local knowledge, is not to be trusted. This is generally 
conceded and acted upon in the establishment of responsible 
government in the colonies. 

One of Lord Carnarvon's great objects had now been 
attained. The Imperial Government was reUeved of Gri- 
qualand West.* A conciliatory policy towards the Free 
State had led to this result. A similar policy towards the 
Transvaal would have led to similar results in that direction, 
but Lord Carnarvon was in a hurry. He was not content 
to wait to register the success of this first step towards 
consolidation in South Airica. It would have been well for 
the success of Confederation and for the welfare of all 
South Africa had he been content so to do. He was, 
however, launched on the road of ' force.' The Transvaal 
had been seized. Sir Bartle Frere was to confederate and 
consolidate South Africa in two years. The annexation of 
the Transvaal, instead of tending to bring about an iiome- 
diate federation, rather demonstrated its practical impossi- 
bility. 

It was seen that the new federation, that is practi- 
cally the Cape Colony, would have to deal with Secoceni, 
with Cetywayo, and other chiefs, to grapple with the 
internal disorders of the Transvaal, and would have imme- 



* Notwithstanding the passage of the Act the annexation was deferred for 
the purpose of making Griqaaland West count as a unit in the proposed 
confederation. Mr. Molteno was dismissed shortly after, and his snooessor 
acquiesced in this policy. Griqualand West appears in his conference proposals 
of 1880 as a separate state with three delegates, being half the representation 
accorded to the Gape ! The conference was rejected by the Parliament of 1880, 
and thereupon only was Griqualand West annexed to the Cape. 



220 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

diately to advance, as the Imperial Government was obliged 
to do, 100,0002. to maintain the government of the Trans- 
Taal. It appeared at once to all observers that the Transvaal 
was not then in a condition to be politically joined to other 
struggling commmiities, whatever its position might be after 
some years of British role and British expenditure. It was 
clear to any impartial mind that the Cape Colony, coping 
with immense difficulties in the development of its physical 
resources, and in the government and assimilation of the 
newly annexed territories in the Transkei and elsewhere, 
had its hands so full that the assumption of any further 
burden was likely to be disastrous and fatal to the success 
of its undertaking. 

All South Africa was now to be brought under Lord 
Carnarvon's direct control. Natal was subject to it by the 
constitution of 1875, the Transvaal was seized, and it was 
fondly believed that its fate could be disposed of by a stroke 
of the pen. The Free State and the Cape Colony remained 
the only parts of Africa still able to control their own des- 
tinies. The latter was now to come under Lord Carnarvon's 
direct control once more through Sir Bartle Frere. His 
policy and his officials were soon in complete possession of all 
South Africa except the small Free State. 

We shall see the means adopted to bring the Cape 
under Sir Bartle Frere in our next chapter, and subsequently 
we shall have to record the disastrous results of this return 
to a direct control of South African policy from afar, 
which under the old personal rule of the Governor and 
Secretary of State had been demonstrated to be the most 
fatal, most costly and impossible mode of ruling South 
Africa. Local experience and knowledge was wholly set 
aside, the statesmen who thoroughly understood and were 
in touch with the population of South Africa were displaced 
for men newly arrived from Europe. Sir Bartle Frere, 



FIBST SESSION UNDEB SIB BABTLE PBEBE 221 

Sir Owen Lanyon, and Sir George Colley were now the 
arbiters of its fate, to the infinite loss of South Africa, the 
embarrassment of the Empire, and the fall of the Home 
Ministry, which by its unwise policy had brought disaster 
by similar principles in two continents. 



222 LIFE AND TIMES OP SDft J. C. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXV 

SIB BABTLB FBBBB AS DICTATOB. 1877 

Native Distnrbanoes— Kreli and Fingoes — Qoveroor temporiBes— DisregardB 
MiniBten' advice— MiniBten* preparationB — They urge vigoronB aotion — 
Mazeppa Bay Landing— Belations of Imperial and Colonial Foroes— Mr. 
Molteno urges immediate Advance — ProoeedB to Frontier— Griffith in charge 
of OperationB— SaooeBBfnl clearance of Oalekaland— Govemor*B proposals 
for settlement of Qalekaland — Forces them on Ministers at risk of a Crisis 
— Their onsoitable Character— Ministers nrge Governor's return to Cape 
Town—Galekas come back. 

' Thb South African qnestion is also a big one. It is capable 
of working np into the worst clnster of native wars that we 
have yet had.' So wrote Lord Blachford to Sir Henry Taylor 
in the same month in which Sir Bartle Frere left for South 
Africa.^ The prophetic utterance was to be too surely realised. 
The native question in South Africa is one which exceeds 
all others in importance. It is the touchstone of a Governor's 
abiUty and wisdom. For twenty-five years there had been 
peace under Colonial management with but little Imperial 
interference. The responsibility for the management of the 
natives had been definitely placed on the Cape Colony's 
shoulders on its acceptance of responsible government. 
Three serious crises had arisen since then, and had been 
successfully dealt with by Mr. Molteno. 

As soon as Parliament was prorogued Sir Bartle Frere 
announced his intention of making a tour through the Colony, 
particularly its eastern section. There was no reason at this 
time to anticipate, in the absence of bad management or 
a change of policy, any outbreak or trouble between the 

> LetUra of Lord Blachford^ p. 878. 



SIE BAETLE PRERE AS DICTATOR 223 

whites and the natives. His predecessor had informed him 
that on the Cape frontier everything was perfectly quiet, and 
that he thought that he might safely predict that Sir Bartle 
Frere would find no native difficulties to deal with so far as 
the Cape Colony was concerned. To the Secretary of State 
he had reported on the 23rd of February, 1877, just before Sir 
Bartle Frere's arrival, that * perfect tranquillity now pre- 
vails from one end of the Transkei to the other.'^ Never- 
theless frontier defence had not been neglected by the 
Ministry, and steps which have been already referred to 
were taken by them. The question was one which if 
improperly handled or imwisely dealt with might lead to 
very serious results. Inasmuch as it was to afford Sir 
Bartle Frere an opportunity of dismissing his Ministry 
and placing his own nominee in power we shall be compelled 
to follow in considerable detail the course of the war which 
now ensued. 

While the Governor was on the frontier a perfectly 
accidental collision took place between the Galekas and 
the Fingoes. A narrow river divided these tribes from one 
another, and at a marriage among the Fingoes, to which 
some of the Galekas were invited as guests, a quarrel arose 
because of the rudeness and insolence of the latter, and 
they were driven by the Fingoes across the river. This 
was considered an outrageous insult by the Kaffirs, and a 
band of Galekas invaded Fingoland to retrieve the national 
honour. This band was also defeated and driven back, and 
then a more organised invasion of Fingoland took place, and 
a large number of stock were swept off by the Galekas. The 
British Residents with the tribes interfered, and succeeded for 
a time in keeping the parties separated. 

The policy which had led to the Fingoes being placed in 
proximity to the Galekas was one against which the Colony, 

' Sir Henry Barkly'B despatch : I. P., C— 1776, pp. 96 and 106. 



224 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

through its Legislature, had protested.' It was done by the 
High Commissioner on his own responsibility. Kreli had in 
1856 been driven by Sir George Grey out of the country be- 
tween the Kei and the Bashee. This territory had in conse- 
quence been left vacant, and small bodies of natives from the 
surrounding tribes gradually began to filter into it, and it 
became necessary to make some provision for its government 
and occupation. Sir Philip Wodehouse proposed to divide 
it up into farms with a view to colonisation by a white 
population. Kreli thereupon made a demonstration. The 
Home Government, being alarmed at Kreli*s move, refused 
their co-operation and assent, and Sir Philip Wodehouse was 
in consequence obliged to abandon his scheme, with the final 
result that a body of Fingoes, the natives who could be most 
relied upon by the Government, as well as a body of Tam- 
bookies, were placed in a portion of this territory, while the 
southernmost coast strip Kreli was permitted to reoccupy 
with his people.^ 

When Lord Carnarvon announced that the Imperial 
troops were to be gradually reduced and eventually to be re- 
moved from the Colony, a strong protest was raised by the 
Legislature against the withdrawal until the results of this 
policy on the part of the High Commissioner had been more 
fuUy developed.' It was contended that trouble was inevitable 
owing to the proximity of native races so hostile as were 
the Fingoes and the Galekas. The Fingoes, originally in a 
position of subjection, indeed almost slavery, to the stronger 
Kafl&r races, had naturally taken sides with the British 
Government in the Kaffir wars since 1835. Kreli saw with 
bitter anguish their occupation of part of his ancestral king- 

* * The restoration of Kreli and his tribe was carried out by the (Governor 
as an Imperial measure in opposition to colonial advice, and it was predicted 
that it would sooner or later lead to trouble and disturbance.'— C. P., G — 48, 
1882, p. 5. 

« I. P., C— 2144, p. 91 ; also C. P., G— 43, 1882. p. 6. 

« I. P., C-469, pp. 6, 22. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 225 

dom, while he complained that he was shut up within bounds 
too narrow for his people. At first it seemed as if the Fingoes 
in the presence of the more uncivihsed Kafi&rs would go 
back from the position of semi-civilisation to which they had 
attained within the Colony, but with the assistance of 
Residents among them they continued to progress, and by 
this time were possessed of numerous herds of cattle, to the 
envy of their neighbours, while Kreli had never ceased to 
complain of the want of land for his growing tribe. 

AlS soon as news of the outbreak was received Mr. 
Molteno urged upon the Governor the course which had 
enabled his Government on three successive occasions to 
deal with native crises. The steps which had been taken for 
prompt and active intervention should the orders of the 
Government be disobeyed had been perfectly successful, 
when war broke out between Ereli and GangeUzwe in 
1872. Again, when Langalibalele crossed into Basutoland, 
the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police had immediately 
moved up to support the loyal natives, with the resultant and 
immediate recapture of this great chief. And so lately 
as the autumn of the preceding year, when Kreli had shown 
a disposition to disobey the injunctions of the Government 
and disregard the boundary between himself and the 
Tembus laid down by the Government, a similar prompt 
pohcy had succeeded.* 

Similar energetic steps were now urged upon the Governor, 
the * F. A. M.' Police were immediately ordered forward to the 
border of Fin goland and concentrated in positions where they 
might support the Fingoes. It was also suggested, as had 
been done on former occasions, that as a matter of precaution 
two companies of the 88th regiment should be moved up from 
Cape Town to East London. The Governor, however, replied 
to Ministers that he did not consider the matter was so 
serious. To Mr. Molteno's telegram that ' upon a general 

» C— 1748, pp. 67 and 77. 
VOL. IL Q 



226 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

review of the situation he had arrived at the conclusion that 
it was unadvisable to stop the embarkation of troops/ and 
asking whether this view was concurred in by the Governor, 
Sir Bartle Frere replied ' he was not satisfied that a move- 
ment of troops was required, for he thought that it might add 
to the Galekas* apprehensions that we intended to attack 
them.' The order for the troops to move up was counter- 
manded, and the Governor at the same time, without consult- 
ing with the Ministry, himself communicated with the 
Conmiandant of Police, directing him to inform the natives 
that they must refer disputes to the Government. 

In further pursuance of this poUcy, after the efforts of the 
magistrates had secured a temporary cessation of attack, he 
determined himself to proceed to the Transkei. The advice 
of Ministers had been : * Move upon Kreli with all the forces 
at your conmiand ; hit him hard, hit him often ; move 
quickly ; give him no time to perfect his plans.* There can 
be no doubt that had this been done the war would have been 
at an end in six weeks* time, but the High Commissioner, 
having had no experience of Kreli or of KafiBr tribes, followed 
his own views, instead of using the experience of men who 
had lived among them and known them all their lives. It 
is hardly necessary to say that Kreli refused to see the High 
Commissioner, and though hostile steps had been suspended 
while he was present, the moment he crossed the border the 
Galeka raids reconmienced.* 

Meantime the force of police who had already moved 
up were worn out by awaiting the result of these fruitless 
negotiations. They had no permanent camps or establish- 
ments, and the delay was very disastrous to them. The 
men themselves were saddle-sore and their horses were 
run down in condition, for the local pasturage had been 
destroyed by the exceptional drought. If the police had 
been hurled at the enemy before its strength and freshness 

> C. P.,A. 7— '78,pp. 21, 25. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 227 

had been in this way wasted by inaction, it would at 
once have carried all before it. This was the first serious 
disregard of the advice of local and responsible experience 
by Sir Bartle Frere. The Ministry were told in effect, 
* You carry on things with a very high hand in the Colony, 
but in the Transkei I am High Commissioner.' 

In order to apprehend the position clearly the reader 
must bear in mind that the Transkei, in which Kreli resided 
on sufferance, was not annexed to the Cape Colony, and that 
in consequence the Cape Ministry did not possess the same 
authority in it as in the Colony itself. Sir Bartle Frere, in 
virtue of his office as High Commissioner, was empowered to 
deal with the affairs of territories bordering on the Colony. 
On the other hand the affairs of the Transkei had been 
looked upon as of Colonial concern, for the effects of any 
disturbance in that coxmtry were immediately felt on the 
Colonial border, and the only mobilised force which could 
immediately deal with them was a Colonial force, the 
Frontier Armed and Mounted Police. 

Sir Bartle Frere, it is hardly necessary to say, was 
not prepared to forego any of his legitimate prerogatives ; on 
the contrary, as we shall see later on, he meant to assume 
many which were not legitimate. His knowledge of con- 
stitutional law and government was so meagre that his 
first despatch to Lord Carnarvon complained of the rule so 
well recognised and established that the Cabinet does not 
deliberate in the presence of the Sovereign but in private, 
and he added that he would not observe this rule longer than 
he thought desirable. It was clear that the position was a 
very difficult one, and full of complications only to be over- 
come by the utmost tact on each side.' 

* This difficulty of the conflict of jurisdictions had not been unforeseen by 
Sir Henry Barkly when he carried out the introduction of responsible goyemment, 
and he had suggested to Lord Kimberley that a distinction between the respon- 
sibilities should be made, the Colony being responsible for any operations 
within its bounds while the High Commissioner and her Majesty's Government 

q2 



228 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

The most effective measures against barbarous enemies 
are those which are promptest and which destroy their 
morale. Once allow them to fancy that you are hesi- 
tating and their courage immediately revives, they 
become formidable in their great numbers. But attack 
them instantly, give them no rest, allow them no time 
to recover, and the largest numbers may be driven before 
a compact force of civilised men infinitely inferior in 
numbers. Anyone who studies Lord Koberts*s narrative of 
his Afghan campaigns will not fail to perceive the enormous 
importance of attacking a barbarous enemy before they are 
encouraged by the possession of strong positions near, or 
have formed combinations which lead to their being 
mustered in large numbers in your neighbourhood ; above all, 
never allow them to believe that there is any hesitation in 
attacking them. 

There can be little doubt that had the forces been moved 
up, as Mr. Molteno had arranged, directly he knew of the first 
conflict with the Fingoes, the effect on the Galekas would 
have on this, as on previous occasions, been instantaneous, and 
they would not have dared to renew their attack when the 
Governor left Galekaland. Mr. Molteno, in his instructions 
to Commandant Bowker, tells him that he had arranged for 
these forces to go to the frontier, and that he should let 
it be known in the Transkei as widely as possible through 
his confidential native agents. 

We must be fully prepared (telegraphed Mr. Molteno to Mr. 
Merriman) ^ and I think it necessary to take steps accordingly. I 

should be responsible for any operations which might become necessary beyond 
the bounds of the Colony properly. Lord Kimberley however replied that he 
could not sanction any such distinctions, and that the Colony must be entirely 
responsible for its own defence against native aggression whether internal or 
external, while Lord Carnarvon himself had again, so recently as the 3rd of 
January of this year, reminded the Colonial Qovemment that the duty of pro- 
viding for native disturbances of necessity devolved on the Colonial Ministry 

* when responsible government was established in the Colony.' — C 1776, p. 3. 

* Mr. Merriman hsid succeeded Mr. Abercrombie Smith as Commissioner of 
Crown Lands and Public Works. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 229 

have this morning arranged for 300 men of the 88th to proceed to 
East London in the Anglian, and have directed Bowker to concen- 
trate his police as much as possible with a view to moving on the 
disturbed points. Brownlee will leave in the Anglian. His influ- 
ence with the Gaikas will most likely keep all quiet in that direc- 
tion, so that we may the more easily deal with Ereli. I think it 
would be well if you could proceed immediately to King William's 
Town.i 

The native policy here indicated was all frustrated by 
the Governor's action in countermanding the troops. Had 
the Galekas been stopped at the outset, the subsequent 
efifects of their outbreak in causing the Gaikas and Tam- 
bookies to rise would have been avoided. Just as the 
three preceding crises had been successfully dealt with by 
the Colonial Government's promptitude and vigour, so now 
the necessity for further fighting would have been obviated. 

The Governor hesitated, he said he would not prejudge 
Kreli, notwithstanding the fact that he was advised by the 
Secretary for Native Affairs that according to well-known 
signs Kreli had committed himself to war. This tem- 
porising policy was regarded by Kreli as an indication of 
hesitation to support the Fingoes. As soon as the Go- 
vernor's back was turned the raiding began in earnest.* On 
the 24th of September Colonel Eustace, the Kesident with 
Kreli, retired upon the police, and Commandant Griffith 
was appointed to relieve Commandant Bowker, who retired 
through ill-health from the command of police in the 
Transkei. On the same day Mr. Merriman tells Mr. 
Molteno that the Governor stiU hopes to settle matters 
without serious complications, while Mr. Molteno asks : 
* What does his Excellency think with regard to any 
movement of troops from this end ? My opinion is that we 
should rather err on the safe side than otherwise.' 

Mr. Merriman replied that they proposed to warn all 

' The Governor acknowledged the vigorous and prompt steps which Mr. 
Molteno took in writing to the Imperial Government. — A. 7 — 78, p. 89. 
« O. P., A. 7— '78. p. 26. 



230 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

burghers along the Eei border and to appoint Messrs. Cowie 
and Brabant Field Commandants at once, and that the ques- 
tion of moving troops to the frontier would be considered. 
Mr. Molteno concurred in these steps, saying that vigorous 
action on our part should be taken, so that Kreli might see 
the utter hopeless]:iess of resisting our just demands.* He 
added that * however necessary it may be to avoid expense as 
much as possible, it must be a secondary consideration in a 
case of this kind.* On the following day Mr. Merriman 
announced that he and the Governor did not think it well to 
move the 88th, to which Mr. Molteno replied that in the 
event of actual fighting having commenced, the despatch of 
a portion of the 88th in the direction of Mazeppa Bay 
would have an important effect upon Kreli*s people. 

The police were now instructed to resist the Galekas if 
they attacked the Fingoes. If the Galeka forces were too 
numerous to be arrested then force was to be used. On the 
25th of September Commandant Griffith arrived at Ibeka, 
and on the 26th the first blow was struck. A large number 
of Galekas had engaged the Fingoes, when a patrol under 
Mr. Chalmers came upon them, and he did not hesitate to 
attack with some eighty police and 1,000 Fingoes. The 
action was carried on against a very large number of 
Galekas, but the single gun which the police possessed, after 
doing good work, broke down, at which the Fingoes became 
alarmed and retreated, and the European force was obliged 
to do likewise, with a loss of several men. 

Almost immediately afterwards the post at Ibeka was 
attacked, and an action took place, which was chiefly one of 
artillery, and the assailants were driven back. Commandant 
Griffith now awaited reinforcements in order to break up 
the bands of several thousands of men who were mustered 
around Kreli *s kraal for the avowed purpose of plunder and 
expelling the Fingoes. When it was found that all efforts 
to settle things peacefully were useless, it was at last agreed 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 231 

that men were to be called for. There could be no further 
question as to Kreli*s position of hostility, and vigorous 
action was necessary. The Governor and Mr. Merriman 
called for volunteers from the frontier districts, the call was 
immediately and admirably responded to, and Conmiandant 
Griffith was rapidly reinforced. 

Mr. Molteno nevertheless questioned whether, looking to 
the large native population, and especially the Gaikas, it 
was wise to denude the frontier districts of the volunteers and 
burghers, and suggested whether it would not be better 
for him to send up men from the west and the districts more 
remote from the frontier. A reply, however, came from the 
frontier that Mr. Molteno might make himself easy, and 
that there was no reason to anticipate trouble on this side of 
the Kei. Ministers had said * we can get 500 from Cape 
Town and 500 from Port Elizabeth,* but the reply was * no, 
we merely want fifty men from each place for the moral 
effect, showing that the whole of the country would act in 
unison.' Ministers held up their hands in astonishment, 
and said that unless some more decisive steps were taken, 
SandilU would rise and the war would spread further and 
further ; but instead of calling for the men as advised, the 
everlasting refrain was, * Keep quiet, keep quiet.' 

At last it was agreed that something should be done, 
and troops were sent for to be brought up in the Active. 
Mazeppa Bay or some spot in that neighbourhood was sug- 
gested as the most desirable point for carrying out a success- 
ful plan of operations, but instead of being landed there they 
were stopped at East London. When Ministers complained 
of this, and information was received from East London that 
troops could be landed at Mazeppa Bay, they were told to 
send up volunteers from Cape Town and land them there. 
Mr. Molteno then telegraphed to Mr. Merriman : — 

Am not yet in a position to answer your message for steamer 
for Mazeppa Bay. What do you propose to do in this respect ? 



232 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

Must be folly informed of plans before I can consent to be held 
responsible for any new move of this kind. Why was Active 
stopped, and troops landed at East London ? Left entirely in the 
dark on this point. If man-of-war with all her appliances could 
not do anything in this direction, I have no faith in a merchant 
steamer. 

And again : — 

If the expedition of the Active were considered foolhardy by 
you all, I have not a moment's hesitation in saying that in my 
opinion the idea of sending volunteers to do anything of the kind 
is ten times more foolhardy. If the troops had landed and estab- 
lished themselves there I was prepared to follow the movement up 
with volunteers. 

The Minister refused to give the order and the Governor 
admitted the soundness of Mr. Molteno*s objection ; ^ but 
subsequently when orders were given by the General at 
King William's Town for the remainder of the 88th to be 
brought up and landed at Mazeppa Bay, they put into East 
London, and were landed there. The Governor had himself 
overruled the General and the Cabinet, 

The question now arose as to what should be the relation 
between the Imperial troops and the colonial forces. Mr. 
Molteno's views, as will appear subsequently, were most 
decided. He held that the Imperial troops were not fitted 
for Kaffir fighting, and that the rough and ready ways of 
colonial forces, commanded by their own officers, who 
thoroughly understood the Kaffirs and their mode of warfare, 
were infinitely more eflFective. Moreover, the responsibility 
for the defence of the frontier of the Colony devolved upon the 
Colonial Government, and he was prepared to undertake it. 
Matters were brought to a head by the proposal made by the 
Governor that the General should have formal command 
of the troops in the field. Mr. Merriman telegraphs : — 

Very urgent. Governor and I concur in thinking that General 
should have formal command over all forces given him. Griffith, 

» J. P., C-2000, p. 62. 



SIE BAETLE FRBEE AS DICTATOE 233 

with rank of Colonel, will command all troops, Imperial and 
colonial, on the other side of Kei. . . . Wire your concurrence at 
once, so as to avoid complications. Push action. We issue Gazette 
at once. 

To this Mr. Molteno replied : — 

Am I to distinctly understand that Griffith's action is not in 
any way fettered by the position of the General ? . . . I think the 
Imperial troops should not be brought in contact with the enemy ; 
their presence at King William's Town, Komgha, and neighbourhood 
would be most valuable in inspiring confidence and overawing 
the Gaikas, letting our forces be to the front and fighting the battle. 

In this same telegraphic correspondence Mr. Merriman 
says : * The direction of forces Transkei is left entirely to 
Grifl&th, who is not the man to let the grass grow mider his 
feet/ and again, 'Best assmred that I will take care that 
Grifl5th*s action is in no way fettered,' while the Governor 
himself writes mider date the 1st of October to Mr. 
Molteno : — 

The General and Colonel Glyn have acted most cordially with 
us, and, I think, done everything we have asked them, and made 
the very best disposition of our very limited military means. Sprigg 
and others have asked pubHcly * whether it is the principle of 
Government that her Majesty's troops are to stay in garrison when 
the burghers and volunteers go to the front ' ; but we need not 
heed the implied sarcasm, first, because we are acting in compli- 
ance with a very careful and well-considered opinion of Griffith 
that her Majesty's troops should hold the railway Une, East Lon- 
don, King William's Town, and Greytown, and advanced posts at 
Komgha and Impetu to cover the line of the Kei; and second, 
because for detached service across the river at this time of the 
year, when heavy floods often last for days together, the police and 
burghers are better adapted than regular infantry who must move 
under different conditions from Ught and irregular forces. 

From this it is clear that at that time the Governor 
concurred in Mr. Molteno's view that it was desirable that 
the fighting should be done by the Colonial troops, the Im- 
perial troops taking up fixed stations in the Colony. A 



234 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

single infantry regiment, the first battalion of the 24th, 
without cavalry, artillery, or transport train, represented the 
whole regular forces available.^ 

Mr. Molteno urged that rapid and effective action should 
be taken against the enemy, and on the 5th of October he 
telegraphs to Mr. Merriman : — 

I am somewhat alarmed at the general tenoor of your telegrams 
of yesterday, and especially of the one commencing with these 
words : * (general proposes to send at once for ordinary reliefs,' 
which seems to indicate that we are to be precipitated into a Kaffir 
war of the old type instead of quick and sharp action in the dis- 
turbed quarter, for which purpose I had hoped by this time suf- 
ficient reinforcements would have reached. Does the General 
look upon this as an Imperial war, and is the expense to be 
defrayed by Imperial funds, and is he prepared to draw upon the 
Imperial Exchequer to the required extent ? We cannot afford to 
do things in the old way, and it seems to me evident that he con- 
templates a long affair, and is bent upon getting together a large 
force before striking a blow. I hope I am wrong ; but if not, I 
think any such dilatory proceedings would place us in a very awk- 
ward position, and would certainly have an injurious effect upon 
all natives whether acting for or against us.' 

To this Mr. Merriman replied that the Gk)vemor did not 
consider this an Imperial war of the old kind. As he was 
actually telegraphing. Sir Bartle came into the telegraph office, 
and Mr. Merriman reported * the Governor very distinctly 
sjrmpathises in your views, and tells me to say that he said 
nothing to Lord Carnarvon, nor to Commander-in-Chief indi- 
cating a wish for reinforcements, beyond a few artillerymen 
from St. Helena.' 

Mr. Molteno insisted that Commandant Griffith, the 
Colonial officer in charge of the operations, was not to be in 
any way fettered by the proposed position of the General : — 

Griffith's experience entitled him to the confidence of the 
Government ; and the Colony generally is, I have no doubt, of the 
same opinion. My own experience teaches me that in a matter of 

> Sir B. Frere to Earl Carnarvon, C. P., A. 7—78, p. 36. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 236 

this kind inaction and delay are most dangerous, and, above all 
things, to be avoided. It saps the order of and wearies the volun- 
teers and burghers. Their horses become useless, and, on the 
other side, the enemy is emboldened. Strike quickly and sharply 
would be my advice at almost any risk. If the Tembus are to be 
made use of at all under Elliott, I would hurl them upon the enemy 
without a moment's delay, follow them up sharply with the Fingoes, 
who would want no commissariat arrangements, then the mounted 
police, burghers, and volunteers; and the result would not, I 
think, long be doubtful in driving the enemy out of his country ; 
and if Moni and the Pondos are to be depended upon — which, I 
think, they are, their interests lying in that direction — the Gulekaa 
would be done for. ... I firmly trust in your not giving your 
countenance to a moment's unnecessary delay or of any idea of 
waiting to accumulate a large force, which it would be difficult and 
costly to provide for, and might in the end, as I have seen before, 
be comparatively useless. 

On the 4th Mr. Merriman telegraphed : * We have 1,300 
men in the field, 1,000 mounted,' and that * no more troops 
were needed.' On this information, Mr. Molteno continued 
to urge immediate action, and on the 9th he again tele- 
graphed to Mr. Merriman : — 

Is there yet no forward movement on Griffith's part ? I must 
beg of you to let us know what orders have been given to him. 
The golden opportunity of attacking Kreli, if not already lost, is, I 
fear, Hkely to be so ; and all our preparations for getting together 
an army before doing anything will end in the usual way — ^no 
enemy fool enough to fight us on those terms. Pray inform us 
more fully what you intend to do, and the results of your daily 
councils of war; I do not want details. Must be more fully 
informed, for the fears which I entertained and communicated to 
you some days ago are by no means diminished, but quite the con- 
trary. I wish the General could be got to see the advisability of 
confining himself more to movements of Imperial troops, and to any 
expenditure he is prepared to bear the cost of from Imperial fimds ; 
but we must act in a more rough and ready and economical man- 
ner, even if there should be, in the opinion of some, more risk. 

The difficulties caused by the Governor's absence from 
the seat of Government, together with the division of the 
Cabinet which was involved thereby, now began to be felt. 



236 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Mr. Molteno was not satisfied with the position of affairs on 
the frontier ; a serious hesitation to act seemed to possess 
those at the front. On the day on which the last tele- 
gram referred to was sent, a Cabinet Comicil was held, and 
the result was announced in the following telegram : — 

At our Cabinet meeting yesterday we fully discussed the posi- 
tion of affairs, and arrived at the conclusion, looking at the point 
to which things have arrived, that it was advisable that I should 
with as little delay as possible join you. There are many difficult 
questions requiring full discussion with the Governor which it is 
quite impossible satisfactorily to do by telegraph ; and postal com- 
munication is altogether too slow nowadays. Under these circum- 
stances, I immediately set to work making the necessary arrange- 
ments for my departure, and am now fully prepared to embark in 
the Melrose which sails this afternoon at four o'clock. ... I 
have no doubt, under Captain Mills's able management, with two 
Cabinet Ministers to refer to, everything will go on without a 
hitch. 

Mr. Molteno left on the 10th of October, and arrived at 
King William's Town on the 14th or 15th. On the 17th 
Griffith began his advance to sweep Galekaland,^ and we 
must now describe the preparations which enabled the ad- 
vance to take place. 

It was on the 26th of September that the attack had taken 
place on Commandant Griffith's position. The news of this 
engagement was sent to King WiUiam's Town by telegraph 
on the 27th of September, and the Government at once issued 
orders to the different Civil Commissioners to push forward 
volunteers as fast as possible. The idea was to localise the 
disturbance as much as possible in the Transkei. The Civil 
Commissioner at Queen's Town was communicated with, 
and Queen's Town answered with a readiness which did 
them infinite credit. Within a very few hours a force of 
fifty-eight men marched from Queen's Town across Fingo- 
land to Ibeka, and at the same time fifty of the Frontier 

» C. P., A. 7—78, p. 79. 



SIB BARTLE FBEBE AS DICTATOE 237 

Armed and Mounted Police left Queen's Town to reinforce 
Mr. Hook's troops. Arrangements were made with the 
Greneral, at the request of the Government, for taking up all 
the troops from Cape Town to the frontier, and they, of 
course, were very anxious for action ; but it was decided 
by the Government that the best course would be for the 
military to take up positions lining Galekaland and the Gaika 
location, leaving the work to be done by the poUce and volun- 
teers. The great object was to get the police and volunteers 
to the front as soon as possible. From the 27th of Septem- 
ber until the first blow was struck was a very anxious 
time indeed. The whole police force in the Transkei was 
something Uke 300 men. Out of this some twenty or thirty 
had to go to Bljrtheswood with the women and children, 
fifty more were left at Toleni, an important post on the Kei, 
to guard the communications, and that left only about 180 
men to guard Ibeka where the first attack would be made. 

It was a very anxious time, these two days before rein- 
forcements could reach Commandant Grifl&th ; if the police 
had given way, and there had been a general rush of Kaffirs 
over Fingoland, it is impossible to say what would have 
happened. They stood firm, however, until reinforcements 
were able to come up ; and a great debt of gratitude is due 
to the police for the stand they made at Ibeka. It was not 
long before the Colony answered with an excellent spirit to 
the call made. Every town on the frontier gave its quota — 
Grahamstown, King WiUiam's Town, Queen's Town, and 
Cradock all came forward, and sent up men with supplies 
and ammunition to the front ; and about the 2nd of October 
Commandant Griffith was secure in his position. The 
Kaffirs could not break through into Fingoland, and it was 
equally certain they were not Ukely to make a raid into the 
Colony, leaving their rear unprotected. 

From this date the disturbance was locaUsed. On the 
3rd of October, in consideration of certain difficulties which 



238 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

the Government anticipated were likely to arise in ordering 
the forces about, Lient.-General Sir Arthur Cunynghame was 
put in nominal command, but with the distinct understanding 
that Commandant Griffith should be perfectly unfettered 
in his action in Galekaland. The General did not inter- 
fere with Commandant Griffith at all.' Not a single order 
was issued, and the colonial officer was perfectly unfettered, 
so that whatever credit or discredit there may be in regard 
to the Galeka campaign belongs, not to Sir Arthur Cunyng- 
hame, but to Commandant Griffith and his forces. It has 
been said that this virtually gave Sir Arthur Cunynghame 
powers which the Government resisted. It was nothing 
of the kind. He was put in nominal control of the police ; 
but with the actual and definite control he had nothing 
at all to do, and his own despatches bear this out ; while 
another proof of this is that the supplies throughout remained 
in the hands of the Colonial Government, and it is an un- 
doubted military regulation that supply and command and 
control must go together. 

Affairs progressed in Galekaland, and on the 17th of 
October Commandant Griffith was able to make an ad- 
vance, troops and supplies having arrived. He had under 
him a force of 1,200 mounted men and 400 infantry, 
together with native allies — Tembus and Fingoes under 
Major Elliott and Mr. Ayliff — numbering altogether about 
8,000 men. One or two actions had taken place as the 
result of reconnaissances by Griffith around his position, but 
it was only on the 17th that he began to advance in three 
columns. The success of the movement was unchecked ; the 
whole of the country was swept clear by these colunms, and 
on the 2nd or 3rd November he reached the Bashee, across 
which Kreli had fled with the remnant of his people. Hence 
he was pursued into Bomvanaland across the Umtata, and 
driven into the interior of Pondoland ; and thus, thoroughly 
» See the General's despatch, C. P., A. 7—78, p. 120. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 239 

routed and demoralised, the Galeka army was looked upon 
as entirely extinguished.^ 

The success had been exactly what Mr. Molteno had 
predicted. It is true that the General had drawn Sir 
Bartle Frere's attention to what he called the critical 
position of the police force on the edge of Kreli's country, 
and that from what he had seen of the civil organisation 
he felt bound to tell the Governor that he augured the 
most rmfortunate results, and such as only to lead to disaster.* 
This is exactly analogous to the predictions made in 1846 by 
the Imperial ofl&cers when the colonial commandants ar- 
ranged an immediate attack on the Amatolas, and subse- 
quently on Kreh. This want of ' organisation ' was exactly 
what made the colonial troops so effective in South African 
warfare. The men had not been reduced to mere pawns ; 
they were real live units, who could ride and shoot perfectly, 
and could make use of every advantage offered by the nature 
of the country. Subsequently, even the General was obliged 
to admit that : — 

Commandant Grifi&th has been perfectly successful in entirely 
defeating and subduing the chief Ereli and his army, and that in 
effecting these measures he had been careful to leave their details 
in the hands of Commandant Griffith, to whom the honour and 
credit are due of this successful issue.' 

The Frontier Armed and Mounted Pohce and Colonial 
forces had been employed alone with native allies, the Im- 
perial troops being in garrison and in fixed stations at Forts 
Cathcart and Cunynghame, East London, with advance posts 
at Komgha and Pulleine's Farm and Impetu, while the Kei 
mouth had been held by a strong force of volunteers and a 
detachment at Toleni to cover the main road across the Kei.* 
The Imperial troops were naturally chagrined at seeing the 
Colonial troops doing all the fighting, and were very eager 

» C. P., A. 7—78, p. 120. « Ibid. p. 64. « Ibid. p. 120. 

« Ibid, p. 38. 



240 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

to take this work on themselves. The Governor had, how- 
ever, up till now agreed with the Ministry in leaving the 
conduct of operations to the Colonial troops, giving the 
General only a formal authority over them, and General 
Cunynghame reports to the Secretary for War that *no 
actions otherwise than of a defensive nature have been 
required of her Majesty's troops, the political arrangements 
of his Excellency the Governor preventing the necessity of 
a conflict which otherwise I felt assured would have taken 
place.' ^ 

As soon as the advance had begun in earnest, owing to his 
efforts and presence, Mr. Molteno left King William's Town 
for Cape Town, where he arrived about the 28th of October. 
Thus ended the first critical period in the history of the 
war ; Mr. Molteno had at last had his way, and the attack 
on the Galekas had met with every success. The Imperial 
troops had given the aid of their prestige and presence on 
the border to protect the base of operations and to give 
confidence in case of any reverse. The operations had been 
entirely conducted by Commandant GriflSth, a Colonial 
officer, and the General had not issued a single order, but 
had merely received and forwarded his reports. 

Looking to the fact that the Transkei was a quasi-foreign 
territory and Kreli a quasi-foreign enemy, it was impos- 
sible for Mr. Molteno to resist the Governor's proposal 
to give Sir Arthur Cunynghame this nominal control, but 
he did insist that it must be really nominal, and the 
arrangement had, as the General himself testified, been abso- 
lutely successful. There was no conflict between Imperial 
and Colonial commanders. Griffith now returned slowly to 
Ibeka and reported that the war was over. The commis- 
sariat for the whole of the campaign had been managed by 
the Colonial Government, and had been carried out most 
successfully; not a man died of want or exposure, indeed 
• C. P., A. 7— '78, p. 111. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 241 

not a single man died of sickness of any kind throughout 
the campaign. 

The war was now regarded by the Governor as entirely 
over. On the 13th of November the Governor telegraphed 
to Lord Carnarvon : ' Kreli's force effectually broken up, 
dispersed and cleared from Galekaland, fugitives driven 
through Bomvanaland across the Umtata ; Griffith considers 
field operations nearly over — is sending home volunteers 
and burghers ; the Colony quiet/ ^ General Cunynghame 
reported to the same effect on the 27th of November.^ And 
finally, Sir Bartle Frere, under date the 4th of December, 
1877, writes to Lord Carnarvon of the complete success of 
the whole campaign : — 

Looking to the results achieved in suoh a short period, I feel 
assured that her Majesty's Government will highly estimate the 
value of the services of Commandant Griffith and the forces under 
his command . . . This is not perhaps a fitting occasion for con- 
gratulating the Colonial Oovemment on the stLCcess which has 
attended their measures for meeting the KreU crisis, but in men- 
tioning to your Lordship for the information of her Majesty's 
Government those who have most contributed to the success of 
Commandant Griffith's operations, justice requires that I should 
not omit to record my sense of the degree in which the services of 
the forces in the field were aided and supported by the unflagging 
energy and quick intelligence of the Honourable Mr. Merriman, the 
Commissioner of Crown Lands, who was charged by Mr. Molteno 
and his colleagues in the Ministry with the civil duties which usually 
devolve on a Minister for the War Department.' 

We must bear both these eulogies in mind, as in the 
following month Mr. Molteno's advice, according to Sir Bartle 
Frere, was that of a ' lunatic,' and Mr. Merriman was charged 
with having ' assumed the position of War Minister.' 

By pure accident Mr. Merriman had been present with 
the Governor on the frontier when the outbreak took place. 
Mr. Brownlee, the Secretary of State for Native Affairs^ 

> C. P., A. 7—78, p. 82. « Ibid, p. 111. 

• I. P., C— 2000, p. 10. 

VOL. II. E 



242 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

had gone up to use his influence with the Gaikas. Thus 
there were two Cabinet Ministers with the Governor, and 
Mr. Molteno had given to the triumvirate full power of 
acting as they deemed best in Transkeian matters, with the 
proviso that no serious step was to be taken without com- 
municating with the rest of the Ministry and that he himself 
was to be kept fully informed of all that went on. 

Sir Bartle Frere communicated this arrangement to 
Lord Carnarvon.^ But it had not been adhered to, and as 
we have seen, Mr. Molteno was compelled to proceed to the 
frontier himself. Frequent complaints were made by him 
that he was not advised of what was done, and that serious 
steps were taken without consulting him or without giving 
sufl&cient time for proper deliberation. The Governor made 
use of this state of affairs for enforcing his views on the 
members of the Cabinet who were present with him and 
were then subjected to his direct influence. In this way he 
divided the Cabinet and increased Mr. Molteno's diflficulties 
enormously. 

The most important proclamation for the deposition of 
Kreli had been issued without the sanction of the Cabinet in 
Cape Town. Now a more serious difficulty arose which 
threatened a Cabinet crisis, and the circumstances of which 
serve to bring out Sir Bartle Frere's characteristic of ' taking 
his ignorance for superior knowledge.' He had but lately 
arrived in South Africa, and had but little time to learn much 
of its people or its natives. Yet he had himself dravm atten- 
tion in the case of India to the dangers of sending out an 
active man for a short time, infinite mischief being the result, 
due to want of knowledge of the complicated conditions 
which prevail on the spot. 

The Governor and the members of the Cabinet on the 
frontier represented that Galekaland was thoroughly subdued 
and conquered, and they proposed to Mr. Molteno a plan 

» C. P., A. 7—78, p. 22. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 243 

of settling it immediately with Scotch and German families. 
It was projected that 332 of these households shotdd be located 
in Galekaland beside the 10,000 Galeka families. The propo- 
sition was no sooner made than it was pressed with persistence 
both by the Governor and by Mr. Merriman. On the 1st 
of November the Governor telegraphs to Mr. Molteno : 
' Griffith's reports lead us to believe Galeka territory nearly 
cleared ; am anxious to have your assent to sending upward 
the Germans to occupy the country in rear and begin 
settlements.* 

To this Mr. Molteno replied that he must have Mr. Mer- 
riman's remarks on the subject before he was in a position to 
give any opinion, and he informs Mr. Merriman, who also 
pressed the plan upon him, that it was a very serious matter, 
requiring the consideration of the Cabinet. Next day a 
fresh telegram came from the Governor pressing for imme- 
diate assent, and saying that, unless the proposition were 
carried out, he might have to send the Imperial troops into 
the Transkei, thus making use of a threat of a course which 
he knew was entirely against Mr. Molteno's wishes. Mr. 
Molteno replied that he would give a decision as soon as he 
had received the particulars for which he had asked, and had 
been able to consult his colleagues in the Cabinet. 

Two days after the Governor again telegraphed : — 

Very sorry you still object to plan of sending Germans 
Transkei ; consequences may be very serious. I entirely object 
to plan of Fingo plantations. I foresee a very serious Fingo 
difficulty ere long if proper measures are not soon taken, and I 
must decline all responsibility for results .... I wish any advice 
you may be so good as to offer me given under the fullest Minis- 
terial responsibility. Till I am favoured with your advice it is 
impossible for me to say what action it may be necessary for me 
to take. 

These telegrams show the determined and persistent 
manner in which Sir Bartle Frere was forcing his views 
upon the Cabinet. The Cabinet met at once, and a minute 

R 2 



244 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

was drawn up recommending the Governor to return to the 
seat of the Government, when the Cabinet would then be 
imited and advise him as to the scheme of settlement to be 
adopted.^ This minute was telegraphed to Mr. Merriman 
and Mr. Brownlee for their concurrence. They replied that 
they did not think the Governor could return at present, 
thus agreeing with the Governor, under whose influence 
they were, rather than with their colleagues. Thereupon 
Mr. Molteno had a series of telegraphic conversations, in the 
course of which he makes some remarks which show the very 
serious nature of the crisis, and illustrate how determined 
the Governor was to have his own way, notwithstanding the 
very limited character of his knowledge of the natives and 
the frontier generally. Sir Bartle Frere had been made 
practically dictator of South Africa, and could ill brook 
the Cape Ministry interfering with his views of what was 
desirable. 

Mr. Molteno, in telegraphic conversation with Mr. Mer- 
riman, first reviewed the minute above referred to, and 
asked whether he concurred. Mr. Merriman replied that a 
hesitation to accept his plan for settling Galekaland would be 
resented by the Governor, who was 

ready to take the full responsibility for all things done by his 
advice. And this means that under the name of the High Com- 
missioner we can settle the country as we please, and success and 
the emergency, with the Governor's minute, will be ample 
justification to Parhament. 

Mr. Molteno answered that he had not the slightest 
intention of giving a rebuff to the Governor : — 

I believe the Governor's true friends are those who wisely and 
correctly advise him, and it would be a fatal mistake to lead h\m 
to suppose that he is likely unaided to bring things to a satisfac- 
tory termination. It appears to me to resolve itself into this: 

* A defence of Sir B. Frere's refusal to retam to Cape Town has been made 
by his biographer, by stating that there was only a weekly post to the frontier, 
entirely ignoring the telegraph, by which conversations were carried on daily. 
Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. ii. p. 199. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 245 

Are the forces of the Colony and the conduct of this war to be 
taken out of the hands of those only really responsible people and 
a sort of carte blanche given to the Governor to act as he thinks 
best, trusting to the result being satisfactory, the Ministers 
becoming little more than executive officers ; in fact, the practical 
abandonment of responsible government? What responsibility 
can the Governor incur ? The Ministers are the people to bear the 
responsibility of whatever is done, and the Colony will certainly 
not absolve them from that. We must, in my opinion, all act 
constitutionally. The Governor may wish to summon Parliament 
in the Eastern Province,* or anything else, but his Ministers must 
control him, or he must dismiss them and choose others. 

Thereupon Mr. Merriman made a suggestion that a tele- 
graphic conversation with the Governor might do good. Mr. 
Molteno readily acceded to the suggestion, and a long conver- 
sation took place, in which Mr. Molteno urged the Governor 
to return to Cape Tovm, where the joint advice of the whole 
Cabinet would be at his service, in order to properly deal 
with the settlement of Galekaland. 

The Governor said that he could not leave the frontier 
while the state of affairs was so imsettled, and that Mr. Mol- 
teno should trust those who were on the spot to do their best, 
and so avoid further difficulties and enable the Governor to 
return to the seat of the Government. Mr. Molteno replied : 

I hardly think, upon consideration, your Excellency will find 
we are chargeable with any unnecessary delay down here — it is 
only the day before yesterday that we have received the memo- 
randum from one of our colleagues on this most important subject. 
I will at once state, to save time, what occurs to me on the spur of 
the moment in reply to some of the remarks of your Excellency. 
In the first place I see no difficulty in dealing with Mapassa's 
people temporarily in the manner discussed when I was at King 
William's Town, nor do I see any reason why those Galekas who 
surrender unconditionally should not be allowed to return to such 
portion of the country as they formerly possessed, as may be 
decided upon and upon such conditions as, I think, there will be 
no objection to your Excellency imposing. 

* The remark in regard to the assembling of Parliament referred to Mr. 
Merriman's statement that a refusal to agree to the Governor's proposition 
would mean the immediate assembling of Parliament in the Eastern Province. 



246 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

It is really with the introduction of new elements into the 
country that tiie difficulty arises. Mr. Merriman's memorandum 
gives no idea of the conditions upon which grants could be made 
to Europeans either of occupation or in any other respects. It con- 
fines the Europeans to whom land is to be granted to Germans and 
possibly Scotch, for which limitation I see no reason. I do not see 
any necessity for such a movement to be so closely identified with 
nationalities ; would not Colonists be equally available ? ^ If any 
such plan be adopted it is estimated that there would be 10,000 
Galeka families, and supposing that the 332 European families were 
to be located in that country, I consider so small a proportion of 
Europeans would be in a very dangerous position, and as nothing 
is said as to how the country is to be held from a military point of 
view, how are these people to be supported and properly protected ? 
I should hesitate to undertake the responsibility of placing them in 
such a position. Are these people to be drawn from the Colony, 
or is it proposed to introduce any of them from abroad ? If so, 
how are the funds to be provided ? At first sight it seems a 
scheme for granting away the whole of the land not required for 
the Galekas and providing for free passages for those who are to 
receive the grants. 

Nothing is said as to the kind of government, especially 
with regard to Europeans. Is it proposed to annex the territory 
to this Colony, and if so in what manner ? The condition would 
be very different from either Tembuland or Basutoland. Is 
it proposed to assist grantees in any manner with regard to erec- 
tion of buildings, purchase of implements, subsistence pending 
raising of crops, or is land only to be granted to persons possessing 
a certain amount of capital either in stock, money, or otherwise ? 
Your Excellency will, I hope, excuse my pointing out very 
hurriedly a few of the points which I think would require careful 
consideration before taking any steps to carry out a scheme of 
this kind, the responsibility for which must devolve upon your 
Excellency's advisers, and fully impressed with the weight of such 
responsibility, I think ample time should be allowed for discussion 
and consideration. I should be glad if your 'Excellency is able to 
inform me whether the question of following up the Galekas across 
the Bashee and to what extent has received your Excellency*s con- 
sideration, and as to what Colonial force you would deem suffi- 
cient to hold possession of the Galeka country, at any rate for 
the present. 

' As in 1869, when the then Government proposed to settle the Northern 
border with Bastards, Mr. Molteno objected to colonists being excluded, and 
carried his objection in Parliament, so now he showed his sound statesmanlike 
views by objecting to these narrow restrictions. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 247 

To this the Governor repUed that he would take the 
responsibility with the Imperial Government with regard to 
the plan and the annexation of Galekaland ^ ; that he could 
not send back Mapassa or the other Galekas till the point of 
European immigration was settled. He said he would not 
be unwilling to extend the settlement to other Colonists, and 
finally he appealed to Mr. Molteno to give them the power 
to settle matters by allowing them on the spot to do 
their best, and thus pave the way for his return to Cape 
Town. As to the Fingoes, he had no doubt as to their 
loyalty at present, but he saw signs that they might regard 
themselves as specially favoured by the Government. Mr. 
Molteno answered that he would fully consider all that 
had been said, and would do all he could to facilitate the 
Governor's speedy return to Cape Town. 

Thereupon, after consideration by the Cabinet, and subject 
to certain restrictions and modifications in the scheme as 
originally suggested, the proposal of the Governor was agreed 
to in a minute, while at the same time Mr. Molteno tele- 
graphed to Mr. Merriman : — 

Referring to our conversation of the 7th instant, subsequent 
telegrams from yourself and Brownlee, and conversation with the 
Governor on Saturday ; considering the great difficulty of carrying 
on discussions by telegraph ; the great necessity which both the 
Governor and yourself think exists for immediate action ; the 
strong opinion which you both express, and in which Brownlee 
seems to concur, that the immediate return of the Governor and 
yourself to the seat of Government would probably be attended 
with danger and panic ; taking also into consideration the very 
important fact that what is proposed to be done meets the full 
approval of the Governor as High Commissioner, although regret- 
ting the impossibility of being all together, and thus deriving the 
benefit of a fuller and more extensive discussion of the very 
important question involved before arriving at a decision, we hesi- 
tate to address the proposed minute to his Excellency the 
Governor, as already telegraphed to you, and trusting that we 
shall receive from you full particulars upon the various points of 

* Bat he was presuming upon his influence with the Imperial Government, 
who refused to permit this annexation until Sir Bartle Frere had left the Gape. 



248 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

details which in my conversation with his Excellency I mentioned 
your memorandum seemed to be wanting, and that in as far as 
possible no further steps will be taken without first affording your 
colleagues an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon them 
other than those which may be absolutely necessary to enable you 
to at once proceed with the settlement of the Galeka country in 
the manner proposed, we do not feel justified in dela3ring our 
assent generally to the scheme, and request that you will, Mr. 
Brownlee concurring, communicate with his Excellency the 
Governor to that effect. 

The time selected for the introduction of the scheme 
was ill chosen — it was not Mr. Molteno's suggestion. The 
details as first suggested were impracticable, and the whole 
matter was one which should have been dealt with only by 
Parliament. The country was quite unfit to be settled in 
this way. Kreli's power had been broken, but Galekaland 
required guarding, and Mr. Molteno, as we see above, sug- 
gested to the Governor the necessity for inmiediate attention 
to this point. The subsequent return of the Galekas and the 
attack by them on the volunteers inmiediately killed the plan, 
and showed how right was Mr. Molteno in his fears as to its 
crudity, and also the danger to Europeans had they been 
placed in Galekaland as proposed. 

We have entered into the subject in order to make 
it clear that the Governor was determined to use all his 
power as dictator, and was ready to push matters to a 
crisis with his Ministers if they did not agree to his 
wishes. It served to show Mr. Molteno's forbearance and 
his desire to work with the Governor if at all possible. 
He pre-eminently feared a political crisis at a moment 
when the Colony was involved in war, and on this ground 
he went further than he otherwise would have considered 
himself justified in doing, in the direction of subordinating 
his views to those of the Governor. The incident also 
serves to bring out the soundness of Mr. Molteno's informed 
opinions when compared with the want of knowledge of 
the High Conamissioner. 



SIB BARTLB FEERE AS DICTATOR 249 

Sir Bartle Frere was now much exercised and occupied 
as to the ' organisation ' of the Frontier Armed and Mounted 
Police. He was naturally horrified when he found the ap- 
parent state of insecurity in which the Colonists on the fron- 
tier lived daily. Coming as he did from India, where a highly 
organised and numerous army was at the call of the Governors 
of the Presidencies and the Governor-General, and where an 
army corps could be hurled at short notice on any recalcitrant 
prince, it shocked him terribly to find only the 'Police/ 
badly organised, as he said, and backed by nothing better 
than volunteers and burghers, who came forward of their 
own accord without compulsion, and who could only hold 
the field for a short time. 

Aggressive purposes, such as he had in view on Pon- 
doland and elsewhere, could not be carried out with such 
forces. Yet this was the normal and necessary condition 
of the Cape frontier. It was not as dangerous as it 
seemed to a new comer. The effective character of opera- 
tions carried on by burghers and volunteers was well known 
to the natives. Their mode of fighting startled the world 
a few years later at Laing's Nek, Ingogo, and Majuba, 
where the marvellous results of the extreme mobihty, the 
accuracy of fire, tlie readiness to take advantage of the 
nature of the ground were exhibited, while the individual 
soldier was no mere unit in a crowd, but an intelligent 
and effective element of a force which combined the advan- 
tages of cavalry in mobility and of infantry for all other 
purposes. 

The prompt and energetic handling of these forces was 
quite sufl&cient to keep the natives in check and to subdue 
them should they unwisely attempt to try their strength 
with the Government. The recent operations in Galeka- 
land itself showed how effective their action could be, while 
the subsequent operations which involved months of 
campaigning when the Imperial troops took over the 



260 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

operations in that country contrasted very unfavourably, 
and showed the greater aptitude of Colonial forces in dealing 
vnth native risings. 

Sir Bartle Frere constantly talks of the necessity for a 
standing army in his despatches ; indeed, his model was the 
German one. Shortly before this outbreak he said to the 
people of East London, in dealing with the question of 
defence : — 

I think it would only be in time of peril that the English- 
man's spirit would be stirred sufficiently, but we should all be 
prepared at any time to meet what is to come. I would rather be 
always prepared for the worst on the model of our German 
friends. 

And to Lord Carnarvon he apologised for the necessity of 
making use of such irregular forces as volunteers and 
burghers : — 

It was also necessary to explain why we have been compelled 
in our measures of self-defence to rely so largely on the voluntary 
efforts of our own people, and on improvised and amateur bodies of 
military and police, which however creditable to the spirit of the 
people, are attended with inconveniences and dangers incident to 
the want of legal authority and organisation.^ 

While writing later, he says : — 

If the native portion of this province is to be protected and 
advanced in civilisation, it is absolutely requisite that the European 
population should themselves feel secure, and they will not consider 
themselves, nor should I consider them, to be so without some 
force of professional soldiers for other forces to form and fall back 
upon. The regular force may be very small, but it should be 
complete in all arms and under regular commajid, not Hable to 
be disorganised or misapplied by the interference of amateur 
soldiers.* 

It will be admitted at once that the security to be 
obtained from such a force would be most desirable. It was, 

• C. P.. A. 7—78. p. 37. « Ibid. p. 60. 



SIR BARTLE FRERE AS DICTATOR 251 

however, quite impossible for the Cape Colony, with its 
limited resources and its limited population, to maintain a 
body of this character. And it was very doubtful whether it 
was not due to this so-called ' organisation ' that the Im- 
perial forces were so unfitted for South African warfare ; as 
in the war of 1846, so now, the complaint of the military 
officers always was the disorganisation of the Colonial troops 
and the danger of the movements they attempted, but the 
strange fact was that these latter were always successful, 
while the military movements were frequently very much 
the reverse. 

We have already pointed out that Mr. Molteno agreed 
in and was carrying out the policy of Sir George Grey, 
in strengthening the material resources of the country and 
thus increasing the white population of the Cape Colony. 
At the same time great defensive power was being at- 
tained by the new lines of railways, which had an im- 
portant strategic bearing upon the defence of the country, 
but it was impossible for the Colony to maintain a larger 
standing force than the Frontier Armed and Mounted 
Police. It is true Sir Bartle Frere directed Mr. Sprigg to 
bring in certain measures for creating ' organised ' forces on 
the lines indicated by him, but the effort failed, and was only 
an ephemeral one — the money might as well have been thrown 
into Table Bay. Gradually the corps which were then 
formed were disbanded, and in 1895 the sole organised 
defensive force of the Cape Colony contained fewer men 
than the numbers of the Frontier Armed and Mounted 
Police authorised in 1877, notwithstanding the extension 
of Cape jurisdiction to far larger masses of natives than were 
subject to its jurisdiction in that year. 

The counsel was then a counsel of perfection for the Cape 
Colony. Its resources were limited. Mr. Molteno knew 
this well, and impressed it upon the Governor, who for a 
time agreed with him in this. Mr. Molteno's objection to 



252 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

excessive expenditure on armaments was the same as that 
of Sir Bobert Peel and of Mr. Gobden. He opposed exces- 
sive expenditure on preparations for war which consumed 
the resources required for the development of the Colony 
just as Sir Bobert Peel opposed it, for it consumed the 
resources required for the improvement of the temporal 
condition of the people. Sir Bobert Peel had shown that it 
was impossible to secure a country against all risks. ' If in 
time of peace you insist on having all the garrisons up to the 
standard of complete efficiency, and if every fortification is to 
be kept in a state of perfect repair, then no amount of annual 
expenditure can ever be sufficient,' and the country would be 
overwhelmed with taxation in the attempt to accompUsh 
this. It is inevitable that risks must be run. This language 
of Sir Bobert Peel is the language of common sense, and 
applies with even greater force to the conditions of a com- 
paratively poor and sparsely populated country such as the 
Cape Colony, where every penny that could be spared was 
needed for the development of the resources of the country. 

Considerable blame was laid upon Mr. Molteno for not 
having larger defensive forces organised, but Sir Bartle 
Frere himself absolves the Ministry from any blame in this 
respect. Speaking at King William's Town on the 9th of 
September, he said that the question of defence was no party 
matter, and that all should unite upon the subject : — 

I can only therefore assure you of the warm support you will 
find in your western brethren. It is not only the Ministers, who, 
as men of sound political judgment, may be expected to take a 
more extended view of the interests of the country than anyone 
else, but let me assure you that there is no indifference whatever 
in the west, in those men who have made the west what it is, to 
your interests. 

And to Lord Carnarvon himself he points out that the 
Ministry had gone even beyond the feeling of the community 
on this subject. He says : — 



SIB BABTLE f'BBBE AS DIGTATOB 253 

The blame of the absence of any adequate legal provision for 
defence or for the protection of life and property can hardly be 
charged against the present Government, for I find that they last 
year brought in a Volunteer Bill, which was quite capable of being 
made an excellent measure, but it was successfully opposed and 
dropped for the session. A like fate attended the Bill for frontier 
defence brought in this year by the Ministry. 

It may be hoped that after the experience of this year the 
Government will be better supported by the patriotism and intelli- 
gence of the country in their efiforts to frame useful measures for 
Uie protection of life and property. 

I have entered into these particulars not in any spirit of idle 
criticism, but in justice to the gentlemen who, in spite of innumer- 
able difficulties and with most inadequate means, will, I trust, soon 
be able to restore peace to the country.^ 

» a P., A. 7— '78, p. 87. 



364 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE GALBKA AND GAIKA WAR. 1877 

Panic on escape of Maokinnon — Gaika Outbreak — Necessity for ose of Native 
Allies -Imperial Troops used by Goyemor— Raises Forces in opposition to 
Ifinisters — ^Refuses to return to Cape Town — Chaos of Goyemment busi- 
ness— GeneraPs inactivity — Allows Khiva to escape. 

Sir Bartlb Frbrb was now pre-occupied with schemes for 
reorganisation of the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police, 
and he addressed an elaborate minute to the Ministers 
upon its condition. This was no doubt extremely valuable, 
but there were far more pressing matters to be dealt with, 
and Mr. Molteno reminded him that the question of the occu- 
pation of Galekaland was of the first importance. But Sir 
Bartle Frere preferred to take his own way, and he tells Lord 
Carnarvon that this reorganisation was a work of the most 
urgent necessity, and took 'precedence of any permanent 
arrangements for stationing the police in the Transkei ' or 
for organising an eflfective police force to prevent stock- 
stealing in the Colony.^ Galekaland being left unoccupied, it 
was only natural that the Galekas should return, and they 
reappeared in very large numbers, with most serious results. 
In the meantime a panic arose on the frontier owing to 
the escape of Mackinnon into the Gaika location. Mapassa 
and Mackinnon were two sub-chiefs of the Galeka tribe. 
They professed on the outbreak of hostilities to be desirous of 
taking the Government side in the quarrel. In order to leave 
Commandant Griffith perfectly free they had been allowed 
to remove to the western side of the Kei with their cattle and 

• C. P., a. 7—78, p. 108. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAB 255 

their arms. Mr. Molteno had on several occasions urged the 
Governor to allow them to be replaced in Galekaland, but 
the Governor in the first place deferred the matter for his 
German settlement plan, and subsequently, in pursuance of the 
policy of universal disarmament which he was shortly to 
announce, he desired them to be first disarmed. They were 
quite inoflfensive and quiet. Captain Brabant, who was 
near them at the time, says : — 

I never had any difficulty with them— they were perfectly 
obedient, and carried out readily all orders I gave. A short time 
after this a detachment of the 24th regiment was sent to Impetu. 
There had previously been a small detachment under a subaltern, 
and they got on very well, but presently a captain was sent down. 
He said he had been sent as it was thought that no Colonial 
officer was to be trusted by himself, thus showing the sort of spirit 
that prevailed between the Imperial and the Colonial forces. The 
former looked upon a Colonial officer as absolutely unfitted to have 
the smallest charge of any kind. Things went on thus, and then 
Colonel Glyn came down to inspect the post. He spoke to him 
(Captain Brabant) about the natives remaining armed, and asked 
for an opinion on the matter, as he thought it was very dangerous. 
He told him he did not think there was any danger, but Colonel 
Glyn was not satisfied with what he said, and strongly represented 
the facts to the Governor. The result was that while he was away 
inspecting the volunteer posts down the river the order came for 
these men to be at once disarmed. There was no alternative but 
to obey, but he wanted to telegraph to Mr. Brownlee that he 
thought the step a very dangerous one. He urged Mr. Brownlee 
to use all his influence against the disarmament, pointing out that 
it was quite unnecessary, and that he thought it would be very 
dangerous.^ 

The disarmament of Mackinnon was carried out in a 
very unfortunate manner. Instead of being done immedi- 
ately the necessary force was assembled, some days elapsed 
after the matter was known before the order was carried 
out. The natives took fright and bolted to the Gaika 
location. This took place about the 20th of November, 1877. 
Mr. Molteno was not kept informed of what was being 

* Speech of Colonel Brabant, sapplement to Argus, 6th Jane, 187S. 



256 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 
done, for telegraphing on the 21st to Mr. Merriman, he 



It was not until receipt last night of your telegram to Mills, in 
answer to one from him asking for information, that I was put in 
the position that private individuals had been in for many hours 
previously. Whatever may happen, pray give directions to some- 
one to let us know what really is going on, good or bad. With 
every confidence in his Excellency and yourself, I think there is 
danger of a too high-handed and xmnecessarily harsh policy being 
adopted with the native population generally which we have not 
the power of carrying out. However desirable, as you say, it may 
be to seize the golden opportimity of licking Gaikas and lingoes 
into shape, and acting independently of the natural feeling of 
enmity naturally existing between large masses of barbarous 
people, I question whether the time has yet arrived for disregard- 
ing so important an element. It is all very well for frontier men 
to talk in this strain, but Government action is quite a different 
thing. Even the instructions issued by you for the disarming of 
Mapassa's at present terror-stricken men savours far too much 
of tiie conqueror to my idea of things, and recollect how many 
advantages have often been lost by unnecessarily driving masses 
of men to actual desperation. I wish you would be good enough 
to let the Governor see this telegram, for I wish him to know my 
views. 

Mr. Molteno's anxiety was very great and his position a 
most trying one. This telegram was vmtten at 5 a.m. ; 
indeed, many telegrams during this crisis were vmtten 
during the early hours of the morning. It was summer, 
the weather being very hot, and the vmter remembers being 
roused before five o'clock, and proceeding with his father 
out of doors into the cold morning air under the great oaks 
of Claremont House, and there writing down the various 
telegrams and instructions in regard to the crisis. 

The Gaika location into which Mackinnon had escaped 
is a district about fifty miles long by about twenty-five miles 
in greatest depth between the Kei and the skirts of the 
Amatola Mountains. It had been assigned to the Gaikas 
who followed the chiefs Sandilli and Anta. A large popu- 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAB 257 

lation of Guikas, with a little admixture of other tribes, had 
settled there, and were generally regarded by the neighbonrs 
on all sides with much distrust, as owing to a number of 
causes less had been effected in civilising them than in other 
districts. 

The Governor had but little appreciation of native 
character. According to him the natives were to be ruled 
justly but firmly, and his idea was to begin by disarming 
them, as in the case of Mapassa and Mackinnon, but he 
seemed unable to appreciate what this involved. The Gape 
Colony had not the resources to carry out a policy of this 
nature, while England was weary of E^ffir wars, and had 
definitely abandoned the attempt to rule the natives. The 
subsequent war which arose on Sir Bartle Frere's attempt, 
through Sir Gordon Sprigg, to disarm the natives, showed 
that they were ready to fight for their weapons, and no 
step was more likely to cause desperate resistance. Was 
England prepared to reverse her policy of withdrawing the 
troops and allowing the Colonists to defend themselves with 
their own resources ? 

Lord Carnarvon, as appears from his despatches, had 
certainly not given his consent to this course. But Sir 
Bartle Frere had forced the hands of his superiors in 
India, and he meant to do so here. He found on his 
arrival that the native question was the question, the re- 
sponsibility of which, in the case of Natal, he could find no 
Cape statesman to undertake. To accomplish his scheme of 
Confederation he meant to crush the Zulu power, which wali 
the constant bugbear when confederation with Natal was 
talked of. Although Lord Carnarvon had never wavered in 
his instructions as to the withdrawal of the Imperial troops 
except in so far as they were necessary for strictly Imperial 
purposes. Sir Bartle Frere now told the people of the Eastern 
Province as soon as he came among them, 

VOL. IL S 



258 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

that as to the matter of defence he could not agree that her 
Majesty's troops should he removed from the Colony on the 
principle that you throw a dog into the water to teach him to 
swim. With his present convictions such a policy would be 
insane, and he would go further and say that any man living in 
this province was as much entitled to the protection of her 
Majesty's troops as a dweller in the county of Middlesex. He 
looked upon the troops as the backbone of any scheme of Colonial 
defence.^ 

This was remarkable language for a High Commissioner 
to use, looking to the constant tenor of all despatches since 
the Committee on Colonial Defence had reported on the 
necessity for reducing the Colonial garrisons. Lord Carnar- 
von had been stronger, as we have seen, than any previous 
Secretary of State on this point. The word ' insane ' was a 
strong expression to use in connection with Lord Carnarvon's 
policy. But we shall find Sir Bartle Frere employing it 
again in coimection with the responsible advice tendered 
him by Mr. Molteno. He had the bit now in his teeth, and 
meant to have his own way. He had declared Kreli's 
country forfeited, and had guaranteed its annexation to the 
Cape Colony. Lord Carnarvon mildly says : ' Her Majesty's 
Government were not prepared for the annexation of this 
territory, but rely on your judgment.' It was not, however, 
annexed while Sir Bartle Frere was Governor. 

It was clear that the policy of subduing and placing our 
foot upon the necks of all independent or semi-independent 
native chiefs was one which would necessitate the use of 
Imperial troops in considerable numbers. But the Colony 
had been told that it was not to rely upon Imperial troops 
in its native policy,^ and that if any Imperial troops were 
employed for Colonial purposes the expenses must be borne 
by the Colony. The Colony had definitely informed the 
Imperial Government that it was unable to bear such ex- 

> Speech at King William's Town, Argus, 11th September, 1877. 

* Lord Eimberley to Sir H. Barkly, Noyember 17th, 1870. IJ'., G — 159, p. 66. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAB 259 

penses. Mr. Molteno was therefore not justified in under- 
taking to pay for the cost of Imperial troops, even if he were 
assnred that Lord Carnarvon wonld agree to their use for 
such Colonial purposes. The Colony had to cut its coat 
according to its cloth, and Mr. Molteno was under a very 
strong sense of responsibility on this point. 

To show the working of Sir Bartle Frere's mind upon the 
subject, he now addressed a letter to Mr. Merriman on the 
Gaika question, which had assumed a serious phase, owing to 
the escape of Mackinnon into the location, a fact of which he 
does not appear to appreciate the importance, for he says in this 
letter : ' As to Mackinnon Umhala having fled to the Gaikas, 
instead of going back to his old home in Ereli's country, I 
do not know why he should not live among the Gaikas, if 
Sandilli will be answerable for him ' ; while to Lord Car- 
narvon he writes, as a more or less surprised spectator : — 

I had imperfectly realised the extent to which this recognition 
of a separate jurisdictaon was carried when it was reported yester- 
day morning that Mackinnon Umhala had left the position as- 
signed to him by Mr. Brownlee, and had made for the Gaika 
location. . . It is carious to note the instant panic which pervaded 
the whole of this town when this intelligence was brought in, 
grossly exaggerated in a variety of ways — 'The Gaika war-cry 
had been sounded on all sides during the night ; Mackinnon was 
making for the Amatolas ; the Kaffirs were assembling on all sides 
and flocking to march on Eomgha ' — where reinforcements were 
applied for by the officer in command to enable him to keep open 
the road to King William's Town.* 

As to the necessity for Imperial troops, he says to Mr. 
Merriman : — 

I entirely agree with you as to your estimate of their (the 
Gaikas') strength as a mere military question. I feel sure that by 
repeating the process followed against Kreli by summoning 
burghers and volunteers, and arming Fingoes, you can crash the 
Gaikas more completely, and slaughter more of them in a few 
weeks than in Kreli's case. 

» C. P., A. 7— *78, p. 96. 

8 2 



960 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

And again : — 

I agree with you as to the ease with whioh the Graikas could be 
omshed, bat yon oannot do it by the same process or machinery 
as in Ereli's country. The Frontier Armed and Mounted Police 
are pretty well knocked up, and require rest as well as reorgani- 
sation. Ton may get fresh burghers and volunteers in troops, but 
you will have to proceed according to strict Colonial law, and to 
answer for all you do to Colonial tribunals. 

After seeing the telegram to Mr. Merriman of the 21st 
of November above referred to, he vnrote to Mr. Molteno 
on the 25th : — 

Mr. Merriman showed me your telegram to him. I think I 
concur in every word of it, and I do most entirely in its general 
tendency, as you will have seen if he has sent you my letter to 
him which I wrote in answer to one from him on the subject of 
the Graika power to harm us. I agree with him that we could 
speedily crush them, but I should regard such crushing as a greater 
misfortune and disgrace to us than almost anything that could 
befall us. They are our fellow-subjects and not our enemies, and 
our duty is to govern, protect and improve them, not to slay them. 
I think he now quite agrees with me in this view, but you know 
the pressure which the terror-stricken frontier people put on 
Government for 'strong measures,' as they call them, at such 
limes, and how difficult it is for us to hold the balance of justice 
even. 

But Sir Bcurtle Frere did not appreciate the consequences 
of his policy ; he did not realise that depriving the chiefs of 
their power, together with the disarmament of their followers, 
was regarded by them as a matter of life and death. He looked 
upon it merely as a question of governing them firmly and 
justly. However, in the same letter he says to Mr. Molteno 
that her Majesty's troops, being used to obey orders, are less 
likely than burghers or volunteers to bring about a collision. 
This was no doubt true, and we can appreciate the desire 
to have regular troops ; but it was what the Home Govern- 
ment, after their experience of KaflSr and Maori wars, had 
deliberately refused. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAB 261 

The question of the use of troops, instead of burghers and 
volunteers, was one on which Mr. Molteno could not agree. 
The Governor was for dispensing with the power of the chiefs 
at once ; their assegais must be beaten into ploughshares, 
by force if not by persuasion. Mr. Molteno was for pro- 
ceeding cautiously, having regard to the limited means at 
the disposal of the Colony, as well as to the dangers of 
sudden changes, which are always misunderstood and re- 
sented by native tribes. 

The Governor desired to use Imperial troops, over whom 
he had imhampered control, and who were likewise under 
stricter discipline. He did not desire burghers and volun- 
teers, whose services were voluntary, and in the disposition of 
whom he was bound to consult his constitutional advisers/ 
and who were unsuited for the aggressive action he contem- 
plated. Mr. Molteno was for immediate, sharp, and decisive 
action, as soon as the necessity arose for the use of force. 
For this purpose the volunteers and burghers were much 
superior to Imperial troops, who must necessarily move with 
all arms, cavalry, artillery, and infantry, a large commissariat 
and other impedimenta. The burghers and volunteers were 
not able to keep the field for long, and for this reason also 
a protracted campaign was above all things to be avoided.' 
This divergence of opinion was soon brought into prominence 
by the next episode in the war. 

The disastrous results anticipated from the fiight of 
Mackinnon into the Gaika location did not take place ; but 
the difficulties of the situation were now enormously increased 
by the return of the Galekas into Galekaland, as was evi- 
denced by an unexpected attack upon a patrol of volunteers, 

1 See his despatch to Lord Carnarvon, where he tells Mr. Molteno he wants 
volunteers who will consent to be under military control. See p. 295 note, infra. 

* Colonial troops cannot keep the field for long. Compare with this the 
same difficulty in the American War, where the Colonial troops insisted on 
going home, even in presence of the enemy. See Lecky, England in the 
Eighteenth Century, voL iv. p. 282. 



262 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

which resulted in the action known as the battle of Umzitani. 
News of a Tambookie inraid into Fingoland, near Saint 
Mark's, in the direction of Queen's Town, was received 
almost simultaneously. Mr. Molteno's fears as to Galekaland 
had been realised. While the Governor and Mr. Merriman 
were talking of a militia to defend the proposed white 
settlement, and the reorganisation of the Frontier Armed 
Mounted Police, the Galekas had returned. Mr. Molteno at 
once reahsed the critical character of the situation. 

Sir Bartle Frere's views had been placed before him in 
his letter of the 25th of November, but Mr. Molteno felt that 
immediate action was necessary. He urged the inmiediate 
despatch of Fingoes into Galekaland to hold the country 
temporarily, and to prevent the disorganised Galekas rallying 
in numbers : — 

With every desire to support you in every way, I look upon it 
as simply impossible to carry out your suggestions about a militia. 
Sanction of Parliament would appear to be indispensable, and it 
could not aid you immediately if it were otherwise, and it is 
immediate force you want. More volunteers could be had without 
denuding frontier districts, but not in sufficient numbers, and with 
more difficulty than would attend enrolling and making use of 
Fingoes, who could be at once sent into Transkeian territory ; and, 
if fighting is to take place, let it be there rather than in the 
Colony. I feel convinced that we must sooner or later come to 
this. Galekaland must be held by some sort of occupation or 
other, and your European scheme, whatever may be said in its 
favour as an ultimate result, does not meet the inmiediate 
necessities of the case. If Galekaland be not occupied at once 
Galekas will return, and, finding nobody to contest, it vnll be 
more difficult than ever to deal with them. They are evidently 
not yet subjugated.^ 

Immediately on receiving the news of the brushes with the 
Galekas, Mr. Molteno telegraphed to the Governor on the 5th 
of December, pointing out the various considerations which 
rendered the immediate occupation of Galekaland by the 

■ Telegram, Mr. Molteno to Mr. Merriman, December 5th, 1877. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAB 263 

Fingoes imperative. The scheme for European occupation 
was one which did not meet the immediate necessities of the 
case, owing to the lapse of time in carrying it out ; more- 
over, it would necessitate a very costly force to protect the 
settlers. If a great Power were to determine upon this 
course, it might succeed in time ; but the Colony, with 
its limited revenue and small white population, could not 
endure the strain. The natives must be used, and especially 
the Fingoes, on whose account the war was originally under- 
taken. If this were not done, then a war of races was almost 
inevitable, a forecast which was only too soon verified. Mr. 
Molteno concluded by impressing with all the weight he could 
command the strong sense of duty under which he urged 
the vital importance of these views. They were embodied 
in the following memorandum : — 

The recent attack on our patrol by so large a body of Galekas 
seems to indicate that our operations against them have not re- 
sulted in such a complete subjugation as we had hoped. This, 
taken in connection with the state of feelings in the Colony and 
among the Gaikas, points to the necessity which exists for not 
reducing the forces actually in the field, but rather to the advisa- 
bility of iaoreasing them ; and, at the same time, not doing so in 
any manner tending to reduce our strength in the frontier districts, 
or such parts as the existence of the large masses of the natives 
renders the utmost precaution necessary. The Attorney-General 
is in favour of making use of the present Burgher Force Act ; but 
this process is, I am afraid, too slow, and would, I fear, tend to 
keep up excitement, while not really giving us any immediate 
accession of strength ; but the question is still under discussion. 
Meantime we are very seriously impressed with the dangers and 
difficulties likely to arise from delayed actual occupation of such 
portion of Galekaland as it is not intended should revert to the 
Galekas. 

Without re-opening a discussion on the subject of European 
occupation in the manner already determined on, its undoubted 
weak points, as afifeoting our position at the moment, cannot be 
prudently overlooked, and must be provided against. First, much 
time is needed for its development, during which a strong force 
of some sort is absolutely necessary, for the settlers cannot be 



^M LUE. JkSL TTVrfffT O^ 50b J. C 3B2LIE50 



which "uvxia jhev :zii2tt Iiat^ pnxBBBSiGiu *"'^ ;)znvi£siiiL nuz^ ilasi 

^^»4!r^7 if soc ipsnlj in jyaigaLh-y wait die fruiirfRML I <^ not 
<wy :;2ias if » 2rRas Pobpot itusald ieKzamift apon. ssk ik «eric9» 
af aesimi, and ae preyrgd sa ind di^ m iii wwiy aagSr ami iKar 
die, r 5ear^ inevicaole en& 'iia ;esil^ mr^ht ^oc in ame prove 
MCufiusSory ; has die Bssonzees of iifaiB CoIozLy. ami attain apon. te 
^MXipimtfrf'siy Kioitfil fUtwjfWMi popnlaaoB. wanliL in my o^bdoBv 
k« coo g^neaSw Tbe ^Enui rmpprral yie^ ql inmrfirTg afaaf aai 
htM^nq ;he icafes of pstice ev^iIy bttwaox^ nm only wbiat aai 
btadr^ hot fiiie diifisraxs neea of black, I respecs, teS daixfci the 
fOMbiHty , as any lase as pnseos^ of cscryin^ is oizl 

We soas is aoott way or aaas zzufa& izs& af ihe BBSEvedEBBOi^ 
ma$ M jujoooi nkj to pa ooe nee againa s she oskg &g she furp i Me of 
cofiopaMiz^hadeasrtbesioa; bcs in no asher w%y da I as preaeBS see 
bofr we eaa pnosees oarKHca, or prazuxe their snxe uih iim rta and 
cmKiiaiMi. We Imwe as prcacoS laz;^ maaaes of Kn^oes and 
other nathrea kysJ to oa, and, on tbe otbiff gde» iai^e maauaa so 
tike eontrary ; aod do mast^ what the fieelfng of those at present 
loyal to tM may hereafter beeome, sadti considprations eaimol 
giride the preaent, bat nmat be foreaeen, aod, by wisa measozesoQ 
our party guarded af^atnat in the fotaie. We mnss let those nasma 
who are loyal to oa know that we eonsider them 90» treat ^leni 
aeeordtniB^ ; and if our doing so arooses the enmity of the dis- 
loyal H IS no fault of ours, and we most j^oteet them and aid 
Ihem tn those efbrta whieh, nnder oor gnidance, they must put 
fofftb in order to maintain the enviable position which they have 
been necesaarily placed in. If fighting there nrast be, they must 
lake part in the fight, and we mnst lead, direct, and a^ them. 

I think It absolutely necessary at the pres^it crisis, and before 
ihe Colony is possibly plunged into a dyil war. or a war oi races, 
thai I should pat yoor Excellency in possession <A the views enter- 
tained by myself and coDeagoes here before it is too late, and I feel 
Erfectly sure that your Excellency will give me credit in so doing, 
r nothing less than a fulfilment, to the best of my ability, of the 
doty I owe to the country which has placed me in the position 
I am in, and the most sincere desire, at no matter what cost to 
myself, to aid and assist your Excellency in your present arduous 
Md difficult position J 

Tlie Governor suggested the immediate despatch of the 
remaining portion of the 88th regiment, the notion of landing 

' a P., A. 24—78, p. 8. 



THE OALEEA AND OAIKA WAB 266 

at Mazeppa Bay, or the £ei month, was revived, and Mr. 
Molteno was requested to make the necessary arrangements 
with the commodore. These he immediately carried out; 
the Actvue and Florence embarked about 350 men and sailed 
eastwards. Mr. Molteno telegraphed to Mr. Merriman on 
the 6th of December : — 

. . . establishing ourselves on the coast which, now that we 
have taken the country, would be sure to follow sooner or later, 
is most important, and will enable us to throw in rapidly both men 
and supplies to any extent, while not weakening us on the 
frontier, and will, I hope, more than compensate for the at present 
impracticable militia scheme you appear to have set your heart on 
so much. You can, however, temporarily utilise the men you had 
in view for this purpose as volunteers or police, for use on the 
immediate frontier. 

At the same time, Mr. Molteno, in reply to a telegram 
from the Governor, urging him to permit Mr. Merriman a 
freer hand, wrote : — 

As to what your Excellency says about allowing Merriman to 
try his plans for Militia District Police (preventive and detective), 
it has all along been my desire, taking into consideration the 
extraordinary and difficult position in which he has been placed, 
to give him the fullest possible latitude and support, stopping 
short only of sanctioning engagements, and the initiation of plans, 
which not only stretch beyond the exigencies of the moment and 
entail permanent, as distinguished from temporary, changes and 
burdens upon the Colony, without consent of ParUament, but 
which obviously could not be effectively worked in the absence of 
legislation. 

On the previous day Mr. Molteno had pointed out to the 
Governor the difl&culty of arriving at a decision in regard to 
constitutional changes, and said that a visit to King William's 
Town might be desirable if he could get away. Instead of 
sending in the Fingoes and Colonial reinforcements to Com- 
mandant Grifl&th in answer to his request, it was decided on 
the frontier, without Mr. Molteno's concurrence, to send 
Imperial troops and place the Transkei portion of the police 



264 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

expected to aid in that respect for a long time to oome, and daring 
which time they must have protection, and provision must also 
be made for the unsettling effect upon the minds of the Graikas, 
secretly if not openly in sympathy with the Galekas. I do not 
say that if a great Power should determine upon such a course 
of action, and be prepared to find the necessary force, and bear 
the, I fear, inevitable cost, the result might not in time prove 
satisfactory ; but the resources of this Colony, and strain upon its 
comparatively limited European population, would, in my opinion, 
be too great. The grand Imperial idea of standing aloof and 
holding the scales of justice evenly between, not only white and 
black, but the different races of black, I respect, but doubt the 
possibility, at any rate at present, of carrying it out. 

We must in some way or other make use^of the native element, 
not necessarily to pit one race against the other for the purpose of 
compassing its destruction ; but in no other way do I at present see 
how we can protect ourselves, or promote their true interests and 
civilisation. We have at present large masses of Fingoes and 
other natives loyal to us, and, on the other side, large masses to 
the contrary ; and no matter what the feeling of those at present 
loyal to us may hereafter become, such considerations cannot 
guide the present, but must be foreseen, and, by wise measures on 
our part, guarded against in the future. We must let those natives 
who are loyal to us know that we consider them so, treat them 
accordingly ; and if our doing so arouses the enmity of the dis- 
loyal it is no fault of ours, and we must protect them and aid 
them in those efforts which, under our guidance, they must put 
forth in order to maintain the enviable position which they have 
been necessarily placed in. If fighting there must be, they must 
take part in the fight, and we must lead, direct, and aid them. 

I think it absolutely necessary at the present crisis, and before 
the Colony is possibly plunged into a civil war, or a war of races, 
that I should put your Excellency in possession of the views enter- 
tained by myself and colleagues here before it is too late, and I feel 
perfectly sure that your Excellency will give me credit in so doing, 
for nothing less than a fulfilment, to the best of my ability, of the 
duty I owe to the country which has placed me in the position 
I am in, and the most sincere desire, at no matter what cost to 
myself, to aid and assist your Excellency in your present arduous 
and difi&cult position.^ 

The Governor suggested the immediate despatch of the 
remaining portion of the 88th regiment, the notion of landing 

» C. P., A. 24—78, p. 8. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAB 265 

at Mazeppa Bay, or the £ei mouth, was revived, and Mr. 
Molteno was requested to make the necessary arrangements 
with the commodore. These he immediately carried out; 
the Active and Florence embarked about 350 men and sailed 
eastwards. Mr. Molteno telegraphed to Mr. Merriman on 
the 6th of December : — 

. . . establishing ourselves on the coast which, now that we 
have taken the coimtry, would be sure to follow sooner or later, 
is most important, and will enable us to throw in rapidly both men 
and supplies to any extent, while not weakening us on the 
frontier, and will, I hope, more than compensate for the at present 
impracticable militia scheme you appear to have set your heart on 
so much. You can, however, temporarily utilise the men you had 
in view for this purpose as volunteers or police, for use on the 
immediate frontier. 

At the same time, Mr. Molteno, in reply to a telegram 
from the Governor, urging him to permit Mr. Merriman a 
freer hand, wrote : — 

As to what your Excellency says about allowing Merriman to 
try his plans for Mihtia District Police (preventive and detective), 
it has all along been my desire, taking into consideration the 
extraordinary and difficult position in which he has been placed, 
to give him the fullest possible latitude and support, stopping 
short only of sanctioning engagements, and the initiation of plans, 
which not only stretch beyond the exigencies of the moment and 
entail permanent, as distinguished from temporary, changes and 
burdens upon the Colony, without consent of Parliament, but 
which obviously could not be effectively worked in the absence of 
legislation. 

On the previous day Mr. Molteno had pointed out to the 
Governor the difl&culty of arriving at a decision in regard to 
constitutional changes, and said that a visit to King William's 
Town might be desirable if he could get away. Instead of 
sending in the Fingoes and Colonial reinforcements to Com- 
mandant Grifl&th in answer to his request, it was decided on 
the frontier, without Mr. Molteno's concurrence, to send 
Imperial troops and place the Transkei portion of the police 



266 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

under the General. The difl&culties of keeping the control 
of the police there against the Governor's wishes has already 
been alluded to, owing to his being High Commissioner over 
the Transkei. 

The Imperial authorities took control of operations on 
the 7th of December. On the 14th Colonel Glyn arrived at 
Ibeka with a detachment of the 24th, and took command. 
A forward move was urged on them by Mr. Merriman, but 
it was not until the 26th that the General felt able to move. 
At this delay the Governor expressed his disapproval.* 
In the meantime, a Galeka chief, Khiva, had on the 22nd of 
December, while the troops were hesitating, crossed the Kei, 
and passed into the Gaika location. This was most un- 
fortunate, and led to an immediate increase of the excite- 
ment.^ 

But how had the Imperial troops come to be used ? Mr. 
Merriman had promised Mr. Molteno that he should be 
fully consulted, and the terms arranged in writing upon 
which the Imperial troops were to be used, if at any time 
the suggestion were made ; but, without any intimation, 
when Mackinnon was disarmed Mr. Merriman had assented 
to the troops supporting the police, and we have already 
seen Captain Brabant's account of the evils resulting from 
their interference. He now again acted in concert with the 
Governor, and ignored Mr. Molteno, who telegraphed to him 
on the 13th of December : — 

Your telegram of this morning received, which, taken in con- 
nection with one on the same subject from his Excellency, places 
matters in such a position as to, in my opinion, render it useless 
urging any further objection to the arrangements you propose. 
But I trust you will not fail to bear in mind the immense 
responsibilities we are taking upon ourselves, and the necessity 
for our being fully prepared to justify the same. You have aU 
along said, ' Only give your full confidence to us who are acting 

» C. P., A. 24—78, p. 26. 

* Despatch of the 9th Janoarj to Lord Carnanron. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAR 267 

on the frontier, and rest assured all will come right/ May your 
prophecy be fulfilled. With the scanty information you furnish, 
and the little we are able to glean from other sources down here 
as to the position of afiieiirs, the feeling of helplessness to efifectually 
aid and assist you, even in council, becomes every day more 
painful ; nor am I sure that a too ready acquiescence on my part 
in all your proposals and arrangements, many of them conceived, 
pressed on, and carried out with a rapidity absolutely precluding 
anything like full and fair consideration, will in the end bear such 
fruit as you anticipate. How does the appointment of a second 
in command of the Pohce answer your expectations ? Please show 
his Excellency this telegram, as it in efifect replies to his of this 
morning. 

Mr. Molteno now foresaw, as on the previous occasion 
of the operations in Galekaland, that there was a fatal 
hesitation and paralysis at the front. In this case, owing to the 
Imperial troops being engaged, it was even more apparent. 
There was again a desire to mass large forces, and not to 
use small ones vigorously ; and that notwithstanding the 
fact that the Galekas had been thoroughly beaten only so 
recently. All the previous anxiety returned in even greater 
force, with the additional apprehension of a Gaika rising if 
hostilities were prolonged. The Governor had not appre- 
ciated the situation before. Now he appeared to be in a 
panic. Mr. Molteno telegraphs to Mr. Merriman on the 
14th of December : — 

Your telegram received late last night. It is not news or even 
facts alone I want, but I will enumerate points upon which 
information would be most acceptable. Your general view of the 
situation is, I dare say, pretty correct. Speaking of the police you 
say the whole force has fallen to pieces. Granted this in a certain 
sense, but you have 600 or 700 or more Europeans in that force 
no worse than the men you are trying to get together on the 
frontier — are they, their horses, arms and guns to be made no use 
of whatever? Would 150 under Chalmers, and the remainder 
divided into similar numbers and placed under the best officers in 
the force, be of no use in acting against the Galekas ? Give up 
the idea of massing large numbers at any one point under 
Griffith or any other officer — he can safely do all that is necessary 



268 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

as to general control at a distance. Are the Fingoes under the 
best officers you can get to be made use of ? Where is Major 
Elliott? Are his hands to be tightly tied and no use made of 
his Tembus? What is domg by Blythe at Kokstadt? (Not 
one word of information on this point yet.) Is any attempt 
to be made to strengthen our position in Moni's country? or 
do you propose to virtually abandon by the Colonial Govern- 
ment the further direction of operations, leaving everything to the 
management of military officers, and her Majesty's troops, 
because it appears to me that if you have not already done 
so the step you yesterday so strongly urged is a near approach 
to it. 

I still think it would be better to continue the policy we com- 
menced with as to part to be taken by military and Colonial forces 
respectively, and by no means agree in the gloomy view of afifairs 
taken by his Excellency, and, I fear, shared in by you ; but if things 
have come to this in your minds, let me ask of what use is the 
presence any longer on the frontier of the Gk)vemor and yourself ? 
Having once handed over to the War Department of her Majesty's 
Government, anything beyond giving a general direction as to the 
maintenance of public order in the Colony and scope of operations 
beyond is out of the question, and this would be as well done, or 
perhaps better, after consultation between his Excellency and his 
Ministers at the seat of government, free from the disturbing 
effects of panic, useless public meetings, &c., on the frontier. I 
notice that the Governor and General were at East London. I 
am sorry you were not there also, for I am apprehensive of a re- 
petition of what occurred before, unless Colonial counsels could 
be brought to bear, notwithstanding all the efforts to make the 
landing a success. 

I hope you will give me the fullest information with regard to 
any special orders given to the Commodore. If the troops and 
men of the Active are fortunately landed, for Heaven's sake let 
some use be made of them, which I feel convinced might be the 
case if joined by some of our police and native allies. But ominous 
rumours already reach us as to value of mere military demonstra- 
tions and the effect likely to be produced thereby on the native 
mind. I, however, disregard them and hope for the best. Would 
it not be as well if you were to give instructions to provide us 
down here with information as to what steps you are taking in 
regard to raising additional forces ? We are in this respect worse 
off than any frontier Civil Commissioner. It is rumoured that an 
•officer has even been selected for recruiting in Cape Town, while 
the Government here is left in ignorance. 



THE GALBKA AND GAIKA WAB 269 

To this Mr. Merriman replied by letter, under date the 
15th of December, in which he says : — 

There are some matters which I do not like to discuss by tele- 
graph for obvious reasons, and any difiference of opinion with the 
Governor is one of them. To go back a few days, when this news 
came of the action at Hollands Shop, undoubtedly things looked 
very serious — the country was already in a panic. The Governor 
had himself declared to a deputation ' that things were extremely 
critical,' which simply worked matters up to fever heat. As you 
see from the comments of the press how thoroughly this dictum 
from his lips discredited all my efforts to keep matters quiet. The 
press was daily issuing telegrams calculated to bring on a conflict 
any moment — Griffith seemed to have given way ; and what force 
had we to look to ? What would have been our responsibihty if 
we had stopped to settle the exact terms and conditions of the 
employment of the troops ? and yet we shall have to look the 
whole mihtary question in the face, and the first step towards a 
satisfactory settlement will be getting rid of the troops. I am a 
more ardent advocate for that than ever. They are no use except 
to frighten the enemy at great cost, and so hedged roimd with re- 
strictions that, as in our present state, we only employ them as a 
dernier ressort. As long as they remain there will be constant 
friction, and, in active operations, paralysis. Think matter over 
carefully. 

But it was his own precipitate action, without consulta- 
tion with his colleagues, that had led to their employment. 

Mr. Molteno's fears were realised. The Mazeppa Bay 
landing was abandoned, the Governor placing his veto on it.^ 
And on the 15th he telegraphed to Mr. Merriman as 
follows : — 

The return furnished on the 21st of September last as to 
strength of Moimted Police gives total of all ranks 1,116 men, 
and horses 884, now reduced by your account to 400, with tired 
horses. Are not the remainder of the men available as footmen 
in some way or the other ? I told you that from my own experi- 
ence horses could not be maintained in efficiency if operations at 
all protracted, and that the main body of our forces would have, 
as in the case of all former Kaffir wars, to operate on foot, which, 
looking to the comparatively restricted area of our present opera- 
» C. P., A. 24-78, p. 12. 



270 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

tions, would not be attended with so much difficulty. Her 
Majesty's troops cannot be mounted except to a very trifling 
extent, and yet it is proposed to work with them. If there is no 
massing of forces now even 250 Europeans in one spot might, I 
should imagine, be more beneficially made use of if divided and 
co-operating with native forces. Buying horses for volunteers I 
agree with you in not advocating — we must do things less expen- 
sively. 

It appears to me monstrous, taking the most exaggerated 
view of the Galeka power, to believe that such a force of Euro- 
peans as we have in the field aided by natives in the numbers we 
could command, should not be able to hold their own in that 
country, leaving the military to do the very useful work of main- 
taining posts in the Colony, and aiding in putting down any dis- 
affection which might imfortunately arise with natives within the 
Colonial boundary. I never was sanguine enough to believe 
what seemed so easy to you when I was on the frontier — viz. 
conquering Galekaland, capturing Ereli, resetthng the country, 
and finishing the job in the hand-over-hand fashion you imagined ; 
but on the other hand I am not now inclined to take a desponding 
view of affiairs, and suppose that nothing can be done without a 
force numerically so much beyond what we had to begin with. I 
am sorry to find that confidence in Griffith has been so much 
diminished, but surely some of our police officers and frontier- 
men could be entrusted with smaller commands in the manner I 
have suggested in the country of an enemy of such a character as 
the disorganised Galekas. 

What was at first, perhaps, to some extent underestimated, 
now appears to me immensely overestimated, but if it should 
still be thought necessary to have more men in the field, I 
was contemplating, in the event of a landing being effected 
on the coast, sending levies from this end of the Colony, which 
with a little effort could be raised to a considerable extent, 
but I feel it is of but little use going on further in this strain. 
I cannot advocate my views by telegram, the post is too tardy, 
and without this, all I can say stands a chance of being 
brushed aside. I think you will admit that you have had your 
own way up to this, and if I saw any feasible plan now coming 
forward, I should be disposed to continue in the same course. 
Having, however, given all that has been advanced on your side 
the fullest consideration, I have arrived at the conclusion that the 
time has now fully arrived when the Governor must be advised to 
return to the seat of Government with as little delay as possible. 
I would go to the Governor myself, but this would not answer 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAB 271 

the same purpose for many and weighty reasons whioh I cannot 
now go into. You and Brownlee could not come down imtil after 
the Governor had reached this, and the whole position of affairs 
had been fully considered with him. I wish you would be good 
enough to show the Governor this telegram, as I shall not be able 
to communicate with him directly before Monday. 

A minute was now decided on by the Cabinet in Cape 
Town advising the Governor's immediate return to the seat 
of Government. It set forth the division of the Cabinet which 
precluded the possibility of any consideration by the members 
of it collectively as to the advice which they might consider 
it needful to tender to the Governor in the present emergency, 
* thus virtually preventing the Government of the Colony 
being carried on in a constitutional manner.' Admitting 
that for a time his Excellency's presence on the frontier had 
been advantageous, yet Ministers expressed their opinion 
that any further prolongation of his absence from the seat 
of Government would tend to lead the Colony into serious 
difficulties greatly detrimental to its permanent interests, 
and urged his immediate return to Cape Tovm. 

Several things happened now which gave Mr. Molteno 
just cause for resentment, and enforced the view that the 
Government was being carried on in an unconstitutional 
manner. The Governor began to act vnth the General 
quite independently of the Colonial Government. He 
authorised without any consultation or consent — indeed in 
opposition to the efforts — of the Colonial Government the 
enlisting and enrolment of two military bodies entitled 
' Carrington's Horse,' and * Pulleine's Bangers.' ^ At Cape 

' Four years afterwards the official acoount of the Governor's action at this 
time is supplied by the then Premier's minate of the 81st of January, 1882. 
The Imperial Government did not challenge his version, and admitted the right 
of the Colony to refuse payment of the cost of these forces: — 

* (8) Early in December, 1877, Sir Bartle Frere pressed upon his Ministers the 
urgent necessity of providing some police force for the protection of the 
frontier districts, then in a great state of alarm and uneasiness, and in conse- 
quence they issued a notice calling for men willing to undertake such duties. 
On the same day that this notice appeared, without the knowledge and sanction 



274 LIFB AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

their hands, and thus unnecessarily endanger their lives and 
property. 

This was followed immediately by a telegraphic conversa- 
tion on the same day. Mr. Merriman in answer says : — 

Tou must also recollect that nothing kept the people here from 
most mad panic but the movement of the troops. I do not think 
they are so much in love with military movements now, and our 
management will contrast most favourably in every respect. It 
is a fortnight now, and they ought to have been perfectly prepared. 
Just contrast what we managed to do in the first fortnight with 
all our preparations to get together. I confirm in every respect 
my private letter to you about the General. 

Mr. Molteno replied : — 

You have advanced nothing new now, or which has not been 
mentioned in my late telegrams; and the action lately taken is 
clearly in opposition to what you have advanced in telegrams and 
letter. The civil Government will soon be in confusion, and the 
only remedy which I can see is the one proposed this morning. 
Nobody down here can understand the state of affairs. Mr. 
Southey has just called at the Colonial Office to ask insertion in 
the Government Gazette of some notice about volimteers. The 
Gk)vemment, in fact, is completely passed by and ignored. 
Notices issued to civil commissioners and others without the 
slightest reference to the Government. I cannot understand the 
proceedings of the General and his officers in this respect, and 
shall hope that you have not in any way lent your countenance 
to these irregular if not absolutely illegal proceedings. To carry 
out such a system effectually, a proclamation of martial law would 
seem to be the only course. I must press on you an early reply 
on the proposed minute to the Grovemor. 

In reply to this Mr. Merriman said : — 

Pulleine's Bangers and Garrington's force are raised by 
Imperial officers under Imperial regulations ; paid, at any rate for 
the present, by Imperial funds. They have not consulted me, and 
I do not wish to interfere, as the great question will come, whether 
we have to return the money or not, or what part of it. 

Mr. Molteno answered : — 

Irrespective of the money question, which, for the present at 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAE 275 

any rate, I decline to sanction on the part of the Colony, the 
proceedings are irregular and illegal, unless with the full consent 
of the Colonial Oovemment. Tou cannot stand by and let things 
be done in the manner you suppose. Our responsibility we cannot 
shift on others or refuse to bear ourselves. 

And Mr. Merriman concluded the conversation : — 

I shall send an answer to your last telegram as soon as I 
can — probably to-night. 

Nevertheless Mr. Merriman added to the diflBculty of the 
situation by refusing to concur in the proposed Minute. He, 
however, suggested that Mr. Molteno should await the 
Minute which the Governor had dravm up based on the tele- 
grams which had recently passed, and had been shovm to 
him. In this he said that the position of affairs had con- 
siderably improved, that the action of Mr. Chalmers had 
roused Sandilli to a sense of his danger, that upon the whole 
the prospect was much more hopeful than it had been. 

I have received more than once a very decided expression of 
the opinion of the Prime Minister and the members of the Cabinet 
who are with him at the capital, that I and the two Ministers that 
are here on the frontier should immediately return to Cape Town. 
I am fully sensible of the manifold inconveniences which beset a 
Cabinet when it is impossible to meet for personal communication, 
but I feel sure that if Mr. Molteno, and his colleagues who are 
with him, could realise, as we do here, the extreme danger in the 
present excited state of the frontier, which follows any want of 
prompt and judicious action of the Executive, they would not dream 
of withdrawing the only representatives of the Executive whose 
action is not both limited locally, and inefficient in the extent of its 
powers. I earnestly trust that before the Ministers who are at pre- 
sent on the frontier are withdrawn from it, the Cabinet will provide 
a sufficient representative of the Executive Government, with power 
to draw his intelligence, as we now do, from all parts of the fron- 
tier, and to apply such remedy as may be available in the police or 
military force at our disposal. 

Unless this be done, I must record my deliberate and strong 
conviction that there is the greatest possible danger of a civil war, 
which has been so long imminent, breaking out at any moment. 

As regards myself, I hope that in a short time it may be 
possible for me to leave this part of the frontier without paralysing 

T 2 



276 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

the action of the military force beyond the Eel, but it will be for 
some days difficult to speak with any certainty on this point. Ab 
regards the Colony, I shall, in accordance with the Constitution, 
be glad to meet the Cabinet, whenever and wherever it may 
assemble, and if the Cabinet has made previous arrangements for 
ensuring the peace of the frontier districts, I do not think there 
could be a better place than Cape Town, but this is an important 
and essential proviso. 

Individually, my powers are restricted to directing any move- 
ment of her Majesty's forces, regarding which I have no wish 
stronger than that of being favoured with the deliberate advice of 
the Cabinet. I think I have shown during the past few months, 
when I have been in daily communication with all the Ministers 
present, that there is no reserve in my earnest wish to elicit the 
counsel and be guided by the advice of my constitutional advisers ; 
and I can assure them that nothing is further from my desire than 
to depart from the hue of conduct I have laid down for myself in 
this matter since I first arrived in the country. If I do not imme- 
diately hurry back to the capital, in answer to the expressed 
wishes of the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet there, 
it is simply because in the present state of the frontier I do not 
see how I and the Ministers now here, being the only symbols of 
the General Executive Government of the Colony here present, 
eould withdraw ourselves without the most imminent risk of civil 
war — a risk which I think can only be effectually averted by the 
Ministers indicating some Executive authority to whom Govern- 
ment officials and the people of the frontier may apply for advice 
and assistance in repressing any threatened disturbance which 
requires the interference of police or military. 

Having expressed these opinions, I shall anxiously await the 
advice of the Cabinet on the subject.^ 

It will be perceived that the appointment of some officer 
vnth large powers is here made a condition of the Governor's 
return to Cape Town. On the following day the Governor 
actually suggests the appointment of Mr. Griffith : — 

From what Merriman has communicated to me of your views 
as expressed in telegrams to him, I feel assured you cannot be 
aware of the extremely critical position of affairs here. The 
excitement in the Colony is perhaps less than last week, but the 
danger is greater of colonists, if left to themselves, pressing on a 
civil war with the Gaikas, Tembus, &c. 

• C. P., A. 21—78, p. 2. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAE 277 

I am sending you by post a Minute, whioh I should wish you 
carefully to consider before you decide on the course you will 
take. You seem by no means aware how entirely, for the moment, 
the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police have collapsed, and lost 
the confidence of their fellow-citizens. This is not Griffith's fault, 
and much may be done to repair matters if he is properly sup- 
ported. But to ensure a reasonable hope of keeping the peace 
on the frontier, and to enable us to leave and rejoin you at Cape 
Town, you must have someone here to whom all can apply for 
advice and assistance, and who would have the power to issue 
orders to all where the intervention of police force or application 
for military aid was necessary. Griffith would, I think, do if he 
possessed your confidence, but you may know a better man. 

N will not do. He has, by his want of nerve and judgment, 

done infinite harm in Alice and its neighbourhood, You may rely 
on it that unless there is someone here to unite the disconnected 
energies of your Executive, you will invite some great disaster. 
You must have a police and judicial power here, able not only to 
check stock-stealing, but to bring to justice misguided men who 
may try to force on hostihties with the natives — a smaller evil 
than the present absence of police protection. If all goes on well, 
Griffith might be spared to come back here and reform the Colonial 
PoHce in a few weeks, or possibly days.^ 

To this Mr. Molteno replies on the 20th : — 

Your Excellency's telegram received. You may rest assured 
that nothing more is required to impress me as to the extremely 
critical position of affairs, arising, in my opinion, quite as much 
from the excited state of the people, both white and black, within 
the Colony as from actual danger from without. The late intelli- 
gence as to the Galekas and surrender of Botman indicates, I 
think, that they are not prepared to resist any longer, at any rate 
for the present. 

The immediate effect of this must be a cooling down of the 
panic, and strengthening of the hands of Government in the most 
strenuous efforts it is able to put forth, to maintain law and order 
within the Colony, no matter at what cost. The ordinary civil 
power is still, I think, able to do this with the exception of two or, 
at most, three of the extreme frontier districts, within which I 
admit the possibility or even the probability of a stronger hand 
than that of the magistrate may be necessary, and would approve 
of the appointment of Mr. Griffith, with special powers, and with 

» C. P., A. 21-78, p. 4. 



278 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

him would rest the power of calling in the aid of military or extra 
Colonial force, if necessary ; which power, with the aid of tele- 
graphic communication, and thus obtaining such advice from 
superior authority before acting, as time and circumstances would 
admit, ought, I think, to be sufficient to give reasonable hope of the 
peace being maintained. I shall, of course, accede to your Excel- 
lency's request and defer a decision as to the course to be pursued. 
Pending receipt of your Excellency's Minute in the meantime, 
however, even supposing I entirely coincide with your Excellency 
as to the state of our police &c., I cannot delay intimating my 
opinion that the military movements, preparations, commissariat 
and other arrangements on so gigantic a scale are imcalled for,^ 
and entirely beyond the exigencies of the case, as things at present 
stand, and without questioning the necessity which existed at the 
time that all this was decided upon, advise an immediate recon- 
sideration and curtailment, and a return, as near as circumstances 
will admit, to the state of things which previously existed. It is 
not a question with me whether the Imperial or Colonial Treasury 
ultimately bears the expenses, but I consider it would be a failure 
of duty on my part to acquiesce in burdening either one or the 
other with expenditure not fully warranted by urgency of the case, 
nor can I delay impressing upon your Excellency the absolute 
necessity for a speedy return to the seat of Government. Your 
Excellency thinks that I do not fully reahse the critical position 
of affairs on the frontier; this I have already alluded to, but 
permit me to state my opinion that your Excellency can hardly 
be sufficiently aware of the state of chaos into which the general 
government of the country is rapidly falling, by a continuance of 
the present condition of things, which it would be impossible fully 
to explain by telegram.^ 

Mr. Molteno telegraphed to Mr. Merriman on the 19th, 
sa3dng he will defer action on his proposed Minute until he 
receives the Governor's Minute, which of course could not 
be expected to arrive for some days after this date : — 

Referring to what has taken place with regard to the miUtary, 
and to our conversation on Monday last, are we to understand 
that you have assented to the position that the Governor exercises 
his control over the General in matters occurring within the 
Colony, or in which its interests are concerned, without reference 
to his Ministers ? Whatever turn things may take I cannot help 
thinking for many reasons, which will occur to yourself, that 

» C. P., A. 21-'78, p. 6. 



THE GALEKA AND GAIKA WAR 279 

had it been considered essentially necessary by the General and 
those acting under his orders to pass by the Colonial Government 
rather than to ask its co-operation, the thing might have been 
done in a manner less liable to misconstmction, than by appointing 
a gentleman who has taken up so prominently hostile a position 
towards the Government as Mr. Southey has. 

Mr. Merriman answered that the Governor does not act 
independently, that the violent conduct of the whites on the 
frontier may lead to war, and that the military are terribly 
slow ; if Mr. Molteno would agree to Mr. Griffith's appoint- 
ment, they might all leave the frontier in a few days. 

On the 18th, matters had taken a very favourable turn, 
the Galekas were surrendering, and had the military taken 
immediate action, the war would have been over. On the 
14th Mr. Merriman had urged on the Governor that in his 
and Mr. Griffith's view ' a very moderate amount of vigour at 
Chichaba would stamp the thing out. . . . The military will 
allow the golden opportunity to slip by'; and to Griffith 
he telegraphs, * Your views agree with my ovm opinions. I 
think if that band of thieves under Khiva at Umyameni 
were hunted down it would finish the matter oflf. . . . But 
what is wanted now is more action to destroy those pre- 
datory bands, and not the plan of a general campaign which 
wiil be completed too late.' * 

But the General was organising and equipping his great 
colmnns. Even the Governor complained of the time he 
took in making a move at Ibeka.^ Colonel Glyn was in 
command, and Commandant Griffith could not move freely. 
Khiva crossed the Kei on the 22nd of December, and escaped 
into the Gaika location. The General had been warned of 
the importance of not permitting him to cross the Kei, and 
had been urged to attack him. He sent out a force which 
caught sight of him, but did nothing to arrest his movement.* 

» C. P., A. 64—78, p. 72. « C. P., A. 24—78, p. 26. 

• I. P., C— 2000, p. 114. 



9B0 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

This Ehiva was the leader of the war party, and the Governor 
describes the effect of his escape to Lord Gamaryon thus : — 

Ebiya's appearance this side of the Eei was a matter of im- 
portance, as he was a bold and active yonng chief, the head of the 
war party among the Gklekas.^ 

And again : — 

For some time there was an evident abatement of this excite- 
ment , but it suddenly burst out afresh on the arrival among 
the Qaikas of Ehiva, the young leader of the Galeka war party. 
This is at any rate the only ostensible reason assigned to the 
sudden change which took place in the Gkuka population, just at 
the time we were looking forward to a second clearance of Galeka- 
land.' 

But was this the only ostensible reason for the change ? 
The affairs of the Galekas were now in a very bad way. Sir 
Bartle Frere reported to Lord Carnarvon that in the 
Transkei there was every indication of an early termination 
of hostilities. * The Galekas, where accidentally met in small 
parties by our patrols, acknowledged their entire defeat, 
and professed their desire to see peace restored. Kreli had 
sent his trusted commander-in-chief and valued councillor 
Botman and Wapi to our outpost officers to open negotia- 
ations for the termination of hostilities, and considerable 
numbers of people of inferior degree had come in and sur- 
rendered.'* What now fanned afresh the flame ? 

> I. P., C-2000, p. 114. « J. P., 0—2079, p. 2. 

• January 2nd, I. P., C— 2000, p. 114. 



381 



CHAPTEE XXVII 

DISARMAMENT OF NATIVES. 1877-78 

Governor ignores Ministers — Announces Disarmament of Natives— Fatal Effects 
— Gaikas driven to Desperation- -The Governor refuses Ministers' Advice — 
Crisis in Belations— Mr. Molteno goes to Frontier— He vetoes Disarmament 
Policy— Martial Law— Governor refuses Attomey-GeneraPs Advice — 
Issues Illegal Proclamation — Subsequently withdraws Proclamation — 
Appeals for Imperial Troops— In Opposition to Mr. Molteno*s Advice. 

When Mackinnon escaped into the Gaika location on the 
18th of November there was a panic, owing to the fear that 
the Gaikas would rise. They did not, however, do so. What 
had occurred since then to alter their determination ? An 
occurrence had taken place of which Sir Bartle Frere was 
not likely to be the informant to the Secretary of State, and 
very probably at the time he did not appreciate the enormous 
and vital consequences of his action. 

On the 23rd of December, against the wish of the Min- 
ister who was with him,* and without any previous con- 
sultation with him or with the Cabinet, he met a deputation 
of the inhabitants of King William's Town, to whom he 
made a most fateful announcement of his policy towards 
the natives of South Africa, an announcement which at the 
time was regarded as of the most serious import, and which 

> Mr. Molteno had in his telegram of 14th of December deprecated * useless 
public meetings on the frontier,' and Mr. Merriman writes to Mr. Molteno, * On 
my way down to East London on Saturday I wrote you a letter in the train, 
but owing to some mistake I could not post it. I am not sorry, as it contained 
some very cross remarks on the Governor's interview of the deputation last 
week as an explanation of my not being there. The fact is that I thoroughly 
dislike and disapprove of these informal Parliaments in which, although 
acting from the best motives, his Excellency is apt to be carried away and to 
get into arguments and make admissions which tend to throw the Government 
more or less into contempt' — Letter of 24th of December, 1877. 



282 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

was the prime if not the determining cause of the Gaikas 
now rising in despair. The Governor said to the deputa- 
tion : — 

I hope the members of the Executive Oovemment will forgive 
me if I m>ake a departv/re from constitutional usage, and at a time 
such as this will excuse my making remarks without previous con- 
9vltation with them, and so avail myself of the opportunity of 
stating my own views frankly and fully ... As regards the 
terms of peace, you may be sure that if my influence can have 
any weight you will have a permanent peace made for you. One 
of the measures to that end must be the entire disa/rmament of the 
natives, 

Mr, Irvine, a member of the deputation, whose knowledge 
of the natives was unsurpassed, immediately made the 
significant remark * The disarming of the natives will test 
the loyalty of the Gaikas, and for that result we must be 
prepared.' ^ 

There was no exception made for the native who was 
fighting with you, the chief who was supporting you was 
to have his influence destroyed — all were to be disarmed. 
When this came to be attempted it cost the Colony enormous 
loss of life and a debt of between 4,000,000Z. and 5,000,000^., 
and then the attempt was unsuccessful. Its immediate 
effect was to drive the Gaikas to desperation, as Mr. Irvine 
had predicted.' This speech was made on the 23rd of 
December; before a week was over the Gaikas were in 
rebellion. Let us see what Sir Bartle Frere himself says 
of these unfortunate men, threatened as they were on all 
sides by white men. On the 25th of November he had 
written to Mr. Molteno : — 



> Argus, Jan. Ist, 1S78. 

' We may compare this action of Sir Bartle Frere with another instance of 
the ignorance, indifiference, and incapacity of British administrators in dealing 
with beliefs and types of character wholly unlike their own. The Sepoys' 
objections to the use of the greased cartridges seemed to them so childish as to 
be incapable of any depth, yet it produced a Mutiny which for a time shook the 
English power in India to its very foundation. See Lecky, The Map of Life, p. 97. 



DISARMAMENT OF NATIVES 288 

I feel quite sure that if Mr. Merriman and I had not been here 
there would have been a collision on the border of the Gaika loca- 
tion, and the whole of the Gaika population and their allies would 
have been in arms — not in enmity, but in terror . . . The Gkikas 
and all their friends were equally panic-stricken, believing we were 
about to commence war at once, and knowing its direful conse- 
quences to them, they were, I believe, more frightened at us than 
we were at them, which is saying a great deal . . . Beware of 
advocates of strong measures, which usually means the weakest 
of all measures, a constant resort to pure force and illegal 
despotism. 

It will be recollected that this letter was in reply to a 
telegram sent by Mr. Molteno on learning that it had been 
decided to disarm Mapassa and Mackinnon, and urging that 
the natives should not be driven to desperation. Again 
Sir Bartle Frere asks what can be done legally to stop the 
Press from endeavouring to * hound on the exasperated 
farmers to acts of violence and retaliation,' and suggesting 
for them consequences which 

might be more disagreeable to the writers than the civil war and 
massacre of the Kaffirs, which it is their object to bring on as the 
* strong measures ' which alone can save the country. . . I know 
aU these threats and fear the results. 

And to Lord Carnarvon he reports : — 

Without giving much weight to the assurance of the Gaika 
chief, Sandilli, when I went to meet him a few days since with 
Mr. Brownlee, or to other expressions of loyalty from similar 
quarters, I should have little apprehension on this score were it 
not for the reckless expression of apprehension and suspicion by 
many who ought to know better, exciting the fears not only of our 
countrymen as to what the E[affirs may do them, but also the 
apprehension of the E^affirs as to what we intend to do to them. 

Too much praise cannot be given to the Government for steadily 
discouraging all that could give to this outbreak the character of 
a war of races. ^ 

On the 19th, three days before, he telegraphed to Mr. 
Molteno, ' the danger is greater of the Colonists, if left to 
themselves, pressing on a civil war with the Gaikas, Tembus, 

» C. P., A. 7— '78, p. 88. 



384 UEE AND TIMES OF SIB J. G. MOLTENO 

kc.^ Farther, on the 19th of December a detachment of 
the 88th was sent to Tylden to keep the whites in check. 

Bearing in mind this state of feeling on the frontier, 
we may readily understand the immediate effect of a speech 
made by the Gbvemor in the heart of the country affected, 
while at this critical moment Ehiva arrived to aid with 
argument the party who might be inclined to urge war. 
The Gaikas were fully informed of the Governor's words, 
and the unfortunate tribe was goaded into a fight through des- 
peration by a Governor who here, as so often, did not appre- 
ciate the effect of his own utterances. The text is still the 
game — he takes ' his ignorance for superior knowledge.' 

But what of his Ministers, what did they think of this 
action on the part of the dictator ? Was not this a return 
to the purely personal rule which the grant of responsible 
government had been supposed to set aside for ever? A 
man had again landed on the shores of Table Bay with no 
previous knowledge of South Africa, and through his ignor- 
ance was dictating a pohcy which was to lead to immeasur- 
able bloodshed and loss of treasure. Sir Bartle Frere had 
set aside the advice of his responsible Ministers in his action 
with regard to Kreli as soon as the latter showed that he 
meant to defy the orders of the Government. 

He had not only countermanded the advance of the 88th 
to East London and the landing of the troops at Mazeppa 
Bay, but now he had taken a far more serious administrative 
step. He cancelled the arrangement which had been made 
between the Colonial Government and the High Commis- 
sioner in Sir Henry Barkly's administration as to the mode of 
communication between the Imperial Military Authority and 
the Commander of the Forces. The course followed had been 
that all communications should pass through the Governor. 
By a stroke of his pen, without consulting his Ministers at 
all, and, as he admits, without even being informed of the 

» 0. P., A. 21—78, p. 4. 



DISARMAMENT OF NATIVES 286 

reasons for the previous arrangements being made, he 
cancelled them.* The Ministry proffered advice that he 
should return to the seat of the Government, advice given 
by his constitutional advisers owing to the business of the 
country falling into confusion, and owing to the absolute 
necessity of the Cabinet being united for the purpose of 
advising him on matters of the most serious import. This 
advice he set at defiance. 

Sir Bartle Frere suffered from the defect of his qualities — 
energetic, active, and masterful, he wished to control every- 
thing himself. He acted as Conunander-in-Chief in the field, 
though this was xmconstitutional.' He had forced upon the 
Ministry, by the threat of a Ministerial crisis, the adoption in 
principle of his German and Scotch immigration scheme for 
the settlement of Galekaland. He had, without the consent 
or advice of the Cabinet, proclaimed Kreli's country forfeited. 
He had vetoed Mr. Molteno's suggestion that the Fingoes 
should be used in Galekaland on the news of the return of the 
Galekas.' He had insisted upon the emploj^nent of Imperial 
troops against Mr. Molteno's wishes and advice. He had been 
informed by Mr. Molteno that the advice of the Cabinet on 
all important matters must be stated, yet he had played off 
the Ministers with him against those at a distance, and had 
either not consulted them at all or not allowed them time to 
deliberate. Now he calmly stated that he was consciously 
transgressing the rules of constitutional government in 
announcing, not his Minister's policy in regard to the 
natives, but his own. 

This was too much, and Mr. Molteno discussed with his 
colleagues at Cape Town the resignation of the Cabinet. He 

« C.P.,A. 7— '78. pp. 30,81. 

^ For proof we may refer to his aotion in ooantermanding the orders of the 
General for landing troops at Mazeppa Bay, to his censure of the General for 
the delay in his movement to Ibeka, and various other details, showing that he 
was practically attempting to act as Commander-in-Chief in the field. 

» C. P., A. 7— *78, p. 89, para. 26. 



286 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

could not, however, bring himself to resign at such a crisis. 
He had been entrusted by Parliament with its confidence, and 
he would do much to avoid abandoning the post until he 
could give an account of his stewardship. It was impossible 
to summon ParUament at once. But what weighed with 
him most was the fact that the Colony was in a critical 
condition ; as he said to Mr. Stockenstrom, * now, when the 
ship is in danger, I cannot leave the helm.' 

Was the action of Sir Bartle Frere that of a constitu- 
tional Governor ? was it not personal rule, and the rule of 
a dictator ? It subsequently appeared that he had received 
and made use of advice and memoranda from individual 
members of the Cabinet while on the frontier, which memo- 
randa their colleagues had not seen. 

As an instance of this it may be mentioned that of the 
papers published by the new Ministry relating to the dismissal, 
the first two statements dated the 8th and 26th of December 
respectively were not seen by Mr. Molteno till the 13th of 
January. This information was withheld at the time, and 
it was not announced until it subsequently appeared in a 
note by Mr. Lyttleton, the Governor's private secretary.* 

The Governor was no doubt aware of Lord Carnarvon's 
desire to get rid of the Molteno Ministry, evidenced by 
his intrigues with Mr. Paterson, and by his published in- 
structions to Sir Henry Barkly to dissolve the Parliament if 
it supported Mr. Molteno. He thus felt assured that in any 
conflict of views he would be supported by Lord Carnarvon, 
who had given him every power to make him dictator of 
South Africa. Upon his arrival he was unable to dispense 
with Mr. Molteno's services, owing to his large majority in 
Parliament, but still more to the fact that the Griqualand 
West Annexation Bill was being carried in deference to Lord 
Carnarvon's wishes through the Cape Parliament. 

But the time had come and he had no hesitation. His 

» C.P.,A. 17-'78,p. 85. 



DISARMAMENT OF NATIVES 287 

advice under Bimilar circumstanceB in the case of New Zealand 
was the appointment of a dictator. He now put this advice 
in practice. He discussed publicly with public deputations 
affairs of the greatest moment, and even entered upon the 
position of his Ministry. He communicated directly with 
Mr. Sprigg, the leading member of the Opposition, who 
informed the public that he had placed his views before Sir 
Bartle Frere. Under ordinary circumstances Mr. Molteno 
would have resigned ; but his strong sense of responsibility 
and his true loyalty to the interests of the country made him 
inclined to endeavour once more to ascertain whether a 
modus Vivendi could not be found. 

He saw that a divided Cabinet could no longer go on. 
Since the Governor refused to return, he must himself at all 
costs go to the frontier. If he were to be responsible for 
the measures which were carried out, they must be such 
as he could advise. If, on the other hand, Sir Bartle Frere 
deliberately determined to disregard his Ministers, this fact 
would be known by him definitely, and if the Governor 
refused to follow their advice in placing the Colonial forces 
under an officer subject to Colonial control he would at once 
resign. Mr. Stockenstrom writes at this time — the 30th of 
December — to Mr. Molteno : — 

I do not like the Governor's style; he seems querulous and 
inclined to blame us for the efifect of his own acts. I have therefore 
drawn up a short memorandum containing my views, which I should 
be glad to receive back after you have had time to peruse it. I 
think you should make a personal appeal for men, and go to the 
front, where I am sure your advice and presence are much needed. 
I am willing to place myself at your disposal to go to the front in 
any capacity. 

The memorandum was as follows : — 

The outbreak of the Gaikas— British subjects resident within 
the limits of the Colony — has greatly altered the aspect of affairs ; 
and while Ministers were to some extent justified in allowing the 
Governor to settle the Galeka difficulty beyond the borders of the 



288 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

Colony in a manner of which they did not entirely approve, I do 
not think they would he justified in allowing the Governor to 
act in the Gaika aSsAr contrary to their advice. The difiSculty 
which is presented to Ministers at this end of the Colony is that 
they are not kept fully advised as to the actual state of a&irs on 
the frontier, and that the most contradictory statements reach 
them from sources which they have reason to consider well 
informed. 

But what did Mr. Molteno think of the Governor's plan 
of disarmament, concerning the announcement of which he 
had not been in any way consulted ? He was not aware of 
what the Governor was about to say to the deputation at 
King William's Town on the 23rd ; but on the 27th Mr. 
Merriman placed the Gx)vemor's proposal before Mi. Molteno. 
It took the form of a proposition that the whole of the 
native tribes should be disarmed : — 

The most simple and practical measure will be to disarm all 
natives, beginning with the Gaikas, except such as have their arms 
registered by permission of Government. This can at present only 
be done by an arbitrary exercise of power, relying on a ratification 
of the act by Parliament. It will be necessary to issue a procla- 
mation, giving due notice of our intention, and proclaiming as 
illegal the carrying of arms except when enrolled and under 
special permit, also the raising of the war cry, and providing that 
those transgressing the provisions of such proclamation shall be 
treated as Queen's enemies. If you concur, will you be so good 
as to get the Attorney-General to telegraph his idea of the form 
such proclamation should take in order that, while not concealing 
that its issue is only justified by the gravest considerations of 
public safety, it might assume as near a legal form as possible. 
The matter presses, as if we could by such a proclamation give 
due notice of what our intentions are, men would turn up readily, 
while in the absence of any such notice they hang back from fear 
that they may only be wanted as a repressive police, and no action 
be taken. I think such a measure would be better than martial 
law, which seems the only alternative.^ 

This was the Governor's proposal pure and simple, and 
if any proposal could be termed ' insane,' this certainly was 

> Telegram from Mr. Merriman to Mr. Molteno, 27th of December. 



DISARMAMENT OF NATIVES 389 

so, whether we look to the position of the forces at the dis- 
posal of the Government, or of the effect upon the friendly 
natives fighting with us. Mr. Molteno replied on the 28th 
at 6 A.M. : — 

Your telegram of yesterday afternoon on subject of disarming 
all natives, beginning with the Gaikas, and issuing proclamation 
to that effect received. After discussion with Attorney-General, 
have not the least hesitation in stating that the proposition is, from 
all points of view, absolutely inadmissible. 

The Governor seems to have thought that his proclama- 
tion would be sufficient to justify his action. Mr. Molteno, 
however, pointed out that, quite apart from other considera- 
tions, it was absolutely illegal. Moreover, although there 
had been no suggestion from Mi. Molteno that any special 
steps were necessary in connection with the demand on the 
Gaikas for the surrender of Khiva, the Governor now ex- 
pressed the desire that martial law should be applied to the 
Gaika location. The moment was a critical one. In all 
previous Kaffir wars martial law had been proclaimed. It 
was an extraordinary proceeding, and necessitated the pass- 
ing subsequently by Parliament of an Act of Indemnity. 
There were recognised precedents both in English and 
Colonial law. Mr. Molteno assented to the proclamation of 
martial law as soon as the Governor, Mr. Merriman, and 
Mr. Brownlee should all agree in its advisability. Before 
the Attorney-General could telegraph the proper proclama- 
tion, the Governor had already forwarded a proclamation of 
his own. He was acting as dictator in military matters, 
he was acting as dictator in matters political.^ Now he 
put himself forward as a dictator in regard to the law. 

He began by suggesting that the military officers carry- 
ing on operations should be made justices of the peace or 
magistrates in order to give them power * to deal with cases 

* E,g. in regard to the mode in which the Cabinet Goonoils were to be 
conducted in his presence, and not privately. 

VOL. n. U 



290 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J, C. MOLTENO 

arising in their separate commands.' * To this Mr. Molteno 
replied that there was no law under which they could be 
made magistrates, while the commission proposed would 
give them no power to punish offenders. Yet the Governor 
pressed his view, to which Mr. Molteno jielAei, while ex- 
pressing a fear that a misapprehension as to their powers on 
the part of these officers might be productive of evil. This 
was a small matter, yet it served to show the extent to 
which the Governor was initiating matters with which the 
Ministry should alone deal, and how he determined to carry 
his view when once formulated. 

With regard, however, to the proclamation of martial 
law, a very serious question arose. The Governor desired to 
apply his Indian experience, gained during the Mutiny, when 
civil commissioners accompanied the military columns with a 
view to speedy sentence and punishment of rebels. Whatever 
the law of India may be, such a mode of proceeding was quite 
illegal in the Cape Colony. As soon as the proclamation 
drawn up by the Attorney-General had been issued — without 
waiting for the opinion or the sanction of the Cabinet on the 
matter — the Governor published a notice dated January 1st, 
1878, appointing five commissioners to administer martial law. 

This act was wholly illegal, and he was immediately 
informed by the Cabinet that it was so.* The Governor then 
asked what tribunal was suggested for the speedy trial of 
rebels and their inmiediate punishment, to which the Attor- 
ney-General replied that if it were impossible to delay the trial 
of rebels till they could be dealt with by the ordinary courts, 
then the only form of trial was drum-head court-martial. 
Mr. Molteno informed Mr. Merriman that he was surprised 
to find that the Governor had already acted on a suggestion 
for the appointment of commissioners without waiting for 
the deliberations and the opinion of the Cabinet on the sub- 
ject.' The Governor nevertheless, on being informed of the 

» C. P., A. 4—78, p. 26. « C. P., A. 4—78, p. 20. • C. P.,^ A. 4—78, p. 18. 



DISARMAMENT OF NATIVES 291 

illegality, persisted in his own view, and entered upon an 
argument of considerable length with the Attorney-General, 
who informed Mr. Molteno that he must resign if the Go- 
vernor persisted in carrying out his own views in opposition 
to his deliberate advice.* Well might the Attorney-General 
say to Mr. Molteno that he did not like the action of the 
Governor, who seemed inclined to blame his Ministers for 
acts done against their advice when the consequences were 
unpleasant. 

The telegrams received from the frontier by Mr. Molteno 
were now very conflicting, and reflected the hopes and fears 
of the moment, thus making any concerted action on his 
part almost impossible ; as he said in his telegrams to 
Mr. Merriman and the Governor, he was not kept informed 
of their intentions, nor were his proposals acted upon or 
even at times discussed. On December 18th Mr. Merriman 
had telegraphed that the war was practically over. Then 
came the escape of Khiva into the Gaika location and a 
return of the old panic. On the 26th Mr. Merriman informed 
Mr. Molteno that they have enough men at the front for the 
present, and asks for only thirty men from the west, while 

* The final result of this matter was that Mr. Upington, the new Attorney- 
General, after the dismissal of the Ministry, entirely agreed with his prede- 
cessor, with whom he had discussed the whole matter. On leaving office, Mr. 
Stockenstrom impressed upon the new Attorney-General the necessity of 
preventing the Governor acting upon his appointment of commissioners. This 
Mr. Upington carried out, and the whole of the instructions and appoint- 
ment of commissioners issued by the Governor were thereupon cancelled, yet 
the Governor actually says that the new Attorney-General's views were very 
much his own, and that he entirely agreed with him ; that he had impressed 
upon the late Ministry that the courts for the trial of rebel prisoners must be 
real courts-martial, and he takes credit with Lord Carnarvon for this action of 
his in cancelling what was his own illegal proclamation. Indeed, the whole 
subject of trial of rebels was raised solely by the Governor, and on January 
28th Mr. Stockenstrom reminds the Governor :~ 

* Holding these views, I wish to place on record that the main object of the 
Government in proclaiming martial law was to secure the disarmament of 
natives in Stntterheim and Eomgha, that the question as to the trial of rebels, 
otherwise than by the regular tribunals, did not originate with Ministers in 
Cape Town, and that I have persistently set my face against any such irregular 
trial.'— C. P., A. 4— '78, p. 22. 

u 2 



292 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

the Governor on the same day telegraphed to him * We have 
great want of men, especially momited burghers or volun- 
teers for patrols and posts.' 

How had this want arisen ? The Governor, in his capa- 
city as High Commissioner, had insisted upon the employ- 
ment of Imperial troops in the Transkei, but as soon as they 
were asked to take an active part in the war, the General 
said he could not move without cavalry, then without artil- 
lery, and then without Fingo levies, so that as a result the 
Colonial Government were now asked not only to supply all 
their own operations with troops, but to hand over the forces 
above enumerated to aid the Imperial troops in taking the 
field. Not only was this aid asked for, but it was asked for 
to such an extent that the operations proposed could easily 
have been carried out by the auxiliaries alone— indeed, could 
have been carried out far better, as they would then have 
been unhampered by the slow movements of the Imperial 
troops. 

Sir Arthur Cunynghame had grandiloquently informed 
the High Commissioner, in answer to his aggressive proposals 
respecting Pondoland in November, that he was ready to 
march through Galekaland, and even Pondoland, and the 
whole native territory, with the men he had under him, 
together with 200 mounted men, with which force he was 
prepared to dictate terms to the various native chiefs.* But 

> Page 8 of C. P., A. 24— '78. Extract from Sir Arthur Cnnynghame's letter 
dated November 18th, 1877, to Sir Bartle Frere: * Give me but a short time, and 
I shall be perfectly prepared to march from King William's Town to Maritzburg 
across Pondoland, conducting a brigade consisting of foar or six guns horsed, 
200 cavalry, 80 of which wiU be formed from Her Majesty's troops, and 120 from 
the F. A. M. Police, with two battalions of infantry ; I have a perfect staff to 
assist me in this operation. On my way through I shall be quite ready to 
dictate to those chiefs any political arrangements that you may consider 
desirable. I will also^ provided you consider it advantageous, take up a per- 
manent situation between the Eei and the Bashee rivers, and still retain, 
should you consider it necessary, the complete command of the Eei river and 
Ghdkaland.' This was in answer to a conversation between the Governor and 
the General, in which the General says : * I have reflected upon the tenor of 
your conversation with me this day. Should two infantry regiments come out, 



DISARMAMENT OF NATIVES 29S 

this was when Galekaland had not been swept by Comman- 
dant Griffith ; now, when he was asked to midertake the 
simple operation of keeping out the broken-down forces of the 
Galekas, his needs had risen to the demand for large nmnbers 
of mounted men and Fingo levies. It was a misfortune that 
the Imperial General was not better fitted to cope with the 
emergency which had arisen. The difficulties of regular 
troops in Kaffir wars are always great, and in this case were 
much increased by the incapacity of their temporary com- 
mander. It is only necessary to add that he was recalled 
before the operations of that war were completed.* 

In the war of 1846, when Mr. Molteno had himself served 
as a commandant of burghers, he had observed the unfitness 
of the Imperial troops for irregular guerilla warfare. He had 
also been a witness of the friction and serious disagreements 
which had arisen out of the relations of the Imperial troops 
with the burghers.^ There was an attempt to make the 
latter their hewers of wood and drawers of water for the 
Imperial troops, while the inefficiency of the military for 
Kaffir warfare was patent to all. This want of harmony 
had existed even where Sir Andries Stockenstrom had a 
separate command of the burghers entirely independent of 
the military, but acting in co-operation with them. 

the service which thej naturally will be required to perform will be that of 
placing the country under your High Commissionership into a state of 
security.* Thus, at this early period, Sir B. Frere was seeking to get out two 
regiments for ulterior purposes, and was suggesting the march through Pondo- 
land to Natal, a favourite scheme of his, which he revived even after the 
Transkei, the Tembu, and the Zulu war ; but a wiser head was then in supreme 
control, and Sir G. Wolseley refused him the forces for which he asked with 
the intention of parading through the country— like the Irishman with his ooat 
tails inviting the insult of his neighbour's foot. 

' ' I received information that in consequence of my not having oon- 
curred in the military policy of the late Government, it was considered 
necessary by the authorities at home that I should be superseded in my 
command. So anxious did they appear to be that this should be carried 
out, that my successor was directed to embark within a week, and he arrived 
in the colony in less than ten days after I had received an intimation of this 
intention.* — General Cun/ynghame*s Staiementt p. 205 of J. P. [0 — 2144]. 

' See ante, vol. i. p. 41. 



SM LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Now, when the services of all the volunteers and burghers 
were voluntary, men came forward under the express con- 
dition that it should be under their own officers,^ and it was 
arranged that only those who were specially placed under 
the General were to be under military command. Com- 
mandants Frost, Brabant, Cowie, and Schermbrucker had 
been commissioned by the Governor as conmiandants of 
their respective forces free from military control, and had 
conducted the operations throughout the war on this system, 
being directed generally by Mr. Merriman, who acted as a sort 
of War Minister by an arrangement which the Governor — 
though he subsequently endeavoured to repudiate it — had 
himself approved.^ 

To return to our narrative, the Governor had asked for 
more volunteers and burghers. Mr. Molteno replied on 
the 27th, and said the advice of the Cabinet was to put in 
force the Burgher Act. The Governor at last, after delaying 
and temporising first with Ereli and now again with Sandilli, 
became impatient, and desired in accordance with his weU- 
known views to call for more Imperial troops. He had 
admitted to Mr. Merriman that the volunteers and burghers 
could crush the Guikas effectively, but he did not desire 
any accession of these forces. Mr. Molteno, replying on the 



' We may oompare the refusal of the Ameriean troops to serve ezoept 
under officers of their own ohoioe. See Leoky, England in the EHghteentk 
OnUury, vol. iv. p. 222. 

' On this Important point the words of Sir Bartle Frere are conclusive. He 
wrote to General Cnnynghame :— < Your Excellency is aware that since the pre- 
sent disturbances came to a head the Honourable the Commissioner of Crown 
Lands has, with my full concurrence, and with, I have every reason to believe, 
the full consent of the whole Cabinet, taken the principal share of all the 
duties which would devolve on a Minister of War and Internal Police, and such 
offices exist here.* (C. P., A. 7—78, p. 55). While to Lord Carnarvon he writes, 
under date December the 4th, 1877:—* I should not omit to record my sense 
of the degree in which the services of the forces in the field were aided and 
supported by the unflagging energy and quick intelligence of the Honourable 
Bir. Merriman, the Commissioner of Crown Lands, who was chcurged by Mr. 
Molteno and his colleagues in the Ministry with the civil duties which usually 
devolve on a Minister for the War Department.'—/. P., 0— 2000, p. 10. 



DISABMAMENT OF NATIVES 296 

31st of December to a telegram in which the Governor 
spoke of a certain volunteer corps desiring to be relieved : — * 

What do you want me to do in this respect ? It is hardly 
necessary for me to repeat that more men can be sent up from 
this and Port EUzabeth ; but do not let us be working at cross 
purposes. To what extent, and within what portions of the 
Colony, do you wish me to act? With two members of the 
Cabinet present with the Grovemor, I hesitate to act without their 
assent.^ 

The Governor, however, did not want more Colonial 
troops; in fact it was diametrically opposed to his object 
that more Colonial troops should come forward and should 
crush the rebellion immediately.' The real object he could 
not openly avow, because Lord Carnarvon was not prepared 
to send more troops for such a purpose as Sir Bartle Frere 
had in his mind. He intended to crush the Zulu power, and 
for this purpose he wished to mass troops in South Africa, 
to be at hand to use, whether the Imperial Government 
wished it or not, against Cetywayo. 

On the 18th of December, 1877, the war was reported as 
nearly over by the Governor and Mr. Merriman, only on the 

' This oorps had asked to be relieved or to CLdvanee (C.P., A. 17 — '78, p. 14)* 
The following is the wording of the request of its oommandant : — 

' I have the honour to inform you that it is now three months since th/B 
detachment under my command left Gape Town, and for the last two and a 
half months has been stationed at the Springs, whereas detachments who 
came up some time after we did went on at once to the front. 

* The men under my command are now tired of the monotony and inactivity 
and for some time past have expressed a wish either to advance or return 
home, and as now there seems no chance of our going on, they request that 
they may be allowed to return to Cape Town as soon as possible. 

' I have therefore to request that you will be pleased to cause such arrange- 
ments to be made, as to have the detachment under my command relieved at 
your earliest convenience.' 

> Telegram to Mr. Merriman the 30th of December, 1877. 

' Page 9 of C.P,, A. 4-78. Writing to the Secretary of State, he tells him that 
to Mr. Molteno he had said: ' As most of his forces were volunteers, under no legal 
obligation to serve,!, of course, wish for none but those who volunteered to serve 
under military control.' While on the 4th of December he again says, ' Had the 
occasion required it, these numbers might have been largely increased ' (this 
of the volunteers and burghers). LP.^ C — 2000, p. 9. 



396 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

26th did the Governor ask for more volunteers and burghers. 
The Burgher Act was advised to be put in force on the 27th, 
and on the same day Mr. Molteno expressed his readiness 
to send more volunteers from the west, while also advocating 
the use of Fingoes in larger numbers ^ ; and deprecating the 
caU of so small a number as thirty men from the west. Yet 
the Governor, without even considering or accepting these 
measures, or awaiting their results, telegraphs on Decem- 
ber 31st : — 

These eastern provinces will be thrown back for years. I can 
only myself appeal to her Majesty's Government for more troops. 
Do you support my request ? We require at least eight hundred 
good burgher cavaby, and at least as many good European burgher 
foot soldiers, all well armed and equipped to finish speedily, and to 
spare life and expense : cannot you get these from midland and 
western districts ? If not all, a few hundreds will be acceptable, 
and may avert the desolation of large tracts of country. Let us 
know what you can do.' 

It would take months to get Imperial troops, even were 
there no other objection to their use. Mr. Molteno replied 
under date the 2nd of January : — 

In answer to your Excellency's telegram of 31st ultimo, we 
are making every effort to send up reinforcements of volunteers, 
burghers, and levies, pending arrival of which no men at present 
serving on the frontier should be reHeved. The drought which has 
so long prevailed, and consequent low condition of horses, and 
diminishing supply of forage throughout the Colony, restricts us 
very much to infantry; but which for the work we have to 
do, I am disposed to think, will be effective, and sooner obtained 
than troops from England. I cannot, therefore, support yoiu: 
Excellency's request to her Majesty's Government for more 
toops.* 

But it subsequently appeared that the Governor had 
taken the bit in his teeth, and had, on the 31st of December, in 
spite of his Minister's wishes, asked for Imperial troops.* He 

» See telegram, C. P., A. 4— '78, p. 27. « IM, p. 28. 

» Ibid. p. 28. * See I. P., C-2000, p. 108. 



DISABMAMBNT OF NATIVES 297 

mentions the disturbed state of the Zulu border in connection 
therewith, while in another despatch of the 2nd of January 
he admits that Mr. Molteno is still sceptical as to the 
necessity for the employment of Imperial troops ; * in a 
despatch of a little later date he states he would have been 
ready to await the effect of Mr. Molteno's measures, had it 
not been for the threatening aspect of affairs on the Zulu 
border.* 

Yet Mr. Molteno was correct, for the operations under- 
taken by the Colonial troops, together with the forces raised 
by him, had crushed the rebellion. On the 24th of January 
Sir Bartle Frere himself reports to Lord Carnarvon : — ' The 
general result has, however, been greatly to discourage the 
rebels, and they appear to have already broken up into small 
marauding bands, more intent on escaping than on any com- 
bination for large operations.*^ While on the 23rd of January 
Colonel Bellairs, D.A.G., commanding the eastern frontier, 
reported to the Secretary of State for War : — 

It is, of course, possible that a rising may take place elsewhere, 
causing an extension of the area of disturbance; but otherwise 
the war may be regarded as nearly over, and in that case I think 

> See I. P., 0.-2000, p. 116. 

^ January 9. C. P., A. 4-'78, p. 30. We have an indication of the objects and 
purposes which Sir Bartle Frere had in view in requesting reinforcements 
from her Majesty's Government, in the following paragraphs of his despatch:— 

' (8) I trust I may have underestimated the amount of support likely to be 
rapidly afforded by the midland and western provinces, and that their con- 
tingents may come up to the expectations of Messrs. Molteno and Merriman. 

* (9) I would be better content to await the result, were it not for the very 
threatening aspect of affairs on the Zulu border ; but, believing as I do, that 
with a proper police force a single regiment ought to be ample for the garrison 
of these provinces, I should he glad to see a nearer prospect of being able to 
detail reinforcements for Natal. 

'(10) This has induced me to press on your Lordship the necessity for 
sending out the two regiments for the relief of her Majesty's ISth and 24th at 
once, with powers to retain the relieved corps till matters are quieted.' 

A further light is thrown upon Sir B. Frere*s ideas in connection with 
these forces by the Oeneral's letter to him of the 13th of November, where he 
discusses the use of the two regiments he proposes to ask for, be it noted, long 
before this supposed crisis {C,P,, A. 24— '78, p. 8). 

« C.P.,A.17~78, p. 35. 



298 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

I may safely say, that there is no record of a former Eafiir war 
having been condnoted with so few military mistakes, without a 
single disaster or advantage gained by the enemy, and with so 
little bloodshed and loss of property.^ 

This testimony to the success of the operations, from a 
source generally very hostile to the Ministry, is valuable; yet 
on the 2nd of February the Ministry was dismissed, nothing 
having occurred to make the state of afiEairs less favourable 
in the interval. 

On the 26th of January Sir Bartle Frere himself says : — 

The enemy, Ghiikas as well as Gralekas, appear thoroughly 
crushed and dispirited, and, apparently, all that is needed is actively 
to hxmt up the broken bands now scattered about the country ; a 
service of police rather than military, for which the large rein- 
forcements of volunteers and burghers, which Mr. Molteno expects, 
will, he assures me, be sufficient.^ 

The reinforcements asked for by Sir Bartie Frere were, 
in the result, not necessary, and when the 90th regiment 
arrived it was not, as a matter of fact, sent to the frontier, 
except a small portion who relieved some companies of the 
88th, while the remainder went to Natal.* 

This, however, is to anticipate matters, and it is time 
to return to the state of affairs at the conmiencement of the 
outbreak. 

The telegrams received from the frontier showed nothing 
but great alarm and confusion, while the Governor was 
issuing instructions, and carrying out his ideas of the ap- 
pointment of commissioners for martial law without await- 
ing the advice or consent of his Cabinet. His announcement 
as to asking for Imperial aid, combined with his other arbi- 
trary acts already enumerated, led Mr. Molteno to decide 
on visiting the frontier at all costs, in order that he might 
set matters straight, as he had done on his previous visit in 
October. 

> C. p., A. 16—78. p. 26. « C. P.. A. 2—78, paragraph 29, p. 21. 

• C. P., A. 24-78, pp. 26, 27. 



DISABMAMENT OF NATIVES 299 

He could not find it compatible with his duty any 
longer to allow Sir Bartle Frere to be virtual dictator, while 
he himself and his colleagues in the Cabinet had the real 
responsibility. When the outbreak was confined to much 
smaller dimensions, the Ministers had urged that larger 
forces should be raised, and that proper steps should be 
taken ; but the Governor had then put them off, and now 
complained because men did not appear when he pressed an 
electric button. 



800 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXVin 

EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL. 1878 

Arrival on Frontier— Griffith appointed Gommandant-General — Military Mis- 
management — Disastrons Retreat — Relations between Imperial Troops and 
Golonial Government — DiiTerenoe between Governor and Ministers — 
Ministers insist on control of Golonial Forces — Governor resists — Ck>rre- 
epondenoe between Mr. Molteno and Governor — Minutes between Governor 
and Mr. Molteno— Governor forces Cabinet CoonciL 

Mb. Molteno arrived at East London on the 8th of January, 
and was met by a telegram from Mr. Merriman welcoming him 
to the frontier, and adding, ' Here you are in the midst of 
drought and famine and war,' a very disastrous conjunction. 
The Premier was not the man to be deterred by difl&culties ; 
if he could only be in a position where he might grapple with 
them he would soon overcome them. On the 9th he reached 
King William's Town, and he immediately entered upon long 
conferences with the Governor as a preliminary to the for- 
mulation of the advice of the Cabinet. Until this time the 
Ministers present on the frontier had met the Governor 
in council, and no formal minutes had passed between 
them. Now, however, Mr. Molteno said that it was no 
longer possible to act in this manner. The proceedings 
must be conducted in the proper constitutional method 
and minutes between the Governor and the Prime Minister 
must embody the final decisions, whatever informal con- 
versations might take place in the first instance. 

This was the constitutional practice. Sir Bartle Frere had 
on Mr. Molteno's first arrival resented it ; he was entirely 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 301 

wrong in so doing,^ but he now resented it still more and deter- 
mined that it should not be followed. He called it ' being 
placed in quarantine/ but it was the only proper and safe 
course. The Sovereign, or Governor in the Sovereign's place, 
communicates with the Cabinet through its Prime Minister, 
and not with individual members of the Cabinet ; much less 
is the Sovereign present at the discussions of the Cabinet. 
If Ministers were to act constitutionally at all, and to be 
responsible for their advice, this was the only possible pro- 
cedure. The informal method on the other hand suited 
the Governor admirably, as he was thus able to impress his 
views on weaker members of the Cabinet and obtain their 
support as against their colleagues, and so divide the Cabinet 
and enable his own views to prevail. 

There were two main questions to be settled. The 
Governor had suggested in his telegram of the 18th De- 
cember ^ the appointment of an officer with very large powers 
if he were to accede to the advice of his Ministers to return 
to the seat of Gt)vemment at Cape Town, and on the 19th 
of December' he had mentioned Mr. Griffith as the officer to 
be empowered to act in the manner suggested by him. Mr. 
Molteno had agreed to this suggestion, which was quite in 
accord with his own views. He wished to have a Comman- 
dant-General of the Colonial troops, as had been the casein 
1846, when Sir A. Stockenstrom commanded the burghers, 
under the Governor only, and free from military control,* 
and on the 14th of January Mr. Griffith had beep called from 
the Transkei to King William's Town to receive this appoint- 
ment. On the 15th the Governor agreed to the Minute of the 
Ministry as to his appointment as Commandant-General 
of Colonial forces. 

On the same day Mr. Molteno telegraphed to Captain Mills, 

* See Todd, Parliamentary Oovemment in the British Colonies^ seoond 
edition, pp. 11, 47. 

» C,P., A. 21—78, p. 1. • C. P., A. 21—78, p. 4. 

* See Theal, Hist of 8. Africa, p. 269, vol. 1834-64. 



S02 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

'Have appointed Griffith Commandant-General of colonial 
forces/ and told him that it must appear in the next ' Gazette/ 
which it did, and it was also officially notified on the 18th 
in King William's Town.^ This minute, while under the 
control of the Governor, subsequently disappeared. Mr. 
Molteno had specially asked the Governor to wait until Mr. 
Griffith's notification as Commandant-General had appeared, 
before decorating him with the C.M.G. for his services in 
clearing Galekaland, and this the Governor did, addressing him 
as Commandant-General. Subsequently the Governor asserted 
that the minute had not been signed by him, but this was after 
the dismissal of Mr. Molteno, while the papers produced 
show that he referred to the minute himself.' 

Had he not been so appointed he could not have 
legally held the appointment of Commandant-General; 
yet Mr. Sprigg, the new Premier, admitted that he had no 
doubt of Commandant Griffith's legal position, and that 
he was continuing to act under the original appoint- 
ment. Subsequently Sir Bartle Frere desired his duties to 
be defined, and suggested alterations for the organisation 
and improvement of his department.' Circumstances had 

■ C. P., A. 21—78, p. 4. It mast be remembered that the papers in A. 21— '78 
were not produced until the dismissal debate was abeady concluded. Docu- 
ment No. in. in these papers runs as follows: — 

m. — Oopy of Qovemment Notice of Appointment of Mr. Griffith as Com- 
mandant-General of Colonial Forces issued and dated at King William's 
Town, 17th January, 1878. 

Qovemment NoUce^No. 58, 1878. 

Colonial Secretary's Office, 
Cape of Gk>od Hope, 17th January, 1878. 
His Excellency the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, has 
been pleased to appoint Charles Duncan Griffith, Esquire, to be Commandant- 
General of Colonial Forces, from the 15th instant. 

All returns and reports connected with the Forces of the Colony will be 
made to him accordingly. J. C. Molteno, Colonial Secretary. 

« See p. 18 of C. P., A. 2—78, also p. 17, while at p. 21 he actually caUs him 
'* Commandant-General Griffith.' * Admitting, as I do most cordially, the great 
merits of Commandant-General Griffith,' p. 21, C. P., A. 2— '78, under date 
the 26th of January. 

• Seep. 18, C. P., A. 2— '78. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 303 

arisen since the appointment which caused Sir Bartle Frere 
to go back on his previous views and to speak of the office 
of Commandant-General as one unknown to law, and illegal, 
because he was not to be subject to the General.^ The 
Ministry had taken him at his word and meant to give 
Conmiandant Griffith the necessary powers to conmiand the 
whole of the Colonial forces, placing him not under the 
General, but under the Governor, who would have to instruct 
him with the advice of the Cabinet. 

A very serious mistake resulting in the temporary loss 
of an important position had been made by the military 
authorities on the 8th of January, just before Mr. Molteno 
arrived upon the frontier, and the incident confirmed him in 
his view that it would be in the highest degree unwise to 
entrust the command of the colonial forces to the Imperial 
General. Had it not been for the action of the Colonial 
Government in reoccupjdng this post the consequences might 
have been lamentable. The serious nature of the disasters 
which were possible where officers were entrusted with the 
command of troops in Kaffir warfare, who were unacquainted 
with the Kaffir character and mode of fighting, was terribly 
exemplified in the frightful disaster at Isandhlwana in the 
following year. Mr. Molteno had himself taken part in the 
relief of Block Drift, and had witnessed the state of demoralis- 
ation into which troops are thrown when they have retired 
in face of a barbarous enemy, who are in consequence 
elated by their unlooked-for success. Lord Eoberts has 
described the demoralised condition of the British troops 
whom he found at Candahar after their defeat at Maiwand.^ 

* See pp. 8-9, C.P*t A. 4 — *78, and elsewhere throughoat his despatches. 

> * I confess to being very greatly surprised, not to use a stronger expression, 
at the demoralised condition of the greater part of the garrison ; there were 
notable exceptions, but the general bearing of the troops reminded me of the 
people at Agra in 1857. They seemed to consider themselves hopelessly 
defeated, and were utterly despondent ; they never even hoisted the Union 
Jack until the relieving force was close at hand. The same excuses could not, 



804 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Impetu was a most important point, commanding the 
Chichaba valley on the one side and covering the East 
London district on the other. It was a position which was 
held as a barrier by 150 men of her Majesty's troops. On the 
8th of January a large force, consisting of some 500 infantry, 
86 mounted men, and 250 Fingoes, marched to Impetu and 
relieved the garrison, the post being abandoned to the enemy. 
The Kafl&rs were not engaged, and within twenty minutes 
the position was occupied by them. The Colonial authorities 
had vigorously objected to this. It was a most fatal error. 
The whole of the East London district was inmiediately 
uncovered to the enemy, who could proceed without the 
slightest check, and had it not been for Commandant Bra- 
bant and his police it is impossible to say what might have 
taken place ; a wave of barbarism might have come down 
and swept the Colony. 

On Mr. Merriman's representations even the Governor 
remonstrated with the General against abandoning Impetu.^ 
It showed the utter incompetency and want of knowledge 
of the native character on the part of the military 
authorities. It was a direct encouragement to the Gkukas 
to see a force large enough to march anjrwhere through 
Kaffirland retire in face of the enemy.^ Mr. Molteno tele- 
graphed to Captain Mills : — 

Impetu has been abandoned, a proceeding which we as yet do 
not understand, but will probably have to reoccupy again imme- 

however, be made for them, who were all soldiers by profession, as we had felt 
inclined to make for the residents at Agra, a great majority of whom were 
women, children, and civilians. The walls which completely sorroanded 
Kandahar were so high and thick as to render the city absolutely impregnable 
to any army not equipped with a regular siege train. Scaling ladders had been 
prepared by the enemy, and there was an idea that an assault would be 
attempted; but for British soldiers to have contemplated the possibility of 
Kandahar being taken by an Afghan army showed what a miserable state of 
depression and demoralisation they were in.' — Forty-one Years in India, SOth 
edition, p. 484. 

» C. P., A. 24—78, p. 23. 

' In its disastrous effects it was like C!olonel Bichardson's retreat from the 
Beka mission station in the war of 1846. See supra, vol. i. p. SO. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 806 

diately by colonial forces. Promised attack on Ghichaba post- 
poned apparently indefinitely. This the only point where Galekas 
are supposed to be in any force, and it is so provoking, with so large 
a force in immediate neighbourhood, that the military considered 
they were not strong enough to attack it. 

The colonial forces were now coming forward in large 
numbers, and the fear of the military authorities and the 
High Commissioner was apparently that the whole war 
would be finished before their Imperial reinforcements could 
arrive, and that thus the purpose of massing troops on 
the Zulu border would be frustrated. Mr. Molteno knew 
well enough that the rebellion was a small affair and could 
be easily dealt with by prompt and determined action. 
Even the Governor had admitted to him and to Mr. 
Merriman that the Gaikas could be crushed at once by a 
vigorous attack of burghers and volunteers, though later 
on Sir Bartle Frere seems to have suffered from a panic 
and talked of the danger being as great as in the Indian 
Mutiny. 

Yet, owing to the dilatory action of the military in the 
Transkei, the war now seemed likely to extend in the Colony^ 
and Mr. Molteno desired that the Colonial Government should 
have the control of the operations in the manner settled by 
Lord Kimberley in 1870. In the Transkei Sir Bartle Frere 
was High Conmiis8ioner,but in the Cape Colony he was bound 
not to act without the advice of his Ministers. The Cabinet 
held that the war must be conducted by an ofl&cer who was 
responsible to the Colonial Government, Imperial forces 
co-operating so far as they might be able and willing. It 
was not possible for the Colonial Government to conduct 
the war with a General in conmiand, an officer over whom 
they exercised no control, and who could not be displaced 
should they be dissatisfied with him. The General was 
responsible to the Home Government and clearly could not 
be so to the Colonial Government as well. 

VOL. II. X 



306 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Mr. Molteno said : — 

His Excellency the Governor has most properly drawn atten- 
tion to the evils of a dual system of administration, which Ministers 
entirely agree with his Excellency in deprecating. They would 
observe that, the Government of the country being by the Consti- 
tution vested in a Governor and a Eesponsible Ministry, to hand 
over the control of the colonial forces and the conduct of military 
operations within or adjacent to the Colony to an ofl&cer not 
accountable to the Government of the country, and not in any way 
controlled by them, would be giving practical effect to dual 
government of the worst kind. 

Either the Government of the Colony is responsible for the 
military operations conducted in the name and at the expense of 
the Colony, or it is not. If it is, then the ofl&cer conducting these 
operations, be his name what it may, must be under the control of 
that Government. If the Government of the Colony is not to be 
held responsible, and if the conduct of these operations is to be 
made over to the officer of the Imperial Government, it is manifest 
that there must be an entire reversal of the policy of the last few 
years, for which neither the Minister nor the Colony are prepared.^ 

This question had been raised by Sir Henry Barkly when 

introducing responsible government. He asked 'whether 

the defence of the frontiers would still remain an Imperial 

duty, with which the Governor and officers commanding her 

Majesty's military and naval forces were alone competent to 

deal,'^ and was answered by a most decided negative on 

the part of the Secretaiy of State. No troops were to be 

maintained I permanently in the Colony except for Imperial 

purposes. 

It would be impossible for her Majesty's Government to make 
such a separation as you suggest between the management of the 
internal forces of the Colony and the defence of its frontier 
against native tribes. Disturbances may easily arise amongst the 
natives within the borders of the Colony, which may extend to the 
native tribes beyond the frontier, and it is obviously impossible 
to divide the task of repressing such disturbances into two parts, 
for one of which the Imperial and the other the Colonial Govern- 
ment is to be responsible.^ 

' Paragraphs 11, 12, p. 30 of G. P., A. 2—78. 
' See despatch of 28th October, 1870, 1. P., C— 469, p. 64. 
■ Despatch of Earl Kimberley to Sir Henry Barkly, 17th of November, 1870. 
I. P., 0—469, p. 66. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 307 

We may further refer to Lord Granville's despatch 

on the withdrawal of the Imperial troops, wherein he 

lays down that the force for the defence of the Colony is 

to be a local one under orders of a Kesponsible Ministry, 

as opposed to the personal control of a Governor over the 

Queen's troops in Natal,^ while so recently as the 4th of 

January, 1877, Lord Carnarvon had reminded Ministers 

that it was for them to provide against native disturbances, 

one of those duties which of necessity devolved upon them when 
responsible government was established in the Colony.* 

Had Sir Bartle Frere been acquainted with the history 
of the Colony he was sent to govern he would have known 
that this was the settled basis on which responsible govern- 
ment was introduced, and further that the responsibility for 
the defence and native poUcy of the Colony were in the same 
despatch unreservedly placed in the hands of the Colonial 
Government. 

Sir Michael Hicks-Beach was apparently taken by surprise 
when he first heard from Sir Bartle Frere of his contention 
that the Imperial General should command all the troops 
and supported him until he had become aware of what 
had really been done, when he immediately and per- 
emptorily informed him that he must revert to the proper 
practice, and that no Imperial troops, or Imperial officers 
even, were to be employed in the colonial operations. The 
whole of the country contemplated the withdrawal of the 
troops as being concomitant with and a consequence of 
the introduction of responsible government, and that the 
complete control of native policy was to be in colonial 
hands. This view was expressed even by Sir Philip Wode- 
house, who said : — 

If responsible government were established the troops should 
be at once withdrawn ; whether for payment or otherwise none of 
them should be left at the disposal of a Ministry over which the 

» J. P., C— 459. p. 14. « I. P., C— 1776, p. 4. 

X 2 



308 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

Home Government could not exercise any control, and against 
whose wishes the Governor could not oppose his own judgment.^ 

Yet Sir Bartle Frere, in total ignorance, as usual, of the his- 
tory of the question and the final decision of the Imperial 
Government, asserted as follows in answer to Mr. Molteno : — 

I am the Commander-in-Chief of all the forces by simple virtue 
of my office, and the Imperial General is the proper executive 
officer for military purposes. The Colonial Government can 
only prepare the forces for the field ; they must then be handed 
over to the Imperial General, who is my executive officer. 

It appears to me clear that the intention of the Constitution 
was, and is, that there should be one person — the Governor and 
Commander-in-Chief — in chief command of all miUtary forces of 
every kind, colonial as well as Imperial, performing all executive 
duties through a commander of the forces, whose commission gives 
him power to command her Majesty's troops, and who may be 
empowered by the Governor and Commander-in-Chief to 
oonmiand colonial forces, formally declared to be in the field of his 
military operations. 

The Governor, it appears to me, is the only person we can 
find intended by the Constitution to be the chief military executive, 
who can, by simple virtue of his office, command, at the same time, 
all forces of all kinds in the Colony.' 

He thus denied the power of the Ministry to appoint a Com- 
mandant-General who was not under the Commander of the 
forces ; but was he correct ? Mr. Molteno's view was that 

the Governor acts solely by and with Ministers' advice ; should 
an emergency fraught with danger to the country arise, for 
which the law makes no provision, Ministers act on their own 
responsibility, and vdll be prepared to answer for their acts to 
that body whose representatives they are.* 

This is sound constitutional doctrine and prevails in England 
and all Colonies possessing responsible government. It 
was submitted to the Cape Attorney-General, who said : — 

My answer to the Governor's first question is that in my 
opinion the appointment of a Commandant-General to direct the 

> I. P., C— 469, p. 6, despatch of the 16th of July, 1867. 
« Paragraphs 12 and 14, pp. 19-20, C. P., A. 2—78. 
» C. P., A. 2—78, p. 30. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 309 

aotion of volunteers and police engaged in the Colony in the 
suppression of rebellion is not illegal.^ 

Sir Bartle Frere did not wait for this opinion. Even had 
he done so it is doubtful, looking to the v^ay in v^hich he 
a,cted contrary to the same oflBciars opinion on martial law, 
whether he would have paid any attention to it. 

When Mr. Molteno arrived on the frontier he found the 
position of affairs such as we have described, consequent 
upon the so-called relief of Impetu, which gave the Gaikas 
confidence and hope, and necessitated immediate measures 
being taken against them. He now endeavoured, while 
co-operating with the military, to arrange for the forces 
who were coming forward under their own oflScers to be 
free of military control. As the Governor was High 
Commissioner in the Transkei, Mr. Molteno suggested that, 
the Imperial troops should occupy that district, and carry on 
the operations there, the Colonial Government giving them 
all the assistance they required in the way of moimted men 
and native allies, while the colonial troops should operate 
under their Conmiandant-General in the Colony.* 

On the 11th of January Mr. Molteno informed the 
Governor by Minute that Commandant Frost and Com- 
mandant Schermbrucker would carry out active operations 

» C.P., A. 4— 78, p. 14. 

' As proving that the course adopted with regard to military control being 
separate from colonial was assented to by the Gtovemor we add these Minutes, 
to be found in C. P., A. 21—78, p. 7. 

* 11th of January, 1878. 

' I shall be glad to be informed, for Ck>lonel Bellairs' guidance, whether either 
of these corps— the Tarkastad Burghers or Albany Volunteers— are to be 
placed under his orders. 

* (Signed) H. B. E. Fbbsb.' 

* King William's Town : 11th of January, 1878. 
'It is not proposed to place either the Tarka Burghers or the Albany 
Volunteers under military control. 

* The former will be attached to Commandant Frost's force, the latter to 
Commandant Brabant's force. 

* (Signed) J. C. Molteno. 

' To his Excellency the Governor.' 



310 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

towards the Kei, while Commandant Brabant would clear 
the Kwelega valley, and finally join the other forces at the 
Kei mouth.* It may be observed that these oflBcers had 
been commissioned by his Excellency, and no one had dared 
to suggest that they were under military control. Even the 
preceding Attorney-General (Mr. Upington) did not dare 
to suggest, when defending the Governor's action, that they 
should be placed under military control : ' I do not claim 
for her Majesty's officers the actual power to conamand these 
gentlemen.' 

To this suggestion the Governor did not object, but said : 

With reference to the intimation conveyed to me this morning 
by Mr. Molteno, that the Cabinet desired an operation on this side 
the Eei, to be trusted exclusively to colonial officers and colonial 
forces, unfettered by any co-operation or control from her 
Majesty's officers and forces, I should be glad to be informed with 
as little delay as possible, for the information of the military 
authorities, whether it is desired that her Majesty's forces at any 
of the stations in the vicinity in the operation referred to should 
take any, and what part, in these operations.^ 

He referred however the proposed plans of operations to his 
military adviser, Colonel Bellairs, who evidently did not 
relish the idea of the colonial forces showing the way, and 
who predicted, as did Sir Arthur Cimjmghame in the case of 
Conamandant Griffith's operations in the Transkei, nothing 
but disaster. 

Thereupon the Governor said he would not take the 
responsibility of these actions. 

I trust that the moves ordered by the Colonial Government 
without any concert with the military authorities may succeed, 
but on behalf of myself and all her Majesty's forces I must 
decline the responsibihty for the result.^ 

To this the Ministers replied that they took the responsi- 
bility, and would answer to the Colonial Parliament, the 
proper authority to whom they were responsible, unless, of 
course, the Governor desired to veto these operations. 

> C. P., A. 2—78, p. 9. « Ibid. " C. P., A. 2—78, p. 11. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 311 

While this was taking place long conversations with 
the Governor were proceeding, and on the 12th Sir Bartle 
Frere addressed a letter to Mr. Molteno as follows : — 

{Private and Confidential.) 

I am very anxious there should be no mistake as to the results 
of our long and very important conversation yesterday. 

Will you be so kind as to run your eye over the note I made, 
and let me know whether it accurately represents the conclusions 
you expressed to me ? 

The memorandum ran as follows : — 

(ConfidentiaL) 

(1) There is a strong impression in the Colony that the 
conduct of military operations has been entrusted too exclusively 
to military men, and that the management of affairs has passed 
too much from the hands of the Colonial Ministry into those of 
oflBcers of her Majesty's service in whose ability to manage them 
efficiently and economically the Colony has less confidence that it 
has in its Ministers. 

(2) That the result of this feeling has been to impede a ready 
response to the call for reinforcements. 

(3) That Ministers are quite competent themselves to do with 
colonial forces all that is now required to restore peace and order 
to the Colony. 

(4) That to enable them to do this it is desirable that the 
operations of her Majesty's forces should be confined to the 
Transkei, leaving operations in the Colony entirely to colonial 
forces under the direct control of the Ministry. 

(5) That the reinforcements of her Majesty's troops asked for 
by the Governor in his communications with the Secretary of 
State for the Colonies are not needed for any colonial purpose in 
this Colony. 

(6) That Commandant Griffith should be brought back as soon 
as possible to this side the Eei, for duty under the direct control 
of the Colonial Government, 

The Governor accepted Mr. Molteno's assurance of the 
colonists' opinion on the 1st, drd, and 5th propositions, giving at 
length his reasons for not agreeing with them in their opinions 
and conclusions. 

The Governor was ready to accept the 4th and 6th proposi- 
tions, with the proviso that the Colonial Government was able to 
raise, within a reasonable time, sufficient colonial forces to 
suppress the rebeUion, and prevent its spreading, a point on which 
the Governor expressed his strongest doubts. 



812 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

The Governor also pointed out that her Majesty's troops must 
maintain their present positions at King William's Town and on 
the Eei road, in order to secure the communications of her 
Majesty's forces, Transkei. 

The Governor expressed an opinion that no time should be lost 
in summoning Parliament for the despatch of business. 

Mr. Molteno assented, without binding himself to any precise 
time, expressing strongly the opinion of the Cabinet that the 
Governor should return as soon as possible to the capital. That 
this duty was paramount, and should be attended to in preference 
to any cause connected with the conduct of mih'tary operations on 
the frontier. 

The Governor expressed his strong desire to return to Gape 
Town as soon as the rebellion was suppressed and order restored 
in the eastern province ; but whilst his presence was considered 
desirable by the military authorities he did not think it could be 
consistent with his duty to leave the frontier.^ 

It will be observed from this that Mr. Molteno, who now 
heard for the first time of the Governor's request for more 
troops, had requested him to countermand it, and had urged 
him with all the power he could conomand to return to 
Cape Town. But the Governor considered that the military 
were his advisers on this point and not the Ministers, and so 
long as they desired his presence he did not think it con- 
sistent vnth his duty to leave the frontier. He seemed to 
think that the advice given him by his Cabinet ought to be 
subjected to the criticism and subordinated to the opinions 
of the Imperial military authorities. 

It was a very extraordinary course to write down the 
result of these conversations, and Mr. Molteno at once 
took objection. Sir Bartle Frere had pursued a similar 
policy with the Ministers present wdth him on the frontier 
to the extent of addressing informal memoranda to them of 
which their colleagues were unaware. Mr. Molteno, however, 
could not consent to continue this mode of communication, 
and the following correspondence took place : — 

» C. P., A. 2—78, p. 11. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 313 

On the 12th of January, 1878, Mr. Molteno wrote to Sir 
Bartle Frere : — 

{Private and Confidential.) 

In reply to your note on the subject of our conversation 
yesterday, I cannot help thinking that it will be exceedingly 
inconvenient to introduce so entirely new and novel a mode of 
procedure as that of reducing to writing, and personally placing 
on record, conversations necessarily of so confidential and delicate 
a character as those in many cases must be which take place 
between the Governor and Prime Minister of the Colony. As to 
any action to be taken resulting from such conversations, formal 
minutes always follow, and the usual practice has not in the 
present instance been departed from. 

Several matters were, no doubt, alluded to during our conversa- 
tion, but only incidentally ; and the time for placing anything on 
record regarding them has not yet arrived. 

Let me assure your Excellency that my desire to adhere to a 
course which has hitherto been found to work well, and a fear 
that any departure therefrom might lead to a lessening of that 
freedom and confidence in the exchange of opinion between her 
Majesty's representative and myself, which has always happily 
prevailed during my tenure of office, alone prevents my acceding 
to your Excellency's request.* 

To this the Governor replied : — 

{Private and Confidential.) 14th of January, 1878. 

I only received this morning your note of the 12th, marked 
' private and confidential,' returning the note of the results of our 
conversation on the 11th, which I had sent to you to ascertain 
whether it accurately represented the changes in policy, and in 
the mode of carrying on business connected with military opera- 
tions, on which you told me the Cabinet had resolved. 

The only object I had in sending you the note was to make sure 
that I had rightly understood the very important communications 
you m£ide to me in a conversation of three or four hours' duration. 

I think you will find the practice of noting the results or 
conclusions of both parties to long conversations on important 
subjects is almost universal between men of business, or official 
persons, when the interlocutors are, as in my case, anxious to be 
accurate in their conception and recollection of the conclusions 
stated by either party. 

If you dislike the practice I shall, of course, not trouble you 
» C. P., A. 2—78, p. 12. 



814 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

again in the same way ; but in that case you will, I trust, aoquit 
me of any want of due care or precaution to guard against any 
misunderstanding of what either of us may say or mean on 
subjects of such importance. 

In the present case, as you do not note any inaccuracy, I shall 
take it for granted that my recollection of what you conveyed to 
me as the conclusions of the Cabinet was accurate.^ 

Mr. Molteno replied immediately : — 
{Private and Confidential.) 

I am in receipt of your note of this day's date in reply to mine 
of the 12th, marked ' private and confidential.' 

I think your Excellency will find that no note is ever made of 
what takes place in Cabinet Council, somewhat analogous to the 
conversation alluded to, but, of course, no practical difficulty can 
now arise from any difference of opinion between us in this respect. 

I quite understand and appreciate your Excellency's desire to 
take due precaution to guard against any misunderstanding of 
what either of us may say or mean on subjects of importance. 
But in the present case I wish to guard against the fact of not 
noting any inaccuracy in the note which you forwarded to me, 
as your Excellency's recollection of what passed between us, 
necessarily being taken to imply the reverse. The cursory glance 
I took at it produced the effect on my mind that it only very 
partially met the case.^ 

And Sir Bar tie Frere rejoined on the same day : — 
{Pri/vate and Confidential,) 

I have just received your note of this date. I will not take up 
your time by discussing the practice of Cabinet Councils. I will 
only say that I know of no other way than that I adopted in 
which two men can talk for four hours on very important subjects, 
and make sure that they have accurately understood each other's 
conclusion. 

In this particular case, as you only took * a cursory glance ' 
at a paper which I gave you, which I told you I regarded as a very 
important one, and left with you for as long as you pleased 
to keep it, begging you to read it carefully, I am not surprised 
that you misapprehended its object. 

But if that cursory glance showed you it was either inaccurate 
or defective I wish you would point out the inacciuracies and defects. 
The subjects are most important, and I do not wish to misunder- 
stand what you told me the Cabinet had decided regarding them. 

» C. P., A. 2—78, p. 13. « Ibid. p. 13. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 316 

That the slackness of colonists to answer the call for reinforce- 
ments was due to an impression that the management of afifairs 
had been left too much to the military ; that as a remedy you 
proposed to exclude the military from all active share in the 
operations of the Colony ; that you did not wish her Majesty's 
troops to be at once withdrawn from the Colony, but simply to 
remain inactive where they are, till relieved by colonial forces ; 
that you were well assured that the colonial forces actually 
coming up were ample for these purposes ; that you wished me 
to countermand any demand I had made to her Majesty's Govern- 
ment to send out two regiments in anticipation of the usual reliefs, 
and to prepare the Secretary of State for the entire evacuation of 
the country by her Majesty's troops ; that for the more vigorous 
prosecution of measures to suppress rebellion you would abandon 
the plan of united action under one head, which we have hitherto 
followed here since the first outbreak ; that the Colonial Cabinet 
should undertake the management of all colonial forces entirely 
uncontrolled by any reference to military authority ; these were 
some of the important conclusions at which in our conversations 
on Friday and Saturday I understood you to say the Cabinet had 
arrived, and regarding which I was naturally anxious I should be 
under no mistake, more especially as I must address the Secretary 
of State on the subject by next mail. 

As regards the mode of action, indeed, I had practical proof of 
the change of system I understood you to say you had determined 
on. When you arrived here two important movements — Frost's 
and Brabant's — were in contemplation, both under the exclusive 
direction of Mr. Merriman, who gave us what information we 
possess on the subject. The information, however, we have 
regarding both is so vague and defective that useful co-operation 
is almost impossible, and does not seem to be desired, as no 
apparent attempt is made to supply defects of mounted and native 
levies, which must be supplied if die detachments of her Majesty's 
troops are to be actively utilised; and Frost's operations are, I 
believe, proceeding under defective conditions of co-operation, 
which I have warned you I think likely to lead to disaster, 
though of course they may succeeed. 

I am sorry to trouble you at such length, but the subjects are 
far too important to be dealt with cursorily, and I trust you will 
give what I have written more than a ' cursory ^ance.' 

I am bound not to misunderstand you. I am bound to tell 
the Secretary of State any change in contemplation so important 
as the evacuation of the Colony by her Majesty's troops, or any 
change which has taken place so momentous as the exclusion of 



316 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

the colonial forces from military command, and the substitution of 
many leaders and generals and plans of operation for one. 

And I am bound, when I see danger from such changes, to 
warn you of it, though I do not wish to dictate in any way as to 
the course your duty to the country requires.* 

When these papers were subsequently produced by 
the Governor without Mr. Molteno's consent, the latter 
again protested against private and confidential conununica- 
tions being made public by one party without the consent of 
the other. Sir Bartle Frere's views were quite unconstitu- 
tional and appear to have arisen from his ignorance of 
constitutional government. 

On the 12th Mr. Molteno enquired what positions the 
General would occupy, so as to free the colonial forces for 
active operations.* To this the Governor replied that 

the General could not garrison posts, Transkei, till the line of 
railway from East London to Kei Road, and all along that road to 
Toleni, is held by forces at least equal in number and composition 
to the troops which at present hold it. 

Mr. Molteno submitted on the 19th a very courteous 
memorandum, making certain proposals which for the 
present were to be regarded merely as of 

a tentative character, subject in all respects to such modifications 
and alterations as may be considered by your Excellency and the 
General desirable or necessary, the principle not being lost sight of, 
in so far as may be found possible, of separating the command 
and direction of colonial forces from that of her Majesty's troops ; 
the former being under the direction of the Colonial Commandant- 
General.' 

He informed the Governor that the Colonial Commandant- 
General agrees with the Imperial General as to the posi- 
tions in the Transkei to be occupied by Imperial troops. 
In regard to the requisitions of the General for mounted 
men — his requirements being placed at 290 mormted men 
— Mr. Molteno proposed to assign to him 300 men of the 

» C. P.. A. 2—78, p. 14. « C. p., A. 2—78, p. 15. • Ihid, p. 16. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 317 

' F. A. M.' Police, while the lines of commuDication and the 
base would be occupied as desired by troops of the character 
required by the Greneral, and he added : — 

I feel very sensible of the kind and cordial manner in which 
Sir Arthur Gunynghame has responded to the enquiries and 
suggestions made by me through your Excellency; and it is 
hardly necessary for me to add that the only object that the 
Colonial Government has in view is that of working cordially and 
harmoniously with the military authorities in all respects, and 
that there is certainly no desire at the present moment on the 
part of the Colonial Government to raise or discuss any question 
as to the evacuation of the Colony by her Majesty's troops or any 
portion thereof, otherwise than it might possibly be considered 
necessary by the General to strengthen positions in Oalekaland. 

Should these proposed arrangements be decided upon, certain 
alterations will become necessary in the position of mihtary 
arrangements within the colonial boundary, including a with- 
drawal from military control and placing under the Commandant- 
General all colonial forces. 

This by no means implies that cordial co-operation is not 
expected to exist between those in com/mand of her Majesty's troops 
and the Commandant of colonial forces, but would rather be 
facilitated than otherwise by such arrangements.^ 

But the Governor did not accede to this proposal, and 
vdthout answering it in his reply went into the position of 
the Commandant-General, and asked Mr. Molteno whether 
he was to be under the General as well as the Governor.' 
To this Mr. Molteno replied on the 22nd of January : — 

For the present, subject, of course, to any alterations Parlia- 
ment may determine upon, it is proposed that Mr. Griffith as 
Commandant-General shall take command of all colonial 
forces, police, burghers, and volunteers, and be under the sole 
control and direction of the Colonial Government. 

The Governor has no special powers over colonial forces as 
Commander-in-Chief, but as Governor of the Colony acts in 
exactly the same manner with regard to colonial forces as he does 
with regard to any other colonial matter. 

Mr. Molteno proposes no other arrangements than those set 
forth in his memorandum, both with reference to the Colony and 
the Transkei.^ 

» Ibid. p. 16. « Ibid. p. 17. " Ibid. p. 17. 



818 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

When Mr. Molteno said * Colonial Government ' it was, 
of course, understood that the Governor would direct the 
Commandant-General under the advice of the Cabinet, as 
shown by the third paragraph of the above memorandum. 
This term was the usual one employed between the Imperial 
and Cape Government in this connection. In his despatch 
Earl Kimberley, writing to Sir H. Barkly, Nov. 18, 1878, 
expressly uses this term 'Colonial Government' as the 
authority responsible for the conduct of a native war.^ Mr. 
Molteno's memorandum embodied absolutely sound con- 
stitutional law as defined by the successive Secretaries of 
State and as embodied in practice before and since. 

To this Sir Bartle Frere replied in a long memorandum 
dated January 26th,* in which he stated that the measures 
proposed in Mr. Molteno's minute for the suppression of 
the rebellion and the summoning of Parliament appeared 
to him too violent, impractical, unconstitutional and illegal ; 
that the Colonial Government had no military powers without 
reference to the Commander-in-Chief or the general oflBcer 
commanding in the field ; in fact, that the Colonial Govern- 
ment had no military machinery at all and could only act 
through the Imperial General. Then he leads up to his 
own view that the Governor, as Commander-in-Chief, acts 
through the General commanding the Imperial forces. 

Were this view correct it would, of course, involve the 
proposition that the Colonial Government could conduct no 
military operations whatever on its own account, but that 
all operations must be conducted through the Imperial 
General.* This would set aside the injunctions of Lord 

» I. P., 0—459, p. 66. ' C. P., A. 2-78, p. 19. 

> Sir Bartle Frere was wrong in assuming that his commission as (Governor 
and Commander-in-Chief gave him ipso facto, and by virtue of this title, 
command of the Colonial forces in the absence of local statutes conferring this 
upon him. Even in regard to her Majesty's troops it is an established rule 
that the (Governor of a Colony, though bearing the title of Captain-General or 
Commander-in-Chief, is not, without special appointment from her Majesty, 
invested with the command of her Majesty's troops in the Colony. He is not 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 319 

Kimberley and Lord Carnarvon, which placed upon the 
Colonial Government the responsibility for its own defence 

entitled to take the immediate direction of any military operations, or, exoept 
in cases of urgent necessity, to communicate officially with subordinate military 
officers. (See revised regulations for the Colonial Service published in the 
Colonial Office List for 1892, pp. 301-315.) 

When military operations have been determined upon, and their object and 
scope have been definitely decided, the responsibility and all details of their 
conduct rests solely with the officer in command of the troops. These regula- 
tions, it is expressly stated, hold good though the Governor may be a military 
officer senior in rank to the officer commanding the forces. 

We have seen that Sir Bartle Frere considered himself indispensable on 
the frontier for the actual conduct of military operations, and that he actually 
interfered with the details of these military operations, both in regard to the 
landing at Mazeppa Bay and the mode of conducting the Transkei and subse- 
quent Gaika campaigns. (C. P., A. 24—78, pp. 7, 12, 22, 23, and 26.) 

Looking to the practice established in other colonies, in Victoria the 
Governor exercises no more authority in military business than he does in the 
routine of any other department of local administration. (Todd's Parliamentary 
Oovemment in the British Colonies, 2nd edition, p. 377.) 

In Canada the Imperial authorities control the Queen's regular army or 
navy whilst serving in Canada, whilst the disposition and management of local 
forces are regulated by the Governor-General with the advice and consent of his 
Privy Council or Cabinet (Todd's Parliamentary Government in the British 
Colonies, 2nd edition, p. 377) ; while in 1875 there was established an officer 
in whom was placed the military command and discipline of the local forces, 
the duties of this officer being analogous to those performed by the Commander- 
in-Chief of the British army, being in like manner subordinate to the civil 
power, and subject to the direction of the Gk)vemor-General through the Minister 
of Militia and Defence. 

Sir Bartle Frere was equally at sea in regard to the control of Imperial 
troops by the advice of local Ministers. There is absolutely no authority for 
such an extraordinary proposition ; indeed, all the authority was in the opposite 
direction. On several occasions Sir Gordon Sprigg stated that there was no 
distinction between the Imperial and Colonial troops ; both were equally subject 
to the Colonial authorities. Can it be possible that a Government of England 
could be found that is prepared to make such an arrangement? It is certain 
that as soon as a difficulty arose which would call these forces into action the 
British people would not allow it to continue. No Government of Great 
Britain would dare to announce to her people that her troops were engaged in a 
Colonial war in whose management and operations the Government had no 
responsibility, had nothing authoritative. Such an arrangement would make 
Great Britain and not the Colony the dependency. Sir Bartle Frere and Sir 
Gordon Sprigg were deceiving themselves when they cherished the belief that 
the Imperial troops stood in precisely the same relation to a Colonial Responsible 
Ministry as forces purely Colonial in their action and object. And the Imperial 
Government, as a matter of fact, took good care to correct Sir Bartle Frere on 
this point, after the conclusion of these operations. (See J. P., C— 2740, p. 103.) 

Her Majesty's Government, after discovering what Sir B. Frere had really 



S20 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

and for the conduct of native wars, whether within or 
without the Colonial boundary, and in express terms in- 
dependently of the Imperial General. Sir Bartle further 
insisted that the Governor was the only officer who could, 
' by simple virtue of his office, command at the same time 
all forces of all kinds in the Colony.' ' 

Here the Governor was misled by his commission as 
Commander-in-Chief, which he erroneously supposed gave 
him an inherent right to command the Colonial troops irre- 
spective of Colonial statutes. This of course was not so. 
When the Burgher Act, under which the burghers were 
now fighting, was passed there was no responsible govern- 
ment in the Colony, and the Conmiander-in-Chief was men- 
tioned as the officer in chief command ; but since responsible 
government had been introduced the Governor could only 
act with the advice of his Ministers, and the Governor's 
absolute power as Commander-in-Chief then disappeared. 

Sir Bartle Frere then ma^e a statement as to what he 
considered Mr. Molteno proposed, but in so doing distorted 
Mr. Molteno's proposition. He stated that the Command- 
ant-General proposed by Mr. Molteno was to be supreme 
over all Colonial forces, entirely independent of all control or 

done, went back on Sir M. Hicks Beach's approyal of his action, and on the 
condasion of the Transkei war informed Sir B. Frere that the daty of 
defending the Colony against native enemies should be provided for by 
Oolonial forces. It even approved additional restrictions on the employment 
of her Majesty's forces in the Colony which were proposed by Sir O. Wolseley, 
* which toent the length that under no circumatances should any officer or 
man of her Majesty* e forces in South Africa be permitted to assist the Colonial 
Qovemment in organising their measures of self-defence, or in suppressing any 
disturbance among the native tribes, without the previously obtained special 
sanction of her Majesty^s Oovemment,* This was absolately to negative the 
positions advanced by Sir B. Frere, who told Lord Eimberley in complaining 
of these regulations that they were the exact reverse of the principle ' which 
had been carefolly and repeatedly maintained, that any military opera- 
tions which might be necessary should be under the control and direction of 
the officer commanding her Majesty's forces in the Colony.'^Letter of Sir 
B. Frere to Lord Kimberley in acknowledgment of his despatch of the 14th of 
October, 1880, 1. P., C— 2740. pp. 9, 10. 108. 

1 See pp. 25-27, and 54 and 66 of J. P., C— 459. 



EVENTS LEADING DP TO DISMISSAL 321 

subordination to the Governor or any other executive, mili- 
tary, or civil oflScer recognised by Parliament or the Constitu- 
tion. Mr. Molteno had not proposed that he should be 
independent of the Governor. He was to be subordinate to 
the Governor, who in any instructions to him must act with 
the advice of his Cabinet and not by virtue of his office as 
Commander-in-Chief solely. 

The Governor went on to say that he would be abdi- 
cating the powers and duties entrusted to him by her 
Majesty's Commission and delegating them to some one else, 
and thereupon he urges Mr. Molteno to take the opinion of 
the Attorney-General, should he have failed to convince him 
of his argument. It is hardly necessary to add that the 
Attorney-General's opinion, when received, was adverse to the 
Governor's contentions. He then described how he had 
proceeded previous to Mr. Molteno's arrival on the frontier, 
with what he calls ' a legal quorum of the Executive Council,' 
a term and a body utterly unknown to the Constitution.* 
He believed that a dual command would result in difficulties, 
but would give his support to any well-considered plans 
which Ministers might lay before Parliament for the defence 
of the Colony, though he could not see that this object would 
be in any way promoted by simply removing her Majesty's 
troops into the Transkei and leaving the Colony to be 
defended by the police and the colonial forces. Lastly, he 
recapitulated the conclusions at which he had arrived : — 

1. That the command of all forces in the field legally and by 
the Constitution rests with the General Officer commanding her 
Majesty's forces, when empowered by the Governor as Com- 
mander-in-Chief to assume oonmiand of colonial forces so 
employed. 

2. That the appointment of a Commandant-General to com- 
mand colonial forces in the field independent of the General 
Officer commanding her Majesty's forces, empowered as above by 

> See Todd, Parliamentary Oovemment in England, 2nd edition, vol. ii. 
p. 6. 

VOL. II. T 



322 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, is at present illegal and 
nnoonstitntional. 

S. That his acts and the acts of those who obey him will be 
illegal, and will not be covered by any Act of Indemnity passed to 
absolve from penalties all who act as military taking part in 
military operations in the field. 

4. That the only legal and constitutional way for Government 
to avail themselves of the services of the Commandant-General 
is to continue the system followed when Commandant-Greneral 
Griffith was commandant of police, viz. that he should act in 
the field under the general control of the General conmianding 
the forces, and that all colonial forces ready to take the field 
should from time to time as they go to the field be formally 
placed by the Colonial Government under the General's command 
for this purpose.^ 

He added that the movementsi Ciskei, indicated by 
Mr. Molteno as desired by his Cabinet, since they were in 
accord with Sir A. Cunynghame's views , would be carried 
out. It will be observed that Sir Bartle Frere places the 
advice of the General before the advice of his Ministers, 
and this he does continually, submitting Ministerial advice 
and plans to the military officers, though the Ministry were 
being advised by their ovm military adviser, the Command- 
ant-General. So far as the Transkei was concerned this 
course was, perhaps, legal and constitutional, though even 
here there is a doubt, owing to the employment of colonial 
troops in aid of the military, but in colonial matters he had 
no right to subordinate his Minister's advice, by which alone 
he could act, );o the General, an officer entirely unknown to 
the Colonial Constitution and irresponsible to the Colonial 
Parliament. 

It will be convenient to here give the reply of the 
Attorney-General to the points raised by the Governor : — 

In my opinion the Governor's conmiission as Commander-in- 
Chief places under his control all her Majesty's troops stationed in 
this Colony, but does not give him any power as Conmiander-in- 
Chief over the frontier armed and mounted police, the volunteers, 

» Paragraph 84, p. 22, C. P., A. 2— '78. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 328 

or burghers. Over these colonial forces he has no greater authority 
than is vested in him by the various Acts of Parliament under 
which they are embodied ; and the powers so vested in him by 
these Acts he cannot now constitutionally exercise except with 
the concurrence and under the advice of his Ministers. Conse- 
quently the Governor cannot, except with the consent of the 
latter, embody the colonial forces with those of her Majesty. 
Upon the question whether it is advisable to have two independ- 
ent armies under separate commanders, acting without a common 
plan at the same time in the same field, I am not asked to give 
any opinion ; but I imagine that Mr. Molteno's views in this 
respect have been misapprehended. Every person is empowered, 
by the law of the Colony, to arrest any person guilty of a serious 
crime, and under certain circumstances is even bound to do so. 
Should the person he so attempts to arrest resist or flee he can 
kill him. There is, I think, no doubt that a body of men, acting 
in concert, may lawfully undertake the duty of arresting, and in 
case of resistance kill, malefactors. They may, in my opinion, 
act under the direction of a leader chosen by themselves, and 
therefore they legally act under a police ofl&cer, magistrate, or other 
person appointed by Government. My answer to the Governor's 
first questions is that, in my opinion, the appointment of a Com- 
mandant-General to direct the action of volunteers and police 
engaged in the Colony in the suppression of rebellion is not illegal. 
In answer to the second and third questions, I consider that 
persons who have arrested or killed criminals xmder the circum- 
stances before indicated need no act of indemnity or warrant.* 

The Governor did not await the arrival of this opinion 
before going to the extreme length of dismissing his Ministers 
for tendering the advice which the Attorney-General held to 
be legal and constitutional, and which her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, after the Transkei war was over, informed Sir Bartle 
Frere must be the rule for the future — namely, that no 
Imperial troops were to be employed in native wars, and 
not a single oflBcer or man without the previously obtained 
sanction of her Majesty's Government.' 

As soon as Mr. Molteno read the Minute of the 26th he 
said it admitted of only one reply, which was his resignation. 
For this apparently the Governor was not at the moment 

» C. P., A. 4—78, p. 14. « I. P., C— 2740, p. 103. 

T 2 



324 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIK J. C. MOLTBNO 

prepared ; he declined to bind himself to a positive opinion as 
to the position he had taken up, and wished for information, 
stating that he considered Mr. Molteno's Minute and his 
memorandum as preliminary discussions. He had not the 
Attorney-General's views as to the legality of the position 
he had taken up, but he suggested that these matters 
should be referred to that official. Mr. Molteno, as we 
have shown, was extremely unwilling to resign, while the 
war was raging ; a change of Ministry must inevitably cause 
a prolongation of the war, with consequent loss and suffering, 
and he consented to this course, feeling confident that the 
Attorney-General must advise in accordance with his views. 
Mr. Molteno drew up the following memorandum in 
reply, and he read it to the Governor on the Monday 
following, January the 28th : — 

Want of time, under present circumstances, prevents my 
giving any lengthened reply, even did I consider myself qualified, 
from a legal point of view, to do so ; but no time will be lost in 
transmitting the memorandum to the Attorney-General, with a 
request that he will be so good as to furnish me with such remarks 
as he may deem necessary for his Excellency's information and 
guidance. 

In the meantime, and until better informed, I beg most 
respectfully to intimate to your Excellency that I hold the follow- 
ing opinions, and consider it my duty to act up to them : — 

1. That in all matters and things connected with the Govern- 
ment of this Colony, without any exception whatever, your Excel- 
lency is constitutionally bound to act only by and with the 
advice of your responsible Ministers. 

Yoiu: Excellency cannot constitutionally lay claim to any 
special powers as Commander-in-Chief over the Government or 
people of this Colony. Your commission as Governor includes 
every power you possess, and you have no power outside or 
beyond it. 

Should your Excellency decline to act by and with the advice 
of your Ministers, there is only one constitutional course open to 
your Excellency. Your Excellency is in error in supposing that 
you have any power over the people of this Colony, whether 
assembled in arms at the call of its Government for the Colony's 
defence or otherwise, than those powers you exercise as G ovemor. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 325 

and in the exercise of which you are bound to aot by and with 
your Ministers' advice. Your Excellency has been informed that 
your Ministers are of opinion that for the successful defence of 
the Colony they do not consider it advisable that the colonial 
forces should be placed under military command and control, and 
that they believe if such were attempted at the present time it 
would create great discontent and tend to paralyse their exertions 
and usefuLiess. 

That being most anxious to secure the co-operation of her 
Majesty's troops at the present juncture, it has been your 
Ministers' earnest desire to sketch out and place before your 
Excellency such a plan as would secure this most desirable object, 
without at the same time interfering in the least with that perfect 
freedom of action your Excellency possesses over the disposition 
and movements of her Majesty's troops, subject only to the usual 
information being furnished to the Colonial Government as to 
their proposed movements and disposition, and thus giving the 
Colonial Government the opportunity of informing your Excel- 
lency as to how such movements would tend to promote colonial 
interests, to be acted upon or otherwise as, in the exercise of your 
Excellency's discretion as above, holding the power over her 
Majesty's troops, may seem desirable. 

The memorandom of the 26th had been read on that 
same day, a Saturday, at a meeting of the Executive Council. 
It was too long to telegraph, Sunday intervened, and on 
Monday it was despatched to the Attorney-General, Mr. 
Stockenstrom, accompanied by the following letter, which 
serves to bring out what was the chief point of disagreement 
between the Governor and Mr. Molteno : — 

I send you the enclosed memorandum, received from the 
Governor on Saturday, which you must read in connection 
with my two memoranda forwarded a few days ago through 
Dr. White. I was a good deal annoyed at receiving it, because, 
from the course things had taken the last few days, I had rather 
arrived at the conclusion that the Governor had virtually assented 
to my proposal, and had given up the idea of drawing up a 
memorandum as to legal points raised in his mind, and which he 
had intimated he wished submitted to you for the purpose of 
ascertaining your legal opinions. 

I saw him this morning, and plainly intimated to him that I 
held the following opinions, and considered it my duty to act up 



S26 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

to them : viz. that in all matters and things connected with the 
government of this Colony, without any exception whatever, the 
Governor is constitutionally bound to act only by and with the 
advice of his Ministers, that he cannot constitutionally lay claim 
to any special powers as Commander-in-Chief over the Govern- 
ment or people of this Colony, that his commission as Governor 
includes every power he possesses, and he has no power outside 
or beyond it, that should he decline to act by and with the advice 
of his Ministers there is only one constitutional course open 
to him, that he had been already informed of the opinion of 
Ministers as to colonial forces being placed under mihtary com- 
mand and control, and that if he held contrary opinions I did not 
see how it was possible for us to continue to hold our positions ; 
he, however, declined binding himself to positive opinions, wished 
for information, considered my memorandum and his reply as not 
formal communications to Ministers, but preliminary discussions, 
&o. &o. This will give you an idea of what has passed, and then 
no doubt your legal opinion will dispel many erroneous ideas.^ 

On the 1st of February Mr. Molteno telegraphed to his 
colleague at Cape Town, Dr. White : — 

Important documents sent to Attorney-General on Monday ; 
they ought to reach to-morrow. No doubt time will be necessary 
for full remarks on legal questions, but it is important I should 
receive by telegram, if possible, some idea as to what his 
opinions are. 

The letter with the memorandum could only arrive at 
the earliest on the 2nd of February. It did not arrive, as 
we know, until the 4th.^ The Governor followed up his 
memorandum of the 26th by another long minute drawing 
attention to a letter from Sir A. Cunynghame, to whom he 
had transmitted the several commimications which had 
recently passed between the Governor and his Ministers. 
It was only natural that the General should take the view 
urged by the Governor, as he was to be put in conmaand 
of all forces, and was also to be reinforced from home, if 
Sir Bartle Frere's views could prevail. In this letter the 

* Letter from Mr. Molteno to Mr. Stookenstrom, 28th of January, 1878. 
« See p. 14, C. P., A. 4—78. 



EVENTS LEADING UP TO DISMISSAL 327 

General takes his cue from the attitude now assumed by 
the Gk)vemor towards his Ministers, and makes some 
remarks of an extremely improper character. He says : — 

I am entirely irresponsible for these operations, but as they 
appear to me not to possess any authority by law, so I should 
imagine that a commission will be sent by order of her 
Majesty's Government to inquire into these proceedings, into the 
slaughter and distress which they involve, and that those who carry 
them out and those who direct them will be called to a rigid 
account by order of the Imperial Parhament to-show the authority 
by which they aot.^ 

In this memorandum the Governor stated that he con- 
sidered it absolutely necessary that one authority should 
command aJl military forces in the eastern districts and the 
Transkei; and that the Imperial troops, while serving in 
the Colony, were subject to the authority of a Governor and 
Conunander-in-Chief, who was bound on all questions affecting 
the Colony to hear the advice of his responsible advisers, and 
not to act in opposition to such advice without valid reasons 
which he was bound to record.^ And as to the Conmiandant- 
General, he says it never occurred to him that he was to 
be 'independent of the ordinary military authorities,' and 
further that the Conmiandant-General has no power to act 
as a military oj£cer, and indeed all who obey him were 
running the risk of legal penalties for carrying out illegal 
orders; while the proceedings which the ConMnissioner of 
Crown Lands was carrying out appeared to be illegal. 

The fact was that the operations of which he had been 
advised on the 11th of January, and which the military 
authorities had predicted would be a failure, had been carried 
out with complete success, and it was extremely probable 

' C. P., A. 2—78, p. 26. 

' The Imperial Gk>yeminent made abort work of this theory of Sir B. Frere 
as Boon as they became aware of bis contention. See bis reply to despatch of 
the 14tb of October, 1880, 1. P., 0— 2740, p. 108 



Sfi8 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. G. MOLTENO 

that the whole war wonld be over in a very short tune, 
SB indeed the Governor confessed when he says : 

The enemy, Gaikas as well as Galekas, appear thoroughly 
oroshed and dispirited, and apparently all that is needed is actively 
to hunt up the broken bands of the enemy now scattered about 
the country, a service of police rather than miUtary, for which the 
large reinforcements of volunteers and burghers which Mr. 
Molteno expects will, he assures me, be sufficient.' 

Sir Bartle Frere appeared to be anxious lest the rein- 
forcements which he had asked for, and which might soon 
now be expected to arrive, should be quite unnecessary. 

> c. P.. A. a— 78, p. 21. 



329 



CHAPTEE XXrX 

THE DISMISSAL. 1878 

Belations between (Governor and Ministry — Governor suddenly summoiiB 
Cabinet Goanoil — Mr. Molteno protests — Gk>yemor asks for more Imperial 
troops — Mr. Molteno refuses assent — Violent Crisis — Cabinet Council of 
February 2nd^-DiBmissal thereat— Letter of February 6th repeating DIb- 
missal— Unconstitutional action of Governor— Ignorance of Constitutional 
Law — Questions at issue — Governor ignorant of Colonial History — His 
contentions upset by Secretary of State — Mr. Molteno's speech on Dismissal — 
Constitutional Principles involved — Disastrous results of Sir Bartle Frere'e 
Dictatorship — Todd's account of Dismissal discussed. 

When the Governor found on the 26th of January that 
Mr. Molteno was not prepared to give way, he was for the 
moment taken ahack, and gave no indication of a desire to 
press his views on the constitutional question ; but when 
it became clear to his mind that the latter was not to be 
moved from his position, he seems to have reviewed the 
situation. It was impossible to shake Mr. Molteno as to 
the inexpediency of Confederation. 

This attitude on the part of the Prime Minister presented 
an insuperable obstacle to the fulfilment of his mission to 
South Africa. Was not this an excellent opportunity of 
getting rid of the Ministry, which Lord Carnarvon had 
himself attempted, but failed, to dislodge ? He was aware 
that Lord Carnarvon would fully support him in any steps 
he might take in this direction. 

His views as to the management of the natives, as to dis- 
armament, and as to colonial defence had proved widely 
divergent from those of Mr. Molteno, while, to crown all, the 
latter refused the aid of the Imperial troops, whose presence 



330 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

in South Africa Sir Bartle Frere desired for his own ulterior 
designs on Pondoland and Zululand. With such a trump 
card as the use of the Imperial troops, against whose 
withdrawal the Eastern Province, and the Colony generally, 
had protested so strongly from 1867 to 1871, and with the aid 
of Mr. Sprigg, who had exchanged views with the Governor 
in December, he could see a prospect of success with the 
colonial pubhc in sustaining his action. The weight and 
prestige of the office of Governor and High Commissioner 
would naturally be thrown into the scale of parties. 
When backed, as it would now be, by the prestige connected 
with the control of large numbers of Imperial troops, it 
was most likely that this combined effect on a colony which 
had only received responsible government five years before 
would be such as to give him sufficient support in the local 
Parliament to endorse his high-handed action. Yet he was 
dismissing Ministers, who even in his own view, as he told a 
deputation at King William's Town on the 23rd of December, 
possessed the confidence of a majority in Parliament.* 

While the question as to the powers of the Governor over 
the colonial forces was still under the consideration of the 
Attorney-General,' the Governor suddenly, at 6 p.m. on the 
31st of January, intimated his intention of holding a Cabinet 
Council upon the following day. Mr. Molteno had not pre- 
viously received, as he should have done in accordance with 
invariable custom, any intimation verbally or in writing from 
the Governor as to his intention that a meeting of the 
Executive Council should take place, and was kept entirely 
in the dark as to the business which the Governor intended 
to bring forward. In consequence there was no oppor- 
tunity of previous consultation with his colleagues on the 
spot, or with those at the capital, as a preparation for any 

1 *! am still of opinion that Ministers enjoy a substantial majority in 
Parliament' (Beport of Sir Bartle Frere's speeoh in ArgiLS, the 1st of 
January, 1878). * See vol. ii. p. 322, supra. 



THE DISMISSAL 331 

business which the Governor might wish to bring forward.* 
The meeting was held on the 1st of February. The 
Executive Council Minutes and records were all in Cape 
Town ; the clerk was in the same place, and Mr. Lyttleton, 
the Governor's private secretary, acted for him, to which 
facts the imperfect character of the records is probably due.^ 

The Governor stated that he had summoned the Council 
for the purpose of discussing the Minute of the 31st of 
January, which had been sent up the afternoon of the pre- 
vious day, and of hearing a statement which the General had 
to make. He then introduced the General to the Cabinet. 
This was an utterly unconstitutional proceeding on the part 
of the Governor, and Mr. Molteno protested against it. 

The Governor tells Lord Carnarvon' that his object 
was to secure 'the attendance of all three Ministers, and 
ensuring that they had all seen and understood what I 
had entrusted to Mr. Molteno to convey to them.' This was 
utterly and entirely unconstitutional. There is no principle 
of constitutional government clearer than that the Cabinet 
has the right to deliberate in private.^ It was discourteous in 
the highest degree to treat the Premier in the way the 
Governor had done already : to ask him to discuss the question 
involved in his Minute, in his presence, and in that of the 
General was without precedent in constitutional government.^ 



» C. P., A. 2—78, p. 27. 

« See C. P., A. 21—78, p. 1. No. 2 was never prodaced. 

» C. P., A. 4- -78, p. 10. 

* Todd, ParUamentary Oovemment in the Colonies^ 2nd edition, pp. 11 
and 42. 

* Sir B. Frere*8 attempt to divide the Cabinet, which he carried as lar 
as to receive advice from single Ministers without the knowledge of their col- 
leagues, was equally unconstitutional. Compare his use of Mr. Brownlee's 
memorandum on the use of Imperial troops, and see Taswell-Langmead 
(English Constitutional History, p. 667), quoting Mr. Gladstone, who says, 
* While each Minister is an adviser of the Crown the Cabinet is an unity, and 
none of its members can advise as an individual without, or in opposition, 
actual or presumed, to his colleagues ' (Qlecmings of Past Yems, pp. 225, 226, 
235, 241-244). 



S32 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Mr. Molteno handed in a protest recounting the parti- 
culars of the mode in which the Council had been sum- 
moned, and stating that he desired to place on record 
that this was the first instance since the introduction of 
responsible government of the Governor of the Colony 
summoning a meeting of the Executive Council without 
previously intimating his desire to do so to the Prime 
Minister, or at the express request of the latter, or, during 
his absence from the Colony, of the Minister acting on his 
behalf.^ The Governor replied that it rested with himself 
to sununon the Executive Council,^ and asked when Ministers 
would be ready to discuss his Minute. Mr. Molteno felt 
himself unable to specify any date; he had been unable 
to consult his colleagues. He had referred the questions 
at issue to the Attorney-General, and a Minute just received 
on the afternoon of the previous day would also require 
consultation. Moreover, he was entitled to consult his 
colleagues in private and not before the Governor. Matters 
were at a deadlock, and the Cabinet was adjourned until the 
following day.' 

Mr. Merriman gave a graphic account of this meeting in 
his speech in the Dismissal debate : — 

When we received that Minute we felt at once that for the 
first time a serious difference had arisen ; I thought everything was 
going as merry as a marriage bell till the 26th of January. Then 
we saw what a difference of opinion had arisen. On the Monday 
morning my hon. friend the member for Beaufort came to me and 
said, ' I see no answer to this : there is a difference of opinion 
between the Governor and my Ministry. I see no answer but 
resignation.' He said, 'I have been thinking the matter over, 
and there is a distinct difference of opinion ; we must resign.' He 
then went up to the Governor on the Monday to resign. I am 

» C. P., A. 2—78. p. 28. 

* In this he was totally wrong. It is an axiom of constitutional government 
that * the Premier is under no obligations either of duty or courtesy to confer 
with the Sovereign upon any matter which is under the consideration of the 
Cabinet.' Todd, Parliamentary Oovemment in England^ 2nd edition, vol. 
ii. p. 18. * C. P.. A. 2—78, p. 26. 



THE DISMISSAL 333 

giving the conversation as I heard it from his own lips. When 
he came back I said, * Well, what has taken place ? Have we 
to pack up our portmanteaux ? * He said, ' No, not at all ; the 
Governor would not hear of resignation. This memorandum, his 
Excellency said, is merely a basis of discussion ; it is a subject 
upon which he wishes to get the Attorney-General's opinion, and 
he desires me to send it to the Attorney-General.' This was done 
and Mr. Molteno offered no objection. I understand from Mr. 
Molteno that the Governor repudiated any sort of idea of wishing 
to have any difference with him at all. Well, the resignation was 
withdrawn, and for the next few days things went on somewhat 
as usual. As for the Governor being in quarantine, I believe my 
hon. friend the member for Beaufort saw him quite as much as 
any two people could see each other. Long conversations took 
place, and how the Governor can say he was in quarantine I am 
at a loss to understand. He was no more in quarantine then than 
he is now, and I do not suppose that the hon. member for East 
London now at the head of Government has the Governor down 
at Cabinet Councils sitting there and discussing matters. If that 
is so then his Excellency is in quarantine now. This took place, 
as I have said, on the Monday. On the Thursday a notice came 
to the hon. member for Beaufort summoning a meeting of the 
Executive Council for the next day. That was the first intima- 
tion of any Executive Council or anything else, and we could not 
understand what we were summoned for. Then comes down this 
minute of the 31st of January. It arrived late on the evening of 
Thursday, and was read through by my hon. friend the member 
for Beaufort and sent up to me. I hardly had time to peruse it, 
certainly not time to master its contents, before the Executive 
Council met the next day. When we arrived at the Executive 
Council the Minutes will speak for themselves. Mr. Molteno said, 
* What are we here for? What is the business? ' The Governor 
replied, ' I want an answer to this Minute ; I want you to discuss 
it.' Mr. Molteno said, * The Executive Council is not the place to 
discuss the matter.' The fact was the Governor wanted to have 
a discussion upon this matter in the Cabinet, and wanted to see 
whether we were all agreed. The hon. member for Beaufort was 
spokesman, and said that the Executive Council was simply the 
place to formulate matters which had been tdready arrived at by 
the Cabinet. Then the Governor replied that if he did not get an 
answer they must meet every day and discuss it, until an answer 
was arrived at — Hke schoolboys. The position, of course, was 
not a right one to be taken up : we felt the Governor was speak- 
ing a little hotly on the matter, and could hardly mean to be so 



334 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

dictatorial as all that, so after a little discussion it was settled 
that we should do our best by four o'clock the next day. 

It will naturally be asked what had led to this change of 
tone and to the violent proceeding on the part of the Governor? 
The explanation is to be found in a Minute which had 
just been sent to him by Mr. Molteno with reference to 
the question of reinforcements. As we have already shown, 
the Cape Premier had always objected to any request for 
reinforcements of Imperial troops. On every possible 
occasion he had stated that they were not necessary, and 
that he was prepared to defend the Colony with its own 
forces. A despatch was now sent dowTi by the Governor 
showing that he had asked for additional troops, notwith- 
standing the objection of Mr. Molteno. It had become neces- 
sary to provide for their arrival, and the Governor now sent 
down Lord Carnarvon's despatch of the 27th of December, 
with a request that Mr. Molteno would sign Treasury warrants 
for the necessary expenditure. 

If the Governor's view were to prevail, that directly the 

troops arrived in the Colony they were subject to him 

through the General, it followed that he might receive 

them and move them to whatever positions he might select 

I without consulting his ministers, as he had already frequently 

r done with the troops then in South Africa.^ It is clear from 

subsequent events that Sir Bartle Frere was desirous, as he 

ii said himself to the Secretary of State at the time, of having 

these troops in South Africa, owing to the state of the 

Transvaal and the Zulu question. But that being his object, 

' This he actually did on their arrival. See p. 26 of C. P., A. 24—78. Mr. 
Molteno, speaking in Parliament, thus described the action of the Oovemor 
in using the Imperial troops. * They were subsequently moved about and 
directed by the GK)vernor, without any consultation with the Ministry at all. 
^ Our opinion was not even asked for, but we were passed over and ignored in a 

most summary way in all these important matters ; under such circumstances 
it was utterly impossible for any ministry to carry on the government of the 
country. I could not resign at such a time, and it was the Ministry and not 
the Governor who were ignored.' Report in Argus^ May 18, 1878. 



• 



THE DISMISSAL 335 

he should have, in the Minute to which we are now referring, 
stated to the Colonial Government and to the Imperial Govern- 
ment, that this was the sole cause for these reinforcements.^ 
Mr. Molteno refused to sanction the use of troops not 
required, the payment for which would be demanded from 
the Colony. The Minute is a most important document, and 
we give it in extenso. It was suppressed until called for by 
Mr. Molteno, and when all correspondence as to the use of 
Imperial troops was subsequently asked for on a motion in 
the Colonial Parliament this Minute was not included. Such 
was the eflfect on the Colony's interests of having a Premier 
nominated by the Governor.^ 

With reference to the accompanying despatch, No. 456, of the 
27th ultimo, in which the Bight Honourable the Secretary of State 
transmits to his Excellency the Governor copies of further corre- 
spondence with the War Office on the question of sending 
additional troops to South Africa — 

1. Ministers beg to remark that the receipt of this despatch 
gives the first formal intimation they have had as to any request 
having been made for additional troops for colonial purposes. 

2. They desire to express their profound sense and apprecia- 
tion of the motive which induced her Majesty's Government to 
despatch an additional regiment and battery to the Gape at a time 
when serious difficulties threatened with regard to the native 
tribes both within and beyond the colonial boundary. 

3. At the same time Ministers have never doubted that the 
Colony — aided by the presence, and, if necessary, such active 

' Sir B. Frere was a writer of very lenf;thy despatches, and he soon appears 
to forget what he had written in them. On the 80th of August, 1880, he writes 
concerning these troops : * I am unaware at whose instance they were required 
in Natal. ... I can only say that when the troops were allowed, whilst an their 
way to Natalt to land at the Gape, and to take a share in terminating the war 
there, I, as Governor of the Gape, was specially warned that they were not to be 
retained long in the Colony, but that they were required for service in Natal 
and the Transvaal ' (J. P., C— 2740, 1881, p. 34). But he had himself asked 
for these troops on the pretext of Natal and the Transvaal (see C. P., A. 4—78, 
p. 30), and we may note his admission that they were for this purpose, even 
though he previously wished to make Mr. Molteno pay for them. 

' C. P., A. 24 — '78. This Blue Book contains the correspondence produced 
in answer to the resolution of the Cape Parliament, and does not include the 
Minute. 



336 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

assistance as your Excellency might consider could, consistently 
with Imperial interests, be rendered, of her Majesty's troops 
actually in the Colony at the time — would be fully equal to the 
task, not only of crushing the defiant chief Ereli, but also of 
putting down rebellion among the natives within the colonial 
boundary. 

The response which has been so readily and widely given by 
the inhabitants of the Colony to the call of its (rovemment to 
rally to the front for the protection of the country, and the marked 
success which has attended the operations of the various colonial 
forces — aided by the movements of her Majesty's troops — has 
quite confirmed them in the opinion they had formed. 

4. Under these circumstances Ministers do not consider it 
necessary, for the defence of the Colony or for the control of 
the native tribes devolving upon its Government, that the rein- 
forcements of her Majesty's troops shortly expected should be 
retained in this Colony. The mere presence of these reinforce- 
ments in the Colony would undoubtedly have a most beneficial 
effect indirectly, but this would not, in the opinion of Ministers, be 
sufficient warrant for asking for their retention here, should the 
necessities of the Empire require them elsewhere.^ 

Sir Bartle Frere appears subsequently to have forgotten 
these documents, for he wrote to the Secretary of State — not 
at the time, it will be observed, but on the 15th of February * 
— that the Ministry were aware of his intention ; and were 
in every moral sense parties to the arrangement, but in no 
despatch to the Imperial Government did he quote any 
authority of the Cape Cabinet, and, indeed, in that of the 
2nd of January he tells Lord Carnarvon that Mr. Molteno 
is against the employment of Imperial troops. We have 
produced the various telegrams and this Minute to show 
that Mr. Molteno never wavered in his opposition to any 
request for Imperial troops. This Minute saved the Colony 
from paying for these troops.^ 

> Minute from Mr. Molteno dated January 81, 1878. C. P., A. 6 — 78, p. 2. 

• C. P., A. 6—78, p. 1. 

* Four years afterwards these events were thus described by the then 
Premier in his defence of the Colony's interests, and the description was not 
challenged by the Imperial Gk>vemment : * Towards the end of Uie year 1877, 
in answer to urgent appeals from Sir Bartle Frere, the Imperial Gk>yermnent 



THE DISMISSAL 337 

To return to the story : on the 2nd of February the 
Governor again called a Cabinet Council. Mr. Molteno, 
notwithstanding that he was unable to consult with his 
colleagues in Cape Town, had prepared, in deference to the 
Governor's urgency, a Minute in answer to that of the 
31st. ^ In this he asserted that the Ministers were prepared 
to undertake the responsibihty of putting down the 
rebellion in the speediest and most effectual manner, 
and that they had expressed to his Excellency that in 
their opinion this may best be carried out by colonial 
forces, led by colonists, and not encumbered by miUtary 
impedimenta ; that to place such forces under the military 
authorities would seriously impair their usefulness and tend 
to prolong the operations over an indefinite period. These 
views had been placed before his Excellency as their formal 
advice on matters of the deepest moment to the Colony, and 
they now learned with surprise that his Excellency had 
repeatedly informed them that he could not sanction such 
proceedings. 

As to the position of the Conunissioner for Crown 
Lands and Public Works, by the Constitution the respon- 
sibility of Ministers was established, and their duties were 
to carry out the laws of the Colony and to administer 
the business of the country according to the wishes 
of Parliament. 'The Governor acts solely by and with 
their advice. Should an emergency fraught with danger 
to the country arise, for which the law makes no pro- 
vision. Ministers act on their own responsibility, and will 
be prepared to answer for their acts to that body whose 
representatives they are.' The Minute insisted that the 

consented to despatch reinforoements to South Africa. This step was not» 
however, taken at the request of the responsible Ministers, who took the 
earliest opportunity of disclaiming any responsibility on behalf of it in a formal 
Minute, in which, while thanking the Secretary of State, they respectfully 
declined the proffered aid.' (C. P., G. 48— '82, p. 7.) 
» C. P.. A. 2— '78, p. 80. 

VOL. II. Z 



388 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

responsibility of the Ministry is collective, the acts of any 
one Minister being the acts of the whole Cabinet ; and that 
the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Public Works had 
not assumed the duties he was now discharging, but they 
had been assigned to him by the Colonial Secretary with 
the concurrence of his colleagues.* 
The Minute proceeds : 

His Excellency the Governor has most properly drawn 

attention to the evils of a dual ^stem of administration which 

Ministers entirely agree with his Excellency in deprecating. 

They would observe that the Government of the country, being 

by the Constitution vested in a Governor and a responsible 

Ministry, to hand over the control of the colonial forces and the 

conduct of military operations within or adjacent to the Colony 

to an officer not accountable to the Government of the country, 

and not in any way controlled by them, would be giving practical 

effect to dual government of the worst kind. 

? Either the Government of the Colony is responsible for the 

military operations conducted in the name and at the expense of 

the Colony or it is not. If it is, then the officer conducting these 

operations, be his name what it may, must be under the control 

of that Government. If the Government of the Colony is not to 

be held responsible, and if the conduct of these operations is to be 

made over to the officer of the Imperial Government, it is manifest 

that there must be an entire reversal of the policy of the last few 

years, for which neither the Ministers nor the Colony are prepared. 

[ The Colonial Secretary has had the honour of pointing out to 

^ his Excellency the position which Ministers consider might be 

usefully occupied by her Majesty's troops within and near the 

P Colony, but he has at the same time intimated the opinion of 

' Ministers that it is not desirable that the conduct of the operations 

> His Excellency had agreed to the assumption of this position by Mr. 
Merriman, as was seen from his letter to Sir A. Conynghame and his own 
memorandum of the 26th of December (C. P., A- 2— '78, p. 7). * I cannot speak 
too highly of the energy and ability shown by the Honourable Mr. Merriman for 
months past whilst he has been discharging the usual functions of a Minister of 
War and Police on this frontier.' To Sir A. Cunynghame he had said : * Tour 
Bxcellency is aware that since the present disturbances came to a head, the 
Honourable the Conmiissioner of Crown Lands has, with my full cononrrencej 
* and with, I have every reason to believe, the full consent of the whole Cabinet, 

taken the principal share of all the duties which would devolve on a Minister 
of War and Internal Police, and such offices exist here, and that we meet daily 
to dispose of the questions which come before us.' (C. P., A. 7 — '78, p. 63.) 



THE DISMISSAL 339 

undertaken by the colonial forces should be entrusted to his 
Excellency General Sir A. Cunynghame, and from this decision 
on their part Ministers see no reason for departing. 

If the arrangements proposed by Ministers for the disposition 
and employment of the Imperial forces are, in the opinion of his 
Excellency, unsuitable, and calculated, owing to the difficulties 
connected with the command, to prove embarrassing. Ministers 
can only express their regret to find that his Excellency deems 
those difficulties insurmountable. They desire, in that case, while 
expressing their thanks for the services already rendered by her 
Majesty's troops, to suggest that the Imperial forces be withdrawn 
to the positions occupied by them before the outbreak, leaving 
the suppression of the rebellion and the occupation of Galekaland 
to the Colonial Government, on whom the main responsibility oi 
defence must rest, and who are prepared to xmdertake it.^ 

This being read, the Govemor asked whether his Minute 
of the 26th had been submitted to the Attorney-General. 
Mr. Molteno replied that it had, but that a reply had not 
yet been received. The Govemor said that even if the 
opinion of the Attomey-Gteneral were in the Ministers' favour, 
there still remained the question whether, as a matter of 
common sense, the system of dual management and conmiand 
reconamended by the Ministers could practically be adopted, 
and he said he was prepared to accept Mr. Molteno's re- 
signation.^ Mr. Molteno, however, replied that this had 
been vdthdrawn. The Govemor then said that he would 
dismiss his Ministers, but that they should continue in office 
until their successors had been appointed. Thereupon 
Mr. Molteno asked ' whether his Excellency had any objec- 
tion to his Excellency's Minute of the 31st, with the 
General's letter enclosed in it, and their Minute in reply 
being published.' His Excellency replied, ' Most decidedly ; 
the proper time will come for their publication and that 
of all the other papers on the subject. They were to 
regard it as a Cabinet paper and strictly private, and not 
to be published.* * 

> C. P., A. 2—78, p. 30. « Supra, vol. ii. pp. 323-324. 

« C. P., A. 2-78, p. 29. 

z 2 



340 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

But though Sir Bartle Frere had thus absolutely dis- 
missed his Ministers, he appears to have lost his judgment 
in his wrath, on finding himself unable to make them 
adopt his views. He took the extraordinary step of sending 
down on the 6th of February a letter dismissing Mr. Molteno 
from his office, and appointing Mr. Innes to receive his 
papers, treating the Premier as if be were some malefactor 
who had robbed the public chest. The letter was of por- 
tentous size and was sealed with a huge seal, and might 
have been a warrant for the execution of the Premier. 
This incident is best told in the words in which Mr. Molteno 
described it to the Legislative Assembly : — 

On the Wednesday morning, without the slightest intimation 
from the Governor, and no communication having passed between 
us, except one or two Minutes about the assembling of Parliament, 
the Civil Commissioner of King William's Town called at my 
office, with a letter enclosed in a very portentous-looking envelope, 
which was to the following effect : — 

' King William's Town : 6th of February, 1878. 

*SiR, — I have the honour to inform you that by the 
authority vested in me as the Grovemor of this Colony I 
remove you from your office of Colonial Secretary, and that 
from and after this date you will cease to hold the said 
office. I have instructed Mr. J. B. Innes, Civil Commissioner 
and Besident Magistrate of £^g William's Town, who will 
deliver this letter to you, to receive charge of your records, 
documents, or public property of any description appertaining 
to your office, and to give a receipt for the same. 

' I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant, 

*H. B. Frebb. 

'Executed before me at King William's Town the 6th 
day of February, 1878. 

*J. B. Innes.' 

Now, supposing the difference of opinion had occurred, that 
seems to me a very harsh and hasty way of proceeding. It is 
true the Attorney-General instanced a case where a certain 



THE DISMISSAL 341 

Minister was dragged out of ohnrch and made to deliver up the 
seals of his offioe, but I do not know what may have occurred to 
render such a course necessary, and it cerbainly seems a very 
curious thing. In the present case when this communication 
came down from the Governor I believe scnne one thought it was 
a writ of execution, and the only thing to give full effect to it was 
a squadron of Garrington's Light Horse. I think it is right that 
the House should know of these things, so that it may be able 
to say whether under the circumstances the course pursued by 
the Governor was warranted, whether he was justified in thus 
summarily ejecting from office a Prime Minister who for five years 
had possessed a majority in this House. Individually I do not care 
so much about it, but I felt that I represented this Golony of the 
Gape of Good Hope. I was at that time its Prime Minister, and 
in my opinion no circumstances are detailed in these documents 
which warrant so extraordinary a proceeding on the part of his 
Excellency. I do not dispute his authority, but I think such 
a proceeding in any portion of her Majesty's dominions can 
scarcely be maintained.^ 

The Governor's next step gave a further example of his 
complete ignorance of constitutional law, for he now com- 
municated with the other Ministers himself. It is a well- 
established principle that the Prime Minister is the invari- 
able channel of intercourse between the Cabinet and the 
Sovereign,^ and that any resignation must pass through 
the Premier.^ The Crovni selects the Premier, who selects 

' In transmitting to the Imperial 6k)yemment his notes on the DismiAsal 
debate at a later period Sir Bartle Frere seems to have felt that his conduot in the 
mode of dismissing his Ministers was not correct, and he says, * I feel oertttoi 
that it is unnecessary forme to assure any Ministers who have worked with me 
that I am incapable of ofifering any intentional slight, much less an insult, to any 
gentlemen situated as the late Ministers then were, least of all to a gentleman 
who, as in Mr. Molteno's case, had during many years of public service earned 
a title to the respect of his fellow colonists ' (I. P., G— 2144-78, p. 110). Mr. 
Sprigg, Sir Bartle Frere^s Premier, found a difficulty in defending this action 
of Sir Bartle Frere in his speech : * I am not prepared to say on the whole 
whether that was the best form to adopt * (Speech on Dismissal debate). 

* Todd's Parliamentary Oovemment in England, 2nd edition, vol. il. pp. 1 
and 18. 

* Ibid. p. 21. When Lord Palmerston was dismissed it was done through 
the Premier, Lord Bussell, who advised her Majesty to withdraw from Lord 
Palmerston the seals of the Foreign Department. See Henry Beeve, 
article ' Cabinet,' EncyclopcBdia Britanmca. 



342 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

his colleagues, subject to the approval of the Crown, the 
Premier standing between his colleagues and the Sovereign.' 
Yet Sir Bartle Frere was apparently ignorant of these 
facts. He told Mr. Stockenstrom that ' Mr. Molteno's 
dismissal does not necessarily involve yourself ; * ' and again, 
* I empowered no one to extend the terms of my letters to 
Messrs. Molteno and Merriman so as to include anyone 
else.' The Attorney-General took the correct view, and in- 
formed the Grovemor that 'his Excellency's dismissal of 
Mr. Molteno inyolves my dismissal.' 

This was absolutely correct. Any resignation must be 
through the Premier, and there is no constitutional doctrine 
better established than ' that if he should himself vacate his 
ofGice by death, resignation, or dismissal, the Ministry is ipso 
facto dissolved.' * Sir Bartle Frere, in his usual imperious 
manner, threatened the Attorney-General with grave consti- 
tutional consequences.* The Attorney-General concluded 

by thanking him for his kindness in suggesting means by which 
certain penalties which you believe to be hanging over me may be 
averted. I, however, have nothing to hide, or to be ashamed of ; 
I have loyally served my Queen and country, and fear no penalties.^ 

What, then, was the question between the Governor and 
his Cabinet ? This subject was subsequently involved pur- 
posely in great obscurity. The various documents were 
published, some without dates, others out of order and in 
various blue books, and it was then and has been now a 
matter of extreme difficulty to collate them and to trace a 
connected story .^ The facts that we have set out in this 

^ Todd*8 ParHamentary ChvemmerU in England, vol. i. pp. 278 and 280. 

« 0. P.. A. 24— *78, p. 3. 

' Todd, vol. ii. p. 21. See also Henry Beeve, eodem loco: *The First 
Minister is therefore in reality the aathor and construotor of the Cabinet; 
he holds it together ; and in the event of his retirement, from whatever cause, 
the Cabinet is really dissolved. . . . Each member of the Cabinet, in fact, 
holds office under the First Lord of the Treasury, and in the event of resigna- 
tion it is to him the announcement should be made.* 
* 0. P., A. 4—78, p. 6. » 0. P., A. 4—78, p. 6. • See note, p. 374, infra. 



THE DISMISSAL 343 

chapter show that the question at issue was the contention 
on the part of the Governor that the General was the only 
military executive officer, and therefore must command all 
troops, whether colonial or Imperial ; and, further, that the 
Colony was unable to have any military officers apart from 
the General. 

We have already shown from the documents written at 
the time that these were the real points, and there is further 
evidence of the same character. Mr. Molteno on the 2nd 
of February telegraphed to Captain Mills : 

Inform Dr. White and Stockenstrom as follows : Governor 
has dismissed his Ministers, but required them to hold office until 
successors appointed. We have consented only on consideration 
that we carry on as at present. Question at issue with the 
Governor, command of all colonial forces by General, which we 
will not consent to. Further particulars by post. 

Moreover, the Governor wrote to Lord Carnarvon on 
the 5th of February,* that Mr. Molteno's desire was to 
create ' a new office of Commandant-General, desiring him 
to act in the field without reference to the General and 
her Majesty's troops,' and again, in the same despatch, he 
says, ' I placed before him the legal difficulties of appointing 
a Commandant-General with powers of conmaand in the 
field independent of any constituted military authority , and 
again, * Unless Mr. Griffith acted under military command 
his acts, it appeared to me, would have been quite illegal.' 
There is not a word here of the subsequent charge of ignoring 
the Governor, or placing the Commandant-General above 
him. It is certainly true that Sir Bartle Frere did subse- 
quently complain that Mr. Merriman wished to constitute 
himself a military dictator, but there is no proof whatever 
of this in the documents put forward, and we have seen 
that the Governor assented to Mr. Merriman acting as a 
virtual war minister.* 

> C. P., A. 4— 78, p. 8 • Su/pra, p. 888, »i. 



344 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, the Secretary of State, in his 
reply to this despatch of the 21st of March, is thus entirely 
mistaken as to the real issue when he says : — 

An important constitutional question is raised as to the power 
of the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony to appoint an executive 
officer to take conmiand of military operations without yowr oon- 
sent as Oovemor and Commander-in-Chief,^ 1 cannot concur 
with Mr. Molteno if he holds that a Minister has a right at any 
moment to appoint an officer imknown to the Constitution without 
the sanction of Parliament, and in opposition to the judgment of 
the Covemor, and to assign to him functions which would give 
him paramount authority above that of the Oovemor himself in aU 
military matters,^ 

Mr. Molteno had not made any such absurd proposal. 
We have shown that Sir Bartle Frere's views on this question 
of the use of the Imperial forces and their being placed over 
all military operations was at the end of this war absolutely 
negatived by the Imperial Government when they really 
awoke to what he had done, and on the advice of Sir Garnet 
Wolseley he was informed by her Majesty's Government 
that the duty of defending the Colony must be provided 
for by the colonial forces, and that not a man or officer 
was to assist the Colonial Government ' without the pre- 
viously obtained sanction of her Majesty's Government' * 

By this the whole fabric of Sir Bartle Frere's contention 
with Mr. Molteno was cut away, and the latter's views 
were permanently ratified and estabUshed. It is important 
to observe that four years afterwards the then Premier gave 
the following account of Sir Bartle Frere's action in repu- 
diating liability on behalf of the colony, and his version was 
not challenged by the Imperial Government : — 

A serious disagreement arose between Sir Bartle Frere 
and his Ministers, which turned chiefly upon two points — the 

> Mr. Molteno, it ghoold be remarked, had never made this proposal. 
• C. P., A. 4— »78, p. 11. 

» P. 13 of letter to Lord Kimberley by Sir Bartle Frere, I. P., C— 2740, 
p. 108. 



THE DISMISSAL 345 

non-employment of the Imperial reinforcements, and the refusal 
to submit the colonial forces to Imperial military control and 
direction, including supply. The quarrel led to the dismissal of 
the Ministers and the adoption of the policy of the Governor in 
both these matters by their successors. Under these circum- 
stances it can scarcely be said that the Colony was responsible in 
the first instance either for the employment of British reinforce- 
ments or for the expenditure arising out of the military control of 
colonial troops, both of which were stoutly resisted by the 
Colonial Ministry and adopted in opposition to their advice as the 
result of a kind of coup d*Uat by her Majesty's representative.^ 

It will be well here to give Mr. Molteno's own account 
of the transactions which have been recorded.' Speaking in 
the course of the debate raised in Parliament- upon this 
question Mr. Molteno said : — 

There may be a difference of opinion as to the mode in which 
the war was carried on, and as to the success which attended the 
first campaign. There is a very great deal to be said on that 
question, but I do not consider it exactly pertinent to the present 
case, and all I can say is that I am perfectly willing to answer 
for my conduct. This I will say, that in the middle of January, or 
very soon afterwards, by hook or by crook, in spite of what the 
Attorney-General may say about illegal means and all that sort 
of thing, a sufficient colonial force was assembled on the frontier 
for our defence. I should like to hear that statement combated ; 
I was at King William's Town at that time, and all I can say is 
that that was the generally expressed opinion. At first there 
were some who said, * We have not got enough,' but afterwards, 
when reinforcements kept coming forward, they said, ' Now I 
think we had better stop ; it is no use bringing up more ; there is 
almost one man for every Kaffir.' I say that as a figure of speech. 
It showed the feeling, at all events, that there was a sufficient 
colonial force on the frontier. I was exceedingly anxious all 
along to sustain the colonial credit, and knew that in a matter of 
this sort there must not be anything Uke a niggardly policy. 

I do not wish to speak boastfully of my undertakings, but it was 
well known that I had had personal experience on the frontier and 
knew something about matters. I was fully impressed with the 

» C. P., G--43, 1882, p. 7. 

' Sir Bartle Frere's account will be found in full on p. 10 of C. P., A. 4—78 
and p. 51 of C. P., A. 17—78. 



346 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTBNO 

want of management and system that occurred in the Kaffir war 
of 1846, and felt convinced that Imperial troops were of no avail 
at all for Kaffir warfare. I said, * If you can put colonial forces in 
the field under their own officers, men who imderstand the Kaffirs, 
then we do not want the military,' and therefore the plans were 
arranged in the first campaign that Commandant Griffith should 
command over the Kei and move with the different colonial forces, 
and the troops remain on this side in position. I knew that the 
Imperial troops were not accustomed to fight in the bush, and 
you could not get them to do it. I remember having a conversa- 
tion with Sir Garnet Wolseley on this very subject, and he was 
of the same opinion as myself. I say that as Prime Minister of 
the Colony I had an opportunity of bringing my useful knowledge 
to bear, and my object was to impress my opinions upon the 
Governor. I gave him the benefit of my experience and told him 
he would get sufficient service from the colonial forces, and that 
they should not be put under military control. 

It is not true that I have set the Governor on one side. The hon. 
member for Fort Beaufort says that I ignored the Governor, but if 
waiting upon his Excellency and furnishing him with every scrap 
of information I could is ignoring the Governor, then I do not 
know what the word means. I never got a telegram that was not sent 
up to the Oovemor immediately, I did not allow a minute to elapse, 
amd I am not conscious of having omitted this in a single instance. 
Judge then how astonished I was to find it stated that informa- 
tion had to be gathered from newspapers and so on. We may all 
gather information from newspapers, but it is not to say it was 
because there were no other channels of information open. 
Everything, I say, was inmiediately communicated to his Excel- 
lency, but his Excellency would not listen to the advice we 
tendered. He contended that he had an independent power, and 
that he was commander hy right over the colonial forces^ and 
could do as he liked, I said, * You have no right to do it except 
with the advice of your Ministers,* and it was upon this sole con- 
tention we were dismissed. Ministers maintained that they had a 
right to advise the Governor which was the best way to dispose of 
the colonial forces, and that is why they were dismissed. 

You may say that we ignored the Governor, but that is all 
beside the question, and I will now proceed to give a plain and un- 
varnished tale of what took place, for I have the thing well in hand, 
and my memory does not fail me, and matters were not spread over 
such a very long time. On the 9th of January I arrived at King 
William's Town, I think rather late in the day. I at once waited 
upon the Governor, whom I had not seen since October. I neces- 



THE DISMISSAL 347 

sarily had a great deal to say to him and talk over, and a long 
conversation ensued, in which I believe everything connected 
with the Colony was discussed. I looked upon that conversation 
as a preliminary thing to any formal minutes or to anything being 
done, and I was very much taken aback when I received a note 
from his Excellency enclosing a memorandum which he asked me 
to run my eye over. I at once said it was a very awkward mode 
of procedure if a private conversation with the Governor should 
be minuted in this way. If the Governor wanted everything that 
was said taken down at the time, it should have been done in a 
proper way, but I was completely taken by surprise. 

I replied to his Excellency that I thought it was exceedingly 
inconvenient to introduce so novel a mode of procedure as that of 
reducing to writing and permanently placing on record conversations 
necessarily of so confidential and delicate a character as those in 
many cases must be which take place between the Governor and the 
Prime Minister of the Colony. I only regarded this interview as 
an exchange of ideas, and I said to his Excellency in my com- 
munication, * Several matters were no doubt alluded to during our 
conversation, but only incidentally, and the time for placing any- 
thing on record regarding them has not yet arrived. Let me 
assure your Excellency that my desire to adhere to a course 
which has hitherto been found to work well, and a fear that any 
departure therefrom may possibly lead to a lessening of that 
freedom and confidence in the exchange of opinion between her 
Majesty's representative and myself which has always happily 
prevailed during my tenure, alone prevents my acceding to your 
Excellency's request.' All I can say is that in the whole course 
of my previous experience I have never seen such a course 
adopted before as reducing conversations of this sort to writing, 
and if I were placed in the same position again I should hold 
exactly the same views. 

What I contended was that in all things connected with the 
Government of this Colony, without any exception whatever, 
his Excellency is constitutionally bound to act only by and with 
the advice of his responsible Ministers. That is the proposition I 
lay down, and that does not seem like throwing his Excellency 
overboard. I therefore maintained that his Excellency, although 
as Commander-in-Chief he has no control over the colonial 
forces, as Governor he has that power, but it can only be exercised 
with and by the advice of his Ministers, and if it is other- 
wise then a rupture must be the result. I told his Excellency 
these were my opinions, and I am still prepared to stand by 
them. I also consulted with his Excellency about the appoint- 



348 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

ment of Mr. Griffith as Commandant-General of the colonial 
forces, although I do not find a minute respecting that appoint- 
ment laid on the table of the House. I well remember telegraph- 
ing to Captain Mills to have the appointment duly gazetted, and 
I drew up a minute to that effect which must be among the 
documents in the hands of the present Ministry. Two days sub- 
sequently, when it was proposed to invest Commandant Griffith 
with the order of St. Michael and St. George, I suggested to his 
Excellency that the investiture should be delayed until the appoint- 
ment was gazetted, and I contend that his Excellency was in 
every way party to the appointment and was fully cognisant of 
all that was going on. 

We have alluded to the position occupied in regard to 
Ministerial advice by a Colonial Governor, and it is clear that 
so long as the law is complied with and the paramonnt 
interests of the Enoipire at large are not involved, the 
Governor niust be guided by his Ministers.* The question 
whether the colonial troops should act under their own 
commanders or under the Imperial General was not of this 
character, indeed the Imperial Government after this con- 
tention of Sir Bartle Frere's again reiterated that the Colony 
must be responsible for its own defence,^ and as a matter of 
fact the operations conducted at a later stage during Sir 
Bartle Frere's governorship were entirely under colonial 
management, and not in any way subordinated to the 
Imperial Commander who, with the troops, was withdravni 
from the Colony during those operations ; and further, the 
power was taken away from Sir Bartle Frere to requisition 
the aid of her Majesty's forces without the previously obtained 
special sanction of her Majesty's Government. Todd, who 
is no enemy of the Eoyal prerogative, says : — 

Nor is a Grovemor free to act without or against ministerial 
advice, in cases not involving the rights or prerogatives of the 
Crown or Imperial interests.* 

* Todd, Parliamentary Oovemtnent in the Colonies^ 2nd edition, p. 128. 
« I. P„ C-2740, p. 103. * Todd, supra, p. 128. 



THE DISMISSAL 349 

And again : — 

The responsibility of the local administration for all acts of 
Oovemment is absolute and unqualified. But it is essentially a 
responsibility to the Legislature — and especially to the popular 
chamber thereof — whilst the responsibility of the Governor is 
solely to the Crown.^ 

And:— 

In the constitutional monarchy of Great Britain, there is no 
opportunity or justification for the exercise of personal govern- 
ment by prerogative. The Grown must always act through 
advisers, approved of Parliament, and their policy must always 
be in harmony with the sentiments of the majority in the popular 
chamber.^ 

The Duke of Newcastle wrote in 1862 to the Qt)vemor of 
Queensland : — 

In granting responsible government to the larger colonies of 
Great Britain, the Imperial Government was fully aware that the 
power they granted must occasionally be used amiss. But they 
have always trusted that the errors of a free Government would 
cure themselves; and that the colonists would be led to exert 
greater energy and circumspection in legislation and government 
when they were made to feel that they would not be rescued from 
the consequences of any imprudence merely affecting themselves, 
by authoritative intervention of the Crown or of the Governor.* 

While Lord Dufferin, in 1875, in writing to Lord Eimberley 

in regard to the difficulties which had arisen in connection 

with the * Pacific Scandal,' said : — 

I have never doubted but that a strict application of the 
principles of Parliamentary Government would be sufficient to 
resolve every difficulty. 

To which Lord Kimberley replied : — 

I agree with your Lordship in the satisfaction which you 
express that the result arrived at has been reached by a strict 
application of constitutionul principles, and by the regular work- 
ing of the machinery of a free Parliament.^ 

' Todd, ParHametUary Oovemment in the Colonies, 2nd edition, p. 50. 

' Ibid, p. 626. * Ibid. p. 630. 

* Ibid, p. 643. For a still later ease see p. 362, infra. See also Lord 
Eimberley's despatch to Sir G. Strahan, (Governor of the Cape, on ministerial 
responsibility, supra, vol. ii. p. 50. 



350 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

With our experience of the disastrous assertion of rights 
the existence of which no one denied, but the application of 
which was utterly inexpedient, in the case of the American 
Colonies, it is surely a matter of congratulation that this 
liberal view of the Imperial relations has now been absolutely 
conceded. 

But whatever difficulty there may be in reconciling the 
position of a Governor with the rights of a Ministry on 
occasions of difference which must in the nature of things 
arise, it is clear that it must be enormously increased 
when there exists the complication of the High Com- 
missionership. Still more so when the Governor has a 
policy of his own to carry out avowedly opposed to that of 
his Ministers, as was the case at the Cape, where Lord 
Carnarvon had sent out Sir Bartle Frere to * press' his 
policy in South Africa in opposition to the publicly expressed 
views and advice of Mr. Molteno's Ministry. 

In Canada, shortly after the introduction of responsible 
government, difficulties arose, owing to the want of pre- 
cedents, in working responsible government ; and although 
Sir Charles Bagot in 1842 and Sir Charles Metcalfe in 
1844 emphatically declared their acceptance of responsible 
government, yet the system was imperfectly understood 
and mistakes were made on all sides. These Governors 
were succeeded by Lord Cathcart, a military officer, 
under whom things did not tend to improve. The British 
Government found it necessary to entrust ' the manage- 
ment of affairs in Canada to a person who should possess 
an intimate knowledge of the principles and practice of 
the British Constitution, some experience of the House of 
Conmions, and a familiarity with the political questions of 
the day.' * Lord Elgin fulfilled these qualifications and was 
selected by Earl Grey to be the new Governor-General. He 

> Todd, Parliamentary Oovemment in the Colonies, 2nd edition, p. 78. 



THE DISMISSAL 361 

was eminently saccessful in his reliance on a wider view of 
responsible government.^ 

In the case of the Cape, where responsible government 
had been introduced by a man who had similar qualifications 
to those of Lord Elgin in his experience of the House of 
Commons and his knowledge of the principles and practice 
of the British Constitution, complete success had attended 
its introduction and subsequent working. And in 1877 affairs 
at the Cape were certainly not less complicated than they 
had been in Canada at an earlier date. The Transvaal had 
been promised representative institutions; a great experi- 
ment similar to the confederation of Canada had been 
proposed for the consideration of the colonists. But, in place 
of selecting a man versed in the principles and practice of 
the British constitution, and vnth experience of the House 
of Commons, Lord Carnarvon selected a man trained in the 
despotic ways of the Indian bureaucracy, — a man who had 
already shown his sense of the value of parliamentary 
institutions by recommending the destruction of the New 
Zealand Parliament and the appointment of a dictator, and 
who, in his very first despatch on his arrival at the Cape, 
displayed his ignorance of the most elementary principles of 
constitutional government by objecting to the practice of the 
Cabinet deliberating in private and not in his presence, and 
who meant to force a policy opposed to that of his Ministers. 

Mr. Gladstone in the course of his Midlothian speeches 
truly said of Sir Bartle Frere, that he had never 

been in a position of responsibility, nor had ever imbibed from 
actual acquaintance with British institutions the spirit by which 
British government ought to be regulated and controlled. That 
he is a man of benevolence I do not doubt, but I am afraid he is 
a gentleman who is apt, in giving scope to his benevolent motives, 
to take into his own hands the choice of means in a manner those 
who are conversant with free government and with a responsible 
government never dreamed of. 

> See Colonial Policy of Earl Qny, vol. i. pp. 226-284. 



852 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Friction, then, was inevitable between such a Governor 
and such a Prime Minister as Mr. Molteno ; unless the Cape 
Premier were to be a puppet and to subordinate his views 
to those of the Governor, insurmountable difl&culties must 
arise. For this state of things we must regard Lord 
Carnarvon as ultimately responsible, for his was the choice 
of the unsuitable instrument for e£fecting his purpose. 

To return, then, to the points at issue between Mr. Molteno 
and the Governor. In regard to the question of legaUty, the 
Attorney-General declared in favour of Mr. Molteno. The 
Governor had only his own views to set against this opinion, 
and as a matter of fact the Commandant-General remained 
in office during the ministry of Mr. Molteno's successor. 
No Imperial interests were involved, the question being 
purely one for the Colony, as had been declared by Lord 
Kimberley on the introduction of responsible government. 
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, after Mr. Molteno's dismissal, 
again stated that the Colony must be responsible for and 
must carry out its own military operations, and this 
as a matter of fact was done thereafter. The Governor 
no doubt conscientiously believed that he had done what 
was best in the interests of the Colony and of his position. 
He di£fered from his Ministers as to the proper course to 
pursue, but it was his duty to take the advice of his 
Ministers. He was wrong in regard to the constitutional 
position. 

On the 30th of January he had addressed a despatch to 
Lord Carnarvon during the controversy which has already 
been described with Mr. Molteno, and we have stated that he 
resented the proper constitutional course of conducting busi- 
ness. In that despatch he says that Mr. Molteno declines 

to discuss the measures he [the Governor] proposed in the presence 

of his colleagues or of any other members of the Executive Council. 

His view of the proper action of responsible government, as 

far as I can understand it, is that all matters of policy and all 



THE DISMISSAL 353 

measures of importance are to be settled by the Cabinet in 
separate consultation, without the Governor being present ; that 
the Premier is to be the sole means of communication between 
the Cabinet and the Governor on such matters, direct communi- 
cation between the Governor and any other Cabinet Minister 
being only permissible on matters of departmental detail, not 
involving any question of policy or principle ; that the meetings 
of the Executive Council are simply for the formal registration of 
measures decided on by the Cabinet, and sanctioned by the 
Governor, at which the attendance of the commander of the 
forces is generally unnecessary and inconvenient ; and that any- 
thing like discussion of measures at the meetings of the Executive 
Council, if not absolutely prohibited, is so likely to be embarrass- 
ing that it is as much as possible to be avoided.^ 

No less than twelve paragraphs of the despatch were 
devoted to this point, but Sir Bartle Frere was clearly v^rong. 
He had stumbled at this question on his first arrival ; now 
it led to his dismissing the Cabinet, but nothing is clearer 
than that Ministers have the right to deliberate in private. 
Todd says : — 

A constitutional ruler is at liberty to share in the initiation as 
well as in the maturing of public measures ; provided only that 
he does not limit the right of his Ministers to deliberate, in 
private, before submitting for his approval their conclusions in 
Council.* 

And again he points out that under this system — 

When formally introduced into a colony, the Executive Council 
shall not be assembled, as under the old system, for the purpose 
of consultation and discussion with the Governor, but Ministers 
shall be at liberty to deliberate on all questions of ministerial 
policy in private, after the example of the Cabinet Council in 
England.^ 

» C. P., A. 17—78, p. 62. 

* Parliamentary Oovemment in the Colonies, 2nd edition, vol. ii. p. 11. 

' lind. p. 47. See also Todd, Parliamentary Oovemment in England, 2nd 
edit., vol. ii. pp. 12-14; and also Henry Beeve, article 'Cabinet,' in Encyclopcedia 
Britannica : ' The Sovereign never presides at a Cabinet ; and at the meetings 
of the Privy Council when the Sovereign does preside the business is purely 
formal. It has been laid down by some writers as a principle of the British 
Constitution that the Sovereign is never present at a discussion between the 

VOL. II. A A 



354 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

We see, then, that Sir Bartle Frere's contentions were 
wrong from a legal and constitutional point of view. Was his 
opinion likely to be more correct, as a practical one, than that 
of Mr. Molteno, for it will be observed that he had desired 
to justify his action by an appeal to common sense, while 
characterising Mr. Molteno's view as that of a lunatic. We 
should not attach too much importance to this word, inasmuch 
as he had already applied this term to Lord Carnarvon's own 
policy. The Governor had only arrived in South Africa in 
April 1877, and had only reached the frontier in September. 
He had had no previous knowledge of the country or its 
inhabitants, whether white or black. Mr. Molteno had been 
in the Colony since 1831, and had lived among its inhabi- 
tants, whom he thoroughly understood. He had lived in the 
Cape Colony through all the great Kaffir wars. He had 
personally fought in the great war of 1846. He had been 
a member of the Cape Parliament since its establishment 
twenty-four years previously. He had administered the 
country as Premier since 1872. His sound judgment and 
natural powers of observation had been matured by years of 
experience. His measures had been xmiformly successful, 
both those proposed in Parliament by him before he was 
Premier, and those which he initiated as Premier. Their 
success had been attested by the preceding High Commis- 
sioner, Sir Henry Barkly, by Lord Carnarvon himself, and 
by Sir Bartle Frere, who, in the course of his tour, speaking 
at a public dinner at King William's Town, declared : — 

It is my deliberate opinion — and remember I am not speaking 
merely things that will please you — that you have made most 
extraordinary progress in all political matters since you have 
had the means of exercising your own faculties in your own 
Government.^ 

advisers of the Grown, and this is no doubt an established fact and practice, . . 
When George III. mounted the throne the practice of the independent de> 
liberations of the Cabinet was well established^ and it has never been departed 
fronn? 

* See Arg^ report, September 18, 1877, and on the 4th of December Sir 



THE DISMISSAL 355 

While Sir Bartle Frere himself on the Slst of December 
addressed a letter to Mr. Molteno, urging him to accept an 
honom: offered to him by Lord Camaxvon/ yet before the end 
of January Mr. Molteno had become a * lunatic' It looks as if 
someone had lost his judgment. 

During the Indian Mutiny the high officers sent out by 
the War Department were'not placed in conmiand, owing to 
the want of the necessary knowledge of the country and its 
conditions,^ while Sir Bartle Frere had himself pointed out 
the dangers of a man new to a country being placed in 
power ; yet Sir Bartle Frere, who had just arrived in the 
country, asserted his own views, not only in regard to 
the actual details of the military management, but in regard to 
matters of the most serious importance upon which the 
Governor could possess views, viz. the control and manage- 
ment of the native tribes. 

The chances surely were that Mr. Molteno was likely 
to be right. At any rate, the rejection of his experience 
cost the Colony and the Empire enormous loss in life, in 
property, in treasure, and in prestige. Moreover, it is remark- 
able how different are the Sir Bartle Frere newly arrived 
and Sir Bartle Frere after his colonial experience. Speaking 
at the Colonial Institute on the 22nd of February, 1881, 
the latter gave his adherence to Mr. Molteno's view of defence : 
' I think the example of the Cape Colony has conclusively 
shown that the colonists B,re fully able when left to themselves 

Bartle wrote to Lord Camaryon, ' congratulating the Ck>lonial Gbvemment on 
the Buocess which has attended their measures for meeting the late crisiB.' 
I. P., C— 2000, p. 10. 

> (PrivaU.) Slat of December, 1877. 

My dbar Mb. Molteno, — I received by the mail which arrived yesterday the 
inclosed letter from Lord Carnarvon. I need not say what a great pleasure it 
will be to me, as I think it will be to most of your best friends in the Colony, 
should you authorise me to reply to Lord Carnarvon that you would be gratified 
by receiving such a mark of her Majesty's appreciation of your long and arduous 
public services. 

(Signed) H. B. E. Frbbe. 

* See Lord Roberts* Forty -one Years in Indian 30th ed., p. 217. 



366 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

unhampered by restrictions from distant commanders, to deal 
with any enemy which may arise in South Africa/ 

For a quarter of a century the Cape Colony, in the hands 
of those who knew the natives, had maintained the peace, 
and had made great progress in civihsing the surrounding 
natives. Sir Bartle Frere as soon as he arrived on the frontier 
began to find fault with all previous Governments, whether 
Imperial or Colonial, for not having put their feet upon the 
necks of the native chiefs, and within a brief space he 
announced the policy of disarmament : the most fatal that 
has ever been attempted in South Africa. 

We may here remind the reader that the ablest General, 
and one of the ablest official representatives of the Imperial 
Government, sent to South Africa in recent times, Sir 
Garnet Wolseley, addressed a despatch to the Home Govern- 
ment entering a strong protest against the whole policy of 
disarmament.^ Even if colonial experience, such as Mr. 
Molteno's, is to count for nothing, it would be unnecessary 
to give any further authority to prove the unwisdom of Sir 
Bartle Frere's views. 

And whose opinion was correct, as shown by subsequent 
events ? As to the war itself, the change of Ministry had, 
as it was admitted on all sides, led to its prolongation.* 
The system adopted of entrusting it to Imperial troops 
led to its extension, and to its continuance for many months 
after the dismissal. Even Galekaland took months to pacify, 
though the colonial troops had cleared. it entirely of Galekas 
in less than a month. The cost was enormous compared 
with that incurred up to the dismissal. But this was a 
small evil compared with what followed upon the inaugura- 
tion of Sir Bartle Frere's policy of crushing the native tribes 

' Despatch, 10th of March, 1880, 1. P., 0-2569, p. 6. 

* What aocordmg to Colonel Bellairs on the 2drd of January and 8ir Bartle 
Frere himself on the 24th and 26th of January was a mere affair of police 
developed into a serious Kaffir war of the old type, which ended by the exhaustion 
of both sides in Jane. 



THE DISMISSAL 357 

and chiefs. His disarmament policy was put in operation 
under his directions, with the result that all native South 
Africa was convulsed. The Cape Colony carried on war 
on its northern border as well as in Tembuland and in 
Basutoland; between 4,000,000Z. and 5,000,000Z. was ex- 
pended in fighting, and even then no success was attained 
in disarmament, while it lost Basutoland. 

The application of the same principles to Zululand led 
to the unjust, disastrous, and ill-fated war in that country. 
South Africa was deluged in blood. There followed the 
Batlapin war, the Griqua war, the Sikukuni war, and finally 
the Boer war, while had not Sir Bartle Frere been checked by 
Sir Garnet Wolseley and the Imperial authorities, a Pondo 
war might have been added to them.* Let us compare this 
with a quarter of a century of peace. 

Mr. Molteno was too amply justified by subsequent events. 
He derived no satisfaction from the sight of his country 
plxmged into these disasters by a man who ' took his ignorance 
for superior knowledge,' and of whom it may be said that, 
the more active he was, the more fatal was his presence in 
South Africa. 

Sir Bartle Frere was the channel of communication with 
the Imperial Government, and naturally represented his 
action in his own way. He was permitted to proceed un- 
checked by the Imperial Government, or by public opinion, 
who little recked of what he was doing until he forced the 
hand of the Imperial Government in declaring war with 
Cetywayo, when both the Government and the country 
were staxtled out of its ignorance by the terrible disaster of 
Isandhlwana. Then public censure both on the part of the 
Government and the public followed rapidly enough. His 
powers of dictatorship of South Africa were taken from him. 
He was deprived of his position as High Commissioner in 
Natal and the Transvaal. 

» I. P., C— 2240, p. 4. 



368 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

All these consequences were not yet apparent ; it was 
certain, however, that responsible government, which had 
only been established in 1872, was by the high-handed pro- 
ceedings of Sir Baxtle Frere practically withdrawn and 
replaced by his personal rule, with all the terrible disasters 
which that entailed. 

Confident in his own power and that of the men who 
had come forward so patriotically to defend their country, 
Mr. Molteno was ready to do his share of the Empire's 
defence, leaving the Imperial troops free for their Imperial 
duties. Mr. Molteno had incurred great hostility from those 
in the Colony who wished to retain the Imperial troops, by 
stating that the Colony could do without them. This view 
had been urged on the Colony by all Secretaries of State 
since the passage in the House of Commons on the 4th 
of March, 1862 of the motion : — 

That this House (while fully recognising the claims of all 
portions of the British Empire to Imperial aid in their protection 
against perils arising from the consequences of Imperial policy) 
is of opinion that colonies exercising the rights of self-government 
ought to imdertake the main responsibility of providing for their 
own internal order and security, and ought to assist in their own 
external defence.^ 

And this policy was urged by none more strongly than 
by Lord Carnarvon — indeed his whole South African policy 
was based on this reduction of Imperial troops. It had 
been distinctly settled on the introduction of responsible 
government, that the Colonial Government was to control 
the Colonial troops. Yet Mr. Molteno, though entitled on 
these and on many grounds to the consideration and thanks 
of the Imperial Government and its representatives, was not 
supported, and the Governor's arbitrary acts were improperly 
upheld with terribly disastrous results to South Africa and 

* Todd*8 Parliamentary Oovemment in the British Colonies^ 2nd edition, 
p. 392. 



THE DISMISSAL 359 

the Empire. At the close of this war Sir Bartle Frere 
was informed that he must not use the Imperial troops 
— not even a single man or officer — without her Majesty's 
express consent, and any operations must be conducted by 
the Colonial troops alone. ^ The whole fabric of Sir Bartle 
Frere's contention in dismissing his Ministers was thus 
destroyed by the order of her Majesty's Government, which 
was of course, as we have previously pointed out, the 
reiteration of Lord Kimberley*s dictum on the introduction 
of responsible government. 

The European situation was at this time such, that every 
patriotic Englishman would wish to do nothing to weaken 
the Imperial forces in Europe. Plevna had fallen in 
December, Bussia was in full career in her campaign against 
Turkey. In November Lord Beaconsfield had spoken of 
England being prepared for war, and in January war looked 
extremely probable. Bussia's occupation of Kizil Arvat in 
the preceding year had seriously alarmed those responsible 
for the security of India. It was doubly important 
that no demand should be made just then on the British 
army which could be avoided. This was the moment when 
Mr. Molteno refused the aid of British troops, and when 
Sir Bartle Frere determined to open his disastrous 
campaign in South Africa. 

The late Mr. Todd has discussed the dismissal of Mr. 
Molteno at page 380 of his * History of Parliamentary 
Government in the Colonies,' 2nd edition. It is clear from 
a perusal of the circumstances as related by him, that he had 
not read the papers connected with the matter, and evidently 
an account was supplied to him, the accuracy of which may 
be gauged by those conversant with South African affairs, 
when it is stated that Mr. Sprigg successfully conducted 
military operations against the Basutos, and further that Mr. 

» I. P., C— 2740,-p. 103. See also I. P., 0— 2220, p. 273 ; I. P., C— 2454, 
p. 50 ; J. P., C— 2569, pp. 6 and 46 ; I. P., C— 2696, p. 83 ; I. P., 0—2740, pp. 7, 
9, 10, and 103. 



860 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Sprigg resigned owing to ill-health and thereupon a new 
Ministry was formed, omitting all statement of the fact that 
inamediately upon the departure of Sir Bartle Frere he lost 
the confidence of Parhament (see p. 391). 

With a view to showing the inaccuracy of facts as related 
by Todd, attention may be drawn to his statement on page 
380, that Mr. Molteno desired that the Governor himself 
should refrain from interference with the Commandant- 
General, while this was accompanied by * an intimation to 
the Governor that one of the Ministry, the Commissioner of 
Crown Lands, had been deputed to act as Commandant- 
General in conmiand of all colonial forces whatsoever, under 
the sole control and direction of the Colonial Government.' 
This is of course quite incorrect, while, further, he says on 
page 382 : — * After repeated remonstrances with his Ministers 
for their illegal and unwarrantable conduct . . . the Governor 
at length, on the 2nd of February, 1878 notified the Premier 
(Mr. Molteno), by a letter sent through a principal officer of the 
Civil Service, that he could no longer consent to retain them 
as his advisers, and that they would remain in office only 
until their successors were appointed.' It will be seen that 
this also is incorrect in every way. There never were any 
repeated remonstrances for illegal or unwarrantable conduct ; 
the dismissal took place in Cabinet Council, and the subse- 
quent letter was sent dated the 6th of February. 

He further adopts the misstatement that one of the 
Ministers assumed the position and powers of a minister of 
war, irresponsible to the Governor, He also repeats the 
allegation that appointments were made by Ministers with- 
out the sanction of the Governor, which was completely dis- 
posed of by Mr. Stockenstrom, the Attorney-General in Mr. 
Molteno's Ministry, during the course of the debate on the 
dismissal. Absolutely no proof of such appointments is to 
be found in any of the documents preceding the dismissal, 
though such a statement was made subsequently by the 
Governor in some of his despatches, which Mr. Merriman 
described very properly as political pamphlets. The only 
appointments which were subsequently complained of were 
the gazetting of volunteer officers of subordinate rank, and 



THE DISMISSAL 861 

these are matters of official routine such as it was quite 
competent for the Minister in charge to make without 
reference to the Governor.* Had the Governor asked for the 
submission of the names it would have been done, as Mr. 
Molteno gave him every information he wanted. As Mr. 
Stockenstrom showed, the Governor's statement was based 
on an erroneous view of the facts. Todd further quotes the 
statement from Mr. Sprigg's manifesto to his constituents 
on taking office, that the Ministry contended they were 
' entitled to direct the movements of the colonial forces, not 
by way of advice to the Governor, but upon their own respon- 
sibility alone.' This was also not in accord with the truth. 
It will be seen that Todd's discussion is thus of no value 
on the real question at issue, namely whether the Governor was 
right in holding that the General was the only military officer 
whom the Colonial Government could employ for military 
operations, and therefore that the Governor, by virtue of 
his commission solely, could command and move the troops, 
both Imperial and Colonial, without consulting his Ministers. 
Mr. Molteno never in any way put forward the view that the 
Governor should be ignored, or that any action should be 
taken without his knowledge or consent. Even Todd admits 
(page 391) that *At a later period, however, the Home 
Government receded from the position they had assumed 
in regard to the colonial defence in South Africa. They 
threw upon the local Government the responsibility of 
maintaining order in the Colony, and of resisting aggression 
by the aid of colonial forces.' The Home Government had 
not assumed any such position ; it was Sir Bartle Frere 
who had done so, for Lord Kimberley had in 1870 decided 
the contrary, and Lord Carnarvon had, so recently as the 4th 
of January, 1877, again reminded Ministers of their respon- 
sibility for native defence.^ Todd appears to have been 
unaware of this, and his want of knowledge destroys the 
whole value of his argument.' 

* See May, ConsHtuHonal History, vol. i. p. 135 ; also Todd, Parliamentary 
Qovemment in England^ 2nd edition, vol. ii. p. 14. 

» 7. P., C— 1776, p. 3. 

* The responsibility for the conduct of operations on the borders of the 
Colony was placed on the Colonial Government by Lords Oamarvon, Kimberley 



862 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Todd had an exaggerated idea of the Eoyal prerogative. 
On the principle of Omne ignotum pro magnifico in the 
middle ages the Popes were regarded with a reverence 
which varied directly with the distance. In Borne it was 
almost nil, in Germany it was very great ; so apparently was 
it with Todd, who was a Canadian. He contends apparently 
that the Governor was right in conducting the war as he 
thought best. Had he lived to discuss a case which occurred 
after his death, but is embodied by the Editor of the work 
known by his name (Second Edition), he would have had to 
modify his views. Lord Eipon, in opposition to Todd's 
view as originally expressed on page 820, is quoted, at page 
823, as saying : — 

When questions of a constitutional character are involved, it 
is especially, I conceive, the right of the Grovemor to fully discuss 
with his Ministers the desirability of any particular course that 
may be pressed upon him for his adoption. He should frankly 
state the objections, if any, which may occur to him ; hut %f^ 
after full discusstoUf Ministers determine to press upon him the 
advice which they have already tendered, the Oovemor should, as a 
general rule, and when Imperial interests are not affected, accept 
that advice, bearing in mind that the responsibility rests with the 
Ministers, who are answerable to the Legislature and, in the last 
resort, to the country} 

On the receipt of this despatch the Governor waived his 
objection, and the appointments were accordingly made. 

That is exactly what Mr. Molteno had always contended 
and acted upon. It was correct, and now has the official 
imprimatur of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. We 
have seen the last of prancing pro-consuls as Colonial 
Governors. 

Mr. Martineau, the biographer of Sir Bartle Frere, is as ill 
informed on the subject of the dismissal as was Mr. Todd ; 

and OranyiUe (see pp. 25-27, 54, 56 of J. P., C — 159) ; while the snbseqnent 
directions to Sir Bartle Frere to abstain from the ose of even one officer or man 
of the Imperial troops are to be found at I. P., C— 2220, p. 273 ; I. P., C— 
2454, p. 60; I. P., 0—2669. pp. 6 and 46; also I. P., C— 2696, p. 88; J. P.. 
0— 2740, pp. 7, 9, 10, 103. 

* See also Lord Eimberley's clear definition of ministerial responsibility, 
wipra, vol. ii. p. 50. 



THE DISMISSAL 363 

but the climax of error is reached in the pages of the 
' Dictionary of National Biography ' by a writer who cannot 
have possessed the smallest acquaintance with the facts of the 
case. He states, without a shadow of justification, that at 
the time of Sir Bartle Frere's landing, ' In the Cape Parlia- 
ment party feeling had reached a pitch which was well-nigh 
becoming dangerous to the State ; ' and then, after a brief 
notice of the outbreak of the war, proceeds as follows : * It 
became imperatively necessary that peace with the Kaffirs 
should be restored as speedily as possible, and Frere placed 
the matter in the hands of Sir Arthur Cunynghame, the 
general commanding. Meanwhile the conduct of some of 
the leading members of Frere's Cabinet became openly and 
unconstitutionally obstructive. The position, complicated 
by the alarm of savage war, was intolerable. Frere dismissed 
his Cabinet, and Sir Gordon Sprigg, the leader of the 
opposition, accepted the seals of office as Premier.' To 
enter into refutation of such a distortion of the truth is 
superfluous : it has only to be compared with the plain 
statement contained in this and the preceding chapters, for 
every line of which the reference is given to the original 
documents. 



864 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTBNO 



CHAPTEE XXX 

DISMISSAL DEBATE. 1878 

South Afrioa under Despotic Bole — Free State alone independent— Sabservient 
Ministry in Cape— Untme Statements oiroolated — Denials in Press — 
Hostility of Press— Intrigues — Gbvemment Hoose Influences — Governor 
misrepresents position to Home Gk)vemment — Confused and misleading 
Statement of Case — Dismissal Debate — Mr. Merriman's Besolutions— His 
Speech— Bir. Molteno*s Speech — Speaker intervenes — Bir. Stockenstrom's 
Speech— Mr. Sprigg's Defence — Papers withheld — Beal Issue not met — Mr. 
Merriman's Beply — Party action of Gk>vemor — Fatal results of condoning 
Gbvemor's action— South Africa convulsed — Mr. Molteno*8 policy and Sir 
Bartle Frere's. 

The last barrier which stood between the unfettered dis- 
position of South Africa by the Secretary of State and his 
pro-consul had now been got rid of. Mr. Molteno, the 
chosen and constitutional exponent of the views of the Gape 
Colony upon the great subject of Confederation, was dismissed. 
But Confederation was no nearer. Indeed, in the light of 
subsequent events we are able clearly to see that it was in 
reality fatally put back, if not deferred for ever, by the high- 
handed policy of Lord Carnarvon and his agents. The 
constitution of Natal had been revolutionised and placed 
wholly in the hands of the Imperial Government. The 
Transvaal had been seized, and representative institutions 
which had been promised had not been conferred. The 
Cape was now in the hands of the Dictator. For the 
moment, therefore, things looked more favourable for the 
accomplishment of the Governor's policy. Mr. Molteno 
was succeeded as Premier by a man who was naturally 
subservient to Sir Bartle Frere, and who became the ready 
instrument for executijig all his ideas, wise or unwise. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 366 

It is passing strange that Mr. Sprigg, in the beginning 
of the war, had supported the Government in suppressing 
the rebellion, as every patriotic man should have done. 
After a visit to the Governor he now informed the public 
that he had fully conveyed to his Excellency his view of 
frontier management and of public affairs generally. And 
he began to attack the Ministry most violently.^ He 
suggested that a change of advisers was the only solution, 
in the meantime embarrassing the Government by urging 
that the frontier farmers should take the law into their own 
hands in connection with the difficulties in which they were 
placed. 

The Governor had indignantly refused Mr. Molteno's 
request to make public the Minutes showing the points in 
dispute between the Ministry and himself. No reasons 
for the dismissal had been given, and the story could only 
be gathered from an extremely complicated set of papers 
published much later. The Governor took full advantage 
of this fact. The interval between the meeting of Parliament 
and the dismissal was used in putting forward a version of 
the facts which was not a correct one, through Mr. Sprigg 
and also through the inspiration of the portion of the press 
which had always exhibited the utmost hostility to Mr. 
Molteno's Ministry.* 

Mr. Sprigg issued a manifesto,' in which he said that 
the Ministry had endeavoured to direct the movements of 
the colonial forces, not by way of advice to the Governor, 
but upon their own responsibility alone. This, as we have 
seen, was not in accordance with the facts. In a subse<^ 

* See Mr. Sprigg's letter to Argus, the 8th of December, and the forther 

letter dated the 6th of December, appearing in Argus the 15th of December: 

' I have in the course of what I belieyed to be my duty spoken in the plainest 
terms to his Excellency the Gbvemor with respect to the present position of 
affairs.' 

* See letter of * Constitutionalist ' and article of Cape Times of the 2nd of 
March, 1878, and letter of ' Colonist,' dated the 23rd of March, in Cape Argus. 

» I. P., C -2079. p. 101. 



866 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

quent speech he again said that the Ministry claimed the 
right to move troops without consulting the Governor, and 
further, that the Ministry had refused to call Parliament 
together. These statements were not in accordance with 
the facts as contained in the documents, and Sir Gk)rdon 
Sprigg himself, in regard to the meeting of Parliament, con- 
fessed during the Dismissal debate that he had misstated 
the facts. While as to the troops he took credit for retaining 
them in the Colony; at the same time relating how Mr. 
Molteno on their arrival had told Sir Bartle Frere that they 
might be sent to any part of the Empire where their services 
were required, as they were unnecessary at the Gape. 

Mr. Molteno showed his extreme loyalty and patriotism 
in the line of conduct which he pursued at this time. He 
refused in any way to hamper the Government who were 
dealing with the rebellion. He refused to follow the tactics 
of the Governor and Mr. Sprigg in this field of intrigue. 
He had a higher sense of the necessity for an unfettered 
judgment being formed by the public and by members of 
Parliament. 

During his term of office there was no parliamentary 
whip, and he refused on several occasions to influence votes 
by any statement even of intention to make certain matters 
questions of confidence in the Ministry, and so to bias the 
judgment of members. His views and actions on this 
subject were not perhaps sufficiently practical. The public 
must be informed, and sometimes members must be got 
together to prevent snatch votes against the Government. 
But this was his principle ; he was ready to serve the country 
on these lines and not on any other. If intrigue became 
necessary he was not in the running ; granted straight- 
forward, honest argument in the light of day, he had shovm 
that under such conditions no man would fight harder or 
more successfully; but secret intrigue, self-advertisement, 
flattery, and the various subterranean arts of influencing 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 367 

individuals, all of which were now to be practised by adepts, 
he would have none of. He believed entirely in the justice 
of his cause, which, as he then thought, had only to be stated 
to be admitted by all colonists and to receive their support. 

He confined himself to a simple contradiction of these 
statements of Mr. Sprigg and Mr. Ayliflf, the Secretary for 
Native Aifairs, contained in the following letters : — 

To the Editor of the * Cajpe Argus * 

23rd February, 1878. 
Sib, — I have only this morning read in the * Cape Town Daily 
News ' Mr. AylifTs address to his constituents on his assuming 
the Secretary of Stateship of Native Affairs, the following 
passage, to which I deem it necessary at once to take exception, 
lest erroneous impressions may be created by the publication of facts 
as to what actually occurred : — ' The rupture that has taken place 
between the Governor and his Ministers, and has caused the 
extreme remedy of a dismissal, has within it principles of 
considerable importance, and in the ignoring of the Governor in 
important decisions a principle is involved, which sacrificed, would 
have established a precedent dangerous to the good government 
of the country in the future. These facts when published will 
prove interesting and useful to future governments, and according 
to the opinion formed, be a beacon to mark the rook on which the 
Governor or the Ministry have caused the wreck.* I am entirely 
unaware of any ' ignoring of the Governor in important decisions ' 
having taken place on the part of his late Ministers. 

I am, &o. 

J. C. MOLTENO. 

To the Editor of the * Standard and Mail * 

Kalk Bay, 13th March, 1878. 

Sm, — In your issue of yesterday appears the first part of 
Mr. Sprigg's (the Colonial Secretary) speech at the dinner given to 
him by his constituents at East London on Saturday last. 

Although it is with great reluctance I do so, I cannot refrain 
from again calling in question statements relative to the late 
Ministry made by gentlemen occupjring positions of responsible 
Ministers, as I feel it incumbent on me not to allow statements 
contrary to fact to go unchallenged for such a length of time as it 
seems Hkely will elapse before Parliament meets. The assertions 



368 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

of Mr. Sprigg's speech to which I particularly take exception are 
as follows : — ' The reason why the Governor and his Ministry 
could not agree was because the Governor believed that the 
Ministry were acting in an illegal and unconstitutional manner in 
claiming to itself the right to direct the movements of the colonial 
forces without reference to the Governor.' Then the Governor 
desired that Parliament should be summoned so that it should 
decide the question, but the Ministry knew that the summoning 
of Parliament would be their death warrant. They knew they 
could never face Parliament after all their statements and 
predictions made during this war, so they refused to call Parlia- 
ment together so that the question might be decided and the 
measures introduced to enable Government to carry on the war. 
They refused that.' 

The publication of the Minutes bearing on these questions 
would at once prove that these statements as to the matters of 
fact are entirely erroneous, and I am entirely at a loss to under- 
stand how Mr. Sprigg with these documents at his hand oould 
have fallen into such serious error. 

I am, &c. 

J. G. MOLTENO. 

These were the only occasions on which he broke silence 
during this trying time. 

He had no relations with the press. The * Argus ' had 
given him an independent support on many questions, though 
differing from him on some. During the preceding year 
we have seen that Mr. Solomon had admitted that his 
mission of justice and fair dealing towards the natives had 
been absolutely accomplished and realised under Mr. 
Molteno's administration. Now, however, the great philan- 
thropic reputation of Sir Bartle Frere carried him away. He 
apparently believed that he could do far better by supporting 
Sir Bartle Frere, though in the sequel he was terribly and 
wofully disillusionised. In place of continuing to trust one 
whom he had known all his life and could rely upon, he 
now not only ceased to do so, but before the facts were known, 
his organ, the 'Argus,' supported Mr. Sprigg. Mr. Solomon 
had had an affection for Mr. Sprigg, evinced by the condition 
which he had attached to his becoming a member of Mr. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 369 

Molteno's Cabinet in 1872, that Mr. Sprigg should be a 
member of that Ministry. The * Argus ' had constantly 
spoken highly of Mr. Sprigg, indeed in the last session of 
Parliament it had endeavoured to aid him in attaining 
a leading position in the Opposition, imtil it was bound to 
confess that Mr. Sprigg had made a hopeless failure of his 
attacks upon the Ministry. Now, however, no sooner had 
he come into office than the * Axgus ' gave him a support 
which grew and grew as the time for the meeting of Parlia- 
ment drew near. 

It will be easily understood how seriously this influenced 
the view which would be taken of Mr. Molteno's action when 
Parliament met. The hostile press was doing its worst to 
attack the fallen Ministry, inspired, as we have seen, by the 
Government House party, while the paper to which Mr. 
Molteno's supporters, in the absence of any special party 
organ, had been accustomed to look for a defence of his 
actions, was now in league with the other side. To such an 
extreme was this unfair action carried, that when the debate 
on the dismissal took place, the 'Argus,' while reporting 
verbatim the speech of the Colonial Secretary and the 
Attorney-General against Mr. Molteno, refused to give 
a verbatim report of the speech which the latter made in his 
own defence. As a consequence, this speech has never yet 
reached the country in its entirety. 

In the speech of Mr. Sprigg, to which we have alluded, 
he immediately made it clear that he had adopted Sir Bartle 
Frere's directions in all respects, and that Sir Bartle Frere 
was making use of him to further the policy for which he 
had been sent out. Indeed, it became evident that Mr. 
Molteno had been conveniently got rid of so as to move this 
stumbling block in the way of Sir Bartle Frere's policy of 
confederation. Mr. Sprigg adopted his disarmament pro- 
posals in their entirety, and after referring for the initiation of 
this policy to the Governor's reply to the deputation at King 

VOL. II. B B 



370 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

William's Town, when he made that fateful announcement 
which led to the Gaika outbreak, said that he fully agreed 
with the Governor. 

Mr. Sprigg had been the Chairman of a Defence Commis- 
sion, which had entered very fully into the whole question of 
frontier defence and had issued a report in the previous ses- 
sion, in which no allusion was made to disarmament, showing 
clearly that, as he stated above, it was Sir Bartle Frere's 
policy and his alone. While in regard to Confederation 
he announced that he looked forward to a time when we 
should inaugurate a great South African Dominion. 

In his first manifesto and in a subsequent speech Mr. 
Sprigg took credit for retaining the Imperial troops in the 
Colony. He boasted that he had kept the Gt)vemor and 
the troops in the Colony by accepting office, and he made 
the most improper remark that the Governor had promised 
him a dissolution if he were defeated in Parliament. He made 
a further oflfer of a bribe for support to a Confederation 
policy, by saying that he believed that the Imperial Govern- 
ment * look to render, as we look to receive, material assist- 
ance in the shape of troops if they saw that we were bent on 
carrjring out that policy of Confederation on which they have 
set their minds.' And he made the extraordinary threat, 
which must have been suggested to him by Sir Bartle Frere, 
and which curiously enough had been made by Mr. Water- 
meyer, who was in the secrets of Lord Carnarvon's policy, that 

either the constitution of the Colony would be taken away as not 
understood by us in a proper sense, or the Imperial troops would 
be withdrawn, and we should be called upon to defend ourselves. 
Now he thought that in view of these contingencies we had better 
take counsel with the Imperial Government.^ 

These remarks were most improper on the part of a 
Premier of a Colony with responsible government, and they 

* Cape Argus, 6th of April, 1878. Report of Mr. Sprigg's speech at 
Grahamstown. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 371 

serve to show that Sir Bartle Frere had • thoroughly alarmed 
his henchman, and had him well under control. 

The Governor now returned to Cape Town in deference 
to the advice and in compliance with the wishes of his 
Ministers. They had found, as the preceding Ministry had 
found, that it was impossible to carry on the government of 
the country while the Governor remained on the frontier, 
and in his address at Port Elizabeth he said : — * I gladly 
comply with the wishes of Ministers that we should return 
to Cape Town.' This return was of great importance to 
the Governor's policy in other respects. Government House 
at Bombay had been known as the 'land of promise;' 
but now the Governor's stay in the Colony, his stay in 
South Africa, the opportunity of forcing Lord Carnarvon's 
poUcy on South Africa, were all at stake — for, as Mr. Sprigg 
confessed, the Governor had plainly told him that if the 
Parliament went against him he would have to leave South 
Africa, and this was undoubtedly the fact. When all this was 
trembling in the balance, it will readily be understood that 
all the arts and all the devices which had led to Government 
House at Bombay being so named, would be used with 
redoubled energy and with enormous extension of field. 

In accepting the position of Governor and High Com- 
missioner he had hinted to Lord Carnarvon that at such 
a period of change, as he called it, the ofl&cial salary attached 
to the office would be too small. We can easily under- 
stand that when the Governor stepped out of his usual 
neutral sphere as regards parties, and entered upon a life 
and death struggle with the party which had been the 
predominant one on his arrival, some expense might be 
involved.* 

The Cape Parliament was small in numbers, comprising 

* Sir G. CoUey says of Sir Bartle Frere :— * The thoaghtfol ooortesy of himself 
and his family, coupled with the boundless hospitality of Government Honse, 
had given him a popularity which will rather handicap his successor.' (9th of 
August, 1880, to Lord Kimberley.)— Sir Wm. Butler's Life of Colley, p. 268. 

B B 2 



372 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTBNO 

between sixty and seventy members in the Lower House and 
twenty-two in the Upper. The advocates of constitutional 
government have always recognised the danger which attaches 
to Houses which are numerically very small. Numbers so 
small as these easily permitted of every individual being per- 
sonally dined, f^ted, and flattered. Naturally the majority 
would be impervious to such influence, but there are some 
who are placed in difficulties by personal attention and 
consideration of this character from a Governor and High 
Commissioner. Responsible government had only been in 
operation for six years, and the old personal ascendency 
which attached to the Governor's position before its intro- 
duction was easily revived. The influence attaching to it 
was used in the fullest and amplest manner to support the 
Governor's view. 

But in addition to this, a number of despatches had been 
penned by Sir Bartle Frere to the Secretary of State for 
the Colonies, giving his own ex parte view of the dismissal. 
Statements were made for which no support could be 
adduced from any document antecedent to the dismissal.^ 
One of the most important of them related to a statement 
that appointments had been made by Mr. Merriman without 
the sanction of the Governor. This charge was completely 
disposed of during the debate by Mr. Merriman and Mr. 
Stockenstrom, but the incorrect version of the Governor had 

' As to the methods which Sir Bartle Frere permitted himself to make use 
of, Bishop Oolenso says : — * In fact, if it is desired in England to aroid, if 
possible, a long, costly, and bloody war, the best thing to be done would be 
to withdraw the present High Commissioner, who will never consent to give op 
his plans, and send in his place someone who will look at things from an im- 
prejadiced point of view, whose promises can be trusted, instead of its being 
necessary to " read between the lines ** before their real meaning can be onder- 
Btood, and whose conduct shall be open and straightforward, instead of tortaooB 
and sly and slippery.*— Lt/e of Bishop Colenso^ vol. ii. p^ 609. And again :— * I 
send you a copy of my reply to Sir Bartle Frere's last letter, and I think yon 
will be astonished that he could allow himself to write such a letter. It utterly 
destroys all confidence in his good faith as a politician, and in his wisdom as a 
statesman. I do not understand his object in writing it. Was it to go to 
England mtJwut a reply ? '—I6id. pp. 609-10. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 373 

had a long day's run, and this and other statements had 
done their work. 

When the papers were pubhshed the Minutes of the 
Executive Council appeared as they had been drafted by the 
Governor without submission to Mr. Molteno, and when 
attention was drawn to this during the debate by Mr. 
Molteno, the Premier actually suggested that if he would 
point out inaccuracies, he would then have it compared with 
the rough note of what occurred — as if this could not and 
ought not to have been done before any ex parte version 
was published. In addition, a long Minute, containing 
the Governor's version of the dismissal and points at issue, 
was published, but this also was not seen by Mr. Molteno, 
although dated the 6th of February. It was evidently 
drawn up in the excitement of the moment, and in the 
eleventh paragraph of it occurred the famous statement, 
on the part of the Governor, that had he taken Mr. Molteno's 
advice as to the disposition of the Imperial forces, and the 
control of the campaign by the Colonial Government, he 
would have been * fitter for a lunatic asylum than the office 
I have the honour to hold.'^ 

It is a sufficient commentary on this to point out that 
Mr. Molteno's advice was followed by the Imperial Govern- 
ment, which withdrew all Imperial troops from the Colony, 
and allowed no Imperial officer to take any part in the 
native war which arose out of Sir Bartle Frere's disarma- 
ment policy, while the Governor also was requested to and 
did remain at Cape Town, and not at the seat of war as he 
claimed he should do. 

But more than all this, the ex parte statement had gone 
to the Secretary of State for the Colonies (then Sir Michael 
Hicks-Beach, Lord Carnarvon having resigned in the early 
part of the year), and to this we have already referred, 
pointing out that the Secretary of State had misapprehended 

» C. P., A. 2— 78, p. 38. 



374 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

the points at issue between the Governor and his Ministry, 
and thought that the military operations were proposed to be 
carried on without the Governor's consent. This despatch 
was now published, showing that on this incorrect informa- 
tion, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach had approved the view of the 
Governor that he should not be ignored, which was, of course, 
perfectly correct, and had expressed surprise that the 
Ministers should have hesitated to subordinate their opinions 
to the Governor's, looking to the fact of his being High Com- 
missioner. It stated that responsible government as esta- 
blished at the Cape had been subject to a limitation not 
elsewhere required, and approved generally the Governor's 
action so far as the information before him went ; but stated 
that Sir Bartle Frere should take the earliest possible oppor- 
tunity of affording such full explanations to his Parliament, 
as might enable a clear and impartial judgment to be formed 
upon the course adopted. Parliament, then, was to this extent 
influenced in its decision by the fact that the Secretary of 
State had given his approval to the action of the Governor.^ 
And even now, when the papers were produced, they were 
put forward in such an imperfect and disorderly manner, that 
it became next to impossible for any individual not possess- 
ing the clue to unravel them.^ The correspondence, me- 

' Speaking at Bristol on November 9, 1899, Sir M. Hicks-Beach admitted 
that he had at this time made mistakes in South Africa. He said * he had 
some knowledge of the South African problem. Twenty years ago it was his 
fate as Colonial Secretary to have to deal with it, and he feared that there 
was no man among those who had borne that responsibility who could truth- 
fully say that he had been free from mistakes. He himself pleaded guilty to 
serious mistakes.' — Times^ November, 1899. 

* The confusion, which certainly looks intentional, in the Blue-books of this 
period is referred to as follows by Bishop Colenso :— * I am occupied in digesting 
the Blue-books for the use of M.P.'s and other friends here and at home, who 
take a living interest in these affairs ; for I will defy anyone to get a true idea 
of the case from the confused despatches in the Blue-books (where the affairB 
of the Cape Colony, Eastern Frontier, Griqualand East, Griqualand West, 
Basutoland, Pondoland, Transvaal, Natal, and Zululand, are all mixed up 
"higgledy-piggledy," without any attempt at arrangement), without an enor- 
mous amount of labour, which no public man can be expected to undertake.' — 
Life of BisJicp Colenso, vol. ii. p. 613. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 376 

moranda, and minutes presented by the new Ministry con- 
sisted in the first place of two Minutes dated the 8th of 
December and the 26th of December, headed * For Ministers.' 
It would naturally have been thought that these Minutes 
had been placed before the Prime Minister on or about the 
dates that they were signed by the Governor. No information 
was afforded that they were not so placed before the Prime 
Minister. The whole debate was conducted on the 
assumption that they were so placed before the Prime 
Minister. Yet such was not the case. They were not 
shown to Mr. Molteno until the 13th of January.^ 

The Minutes themselves were submitted to Mr. Merriman 
at an earlier date, but the Governor himself informed Mr. 
Merriman that they were merely suggestions for a scheme 
of defence to be drawn up for the ensuing session of ParUa- 
ment, and when Mr. Merriman said that the Minute * is 
a Bill of Indictment against present and past Governments/ 
the Governor replied that it was not so intended. * I wish 
simply to lay before Parliament the measures which I think 
a good Government ought to take, in order to prevent a 
recurrence of the present state of things if possible ; ' and 
further, * My object was and is to have something definite 
before Parhament assembles.'* But these remarks of the 
Governor did not appear in the papers, and the latter 
were now put forward as a sort of indictment against the 
Ministers, yet when looked at they are seen to be suggestions 
of the character which the Governor stated. It is to be 
noted that they suggested that there should be responsible 
parhamentary Ministers for military affairs and police, as 
well as for native affairs, upon which it is only necessary to 
remark that this was quite impracticable, and never carried 
out subsequently. 

» Proof of this will be found at pagcSS of C. P., A.17— 78, where Mr. Lyttleton 
states that they were submitted to Mr. Molteno on Sunday, the 13th of January. 

' Notes in Sir Bartle Frere*8 handwriting initialed on the copy of Mr. 
Merriman's reply to the Minute. 



876 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Upon the opening of Parliament which took place on 
the 18th of May, 1878, Mr. Molteno immediately objected, 
on seeing the dismissal papers, to the printing of the 
memorandum of the conversation between himself and the 
Governor marked * private and confidential,' which we have 
ahready given. He said that he did not see how business 
was to be carried on between the Governor and his Ministry 
if there were to be no confidential conversation at all. He 
did not mind whether these papers were printed or not, but 
he should be sorry to give his vote to the establishment of 
such a precedent, which he thought would be disastrous in 
the extreme. He then detailed the circumstances under 
which these were written, and said that he did not think 
they were necessary for the decision of the question at issue. 
To this Mr Sprigg replied that in his opinion the documents 
were necessary for the House to understand the position 
between the Governor and his late Ministry. 

A discussion took place subsequently upon the publication 
of a confidential telegram between Mr. Molteno and Mr. 
Merriman, to which Mr. Molteno took exception. The 
Qt)vemor desired to publish this telegram, but Mr. Sprigg 
himself thought that it was going too far, and said he would 
advise the Governor that it should not be sent down to the 
House, and he admitted that the minutes of the Executive 
Council of the 3rd and 6th of February had not been seen 
by Mr. Molteno. Mr. Molteno said that if they had been 
submitted to him, they would have appeared in a diflferent 
form ; and as to the minute of the 6th of February, from the 
way in which it appeared in the Blue-books, the reader would 
suppose that it was a conamunication in the ordinary course. 

Very shortly after the opening of Parliament, the debate 
on the dismissal of the Ministry was raised by three resolu- 
tions of Mr. Merriman : — 

(1) That in the opinion of this House, the control over the 
colonial forces is vested in his Excellency the Governor only. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 377 

acting under the advice of his Ministers ; (2) That it was not within 
the constitutional functions of his Excellency the Governor to 
insist on the control and supply of the colonial forces being placed 
under the military authorities, except with the consent of 
Ministers ; (3) That the action taken by his Excellency the 
Governor in that matter has been attended with results prejudicial 
to the Colony, and has delayed the termination of the rebellion. 

In a very able speech Mr. Merriman gave a complete 
history of the operations which had been carried on with so 
much success by Commandant Griffith when he swept the 
Transkei in less than a month. He showed the tremendous 
delays which had taken place since the military were put in 
conamand there, particularly the errors in abandoning Impetu 
and permitting Khiva to escape into the Gaika location. He 
pointed vnth legitimate pride to the fact that the Colonial 
commissariat had been able to supply the troops successfully, 
that not a single man had died from want or disease, indeed not 
a single man died of sickness of any kind while the campaign 
was under the control of the Colonial Government. He 
referred to the success of the operations conducted by Com- 
mandants Frost and Brabant, pointing out how they had 
broken up the Gaikas, in fact if they had been followed up the 
whole war would have been over ; and further he showed how 
the action of Commandants Griffith, Frost, Eorke and Mr. 
Hemming had nipped in the bud the disaffection of Gongo- 
beUa and the Tambookies. This was the last of the 
operations by the Colonial Government, who had successfully 
cleared Galekaland, and broken up the Gaikas and the 
Tambookies. 

He contrasted the position of the war on the 3rd 
of February, when they ceased to hold office, with the 
manner in which it had extended under their successors. 
On the 3rd of February not a single hostile Kaffir had 
come across the East London Bailway line. The Gaika 
location was completely cleared, having been crossed in 
every direction. Not a single Kaffir had come across the 



378 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Gonubie. The Amatolas were carefully guarded, while a 
strong force was under orders to go and strengthen the 
guard. The Perie bush was also carefully guarded. Imme- 
diately on the dismissal the military were placed in supreme 
command, with the result of absolute lethargy in the 
operations. The risings spread in every direction. Sandilli 
escaped into the Amatohis, and months had been occupied 
in ineffectual operations carried on at an enormous cost. 
The Colonial forces, he showed, were ample to deal with the 
whole outbreak. There were altogether no less than 3,000 
Europeans and 2,000 natives, which was fully sufficient 
to put down any native rising. In the East London 
Division under Commandant Brabant we had 516 Europeans 
and 463 natives, in the Amatola Division 428 Europeans and 
237 natives, in the Queen's Town Division 723 Europeans 
and 300 natives, in the Transkei 130 Europeans and 300 
natives, and in the Tambookie Division 445 Europeans and 
600 natives. In addition to these we had other reinforcements 
on their way up. Finally he showed how the Governor had 
been fully informed of all these operations carried on by the 
Colonial troops ; though he had refused to take the responsi- 
bility, he had not said that he would not permit them. 

In the debate there was a general avoidance on the part 
of the Government of grappling with the real issue. The 
late Ministry was blamed for not having taken steps towards 
a better defensive organisation. All the eastern members 
naturally went against the late Ministers, while many of 
them stated that the whole question was an exceedingly 
difficult one for them to understand. The new Attorney- 
General, Mr. Upington, made a somewhat flippant speech. 
He confessed that in regard to Commandants Frost and 
Brabant, even he did not claim for her Majesty's officers the 
actual power to command these gentlemen, but he blamed the 
late Ministry because the Governor had to get from another 
quarter information of the intended movements of the forces. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 379 

For his disquisition on the position of the Crown and its 
prerogatives, he found it necessary to quote such authorities 
as Ewald on * The Crown and its Advisers,' as well as Chitty 
on the prerogatives of the Crown, the latter book dating back 
to 1820. He repeated in a somewhat half-hearted way that 
Mr. Merriman signed commissions without the consent of 
the Governor. 

Mr. Molteno then spoke, and began by pointing out the 
position in which he was placed and the difficulty under 
which he laboured. He had suddenly been called to the fron- 
tier from his office in Cape Town, from which he had been 
away forty days, daily expecting to return ; he was suddenly 
dismissed at King William's Town, he had been unable to 
obtain access to his office, and consequently had no records. 
He gave evidence of the fullest sense of responsibility under 
which he spoke, and the extreme gravity of the position 
in regard to the bearing of the Governor's action upon 
responsible government, not only in that Colony, but in 
South Africa generally. He said : — 

I have often had to address this House on important questions 
during my long stay here, and I have had to fight many a battle, 
generally speaking attended with success, but there could be no 
more important occasion than this. The honour was given to me 
of fighting the battle of the privileges of this Colony, and I have 
so far succeeded. Others might have acted as effectively, but it 
was left to me, and I did it, and the colonists have succeeded in 
attaining that, without which representative institutions would be 
incomplete and imperfect, namely, responsible government. We 
got that, and what am I called upon to do to-day, sir ? I feel 
myself in this position. You have fought for those privileges and 
brought them down to a successful issue, but now the exigencies 
of the case demand that you should still fight and defend them. 
You have to witness a violent assault made on those rights and 
privileges, and you must stand in the breach and defend them. 
Let not colonists think the privileges gained in this manner are to 
be easily surrendered, they will not be soon recovered again. A 
Colony or a nation that is imwilling to fight to maintain its rights 
is not worthy to have them. 

This is not a question of to-day or to-morrow, but,, as the 



380 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

hon. member for Gape Town said, it is a question whioh affeots 
this country for all time. We have families and children 
growing up, and we are bound, I say, to hand down to them, 
unimpaired, the rights we have fought for and obtained. I 
have a large family, as many others have, and I feel bound 
to do this. It was said by some at one time that this Colony 
was not ripe for a responsible government, but, be that as it 
may, we shall be watched very closely now, depend upon it, and 
if we are willing so easily to surrender or give up our valuable 
privileges it will be a bad thing for us. I hope this Colony, come 
what will, will resolve to defend these privileges. But, said the 
hon. Attorney-General — and there I agree with him — if you want 
to maintain your privileges, go the right way about it, and you 
must not take steps which will not bear looking into, and which 
the world will say are wrong. I want to show the House the 
true position of this present question. I think it is no disrespect to 
the gentleman who holds the high position of Gk)vemor in this 
Colony to say that a very high-handed poHcy has been adopted in 
turning out a set of Ministers in the short space of a fortnight, in 
hurling them from office, and treating them as if they were guilty 
of some great offence against the country. I say that is a most 
serious responsibihty for a Governor to take upon himself, and it 
will be considered so before long, if it is not now. 

He maintained the debate at the high level of the great 
principles involved. There was no personal feeling in the 
matter whatever; the disastrous effects of this action on 
the future of South Africa were fully apparent to him; 
the solution of the difficulties of the government of South 
Africa by the working of responsible government would be 
* imperilled if not fatally affected.' 

No one could have a higher respect for the Governor than I 
have, although I cannot agree in this course he has taken. That I 
am entitled to say, but I have the highest respect for his Excellency, 
and I feel sorry he has taken that course, for I feel sure it cannot 
be sustained and will ultimately be defeated. The policy which 
has been adopted must have a prejudicial effect upon consti- 
tutional government all over the world, and especially in this 
continent. Here are we talking about Confederation, and holding 
up to independent states the advantages and privileges they are 
likely to gain by coming in, but when they hear of this they will 
stand aghast and ask ' Is that the effect of responsible government ? 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 381 

We thought it was a very different thing/ At one fell swoop the 
whole thing is carried away, and the Imperial dictate prevails. 
I contend that it will do immeasurable injury so far as regards 
the question of the future government of this country if this 
matter is allowed to pass over lightly. 

He contended that whatever the shortcomings of the late 
Government might be, whether in the conduct of the war or 
otherwise, the praise or blame for their conduct should be 
awarded by that House and not by the Governor. He 
maintained that that House was the proper tribunal to 
criticise them. The Governor had contended that he had 
an independent power, and that he was commander by right 
over the Colonial forces, and could do as he liked, but speak- 
ing as Premier he had replied that he had no right to do it 
except with the advice of his Ministers, and * it was upon that 
sole contention we were dismissed.' 

In regard to the operations carried on by Messrs. Frost 
and Brabant he said that had the Governor insisted on 
vetoing these operations he would have resigned at once, but 
the Governor did not do so. In regard to the charge that he 
had ignored the Governor : — 

So far from ignoring the Governor, I kept him informed on 
every point, and telegrams were sent up as soon as they were 
received. I kept a messenger for the express purpose, who was 
continually running up and down. When colonial operations 
were to take place under Commandants Frost and Brabant, the 
plans and instructions were submitted to the Governor, and I had 
good reason to believe his Excellency acquiesced in them. I 
positively informed the Governor that men would not come 
forward if they were to be placed under military control, and I 
had telegrams from all parts to that effect. I pointed out in the 
strongest possible terms that we could get no service if these men 
were to be under the military, and the result would be that the 
Colony would be discredited in England. It would be said there, 
' Is it not shameful that in a Colony having responsible govern- 
ment like the Cape of Good Hope they are not able to defend 
themselves?' I admit there may not have been such an excellent 
defence organisation as there might have been, but still, a 
volunteer is better any day than a pressed man, and we had any 



382 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

amount of excellent material coming forward. I represented to 
the Governor that he was spoiling the whole thing, and that the 
men would not work under military control. 

As I have said already, I submitted to the Governor the in- 
structions to Frost and Brabant and the plans for their operations. 
His Excellency did not positively say he disapproved of them 
or otherwise. I said ' Does your Excellency veto them ? ' ' No/ 
he said, ' but I will not be responsible for them.' I said, ' Your 
Excellency, the responsibility rests with your Ministers, but we 
advise this — does your Excellency stop it ? * The Governor said 
that if the instructions were carried out the Ministers must take the 
responsibility, and upon this we at once sent off the instructions to 
the commandants. I want to know from the hon. the Secretary 
for Native Affairs whether that is ignoring the Governor. He is not 
addressing his constituents now, but is here in the presence of 
Parliament, and let hun justify that assertion of his. I maintain 
that the Ministry thoroughly and completely followed and 
recognised the Governor and consulted him in every way. I 
knew that it would never do for the colonial forces to be subject to 
the military control, and if I had thought that his Excellency 
persisted in that course I would have tendered Twy resignation 
forthwith. 

1 said to Colonel Bellairs that I did not attempt to arrogate 
to myself, or to understand, military affoirs. If you are going 
to besiege Plevna or carry on military operations in a civilised 
country, it is a different thing, but the military have no know- 
ledge of Kaffir warfare, which is best left to colonial forces. 
At the same time I say, had the Governor forbidden these opera- 
tions and insisted on military command, I would have tendered 
my resignation at once. Volunteers were coming forward most 
gallantly from all parts, and I only wish the Colonial Secretary 
and certain others had taken the example from them, and instead 
of trying to harass the Government in every possible way had 
worked together for the conmion good, and put aside all political 
contentions. That is what is done in other countries at a time 
when great danger threatens. It does not matter who is in office, 
the great thing is to repel the enemy. I say it was a most cruel 
thing when volunteers were thus coming forward, when our 
operations were being attended with success, and when we were 
cutting up the enemy in every direction, and when probably another 
fortnight would have put an end to the whole thing, to go and upset 
everytning 

It was most detrimental to the interests of this Colony that 
a change should take place at that particular time, and I can 
only regard it as a great misfortune. Then comes the question 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 383 

who is to pay for all this, and the best of it is, pay for it when it 
is of no use, besides your credit taken away in England. They 
will say * Look at these fellows at the Cape dragging away 
British soldiers when there is other work for them to do ; what a 
set they are, and now they refuse to pay ! ' I say I do not like to 
see the Colony placed in such a position, and to see ourselves 
shown up in the * Times * newspaper and elsewhere. When the 
hon. Colonial Secretary talked so much about making an ad 
misericordiam appeal, I must say I felt aggrieved ; I say, what we 
are Hable for we will pay, and that is all, but to go down on its 
knees and make an ad misericordiam appeal to the Home Govern- 
ment, I hope this Colony will never do that, whatever Ministry may 
be in power. ^ 

... I say we would have got on very well without the 
Imperial troops ; there is plenty of work for them to do in Europe, 
that is the place for them, and not trying to hunt Kaffirs in tiie 
bush, which it is impossible for them to do successfully. The 
colonists can carry on that sort of warfare a good deal better. 

After Mr. Molteno had spoken the Speaker (Sir David 
Tennant, who had been knighted at the beginning of this 
session), to the surprise of everyone intervened, and said 
that the last two resolutions were unconstitutional. The 
Attorney-General had not objected to them, and it was 
strange that at that period of the debate such action should 
have been taken by the Speaker. The motions had been on 
the paper for several days, and the Speaker should have 
interfered much earlier if it were necessary to have them 
set right. Thereupon the debate was adjourned, and 
Mr. Merriman changed the word * was ' into * is ' in the 
second resolution, and added a third resolution which ran as 
follows : — 

That the assumption of the command of the colonial forces by 
Sir A. Cunynghame in January last, contrary to the advice of 
Ministers, was not justified or advisable under the existing 
circumstances. 

> We may easily understand how painful and humiliating was the position 
in which the Colony was now placed to Mr. Molteno, who had held its position 
so high before the world. As to the Imperial troops, he reiterated the fact thai 
they were needed elsewhere, and were unsuited for Kaffir warfare. 



384 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

And to this an amendment was moved by Mr. Maasdoip 

that the House, having before it all the papers connected with the 
late change of Ministry, does not see that the doctrine that the 
Governor controls the colonial forces under the advice of his 
Ministry has been called in question by the Governor ; but, on 
the contrary, is strongly affirmed ; and the House is of opinion 
that, under all the circumstances of the case, the removal from 
office of the late Ministry was unavoidable. 

The late Ministry had been placed in a difficult position 
by the action of the Speaker, but Mr. Merriman's substituted 
resolution was an unfortunate one. There can be no 
question that the incoming Ministry were responsible for 
the act of the Governor in dismissing his Ministers, and this 
should have been raised in some definite form. 

Mr. Stockenstrom the late Attorney-General now made 
an important speech. He showed how the Governor had 
ignored the Ministry in deposing Ereli, how he had acted 
in the Transkei and was entitled to act should he choose so 
to do, without the consent of his Ministers, who had advised 
that Kreli should be promptly attacked and followed up 
before he had time to perfect his plans. He said : — 

But the Ministers were told ' Oh, no, you gentlemen of this 
Colony carry on matters with a high hand; leave it to the 
Governor.' Who was it who said that ? was it the Premier ? No, 
it was not the Premier, but someone said so. And someone also 
said, 'I will go to Ereli myself, and I will talk to him and 
bring him to his bearings ' ; and it was not the Premier who said 
that, but he who said so went to talk to Elreli, but wasted time 
in doing so, and at the same time the forces of the police were 
worn out by awaiting the result until there was not a man fit to 
sit in the saddle, nor a horse, owing to the drought, fit to carry 
him. He believed that the Police force broke down solely 
because it was allowed to waste its strength and freshness before 
it was hurled against the enemy, and because the men were 
allowed to become weary and disgusted with their inaction before 
they were moved forward for active operations. 

He then showed how the Governor refused larger forces, 
while the Ministers said that unless something more decisive 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 886 

were done Sandilli would rise, and the rebellion would 
spread further and further. And when he advised the 
Burgher Act to be put in force the Governor said *No, 
I do not agree with the Attorney-General ; if we do that 
the civil war will be precipitated and the Gaikas will be 
massacred.' After that the Gaikas rose, and still Ministers 
were told when they urged decisive action that they were 
getting unnecessarily excited, and that matters would be 
arranged, and that someone would go up to settle matters 
with Sandilli. A Commissioner was sent up, but the 
Gaikas broke out, and then messages were sent for the 
volunteers, and the Governor became impatient because 
the volunteers who had been told not to come did not 
immediately appear. 

He stated, in regard to the charge that the Ministers had 
attempted to deprive the Governor of the control of the 
Colonial forces, — 

there was nothing except the ex post facto statement of the Governor 
to bear out sv>ch a charge. The Governor, writing to him, said 
that he was obliged to part with those gentlemen because they 
had treated him in that way, and when he saw that statement he 
stood aghast, because if they had done that they had taken up a 
position which he knew they could not maintain. And when he 
saw it stated that they were upheld in their course by the Attorney- 
General, he could only say that those who made that statement 
were as much in the dark as he hoped was his Excellency the 
Governor, when he brought that charge against the two Ministers 
who were with him on the frontier. But he (Mr. Stockenstrom) 
could find nothing of the kind in the Blue-book, and he failed to 
see any evidence whatever in black and white that his late 
colleagues, the hon. member for Beaufort West and. the hon. 
member for Wodehouse, desired to deprive his Excellency the 
Governor of the command of the colonial forces. They knew 
very well that those forces must be under the control of the 
representative of the Crown, subject to the advice of his consti- 
tutional advisers, and he could not himself, as their legal adviser, 
for one moment have thought they wished to appoint anyone to 
such an office as that of commander of colonial forces without the 
approval of his Excellency the Governor. 

VOL. II C 



a86 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOIiTENO 

Hi' clainied that the Governor was boimd to accept the 
adrict^ of Ministers, xmlesB each adrice were against the law 
or a^rainst the integrity of the P^TTipire, and he challenged the 
Attomey-Gbeneral to show that there was any soch adidoe 
given by the Ministers. 

Then he entirely dispoeed of a very important matter. 
^€ have abead^' seen that the Governor in a despatch sub- 
sequent to the dismissal said that illegal sppointmentB >ia^ 
been made. 

But hon. members zziight say that when they found they csooid 
not oany ont their own way the Ministers ignored the Governor 
and did a number of illegal acts which the Governor was bomid 
to pai hi^ foot xcpon. Bnt where was tiie proof of that ? Who 
were the officers appointed b\' Mimsters against ^le wish of the 
Governor ? Was Oommandani Prost or Cksmmandant Brabant one 
of them? Tso. that conk) not be, because in one Bhie Book the 
Governor said that the instmotions ismed to tiiose gentlemen 
ware laid before him.and thatahhongh he ooDBidered it dangercHs 
lor those infitrudaons to be canifid oni, yet he wooid not oppose 
them, although be wonld not bc^ reoponcdble for them, npon which 
the hon. xnombers for Beanfon West and Wodehonse said they 
would accepi full respomdbilitx for them. Well, if the ob}ectian 
did not apph to Mr. Proi^t or Captain Brabant there was Mr. 
Hemming, the m«gi«trate at Qneenfitowri : was his one of the 
afi^iointments suuio against the wish of the Governor ? T^ie hon. 
gimUemv. no<r at the bead of the Gorermnent shook his head at 
that, onestion . hat if it were^oi Mr. Flrnnming, wIk* was it who 
was appomted against the W!ish of tht^ Governor ? 

If hoi) . gmtiemen c^po»te could ^ow^ Ihat the late Ministry' ap> 
pocntoti oni- single officer agMm&t the wifth of the Governor, ^len he 
(Mr. Stooknnscrom^ had no oa^< : hut nonld they <^owhim sncdi an 
appomtmeni '^ Personalh bt> ^id not. kno«r anything sbont Gongo- 
h^lla s a&ui . as bi* was not. nn thi trontip.: at the time. He did 
not defcuui hi> laic* nolleagnes ir. thi latf Govemmeni, nor did he 
blamt them, henausr bt JoH"^ Tiothin^ abfqit it. hot he kne^ that 
Gongohalbi htUi heen crofihed ont. and hi^ had heard nemile hving on 
^- TTonxinT Mi> thai i' ii hue. no: hM^r. -dour* tht war wonld have 
^ireai'; inti tht Temhi; looadort. Mi H#>iT»miB^. howevp:. was 
noi appointed: a< * nuhtar) ofti«>»? As he {\l\ ^^lookcoistram^ 
nnderstoov. M: Hrnnmm^ wswnt thpn- U- a'tt»<: oeTlait. r.nmmals, 
anci ih wejn; noi *> ji nuhtar^ ofHof^i. h^ii rnpn-h as ai ordmar\- 
mscifiixaii- 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 387 

But if not Mr. Hemming, whose appointment was it with 
regard to which the late Ministry were accused of ignoring the 
Governor? Was it Mr. Griffith? The Governor said he did 
not sign the commission for the appointment of Mr. Griffith, but 
the Ministers said he did sign one, and he (Mr. Stockenstrom) 
could not himself say who was right or who was wrong in those 
contradictory statements.^ It was, therefore, quite possible that the 
Governor had signed the document and had forgotten it, and it 
was just possible that he might not have signed it, as the hon. 
member for Beaufort West said he had done, and yet that hon. 
member might feel fully convinced that his Excellency did 
sign it. There might be a mistake either way, but no one in 
this House could think even for a moment that either of the 
two gentlemen concerned in the matter would tell a wilful and 
deliberate falsehood about it. And even if the Governor did not 
sign the appointment it is quite clear that he did call Mr. 
Griffith ' Commandant-General.' But whether Mr. Griffith was 
legally and formally appointed Commandant-General or not, 
he was at the head of the forces in this country which had been 
legally raised for the arresting of criminal offenders. And then in 
one document the Governor mentions Mr. Griffith as Command- 
ant-General, and asks under what instructions he is to act, 
without taking any objection upon the ground that he had not 
himself signed the appointment. The House, however, had not 
sufficient information to enable them to decide who was right and 
who was wrong as to that appointment, but it was the unques- 
tioned fact that there were certain duties which Mr. Griffith was 
competent, as chief of the police, to perform. He (Mr. Stocken- 
strom) would give the hon. gentlemen opposite an opportunity of 
discussing the question from any point of view, but where could 
the appointments objected to be found ? 

Certain subordinate volunteer officers' appointments had 
been referred to as appearing in a King William's Town 
paper. To this Mr. Stockenstrom replied : — 

No, it was not to be inferred that those appointments were 
not authorised by the Governor, because they did not bear his 
signature at the bottom, as the words * by the Governor's authority ' 
were used. He himself had known many cases where appoint- 
ments had been made and not signed by the Governor, and yet 
bore the words * by the Governor's authority,' and although the 

> The public notice of Commandant Griffith's appointment as Ck>mmandant- 
General had not been produced until the debate was finished. It will be found 
in note 1, supra. ^ p. 302. 

cc 2 



388 LIFE AND TIMES OF 8IR J. C. MOLTENO 

hon. Attorney-General was gay and sprightly enough now when 
he was new to the oflSce, perhaps, when he had been in office 
as long as the hon. member for Beaufort West, he oiight 
append his signature to many documents of that kind without 
laying the documents before the Governor. He himself (Mr. 
Stockenstrom) had signed many documents without doing Uiat. 
He had signed many appointments for justices of the peace when 
his hon. friend the member for Beaufort West was absent without 
his Excellency the Governor knowing anything about it ; and yet, 
although the Governor knew nothing about the matter, he as 
a matter of form had said that he made the appointment by 
order of the Governor. It was a mere form. How could the 
Governor know whether a person to whom a conmiission of the 
peace, for instance, was proposed to be issued was a proper 
person ? His Minister was responsible for the appointment, and 
the Governor's name was used as a matter of form. If the Prime 
Minister were to trouble his Excellency with every such document 
before issuing it, he would soon be sent about his business as a 
troublesome fellow. Well, that was the great charge against the 
late Ministry', and he was very glad they had had an opportunity 
of going into it. There was the paper containing the appoint- 
ments, and let the hon. members look at it. When the hon. 
member for Wodehouse went up to the frontier to give advice to 
the Governor, he found himself in a bit of a muddle for want of 
clerical assistance. He (Mr. Stockenstrom) believed that hon. 
member had not a single clerk to assist him until afterwards, 
when he (Mr. Stockenstrom) asked that a clerk should be sent up, 
and one went up to assist him. The hon. member had written 
about 3,500 telegrams in two months, and if the whole case 
against him was that certain advertisements had been issued by 
him with an informal heading, that was a mere absurdity. 

This absolutely disposed of the complaint that had 
been made by the Governor ex post facto as to illegal 
appointments. They were clearly matters of official admini- 
strative routine which were suitable to be dealt with by that 
Minister who was officially in charge of them, and of 
such a character as are not usually submitted to the 
Crown.* 

During the debate Mr. Stigant, who had himself served 

• See Todd, Parliamentary Oovcmment in England, 2nd edition, vol. iL 
p. 14. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 389 

with distinction in the Transkei with the Cape Town ArtiUery, 
pointed out that the Governor's statement to the deputation at 
King Williajn's Town as to disarmament *had had a very bad 
effect on the natives/ while further that the way in which 
Confederation had been introduced also produced a bad 
effect, tending to lead the natives to the conclusion that 
the white men were about to combine to crush them, and 
that they must therefore combine for their own defence. 
He pointed out in detail the incompetency of the military 
authorities. Sir Bartle Frere had said to the Colonial 
Secretary that he could observe no want of harmony between 
the Imperial troops and the Colonial, but the debate gave 
ample evidence of this, as the speeches of Messrs. Frost, 
Brabant, and Stigant testify. 

Mr. Sprigg, in regard to the Minute which Mr. Molteno 
had called for appointing Commandant Griffith, but which 
had not been forthcoming, admitted that the Governor had 
called him Commandant Griffith, and that he was aware that 
the notice of his appointment had been published in the 
' Gazette.' * He maintained, however, there was a mistake 
in regard to this question, and added ' to this day I have 
never informed him that there is any doubt about the 
legality of his appointment ... he commands the colonial 
troops, and is to a considerable extent independent of the 
mihtary authorities.' Mr. Sprigg also, as we have already 
shown, admitted that he was wrong in stating in his speech 
at East London that Mr. Molteno had refused to summon 
Parliament. 

Mr. Sprigg read a memorandum from Mr. Brownlee to the 
Governor which had never been seen by other Ministers, a 
point which Mr. Stockenstrom inmiediately took up, and 
showing that the Governor had no right to go to one Minister 
behind the back of the Premier, for he thus introduced 
an element of disruption into the Constitution. He said, 

* See p. 802, note 1, Bupra, 



880 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

hon. member for Gape Town said, it is a question which affeots 
this country for all time. We have families and children 
growing up, and we are bound, I say, to hand down to them, 
unimpaired, the rights we have fought for and obtained. I 
have a large family, as many others have, and I feel bound 
to do this. It was said by some at one time that this Colony 
was not ripe for a responsible government, but, be that as it 
may, we shall be watched very closely now, depend upon it, and 
if we are willing so easily to surrender or give up our valuable 
privileges it will be a bad thing for us. I hope this Colony, come 
what will, will resolve to defend these privileges. But, said the 
hon. Attorney-General — and there I agree with him — if you want 
to maintain your privileges, go the right way about it, and you 
must not take steps which will not bear looking into, and which 
the world will say are wrong. I want to show the House the 
true position of this present question. I think it is no disrespect to 
the gentleman who holds the high position of (Jovemor in this 
Colony to say that a very high-handed policy has been adopted in 
turning out a set of Ministers in the short space of a fortnight, in 
hurling them from office, and treating them as if they were guilty 
of some great offence against the country. I say that is a most 
serious responsibility for a Governor to take upon himself, and it 
will be considered so before long, if it is not now. 

He maintained the debate at the high level of the great 
principles involved. There was no personal feeling in the 
matter whatever; the disastrous effects of this action on 
the future of South Africa were fully apparent to him; 
the solution of the difficulties of the government of South 
Africa by the working of responsible government would be 
* imperilled if not fatally affected.' 

No one could have a higher respect for the Governor than I 
have, although I cannot agree in this course he has taken. That I 
am entitled to say, but I have the highest respect for his Excellency, 
and I feel sorry he has taken that course, for I feel sure it cannot 
be sustained and will ultimately be defeated. The policy which 
has been adopted must have a prejudicial effect upon consti- 
tutional government all over the world, and especially in this 
continent. Here are we talking about Confederation, and holding 
up to independent states the advantages and privileges they are 
likely to gain by coming in, but when they hear of this they will 
stand aghast and ask ' Is that the effect of responsible government ? 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 381 

We thought it was a very different thing/ At one fell swoop the 
whole thing is carried away, and the Imperial dictate prevails. 
I contend that it will do immeasurable injury so far as regards 
the question of the future government of this country if this 
matter is allowed to pass over lightly. 

He contended that whatever the shortcomings of the late 
Government might be, whether in the conduct of the war or 
otherwise, the praise or blame for their conduct should be 
awarded by that House and not by the Governor. He 
maintained that that House was the proper tribunal to 
criticise them. The Governor had contended that he had 
an independent power, and that he was commander by right 
over the Colonial forces, and could do as he liked, but speak- 
ing as Premier he had replied that he had no right to do it 
except with the advice of his Ministers, and * it was upon that 
sole contention we were dismissed.' 

In regard to the operations carried on by Messrs. Frost 
and Brabant he said that had the Governor insisted on 
vetoing these operations he would have resigned at once, but 
the Governor did not do so. In regard to the charge that he 
had ignored the Governor : — 

So far from ignoring the Governor, I kept him informed on 
every point, and telegrams were sent up as soon as they were 
received. I kept a messenger for the express purpose, who was 
continually running up and down. When colonial operations 
were to take place under Commandants Frost and Brabant, the 
plans and instructions were submitted to the Governor, and I had 
good reason to believe his Excellency acquiesced in them. I 
positively informed the Governor that men would not come 
forward if they were to be placed under military control, and I 
had telegrams from all parts to that effect. I pointed out in the 
strongest possible terms that we could get no service if these men 
were to be under the military, and the result would be that the 
Colony would be discredited in England. It would be said there, 
' Is it not shameful that in a Colony having responsible govern- 
ment like the Cape of Good Hope they are not able to defend 
themselves ? ' I admit there may not have been such an excellent 
defence organisation as there might have been, but still, a 
volunteer is better any day than a pressed man, and we had any 



382 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

amount of excellent material coming forward. I represented to 
the Governor that he was spoiling the whole thing, and that the 
men would not work under mihtary control. 

As I have said already, 1 submitted to the Governor the in- 
structions to Frost and Brabant and the plans for their operations. 
His Excellency did not positively say he disapproved of them 
or otherwise. I said ' Does your Excellency veto them ? * * No/ 
he said, * but I will not be responsible for them.* I said, * Your 
Excellency, the responsibility rests with your Ministers, but we 
advise this — does your Excellency stop it ? ' The Governor said 
that if the instructions were carried out the Ministers must take the 
responsibihty, and upon this we at once sent off the instructions to 
the commandants. I want to know from the hon. the Secretary 
for Native Affairs whether that is ignoring the Governor. He is not 
addressing his constituents now, but is here in the presence of 
Parliament, and let him justify that assertion of his. I maintain 
that the Ministry thoroughly and completely followed and 
recognised the Governor and consulted him in every way. I 
knew that it would never do for the colonial forces to be subject to 
the military control, and if I had thought that his Excellency 
persisted in that course I would have tendered my resignation 
forthwith. 

I said to Colonel Bellairs that I did not attempt to arrogate 
to myself, or to understand, military affioirs. If you are going 
to besiege Plevna or carry on military operations in a civilised 
country, it is a different thing, but the military have no know- 
ledge of Eaf&r warfare, which is best left to colonial forces. 
At the same time I say, had the Governor forbidden these opera- 
tions and insisted on military command, I would have tendered 
my resignation at once. Volunteers were coming forward most 
gallantly from all parts, and I only wish the Colonial Secretary 
and certain others had taken the example from them, and instead 
of trying to harass the Government in every possible way had 
worked together for the common good, and put aside all political 
contentions. That is what is done in other countries at a time 
when great danger threatens. It does not matter who is in office, 
the great thing is to repel the enemy. I say it was a most cruel 
thing when volunteers were thus coming forward, when our 
operations were being attended with success, and when we were 
cutting up the enemy in every direction, and when probably another 
fortnight would have put an end to the whole thing, to go and upset 

everytning 

It was most detrimental to the interests of this Colony that 
a change should take place at that particular time, and I can 
only regard it as a great misfortune. Then comes the question 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 383 

who is to pay for all this, and the best of it is, pay for it when it 
is of no use, besides your credit taken away in England. They 
will say ' Look at these fellows at the Cape dragging away 
British soldiers when there is other work for them to do ; what a 
set they are, and now they refuse to pay ! ' I say I do not like to 
see the Colony placed in such a position, and to see ourselves 
shown up in the ' Times ' newspaper and elsewhere. When the 
hon. Colonial Secretary talked so much about making an ad 
misericordiam appeal, I must say I felt aggrieved ; I say, what we 
are hable for we will pay, and that is all, but to go down on its 
knees and make an ad misericordiam appeal to the Home Govern- 
ment, I hope this Colony will never do that, whatever Ministry may 
be in power.* 

... I say we would have got on very well without the 
Imperial troops ; there is plenty of work for them to do in Europe, 
that is the place for them, and not tr3dng to hunt Kaffirs in Uie 
bush, which it is impossible for them to do successfully. The 
colonists can carry on that sort of warfare a good deal better. 

After Mr. Molteno had spoken the Speaker (Sir David 
Tennant, who had been knighted at the beginning of this 
session), to the surprise of everyone intervened, and said 
that the last two resolutions were unconstitutional. The 
Attorney-General had not objected to them, and it was 
strange that at that period of the debate such action should 
have been taken by the Speaker. The motions had been on 
the paper for several days, and the Speaker should have 
interfered much earlier if it were necessary to have them 
set right. Thereupon the debate was adjourned, and 
Mr. Merriman changed the word * was ' into * is ' in the 
second resolution, and added a third resolution which ran as 
follows : — 

That the assumption of the command of the colonial forces by 
Sir A. Cunynghame in January last, contrary to the advice of 
Ministers, was not justified or advisable under the existing 
circumstances. 

* We may easily understand how painful and humiliating was the position 
in which the Colony was now placed to Mr. Molteno, who had held its position 
so high before the world. As to the Imperial troops, he reiterated the fact that 
they were needed elsewhere, and were unsuited for Eafi&r warfare. 



384 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

And to this an amendment was moved by Mr. Maasdoip 

that the House, having before it all the papers connected with the 
late change of Ministry, does not see that the doctrine that the 
Gk)vemor controls the colonial forces under the advice of his 
Ministry has been called in question by the Governor ; but, on 
the contrary, is strongly affirmed ; and the House is of opinion 
that, under all the circumstances of the case, the removal from 
office of the late Ministry was unavoidable. 

The late Ministry had been placed in a difficult position 
by the action of the Speaker, but Mr. Merriman's substituted 
resolution was an unfortunate one. There can be no 
question that the incoming Ministry were responsible for 
the act of the Governor in dismissing his Ministers, and this 
should have been raised in some definite form. 

Mr. Stockenstrom the late Attorney-General now made 
an important speech. He showed how the Governor had 
ignored the Ministry in deposing Ereli, how he had acted 
in the Transkei and was entitled to act should he choose so 
to do, without the consent of his Ministers, who had advised 
that Ereli should be promptly attacked and followed up 
before he had time to perfect his plans. He said : — 

But the Ministers were told ' Oh, no, you gentlemen of this 
Colony carry on matters with a high hand ; leave it to the 
Governor.' Who was it who said that ? was it the Premier ? No, 
it was not the Premier, but someone said so. And someone also 
said, 'I will go to Ereli myself, and I will talk to him and 
bring him to his bearings ' ; and it was not the Premier who said 
that, but he who said so went to talk to Elreli, but wasted time 
in doing so, and at the same time the forces of the police were 
worn out by awaiting the result until there was not a man fit to 
sit in the saddle, nor a horse, owing to the drought, fit to carry 
him. He believed that the Pohce force broke down solely 
because it was allowed to waste its strength and freshness before 
it was hurled against the enemy, and because the men were 
allowed to become weary and disgusted with their inaction before 
they were moved forward for active operations. 

He then showed how the Governor refused larger forces, 
while the Ministers said that imless something more decisive 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 386 

were done Sandilli would rise, and the rebellion would 
spread further and further. And when he advised the 
Burgher Act to be put in force the Governor said *No, 
I do not agree with the Attorney-General ; if we do that 
the civil war will be precipitated and the Gaikas will be 
massacred.' After that the Gaikas rose, and still Ministers 
were told when they urged decisive action that they were 
getting unnecessarily excited, and that matters would be 
arranged, and that someone would go up to settle matters 
with Sandilli. A Commissioner was sent up, but the 
Gaikas broke out, and then messages were sent for the 
volunteers, and the Governor became impatient because 
the volunteers who had been told not to come did not 
immediately appear. 

He stated, in regard to the charge that the Ministers had 
attempted to deprive the Governor of the control of the 
Colonial forces, — 

there was nothing except the ex post facto statement of the Crovemor 
to bear out such a cha/rge. The Governor, writing to him, said 
that he was obliged to part with those gentlemen because they 
had treated him in that way, and when he saw that statement he 
stood aghast, because if they had done that they had taken up a 
position which he knew they could not maintain. And when he 
saw it stated that they were upheld in their course by the Attorney- 
General, he could only say that those who made that statement 
were as much in the dark as he hoped was his Excellency the 
Governor, when he brought that charge against the two Ministers 
who were with him on the frontier. But he (Mr. Stockenstrom) 
could find nothing of the kind in the Blue-book, and he failed to 
see any evidence whatever in black and white that his late 
colleagues, the hon. member for Beaufort West and. the hon. 
member for Wodehouse, desired to deprive his Excellency the 
Governor of the command of the colonial forces. They knew 
very well that those forces must be under the control of the 
representative of the Crown, subject to the advice of his consti- 
tutional advisers, and he could not himself, as their legal adviser, 
for one moment have thought they wished to appoint anyone to 
such an office as that of commander of colonial forces without the 
approval of his Excellency the Governor. 

VOL. II C 



386 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

He claimed that the Governor was bound to accept the 
advice of Ministers, unless such advice were against the law 
or against the integrity of the Empire, and he challenged the 
Attorney-General to show that there was any such advice 
given by the Ministers. 

Then he entirely disposed of a very important matter. 
We have already seen that the Governor in a despatch sub- 
sequent to the dismissal said that illegal appointments had 
been made. 

But hon. members might say that when they foimd they could 
not carry out their own way the Ministers ignored the Governor 
and did a number of illegal acts which the Governor was bound 
to put his foot upon. But where was the proof of that ? Who 
were the officers appointed by Ministers against the wish of the 
Governor ? Was Commandant Frost or Commandant Brabant one 
of them ? No, that could not be, because in one Blue Book the 
Governor said that the instructions issued to those gentlemen 
were laid before him, and that although he considered it dangerous 
for those instructions to be carried out, yet he would not oppose 
them, although he would not be responsible for them, upon which 
the hon. members for Beaufort West and Wodehouse said they 
would accept full responsibility for them. Well, if the objection 
did not apply to Mr. Frost or Captain Brabant there was Mr. 
Hemming, the magistrate at Queenstown ; was his one of the 
appointments made against the wish of the Governor ? The hon. 
gentleman now at the head of the Gk)vemment shook his head at 
that question ; but if it were not Mr. Hemming, who was it who 
was appointed against the wish of the Governor ? 

If hon. gentlemen opposite could show that the late Ministry ap- 
pointed one single officer against the wish of the Governor, then he 
(Mr. Stockenstrom) had no case ; but could they show him such an 
appointment ? Personally he did not know anything about Gongo- 
bella's afifair, as he was not on the frontier at the time. He did 
not defend his late colleagues in the late Government, nor did he 
blame them, because he knew nothing about it, but he knew that 
Gongoballa had been crushed out, and he had heard people living on 
the frontier say that if it had not been done the war would have 
spread into the Tembu location. Mr. Hemming, however, was 
not appointed as a military officer. As he (Mr. Stockenstrom) 
understood, Mr. Hemming went there to arrest certain criminals, 
and he went not as a mihtary officer, but merely as an ordinary 
magistrate. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 387 

But if not Mr. Hemming, whose appointment was it with 
regard to which the late Ministry were accused of ignoring the 
Governor? Was it Mr. Griflfith? The Governor said he did 
not sign the commission for the appointment of Mr. Griffith, but 
the Ministers said he did sign one, and he (Mr. Stockenstrom) 
could not himself say who was right or who was wrong in those 
contradictory statements.' It was, therefore, quite possible that the 
Governor had signed the document and had forgotten it, and it 
was just possible that he might not have signed it, as the hon. 
member for Beaufort West said he had done, and yet that hon. 
member might feel fully convinced that his Excellency did 
sign it. There might be a mistake either way, but no one in 
this House could think even for a moment that either of the 
two gentlemen concerned in the matter would tell a wilful and 
deliberate falsehood about it. And even if the Governor did not 
sign the appointment it is quite clear that he did call Mr. 
Griffith ' Commandant-General.' But whether Mr. Griffith was 
legally and formally appointed' Commandant-General or not, 
he was at the head of the forces in this country which had been 
legally raised for the arresting of criminal offenders. And then in 
one document the Governor mentions Mr. Griffith as Command- 
ant-General, and asks imder what instructions he is to act, 
without taking any objection upon the ground that he had not 
himself signed the appointment. The House, however, had not 
sufficient information to enable them to decide who was right and 
who was wrong as to that appointment, but it was the unques- 
tioned fact that there were certain duties which Mr. Griffith was 
competent, as chief of the police, to perform. He (Mr. Stocken- 
strom) would give the hon. gentlemen opposite an opportunity of 
discussing the question from any point of view, but where could 
the appointments objected to be found ? 

Certain subordinate volunteer officers' appointments had 
been referred to as appearing in a King William's Town 
paper. To this Mr. Stockenstrom replied : — 

No, it was not to be inferred that those appointments were 
not authorised by the Governor, because they did not bear his 
signature at the bottom, as the words * by the Governor's authority ' 
were used. He himself had known many cases where appoint- 
ments had been made and not signed by the Governor, and yet 
bore the words ' by the Governor's authority,' and although the 

> The public notice of Commandant Griffith's appointment as Commandant- 
General had not been produced until the debate was finished. It will be found 
in note 1, supra. ^ p. 302. 



388 LIFE AND TIMES OF 8IR J. C. MOLTENO 

hon. Attorney-General was gay and sprightly enough now when 
he was new to the office, perhaps, when he had been in office 
as long as the hon. member for Beaufort West, he might 
append his signature to many documents of that kind without 
laying the documents before the Governor. He himself (Mr. 
Stockenstrom) had signed many documents without doing tiiat. 
He had signed many appointments for justices of the peace when 
his hon. friend the member for Beaufort West was absent without 
his Excellency the Governor knowing anything about it ; and yet, 
although the Governor knew nothing about the matter, he as 
a matter of form had said that he made the appointment by 
order of the Governor. It was a mere form. How could the 
Governor know whether a person to whom a commission of the 
peace, for instance, was proposed to be issued was a proper 
person ? His Minister was responsible for the appointment, and 
the Governor's name was used as a matter of form. If the Prime 
Minister were to trouble his Excellency with every such document 
before issuing it, he would soon be sent about his business as a 
troublesome fellow. Well, that was the great charge against the 
late Ministry', and he was very glad they had had an opportunity 
of going into it. There was the paper containing the appoint- 
ments, and let the hon. members look at it. When the hon. 
member for Wodehouse went up to the frontier to give advice to 
the Governor, he found himself in a bit of a muddle for want of 
clerical assistance. He (Mr. Stockenstrom) believed that hon. 
member had not a single clerk to assist him until afterwards, 
when he (Mr. Stockenstrom) asked that a clerk should be sent up, 
and one went up to assist him. The hon. member had written 
about 3,500 telegrams in two months, and if the whole case 
against him was that certain advertisements had been issued by 
him with an informal heading, that was a mere absurdity. 

This absolutely disposed of the complaint that had 
been made by the Governor ex post facto as to illegal 
appointments. They were clearly matters of official admini- 
strative routine which were suitable to be dealt with by that 
Minister who was officially in charge of them, and of 
such a character as are not usually submitted to the 
Crown.* 

During the debate Mr. Stigant, who had himself served 

• See Todd, Parliamentary Government in England, 2nd edition, vol. ii. 
p. 14. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 389 

with distinction in the Transkei with the Cape Town Artillery, 
pointed out that the Governor's statement to the deputation at 
King William's Town as to disarmament 'had had a very bad 
effect on the natives/ while further that the way in which 
Confederation had been introduced also produced a bad 
effect, tending to lead the natives to the conclusion that 
the white men were about to combine to crush them, and 
that they must therefore combine for their own defence. 
He pointed out in detail the incompetency of the military 
authorities. Sir Bartle Frere had said to the Colonial 
Secretary that he could observe no want of harmony between 
the Imperial troops and the Colonial, but the debate gave 
ample evidence of this, as the speeches of Messrs. Frost, 
Brabant, and Stigant testify. 

Mr. Sprigg, in regard to the Minute which Mr. Molteno 
had called for appointing Commandant Griffith, but which 
had not been forthcoming, admitted that the Governor had 
called him Commandant Griffith, and that he was aware that 
the notice of his appointment had been published in the 
* Gazette.' * He maintained, however, there was a mistake 
in regard to this question, and added ' to this day I have 
never informed him that there is any doubt about the 
legality of his appointment ... he conmiands the colonial 
troops, and is to a considerable extent independent of the 
military authorities.' Mr. Sprigg also, as we have already 
shown, admitted that he was wrong in stating in his speech 
at East London that Mr. Molteno had refused to summon 
Parliament. 

Mr. Sprigg read a memorandum from Mr. Brownlee to the 
Governor which had never been seen by other Ministers, a 
point which Mr. Stockenstrom immediately took up, and 
showing that the Governor had no right to go to one Minister 
behind the back of the Premier, for he thus introduced 
an element of disruption into the Constitution. He said, 

* See p. 302, note 1, supra. 



390 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

' It was stated that troops had been ordered on a minute by 
Mr. Brownlee, bat this had never been communicated to his 
colleagues.* The Governor had no right to ask for troops 
without first consulting his Ministers on the subject. 
He brought back the debate to its real issue, which had 
been throughout set aside : ' the simple question for the 
House was this: Was the Governor right in dismissing 
his Ministers for tendering their advice to him on so 
important a matter as that on which they had differed from 
him ? ' The speaker was quite prepared to admit that the 
advice so tendered was unpalatable advice, but at the same 
time that was not sufficient ground to justify their dismissal. 
The Governor might very probably have thought that he 
knew better than they did ; if so he was right in rejecting 
their advice, and he did not blame his Excellency for that, 
but still no sufficient ground had been shown to justify his 
Excellency in taking the extreme course which he adopted. 

The papers for which Mr. Molteno had asked were with- 
held, though he stated that they were of great importance.' 
After the debate was finished they were allowed to appear. 

Mr. Molteno in his reply pointed out that the real question 
at issue had been shelved, and that 

a studied attempt was being made to take a division on a ques- 
tion which was not really before them. The present Ministry 
had not touched the real question, which was this: Was there 

* This 80 called Minute appears in C. P., A. 24 — 78, p. 1, where it is oalled a 
memorandom. These papers were produced by the Premier in reply to a return 
agreed to by the House for * all communications that have passed between the 
Gk)yemor and Ministers relative to the employment of troops and expenditure.* 
Yet it was quite unconstitutional for Sir Bartle Frere to use or receive such a 
memorandum from a Minister behind the back of the Premier. No member of 
the Oabmet can advise individually or in opposition to his colleagues (Todd, 
PcbrUamentary OovenvmerU in England^ 2nd edition, vol. ii. p. 10), and any 
important communication between a subordinate Minister and the Crown 
should be * submitted to the Premier, if not beforehand at any rate immediately 
after it has taken place * {ibid, p. 18). We may further note that in this 
return Mr. Molteno*s Minute of the 31st of January (A. 6 — 78, p. 2), refusing 
the Imperial troops, was not included. 

* These papers are C. P., A. 21—78 and C. P., A. 64—78. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 391 

sufficient cause to justify the Governor in taking the extreme 
step which he had taken? But instead of raising this, an 
attempt had been made to raise a feeling of hostility to the late 
Ministry, not on account of their immediate acts which led to 
their dismissal, but by calling attention to their former acts. The 
Governor was not free to go into former acts ; that ought to be 
left to the House to deal with. The present Premier told the 
House that the Governor dismissed the Ministry because they 
were not taking proper steps to carry on the war effectually, but 
whether they were taking proper steps or not was not the 
question. The question was whether they committed any act 
which justified the Governor in dismissing them. That was the 
question upon which the House ought to divide, but it was quite 
clear that hon. gentlemen opposite were not going to vote on that 
question. . . . The question which the House ought to decide 
was whether the Governor was right in dismissing them, and not 
whether the late Ministry were right or wrong as to the way in 
which they conducted the war, nor yet whether they had refused 
or neglecled to bring forward a proper measure of defence for the 
Colony. All that has been said on these matters might be true, 
but still the Governor should not have taken upon himself to 
decide ; he should have left them to that House to settle. ... It 
was, however, quite clear that hon. members opposite were not 
going to divide upon the question of the dismissal, but upon the 
acts of the late Ministry. ... To sanction this would be to put 
the Governor in the place of the Parliament. 

What he asked the House was whether there was any- 
thing in the conduct of the late Ministry which justified the 
Governor in what he had done. To this there had been no 
answer in that House. 

His own contention and principle of action was that there 
was no justification for his dismissal, for there was no immediate 
danger in the position of affairs on the frontier when that dismissal 
took place, and the Governor himself admitted that the work so 
far had been well done. 

As to the statement Mr. Sprigg had made that there were 
dissensions in the Cabinet, he pointed out that there 

was no document on the table to prove that, and none that he 
knew of anywhere, except that memorandum which the present 
Premier had just brought to the notice of the House, and which he 



892 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

(Mr. Molteno) had never heard of till now. No doubt the 
Governor had a good opportunity of carrying out his policy when 
the Ministers were not all together on the frontier, but when the 
Governor acted upon the advice of a single Minister in opposition 
to others he himself thought the Governor acted unconstitution- 
ally, and when the other Ministers were on the frontier he 
(Mr. Molteno) wrote to the Governor that he was not to act on 
iheir separate advice on public matters. But, notwithstanding 
that, his Excellency kept these two gentlemen on the frontier, and 
got from them these memoranda, which were not submitted to 
the other members of the Cabinet. A good deal was done there 
and sent down for their approval afterwards, and sometimes he 
himself had grave doubts about it ; but the position was serious : 
the house was on fire, and things were concurred in which, under 
other circumstances, might have been strongly objected to. 

In regard to the appointment of Commandant Griffith, 
he explained that as soon as he arrived on the frontier, 
in compliance vdth the Governor's wish that an authority 
should be appointed who should have a larger control of 
affairs, to enable him to return to Cape Town, it was agreed 
that Mr. Griffith should be called from the Transkei. He 
arrived on the frontier and accepted the appointment which 
it had been agreed between himself and the Governor should 
be offered to him. He continued : — 

There was a Minute which I am quite sure was furnished to 
the Governor, and which was returned to me duly signed, and 
upon that I telegraphed to the Under-Colonial Secretary at 
Cape Town to gazette the appointment ; but, as it did not appear to 
be signed as telegraphed, Captain Mills, being a careful man, to 
make sure, said to Dr. White, the Treasurer-General, that he had 
better sign it, and Dr. White did so, and in that way it was 
gazetted. But it should have been signed by myself, for 
neither Dr. White nor any other member of the Cabinet ever 
signed Minutes, as I signed them all myself. But when I 
had a telegram telling me that it had appeared in the Govern- 
ment ' Gazette ' I immediately had it published in King Wil- 
liam's Town, and the Governor presented to Mr. Griffith the 
decoration which had been sent from England, and the pre- 
sentation of which I had suggested to the Governor should 
be deferred until after publication, because it would then 
have a better effect. And I had already signed the Minute, 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 393 

although that signature was not appended to it as it appeared in 
the ' Gazette/ Then after that the Governor complained of the 
inconvenience that might arise from the existence of an in- 
dependent power with regard to the colonial forces, and 
I myself explained to his Excellency that the dual system, 
as it was called, could not have all the effects which the 
Governor seemed to think it would have. I pointed out that 
the Governor would be the commander of the forces. . . . The 
Commandant-General would be over the colonial forces, while the 
Imperial forces would be under the Imperial officers, and his 
Excellency would be over them all, and there would be no dual 
command at all. 

On the 20th the Governor asked for the particular 
instructions to the Conimandant-General, and then came 
the matters on which they differed. Mr. Molteno 
said: — 

They gave advice to his Excellency which they considered it 
their duty to give, and was not the Colonial Government justified 
in giving advice as to the control of their own forces ? They had 
to pay the expenses of the war, and on that they had a right to a 
voice as to their control, but they did not wish to control them 
without consulting the Governor ; they never intended to take the 
matter out of his hands. Every telegram and document was sent 
to him, and he (Mr. Molteno) was surprised that his Excellency 
should say that he had no information, except such as he could 
gather from the newspapers, for he had all the information which 
Ministers themselves possessed. Nor did he (Mr. Molteno) place 
the late Commissioner for Public Works to act as * a military 
dictator,' as he had been styled. But on his arrival there he 
found him in a position in which the Governor had himself placed 
him. Then came the conversations with the Governor, and if the 
whole account of these conversations were given, as it might be 
given if he himself were writing to his constituents, they might 
put upon them a very different interpretation to that which some 
hon. members were so anxious to put upon them. . . . And when 
his Excellency said that there were some things which he had not 
been informed about, he (Mr. Molteno) expressed his surprise, and 
said that no doubt it was an oversight, for such a thing as that his 
colleague, the then Commissioner of Public Works, should act 
upon his own authority in important public matters had never 
entered his mind ; while the Governor was most fully informed 
of all operations. 



394 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. G. MOLTENO 

But then, when everything was ready, the instmctions 
which it was proposed to give to the Gommandant-Greneral 
were drawn up and sent to his Excellency, and the Governor 
appeared to be opposed to the appointment. He himself asked 
the Governor whether he objected to it, as if he did the 
Ministers would not act upon it ; but the (jovemor said no, he did 
not object, and then he (Mr. Molteno) took the instmctions to 
the Commandant-General and told him to go on. The late 
Ministers had been accused of ignoring the Governor, but was 
that ignoring the Governor? They had informed the Governor 
of everything, and if he (Mr. Molteno) found at any time that 
sometUng had been omitted he himself immediately informed 
his Excellency of it. Well then it was said that they had made 
an appointment, or had concurred in it, by which the control of 
all colonial forces was vested in Sir A. Gunynghame, and that 
they had not revoked it at the very time they were appointing Mr. 
Griffith Commandant-General. But they were still discussing 
the matter ; if not they would have advised his Excellency to 
revoke his former proclamation vesting the control in Sir Arthur 
Cunynghame. 

As to the way in which Mr. Sprigg had entered office, he 
said : — 

But let not that gentleman get in over the wall ; let him go in 
by the front door, let him go in as the Minister of that House. 
But he thought that he co^d safely say that the hon. gentlemen 
who now sat on the Treasury benches would not have the con- 
fidence of the country for any great length of time, for they 
had been put into office in a way which the country very soon 
would not like. They had been put in by superiors, fettered in 
their action, and in a way which was certainly not a proper 
one. 

As a matter of fact the new Ministry remained in power 
only so long as Sir Bartle Frere acted as Governor and kept 
them there. They were defeated in the first session of 
Parliament after his departure, and it is an interesting fact 
that Mr. Sprigg, though holding office on subsequent occa- 
sions, has never been placed in that position by a direct vote 
of the Cape Parliament. 

Mr. Molteno concluded by saying that he had no love 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 395 

for office, that it was not a personal question but a principle 
for which he was contending. 

He had never continued in office for its own sake, but for the 
interests of the Colony only. That was his only motive for 
remaining in office, and it would have been better for his own 
ease and peace of mind if he had resigned long ago. But let hon. 
gentlemen look at the question from a broad point of view, and 
not principally as one of opposition to a Molteno Ministry. He 
had always regarded himself as a servant of that House while in 
office, and while supported by a majority he held to his office, and 
he beUeved that if the time had come for his dismissal it was for 
that House to dismiss him and not the Governor, who gave his 
late Ministers no opportunity of defending themselves and no 
Minute of his reasons for dismissing them, but only drew up a 
Minute on the 6th of February, which before their dismissal they 
had never seen. He (Mr. Molteno) appealed. to that House to 
consider the question in a proper way, not as a question between 
Moltenoites and Spriggites, but only as a question intimately 
afifecting the good of the Colony. It was not a mere question of 
the change of Ministry which Ihat House had now to decide, but 
a grave and serious constitutional question, and he asked hon. 
members in recording their votes to record them from no other 
point of view. 

Mr. Solomon, who generally on great occasions had taken 
a conspicuous place, confined himself chiefly to a discussion 
of the operations connected with the disarmament of 
Mapassa and Mackinnon and the Gongoballa affair. The 
information before the House upon these subjects, how- 
ever, was imperfect, and he was proved in the course of 
the debate to be quite in error in the assumptions he 
made in regard to the conduct of the late Ministry. The 
constitutional question he hardly touched upon. His action, 
however, served to show the extent to which he was ready 
to go in attacking the late Ministers, even to the point 
of presuming against them wherever his information was 
incomplete. Before Sir Bartle Frere left the Cape Mr. 
Solomon confessed his error in foUovTing and trusting him. 

Mr. Merriman now replied and showed how the House 



396 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

was being led away from the real issue. He then drew atten- 
tion to the dangers of the action of the Governor in its effect 
upon responsible government, and said : — 

It seemed to him that the dismissal of the late Government 
under the ciroxmistances was the first step towards the introduc- 
tion of personal government, because if a Ministry were to be 
dismissed for every Httle thing on which they differed from the 
Governor, the result would be that they would ultimately find 
themselves put under a strict personal government. . . . They 
must admit that his Excellency had been almost always entrusted 
with the duties of personal government, and he seemed to forget 
that under a responsible government the Ministers were really the 
individuals who were entrusted with the government of the 
country. . . . The Governor said he had parted from his late 
Ministers because he said they had differed from him, and that 
was the question, and a very important question it was in this 
Colony ; for it was not here as in England. There the balance 
of things was well maintained, but here the power of the Governor 
was very great, and if he threw himself into the scale of one 
political party it crushed completely the opposite party. He 
feared that House would endorse the position taken up by the 
hon. gentleman opposite, but if they did so that hon. gentleman 
would himself regret it, not because the Governor had himself 
sent him there, but because the Governor, who was only 
responsible to England, if he could not get one set of men to 
suit his views and submit themselves entirely to his guidance 
would change them at his wiU and pleasure, and throw himself on 
the side of any political party, and so effect his own purposes 
whenever he chose to do so. 

The absence of the very material documents for which 
he had asked had been pointed out by Mr. Molteno. He 
had stated that they had an important bearing upon the 
subject, but nevertheless the debate was concluded without 
them. The real issue was evaded. 

We have already drawn attention to the various forces 
brought to bear upon the members in the direction of the 
personal influence of the Governor and High Commissioner, 
the mystification produced by the imperfect way in which 
the papers were produced, by the withholding of some, and 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 397 

by the utterly wrong impressioiiB so skilfully fostered 
between the dismissal and the meeting of Parliament. To 
these should be added the statements of Mr. Sprigg as to 
the Ministers refusing to summon Parliament, and of their 
attempting to ignore the Governor. Finally the approval 
of the action of Sir Bartle Frere by the Secretary of State 
was now made public and the doctrine of a ' fait accompli ' 
had its due weight. 

All these causes, combined with the natiu'al swing of the 
pendulum when a Ministry had been so long in power as had 
Mr. Molteno's, tended to induce the members to vote with the 
new Ministry. Mr. Sprigg had said in a previous Parliament, 
at a time when it appeared to be impossible to replace 
Mr. Molteno, that any Government, even a dunamy one, 
would conmiand a certain amount of confidence simply 
because it had the patronage which a Government always 
wields. He had doubtless considered this principle and 
acted on it when he took office. At another time he had 
declared that he was ready to go back to the Crown Colony 
system rather than allow Mr. Molteno to remain in power. 
No doubt a strong incentive to the course the members 
were taking was that their action would retain Sir Bartle 
Frere in the country, for his reputation was great, and it 
was believed at that time that he would successfully deal 
with South African questions. 

The debate resulted in a majority in favour of the Govern- 
ment. 

Though the deflection of Mr. Molteno's supporters may 
be palliated it cannot be excused on these grounds. They 
knew Mr. Molteno and had thoroughly relied on him before 
Sir Bartle Frere's advent. They should not have been 
amenable to the influence of Sir Bartle Frere's personal 
ascendency ; they should have done their duty irrespective of 
persons and been above the fanfaronade attending Sir 
Bartle Frere's name and position. But they acted other- 



398 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J: C. MOLTENO 

wise, and never did so swift a punishment follow its 
cause.^ 

The ' Peace Preservation Act,' a delightful name of irony 
to cover a measure which was so disastrous in the blood- 
shed and ruin which it brought about, was now passed at Sir 
Bartle Frere's bidding by Mr. Sprigg. Immediately upon its 
application in spite of all warnings, the country was plunged 
into a war. The Tembus and other native tribes revolted, 
and great forces were raised to crush them. The Basutos 
pointed out in their picturesque phraseology that if a child 
is seen with a knife in its hands the father will not ruth- 
lessly tear it away, to the injury of the child; but he would 
take finger by finger and open them, and so remove the 
dangerous implement. All to no purpose. The Act was 
put in force in Basutoland also, the result being that the 
colony was plunged into war, and besides its men, its 
prestige, and its honour, it lost between 4,000,000Z. and 
5,000,0002. of treasure, and even then did not succeed. 

It soon appeared that Mr. Molteno was the one man who 
stood between South Africa and its ruin, not only in regard 
to the Cape Colony, but the whole of South Africa. Had 
he been supported by the Cape Parliament Sir Bartle Frere 
must have retired, and we should have seen no Zulu war, 
no Basuto war and no Boer war. There could have been no 
misrepresentation by Sir Bartle Frere of the Boer feeling 
against annexation being limited to a few malcontents, or 
suggestion of the disastrous results of undoing annexation 
which misled Mr. Gladstone, and no reason would have 
remained for the refusal of representative institutions to the 
Transvaal in accordance with promises so frequently made to 
that country and as frequently broken. 

A man of real power and sound judgment would not 

* Mr. Solomon and Mr Vintcent, to whose defection Mr. Molteno's defeat 
was principally due, confessed their error in supporting Sir Bartle Frere a 
year or two later on. See p. 434, infra. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 399 

have blindly attempted to force the policy of Lord Carnarvon, 
but wonld have examined the question on the spot, and 
finding a conjunction of circumstances absolutely fatal to 
its success at that time, he would have so advised his 
superiors at the Colonial Office. But such a man of cool 
and calm judgment was not Sir Bartle Frere. He was 
playing for high stakes. South Africa must be ' forced ' in 
two years, according to Lord Carnarvon, into a Confedera- 
tion. The sands of the Natal revolutionary constitution 
were running out ; it would last only these two years. A 
union of hearts and of sentiment was not the union he could 
bring about : it was one of flags and of arbitrary association 
which he attempted. It failed, as it was bound to fail. 

No time was to be allowed for the growth of the organism. 
There was no patience or scientific calm in Sir Bartle 
Frere's measure. Terrible evils ensued. The disaster of 
Isandhlwana suddenly threw a lurid light on his actions. The 
embitterment of the Boer war and its accompanying disasters 
for English prestige all arose out of this ill-fated attempt 
of Lord Carnarvon, who determined to refuse the advice 
of tried experience and local knowledge as represented by Sir 
Henry Barkly, the High Commissioner, and Mr. Molteno. 

We may recall the warning of Sir Henry Barkly that * if 
confederation were forced it would tend to set East against 
West, Dutch against English, and natives against 
both.' As in India so in Africa this resort to force was 
disastrous. To-day South Africa suffers immense evils from 
Lord Carnarvon's attempt. Its troubles there have their 
root and origin in this ill-fated policy. Sir Bartle Frere 
was the one man who might have drawn attention to the 
dangers which existed; but 'he took his ignorance for 
superior knowledge,' and saw them not. 

How are we to judge between these two men, each 
doing what he believed to be his duty and carrjdng his views 
to their legitimate consequences? On the one hand was 



390 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

' It was stated that troops had been ordered on a minnte by 
Mr. Brownlee, but this had never been communicated to his 
colleagues.* The Governor had no right to ask for troops 
without first consulting his Ministers on the subject. 
He brought back the debate to its real issue, which had 
been throughout set aside : * the simple question for the 
House was this: Was the Gk>vemor right in dismissing 
his Ministers for tendering their advice to him on so 
important a matter as that on which they had differed from 
him ? ' The speaker was quite prepared to admit that the 
advice so tendered was unpalatable advice, but at the same 
time that was not sufficient ground to justify their dismissal. 
The Governor might very probably have thought that he 
knew better than they did ; if so he was right in rejecting 
their advice, and he did not blame his Excellency for that, 
but still no sufficient ground had been shown to justify his 
Excellency in taking the extreme course which he adopted. 

The papers for which Mr. Molteno had asked were with- 
held, though he stated that they were of great importance.' 
After the debate was finished they were allowed to appear. 

Mr. Molteno in his reply pointed out that the real question 
at issue had been shelved, and that 

a studied attempt was being made to take a division on a ques- 
tion which was not really before them. The present Ministry 
had not touched the real question, which was this: Was there 

* This 80 called Minute appears in C. P., A. 24 — 78, p. 1, where it is called a 
memorandom. These papers were produced by the Premier in reply to a return 
agreed to by the House for ' all communications that have passed between the 
Governor and Ministers relative to the employment of troops and expenditure.' 
Yet it was quite unconstitutional for Sir Bartle Frere to use or receive such a 
memorandum from a Minister behind the back of the Premier. No member of 
the Oabmet can advise individually or in opposition to his colleagues (Todd, 
ParUamerUary Oovemment in England^ 2nd edition, vol. ii. p. 10), and any 
important communication between a subordinate Minister and the Grown 
should be * submitted to the Premier, if not beforehand at any rate immediately 
after it has taken place * {ibid, p. 18). We may further note that in this 
return Mr. Molteno's Minute of the 31st of January (A. 6 — 78, p. 2), refusing 
the Imperial troops, was not included. 

« These papers are C. P., A. 21—78 and C. P., A. 64—78. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 391 

sufficient cause to justify the Governor in taking the extreme 
step which he had taken? But instead of raising this, an 
attempt had heen made to raise a feeling of hostility to the late 
Ministry, not on account of their immediate acts which led to 
their dismissal, hut hy calling attention to their former acts. The 
Governor was not free to go into former acts ; that ought to be 
left to the House to deal with. The present Premier told the 
House that the Governor dismissed the Ministry because they 
were not taking proper steps to carry on the war effectually, but 
whether they were taking proper steps or not was not the 
question. The question was whether they committed any act 
which justified the Governor in dismissing them. That was the 
question upon which the House ought to divide, but it was quite 
clear that hon. gentlemen opposite were not going to vote on that 
question. . . . The question which the House ought to decide 
was whether the Governor was right in dismissing them, and not 
whether the late Ministry were right or wrong as to the way in 
which they conducted the war, nor yet whether they had refused 
or negleciied to bring forward a proper measure of defence for the 
Colony. All that has been said on these matters might be true, 
but still the Governor should not have taken upon himself to 
decide ; he should have left them to that House to settle. ... It 
was, however, quite clear that hon. members opposite were not 
going to divide upon the question of the dismissal, but upon the 
acts of the late Ministry. ... To sanction this would be to put 
the Governor in the place of the Parliament. 

What he asked the House was whether there was any- 
thing in the conduct of the late Ministry which justified the 
Governor in what he had done. To this there had been no 
answer in that House. 

His own contention and principle of action was that there 
was no justification for his dismissal, for there was no immediate 
danger in the position of affairs on the frontier when that dismissal 
took place, and the Governor himself admitted that the work so 
far had been well done. 

As to the statement Mr. Sprigg had made that there were 
dissensions in the Cabinet, he pointed out that there 

was no document on the table to prove that, and none that he 
knew of anywhere, except that memorandum which the present 
Premier had just brought to the notice of the House, and which he 



403 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXXI 

PEBSONAL BULB BE-ESTABLISHED 

Efleots of Personal Bnle on Cape Golony — Coetly Defence Sohemee — ^Their 
Futility— Enormous War Expenditure— Summary of Mr. Molteno's Policy 
— SuooesB of his Administration — Irrigation to follow Bailways — Extenaion 
of Golonial Boondary— Ultimate Federation of South Afrioa— BesponsiUe 
Government an object lesson — Destroyed by pursuit of Imperial Policy — 
Lord Blaohf ord*s Views — Machinery of Empire— Impossible without Bespon- 
sible Government — Mr. Molteno retires temporarily from public life. 

Responsible Government was now replaced by personal 
role, through a Ministry selected and held in power by Sir 
Bartle Frere and willing to carry out his behests. There 
now followed a period of disaster unparalleled in the history 
the Cape. 

The policy of raising a colonial army was attempted by Sir 
Bartle Frere through his Premier. Taxation was enormously 
increased to meet the cost. This money might as well 
have been thrown into Table Bay. Indeed, far better would 
it have been, inasmuch as the existence of the forces thus 
created induced Sir Bartle Frere to commence his policy 
of destroying the native chiefs and disarming the Fingoes, 
Tembus, and Basutos. All the various corps then raised 
were eventually disbanded, and the sole force which it was 
possible for the Colony to maintain was the Frontier Armed 
and Mounted Police, now named Cape Mounted Biflemen, 
as it had been maintained during Mr. Molteno's administra- 
tion, though its numbers were even reduced from those 
authorised in the last year of his administration. The force 
comprised in the year 1876-1877 892 men of all ranks, while 
in 1896-1897 it stood at 801 men of all ranks. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 393 

although that signature was not appended to it as it appeared in 
the ' Gazette.' Then after that the Governor complained of the 
inconvenience that might arise from the existence of an in- 
dependent power with regard to the colonial forces, and 
I myself explained to his Excellency that the dual system, 
as it was called, could not have all the effects which the 
Governor seemed to think it would have. I pointed out that 
the Governor would be the commander of the forces. . . . The 
Commandant-General would be over the colonial forces, while the 
Imperial forces would be under the Imperial officers, and his 
Excellency would be over them all, and there would be no dual 
command at all. 

On the 20th the Governor asked for the particular 
instructions to the Commandant-General, and then came 
the matters on which they differed. Mr. Molteno 
said: — 

They gave advice to his Excellency which they considered it 
their duty to give, and was not the Colonial Government justified 
in giving advice as to the control of their own forces ? They had 
to pay the expenses of the war, and on that they had a right to a 
voice as to their control, but they did not wish to control them 
without consulting the Governor ; they never intended to take the 
matter out of his hands. Every telegram and document was sent 
to him, and he (Mr. Molteno) was sinrprised that his Excellency 
should say that he had no information, except such as he could 
gather from the newspapers, for he had all the information which 
Ministers themselves possessed. Nor did he (Mr. Molteno) place 
the late Commissioner for Public Works to act as * a military 
dictator,* as he had been styled. But on his arrival there he 
found him in a position in which the Governor had himself placed 
him. Then came the conversations with the Governor, and if the 
whole account of these conversations were given, as it might be 
given if he himself were writing to his constituents, they might 
put upon them a very different interpretation to that which some 
hon. members were so anxious to put upon them. . . . And when 
his Excellency said that there were some things which he had not 
been informed about, he (Mr. Molteno) expressed his surprise, and 
said that no doubt it was an oversight, for such a thing as that his 
colleague, the then Commissioner of Public Works, should act 
upon his own authority in important public matters had never 
entered his mind ; while the Governor was most fully informed 
of all operations. 



394 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

But then, when everything was ready, the instructions 
which it was proposed to give to the Commandant-General 
were drawn up and sent to his Excellency, and the Governor 
appeared to be opposed to the appointment. He himself asked 
the Governor whether he objected to it, as if he did the 
Ministers would not act upon it ; but the Governor said no, he did 
not object, and then he (Mr. Molteno) took the instructions to 
the Commandant-General and told him to go on. The late 
Ministers had been accused of ignoring the Governor, but was 
that ignoring the Governor ? They had informed the Governor 
of everything, and if he (Mr. Molteno) found at any time that 
something had been omitted he himself immediately informed 
his Excellency of it. Well then it was said that they had made 
an appointment, or had concurred in it, by which the control of 
all colonial forces was vested in Sir A. Cunynghame, and that 
they had not revoked it at the very time they were appointing Mr. 
Griffith Commandant-General. But they were still discussing 
the matter ; if not they would have advised his Excellency to 
revoke his former proclamation vesting the control in Sir Arthur 
Cunynghame. 

As to the way in which Mr. Sprigg had entered office, he 
said : — 

But let not that gentleman get in over the wall ; let him go in 
by the front door, let him go in as the Minister of that House. 
But he thought that he could safely say that the hon. gentlemen 
who now sat on the Treasury benches would not have the con- 
fidence of the country for any great length of time, for they 
had been put into office in a way which the country very soon 
would not like. They had been put in by superiors, fettered in 
their action, and in a way which was certainly not a proper 
one. 

As a matter of fact the new Ministry remained in power 
only so long as Sir Bartle Frere acted as Governor and kept 
them there. They were defep,ted in the first session of 
Parliament after his departure, and it is an interesting fact 
that Mr. Sprigg, though holding office on subsequent occa- 
sions, has never been placed in that position by a direct vote 
of the Cape Parliament. 

Mr. Molteno concluded by saying that he had no love 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 396 

for office, that it was not a personal question but a principle 
for which he was contending. 

He had never continued in office for its own sake, but for the 
interests of the Colony only. That was his only motive for 
remaining in office, and it would have been better for his own 
ease and peace of mind if he had resigned long ago. But let hon. 
gentlemen look at the question from a broad point of view, and 
not principally as one of opposition to a Molteno Ministry. He 
had always regarded himself as a servant of that House while in 
office, and while supported by a majority he held to his office, and 
he believed that if the time had come for his dismissal it was for 
that House to dismiss him and not the Governor, who gave his 
late Ministers no opportunity of defending themselves and no 
Minute of his reasons for dismissing them, but only drew up a 
Minute on the 6th of February, which before their dismissal they 
had never seen. He (Mr. Molteno) appealed. to that House to 
consider the question in a proper way, not as a question between 
Moltenoites and Spriggites, but only as a question intimately 
affecting the good of the Colony. It was not a mere question of 
the change of Ministry which that House had now to decide, but 
a grave and serious constitutional question, and he asked hon. 
members in recording their votes to record them from no other 
point of view. 

Mr. Solomon, who generally on great occasions had taken 
a conspicuous place, confined himself chiefly to a discussion 
of the operations connected with the disarmament of 
Mapassa and Mackinnon and the Gongoballa affair. The 
information before the House upon these subjects, how- 
ever, was imperfect, and he was proved in the course of 
the debate to be quite in error in the assumptions he 
made in regard to the conduct of the late Ministry. The 
constitutional question he hardly touched upon. His action, 
however, served to show the extent to which he was ready 
to go in attacking the late Ministers, even to the point 
of presuming against them wherever his information was 
incomplete. Before Sir Bartle Frere left the Cape Mr. 
Solomon confessed his error in following and trusting him. 

Mr. Merriman now replied and showed how the House 



396 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

was being led away from the real issue. He then drew atten- 
tion to the dangers of the action of the Governor in its effect 
upon responsible government, and said : — 

It seemed to him that the dismissal of the late Government 
under the circumstances was the first step towards the introduc- 
tion of personal government, because if a Ministry were to be 
dismissed for every Uttle thing on which they differed from the 
Governor, the result would be that they would ultimately find 
themselves put under a strict personal government. . . . They 
must admit that his Excellency had been almost always entrusted 
with the duties of personal government, and he seemed to forget 
that under a responsible government the Ministers were really the 
individuals who were entrusted with the government of the 
country. . . . The Governor said he had parted from his late 
Ministers because he said they had differed from him, and that 
was the question, and a very important question it was in this 
Colony ; for it was not here as in England. There the balance 
of things was well maintained, but here the power of the Governor 
was very great, and if he threw himself into the scale of one 
pohtical party it crushed completely the opposite party. He 
feared that House would endorse the position taken up by the 
hon. gentleman opposite, but if they did so that hon. gentleman 
would himself regret it, not because the Governor had himself 
sent him there, but because the Governor, who was only 
responsible to England, if he could not get one set of men to 
suit his views and submit themselves entirely to his guidance 
would change them at his will and pleasure, and throw himself on 
the side of any pohtical party, and so effect his own purposes 
whenever he chose to do so. 

The absence of the very material documents for which 
he had asked had been pointed out by Mr. Molteno. He 
had stated that they had an important bearing upon the 
subject, but nevertheless the debate was concluded without 
them. The real issue was evaded. 

We have already drawn attention to the various forces 
brought to bear upon the members in the direction of the 
personal influence of the Governor and High Commissioner, 
the mystification produced by the imperfect way in which 
the papers were produced, by the withholding of some, and 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 397 

by the utterly wrong impressions so skilfully fostered 
between the dismissal and the meeting of Parliament. To 
these should be added the statements of Mr. Sprigg as to 
the Ministers refusing to summon Parliament, and of their 
attempting to ignore the Governor. Finally the approval 
of the action of Sir Bartle Frere by the Secretary of State 
was now made public and the doctrine of a * fait accompli ' 
had its due weight. 

All these causes, combined with the natural swing of the 
pendulum when a Ministry had been so long in power as had 
Mr. Molteno's, tended to induce the members to vote with the 
new Ministry. Mr. Sprigg had said in a previous Parliament, 
at a time when it appeared to be impossible to replace 
Mr. Molteno, that any Government, even a dunamy one, 
would command a certain amount of confidence simply 
because it had the patronage which a Government always 
wields. He had doubtless considered this principle and 
acted on it when he took office. At another time he had 
declared that he was ready to go back to the Crown Colony 
system rather than allow Mr. Molteno to remain in power. 
No doubt a strong incentive to the course the members 
were taking was that their action would retain Sir Bartle 
Frere in the country, for his reputation was great, and it 
was believed at that time that he would successfully deal 
with South Airican questions. 

The debate resulted in a majority in favour of the Govern- 
ment. 

Though the deflection of Mr. Molteno's supporters may 
be palliated it cannot be excused on these grounds. They 
knew Mr. Molteno and had thoroughly relied on him before 
Sir Bartle Frere's advent. They should not have been 
amenable to the influence of Sir Bartle Frere's personal 
ascendency ; they should have done their duty irrespective of 
persons and been above the fanfaronade attending Sir 
Bartle Frere's name and position. But they acted other- 



398 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J: C. MOLTENO 

wise, and never did so swift a punishment follow its 
cause. ^ 

The * Peace Preservation Act/ a delightful name of irony 
to cover a measure which was so disastrous in the blood- 
shed and ruin which it brought about, was now passed at Sir 
Bartle Frere's bidding by Mr. Sprigg. Immediately upon its 
application in spite of all warnings, the country was plunged 
into a war. The Tembus and other native tribes revolted, 
and great forces were raised to crush them. The Basutos 
pointed out in their picturesque phraseology that if a child 
is seen with a knife in its hands the father will not ruth- 
lessly tear it away, to the injury of the child; but he would 
take finger by finger and open them, and so remove the 
dangerous implement. All to no purpose. The Act was 
put in force in Basutoland also, the result being that the 
colony was plunged into war, and besides its men, its 
prestige, and its honour, it lost between 4,000,0002. and 
5,000,000Z. of treasure, and even then did not succeed. 

It soon appeared that Mr. Molteno was the one man who 
stood between South Africa and its ruin, not only in regard 
to the Cape Colony, but the whole of South Africa. Had 
he been supported by the Cape Parliament Sir Bartle Frere 
must have retired, and we should have seen no Zulu war, 
no Basuto war and no Boer war. There could have been no 
misrepresentation by Sir Bartle Frere of the Boer feeling 
against annexation being limited to a few malcontents, or 
suggestion of the disastrous results of undoing annexation 
which misled Mr. Gladstone, and no reason would have 
remained for the refusal of representative institutions to the 
Transvaal in accordance with promises so frequently made to 
that country and as frequently broken. 

A man of real power and sound judgment would not 

> Mr. Solomon and Mr Vintoent, to whose defection Mr. Molteno's defeat 
was principally due, confessed their error in supporting Sir Bartle Frere a 
year or two later on. See p. 434, infra. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 399 

have blindly attempted to force the policy of Lord Carnarvon, 
but would have examined the question on the spot, and 
finding a conjunction of circumstances absolutely fatal to 
its success at that time, he would have so advised his 
superiors at the Colonial Office. But such a man of cool 
and calm judgment was not Sir Bartle Frere. He was 
playing for high stakes. South Africa must be ' forced ' in 
two years, according to Lord Carnarvon, into a Confedera- 
tion. The sands of the Natal revolutionary constitution 
were running out ; it would last only these two years. A 
union of hearts and of sentiment was not the union he could 
bring about : it was one of flags and of arbitrary association 
which he attempted. It failed, as it was bound to fail. 

No time was to be allowed for the growth of the organism. 
There was no patience or scientific calm in Sir Bartle 
Frere's measure. Terrible evils ensued. The disaster of 
Isandhlwema suddenly threw a lurid light on his actions. The 
embitterment of the Boer war and its accompanjdng disasters 
for English prestige all arose out of this ill-fated attempt 
of Lord Carnarvon, who determined to refuse the advice 
of tried experience and local knowledge as represented by Sir 
Henry Barkly, the High Commissioner, and Mr. Molteno. 

We may recall the warning of Sir Henry Barkly that * if 
confederation were forced it would tend to set East against 
West, Dutch against English, and natives against 
both.' As in India so in Africa this resort to force was 
disastrous. To-day South Airica suffers immense evils from 
Lord Carnarvon's attempt. Its troubles there have their 
root and origin in this ill-fated policy. Sir Bartle Frere 
was the one man who might have drawn attention to the 
dangers which existed; but *he took his ignorance for 
superior knowledge/ and saw them not. 

How are we to judge between these two men, each 
doing what he believed to be his duty and carrying his views 
to their legitimate consequences? On the one hand was 



400 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

Mr. Molteno, who built securely and firmly the structure of 
colonial national life stone by stone as rapidly as was con- 
sistent with good workmanship ; he was one of the individual 
Englishmen who was carrpng out the fundamental principles 
of representative institutions which England had given to 
the Cape ' to lay the foundation of institutions which may 
carry the blessings and privileges as well as the wealth and 
power of the British nation into South Africa ; and, whilst 
appeasing the jealousies of sometimes conflicting races, to 
promote the security and prosperity not only of those of 
British origin but of all the Queen's subjects, so that they 
may combine for the great common object, the peace and 
progress of the Colony/ ' He had matriculated in the fight 
for responsible government and graduated in its administra- 
tion. The other had held high office in India, where despotic 
government only was possible. Indeed, we see personified 
in this conflict between these two men the fight between the 
principles of English constitutional freedom and the spirit 
of despotic rule. 

Judged by an even higher standard, that of justice and 
right and morality, how do they compare ? The following 
quotation supplies a principle of discrimination. 

What is the test of veracity and heroism of conduot? Does 
your hero's achievement go in the pathological or the moral 
direction ? Does it tend to spread faith in that cimning, violence, 
force which were once primitive and natural conditions of life, 
and which will still by natural law work to their own proper 
triumphs in so far as these conditions survive, and within such 
limits and in such sense as they permit; or, on the contrary, 
does it heighten respect for civic law, for pledged word, for the 
habit of self -surrender to the public good, and for all those other 
ideas and sentiments and usages which have been painfully 
gained from the sterile sands of egotism and selfishness, and to 
which we are indebted for all the untold boons conferred by the 
social union on man ? ^ 

1 Dake of Newcastle to Sir George Cathcart, p. 215 of Noble's South Africa, 
* P. 171 of Morley's Miscellanies, vol. i. 



DISMISSAL DEBATE 401 

When we look at the disarmament of the natives, the 
declaration * Henceforth no chief shall exist in South Africa/ 
the Zulu war, the Transvaal seizure, are we not in the region 
where * only force and never principles are facts, and where 
nothing is reality but the violent triumph of arbitrarily 
imposed will ' ? ^ When we look at Sir Bartle Frere's uncon- 
stitutional actions in refusing the advice of his Ministry, 
in dismissing the chosen Ministers of the Parliamentary 
majority, are we not in the presence of that dangerous reaction 
of despotic rule in India upon free government ? Do we not 
see in his whole South African career ' the retrograde passion 
for methods of repression, the contempt for human life, the 
impatience of orderly and peaceful solution ' ? Do we not 
see the feverish haste to build a structure pretentious to the 
eye, but without solidity or endurance ? Is this not the 
character of Lord Carnarvon's Confederation attempt and 
Sir Bartle Frere's direction of it, a union of flags and of 
names, but no union of hearts and sentiments ? 

1 Speaking at the time of the Znla war and of Sir Bartle Frere's policy 
Bishop Golenso says, *Bat do we really belieye in the Living Ood, who 
requires of as, if we would receive His blessing, '* to do justly and to lov« 
mercy, and to walk humbly with Him *'?•.. Let those who wiU bow down 
and worship their domb idols, bmte force, and prond prestige, and crafty 
policy.' — Life of Bishop Colensot vol. ii. p. 498. 



VOL. II. D B 



403 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 



CHAPTER XXXI 

PERSONAL BULE BE-ESTABLISHED 

Effeotfl of Personal Bnle on Gape Golony — Costly Defence Sohemea — ^Their 
Fntility — Enormous War Expenditure — Summary of Mr. Molteno's Policy 
—Success of his Administration— Irrigation to follow Bailways — Extension 
of Colonial Boundary — Ultimate Federation of South Africa — ^BesponmUe 
Goyemment an object lesson— Destroyed by pursuit of Imperial Policy- 
Lord Blachf ord*s Views — Machinery of Empire— Impossible without Bespon- 
sible Government — Mr. Molteno retires temporarily from public life. 

Responsible Government was now replaced by personal 
rule, through a Ministry selected and held in power by Sir 
Bartle Frere and willing to carry out his behests. There 
now followed a period of disaster unparalleled in the history 
the Cape. 

The policy of raising a colonial army was attempted by Sir 
Bartle Frere through his Premier. Taxation was enormously 
increased to meet the cost. This money might as well 
have been thrown into Table Bay. Indeed, far better would 
it have been, inasmuch as the existence of the forces thus 
created induced Sir Bartle Frere to commence his policy 
of destroying the native chiefs and disarming the Fingoes, 
Tembus, and Basutos. All the various corps then raised 
were eventually disbanded, and the sole force which it was 
possible for the Colony to maintain was the Frontier Armed 
and Mounted Police, now named Cape Mounted Biflemen, 
as it had been maintained during Mr. Molteno's administra- 
tion, though its numbers were even reduced from those 
authorised in the last year of his administration. The force 
comprised in the year 1876-1877 892 men of all ranks, while 
in 1896-1897 it stood at 801 men of all ranks. 



PBB80NAL RULE RE-ESTABLISHED 403 

There was expended on the defence schemes of Mr. 
Sprigg's Administration and the forces raised by his 
measures taken at Sir Bartle Frere's instance from 1879, 
the year of their initiation, to 1886, when they finally 
disappear from the colonial accounts, the sum of 520,8562., 
while during the same period there was expended on 
the Cape Mounted Bifles and the Volunteers the sum 
of 891,3722. This was in addition to the war expendi- 
ture during the same period, which, as we have else- 
where shown,^ amounted to 4,869,735Z.^ This is the result 
in actual figures, apart from other disastrous results, of 
the terrible losses arising to the Colony from Sir Bartle 
Frere's fatal policy carried out unconstitutionally by his 
dismissal of the Colonial Ministry and the maintenance in 
power of his nominees. There was a further sum expended 
by the Imperial Government 'for the Transkei war' of 
349,902Z. as finally adjusted, and it practically admitted 
the unconstitutional action of the Governor by paying 
this amount.^ We may compare this wasted and ruinous 
expenditure with the careful husbanding of the Colony's 
finemces by Mr. Molteno, and the difference between the 
results to the happiness and well-being of the people of 
the Colony of wise and unwise statesmanship will become 
apparent. It is a measure, but em inadequate one, of the 
cost to the Colony of Sir Bartle Frere's dictatorship and 
Mr. Sprigg's subservience. 

Mr. Molteno had been severely tried by the emxiety and 
the difficulties of the position attendant on the outbreak of 
the Galeka war. The strain upon him was enormously in- 
creased by Sir Bartle Frere's refusal to return to the capital in 
accordance with his advice, while the Governor's interference 

* See infra^ p. 447, n. 

' Statement of * Colonial Defence Expenditure other than War Expenditure,' 
by the Hon. 0. Abercrombie Smith, Auditor and Controller-General of the 
Colony, kindly prepared from official returns for the writer. 

■ See C. P., G. 43— '82, pp. 8-9, and see su^gra^ vol. ii. p. 836. 

o o 2 



404 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

with the conduct of the operations led to the extension of 
the war to the Colony and the rising of the Tambookies and 
Gaikas. He had earned a rest from the toils of office. But 
apart from all this Sir Bartle Frere had seized the govern- 
ment of the country ; he now had a free hand. Mr. Molteno's 
warnings had been unheeded. He had done his best ; he had 
thrown himself heart and soul into the work to which 
he had set his hand — the acquisition and administration of 
responsible government. Enormous success had attended 
his efforts. 

His career as a public man had comimenced with the 
institution of the Cape Parliament itself, and from the very 
first he took an active part in its proceedings. In all the 
stirring questions that had agitated the country he had 
taken a leading part. He had conducted to a successful 
issue the great struggle for responsible government, and had 
made good his assertion that the affairs of the country would 
prosper and advance in a manner which was impossible so 
long as they were controlled from afar by persons whose 
knowledge of local circumstances was necessarily very 
limited. He was fitly chosen by Sir Henry Barkly after the 
triumph over the reactionary policy of Sir Philip Wodehouae 
to inaugurate the change that gave to the colonists the 
right of self-government. The change was not effected 
without exciting a vast amount of angry feeling, and the 
path of those who had to work out the new order of things 
was not of the smoothest. But there was an obligation laid 
upon them, that of proving the superiority of the new system 
to the old, and this they had done in a manner to which 
friends and foes alike gave an unqualified approbation. 

His fidelity to those principles which mark the English 
colonial system and are the natural corollary to English 
institutions was exemplified in the agitation excited by 
the Imperial emissary Mr. Froude. To the influences 
brought to bear against him — and they were such as would 



PEBSONAL BULE RE-ESTABLISHED 406 

have shaken a less constant faith — he opposed the blunt 
determination of a man bent on asserting a vital and firmly 
grasped conviction. Mr. Molteno vindicated the constitu- 
tional rights of the Colony, which were infringed by the pro- 
ceedings of Lord Carnarvon ; and, convinced of this and of 
his own duty in respect thereto, he fulfilled that duty with 
a fidelity which should endear his name to every colonist. 

Neither the prospect of Imperial favours nor the glamour 
of popular excitement, nor the denunciation by a large 
portion of the colonial press, nor the threats and insults of 
ParUamentary opponents caused one moment's wavering in 
his attitude as trustee of the Constitution and the welfare of 
the Colony. To that trust he was stubbornly and heroically 
faithful when a large portion of the Colony, blinded by 
prejudice or party passions, were ready to denounce him as 
a traitor. Mr. Molteno triumphed, and his views were con- 
firmed by the representatives of the people ; but it remains 
for history to do justice to the man who, in the teeth of the 
obloquy and passion so sedulously fostered, emd in spite of 
many seductive influences, fulfilled his duty to the State as 
he imderstood it. 

Since his accession to office in 1872 his Cabinet had 
been associated with many great improvements. Harbours, 
railways, and telegraphs had been pushed forward at a 
rate that a few years before would have been thought 
marvellous in South Africa. The success attendant upon 
the estabhshment of the Cape University had amply justified 
his sanguine estimates of its effect. Magistracies had been 
established in most of the districts of the Colony. The 
resources which the prosperity attendant on the inauguration 
of responsible government had placed at his disposal were 
carefully husbanded, and over two millions of surplus 
revenue was utiUsed in the payment of loans and invested in 
the development of the Colony. * Taking the exact figures 
from the complete Analysis of the Accounts framed in 1884« 



406 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

it appears that on the 1st of Jannary, 1870, the Ordinary 
Bevenue and Expenditure Account showed a deficit balance 
of nearly 1,055,000/., fully covered by permanent and tern- 
porary loans, while on the 31st of December, 1875, this large 
deficit had been converted into a surplus of over 1,125,OOOZ., 
showing a gain during the five years of about 2,180,000/., 
or nearly one-third of the whole revenue for the pe'HodJ' * 

During 1873 and 1874 two permanent loans raised before 
1870 to cover deficits of revenue, and amounting to over 
235,000/., were repaid out of revenue, and the purchase of the 
existing sjrstem of telegraphs was also paid for out of ordinary 
revenue. These latter payments were rendered possible by 
the abolition of the old sinking fund in 1874, which set free a 
portion of the revenue. ' During the Molteno Administration 
the excess of revenue over ordinary expenditure amounted to 
about 1,244,000/., all of which may be said to have been 
invested in important public works, for which loans were 
being raised. On the 30th of June, 1877, the amount spent 
on such works exceeded the proceeds of the corresponding 
loans by more than 1,350,000/. This does not include the 
large amounts spent on pubhc works, harbour works, roads, 
bridges, &c., charged as ordinary expenditure.' ^ 

When we recall the terrible depression of the decade of 
1860-1870, and the ever-recurring deficits, we appreciate 
the remarkable change in the Colony's condition and pro- 
spects, and we must concede our tribute of admiration to 
the care and wise foresight exercised by Mr. Molteno in the 
use of the resources at his disposal. We must not forget 
that at the same time the taxation in existence was lighter 
than at any period of the Colony's recent history, before 
or since that time. In the Beport on the Cape Blue-book 

1 statement of the Aaditor-Oeneral of the Colony. 

* Ibid. This statement was most kindly prepared for me from pnblic 
records by the Hon. C. Aberorombie Smith, the Auditor and Gontroller-(}enez«l 
of the Colony. 



PERSONAL BULE BE-ESTABLISHED 407 

presented to Parliament in 1877, Sir H- Barkly, in his 
concluding remarks, observed that it may be doubted 
whether the returns from any of her Majesty's Colonies 
exhibited more solid progress than those he comments on. 
Had Mr. Molteno's wise and prudent stewardship of the 
Colony not been upset by Lord Carnarvon's schemes and 
Sir Bartle Frere's dictatorship, there was no reason why he 
should not have achieved still greater successes. 

We have seen that Mr. Molteno had contemplated a 
great extension of his policy of development. Having 
provided hsjrbours and railways, it was his intention to 
provide by great irrigation works for the want of the 
element that is lacking to the successful cultivation of the 
soil of the Colony — a good cmd constant supply of water. 
He looked with longing eyes to the great river which 
formed the northern boundary of the Colony, and which 
annually discharged, and does to this day discharge, millions 
of cubic yards of water uselessly into the sea in place of 
fertilising the land. The gigantic importation of cereals 
into South Africa in recent years attests the vnsdom of these 
intentions, which, had they been carried out, would have 
provided food stuffs for the whole of South Africa in 
abundance, and enabled the Cape Colony to support a vast 
white population.* 

He had not been unmindful of the interests of the 
Cape Colony and of South Africa in regsjrd to the out- 
lying territories. We have seen how strongly he urged 
upon Lord Carnarvon the annexation of the country between 

' ' It may not be oat of place here to state that Mr. Molteno daring his 
administration devoted mach thought to the question of irrigation, that at the 
time he was driven from offioe he had formed his condasions, and that had he 
been permitted he would have begun a system of irrigation works in the Colony 
on the same thorough and far-reaohing scale that he had previously done in 
the matter of railways, and it is not too much to add that his influence upon 
the Dutch land-owning class would probably in this direction have effected a 
revolution in the economical conditions of South Africa ' (Letter of Hon. J. X. 
Merriman). 



408 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

the Orange Free State and Cunene River, which owing to 
the opposition of Lord Carnarvon, was carried out only in part 
in the annexation of Walfiisch Bay, and its neighbourhood. 
On the east he was gradually absorbing the native territoriee 
as often as pradence and wisdom justified their annexation. 
All these tasks were ample to occupy the whole of the 
undivided attention and resources of the Cape Colony. 

The map facing this page shows what the Colony would 
have been had the annexations recommended by Mr. Molteno 
been permitted by the Imperial Grovemment. 

If we look at the map at the end of the volume, which 
shows the present boundary of the Colony, it will be seen 
that all the annexations (with the important exception men- 
tioned below) reconmiended by Mr. Molteno have been 
carried out either while he was in oflBce or subsequently. 
These were Griqualand West, the whole of the Transkei, 
excepting Pondoland and the coast-line between the Orange 
and Cunene rivers and thence inland to include Damara* 
land and Great Namaqualand, and as far eastward as was 
thought desirable, which limit was, in Sir Bartle Frere's 
despatch of November 13, 1877,* placed at the Transvaal 
Frontier. This latter despatch embodied the resolutions of 
the Cape Parliament passed at Mr. Molteno's instance. 

The greater portion of the last-mentioned territory with 
its coast-line has since been lost to the Colony, being now in 
the possession of Germany. The Colony has further lost 
Basutoland since Mr. Molteno's Premiership, while it has 
gained Pondoland. The £mal result being that it is much 
more limited in its area than it would have been had Mr. 
Molteno's farsighted policy been adopted by the Home 
G^vemment.^ 

> L P., 0— 2000, p. 1. 

* AU four maps in the two volmnes should be compared with a view to 
observing the increase in area of the European settlements in South Africa 
since 1881, when Mr. Molteno landed on its shores. While a comparison of the 
map of 1872 with that facing this page will show the extension of the area of 
the Colony as proposed tinder Mr. Molteno's auspices. 



(r^ 



• *t^ 







k 



J«)' 




Mm 



"->a* 




-^^^^ 



laerScC 



PEBSONAL RULE BE-BSTABLISHED 409 

In common with others Mr. Molteno looked forward to 
an eventual federation of South Africa, but he felt that it 
must be a real xmion of hearts brought about by harmonious 
feeling. Eivers had to be bridged, connecting links of rail- 
ways had to be constructed to increase the intercourse of 
the population of the various colonies and states. All these 
more rapid and more convenient means of communica- 
tion were to destroy old prejudices and give rise to a better 
feeling. 

But above all he made it the object of his ambition that 
the Cape Colony should be an example of the freedom 
afforded to British communities to manage themselves. 
Disastrous results had attended the government of South 
Africa as a Crown Colony ; he meant to demonstrate that 
the unfettered development of responsible government was 
a solution for the difficulties in South Africa. But Lord 
Carnarvon was not content to permit this good work to go 
on. He tore the tender plant up to examine its roots ; 
atrophy, if not eventual death, was the result. The excite- 
ment attendant on the pressure of the Confederation pro- 
posals by Mr. Froude had begun to check his progress. 
Eventually a complete reversal of the policy of responsible 
government took place when Sir Bartle Frere was sent 
to force his views in South Africa. 

Lord Blachford, than whom no man was better informed 
in regard to the Colonies, drew attention to this reversal of 
policy, and pointed out that the first important step taken in 
respect to this policy by Lord Beaconsfield's Ministry 

was the endeavour by direct appeal to the inhabitants to oall into 
existence a popular feeling which should force Confederation on a 
Government which was not inclined to it. I do not here express 
any opinion on the prudence or necessity of this course. I only 
say that, right or wrong, prudent or imprudent, it was a clear 
departure from the policy of non-interference which had been 
previously pursued, and that the somewhat antagonistic inter- 
position of the Imperial Government, or its representative which 



410 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

began with this agitation, and ended with the dismissal of Mr. 
Molteno, tended to replace on Great Britain the responsibility for 
the administration, and therefore for the safety, of the Colony, 
which it was the object of previous Secretaries of State to fasten 
on the Colonial Government. 

Then, as native difficulties began to show themselves, what 
was at first a tendency became an active principle of policy ; and 
most active in respect to that matter which was most critical, the 
matter of military assistance. 

As the possibility of native rebellion arose, the former policy, 
as I understand it, would have required the Governor to force bis 
Ministry into effective action, by making them clearly understand 
that they could not rely on receiving fresh assistance, or even 
retaining in full what they already had, imless they took such 
measures for their own defence as would satisfy her Majesty's 
Government that they were doing their best. 

Sir Bartle Frere took a directly contrary course. On the first 
appearance of danger he invited the Colony to expect help from 
Great Britain. * I repeatedly informed Mr. Molteno,' he writes, 
' from the very first threatening of troubles on the frontier, that the 
commander of the forces had suggested, and that I had supported 
his suggestion, that if matters did not quiet down the regimental 
relief should be anticipated by a few months, and that we should 
have a discretionary power to detain the relieved regiments if 
necessary.' ^ 

Nor was this nearly all. After some months of disturbance, 
considering his Ministry rather slack in their preparations, he 
addressed them on the 31st of December, 1877, in tiie following 
terms : * The Volimteers and burghers have melted away, and 
have not been replaced, and I see no effort made by you to replace 
them. ... I can only myself appeal to her Majesty's Government 
for more troops. Do you support my request ? ' That is to say, 
he at once fastened on the Home Government the duty of making 
good not only the weakness but the negligence of the Colonies. 
The Colonial Government, strange to say, did not close with this 
proposal. On the 2nd of January the Minister replied that it 
would be quicker and easier to raise a force in the Colony than 
to get it from England. * I cannot therefore support your Excel- 
lency's request to her Majesty's Government for more troops.' 
Yet, even under this discouragement, Sir Bartle Frere, on the 
9th of the same month, persevered in requesting the Secretary of 
State to send him out two regiments, with the inauspicious 
intimation that he might want them for Natal. 

» I. P., C— 2100 of 1878. No. 1. 



PBESONAL EULE RE-ESTABLISHED 411 

Those who have read reoent colonial newspapers will not fail 
to see the immense colonial unpopularity which was likely to 
attach to this conduct of Mr. Molteno's if ever it became known. 
And on his dismissal, which soon followed, his successor, Mr. 
Sprigg, did not fail to make the most of it. In his election mani- 
festo, addressed to his constituents on taking office, he informed 
them of the somewhat whimsical result. He told them that on 
the arrival of the reinforcements which the Governor had, in 
spite of his then Ministry and with some difficulty, obtained from 
the War Office, ' His Excellency asked the Ministry of Mr. Molteno 
what they advised him to do with it. Their reply was that 
" it might be sent to any part of the Empire where it was wanted, 
but that it was quite unnecessary to retain it in the Colony." ' ^ 

Seeing that the ablest politician in the Colony did not think 
an additional force of British troops necessary, and that the best 
Government officers show that, if left to themselves, they would 
identify themselves with that forbearing policy which allows 
temporary difficulties to disperse, it seems to me a fair question 
whether the prospects of peace may not have been injured by 
these attractive promises of gratuitous help. They have doubt- 
less greatly increased the personal influence of the Governor, 
and through him perhaps that of the Home Government. But 
they can hardly fail to have reproduced that colonial mischief 
which we have learned by experience to dread — the mischief of 
encouraging discontented settlers or impatient officials to force on 
a war of which they will have the advantage and this country the 
loss. 

And he went on to show that the policy which had been 
pursued up to 1872 had 'been not so much arrested as 
reversed.* * 

It is seldom that the views upon South African questions 
of English statesmen of the first rank, thoroughly informed 
upon the subjects with which they deal, find any expression, 
and we have therefore placed Lord Blachford's view before 
our readers. It is interesting from another point of view. 
Lord Blachford had been Under-Colonial Secretary during 
the period of Mr. Molteno's struggles with Sir Philip Wode- 
house, and since his retirement from the Colonial Office had 

» I. p., C— 2079 of 1878, p. 102. 

' Nineteenth Century, Aogost 1879, p. 277. 



412 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. 0. MOLTENO 

given evidence in numerous contributions to periodical 
literature of his interest in South Africa. We observe that 
his estimate of Mr. Molteno was that he was the ablest 
politician in the Colony. 

Mr. Molteno was doing his part well towards making 
possible that division of labour, so to speak, in the Empire, 
that greater specialisation of function in the outlying parts 
with higher integration of the whole which marks the 
advanced development of our Imperial organisation to-day. 
The central administration of the mother country would 
have been, and is, unable to cope with the enormous mass 
of detail involved in the administration of the outlying 
dependencies constituting our self-governing colonies, 
burthened as the central machine is with the numerous and 
vast problems bom of its contact with the great Powers of 
Europe. Each portion of the Empire does its own special 
work of carrying on its own internal administration. Every 
day brings into prominence with the growth of the Empire 
the enormous importance of this principle. On a recent 
occasion, when the unity of the Empire was so well epitomised 
by the presence in England of the Colonial Premiers, the 
two most distinguished representatives of the colonies. Sir 
Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Eeid, called attention to the fact 
that the application of the unfettered principles of respon- 
sible government had secured the admirable results of loyalty 
and harmony which were exhibited in their colonies, the 
contrast being in the case of Canada particularly remarkable, 
for in 1837 a portion of that colony was in open revolt, 
while in 1897 Sir Wilfnd Laurier claimed that there v^as no 
more loyal portion of the Empire. 

The principles of responsible government suffered a 
disastrous check in South Africa by Sir Bartle Frere's action 
there, but they were of too enduring a nature to long remain 
suppressed. It became evident almost immediately that Sir 
Bartle Frere's policy was boxmd to be disastrous. As Lord 



PERSONAL BULE RE-ESTABLISHED 413 

Derby said subsequently, the beginning of all our troubles 
in South Africa dated from the dismissal of Mr. Molteno's 
Ministry by Sir Bartle Frere. 

Owing to the nature of the termination of his connection 
with office and the reign of a dictator who brooked no rival, 
no adequate expression could be given at the time to the 
appreciation which was widely felt of Mr. Molteno's services 
to the Colony. But his reward has been that which alone 
he sought — the reward which a man who has done his 
duty, and done it with all his might, receives from the ful- 
filment of all that is best in his nature. 

He had fought a long fight for constitutional freedom in 
a manner worthy of its best exemplars. His sagacity, his 
energy and prudent management had at a comparatively 
early age placed him in an independent position. Under 
such circumstances many men would have retired to Europe 
to enjoy the pleasures of independent ease. He remained 
in the country which had treated him well, and he amply 
repaid his obligation to it by unselfish devotion and single- 
hearted service. He scorned ease, and passed laborious days 
and nights not for reward but impelled by a strong sense 
of duty. His services were appreciated by the country, and 
time will serve to bring into greater prominence the wisdom, 
the foresight, and the sagacity with which he conducted the 
affairs of the Colony, and the wide and statesmanlike view 
he took of its affairs. 

Mr. Molteno, after representing Beaufort West for a 
quarter of a century, the whole period during which repre- 
sentative institutions had now been established at the Cape, 
retired from Parliament at the end of the year 1878 to a 
rest which was no relief, so rapid was the succession of 
disasters which under Sir Bartle Frere's auspices overtook 
the Cape Colony and South Africa generally. The warnings 
which he uttered of the dangerous course upon which Lord 
Carnarvon and Sir Bartle Frere were bent were being most 



414 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

amply jnstified. He saw with anguish and dismay the terrible 
confusion and loss of life and treasure which now took place. 
It would have been strange had he not been moved by them. 
After the disaster of Isandhlwana he visited Natal, and there 
he renewed his acquaintance with Bishop Colenso, who had to 
some extent crossed swords with him over the Langalibalele 
agitation. Fortune makes strange bedfellows. Bishop 
Colenso was as strenuously opposing Sir Bartle Frere in his 
policy towards the unfortunate Zulu king as Mr. Molteno 
had opposed it in connection with the Cape Colony. 



416 



CHAPTEE XXXn 

POSITION OP CONPBDEBATION AFTEB DISMISSAL. 1878-1880 

Sir Bartle Frere makes Diotatorship more effeotive — Asks for oontrol of Sir 
Henry Bolwer and Sir Theophilus Shepstone — Home Government acoedes 
to this — Change in tone of Despatches— Sir Henry Bolwer ignored— Zoln 
Policy— Sir Bartle forces War on Getywayo — Presses for Beinforoements— 
Secretary of State disapproves Zulu Policy — Ultimatum to Zulu King— 
Censure of Secretary of State— Sir Gkumet Wolseley supersedes him in South- 
east Africa— Sir Bartle Frere returns to Cape— Betums to Disarmament 
Policy — Basuto War — Transkei War— Confederation question in Cape Colony 
—Session of 1879— Evils resulting from Confederation Policy— Transvaal 
Constitution delayed— Promises to Transvaal broken — Impatience of 
Secretary of State— Attempts to hasten Confederation in Cape Parliament- 
Session of 1880 — Proposals for a Conference— Unfaimess of to Cape — 
Debate on— Bejected without discussion — Becall of Sir Bartle Frere — 
Government out of touch with people of South Africa— Afrikander Bond — 
Sir Bartle Frere misrepresents state of Affairs— Besentment of Transvaal 
People — No want of evidence of Feeling — Deputation of Cape members urge 
Bestoration of Independence — Sir Bartle forces hand of Mr. Gladstone's 
Ministry — He declares civil war result of Independence — Mr. Molteno returns 
to public life — Elected for Victoria West — Fall of Sir Bartle Frere's nominee 
Ministry— Mr. Molteno {becomes Colonial Secretary again — Condition of 
Colony on Sir Bartle Frere's departure — War — Taxation — Stagnation — 
Violent Feelings and Besentments — Mr. Molteno resigns and retires finally. 

We must now briefly record the events which followed upon 
the confirmation by the Secreta>ry of State of Sir Bartle 
Frere's action in dismissing the Molteno Ministry. Having 
seen his nominees safely through the first session, the latter 
now proceeded to make effective thedictatorship with which he 
had been clothed by Lord Carnarvon. It will be remembered 
that Lord Carnarvon had decided to invest Sir Bartle Frere 
* with special powers not possessed by his predecessors in the 
office of High Commissioner.* He was to be * her Majesty's 
High Commissioner for South Africa generally, instead of 



416 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. 0. MOLTENO 

being merely High Commissioner for the territories adjacent 
to the Eastern Frontier/ * This general authority was, how- 
ever, not sufficient for his purposes. Sir T. Shepstone as 
Administrator of the Transvaal and Sir Henry Bulwer as 
Lieutenant-Governor of Natal were in direct communica- 
tion with the Imperial Government, and had an independent 
responsibility in reporting to the Home Government direct. 
Sir Bartle Frere now induced the Imperial Government to 
place both these officers directly under him,* ajid on the 21st 
of September, 1878, Sir T. Shepstone was placed under the 
High Commissioner ' in the same way as if a confederation or 
union had taken place between the Cape and the Transvaal.' 
He was directed to correspond not with the Secretary of 
State, but with Sir Bartle Frere, who was now to have a 
direct supervision over the Province.^ Sir Henry Bulwer 
was in the same manner directed to correspond with the 
High Commissioner.'* 

In the exercise of their independent authority these 
officers had reported that there was no cause for anxiety in 
the attitude of the Zulus. Sir Theophilus Shepstone on the 
31st of July, 1877, advised as Uttle interference as possible 
in the Zulu coxmtry.* 

A change soon came over his views upon the corre- 
spondence being first submitted to Sir Bartle Frere before 
being transmitted to the Secretary of State. He now 
supported a warlike policy and the increase of the Imperial 
kroops aimed at by Sir Bartle Frere. However, Sir Henry 
Bulwer refused to be a party to a policy of which he 
did not approve. Sir Bartle Frere had dismissed Mr. 



> I. P.. C— 2601 of 1880, p. 3. 

« Life of Sir Bartle Frere, vol. ii. p. 187. ■ I. P., C— 2220, p. 151. 

* I.P..C— 2220,p. 153. 

* * I am of opinion that the interest of Her Majesty's Government and of 
hmnanity throughout this vast territory will be best served by interfering as 
little as possible for the present with events in that country * (Zululand). J. P., 
C-1961, 1878, p. 62. 



CONFEDERATION AFTER DISMISSAL 417 

Molteno. He was not able to dismiss Sir Henry Bulwer, 
who maintained his own opinion on the subject, though his 
correspondence taking place through the High Commissioner 
appeared to have been ignored, and indeed he complains 
that his despatches were not transmitted, and if transmitted 
home were not published.^ He protested against the mis- 
leading character of Sir Bartle Frere's Minute and the 
' wrong and unjust ' inferences from it. Just as Mr. Molteno's 
action had been misrepresented to the Home Govern- 
ment, as well as the state of affairs previous to the 
dismissal,^ just as Mr. Molteno had objected to troops being 
introduced into the Cape Colony for ulterior purposes, so 

» I. p., C-2867 of 1879, p. 107. 

< See Sir H. Bulwer's despatch of the 14th of July, 1879, at p. 88 of J. P., 
0—8482, February 1880. 

' Snt, — In the Bine Book of correspondence respecting South African affairs 
(C — 2818) which has been laid before Parliament, and of which I have just had 
the honour to receive a copy, I perceive a despatch from his Excellency Sir 
Bartle Frere, covering a number of papers on the subject of native levies and 
auxiliaries. 

* 2. Among these papers is a Minnte by Sir Bartle Frere dated the 7th of 
March. 

' 3. The tenour of that Blinute, which I duly received at the time, was, in my 
opinion, so likely to mislead, so likely to lead to the inference that there had 
been serious neglect on the part of the Natal Qovemment, and such an inf erenoe 
would be, as I knew, as everybody here knows, so utterly wrong and unjust, 
that I felt obliged to submit my respectful opinion to this effect to his Excellency. 
In point of fact I furnished his Excellency with a memorandum (dated the 20th 
of March) which contained an answer as complete to the general tenour of his 
Excellency's Minute as I felt it necessary to make. I could have dealt, as I can 
deal, with that Minute far more fully and exhaustively than I then attempted 
to do. But I desired to do no more than was necessary to show that the 
inference which his Excellency's Minute contained would be an erroneous and 
unjust one ; and I left it to his Excellency so to act as to prevent that erroneous 
inference being attached to his Minute. 

* 4. It is therefore with great surprise and regret that I perceive in the l^lue 
Book the Minute of his Excellency Sir Bartle Frere inserted in the oom- 
spondence, whilst my memorandum in reply is altogether omitted. 

' 5. It is true that Sir Bartle Frere's despatch is dated the 21st of February, 
nor will I stop to inquire how it is that a despatch dated the 21st of February 
can cover, as the one in question does, enclosures dated up to the 11th of March 
following, because I do not for a moment doubt that the despatch was sent off 
before the receipt of my memorandum of the 20th of March. But, as the Blue 
Book contains despatches from his ExceUency as late as the 18th of April, there 

VOL. IT. B B 



418 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

now Sir Henry Bulwer, who was responsible for the peace 
and safety of Natal, objected to additional troops being 
introduced, which were not required by the circumstances 
of that Colony.^ 

In the Cape peace had prevailed for twenty-five years, 
until it was disturbed by Sir Bartle Frere's action. Sir 
Henry Bulwer reported that 'for over thirty years the 
Colony of Natal grew up side by side with the Zulu people 
without a serious breach of the peace, and without, it may 
be said, any serious question arising between them.' * The 
policy which had maintained this desirable state of things 
was now to be reversed. The man on the spot was to be 
overridden by the man who had newly arrived, and who had 
his ulterior object, the destruction of the Zulu power, as 
a preliminary to Confederation, to carry out. Sir Henry 
Bulwer says, in describing the arrival of troops and reinforce- 
ments : — 

Up to that time we in this Colony [Natal] had not so much 
as heard a word of war. The idea of a Zulu war had not yet 
occurred to anyone. The idea was an imported idea. It was 
imported at the time of the arrival of the troops and Headquarter 
Staff from the Cape Colony. It was not difficult for it to become 
a popular idea ; ' 

was full time to allow of my memorandnm of the 20th of March being infleried 
in the same Blue Book. 

' 6. I desire to say as little as possible on the subject of this omission, which 
no doubt has arisen from some mistake. Bnt I am sore, Sir, yon will recognise 
that when an official docoment is published which contains reflections against 
this Government, and reflections which I know to be thoroughly unmerited, I 
should be naturally desirous that my reply to that document should be published 
at the same time. This unfortunately has not been done, and it is, I am afraid, 
too late to rectify in this session of Parliament the omission. In case, however, 
you should not have seen it I enclose for your information a copy of the 
memorandum of the 20th of March. 

* I have, Ao, 

'H. Bulwer, 
* Lieutenant-Governor.' 
' I. P., C— 2220, p. 232. ^ J. P., C—2684, p. 196, 

» J. P., C—2684, paragraphs 82 and 83. 



CONFBDEEATION AFTBB DISMISSAL 419 

while a deputation of the leading men of Durban pro- 
ceeded to inquire of Sir Bartle Frere on his arrival the 
meaning of the vast forces and military stores which were 
being landed there.* And again Sir Henry Bulwer sajrs, with 
reference to Sir Bartle Frere's statement that the condition 
of affairs was critical : — 

In what precise way and to what precise degree it was more 
critical than his Excellency had expected I do not know, but it 
had certainly become, from the causes which I have named, more 
critical than it was before the arrival of the troops, and to what- 
ever extent it had become more critical it was so by reason of 
these military movements. 

He further told Sir Bartle Frere that he believed that 
the former's opinion as to the critical state of affairs in 
Natal was ill founded.' 

Lord Carnarvon had impressed in the strongest manner 
upon Sir Henry Bulwer and also upon Sir Bartle Frere that 
he desired no trouble with the Zulus, as the annexation of 
the Transvaal would be enough to tax the administrative 
powers of those engaged in ruling it, and should not be 

* As to the unlooked-for result of a war with Cetywayo Bishop Colenso 
writes : * I must honestly say that I think the colonists have been harshly and 
unjustly judged in England in respect of this war. Speaking of them generally, 
I have no hesitation in saying that they never desired the war in the first 
instance. They never urged it on, or even dreamt of it, until Sir Bartle Frere 
came up here, and wheedled them into following his lead and supporting him 
in his undertaking to relieve them from the " standing menace " of the Zulu 
power.* — lAft of Bishop Colenso, vol. ii. p. 632. 

« I. P., C— 2740, p. 37. 

Again, as to Sir Bartle Frere's action Bishop Colenso writes as follows : 
* It was very pleasant to see your handwriting again, and to know that you 
remember us in all our troubles, which just now are indeed great, through the 
wicked policy of Sir Bartle Frere. ... He came up from Cape Town full of 
prejudices ; he swallowed all the rubbish told him by worthless traders and 
hysterical missionaries. It was useless for Sir H. Bulwer to point out that the 
statements of the Zulu king having built military kraals in the disputed 
territory, and having killed a large number of Zulu converts, were totally 
untrue. Sir B. Frere reasserts these falsehoods and a number of others just as 
unfounded. All these would go down with persons in England ignorant of the 
real facts.'— Lt/e of Bisliop Colenso, vol. ii. p. 617. 

B ■ 2 



420 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

increased by ' the forcible acquisition of a large territory, 
such as Zululand, with a numerous and warlike population/ ^ 
And again on the 3rd of January, 1878, he impressed upon 
both Sir Henry Bulwer and Sir Bartle Frere not to resist by 
force any assertion of fancied rights by Cet3rwayo.* 

Now, however, on various pretexts troops were asked for 
and reluctantly sent. We have already seen that a regiment 
was despatched, owing to the Transkei affairs, for which the 
Galeka wax was made the pretext, though Natal and the 
Transvaal were the real objective.' On the 18th of March, 1878, 
Sir Bartle Frere asks the Secretary of State for armaments and 
ammunition. On the 9th of May the despatch is announced of 
5,000 men and 2,000 horses to Natal. This was in answer to 
a despatch from Sir Bartle Frere of the 9th of April asking for 
more troops to garrison the towns of the Transvaal, to overawe 
both whites and natives.* Again on the 10th of September Sir 
Bartle Frere asks for more troops.*^ On the 14th of September 
he asks for two additional regiments and a cavalry regiment.* 
On the 12th of October the Secretary of State says that he 
thinks the Zulu question ought to yield to tolerant treatment, 
that the Imperial troops should be removed from the Cape to 
Natal, and no more troops would be sent from home7 

On the 21st of November, 1878, the Secretary of State 
reluctantly agrees to send the reinforcements for which Sir 
Bartle Frere continued to press, but observes that no 
circumstances yet reported to him make war seem inevitable, 
ajid it is the desire of her Majesty's Government 'not to 
furnish means for a campaign of invasion and conquest.** 
The Secretary of State adds that he thinks Cetywayo should 
not be kept waiting any longer in learning the result of the 
Boundary Award. Yet Sir Bartle Frere continues to press 



» I. P., C— 1961 of 1878, p. 60. « J. P., C— 2000, p. 7. 

» C— 2740 of 1881, p. 34. « J. P.. C— 2144, p. 9 ; 0-2100, p. 108. 

» I. P., C— 2220, p. 232. « J. P., 0— 2220, p. 254. 

' J. P., C-2220, p. 273. » I. P., 0—2220 of 1879, p. 320. 



OONFEDEBATION AFTER DISMISSAL 421 

Cetywayo. The boundary questdon had been decided in his 
favour. Sir Bartle Frere, after keeping the decision in a 
pigeon-hole for many months, finally tells Cetywayo the 
result in an ultimatum which announced a decision by the 
Boundary Commission on the one hand and practically took 
away with the other hand what had been decided in his 
favour, for it confirmed the resident Boers in the possession 
which they had taken of the disputed territory. This Sir 
Bartle Frere justified under the pretext that these were 
private rights.* Added to all this were a series of reforms 
which Cetywayo was to carry out in the internal government 
of his country by a certain fixed date. We had no right to 
insist upon this, and upon the receipt of his proposed condi- 
tions the Secretary of State asks for further information, 
and tells Sir Bartle Frere that we have no right to compel 
the King to make internal reforms.' 

Sir Bartle Frere did not for a moment contemplate 
that Cet]rsvayo would accept his ultimatum; aU his de- 
spatches stated that war was inevitable.^ In face of the 
instructions both of Lord Carnarvon and of his successor, 
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Sir Bartle Frere issued this 
ultimatum/ On the 23rd of January, 1879, the day after the 

* In regard to the manner in which Sir Bartle Frere dealt with the award, 
Bishop Colenso, writing to General Dornf ord, says : * Sir Bartle Frere, while he 
adopted the judgment of the Commissioners, as he could not avoid doing, 
emptied it of all its meaning for the Zulus by a secret document — at least one 
which he says was prematurely published, though prepared and signed a fort- 
night before the award was delivered — in which he reserved their private rights 
to all those who had settled under the unjust Boer Government upon the 
disputed territory; in other words, giving to Cetywayo the empty name of 
sovereignty. But with this award, such as it is {ix. with the interpretation 
given to it by Sir Bartle Frere, but not intended by Colonel Dumford and the 
other Commissioners), Sir Bartle Frere coupled demands, to be complied with 
in a very short time, with which he knew the King could not possibly comply 
under the circumstances.' — Life of Bishop ColensOj vol. ii. pp. 474-5. 

« I. P., C— 2222, p. 116. » I. P., C— 2222, p. 182. 

* The Zulu war was purposely pressed on before any reply could be received 
from the Secretary of State. * There was the fear on the one hand that the 
Secretary of State might interpose, and on the other that Cetywayo might 
manage to pay the cattle fines in time.' — Life of Bishop Oolenso, vol. iL p. 461. 



422 LIFE AND TIMES OP SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

terrible disaster of Isandhlwana, but of course before the news 
arrived, the Secretary of State expresses his disapproval of 
the demands on the Zulu king, which he tells Sir Bartle 
Frere should have been submitted to him first, and he adds 
that the reinforcements which had been sent were not for 
the purpose of pressing such demands upon the Zulu king.' 
The subsequent terrible disasters in this campaign are well 
known. The war was an unrighteous one. As in India the 
unfortimate Ameer, in defiance of our treaties, had been 
forced to receive an ultimatum,^ so now the unfortunate Zulu 
king, entirely against his will, was forced into this unholy 
war.' 

The ultimatum had been sent on the 11th of December, 
yet already on the 14th of December Sir Bartle Frere tells 
the Imperial Government that war is inevitable, and that 
we must annex Zululand,^ showing that his intentions really 
were to force Cetywayo to fight and not to come to any 
peaceful accommodation. On the 19th of March, 1879, the 
Secretary of State censured him for his action in attacking 
the Zulu king without reference to the Home Government. 
Notwithstanding this clear evidence of the course on which 
Sir Bartle Frere was bent, the Secretary of State added that 
her Majesty's Government still reposed confidence in him 

» J. P., 0—2222, p. 197. * Life of Lord Lawrence, vol. ii. p. 482. 

' Bishop Colenso says : * Events have shown that the King was right in his 
snspioions of the good fiuth of the English authorities, and that from the first, 
and long before they arrived in the Colony, Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelms- 
ford did mean to invade his country, though Sir H. Bulwer had no such object 
in view' (Life of Biehop Colenso, vol. ii. p. 466). *The Attorney-General of 
Natal said that " the appointment of Sir Bartle Frere was the result of sending 
home CSommissioners in connection with Confederation ; " that the ultimatum 
was the joint production of the High Commissioner and himself ; and that the 
latter put forward, as the reason for embarking in the Zulu war, the resolution 
" to bring the Zulu nation into such a shape as was compatible with the safety 
of Natal and the Transvaal." In other words, as the Bishop remarked, the 
Zulu war was waged not for the trumpery causes put in the foreground as oaam 
IMi by Sir Bartle Frere, but for the purpose of remodelling the Zulu nation 
with a view to Confederation.* — Ibid, p. 460. 

* I. P., C— 2222 of 1879, p. 211. 



CONPEDEEATION APTEE DISMISSAL 423 

and expected that his action would be wiser in the future.^ 
On the 28th of May, 1879, the Secretary of State announced 
that Sir Bartle Frere was to be deprived of his High Com- 
missionership of South Eastern Africa, and that Sir Garnet 
Wolseley had been appointed the supreme civil and military 
authority in South Africa.' 

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his 
spots ? Sir Bartle Frere was still to be permitted to exercise 
a Umited dictatorship in South Africa. But her Majesty's 
Government hoped that he would be wiser for the future. 
There is, perhaps, no more fatal instance of an impUcit re- 
liance on a great reputation produced by the arts of * advertise- 
ment,' though based on some very sterling qualities as well. 
What use did he now make of his return to his duties at the 
Cape ? With his departure from the Cape peace had returned. 
He was now to use his powers more actively in bringing 
fresh disasters on the Cape Colony. He directed his nominee 
Ministers to put in force the 'Peace Preservation Act' — 
delightful name! — to disarm the natives. The Attorney- 
General, Mr. Upington, now declared that the blacks were 
the natural enemies of the whites, and the Ministry acted 
on this principle under Sir Bartle Frere's tutelage. 

Beginning with friends, the Fingoes were first disarmed, 
and, to our ineffable disgrace, our allies and friends were fallen 
upon by their enemies, and being found defenceless were 
unable to defend themselves : their women and children were 
killed before their eyes by their armed enemies. The Tembus, 
under Dalasile and other chiefs, crossed the boundary of 
Fingoland and killed many Fingoes, who had only sticks for 
defence.* 

The second Transkei war now conmienced. Great forces 
were called out and enormous expense was incurred. Not 

» I. P.. C— 2260 of 1879, p. 108. « I. P., 0—2318 of 1879, pp. 88-4. 

' Unpublished letter to the writer of the Bev. S. P. Sihlali, 1st of September, 
1898. 



424 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIE J. C. MOLTENO 

content with this trouble, it was decided, in spite of the 
strongest remonstrance on the part of the leading members of 
the Cape Parliament and of her Majesty's Government itself,* 
that the disarmament Act should be promulgated in Basuto- 
land. The entreaties and warnings of the Besident, Com- 
mandant Griffith, with an experience of thirty years to back 
his opinions, were disregarded, as were the protests of the 
Chief, who urged, and urged in vain, that a policy of gradual 
deprivation of arms should be pursued. 

Let us look for a moment at the condition of Basuto- 
land under colonial rule as carried out by Mr. Molteno. Re- 
porting to the Secretary of State on the 9th of May, 1876, 
the High Commissioner, Sir Henry Barkly, says of the 
Basutos : — 

Probably no administration of native afEiedrs in any part of the 
world has been attended with greater comparative success, and 
there can be few more gratifying spectacles than that of a tribe 
numbering some 150,000 souls, who a few years ago were the 
terror of their neighbours, living peacefully, contentedly, and 
prosperously, under the rule of half a dozen magistrates of 
European extraction unsupported for some time past by a single 
white policeman.^ 

The policy and personality of the men who had achieved 
this success are shown by the following paragraph from 
Colonel Griffith's despatch, who was then the head of the 
Basuto administration as Governor's Agent : — 

Hitherto I have felt myself morally responsible for the peace 
and welfare of this territory, and have thrown my whole soul into 
my work — not alone, because I was trusted by the Government 
which has always shown that it reposed great confidence in me, 
but also because my heart has been thoroughly in the work, for 
the sake of the people, towards whom I have conceived a real 
attachment. I have also (ably supported by my subordinate 
officers) made it a point to impress upon the people the justice of 
the Government in all things, and led them to believe that it 

• J. P., C-2569, p. 49. * J. P., C— 1748, p. 83. 



CONPEDEKATION AFTEK DISMISSAL 426 

would never perpetrate or tolerate any act of injustice to people 
under its rule.^ 

This was the people and this their condition whom Sir 
Bartle Frere determined with his nominee Premier to upset 
and to break faith with; for Colonel Griffith had assured 
the Basutos in 1876 that there was no intention to disarm 
them.' 

Is not this another instance of the disastrous results of 
the man who ' took his ignorance 'for superior knowledge * ? 

Before the disarmament was carried out a meeting was 
held between Sir Gordon Sprigg and the Basutos, and the 
proceedings are worthy of perusal. Sir Gordon Sprigg com- 
pared arms in the hands of the natives to the possession 
of a knife by a child. To this the Chief, George Moshesh, 
replied : — 

If we are British subjects does the Queen possess us as men or 
as cattle ? The Colonial Secretary too has made this comparison 
about the child and the knife ; that is a very good word. A child 
as long as he is smaU, cries for the knife, because he does not 
know that it will cut him, but when the father takes it out of his 
hand he takes it in a very gentle manner, for fear of cutting him ; 
and I have confidence that the Government will not roughly 
draw the knife away, or draw another knife from the sheath at his 
side and stab the child for clinging to the knife. Would that be 
the act of a father ? ' 

While in regard to Mr. Upington's statement that the blacks 

were the natural enemies of the whites Tsekelo Moshesh 

remarked : — 

Perhaps it is true, as Mr. Upington said in Parliament, we 
were the natural enemies of the white men, because we were 
black. Is that language that should be used by a gentleman and 
a high officer of the Government ? Is it not to demoralise the 
hearts of the people to use such language as that ?^ 

On the 6th of April, 1880, Sir Bartle Frere's proclamation 
was issued, disarming the Basutos as from the 21st of May, 

» J. P., 0—1748, p. 36. « J. p., 0—1748, p. 36. 

» I. P., C— 2482, 1880, p. 604. * Ibid, p. 499. 



426 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

1880.' The Cape failed to disarm the Basutos, but the opera- 
tions cost between 4,000,0002. and 5,000,0002., yet Sir Bartle 
Frere, not content with all these wars, was desirous of 
sending an ultimatum to the Pondos. For this purpose he 
requested Sir Garnet Wolseley to lend him two regiments. 
This the latter refused, of which Sir Bartle Frere bitterly 
complained,^ and Sir Garnet Wolseley had already himself 
drawn attention to the disastrous consequences likely to 
ensue from the attempt to put Sir Bartle Frere's disarma- 
ment Act in force in South Africa. 

I believe that any general attempt to disarm them [the 
natives] would be a most dangerous experiment . . . and would 
end in failure. . . It would, in my opinion, be as unwise to reward 
this loyalty [of Basutos during the Zulu war] on their part by now 
calling upon them to deliver up their firearms as die demand 
would be futile. ... In order to do so we should expose ourselves 
to the risk of a very serious war, and whether the war broke oat 
or not we should most certainly by such action on our part convert 
mto enemies a large section of the finest race in South Africa 
which is now loyal and contented. 

And generally he said : — 

I am sure it is at least fraught with danger to the peace of our 
colonies; . . . this disarmament policy will urge against us the 
native sentiment in every part of South Africa.' 

BSs opinion coincided with the views of all responsible 
statesmen on the spot that it was madness to make the 
attempt of disarming the Basutos. 

What had become of Confederation, the great purpose 
for which Sir Bartle Frere was retained in South Afirica 
not only by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, but subsequently by 
Lord Kimberley ? His nominee IVIinistry of course agreed 
with the Governor on this subject, though the Premier had 
been a few years previously the strongest opponent of Con- 

» J. P., 0-2569, p. 48. « I. p., C— 2740 of 1881. p. 4. 

• I. P., 0—2569 of 1880. p. 36. 



CONPEDEBATION AFTER DISMISSAL 427 

federation.^ An attempt had been made in the first session 
of Parliament after their accession to office to obtain the 
consent of the Assembly to a conference with the other 
colonies and states of South Africa. This had been moved 
in the Cape Parliament by Mr. Paterson. The sense of the 
House, however, was unpropitious ; a war on our frontier 
had just been concluded, with all the dislocations it had 
produced, and all the arrangements and changes arising 
therefrom still to be consolidated and carried out. Another 
war was apparently impending on the borders of Natal and 
the Transvaal between the British Government and one of 
the most powerful chiefs in South Africa. The people of the 
Transvaal, but just added to the Empire, were dissatisfied 
and disaffected, and unsupplied with any Gk)vemment in 
which they had confidence, or which seemed to answer the 
purposes of a Government. No wonder that the House 
agreed that the question ought not to be then put.^ 

In the prorogation speech the question had been placed 
before the citizens as one on which they were asked to give 
no uncertain sound and as the most important subject which 
has ever been submitted to their judgment. In the ensuing 
session of ParUament, though urged by Sir Bartle Frere to 
bring forward the subject, yet his nominee Ministry had still 
to consider the constitutional mode of procedure — ^the Cape 
Parliament had to be reckoned with. His Premier advised 
Sir Bartle Frere that he saw no chance of its being dealt 
with by the Parliament. The state of South Africa after the 
Zulu war was such that it was utterly impossible to bring 
forward such a question with the slightest hope of success. 
The support which Lord Camairon had derived from his 
supposed desire to conciliate the Dutch had turned to bitter 
resentment owing to the annexation of the Transvaal and 
the policy of force which had now become apparent. 

* See iwpra, vol. i. chapter xiii. 

* Election address of Mr. Solomon, Arq%M^ 7th of January, 1879. 



428 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Mr. Froude*s and Lord Carnarvon's statements in this 
respect were recalled, and were contrasted with the action 
which subsequently followed. Confederation brooded like a 
frightful nightmare upon South Africa.* Sir Bartle Frere 
was withholding the Imperial assent to the annexation of 
Griqualand West. As it was desired that it should take part 
in the Conference, where, with its delegates under the Im- 
perial Government, and the delegates of Natal and the 
Transvaal similarly controlled, there would be a majority to 
lay down terms in spite of whatever the Cape delegates 
might desire to do. Eepresentative institutions had been 
promised to the Transvaal in the annexation proclamation, 
and the promise was repeated time after time, but it was 
not observed, because it was feared that were they granted 
before Confederation had taken place there would not be 
the same opportunity of carrying out the union on which 
all was now staked. 

The difficulties which the representative bodies might 
raise were seen to be serious, as in the case of the Gape 
and its resistance to Confederation under Mr. Molteno.^ It 
is possible that had the Transvaal been met in respect of 
a representative assembly at fibrst, with wise and prudent 
management, the country might have acquiesced in the 
annexation, but after a year's experience of the disastrous 
want of government and the absence of any fulfilment of 
the promises which had been made on annexation, even 
the loyalists complained that the condition of the Transvaal 
was now worse than it had been under Boer rule. They 
pointed out that the taxation which would be necessary 

> The oonstitution of Natal was awaiting Confederation. See despatch 
of Lord Kimberley to Sir Bartle Frere, 20th of May, 1880, p. 12 of J. P^ 
0—2686. 

' See despatch of Sir M. Hioks-Beaoh, 20th of November, 1879, p. 878 of 
J. P., G— 2482 of 1880 ; also Lord Kimberley to Sir Bartle Frere, 20th of May, 
1880, p. 12 of G— 2586 of 1880. The constitution proposed by Sir Bartle 
Frere had been adopted by the Secretary of State as * the only admissible 
form pending the discussion of Confederation,' p. 379 of C — 2482. 



CONFEDERATION AFTER DISMISSAL 429 

under the system then pursued would be such as the 
country would find it impossible to bear. They complained 
that public meetings were held in front of loaded cannon — 
that the freedom of the press was curtailed.* Sir Bartle 
Frere himself approved of the Volksraad not being sum- 
moned. In writing to the Secretary of State on the 25th 
of June, 1877, he says that the suggestion to entrust the 
management of affairs to the Transvaal Volksraad is * wild 
and unpractical,' * * Shepstone is quite wise not to summon 
the Volksraad.* ' 

Sir Bartle Frere selected Sir Owen Lanyon as the 
successor of Sir T. Shepstone. In writing on the 29th of April, 
1878, he asks to be allowed to retain him in South Africa, 
his chief reason being 'the unsettled state of the neigh- 
bouring province of the Transvaal.'* Finally, he was 
appointed to the administratorship of the Transvaal on the 
4th of March. It is a matter of history how unsuitable was 
this appointment, and how much it contributed to the out- 
break, yet Sir Bartle Frere fully approved of Sir Owen 
Lanyon's proceedings in regard to the collection of taxes.^ 
Thus was Confederation keeping the whole of South Africa 
in a state of unrest and disquiet. And this was not only so 
with the European portion, for the minds of the natives had 
been equally unsettled by it.^ 

> J. P., G— 2144, p. 143 ; enclosed in despatoh of Sir Bartle Frere, 26ih of 
June, 1878. 

« J. P., C— 1883, p. 27. 

* Life of Sir Bartle Frere, voL ii. p. 184. 

* L P., C— 2144, p. 61, despatch, 29th of April, 1878. 

* * The collection of revenue has been even more lax than the administration 
of justice, and I wiU answer for Lanyon providing more than Sargeatmt 
estinuUedfor the receipts into the Treasury.*— Life of Sir Bartle Frere, voL ii. 
p. 308. 

* See Griffith's Report, I. P., 0—1748, pp. 33, 34, 148. Sir Henry Barkly 
reported to Lord Carnarvon ' that Nehemiah Moshesh was, as your lordship 
is aware, the originator of an attempt to raise an agitation among the chiefs 
in the Transkei, on the plea that a confederation among the whites for the 
control of native affairs ought to be met by the blacks continuing to protect 
themselves.'— I. P., C— 1748, p. 148. 



430 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

Confederation was farther responsible for the retention 
of Sir Bartle Frere in South Africa, thus giving him an 
opportunity of intriguing in favour of his Ministry with the 
whole power and prestige of an Imperial Governor and 
High Conmiissioner, and the lavish hospitaUty of Govern- 
ment House. He now directed his Ministers to continue the 
disarmament of the natives. Her Majesty's Government 
being constantly led to believe by Sir Bartle Frere that 
there were no serious difficulties in the way of the Cape 
accepting Confederation, addressed a despatch to him. 
Upon receiving intelligence that such a despatch was on its 
way, he desired his Ministers to mention the subject in the 
session of Parliament of 1879. They, however, perceived 
that there would not be the slightest chance of its being 
received with any approval by the Cape Parliament, and 
they advised Sir Bartle Frere that it would be better to 
make no mention of Confederation whatever until the 
despatch had arrived.^ 

The despatch from Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, dated the 
12th of June, 1879, was now received. It urged upon the Cape 
Governor at the earUest possible moment to consider with 
his Ministers whether * general proposals for the establish- 
ment of a South African Union or Confederation may not 
be submitted to the Cape Parliament soon after it has 
assembled.' Her Majesty's Government did not intend 
that South Africa should continue to rely upon the Imperial 
troops for defence, and it stated that her Majesty's forces 
would only be stationed permanently as a garrison at 
or near Cape Town, for the defence of a naval station of 
great importance to the interests of the whole Empire. 
To relieve the Cape of the great responsibilities insepar- 
able from the chief position in the proposed Union, Sir 
Michael Hicks-Beach proposed that the defensive force 
of the Union should be paid for by contributions in equal 

> I. P.. C-2374 of 1879, p. 142. 



CONFEDERATION AFTER DISMISSAL 431 

parts from the Union and the Imperial Government. But 
the force raised by the Union was not to be borne on 
the Imperial army estimates.^ 

No steps were taken in this session of Parliament of 
1879.^ In the recess a Minute ' of Ministers in reply to this 
despatch of the Secretary of State was sent home by Sir 
Bartle Frere, approving in principle the question of Con- 
federation. Acting upon this, proposals for a Conference were 
mentioned in the opening speech in the ensuing session of 
Parliament, and thereupon the Colonial Secretary moved 
three resolutions, which ran as follows : — 

(1) That in the opinion of this House it is expedient that a 
Conference of representatives be assembled to consider the exist- 
ing relations of the British Colonies in South Africa to each other, 
and to the native territories adjoining, and to ascertain the practi- 
cability or otherwise of a legislative and administrative union of 
such Colonies. 

(2) That such Conference consist of sixteen members, viz: 
His Excellency the Governor and High Commissioner of the Cape 
Colony as President ; six members representing the Cape Colony ; 
three members representing Griqualand West; three members 
representing Natal ; three members representing the Transvaal. 

(3) That the conclusions arrived at by such Conference be 
embodied in a report to be hereafter submitted to the legislatures 
of the Colonies respectively concerned, and have no binding effect 
whatever on any Colony until the provisions of the report shall 
have been confirmed by substantive resolutions passed by the 
legislature of that Colony, and approved by her Majesty's Govern- 
ment.* 

Sir Bartle Frere in his despatch announcing these 
resolutions to the Imperial Government, prepared the latter 

» I. P., C— 2464, 1879, p. 60. 

^ Sir Bartle Frere's explanations wiU be found at p. 291 of J. P., 0—2482 of 
1880, and his aoooont of the state of the question was condemned by Mr. 
Solomon in the ensuing session as utterly incorrect. He stated that Sir G. 
Wolseley's appointment and the settlement of Zululand had prevented the 
Ministers bringing the question before the Parliament. 

' The Minute of Ministers above referred to will be found at J. P., C— 2666, 
p. 102. 

* I. P., C— 2666 of 1880, p. 3. 



432 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

for the fate which they were Ukely to meet by stating that 
adverse influences of various kinds had conspired to lessen 
the chance of such resolutions being carried by a con- 
siderable majority.' 

These resolutions were only proposed to save Sir Bartle 
Frere's position in the eyes of the Home Government. 
There was not the shghtest chance of their being carried. 
Looking at them in detail, the second provides for the 
representation of the Colonies in that Conference, in which 
the Province of Griqualand West, for whose union with the 
Cape an act had been passed in 1878, was now brought 
forward as a separate province with a representation equal 
to half the representation of the Cape, while to Natal and 
the Transvaal were also assigned a representation equal to 
half the representation of the Cape ! 

With the exception of the Cape Colony, all these states 
were in the hands of the Imperial Government. Their 
delegates would be appointed by the Imperial Government. 
The Cape delegates would be the only delegates chosen by 
any of the communities to be confederated, they would be 
outvoted by nine Imperial delegates, while the High Com- 
missioner himself was also an Imperial delegate. It is re- 
markable that a Premier of the Cape Colony should have 
been found who was ready to sacrifice the interests of his 
country in proposing such a Conference. This was one of 
the results of the system of nominee premiers introduced by 
Sir Bartle Frere. 

The Cape in 1875 had absolutely and entirely refused 
to confederate, notwithstanding all that Lord Carnarvon's 
emissary, Mr. Froude, could do. South Africa was then 
at peace. What was its condition now? The frightful 
disasters of the Zulu war had shown what were the 
responsibilities of the defence of the Union ; the annexation 
of the Transvaal had led to a bitter feeling of distrust in the 

' J. P., C— 2656 of 1880, p. 3. 



CONFEDERATION AFTER DISMISSAL 433 

rectitude and honesty of the Imperial intentions.* The 
natives of South Africa were in a state of ferment. Those 
who fought with us and for us were branded as disloyal, 
and were deprived of what they considered a badge of 
freedom and manhood, a weapon of defence and a very 
necessary one, as the sequel showed. Violent feelings and 
antagonisms had been roused, and all the difficulties and all 
the dangers which had been predicted by Mr. Molteno and 
Sir Henry Barkly were being fully and amply realised. 

The support of the Dutch had been withdrawn owing to 
the change of poUcy evinced in the annexation of the Trans- 
vaal ; Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Gordon Sprigg attempted 
to regain it by a policy of * hammering the native,' which 
policy on Sir Bartle Frere's side was no doubt one in which 
he genuinely believed. Upon the opening of the debate it 
was at once perceived that there was not the slightest' 
chance of the motion being carried. The leading members 
who had supported Sir Bartle Frere against Mr. Molteno in 
1878 had been woefully undeceived. Mr. Vintcent, who was 
conspicuous in support of Sir Bartle Frere*s action then, 
now pointed out that 

Sir Bartle Frere came out in 1877, and Sir Stafford Northcote 
said he came out for the purpose of the confederation, and that he 
had special powers entmsted to him. He thought it was placing 
his Excellency in a very imfortunate position to send him out to a 
colony having responsible government to carry out a special pur- 
pose armed with special powers. And it was unfortunate also 

> In regard to the annexation of the Transvaal Bishop Golenso writes, and 
in this Sir Henry Bolwer, as to its e£feot on Znln relations, agrees with him : 
' Do not forget that all this distorbanoe in onr relations with Zoluland, as well 
as with Sikukoni, is the direct consequence of that onfortnnate annexation of 
the Transvaal, which woold have fallen into our hands like a ripe fruit if we 
had not taken possession of the country like a party of filibusters, partly by 
trickery, partly by bullying.* — lAJt of Bishop ColenaOy vol. ii. p. 469. Mr. 
Froude in his lectures says : ' As long as the Transvaal was independent we 
took the side of the natives against the President ; as soon as the Transvaal 
was ours we changed our views, we went to war with Cetywayo, and we have 
been fighting with Seoocoeni.' 

VOL. II. P P 



434 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB 3. C. MOLTENO 

that he should be sent to a colony where the principle of respon- 
sible government had been so recently introdaced, and to enforce 
a policy which was not the policy of the Ministry which had the 
confidence of the House, 

He showed how there was a new Ministry in 1878, and that 
the 'Confederation ticket — which had become rather rusted — 
was brought out again.' He showed how it fell flat upon the 
country. He considered that Confederation was thoroughly 
undesirable and impossible, and concluded by drawing atten- 
tion to the fact that * very recently the Colony had extended 
its territories and its responsibilities, and it required time 
for development and consolidation before entering upon 
additional responsibility. By the extension of roads and 
railways, and the consequent increase of inter-communi- 
cation, a feeling in favour of union would grow up steadily, 
if slowly, but the union ultimately brought about would 
be a voluntary and lasting union, based upon the wishes 
of the people generally.'^ Mr. Solomon in like manner, 
who had supported Sir Bartle Frere as the great philan- 
thropist in 1878, now confessed that 

after our experience of the government of Sir Bartle Frere, the 
hopes that some of us may have entertained that the influence of 
the Queen's representative (little comparatively as that may be in 
a responsible government) would be exerted on the side of justice 
to the natives, have been rudely dispelled. I cannot but think 
that much that has happened in Sir Bartle Frere's management of 
aSiedrs has arisen out of his coming here weighted with instruc- 
tions, or the instruction, to carry Confederation ; and, with that in 
view, he has pursued the course which he thought would lead to 
the conciliation of those with whom the issue rested, in utter dis- 
regard of those that might be considered more particularly to look 
to him for protection and justice.^ 

He had confessed in 1877 that Mr. Molteno in his native 
policy had realised every hope and aspiration for the just 
treatment and true welfare of the native which he (Mr. 

' I. P., C— 2666, 1880, p. 34. » Ibid, p. 88. 



CONFEDERATION AFTER DISMISSAL 435 

Solomon) had ever entertained, yet he had thrown him over 
for Sir Bartle Frere, taking the latter on trust as a great 
philanthropist. He was now woefully disappointed. He 
showed how, in the papers presented to Parliament, Colonel 
Griffith, the administrator of Basutoland, was protesting 
against the disarmament policy, pointing out that it was * due 
to his unsullied reputation, won by thirty years' service, 
that he should sound a warning note.* He drew attention 
to the incorrect and improper character of the Governor's 
Minute explaining the reasons why Mr. Sprigg had not 
brought forward the question of Confederation in the pre- 
ceding session. 

Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr, who had now become a member of 
the House, and had immediately taken a position to which 
his ability and knowledge entitled him, explained that he 
had been a supporter of Lord Carnarvon's original policy, as 
enunciated by Mr. Froude, when he spoke of conciliating the 
Dutch colonists, and denounced the injustice done to the 
Free State. He showed that the Dutch 

did not oppose British rule or British institutions. They objected 
to what had been done in this country in the British name. They 
drew a distinction between the British people and British officials. 
. . . They knew that Lord Carnarvon had the ultimate relief of 
the British Empire in view, but he (Mr. Hofmeyr) believed that a 
proper consideration for British interests was not incompatible, 
nay, was perfectly compatible with, a regard for the interests and 
rights of South Africa. 

He then believed that, by a generous and just policy, Lord 
Carnarvon could have moulded the whole of the public feeling of 
South Africa into one of patriotism and loyalty to the British 
Crown. Had that been done, a Confederation would have had 
great cohesive strength. But the 'generous policy' soon gave 
way to one very different. War broke out in the Transvaal, and 
Lord Carnarvon's great principles were scattered to the winds. 
Seoocoeni became an independent native sovereign, not a subject 
of the Transvaal ; and to employ Swazies was a high crime and 
misdemeanour against civilisation. A boundary dispute broke out 
between the Transvaal and the Zulu king, and Sir Theophilus 
Shepstone discovered that the Zulu king was very much in the 



436 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR J. C. MOLTENO 

right. Then it was foiind that the Transvaal was too 
' inherently weak ' to exist by itself, so it was swallowed up by 
England. And as soon as that was done, it was suddenly 
ascertained that Secoooeni was a subject of the Transvaal ; that 
to employ Swazies in warlike operations was not an evidence 
of high barbarism ; and, finally, that the Zulu king had really 
little to do with the country he claimed. All this shook the faith 
they had entertained, and all the cohesive force was gone. Those 
very places where Mr. Froude was received with such enthusiasm 
were among the first to condenm Confederation. He need only 
mention Stellenbosch, the Paarl, Worcester, and now he found 
that at a Boer association, formed in the Fort Beaufort division, a 
resolution against Confederation was unanimously passed.^ 

He showed how the Transvaal had no representativse 
institutions. He asked whether they were going to dragoon 
the Transvaal into Confederation. The first resolution 
which a free legislature would pass would be, * We request 
his Excellency Colonel Lanyon to retire from the Trans- 
vaal.' He showed how Natal was likewise in the condition 
of having no free legislature. Crown nominees being in 
the majority in that Parliament. While as to the Act 
under which they were asked to confederate, the Soutii 
Africa Act, he said that 

under the name of permitting the Imperial Government to look 
after its interests in South Africa, it allowed constant interference 
in their affairs, and they would soon lose their colonial indepen- 
dence. It was highly inopportune under present circumstaneas 
to bring forward this measure for the Confederation of South 
Africa.* 

The Colonial Secretary had taken good care at an early 
stage in the debate to announce that he would not regard 
the question as a party one, as his Ministry would certainly 
have been defeated upon it. He now accepted the previous 
question, which was agreed to without a division. He was 
then whitewashed by a vote of confidence, as it would have 
been only expected, had responsible government really been 

' J. P., C-2655, 1880, p. 81. « Ibid. 



CONFEDERATION AFTER DISMISSAL 437 

in operation, that he would have resigned upon his policy 
being vetoed in this way. 

Sir Bartle Frere, as usual, gave his version of the defeat 
of these resolutions, which misrepresented the real state 
of affairs, and showed a want of appreciation of the whole 
position. He attributed it in large measure to the action 
of two delegates from the Transvaal. To those who have 
read these pages thus far it will be clear that this is no 
explanation at all, the cause lay far deeper, and had arisen 
long before, from the fiist refusal of the people of the Cape 
to enter into a conference. 

This finally disposed of the Confederation question in 
South Africa. It was dead long before. It was now 
decently buried. Immediately the Imperial Government 
heard of this result, Sir Bartle Frere, who had been permitted 
to remain in South Africa for the purpose of Confederation 
and for that alone,^ was immediately recalled. This recall 
took place on the 1st of August, 1880. 

It is interesting to observe what Lord Blachford had 
written to Sir Henry Taylor, in regard to the proposed recall 
of Sir Bartle Frere on the 30th of March, 1879, and before 
the Disarmament Act had been put in force in Basutoland : — 

My notion about the recall is this. I agree with you that if 
Frere's presence in South Africa was good for the public, it might 
not be wise to sacrifice the Colony to departmental discipline. 
But I think he is a mischief, and that his recall is in itself a 
good. Nothing I conceive — or rather infer — will make him 
carry into effect with reasonable loyalty a policy that is not his 
own. And he has the power, so long as he is there, of forcing 
the hand of Government to any extent. If he does not choose 
to make peace it will not be made. If he chooses to go on 
massacring those unlucky savages on the plea that if we do not 
Mil them they will kill us, the Government which upholds him 
must send as many troops as he asks for. And if another disaster 
should occur, and if the Cape natives whom we are trying to 

■ Page 85 of J. P., O— 2740 of 1881, despatoh of Earl of Kimberley, 14th of 
Oetober, 1880. 



438 LIFE AND TIMES OF SIB J. C. MOLTENO 

disaxm should rise behind us, and the Boers declare themselves 
independent in front of us, we shall have a pretty job on our hands. 
The announcement of an intention to disarm even friendly 
natives I have heard long ago spoken of by South Africans as 
wildly imprudent.^ 

Mr. Molteno had always drawn attention to the impor- 
tant effects of a true representation of South Airica in 
its Parliament. The Government of South Airica had 
now got out of touch vnth the people. Sir Bartle Frere's 
nominees were in power in the Cape Colony. Sir Owen 
Lanyon was dragooning the Transvaal. Sir George Colley, 
a military man, was ruling Natal under a constitution in 
which Government nominees were in the majority. What 
was the result ? Nothing more and nothing less than this 
— the country population finding themselves unrepresented, 
their wants not understood, their vdshes disregarded, ignored 
the Legislatures and Government. In 1880 was founded the 
Airikander Bond ; great meetings were held and congresses, 
and an elaborate organisation established, as it were an 
Imperium in imperio arising out of this great fact, that 
representation was no longer a real representation in South 
Airica.* 

Before leaving finally the subject of Sir Bartle Frere's 
action, we may draw attention to the character of the 

* Letters of Lord Blackford, p. 396. 

' One of the resolutions of the Boer meeting of the 10th of December, 1878, 
demanding their independence, ran as follows : ' The time of memorials to the 
English Government has passed. It is impossible to be saved by that waj. 
The officials of her Majesty the Queen have, by their untrue and false repre- 
sentations, shut the doors to her Majesty and the Parliament. They are 
responsible for that. The people have done what they could again and again 
to go to the Queen of England, for they believed that, as surely as the sun 
shines, if the Queen of England and the people of