« AnteriorContinuar »
breach of good faith. His ideal of em- dence. Sir John Lawrence hiniself pire, says his biographer, was a per- placed little reliance on Herbert Ed. vading influence rather than a system wardes' treaty with Dost Mahomeil, of administration,” - a view directly which was, however, loyally mainopposed to that of Lord Dalhousie. tained, with the result that an Affghan Notwithstanding his known disapproval invasion was with hield. Lord Canning, of the transaction, Sattara ou its annex- it was, who eventually decided against ation was intrusted to him as commis- the surrender. There were those, insioner. Afterwards, he was appointed cluding the Sikhs, who attached more commissioner in Scinde, which had importance, as far as the stability of been annexed by Lord Ellenborough, British empire was concerned, to the and held that office when the Mutiny retention of Peshawar than even to the broke out, and when all the conse- fall of Delhi. In this as well as in all quences which he attributed to reckless other critical emergencies, including annexation had to be faced.
the arduous work of resettling the His part during those four summer empire after the suppression of the months of 1857, when the Mutiny was Mutiny, Sir Bartle Frere's decisions spreading unchecked, was to preserve were always animated by a resolute Scinde as a base of operations, and belief in British destiny and duties of establish communications with the empire, and by a steady resolve to Punjab and the north-west viâ Kurra- resist any tendency to shrink from our chee and the Indlus valley, after the almost superhuman task as one beyond Punjab had been cut off from Calcutta the resources of Great Britain. and the seat of government. He de- Mr. Martineau adduces evidence to fcated the attempt of the mutineers to show that Frere, as far back as 1858, seize Hyderabad and make it a rallying was urging on his official superiors place like Delhi. His reputation for the vital importance of establishing courage was sustained during all the friendly relations with, and keeping a horrors and panic of that time. Mr. sharp lookout in the direction of, Martineau says that he carried ou as Affghanistan and Persia, and of the nearly as he could the ordinary routine great value of Quetia as a means to of his daily life, maintaining through- that end. Iu 1867 the British governout unruffled temper and courtesy with ment peremptorily refused to establish unvarying cheerfulness. “I always Quetta as an outpost of the empire ; prepare,” he said in a letter to his wife but after the expedition of Lord Lytin England, “ to the best of my power, tou, Quetta was occupied in force, forand then make up my mind by the lified, and connected by railway with blessiug of God we shall succeed, and the port of Kurrachee. One of the last I have found it so hitherto.” As might events brought to Frere's notice before have been expected, a man so capable his death was the eventual conpletion of maintaining his equanimity in emer- of that railway by Mr. Gladstone's govgency, however trying, — who knew ernment, notwithstanding the fierce that, placed as we were, a forward and opposition which had been made to it unshrivking policy was the only safety, as a part of Lord Beaconsfield's fron
– regarded the proposal to abandon tier policy. At the present moment the Punjab to the Affghans as a sui- Quetta is one of the most important cidal expedient, not to be resorted to military stations in all India, with the even in the utmost extremity. He was consent of both parties in the State, as strongly opposed to a policy of scut- thus justifying in the end the pretle, even in extremis, as he was to a science of Sir Bartle Frere. policy of annexation. He courageously The rest of Frere's Indian career denuded his own province of troops to may be passed over briefly. He was assist in the taking of Delhi and in the the first Bonibay civilian who was ever preservation of the Punjab, and awaited appointed to the Supreme Council the result with calmness and confi-i.e., the council of the governor-gen
eral ; and he held that post while most of Frere, Sir Theophilus Shepstone bad of the problems of reorganization were been sent to the Transvaal on a special being worked out. But in a very short commission, to confer with its presitime the governorship of Bombay fell dent on the subject of confederation, vacant, and Frere concluded his Indian and in the result the annexation of career by a five years' tenure of that that country was proclaimed a few important post. Mr. Martineau dis- days after Frere's arrival. The latter cusses his claims to the highest office does not seem to have had the slightest of all, and insists that had he gone to responsibility for either the policy or India as viceroy in 1876 instead of the manner of its execution. He had Loril Lytton, his tact and faculty for merely to accept an accomplished fact, commanding the confidence and re- although at the time public opinion spect of semi-barbarous chieftains, and was considerably mistaken as to the the enthusiasm with which he could part which he had played. There is inspire the foremost British officers, no room for doubt, however, that he would in all probability have enabled approved the policy of the transaction, him, without recourse to arms, to have for in a letter a few years afterwards convinced Shere Ali that his best (vol. ii., p. 183) he says that if England course lay in a return to the policy of had declined to interfere, Germany Dost Mahomed, and a cordial alliance would have stepped in, which would with the British goverument. In sup- have added infinitely to our troubles. port of that theory, he cites the author- Lord Carnavon ratified the annexation, ity of the head missionary at Peshawar, and the Boers accepted it at the time as a sort of witness to character, who with satisfaction. disparages both Lord Lytton and Ca- The work of confederation, however, vagnari, and draws a glowing picture did not progress. A bill to enable the of what might have been under Frere South African colonies to confederate as viceroy. It is useless to speculate with the consent of the crown was on what might have been: Lord Lyt. passed by the English Parliament, but ton went to Calcutta and Sir Bartle public opinion at the Cape was very Frere to the Cape, and each forced on languid on the subject. Security and a war in his respective dominions, at a peace amongst the frontier natives was most ivopportune moment for the Brit- the first condition for bringing the ish government, which was weighted older and more settled provinces to with the task of completing the execu- agree to any plan of confederation tion of the Berlin Treaty. The result which would cause the expense of was most disastrous to the fortunes of guarding the frontier to be shared by Lord Beaconsfield's ministry at the all. Those removed from the frontiers general election.
regarded the native tribes as peaceful It was Lord Carnarvon as colonial and Kaffir wars as things of the past; secretary who selected Frere to be those close to the frontier believed that high commissioner of South Africa, the natives were growing in strength “as the statesman who seems to me and restlessness, and stirred by a genmost capable of carrying my scheme of eral movement against the white popuconfederation into effect." Lord Car-lation. Frere went to the frontier, and narvon bad, by the British North the first things that happened were a American Act, 1867, successfully car- Kaffir outbreak and a native war. ried out a policy of confederation in Difficulties arose with the Cape govCanada; and for two years had been ernment as to the conduct of military steadily laboring for the union of the measures, and eventually Frere asSouth African colonies and states, - a serted the prerogative of the crown, policy wbich he considered to have and dismissed a colonial minis ry which been ripened by the recent war be- possessed the confidence of the Assemtween the Transvaal republic and the bly, and appointed Mr. Gordon Sprigg Datives. Previous to the appointment prime minister. Eventually the Kaffirs
were beaten; and just at this point the disputed territory the Boer farniers Lord Carnarvon, who was at variance should be either compensated or prowith his colleagues in the Beaconsfield tected, according as they elected to ministry on matters of European for- | leave or to remain ; and that a British eign policy, resigned his office, and resident with Cetewayo should be spewith his disappearance the policy of cially charged with this duty. Differconfederation was no longer so ear- ences with the Zulus grew apace. nestly insisted upon by statesmen at Cetewayo pursued a policy of menace home. Frere, as the special exponent and violence, and maintained a mili. of that policy in the colony, found his tary system which, now that the Boers position considerably weakened. Still were British subjects, was considered the native war had ended successfully, to be intended exclusively against the and Mr. Sprigg's new ministry co. British power. An ultimatum was operated with him cordially.
sent to bim early in December, deThe year 1878 was not merely an manding that it should be abolished. eventful year for Europe, where the Frere in the exercise of his judgment termination of the war with Turkey, believed that the future of South Africa the couclusion of the peace at San depended on the firmness and consisStefano, the resolute enforcement of tency of his own policy, and it may Great Britaiu's claim to have that fairly be said that so far from shrinktreaty revised by a conference, and the ing from responsibility he was forward eveutual substitution of the Treaty of to assume it. The Boers, on the other Berlin, exhausted the energies of hand, were indignant beyond measure statesmen. At the Cape it was con- that we had failed to give them that sidered that the native outbreaks re- protection against the Zulus to gain sulted from the general conviction that which was their object in consenting to the English power could be over- annexation. It became doubtful what thrown, and that a spirit similar to that part they would take in the impending which pervaded the natives of India war. Iu September, 1878, Frere was before the Mutiny was abroad. Sir writing home for reinforcements. But Bartle Frere slowly adopted this view, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, the new forced on him, he said, by a hundred colonial secretary, received the applilittle bits of evidence from different cation coldly ; and in October and No. quarters. The Zulus were by far the vember made and repeated his refusal, most powerful of the native tribes. deprecating a Zulu war in addition to They and their king, Cetewayo, were other greater and too possible troubles. regarded as the leaders in the contest, The position in Europe and the policy and to them Sir Bartle Frere directed towards Affghanistan made the Cabihis attention. Not merely were horri- net regard with dismay the further ble barbarities and massacres perpe- prospect of war in South Africa, and trated on our borders ; but a serious prescribe forbearance and reasonable dispute arose between the Boers whom compromise. In November and Dewe had recently annexed and the cember came renewed letters, urging a Zulus as to a belt of territory which the postponement of warlike operations Boers claimed as purchasers, but which owing to the danger of war in Europe. the Zulus declared had been leased for The ultimatum was delivered on the a limited term. The Boers had to fly 11th December, after telegrams and for their lives from the disputed terri- despatches had been received from the tory. English arbitrators investigated Colonial Office, deprecating war. They the question and reported in favor of were dated from October 12 to Novemthe Zulus. The report was adverse, in ber 7 – the last of which, however, substance and in language, to the only reached Frere two days after the Boers; and Frere in accepting it, as he ultimatum was sent. On the 10th was bound to do, introduced stipula- January, 1879, English troops entered tions that when the Boers handed over Zululand, and in less than a fortnight
the rout at Isandhlwana occurred, in sanction, a course almost certain to which the British force was cut to result in war, which, as I had previpieces ; and a week afterwards there ously impressed upon you, every effort arrived another forcible protest from should have been made to avoid.” The the colonial secretary against a policy Cabinet pointed out that, under the of war. To Frere the shock of the dis- circumstances, even if war could not aster was, his biographer says, the ultimately be avoided, it was their most terrible he had ever experienced ; business to decide as to the time and in Natal there was panic such as Frere manner of coming to an issue, and that had not witnessed even at the most meanwhile “the forces at your discritical time of the Indian Mutiny ; to posal were adequate to protect Natal the Cabinet of the queen the disaster from any serious Zulu inroail, and to was a heavy blow and discouragement provide for any other emergency that in the midst of European complications could have arisen” during the referand in the face of a general election. ence home. When we remember that, Fortunately, the Zulus in Natal did not even after the disaster of Isandhlwana, rise agaiust us ; Cetewayo did not at- no Zulu inroad, serious or otherwise, tempt a raid ; some, though not many, was undertaken by Cetewayo, it is of the Boers co-operated with us. impossible not to agree that this reSir Garnet Wolseley, preceded by rein- monstrance was justified. forcements, arrived at Cape Town on This remarkable proceeding is the the 28th June ; but before he could determining incident in Sir Bartle assume command of the army, Lord Frere's career, the one which arrests Chelmsford had won the battle of the attention of all who are interested Ulundi (July 5), and the Zulus con- in it. It is not surprising, therefore, fessed themselves beaten. The Boers, that his biographer should have done however, began to insist on regaining his utmost to justify it. The case their independence, and Sir Bartle which he makes is that, up to the time Frere had to explain to them at a of Lord Carnarvon's resignation, critical interview that the annexation Frere's action and policy had been should not be undone, though local cordially accepted and indorsed by government would be conceded.
him ; that after Sir M. Hicks Beach's The Cabinet at home were divided in accession to office there had not been opinion as to the course to be pursued. a hint or a word from him to indicate The majority wished to recall Frere. any new departure ; that up to OctoLord Beaconsfield supported him; and ber 2, the letters of the new secretary probably the queen, who had sent a approved his conduct, sanctioned the prompt and gracious message of en- boundary award notwithstanding its couragement (vol. ii., p. 281) on the encouragement to Cetewayo, and news of the disaster, disapproved his added that of course Celewayo must be recall. In the result a despatch was kept in order, and compelled to give up sent censuring him, with a general those Zulus who violated, as lately, expression of continued confidence. Natal or Transvaal territory. Mr. MarThe censure was to the effect that he tineau insists that the later despatches, ought not, without first obtaining the which refused reinforcements and depsanction of the British government, to recated war, were like those of a man have insisted in an ultimatum on the from whose memory had suddenly disbandment of Cetewayo's army, on been obliterated all prior correspondhis receiving a resident, or on the ful- ence, including letters which he himfilment of his promises of better gov- self had written. Reading that prior ernment. The despatch pointed out correspondence by the light of what that no evidence had been produced of subsequently passed, it may no doubt urgent necessity for immediate action, be open to the criticism that a too san“ which alone could justify you in tak. guine colonial governor would be apt ing, without their full knowledge and to find in it more encouragement than was intended. The colonial secretary in a distant war without the smallest probably never contemplated that a reference to the exigencies of the empolicy of war and actual hostilities and pire nearer home. There is no trace invasion would be undertaken without that Frere ever gave the smallest attenspecific approval from home. The mo- tion to what was passing in Europe at ment that a demand for reinforcements the time, and to the extreme inconand the tone of Frere's letters showed venience his policy would occasion to what he was aiming at, there was the government at home. Even if his no uncertainty about Sir. M. Hicks invasion of Zululand had been as sucBeach's telegrams and letters. That cessful as it was in the first instance of October 12 showed that the home disastrous, the Cabinet at home would government regarded the Cape bostili- not at that conjuncture have approved ties at an end, and that war was no it. But when events proved that the longer in prospect. Frere went on in invasion had been badly planned and spite of the Colonial Office, and his unsuccessfully executed, and that the defence must rest upon this, that, as very motive for it, the necessity of his biographer puts it, it was as impos- anticipating attack, was founded on a sible at this eleventh hour to reverse mistaken view of the surroundings, his policy and withdraw from the posi- every one must feel that Frere encountion he had taken, as it would have lered a respousibility which it is for been for Wellington to decline a battle the public interest should not be minion the eve of Waterloo. It fails be- mized or concealed. It ought to be cause the ultimatum was not delivered regarded as a sacred and elementary till after it was known that the secre- rule of colonial administration, that tary of state counselled prudence, com- except in cases of extreme urgency a promise, and the avoidance of war. colonial governor is altogether exceed
Sir Bartle Frere had, no doubt, de-ing his duty who places his relations to cided in his own mind that a forward his neighbors on the inclined plane and determined policy was the only which leads to war without a clear unway to deal with the barbarous army derstanding beforehand with the auwhich hung like a black cloud on his thorities at home, so that they may not frontiers. His mind was so constituted merely understand and approve the that he could not displace his convic- issue of peace or war being raised, tion and act on that of an official supe- but may also themselves decide as to rior whom he believed to be mistaken. the time and mode of conducting As in the Indian Mutiny he felt that hostilities. This vast colonial empire to retire from Peshawar meant the roll-would be a source of infinite embarrassing out of the Punjab in the flames of ment to the home government, if every rebellion, so to show reluctance to en- colonial governor deemed it within his counter the Zulu power was the very power and duty to act as Sir Bartle way to invite its aggression, and to Frere did in 1878. There is or ought make territories inhabited by British to be the strongest disinclination to subjects the seat of warlike operations. give a grudging support to an absent The mistake lay in assuming that a colonial governor struggling against supreme colonial governor may detach overwhelming difficulties. It is felt his mind from all other interests and that even criticism should be lenient. concentrate it exclusively on those in But there is a correlative duty on his his immediate locality, in the way that part to observe perfect loyalty and a subordinate provincial ruler in India frankness to the government at home, may do. As the representative of the and not to avail biniself of any of the crown, he, as well as the Colonial Of- opportunities which an official on the fice, had to consider not merely the spot possesses of forcing the hand of immediate needs of the colony, but the his superiors by presenting to them a general position of the empire, and state of circumstances in which it is no ought not to have involved bis country I longer possible to exercise a free judg