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Cetywayo and his White Neighbours Remarks on Recent Events in Zululand, Natal, and the Transvaal   By: (1856-1925)

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By H. Rider Haggard

First Published 1882.


This text was prepared from an 1882 edition published by Trubner & Co., Ludgate Hill, London.

"I am told that these men (the Boers) are told to keep on agitating in this way, for a change of Government in England may give them again the old order of things. Nothing can show greater ignorance of English politics than such an idea. I tell you there is no Government Whig or Tory, Liberal, Conservative, or Radical who would dare, under any circumstances, to give back this country (the Transvaal). They would not dare, because the English people would not allow them." ( Extract from Speech of Sir Garnet Wolseley, delivered at a Public Banquet in Pretoria, on the 17th December 1879. )

"There was a still stronger reason than that for not receding (from the Transvaal); it was impossible to say what calamities such a step as receding might not cause. . . . For such a risk he could not make himself responsible. . . . Difficulties with the Zulu and the frontier tribes would again arise, and looking as they must to South Africa as a whole, the Government, after a careful consideration of the question, came to the conclusion that we could not relinquish the Transvaal." ( Extract from Speech of Lord Kimberley in the House of Lords, 24th May 1880. H. P. D., vol. cclii., p. 208. )


The writer on Colonial Affairs is naturally, to some extent, discouraged by the knowledge that the subject is an unattractive one to a large proportion of the reading public. It is difficult to get up anything beyond a transient interest in the affairs of our Colonial dependencies; indeed, I believe that the mind of the British public was more profoundly moved by the exodus of Jumbo, than it would be were one of them to become the scene of some startling catastrophe. This is the more curious, inasmuch as, putting aside all sentimental considerations, which indeed seem to be out of harmony with the age we live in: the trade done, even with such comparatively insignificant colonies as our South African possessions, amounts to a value of many millions of pounds sterling per annum. Now, as the preachers of the new gospel that hails from Birmingham and Northampton have frequently told us, trade is the life blood of England, and must be fostered at any price. It is therefore surprising that, looking on them in the light of a commercial speculation, in which aspect (saith the preacher) they are alone worthy of notice, a keener interest is not taken in the well being and development of the Colonies. We have only to reflect to see how great are the advantages that the Mother Country derives from the possession of her Colonial Empire; including, as they do, a home for her surplus children, a vast and varied market for her productions, and a wealth of old fashioned loyalty and deep attachment to the Old Country "home," as it is always called which, even if it is out of date, might prove useful on emergency. It seems therefore, almost a pity that some Right Honourable Gentlemen and their followers should adopt the tone they do with reference to the Colonies. After all, there is an odd shuffling of the cards going on now in England; and great as she is, her future looks by no means sunny. Events in these latter days develop themselves very quickly; and though the idea may, at the present moment, seem absurd, surely it is possible that, what between the rapid spread of Radical ideas, the enmity of Ireland, the importation of foreign produce, and the competition of foreign trade, to say nothing of all the unforeseen accidents and risks of the future, the Englishmen of, say, two generations hence, may not find their country in her present proud position. Perhaps, and stranger things have happened in the history of the world, she may by that time be under the protection of those very Colonies for which their forefathers had such small affection... Continue reading book >>

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