“History of the Zulu War and its origin” (1880)

Colenso, Frances E.: History of the Zulu war and its origin(1880)


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IT is probable that the Bishop of Natal may be held respon-
sible for the contents of a volume written partly by his
daughter, and having for its subject the Zulu War ; more
especially if a general coincidence can be traced between what
are known to be his views and those which are expressed in
this history. My father’s opinions have, naturally, consider-
able influence over those held or expressed by his family, and
I do not imagine that much will be found in these pages from
which he will dissent. Nevertheless, it is desirable that my
readers should understand from the first that he is in no
sense responsible for their contents.

When I left Natal, in September last, the idea of writing
upon the subject of the Zulu War had hardly occurred to me ;
it has developed since to an extent quite beyond my original
intentions, and I find that its fulfilment has rather taken my
father by surprise. I had no opportunity of consulting him
upon the subject, nor has he yet seen a word of what I have
written, for on reaching England I found that, to be of any
use at all, the book should appear almost at once.

I made, indeed, ample use of the pamphlets which the
Bishop of Natal has written on behalf of Langalibalele and
Cetshwayo, which have saved me many hours of weary search.
Consequently, while the Bishop is in no way responsible for
such errors or omissions as may occur in this volume, any

rr i T i: o i


merit or usefulness which my portion of the book may contain
is due chiefly to his labours.

The general plan of my history was laid out, and the first
few chapters were written, during the voyage from Natal, and
upon reaching England I obtained the assistance of my friend
Lieut. -Colonel Edward Durnford in that portion of the work
which deals with the military conduct of the war. While it
was desirable that a record of military events should be made
by one whose professional knowledge qualified him for the
duty, there was an additional reason which made his help
appropriate. It may easily be understood from his name that
the interest taken by him in his task would be of no ordinary
kind. Colonel Durnford has written the military portions of
the book, but is not responsible for any expressions of opinion
upon matters strictly political.

I am far from feeling that I am the best person to under-
take such a work as this, which my father himself would look
upon as a serious one, and which he, or even my sister, who
has worked with him throughout, would do so much better
than I ; but they were not at hand, and I have thought it
my duty to do what I could, while I could have had no better
aid than that given me by Colonel Durnford.

However insufficient the result may prove, we shall at least
hope that our work may give some slight assistance to that
cause of justice, truth, and mercy, the maintenance of which
aione can ensure the true honour of the British name.


January 22nd, 1880.
























Yifi* * ‘ – : * : : ‘”‘ *’ CONTENTS.







ISANDHLWANA . . . . . . . . .23

















ULUNDI . … 433







ENGLAND’S collisions with the savage races bordering
upon her colonies have in all probability usually been
brought about by the exigencies of the moment, by
border-troubles, and acts of violence and insolence on
the part of the savages, and from the absolute necessity
of protecting a small and trembling white population
from their assaults.

No such causes as these have led up to the war
of 1879. For more than twenty years the Zulus and
the colonists of Natal have lived side by side in perfect
peace and quietness. The tranquillity of our border
had been a matter of pride as compared to the dis-
turbed and uncertain boundaries between Zululand and
the Transvaal. The mere fact of the utterly unprotected
condition of the frontier farmers on our border, and the
entire absence of anything like precaution, evinced by
the common practice of building houses of the most
combustible description, is a proof that the colonists


felt no real alarm concerning the Zulus until the idea
was suggested to them by those in authority over them.*
The only interruption to this tranquil condition of the
public mind about the Zulus was in the year 1861,
when a scare took place in the colony, for which, as
it afterwards proved, there were no grounds whatsoever.
A general but unfounded belief was rife that Cetshwayo,t
king, or rather at that time prince, ruling Zululand,
was about to invade Natal, in order to obtain possession
of his young brother Umkungo, a claimant of the Zulu
crown, and who had escaped over the border at the
time of the great civil war of which we shall presently
treat. This young prince had been placed by the
Secretary for Native Affairs, Mr. Shepstone at Bishop-
stowe,J for his education in the Native Boys’ School
there ; and it was not until he had been there for years
that the fancy arose, suggested and fostered by the
border farmers and traders in Zululand, that Cetshwayo
intended to take him by force from amongst us, or at
all events to make the attempt.

Under the influence of this belief the troops then
X” stationed in Natal were ordered to the frontier, the
colonial volunteers were called out, the defence of the
principal towns became a matter for consideration ; while

* “Few things struck me more than the evident haste and
temporary character of the defensive measures undertaken by the
English part of the population ” in the border districts of Natal.
(See letter from Sir Bartle Frere to Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, dated
March 28th, 1879. P. P. [C. 2318] p. 32.)

f Spelt thus to give the nearest proper pronunciation of

J Eesidence of the Bishop of Natal.


outlying farmers, and residents in the country, hastened
to remove their families to places of comparative safety.
Bishopstowe was supposed to be the special object of
the expected attack ; but the Bishop himself, having
occasional opportunities of learning the state of things in
Zululand, through his missionary there, could never be
brought thoroughly to believe in the gravity of the danger.
It is true that, as a matter of precaution, and in defer-
ence to the strongly- expressed opinion of the Lieut. –
Governor of the Colony and of Mr. Shepstone, he sent
away the threatened boy to some of his own people, in a
more remote and safer part of the colony. But he was
extremely reluctant to take the further step, strongly
urged upon him, of removing his family and people to
the adjacent city of Pietermaritzburg, and only con-
sented to do so under protest. During the night
following his consent, but before the project had been
carried out, he had reason for a few hours to suppose
that he had been mistaken in his own judgment. The
family at Bishopstowe was knocked up at one o’clock in
the morning by a messenger from a passing Dutch
farmer, who, on his way into town with his own family,
had sent word to the Bishop that Cetshwayo’s army had
entered the colony, was already between him and Table
Mountain that is to say within a distance of nine miles
and was burning, killing, and destroying all upon the
way to Bishopstowe. There seemed to be no doubt of
the fact ; so, hastily collecting their native villagers,'”” the

* These people had refused to leave their homes, or desert their
Bishop, as long as he and his family remained at Bishopstowe, although
both black and white, for miles around, had sought shelter elsewhere.

B 2


Colensos left tlieir homes and started for the town, which,
they reached, most of them on foot, about daybreak.
The consequence of their being accompanied and
followed by a considerable party of natives (of both
sexes and all ages !) was that the townspeople im-
mediately supposed that the ” Zulus had come ; ” and
some of them actually left their houses, and took refuge
in the various places of safety such as the fort, the
principal churches, and so on previously decided upon
by the authorities in case of necessity. In common
South African terms they ” went into laager.”

As the day passed, and still no further tidings
arrived of the approach of the Zulus or the destruction
of Bishopstowe, the Bishop began to have strong
suspicions that, after all, he had been right in his
original opinion, and that ” the killing, burning, and
destroying ” had been conjured up by some excited
imagination. This opinion was confirmed, if not com-
pletely established, in the course of the day, by the
reception of a letter from the missionary in Zululand
before mentioned, in which he inquired, on the Zulu
king’s behalf, what fault the latter had committed
towards the English, that they should be preparing to
invade his country. The missionary added that all was
perfectly quiet in Zululand, until the border tribes,
seeing the British troops approaching, fled inland in
alarm, killing their cattle to prevent their falling into
the hands of the invaders, and burying their other
possessions where they could not carry them away. In
point of fact the ” scare” had no foundation whatsoever,
and the Zulus were quite as much alarmed by the actual


approach of the British troops as the Natalians had
been by the imaginary Zulu army. The worst im-
mediate consequence of the mistake was the want,
almost amounting to famine, produced amongst the
border Zulus by the loss of their cattle. A later and
more serious result has been that general impression,
which has long obtained credence at home in England,
that the colonists of Natal have not only been in fear of
their lives on account of the Zulus for many years, but
have also had good and sufficient reason for their alarm.
But for this fixed, though groundless idea, England
would hardly have been in such a hurry to send out
additional troops for the protection of the colony as she
was in the summer of 1878 ; to her own great loss and
to the very considerable injury of the colony itself, not
to speak of its unhappy neighbours and heretofore
friends the Zulus.

It is certainly true that during the year 1878 the
inhabitants of Natal did honestly feel great fear of the
Zulus, and of a possible invasion of the colony by them,
the alarm in many cases amounting to absolute panic.
But this feeling was produced by no warlike menaces
from our neighbours, no sinister appearances on our
borders. The panic or ” scare/’ as it would popularly
be called in Natal w r as forced upon the people by the
conduct and language of their rulers, by the preparations
made for war, troops being sent for from England ” for
defensive purposes” (as was so repeatedly asserted by
both Sir Bartle Frere and Lord Chelmsford, then Lieut. –
General the Hon. F. A. Thesiger), and by the perpetual
agitation of the local newspaper editors.


It is true indeed that a certain section of the
colonists eagerly desired war. To some the presence of
the troops was a source of actual fortune, to others the
freedom and independence of so large a body of black
people, whom they could neither tax nor force to work
for them, was, and had long been, odious ; the revenue
to be derived from a hut-tax levied upon the Zulus, and
the cheap labour to be obtained when their power and
independence should be broken, formed one of the chief
subjects for speculation when the war was first suggested.
To others, again, the prospect of war was simply a source
of pleasurable excitement, a hunt on a large scale, martial
glory to be won, with just spice enough of danger to
give zest to the affair ; as had been the case in the war
just concluded in Kaffraria. Naturally this feeling was
commonest amongst the volunteers and their friends.
Some of them looked upon the matter in a light which
would meet with utter condemnation in any civilised
society ; but many others, especially the young lads who
filled up the ranks of the volunteer corps, were simply
dazzled by visions of military distinction, excited by the
popular phrases in perpetual use about ” fighting for
their country, and doing their duty as soldiers,” to the
extent of losing sight altogether of the question as to
whether or no their country really required any defence
at all.

Natal cannot honestly claim to be guiltless in
bringing about the war with the Zulus, and will hardly
deny that in 1878 the prospect was a most popular one
amongst her sons. Perhaps Sir Bartle Frere could not
so easily have produced a war out of the materials


which he had at hand but for the assistance given him
by the popular cry in the colony, and the general fear of
the Zulus, which called forth England’s ready sympathy
and assistance. But it must be remembered that the
panic was not a genuine one, nor even one like that of
1861, produced by the folly of the people themselves.
It was distinctly imposed upon them by those in
authority, whose policy was to bring about a collision
with the Zulus, and who then made use of the very fears
which they had themselves aroused for the furtherance
of their own purpose.

The subjugation of the Zulus and the annexation
of their country, formed part of a policy which has
occupied the minds of certain British statesmen for
many years. The ambition of creating a South African
Empire, to be another jewel in Victoria’s crown, which,
if no rival, should at least be a worthy pendant to the
great Indian Empire, was a dazzling one, and towards
that object all Government action in South Africa has
apparently tended since the year 1873. When the
idea was first conceived those only know who formed
it, but it took practical and visible form in 1873. In
that year by crowning the Zulu king we assumed a
right to interfere in the internal management of the
country, thereby establishing a possible future cause of
offence, which, as the Zulus obstinately refused to put
themselves in tlje wrong by any sort of interference
with us, was necessary in order to bring about a state
of things which should eventually give us a sufficient
excuse for taking possession of the country altogether.

The origin of this performance was as follows. In


the year 1856 a great revolution took place in Zululancl,
and a civil war broke out between two claimants to the
heirship of the throne (then filled by Umpande), namely,
the present king, Cetshwayo, and his brother Umbulazi.
Cetshwayo was quite young at the time, and appears
to have been put forward by some ambitious warriors,
who intended to rule in his name, and did not expect
the remarkable power and talent which he afterwards

Umbulazi’s party was beaten, he himself being killed
in battle, great carnage ensuing, and many fugitives
escaping into Natal.

Amidst all the bloodshed and horror which naturally
attends such a warfare as this between savages, there
stands out the singular, perhaps unprecedented, fact that
Cetshwayo, although victorious to the extent of carrying
the nation with him, not only never made any attempt
upon the old king, his father’s, life, but did not even
depose him or seize his throne. The old man lived and
nominally, at all events reigned for many years,
though, owing to his age and obesity, which was so
great as to prevent his walking, he seems to have been
willing enough to leave the real authority in the hands
of his son, while retaining the semblance of it himself.
He was treated with all due respect by Cetshwayo and
his followers until he died a natural death in the year
1872, when Cetshwayo ascended .the throne which had
long been virtually his own, and was proclaimed king
of Zululand. This was looked upon as a fitting time
for a little display of authority by ourselves, hence the
friendly expedition to Zululand of 1873, when we gave


Cetshwayo to understand that, however it might appear
to him, he held his power from us, and was no true
king till we made him such. It was also rightly
thought to be an opportunity for suggesting to the Zulu
king such reforms in the government of his country as
would naturally commend themselves to English ideas.
We considered, and with some reason, that capital
punishment was an over-frequent occurrence in Zulu-
land, and that, on the other hand, judicial trials before
sentence should be the universal rule. It was also
desirable, if possible, to decrease the belief in witchcraft,
by which so much power was left in the hands of the
witch-doctors or priests;”‘” and finally it was thought
necessary to provide for the safety of the missionaries
resident in the land.t How far this was a desirable
step depends entirely on whether the men themselves
were earnest, self-sacrificing, peace-loving teachers of
the gospel of Christ, or mere traders for their own
benefit, under the cloak of a divine mission, ready to
hail a bloody war. ” Only the utter destruction of the
Zulus can secure future peace in South Africa ….
we have the approbation of God, our Queen, and our
own conscience.” (See letter from a missionary clergy-
man to Sir Bartle FrereJ dated December 17th, 1878.
(P. P. [C. 2316] p. 3.))

It was frequently asserted at the time in Natal that
this coronation ceremony (1st September, 1873) was

* A system not unlike the Inquisition in its evil results.

t Who, it may be remarked, have always been well treated in

J Portions of this letter are omitted from the Blue-book. It
would be interesting to see the letter as originally received.


nothing better than a farce, and the way in which it was
carried out seems hardly to have been understood by the
king himself. The Natalians were puzzled as to what could
be the meaning or intention of what seemed to them a
hollow show, and were on the whole rather inclined to
put it down to Mr. Shepstone’s supposed habit of
” petting the natives/’ and to ” Exeter Hall influences,”
resulting in a ridiculous fuss on their behalf.

From Mr. Shepstone’s despatch on the subject of the
coronation of Cetshwayo (P. P. [C. 1137]), and from mes-
sages brought from the latter to the Government of Natal
after his father’s death, there appears to have been a
strong desire on the part, not only of the people, but of
the king himself, that his formal succession to the
throne should be unattended by bloodshed and disorder,
such as had ushered in the rule of his predecessors for
several generations. How greatly the character of the
Zulu rule had improved in a comparatively short period
may be judged by a comparison of the fact [p. 5, ibid.’]
(mentioned by Mr. Shepstone), that during the reigns of
XJhaka and Dingana (grandfather and great-uncle to
Cetshwayo), all the royal wives were put to death either
before the birth of their children, or with their infants
afterwards, with the behaviour of Cetshwayo, both to
his father and to his father’s wives. * And Mr. Shepstone
himself speaks of Cetshwayo on the occasion of this visit
in the following manner : ” Cetywayo is a man of
considerable ability, much force of character, and has
a dignified manner ; in all my conversations with him,”

* One put to death in 1861 was condemned on a charge of high


the Secretary for Native Affairs continues, ” lie was
remarkably frank and straightforward, and he ranks in
every respect far above any native chief I have ever
had to do with.” Throughout the despatch, indeed,
Mr. Shepstone repeatedly speaks of the king’s ” frank-
ness ” and ” sagacity,” in direct opposition to the charges
of craft and duplicity so recklessly brought against the
latter of late.

King Umpande died in October, 1872, having
reigned nearly thirty-three years, and on the 26th
February, 1873, messengers from Cetshwayo brought
the news of his father’s death to the Governor of Natal,
requesting at the same time that Mr. Shepstone might
be sent to instal Cetshwayo as his successor,’* in order
that the Zulu nation should be “more one with the
government of Natal/’ and be “covered by the same
mantle.” The message ended with the request which
Cetshwayo never lost an opportunity of making, that
we would protect his country from Boer aggressions.!
” We are also commissioned,” say the messengers, ” to
urge, what has already been urged so frequently , that the
government of Natal be extended so as to intervene
between the Zulus and the territory of the Transvaal

The mere fact that this proposition was frequently
and earnestly pressed upon the Natal Government by the
Zulus, is in itself a proof positive that the aggressions
were not on their side. They desired to place what they

* As he had previously, in the year 1861, visited Zululand for the
purpose of fixing the succession upon the house of Cetshwayo.

t Since by our desire he refrained from protecting it by force of


looked upon as an impassable barrier between the two
countries, and could therefore have had no wish
themselves to encroach.

Further messages passed between Cetshwayo and
the Natal Government upon the subject, until it was
finally arranged that the coronation should be performed
by Mr. Shepstone, in Zululand, and, with a party of
volunteers as escort, he crossed the Tugela on the 8th
August, 1873, accompanied by Major Durnford, K.E.,
Captain Boyes, 75th Kegiment, and several other officers
and gentlemen.

Mr. Shepstone’s long despatch, already quoted from,
and in which he describes, with true native minuteness,
the most trivial circumstances of the journey, and
subsequent proceedings, gives the impression that he
looked upon his mission as a service of danger to all
concerned. It was, however, carried out without any
break in the friendly relations between the Zulus and
his party, who returned to Pietermaritzburg ” without
unpleasant incident ” on the 19th September.

The coronation mission was carried out how far
successfully entirely depends upon the results expected
or desired by those in command. The king himself,
while looking upon the fact of his recognition as
sovereign of Zululand by the English as important, is
quite keen enough to have detected certain elements of
absurdity in the proceedings by which they invested him
with his dignity. There was perhaps a little good-
humoured scorn in his reception of the somewhat oddly-
chosen presents and marks of honour offered him.
Without losing that respect for and faith in the


English which has always characterised his dealings
with them, he felt impatiently that they were rather
making a fool of him ; especially when they put upon
his shoulders a little scarlet mantle formerly a lady’s
opera-cloak the curtailed dimensions of which made
him ridiculous in his own eyes ; and upon his head a
pasteboard, cloth, and tinsel crown, whose worthless-
ness he was perfectly capable of comprehending. Mr.
Shepstone’s despatch represents him as greatly impressed
by the ceremony, etc. ; but the impression on the minds
of many observers was that he put up with much which
both seemed and was trifling and ridiculous, for the
sake of the solid benefits which he hoped he and his
people would derive from a closer connection with the

The portion of Mr. Shepstone’s despatch, however,
which it is important that we should study with
attention is that which refers to the ” coronation pro-
mises” (so called) of Cetshwayo, and treats of the
political subjects discussed between king and king-

Sir Bartle Frere repeatedly speaks of the transaction
as ” a solemn act by the king, undertaken as the price
of British support and recognition ; ” of Cetshwayo as
having ” openly violated his coronation promises ; ” of
his ” undoubted promises ; ” while Sir Garnet Wolseley,
in his speech to the assembled chiefs and people of the
Zulu nation, speaks of the coronation promises as though
the want of attention to them had been the chief, if not
the only, cause of the king’s misfortunes ; and the same
tone is taken in all late despatches on the subject.


And now let us turn to Mr. Shepstone’s own report,
prepared at the time, and see whether we gather from it
the impression that the conditions of his treaty with
Cetshwayo were thought of, or intended by him, to
stand as solemn and binding promises, of which the
infraction, or delay in carrying out, would render the
king and his people liable to punishment at our hands.
After giving his reasons for objecting to ” formal or
written ” treaties with savages,”” Mr. Shepstone himself
remarks, ” Ours is an elastic arrangement.” This is a
singularly candid confession, of the truth of which there
can be little doubt. Whether such a term should be
applicable to the treaties made by an English Govern-,
ment is quite another question, to which we will leave
the English public to find an answer. We have,
however, but to quote from Mr. Shepstone ? s own
despatch to prove the convenient ” elasticity ” of his
propositions, and how greatly they have been magnified
of late in seeking a quarrel against the Zulu king. At
p. 16 of the report, after enumerating the ” arrange-
ments and laws ” proposed by him, and heartily approved
by the Zulus, Mr. Shepstone remarks : ” Although all
this was fully, and even vehemently, assented to, it

* He gives as reasons for his objections : first, that such treaties
” involve an admission of equality between the contracting parties,”
and therefore ” encourage presumption ” on the part of the inferior,
etc. ; secondly, that ” men who cannot read are apt to forget or distort
the words of a treaty.” A third reason, which does not seem to have
occurred to Mr. Shepstone, lies in the ease with which a savage may
be deceived as to the contents of a written document, which facility
we shall soon largely illustrate in the matter of Boer treaties with the


cannot be expected that the amelioration described will
immediately take effect. To have got such principles
admitted and declared to be what a Zulu may plead
when oppressed, was but sowing the seed, which will
still take many years to grow and mature.” And at
p. 17 he says : “I told the king that I well knew the
difficulties of his position, ind that he could overcome
them only by moderation and prudence and justice, but
without these they would certainly overcome him.”
And again (p. 18, par. 82) he explains that when he left
Natal he had looked upon the ” charge ” which he knew
that he would be expected to deliver to Cetshwayo on his
installation, as something in the nature of an ordination
sermon, or bishop’s charge to candidates for confirma-
tion, likely to influence only in so far as the consciences
of those addressed might respond, etc. ; but that, on
entering Zululand, he found that the people thought
so much of this part of the duty he had undertaken that
he felt himself to have “become clothed with the power
of fundamental legislation,” and thought it right to take
advantage of the opportunity for introducing improve-
ments in the government of the people. “I have
already described my success,” he continues, ” and I
attribute it to the sagacity of Cetywayo.”

But in all this there is no mention of “solemn
promises,” to break which would be an insult to the
majesty of England, and an excuse for war ; nor is
there, from beginning to end of the despatch, any token
that Mr. Shepstone looked upon them in that light, or
had any immediate expectation of proving the usefulness
of his ” elastic ” arrangement.


In describing his interviews and political discussions
with the Zulu king, Mr. Shepstone speaks repeatedly in
high praise of the ability and behaviour of the former.
He says in one place : ” Cetywayo received us cordially
as before. . . . Major Durnford and my son, with the
Natal Native Indunas, sat down with me to an inter-
view with Cetywayo and the councillors, that lasted for
five hours without intermission. It was of the most
interesting and earnest kind, and was conducted with
great ability and frankness by Cetywayo. Theoretically,
my business was with the councillors who represented
the nation ; but, had it not been for the straightforward
manner in which Cetywayo insisted upon their going
direct to the point, it would have been impossible to
have got through the serious subjects we were bound to
decide in the time we did.”

x/Of the points discussed in this way the most
important was that which, a little later, led directly
up to the Zulu War namely, the aggressions of the
Transvaal Boers and the disputed boundary between
them and the Zulus. ” The whole of the afternoon,”
says Mr. Shepstone, ” was occupied with this subject,
about which he occasionally grew very earnest, and
declared that he and every Zulu would die rather than
submit to them viz. the Boer encroachments. He
reproached the Government of Natal for not having
taken up the Zulu cause, and for not even having
troubled themselves to examine whether their state-
ments were true or not, while they treated them as if
without foundation.”


In fact, on this, as on every other occasion, the Zulu
king lost no opportunity of protesting against the encroach-
ments of the Boers, lest his peaceable conduct towards
these latter, maintained in deference to the wishes of the
Natal Government, should be brought up against him
later as a proof of their rights. Whatever may have been
the intentions and opinions of Mr. Shepstone on the
subject of the ” coronation promises,” he left Cetshwayo
unfettered in his own opinion, having merely received
certain advice as to the government of his people from
his respected friends the English, to whose wishes he
should certainly give full attention, and whose counsel
he would carry out as far as was, in his opinion, wise or
feasible. As already stated, the principal item of the
English advice related to capital punishment, which we,
with some justice, considered a too frequent occurrence
in Zululand, especially in cases of supposed witchcraft,
this superstition being undoubtedly the bane of the

But in judging of the king’s acts in this respect, it
should be remembered that, to rule a nation without any
assistance in the form of gaols or fetters, capital punish-
ment must needs be resorted to rather more frequently
than in our own country, where, indeed, it is not so long
since we hung a man for stealing a sheep, and for other
acts far short of murder. And as to the superstition con-
cerning witches, it can hardly have led to more cruelty
and injustice in Zululand than in civilised European
countries, where at Treves 7000 victims were burned
alive for witchcraft; 500 at Geneva in three months;



1000 in the province of Como ; 400, at once, at Toulouse ;
with many other like cases on official record/'” The
practice of smelling out a witch, as it is called, is
one to be put a stop to as soon as possible by
gradual and gentle means, and Cetshwayo himself had
arrived at that conclusion without our assistance, as
shown in his conversation with the native printer
Magema, whose account of a visit paid to the Zulu
king appeared in ” Macmillan’s Magazine ” for March,

But the custom of a people the law of a land is
not to be done away with or altered in an hour ; nor
could we English reasonably expect such radical changes
in the administration of a country to follow our orders
as immediately and naturally as we should expect a new
ordinance to be received by the natives of Natal living
under our own rule. Neither could we justly consider
the non-fulfilment of our wishes and commands a sufficient
cause for attacking Zululand, although such supposed
non-fulfilment was the first, and for a long time the

* See Lecky’s ” Eationalism in Europe” : 7000 at Treves ; 600
by a single Bishop of Bamberg ; 800 in one year, in the bishopric of
Wurtzburg ; 1000 in the province of Como ; 400 at once, at Toulouse ;
500 in three months, at Geneva ; 48 at Constance ; 80 at the little
/town of Valary in Saxony ; 70 in Sweden ; and one Christian judge
boasted that he himself had been the means of putting to death, in
sixteen years, 800 witches !

In Scotland, two centuries ago, but after many centuries of
Christianity and civilisation, John Brown, the Ayrshire carrier, was
shot, and, within a fortnight, an aged widow and a young maid were
tied to stakes in the Solway and drowned by the rising tide, for the
crime of neglecting episcopal worship, and going aside into the moor
to spend the Sabbath day in prayer and praise.


only casus belli which could be found against the
Zulu king.

The first occasion on which the solemnity of these
” coronation promises ” was made of importance was in
1875, when Bishop Schreuder undertook to pay Cetsh-
wayo a visit for the purpose of presenting him with a
printed and bound copy of Mr. Shepstone’s Eeport upon
the coronation in 1873, and impressing him fully with
the wishes of the English Government. Even then,
judging from Bishop Schreuder’s account of his inter-
view, neither king nor councillors were thoroughly satis-
fied with the result.*”” Cetshwayo, while admiring the
exact report given of what took place during Mr. Shep-
stone’s visit, objected that he had reserved his own
royal prerogatives and the right of putting criminals to
death for certain serious crimes, and pointed out that
Mr. Shepstone had neglected to inform the Queen of
this fact.

Bishop Schreuder, from his own account, appears to
have overruled all objections with a very high hand, and
almost forced the “book,” with his own interpretation
of it, upon the seemingly reluctant king, who, he says,
” evidently felt himself out of his depth.”

* P. P. [C. 1401] p. 30.

c 2



MEANWHILE in Natal mischief was brewing. A certain
chief in the north of the colony was supposed to be in
a very rebellious frame of mind, and it was rumoured
that force of arms would prove necessary in order to
bring him to his senses.

This chief was one Langalibalele, who, with his
tribe, the Ama-Hlubi, had been driven out of Zululand
by Umpande in the year 1848, and had taken refuge
in Natal. He was located by the English Government
in the country below the Draakensberg Mountains, with
the duty imposed upon him of defending Natal against
the attacks of the predatory hordes of Bushmen who,
in the early days of the colony, made perpetual and
destructive raids over the mountains. From this point
of view it would seem reasonable that the Hlubi tribe
should be permitted the use of firearms, prohibited,
except under certain restrictions, to the natives of Natal ;
inattention to which prohibition was the ground upon
which the original suspicions concerning Langalibalele’s
loyalty were based. The law, however, by which this
prohibition and these restrictions were made was one of


those enactments which, even when theoretically wise,
are often practically impossible, and to which new
communities are so prone.

Theoretically no native can possess a gun in Natal
which has not been registered before a magistrate.
Practically, in every kraal, in every part of the colony,
there were, and doubtless still are, many unregistered
guns, bought by natives, or given to them in lieu of
wages by their masters (a common practice at the
Diamond Fields), with very vague comprehension or
total ignorance on the part of the native that any
unlawful act had been committed. This would be more
especially natural when the masters who thus furnished
their men with the forbidden weapon were themselves
in some way connected with the government of the
country (Natal), whose sanction would therefore be
looked upon by the natives as an equivalent to the
permission of Government itself. But in point of fact
the law had always been enforced in such an extremely
lax way, the evasions of it were so easy and numerous,
and so many white men of position and respectability
in the colony were party to the infraction of it, that it
is no wonder that its reality and importance was but
lightly engraved upon the native mind.

The special accusation, however, brought against v^
Langalibalele to prove his rebellious tendencies was that
young men of his tribe were in possession of unregistered
guns, which, in addition, had not been brought in to
the magistrate, when demanded, for registration. The
reason for this unwillingness (on the part of the young
men) to comply with the above demands, appeared


afterwards in the fact that other guns which had been
properly produced for registration, had, after consider-
able delay, been returned to their owners in an injured
condition, rendering them unfit for use.

As these guns were the well-earned reward of hard
labour, and greatly valued by their possessors, it is little
to be wondered at that there should be considerable
reluctance on the part of others to risk the same loss.
A little forbearance and consideration on the part of
those in authority might, however, easily have overcome
the difficulty. But in this case, as in others, the
mistake was committed of requiring prompt and
unquestioning obedience, without sufficient care being
taken to protect the rights of those who rendered it.
As usual we would not stop to reason or deal justly with
the savage. Carelessness of the property of the natives,
the overbearing impatience of a magistrate, the want of
tact and good-feeling on the part of a commonplace
subordinate all these led to an indefinitely uneasy
state of things, which soon produced considerable
anxiety in the colonial mind. This feeling prevailed
during Mr. Shepstone’s absence in Zululand, and it was
generally understood that the Secretary for Native
Affairs’ next piece of work after crowning Cetshwayo
would be that of ” settling Langalibalele.”

But beyond the reluctance to produce their guns for
registration, there was nothing in the behaviour of the
Hlubi tribe to give the colonists cause for apprehension.
No lawless acts were committed, no cattle stolen, no
farmhouse fired, and the vague fears which existed
amongst the white inhabitants as to what might happen


were rather the result of the way in which “Government”
shook its head over the matter as a serious one, than
justified by any real cause for alarm. It was in fact
one of those “Government scares” which occasionally
were produced from causes or for reasons not apparent
on the surface.

On Mr. Shepstone’s return from the coronation of
Cetshwayo, Government native messengers were sent to
Langalibalele, requiring the latter to come down in
person to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Natal, to answer
for the conduct of his tribe concerning their guns. The
message produced a great and to those who were
ignorant of the cause of it a most unreasonable panic
in the tribe, in which the chief himself shared
considerably. The Ama-Hlubi appeared exceedingly
suspicious, even of the designs of the Government
messengers, who were made to take off their great-coats,
and were searched for concealed weapons before being
admitted into the presence of Langalibalele. Such
distrust of British good faith was held in itself to be a
crime, the insolence of which could not be overlooked.
Furthermore it was soon evident that the tribe would
not trust their chief, nor he his person, in the hands of
the Government, now that he was in disfavour. Without
actually refusing to obey the orders he had received and
proceed to Pieternmritzburg, Langalibalele sent excuses
and apologies, chiefly turning upon his own ill-health,
which made travelling difficult to him. This answer
was the signal for the military expedition of 1873,
which was entered upon without any further attempts to
bring about a peaceful settlement of the affair, or to find


out the real grounds for the evident fear and distrust of
the Hlubi tribe. In October, 1873, the force, partly of
regulars, partly colonial, a few Basuto horse, with an
entirely unorganised and useless addition of untrained
Natal natives, started from Pietermaritzburg, with all
the pomp and circumstance of war ; and much to the
delight of the young colonial blood on the look-out for
martial distinction. The tribe, however, far from having
the least wish to fight, or intention of opposing the British
force, deserted their location as soon as the news reached
them that the army had started, and fled with their
chief over the Draakensberg Mountains. Our force,
commanded by Colonel Milles of the 75th Eegiment,
and accompanied by the Lieut. -Governor Sir B. C. C. Pine
and Mr. Shepstone, reached a place called Meshlyn,
situated on the confines of the district to be subdued,
on October 31st ; but the ” enemy ” had vanished, and
were reported to be making the best of their way out of
the colony, without, however, committing ravages of any
description on their way, even to the extent of carrying
off any of their neighbours’ cattle. In fact they were
frightened, and simply ran away. Our object now was
to arrest the tribe in its flight ; and a plan was formed
for enclosing it in a network of troops, seizing all the
passes over the mountains, and thus reducing it to

Positions were assigned to the different officers in
command, and the scheme looked extremely well on
paper, and to men who were not acquainted with the
district and the exceeding difficulty of travelling through
it. Unfortunately, with the same lamentable failure in


the Intelligence Department which has characterised the
more important proceedings of 1879, very little was
known, by those in command, of the country, or of what
was going on in it. Mr. Shepstone himself, whose
supposed knowledge of the people, their land, and all
concerning them was so greatly and naturally relied
upon, proved totally ignorant of the distances which lay
between one point and another, or of the difficulties to
be overcome in reaching them.

In consequence of this singular ignorance a little
force was sent out on the evening of November 2nd,
under command of Major Durnford, RE., chief of the
staff, with orders to seize and hold a certain pass
known as the Bushman’s Eiver Pass, over which
Langalibalele was expected to escape ; the distance
having been miscalculated by about two-thirds, and
the difficulties of the way immensely underrated.

Major Durnford was himself a new-comer in the
colony at that time, and had therefore no personal
knowledge of the country ; but he was supplied with full,
though, as it soon appeared, unreliable information by
those under whose command he served, and who were
in possession of a plan or diagram of the district which
turned out to be altogether incorrect. He did, indeed,
reach his assigned post, though four-and-twenty hours
after the time by which he expected to be there ; while
those sent out to take up other positions never reached
them at all, owing to the same incorrect information
concerning locality.

Major Durnford was in command of a party com-
posed of 2 officers, 6 non-commissioned officers, and


47 rank and file of the Natal and Karkloof Carbineers,
24 mounted Basutos,* and a native interpreter. His
orders weref to seize and hold the Bushman’s Eiver
Pass, ” with a view to preventing the entrance in or out
of the colony of any natives until the expedition is ready
to cross over.” Special orders were also given to him
that he was on no account to fire the first shot.

There was one excellent reason, not generally taken
into consideration, for this order, in the fact that the
three days given by Government to the tribe in which
to surrender would not be over until midday on the
3rd of November.

Starting at 8.30 P.M. on the 2nd November, Major
Durnford’s force only reached its destination at 6.30 A.M.
on the 4th, having traversed a most difficult country,
broken, pathless, and well-nigh inaccessible. On the line
of march many men fell out, utterly unable to keep up ;
pack-horses with provisions and spare ammunition were
lost; and Major Durnford had his left shoulder dislocated,
and other severe injuries, by his horse falling with him
over a precipice on the 3rd. He pressed on for some
hours, but became quite exhausted at the foot of the
Giant’s Castle Pass, where he lay some time ; he was
then dragged up with the aid of a blanket, reaching the
top of the pass at 2 A.M. At 4 A.M. Major Durnford
was lifted on his horse, and with his force reduced to
1 officer, 1 non-commissioned officer, 33 troopers, and
the Basutos pushed on to the Bushman’s Eiver Pass,

* Natives of Basutoland, resident for many years in Natal,
t See Field Force Order, 1873.


and occupied it at 6.30 A.M., finding Langalibalele’s men
already in the pass.

Major Durnford posted his men, and went forward
with the interpreter to parley with the chiefs, and induce
them to return to their allegiance. This was a service
of danger, for the young warriors were very excited.
Seeing that the enemy were getting behind rocks, etc.,
commanding the mouth of the pass, he made every
preparation for hostilities, though restricted by the order
not to fire the first shot. Finding that, although the
natives drew back when he bade them, they pressed on
again when his back was turned, and that the volunteers
were wavering, he at last reluctantly directed an orderly
retreat to higher ground, from whence he could still
command the pass. Upon a shot being fired by the
natives, the retreat became a stampede, and a heavy fire
being opened, three of the Carbineers and one Basuto fell.
The horse of the interpreter was killed, and, while Major
Durnford was endeavouring to reach the man and lift
him on his own horse, the interpreter was killed by his
side, and Major Durnford was surrounded and left alone.
Dropping the reins, he drew his revolver, and shot his
immediate assailants, who had seized his horse’s bridle,
and, after running the gauntlet of a numerous enemy
at close quarters, escaped with one serious wound, an
assegai-stab in the left arm, whereby it was permanently
disabled. He received one or two trifling cuts besides,
and his patrol-jacket was pierced in many places.
Getting clear of the enemy, Major Durnford rallied a
few Carbineers and the Basutos, and covered the retreat.
The head-quarters camp was reached about 1 A.M.


on the 5th. At 11 P.M. on that day, Major Durnford
led out a volunteer party artillery with rockets, 50
men of the 75th Eegiment, 7 Carbineers, and 30
Basutos to the rescue of Captain Boyes, 75th Eegi-
ment, who had been sent out with a support on the
3rd, and was believed to be in great danger. Major
Durnford had received such serious injuries that the
doctor endeavoured to dissuade him from further exer-
tion, but as those sent to his support were in danger
and he knew the country, he determined to go. He was
lifted on his horse, and left amid the cheers of the troops
in camp. Having marched all night resting only from
3 to 5 A.M. they met Captain Boyes’ party about mid-
day ; they had lost their way, and thus did not find the
Giant’s Castle Pass.

After this, Major Durnford, with a considerable
force, occupied Bushman’s Eiver Pass, recovered and
buried the bodies of his comrades, and held the pass.
He afterwards patrolled the disturbed districts. The
Lieut.-Governor, Sir B. C. C. Pine, in a despatch dated
13th November, 1873, accepted the responsibility of the
orders not to fire the first shot, and said of Major
Durnford : ” He behaved, by testimony of all present, in
the most gallant manner, using his utmost exertions to
rally his little force, till, left absolutely alone, he was
reluctantly compelled to follow them wounded.”

Colonel Milles, commanding the field force, published
the following order :

” CAMP MBSHLYN, 7th November, 1873.
“The Commandant, with deep regret, announces


to the field force under his command the loss of
three Carbineers, viz. : Mr. Erskine, Mr. Potterill, and
Mr. Bond, and of one native interpreter, Elijah, who
formed part of the small force sent up with Major
Durnford, K.E., to secure the passes, and who were
killed during the retreat of that party from the passes,
which, although they had gallantly seized, they were
unable to hold, the orders being for ‘ the forces not to
fire the first shot/ and so having to wait till they were
placed at a great disadvantage. The brave conduct of
those killed is testified to by all their comrades, and
there is consolation alone in the thought that they died
nobly fighting for their country. The Commandant
must, however, publicly render his thanks to Major
Durnford for the way in which he commanded the
party, for his courage and coolness, and especially for
the noble way in which, after his return from the
passes, being almost exhausted, he mustered a volunteer
party and marched to the relief of Captain Boyes, who
was considered in great danger.

” By command,


“(For Chief of the Staff).”

Although the main body of the fighting-men of the
tribe had left Natal, most of the women and children,
the sick and infirm, with a few ablebodied men to watch
over them, had taken refuge in holes and caves, of which
there are a considerable number in that mountainous
part of the colony. The men of the tribe, indeed, were
in disgrace with the Government, and thought it best


to be out of the way when the British force paid their
homes a visit, but it was not for a moment imagined
that the soldiers would make war upon women and
children. The latter, in any case, could not have taken
that tremendous and hurried journey across the great
mountains ; and, with what soon proved a very mistaken
confidence on the part of the people, all who could
neither fight nor travel were left in these hiding-places,
from which they expected to emerge in safety as soon
as the troops, finding no one to oppose them, should
have left the district. ” The English soldiers will not
touch the children,””* was the expression used. So far,
however, was this idea from being realised, that the
remainder of the expedition consisted of a series of
attempts, more or less successful, to hunt the unfor-
tunate ” children ” out of their hiding-places and take
them prisoners.

During these proceedings many acts were committed
under Government sanction which can only be charac-
terised by the word cc atrocities,” and which were as
useless and unnecessary as they were cruel, f

Poor frightened creatures were smoked to death or
killed by rockets in caves which they dared not leave
for fear of a worse fate at the hands of their captors ;
women and children were killed, men were tortured,
and prisoners put to death. On one occasion a white

* In the Zulu language the word abantwana (children) is a general
one, including both women and children.

f It is only fair to Major Durnford to state that during the whole
of these proceedings he was away over the mountains, in vain pursuit
of an enemy to be fought.


commander of native forces is said to have given the
significant information to his men that he did not wish
to see the faces of any prisoners ; and it is reported
that a prisoner was made over to the native force to
be put to death as the latter chose. The colonial
newspapers apologised at the time for some of these
acts, on the score that they were the result of the
youthful enthusiasm of ” Young Natal ” fleshing his
maiden sword.

These acts were chiefly committed by the irregular
(white) troops and native levies, and are a signal proof
of how great a crime it is to turn undisciplined or
savage troops, over whom no responsible person has any
real control, loose upon a defenceless people. The excuse
made by those in authority in such cases is always
“We did not intend these things to take place, but
horrors are always attendant on savage warfare.”
But such excuses are of small value when, in campaign
after campaign, it has been proved that the use of
colonial troops under their own officers, and of dis-
organised masses of armed ” friendly natives,” is in-
variably productive of scenes disgraceful to the name of
England, without any attempt being made to introduce
a better system. Certainly if ” horrors ” beyond the fair
fortune of war are necessarily attendant upon savage
warfare, they should not be those inflicted by British
troops and their allies upon unarmed or solitary men,
women, and children.

So many women were injured in dislodging them
from the caves that Major Durnford, on his second
return from the mountains, instituted a hospital-tent


where they might be attended to; but such humanity
was by no means the general rule.

If acts of barbarity were for the most part committed
by the irregular troops, there is one instance to the
contrary which can never be forgotten in connection
with this affair so flagrant a case that the friends of
the officer in command, when the story first appeared in
the colonial papers, refused to believe in it until it was
authenticated beyond a doubt.

A body of troops infantry, irregular cavalry, and
undisciplined natives upon one occasion during this
expedition were engaged for some hours in trying to
dislodge a solitary native from a cave in which he had
taken refuge. The force had discovered the hiding-
place by the assistance of a little boy, whom they
captured and induced to betray his friends.

The ” rebel ” (in this case there was but one) refused
to surrender, and for a long while defended himself
gallantly against the attacks of the whole force. Shots
were fired through the apertures of the cave, rockets (a
new and horrible experience to the poor creature) were
discharged upon him. At last, after holding out for
some hours, the man gave up the struggle, and coming
out from his insufficient shelter, begged for mercy at the
hands of his numerous foe. He had a good many
wounds upon him, but none sufficiently severe to
prevent his walking out amongst his captors, and asking
them to spare his life. After a short consultation
amongst the officers, a decision was arrived at as to the
proper treatment of this man, who had proved himself a
brave soldier and was now a helpless captive.


By order of the officer commanding, a trooper named
Hoodie put his pistol to the prisoner’s head and blew
out his brains. A court-martial sat upon this officer in
the course of the following year, and he was acquitted
of all blame. The defence was that the man was so
seriously injured that it was an act of humanity to put
an end to him, and that the officer dared not trust him
in the hands of the natives belonging to the English
force, who were exasperated by the long defence he had
made. But the prisoner was not mortally . nor even
dangerously wounded. He was able to walk and to
speak, and had no wound upon him which need
necessarily have caused his death. And as to the
savage temper of the native force, there was no reason
why the prisoner should be left in their charge at all,
as there was a considerable white force present at the

* 1. The following account of the above transaction was given by
one of those concerned, in a letter to The Natal Times of that date :
” Twenty of us volunteered yesterday to go up and into a cave about
eight miles from here. We found only one native, whom we shot,
took a lot of goats (eighty-seven), and any amount of assegais and other
weapons. “We also searched about the country and killed a few
niggers, taking fourteen prisoners. One fellow in a cave loaded his
rifle with stones, and slightly wounded Wheelwright and Lieutenant
Clarke, R.A. We, however, got him out, and Moodie shot him
through the brains. Fifteen of ours have just volunteered to go to a
cave supposed to contain niggers. We are gradually wiping out the
three poor fellows who were shot, and all our men are determined to
have some more.”

2. The Natal Government Gazette, December 9th, 1873, contains the
following enactment : ” All officers and other persons who have acted
under the authority of Sir Benjamin Chillay Campbell Pine, K.C.M.G.,
as Lieut.-Governor of the colony of Natal, or as Supreme Chief
over the native population, or have acted bond fide for the purposes


The result of the expedition against the Hlubi tribe
was so little satisfactory that those in authority felt
themselves obliged to look about for something else to
do before taking the troops back to Pietermaritzburg.
They found what they wanted ready to their hand.
Next to Langalibalele’s location lay that of the well-to-
do and quiet little tribe of Putini. ” Government ” had
as yet found no fault with these people, and, secure
in their own innocence, they had made no attempt to
get out of the way of the force which had come to
destroy their neighbours, but remained at home, herded
their cattle, and planted their crops as usual. Un-
fortunately, however, some marriages had taken place
between members of the two tribes, and when that of
Langalibalele fled, the wives of several of his men took
refuge in their fathers’ kraals in the next location. No
further proof was required of the complicity of Putini
with Langalibalele, or of the rebellious condition of the
smaller tribe. Consequently it was at once, as the
natives term it, ” eaten up,” falling an easy prey owing
to its unsuspecting state. The whole tribe men,
i/women, and children were taken prisoners and carried
down to Pietermaritzburg, their cattle and goods were
confiscated, and their homes destroyed. Several of the
Putini men were killed, but there was very little resist-
ance, as they were wholly taken by surprise. The colony

and during the time aforesaid, whether such acts were done in any
district, county, or division of the colony in which martial law was
proclaimed or not, are hereby indemnified in respect of all acts,
matters, and things done, in order to suppress the rebellion and prevent
the spread thereof ; and such acts so done are hereby made and
declared to be lawful, and are confirmed.


was charmed with this success, and the spoils of the
Putini people were generally looked to to pay some of
the expenses of the campaigu. Whatever may have been
the gain to the Government, by orders of which the
cattle (the chief wealth of the tribe) were sold, it was
not long shared by the individual colonists who pur-
chased the animals. The pasture in that part of the
country from which they had come is of a very different
description from any to be found in the environs of
Pietermaritzburg, and, in consequence of the change, the
captured cattle died off rapidly almost as soon as they
changed hands. But this was not all, for they had time,
before they died, to spread amongst the original cattle
of their new owners two terrible scourges, in the shape
of ” lung-sickness ” and ” red- water/ 1 from which the
midland districts had long been free. One practical
result of the expedition of 1873 seems to be that neither
meat, milk, nor butter have ever again been so cheap in
the colony as they were before that date, the two latter
articles being often unobtainable to this day.

The unhappy prisoners of both tribes were driven
down like beasts to Pietermaritzburg, many of the
weaker dying from want and exposure on the way.
Although summer-time, it happened to be very wet, and
therefore cold ; our native force had been allowed to
strip the unfortunates of all their possessions, even to
their blankets and the leather petticoats of the women.
The sufferings of these poor creatures many of them
with infants a few days old, or born on the march
down were very great. A scheme was at first laid, by
those in authority, for ” giving the women and children

D 2


out ” as servants for a term of years that is to say, for
making temporary slaves of them to the white colonists.
l Xfhis additional enormity was vetoed by the home
Government, but the fact remains that its perpetration
was actually contemplated by those entrusted with the
government of the colony, and especially of the natives,
and was hailed by the colonists as one of the advantages
to accrue to them from the expedition of 1873. Several
children were actually given out in the way referred to
before the order to the contrary arrived from England,
and a considerable time elapsed before they were all
recovered by their relatives.

The unhappy women and children of the Langali-
balele tribe were mere emaciated skeletons when they
reached the various places where they were to live
under surveillance. They seemed crushed with misery,
utterly ignorant of the cause of their misfortunes, but
silent and uncomplaining. Many of the women had
lost children few knew whether their male relatives
were yet alive. On being questioned, they knew
nothing of Mr. Shepstone, not even his name, which
was always supposed to command the love and fear of
natives throughout the length and breadth of the land.
They did not know what the tribe had done to get
into such trouble ; they only knew that the soldiers had
come, and that they had run away and hidden them-
selves ; that some of them were dead, and the rest were
ready to die too and have it all over. A considerable
number of these poor creatures were permitted by
Government to remain upon the Bishop’s land, where
most of them gradually regained health and spirits,


but retained always the longing for their own homes
and people and their lost chief which characterises
them still.””

* It is hard to understand why these people should yet be
detained and their harmless old chief still kept prisoner at Capetown.
The common saying that they are all content and the chief better off
than he ever was before in his life, is an entirely and cruelly false one.
Langalibalele is wearying for his freedom and his own people ; the
few women with him are tired of their loneliness, and longing to be
with their children in Natal. The present writer paid the chief a
visit in September of this year (1879), and found him very sad. “I
am weary ; when will they let me go 1 ” was his continual question.



MEANWHILE the fugitive chief had at last been captured
by the treachery of a Basuto chief named Molappo, who
enticed him into his hands, and then delivered him up
to Mr. Griffiths, resident magistrate in that part of
British Basutoland. When he and his party were first
captured they had with them a horse laden with all the
coin which the tribe had been able to get together during
the last few days before the expedition started from
Pietermaritzburg, and which they had collected to send
down as a ransom for their chief. Their purpose was
arrested by the news that the soldiers had actually started
to attack them ; when, feeling that all was lost, they
fled, carrying the chief and his ransom with them.
What became of the money, whether it became
Molappo’s perquisite, or whether it formed part of the
English spoil, has never been publicly known. But it
can hardly be denied that the readiness of the people to
pay away in ransom for their chief the whole wealth
of the tribe earned by years of labour on the part of
the working members, is in itself a proof that their
tendencies were by no means rebellious.


Langalibalele, with seven of his sons and many
indunas (captains) and head-men, was brought down
to Pietermaritzburg for trial, reaching the town on the
21st December.

So strong was the unreasoning hatred of the colonists
against him on account of the death of the three
Carbineers which had resulted from the expedition,
that the unhappy man, a helpless captive, was insulted
and pelted by the populace as he was conveyed in irons
to the capital ; and again, after sentence had been passed
upon him, upon his way to Durban.

It was at this stage of affairs that the Bishop of
Natal first came upon the scene, and interfered on
behalf of the oppressed. Until 1873, while earnestly
endeavouring to do his best as teacher and pastor
amongst the natives as well as amongst their white
fellow-colonists, he had not found it to be his duty to
go deeply into political matters concerning them. He
had great confidence at that time in the justice and
humanity of their government as carried on by
Mr. Shepstone, for whom he had a warm personal
regard, based on the apparent uprightness of his
conduct ; and he had therefore contented himself with
accepting Mr. Shepstone’s word in all that concerned

That so many years should have passed without the
Bishop’s having discovered how greatly his views and
those of his friend differed in first principles as to the
government of the people, is due partly to the fact that
the two met but seldom, and then at regular expected
intervals, and partly because no great crisis had


previously taken place to prove the principles of either
in that respect. Their regular interviews were upon
Sundays, when the Bishop, going into Pietermaritzburg
for the cathedral service, invariably spent a couple of
hours with his friend. During these comparatively
short meetings doubtless Mr. Shepstone’s real personal
regard for the Bishop caused him temporarily to feel
somewhat as he did, and, where he could not do so,
to refrain from entering upon political discussion. The
sympathy with Mr. Shepstone which existed in the
Bishop’s mind prevented the latter from looking more
closely for himself into matters which he believed to
be in good hands, and which did not naturally fall
within the sphere of his duties; while the com-
paratively trivial character of the cases with which
the native department had hitherto dealt, was not such
as to force their details before a mind otherwise and
fully employed.

The Laugalibalele expedition, however, opened the
Bishop’s eyes. While it lasted, although deeply
deploring the loss of life on either side, and feeling-
great indignation at the atrocities perpetrated on ours,
he did not doubt that Mr. Shepstone had done all he
could to avert the necessity of bloodshed, and expected to
find him, upon his return to Pietermaritzburg, much
grieved and indignant at the needless amount of suffering
inflicted upon his people, the greater portion of whom
must be entirely innocent, even although the charges
against their chief should be proved.

The discovery that Mr. Shepstone entirely ratified


what had been done* was the first blow to his friend’s
reliance on him. The mockery of justice termed a
trial, granted to Langalibalele, was the next ; and the
discovery of how completely he had misconceived Mr.
Shepstone’s policy closed the intimacy of their friendship.

It soon became apparent that the trial of the chief
was indeed to be a farce a pretence, meant to satisfy
inquiring minds at home that justice had been done,
but which could have but one result, the condemnation
of the prisoner, already prejudged by a Government
which, having declared him to be a rebel and having
treated him as such, was hardly likely to stultify itself
by allowing him to be proved innocent of the charges
brought against him.

That there might be no doubt at all upon the
subject, the prisoner was denied the help of counsel, -r
white or black, in the hearing of his case, even to watch
the proceedings on his behalf, or to cross-examine the
witnesses ; consequently the official record of the trial
can only be looked upon as an ex parte statement of the
case, derived from witnesses selected by the Supreme
Chief, t examined by the Crown Prosecutor, and not
cross-examined at all on the prisoner’s behalf, although
the assistance of counsel was recognised by the Crown
Prosecutor himself as being in accordance with Kafir k,w4

* Not including those individual acts of cruelty which no one
could defend, although many speak of them as unavoidable.

t The Lieut. -Governor of the colony.

J Kafir law, under which Langalibalele was tried, because most
of the offences with which he was charged were not recognisable by
English law.


But the formation of the court and its whole pro-
ceedings were palpably absurd, except for the purpose
of securing a conviction ; and that this was the case was
generally understood in Natal. Even those colonists
who were most violent against the so-called “rebel,” and
would have had him hanged without mercy, asserting
that he had been ” taken red-handed/’ saw that the
authorities had put themselves in the wrong by granting
the prisoner a trial against the justice of which so much
could be alleged.

In point of fact, the Lieut. -Governor had no
power to form a court such as that by which
Langalibalele was tried, consisting of his excellency
himself as Supreme Chief, the Secretary for Native
Affairs, certain administrators of native law, and
certain native chiefs and indunas. Besides which the
Lieut. -Governor was not only debarred by an ordinance
of the colony*” from sitting as judge in such a court,
from which he would be the sole judge in a court
of appeal, but had already committed himself to a
decision adverse to the prisoner by having issued the
proclamation of November llth, 1873, declaring that the
chief and his tribe had ” set themselves in open revolt
and rebellion against Her Majesty’s Government in this
colony,” and ” proclaiming and making known that they
were in rebellion, and were hereby declared to be
outlaws,” and that ” the said tribe was broken up, and
from that day forth had ceased to exist,” and by further
seizing and confiscating all the cattle and property of
the said tribe within reach, deposing Langalibalele from
* Ordinance No. 3, 1849.


his chieftainship, and otherwise treating him and his
tribe as rebels.

His Excellency, therefore, could not possibly be
looked upon as an unprejudiced judge of the first
instance in the prisoner’s case ; nor could the Secretary
for Native Affairs, Mr. Shepstone, by whose advice and
with whose approval the expedition had been under-
taken. As to the minor members of the court, they </
could hardly be expected to have an independent
opinion in the matter, especially the ” native chiefs and
indunas,” who knew very well that they would be liable
to the accusation of disaffection themselves if they
ventured to show any bearing towards the prisoner,
or to do otherwise than blindly follow the lead of their
white ” brother-judges ” (!) and masters.

The native names gave a satisfactory air of justice
to the proceedings of the court in English eyes, but in
point of fact they were but dummy judges after all,

Not only, however, was the court wrongly con-
stituted, but its proceedings were irregular and illegal.^
It was called, and considered to be, a native court, but
in point of fact it was a nondescript assembly, such
usages of either native or supreme court as could
possibly tell on the prisoner’s side (notably the use. of
counsel) being omitted, and only those which would
insure his conviction admitted.

It was not the practice of the colony for serious
crimes to be tried before a native court. But in this
case they were obliged to run counter to custom for
the reason given in a previous note, that most of the
separate charges against the chief could not be reeog-


nised as crimes at all in an English court of law. At
the same time the sentence finally given was one quite
beyond the power of the court to pronounce. Clause 4
of the ordinance limits the power of the Supreme Chief
to ” appointing or removing the subordinate chiefs or
other authorities” among the natives, but gives him
no power to sentence to death, or to “banishment or
transportation for life to such place as the Supreme
Chief or Lieut. -Governor may appoint.” When Lan-
galibalele had been ” removed ” from his chieftain-
ship, and himself and the bulk of his tribe “driven
over the mountain out of the colony ” by the Govern-
ment force, as announced in the bulletin of November
13th, 1873, the cattle within the colony seized, and
many of the tribe killed in resisting the attempt to
seize them, the Supreme Chief, under native law, had
expended his power ; while banishment is a punishment
^ wholly unknown to Kafir law, as is plainly stated in
” Kafir Laws and Customs,” p. 39.

Again, throughout the trial, the prisoner was assumed
to have pleaded guilty, although in point of fact he
had merely admitted that he had done certain acts, but
desired witnesses to be called whose ” evidence would
justify or extenuate what he had done,” a plea which
in any ordinary court would be recorded as a plea of
” Not guilty.”

The native members of the court, also, were made
to sign a judgment, the contents of which had been
” interpreted” to them, and their signatures “wit-
nessed,” by which the prisoner is declared to have been
” convicted, on clear evidence, of several acts, for some


of which he would be liable to forfeit his life under
the law of every civilised country in the world.” The
absurdity of this is palpable, since it was impossible
that these men should know anything of the law of
any civilised land ; it is plain, therefore, that in pre-
tending to agree with assertions, of the meaning of
which they were totally ignorant, they were under
some strong influence, such as prejudice against the
prisoner, undue fear of the Supreme Chief, or desire to
please him one of them being ” Head Induna of the
Natal Government,” and another the ” Induna to the
Secretary for Native Affairs.”

To turn to these crimes, ” for some of which he
would be liable to forfeit his life under the law of
every civilised country in the world ” to which state-
ment His Excellency the Supreme Chief, the Secretary
for Native Affairs, and the Administrators of Native
Law have also signed their names we find that the
charges run as follows :

1. ” Setting at naught the authority of the magis-
trate in a manner* not indeed sufficiently palpable to
warrant the use of forcible coercion to our (civilised)
laws and customs.” Which charge we may at once
dismiss as absurd.

2. ” Permitting, or probably encouraging, his tribe
to possess fire-arms, and retain them contrary to law.”

3. “With reference to these fire-arms, defying the
authority of the magistrate, and once insulting the

4. “Befusing to appear before” the Supreme Chief

* The italics are the Author’s own in this and following charge.


when summoned, ” excusing his refusal by evasion and
falsehood,” and ” insulting his messenger.”

5. ” Directing his cattle and other effects to be
taken out of the colony under an armed escort.”

6. Causing the death of Her Majesty’s subjects at
the Bushman’s Eiver Pass.

It is plain to the most casual observation that none
of the first five accusations, even if fully proved, refer to
crimes punishable by death in any civilised land ; and it
is difficult to see how the Chief could reasonably be con-
sidered responsible for the sixth and last, seeing that the
action took place in his absence, against his express
commands, and to his great regret.

Keturning to the five first-named offences, we find
that the statements contained in the second and third
charges are the only proofs alleged of the truth of the
first to which therefore we need give no further atten-
tion the magistrate himself stating that “this was the
first time the prisoner ever refused to appear before him
when ordered to do so ; ” and this was the first time for
more than twenty years that he had been reported for
any fault whatever.

Proceeding to charge No. 2, we find that the prisoner
entirely denied having encouraged his young men to
possess themselves of guns ; nor could he justly be said to
have even ” permitted ” them to do so merely because he
did not actively exert himself to prevent it. The men
went away from home, worked, were paid for their
services in guns, or purchased them with their earnings,
without consulting him. He had never considered it to
be part of his duty to search the huts of his people for



unregistered guns, but had simply left them to suffer
the consequences of breaking the laws of the colony, if
discovered. It is also to be observed that amongst the
seven sons captured with him only one had a gun at a
time when certainly, if ever, they would have carried
them ; which does not look as though he had greatly
encouraged them to possess themselves of fire-arms.

But if the second charge, in a very modified form,
might be considered a true one, yet Langalibalele had
done no worse in that respect than most of the other
chiefs in the colony. In proof of this assertion may be
brought “Perrin’s Eegister ” for the years 1871-2-3
the years during which a large number of natives
received payment for their services at the diamond-
fields in guns. From this register it appears that the
total number of guns registered in eight of the principal
northern tribes of the colony the two first-named chiefs
being indunas to the very magistrate who complained
of Langalibalele was as follows :






Kdomba . . 1190



Faku … 2071


Mganu . . . 1277

Pakade. . . 2222



Zikali . . . 1651


Nodada . . 3000



Putini . . . 1239


Langalibalele . 2244



Furthermore, any fault with respect to the guns
was not an offence under Kafir Law, and could only


have been tried in the Colonial Court under the
ordinary law of the colony.

The third and fourth charges were those which, when
first reported in Natal, produced considerable alarm
and indignation in the minds of the colonists. A
defiance of the authority, both of magistrate and
Supreme Chief, and insult offered to their messengers,
looked indeed like actual rebellion. The charges, how-
ever, dwindled down to very little when properly
examined. The ” defiance” in question consisted only
in an answer made to the magistrate to the effect that
he could not send in as desired five young men in
possession of unregistered guns because they had run
away, he knew not whither, being frightened by the
course pursued by the magistrate’s messenger ; and that
he could not find eight others, said to have come
into the colony with guns, and to belong to his tribe,
upon such insufficient data, and unless their names
were given to him. The sincerity of which reasoning
was shortly proved by the fact that, as soon as their
names were notified to him, he did send in three of
those very lads, with their guns, and two more belong-
ing to other members of their party, besides sending
in with their guns those who had worked for Mr. W.
E. Shepstone, and who probably thought that the name
of their master was a sufficient guarantee for their right
to possess fire-arms.

The charge of insulting the native messengers from
Government, of which a great deal was made at first,
proved to be of very little consequence when investi-
gated, but it is one to which special attention should


be given because, indirectly, it is connected with the v
Zulu War.

The facts are as follows : One of the chief witnesses
for the prosecution, Mawiza, a messenger of the Govern-
ment, stated in his evidence-in-chief on the second day
of the trial, that on the occasion of his carrying a message
from Government, the prisoner’s people had “taken
all his things from him,” and had ” stripped, and
taken him naked ” into the Chiefs presence. But on the
fourth day, in answer to a question from His Excellency,
he said “that they had intended to strip him but had
allowed him to retain his trousers and boots/’ thereby
contradicting himself flatly. Nevertheless the court
being asked by His Excellency whether it required
further evidence on this point, replied in the negative.
They did not even ask a question, on the subject, of
Mawiza’s two companion messengers, Mnyembe and
Gayede, though both these were examined ; Mnyembe’s
evidence-in-chief being cut short before he came to that
part f the story, and Gayede’s taken up just after it.

The chief was kept in solitary confinement from*/
the day when he was brought down to Pietermaritzburg,
December 31st, till the day when his sons were sentenced,
February 27th ; not being allowed to converse with any
of his sons, or with any members of his tribe, or with
any friend or adviser, white or black. It was therefore
quite out of his power to find witnesses who would
have shown, as Mnyembe and Gayede would have done,
that Mawiza’s statements about the ” stripping ” were
false; that he still wore his waistcoat, shirt, trousers,
boots, and gaiters, when he was taken to the chief;


and that the “stripping” in question only amounted
to this, that he himself put off his two coats, by the
chiefs orders, ” as a matter of precaution caused by
fear” and not for the purpose of insulting the messenger,
or defying the Supreme Chief. They would have satisfied
the court also that other acts charged against the
prisoner arose from fear, and dread of the Supreme
Chief, and not from a spirit of defiance.

This affair of the messenger, explained by fear and
suspicion on the part of Langalibalele, by which, also,
he accounted for his refusal to “appear before” the
Supreme Chief (which is to say that, being desired to
give himself up into the hands of the Government, he
was afraid to do so, and ran away), was the turning-
point of the whole trial. What special reason he had
for that fear and distrust will be inquired into shortly.
Meanwhile the court considered that such expressed
distrust of the good faith of the authorities was an
added offence on the part of the prisoner, who was
rmally condemned to death, but his sentence commuted
to banishment for life to Bobben Island, the abode of
lunatics and lepers, in which other captive native chiefs
had languished and died before him.”*

* The other rebel chiefs of the Cape Colony here alluded to,
however, were not ” banished,” but merely imprisoned in a portion of
their own Supreme Chiefs territory, where, at proper times, they could
be visited by members of their families and tribes ; moreover, they
were duly tried and convicted before the ordinary courts of serious
crimes committed by themselves individually, and they had actually
resisted by force their Supreme Chief within his territory j whereas
Langalibalele had made no resistance he was a runaway, but no
rebel ; he had not been tried and condemned for any crime in the
Colonial Court, and banishment for life to Kobben Island, away from
all his people, was a fate worse than death in his and their eyes.



THE daily accounts of the trial which appeared in the
local papers were read with great interest and attention
by the Bishop, who quickly discerned the injustice of
the proceedings. Mawiza’s manifest contradiction of his
own evidence first attracted his attention, and led to his
hearing from some of his own natives what was not
allowed to appear at the trial, that Mawiza’s story was
entirely false. Seeing how seriously this fact bore upon
the prisoner’s case, he went to Mr. Shepstone and told
him what he had heard.

The Secretary for Native Affairs was at first very
indignant with the Bishop’s informant, doubting the
truth of his statement, and declaring that the man must
be severely punished if it were proved that he had lied.
The Bishop, confident in the integrity of his native/””
assented, saying, however, that the same argument
should apply to Mawiza. The matter was at once
privately investigated by Mr. Shepstone the Bishop,
Mawiza, Magema, and others being present with the

* The same Magema, the Bishop’s printer, before mentioned.

E 2


result that Mr. Shepstone himself was obliged to
acknowledge the untrustworthiness of Mawiza, who was
reproved in the severest terms for his prevarications by
the other native indunas.’*

Singularly enough, however, this discovery made no
difference whatever in the condemnation and sentence of
the prisoner, although the charge thus, to a great extent,
disposed of, was the most serious of those brought
against him.

But this was not all. Another point struck the
Bishop very forcibly, namely, the perpetual recurrence
of one phrase from various witnesses. ” He (Langa-
libalele) was afraid, remembering what was done to
Matshana,” and ” he was afraid that he should be treated
as Matshana was, when he was summoned to appear
by Government.” Such expressions, used in excuse of
the Chiefs conduct, would, of course, have been inquired
into had the prisoner been allowed counsel, or had any
one watched the case on his behalf. But although the
court judged the excuse of ” fear ” to be an added fault
on the Chiefs part, and although perpetual allusions
were made by witnesses to a specific cause for this
fear, no question was asked, and no notice taken
by those present of the perpetually recurring phrase.
The Bishop, however, in the interests of justice and
truth, made inquiries amongst his own natives as to the
meaning of these allusions. He knew, of course, in
common with the rest of the inhabitants of Natal, that,

* Although Mawiza’s lies were plainly exposed, he was never
punished, but remains to this day in charge of a large tribe, over
which he has been placed by the Government.


in the year 1858, a native chief named Matshana had
got into some trouble with the Government of Natal.
A commando had gone out against him, and, after a
skirmish with some native troops under Mr. John
Shepstone, in which Mr. Shepstone was wounded, and
some men on the other side killed, he had escaped with
his people into Zululand, where he had lived ever since.
The Bishop had never heard the details of the affair, and
knew of nothing in connection with this incident which
could account for the ” fear because of what was done to

” Can you tell me anything of the story of Matshana’s
escape from Natal ? ” was the question put by him at
different times to different natives ; and everyone thus
questioned gave substantially the same account, of
what was plainly among them a well-known, and well-
remembered incident in the history of the colony.

Matshana, they said, was accused of some offence, and
being summoned before the authorities to answer for
it, had refused to appear. Mr. John Shepstone, with a
native force, of whom this very Langalibalele, then a
young chief, with his followers formed a portion, was
sent out to endeavour to reduce him to obedience.
Mr. Shepstone invited him to a friendly interview, in
which they might talk over matters, but to which
Matshana’s men were to bring no weapons. In con-
sequence of the reluctance of Matshana to fulfil this
condition, the proposed interview fell through several
times before it was finally arranged. Matshana’s people,
even then, however, brought their weapons with them,
but they were induced to leave them at a certain


spot a short distance off. The meeting took place;
Mr. Shepstone being seated in a chair with his people
behind him, Matshana and his men crouched native
fashion upon the ground, suspicious and alert, in a
semicircle before him. Suddenly Mr. Shepstone drew a
gun from beneath the rug at his feet, and fired it (he says,
as a signal), whereupon his men, some of whom had
already ridden between Matshana’s party and their arms,
fell on, and the struggle became general, resulting in
the death of many of Matshana’s people. The chief
himself, who seems to have been on the look-out for a
surprise, escaped unhurt. He was resting upon one knee
only when the first shot was fired, and sprang over the
man crouching behind him. Another man, named Deke,
who was sitting close to him, was wounded in the knee,
but is alive to this day.

This story, which in varied form, but substantially
as given above, was generally known and believed by the
natives, furnished a very complete explanation of why
Langalibalele ventured to distrust the good faith and
honour of the Government, having himself taken part
in, and been witness of, such a disgraceful transaction ;
which, when it came to the knowledge of the Secretary
of State, was emphatically condemned by him. Ke-
membering this circumstance, it is not wonderful that
Langalibalele should have taken the precaution of
searching the Government messengers for concealed

It seemed strange that Mr. Shepstone, sitting
as judge upon the bench to try a man for his life,
should silently allow so great a justification of his chief


offence to remain concealed. But it seemed stranger
still to suppose him ignorant of any part of an affair
carried out under his authority, and by his own

However, the Bishop took the matter privately to him
in the first instance, telling him what he had heard, and
pointing out what an important bearing it had upon the
unfortunate prisoner’s case. He was met by a total
denial on Mr. Shepstone’s part that any such act of
treachery had ever taken place, or that there were any
grounds for the accusation.

Nevertheless, after careful consideration, and on
thoroughly sifting the obtainable evidence, the Bishop
could not avoid coming to the painful conclusion that
the story was substantially true, and was a valid excuse
for Langalibalele’s fear. Finding that further appeal
on behalf of the prisoner to those on the spot was in
vain, he now wrote and printed a pamphlet (giving
the usual native version that the first shot fired was at
Matshana) on the subject for private circulation, and
especially for Lord Carnarvon’s information. *

One of the first results of the appearance of this
pamphlet was a demand on the part of Mr. J. Shepstone’s

* On June 24th, 1874, the Bishop presented this “Appeal on behalf
of Langalibalele” to His Excellency the Lieut. -Governor of Natal and
the executive committee of the Colony. The appeal was made in the
first instance to Sir B. C. C. Pine, who altogether refused to listen to it.
On this the Bishop forwarded a letter through the Lieut.-Governor
to the Earl of Carnarvon, enclosing a copy of his correspondence with
Sir B. C. C. Pine, and stating his reasons for acting as he had done in the
matter. This letter was dated August 6th, 1874, and on August 16th
the Bishop left home en route to England.


solicitor for ” an immediate, full, and unqualified retracta-
tion of the libel falsely and maliciously published in the
pamphlet, with a claim for 1000 damages for the
injury done to Mr. J. Shepstone by the same.”

Such an action would have had but a small chance
of a decision upon the Bishop’s side at that time in
Natal, so, to defend himself and not, as generally
supposed, out of enmity to the Shepstones he appealed
to Lord Carnarvon in the matter, on the grounds that
his action had been taken for the public good, and in
the interests of justice.

Meanwhile the unfortunate chief and his eldest son
Malambule were sent to Eobben Island, the former as a
prisoner for life, the latter for five years. They were
secretly conveyed away from Pietermaritzburg to the
port, and every effort made to prevent the Bishop from
seeing them, or interfering on their behalf. Other sons,
two of them mere lads, who had as yet held no more
important position in the tribe than that of herdboys to
their father’s cattle, and many of the head men and
indunas, were condemned to imprisonment in the gaol
at Pietermaritzburg for terms varying in length from six
months to seven years. The two young sons, lads
named Mazwi and Siyepu, were kept prisoners for the
shortest period named, six months ; but it was some little
time after they left the gaol before they were really set
at liberty. The family at Bishopstowe, where their
mothers and many of their other relatives were located,
were naturally anxious to have the two boys also, and,
as soon as their term of imprisonment was up, applied
for the charge of them, Somewhat to their surprise all


sorts of difficulties were raised on the point one would
have thought a very simple one and they were at last
curtly informed that the boys did not wish to go to
Bishopstowe, and would remain where they were, under
surveillance in another district. The Bishop himself was
away at the time, but his eldest daughter, acting for him,
soon discovered through native sources that in point of
fact the boys were extremely anxious to go to Bishop-
stowe, but were in too terrified a condition to express
a wish. The question had been put to them in this
form : ” So ! you have been complaining ! you say
you want to leave the place you have been sent to, and
go to Bishopstowe ? ” “Whereupon the frightened lads,
their spirits crushed by all that had befallen them,
naturally answered: ” We never complained, nor asked to
go anywhere” which, was perfectly true. By dint of a
little determination on the part of Miss Colenso, however,
the desired permission was at last obtained, and Mazwi
and Siyepu entered the Bishopstowe school, which had
already been established for the boys of the scattered tribe.
Under the treatment which they there received they
soon began to recover from their distress, and to lose the
terrified expression in the eyes which characterised them
painfully at first. But the health of Mazwi, the elder,
was broken by hardship and confinement, and he died
of consumption a few years after. *

It soon became apparent that there must be some-
thing specially injurious to the prisoners in their life in

* He was a bright intelligent lad, keenly anxious for self-improve-
ment, and with a great desire, unusual amongst his kind, to go to
England, and see a civilised country.


gaol beyond the mere fact of confinement. Nearly all
the men of the Hlubi tribe left it labouring under a
dreadful complaint of a complicated form (said to be
some species of elephantiasis), of which a considerable
number died; others, as in Mazwi’s case, falling victims to
consumption. On inquiry it appeared that the fault lay
in the excessive washing to which every part of the build-
ing was habitually subjected floors and bed-boards being
perpetually scrubbed, and therefore seldom thoroughly
dry. This state of things was naturally a trial to the
constitutions of people accustomed to life in the warm
smoke-laden atmosphere of a native hut. However
beneficial it might be to the natives to instruct them in
habits of cleanliness,* this was hardly the way to do it,
and the results were disastrous. The peculiar complaint
resulting from confinement in the city gaol was com-
monly known amongst the natives as the “gaol-disease,”
but it had not attracted the same attention while
the victims to it were occasional convicts, as it did
when it attacked a large number of innocent prisoners
of war !

After the chief had been sent to Kobben Island, it
was represented, by those interested in his welfare,
that to leave him there for the rest of his life without
any of his family or people near him except his son
Malambule, who was to be released in five years’ time
would be a great and unnecessary addition to the

* The Zulus and Zulu-Kafirs bathe their persons frequently, but
they have not our ideas of cleanliness in respect to dress and
habitations, although they are very particular about their food,
utensils, and other matters.


hardship of his position ; and it was finally decided
that one of his wives and a servant of his own should
be sent to join him in captivity. A few days after this
decision a story was circulated in the colony, causing
some amusement, and a little triumph on the part of the
special opponents of the chief and his cause : it was to
the effect that ” out of all Langalibalele’s wives not one
was willing to go to him,” and many were the sarcastic
comments made upon the want of family affection thus
evinced by the natives. On due inquiry it turned out
that the manner in which the question had been put to
them was one highly calculated to produce a negative
answer. Native policemen, who were sent to the kraals
where they were living, to inquire which of them would
be willing to go, accosted them with ” Come along !
come along and be killed with your chief ! ” w T hich
proposition was not unnaturally looked upon with
considerable disfavour. When, however, the matter
was properly explained to them, they all expressed
their willingness to go, although a journey across the
(to them) great unknown element was by no means a
trifling matter in their eyes. The woman selected in
the first instance was one Nokwetuka, then resident at
Bishopstowe, where she was fitted out for her journey,
and provided with suitable clothes.””” She joined her
husband upon the island as proposed, as also did a lad
of the tribe Fife, who happened to be residing (free)
at the Cape, and obtained permission to attend upon

* This was done at the expense of Government, which likewise
allowed certain supplies of meal, salt, and a little meat to the


his chief. It was not until some time after, when
Langalibalele had been removed to an adjoining portion
of the mainland, bleak and barren indeed, but an im-
provement upon Eobben Island, that two other women
and a little son were added to the party. *

For the son, Malambule, however, there was no
possibility of making any such arrangements during the
five years of his captivity, as he was a bachelor ;
although when he was captured he had a bride in
prospect, the separation from and probable loss of whom
weighed greatly upon his mind. He could not even
learn whether she was yet alive, as so many women had
been killed, and others had died since from the effects
of the hardships they had undergone ; while it was more
than probable, supposing her to be yet living, that she
might be given in marriage to some other more fortunate
individual, either by the authority of her relatives, or,

* The boy was one of those who in the meanwhile had learnt at
Bishopstowe to read and write, and who therefore could be of some
tise to his father as scribe, although his usefulness in that respect is
much curtailed by the exceeding caution of the Government, which in
its absurd and causeless fear of “treasonable correspondence,” will
not allow written words of any description to reach or leave the poor
old chief without official inspection. This precaution goes so far that
in one instance some mats made by the women for Miss Colenso, and
sent from Uitvlugt (the place of Langalibalele’s confinement after he
was removed from the island), never reached their destination, owing
to the paper attached, signifying for whom they were intended, being
removed, as coming under the head of prohibited liberties. Another
case is that of a lady who visited the family in September, 1879, and
asked them to tell her what trifles they would like her to send them
from Cape Town, but found that she had no power to send some
babies’ socks which the women had chosen, and a comforter for the
old man’s neck, except through an official individual and by formal


as happened in another case, by that of the Government
of Natal.*

Towards the end of his imprisonment, Malambule
grew very restless and morose ; and, when he found
himself detained some time after the term of years
had elapsed, he became extremely indignant and
difficult to manage, being in fact in a far more
” rebellious ” frame of mind than he ever was before.
On one occasion he showed so much temper that it was
thought necessary to put him under temporary restraint
in the gaol. Apparently he was very wise in giviDg so
much trouble, for it was shortly found expedient to
let him go, though it remains unexplained why he
should not have been set free immediately upon the
expiration of his sentence. He was sent back to Natal,
but still treated as a prisoner until he reached Pieter-
maritzburg, where he was finally set at liberty ; putting
in a sudden and unexpected appearance at Bishopstowe,
where he was joyfully welcomed by his own people. He

* A woman, wife of one of the fugitives, “being taken prisoner
during the expedition, found favour, much against her will, in the
eyes of one Adam (a follower of the Secretary for Native Affairs),
who asked to “be allowed to take her as his wife. Permission was
granted, “but the woman refused, saying that she had a hushand
already, to whom she was attached. Her wishes were disregarded,
and she was conveyed home by Adam, from whom she shortly escaped.
Adam applied to the nearest magistrate for an order to take forcible
possession of the fugitive, and the woman was thrown into gaol by the
magistrate, until she should consent to be Adam’s wife. The man
took her home a second time, and she again escaped from him ; in
fact her determination was so great that the matter was finally given
up altogether. Eventually she rejoined her own husband, who
received her and her child with the kindness which her constancy


did not, however, spend much time amongst them, but
hurried off as soon as possible up-country to find his
bride. It is pleasant to be able to record that he found
her just in time to prevent another marriage being
arranged for her, and that his return was as satisfactory
an event to her as to himself.



To assist in paying the expenses of the expedition,
” Government ” had ” eaten up ” the small tribe com-
monly known as the ” Putini,” but properly called the
” Amangwe ” tribe, ” Putini ” being, in reality, the name
of their late chief, who died shortly before the dis-
turbances, leaving the sole custody of their infant son
and heir to his young widow, who accordingly held the
position and dignity of chieftainess in the tribe.

To say that the ” eating up” of these people was an
utter mistake is to say no more than can honestly be
said concerning Langalibalele’s tribe, the Ama-Hlubi; but,
in the case of the Putini people, the mistake was a more
flagrant one, and, when all was said and done, there was
no possibility of making out a charge against them at
all. Finally the fact stared the Government (both at
home and in Natal) in the face that a tribe had been
attacked, members of it killed, the people taken prisoners
and stripped of all their possessions, without even the
shadow of a reason for such treatment being forthcoming.

Major (by this time Lieutenant- Colonel) Durnford
specially took up the cause of this injured and innocent


people. It was plain enough that the Government at
home would never ratify the action taken against the
Amangwe tribe by the Government in Natal ; and that
sooner or later the latter would be forced, in this
instance, to undo their work as far as possible to restore
the people to their location, and to disgorge at least
part of their plunder : and it was evident to Colonel
Durnford that the sooner this was done the better for all
parties. The Natal Government would put itself in a
more dignified position by voluntarily and speedily
making full amends for the wrong done, and doing of
its own accord what eventually it would be obliged to do
at the command of the home Government. It was also
of special importance to the people themselves that they
should be allowed to return to their homes in time to
plant their crops for the following year.

About May, 1874, it had been decided by the
Government that Lieutenant- Colonel Durnford, in his
capacity of Colonial Engineer, should take a working
party to the Draakensberg Mountains, and blow up, or
otherwise destroy, all the passes by which ingress or
egress could be obtained. The chief object of this demo-
lition was that of giving confidence to the up-country
districts, the inhabitants of which were in perpetual fear
of inroads from the scattered members of the outlawed
tribe. They had indeed certain grounds for such appre-
hensions, as one or two attacks had been made upon
farmhouses since the expedition. Even these demon-
strations were not evidence of organised resistance, but
mere individual acts of vengeance committed by single
men or small parties, in return for brutalities inflicted


upon the women and children belonging to them. They
were, however, sufficient to keep the country in per-
petual alarm, which it was highly advisable should be

The demolition of the passes being decided upon,
Colonel Durnford applied for the services of the male
Putini prisoners, some eighty in number, and induced
the Government to promise the men their liberty, with
that of the rest of the tribe, if, on their return, when the
work should be finished, the Colonel could give them a
good character.

He left Pietermaritzburg with his party of pioneers
and a company of the 75th Eegiment, under Captain
Boyes and Lieutenant Trower, in May, and spent some
months in the complete destruction of the Draakensberg
passes, returning to the capital in September. The
movement at first raised violent though unavailing oppo-
sition amongst the colonists, who persisted in looking
upon the Putini men as bloodthirsty rebels, who might
at any moment break loose upon them and ravage the
country. But when the whole party returned from the
mountains, without a single case of misconduct or deser-
tion amongst them although they had had hard work
and undergone great hardships (shared to the full by
Colonel Durnford, who suffered to the end of his life from
the effects of intense cold upon his wounded arm) the
colonists ceased to look upon them as desperate ruffians,
and soon forgot their fears. Meanwhile the Colonel
found considerable difficulty in obtaining the actual
freedom of the tribe, for which he and his eighty
pioneers had worked so hard and suffered so much.


Any less resolute spirit would have been beaten in the
contest, for ” Government ” was determined not to give
way an inch more than could possibly be helped.

However, the matter was carried through at last,
and the whole tribe returned to their devastated homes

including the eighty pioneers, to whom the Colonel

had paid the full wages of free labourers for the time
during which they had worked in good time to plant
their crops for the coming year. Eventually they also
received some small compensation for the property of
which they had been robbed, though nothing even
approaching to an equivalent for all that had been taken
from them or destroyed by the Government force in


The same party of mounted Basutos who were with
Colonel Durnford at the Bushman’s Biver Pass affair,
accompanied him throughout this second more peaceful
expedition, and remained his devoted followers for the
rest of his life.

The colony was tranquil again, and gradually the
immediate consequences of the expedition vanished
below the surface of everyday life, except in the minds
of those who had suffered by it. But one important
result was obtained. England was once more con-
vinced that the time for withdrawing her troops from
the colony and leaving it to protect itself had not yet
arrived. Some such project had been entertained during
the previous year, and its speedy accomplishment was
frequently foretold ; but such a proceeding would have
been fatal to the plans of the empire-making politicians.
The impossibility of withdrawing the troops was clearly


established by turning a mole-hill into a mountain by
proving how critical the condition of the native mind
within the colony was considered to be by those who
should be the best judges so that it was thought
necessary to turn out the whole available European
force, regular and irregular, upon the slightest sign of
disturbance ; and most of all by creating such a panic
in the colonial mind as had not existed since the early
days of Natal.

It is doubtful how soon the Secretary of State for
the Colonies himself knew the extent to which the
operations of 1873-4 could be made subservient to his
great confederation scheme ; or rather, to speak more
correctly, how seriously the latter must be injured by
any attempt to set right the injustice done to the
Hlubi tribe. When the Bishop went to England 4 ” and
pleaded in person the cause of the injured people, there
can be no doubt that Lord Carnarvon was fully impressed
by the facts then made known to him. None of the
despatches sent home could in the least justify the pro-
ceedings of his subordinates in Natal. Lord Carnarvon’s
own words, expressing his disapproval of the action
taken against the two tribes, and requiring that all
possible restitution should be made to them, show
plainly enough that at the period of the Bishop’s visit
to him, with all the facts of the case before him, his
judgment in the matter coincided with that of the
Bishop himself. The latter returned to Natal, satisfied
that substantial justice would now be done, or at all
events that the suffering already inflicted upon the
* Beaching home early in October, 1874.

F 2


innocent Hlubi and Amangwe tribes, by the rash and
mistaken action of the Government, would be alleviated
to the utmost extent considered possible without lower-
ing that Government in the eyes of the people.

Certain steps, indeed, were immediately taken.
Orders were sent out for the release of the Putini
people, which order Colonel Durnford had already
induced the Natal Government to anticipate ; and a
further order was notified that the tribe should be
compensated for the losses sustained by them during the
late expedition. In the case of Langalibalele and his
tribe, although it was not thought advisable to reinstate
them in their old position, every effort was to be made
to mitigate the severity with which they had been
treated. A few extracts from the Earl of Carnarvon’s
despatch on the subject will best show the tone in
which he wrote, and that the Bishop might reasonably
feel satisfied that mercy and consideration would be
shown to the oppressed people.

The Earl of Carnarvon, after reviewing the whole
proceeding, comments somewhat severely upon the
manner in which the trial had been conducted. On this
point he says: <{ I feel bound to express my opinion that
there are several points open to grave observation and
regret.” He speaks of the ” peculiar and anomalous ”
constitution of the court, the equally ” peculiar” law by
which the prisoner was tried, and of “the confusion and
unsatisfactory result to which such an anomalous blend-
ing of civilised and savage terms and procedure must
lead.” He remarks that it was in his judgment “a
grave mistake to treat the plea of the prisoner as one of


guilty;” and lie says, “still more serious, because it
involved practical consequences of a very grave nature
to the prisoner, was the absence of counsel on his
behalf.’ 1 Entering into the various charges brought
against the prisoner, and the evidence produced to
support them, he dismisses the magistrate’s accusation
of ” general indications, of which, however, it is
difficult to give special instance, of impatience of
control ” ; and the Governor and Secretary for Native
Affairs comments on the same as unimportant, with the
words, ” I am bound to say that the evidence does not
appear to me fully to support these statements. “*

Eeviewing the circumstances and evidence concerning
the unregistered guns, he says : ” I am brought to the
conclusion that, though there was probably negligence
it may be more or less culpable in complying with the
law, there was no sufficient justification for the charge
in the indictment that Langalibalele did encourage and
conspire with the people under him to procure firearms
and retain them, as he and they well knew contrary to
law, for the purpose and with the intention of, by means
of such firearms, resisting the authority of the Supreme
Chief.” Of the extent to which the chief’s disobedience,
in not appearing when summoned by Government, was
due to a ” deliberately-planned scheme of resistance in
concert with others, or the mere effect of an unfounded
panic,” the Earl remarks : ” Unfortunately this was not
made clear.” And, finally, referring to the charge of

* Acts of ” defiance ” and ” resistance,” too vague for any special
instance to be given, probably striking his lordship as being of a
slightly imaginary character.


insulting the Government messengers, lie says : ” I am
obliged., with great regret, to conclude that this very
important portion of the evidence given against the
prisoner at the trial was so far untrustworthy as to leave
it an open question whether the indignities of which the
witness complained may not have amounted to no more
than being obliged to take off his coat, which might be
a precaution dictated by fear, and nothing else.”

Having thus censured the proceedings of his sub-
ordinates on every point, he says :

“That the Amahlubi tribe should be removed from
its location may have been a political necessity which,
after all that had occurred, was forced upon you, and I
fear* it is out of the question to reinstate them in the
position, whether of land or property, which they
occupied previously. The relations of the colony with
the natives, both within and without its boundaries,
render this impossible. But every care should be taken
to obviate the hardships and to mitigate the severities
which, assuming the offence of the chief and his tribe
to be even greater than I have estimated it, have far
exceeded the limits of justice.-^ Not only should the
terms of the amnesty of the 2nd May last be scrupu-
lously observed, but as far as possible means should be
provided by which the members of the tribe may be
enabled to re-establish themselves in settled occupa-
tions. 3 ‘! Lord Carnarvon further says : ” With respect to
the Putili tribe, I have in their case also expressed my
opinion that no sufficient cause has been shown for

* Implying plainly that strict justice would demand it.

t Author’s italics.

J No notice was ever taken of the recommendation.


removing them from their location. I can discover no
indication of their conspiracy or combination with
Langalibalele, beyond the vague and wholly uncor-
roborated apprehension of some movement on their
part in connection with the supposed tendencies of his
tribe ; and therefore I can see no good reason for
any punishment on this ground.’ 7

The proclamation to the native population enclosed
in this despatch contained the following sentences :

” Langalibalele we release from imprisonment on the
island in the sea, but he shall not return to Natal. The
Amahlubi may, if they choose, when that is prepared
which is to be prepared, go to him, but he will not be
allowed to go to the Amahlubi.”

In all that Lord Carnarvon thought fit to say on
this occasion he does not express the slightest approval
of any person concerned, or action taken, except of
the ” conduct of Colonel Durnford, whose forbearance
and humanity towards the natives ” (he says) ” has
attracted my attention.” A despatch of the same date
(3rd December, 1874) recalls Sir Benjamin Pine from
the government of Natal.

Anything more thoroughly condemnatory could
hardly be imagined, although it may be reasonably
questioned how far justice was done to Sir Benjamin
Pine”'” by the whole weight of mismanagement being

* It is reported that Sir B. Pine has felt the injustice to himself
so keenly that he refuses longer to acknowledge his title of K.C.M.G.,
and styles himself simply Mr. Pine. There can be little doubt that
in point of fact Mr. Shepstone was mainly responsible for all that hap-
pened ; but ” the right man to annex the Transvaal ” could not well
be spared, and a scapegoat was found for him in Sir Benjamin Pine.


placed upon his shoulders, while his coadjutor and
adviser, Mr. Shepstone, on whose opinion he had
acted throughout, and whose word, by his supposed
knowledge of native ways and character, was law
throughout the affair, was promoted and rewarded.

After perusing Lord Carnarvon’s remarks and direc-
tions, my readers may imagine that some very good
result would be produced on the fortunes of both tribes,
but in this supposition they would be greatly mistaken.
Nor, unless they had been in the habit of perusing South
African despatches with attention, would it occur to
them how easily the proclamation quoted from, drawn
up by Mr. Shepstone, could be evaded. The procla-
mation itself is almost childish in its foolish way of
informing the people that they had behaved very badly,
and deserved all they had got, but would be relieved of
their punishment by the mercy of the Queen, and must
behave very well and gratefully in future. Such ex-
hortations to people who were perfectly aware that they
had been treated with the utmost injustice were rather
likely to raise secret contempt than respect in the minds
of an intelligent people, who would have far better
understood an honest declaration that ” we have
punished you, under the impression that you had
done what we find you did not do, and will therefore
make it up to you as much as possible.”

The two important sentences of the proclamation
(already quoted at p. 71), however, were capable of
being adapted to an extent of which Lord Carnarvon
probably did not dream. His lordship can hardly have
irj tended the first sentence by which Langalibalele was


released “from imprisonment on the island in the sea,”
simply to mean that he was to be conveyed to the
nearest (most dreary) mainland, and imprisoned there,
within the limits of a small and barren farm, where every
irritating restriction and annoying regulation were still
imposed five years after. The words “he shall not
return to Natal,” certainly do not imply rigid confine-
ment to a small extent of land, where friends, white or
black, are not allowed to visit him, or send the most
innocent presents without tedious delay and official
permission. The second sentence is an admirable
specimen of South African art. The people might
go to their chief if they chose, “when that is prepared
which is to be prepared ” but which never has been

We give Lord Carnarvon full credit for not having
the slightest notion that this clause would have no
result whatever, as nothing ever would be “prepared.”
Year after year has dragged on one or two women*
and a couple of boys being allowed, as a great favour,
to join the old chief during that time. But every
difficulty has always been raised about it, and not the
slightest attempt has been made to enable or permit the
tribe or any part of it to follow.

When the chief and his son were first removed from
Eobben Island to Uitvlugt, a desolate and unfruitful
piece of ground on the adjoining mainland, at a con-
siderable distance from the nearest dwelling-place of any
description, it was understood that the family would
live in comparative liberty, being merely “under surveil-

* Three at last.


lance ;” that is to say, that some suitable person or
persons would be appointed by the Cape Government to
live within reach of them, and to be answerable for
their general good behaviour, for their gratification in
every reasonable wish or request, and for their making
no attempt to escape from the Cape Colony and return to
their homes in Natal.

Strict justice would have required that the chief and
his people those that were left of them should be
restored to their location, as was done in the case of
the other tribe, and that both should be repaid the full
ascertainable value of the property taken from them
or destroyed ; but politicians in these our days place
” expediency ” so far above justice and truth, that men
who are fighting for the latter out-of-date objects may
well be thankful for the smallest concession to their

The Bishop accordingly was satisfied that the new
arrangement proposed for the captive chief’s comfort
was as good a one as he could expect from Lord
Carnarvon, although not what he might have done
himself had the power lain with him. But when he
signified his satisfaction in the matter, it was certainly
on the assumption that Langalibalele was to be made to
feel his captivity as little as possible upon the mainland
in fact that it was to consist merely in his inability
to leave the colony, or, without permission, the land
assigned to him in it. But that such reasonable per-
mission should be easily obtainable that as many of his
family and tribe as desired to do so should be allowed
to join him there that no galling restraints (such as


still exist) should be imposed upon him, were certainly
conditions proposed by Lord Carnarvon and accepted by
the Bishop.

When the Bishop returned to Natal, however, he
left behind him in England one who, closely following
upon his steps, undid much of the work which the other
had done. Mr. Shepstone could have brought no new
light to bear upon the subject he could have given
Lord Carnarvon no fresh facts which had not appeared
already in the despatches, through which the Natal
Government had been in constant communication with
him. It was not likely that Mr. Shepstone should
possess information hitherto unknown to the rest of the
world, including Lord Carnarvon himself, which should
have the power of entirely altering the latter’s deli-
berately-formed judgment upon the subject under
consideration. But had this been so, Lord Carnarvon
would assuredly have communicated the fact to the
Bishop, with whom he had parted in complete
unanimity of opinion, and to whom, and through
whom to the unhappy chief, promises had been made
and hopes held out, destined, apparently, never to be

It is needless to conjecture what may have passed
between Lord Carnarvon and the man who reached
England somewhat under a cloud, with certain errors
to answer for to a chief who was well up in facts
beforehand, but who, in 1876, appears as Sir Theophilus
Shepstone, K.C.M.G., with a commission as adminis-
trator of the Transvaal hidden in the depths of his
pocket. The facts speak for themselves. The desire


of the Secretary of State to achieve confederation in
South Africa (the South African Empire !), the peculiar
capabilities of Mr. Shepstone for dealing with the
native and Dutch races of the country, and the con-
siderable check which “strict justice” to the injured
tribes would be to the great confederation scheme, are
sufficient grounds for believing that absolution for the
past, and immunity from the consequences of his acts
were purchased by the engagement, on Mr. Shepstone’s
part, to carry out in quiet and successful manner the
first decided step towards the great project of con-
federation and empire, namely, the annexation of the
Transvaal. In the light cast by succeeding events,
it is plain that nothing would have been much more
inconvenient in the scheme of South African politics
than any measure which would be a censure upon
Mr. Shepstone, or prevent his promotion to a higher
office in the State.

That no such alteration in the opinion of the
Secretary of State ever took place may be gathered
from his very decided though courteous replies to the
appeals made to him from the colony, to the addresses
from the Legislative Council and other colonists, con-
taining protests against Lord Carnarvon’s decisions, and
professing to give additional evidence against the tribes
in question which would completely justify the pro-
ceedings of the colonial Government, and the severities
of their punishment.

To all that could be thus alleged Lord Carnarvon
replies : “I did not form my opinion until I had
received and considered the fullest explanation which


the Government whose acts are questioned desired to
place before me, and in considering the case I had
the advantage of personal communication with an officer
who was specially deputed to represent the Government
of Natal before me, and who, from his knowledge, ability,
and experience, was perhaps better qualified than any
other to discharge the duty which was confided to him.
I fail to find in the present documents the explanations
which are promised in the address to Her Majesty, or
indeed any evidence so specific or conclusive as to affect
the opinion which, after the most anxious consideration,
Her Majesty’s Government formed upon this case.”
(P. P. [C. 1342-1] p. 45.)

In another despatch of the same date (July 27, 1875,
[C. 1342-1] p. 46), addressed to the officer adminis-
tering the Government, Natal, he concludes: “As there is
apparently no prospect of arriving at an agreement of
opinion on several points, there is, perhaps, no advantage
in continuing the discussion of them.” Nevertheless,
although holding so clear and decided a judgment, Lord
Carnarvon permitted his just and humane directions for
the treatment of the injured tribes to be practically set
aside by those in authority under him.**

* It would bo an injustice to an association, called into existence
and maintained by a true spirit of Christian charity, to pass over in
silence the active, if seemingly ineffectual, efforts of the Aborigines
Protection Society to obtain justice for the unfortunate people of the
Putini tribe.




ENGLAND, however, was beginning to feel that her
South African possessions were in an unsettled con-
dition, although in point of fact they were quiet enough
until she meddled with them in the blundering well-
meaning fashion in which she has handled them ever
since. It was patent, indeed, that some interference was
required, when innocent tribes were liable to such cruel
injustice as that inflicted upon the Ama-Hlubi and
Amangwe in 1873, and, if her interference was honestly
intended on their behalf, she has at least the credit of
the ” well-meaning ” attributed to her above. Whatever
her intentions may have been, however, the result has
been a progress from bad to worse, culminating at last
in the late unhappy Zulu War.

It is believed by many that England possesses but
one man upon whom she can place any reliance in times
of difficulty and danger, and accordingly Natal shortly
received notice that Sir Garnet Wolseley was coming to
“settle her affairs;” and the Natalians, with feelings


varying from humble and delighted respect to bitter
and suspicious contempt, prepared themselves to be set
straight or not according to their different sentiments.

The great man and his ” brilliant staff,” as it was
soon popularly called by the colonists not without a
touch of humour arrived in Natal upon the last day of
March, 1875, and on the 1st of April he took the oaths as
Administrator of the Government at Pietermaritzburg.

He immediately commenced a series of entertain-
ments, calculated by their unusual number and brilliancy
to dazzle the eyes of young Natalian damsels. These
latter, accustomed as they were to very occasional
and comparatively quiet festivities, and balls at which a
few of the subalterns of the small garrison at Fort
Napier were their most valued partners, found them-
selves in a new world of a most fascinating description,
all ablaze with gold and scarlet, V.C.’s, C.B.’s, titles, and
clever authors. And, what was more, all these striking
personages paid them the most gracious attentions
attentions which varied according to the importance of
the young ladies’ male relatives to the political scheme
afoot. Meanwhile dinner after dinner was given to the
said relatives ; Sir Garnet Wolseley entertained the
whole world, great and small, and the different members
of his staff had each his separate duty to perform his
list of people to be ” fascinated ” in one way or another.
For a short time, perhaps, the popularity desired was
achieved in consequence of their united and persevering
efforts, although from the very first there were voices
to be heard casting suspicion upon those who were
” drowning the conscience of the colony in sherry and


champagne ; ” and there were others, more far-sighted
still, who grimly pointed out to the gratified and
flattered recipients of this “princely hospitality” the
very reasonable consideration : ” You will have to pay
for the sherry and champagne yourselves in the end.”

Undoubtedly the conviction that the colony would
pay dear for its unwonted gaiety that it was being
” humbugged ” and befooled soon stole upon the people.
While the daughters enjoyed their balls, their fathers
had to buy their ball-dresses ; and while the legislative
councillors and all their families were perpetually and
graciously entertained at Government House, the question
began to arise : ” What is the object of it all ? ”

All unusual treatment calls forth special scrutiny,
and it is to be doubted whether Sir Garnet’s lavish
hospitality and (almost) universally dropped honey,
with all the painful labours of his brilliant staff com-
bined, did more than awaken the suspicions which a
course of proceedings involving less effort would have
failed to evoke. Even the most ignorant of Dutch
councillors would be wise enough to know that when
a magnate of the land treated him and his family as
bosom friends and equals of his own, the said magnate
must want to “get something out of him” even the
most untaught and ingenuous of colonial maidens would
soon rate at their true value the pretty speeches of the
” men of note,” who would have had them believe that,
after frequenting all the gayest and most fashionable
scenes of the great world, they had come to Natal and
found their true ideal upon its distant shores.

A vast amount of trouble and of energy was thrown


away by all concerned, while the few whose eyes were
open from the first stood by and watched to see what
would come of it. The question remains unanswered
to this day. That the annexation of the Transvaal by
Sir Garnet Wolseley did not come of it, is to that dis-
creet general’s great credit. And had his decision that
the work which he was specially sent out to do* was
one for which the country was not ripe, and would not
be for many years been accepted and acted upon by
England, the expense of his six months’ progress through
Natal would have been well worth incurring indeed, for
in that case there would have been no Zulu War. But
this, unfortunately for all parties, was not the case.

The popular answer in Natal to the question, ” What
did Sir Garnet Wolseley do for you ? ” is, ” He got us up
an hour earlier in the morning ; ” an excellent thing truly,
but a costly hour, the history of which is as follows :
For many years the city of Pietermaritzburg, known as
” Sleepy Hollow ” to its rivals of another and, in its
own opinion, a busier town, had set all its clocks and
watches, and regulated all its business hours by the
sound of a gun, fired daily from Fort Napier at nine
o’clock A.M., the signal for which came from the town
itself. The gun was frequently credited with being
too fast or slow by a few seconds or even minutes, and
on one occasion was known to have been wrong by
half-an-hour ; a mistake which was remedied in the most
original fashion, by setting the gun back a minute and
a half daily till it should have returned to the proper

* The annexation of the Transvaal : so stated by one of his own



time ; to the utter confusion of all the chronometers
in the neighbourhood. But, right or wrong, the nine-
o’clock gun was the regulator of city time, including
that of all country places within reach of its report.
The natives understood it, and ” gun-fire ” was their
universal hour of call; the shops were opened at its
sound, and but little business done before it. But
during Sir Garnet Wolseley’s reign in Natal it occurred,
not without reason, to the member of his staff whom
he placed in temporary authority over the postal and
other arrangements of the colony, that nine o’clock was
too late for a struggling community to begin its day,
and he therefore altered the original hour of gun-fire
to that of eight A.M. How far the alteration really
changed the habits of the people it is hard to say, or
how many of them may now let the eight-o’clock gun
wake them instead of sending them to work, but the
change remains an actual public proof of the fact that
in 1875 Sir Garnet Wolseley visited Natal.

A more important measure was the bill which he
carried through the Legislative Assembly for the intro-
duction of eight nominee members to be chosen by the
Government, thereby throwing the balance of power
into the hands of the executive, unless, indeed, nominee
members should be chosen independent enough to take
their own course. Whether this measure was looked
upon as very important by those who proposed it, or
whether the energy displayed was for the purpose of
convincing the public mind that such really was Sir
Garnet’s great object in Natal, it is not so easy to
decide. But looking back through the events of the last


few years one is strongly tempted to suspect that the
whole visit to Natal, and all the display made there,
was nothing but a pretence, a blind to hide our designs
upon the Transvaal, for which Sir Garnet wisely con-
sidered that the country was not ripe.

But if in this instance we are bound to admire
Sir Garnet Wolseley’s good sense, we must, on the other
hand, greatly deprecate his behaviour towards the two
unfortunate tribes whose sorrows have been recorded,
and towards those who took an interest in their welfare
and just treatment more especially towards the Bishop
of Natal.*

From the very first Sir Garnet’s tone upon native
matters, and towards the Bishop, were entirely opposed
to that used by Lord Carnarvon. Every attempt made
by the Bishop to place matters upon a friendly footing,
which would enable the new Governor to take advantage

* It is neither customary nor convenient to speak publicly of a
parent, and I desire to let facts speak for themselves as much as
possible. I feel, however, bound to remark that of all the mistakes
made by a succession of rulers in Natal, perhaps the most foolish
and unnecessary has been that jealousy of episcopal ” or unofficial ”
interference, which has blinded them to the fact that the Bishop has
always been ready to give any assistance in his power to the local
Government in carrying out all just and expedient measures towards
the natives, without claiming any credit or taking any apparently
prominent position beyond his own ; and, so long as justice is done,
would greatly prefer its being done by those in office. He has never
interfered, except when his duty as a man, and as the servant of a
just and merciful Master, has made it imperatively necessary that
he should do so ; nor does he covet any political power or influence.
To a government which intends to carry out a certain line of policy
in defiance of justice and honour, he would ever be an opponent;
but one which honestly aims at the truth would assuredly meet with
his earnest support.

Q 2


of his thorough, acquaintance with the natives, was
checked ; nor through the whole of his governorship did
he ever invite the Bishop’s confidence or meet him in
the spirit in which he was himself prepared to act ; a
course of proceeding most unfortunately imitated by
some of his successors, especially Sir Bartle Frere, who
only ” invited criticism of his policy ” and received it
when too late to be of any avail except to expose its

It is impossible to rise from a perusal of the
despatches written by Sir Garnet after his arrival
in Natal, in answer or with reference to matters
in which the Bishop was concerned, without coming to
the conclusion that from the very beginning his mind
was prejudiced against the Bishop’s course, and that he
had no sympathy with him or the people in whom he
was interested. Far from attempting to carry out
Lord Carnarvon’s instructions in the spirit in whicn they
were undoubtedly given, he set aside some, and gave an
interpretation of his own to others, which considerably
altered their effect ; while his two despatches, dated
May 12th and 17th, show plainly enough the bias of his

The first is on the subject of the return of
Langalibalele, which the Bishop had recommended, offer-
ing to receive him upon his own land at Bishops to we,
and to make himself responsible, within reasonable
limits, for the chiefs good behaviour. Sir Garnet
” would deprecate in the strongest terms ” such return.
” Langalibalele,” he says, ” as I am informed by all
classes here, official and non-official (a very small knot of


men of extreme views excepted), is regarded by the
native population at large as a chief who, having defied
the authorities, and in doing so occasioned the murder
of some white men, is now suffering for that conduct.”
While thus avoiding the direct responsibility of sitting
” in judgment upon past events,” by quoting from ” all
classes here,” he practically confirms their opinion by
speaking of those who differ from them as ” a very small
knot of men of extreme views;” and he further commits
himself to the very unsoldierlike expression of ” murder”
as applied to the death of the five men at the Bush-
man’s Kiver Pass, by speaking in the same paragraph of
the punishment of the chief as ” a serious warning to
all other Kafir chiefs …. to avoid imitating his
example.” Without mentioning the Bishop by name, he
makes repeated allusions to him in a tone calculated to
give an utterly false impression of his action and
character. ” To secure these objects ” (the future safety of
the colony and the true interests of white and black) ” it
is essential that a good feeling should exist between the
two races; and I am bound to say that in my opinion those
who, by the line of conduct they adopt, keep alive the
recollection of past events,””” etc. etc. ” I have no wish
to attribute to those who adopt this policy any interested
motives. I am sure that they are actuated by feelings

* ” The recollection of past events ” that is to say, of the
slaughter of many men, women, and children, the destruction of
homes, and the sufferings of the living ; this can hardly with reason
Ibe said to be kept alive by attempts to ameliorate the condition of
those that remained, and to show them some small kindness and
pity. How ” a good feeling ” was to be restored between the victims
and their conquerors by other means, Sir Garnet does not suggest.


of high philanthropy,” ( ? simple justice and honesty),
” and nothing is farther from my mind than a wish to
cast any slur upon them. Yet I must say that from the
manner in which they refuse to believe all evidence that
does not coincide with their own peculiar views, and
from the fact of their regarding the condition of affairs
in Natal from one standpoint alone, I am forced to
consider them impractical (sic), and not to be relied on
as advisers by those who are responsible for the good
government of all classes.” In the following paragraphs
he speaks of “sensational narratives oftentimes based
upon unsifted evidence,” ” highly- coloured accounts,”
and ” one-sided, highly-coloured, and, in some instances,
incorrect statements that have been made public in a
sensational manner,” all which could refer to the Bishop
alone. If by regarding the condition of affairs in Natal
from one standpoint alone, Sir Garnet Wolseley means the
standpoint of British honour and justice, and looks upon
those who hold it as ” impractical,” there is little more
to say. But Sir , Garnet can never have given his
attention to the Bishop’s printed pamphlets, and could
therefore have no right to an opinion as to his reception
or treatment of evidence, or he would not venture to use
the expressions just quoted of one who had never made
an assertion without the most careful and patient sifting
of the grounds for it, whose only object was to establish the
truth, ivhatever that might be, and who was only too glad
whenever his investigations threw discredit upon a tale of
wrong or oppression. That principles of strict honour
and justice should in these our days be characterised


as ” peculiar views,” is neither to the credit of the
English nation nor of its ” only man.”

In the second despatch mentioned Sir Garnet makes
the following singular remark : ” In the meantime I
take the liberty of informing your lordship that the
words ‘ the Amahlubi may, if they choose, when that
is prepared which is to be prepared, go to him/ are
interpreted, by those who have taken an active part in
favour of the tribe, as binding the Government to
convey all members of the Amahlubi tribe who may
wish to join Langalibalele, to whatever place may be
finally selected for his location. I do not conceive that
any such meaning is intended, and. should not recom-
mend that such an interpretation should be recognised.
I think, however, it may fairly be matter for considera-
tion whether Langalibalele’s wives and children, who
have lost all their property/'” might not be assisted with
passages by sea to join Langalibalele.” t

It is difficult to imagine what other interpretation
can be placed on the words of the proclamation, or
how, after it had once been delivered, any narrower
measures could be fairly considered, or require further
” instructions.”

In subsequent letters Sir Garnet scouts altogether
representations made by the Bishop of the destitute
condition of members of the Hlubi tribe, replying to
Lord Carnarvon on the subject by enclosing letters from

* In common only with the rest of the tribe*
t Three women and two children only have been allowed to join


various magistrates in different parts of the country
denying that destitution existed ; saying that the people
were ” in sufficiently good circumstances ;” and most of
them suggesting that, should anything like starvation
ensue, the people have only to hire themselves out
as labourers to the white people. The Bishop would
certainly never have made representations unsupported
by facts ; but in any case it is a question whether we
had not some further duties towards a large number
of innocent people whom we had stripped of all their
possessions, and whose homes and crops we had
destroyed, than that of allowing them to labour for
us at a low rate of wages ; or whether the mere fact
of its being thus possible for all to keep body and
soul together relieved us of the responsibility of having
robbed and stripped them.

These facts in themselves prove how different from
Lord Carnarvon’s feelings and intentions were those of
his subordinate, and how real Sir Garnet’s antagonism.
It is not therefore surprising that the commands of
the former were not, and have never been, carried out.



IN consequence of the threatened action for libel against
the Bishop of Natal on account of statements made in
his defence of Langalibalele, which Mr. John Shepstone
considered to be “of a most libellous and malicious
nature,” the Bishop had laid the matter before the
Lieut. – Governor, Sir B. Pine, requesting him to
direct an inquiry to be made into the truth of the said
statements. This was refused by His Excellency through
the acting Colonial Secretary in the following terms :
” Your lordship has thought it right to make the most
serious charges against an important and long-tried
officer of this Government charges, too, relating to a
matter which occurred sixteen years ago.* That officer
has, in His Excellency’s opinion, very properly called
upon your lordship to retract those charges. Instead of
doing this, you have appealed to the Lieut. -Governor
to institute an inquiry as to the truth of the charges you

* Which did not prevent their being of the utmost importance
in considering the case of the chief under trial at the time the
statements were made.


have made. This the Lieut. -Governor has no hesi-
tation in declining to do/’ Thereby prejudging the
case without inquiry.

The Bishop’s next action was an appeal to the
Secretary of State for the Colonies, which he requested
the Lieut. -Govern or to forward with a copy of the
correspondence which had already taken place on the
subject, in order that His Excellency might be fully
aware of what steps he was taking.

This appeal contained a short account of the facts
which had led to his making the statements complained
of the trial of Langalibalele, and the ” fear of
treachery” perpetually pleaded by many witnesses in
excuse of the chiefs conduct, but treated with contempt
both by the court below and the council, each including
the Secretary for Native Affairs, and presided over by
His Excellency. The statements made by the Bishop
not mere ” charges ” unsupported by evidence, but the
deposition of four eye-witnesses who might be cross-
examined at will would, if proved to be true, greatly
tend to palliate the offences imputed to the chief, and
should therefore not have been suppressed by the officer
concerned, who had kept silence when a word from his
mouth would have cleared a prisoner on trial for his life
from a very serious part of the charge against him. The
Bishop therefore submitted that the fact of the events
in question having taken place sixteen years before
was no reason why they should not be brought to light
when required for the prisoner’s defence.

The correspondence which ensued including a very
curious circumstance relating to a missing despatch,


recorded in the despatch-book at Pietermaritzburg,
but apparently never received, in Downing Street
will be found by those interested in the subject in the
Bishop’s pamphlet, “The History of the Matshana
Inquiry.” For our present purpose it is sufficient to re-
mark that on the 22nd of April, 1875, Lord Carnarvon
directed Sir Garnet Wolseley to institute a careful
inquiry into the matter, and suggested that under all the
circumstances this inquiry might be best conducted by
one or more of the senior officers of Sir Garnet’s staff,
who had accompanied him on special service to Natal.
The correspondence which followed between the parties
concerned, with arrangements for the summoning of
witnesses and for the management of the trial, are
also all to be found in the above-mentioned pamphlet.
The inquiry was to be of a private nature, no reporters
to be admitted, nor counsel on either side permitted.’*
The Bishop and Mr. Shepstone were each to be allowed
the presence of one friend during the inquiry, who,
however, was not to speak to the witnesses, or to
address the officer holding the inquiry. In addition
the Bishop asked, and received, permission to bring
with him the native interpreter, through whom he was
in the habit of conducting important conversations
with natives, as his own Zulu, although sufficient for
ordinary purposes, was not, in his opinion, equal to

* Sir B. Pine complains in his despatch, December 31st, 1874, of
the ” intolerable injustice ” of charges being made against Mr. J.
Shepstone, upon evidence taken by the Bishop ex parte, without the
safety of publicity and the opportunity of cross-examination. Yet
Sir Garnet Wolseley refused to allow publicity or searching cross-
examination by experienced advocates.


the requirements of the case, while Mr. J. Shepstone
was familiar from childhood with colloquial Kafir.

In the Bishop’s pamphlet he points out that the
course which Lord Carnarvon had thought proper to
adopt in this case was wholly his own, and proceeds as
follows : a passage which we will quote entire :

“And I apprehend that this inquiry, though of
necessity directed mainly to the question whether
Mr. John Shepstone fired at Matshana or not, is not
chiefly concerned with the character of the act imputed
to him, described by the Secretary for Native Affairs as
of a treacherous murderous nature, but involves the far
more serious question whether that act, if really com-
mitted, was suppressed by Mr. John Shepstone at the
time in his official report, was further. suppressed by him
when he appeared last year as Government prosecutor
against a prisoner on trial for his life who pleaded it
as a very important part of his defence, but found his
plea treated by the court, through Mr. John Shepstone’ s
silence, as a mere impudent ‘ pretext ‘ and has been
finally denied by him to the Secretary of State himself,
and is still denied down to the present moment. Such
an act as that ascribed to him, if duly reported at the
time, might, I am well aware, have been justified by
some, or at least excused, on grounds of public policy
under the circumstances ; though I, for my part, should
utterly dissent from such a view. In that case, how-
ever, it would have been unfair and unwarrantable to
have reproached Mr. Shepstone at the present time for
an act which had been brought properly under the
cognizance of his superiors. But the present inquiry,


as I conceive, has chiefly in view the question whether
the facts really occurred as Mr. John Shepstone reported
at first officially, and has since reaffirmed officially, or

Colonel Colley, C.B., was the officer appointed to
conduct the inquiry, the commencement of which was
fixed for August 2nd, 1875.

The intervening period granted for the purpose was
employed by the Bishop in summoning witnesses from
all parts of the land; from Zululand, from the Free
State, and distant parts of the colony. Matshana
himself was summoned as a witness under an offer
of safe-conduct from the Government. He, however,
did not find it convenient, or was afraid, to trust
himself in person ; but Cetshwayo sent some of his
men in his place. The Bishop’s object was to summon
as many “indunas,” or messengers, or otherwise pro-
minent persons in the affair of 1858; men who were
thoroughly trustworthy, and “had a backbone,” and
would not be afraid to speak the truth ; his desire being
to get at that truth, whatever it might be. Thirty-one
men responded to his call, of whom, however, only
twenty were examined in court, the Bishop giving way
to Colonel Colley’s wish in the matter, and to save the
court’s time. Four other witnesses summoned by both
the Bishop and Mr. Shepstone were examined, and nine
more on Mr. Shepstone’s behalf, called by him. The
Bishop had considerable difficulty in procuring the
attendance of the witnesses he required. The simple
order of Mr. John Shepstone would suffice, by the mere
lifting up of his finger, to bring down to Pietermaritz-


burg at once any natives whom he desired as witnesses,
invested as he was in the native mind with all the
weight and all the terrors of the magisterial office ; and
with the additional influence derived from the fact of
his having only recently filled, during his brother’s
absence in England, the office of Secretary for Native
Affairs, with such great almost despotic authority
over all the natives in the colony. The Bishop, on the
contrary, had no such influence. He had no power at
all to insist upon the attendance of witnesses. He
could only ask them to come, and if they came at his
request, they would know that they were coming, as it
were, with a rope around their necks ; arid if they were
proved to have borne false witness, calumniating foully
so high an official, they had every reason to fear that
their punishment would be severe, from which the
Bishop would have had no power even if, in such a
case, he had the will to save them.

When, upon the 2nd August, the inquiry began,
out of the many witnesses called by the Bishop, upon
whom lay the onus probandi, only three were at hand;
and two of these, as will be seen, were present merely
through the wise forethought of the intelligent Zulu,
William Ngidi. But for this last, the inquiry would
have begun, and as the Commissioner was pressed
for time, having other important duties on his hands
in consequence of Sir Garnet Wolseley and staff
being about immediately to leave the colony might
even (as it seemed) have ended, with only a single
witness being heard in support of the Bishop’s story.
No others were seen or even heard of for some


days, and then by accident only. The Secretary
for Native Affairs, it is true, by direction of Sir
Garnet Wolseley, had desired Cetshwayo to send down
Matshana, and the Bishop fully expected that this
intervention of the Government with a promise of
safe conduct for him, would have sufficed to bring him.
But Mr. John Dunn, ” Immigration Agent” of the
Government in Zululand, and Cetshwayo’s confidential
adviser, whom the Bishop met in Durban on July 8th,
told him at once that he did not think there was
the least chance of Matshana’s coming, as the Secretary
for Native Affairs’ words in 1873, when he went up to
crown Cetshwayo (who asked very earnestly that
Matshana might be forgiven and allowed to return to
Natal) were so severe “He had injured the Secretary
for Native Affairs’ own body;” that is, one of his men
had wounded his brother (Mr. John Shepstone) fifteen
years previously, when thirty or forty of Matshana’s
men had been killed that he would be afraid to come
at a mere summons like this, notwithstanding the
promise of safety, the value of which he would naturally
appreciate by his own experience in former days. Mr.
Dunn promised to do his best to persuade him to go
down, but did not expect to succeed. And, in point of
fact, he never came, alleging the usual ” pain in the
leg;” and the discussion in Zululand about his coming
had only the result of delaying for some days the
starting of the other witnesses whom the Bishop had
asked Cetshwayo to send. On August 4th, however,
Zulu messengers arrived, reporting to the Secretary for
Native Affairs the sickness of Matshana, and to the Bishop


the fact that six witnesses from Zululand were on the way,
and they themselves had pushed on ahead to announce
their coming, as they knew they were wanted for
August 2nd. Accordingly five of them arrived on
August 8th, and the sixth, Maboyi, on August 5th, under
somewhat singular circumstances, as will presently appear.
Meanwhile most important witnesses in support of the
Bishop’s story were expected by him from Matshana’s
old location Kwa’ Jobe (at the place of “Jobe”)
partly in consequence of a letter written by Magema to
William Ngidi, partly in compliance with the Bishop’s
request sent through Cetshwayo to Matshana himself in
Zululand. “William Ngidi replied to Magema, as follows :
” Your letter reached me all right, and just in the very
nick of time, for it came on Saturday, and the day
before Mr. John arrived here (Kwa’ Jobe), and called the
men to come to him on Monday, that they might talk
together about Matshana’s affair. On Sunday my friend
Mlingane came, and we took counsel together ; for by
this time it was well known that Mr. John had come to
speak with the people about that matter of Matshana.
So we put our heads together, and I got up very early
on Monday morning and hurried off to Deke, and told
him that he was called by Sobantu (the Bishop) to go
before the Governor. He readily agreed to go, and went
down at once, on the very day when Matshana’s people
came together to Mr. John, so that he never went to
him ; but, when I arrived, there had just come already
the messenger to call him to go to Mr. John, and another
came just as he was about to set off for ‘Maritzburg. I
told him to call for Mpupama on his way, and take him


on with him. I see that you have done well and wisely
in sending that letter without delay to me.”

Accordingly these two men, Deke and Mpupuma,
reached Bishopstowe safely in good time. Also Ntani-
bama, Langalibalele’s brother, of whom the Bishop had
heard as having been present on the occasion, readily
came at his summons, though he was not asked to give
his evidence, nor did the Bishop know what it would be
before he made his statement in court. But for the
prudent action of “William Ngidi, Ntambama would have
been the only witness whose testimony would have sus-
tained the Bishop’s statements during the first days of
the inquiry ; and his evidence, unsupported, might have
been suspected, as that of Langalibalele’s brother, of not
being disinterested, and would have been contradicted
at once (see below) by Ncamane’s.

On Saturday, July 31st, the inquiry being about to
begin on the Monday, Magema received a doleful letter
from William Ngidi to the effect that the ‘Inkos Sobantu
must take care what he was about, for that all the people
were afraid, and would not venture to come forward and
give evidence against a high government official. He
spoke, however, of one man ” whom I trust most of all
the people here,” and who had the scar upon his neck of
a wound received upon the day of Matshana’s arrest.

Discouraging, indeed, as it was to find on the very
eve of the inquiry that all his efforts through William
Ngidi had failed to procure witnesses, except the two
sent down by him at the first, the Bishop was utterly at
a loss to understand how his message to Cetshwayo had,
to all appearance, also entirely failed with respect to


those men of Matsliana still living Kwa’ Jobe, as well
as (it seemed) those living in Zululand.

On August 5th the mystery with respect to the
witnesses Kwa’ Jobe was explained. Deke, Mpupuma,
Ntambama, and Njuba, who had come from Zululand,
had all been examined, as well as Ncamane, who, when
called by the Bishop, had replied that he would only
come if called by the Government ; and when summoned
through the Secretary for Native Affairs, at the Bishop’s
request, withdrew or modified important parts of his
printed statement. The Bishop had actually no other
witness to call, and all his efforts to obtain a number of
well-informed and trustworthy eye-witnesses from Zulu-
land, Kwa’ Jobe, and Basutoland, seemed likely to end
in a complete fiasco. But on the evening of Thursday,
August 5th, a native came to him in the street and said
that his name was Maboyi, son of Tole (Matshana’s
chief induna, who was killed on the occasion in question),
and that he had been sent by Matshana to Mr. Fynn,
the superintendent, and Lutshungu, son of Ngoza, the
present chief, of the remnant of his former tribe living
Kwa’ Jobe, to ask to be allowed to take down to
‘Maritzburg as witnesses those men of his who were
present on the day of the attempt to seize Matshana.
Mr. Fynn said that ” He did not refuse the men, but
wished to hear a word by a letter coming from the
Secretary for Native Affairs it was not proper that he
should hear it from a man of Mafcshana coming from
Zululand,” and sent him off under charge of a policeman
to ‘Maritzburg, where he was taken to the Secretary for
Native Affairs, who said to him : ” If Matshana himself


had come, this matter might have been properly settled ;
it won’t be without him ! ” But the Secretary for Native
Affairs said nothing to Maboyi about his going to call
the witnesses Kwa’ Jobe ; he only asked by whom he
had been sent, and when informed, he told him to go
home to Zululand, as he had not been summoned and
had nothing to do with this affair. Maboyi had reached
‘Maritzburg on Monday, August 2nd, the day on which
the inquiry began. He saw the Secretary for Native
Affairs on Tuesday, and on that day was dismissed as
above. Not a word was said to the Bishop about his
being brought down in this way under arrest, which
fully explained the non-arrival of his witnesses from
the location ; since, first, their fear of giving witness
against a government official, and now the arrest of
Maboyi, had spread a kind of panic among them all,
and deterred them from coming to give evidence
against Mr. John Shepstone — himself a resident
magistrate, only lately acting as Secretary for Native
Affairs, and the brother of the Secretary for Native
Affairs himself merely in answer to the Bishop’s un-
official summons. Hearing, however, on Thursday from
natives that the case was then going on at Government
House, Maboyi went up to speak with the Bishop, but
arrived when the court had adjourned. He found him
out in town, however, just as he was on the point of
leaving for Bishopstowe, and was, of course, told to wait
and give his evidence. Accordingly, he went to Bishop-
stowe, and Magema was charged to bring him in for
examination on Saturday, the next day of the inquiry.
On the way into town for that purpose, Mr. Fynn’s

H 2


policeman most positively refused to let him stay, and
went off ultimately in great wrath, as Maboyi and
Magema insisted that he must give his evidence before
leaving town to return to Zululand.

On that clay, Saturday, August 7th, the Bishop
explained the whole affair to the Commissioner, and,
having obtained a list of names from Maboyi, requested
that a Government messenger might be sent for the
men at once, and the Secretary for Native Affairs was
instructed to summon them. On Monday, August
9th, the Secretary for Native Affairs replied that
he had summoned all these men, except seven, who
were already in town, having been called by Mr. John
Shepstone, and having been, in fact, under his hands
in charge of his induna Nozitshina from the very first
day of the inquiry. It seemed as if “William Ngidi’s
statement was really to be verified, and that these men
had all succumbed to their fears. On the other hand,
among these seven was Matendeyeka, whom William
Ngidi ” trusted most of all ; ” and there might be
amongst them some who would have the courage to
speak out and to describe the facts connected with the
arrest of Matshana to the best of their ability. At all
events the Bishop resolved to call them, and do his best
to bring the truth out of them ; and Magema after-
wards whispered that he had heard from one of Mr.
John’s men, who was present when he spoke with the
people (Kwa 5 Jobe), that the men there had said : “It
was of no use to discuss it beforehand ; they would say
nothing about what they remembered now ; but before
the Governor they would speak the plain truth as they


knew it.” Accordingly the Bishop called four of these
men Matendeyeka, Faku (son of Tole), Magwaza,
Grwazizulu and they all confirmed the story as told by
his other witnesses. He left the other three to be called
by Mr. John Shepstone, but he never called them. That
these witnesses should have been called by Mr. John
Shepstone, as well as by the Bishop, was satisfactory,
showing that they were witnesses to whom no objection
could be made on the score of character or position in
the tribe, or as having been in any way, directly or
indirectly, influenced by the Bishop.

But the result was that, as these men. were in
the hands of the other side from the time they reached
until they left ; Maritzburg, the Bishop had never even
seen them, or had any communication with them, until
they appeared to give their evidence. He was wholly
ignorant beforehand of what they would say or what
they could say ; he knew not whether they would
confirm or contradict the story told by his other
witnesses ; and he knew not on what particular points,
if any, they could give special evidence, and was
therefore unable to ask the questions which might
have elicited such evidence.

By this time (August 8th) the witnesses from Zulu-
land had arrived, from whom the Bishop learned the
names of other important witnesses living Kwa’ Jobe,
and at his request these also were sent for by Govern-
ment messengers. Unfortunately, through Maboyi’s
arrest, some of the Bishop’s witnesses summoned by the
Secretary for Native Affairs arrived too late on the very
day (August 21st) on which the evidence was closed, and


others a day or two afterwards twelve altogether of
whom only one could be heard, whom the Bishop had
expressly named as a man whose testimony he espe-
cially desired to take. Upon the whole, Sir Garnet
“Wolseley, who began by ” leaving entirely in the
Bishop’s hands ” the difficult and not inexpensive
business of “obtaining his witnesses,” summoned ulti-
mately twenty-two of them, of whom, however, four only
could be heard by the Commissioner ; two (Matshana
and Ngijimi) did not come at all ; and three, including
a most important witness, were called too late to be
able to arrive till all was over ; while four more out
of the seven who had been called by Mr. John Shepstone
gave their evidence in support of the Bishop, as doubtless
the three others would have done, if Mr. John Shepstone
had called them.

In the despatch to the Earl of Carnarvon, already
quoted from (note to p. 91), Sir B. Pine remarks:
” I think it further my duty to point out to your lord-
ship that much of the evidence adduced by the Bishop
in this case has been taken in this way (exparte, without
the safety of publicity, and the opportunity of cross-
examination) ; evidence so taken is peculiarly untrust-
worthy, for everyone moderately acquainted with the
native character is aware tha^; when a question is put
to a native, he will intuitively perceive what answer is
required, and answer accordingly.” The above is a
common but insufficiently supported accusation against
the natives, denied by many who are more than
” moderately acquainted ” with their character ; although
of course it is the natural tendency of a subservient


race in its dealings with its masters, and possible tyrants.
But granting for the nonce its truth, it would, in the
case of the Matshana inquiry, tell heavily on the
Bishop’s side. Sir B. Pine was not present at the
private investigation made by the Bishop, to which he
alludes in the above sentence, and therefore can be no
judge of the ” cross-examination,” which the four
original witnesses underwent; and they, if they did
” intuitively perceive ” what answer was required, and
” answer accordingly,” must merely have spoken the
truth ; a truth which, at that early period of his investi-
gations, the Bishop was most reluctantly receiving, and
would gladly have had disproved.

The evidence before the court, however, was given
under circumstances which, if Sir B. Pine’s account of
native witnesses be correct, adds enormously to the
value of the fact that out of these twenty-four witnesses,
summoned from various quarters, many of them with-
out opportunity of communicating either with the
Bishop or with each other, but one* failed when
it came to the point; and he, a feeble old man, just
released from prison (one of the captured tribe), was
manifestly in a state of abject alarm at finding
himself brought up to witness against the Government
whose tender mercies he had so lately experienced, and
contradicted before Colonel Colley the greater part of
the story which he had originally told the Bishop.
This poor creature had been intimidated and threatened
by a certain man named Adam, under whose surveil-
lance he lived after being released from gaol, and
* One of the original four.


who actually turned him and his family out at night
as a punishment for his having obeyed a summons
to Bishopstowe. He was manifestly ready to say any-
thing which would relieve him from the fear of the
gaol, which he pleaded to Mr. Shepstone a day or
two later ; on which occasion he unsaid all he had
previously said, having, as he afterwards confessed, been
warned by Mr. Shepstone’s policeman Eatsha, who
asked him for what purpose he had been summoned
by the Bishop, not to speak a word about ” Mr. John’s ”
treatment of Matshana. But, with the best intentions,
the man did not succeed in making his story tally
entirely with that of Mr. Shepstone’s other witnesses,
nor with Mr. Shepstone’s own.

With this one exception the Bishop’s witnesses told
the same story in all essential respects. Tjhey were men
arriving from many different and distant parts of the
colony, from Zululand, and from the Free State, who
could not possibly have combined to tell the same story
in all its details, which, if false, would have been torn to
pieces when so many men of different ages and characters
were cross-examined by one so thoroughly acquainted
with all the real facts of the case as Mr. Shepstone
men who had nothing to expect from the Bishop, but
had everything to dread from the Government if proved
to have brought a false and foul charge against an officer
so highly placed and so powerfully protected; yet not
the least impression was made upon the strength of their
united evidence.

The case, however, is very different when we turn to
Mr. Shepstone’s witnesses* Of these, nine in number


(besides the four natives called by both the Bishop and
Mr. Shepstone), seven were natives ; the other two being
the Secretary for Native Affairs and Mr. John Taylor
a son of Mr. John Shepstone’s first wife by her former
husband. Mr. Taylor was a lad of nine at the time, but,
having been- present with his mother and little sister
on the occasion of the attack upon Matshana, was
summoned as a witness by Mr. Shepstone. His
evidence was chiefly important as helping to prove
that Matshana’s party had not the concealed weapons
which Mr. Shepstone’s chief native witness Nozit-
shina said were left by them in immense numbers
upon the ground; as he stated that he and his
sister went over the ground, after the affair was over,
and picked up the assegais, ” about eight or nine ” in

But it is important to remark that the very fact of
the presence at this meeting of Mrs. Shepstone with her
two children, goes far to disprove the account given by
Mr. Shepstone in his second ” statement, 7 ‘ prepared by
him on the occasion of this trial, but which is greatly at
variance on some vital points with the narrative written
by him on the day after the event, dated March 17th,
1858, for the information of His Excellency the Lieut. –
Governor. It seems almost incredible that Mr. John
Shepstone should have, as he says in his second state-
ment, ” made up his mind to face almost certain ” death,
not only for himself and all his men, but for his wife and
her two young children, on the grounds that it was ” too
late to withdraw at this stage ” (same report), when at
any time since the ” day or two previous ” (ibid.), when


the information in question* reached him ; according to
his account he might have put off the meeting, or at all
events have sent his wife and her children to a place of
safety. The Secretary for Native Affairs’ evidence could
of course be of a merely official character, as he was not
present on the occasion. He stated that Mr. John Shep-
stone’s letters of February 16th and 24th, 1858, asked
for by the Bishop, on the subject of the approaching
interview with Matshana, could not be found, although
they “must have been recently mislaid,” as he himself
(the Secretary for Native Affairs) had quoted from one of
them in his minute for the Secretary of State in June,
1874. Of Mr. Shepstone’s native witnesses it can only
be said that, amongst the seven called by him only, six
contradicted themselves and each other to so great an
extent as to make their evidence of no value, while the
evidence of the seventh was unimportant, and the four
witnesses called by both Mr. Shepstone and the Bishop
told the same story as did the witnesses of the latter,
most unexpectedly to him.

Nevertheless Colonel Colley’s judgment, although
convicting Mr. John Shepstone of having enticed the
chief Matshana to an interview with the ‘intention of
seizing him, was received and acted upon in Natal as an
acquittal of that officer. So far was this the case, that,

* Mr. Shepstone says in his second report that a day or two
previous to the meeting with Matshana, he had received information
to the effect that the chief’s intentions were to put him and his people
to death at the expected interview, and all the efforts made by Mr,
Shepstone and his witnesses were to prove, first, the murderous inten-
tions of Matshana ; and, secondly, that nevertheless Mr. Shepstone had
no counter-plans for violence, and did not fire upon the people.


although Lord Carnarvon directed that the Bishop’s
costs should be placed upon the colonial estimates, the
Legislative Council of the colony refused to pay them on
the grounds that they were the costs of the losing
party. In his report Colonel Colley gives his opinions
as follows :

” That Matyana was enticed to an interview, as
stated by the Bishop, and was induced to come unarmed,
under the belief that it was a friendly meeting, such as
he had already had with Mr. Shepstone, for the purpose
of discussing the accusations against him and the
question of his return to his location.

“That Matyana, though very suspicious and un-
willing, came there in good faith ; and that the accusa-
tions against him of meditating the assassination of
Mr. Shepstone and his party, of a prearranged plan
and signal for the purpose, and of carrying concealed
arms to the meeting which are made in Mr. J.
Shepstone’s statements, are entirely without foun-

” That Mr. Shepstone at that time held no magisterial
position, but was simply the commander of a small
armed force charged with the execution of a warrant ;
and that the manner in which he proposed to effect the
seizure, viz. at a supposed friendly meeting, was known
to and sanctioned by, if not the Government, at least
the immediate representative of the Government and
Mr. Shepstone’s superior, Dr. Kelly, the resident
magistrate of the district.

“That Mr. Shepstone did not attempt to shoot
Matyana, as described by the Bishop, but fired into the


air after the attempt to seize Matyana had failed, and in
consequence of the attempt made almost simultaneously
by some of Matyana’s men to reach the huts and seize
the arms of Mr. Shepstone’s men.

“The concealment of the gun,” he continues, “and
the fact that a number of Matyana’s men were killed in
the pursuit, is not disputed by Mr. Shepstone.

” I confess that I have had the greatest difficulty in
forming my opinion on this latter point, and especially
as to whether Mr. Shepstone fired into the air as he
states. The weight of direct evidence adduced at the
inquiry lay altogether on the other aide.”*

Colonel Colley then proceeds to give the considera-
tions by which he has been influenced in coming to a
conclusion directly opposed to the side on which, as he
himself says, lay the weight of direct evidence. These
considerations were threefold. The first is an opinion
of his own, considerably at variance with most people’s
experience, namely, that a story handed down by
oral tradition ” crystallises into an accepted form,”
by which he explains away the fact that so many
witnesses told the same story, and one which stood
the test of cross-examination, without any important

The second consideration was even more singular,
namely, that allowance must be made on Mr, John
Shepstone’s side for the greater ability with which the
Bishop conducted his case ; and the third lay in the
statement that “Mr. J. W* Shepstone is a man of known
courage, and a noted sportsman and shot,” and ” was
* Author’s italics.


not likely to have missed ” Matyana if lie had fired at
him ; ” and, if driven to fire into the crowd in self-
defence, it is more probable that he would have shot
one of the men on the right.” The Bishop’s opponents
from the very first persistently put forward the notion
that he had ” brought a charge against Mr. J. W.
Shepstone,” and this was countenanced by the Govern-
ment when they threw upon him the serious task of
prosecuting before a Court of Enquiry, whereas in
point of fact the real question at issue was not
whether or no a certain shot was actually fired, but
whether, on a certain occasion, a Government official had
acted in a treacherous manner towards a native chief,
thereby giving reason for the excuse of fear on the part
of Langalibalele, treated as a false pretence by the
court, some members of which were fully aware of the
facts, and the prosecutor himself the official concerned.
And, further, whether the said facts had been concealed
by high Government officers, and denied by them
repeatedly to their superiors in England.

On the former questions Colonel Colley’s report
leaves no doubt, and Lord Carnarvon’s comments upon
it are of a very decided nature. After signifying his
acceptance of the decision as a “sound and just con-
clusion,” and complimenting Colonel Colley on the “able
and conscientious manner in which ” he ” has acquitted
himself of an arduous and delicate task,” he continues :
” On the other hand, I must, even after the lapse of so
many years, record my disapprobation of the artifices by
which it is admitted Matyana was entrapped into the
meeting with a view to his forcible arrest. Such under-


hand manoeuvres are opposed to the morality of a
civilised administration ; they lower English rule in the
eyes of the natives ; and they even defeat their own
object, as is abundantly illustrated by the present case.”

Mr. J. W. Shepstone, however, was a subordinate
officer, and if his mode of executing the warrant was
approved by the superior authorities in the colony, the
blame which may attach to the transaction must be
borne by them at least in equal proportion.

The gist of Colonel Colley’s decision is altogether
condemnatory of Mr. J. Shepstone, some of whose state-
ments, he says, ” are entirely without foundation,” and,
by implication, also of his brother, the Secretary for Native
Affairs ; yet virtually, and in the eyes of the world, the
decision was in their favour. To quote from The Natal
Mercury of November 2nd, 1875 : “It is still understood
that Mr. Shepstone, in the minds of impartial judges,
stands more than exonerated from the Bishop’s charges.”
Mr. John Shepstone was retained in his responsible posi-
tion, and received further promotion ; and his brother
was immediately appointed to the high office of Admi-
nistrator of Government, and sent out with power to
annex the Transvaal if he thought proper.

“We have dwelt at some length upon the inquiry
into the Matshana case ; for, since the annexation of the
Transvaal was one of the direct and immediate causes
of the Zulu “War, and since it seems improbable that
any other man than Sir Theophilus Shepstone could at
the moment have been found equally able to undertake
the task, it becomes a serious question to what extent an
inquiry which had no practical effect whatsoever upon


the position of men whose conduct had been stigma-
tised by the Secretary of State himself as ” underhand
manoeuvres, opposed to the morality of a civilised
administration,” may not be considered chargeable with
the disastrous results. And, further, we must protest
against the spirit of the last sentence of Lord
Carnarvon’s despatch on the subject, in which he
expresses his ” earnest hope that his (Colonel Colley’s)
report will be received by all parties to this controversy
in the spirit which is to be desired, and be accepted as
a final settlement of a dispute which cannot be pro-
longed without serious prejudice to public interests, and
without a renewal of those resentments which, for the
good of the community English as well as native had
best be put to rest.”

A dislocated joint must be replaced, or the limb
cannot otherwise be pressed down into shape and “put
to rest;” a thorn must be extracted, not skinned over
and left in the flesh ; and as, with the dislocation un-
reduced or the thorn un extracted, the human frame
can never recover its healthful condition, so it is with
the state with an unrighted wrong, an unexposed

The act of treason towards Matshana, hidden for
many years, looked upon by its perpetrators as a matter
past and gone, has tainted all our native policy since
unknown to most English people in Natal or at home
and has finally borne bitter fruit in the present unhappy
condition of native affairs.



ON the 5th of October, 1876, Sir Theophilus Shepstone,
K.C.M.G-., was appointed “to be a Special Commis-
sioner to inquire respecting certain disturbances which
have taken place in the territories adjoining the
colony of Natal, and empowering him, in certain
events, to exercise the power and jurisdiction of
Her Majesty over such territories, or some of them.”
(P. P. [C. 1776] p. 1.)

The commission stated : ” Whereas grievous dis-
turbances have broken out in the territories adjacent
to our colonies in South Africa, with war between the
white inhabitants and the native races, to the great
peril of the peace and safety of our said colonies . . .
and, if the emergency should seem to you to be such as
to render it necessary, in order to secure the peace and
safety of our said colonies and of our subjects elsewhere,
that the said territories, or any portion or portions of
the same, should provisionally, and pending the an-
nouncement of our pleasure, be administered in our
name and on our behalf; then, and in such case only,
we do further authorise you, the said Sir Theophilus


Shepstone, by proclamation under your hand, to declare
that, from and after a day to be therein named, so much
of any such territories as aforesaid, as to you after due
consideration, shall seem fit, shall be annexed to and
form part of our dominions. . . . Provided, first, that
no such proclamation shall be issued by you with respect
to any district, territory, or state unless you shall be
satisfied that the inhabitants thereof, or a sufficient
number of them, or the Legislature thereof, desire to
become our subjects, nor if any conditions unduly
limiting our power and authority therein are sought to
be imposed.”

Such was the tenor of the commission which, unknown
to the world at large, Sir Theophilus Shepstone brought
with him when he returned to Natal in November, 1876.
The sudden annexation which followed was a stroke
which took all by surprise except the few already in the
secret ; many declaring to the last that such an action
on the part of the English Government was impossible
because, they thought, unjust. It is true that the
Eepublic had for long been going from bad to worse in
the management of its own affairs ; its Government had
no longer the power to enforce laws or to collect taxes ;
and the country was generally believed to be fast
approaching a condition of absolute anarchy. Never-
theless it was thought by some that, except by the
request of those concerned, we had no right to intrude
our authority for the better control of Transvaal affairs
so long as their bad management did not affect us.

On one point, however, we undoubtedly had a right
to interfere, as the stronger, the juster, and more merciful


nation namely, the attitude of the Transvaal Boers
towards, and their treatment of, the native tribes who
were their neighbours, or who came under their control.
On behalf of the latter unfortunates (Transvaal subjects),
we did not even profess to interfere ; but one of the % chief
causes alleged by us for our taking possession of the
country was a long and desultory war which was taking
place between the Boers and Sikukuni, the chief of the
Bapedi tribe living upon their northern borders, and in
the course of which the Boers were behaving towards the
unhappy natives with a treachery, and, when they fell
into their power, with a brutality unsurpassed by any
historical records. The sickening accounts of cruelties
inflicted upon helpless men, women, and children by the
Boers, which are to be found on official record in the
pages of the Blue-book (C. 1776), should be ample
justification in the eyes of a civilised world for English
interference, and forcible protection of the sufferers ; and
it is rather with the manner in which the annexation
was carried out, and the policy which followed it, than
with the intervention of English power in itself, that an
objection can be raised.

The war between the Boers and the Bapedi arose
out of similar encroachments on the part of the former,
which led, as we shall presently show, to their border
disputes with the Zulus. Boer farmers had gradually
deprived of their land the native possessors of the soil by
a simple process peculiarly their own. They first rented
land from the chiefs for grazing purposes, then built
upon it, still paying a tax or tribute to the chief ; finally,
having well established themselves, they professed to


have purchased the land for the sum already paid as
rent, announced themselves the owners of it, and were
shortly themselves levying taxes on the very men whom
they had dispossessed. In this manner Sikukuni was
declared by the Boers to have ceded to them the whole
of his territory that is to say, hundreds of square miles,
for the paltry price of a hundred head of cattle.

An officer of the English Government, indeed (His
Excellency’s Commissioner at Lydenburg, Captain Clarke,
E.A.), was of opinion [C. 2316, p. 29] that, “had only
the Boer element in the Lydenburg district been con-
sulted, it is doubtful if there would have been war with
Sikukuni,” as the Boers, he said, might have continued
to pay taxes to the native chiefs. And the officer in
question appears to censure the people who were
” willing to submit to such humiliating conditions, and
ambitious of the position of prime adviser to a native
chief.” It is difficult to understand why there should
be anything humiliating in paying rent for land, whether
to white or black owners, and the position of prime
adviser to a powerful native chief might be made a very
honourable and useful one in the hands of a wise and
Christian man.

Captain Clarke continues thus : ” It was the foreign
element under the late President which forced matters
to a crisis. Since the annexation the farmers have, with
few exceptions, ceased to pay tribute to the Chiefs ; their
relations with the natives are otherwise unchanged.
Culture and contact with civilisation will doubtless have
the effect of re-establishing the self-respect of these
people, and teaching them the obligation and benefits

i 2


imposed and conferred on them by their new position.”
That is to say, apparently, teaching them that it is
beneath their dignity to pay taxes to native land-
owners, but an ” obligation imposed ” upon them to rob
the latter altogether of their land, the future possession
of which is one of the ” benefits conferred on them by
their new position ” (i.e. as subjects of the British Crown).

“The Bapedi branch of the Basuto family,” says
Captain Clarke, in the same despatch, “essentially
agricultural and peaceful in its habits and tastes,
even now irrigate the land, and would, if possible,
cultivate in excess of their food requirements. The
friendly natives assure me that their great wish
is to live peacefully on their lands, and provide them-
selves with ploughs, waggons, etc. The experience of the
Berlin missionaries confirms this view. Eelieved of
their present anomalous position, into which they
have been forced by the ambition of their rulers,*
and distrust of the Boers, encouraged to follow their
natural bent, the Basutos would become a peaceful
agricultural people, capable of a certain civilisation.”
How well founded was this ” distrust of the Boers,”
may be gathered from the accounts given in the Blue-
book already mentioned.

The objects of the Boers in their attacks upon their
native neighbours appear to have been twofold the
acquisition of territory, and that of children to be brought
up as slaves.

The Cape Argus of December 12th, 1876, remarks :

* Rather by the determination of their rulers to preserve their
land from Eoer encroachments.


” Through the whole course of this Bepublic’s existence,
it has acted in contravention of the Sand River Treaty;*
and slavery has occurred not only here and there in
isolated cases, but as an unbroken practice has been one
of the peculiar institutions of the country, mixed up with
all its social and political life. It has been at the root
of most of its wars. . . . The Boers have not only
fallen upon unsuspecting kraals simply for the purpose
of obtaining the women and children and cattle, but
they have carried on a traffic through natives, who have
kidnapped the children of their weaker neighbours, and
sold them to the white man. Again, the Boers have
sold and exchanged their victims amongst themselves.
Waggon-loads of slaves have been conveyed from one end
of the country to the other for sale, and that with the
cognizance and for the direct advantage of the highest

* SAND EIVER TREATY. “Evidence was adduced that the Transvaal
Boers, who, by the Sand River Convention, and in consideration of the
independence which that convention assured to them, had solemnly
pledged themselves to this country (England) not to reintroduce
slavery into their Republic, had been in the habit of capturing,
buying, selling, and holding in forced servitude, African children,
called by the cant name of ‘ black ivory,’ murdering the fathers,
and driving off the mothers; that this slave trade was carried on
with the sanction of the subordinate Transvaal authorities, and that
the President did actually imprison and threaten to ruin by State
prosecution a fellow-countryman who brought it to the notice of the
English authority an authority which, if it had not the power to
prevent, had at any rate a treaty right to denounce it. This and
more was done, sometimes in a barbarous way, under an assumed
divine authority to exterminate those who resisted them. So much
was established by Dutch and German evidence. But it was supple-
mented and carried farther by the evidence of natives as to their own
sufferings, and of English officers as to that general notoriety which
used to be called publica fama” From an article by Lord Blacliford
in The Nineteenth Century Review, August 1879, p. 265.


officials of the land. The writer has himself seen in a
town situated in the south of the Eepublic the children
who had been brought down from a remote northern
district. . . . The circumstances connected with some of
these kidnapping excursions are appalling, and the
barbarities practised by cruel masters upon some of
these defenceless creatures during the course of their
servitude are scarcely less horrible than those reported
from Turkey, although they are spread over a course of
years instead of being compressed within a few weeks.”
This passage is taken from a letter to The Argus
(enclosed in a despatch from Sir Henry Barkly to the
Earl of Carnarvon, December 13th, 1876), which, with
other accompanying letters from the same source, gives
an account of Boer atrocities too horrible for repeti-
tion. [C. 1776]. A single instance may be mentioned
which, however shocking, is less appalling than others,
but perhaps shows more plainly than anything else
could do what the natives knew the life of a slave in the
Transvaal would be. The information is given by a
Boer. “In 1864,” he says, “the Swazies accompanied
the Boers against Males/” The Boers did nothing but
stand by and witness the fearful massacre. The men
and women were also murdered. One poor woman sat
clutching her baby of eight days old. The Swazies
stabbed her through the body; and when she found that
she could not live, she wrung her baby’s neck with her
own hands, to save it from future misery. On the
return of that commando the children who became too
* A native chief.


weary to continue the journey were killed on the road.
The survivors were sold as slaves to the farmers.”

Out of this state of things eventually proceeded the
war between the Boers and Sikukuni, the result of
which was a very ambiguous one indeed ; for although
Sikukuni was driven out of the low-lying districts of
the country, he took refuge in his stronghold, which
affords such an impregnable position in a thickly-popu-
lated range of mountains as hitherto to have defied
all attempts, whether made by Boers or by English, to
reduce it.*

Another important reason alleged at the time for
taking possession of the Transvaal was that the border
troubles between it and Zululand were becoming more
serious every day ; that, sooner or later, unless we
interposed our authority, a war would break out between
the Boers and the Zulus, into which we should inevitably
be drawn. The Zulus, having continually entreated our
protection, while at our desire they refrained from
defending themselves by force of arms, were naturally
rejoiced at an action on our part which looked like an
answer to their oft-repeated prayer, and eagerly expected
the reward of their long and patient waiting.

But, however strongly we may feel that it was the
duty of the more powerful nation to put a stop to the
doings of the Transvaal Boers, even at considerable
expense to ourselves, the manner in which we have
acted, and the consequences which followed, have been
such as to cause many sensible people to feel that we
* Written in October, 1879,


should have done better to withdraw our prohibition
from Cetshwayo, and allow him and the Boers ” to fight
it out between them.” *

We might have honestly and openly interfered and
insisted upon putting a stop to the atrocities of the
Boers, annexing their country if necessary to that end,
but then we ourselves should have done justice to the
natives on whose behalf we professed to interfere, instead

* Lord Blachford says in the article already quoted from : ” The
citizens of these Republics have gone out from among us into a hostile
wilderness, because they could not endure a humanitarianism which
not only runs counter to their habits and interest, but blasphemes that
combination of gain with godliness which is part of their religion.
While that humanitarianism forms a leading principle of our govern-
ment they will not submit to it. Why should we bribe or force them
to do so 1 It is no doubt right and wise to remain, if possible, on
good terms with them. It is wise and generous to save them, if
possible, in their day of calamity as, with our own opposite
policy, we have been able to save them by a wave of the hand
twice from the Basutos, and once from the Zulus. (Once for all
rather, through the course of many years, during which we have re-
strained the Zulus from asserting their own rights to the disputed
territory, by promises that we would see justice done. Author.) But
it is neither wise nor necessary to embroil ourselves in their quarrels
until they call for help, until they have had occasion to feel the evil
effects of their own methods, and the measure of their weakness, and
are ready, not in whispers or innuendos and confidential corners, but
outspokenly in public meetings, or through their constituted authorities,
to accept with gratitude our intervention on our own terms, until they
are, if they ever can be, thus taught by adversity. I do not myself
believe that we could enter into any political union with them
except at the sacrifice of that character for justice to which, I persist
in saying, we owe so much of our power and security in South Africa.
Nor so long as we observe the rules of justice to them shall we do any
good by disguising our substantial differences, or refraining from
indignant remonstrances against proceedings which are not only re-
pugnant to humanity, but violate their engagements with us and
endanger our security.”


of taking over with the country and carrying on those
very quarrels and aggressions which we alleged as a
sufficient reason for the annexation.

When Sir Theophilus Shepstone went up to Pretoria
it was, ostensibly, merely to advise the President and
Volksraad of the Transvaal Eepublic as to the best
means of extricating themselves and the country from
the difficulties into which they were plunged, and with
the expressed intention of endeavouring to produce a
peaceful settlement with Sikukuni, which should protect
him and his people for the future from the tyranny of
the Boers. Up to the last the notion that there was
any intention of forcibly annexing the country was~ r

indignantly repudiated by the members of the expedi-V*-

tion, although their chief meanwhile was in possession

of his commission as Administrator of the British
Government in the Transvaal. There were some who
suspected that there was more in the movement than
was confessed to by those concerned. It was argued
that, were Sir Theophilus Shepstone’s visit of a purely
friendly nature, no armed force would have been sent to
escort him, as he was going, not into a savage country,
but into one which, at all events, professed to have a
civilised government and an educated class. The
unsettled state of feeling amongst the Boers was
pleaded in answer to this argument, but was commonly
met by the suggestion that if, under the circumstances,
the armed force of mounted police which accompanied
the important visitor might be looked upon as a
justifiable precaution, yet the possible danger to
strangers from the violence of a few lawless men in


a country in which the government was not strong
enough to keep them in check, was not great enough
to account for the fact that a regiment of British
infantry was hastily moved up to Newcastle, from
whence they could speedily be summoned into the
Transvaal. The presence of a Zulu army upon the
other border, where it lay quiet and inoffensive for
weeks during Sir Theophilus Shepstone’s proceedings
in the Transvaal, was naturally looked upon as a
suspicious circumstance. There can be little doubt
that whether or no Cetshwayo obeyed a hint from
his old friend the Secretary for Native Affairs, and
sent his army to support him, and to overawe the
Boers by a warlike demonstration the Zulus were
present in a spirit, however inimical to the Boers,
entirely friendly to the English. The mere fact that
the army lay there so long in harmless repose, and
dispersed promptly and quietly immediately upon
receiving orders to do so from Sir Theophilus Shep-
stone, proves that, at all events, they and their king
thought that they were carrying out his wishes. The
feeling expressed at the time by a British officer,* in
speaking of this Zulu army, and recommending that
it should be dispersed, that “it were better the little

band of Englishmen (including, of course, himself)

should fall by the hand of the Boers than that aught

should be done by the former to bring about a war of
races/’ can hardly have been shared by Sir Theophilus
Shepstone himself, or the message to the Zulu king

* Colonel Durnford, K.E., who paid a flying visit to Pretoria at
the time.


to withdraw his army would have been despatched
some weeks earlier. iVu^^v^ tww>4 ^\^^\

In face of these facts~ it strikes one as strange
that the temporary presence of this Zulu army on the
Transvaal borders, manifestly in our support (whether
by request or not), and which retired without giving the
least offence, or even committing such acts of theft or
violence as might be expected as necessary evils in the 9
neighbourhood of a large European garrison, should
have been regarded, later, as a sign of Cetshwayo’s
inimical feeling towards the English*

Mr. Pretorius, member of the Dutch executive
council, and other influential Transvaalers, assert “tnat’ v
Sir T. Shepstone threatened to let loose the Zulus upon
them, in order to reduce them to submission ; but the
accusation is denied on behalf of the Administrator of
the Transvaal. And Mr. Fynney (in the report of his
mission to Cetshwayo from Sir T. Shepstone, upon the
annexation of the Transvaal, dated July 4, 1877) gives
the king’s words to him, as follows : “I am pleased that
Somtseu (Sir Theophilus Shepstone) has sent you to let
me know that the land of the Transvaal Boers has now
become part of the lands of the Queen of England. I
began to wonder why he did not tell me something of
what he was doing. I received one message from him,
sent by Unkabano, from Newcastle, and I heard the

* Mr. John Dunn is said to have stated to the Special Corre-
spondent of The Cape Argus, and to have since reaffirmed his state-
ment, that Sir T. Shepstone ” sent word to Cetshwayo that he was
heing hemmed in, and the king was to hold himself in readiness to
come to his assistance.” This assertion has also been denied by-
Sir T. Shepstone’s supporters, –.(iruoo &,< *. t<*n M oo vJL tfhCft U/J”


Boers were not treating him properly, and that they
intended to put him into a corner. If they had done
so, I should not have wanted for anything more. Had
one shot been fired, I should have said, ‘ What more do
I wait for ? they have touched my father/ ‘

But all doubt upon the subject of Sir T. Shepstone’s
intention was quickly and suddenly set at rest the
silken glove of friendly counsel and disinterested advice
was thrown aside, and the mailed hand beneath it
seized the reins of government from the slackened
fingers of the President of the Transvaal. On the
22nd January, 1877, Sir Theophilus Shepstone entered
Pretoria, the capital of the country, where he was
received with all kindness and attention by the pre-
sident, Mr. Burgers, and other important men, to whom
he spoke of his mission in general terms, as one the
object of which was “to confer with the Government
and people of the Transvaal, with the object of initi-
ating a new state of things which would guarantee
security for the future.” *

On April 9th, 1879, Sir T. Shepstone informed
President Burgers that “the extension over the Trans-
vaal of Her Majesty’s authority and rule ” was imminent.

The following protest was officially read and handed
in to Sir T. Shepstone on the llth April :

” Whereas I, Thomas Francois Burgers, State Presi-
dent of the South African Kupublic, have received a
despatch, dated the 9th instant, from Her British
Majesty’s Special Commissioner, Sir Theophilus Shep-
stone, informing me that his Excellency has resolved,
* P. P. [C. 1776] p. 88.


in the name of Her Majesty’s Government, to bring
the South African Kepublic, by annexation, under the
authority of the British Crown :

“And whereas I have not the power to draw the
sword with good success for the defence of the inde-
pendence of the State against a superior power like that
of England, and in consideration of the welfare of the
whole of South Africa, moreover, feel totally disinclined
to involve its white inhabitants in a disastrous war,
without having employed beforehand all means to secure
the rights of the people in a peaceable way :

” So, I, in the name and by the authority of the
Government and the people of the South African
Kepublic, do hereby solemnly protest against the
intended annexation.

“Given under my hand and under the Seal of the
State at the Government Office at Pretoria, on this
the llth day of April, in the year 1877.


” State President.”

A strong protest was handed in on the same date
by the Executive Council, in which it was stated ” the
people, by memorials or otherwise, have, by a large
majority, plainly stated that they are averse to it”

On April 17th, 1877, Sir T. Shepstone writes to
Lord Carnarvon : ” On Thursday last, the 12th instant,
I found myself in a position to issue the proclamations
necessary for annexing** the South African Kepublic,

* It may be interesting to compare the above with the wording of
Sir T. Shepstone’s “Commission”?. P. [C. 1776] p. 111.


commonly known as the Transvaal, to Her Majesty’s
dominions, and for assuming the administration thereof.”
P. P. [C. 1776] pp. 152-56.

His intentions had been so carefully concealed, the
proclamation took the people so completely by surprise;
that it was received in what might be called a dead
silence, which silence was taken to be of that nature
which ” gives consent.”

It has been amply shown since that the real feeling
of the country was exceedingly averse to English inter-
ference with its liberties, and that the congratulatory
addresses presented, and demonstrations made in favour
of what had been done, were but expressions of feeling
from the foreign element in the Transvaal, and got up
by a few people personally interested on the side of
English authority. But at the time they were made to
appear as genuine expressions of Boer opinions favour-
able to the annexation, which was looked upon as a
master-stroke of policy and a singular success.

It was some time before the Transvaalers recovered
from the stunning effects of the blow by which they had
been deprived of their liberties, and meanwhile the new
Government made rapid advances, and vigorous attempts
at winning popularity amongst the people. Sir T. Shep-
stone hastened to fill up every office under him with his
, . | own men, although there were great flourishes of trumpets
concerning preserving the rights of the people to the
greatest extent possible, and keeping the original men

“y Kin office wherever practicable. The first stroke by
which popularity was aimed at was that of remitting

‘* L the war taxes levied upon the white population (though


unpaid) to meet the expenses of the war with Sikukuni.
It became apparent at this point what an empty sham
was our proposed protection of Sikukuni, and how little
the oppression under which he and his people suffered
had really called forth our interference. Sir T. Shep-
stone, while remitting, as stated, the tax upon the
Boers, insisted upon the payment in full of the fine
in cattle levied by them upon Sikukuni’s people. So
sternly did he carry out the very oppressions which he
came to put an end to, that a portion of the cattle paid
towards the fine (two thousand head, a large number, in 7^
the reduced and impoverished state of the people) were
sent back, by his orders, on the grounds that they were
too small and in poor condition, with the accompanying
message that better ones must be sent in their place,


A commission (composed of Captain Clarke, R.A., and
Mr. Osborne) was sent, before the annexation, by
Sir T. Shepstone, to inquire into a treaty pressed
by the Boers upon Sikukuni, and rejected by him, as
it contained a condition by which he was to pay
taxes, and thereby come under the Transvaal Govern-
ment.”'” To these gentlemen ” Sikukuni stated that the
English were great and he was little [C. 1776, p. 147],
that he wanted them to save him from the Boers, who
hunted him to and fro, and shot his people down like
wild game. He had lost two thousand men” (this
included those who submitted to the Boers) “by the

* The chief repeatedly refused to sign any paper presented to him
by the Boers, on the grounds that he could not tell what it might
contain, beyond the points explained to him, to which he might after-
wards be said to have agreed ; showing plainly to what the natives
were accustomed in their dealings with the Transvaal.


war, ten brothers, and four sons. … He could not
trust the Boers as they were always deceiving him.”
After saying that ” he wished to be like Moshesh ” (a
British subject), and be “happy and at peace,” he
” asked whether he ought to pay the two thousand head
of cattle, seeing that the war was not of his making.”

” To this we replied,” say the Commissioners, ” that
it was the custom of us English, when we made an
engagement, to fulfil it, cost what it might ; that our
word was our word.”

Small wonder if the oppressed and persecuted people
and their chief at last resented such treatment, or that
some of them should have shown that resentment in a
manner decided enough to call for military proceedings
on the part of the new Government of the Transvaal.
In point of fact, however, it was not Sikukuni, but his
sister a chieftainess herself whose people, by a quarrel
with and raid upon natives living under our protection,
brought on the second or English ” Sikukuni war.”

Turning to the other chief pretext for the annexation
of the Transvaal, the disturbed condition of the Zulu
border, we find precisely the same policy carried out.
When it was first announced that the English had taken
possession of the country of their enemies, the Zulus,
figuratively speaking, threw up their caps, and rejoiced
greatly. They thought that now at last, after years of
patient waiting, and painful repression of angry feelings
at the desire of the Natal Government, they were to
receive their reward in a just acknowledgment of the
claims which Sir T. Shepstone had so long supported,
and which he was now in a position to confirm.


But the quiet submission of the Boers would not
have lasted, even upon the surface, had their new
Governor shown the slightest sign of leaning to the Zulu
side on the bitter boundary question ; and as Sir T.
Shepstone fancied that the power of his word was great
enough with the Zulus to make them submit, however
unwillingly, there was small chance of their receiving a
rood of land at his hands. He had lost sight of, or
never comprehended the fact, that that power was built
upon the strong belief which existed in the minds of the
Zulu king and people with regard to the justice and
honesty of the English Government. This feeling is
amply illustrated by the messages from the Zulu king,
quoted in our chapter upon the Disputed Territory, and
elsewhere in this volume, and need therefore only be
alluded to here.

But this belief, so far as Sir T. Shepstone is con-
cerned, was destroyed when the Zulus found that, far
from acting according to his often-repeated words, their
quondam friend had turned against them, and espoused
the cause of their enemies, whom, at his desire, they had
refrained these many years from attacking, when they
could have done so without coming into collision with
the English.

The Zulus, indeed, still believed in the English, and
in the Natal Government ; but they considered that Sir
T. Shepstone, in undertaking the government of the
Boers, had become a Boer himself, or, as Cetshwayo
himself said, his old friend and father’s back, which had
carried him so long, had become too rough for him if
he could carry him no longer he would get down, and go


to a man his equal in Pietermaritzburg (meaning Sir
Henry Bulwer, Lieut. -Governor of Natal), who would bo
willing and able to take him up.

. It is a curious fact, and one worthy of note, that Sir
T. Shepstone, who for so many years had held and
expressed an opinion favourable to the Zulus on this
most important boundary question, should yet have
studied it so little that, when he had been for six months
Administrator of the Transvaal, with all evidence, written
or oral, official or otherwise, at his command, he could
say, speaking of a conversation which he held with some
Dutch farmers at Utrecht Parl. p. (2079, p. 51-4) : “I
then learned for the first time, what has since been proved
by evidence the most incontrovertible, overwhelming, and
clear, that this boundary line* had been formally and
mutually agreed upon, and had been formally ratified by
the giving and receiving of tokens of thanks, and that
the beacons had been built up in the presence of the
President and members of the Executive Council of the
Republic, in presence of Commissioners from both Panda
and Cetshwayo, and that the spot on which every beacon
was to stand was indicated by the Zulu Commissioners
themselves placing the first stones on it.

“I shall shortly transmit to your Lordship” (the
Secretary of State for the Colonies) ” the further evidence
on the subject that has been furnished to me.” This
” further evidence,” if forwarded, does not appear in
the Blue-books. It is plain that the Border Commis-
sioners of 1878 found both the ” evidence the most
incontrovertible, overwhelming, and clear,” and the
* That claimed by the Boers.


“further evidence” promised, utterly worthless for the
purpose of proving the case of the Boers ; but, even
had it been otherwise, Sir T. Shepstone’s confession of
ignorance up to so late a date on this most vital
question is singularly self-condemnatory.

” When I approached the question,” * he says, ” I
did so supposing that the rights of the Transvaal to
land on the Zulu border had very slender foundation.
I believed, from the representations which had been
systematically made by the Zulus to the Natal Govern-
ment on the subject, of which I was fully aware from
the position I held in Natal, that the beacons along
the boundary line had been erected by the Eepublican
Government, in opposition to the wishes, and in spite
of the protests, of the Zulu authorities. t

” I, therefore, made no claims or demand whatever
for land. I invited Cetshwayo to give me his views
regarding a boundary, when I informed him from
Pretoria that I should visit Utrecht on the tour I
then contemplated making. When I met the Zulu
prime minister and the indunas on the 18th October last ”
(six weeks before he discovered, in conversation with
some Boers, the ” evidence incontrovertible, overwhelm-
ing, and clear”), “on the Blood Kiver, I was fully pre-
pared, if it should be insisted on by the Zulus, as I
then thought it might justly be, to give up a tract
of country which had from thirteen to sixteen years
been occupied by Transvaal farmers, and to whose

* P. P. (2079, pp. 51-54).

f The conclusion arrived at, after a careful consideration of all
producible evidence, by the Korke’s Drift Commission, in 1878.

K 2


farms title-deeds had been issued by the late Govern^
ment ; and I contemplated making compensation to
those farmers in some way or another for their loss.
I intended, however, first to offer to purchase at a fair
price from the Zulu king all his claims to land which
had for so many years been occupied and built upon
by the subjects of the Transvaal, to whom the Govern-
ment of the country was distinctly liable.”

Sir T. Shepstone, when he met the Zulu indunas at
the Blood Eiver, was prepared to abandon the line of
1861 (claimed by the Boers), for that of the Blood Eiver
and the Old Hunting Eoad (“if it should be insisted on
by the Zulus,” as he ” then thought it might justly
be “), which, in point of fact, would have satisfied neither
party ; but he does not say by what right he proposed to
stop short of the old line of 1856-7 viz. the Blood
Eiver and insist upon the ” Old Hunting Eoad.” If
the half- concession were just, so was the whole or

To these half-measures, however, the Zulus would
not submit, and the conference failed of its object.

” Fortunately, therefore, for the interests of the
Transvaal,” says Sir T. Shepstone, ” I was prevented
by the conduct of the Zulus themselves from sur-
rendering to them at that meeting what my information
on the subject then had led me to think was after all due
to them, and this I was prepared to do at any sacrifice to
the Transvaal, seeing, as it then appeared to me, that
justice to the Zulus demanded it.”

* A liability transferred to the Zulu king by Sir Bartle Frere in
his correspondence with the Bishop of Natal.


In spite, however, of the concession to the Boers,
made in Sir T. Shepstone’s altered opinion on the border
question, they were by no means reconciled to the loss
of their independence, although Captain Clarke says
(C. 2316, p. 28), in speaking of the Boers in Lydenburg
district, “they, in the majority of cases, would forget
fancied ‘wrongs if they thought they had security for
their lives and property, education for their children,
and good roads for the transport of their produce.” *

The following ” agreement signed by a large number
of farmers at the meeting held at Wonderfontein,” and
translated from a Dutch newspaper, the Zuid Afrikaan,
published at Capetown on the 15th February (C. 2316,
p. 1), gives a different impression of the state of feeling
amongst the Boers :

“In the presence of Almighty God, the Searcher of
all hearts, and prayerfully waiting on His gracious help
and pity, we, burghers of the South African Eepublic,
have solemnly agreed, and we do hereby agree, to make a
holy covenant for us, and for our children, which we
confirm with a solemn oath.

” Fully forty years ago our fathers fled from the Cape
Colony in order to become a free and independent people.
Those forty years were forty years of pain and suffering.
” We established Natal, the Orange Free State, and
the South African Eepublic, and three times the English
Government has trampled our liberty and dragged to
the ground our flag, which our fathers had baptised with
their blood and tears.

* That is to say, that they may be bribed by substantial benefits to
acquiesce in the loss of their liberties. Q


“As by a thief in the night has our Republic been
stolen from us. We may nor can endure this. It is
God’s will, and is required of us by the unity of our
fathers, and by love to our children, that we should
hand over intact to our children the legacy of the
fathers. For that purpose it is that we here come
together and give each other the right hand as men and
brethren, solemnly promising to remain faithful to our
country and our people, and with our eye fixed on God,
to co-operate until death for the restoration of the
freedom of our Republic.

“So help us Almighty God.’ 7 , ‘Wi^vcu^

These pious words, side by side with the horrible
accounts of the use made by the Boers of their liberty
while they had it, strike one as incredibly profane ; yet
they are hardly more so than part of the speech made
by Sir T. Shepstone to the burghers of the Transvaal
on the occasion of the annexation.

” Do you know,” he asks them, ” what has recently
happened in Turkey ? Because no civilised government
was carried on there, the Great Powers interfered and
said, ‘ Thus far and no farther/ And if this is done to

Empire, will a little Republic be excused when it
,VQ misbehaves ? Complain to other powers and seek justice
‘jr there ? Yes, thank God I justice is still to be found
even for the most insignificant, but it is precisely this
justice which will convict us. If we want justice we
must be in a position to ask it with unsullied hands.” *

* Was it by inadvertence that Sir T. Shepstone speaks of ” us ”
and “we,” thus producing a sentence so strangely and unhappily
applicable 1


Our first quotation was from the words of ignorant
Boers, our second from those of a man South African
born and bred, South African in character and educa-
tion. But perhaps both are surpassed by words lately
written by an English statesman of rank. Let us turn
to a ” minute ” of Sir Bartle Frere’s, forwarded on
November 16th, 1878 (2222, p. 45), and see what he
says in defence of Boer conquests and encroachments.
“The Boers had force of their own, and every right of
conquest ; but they had also what they seriously believed
to be a higher title, in the old commands they found in
parts of their Bible to exterminate the Gentiles, and take
their land in possession.* We may freely admit that they
misinterpreted the text, and were utterly mistaken in its
application. But they had at least a sincere belief in
the Divine authority for what they did, and therefore a
far higher title than the Zulus could claim for all they
acquired” * (P. P. [0. 2222] p. 45).

If the worship of the Boers for their sanguinary
deity is to be pleaded in their behalf, where shall we
pause in finding excuses for any action committed by
insane humanity in the name of their many gods ? But
the passage hardly needs our comments, and we leave it
to the consideration of the Christian world.

A paragraph from The Daily News of thia day,
November 8th, 1879, will suitably close our chapter on
the Transvaal. It is headed ” Serious Disturbance in the
Transvaal,” and gives a picture of the disposition of the
Boers, and of the control we have obtained over them.
* Italics not Sir B. Frere’s,

18(3 . THE ZULU WAR.

” PRETORIA, October 13th.

“A somewhat serious disturbance lias occurred at
Middleberg. A case came in due course before the local
court, relating to a matter which took place last July.
A Boer, by name Jacobs, had tied up one of his Kaffir
servants by his wrists to a beam, so that his feet could
not touch the ground. The man was too ill after it to
move for some days. The case against the Boer came
on on October 8th. A large number of Boers attended
from sympathy with the defendant* and anxious to resist
any interference between themselves and their Kaffirs.
The Landrost took the opportunity to read out Sir
Garnet’s proclamation, declaring the permanency of the
annexation of the Transvaal. The attitude of the Boers
appeared to be so threatening that after a time the
Landrost thought it better to adjourn the hearing for a
couple of hours.

” On the court’s reassembling, he was informed that
five-and-twenty Boers had visited two of the stores in
the town, and had seized gunpowder there, gunpowder
being a forbidden article of sale. The following day a
much larger attendance of Boers made their appearance
at the court. Seventy of them held a meeting, at
which they bound themselves to protect those who
.had seized the gunpowder, and their attitude was so
threatening that the Landrost, on the application of
the public prosecutor, adjourned the case sine die,
A fresh case of powder seizing was reported on the
same day. Colonel Lanyon has already gone to the
scene of disturbance, which will be dealt with purely,
* Author’s italics throughout.


at all events at present, as a civil case of violence
exercised against the owners of the stores. At the same
time a troop of dragoons will be there about the day
after to-morrow, and a company of infantry in a few
days more, while a considerable number of the 90th
Eegiment will in a short time be, in regular course,
passing that way. The spark will therefore no doubt
be stamped out quickly where it has been lighted.
The only danger is in the tendency to explosion which
it perhaps indicates in other directions.”



WE must now look back and gather up the threads
hitherto interwoven with accounts of other matters
connected with what has been rightly called the
” burning question” of the disputed territory, which
led eventually to the Zulu War.

The disputes between the Boers and Zulus concerning
the boundary line of their respective countries had
existed for many years, its origin and growth being
entirely attributable to the well-known and usually
successful process by which the Dutch Boers, as we
have already said, have gradually possessed themselves of
the land belonging to their unlettered neighbours. This
process is described by Mr. Osborn, formerly resident
magistrate of Newcastle, now Colonial Secretary of the
Transvaal Government, September 22nd, 1876 (1748,
p. 196).

” I would point out here that this war (with
Sikukuni) arose solely out of dispute about land. The
Boers as they have done in other cases, and are still
doing encroached by degrees upon native territory ;
commencing by obtaining permission to graze stock


upon portions of it at certain seasons of the year,
followed by individual graziers obtaining from native
headmen a sort of license to squat upon certain defined
portions, ostensibly in order to keep other Boer squatters
away from the same land. These licenses, temporarily
extended, as friendly or neighbourly acts, by unautho-
rised headmen, after a few seasons of occupation by the
Boer, are construed by him as title, and his permanent
occupation ensues. Damage for trespass is levied by
him upon the very men from whom he obtained right
to squat, to which the natives submit out of fear of
the matter reaching the ears of the paramount Chief,
who would in all probability severely punish them for
opening the door of encroachment to the Boer. After
awhile, however, the matter comes to a crisis, in con-
sequence of the incessant disputes between the Boers
and the natives ; one or other of the disputants lays the
case before the paramount Chief, who, upon hearing both
parties, is literally frightened with violence and threats by
the Boer into granting him the land. Upon this, the usual
plan followed by the Boer is at once to collect a few
neighbouring Boers, including an Acting Field Cornet,
or even an Acting Provisional Field Cornet, appointed
by the Field Cornet or Provisional Cornet, the latter to
represent the Government, although without instructions
authorising him to act in the matter. A few cattle are
.collected among themselves, which the party takes to
the Chief, and his signature is obtained to a written
instrument, alienating to the Eepublican Boers a large
slice of, or all, his territory. The contents of this
document are, so far as I can make out, never clearly


or intelligibly explained to the Chief, who signs it and
accepts of the cattle, under the impression that it is
all in settlement of hire for the grazing licenses granted
by his headmen.”

“This, I have no hesitation in saying, is the usual
method by which the Boers obtain what they call
cessions of territories to them by native Chiefs. In
Sikukuni’s case, they say that his father, Sikwata,
ceded to them the whole of his territory (hundreds of
square miles) for one hundred head of cattle.”

Also Sir H. Barkly, late Governor of the Cape,
writes as follows, October 2nd, 1876 (1748, p. 140) :

“The following graphic description of this process
(of Boer encroachment) is extracted from a letter in the
Transvaal Advocate of a few weeks ago : ‘ Frontiers
are laid down, the claim to which is very doubtful.
These frontiers are not occupied, but farms are inspected
(” guessed at ” would be nearer the mark), title-deeds for
the same are issued, and, when the unlucky purchaser
wishes to take possession, he finds his farm (if he can
find it) occupied by tribes of Kafirs, over whom the
Government has never attempted to exercise any juris-
diction/ f Their Chief/ it adds, ‘is rather bewildered
at first to find out that he has for years been a subject
of the Transvaal.’ ‘ The Chief in question is one
Lechune, living on the north-west of the Eepublic. But
the account is equally applicable to the case of Sikukuni,
or Umswazi, or half-a-dozen others, the entire circuit of
the Kepublic, from the Barolongs and Batlapins on the
west, to the Zulus on the east, being bordered by a
series of encroachments disputed ly the natives.’ ”


A memorandum from Captain Clarke, E.A., Special
Commissioner at Lydenburg, dated April 23rd, 1879
(C. 2367, p. 152), also gives an account of the way in
which the Boers took possession of the Transvaal itself,
highly illustrative of their usual practice, and of which
the greater part may be quoted here, with a key to the
real meaning of phrases which require some study to

“On the entrance of the Fou Trekkers into the
Transvaal, they were compelled against their hereditary
instincts to combine for self-defence against a common
foe.” (That is to say, that, having forced themselves
into a strange country, they necessarily combined to
oust those they found there.) ” External pressure was
removed by success, and the diffusive instinct asserted
itself” which being translated into ordinary English
simply signifies that, having conquered certain native
tribes, they settled themselves upon their lands, and
returned to their natural disunited condition. ” Isolated
families, whose ambition was to be out of sight of their
neighbours’ smoke, pushed forward into Kafir-land ” (as
yet unconquered).

” Boundaries were laid down either arbitrarily or by
unsatisfactorily recorded treaty with savage neighbours.
The natives, forced back, acquired the powers of coalition
lost by the Boers, and in their turn brought pressure to
bear on their invaders and whilom conquerors ; farm
after farm had to be abandoned, and many of the Boers
who remained acknowledged by paying tribute that
they retained their lands by the permission of neigh-
bouring chiefs. The full importance of this retrograde


movement was not at once felt, as a natural safety-valve
was found.”

“A considerable portion of the east of the Transvaal
is called the High Veldt, and consists of tableland at a
considerable elevation, overlying coal-measures ; this
district appears bleak and inhospitable, overrun by large
herds of game and watered by a series of apparently stag-
nant ponds which take the place of watercourses. . . .
From various sources, within the last six years, it has
been discovered that the High Veldt is most valuable
for the grazing of sheep, horses, and cattle ; and farms
which possess the advantage of water are worth from
1,000 to 1,200, where formerly they could have been
bought for as many pence.”

” This discovery has opened a door of escape for
many of the native-pressed borderers. The pressure on
those that remain increases, and on the north-east and
west of the Transvaal is a fringe of farmers who live by
the sufferance or in fear of the interlacing natives.”

The phrases which I have italicised seem to indicate
that the writer has lost sight of the fact that, if the
border farmers are ” native-pressed,” it is because they
have intruded themselves amongst the natives, from
which position a just arid wise government would seek
to withdraw them, instead of endeavouring to establish
and maintain them in it by force. This latter course,
however, is the one which Captain Clarke recommends.
The remainder of his memorandum is a series of sugges-
tions for this purpose, one of which runs as follows :
” To take away the immediate strain on the border
farmer, and the risk of collision which the present state


of affairs involves, I would suggest the establishment of
Government Agents, who should reside on or beyond
the border now occupied by the farmers* …. Each
Eesidency should be a fortress, built of stone r and
prepared for defence against any, native force.”

Sir Bartle Frere’s version of Captain Clarke’s account,
given to the Secretary of State in a despatch enclosing
the above, runs as follows : ” Most of the native chiefs
now there have gradually crept in, under pressure from
the northward, and finding no representatives of the
Transvaal Government able to exercise authority on the
spot, have gradually set up some sort of government for
themselves, before which many of the Boers have retired,
leaving only those .who were willing to pay a sort of
tribute for protection, or to avoid being robbed of their

With whatever oblique vision Sir Bartle Frere may
have perused the enclosure from which he gathers his
facts, no unbiassed mind can fail to detect the singular
discrepancy between the account given by Captain
Clarke and that drawn from it by the High Commissioner
in his enclosing letter.

He makes no mention of the driving out of the
natives which preceded their creeping in, and which
figures so largely in Captain Clarke’s memorandum, of
which he professes to give a sketch. And he introduces,
entirely on his own account, the accusation against the
natives implied in the phrase ” or to avoid being robbed
of their cattle.,” of which not a single word appears in
the memorandum itself.

* Author’s italics.


Properly speaking, there were two disputed boundary
lines up to 1879, the one being that between Zululand
and the Transvaal, to the south of the Pongolo Biver ;
the other that between the Zulus and the Swazis, to the
north of, and parallel to, that stream. * The Swazis are
the hereditary enemies of the Zulus, and there has always
been a bitter feeling between the two races, nevertheless
the acquisitiveness of the Transvaal Boers was at the
bottom of both disputes. They profess to have obtained,
by cession from the Swazi king in 1855, a strip of land
to the north-east of the Pongolo Eiver and down to the
Lebomba Mountains, in order that they might form a
barrier between them and the Zulus ; but the Swazis
deny having ever made such cession.

In addition to the doubt thrown upon the transaction
by this denial, and the well-known Boer encroachments
already described, it remains considerably open to
question whether the Swazis had the power to dispose
of the land, which is claimed by the Zulus as their own.
The commission which sat upon the southern border
question was not permitted to enter upon that to the
north of the Pongolo, which therefore remains uncertain.
The one fact generally known, however, is undoubtedly
favourable to the Zulu claim. The territory in question
was occupied until 1848 by two Zulu chiefs, Putini of
the Ama-Ngwe, and Langalibalele of the Ama-Hlubi
tribe, under the rule of the Zulu king Umpande. These
chiefs, having fallen into disgrace with the king, were
attacked by him, and fled into Natal. They were
ultimately settled in their late locations under the
* “Ama-Svrazi ” for the plural correctly, as also ” Ama-Zulu.”


Draakensberg, leaving their former places in Zululand,
north and south of the Pongolo, the inNgcaka
(Mountain), and inNgcuba (River) vacant

Sir Henry Bulwer remarks on this point (P. p. 2220,
pp. 400-2) :

“Sir T. Shepstone says indeed, that there is no
dispute between the Transvaal and the Ama-Swazi ; but,
as he adds that, should questions arise between them,
they may be settled on their own merits, it is not
impossible that questions may arise ; and I am certainly
informed that the Ama-Swazi used formerly to deny
that they had ever ceded land to the extent claimed
by the Republic.” But that the western portion, at
all events, of the land in dispute was at that time
under Zulu rule, is apparent from an account given by
members of the house of Masobuza, principal wife of
Langalibalele, and sister to the Swazi king, who was
sheltered at Bishopstowe after the destruction of the
Hlubi tribe, and died there in 1877.

” In Chaka’s time, Mate, father of Madhlangampisi,
who had lived from of old on his land north of the
Pongolo, as an independent chief, not under Swazi rule,
gave, without fighting, his allegiance to Chaka ; and
from that time to this the district in question has been
under Zulu rule, the Swazi king having never at any
time exercised any authority over it.” The same state-
ment applies to several other tribes living north, and
on either side of the Pongolo, amongst them those of
Langalibalele and Putini.

” Madhlangampisi’s land was transferred by the
Boer Government as late as January 17th, 1877, to the


executors of the late Mr. M’Corkindale, and now goes
by the name of ‘Londina/ in which is the hamlet of
‘ Derby/ . . . We are perfectly aware that the southern
portion of the block is held by command of the Zulu
chief, and the executor’s surveyors have been obstructed
in prosecuting the survey.” Natal Mercury, July 23rd,

In 1856 a number of Boers claimed Natal territory
west of the Buffalo, as far as the Biggarsberg range, now
the south-west boundary of the Newcastle County, and
some of them were in occupation of it ; and, a commission
being sent to trace the northern border of the colony
along the line of the Buffalo, these latter opposed and
protested against the mission of the Commissioners ; but
their opposition spent itself in threats, and ended in the
withdrawal from Natal of the leaders of the party.

Other Boers had settled east of the Buffalo, in the
location vacated by the tribe of Langalibalele, as to
whom the aforesaid Commissioners write :

” During our stay among the farmers it was brought
to our notice by them that they had obtained from
Panda the cession of the tract of country beyond the
Buffalo (inNcome), towards the north-west ; they had
subscribed among themselves , one hundred head of
cattle for this land, which had been accepted by

And Sir T. Shepstone says :

” Panda never denied this grant (N.B. in respect of
what lay west of the Draakensberg), but repudiated
the idea that he had sold the land. His account
was that, when the farmers were defeated by Her


Majesty’s troops in Natal, some of them asked him for
land to live upon outside the jurisdiction of the British
Government, and that he gave them this tract ‘ only to
live in, as part of Zulularid under Zulu law ” (P. p. 1961,
p. 28). ” The cattle they say they paid for it, Panda
looked upon as a thank-offering, made in accordance
with Zulu custom” (1961, pp. 1-5).

In reply to messages sent by the Zulu king to the
Natal Government, complaining of the encroachments of
the Boers on the north, as well as the west of Zululand,
and begging the friendly intervention and arbitration
of the English, the advice of the Natal authorities
was always to ” sit still,” and use no force, for England
would see justice done in the end.’*

From all this it would appear that the claim of
Cetshwayo to land north of the Pongolo was not an
aggressive act,” without any real foundation in right,
and merely a defiant challenge intended to provoke war ;
but was a just claim, according to the tests applied
by Sir Bartle Frere (P. p. 2222, p. 29) viz. “actual
occupation and exercise of sovereign rights.”

* Sir Henry Bulwer, speaking of the disputed territory generally,
writes as follows : ” The Zulu king had always, in deference very
much to the wishes and advice of this Government (Natal), forborne
from doing anything in respect of the question that might produce a
collision, trusting to the good offices of this Government to arrange
the difficulty by other means. But no such arrangement had ever
been made ; and thus the question had drifted on until the formal
annexation of the disputed territory by the Government of the
Eepublic last year, and their subsequent attempt to give a practical
effect to their proclamation of annexation by levying taxes upon the
Zulus residing in the territory, provoked a resistance and a feeling of
resentment which threatened to precipitate a general collision at any
moment.” SIB H. BULWER, June 29ta, 1876 (C. 1961, p. 1).

L 2


The subject is fully gone into, and further evidence
produced, in the Bishop of NataTs pamphlet, ” Extracts
from the Blue-Books ; ” but the main facts are as here

On turning to the subject of the better known
border dispute, between the Zulus and the Transvaal
Boers on the east, we are confronted at once by the fact
that the decision of the Commissioners, chosen by Sir H.
Bulwer to investigate the matter, was decidedly favour-
able to the Zulu claim ; which, after careful consideration
of all the evidence on either side, they found to be a
just and good one. This decision should, in itself, have
been sufficient to relieve the Zulu king from the accusa-
tion of making insolent demands for territory with
aggressive and warlike intentions. But as, up to July,
1878, the above charge was the sole one brought against
him, and on account of which troops were sent for and
preparations made for war ; and as, also, Sir Bartle Frere
has thought fit to cast a doubt upon the judgment of
the Commissioners by the . various expressions of dis-
satisfaction which appear in his correspondence with the
Bishop of Natal ; it will be necessary for us to enter
fully into the matter, in order to understand the extent
to which the question bore fruit in the Zulu War.

In 1861 Cetshwayo demanded from the Transvaal
Government the persons of four fugitives, who had
escaped at the time of the Civil War of 1856, and had
taken refuge amongst the Boers. One of these fugitives
was a younger son of Umpande, by name Umtonga,
who took refuge at first in Natal ; from whence, how-
ever, he carried on political intrigues in Zululand, with


the assistance of his mother, which resulted in the death
of the latter and in a message from Cetshwayo to the
Natal Government, complaining of Umtonga’s conduct,
and requesting that he should be placed in his hands.
This was refused, but the Government undertook to
place the young man under the supervision of an old
and trusted colonial chief, Zatshuke, living in the centre
of the colony. Umtonga professed to accept and to be
grateful for this arrangement ; but, upon the first step
being taken to carry it out, he fired twice at the police-
man who was sent to conduct him to Zatshuke, but
missed him, and then escaped to the Transvaal

From thence he, with another brother, and two
indunas (captains) were given up to Cetshwayo by the
Boers, who required, in return for their surrender, the
cession of land east of the Blood Kiver, and a pledge
that the young princes should not be killed. Cetshwayo
is said by the Boers to have agreed to both conditions,
and he certainly acted up to the latter, three of the four
being still alive, and the fourth having died a natural
death/” It is this alleged bargain with Cetshwayo (in
1861) on which the Boers found their claim to the
main portion of the disputed territory a ” bargain in
itself base and immoral ; the selling of the persons of
men for a grant of land, and which no Christian govern-
ment, like that of England, could recognise for a

* Umtonga escaped again, and is now living in the Transvaal. His
brother was still living in Zululand, as head of Umtonga’s kraal, at the
beginning of the war, and no injury appears to have been done to any
of the four.


moment as valid and binding,” even if it were ever
made. But it is persistently denied by the Zulus that
such a bargain was ever consented to by them or by
their prince. On this point Cetshwayo himself says :
” I have never given or sold any land to the Boers of
the Transvaal. They wished me to do so when I was
as yet an umtwana (child, prince). They tried to get
me to sign a paper, but I threw the pen down, and
never would do so, telling them that it was out of my
power to either grant or sell land, as it belonged to the
king, my father, and the nation. I know the Boers say
I signed a paper, and that my brothers Hamu and
Ziwedu did also. I never did, and if they say I held
the pen or made a mark, giving or selling land, it is a
lie ! ” The Prince Dabulamanzi, and chiefs sitting round,
bore out the king in this statement. (From Eeport of
Mr. Fynney on July 4th, 1877 P. p. 1961, p. 45.)

And so says SirT. Shepstone (1961, p. 5) : “Panda,
who is still living, repudiated the bargain, and Cetshwayo
denied it. The Emigrant Farmers, however, insisted on
its validity, and proceeded to occupy. The Zulus have
never ceased to threaten and protest. And the Govern-
ment of Natal, to whom these protests and threats have
been continually made, has frequently, during a course
of fifteen years, found it very difficult to impress the
Zulus with the hope and belief that an amicable solution
of the difficulty would some day be found, provided that
they refrained from reprisals or the use of force.”

The first message from the Zulus on the subject of
the disputed territory was received on September 5th,
1861, in the very year in which (according to the Boers)


the cession in question was made (1961, p. 7). The
Bishop of Natal, in his ” Extracts ” already mentioned,
records eighteen messages on the same subject, com-
mencing with the above and concluding with one
brought on April 20th, 1876 (1748, p. 49), showing that
for a period of fifteen years the Zulu king (whether
represented by Umpande or by Cetshwayo) had never
ceased to entreat ” the friendly intervention and arbitra-
tion of this Government between them and the Boer
Government” (1961, p. 9). These eighteen messages
acknowledge the virtual supremacy of the English, and
the confidence which the Zulus feel in English justice
and honour, and they request their protection, or, failing
that, their permission to protect themselves by force of
arms ; they suggest that a Commission sent from Natal
should settle the boundary, and that a Eesident or
Agent of the British Government should be stationed on
the border between them and the Boers, to see that
justice was done on both sides. They report the various
aggressions and encroachments by which the Zulus were
suffering at the hands of their neighbours, but to which
they submitted because the question was in the hands
of the Government of Natal ; and they repeatedly beg
that the English will themselves take possession of the
disputed country, or some part of it, rather than allow
the unsettled state of things to continue. ” They (the
Zulus) beg that the Governor will take a strip of country,
the length and breadth of which is to be agreed upon
between the Zulus and the Commissioners (for whom
they are asking) sent from Natal, the strip to abut on
the Colony of Natal, and to run to the northward and


eastward in such a manner, in a line parallel to the sea-
coast, as to interpose in all its length between the Boers
and the Zulus, and to be governed by the Colony of
Natal, and form a portion of it if thought desirable.

” The Zulu people earnestly pray that this arrange-
ment may be carried out immediately, because they have
been neighbours of Natal for so many years, separated
only by a stream of water, and no question has arisen
between them and the Government of Natal ; they know
that where the boundary is fixed by agreement with the
English there it will remain.

” Panda, Cetshwayo, and all the heads of the Zulu
people assembled, directed us to urge in the most earnest
manner upon the Lieutenant-Governor of Natal the
prayer we have stated.”

This is the concluding portion of the fourth message,
received on June 5th, 1869 (1961, p. 9). The fifth,
reporting fresh Boer aggressions, was received on
December 6th, 1869.

In the course of the same year Lieutenant-Governor
Keate addressed the President of the South African
Eepublic on the subject, and suggested arbitration,
which suggestion was accepted by the President, pro-
vided that the expenses should be paid by the losing
party ; and during the following two years repeated
messages were sent by Mr. Keate reminding the Presi-
dent that being “already in possession of what the
Zulu authorities put forward as justifying their claims,”
he only awaits the like information from the other side
before ” visiting the locality and hearing the respective
parties.” (P. p. 1961, p. 24).


Oa August 16th, 1871, the Government Secretary
of the South African Kepublic replies that he has ” been
instructed to forward to the Lieutenant-Governor of
Natal the necessary documents bearing on the Zulu
question, together with a statement of the case, and
hopes to do so by next post ; but that, as the session
of the Volksraad had been postponed from May to
September, it would be extremely difficult to settle
the matter in 1871,” he therefore proposed January,
1872, as a convenient time for the purpose.

Nearly eight weeks later (October 9th) Lieutenant-
Governor Keate informs the President that the docu-
ments promised, upon the Zulu-border question, have
not yet reached him ; but sees nothing, at present,
likely to prevent his ” proceeding, in January next, to
the Zulu-border for the purpose of settling the matter
at issue.”

But the promised papers appear never to have been
sent. The arbitration never took place. Lieutenant-
Governor Keate was relieved from the government of
Natal in 1872; and the next stage of the question is
marked by the issue on May 25th, 1875, of a procla-
mation by Acting-President Joubert, annexing to the
dominion of the South African Kepublic the territory,
the right to which was to have been decided by this

In this proclamation no reference is made to the
(alleged) Treaty of 1861 (see p. 176), by which
“what is now and was then disputed territory had
been ceded to the South African Republic,” though it
certainly annexes to the Republic all the country in-


eluded in the Treaty, and seems to annex more. But
no ground of claim is set forth or alluded to upon
which the right to annex is founded, ” with reservation
of all further claims and rights of the said Republic,”
nor any reason assigned for the act, except to ” prevent
disagreement ” between the Boers and the Zulus. And
Sir T. Shepstone goes on to say (1961, p. 5) :

” The officers of the South African Republic pro-
ceeded to exercise in this annexed territory the ordinary
functions of government, and among these, the levying
taxes on natives. The Zulus, who had been persistent
in repudiating the cession, and who have continued to
occupy the territory as theirs, resisted the demand by
Cetshwayo’s directions, and a collision appeared immi-
nent, when the difficulty was avoided by the officers
withdrawing the order they had issued.”

Nevertheless, in spite of the repeated disappoint-
ments with which they met, the Zulus continued to
send complaints and entreaties to the Government of
Natal; which messages, although they never varied in
their respectful and friendly tone towards the English,
show plainly how deeply they felt the neglect with
which they were treated. The English “promises” are
spoken of again and again, and the thirteenth message
contains a sentence worth recording, in its simple
dignity. ” Cetshwayo desired us,” say the messengers,
“to urge upon the Governor of Natal to interfere, to
save the destruction of perhaps both countries Zulu-
land and the Transvaal. He requests us to state that
he cannot and will not submit to be turned out of
his own houses. It may be that he will be vanquished ;


but, as he is not the aggressor, death will not be so
hard to meet” (1748, p. 14).

Sir Henry Bulwer’s answers to these messages con-
tain passages which sufficiently prove that up to this
time the Government of Natal had no complaints to
make against the Zulu king. ” This is the first oppor-
tunity the Lieutenant-Governor has had,” he says, ” of
communicating with Cetshwayo since his (Sir H.
Bulwer’s) arrival in the Colony. He therefore takes the
opportunity of sending him a friendly greeting, and of
expressing the pleasure with which he had heard of the
satisfactory relations that have existed between this
Colony and the Zulus,” November 25th, 1875 (1748,
p. 15).

” This Government trusts that Cetshwayo will
maintain that moderation and forbearance which he
has hitherto shown, and which the Government has
great pleasure in bringing to the notice of the councillors
of the great Queen, and that nothing will be done which
will hinder the peaceful solution of the Disputed Territory
question,” July 25th, 1876 (1748, p. 97).

Meanwhile repeated acts of violence and brutality on
the part of the Boers are reported, and in the Blue-books
before us the Zulu complaints are confirmed from various
official sources, by Mr. Fynn, Resident Magistrate of
the Umsinga Division (1748, p. 10), by Sir Henry
Bulwer (1748, pp. 8, 11, 12, 25), by Sir T. Shepstone
himself (1748, pp. 10, 24, 29, 52, 56), by Mr. Osborn
(1748, p. 82), and by Sir Henry Barkly (1748, p. 25).
No attempt at settlement, however, had been made in
answer to these appeals up to the time of the annex-


ation of the Transvaal, in 1877, by Sir T. Shepstone ;
after which so great a change took place in the tone
of the latter upon the subject of the disputed

Upon this question we may quote again from
Mr. Fynney’s report of the king’s answer to him upon
the announcement of the annexation of the TransvaaL
” I hear what you’ have said about past disputes with
the Boers, and about the settlement of them,” said the
king ; ” the land question is one of them, and a great
one. I was in hopes, when I heard it was you who
visited me, that you had brought me some final word
about the land, as Somtseu had sent from Newcastle by
Umgabana to say that his son would come with the
word respecting the land so long in dispute, and I felt
sure it had come to-day, for you are his son. Now
the Transvaal is English ground, I want Somtseu to
send the Boers away from the lower parts of the
Transvaal, that near my country. The Boers are a
nation of liars ; they are a bad people, bad altogether ;
I do not want them near my people ; they lie, and claim
what is not theirs, and ill-use my people. Where is
Thomas (Mr. Burgers) ? ”

” I informed him,” says Mr. Fynney, ” that Mr.
Burgers had left the Transvaal.”

” Then let them pack up and follow Thomas,” said
he, ” let them go. The Queen does not want such
people as those about her land. What can the Queen
make of them or do with them ? Their evil ways
puzzled both Thomas and Kudolph (Landdrost of
Utrecht) ; they will not be quiet. They have laid


claim to my land, and even down to N’Zalankulu (you
saw the line), burned it with fire, and my people have no


“Umnyamana (Prime Minister) here remarked,”
continues Mr. Fynney, ” we want to know what is going
to be done about this land ; it has stood over as an open
question for so many years. Somtseu took all the
papers to England with him to show the great men
there, and we have not heard since.” To which Mr*
Fynney, of course, had no reply to make.

Within a fortnight of the annexation the Boers on
the Zulu border presented Sir T. Shepstone with an
address, stating that during the last ten or twelve years
(i.e. from 1861, when this encroachment was begun by
the Boers) they had ” suffered greatly in consequence of
the hostile behaviour of the Zulu nation, but more so for
the last two years” (i.e. from 1875, when the Boer
Government proclaimed the disputed territory to belong
to the Transvaal, and proceeded to levy taxes upon its
Zulu inhabitants), so that, they said, their lives and
goods were in danger (1814, p. 14).

Accordingly Sir T. Shepstone writes to Lord
Carnarvon as follows : ” I shall be forced to take some
action with regard to the Disputed Territory, of which
your lordship has heard so much, but I shall be careful
to avoid any direct issue.””’

” It is of the utmost importance,” he continues,

* Thereby pointing the truth of his own remark at a previous
date March 30th, 1876 (1748, p. 24) : ” But messages from the Zulu
king are becoming more frequent and urgent, and the replies he receives
seem to him to be both temporising and evasive.” (Author’s italics).


” that all questions involving disturbance outside of this
territory should be, if possible, postponed until the
Government of the Transvaal is consolidated, and the
numerous tribes within its boundaries have begun to
feel and recognise the hand of the new administra-

These remarks already show the change in sentiment,
on Sir T. Shepstone’s part, which was more markedly
displayed at the Blood Eiver meeting between him and
the Zulu indunas. The conference proved an utter
failure, as also did several other attempts on Sir T,
Shepstone’s part to persuade the Zulus to relinquish to
him, on behalf of the Transvaal, the claims upon which
they had so long insisted.

On December 5th, 1877, two indunas came from
Cetshwayo to the Bishop of Natal with a request that he
would put the Zulu claim in writing, to be sent to Sir H.
Bulwer and the Queen. The same indunas, a few days
later, with Umfunzi and Nkisimane messengers from
Cetshwayo appointed, before a notary public, Dr.
Walter Smith and Mr. F. E. Colenso to be ” diplomatic
agents ” for Cetshwayo, ” who should communicate on
his behalf in the English language, and, when needful,
in writing,” and especially to “treat with the British
Government on the boundary question” (2000, p. 58) ;”*
which appointment, however, Sir H. Bulwer and Sir T.

* Immediately after they had signed the instrument of appoint-
ment the two Zulu messengers were sent in to the Government by
Messrs. Smith and Colenso, and took with them a letter (C. 2000)
which mentioned them as its bearers, and announced what they had


Shepstone refused to recognise ; and the former, having
proposed the Border Commission before receiving notice
of this appointment though the Commissioners had not
yet started from ‘Maritzburg did not feel it advisable,
as “no such appointment had been made by the Zulu
king,”* to communicate to Messrs. Smith and Colenso
Lord Carnarvon’s despatch (January 21st, 1.878), which
said :

” I request that you will inform Mr. Smith and Mr.
Colenso that the desire of Her Majesty’s Government in
this matter is that the boundary question shall be fully
and fairly discussed, and a just arrangement arrived at,
and that you will refer them to Sir T. Shepstone, to
whom has been committed the duty of negotiating on
the subject.”!

* Mfunzi and Nkisimane were sent down again to ‘Maritzburg by
Cetshwayo, at the request of Sir H. Bulwer, and denied the whole
transaction, though it was attested by the signatures of the notary
and two white witnesses. It was afterwards discovered that they had
been frightened into this denial by a Natal Government messenger,
who told them that they had made the Governor very angry with
them and their king by making this appointment ; and John Dunn
also, after receiving letters from ‘Maritzburg, told them that they had
committed a great fault, and that he saw that they would never all
come home again.

t Messrs. Smith and Colenso’s explanatory letter to Sir M. Hicks-
Beach, dated June 9th, 1878, concludes as follows :

” This business, as far as we are concerned, is, therefore, ended.
We had hoped to be instrumental in embodying in a contract a pro-
posal which we knew was advantageous to both parties. To do so
only required the intervention of European lawyers trusted by
Cetewayo. We knew that he trusted us, and would trust no others.
The task of acting for the king was, therefore, imposed on us as
lawyers and as gentlemen. Of pecuniary reward, or its equivalent,
our labours have brought us nothing. We do not require it. Honour


Meanwhile, however, Sir T. Shepstone’s ”negotia-
tions ” had proved unsuccessful, and Sir Henry Bulwer
writes to Sir Bartle Frere (2000, p. 68) : ” It seems but
too clear, from all that has now happened, that the
prospect of a settlement of the question by direct
negotiations between the Government of the Transvaal
and the Zulu king is at an end. The feeling against the

we did not desire, nor had a savage prince any means of conferring it.
The duty thus undertaken we give up only in despair, and we have
nothing to regret.

” Such information, however, as we have gleaned in the course of
our agency you are entitled to hear from us, as we are British

” The Zulus are hostile to the Boers of the Transvaal, and would
fight with them but for fear of being involved in a quarrel with the
English. But neither Cetewayo himself, who is wise and peaceful,
nor the most hot-blooded of his young warriors have any desire to
fight with England, i.e. Natal.

” If they wished to do so there is nothing to prevent them, and
never has been. As they march, they could march from their border
to this city or to Durban in a little more than twenty-four hours.
Their only fear is, that the English will come with an army
f to make them pay taxes.’ They say they will rather die than
do so. The king says the same. Almost every man has a gun. Guns
and ammunition are cheaper at any military kraal in Zululand than at
Port Natal. These goods are imported by Tonga men, who come in
large gangs from Delagoa Bay, for white merchants. An Enfield rifle
may be had for a sheep of a Tonga man ; many have breech-loaders.
The missionaries, whose principal occupation was trading, deal in
ammunition. The missionaries have recently lost most of their con-
verts, who have gone trading on their own account. “Without these
converts the missionaries cannot do business, and they have left the
country, except Bishop Schreuder, who has gone back, that it may not
be said that a white man is not safe there. Cetewayo says that he has
asked the missionaries to stop. They have certainly not been turned
out or threatened. Their going makes the Zulus think that we are
about to invade the country.

” Nothing but gross mismanagement will bring about a quarrel
between England and the Zulus.” (P. p. [C. 2U4] pp. 215, 216).


Boers on the part of the Zulu king and people is too
bitter, and they are now scarcely less angry against the
new Government of the Transvaal than they were
against the old Government.” He then suggests arbitra-
tion as a way by which the Zulu king ” can escape the
alternative of war, by which he can obtain justice, and
by which, at the same time, he can avoid direct negotia-
tions with the Government of a people whom he dislikes
and distrusts.”

The diplomatic agents were never recognised by the
colonial authorities, or allowed to exercise their func-
tions ; but a visit which Mr. Colenso paid to the Zulu
king in connection with the appointment is worth
recording for the sake of the glimpse it gives of
Cetshwayo’s habits and daily life, as told by a dis-
interested eye-witness.

The king, it appears, whom so many have delighted
to represent as a corpulent unwieldy savage, to whom
movement must be a painful exertion, was in the habit
of taking a daily constitutional of about six miles out
and back. Mr. Colenso observed that this was his
regular habit, and during his stay at the royal kraal he
daily saw Cetshwayo start, and could trace his course
over the hills by the great white shield carried before
him as the emblem of kingship.

On his return the king regularly underwent a process
of ablution at the hands of his attendants, who poured
vessels of water over him, and rubbed the royal person
down with a species of soft stone. This performance
over, Cetshwayo ascended his throne or chair of state,
upon which he remained, hearing causes, and trying cases



amongst his people, until the shades of evening fell,
before which time he did not break his fast.-

This description, of the accuracy of which there can
l)e no question, gives a picture of a simple, moderate,
and useful kingly existence, very different from the idea
commonly received of a savage monarch, wallowing in
sloth and coarse luxury, and using the power which he
holds over his fellow-creatures only for the gratification
of every evil or selfish human passion. Cetshwayo ruled
his people well according to his lights : let us hope
that, now we have wrested his kingdom from him, our
government may prove a more beneficent one.



SIR HENRY BULWER’S message proposing arbitration
was sent to Cetshwayo on December 8th, 1877 (2000,
p. 67).

In this message he makes it plain to the king that
” the Governments of Natal and the Transvaal are now
brothers, and what touches one touches the other.”
” Therefore,” he continues, ” the Lieut. -Governor of
Natal sends these words to Cetshwayo that he may
know what is in his mind, and that Cetshwayo may do
nothing that will interrupt the peaceful and friendly
relations that have existed for so many years between
the English and the Zulus.” He then proposes that he
should write to ” the Ministers of the great Queen in
England, and also to the Queen’s High Commissioner
who resides at Capetown, in order that they may send
fit and proper persons, who will come to the country
with fresh minds, and who will hear all that the Zulus
have to say on the question, and all that the Transvaal
Government has to say, and examine and consider all
the rights of the question, and then give their decision
in such manner that all concerned may receive and

M 2


abide by that decision, and the question be finally set
at rest.

” Meanwhile/’ he says, “no action should be taken
to interfere with the existing state of things or to
disturb the peace. But the disputed territory should be
considered and treated as neutral between the two
countries for the time being.”

Before this communication reached him, Cetshwayo
had already sent messengers to the Bishop of Natal,
asking advice how to act in his present difficulties.
And they had carried back ” a word,” which would
reach the king about November 19th, to the effect that
he must on no account think of fighting the Transvaal
Government, and that he had better send down some
great indunas to propose arbitration to Sir Henry
Bulwer, in whose hands he might leave himself with
perfect confidence, that the right and just thing would
be done by him. The Bishop knew nothing of Sir
Henry’s intentions when he sent this reply ; and, in
point of fact, the two had separately come to the same
conclusion as to what would be the wisest course to

Cetshwayo therefore was prepared to receive Sir
Henry’s proposition, which he did, not only with
respect, but with delight and relief (2000, p. 138).
His answer to the message contained the following
passages : ” Cetshwayo hears what the Governor of Natal
says …. and thanks him for these words, for they
are all good words that have been sent to Cetshwayo by
the Governor of Natal ; they show that the Natal Govern-
ment still wishes Cetshwayo to drink water and live.”


He suggests, however, that before sending for people
from across the sea to settle the boundary, he should
be glad if the Governor would send his own representa-
tives to hear both sides of the dispute, and if they
cannot come to a decision, ” a letter can be sent beyond
the sea ” for others to come. The message continues :
” Cetshwayo thanks the Governor for the words which
say the ground in dispute should not be occupied while
the matter is talked over.”

” Cetshwayo says he hears it said that he intends to
make war upon the Transvaal. He wishes the Natal
Government to watch well and see when he will do such
a thing. For, if he attended to the wish of the English
Government in Natal when it said he must not make
war on the Transvaal Boers, why should he wish to do
so upon those who are now of the same Great House as
Natal, to whose voice he has listened ? ”

” Cetshwayo is informed that he is to be attacked by
the Transvaal people. If so, and if he is not taken by
surprise, he will, as soon as he hears of the approach of
such a force, send men who will report it to the Natal
Government before he takes any action.”

” Cetshwayo says he cannot trust the Transvaal
Boers any longer ; they have killed his people, they
have robbed them of their cattle on the slightest grounds.
He had hoped Somtseu would have settled all these
matters. But he has not done so ; he wishes to cast
Cetshwayo off; he is no more a father, but a firebrand.
If he is tired of carrying Cetshwayo now, as he did
while he was with the Natal Government, then why
does he not put him down, and allow the Natal


Government to look after him, as it has always
done ? ”

Sir Henry Bulwer expressed his satisfaction at this
reply, speaking of it as a far more satisfactory one than
they had been led to expect (2000, p. 138), and he
writes of it to Sir T. Shepstone thus : ” You will see by
the king’s reply that he has met my representations in
a very proper spirit. … I have no reason to think
that what the king says is said otherwise than in good
faith ; and, if this be so, there seems to me to be no
reason why this dispute should not be settled in a
peaceable manner” (2097, p. 26), and he says to
Cetshwayo himself, ” The Lieutenant- Governor has
heard the words of Cetshwayo. He is glad that the
words which he lately sent to Cetshwayo were welcome.
They were words sent in a friendly spirit, and Cetshwayo
received them in a friendly spirit. This is as it should
be,” and he agrees to the king’s proposal concerning
commissioners from Natal, provided that the Transvaal
Government agree also.

The following is the account given by the Govern-
ment messengers, who carried Sir H. Bulwer ‘s message
to Cetshwayo of the manner in which it was received by
the king and his indunas (2079, p. 25) :

” While we spoke to Cetshwayo, we saw that what
we were saying lifted a great weight from his heart, that
they were words which he was glad to hear ; and what
he said to us as we finished showed us we were right in
this belief. . . .

” We could see, when we arrived at the great kraal,
that the indunas, and even the king, were not easy in


their hearts, and from all we could see and gather, the
chief men under the king did not wish for war. After
the message was delivered, all of them appeared like
men who had been carrying a very heavy burden, and
who had only then been told that they could put it down
and rest.”

It is best known to himself how, in the face of
these words, and with nothing to support his statement,
Sir Bartle Frere could venture to assert in his fourth letter
to the Bishop, ” The offers to arbitrate originated with
the Natal Government, and were by no means willingly
accepted by Cetshwayo ;” Cetshwayo having, in point
of fact, earnestly asked for arbitration again and again,
as we have already shown, and rejoicing greatly when
at last it was offered him. Mr. J. Shepstone’s observa-
tion also (2144, p. 184), that “To this suggestion
Cetshwayo replied f that he had no objection/ ” hardly
gives a fair view of the state of the case.

But, before this satisfactory agreement had been
arrived at, Sir T. Shepstone had managed still further
to exasperate the feelings of the Zulus against the
new Government of the Transvaal, while the fact that
Natal and the Transvaal were one, and that to touch
one was to touch the other, and to touch England also,
had not been brought home to the king’s mind until
he received Sir H. Bulwer’s message.

Before the “receipt of that message, Cetshwayo had
every reason to believe that the negotiations con-
cerning the disputed territory were broken off. Sir T.
Shepstone’s tone on the subject had altered; he had
parted with the king’s indunas at the Blood Eiver


in anger, and the messenger whom he had promised
to send to the king himself had never appeared.
Meanwhile, the Boers had gone into laager, by direc-
tion, they say, of Sir T. Shepstone himself, and with
the full expectation that he was about to make war
upon the Zulus. No offer of arbitration had yet been
made. Cetshwayo had been played with and baffled
by the English Government for sixteen years, and to
all appearance nothing whatever was done, or would
be done, to settle in a friendly manner this troubled
question, unless he took steps himself to assert his
rights, and he seems to have taken the mildest possible
way of so doing under the circumstances. According
to the official reports at the time, he sent a large force
of armed men to build a military kraal near Luneburg,
north of the Pongolo, in land which was also disputed
with the Transvaal Government, but formed no part
of the (so called) disputed territory to the south of
that river, or as Lord Carnarvon said to a deputation
of South African merchants (Guardian, January 9th,
1878): “He (the Zulu king) had proceeded to con-
struct, in opposition to Sir T. Shepstone’s warnings, a
fortified kraal in a disputed territory abutting upon
English soil.”

But this was a very exaggerated way of describing
a comparative trifling circumstance. The erection of a
kraal not, as so frequently asserted, a*military one,
but merely an ordinary Zulu kraal for the residence of
a headman, to keep order among the 15,000 Zulus who
lived in that district had long been contemplated, and


had once, during Umpanda’s lifetime, been attempted,
though the Boers had driven away the Zulu officer
sent for the purpose, and destroyed the work he had

Cetshwayo himself explains his reason for sending so
large a force for the purpose, on the grounds that he
wished the kraal to be built in one day, and his men not
to be obliged to remain over a night, while, as Colonel
Durnford, K.E., says (2144, p. 237), ” the fact that the
men at work are armed is of no significance, because
every Zulu is an armed man, and never moves without
his weapon.”

Sir T. Shepstone, however, was greatly alarmed
when he first heard of the building of this kraal, and
writes concerning it November 16th, 1877 (1961,
p. 224) : “I feel, therefore (because of the irritating
effect of it upon the Transvaal), that the building of this
kraal must be prevented at all hazards.” The ” hazards ”
do not appear to have proved very serious, as a simple
representation on the part of Captain Clarke, K.A., and
Mr. Eudolph, sent to the spot by Sir T. Shepstone,
resulted in the Zulu force retiring, having made only a
small cattle kraal and chopped and collected some poles,
which they left on the ground, to be used for the
building of the huts hereafter, but which were very
soon carried off Imd used as firewood by the Luneburg

But this did not satisfy Sir T. Shepstone, who sent
messengers to Cetshwayo, complaining of what had been
done, and of ” finding,” as he says, ” a Zulu force in the


rear of where he was staying ; ” * and saying that, in
consequence, and in order to restore confidence amongst
those Boers living on the Blood Eiver border, he (Sir T.
Shepstone) had decided to send a military force down to
the waggon-drift on the Blood Eiver, to encamp there on
our side of the river. Cetshwayo replies that he did not
send to have the kraal built that trouble might arise,
but because his people were already living on the ground
in dispute. He admits that of course the administrator
could do as he pleased about sending an armed force to
encamp on his own borders ; but he urges him to think
better of it, saying that the Zulus would be frightened
and run away, and, if he in his turn should send an
armed force to encamp just opposite Sir T. Shepstone’s
encampment, to put confidence into his people’s hearts,
he asks, somewhat quaintly, ” would it be possible for
the two forces to be looking at one another for two days
without a row ?”

Many expressions are scattered through the Blue-
books at this period concerning ” Zulu aggressions ; ”
and Sir T. Shepstone makes frequent, though vague
and unproven, accusations concerning Cetshwayo’s
” mischievous humour/’ and the terror of the Boer
frontier farmers.

But, so far as these remarks allude to the border
squabbles inseparable from the state of affairs, the score
is so heavily against the Boers that the counter- charges
are hardly worth considering. The only acts chargeable

* This is apparently a figure of speech, since Luneburg, near
which the kraal was being built, would seem by the map not to lie
” to the rear ” as seen from Zululand of Utrecht, where Sir T.
Shepstone was staying.


upon the king himself are, first, the building of this kraal,
which really amounted to no more than a practical
assertion of the Zulu claim to land north of the
Pongolo ; and, secondly, the execution of a (supposed)
Zulu criminal there, which was an exercise of Cetsh-
wayo’s authority over his own people living in the

For the acts of violence committed by the robber
chief Umbilini, the Zulu king could not justly be
considered responsible ; but of this matter, and of the
raid committed by the sons of Sihayo, we will treat in a
later chapter.

Sir T. Shepstone himself allows that Cetshwayo’s
frame of mind was a better one after the reception of
Sir Henry Bulwer’s message offering arbitration (2079,
pp. 51-54) ; and says that his (Sir T. Shepstone’s) mes-
sengers ” describe Cetshwayo as being in a very
different temper to that which he had on former occa-
sions exhibited ; to use their own expression, ” it was
Cetshwayo, but it was Cetshwayo born again.” . . .
“They gleaned from the Zulus …. that a message
from the Governor of Natal had been delivered, and they
concluded that the change which they had noticed as so
marked in the king’s tone must have been produced by
that message.”

The fact that Cetshwayo joyfully and thankfully
accepted Sir Henry Bulwer’s promise not to give him
the land he claimed, but to have the matter investigated
and justice done is sufficiently established ; but from
the Boers the proposal met with a very different


Sir T. Shepstone acknowledged the receipt of Sir
H. Bulwer’s despatch of December llth, “transmitting
copy of a message ” which he ” had thought fit to send
to the Zulu king,” and then summoned a few leading
men in the district, and laid the proposition before them.
He reports that after some pretty speeches about the
” Christian, humane, and admirable proposal,” which
they should have ” no excuse for hesitating to accept,
if Cetshwayo were a civilised king and the Zulu Govern-
ment a civilised government,” etc. etc., they proceeded
to state their objections. They had, they said, no
misgiving regarding the justice of the claim of the
State ; and they believed that the more it was investi-
gated, the more impartial the minds of the investigators,
the clearer and more rightful would that claim prove
itself to be. Nevertheless, they professed to fear the
delay that must necessarily be caused by such an
investigation 4 ” (the dispute having already lasted fifteen
years !) and to doubt Cetshwayo’s abiding by any
promise he might make to observe a temporary
boundary line.

To place the two parties to the dispute on equal
terms, they said, the land in question should be
evacuated by both, or occupied by both under the
control of Sir Henry Bulwer, who, they proposed,
as an indispensable condition of the proposed arbi-
tration, should take possession of the land in dispute
or of some part of it. And Sir T. Shepstone remarks :

* Compare the account of the delay on the part of the Boer
Government when Mr. Keate proposed to arbitrate. See last chapter,
p. 182.


“My view is that the considerations above set forth
are both weighty and serious.

” I do not anticipate that, under the circumstances,
Cetshwayo would venture to make or to authorise any
overt attack. I do fear, however, the consequences
of the lawless condition into which the population all
along the border is rapidly falling. Cetshwayo, I
fear, rather encourages than attempts to repress this
tendency; and, although he will not go to war, he
may allow that to go on which he knows will produce


The condition of the border seems, as we have
already shown, to have been ” lawless” for many years,
though the fault lay rather, with the Boers whose
many acts of violence are recorded in the Blue-books
than with the Zulus, and Sir T. Shepstone has ap-
parently overlooked the fact that he himself had just
summarily put a stop to an attempt on Cetshwayo’s
part to ” repress” any lawless ” tendency” amongst his
own people (of which the Administrator complains) by
placing a headman, or responsible person, amongst them

to keep order.

Under the above-mentioned conditions Sir T. Shep-
stone accepts Sir Henry Bulwer’s proposal, and informs
him that, under the circumstances, he shall not carry
out his expressed intention of placing a military post
in the neighbourhood of the Blood Eiver.

And again he writes January 1 7th, 1878 (2079,

It was, however, necessary to point out to Sir H.
Bulwer the difficulties and dangers, as well as the loss


of property, which the white people (Boers ?) feel that
they will be subjected to by the acceptance of His
Excellency’s proposal, unless he can devise some means
by which their safety and interests can be protected
during the pending of the investigation, which under
existing circumstances it is Cetshwayo’s interest to
prolong indefinitely”

The words which I have italicised show that Sir T.
Shepstone took for granted beforehand that the decision
of the Commissioners would be unfavourable to the

Sir Henry Bulwer, however, did not see his way to
falling in with the conditions of the Boers, and replies
as follows (2079, p. 128) :

” I do not see that I am in a position, or that, as the
Lieutenant-Governor of this colony, I should have the
power to take actual possession of the country in dispute.
And if to take over the country, and hold possession of
it, is considered by your Government an indispensable
condition for the acceptance of the mediating course
I have proposed, I feel that my proposal falls short of
the requirements of the case.”

On January 29th, Sir T. Shepstone writes to Sir Henry
again, saying that ” It was felt that, in consequence of
the step which you have thought it right to take in your
communication to the Zulu king of the 8th December
last, the Government of the Transvaal is placed at a
disadvantage, and that the longer action on your part is
delayed, the greater that disadvantage grows. It follows,
therefore, that any action in the direction of your
proposition is better than no action at all ; and I was


urged to beg your Excellency to take some step in the
matter without delay.”

Accordingly Sir Henry at once sends a message to
Cetshwayo, suggesting the observance of a ” neutral
belt,” pending the settlement of the boundary question
(2079, p. 132), and mentioning the two lines, from point
to point, which he proposed for the purpose.

The same suggestion was made, of course, to Sir T.
Shepstone, who replies as follows : ” You have rightly
assumed the concurrence of this Government, and I
trust that Cetshwayo will see in your message the
necessity that is laid upon him to prove that he was
sincere in asking you to undertake the inquiry.”

This ready acquiescence is fully accounted for by the
fact, shortly apparent, that both the lines mentioned by
Sir Henry, between which ‘neutrality should be observed,
were within what was claimed by the Zulus as their own
country, and Sir T. Shepstone says: “At present the
belt of country indicated is occupied solely by Zulus.
The whole of it has been apportioned in farms to
Transvaal subjects, but has not been occupied by them.”

Small wonder that the Zulu king, in reply to this
proposal, ” informs the Governor of Natal that the two
roads mentioned in His Excellency’s message are both
in Zululand, and therefore the king cannot see how the
ground between the roads can belong to both parties.”

Nevertheless Sir Henry Bulwer hardly seems to fall
in with Sir T. Shepstone’s suggestion, that Cetshwayo’s
consent on this point should be looked upon as a test of
his sincerity: “Either,” he says (2100, p. 73), “he has
misunderstood the real nature of the proposal, or he is


disinclined to accept anything which may in his opinion
be taken to signify a withdrawal of one iota of his
claim.” And, in point of fact, though no “neutral
ground ” was marked off, the Commission went on just
as well without it ; all the apprehensions of disturbance
and disorder having been falsified by the event.

Sir T. Shepstone repeatedly speaks of the border
Boers having been forced by Zulu acts and threats of
aggression to abandon their farms and go into laager,
etc. etc. ; but, on investigation, it is apparent that this
abandonment of farms, and trekking into laager, took
place in consequence of an intimation from the Landrost
of Utrecht, under instructions from Sir T. Shepstone
himself; as appears from the following passages of an
address from seventy-nine Boers, protesting against
arbitration as “an absurdity and an impossibility,”
which was presented to Sir T. Shepstone on February
2nd, 1878 (2079, p. 140):

“The undersigned burghers, etc. . . . take the
liberty to bring to your Excellency’s notice that they,
in consequence of intimation from the Landrost of
Utrecht, dated 14th December last, on your Excellency’s
instructions, partly trekked into laager, and partly
deserted their farms, in the firm expectation that now
a beginning of a war would soon be made. … That
they have heard with anxiety and understand that
arbitration is spoken of, which would have to determine
our property and possessions ; which we fear will decide
in favour of a crowned robber, murderer, and breaker of
his word, who knows as well as we that he is claim-
ing a thing which does not belong to him …. for


which reason we are sure that such arbitration is an
absurdity and an impossibility. We therefore hereby
protest against all proposed or to be undertaken arbitra-
tion ; and we will, with all legal means at our disposal,
etc., resist a decision, etc., over our property which we
know would be unlawful and unjust. ”

They give as a reason for presenting the address
from which these phrases are taken, ” because it is
impossible for us to remain any longer in laager without
any object” which hardly looks as though they thought
themselves in daily danger from the Zulus, unless the
” beginning of a war ” should “soon be made” by Sir T.
Shepstone. They request His Excellency ” to commence
without any further delay defending ” their ” rights and
property and lives ; ” and should His Excellency ” not
be inclined or be without power ” to do so, they further
signify their intention of requesting him to assist them
with ammunition, and not to hinder them seeking
assistance, of fellow-countrymen and friends, to maintain
their “rights,” and to check their “rapacious enemies
and to punish them.”

And they conclude : ” We, the undersigned, bind
ourselves on peril of our honour to assist in subduing
the Zulu nation, and making it harmless.”

Sir T. Shepstone encloses this in a sympathising
despatch, but Sir Henry Bulwer remarks upon it and
upon a subsequent memorial”” of the same description
February 23rd (2100, p. 67) :

” Of course, if the- object of the memorialists is war,
if what they desire is a war with the Zulu nation, it is
* 2144, p. 191.


not to be wondered at that they should find fault with
any steps that have been taken to prevent the necessity
for war. Nor, if they desire war, is it to be expected
that they should be favourable to arbitration, though
I find it difficult to reconcile the expression of the
apprehensions of the memorialists that arbitration would
decide against them, with the unanimous expression of
opinion, previously given to your Excellency by some of
the leading men of the district, that the proposal made
by me was a Christian, humane, and admirable one ;
that they had no misgivings regarding the justice of the
claim of the State, and that they believed the more it
was investigated …. the clearer arid more rightful
would that claim prove itself to be. Your Excellency
observes that the deep feeling of distrust shown by the
memorialists is scarcely to be wondered at, when it is
remembered that they are compelled to occupy with
their families fortified camps, while their farms in the
neighbourhood are being occupied by Zulus, their crops
reaped, and their cultivated lands tilled by Zulus, and
the timber of their houses used as Zulu firewood.

“I do not quite understand what farms and
cultivated lands are referred to ; because in a previous
despatch your despatch, No. 7, of February 5th
your Excellency, in referring to the disputed territory,
states, so I understand, that it ‘is at present occupied
solely by Zulus? and that, although the whole of it
has been apportioned in farms to Transvaal subjects, it
has not been occupied by them? ‘

The matter was referred to the High Commissioner,
Sir Bartle Frere, and the appointment of a commission


was approved by him. He plainly took it for granted
that, as Sir T. Shepstone had said, the Transvaal claim
was based on ” evidence the most incontrovertible,
overwhelming, and clear,” and looked to the commission
for the double advantage of enabling Sir T. Shepstone
” to clear up or put on record, in a form calculated to
satisfy Her Majesty’s Government, an answer to all
doubts as to the facts and equity of the question,” and
of gaining time for preparing a military force to silence
and subjugate the Zulus should they object (as he
expected) to such an award. That nothing short of
military coercion of the Zulus would settle the matter,
was evidently Sir Bartle Frere’s fixed idea ; in fact that
was the foregone conclusion with him from beginning to

On February 12th, Sir Henry Bulwer sent a message
to Cetshwayo (2079, p. 140), to this effect :

“The Lieut.-Governor now sends to let Cetshwayo
know that he has selected, for the purpose of holding
this inquiry, the Queen’s Attorney-General in Natal
(Hon. M. H. Gallway, Esq.), the Secretary for Native
Affairs (Hon. J. W. Shepstone, Esq.), and Colonel
Durnford, an officer in the Queen’s army.

“These gentlemen will proceed by-and-by to the
place known as Rorke’s Drift, which is on the Buffalo
River, and in Natal territory, and they will there open
the inquiry on Thursday, March 7th.

” The Lieut.-Governor proposes, as the most con-
venient course to be taken, that the Zulu king should
appoint two or three indunas to represent the Zulu king
and the Zulu case at the inquiry, and that these should

N 2


be at Rorke’s Drift on March 7th, and meet the Natal
Commissioners there. The same thing also the Governor
proposes shall be done by the Transvaal Government.”
And the king’s reply to the messengers was expressive :
” I am very glad to hear what you say I shall now be
able to sleep.”

On March 7th the Commission met at Rorke’s
Drift, and sat for about five weeks, taking evidence day
by day in presence of the representatives deputed, three
by the Transvaal Government, and three by the Zulus.

Of the three gentlemen who formed the Commission,
one was Sir T. Shepstone’s brother, already mentioned in
this history, whose natural bias would therefore certainly
not be upon the Zulu side of the question ; another was
a Government official and an acute lawyer ; and the
third, Colonel Durnford, to the writer’s personal know-
ledge, entered upon the subject with an entirely
unbiassed mind, and with but one intention or desire,
that of discovering the actual truth, whatever it might
be. The only thing by which his expectations rather
than his opinions were in the least influenced before-
hand, was the natural suppositioD, shared by all, that
Sir T. Shepstone, who had the reputation of being in his
public capacity one of the most cautious of men, must
have some strong grounds for his very positive statement
of the Transvaal claim.

There was, plainly, some slight confusion in the
minds of the three Transvaal delegates, as to their
position relative to the Commissioners, with whom
they apparently expected to be on equal terms, and
in a different position altogether from the Zulu dele-


gates on the other side. This, however, was a manifest
mistake. It was particularly desirable that the Zulus
should be made to feel that it was no case of white
against black ; but a matter in which impartial judges
treated either side with equal fairness, and without
respect of persons. One of the Commissioners was the
brother of their chief opponent, one of the Transvaal
delegates his son ; it would naturally have seemed to
the Zulus that the six white men (five out of whom
were either Englishmen, or claimed to be such) were
combining together to outwit them, had they seen
them, evidently on terms of friendship, seated together
at the inquiry or talking amongst themselves in their
own language.

The Commissioners, however, were careful to avoid
this mistake. Finding, on their arrival at Korke’s
Drift, that the spot intended for their encampment
was already occupied by the Transvaal delegates, who
had arrived before them, they caused their own tents
to be pitched at some little distance, in order to keep
the two apart. The same system was carried out
during the sitting of the Court, at which the Com-
missioners occupied a central position at a table by
themselves, the Transvaal delegates being placed at a
smaller table on one hand, mats being spread for the
Zulu delegates, in a like position, on the other.*

* The Zulus, of course, would not have appreciated the con-
venience of a table and chairs ; they had no ” documents ” to lay
upon the former ; and their opinion of the pornfort of the latter is
best expressed by the well-known Zulu saying that, ” Only Englishmen
and chickens sit upon perches” The mats provided for them were,
therefore, a proper equivalent to the tables and seats placed for the
other delegates.


Care was also necessary to prevent any possible”
altercations arising between the Boer and Zulu at-
tendants of either party of delegates, who, in fact,
formed the one real element of danger in the affair.
On one occasion, during the sitting of the Commission,
Colonel Durnford observed a Boer poking at a Zulu
with his stick, in a manner calculated to bring to
the surface some of the feelings of intense irritation
common to both sides, and only kept under control
by the presence of the Commissioners. The Colonel
at once put a stop to this, and placing a sentry between
the two parties, with orders to insist on either keeping
to its own side of the ground, no further disturbance
took place. Popular rumour, of course, greatly exagge-
rated the danger of the situation, catching as usual at
the opportunity for fresh accusations against the Zulu
king, who, it was once reported from Durban, had
sent an impi to Eorke’s Drift, and had massacred the
Commissioners and all upon the spot. Fortunately the
same day that brought this report to Pietermaritzburg,
brought also letters direct from the Commissioners them-
selves, of a later date than the supposed massacre, and
in which the Zulus were spoken of as “perfectly quiet.”

That the impartial conduct of the Commissioners
had the desired effect is manifest from Cetshwayo’s
words, spoken after the conclusion of the inquiry, but
before its result had been made known to him. His
messengers, after thanking Sir Henry Bulwer in the
name of their king* and people for appointing the com-
mission, said that ” Cetshwayo and the Zulu people are
perfectly satisfied with the way in which the inquiry


was conducted throughout, the way in which everything
went on from day to day in proper order, and without
the least misunderstanding ; but that each party under-
stood the subject that was being talked about.

“Cetshwayo says,” they continued, “he now sees
that he is a child of this Government, that the desire
of this Government is to do him justice. . . .

” Cetshwayo and the Zulu people are awaiting with
beating hearts what the Lieut. -Governor will decide
about the land that the Boers have given the Zulus so
much trouble about ; for the Zulus wish very much now
to reoccupy the land they never parted with, as it is
now the proper season (of the year) for doing so.”

Such was Cetshwayo’s frame of mind (even before
he knew that the decision was in his favour) at a
time when he was popularly represented as being in
an aggressive, turbulent condition, preparing to try his
strength against us, and only waiting his opportunity
to let loose upon Natal the ” war-cloud ” which he was
supposed to keep “hovering on our borders.”

The boundary question resolved itself into this :

1. To whom did the land in dispute belong in the
first instance ?

2. Was it ever ceded or sold by the original
possessors ?

1. In answer to the first question, the Commissioners
took the treaty made in 1843, between the English and
the Zulus, as a standpoint fixing a period when the
territory in dispute belonged entirely to one or other.
There was then no question but that the Zulu country
extended over the whole of it.


2, The Zulus deny ever having relinquished any
part of their country to the Boers, who on the other
hand assert that formal cessions had been made to them
of considerable districts. With the latter rested the
obligation of proving their assertions, which were simply
denied by the Zulus, who accordingly, as they said
themselves, ” had no witnesses to call,” having received
no authority from the king to do more than point out
the boundary claimed* (2242, p. 80).

The Boer delegates brought various documents, from
which they professed to prove the truth of their asser-
tions, but which were decided by the Commissioners to
be wholly worthless, from the glaring discrepancies and
palpable falsehoods which they contained. One of these
documents, dated March 16th, 1861, “purporting to
give an account of a meeting between Sir T. Shepstone,
Panda, and Cetshwayo,” they decided to be plainly a
fabrication, as Sir T. Shepstone did not arrive at
Nodwengu,t from Natal, to meet Panda and Cetshwayo,
until May 9th, 1861.

Other records of cessions of land professed to be signed
by the king, but were witnessed by neither Boer nor
Zulu, or else by Boers alone. A definition of boundaries
was in one case ratified by one Zulu only, a man of no
rank or importance ; and in other documents altera-
tions were made, and dates inserted, clearly at another

* Sir Bartle Frere gives a very unfair account of this matter-of-
course fact when he transmits to the Secretary of State the above
despatch, ” informing me of the incomplete result, in consequence of
the attitude of Cetshwayo’s representatives at the Commission of

f The king’s kraal at that time.


Meanwhile it was apparent, from authentic Boer
official papers, that the Zulus were threatened by the
Boer Government that, if they dared to complain again
to the British Government, the South African Eepublic
” would deal severely with them, and that they would
also endanger their lives ; ” while such expressions used
by the Volksraad of the South African Kepublic as the
following, when they resolve “to direct the Government
to continue in the course it had adopted with reference
to the policy on the eastern frontier, with such caution
as the Volksraad expects from the Government with con-
fidence ; and in this matter to give it the right to take
such steps as will more fully benefit the interests of the
population than the strict words of the law of the country
lay down ” (2220, p. 337), convicts them of dishonesty
out of their own mouths.

Finally the Commissioners report that in their
judgment, east of the Buffalo, ” there has been no cession
of land at all by the Zulu kings, past or present, or by
the nation.”

They consider, however, that as the Utrecht district
has long been inhabited by Boers, who have laid out the
site for a town, and built upon it, and as the Zulu
nation had virtually acquiesced in the Boer authority
over it by treating with them for the rendition of
fugitives who had taken refuge there the Transvaal
should be allowed to retain that portion of the land in
dispute, compensation being given to the Zulus inhabiting
that district if they surrendered the lands occupied by
them and returned to Zululand, or permission being
given them to become British subjects and to continue
to occupy the land.


Sir Bartle Frere’s version of this is as follows :
“The Commissioners propose to divide the area
in dispute between the Blood Eiver and the Pongolo,
giving to neither party the whole of its claim.” He
then quotes the recommendation of the Commissioners,
that compensation should be given to Zulus leaving the
Utrecht district, and wants to know what is to be done
for the farmers who ” in good faith, and relying on the
right and power of the Transvaal Government to protect
them, had settled for many years past on the tract
which the Commission proposes to assign to the Zulus.”
He wishes to know how they are to be placed on an
equality with the Zulus from the Utrecht district.
To this Sir Henry Bulwer ably replies by pointing out
that compensation to the said farmers lies with their
own Government, by whose sanction or permission they
had occupied land over which that Government had no
power by right. In fact, far from ” dividing the area in
dispute,” and. giving half to either party on equal terms,
the reservation of the Utrecht district was rather an
unavoidable concession to the Boers who had long had
actual possession of it which, with due compensation,
the Zulus would have been ready enough to make, while
receiving back so much of their own land than an
acknowledgment that they could make good their
original claim to it. The Commissioners indeed say
distinctly ” there has been no cession of land at all by
the Zulu king, past or present, or by the nation”

But indeed, after the decision in favour of the Zulus
was given, Sir Bartle Frere entirely changed the complacent
tone in which he had spoken of the Commission before-


hand. To all appearance his careful schemes for subju-
gating the Zulu nation were thrown away the war and
the South African Empire were on the point of eluding
his grasp. He had sent to England for reinforcements
in direct opposition to the home policy, which for some
years had been gradually teaching the colonies to depend
upon themselves for protection, and therefore to refrain
from rushing headlong into needless and dangerous wars,
which might be avoided by a little exercise of tact and
forbearance. He and his friend General Thesiger had
laid out their campaign and had sent men-of-war to
investigate the landing capabilities of the Zulu coast,
and he had recommended Sir Henry Bulwer to inform
the Zulu king when the latter expressed his disquietude
on the subject of these men-of-war that the ships he
saw were “for the most part English merchant vessels,
but that the war-vessels of the English Government are
quite sufficient to protect his (Cetshwayo’s) coast from
any descent by any other power” (October 6th, 1878,
2220, p. 307).

Sir Henry Bulwer was too honest to carry out this
recommendation, even had he not had the sense to know
that Cetshwayo was accustomed to the passing of
merchantmen, and was not to be thus taken in (sup-
posing him to be likely to fear attacks from ” foreign
foes”). But the fact remains that, an English official of
Sir Bartle Frere’s rank has put on record, in an official
despatch under his own hand, a deliberate proposal that
the Zulu king should be tranquillised, and his well-
founded suspicions allayed by a ” figure of speech,”
shall we say ?


Every possible objection was made by Sir Bartle
Frere to the decision of the Commissioners, and it was
with the utmost difficulty that he was at last persuaded
to ratify it, after a considerable period employed in pre-
paring for a campaign, the idea of which he appears
never for a minute to have relinquished. Sir T. Shep-
stone protested against the decision, which, however,
Sir Henry Bulwer upheld ; while Sir Bartle Frere
finally decides that ” Sir H. Bulwer and I, approaching
the question by somewhat different roads, agree in the
conclusion that we must accept the Commissioners’
verdict.” Their report was made on June 20th, 1878,
but it was not until November 16th that Sir H. Bulwer
sent to Cetshwayo to say that “the Lieut. -Governor
is now in a position to inform Cetshwayo that His
Excellency the High Commissioner has pronounced his
award, etc.,” and to fix twenty days from the date of
the departure of the messengers carrying this message
from Pietermaritzburg, as a convenient time for a
meeting on the borders of the two countries at the
Lower Tugela Drift, at which the decision should be
delivered to the king’s indunas by officers of the
Government appointed for the purpose.

But before this conclusion was arrived at another
attempt had been made to bring accusations against
Cetshwayo, who said himself at the time (June 27th,
1878) : “The name of Cetshwayo is always used
amongst the Boers as being the first to wish to quarrel.”
Alarming accounts reached the Natal Government of a
fresh military kraal having been built by the king, and
notices to quit being served by him upon Boers within


the disputed territory, in spite of his engagement to
await the decision of the Commissioners. The farmers
complained of being obliged to fly, “leaving homes,
homesteads, and improvements to be destroyed by a
savage, unbridled, revengeful nation.”* Sir T. Shep-
stone re-echoed their complaint (2220, p. 27), and Sir
Bartle Frere comments severely upon the alleged Zulii

The matter, however, when sifted, sinks into insig-
nificance. Some squabbles had taken place between
individual Boers and Zulus, such as were only natural
in the unsettled state of things; and Cetshwayo’s ex-
planation of the so-called ” notices to quit” placed
them in a very different light.

Sir Henry Bulwer writes to Sir Bartle Frere as
follows on this point (July 16th) : ” The Zulu king says
that all the message he sent was a request that the
Boers should be warned not to return to the disputed
country, as he was informed they were doing since the
meeting of the Commission. We know that some of the
Boers did return to the disputed territory after the
Commission broke up ; t and this, no doubt, was looked

* The homestead specially spoken of in this case does not appear
to have been destroyed or injured till March, 1879, in the midst of
the war, nor was any human being, white or black, belonging to these
farms, killed by this ” savage, unbridled, revengeful nation,” before
the war began.

t Apparently by Sir T. Shepstone’s orders, as the following phrase
appears in one of the Boer protests against arbitration, April 25th, 1873 :
” The majority of the people have, by order of your Excellency,
trekked into laager on December 14th last, and after having remained
in laager for nearly five months, we are to go and live on our farms



upon by the Zulus as an attempt on the part of the
Boers to anticipate the result of the inquiry, and led to
the giving those notices. . . . The fault has been, no
doubt, on both sides.”

The military kraal, also, turned out to be no more
of the nature ascribed to it than was its predecessor :
“An ordinary private Zulu kraal” see report of Mr.
Eudolph (2144, p. 186) ” built simply to have a kraal
in that locality, where many of Cetshwayo’s people are
residing without a head or kraal representing the king
…. the king having given instructions that neither
the white nor the native subjects of the Transvaal were
in any way to be molested or disturbed by the Zulus ; ”
and having sent a small force to do the work, because
the large one he had sent on a previous occasion had
frightened the white people.

Colonel Pearson, commanding the troops in Natal
and the Transvaal, writes, June 8th, 1878 (2144, p. 236) :

” The Landrost of Utrecht I know to be somewhat
of an alarmist, and the border farmers have all along
been in a great fright, and much given to false reports.
I allude more particularly to the Boers. I enclose
Lieut.-Colonel Durnford’s views of the kraal question.
He is an officer who knows South Africa intimately, and
his opinion I consider always sound and intelligent.”

And the following is the statement of Lieut.-Colonel
Durnford, K.E., June 8th, 1878 (2144, p. 237) :

” I know the district referred to, in which are many
Zulu kraals, and believe that, if such a military kraal is
in course of erection on the farm of one Kohrs, believed
to be a field-cornet in the Wakkerstroom district,


residing about fifteen miles from the mission station of
the Rev. Mr. Meyer, it is being constructed that order
may be kept amongst the Zulus here residing who owe
allegiance to the Zulu king alone and in the interests
of peace. … I further believe that, if the German or
other residents at or near Luneburg have been ordered
to leave, it is not by orders of the King of Zululand,
who is far too wise a man to make a false move at
present, when the boundary between himself and the
Transvaal is under consideration.”

The excitement concerning the “notices to quit,”
and the second ” military kraal,” appears to have been
as unnecessary as any other imaginary Zulu scare ; and
there are no proofs to be extracted from the official
papers at this period of the slightest signs of aggressive
temper on the part of the Zulu king.

On the contrary ; if we turn to the ” Message from
Cetywayo, King of the Zulus, to His Excellency the
Lieut.-Governor of Natal,” dated November 10th, 1878,
we find the concluding paragraph runs : ” Cetywayo
hereby swears, in presence of Oham, Mnyamana,
Tshingwayo, and all his other chiefs, that he has no
intention or wish to quarrel with the English.” (P, P.
[C. 2308] p. 16).



MUCH has been said of late years concerning the duty
imposed by our superior civilisation upon us English,
in our dealings with the South African races, of checking
amongst the latter such cruel and savage practices
as are abhorrent to Christian ideas and practices. We
will proceed to show how this duty has been performed
by the Government of Natal.

One of the commonest accusations brought against
the Zulus, and perhaps the most effectual in rousing
English indignation and disgust, is that of buying and
selling women as wives, and the cruel treatment of
young girls who refuse to be thus purchased.

Without entering into the subject upon its merits,
or inquiring how many French and English girls yearly
are, to all intents and purposes, sold in marriage, and
what amount of moral pressure is brought to bear upon
the reluctant or rebellious amongst them ; or whether
they suffer more or less under the infliction than their
wild sisters in Zululand do under physical correction ;
we may observe that the terrors of the Zulu system have


been very much exaggerated. That cruel and tyrannical
things have occasionally been done under it no one will
deny, still less that every effort should have been made
by us to introduce a better one. Amongst the Zulus,
both in their own country and in Natal, marriages are
commonly arranged by the parents, and the young
people are expected to submit, as they would be in
civilised France. But the instance which came most
directly under the present writer’s own observation, is
one rather tending to prove that the custom is one
which, although occasionally bearing hardly upon
individuals, has been too long the practice of the
people, and to which they have always been brought
up, to be looked upon by them as a crying evil, calling
for armed intervention on the part of England. In the
early days of missionary work at Bishopstowe (between
1860-70), five girls took refuge at the station within a
few days of each other, in order to avoid marriages
arranged for them by their parents, and objected to by
them. They dreaded pretty forcible coercion, although
of course, in Natal, they could not actually be put to
death. They were, of course, received and protected at
Bishopstowe, clothed, and put to school, and there they
: might have remained in safety for any length of time,
or until they could return home on their own terms.
But the restraint of the civilised habits imposed on
them, however gently, and the obligation of learning to
read, sew, and sweep, etc., was too much for these wild
young damsels, accustomed at home to a free and idle
life.*” Within a few weeks they all elected to return

* The married women work in the uiealie-gardens, etc., and the
little girls carry the babies ; but the marriageable young women seem
to have an interval of happy freedom from all labour and care.


home and marry the very men on whose account they
had fled ; and the conclusion finally arrived at concern-
ing them was, that their escapade was rather for the
sake of attaching a little additional importance to the
surrender of their freedom, than from any real objection
to the marriages proposed for them.

Now let us see what means had been taken by the
English to institute a better state of things and greater
liberty for the women. In Natal itself, of course, any
serious act of violence committed to induce a girl to
marry would be punished by law, and girls in fear of
such violence could usually appeal for protection to the
magistrates or missionaries. Let us suppose that a girl,
making such an appeal, receives protection, and is
married to the man of her own choice by English law
and with Christian rites. What is the consequence to
her ? She has no rights as a wife, in fact she is not
lawfully a wife at all, nor have her children any legal
claims upon their father ; the law of the colony protects
the rights of native women married by native custom,
which it virtually encourages by giving no protection at
all to those who contract marriages by the English, or
civilised system.*

So much for our dealings with the Zulus of Natal ;
and even less can be said for us concerning those over
the border.

Until quite lately the practice existed in the colony

* This was comprehensible during the attempt, which proved so
signal a failure, on the part of Sir T. Shepstone, to impose a marriage
tax upon the natives. The tax was so extremely unpopular that it
was thought advisable to relinquish it, and to make the desired increase
in the revenue of the colony by doubling the hut-tix.


of surrendering to Zulu demands refugee women, as well
as cattle, as ” property,” under an order from the Natal
Government, which was in force at the time of Sir H.
Bulwer’s arrival, but was at some time after rescinded.*

It was well known that, by the laws of Zululand, the
offence of a woman’s escaping from her husband with
another man was punishable by death, therefore unhappy
creatures thus situated were delivered up by the Natal
Government to certain death, and this practice had been
continued through a course of many years.

The law being altered in this respect, and cattle
only returned, Sir H. Bulwer writes, on February 3rd,
1877 : “Some few weeks ago I had occasion to send a
message to Cetywayo on account of the forcible removal
from Natal territory of a Zulu girl, who had lately taken
refuge in it from the Zulu country. A party of Zulus
had crossed the Tugela Eiver in pursuit, and taken the
girl by force back to Zululand. I therefore sent to
inform Cetywayo of this lawless act on the part of some
of his subjects” (1776, pp. 86, 87) ; and Cetshwayo replies
with thanks, saying that he knew nothing previously of
what had happened, and that ” should anything of the
same kind take place to-morrow he (the Governor of
Natal) must still open my ears with what is done by my

This is apparently all. There is no attempt to make
a serious national matter of it ; no demand for the
surrender of the offenders, nor for the payment of a

* Sir T. Sliepstone, when he says (1137, r p. 18) “Natal gives up
the cattle of Zulu refugees. . . . The refugees themselves are not
given up,” plainly includes -women amongst the cattle or ” property ”

of the Zulus.

o 2


fine. Nor is there even a warning that any future
occurrence of the same description will be viewed in
a more severe light. Sir Henry ” informs ” Cetshwayo of
what has taken place, and Cetshwayo politely acknow-
ledges the information, and that the action taken by his
people deserves censure. “I do not send and take by
force/’ he says ; fc why should my people do so ? It is
not right.”

Eighteen months later, on July 28th, 1878, a similar
case was reported. A wife of the chief Sihayo had left
him and escaped into Natal. She was followed by a
party of Zulus, under Mehlokazulu, the chief son of
Sihayo, and his brother, seized at the kraal where she
had taken refuge, and carried back to Zululand, where
she was put to death, in accordance with Zulu law.

The Zulus who seized her did no harm to Natal
people or property ; in fact their only fault towards
England was that of following and seizing her on Natal
soil, an act which for many years, and until quite
lately, they would have been permitted to do, and
assisted in doing, by the border Government officials.
A week later the same young men, with two other
brothers and an uncle, captured in like manner another
refugee wife of Sihayo, in the company of the young
man with whom she had fled. This woman was also
carried back, and is supposed to have been put to death
likewise ; the young man with her, although guilty in
Zulu eyes of a most heinous crime, punishable with
death, was safe from them on English soil they did not
touch him. But by our own practice for years past,
of surrendering female refugees as property, we.


had taught the Zulus that we regarded women as

While fully acknowledging the savagery of the
young men’s actions, and the necessity of putting a stop
to such for the future, it must be conceded that, having
so long countenanced the like, we should have given
fair notice that, for the future, it would be an act of
aggression on us for a refugee of either sex to be
followed into our territory, before proceeding to
stronger measures.

Sir Henry Bulwer, indeed, though taking a decided
view of the young men’s offence, plainly understood
that it was an individual fault, and not a political
action for the performance of which the king was
responsible. ” There is no reason whatsoever as yet to
believe that these acts have been committed with the
consent or knowledge of the king,””‘” he says (2220,
p. 125), and his message to Cetshwayo merely requests
that he will send in the ringleaders of the party to be
tried by the law of the colony.

On a previous occasion the king had, of his own
accord, sent a Zulu named Jolwana to the Natal
Government to be punished by it for the murder of a
white man in the Zulu country. Jolwana was returned
upon his hands with the message that he could not be
tried in Natal as he was a Zulu subject. Under these
circumstances it was not unnatural that Cetshwayo

* And later, tfov. 18, 1878 (2222, p. 173), he says: ” I do not
hold the King responsible for the commission of the act, because there
is nothing to show that it had his previous concurrence or even cogni-
zance. Eut he becomes responsible for the act after its commission,
and for such reparation as we may consider is due for it.”


should have taken the opportunity, apparently offered
him by the use of the word request, of substituting some
other method of apology for the offence committed than
that of delivering up the young men, who, as he after-
wards said, he was afraid would be “sjambokked”

Cetshwayo’s first answer is merely one acknow-
ledging the message, and regretting the truth of the
accusation brought by it. He allows that the young
men deserve punishment, and he engages to send
indunas of his own to the Natal Government on the
subject; but he deprecates the matter being looked
upon in a more serious light than as the ” act of rash
boys,” who in their zeal for their father’s house (? honour)
did not think what they were doing.

About this date, August, 1878, when all sorts of wild
reports were flying about, in and out of official docu-
ments, relative to Cetshwayo’s supposed warlike pre-
parations, he had ordered that none of his people should
carry arms on pain of death.

This was in consequence of a circumstance which
had occurred some months before (January, 1878),
when during the Umkosi, or feast of first-fruits, a great
Zulu gathering which annually takes place at the king’s
kraal, two of the regiments fell out and finally came to
blows, resulting in the death of some men on either side.
Sir B. Frere says, in his correspondence with the Bishop
(p. 4), that many hundred men were killed on this occa-
sion ; but Mr. F. Colenso, who happened to be there a
few days after the fight, heard from a white man, who
had helped to remove the dead, that about fifty were


killed. In consequence of this, ” an order had gone
forth, forbidding native Zulus, when travelling, to carry
arms, nothing but switches being allowed. A fire took
place, which burned the grass over Panda’s grave,’* and
the doctors declared that the spirits of Dingane and
Chaka had stated that they view with surprise and
disgust the conduct of the Zulus at the present day in
fighting when called before their king; that this was
the reason Panda’s grave was burned ; and such things
would continue until they learned to be peaceful among
themselves, and wait until they are attacked by other
natives before spilling blood.”

Cetshwayo’s next message, September 9th (2260, p. 32),
after he had inquired into the matter of Sihayo’s sons,
acknowledges again that they had done wrong, but
observes that he was glad to find that they had hurt no
one belonging to the English. “What they had done was
done without his knowledge. The request of the Natal
Government concerning the surrender of the offenders,
he said, should be laid before the great men of the Zulu
people, to be decided upon by them ; he could not do it

He finally, with full and courteous apologies in the
same tone, begs that the Natal Government will accept,
instead of the persons of the young men, a fine of fifty
pounds, which he sent down by his messengers, but
which was promptly refused. Sir Henry Bulwer appears
to have been inclined to allow of the substitution of a
larger fine for the surrender of the culprits (2222,

* Since rifled by our troops, and the bones of the old king brought

over to England.


p. 173) ; but Sir B. Frere insists on severer measures,
saying : ” I think it quite necessary that the delivery
up to justice of the offenders in this case should have
been demanded* and should now be peremptorily
insisted on, together with a fine for the delay in
complying with the reiterated demand.

John Dunn, who is supposed to have advised the king
to send money as an atonement, affirms that the in-
vasion had been mutual, fugitives from justice having
been fetched out of Zululand by Natal officers ; and he
(Dunn) asks whether outraged husbands, even amongst
civilised people, are prone to pay much respect to the
rights of nations when upon the track of their unfaithful
spouses. Plainly, neither he nor the king looked upon
the matter in so serious a light as Sir Bartle Frere chose
to do when he said, September 30th, 1878 (2220, p. 280),
” and, unless apologised and atoned for by compliance
with the Lieut. -Governor’s demands (?) that the leader
of the murderous gangs shall be given up to justice, it
will be necessary to send to the Zulu king an ultimatum,
which must put an end to pacific relations with our

Sir M. Hicks-Beach, in reply to Sir B. Frere’s last-
quoted despatch, writes, November 21st : ” The abduction
and murder of the Zulu woman who had taken refuge

* Xo ” demand ” was made until it appeared in Sir B. Frere’s

f On perusing the above italicised words, one learns for the first
time that the ultimatum, which Sir Bartle Frere sent to the Zulu king
a few months later, was actually sent for the express purpose of putting
” an end to pacific relations with our neighbours.” This is hardly the
light in which the British public has been taught to look upon the


in Natal is undoubtedly a serious matter, and no sufficient
reparation for it has yet been made. But I observe
that Cetshwayo has expressed his regret for this occur-
rence ; and although the compensation offered by him
was inadequate, there would seem to have been nothing
in his conduct with regard to it which would preclude
the hope of a satisfactory arrangement.” (P. P. [C. 2220],
p. 320).

But the whole of Sir Bartle Frere’s statements at
this period concerning Cetshwayo are one-sided,
exaggerated, or entirely imaginary accusations, which
come in the first instance with force from a man of
his importance, but for which not the slightest grounds
can be traced in any reliable or official source. He
brings grave charges against the king, which are abso-
lutely contradicted by the official reports from which
he draws his information ; he places before the public
as actual fact what, on investigation, is plainly nothing
more than his own opinion of what Cetshwayo thinks,
wishes, or intends, and what his thoughts, wishes, and
intentions may be at a future period. Every circum-
stance is twisted into a proof of his inimical intentions
towards Natal, the worst motives are taken for granted
in all he does. When the king’s messages were sent
through the ordinary native messengers between him
and the Government of Natal, they are termed mere
” verbal ” messages (as what else should they be ?), not
” satisfactory or binding ; ” when they were sent through
Mr. John Dunn they were called ” unofficial,'”‘ although
Mr. Dunn had been repeatedly recognised, and by Sir B.
Frere himself, as an official means of communication


with Cetshwayo on matters of grave importance ; and,
when Mr. Dunn writes, on his own account, his opinion
that the “boys” will not be given up, Sir B. Frere
calls his letter “a similar informal message (i.e. from
the king), couched in insolent and defiant terms.” In
nothing that passed between the king and the Govern-
ment of Natal during this whole period is there one
single word, on Cetshwayo’s part, which could possibly
be thus described. There are, indeed, many apologies
and entreaties to the Government to be satisfied with
some other atoDement for the fault committed than
the surrender of the culprits, and there is a great deal
from various sources, official and otherwise, about cattle
collected, even beyond the demands of the Government,
as a propitiation ; but of Sir B. Frere’s ” semi-sarcastic,
insolent, and defiant ” messages not one word.

It would take many pages to point out how utterly
misleading is every word spoken by the High Com-
missioner on this subject, but to those who are curious
in the matter, and in proof of the truth of our present
statements, we can only recommend the South African
Blue-books of 1878-79. We cannot, however, better
illustrate our meaning than by a quotation from Lord
Blachford (Daily News, March 26th, 1872): “What
did Sir B. Frere say to all this ? He was really ashamed
to answer that he did not know. He had studied the
series of despatches in which Sir B. Frere defended his
conduct, and he willingly acknowledged the exuberance
of literary skill which they exhibited. But when he
tried to grapple with them he felt like a man who was
defending himself with a stick against a cloud of locusts.


He might knock down one, and knock down another,
but ‘the cry is still they come/ His only consolation
was, that they did not appear to have convinced Her
Majesty’s Government, whose replies were from beginning
to end a series of cautions, qualifications, and protests.”
On turning to the subject of the robber chief,
Umbilini, and his raids, we are at once confronted by
the fact that he was not a Zulu at all, but a Swazi, and
a claimant to the Swazi throne. His claim had not
been approved by the majority of the Swazi nation, and
his brother Umbandeni, the present king, was appointed
instead. Umbilini, however, was not a man to quietly
sink into an inferior position, and having taken posses-
sion, with his followers, of some rocky caves in the
borderland, forming an almost impregnable fortress, he
lived for many years, much in the fashion of the border
freebooters of whose doings we read in Scottish history,
making raids upon his neighbours on all sides, and
.carrying off cattle, women, and children. His expe-
ditions were most frequently directed towards the party
against him in his own country, but neither his Boer
nor Zulu neighbours escaped entirely. On first leaving
Swaziland he went to offer homage to the Zulu king,
and was given land to settle upon in Zululand. No
doubt Cetshwayo looked upon a warrior of Umbilini’s
known prowess as rather an important vassal, especially
in the event of a war between him and his ancient
enemies the Swazis, in which case Umbilini’s adherence
would probably divide the enemy amongst themselves.
But he appears to have been in perpetual trouble on
account of his turbulent vassal, and to have given him


up altogether at one time. After a raid committed by
him upon the Dutch, the latter applied to Cetshwayo to
have him delivered up to them. ” I could not do this/’
says Cetshwayo ; “I should have got a bad name if I
had done so, and people would have said it was not good
to Jconza (pay homage) to Cetshwayo. I therefore
refused, but paid one hundred head of cattle for the
offence he had committed;””” and Cetshwayo’s own
account to Mr. Fynney is as follows (1961) :

” Umbilini came to me for refuge from his own
people, the Ama-Swazis, and I afforded him shelter ; what
would the world have said had I denied it to him ?
But, while allowing him to settle in the land as my
subject, I have always been particularly careful to warn
my people not to afford him any assistance or become
mixed up in any quarrel between him and the Boers ;
and although I do not deny that he is my subject, still
I will not endorse his misdeeds. When Mr. Rudolph
complained to me of the trouble Umbilini was giving,
I told Mr. Rudolph to kill him I should not shield
him ; this the Boers tried to do, but, as usual, made a
mess of it.”

In fact, on a repetition of Umbilini’s offence against
the Boers, Cetshwayo refused to be longer responsible
for his acts, and gave the Dutch permission to kill him.
They fought him, and were beaten by him with his
small band of only nineteen men. On a subsequent
occasion, after a raid committed by Umbilini upon the
Swazis, Cetshwayo was so incensed that he sent out a

* Mr. H. Shepstone (Secretary for Native Affairs in the Transvaal)
acknowledges that this fine was paid (2222, p. 99).


party to take and kill him ; but he got notice beforehand,
and escaped.

Sir Bartle Frere chooses to consider the king respon-
sible for all Umbilini’s doings, and even Sir H. Bulwer
says : ” The king disowned Umbilini’s acts. . . .
But there is nothing to show that he has in any way
punished him, and, on the contrary, it is quite certain
(of which ‘ certainty/ however, no proofs are forth-
coming) that even if Umbilini did not act with the
express orders of Cetshwayo, he did so with the know-
ledge that what he was doing would be agreeable to the
king ” (2260, p. 46).

This accusation was made in January, 1879, and
refers to raids of the previous year, by which time, as the
Swazis were our allies and the Boers our subjects,
Umbilini’s raids in all directions except those on the
Zulu side had become offences to us for which Cetshwayo
was held responsible. In point of fact, it was no such
simple matter to ” punish ” Umbilini, whose natural
fortress could be held by a couple of men against any-
thing short of the cannon which Cetshwayo did not
possess. Nor was it singular that, at a time when the
king had already strong suspicions that his country
was about to be attacked, he should not have wasted
his strength in subduing one who, in the event of war,
would be most useful to himself.

That, when the evil day came and his country was
invaded, Cetshwayo should have made common cause
with all who would or could assist him is a mere matter of
course, and it was but natural that so bold and skilful a
leader as Umbilini has proved himself to be should then


have been promoted and favoured by the unfortunate

We need scarcely say more upon this point, beyond
calling our readers’ attention to the fact that the expres-
sions “Zulu raids” “indiscriminate massacres” “viola-
tion by the Zulus of Transvaal territory” ” horrible
cruelties” (2308, p. 62, and elsewhere), so freely
scattered through the despatches written to prove the
criminality of the Zulu king, all, without exception,
apply to acts committed either by Umbilini and his
(chiefly) Swazi followers, or by Manyonyoba, a small
but independent native chief, living north of the

The ” case of Messrs. Smith and Deighton ” is the
only charge against the Zulu king, in connection with
Natal, which we have now to consider, and it is one in
which, as we shall see, a great deal was made of a very
small matter.

Mr. Smith, a surveyor in the Colonial Engineer’s
department, was on duty inspecting the road down to
the Tugela, near Fort Buckingham. The Zulu mind
being in a very excited state at the time owing to
the obvious preparation for war, of which they heard
reports from Natal, troops stationed at Grey town, and
war-ships seen close to the Zulu shore, as though looking
for a landing-place Mr. Smith was specially instructed
to proceed upon his errand alone, and with great discre-

* Manyonyoba owed allegiance to Cetshwayo (as did Umbilini).
He lived north of the Pongolo, in a part of the country over which
Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Henry Bulwer altogether deny Cetshwayo’s
supremacy, and was claimed as a subject of the Transvaal Government.


tion. By way of carrying out these directions he took
with him only a trader Deighton by name and their
discretion was shown by “taking no notice” when,
having arrived at the drift into Zululand, they were
questioned by Zulus, who were on guard there in con-
sequence of rumours that our troops were about to
cross. rr

Mr. Wheelwright (a Government official), to whom
the matter was reported a week after it occurred, not by
Mr. Smith, the principal person concerned, but by Mr.
Deighton, says : “The fact that the two white men took
no notice of ‘ lots of Zulus shouting out ‘ from their own
bank, ‘ What do you want there ? ‘ but ‘ walked quietly
along/t as if they had not heard, or as if they were deaf,
very naturally confirmed the suspicion that they were
about no good.”

The consequence was, that when the white men
reached an islet in the middle of the river (or rather one
which is generally in the middle of the stream when it
is full it was low at the time), they were seized by the
Zulus, and detained by them for about an hour and a
half, whilst all sorts of questions were asked : ” What
are you doing there ? ” ” What had the soldiers come
to Grey town for ? ” ” What did the white men want
coming down there ? There were two down not long

* Sir H. Bulwer says ” they have suspected, quite wrongly, that
we had some design against them in making it ” (the new road to the
drift). It is to be questioned how far their suspicion was a wrongful
one, seeing that it was understood from the first that the drift was
intended especially for military purposes, and was undoubtedly
inspected by Mr. Smith for the same.

t Quotations from Mr. Deighton’s report to Mr. Wheelwright.


ago, then other two only a few days since, and now
there is other two ; you must come for some reason.”

However, after a time, they were allowed to depart,
an attempt made to take their horses from them being
prevented by the induna of the Zulus.

Sir Bartle Frere does not seem to have thought very
much of the matter at first, for Sir M. Hicks-Beach, when
acknowledging his despatch reporting it, says (2220,
p. 320) : “I concur with you in attributing no special im-
portance to the seizure and temporary arrest of the sur-
veyors, which was partly due to their own indiscretion,
and was evidently in no way sanctioned by the Zulu

But a little later although with no fresh facts before
him Sir B. Frere takes a very different tone (2222,
p. 176).

” I cannot at all agree with the lenient view taken
by the. Lieut.-Governor of this case. Had it stood
quite alone, a prompt apology and punishment of the
offenders might have been sufficient. As the case stands,
it was only one of many instances of insult and threaten-
ing, such as cannot possibly be passed over without
severe notice being taken of them. What occurred,” he
says, ” whether done by the king’s order, or only by his
border-guards, and subsequently only tacitly approved by
his not punishing the offenders, seems to me a most
serious insult and outrage, and should be severely

There is no sign that it was ever brought to the king’s
knowledge, and when Sir B. Frere speaks of its being
” only one of many instances of insult and threatening,”


he is drawing largely on his imagination, as there is no
other recorded at all, unless he means to refer to the
” notices to quit ” in the disputed territory of which we
have already treated.

We must now consider the points connected with
the internal management of the Zulu country, which
have generally been looked upon as a partial excuse for
our invasion. Foremost amongst these is the infraction
of the so-called ” coronation promises,” of which we have
spoken in a previous chapter. Frequent rumours were
current in Natal that the king, in defiance of the said
promises, was in the habit of shedding the blood of his
people upon the smallest provocation, and without any
form of trial. Such stories of his inhuman atrocities
were circulated in the colony that many kind-hearted
and gentle people were ready to think that war would
be a lesser evil. Yet, whenever one of these stories was
examined into or traced to its source, it turned out
either to be purely imaginary, or to have for its founda-
tion some small act of more or less arbitrary authority,
the justice of which we might possibly question, but to
which no one would apply the words ” barbarities,”
” savage murders,” etc.

An instance of the manner in which the Zulu king
has obtained his character of ” a treacherous and blood-
thirsty sovereign,””” came under the notice of the
present writer about December of last year (1878).
Happening to be on a visit to some friends in Pieter-
maritzburg, and hearing them mention Cetshwayo’s

* Words applied to him by Mr. Brownlee, late Secretary for
Native Affairs of the Cape Government.



cruelties, I observed that I did not much credit them,
as I had never yet met anyone who knew of them from
any trustworthy source. I was met with the assurance
that their ” kitchen-Kafir,” Tom, from whom they had
received their accounts, was a personal witness, having
himself escaped from a massacre, and they vouched for
the truthfulness of the man’s character. I asked and
obtained permission to question the man in his own
language, being myself anxious to find any real evidence
on the subject, especially as, at that time with
military preparations going on on every side it was
apparent to all that “we” intended war, and one
would have been glad to discover that there was any
justification for it on our side. The same evening I
took an opportunity of interrogating “Tom,” saying,
” So I hear that you know all about this wicked Zulu
king. Tell me all about it.” Whereupon the man
launched out into a long account of the slaughter of
his people, from which not even infants were spared,
and from which he was one of the few who had escaped.
He had plainly been accustomed to tell the tale (doubt-
less a true one), and there were touches in it concerning
the killing of the children which showed that he had
been in the habit of recounting it to tender-hearted
and horror-struck English mothers. When he had
finished his tale I asked him when all the horrors
which he had described had taken place. ” Oh ! ” he
replied, “it was at the time of the fight between
Cetshwayo and Umbulazi (1856) ; that was when I left

” And you have never been there since ? ”


” No ; I should be afraid to go, for Cetshwayo kills

“How do you know that?” I inquired, for he
had started upon a fresh account of horrors relating to
the time at which he was speaking.

” Oh ! I know it is true,” was the ready and
confident reply, ” because the white people here in
‘Maritzburg tell me so out of the papers.”

In point of fact the man, on whose word to my own
knowledge rested the belief of a considerable circle of
the citizens, could only give personal evidence concerning
what happened at the time of the great civil war, when
Zululand was in such confusion that it would not be
easy to distribute responsibility, and when Cetshwayo
himself was a young man in the hands of his warriors.
All he could tell of a later date he had himself learnt
from ” white people ” in the town, who, again, had
gathered their information from the newspapers; and
Bishop Schreuder, long resident in Zululand, says : “I
had not with my own eyes seen any corpse, and per-
sonally only knew of them said to have been killed. . . .
I myself had my information principally from the same
sources as people in Natal, and often from Natal

The king’s own reply to these accusations may be
taken entire from Mr. Fynney’s report on July 4th,
1877 (1961), with the portions of the message delivered
by the latter to which it refers :

“You have repeatedly acknowledged the house of
England to be a great and powerful house, and have
expressed yourself as relying entirely upon the good-

p 2


will and power of that house for your own strength and
the strength of the country over which you are king ;
in fact you have always looked towards the English

“Which way is your face turned to-day? Do you
look, and still desire to look, in the same direction ?
Do you rely on the good-will and support of the British
Government as much as you formerly did ?

” The Government of Natal has repeatedly heard
that you have not regarded the agreements you entered
into with that Government, through its representative,
Sir Theophilus Shepstone, on the occasion of your
coronation. These agreements you entered into with
the sun shining around you, but since that time you
have practised great cruelties upon your people, putting
great numbers of them to death. What do you

In reply to the above, Cetshwayo said : “I have
not changed ; I still look upon the English as my
friends, as they have not yet done or said anything to
make me feel otherwise. They have not in any way
turned my heart, therefore I feel that we have still hold
of each other’s hands. But you must know that from
the first the Zulu nation grew up alone, separate and
distinct from all others, and has never been subject to
any other nation ; Tyaka (Chaka) was the first to find
out the English and make friends with them ; he saved
the lives of seven Englishmen from shipwreck at the
mouth of the Umfolosi, he took care of them, and from
that day even until now the English and Zulu nations
have held each other’s hands. The English nation is


a just one, and we are together ” (we are at one with
each other). “I admit that people have been killed.
There are three classes of wrong- doers that I kill (1) the
abatakati witches, poisoners, etc. ; (2) those who take
the women of the great house, those belonging to the
royal household ; and (3) those who kill, hide, or make
away with the king’s cattle. I mentioned these three
classes of wrong-doers to Somtseu (Sir T. Shepstone),
when he came to place me as king over the Zulu nation,
as those who had always been killed. I told him that
it was our law, and that three classes of wrong-doers
I would kill, and he replied : ‘ Well, I cannot put aside
a standing law of the land.’ I always give a wrong-
doer three chances, and kill him if he passes the last.
Evil-doers would go over my head if I did not punish
them, and that is our mode of punishing. … I do
not see that I have in any way departed from, or broken
in anything, the compact I made with the Natal
Government through Somtseu.”

The next subject to be considered is that of the
treatment of the missionaries and their converts in

Sir T. Shepstone, in his account of what passed at
the installation of Cetshwayo, writes as follows (C. 1137,
p. 19) : ” The fourth point was the position of Christian
missionaries and their converts. Cetywayo evidently
regretted that they had ever been admitted at all, and
had made up his mind to reduce their numbers by some
means or other. … He said they had committed no
actual wrong, but they did no good, and that the
tendency of their teaching was mischievous ; he added


converts, or even retaining those around them, were for
the present at an end. … I find there were all sorts
of wild (?) rumours going about from station to station
one that the British Government intended to annex
Zululand at once. I am afraid that this and the like
rumours have done harm. Several of the missionaries
have been frequently to the king of late, and, as he told
me, have worried him to such an extent that he does
not want to see them any more.”*

In August of the same year Lord Carnarvon requests
Sir Henry Bulwer to make a special point of causing
“the missionaries to understand distinctly that Her
Majesty’s Government cannot undertake to compel the
king to permit the maintenance of the mission stations
in Zululand,” and to recommend them, if they cannot
carry on their work without armed support, to leave it
for the present.

Sir Henry Bulwer writes (2000, p. 33) :
” The action taken by some of the missionaries in
leaving that country has apparently proved not only
unnecessary, but ill-advised for their own interests. The
king was not sorry that they should go, but he was
angry with them for going/’ t and on January 26th, 1878,
a message arrived from Cetshwayo, concerning those that
remained, to this effect (2100, p. 61) :

* On one of these visits a missionary is reported to have said to
the king coarsely in Zulu, “You are a liar !” (unamanga !) upon which
Cetshwayo turned his back to him, and spoke with him no more.

f Or rather he was angry with them for the rudeness which they
committed in going without taking leave. He said they had never
received anything but kindness from him, and might as well have
paid him the compliment of a farewell salutation.


” Cetshwayo states that he wishes His Excellency to
know that he is not pleased with the missionaries in the
Zulu country, as he finds out that they are the cause of
much harm, and are always spreading false reports about
the Zulu country, and (he) would wish His Excellency
to advise them to remove, as they do no good.”

Shortly after the Kev. Mr. Oftebro and Dr. Oftebro,
Norwegian missionaries from Zululand, were granted an
interview by the Lieut. -Governor of Natal for the
purpose of laying their case before His Excellency.
The king, they said, had informed them that he was
now quite persuaded that they had communicated to the
governors of Natal and the Transvaal, and to the
editors of the public papers in Natal, all important
matters that occurred in the Zulu country that the
accounts they sent were not even truthful and that he
had believed these missionaries were ” men,” but that
he now found them to be his enemies.

They believed that amongst the ” white men,” from
whom he had obtained his information, were Mr. John
Mullins, a trader, and Mr. F. E. Colenso, a son of the
Bishop of Natal, who had been at the king’s kraal for
some six days and who, they said, “had translated, for
the king’s information, accounts of doings in the Zulu
country, from several newspapers of the colony.” This
last, as it happens, was pure fiction. Sir Henry Bulwer,
indeed, believed it at the time, and wrote upon it as
follows (2100, p. 89) :

” I notice in Messrs. Smith and Colenso’s letter to
the Earl of Carnarvon, a statement to the effect that
the disposition and dealings of Cetshwayo had been


sedulously misrepresented by the missionaries and by
the Press. And this statement tends, I am afraid, to
confirm the belief that Mr. F. E. Colenso, when he
lately visited the Zulu country, . . . made certain
representations regarding the missionaries in Zululand,
which were greatly calculated to prejudice the king’s
mind against them, or against some of them.”

But Mr. Colenso, on seeing for the first time the
above statements in the Blue-book, wrote to Sir M.
Hicks-Beach as follows (2220, p. 318):

” The suspicions expressed by the missionaries as to
my proceedings are entirely without foundation in fact.
So far from attempting to prejudice the king’s mind
against them, I confined myself, in the little I did say
to Cetshwayo on the subject, to supporting their cause
with him. The king had received, through some of his
various channels of information, an account of the
numerous contributions made by missionaries and others
living under his protection in Zululand, to the colonial
newspapers, and in particular, of an exaggerated and
sensational report, written by the Zululand corre-
spondent of The Natal Mercury, of the catastrophe
which occurred at the annual Feast of Firstfruits some
ten days before my last conversation with the king,
which report he attributed to the Eev. Mr. Eobertson,
from the fact that his waggon -driver was the only
white man present on the occasion, except Dr. Oftebro,
Mr. Mullins, and Mr. Dunn. Cetshwayo expressed
himself as indignant at the conduct of Mr. Eobertson,
who, he said, had never, during his long residence in
Zululand, received anything but good treatment at the


hands of his (Cetshwayo’s) father and himself, and, he
added, ‘ I have borne with him too long/ To this I
replied that, if he had any distinct ground of complaint
against Mr. Eobertson, he (the king) should get it set
down in writing, and send it to His Excellency the
Lieut. -Governor of Natal; and I wished him to
understand that any different course would be pro-
ductive of no good effect. I then told Cetshwayo,
omitting further reference to Mr. Kobertson, that in
my opinion the presence of the missionaries as a body
in his country was a great advantage to him, and that
they merited his protection. He disclaimed having
ever treated them with anything but great con-

The particular statement of the two missionaries
Oftebro, concerning the translation of newspapers, also
Mr. Colenso specially and distinctly contradicts, saying
that he had no newspapers with him nor extracts of
newspapers, nor were any such read to Cetshwayo in
his presence.

Sir H. Bulwer states, at the request of the Messrs.
Oftebro (2100, p. 61), that no member of the Norwegian
mission had supplied this Government with information
as above. But it does not follow that no such commu-
nications had been made to Sir B. Frere and Lord
Carnarvon. Missionaries had written anonymously to
the colonial papers, and the account in The Natal Mercury
of the fight at the Umkosi was attributed by Cetshwayo,
not without reason, to the Eev. R Kobertson. The
tone of this letter, and its accuracy, may be gathered
from the following extract, referring to the land which,


sedulously misrepresented by the missionaries and by
the Press. And this statement tends, I am afraid, to
confirm the belief that Mr. F. E. Colenso, when he
lately visited the Zulu country, . . . made certain
representations regarding the missionaries in Zululand,
which were greatly calculated to prejudice the king’s
mind against them, or against some of them.”

But Mr. Colenso, on seeing for the first time the
above statements in the Blue-book, wrote to Sir M.
Hicks-Beach as follows (2220, p. 318):

” The suspicions expressed by the missionaries as to
my proceedings are entirely without foundation in fact.
So far from attempting to prejudice the king’s mind
against them, I confined myself, in the little I did say
to Cetshwayo on the subject, to supporting their cause
with him. The king had received, through some of his
various channels of information, an account of the
numerous contributions made by missionaries and others
living under his protection in Zululand, to the colonial
newspapers, and in particular, of an exaggerated and
sensational report, written by the Zululand corre-
spondent of The Natal Mercury, of the catastrophe
which occurred at the annual Feast of Firstfruits some
ten days before my last conversation with the king,
which report he attributed to the Eev. Mr. Kobertson,
from the fact that his waggon -driver was the only
white man present on the occasion, except Dr. Oftebro,
Mr. Mullins, and Mr. Dunn. Cetshwayo expressed
himself as indignant at the conduct of Mr. Eobertson,
who, he said, had never, during his long residence in
Zululand, received anything but good treatment at the


hands of his (Cetshwayo’s) father and himself, and, he
added, ‘ I have borne with him too long/ To this I
replied that, if he had any distinct ground of complaint
against Mr. Eobertson, he (the king) should get it set
down in writing, and send it to His Excellency the
Lieut. -Governor of Natal; and I wished him to
understand that any different course would be pro-
ductive of no good effect. I then told Cetshwayo,
omitting further reference to Mr. Eobertson, that in
my opinion the presence of the missionaries as a body
in his country was a great advantage to him, and that
they merited his protection. He disclaimed havino-
ever treated them with anything but great con-

The particular statement of the two missionaries
Oftebro, concerning the translation of newspapers, also
Mr. Colenso specially and distinctly contradicts, saying
that he had no newspapers with him nor extracts of
newspapers, nor were any such read to Cetshwayo in
his presence.

Sir H. Bulwer states, at the request of the Messrs.
Oftebro (2100, p. 61), that no member of the Norwegian
mission had supplied this Government with information
as above. But it does not follow that no such commu-
nications had been made to Sir B. Frere and Lord
Carnarvon. Missionaries had written anonymously to
the colonial papers, and the account in The Natal Mercury
of the fight at the Umkosi was attributed by Cetshwayo,
not without reason, to the Kev. E. Eobertson. The
tone of this letter, and its accuracy, may be gathered
from the following extract, referring to the land which,


in the opinion of the Commissioners, ” was by right
belonging to the Zulus.”

“Never was a more preposterous demand made
upon any Government than that which Cetshwayo is
now making upon the English Government of the
Transvaal. . . . For be it remembered that, until
very lately, the Zulus have never occupied any portion
of it, (!) and even now very partially. It is most
earnestly to be hoped that Sir T. Shepstone, while
doing all in his power to keep the peace, will be equally
firm in resisting the unjust pretensions of the Zulus”‘

How far the Zulu king was justified in his opinion
that the missionaries were not his friends may be
gathered from the above, and from the replies to Sir
B. Frere’s appeal to the ” missionaries of all denomina-
tions ” for their opinions on native politics, as published
in the Blue-books (2316), of which the following
examples may be given :

From letter of the Eev. P. D. Hepburn, December 1 7th,
1878: “All in these parts are quiet, and are likely to remain
quiet, if His Excellency overthrows the Zulu chief, and
disarms the remaining Zulus. The Zulus are very war-
like; will attack in front, flank, and rear. They are, and
have been, the terror of the neighbouring tribes since
the days of Chaka.f Only the utter destruction of
the Zulus can secure future peace in South Africa. May
His Excellency not allow himself to be deceived by the
Zulu chief Cetywayo.”

” On full inquiry it will be found that our late war,

* Author’s italics.

t ” Our Correspondent ” of The Daily News speaks, in to-day’s
issue (November 17th, 1879), of the ” tranquillising fear” of Cetshwayo
having been removed from ” our own native population.”


(KafFraria) here was to a great extent attributable to
Zulu influence. ~* If our forces suffer defeat at Natal,
all native tribes in South Africa will rise against us. I
am a man of peace ; I hate war; but if war, let there be
no dawdling and sentimental nonsense.

“True and faithful to God, our Queen, and the
interests of the empire, we have the approbation of God,
our Queen, and our own conscience. I would have
much liked had there been a regiment of British cavalry
at Natal. Sword in hand, the British are irresistible
over all natives. The battle at the Gwanga in 1846,
under Sir Henry Darrell, lasted only about fifteen
minutes; about four hundred Kafirs were cut down. . . .

” God, our God, put it into the minds of our rulers
that all tribes in south-east and east Africa must submit
to British power, and that it is the interest of all Africans
to do so. Heathenism must perish ; God wills it so.”t

These remarks are from a missionary in Kaffraria, but
the tone of these in Zululand is the same, or even worse.
Compare the following statement made to the Natal
Government by two native converts from the Etshowe
mission station Mr. Oftebro’s (1883, p. 2): “We
know that as many a hundred (Zulus) in one day see the
sun rise, but don’t see it go down. . . . The people, great
and small, are tired of the rule of Cetshwayo, by which
he is finishing his people. The Zulu army is not what it
was, there are only six full regiments. Cetshwayo had by

* A mere assertion, often made, but never supported by the
slightest proof.

f And so the Rev. Mr. Glockner, speaking of the late war, says
that they (the missionaries) had often warned the native chiefs of what
would befall them, if they refused to become Christians. Vide The
Scotsman, February 5th, 1880.


his rule made himself so disliked, that they knew of no
one, and especially of the headmen, who would raise a
hand to save him from ruin, no matter from what cause.”

Mr. John Shepstone adds, April 27th, 1877 (p. 4) :
“The above was confirmed only yesterday by reliable
authority, who added that a power such as the English,
stepping in now, would be most welcome to the Zulus
generally, through the unpopularity of the king, by his
cruel and reckless treatment of his subjects.” And Mr.
Fynney, in the report already quoted from, says :

” The king appeared to have a very exaggerated idea
both of his power, the number of his warriors, and
their ability as such. . . . “While speaking of the king
as having exaggerated ideas as to the number of his
fighting-men, I would not wish to be understood as
underrating the power of the Zulu nation. … I am
of opinion that King Cetywayo could bring six
thousand men into the field at a short notice, great
numbers armed with guns ; but the question is, would
they fight ? . . . I am of opinion that it would greatly
depend against whom they were called to fight. . . ,
While the Zulu nation, to a man, would have willingly
turned out to fight either the Boers or the Ama-Swazi,
the case would be very different, I believe, in the event
of a misunderstanding arising between the British
Government and the Zulu nation. … I further
believe, from what I heard, that a quarrel with the
British Government would be the signal for a general
split up amongst the Zulus, and the king would find
himself deserted by the majority of those upon whom
he would at present appear to rely.”


While Sir T. Shepstone says, November 30th, 1878
(2222, p. 175) : ” I will, however, add my belief that the
Zulu power is likely to fall to pieces when touched.”

Such were the opinions given by men supposed to
be intimately acquainted with Zulu character and
feeling, one of them being the great authority on all
native matters ; and on such statements did Sir Bartle
Frere rely when he laid his scheme for the Zulu War.
How absolutely ignorant, how foolishly mistaken, were
these ” blind leaders of the blind ” has been amply
proved by the events of 1879.

We need not enter very fully into the accusations
brought by the missionaries against the Zulu king of
indiscriminate slaughter of native converts for their
religion’s sake. They were thoroughly believed in Natal
at the time; but, upon investigation, they dwindled
down to three separate cases of the execution of men
(one in each case) who happened to be converts, but of
whom two were put to death for causes which had
nothing whatsoever to do with their faith (one of them
being indeed a relapsed convert) ; and the third, an old
man, Maqamsela, whose name certainly deserves to be
handed down to fame in the list of martyrs for religion’s
sake, was killed without the sanction or even knowledge
of the king, by the order of his prime minister Gaozi.”*

* Story of Maqamsela, from The Natal Colonist of May 4th, 1877 :
” Another case referred to in our previous article was that of a man
named Maqamsela, particulars of which, derived from eye-witnesses,
we have received from different sources. On Friday, March 9th, ho
attended morning service at Etshowe mission station as usual, went
home to his kraal, and at noon started to go over to the kraal of
Minyegana, but was seized on the road and killed because he was a
Christian !


That the latter received no punishment, although the
king disapproved of this action, is not a fact of any im-
portance. It is not always convenient to punish prime
ministers and high commissioners, or powerful indunas,

” For many years he had wished to become a Christian, and this
at his own desire was reported to Gaozi, his immediate chief, who
scolded him, saying, ‘ it would occasion liim (Gaozi) trouble.’ The
earnest and repeated solicitation of Maqamsela was that the missionary
(Mr. Oftebro) would take him to the king to obtain his permission to
profess Christianity. Last winter the missionary consented to mention
it to the king ; but, failing to see Gaozi first, deemed it imprudent to
do so at that time. Maqamsela was greatly grieved at this, saying, * I
am not afraid of death ; it will be well if I am killed for being a
Christian.’ When an opportunity occurred of speaking to Gaozi about
Maqamsela’s wish to be baptized, lie would give no direct answer, but
complained of his bad conduct. Maqamsela, however, persisted in his
entreaties that his case should be reported to the king. ‘ If they kill
me because I believe, they may do so ; the Lord will receive me. Has
not Christ died for me 1 Why should I fear 1 ‘ A favourable oppor-
tunity of naming the matter to the king presented itself some time
after. Cetshwayo appeared very friendly, and proposed that the
Christians should pay a tax, but said that their service should be
building houses for him when called ; otherwise they might remain
in peace. Maqamsela was then mentioned as being desirous to become
a Christian. He was an old man, who could not leave his kraal, and
could not come up to serve. He had therefore been eaten up, and had
not now a single head of cattle. On his name being mentioned, the
king replied that he would say nothing, Gaozi, Minyegana, and Xubane
not being there. Maqamsela was glad when he heard what had been
done, and said, ‘ If they kill me now, it is all right.’

” A week later his time came. An induna, named Jubane, sent
for him, and on his return from Jubane’s, an impi came to him, saying
they had orders to kill him. He asked for what reason, and being
told it was because he was a Christian and for nothing else, he said
again, ‘ Well, I rejoice to die for the word of the Lord.’ He begged
leave to kneel down and pray, which he was allowed to do. After
praying, he said, ‘ Kill me now.’ They had never seen any man act
in this manner before, when about to be killed, and seemed afraid to
touch him. After a long pause, however, a young lad took a gun and
shot him, and they all ran away.”


Sir Bartle Frere of course takes the strongest possible
view of the matter against the king, and speaks of his
having killed Zulu converts (2220, p. 270), “at first rarely,
as if with reluctance, and a desire to conceal what he had
ordered, and to shift the responsibility to other shoulders,
latterly more frequently, openly, and as an avowed part
of a general policy for re-establishing the system of
Chaka and Dingane.” This little phrase is of a slightly
imaginative nature, resting on no (produced) evidence.
It is, in fact, a ” statement.” *

Sir Henry Bulwer’s reply November 18th, 1878
(2222, p. 171) which forms an able refutation of various
statements of Sir B. Frere, contains the following sentence :
” I took some pains to find out how the case really stood,
and ascertained that the number of natives, either converts
or living on mission stations, who had been killed, was
three. I have never heard since that time of any other
mission natives being killed. … I was, therefore,
surprised, on reading your Excellency’s despatch, to
see what Messrs. Oftebro and Staven had said. I have
since made particular inquiries on that point, but have
failed to obtain any information showing that more than
three mission natives have been killed. Among others
to whom I have spoken is the Eev. Mr. Eobertson, of
Zululand, who was in ‘Maritzburg a few weeks ago. He
told me that he had not heard of any other than the
three cases.”

Sir Bartle Frere replies, December 6th, 1878 (2222,

* This indiscriminate killing is disproved and denied by Cetshwayo
himself and his principal chiefs (vide ” A Visit to King Ketshwayo,”
” Macmillan’s Magazine,” March, 1878).



p. 175) : * “I have since made further inquiry (he does
not say what), and have no doubt that though His
Excellency may possibly be right as to the number
regarding which there is judicial evidence (Sir H.
Bulwer plainly decides that there was no evidence at
all) ; the missionaries had every reason to believe that
the number slain on account of their inclination to
Christianity was considerably greater than three. One
gentleman, who had better means of obtaining the truth
than anyone else, told me he had no doubt the number
of converts killed was considerable.”

This gentleman, Sir Bartle Frere assures us, ” knows
the Zulus probably better than any living European ;
he is himself an old resident in Zululancl, and a man
above all suspicion of exaggeration or misrepresen-
tation (!). He gave me this information, under stipu-
lation that his name should not be mentioned, otherwise
it would, I am sure, at once be accepted as a guarantee
for the accuracy of his statements.”

With such phrases, ” I have no doubt,” ” every
reason to believe,” “I feel sure,” etc. etc,, has Sir Bartle
Frere continually maligned the character of the Zulu
king, called since the war by Mr. John Dunn, “the
most injured man in South Africa.”

One is rather puzzled who the man may be to whom
Sir Bartle Frere gives so high a character, his opinion
of which he evidently expects will quite satisfy his
readers. We should much like to have the gentleman’s
name. The number of gentlemen “long resident in
Zululand ” are not so many as to leave a wide field for
* Author’s italics throughout.


conjecture. Besides the missionaries, the only names that
occur to us to which the phrase can apply are those of
Mr. John Shepstone, Mr. John Dunn, and Mr. Eobertson.

The only point in the indictment against Cetshwayo
which we have now to consider, is that of the killing of
girls under the Zulu marriage law, and the reply to
Sir Henry Bulwer’s remonstrance on the point, which
Sir Bartle Frere speaks of in his final memorandum as
expressed “in terms of unprecedented insolence and
defiance;” while The Times of Natal (generally recognised
as the Government organ) went still further, and has
twice charged the Zulu king with sending repeatedly,
insolent messages to the Natal Government. As to the
repetition of the offence, it need only be said that there
is no foundation in the Blue-books for the assertion.
And as to this particular offence it is enough to say that
no notice had been taken of it to Cetshwayo himself, till
two years afterwards it was unearthed, and charged
upon him, as above, by the High Commissioner, notwith-
standing that, whatever it may have been, it had been
subsequently condoned by friendly messages from this

The marriage law of Zululand is thus described by
Sir T. Shepstone (1137, p. 21) : The Zulu country is but
sparsely inhabited when compared with Natal, and the
increase of its population is checked more by its peculiar
marriage regulations than by the exodus of refugees to
surrounding governments. Both boys and girls are
formed into regiments, and are not allowed to marry
without special leave from the king, or until the
regiments to which they belong are fortunate enough to

Q 2


receive his dispensation. Caprice or state reasons
occasionally delay this permission, and it sometimes
happens that years pass before it is given. Contraven-
tion of these regulations is visited by the severest

The history of the case which we are now considering
may be given in the following extracts :

On September 22nd, 1876, Mr. Osborn, resident
magistrate of Newcastle, writes: “The Zulu king lately
granted permission to two regiments of middle-aged men
to marry. These were, however, rejected by the girls, on
the ground that the men were too old ; upon which the
king ordered that those girls who refused to marry the
soldiers were to be put to death. Several girls were
killed in consequence, some fled into the colony, others
into the Transvaal Eepublic, and on October 9th,
Government messengers report (1748, p. 198) :

” We heard that the king was causing some of the
Zulus to be killed on account of disobeying his orders

* Two Zulu prisoners, captured while on a peaceful errand, just
before the commencement of hostilities, and who were permitted to
reside at Eishopstowe when released from gaol, until they could safely
return home, were questioned concerning these regulations, and said
that they applied only to those who voluntarily joined the regiments,
concerning which there was no compulsion at all, beyond the moral
effect produced by the fact that it was looked upon, by the young
people themselves, as rather a poor thing to do to decline joining.
Once joined, however, they were obliged to obey orders unhesitatingly.
These young men said that in the coast, and outlying districts, there
were large numbers of people who had retained their liberty and
married as they pleased, but that strict loyalty was the fashion nearer
the court. It was in these very coast districts that the Zulus
surrendered during the late war, the loyal inhabitants proving their
loyalty to the bitter end.


respecting the marriage of girls, and we saw large
numbers of cattle which had been taken as fines.
Otherwise the land was quiet.”

As far as the most careful investigations could dis-
cover, the number killed was not more than four or five,
while the two Zulus already quoted said that, although
they had heard of the matter, they did not know of a
single instance; and as these young men themselves
belonged to one of the regiments, it can hardly be sup-
posed that any great slaughter could have taken place
unknown to them.

At the time, however, report as usual greatly
exaggerated the circumstances, and Sir Henry Bulwer
speaks (1748, p. 198) of “numbers of girls and young
men” and ” large numbers of girls and others connected
with them” as having been killed.

He sent a message to Cetshwayo on the subject,
which in itself was a temperate and very proper one for
an English governor to send, in the hope of checking
such cruelty in future, and was not unnaturally some-
what surprised at receiving an answer from the usually
courteous and respectful king, which showed plainly
enough that he was highly irritated and resented the
interference with his management of his people. Sir
Henry had reminded him of what had passed at his
coronation, and Cetshwayo replies that if Somtseu (Sir
T. Shepstone) had told the white people that he (the
king) had promised never to kill, Somtseu had deceived
them. ” I have yet to kill,” he says. He objects to
being dictated to about his laws, and says that while
wishing to be friends with the English, he does not


intend to govern his people by laws sent to him by
them. He remarks, in a somewhat threatening way,
that in future he shall act on his own account, and that
if the English interfere with him, he will go away and
become a wanderer, but not without first showing what
he can do if he chooses. Finally he points out that he
and the Governor of Natal are in like positions/”‘ one
being governor of Natal, the other of Zululand.

It is plain that this reply, as reported by the Govern-
ment messengers, produced a strong effect on Sir H.
Bulwer’s mind, and considerably affected his feeling
towards the king, though, as already stated, he never
brought it, at the time or afterwards, to the notice of
Cetshwayo, and has since exchanged friendly messages
with him. And no doubt the reply was petulant and
wanting in due respect, though a dash of arrogance was
added to it by the interpreter’s use of the expression
“we are equal,” instead of “we are in like positiors”
each towards our own people. But that the formid-
able words “I have yet to kill,” ” I shall now act on my
own account,” meant nothing more than the mere irrita-
tion of the moment is plain from the fact that he never
made the slightest attempt to carry them out, though
recent events have taught us what he might have done
had he chosen to ff act on his own account.”

The tone of the reply would probably have been very
different had it been brought by Cetshwayo’s own
messengers. By an unfortunate mistake on the part of
the Natal Government, one of the messengers sent was a
Zulu refugee of the party of Umbulazi and Umkungo,

* ” We are equal/’ said the interpreter ; but the expression used is
more correctly translated as above.


between whom and the king there was deadly hostility,
which had lately been intensified by the insulting
manner in which Umkungo’s people had received
Cetshwayo’s messengers, sent in a friendly spirit to
inform them of King Umpande’s death. The very
presence of this man, bringing a reproof from the
Government of Natal, would naturally be resented by
the Zulu king, who had already declined communications
from the Transvaal sent through refugee subjects of his
own (Sir Henry Bulwer 1748, p. 10); and was now
obliged to receive with courtesy, and listen to words of
remonstrance from, one of these very refugees who had
fled to Natal, and, under Zulu law, was liable to be put
to death as a traitor, when he made his appearance in
Zululand. The king’s words, exhibiting the irritation of
the moment, whatever they may have been, would lose
nothing of their fierceness and bitterness by being
conveyed through such a medium.

We do not wish to defend such practices as those of
forcing girls into distasteful marriages, or putting them
to death for disobedience in that respect. But we
must remember that, after all, the king, in ordering
these executions, was enforcing, not a new law laid
down by himself, but “an old custom” (1748, p. 198).
From his point of view the exercise of such severity
was as necessary to maintaining his authority as the
decimation of a regiment for mutiny might appear
to a commander, or the slaughter of hundreds of
Langalibalele’s people, hiding in caves or running
away, which we have already described, appeared to
Sir B. Pine and Sir T. Shepstone in 1873-74.

The king himself gave an illustration of his diffi-


culties in a message sent to Sir H. Bulwer early in
1878 (2079, p. 96). He reported to His Excellency
that two of his regiments had had a fight, and many
of his men had been killed, at which he was much
annoyed. He reports this to show His Excellency that,
although he warned them that he would severely
punish any regiment that caused any disturbance at
the Umkosi, he cannot rule them without sometimes
killing them, especially as they know they can run
to Natal.

We have now considered in turn every accusation
brought against the Zulu king up to the end of 1878,
when Sir Bartle Frere delivered his ultimatum, which
he had said beforehand would put an end to our
peaceful relations with our neighbours. We venture
to assert that, with the exception of the last, every one
of these accusations is distinctly refuted on evidence
gathered from official sources. Of that last, we would
observe, that, although it cannot be entirely denied,
the fault has been greatly exaggerated; while that
part of it which referred to the sole instance of a hasty
reply to the Natal Government, has been condoned by
two years’ friendly relations since the offence, before
it was raked up by Sir Bartle Frere as an additional
pretext for the war. And, at all events, had Cetshwayo’s
severity to his people been a hundred times greater than
it ever was, he could not in a lifetime have produced the
misery which this one year’s campaign has wrought.

Yet these accusations were the sole pretexts for the
war, except that fear of the proximity of a nation strong
enough and warlike enough to injure us, if it wished to


do so, which Sir Bartle Frere declared made it impossible
for peaceful subjects of Her Majesty to feel security for
life or property within fifty miles of the border, and
made the existence of a peaceful English community in
the neighbourhood impossible.”‘” He speaks in the same
despatch (2269, pp. 1, 2) of the king as “an irre-
sponsible, bloodthirsty, and treacherous despot,” which
terms, and others like them, do duty again and again
for solid facts, but of the justice of which he gives no
proof whatever. We cannot do better than give, in
conclusion, and as a comment upon the above fear, a
quotation from Lord Blachford’s speech in the House of
Lords, March 26th, 1879, which runs :

” Some people assumed that the growth of the Zulu
power in the neighbourhood of a British colony consti-
tuted such a danger that, in a common phrase, it had to
be got rid of, and that, when a thing had to be done, it
was idle and inconvenient to examine too closely into
the pretexts which were set up. And this was summed
up in a phrase which is used more than once by the
High Commissioner, and had obtained currency in what
he might call the light literature of politics. We might
be told to obey our c instincts of self-preservation/ No
doubt the instinct of self-preservation was one of the
most necessary of our instincts. But it was one of those
which we had in common with the lowest brute one of
those which we are most frequently called on to keep

* The natives of Natal, ” peaceful subjects of Her Majesty,” were
living in perfect security on one side of the border, and the Zulus on
the other, the two populations intermarrying and mingling in the most
friendly manner, without the smallest apprehension of injury to life
or property, when Sir B. Frere landed at Durban.


in order. It was in obedience to the ‘ instinct of self-
preservation that a coward ran away in battle, that a
burglar murdered a policeman, or, what was more to our
present purpose, that a nervous woman jumped out of a
carriage lest she should be upset ; or that one man in a
fright fired at another who, he thought, meant to do him
an injury, though he had not yet shown any sign of an
intention of doing so. The soldiers who went down in
the Birkenhead what should we have thought of them
if, instead of standing in their ranks to be drowned, they
had pushed the women and children into the hold and
saved themselves ? A reasonable determination to do
that which our safety requires, so far as it is consistent
with our duty to others, is the duty and interest of
every man. To evade an appeal to the claims of reason
and justice, by a clamorous allegation of our animal
instinct, is to abdicate our privileges as men, and to
revert to brutality.”



ON December llth the boundary award was delivered
to the Zulus by four gentlemen selected for the purpose,
who, by previous arrangement, met the king’s envoys
at the Lower Tugela Drift. The award itself, as we
already know, was in favour of the Zulus ; nevertheless
it is impossible to read the terms in which it was given
without feeling that it was reluctantly done. It is fenced
in with warnings to the Zulus against transgressing the
limits assigned to them, without a word assuring them
that their rights also shall in future be respected ; and,
while touching on Zulu aggressions on Boers in
the late disputed territory, it says nothing of those
committed by Boers.

But perhaps the most remarkable phrase in the
whole award is that in which Sir Bartle Frere gives the
Zulus to understand that they will have to pay the com-
pensation due to the ejected Transvaal farmers, while
he entirely ignores all that can be said on the other


side of injuries to property and person inflicted on
Zulus in the disputed territory (of which, the Blue-books
contain ample proof), not to speak of the rights and
advantages so long withheld from them, and now
decided to be their due.

Sir Henry Bulwer plainly took a very different view
on this point when he summed up the judgment of the
Commissioners (2220, p. 388), and added as follows :
” I would venture to suggest that it is a fair matter
for consideration if those Transvaal subjects, who have
been induced . . . under the sanction, expressed or
tacit, of the Government of the Eepublic, to settle and
remain in that portion of the country, have not a
claim for compensation from their Government for the
individual losses they may sustain.”

Sir Bartle Frere, starting with phrases which might
be supposed to agree with the above, gradually and
ingeniously shifts his ground through propositions for
compensation to be paid to farmers ” required or obliged
to leave ” (omitting the detail of ivlio is to pay], and
then for compensation to be paid to farmers wishing to
remove, until he finally arrives, by a process peculiarly
his own, at a measure intended to ” secure private rights
of property,” which eventually blossomed out into a
scheme for maintaining, in spite of the award, the Boer
farmers on the land claimed by them, which we shall
presently relate in full. Although nothing appeared in
the award itself on this point, the whole tone of it was
calculated to take the edge off the pleasure which the
justice done them at last would naturally give the Zulus,
and it was promptly followed up by an ” ultimatum ”


from the High Commissioner calculated to absorb their
whole attention.

This ” ultimatum” contained the following thirteen
demands, and was delivered on the same day with the
award, an hour later :

1. Surrender of Sihayo’s three sons and brother to be tried by the
Natal courts.

2. Payment of a fine of five hundred head of cattle for the
outrages committed by the above, and for Ketshwayo’s delay in
complying with the request (KB., not demand) of the Natal Govern-
ment for the surrender of the offenders.

3. Payment of a hundred head of cattle for the offence committed
against Messrs. Smith and Deighton (KB., twenty days were allowed
for compliance with the above demands, i.e. until December 31st,

4. Surrender of the Swazi chief Umbilini, and others to be named
hereafter, to be tried by the Transvaal courts (N.B., no time was
fixed for compliance with this demand).

5. Observance of the coronation ” promises.”

6. That the Zulu army be disbanded, and the men allowed to
go home.

7. That the Zulu military system be discontinued, and other
military regulations adopted, to be decided upon after consultation
with the Great Council and British ^Representatives.

8. That every man, when he comes to man’s estate, shall be free
to marry.

9. All missionaries and their converts, who until 1877 lived in
Zululand, shall be allowed to return and reoccupy their stations.

10. All such missionaries shall be allowed to teach, and any Zulu,
if he chooses, shall be free to listen to their teaching.*

11. A British Agent shall be allowed to reside in Zululand, who
will see that the above provisions are carried out.

1 2. All disputes in which a missionary or European (e.g. trader or

* Compare with 9 and 10 the distinct instructions on this point
given by Lord Carnarvon during the previous year (1961, p. GO):
” I request, therefore, that you will cause the missionaries to under-
stand distinctly that Her Majesty’s Government cannot undertake to
compel the king to permit the maintenance of the mission stations in
Zululand.” Yet here the clause is made one of the conditions of
an ultimatum, the alternative of which is war.


traveller) is concerned, shall be heard by the king in public, and in
presence of the Resident.

13. No sentence of expulsion from Zululand shall be carried out
until it has been approved by the Resident.

N.B. Ten days more were allowed for compliance with the above
demands (4-13).

The Natal Colonist, August 21st, 1879, condenses
the opinions of Sir B. Pine upon the ultimatum from
his article in “The Contemporary Keview,” June, 1879
* thus :

” He thinks the depriving Messrs. Smith and
Deighton of their handkerchiefs and pipes hardly a
matter deserving of a place in such a document ; that
the Sihayo and Umbilini affairs were more serious, but
that ‘ full reparation …. might have been obtained by
friendly negotiations/ He does not attach to the
promises alleged to have been made by Cetshwayo ‘ the
force of a treaty which we were bound to see executed.’
And while approving of a British Eesident being placed
in the Zulu country, he frankly recalls the fact that
‘ Cetshwayo has himself, on more than one occasion,
requested such an arrangement.’ ‘ At the same time/
he adds, f I think that the powers proposed to be invested
in this officer are more than are necessary or expedient,
and I would especially refer to those relating to the
protection of missionaries. Christianity ought not to be
enforced at the point of the sword.’ In reference to
Cetshwayo’s alleged coronation promises, we may note
in passing that Sir B. Pine is careful to point out that
one chief reason for his sanctioning that expedition was
‘ out of deference to Mr. Shepstone’s judgment ; ‘ and
that it was expressly stipulated by the High Com-
missioner that no British troops should accompany


Mr. Shepstone, ‘so that Her Majesty’s Government
might not be compromised in the matter.’ With such
a stipulation it is amazing that anyone should still
contend that Cetshwayo entered into engagements so
solemn as to call for invasion of his country to punish
the breach of them.”

And the Special Correspondent of The Cape Argus
writes : ” As regards the alleged coronation engagements,
Dunn affirms that no undertaking was made by, or even
asked from, Cetshwayo. In the act of coronation, Mr. (now
Sir T.) Shepstone gave to the king a piece of paternal
counsel, and the conditions were in reality nothing more
than recommendations urged upon his acceptance by the
Special Commissioner.

” Lord Kimberley, who was Secretary of State for the
Colonies at the time of Sir T. Shepstone’s installation
of Cetshwayo, spoke upon this subject in the House of
Lords;” which The Daily News, March 26th, 1879,
reports as follows :

” With respect to the so-called coronation promises,
nothing had more astonished him in these papers than
to learn that these promises were supposed to constitute
an engagement between us and the Zulu nation. He
happened to have had some concern in that matter ; and
if he had supposed that Sir T. Shepstone, in asking
for these promises from Cetshwayo, had rendered us
responsible to the Zulu nation to see that they were
enforced, he would not have lost a mail in disavowing
any such responsibility. He was supported in the view
which he took by the late Colonial Secretary (Lord
Carnarvon). The fact was that these were friendly
assurances, given in response to friendly advice, and


constituted no engagement. But Sir B. Frere put these
/ coronation promises ‘ in the foreground.” Sir M.
Hicks-Beach, also, says (2144, p. 1) : ” It is obvious
that the position of Sir T. Shepstone in this matter
was that of a friendly counsellor, giving advice to the
king as to the good government of the country.”

The demands which we have recorded were delivered
to the Zulu envoys, who were not allowed to discuss or
comment upon them, on the ground that the Commission
had no authority for that purpose. The envoys, indeed,
appeared seriously concerned by their import. They
denied that the coronation stipulations had ever been
disregarded, and said that they could not understand
why the Zulu army should be disbanded ; the army was
a national custom with them as with the English.
They also asked for an extension of time, and considered
that on such important matters no specified time should
have been fixed ; the reply to which request was that
the time was considered ample.

Sir B. Frere, in his covering despatch to the
Secretary of State, remarks that the ” enclosed extracts
from demi-official letters,” from the Hon. Mr. Brownlee
and the Hon. Mr. Littleton, ” give an outline of the
proceedings, and show that the messages were carefully
delivered, well explained, and thoroughly understood,
copies of the English text with Zulu translations being
given to the Zulu envoys.” On turning to “the enclosed
extracts,” however, we do not find in them a single
word of the sort from either gentleman, while the
extract from Mr. Littleton’s letter consists of not a
dozen lines describing the spot where the meeting took


place, and in which the writer’s opinions are limited to
these : ” they (the Zulus) seemed to take the award
very quietly,” but ” were evidently disturbed ” by the
ultimatum, and “Mr. Shepstone seemed to me to
manage very well.” The young gentleman could not
well say any more, as he did not know a word of
Zulu ; but one is puzzled to know how Sir B. Frere
draws his deductions from either extract. How far the
opinions of the other honourable gentleman are to be
depended upon, may be gathered from the following asser-
tion made by him some months after the Boundary Com-
missioners had deliberately decided that the Boers had no
claim whatever to the disputed territory, but that it would
be expedient to allow them to retain the Utrecht district.

” The falsehood of the Zulu king with regard to the
Utrecht land question,” says Mr. Brownlee, “is quite
on a par with his other actions. After misleading the
Natal Government upon the merits of the case, it is
now discovered on the clearest and most incontrovertible
proof* that a formal cession was made of this disputed
land to the Transvaal Eepublic.”

The special correspondent of The Cape Argus,
however, writes about this time as follows : ” Dunn
states that Cetshwayo does not, even now, know fully
the contents of the ultimatum, and still less of the subse-
quent memorandum^ The document was read over once,

* Sir T. Shepstone’s incontrovertible, overwhelming, and clear
evidence, sifted and proved worthless by the Commissioners.

f Sir Bartle Frere declares (Correspondence, p. 57) that Cetshwayo
” could have known nothing of the memorandum,” although (Hid.
p. 6) ho himself asserts that ” it was intended to explain for Cetsh-
wayo’s benefit what was the nature of the cession to him,” and it was
plainly very generally known, and therefore naturally by the king.


and its length was such (2222, pp. 203-9) six pages
of the Blue-book that the messengers could not possibly
fix the whole of it in their memory.” True, a copy
was given to Dunn himself ; but, for sufficient reasons of
his own, he did not make known the contents of the
document in person, but sent word to the king by his
own messengers, between whom and the indunas there
was a considerable discrepancy. According to Dunn,
Cetshwayo was in a great fury upon hearing the word of
the High Commissioner (? as to the maintenance of Boer
” private rights ” over his land) . He reproached his
adviser with having thwarted his purpose to exact satis-
faction at the hands of the Dutch, and doubly blamed
him for having represented the English as just in their
intercourse and friendly in their intentions. Until this
time he had thought, as Dunn himself had, that the
congregation of troops upon his borders represented
nothing but an idle scare. But he saw at length that
the English had thrown the bullock’s skin over his
head, while they had been devouring the tid-bits of the

The three causes alleged in the ultimatum for war
the raid of Sihayo’s sons, the assault on Messrs. Smith
and Deighton, and the proceedings of Umbilini
occurred long after Sir B. Frere had been preparing for
war, in the full expectation that the Border Commission
would decide against the Zulu claims, and that Cetshwayo
would not acquiesce peacefully in such a decision. It would
seem, indeed, from his remarks on the subject (Corre-
spondence, Letters n. and iv,), that he would have even
set aside the decision of the Commissioners, if he had


found it possible to do so. Although, he failed in doing
this, he sought to attain practically the same end by
means of a remarkable ” memorandum,” prepared and
signed by himself not submitted to Sir Henry Bulwer,
but “prematurely ” published in the Natal newspapers.

The memorandum in question was on the appoint-
ment of a Kesident in Zululand, and, as Sir Bartle Frere
himself says, ” it was intended to explain for Cetshwayo’s
benefit what was the nature of the cession to him of the
ceded territory,” and it contained the following clause :
<c It is intended that in that district (the late disputed
territory) individual rights of property, which were
obtained under the Transvaal Government, shall be
respected and maintained, so that any Transvaal farmers,
who obtained rights from the Government of the
Eepublic, and who may now elect to remain on the
territory, may possess under British guarantee the same
rights they would have possessed had they been
grantees holding from the Zulu king under the guarantee
of the great Zulu council.”

The whole of the disputed territory had been ap-
portioned in farms to Transvaal subjects, and without
doubt every one of these farms would immediately be
claimed, since their value would be immensely raised by
the fact that in future they would be held ” under
British guarantee.” Therefore, to thus maintain the
farmers upon them without regard to the wishes of the
Zulu king and nation was simply to take away piece-
meal with one hand what had just been given as a whole
with the other.

This “memorandum” was hailed with triumph by

R 2


some of the colonial papers, and the news that, after all,
the Zulus were to get no solid satisfaction from the
award, soon circulated amongst all classes, not excluding
the Zulus themselves.

. It was upon this subject that the ” Correspondence ”
between Sir Bartle Frere and the Bishop of Natal, already
referred to, commenced. In December, 1878, the High
Commissioner was good enough to invite the Bishop,
both by message and personally, to “criticise” his policy
towards the Zulus. The invitation, indeed, came far
too late for any arguments or information, which the
Bishop might be able to afford, to be of the very slightest
use. However, the High Commissioner desired criticism,
and received it in a series of letters, which except the
last two, withheld for some reason best known to
himself were published, with Sir B. Frere’s replies, in
the Blue-books.

The Bishop pointed out that, under the interpretation
of this memorandum, “the award gives back the land in
name only to the Zulus, whereas in reality Ketshwayo will
have no control over it ; he will not be able to exercise
authority over his own people living on it, without
coming into collision immediately with their Boer
masters, who would fiercely resent any intrusion on his
part on their farms ; he will not be able to send any of
his people to live on it, or any of his cattle to graze on
it, or even to assign places in it to such of his people
as may elect to move from the Boer to the Zulu side of
the new boundary.”” To which Sir Bartle replies, that
he had ” a strong impression t that, if Cetshwayo were
* Correspondence, p. 3. t Ibid. p. 6.


simply told the disputed land was assigned to him, he
would at once conclude that it was his in full Zulu
sovereign ty;” which he assumed to be impossible with
regard to any land which had once been under the British
flag, while to eject a settler who had bought the land
from the Transvaal Government, in the belief that it
could maintain him upon it, he regarded as an ” unjust
and immoral act.” In point of fact, the land in question
could only have been looked upon as “under the British
flag,” in trust for the rightful possessors, and the farmers
had settled upon it in the full knowledge that the title to
it was in dispute; while, even had it been otherwise as to
the latter point, the only just claim that could be raised
would be against the Boer Government, or its repre-
sentative, and certainly not against the right of the Zulu
people to be restored to actual occupation of the land.

But that from the first, and long before he left
Capetown for Natal, the High Commissioner was pre-
paring for war with the Zulus, is evident from his
despatch and telegram of January 26th, 1878 (quoted
from at page 1 79), in the former of which he speaks of
the delay caused by the border inquiry being no dis_
advantage, as, besides other reasons, it “will increase
our means of defending whatever we may find to be our
unquestionable rights ; ” and in the latter he says again :
” I hope the delay caused will not be great, and what-
ever there is will have compensating advantages, for I
have some hopes of being able to strengthen your

These phrases, indeed, might merely refer to Sir
Bartle Frere’s desire to be ” ready to defend ourselves


against further aggressions;” but certain statements made
by Commodore Sullivan show that he had already in
view the invasion of Zululand.

Extracts from these statements run as follows :

” I am informed by the Governor (Sir B. Frere) that
there is every chance of hostility in the debateable land
between the Transvaal, Zululand, and Natal.” December
16th, 1877 (2000, p. 45).

” His Excellency (Sir B. Frere) pointed out to me
that, as it appeared almost certain that serious com-
plications must shortly arise with the Zulu tribe of
Kafirs on the borders of Natal and the Transvaal, which
will necessitate active operations, he considered it better
that the Active should remain here, in order to render
such assistance by sea and land as maybe practicable. “-
April 12th, 1878 (2144, p. 32).

“The object of my visit here was … .to make
myself acquainted with such points on the (Zulu) coast
as might be available for co-operating with Her
Majesty’s land forces by landing troops or stores.*

” It had been my intention (abandoned by Sir H.
Bulwer’s desire) to have examined the north of the
Tugela River both by land and sea, also a reported
landing-place situated almost thirty miles eastward of
the Tugela by sea.”

The High Commissioner was plainly determined not
to allow the Zulus the slightest law, which, indeed, was
wise in the interests of war, as there was considerable

* Compare with Sir Eartle Frere’s suggestion to Sir Henry Bul\ver
that the latter should persuade the Zulu king that the Active and
her fellows were mostly merchant vessels, but that the English war-
vessels would be sufficient to protect Ids coast !


fear that, in spite of all grievances and vexations,
Cetshwayo, knowing full well, as he certainly did, that
collision with the English must eventually result in his
destruction, might prefer half a loaf to no bread, and
submit to our exactions with what grace he could. And
so probably he would ; for, from all accounts, every
effort was made by the king to collect the fines of cattle,
to propitiate the Government.

Sir Bartle Frere, accordingly, was very particular in
requesting Sir Henry Bulwer to give Cetshwayo notice
(C. 2222, p. 222) that ” rigid punctuality with regard
to time will be insisted on, and, unless observed, such
steps as may appear necessary will be immediately
taken to ensure compliance,” which Sir H. Bulwer noti-
fies to the Zulu king upon the same day, December
16th (C. 2308, p. 31).

Two days later Mr. John Dunn wrote to say that he
had received a message from the king (2222, p. 227),
requesting him ” to write and say that he agrees to the
demands of giving up Sihayo’s sons and brother, and
the fines of cattle ; but begs that, should the number of
days (twenty) have expired before the arrival of the
cattle, His Excellency will take no immediate action, as,
owing to the many heavy rains 4 ” we have had since the
meeting of His Excellency’s Commissioners and his
indunas, they have not been able to reach him yet ; and
Sihayo’s sons being at their kraals, which are some way
from him, it will take some days to send for them.”

” On the other demands he will give his answer on
consulting his indunas.”
* Our own troops’ experience showed that this was no idle excuse.


YetSirBartle Frere declares (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 136)
that Cetshwayo ” was resolved on war rather than on
compliance with any demand of ours.”

Bishop Schreuder’s opinion, reported through Mr.
Fannin on December 22nd (2308, p. 31), was that all
the demands would be agreed to except that of the dis-
bandment of the army and the abolition of the military
system. ” The king and nation will consider it a
humiliation, and a descent from their proud position as
independent Zulus to the lower and degrading position
of Natal Kafirs, to agree to this demand. I asked,”
says Mr. Fannin, ” if the announcement that the restric-
tion on marriage would be removed would not reconcile
the young men to the change. He (Bishop Schreuder)
thinks not ; they will stand by their king, and fight for
the old institutions of their country.”

The king’s request for some indulgence as to time
was peremptorily refused, and was looked upon as
” a pitiful evasion,” on the grounds that he had already
had four months to consider the question of Sihayo’s
sons. In point of fact, however, the first ” demand ”
had only been made a week before, and, until then, the
word “request” having been used, the king was at
liberty to offer atonement for the offence other than the
surrender of the offenders, as Sir Henry Bulwer himself
suggested (2222, p. 173), by paying a fine of five
thousand head of cattle from the Zulu nation.

Sir B. Frere’s answer to Cetshwayo through Mr.
Dunn (2222, p. 227) was, ” That the word of Government
as already given, cannot now be altered.

“Unless the prisoners and cattle are given up


within the term specified, Her Majesty’s troops will
advance. But in consideration of the disposition
expressed in Mr. Dunn’s letter to comply with the
demands of Government, the troops will be halted at
convenient posts within the Zulu border, and will there
await the expiration of the term of thirty days without,
in the meantime, taking any hostile action unless it is
provoked by the Zulus.”

And John Dunn adds on his own account (2308,
p. 34), that the king evidently does not attach sufficient
importance to the time stipulated. The cattle, he
said, “are still being collected, and it will be impossible
now for them to be up in time.” John Dunn in the
same letter put in a petition on behalf of his own
cattle and people, saying that the latter would be
willing to join in with any force should they be

Meanwhile, from accounts given by Mr. Fannin
(2308, pp. 35 and 37), by Mr. Kobson (2242, pp. 11, 12)
(2308, p. 35), by Mr. Fynney (2308, p. 36), and from
other sources, it is plain that Cetshwayo was doing
his utmost to collect the required cattle in time, though
hampered in doing so by the extreme difficulty of
complying in a hurry with the other demands implying
such radical changes in the administration of the
country, and exceedingly distressed at the turn affairs
were taking. Every report shows plainly enough that,
far from desiring war, and looking out for an opportunity
to try their strength with the English, the Zulu king
and people, or the major part of it, were thrown into
utmost consternation by the menacing appearance of


their hitherto friendly neighbours. But all explana-
tions were disregarded, all requests for time treated as
impudent pretexts, preparations on our part for an
invasion of Zululand were hurried on, while every sign
of agitation (the natural consequences of our own
attitude) on the other side of the border was con-
strued into an intention on the part of the Zulu king
to attack Natal, and urged as an added reason for
our beginning hostilities. There were, at that time,
no grounds whatsoever for this supposition. It is plain
enough that, when it became apparent that war would
be forced upon him by us, the Zulu king contemplated
nothing but self-defence, and that, during these pre-
liminaries to the unhappy campaign of 1879, there were
numerous occasions on which, by the exercise of a little
patience, justice, and moderation, any ruler less bent on
conquering Zululand than was Sir Bartle Frere could
have brought matters to a peaceful issue, without the
loss of honour, men, and money which England has
since sustained.

Lord Chelmsford (then Lieut. -General the Hon. F.
Thesiger) arrived in Natal in August, 1878, and at
once began his preparations for the expected campaign.
One of the measures upon which great stress was laid
was that of forming a native contingent to act with the
British troops, The original scheme for the organisation
of this contingent in case of necessity had been prepared
and carefully worked out by Colonel Durnford, K.E., and
was based on his thorough knowledge of the natives.
During the eight years of his life in South Africa he
had had ample opportunity of learning, by experience,


how utterly and mischievously useless was the plan,
hitherto invariably followed, of employing disorganised,
untrained bodies of natives as troops under their own
leaders, without any proper discipline or control. The
bravest men in the world would be apt to fail under
such circumstances ; while mere bands of untaught
savages, unaccustomed to fighting and half-armed, had
repeatedly proved themselves in former campaigns
excellent for running away, but otherwise useless
except as messengers, servants, and camp-followers.
Added to which there was no possibility of preventing
such ” troops ” as these committing every sort of lawless
violence upon the wounded or captured enemy.

Colonel Durnford’s scheme was intended to meet
both difficulties, and, when laid before the General on
his arrival in Natal, met with his unqualified approval
So much was he struck with it that he was at first
disposed to entrust the organisation and chief command
of the entire contingent to one who, by the ability and
completeness with which he had worked out the scheme,
proved himself the fittest person to carry it out, and
take command of the whole force. But the General
changed his mind, and decided to divide the native
contingent amongst the various columns, the details of
its distribution being as follows :

The 1st Eegiment Natal Native Contingent of three
battalions (Commandant Montgomery, Major Bengough,
and Captain Cherry), and five troops mounted natives
formed No. 2 Column, commanded by Lieut. -Colonel

The 2nd Eegiment Natal Native Contingent (two


battalions, under Major Graves) was attached to No. 1
Column, commanded by Colonel Pearson.

The 3rd Eegiment Natal Native Contingent (two
battalions, under Commandant Lonsdale) was attached
to No. 3 Column, commanded by Colonel Glyn, and
about two hundred Natal Native Contingent were
attached to No. 4 Column, commanded by Colonel

Each battalion of Native Contingent was to consist of
5 staff and 90 officers and non-commissioned officers
(white), and 110 officers and non-commissioned officers
and 900 privates (natives) ; the native non-commissioned
officer being armed with a gun, and being a section-
leader of 9 men armed with assegai and shield.

Lord Chelmsford speaks in various despatches
(C. 2234) of this Native Contingent in the following
terms :

” The Lieut. -Govern or, I am happy to say, has
acceded to the request I made some little time ago
for the services of six thousand Natal natives. I hope
to be in a position to equip and officer them very
shortly ” (p. 25).

” At the time of my arrival in the colony, three
months ago, these natives possessed no military
organisation, nor had any arms provided for them by

“The Natal Government have within the last
fourteen days allowed me to raise and organise seven
thousand natives for service within or without the
border” (p. 26).

” The arrival of these officers (special service officers


from England) has also enabled me to place Imperial
officers in command of some of the battalions of native
levies.” . . .

” The Natal Contingent consists of three regiments,
two of two battalions and one of three ” (p. 39).

” There are in addition five troops of mounted
natives and three companies of pioneers.” . . .

” The pioneers have been raised, officered, and
equipped under the orders of the Natal Government,
and are now placed at my disposal. The remainder
of the Contingent have been raised at the cost and under
the orders of the Imperial authorities ” (p. 40).

In none of his despatches is there mention of any
special officer in connection with this native force,
but the following officers were responsible for the
organisation of the various regiments : No. 1 Regiment

o o o

and mounted contingent, Lieut. -Colonel Durnford, R.E. ;
No. 2 Regiment, Major Graves ; No. 3 Regiment, Com-
mandant Lonsdale. Great difficulties appear to have
been thrown in the way of the proper equipment, etc.
of the native levies ; but by untiring effort and personal
determination, better arrangements for pay, clothing, and
discipline were made for (at all events, a portion of)
the levy than had been known amongst South African
troops. The indiscriminate appointment of officers
caused considerable trouble, illustrative of which we
may mention an anecdote. Men were repeatedly sent
to Lieut.-Colonel Durnford with orders from the military
secretary that they were to receive commissions, some
of these unfitted by disposition and education for the
duties required of them. A friend has lately furnished


an instance very much to the point. ” A young
fellow came one day to Colonel Durnford from Colonel
Crealock, who said he had served in the old colony,
and boasted that he knew how to make Kafirs fight.
6 How is that ? ‘ was the inquiry made. ‘ Oh ! ‘ replied
the youth, ‘just to get behind them with a sjambok
(i.e. whip) that’s the way to do it!’ ‘All right/
replied the Colonel quietly ; c I have just one piece of
advice to give you though make your will before you
start ! If you’re riot stabbed by your own men, you will
deserve it.”

How successful was the training of the men of the
2nd Column may be judged by the behaviour of
the “Natal Native Horse,” a body of mounted men
(Basuto, Edendale, and Zikali natives) who fought at
Isandhlwana ; and did right good service throughout
the campaign. * He also raised, equipped, and trained
the three companies of Native Pioneers, organising two
field-parks, and providing complete bridge equipment
for crossing the Tugela ; besides preparing, mainly from
his own personal observations (having been at Ulundi
in 1873, and in Zululand on many occasions), the map
of Zululand in universal use during the campaign, and
mentioned in despatches as “Durnford’s map.”

In reply to Sir Bartle Frere’s inquiries as to proposed
movements of troops up to Natal, Sir H. Bulwer writes,
July 18th, 1878, that in his opinion “it is desirable

* One of Colonel Durnford’s officers writes, January 26th, “that
he (the Colonel) had worked so hard at equipping this Native Con-
tingent, against much opposition, and took special pride in his
mounted men, three hundred men, that he called ‘ The Natal Native
Horse.’ ”


under the present circumstances, and pending the final
decision in the matter of the boundary dispute, to avoid
as much as possible any military demonstration, as liable
to be misunderstood and to be interpreted as showing
our intention to settle the question by force. The
delay, too, that has occurred since the sitting of the
Commission might be attributed by the Zulu king to
our desire to make preparations, and it might be
thought that we were playing false.” (P. P. [C. 2220]
p. 395).

And here we may appropriately refer to the opinion
expressed by the Home Government at a later date.

Sir M. Hicks-Beach writes to Sir B. Frere, 21st
November, 1878 : “I trust that …. Cetywayo may
have been informed that a decision regarding the
disputed boundary would speedily be communicated
to him. His complaint that the Lieut. -Govern or of
Natal ‘is hiding from him the answer that has come
from across the sea, about the land boundary question,
and is only making an excuse for taking time, so as to
surprise him/ is not altogether an unnatural one for a
native chief situated in his circumstances, who is neces ; –
sarily ignorant of much that has passed on this subject,
and of many of the causes to which the delay is attri-
butable. But it is a misunderstanding which it should
be the earnest endeavour of the Government to remove,
and I am confident that there is no need to impress
upon you the importance of losing no time in dealing
with this question or the beneficial effect which its
satisfactory settlement may be expected to have upon
the strained relations which you describe as now existing


between the colony of Natal and the Zulu nation.”-
(P. P. [C. 2220] p. 322).

We must now briefly run through the principal
points in despatches bearing on the question of
increasing the military strength in Natal.

Sir B. Frere, writing from Cape Town on September
10th, says : ” I have consulted General Thesiger on the
subject. He is very unwilling to ask for reinforcements
on the Natal border without the full concurrence of the
Government of that colony, and I understand that His
Excellency Sir H. Bulwer is specially anxious that
nothing should be done in Natal which could possibly
justify to the Zulu chief the belief that we were pre-
paring for active hostilities against him. I confess that,
as at present informed, I very imperfectly comprehend
the grounds on which the objections of His Excellency
the Lieut. – Governor, as I understand them, to
strengthening the Natal frontier are based.””” They will
doubtless be more fully explained when I have the
advantage of personal communication with him. In
the meantime I feel quite certain that the preservation
or speedy ‘restoration of peace will be rendered much
more certain if General Thesiger had two more battalions
of Her Majesty’s Army within his reach.” (P. P.
[C. 2220] pp. 282, 283).

On September 14th, referring to the above despatch,
Sir B. Frere says he has ” since received a telegraphic
communication from General Thesiger, in which he
expresses his views in regard to his military require-
ments in the event of hostilities breaking out with the
* These words deserve special remark.


Zulus.” The General asks for six more special duty
officers, and fifteen captains or subalterns for transport
duties. ” General Thesiger considers that an addition
of two regiments would be essential, and that the
presence of a cavalry regiment would be of enormous
advantage ” (ibid. p. 254).

From Durban, Sir B. Frere telegraphs on September
23rd to Sir M. Hicks-Beach : ” I find that the urgency
of supporting General Thesiger’s request is much greater
even than I supposed. I trust there will be no delay
in complying with his request to its fullest extent”
(ibid. p. 255).

There had been serious and disturbing reports of
a Zulu force being assembled on the Tugela River, for
the ostensible purpose of hunting, with reference to
which Sir H. Bulwer writes to Sir M. Hicks-Beach,
14th September, “on the subject of the gathering of
a Zulu force within a short distance of our border
across the Tugela. You will learn from these papers
that the gathering has broken up, and the Zulus
returned home” (ibid. p. 270).

Sir M. Hicks-Beach, on October 17th, replies to
Sir B. Frere’s despatches of 14th and 23rd September,
that ” arrangements will be made for the early des-
patch of some additional officers for special duty. Her
Majesty’s Government are, however, not prepared to
comply with the request for a reinforcement of troops.
All the information that has hitherto reached them with
respect to the position of affairs in Zululand appears
to them to justify a confident hope that, by the exercise
of prudence, and by meeting the Zulus in a spirit of


forbearance and reasonable compromise, it will be
possible to avert the very serious evil of a war with.
Cetywayo ; and they cannot but think that the forces
now at your disposal in South Africa, together with the
additional officers about to be sent, should suffice to
meet any other emergency that may arise, without a
further increase to the Imperial troops ” (ibid. p. 273).

On September 30th, Sir B. Frere writes from Pieter-
maritzburg : ” I regret that I find the position of affairs
in this colony far more critical even than I expected ;”
and, after a very exaggerated description of the state of
affairs, he says : ” An attempt of native tribes to com-
bine to resist the white man and drive him back has
been long foreseen. There can be no doubt that this
design is now in process of attempted execution ” (ibid.
pp. 278-82).

Of the truth of this startling assertion, let Sir H.
Bulwer’s despatches, as well as after-events, speak.

Enclosed in this despatch of Sir B. Frere is General
Thesiger’s memorandum on the military requirements,
and his sketch for a defensive scheme for Natal, for
which he requires ” 6000 natives, 600 mounted men,
6 guns, and 3 battalions of British infantry ; ” but he
remarks : ” I cannot, however, conceal from myself that
security from invasion depends almost entirely upon the
forbearance of Cetywayo;” and says, “for defensive
purposes alone, therefore, Natal and Transvaal colonies
require 3 battalions of infantry in addition to what
they have already got” (ibid. pp. 285, 286).

In reply, Sir M. Hicks-Beach writes, 21st November :
” The several circumstances which you have reported as


tending to cause an open rupture do not appear, in
themselves, to present any difficulties which are not
capable of a peaceful solution. . . . On a full review,
therefore, of all the circumstances reported by you, and
influenced by the strong representations made by Lord
Chelmsford as to the insufficiency of his present force
to ensure the safety of the European residents in Natal
and the Transvaal, Her Majesty’s Government have felt
themselves justified in directing that further reinforce-
ments of troops, as well as the additional officers recently
placed under orders for special service, should be sent
out to Natal, and the necessary steps will at once be
taken for this purpose. But in conveying to you the
decision at which, in compliance with your urgent
representations, Her Majesty’s Government have arrived,
it is my duty to impress upon you that in supplying
these reinforcements it is the desire of Her Majesty’s
Government not to furnish means for a campaign of
invasion and conquest, but to afford such protection as
may be necessary at this juncture to the lives and
property of the colonists. Though the present aspect of
affairs is menacing in a high degree, I can by no means
arrive at the conclusion that war with the Zulus should
be unavoidable, and I am confident that you, in concert
with Sir H. Bulwer, will use every effort to overcome
the existing difficulties by judgment and forbearance,
and to avoid an evil so much to be deprecated as a Zulu
war” (ibid. pp. 320, 321).

On November llth, the Lieut. -General says that he
has just been permitted by the Natal Government to
raise and organise 7000 natives, and ventures “to

s 2


express an opinion that the demand for two extra
battalions cannot be considered unreasonable even for
purely defensive purposes ; ” but he goes on to say : ” a
defensive plan, however, cannot be considered as satis-
factory unless there is the possibility of taking the
offensive at the right moment. This I am doing my
best to prepare for; and, so soon as my native contingent
is mobilised, I shall be ready, so far as my limited
means will allow, to enter Zululand, should such a
measure become necessary.” (P. P. [C. 2222] p. 19).

On December 18th, Sir M. Hicks-Beach says: “I
take this occasion, however, of reminding you that it is
the desire of Her Majesty’s Government, in sending
these reinforcements, to assist the local Government as
far as possible in providing for the protection of the
settlers in the present emergency, and not to furnish the
means for any aggressive operations not directly con-
nected with the defence of Her Majesty’s possessions and
subjects” (ibid. p. 21).

On December 2nd, Sir B. Frere forwards copies of
memoranda by Sir T. Shepstone and Mr. Brownlee, in
which the former proposes measures which ” involve the
extinction of the Zulu power as it now is, and the
attempt to adopt them must, if decided upon, be made
with the knowledge that the Zulu chief will oppose
them, whatever course the headmen and common people
may adopt” (ibid. p. 134).

Mr. Brownlee says plainly : ” The time has arrived
for decisive action ; we will never again have so favour-
able an opportunity as the present ; if it is lost, sooner or
later we will be taken at a disadvantage ” (ibid. p. 138).


On December 10th, Sir B. Frere writes to Sir M.
Hicks-Beach : ” The chance of avoiding war under such
circumstances by any exercise of prudence, or by meet-
ing the Zulus in a spirit of forbearance or reasonable
compromise, may depend upon ourselves or upon the
Zulus, or upon the nature of the issues pending between
us. … Can we then rest on an armed truce ? . . .
After the most anxious consideration, I can arrive at no
other conclusion than that it is impossible to evade the
necessity for now settling this Zulu question thoroughly
and finally …. there is clearly no possibility of now
evading bringing matters to an issue with the Zulus”
(ibid. pp. 183-85).

On the 23rd January, 1879, Sir M. Hicks-Beach
acknowledges the receipt of Sir B. Frere’s despatches
containing ” the demands with which Cetywayo has been
called upon to comply, together with your own descrip-
tions of the situation with which you have to deal, as well
as other very important memoranda by Sir H. Bulwer,
Sir T. Shepstone, and Mr. Brownlee,” and says, ” I may
observe that the communications which had previously
been received from you had not entirely prepared them”
(Her Majesty’s Government) “for the course which you
have deemed it necessary to take. The representations
made by Lord Chelmsford and yourself last autumn as to
the urgent need of strengthening Her Majesty’s forces
in South Africa were based upon the imminent danger of
an invasion of Natal by the Zulus, and the inadequate
means at that time at your disposal for meeting it. In
order to afford protection to the lives and property of the
colonists, the reinforcements asked for were supplied,


and, in informing you of the decision of Her Majesty’s
Government, I took the opportunity of impressing upon
you the importance of using every effort to avoid war.
But the terms which you have dictated to the Zulu
king, however necessary to relieve the colony in future
from an impending and increasing danger, are evidently
such as he may not improbably refuse, even at the risk
of war ; and I regret that the necessity for immediate
action should have appeared to you so imperative as to
preclude you from incurring the delay which would have
been involved in consulting Her Majesty’s Government
upon a subject of so much importance as the terms which
Cetywayo should be required to accept before those
terms were actually presented to the Zulu king ” (ibid.
pp. 187, 188).

The preliminary arrangements for the campaign were
the formation of four columns, with sufficient transport,
etc. to enter Zululand at different points, and concentrate
on Ulundi.

No. 1 Column, Colonel Pearson, to assemble on the
Lower Tugela, garrison Fort Pearson, and cross and
encamp on the Zulu side, under the protection of the
guns of the fort.

This Column at first was composed of 2 guns Eoyal
Artillery, 1 company Eoyal Engineers, 2nd Battalion
“The Buffs,” 99th Regiment, Naval Brigade (2 guns
and 1 Gatling), 1 squadron Mounted Infantry, about 200
Natal Volunteers, 2nd Eegiment Natal Native Contingent
(2 battalions), and 1 company Natal Native Pioneers.

No. 2 Column, Lieut. -Colonel Durnford, E.E., to
cover the Tugela, and co-operate with Colonel Pearson,


was almost entirely composed of natives. Its strength,
a rocket battery, 1st Eegiment (3 battalions) Natal Native
Contingent, 315 “Natal Native Horse,” and 1 company
Natal Native Pioneers.

No. 3 Column, Colonel Glyn, C.B., to cross at Eorke’s
Drift, when the time granted the Zulu king had expired.
” On the advance being ordered,” it would ” require
two days for this column to reach a good military
position ; ” and it was to keep up communications ” with
the columns on the left and right.” Strength of column,
6 guns Eoyal Artillery, 1 squadron Mounted Infantry,
l-24th Eegiment, 2-24th Eegiment, about 200 Natal
Volunteers, 150 Mounted Police, and 3rd Eegiment (2nd
Battalion) Natal Native Contingent, also one company
Natal Native Pioneers. A company of Eoyal Engineers
was ordered to join this column.

No. 4 Column, Colonel Wood, V.C., C.B., to advance
to the Blood Eiver. Strength, 6 guns Eoyal Artillery,
1-1 3th Eegiment, 90th Eegiment, Frontier Light Horse,
some 200 Native Contingent ; and a small Dutch force
was expected to join this column.

A 5th Column (which had been operating against
Sekukuni) was under the command of Colonel Eowlands,
V.C., C.B., composed of the 80th Eegiment, three guns,
and mounted irregulars.

The strength of the columns is given as :

Imperial Native Conductors

and Con- and Waggons and Carts.

Colonial Troops, tingent. Drivers.

No. 1 Column .


” ))

1872 …

2256 …


… 266 (144 hired)

5 …

3488 …


… 30

1747 …

2566 …


… 233 ( 82 )

1843 …

387 …


… 102 ( 21 )

1202 …

338 …


… 62 ( 50 )


Forming a grand total of

Imperial Native

and Con- Conductors, etc. Waggons, etc.

Colonial Troops, tingent.

6669 … 9035 … 802 … 693 (of which 297 were hired)

with about 1200 horses belonging to cavalry, etc., and
691 horses, 361 mules, and 5231 oxen. In addition,
there were the conductors, drivers, etc., and 4572 oxen
of the hired waggons.

The columns to operate on the following bases and
lines :

No. 1. Durban Lower Tugela.

2. Pietermaritzburg, Greytown Middle Drift (Tugela).
3. Ladysmith Korke’s Drift (Buffalo Kiver).
4. Newcastle Utrecht Blood River.
5. Middleburg Derby Pongolo River.

Ulundi being the objective point of the force.

In place of any urgent necessity for commencing the
war, putting political questions on one side, there were
strong military reasons for postponing it.

Sir Bartle Frere, in his despatch of 30th June, 1879
(P. P. [C. 2454] p. 137), seeks to prove that the time of
moving across the border was “well chosen,” and
accorded with information received, yet the fact remains
that advice was given that the most favourable time for
military operations in Zululand was between the periods
of summer rains and winter grass-fires i.e. the months
of March, April, and May. In spite of Sir Bartle
Frere’s pleas, we must hold that no competent ” military
critic ” would recommend invading an enemy’s country
during the rainy season, when rivers are in flood, plains
in many cases marshes, and roads almost impassable ;


especially if the invading forces were required to move
with a ponderous waggon-train.

Lord Chelmsford himself proves the case : he writes
(January 12th) on the day after crossing the border :
” The country is in a terrible state from the rain, and I
do not know how we shall manage to get our waggons
across the valley near Sirayo’s kraals.” (P. P. [C. 2242]
p. 43).

And again on January 14th, from the headquarter
camp, Zululand, near Eorke’s Drift, he writes : ” Between
this camp and Greytown alone, a distance of some
seventy miles, three rivers are now impassable, and
waggons have to cross by ferries, a laborious opera-
tion requiring more skilled labour than we at present
have available.

” The road at various points requires the most
constant supervision, and in some parts the heavy rain
frequently dislodges huge boulders from the hill-sides
overhanging the roadway, and in many places water-
courses become torrents after an hour’s rain.

” Beyond this camp towards the Izipezi Hill (my
first objective point) the road will require great labour
to make it passable ; but strong working-parties have
already been at work. The transport difficulties are
augmented by the great mortality in oxen ; this is
inevitable, but it will probably decrease in a few weeks’
time ” (ibid. p. 47).

It is believed that the first project of operations was
to advance in three lines on Ulundi from the Lower
Tugela, Rorke’s Drift, and Blood River the columns to
move forward by short marches, entrenching strongly


at each halting -place, doing no injury to the Zulu
people, and thus inducing them to submit quietly.
This wise and consistent idea was unfortunately never
even attempted.

On the 8th January, 1879, Lord Chelmsford writes :
” All the reports which reach me tend to show that the
Zulus intend, if possible, to make raids into Natal* when
the several columns move forward. . . . The strength
of the three columns, Nos. 1, 3, and 4, is only just
sufficient to enable them to advance.” (P. P. [C. 2242]
p. 26).

The directions for the various columns were, briefly
No. 1. To cross the Tugela at Fort Pearson and
encamp on the Zulu side ; when ordered to advance, to
move on Etshowe, and there, or in its neighbourhood,
to form a depot, well entrenched.

No. 2. To form a portion of No. 1 Column, but act
separately, reporting to Colonel Pearson ; to remain on
the Middle Tugela frontier till an advance is ordered,
and Colonel Pearson has reached Etshowe.

The defence of the frontier was to rest with the
Colonial Government ; but on the 8th January the
General altered the instructions for No. 2 Column, and
directed two-thirds of it to move up to the Sand Spruit
Valley for the protection of the Umsinga border, and to
operate in conjunction with No. 3 Column. The third
battalion to remain at Middle Drift.

No. 3 Column to cross at Eorke’s Drift when the
thirty days expired ; to move forward and form an

* After-events proved the fallacy of these ” reports.” Even when
the Zulus could have swept Natal with fatal effect, they refrained.


advanced depot, strongly entrenched, as found advisable
from the nature of the country, etc. To assist in clear-
ing the border south-east of Korke’s Drift, and to keep
up communication with the columns on left and right.

No. 4 Column to advance to the Blood Eiver.
” The civil authorities on the border will take every care
to warn the Zulus that our first advance need not be
deemed hostile, but that no collection of armed natives
in the vicinity of our forces can be permitted ; no act on
our part to unnecessarily bring on hostilities should be
permitted.” (P. P. [C. 2222] p. 223).

In the event of a further advance, the advanced
depot of this column to be near the intersection of the
roads from Utrecht to Ulundi, and Rorke’s Drift to
Swaziland; but “to delay its advance toward the
Umvolosi Kiver until the border is cleared, and to
move in a southerly direction towards Colonel Glyn’s
column to assist it against Sirayo.” (P. P. [C. 2242]
pp. 27, 28).

On January llth, the General met Colonel Wood,
and arranged with him that he should “occupy himself
with the tribes in his front and left flank,’ 7 till the
General was “ready to advance to Izipezi Hill” (ibid.
p. 42).

By this unfortunate change of plan, the left of No. 3
Column was exposed, of which the Zulus took fatal

We must now return to Sir Bartle Frere, who,
considering that he had ” exhausted all peaceable means
for obtaining redress for the past, and security for the
future/’ ” by a notification dated the 4th of January,


1879, placed in the hands of Lieut. -General Lord
Chelmsford, K.C.B., commanding Her Majesty’s forces
in South Africa, the further enforcement of all demands;”
and remarks, “it only remains for us to await the issue
with perfect confidence in the justice of our cause.
The contest has not been provoked by the British
Government. That Government has done its best to
avoid war by every means consistent with honour.”
An absolute truth as regards the Home Government.
“That” Government, as Sir B. Frere cleverly remarks,
” had done its best to avoid war,” and did not see the
necessity, or, at all events, the immediate necessity,
of that war into which its servant, contrary to its
instructions, plunged it.

The period allowed to Cetshwayo having expired,
on the llth January, 1879, the following notification
was published in both English and Zulu :


January llth, 1879.

The British forces are crossing into Zululand to exact from
Cetywayo reparation for violations of British territory committed by
the sons of Sirayo and others ; and to enforce compliance with the
promises, made by Cetywayo at his coronation, for the better govern-
ment of his people.

The British Government has no quarrel with the Zulu people.
All Zulus who come in unarmed, or who lay down their arms, will
be provided for till the troubles of their country are over ; and will
then, if they please, be allowed to return to their own land ; but all
who do not so submit will be dealt with as enemies.

When the war is finished, the British Government will make
the best arrangements in its power for the future good government of
the Zulus in their own country, in peace and quietness, and will not
permit the killing and oppression they have suffered from Cetywayo
to continue. H. B. E. FRERE,

High Commissioner.


(This is followed by a translation in the Zulu

“This,” Sir B. Frere says, is “a message to the Zulu
population which the General will make as widely known
as possible.” (P. P. [C. 2242] p. 24).

On December 29th, Mr. Fynney, Border Agent, writes
at the request of the Lieut. -General Commanding to
the Lieut. -Governor of Natal that the General “has
taken the opportunity offered by the return of Sintwangu
and Umpepa to send the following message to the Zulu

” ‘ That, in the event of the cattle demanded as a
fine, together with Sirayo’s sons and brother, not being
delivered before the expiration of the time allowed, Her
Majesty’s troops will occupy Zulu territory without delay.

” ‘ 2. That no forward movement into Zululand will
be made till the expiration of the thirty days ; but
at the end of that time, if all the demands are not
complied with, the troops will advance.

” ‘ 3. That such advance will not be directed against
the Zulu nation, but against the king, who has broken
the promises he made at his coronation. So that in the
event of hostilities, all Zulu subjects willing to lay down
their arms, and wishing to take refuge in British
territory, will be fed and protected till such time as
peace is restored, when they will be at liberty to return
to their homes ; but that all who remain in Zululand
will be considered as enemies.

” ‘ 5. That these are His Excellency’s instructions,
which he intends to carry out to the best of his ability.’ ‘
(P. P. [C. 2308] p. 39).


On the 11 tli January, Lord Chelmsford, with No. 3
Column, crossed the Buffalo Eiver at Eorke’s Drift, the
infantry crossing on a barrel-raft, a punt, and a small
boat ; the cavalry and natives by a ford lower down the
river. The force encamped in the Zulu country where
it crossed.

The General, with the cavalry, rode to the left to
meet Colonel Wood commanding No. 4 Column, which
was at Bemba’s Kop about thirty-five miles off. They
met about halfway. Colonel Wood, on his return, com-
menced operations against the Zulus by seizing some
2000 cattle belonging to Inkomi and Sihayo, the Zulus
only making ” a show of resistance.” In addition to
this, Colonel Wood reports, on the 13th January, that he
had also captured 2000 or 3000 head of cattle from the
Sondolosi tribe, and on the same day an attack was
made on a petty chief, Mbuna, whose men refused to
disarm, and seven Zulus were killed. (P. P. [C. 2242]
p. 45).

Colonel Wood crossed the Blood Eiver on the 6th
January, and here we must leave No. 4 Column for the

No. 1 Column had some difficulty in effecting the
passage of the Tugela, the river being in flood. The
fortunes of this column will be followed in a future

Colonel Durnford, No. 2 Column, reported to the
General (on his return to camp on the llth) that the
country in his front was quite quiet. He then returned
to his command with further instructions as to its dis-
position, when ” he and the mounted men and rocket


battery were to join me with No. 3 Column,” writes the
General on January 14th. (P. P. [C. 2242] p. 47).

On the llth, the General writes: ” Both Colonel
Wood and Major Eussell took a good number of Sirayo’s
cattle this morning, which we found quietly grazing
along our line of advance.” And again : ” Several
hundred head of cattle, etc. were taken by Nos. 3 and 4
Columns on the llth. This I considered desirable on
political grounds, as they all belonged to Usirayo, as
well as from military necessities ” (ibid. pp. 43-46). It
is rather difficult to reconcile this commencement of
operations with the words ” The British Government has
no quarrel with the Zulu people ; ” or with the General’s
message to the Zulu king (through Mr. Fynney, Border
Agent, and the Zulu messengers Sintwangu and Umpepa,
December 29th, 1878) …. “if all the demands are
not complied with the troops will advance. That such
advance will not be directed against the Zulu nation, but
against the King. . . .”(P. P. [C. 2308] p. 39).

On the 12th January, No. 3 Column first came
into contact with the Zulus. The General made a
reconnaissance in the Bashi Valley and towards Izipezi
Hill. Sihayo’s people were seen driving the cattle to the
shelter of the hills, ” as, however,” the General says, ” it
is well known that we had made a distinct demand for
the punishment of the sons of this chief, and that his
clan was one of the bravest and most warlike of the Zulu
nation, I considered it very desirable to punish them at
once by capturing their cattle.”

The Ingqutu Mountain was occupied by infantry, when
” a fire was opened upon them by the Zulus, who were


occupying very strong positions in the caves and rocks
above.” An officer present states that the actual first shot
was from the side of the British, but this is not of great
importance, as it is impossible to imagine the Zulus
could have been expected to look calmly on, whilst their
cattle were being captured. After about half-an-hour’s
fight the cattle and horses were taken. The mounted
force was likewise engaged higher up the mountain.
Our loss, 2 Native Contingent killed and 12 wounded.
The loss inflicted on the enemy, 30 killed, 4 wounded,
and 10 prisoners; the cattle, etc. taken, 13 horses,
413 cattle, 332 goats, and 235 sheep. (P. P. [C. 2242]
pp. 47, 48).

These first steps in Zululand have been given in con-
siderable detail, as they afford much food for reflection
on the contrast between ” words ” and ” deeds.”



HAVING crossed into Zululand, the ” difficulties …. in
the way of those who are endeavouring to move for-
ward into an enemy’s country, over tracts which have
never been traversed, except by a very few traders’
waggons,”‘ began to declare themselves; and Lord
Chelmsford remarks, January 16th : “No. 3 Column at
Rorke’s Drift cannot possibly move forward even eight
miles until two swamps, into which our waggons sank
up to the body, have been made passable. This work will
occupy us for at least four days, and we shall find
similar obstacles in front of us in every march we are
anxious to make.”

We find Lord Chelmsford, on January 27th, stating .
” The country is far more difficult than I had been led
to expect, and the labour of advancing with a long
train of waggons is enormous. It took seven days
hard work, by one half of No. 3 Column, to make the
ten miles of road between Rorke’s Drift and Insalwana
Hill practicable, and even then had it rained hard I

* Lord Chelmsford, January 16th, 1879. (P. P. [C. 2252] p. 63.)



feel sure that the convoy could not have gone on.
The line of communication is very much exposed, and
would require a party of mounted men always patrolling,
and fixed intrenched posts of infantry at intervals of
about ten miles/’ (P. P. C. 2252).

Under these circumstances we can only wonder that
the advance with cumbersome trains of waggons was
undertaken, and the apparent want of knowledge of
the invaded country is almost equally surprising. All
previous experience goes to prove that a general moving
in an enemy’s country with his ” impedimenta ” should
form a defensible camp at every halt ; and this Lord
Chelmsford apparently recognised when he promulgated
the “Regulations for Field Forces in South Africa;’ 7
but we shall find how fatally he neglected the most
ordinary precautions.

A hint for the advance might well have been taken
from Sir Garnet Wolseley’s campaign in Ashantee, and
the various columns moved on Ulundi about eighty
miles in the lightest possible order, and without a
ponderous waggon train. Rapid movement was the
more imperatively necessary, the enemy being in force,
and able to make most rapid concentrations. Guns
(7-pounders) could have been moved over very difficult
ground with comparative ease, and even carried along
piecemeal if necessary.

The strangeness of the situation is shown plainly in
Lord Chelmsford’s despatch of the 16th January, written
at Rorke’s Drift on the very borders of Zululand at
the very outset of the war. Having spoken of ” diffi-
culties ” (as already quoted), he says : ” Accepting the


situation, therefore, it remains for me to determine what
modification of the plan of campaign at first laid down
will be necessary.” His idea still is to drive, ” as far as
possible, all the Zulus forward towards the north-east
part of their country/’ and “with Nos. 1, 2, and 3
Columns, to thoroughly clear or subjugate the country
…. by means of expeditions made by those columns
from certain fixed positions,” and this, he hopes, will
” have the effect of removing any dangerously large
body from the Natal borders.” Colonel Wood, with
No. 4 Column, to act independently. ” By these move-
ments,” he continues, ” I hope to be able to clear that
portion of Zululand which is situated south of the
Umhlatoosi Kiver ; ” and remarks that Cetshwayo will be
obliged ” to keep his army mobilised, and it is certain
that his troops will have difficulty, in finding sufficient
food. If kept inactive, they will become dangerous to
himself; if ordered to attack us, they will be playing
our game.”

How these plans answered, one week sufficed to show.

The first step in advance from Korke’s Drift was to
push forward four companies of the 2-2 4th Eegiment, a
battalion of Natal Native Contingent, and a detachment of
Natal Native Pioneers into the Bashi Valley on the 14th
January, for the purpose of repairing the road. This
detachment remained encamped there until the 20th,
five miles from the remainder of the column at Korke’s
Drift, and with no attempt at ” laager ” or other defence,
Lord Chelmsford did not see the need of precaution,
and his instructions to the officer in command were,
” Use the bayonet ” if a night attack took place.

T 2


On the 17th the General made a reconnaissance as
far as Isandhlwana ; and on January 20th No, 3 Column
moved from Korke’s Drift and Bashi Valley, to the spot
selected for the camp to the east of Isandhlwana Hill,
The post at Korke’s Drift (where the Buffalo was crossed)
of vital importance to the safety of the column-
was left with a garrison of one company of l-24th
Kegiment, but without any attempt whatever at
entrenchment : nor were any defensive precautions
taken at Helpmakaar, the store dep6t in Natal, twelve
miles from Korke’s Drift. The march to Isandhlwana
was accomplished ” without much difficulty,” but ” half
a battalion 2-2 4th was obliged to halt short of this
camp owing to the oxen being fatigued.” They
bivouacked for the night in the open.

The position of the camp is thus described : “At the
spot where our road crossed . . . we had a small kopje
on the right, and then about fifty yards to our left rises
abruptly the Isandhlwana Mountain . . . entirely unap-
proachable from the three sides nearest us, but on the
farther, viz. that to the north, it slopes more gradually
down, and it is there connected with the large range of
hills on our left with another broad neck of land. We
just crossed over the bend, then turned sharp to the
left, and placed our camp facing the valley, with the
eastern precipitous side of the mountain behind us,
leaving about a mile of open country between our left
flank and the hills on our left, the right of the camp
extending across the neck of land we had just come
over, and resting on the base of the small kopje
described beforehand.”


The camp was formed in the following order from
left to right : 2-3rd Natal Native Contingent, l-3rd
Natal Native Contingent, 2-2 4th Regiment, Royal
Artillery, mounted troops, and l-24th Regiment.
‘ The waggons were all placed between the camp
and the hill at the back, and behind them, imme-
diately against its base, the head-quarters’ tents were
pitched with their waggons beside them.” …” Not a
single step was taken in any way to defend our new
position in case of a night or day attack from the

On the same day (20th) the General reconnoitred
on the ” waggon- track, which skirts Inhlazatye Mountain,
as far as a place called Maty ana’s Stronghold,” at a
distance of about twelve miles, but saw nothing of the
enemy. “Not having time to properly examine the
country round this peculiar stronghold,” the General
ordered that next day two separate parties should move
out from the camp at an early hour ; one of mounted
men under Major Dartnell to reconnoitre on the road
he had taken, whilst two battalions of Native Contingent
under Commandant Lonsdale worked round the Malakata
Mountain : the orders being that these officers were to
effect a communication on the Inhlazatye range, and
then return to camp. (P. P. [C. 2252] pp. 74, 75).

At about ten o’clock the Zulus were found in force
by the mounted men ; the contingent being on a range
of hills distant about five miles. The enemy appeared
anxious to fight, but Major Dartnell did not think it
prudent to engage without supports. The Zulus occupied
* Captain N. Newman.


a large kloof, and whenever the mounted men ap-
proached they came out in large numbers. A small
body were sent up close, under Mr. Mansel, to try and
make the Zulus show their force, when they advanced
throwing out the ” horns/’ and tried to surround the
party, following them down into the open, where Major
Dartnell and the remainder of the mounted troops were.
The whole then retired and joined the contingent, about
three miles from the kloof.

In the evening, says Major Clery, ” a message arrived
from Major Dartnell that the enemy was in considerable
force in his neighbourhood, and thtit he and Commandant
Lonsdale would bivouac out the night,” which they were
permitted to do.*

The wisdom of this may be doubted, as the Native
Contingent seemed particularly liable to alarm ; twice
they ” were seized with panic, rushing about every-
where, the night being very dark. They knocked us
down,” writes an officer, ” and stampeded our horses,
causing the greatest confusion. If the Zulus had come
on we should all have been cut to pieces.”

” That night Major Dartnell sent off messengers to
Lord Chelmsford that he had marked the Zulus down in
a kloof, and asked for two companies of infantry to be
sent out as a support, and that he would attack the
Zulus in the morning.”

Major Clery says :t “About 1.30 A.M. on the 22nd, a
messenger brought me a note from Major Dartnell to
say that the enemy was in greater numbers than when

* Some Zulus (a chief named Gandama, and others) came into the
camp on the 21st, saw the General, and were allowed to depart.
(P. P. [C. 2454] p. 182).

t P. P. (C. 2260) p. 81.


he last reported, and that he did not think it prudent to
attack unless reinforced by two or three companies of
the 24th Eegiment. The General ordered the 2nd
Battalion 24th Eegiment, the Mounted Infantry, and
four guns, to be under arms at once to march.” The
Natal Native Pioneers, about 50 strong, accompanied
the force, which ” marched out from the camp as soon
as there was light enough to see the road.” Lieut. –
Colonel Pulleine, l-24th Eegiment, was instructed to
take “command of the camp during the absence of
Colonel Glyn ” the force left with him consisting
of 5 companies 1-2 4th and 1 company 2-2 4th Eegi-
ment ; 2 guns Eoyal Artillery ; about 20 Mounted In-
fantry and Volunteers ; 30 Natal Carbineers, 31 Mounted
Police, and 4 companies Natal Native Contingent.
An order was also despatched to Colonel Durnford
(at Eorke’s Drift) to move up to Isandhlwana. Lieut-
Colonel Pulleine’s instructions for the defence of the
camp were, briefly, to draw in his “line of defence”
and “infantry outposts,” but to keep his cavalry vedettes
” still far advanced.”” 5 ” We may here note that the only
country searched was that direct to the front and right
front the direction of the waggon-track although it is
stated “the Lieut. -General had himself noticed mounted
men in one direction (our left front) on the 21st, and in
this direction he had intended to make a reconnaissance.”
(P. P. [C. 2260] p. 99).

After the departure of the advance column nothing

unusual occurred in camp until between seven and eight

o’clock, when it was reported from the advanced picquet

(on the Ingqutu range of hills, about 1500 yards to the

* Major Clery.


north) that a body of the enemy could be seen approach-
ing from the north-east : and various small bodies were
afterwards seen. Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine got his men
under arms, and sent a written message off to head-
quarters that a Zulu force had appeared on the hills
on his left front. This was received ” between 9.30
and 10 A.M.”

Colonel Durnford received the General’s order when
on an expedition into Natal to obtain waggons, but at
once returned to Eorke’s Drift, and marched for
Isandhlwana. Lieutenant Chard, E.E., who had ridden to
camp for orders, ” met Colonel Durnford about a quarter
of a mile from the camp at the head of his mounted men ”
about 10.30 A.M., and told him the troops were in column
outside the camp, and Zulus showing ” on the crest of
the distant hills,” ” several parties” working round so
far to the left that he ” was afraid they might be going
to make a dash at the Drift.” He took orders to Major
Eussell to hurry up with the rocket battery, to detach a
company of Sikali men to protect the baggage, and for
all to “look out to the left.”

Colonel Durnford reached the camp, and received
all the information Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine could afford,
finding the situation to be : Lonsdale’s natives on out-
post duty on the hills to the left, the guns in position
on the left of the camp, and the infantry under arms.
The oxen were driven into camp and Mr. Brickhill
says tied to the yokes, but not inspanned. Constant
reports were coming in from the hills to the left
“The enemy are in force behind the hills.” “The
enemy are in three columns.” ” One column is moving


to the left rear, and one towards the General.” ” The
enemy are retiring in every direction.” The enemy’s
force was given at 400 to 600.

On hearing these reports, Colonel Durnford sent one
troop Natal Native Horse to reinforce his baggage
guard; two troops to the hills to the left (under
Captains G. Shepstone and Barton) one to move along
the crest of the range, one to search the valley beyond
and determined himself to go out to the front “and
prevent the one column joining the ‘ impi/ which was
supposed at that time to be engaged with the troops
under the General;” he asked Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine
for two companies of the 24th, to which Colonel
Pulleine replied, “that two companies could ill be
spared, but that if Colonel Durnford ordered them, of
course they should go.” On consideration, Colonel
Durnford decided only to take his own men,'”” and
moved out with his remaining two troops Natal Native
Horse, followed by Major Eussell’s rocket battery, with
its escort of a company of Native Contingent, under
Captain Nourse.

A company 1-2 4th, under Lieutenant Cavaye, was
sent out as a picquet to the hills about 1200 yards north
of the camp, and the remainder of the troops dismissed
to their private parades, where the men were to lie
down in readiness to turn out if required. At this

* ” There were no high words,” Lieutenant Cochrane says, of any
kind between the colonels, as some would lead the public to suppose.
The above remarks are taken from Lieutenant Cochrane’s account
of what passed ; and he says : ” I think no one lives who was present
during the conversation but myself ; so that anything said contradictory
to my statement is invented.”


time there was no expectation of an attack during the
day, and no idea had been formed regarding the
probable strength of the enemy.” 5 ‘

The two troops sent on the hills to the left “to
ascertain the enemy’s movements,” had proceeded
“about five miles from the camp,” when “the Zulu
army came forward, advancing straight on towards the
camp.” Captain Shepstone ordered a retreat on the
camp, and himself rode in with the warning that the
“whole Zulu army was advancing to attack it.”t
Captain Shepstone met Captain Gardner on reaching
the camp, and both officers then went to Colonel
Pulleine, but, says Captain Gardner, the enemy were
“already on the hill on our left in large numbers.”

Colonel Durnford, having despatched his two troops
to the left, had moved out to the front at a canter, fol-
lowed at a foot’s pace by the rocket battery, etc. About
five miles out, a trooper rode down from the hills on the
left, and reported an immense ” impi ” behind the hills,
and almost immediately the Zulus appeared in force
in front and on the left, in skirmishing order, ten or
twelve deep, with supports close behind. They opened
fire at about 800 yards, and advanced very rapidly.
Colonel Durnford retired a little way to a donga and
extended his men, then fell back, keeping up a steady
fire, for about two miles, J when he came upon the
remains of the rocket battery, which (it appeared) had
turned to the left on hearing firing on the hills, been

* Captain Essex, 75th Regiment.

t Lieutenant Eaw, Natal Native Horse.

J Lieutenant Cochrane, 32nd Eegiment.


cut off, and broken up. Fighting was still going on
here, but the Zulus were speedily driven back.

Colonel Durnford retired slowly on the camp, dis-
puting every yard of ground, until he reached a donga
about 800 yards in front of the right of the camp; there,
prolonging the line of the camp troops, and the right
being reinforced by between thirty and forty mounted
men, under Captain Bradstreet, a stand was made.

“This gully,” Mr. Brickhill, interpreter to No. 3
Column, says, ” the mounted force held most tenaciously,
every shot appearing to take effect,” and with the havoc
caused by the guns, ” a thousand Zulu dead must have
laid between the conical hill and the gully. They lay
just like peppercorns upon the plain.”

The two troops of native horse sent to reconnoitre
the Ingqutu Hills, retired fighting before the enemy in
good order a to a crest in the neck which joins
Sandhlwana to Ingqutu. Leaving their horses well
sheltered here, they held this crest splendidly, keeping
up a steady galling fire.” * They were eventually com-
pelled to retire, with the loss of Captain G. Shepstone.t

We must now consider what had taken place at the
camp. All was quiet till about twelve o’clock, when
firing was heard on the hill where the company on
picquet was stationed ; the troops were immediately
turned out and formed on the left front of the camp.
About this time Captain Gardner, 14th Hussars, arrived
with an order from the General, addressed to Lieut. –

* Mr. Brickhill.

t Having disengaged his men, Captain Gr. Shepstone said : ” I must
go and see where my Chief is,” and rode in again. His devotion cost
him. his life.


Colonel Pulleine, ” to send on the camp equipage and
supplies of the troops camping out, and to remain him-
self at his present camp and entrench it.”* Captain
G. Shepstone reached the camp with his warning about
the same time. Colonel Pulleine decided it was
impossible to carry out the General’s order, as the
enemy were already in great force on the hills to the
left. Captain Gardner sent off a message to head-
quarters, saying that ” our left was attacked by about
ten thousand of the enemy. A message was also sent
by Colonel Pulleine.”

One company (Captain Mostyn’s) was moved up to
support the picquet ; the enemy distant about 800 yards,
moving “towards our left.” Orders to retire were
received almost immediately, and the whole retired
to the foot of the slope, the enemy rushing forward to
the crest of the hill as our men disappeared. Captain
Younghusband’s company was at this time in echelon
on the leftt

The guns came into action about 400 yards on
the left front of the camp, “where they were able
to throw shells into a large mass of the enemy that
remained almost stationary about 3400 yards off.”J

The three advanced companies of the 24th retired
on the main body, when the situation was this : The two
guns and the whole of the 24th in line, about 300
yards from the left front of the camp ; the natives
took post on the right of the 24th ; then came
Durnford’s Basutos ; and the extreme right was formed

* Captain Gardner. t Captain Essex.

J Lieutenant Curling, K.A.


by about forty mounted Europeans*'” the force holding
the only position that afforded any shelter, viz. broken
ground and a ” donga ” in front of the camp ; the
infantry ” in good position among the stones and
boulders to the left and left centre of the camp, and
who stood their ground most gallantly, “t The enemy
approached to within about 400 yards, the two guns
firing case. The heavy fire from the line told so
upon the Zulus that they wavered and lay down ;
they are said to have covered the valley in detached
groups to the depth of about three-quarters of a mile.J

The enemy now began to work round the rear
(which they could do with impunity owing to the
formation of the ground), and Captain Essex says: “I
rode up to Lieut. -Colonel Durnford, who was near the
right, and pointed this out to him. He requested me
to take men to that part of the field, and endeavour to
hold the enemy in check ; ” but at this moment, he says,
” those of the Native Contingent who had remained in
action, rushed past us in the utmost disorder, thus laying
open the right and rear of the 24th, the enemy dashing
forward in the most rapid manner.” The ammunition
of the mounted troops failing (supplies had been re-
peatedly sent for, but none came), Colonel Durnford
retired them towards the right of the camp (where the
waggons aud ammunition of the Native Horse were),
and himself galloped off to the 24th, having previously
told Captain Gardner that the position was too ex-
tended, and he desired to concentrate the force. Colonel
Durnford’s intention undoubtedly was to withdraw all
* Captain Essex. f Lieutenant Coclirane. } Mr. Brickliill.


the troops to the rising ground on the right of the camp,
to which point he had retired his Native Horse.

The Zulus rushed on the left in overwhelming
numbers, completely surrounding the 24th. The guns
limbered up, and made for the Korke’s Drift Eoad, but
found it blocked by the enemy ; they therefore ” followed
a crowd of natives and camp-followers, who were running
down a ravine ; the Zulus were all among them, stabbing
men as they ran.” Down this ravine the fugitives
hastened, the enemy round and among them, the assegai
doing its deadly work.

Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine was said by Lieutenant Coghill
to have been killed, “* and during the flight Major Stuart
Smith, E.A. (who had been wounded), Surgeon-Major
Shepherd, and many a man, mounted and on foot, were
killed. The Buffalo was gained at a point about five
miles below Eorke’s Drift, and numbers of the fugitives
were either shot, or carried away by the stream and
drowned. Lieutenants Melville and Coghill rode from
the camp, on its being carried by the Zulus, the former
with the Queen’s colours of his regiment. These he bore
into the river, but lost his horse, and was left struggling
in the swift current ; Lieutenant Coghill, who had safely
crossed, rode in to his assistance, when his horse was
shot. These brave young officers succeeded in gaining
the Natal shore, but were soon overtaken by the enemy,
and died fighting to the last. The Natal Native Horse
escaped with little loss ; they assisted many in the
retreat, which they covered as well as they could,
especially under Captain Barton on the banks of the

* Lieutenant Curling.


Buffalo. Captain Essex puts the time of the retreat from
the camp at ” about 1.30 P.M.”

After this period no one living escaped from
Isandhlwana, and it was supposed that the troops had
broken, and, falling into confusion, that all had perished
after a brief struggle.

Nothing was known of the after-events of that fatal
day for months, till, on the 21st May, the scene of the
disaster was revisited, and the truth of the gallant stand
made was established. This will be treated of in
another chapter.

We must now turn to the movements of the column
under Colonel Glyn, with the General ; and it will be
most convenient to take the occurrences of the day as
described by Lord Chelmsford and his military secretary
(Lieut. -Colonel Crealock).

Leaving camp at daybreak,* the General “reached
Major Dartnell about 6.30 A.M., and at once ordered
him to send out his mounted men to gain intelligence
of the enemy, whose whereabouts did not appear to be
very certain.” ‘ (P. P. [C. 2252] p. 75.) The enemy
shortly after showed in considerable strength at some
distance, but retired without firing as the troops
advanced. Lieut. -Colonel Crealock says : ” Between
9.30 and 10 A.M. we were off-saddled some twelve miles
from camp. During the three previous hours we had
been advancing with Colonel Glyn’s column against a
Zulu force that fell back from hill to hill as we advanced,

* Three mounted Zulu scouts were seen on the hills on the right
from the rear guard, by an officer, who pointed them out to one of the


giving up, without a shot, most commanding positions.”
(P. P. [C. 2260] p. 99.) It was at this time (“about
9 A.M./’ the General says) that the message was received
from Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine, that a Zulu force had
appeared on the hills on his left front. The General says
he at once sent his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Milne, E.N.,
to the top of a high hill, from which the camp could be
seen. He had ” a very powerful telescope, but could
detect nothing unusual.”* Lieut. -Colonel Crealock says
that all the news he gave ” was that the cattle had
been driven into camp,” and he acknowledges ” our
own attention was chiefly bent on the enemy’s force
retiring from the hills in our front, and a party being
pursued by Lieut. -Colonel Eussell three miles off.”

The kloof where the enemy had been was found
deserted, but a large body of Zulus were seen beyond it,
and a portion of the mounted force sent after them, Major
Dartnell and the rest of his men moving off to the right

* Some remarks made by Lieutenant Milne, R.N. (aide-de-camp),
are worthy of notice : ” January 2lst. We then rode up to the high
land to the left of our camp, the ascent very steep, but possible for horses.
On reaching the summit of the highest hill, I counted fourteen Zulu
horsemen watching us at the distance of about four miles; they ultimately
disappeared over a slight rise. Two vedettes were stationed at the
spot from where I saw these horsemen ; they said they had seen these
men several times during the day, and had reported the fact. . . . We
then returned to camp, the General having determined to send out a
patrol in this direction the next day.” (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 183).
i January 22nd. Lieutenant Milne was sent to the top of a hill to see
what was doing in camp, and says : ” On reaching the summit I could
see the camp ; all the cattle had been driven in close around the tents.
I could see nothing of the enemy on the left ” (ibid. p. 184).

” We are not quite certain about the time. But it is just possible
that what I took to be the cattle having been driven into camp may
possibly have been the Zulu ‘ inipi ‘” (ibid. p. 187).


in the direction of another body of Zulus. These turned
out to be Matshana’s people, with the chief himself
present : they were engaged, their retreat cut off, and
then driven back on the Native Contingent. Of this
party Matshana and one or two of his people alone

” Having no cause, therefore, to feel any anxiety
about the safety of the camp,” the General ordered the
mounted infantry to sweep round “to the main waggon –
track, whilst a portion of the infantry went over the hill-
top to the same point, and the guns, with an escort,
retraced their steps,” with instructions to join Colonel
Glyn near the Mangane Valley, where the General
proceeded with Colonel Glyn to fix upon a site for a
new camp. Captain Gardner, 14th Hussars, was sent
back to camp “with the order to Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine
to send on the camp equipage and supplies of the troops
camping out, and to remain at his present camp, and
entrench it.” (P. P. [C. 2260] p. 101).

The 1st Battalion Native Contingent was ordered to
march back to camp across country, and examine
dongas, etc. en route.

” Not a sign of the enemy was now seen near us,”
says Colonel Crealock. “Not a suspicion had crossed
my mind that the camp was in any danger, neither did
anything occur to make me think of such a thing until
about 1.15,” when it was fancied firing was heard (the
natives were certain of it). ” “We were then moving back
to choose a camp for the night about twelve miles from
Isandula.” About 1.45 P.M., a native reported “heavy
firing had been going on round the camp. We galloped


up to a high spot, whence we could see the camp, perhaps
10 or 11 miles distant. None of us could detect any-
thing amiss ; all looked quiet. This must have been
2 P.M. The General, however, probably thought it
would be well to ascertain what had happened himself,
but not thinking anything was wrong, ordered Colonel
Glyn to bivouac for the night where we stood ; and
taking with him some 40 mounted volunteers, proceeded
to ride into camp. Lieut. -Colonel Cecil Kussell, 12th
Lancers, now joined us, and informed me that an officer
of the Natal Native Contingent had come to him (about
12 noon, I think) when he was off-saddled, and asked
where the General was, as he had instructions to tell
him that heavy firing had been going on close to the
camp. . . . This officer, however, did not come to us.

” This information from Colonel Eussell was imme-
diately followed by a message from Commandant Brown,
commanding the 1st Battalion Natal Native Contingent,
which had been ordered back to camp at 9.30 A.M.
(the battalion was halted a mile from us, and probably
eight miles from camp) to the effect that large bodies
of Zulus were between him and the camp, and that his
men could not advance without support. The General
ordered an immediate advance of the battalion, the
mounted volunteers and mounted infantry supporting it.

” I am not aware what messages had been sent from ” r

* One message only is mentioned by the General or his military
secretary as having been received from the camp. But an officer
(of rank) ivho had seen them, says that five or six messages were
received from the camp during the day by the General or his staff;
and he says distinctly that the messages were in the possession of
Lieut. -Colonel Crealock.


the camp and received by Colonel Glyn or his staff; but
I know that neither the General nor myself had up to
this time received any information but that I have

“At 3.15 the General appeared to think that he
would be able to brush through any parties of Zulus
that might be in his road to the camp without any
force further than that referred to, viz. 1st Battalion
Native Contingent and some eighty mounted white

” At 4 P.M.,* however, the native battalion again
halted,” when within about six miles of the camp, ” and
shortly after the General says Commandant Lonsdale
rode up to report that he had ridden into camp and found
it in possession of the Zulus.” The General at once sent
word to Colonel Glyn to bring back all the troops, and
advanced about two miles, sending Lieut. -Colonel
Russell forward to reconnoitre ; he fully confirmed
Commandant Lonsdale’s report. Colonel Glyn rejoined
the General about 6 P.M., when the troops were formed
in ” fighting order,” and advanced across the plain ; ” but
could not reach the neighbourhood of our camp until
after dark.”

It may properly be here remarked that from the
outskirts of the force firing had been seen at the camp
as late as nearly four o’clock ; and about six, large bodies
of the enemy were seen retiring from the camp, through
openings in the Ingqutu range.

When a move was first made by the General in the
direction of the camp, an officer who was in advance

* About this hour the tents in camp suddenly disappeared.

u 2


narrates what he saw when he came to a rising ground
from which the camp was first seen :

” There certainly were some tents standing then, but
seemed very few, and away to the left front of the camp
there was some smoke, though not much, and it was
high up, just as if there had been musketry fire and the
smoke had floated away; but there was certainly no
musketry fire going on then. A few seconds afterwards
a sergeant …. said: ‘There go the guns, sir/ I
could see the smoke, but we could hear nothing. In a
few seconds we distinctly saw the guns fired again, one
after the other, sharp. This was done several times a
pause, and then a flash flash ! The sun was shining
on the camp at the time, and then the camp looked
dark, just as if a shadow was passing over it. The guns
did not fire after that, and in a few minutes all the tents
had disappeared. The sergeant said, ‘ It’s all over now,
sir/ I said, ‘ Yes, and I hope it is the right way.’ We
could see there was fighting going on, but of course did
not know which way it had gone. The men all thought
the Zulus had retired, but I felt doubtful in my own
mind, but had no idea really of the catastrophe that had
taken place. . . . This must have been about 3 P.M.”

” Within two miles of camp,” Lieutenant Milne
says, ” four men were seen slowly advancing in front
of us ; a few mounted men were sent out ; the men
in front previously seen then took cover behind some
rocks, but were fired upon by our men ; one fell, the
remainder ran out in the open, throwing up their hands
to show they were unarmed. On being taken prisoners,


they were found to be Native Contingent, escaped from
the massacre.” (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 185).

On nearing the camp it was nearly dark, but it was
observed that waggons were drawn up across the neck ;
the guns were therefore brought into action and shelled
them. Then, no sound being heard, Major Black, with
a wing of his regiment, moved forward to occupy the
small hill close to Isandhlwana. No enemy was seen,
and the camp was found tenanted by those who were
taking their last long sleep.

A halt was made for the night amidst the debris of
(the proper right of) the camp, on the “neck;” the
infantry covering the west, and the mounted troops and
guns the east side. During the night there were one or
two false alarms, and the whole force, at early dawn,
moved off towards Korke’s Drift, as the General was
anxious about the safety of that important post; also
the troops had no spare ammunition,* but little food,
and ” it was certain that daylight would reveal a sight
which could not but have a demoralising effect upon the
whole force.” (P. P. [C. 2252] p. 76).

In Lord Chelmsford’s despatch of 27th January, he
gives a narrative of the attack on the camp, but remarks
“the absolute accuracy of which, however, I cannot
vouch for ” (pp. 76, 77). On comparing his ” narrative ”
with the facts, it will be found to be absolutely in-
accurate. But Lord Chelmsford makes some remarks
which cannot be passed, over in silence. He says :
” Had the force in question but taken up a defensive
* No spare ammunition was taken by the force with the General.


position in the camp itself, and utilised there the
materials for a hasty entrenchment ; ” but he does not
point out how the ” force in question ” was to know of
the near approach of the Zulu army, he himself having
neglected to search the country where that army lay.
He had prepared no ” defensive position ; ” but he had
selected a fatal spot for his camp, which, covering a
front of about half a mile, was utterly indefensible as it
stood; and he had ‘ ‘ pooh-poohed ” the suggestion of
taking defensive precautions when made by Colonel
Glyn ; and, further, it does not appear that there was
any time whatever for the ” force in question ” to do
anything but fight. Lord Chelmsford then says : “It
appears that the oxen were yoked to the waggons three
hours before the attack took place, so that there was
ample time to construct that waggon-laager which the
Dutch in former days understood so well.” This
remark comes with peculiar ill – grace from Lord
Chelmsford, who not only had not taken any pre-
cautions, but had not permitted any laager or other
defence to be made ; and whose reply to a suggestion
of a laager at Isandhlwana was, ” It would take a week
to make.” Also it must not be forgotten that the attack
on Isandhlwana was without warning.

He next says : ” Had, however, the tents been struck,
and the British troops placed with their backs to the
precipitous Isalwana Hill, I feel sure that they could
have made a successful resistance.” Here again he would
blame the dead to cover the faults of the living ! But
even had the troops been thus placed (as some eventually
appear to have been), how long could they keep at


bay, when ammunition failed/” an enemy armed with
weapons they could use with fatal effect out of reach of
the bayonet ?

And lastly, Lord Chelmsford speaks of rumours
” that the troops were deceived by a simulated retreat,”
and thus ” drawn away from the line of defence.” The
facts prove the exact contrary. The only person de-
ceived by a ” simulated retreat ” was Lord Chelmsford
himself, whose troops during three hours had advanced
” against a Zulu force that fell back from hill to hill ….
giving up without a shot most commanding positions.”
And where was their “line of defence?” We do not
find one word of Lord Chelmsford’s own want of the
most ordinary precautions his want of ” intelligence,”
and neglect to obtain it of his seeing the enemy’s
mounted scouts on the left front, and intending (but not
making) a reconnaissance in that direction his fixed
belief that the enemy could only be in force in his front
the transparent way in which he was drawn off farther
from the camp the absence of any attention to the signs
that something ivas wrong at the camp the prevention
of assistance reaching the beleagured camp when one of
his officers had recognised the emergency, etc. ; to which
must be added that we do not find one word of regret
for the untimely fate of the gallant men who fell doing
their duty. In justice to Colonel Glyn, commanding
No. 3 Column, it must be remarked that the General
himself gave the orders for the various movements, etc.
And in justice to Lord Chelmsford also, we note it

* The reserve ammunition is said to have been packed in waggons,
which were then filled up with stores.


is asserted that the shock he experienced told severely
upon him at the time ; and he may not have very
carefully studied the despatch, which was the work of
his military secretary.

Before finally leaving the events of the 22nd
January, we must fully notice an important episode that
occurred, and which had a serious bearing on the disaster
we have to lament.

We have seen that ” the guns with an escort ” were
ordered to retrace their steps … * to join Colonel Glyn
at the rendezvous near the Mangane Valley. We will
now follow their movements.

When Lord Chelmsford discovered that the enemy
he had come in search of had disappeared, 4 guns Eoyal
Artillery, 2 companies 2-2 4th Regiment (Captains Church
and Harvey), and about 50 Natal Native Pioneers, the
whole under the command of Lieut. -Colonel Harness,
E.A., were ordered to march to a rendezvous in advance
by a different route to that taken by the remainder of the
column ; this was necessary, as the guns could not go
over the ground taken by the latter. To carry out the
order, they had to retrace for over two miles the route
by which they had come in the morning, and then bear
to the left. This was done (a short halt having first been
made, to let men and horses have a rest), and about
twelve o’clock they reached some rising ground, when
they again halted, not being certain of the direction of
the rendezvous, to await Major Black, 2-2 4th, Assistant
Quartermaster-General, who had gone on to find it.
Almost immediately after this halt the firing of cannon
was heard, and looking towards the camp, about eight


miles off, they saw shells bursting against the hills to
the left of it. Soon afterwards a body of about 1000
natives suddenly appeared in the plain below, between
them and the camp ; the Native Pioneers thought they
were’ Zulus. Captain Church told Colonel Harness if he
would let him have a horse he would go and find out.
Colonel Harness at once gave him one, and sent a
mounted sergeant with him. As they galloped towards
the natives, a European officer rode out, and when they
met said : ” The troops behind me are Commandant
Browne’s contingent, and I am sent to give you this
message : ‘ Come in every man, for God’s sake! The camp
is surrounded, and will be taken unless helped at once.’
Captain Church rode back as fast as he could, and found
Colonel Harness in conversation with Major Gosset (aide-
de-camp) and Major Black, both of whom had come up
during his absence. Colonel Harness promptly said :
” We will march back ; ” but Major Gosset ridiculed the
idea, and advised him to carry out his orders. Colonel
Harness then asked Major Black and Captain Church
their opinions. They both agreed with him without
hesitation. Colonel Harness gave the order to return,
and started without a moment’s delay; Major Gosset
riding off in the direction of the General. About 1.30 P.M.
Lieut. -Colonel Harness was on his way to the camp,
and had got over about two miles of ground when he
was overtaken by Major Gosset with orders from the
General to march back to the rendezvous. The order
was obeyed.

Now the startling reflection comes home that to this
most important fact, bearing on the events of the day


(for even if too late to save life, Colonel Harness would
have saved the camp), there is not a hint even in the
despatches of Lord Chelmsford, or the official statement
of his military secretary.* The latter goes so far as to
say, in paragraph 17 of his statement (P. P. [C. 2260]
p. 100) : ” I am not aware what messages had been sent
from the camp and received by Colonel Glyn or his staff ;
but I know that neither the General nor myself had up
to this time received any information but that I have
mentioned.” This statement refers to a time after the
General had arrived at a spot about a mile from where
Commandant Browne’s battalion of natives were halted,
after he had received the message, ” Come in, every man,
for God’s sake,”etc., and after he had met Colonel Harness
on his return march to the rendezvous ; and not only that,
but apparently after the receipt of a most important
message from Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine, described as follows
by the special correspondent of The Times of Natal
(Captain Norris-Newman) : “We did halt there, and
found the staff there as well, looking on through the field-
glasses at some large bodies of Kafirs [Zulus], who were
in close proximity to our camp about ten miles off. The
Mounted Police were ordered to halt and off-saddle ;
but Captain [T.] Shepstone and his volunteers had orders
to proceed back to camp to see what was up. I joined
them, and we had not gone far on the road when a

* The first official mention of this appears in a Blue-book of
August, 1879, where Lieutenant Milne, R.N”. (aide-de-camp), says :
” In the meantime, news came that Colonel Harness had heard the
firing, and was proceeding with his guns and companies of infantry
escorting them to camp. Orders were immediately sent to him to
return and rejoin Colonel Glyn.” (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 184).


mounted messenger came up with a note from Colonel
Pulleine to the General, saying that the camp was
attacked by large numbers of Kafirs, and asked him to
return with all the help at his command. With this
we halted, and awaited the up-coming of the General,
who came along at once, and proceeded up the valley
to reconnoitre. About three miles had been got over,
during which we passed the four guns under Colonel
Harness, and some of the 24th …. on their way to
encamp at the new ground. A mounted man was then
seen approaching, and was recognised as Commandant
Lonsdale. He brought the dreadful news that, having
chased a Zulu on horseback, he got separated from his
men, and had ridden quietly back to camp ; but on
arrival there, within about three hundred yards of it
(at about 2 P.M.), he found large bodies of the enemy
surrounding it and fighting with our men. He had
just time to discover his mistake, turn, and fly for his
life, when several bullets were fired at him, and many
Zulus started in chase.” Natal Colonist, January 30th,

The above message is undoubtedly that mentioned
by Captain Gardner as having been despatched from the
camp at or soon after twelve o’clock. (P. P. [C. 2260]
p. 81.) And there still remains the fact that, not only
as regards- Colonel Harness, does there appear to be an
unaccountable omission in the ” statement”‘* alluded to,
but also we find mention of only one message from the

* By the General’s directions this statement was to be ” of the
facts which came under his cognizance on the day in question.”
(P. P. [C. 2260] p. 80).


camp ; whereas other messages are known to have been
received, and to have been in the possession of the
Assistant Military Secretary.

“Here also we must allude to Sir Bartle Frere’s
despatches of January 27th, and February 3rd and 12th.
In the first he says : ” In disregard of Lord Chelmsford’s
instructions, the troops left to protect the camp were
taken away from the defensive position they were in at
the camp, with the shelter which the waggons, parked,
would have afforded. . . . ” We know that the troops
did the best they could, left as they were by their
general in an open camp we know they had no
” defensive position ” and we know that the waggons
were not ” parked,” but drawn up in rear of their own

Sir Bartle says, February 3rd : ” It is only justice
to the General to note that his orders were clearly not
obeyed on that terrible day at Isandhlwana camp.”

And on February 12th, he says : ” It is impossible
to shut one’s eyes to the fact that it was, in all human
probability, mainly due to disregard of the General’s
orders that so great a disaster occurred ” (a little
qualifying his sweeping assertion of February 3rd).

But yet again Sir Bartle returns to the charge, and
says, June 30th : ” It is difficult to over-estimate the
effect of such a disaster as that at Isandhlwana on both
armies, but it was clearly due to breach of the General’s
order, and to disregard of well-known maxims of military
science.” (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 138).

On what grounds Sir Bartle Frere bases those
assertions we know not no known orders were dis-


obeyed and, in spite of the special pleading in these
despatches, we must come to the conclusion that Sir
Bartle Frere’s remarks were penned in utter ignorance of
facts, and that the accusations concerning ” disregard of
well-known maxims of military science” should have
been applied, not to the soldiers who fell at Isandhlvvana,
but to those who placed them in that fatal position.



THE garrison of the Rorke’s Drift post consisted of
B Company 2-2 4th Regiment (Lieutenant Bromhead),
and (with officers and casuals) was of a total strength of
139. It was encamped on the Natal side of the Buffalo,
where there was a mission station, one building of which
was used as a hospital and one as a commissariat store.
The crossing of the river was effected by what are called
” ponts ” boats used as a kind of ” flying bridge ”
and there were drifts, or fords, in the vicinity. Major
Spalding, Deputy -Assistant -Adjutant -General, and
Lieutenant Chard, R.E., were stationed here. The
former rode off to Helpmakaar at 2 P.M., 22nd January,
“to bring up Captain Rainforth’s company, 1st Battalion
24th Regiment, to protect the pont,” leaving Lieutenant
Chard in command of the post.

About 3.15 P.M., Lieutenant Chard was at the ponts,
when two men came riding from Zululand at a gallop,
and shouted to be taken across the river. They were
Lieutenant Adendorff, Natal Native Contingent, and a
carbineer, who brought tidings of the disaster at
Isandhlwana and the advance of the Zulus towards


Korke’s Drift. Lieutenant Adendorff remained to assist
in the defence of the post, and the carbineer rode on to
take the news to Helpmakaar.

Lieutenant Chard at once gave orders to secure the
stores at the ponts, and rode up to the commissariat
store, when he found a note had been received from the
3rd Column, saying the enemy were advancing, and
directing them to strengthen and hold the post at all
cost. Lieutenant Bromhead was actively at work pre-
paring for defence, ably assisted by Mr. Dalton, of the
Commissariat Department, loopholing the buildings and
connecting them by walls of mealie-bags and two waggons
that were there. Lieutenant Chard then rode down to
the pont, and brought up the guard and stores.

An officer, with about a hundred of ” Durnford’s
Horse,” now arrived, and asked for orders. He was in-
structed to throw out men to watch the drifts and ponts,
to check the enemy’s advance, and fall back on the post
when forced to retire. These men had, however, been
in the saddle since daylight, and had gone through a
heavy engagement : they were quite exhausted (besides
being dispirited by the loss of their beloved leader), and,
after remaining a short time, retired to Helpmakaar. A
detachment of Natal Native Contingent also left the

Lieutenant Chard now commenced an inner work
” a retrenchment of biscuit-boxes.” This was two boxes
high when, about 4.30 P.M., 500 or 600 of the enemy
came in sight, and advanced at a run against the south
wall. They were met with a well-sustained fire, but, in
spite of their loss, approached to within about fifty yards.


Here they were checked by the cross-fire from the
attacked front and the store-house. Some got under
cover and kept up a heavy fire, but the greater number,
without stopping, moved to the left, round the hospital,
and made a rush at the wall of mealie-bags. After a
short but desperate struggle the enemy were driven back
with heavy loss into the bush around the post. The
main body of the enemy coming up, lined the ledge of
rock, caves, etc., overlooking the work, at a distance of
about 400 yards to the south, and from whence a constant
fire was kept up, and they also occupied in great force
the garden, hollow road, and bush.

The bush not having been cleared away enabled the
enemy to advance under cover close to the wall, and a
series of desperate assaults were made, extending from
the hospital along the wall as far as the bush reached ;
each assault was brilliantly met and repulsed with the
bayonet, Corporal Scheiss, Natal Native Contingent,
distinguishing himself greatly. The fire from the rocks
took the work completely in reverse, and was so heavy
that about 6 P.M. the garrison was obliged to retire
behind the entrenchment of biscuit-boxes.

During this period the enemy had been storming the
hospital, and at last succeeded in setting fire to the
roof. The garrison defended it most gallantly, bringing
out all the sick that could be moved ; Privates Williams,
Hook, K. Jones, and W. Jones, 2-2 4th Eegiment, being
the last men to leave, and holding the doorway with
the bayonet when their ammunition was expended. The
want of communication and the burning of the house
rendered it impossible to save all the sick.


It was now found necessary to make another
entrenchment, which was done with two heaps of
mealie-bags, Assistant-Commissary Dunne working hard
at this, though much exposed. As darkness came on
the little garrison was completely surrounded, but gal-
lantly repulsed several serious assaults ; it was, however,
eventually forced to retire to the inner entrenchment,
which it held throughout the night. The attack con-
tinued vigorously till midnight, the men firing on the
assailants with the greatest coolness, aided by the light
afforded by the burning hospital. A desultory fire was
kept up by the enemy throughout the night, but this
ceased about 4 A.M. on the 23rd, and at daybreak the
enemy was out of sight. Lieutenant Chard at once set
about patrolling round the post, collecting the Zulu
arms, and strengthening the defences.

About 7 A.M., a large body of the enemy appeared
on the hills to the south-west, and Lieutenant Chard
sent off a note to Helpmakaar asking for assistance.
About 8 A.M., No. 3 Column appeared in sight, the
enemy falling back on its approach. Thus ended a most
gallant defence, reflecting the utmost credit on all

The loss of the garrison was 15 non-commissioned
officers and men killed, and 12 wounded (of whom
two died almost immediately). The attacking force
was estimated at 3000 men, of whom upwards of 350
were killed.

Lord Chelmsford, with the remains of No. 3 Column,
had moved off from Isandhlwana, as we have already
described, at daybreak that morning. It had been


thought necessary to insist upon absolute inaction
through the night ; no attempt was allowed at identi-
fying the dead, or even at making sure that no life
remained in the camp ; and men lay down to rest,
ignorant whether a careless hand might not fall on the
lifeless form of a dead comrade or, mayhap, a brother.
The remainder of the Natal Carbineers, as they after-
wards discovered, bivouacked that night on the right of
the camp, upon the very ” neck ” of land where so
gallant a stand was made ; their captain recognising
the body of Lieutenant Scott, and therefore being able
afterwards to identify the spot. That life might exist
without its being known to the returning column is
proved by the fact that a native groom lay for dead,
although unwounded, in the camp throughout the night.
The man had feigned death when the camp was taken,
and did not dare to move on the return of the General’s
party, lest he should be taken by them for a Zulu, and
should share the fate of the few actual Zulus found
intoxicated beneath the waggons, and bayoneted by our
soldiers. He crept out in the morning, and followed
the retreating column to Eorke’s Drift at a distance,
meeting on the way with narrow escapes of losing his
life from both friend and foe.

On coming within sight of Eorke’s Drift, heavy
smoke was seen rising from it, and Zulus retiring ; this
caused the liveliest apprehensions for the safety of the
post. However, to the intense relief of all, on nearing
the Buffalo Eiver the waving of hats was ^een from a
hastily-erected entrenchment, and the safety of the
little garrison was known.


Lieut. -Colonel Eussell was sent with a mounted
escort to Helpmakaar, to see if the road was open and
all safe there ; but some officers of Major Bengough’s
battalion Natal Native Contingent rode in and reported
the road open, Helpmakaar laagered, and no attack
made on it. Some men of the Buffalo Border Guard
also rode in from Fort Pine and reported all well there.

The General and staff hurried down to Pietermaritz-
burg vid Helpmakaar, while the garrison at Korke’s
Drift was left in utter confusion/”* as testified by many
of those present at the time. No one appeared respon-
sible for anything that might happen, and the result
was one disgraceful to our English name, and to all
concerned. A few Zulu prisoners had been taken by
our troops some the day before, others previous to the
disaster at Isandhlwana, and these prisoners were put
to death in cold blood at Korke’s Drift. It was in-
tended to set them free, and they were told to run for
their lives, but they were shot down and killed, within
sight and sound of the whole force. An eye-witness
an officer described the affair to the present writer,
saying that the men whom he saw killed numbered
“not more than seven, nor less than five.” He said
that he was standing with others in the camp, and
hearing shots close behind him, he turned, and saw the
prisoners in question in the act of falling beneath the
shots and stabs of a party of our men.f The latter,
indeed, were men belonging to the Native Contingent,

* ” The panic and confusion were fearful,” says one of themselves.
f The number of prisoners thus killed is said to have been about

x 2


but they were supposed to be under white control, and
should not have been able to obtain possession of the
prisoners under any circumstances. Scenes like these
were not likely to impress the savages with whom we
were dealing with our merciful and Christian qualities,
nor to improve the chances of European prisoners who
might fall into their hands during the campaign.

As soon as order was a little restored, the cover round
the post of Koike’s Drift was cleared away, barricades
built, the thatched roof taken off the house, and the
four guns placed in position within the enclosure.

The General and staff reached Pietermaritzburg early
on January 26th. There, as everywhere else, panic
reigned, and gloom spread over all. From the city
especially many a son and brother had gone out to
fall upon that fatal day, and grief was mingled there
with terror for what might come next. It was long
before any accurate information could be gained as to
what had happened, and who had fallen ; and, owing
to the hurried retreat of No. 3 Column from Isandhlwana
before daybreak on the 23rd, the great burden of
uncertainty was laid upon many heavy hearts both
upon the spot and at home in England.

At first all who had had friends at the camp hoped
they might be amongst the saved, since it was known
that some had escaped by ” The Fugitives’ Drift,” a spot
some five miles from Eorke’s Drift, where those flying
from Isandhlwana crossed the river ; and day by day
the lists of killed and missing appeared with the names
gradually removed from the latter to the former Well
had an hour’s daylight been spent that morning to spare


the uncertainty that hung over many an English and
South African home for days and weeks, and even

No time was now lost in making such preparations
for defence as the principal towns afforded. An invasion
of the colony by the victorious Zulu army was hourly
expected, and with some reason, since retaliation for
our invasion might naturally be feared. Sir Bartle
Frere himself remarks, on February 12th (C. 2269) :
‘It has become painfully evident that the Zulu king
has an army at his command which could almost any
day unexpectedly invade Natal ; and owing to the great
extent of frontier, and utter helplessness of the un-
disciplined hordes of Natal natives to offer effectual
resistance, the Zulus might march at will through the
country, devastating and murdering, without a chance
of being checked, as long as they abstained from
attacking the entrenched posts of Her Majesty’s troops,
which are from 50 to 100 miles apart. The capital and
all the principal towns are at this moment in ‘laager/
prepared for attack, which even if successfully resisted,
would leave two-thirds of them in ashes, and the
country around utterly desolated.”‘””

Whatever reasonable fears of retaliation were enter-

* Yet Sir B. Frere, on the 30th June, writes : ” The position of
Wood’s and Pearson’s columns effectually checked the execution of an
attempt at invasion.” These two columns, being some ninety miles
apart and secure in their own positions only, would have been of little
avail had the Zulu king desired to make ” an attempt at invasion.”
It needed no better strategists than Cetshwayo and his chiefs to have
masked each of the posts at Kambula and Etshowe with some 5000
men, and then ” the Zulus might march at will through the country.”


tained by the people of Natal, they soon rose to panic-
height in consequence of the great alarm displayed by
the chief authorities, both military and civil. By their
orders, the central part of ‘Maritzburg, including the
Court House, was barricaded with loopholed boarding,
as a refuge for the citizens in case of attack, wells were
dug inside the Court House, and notice given that the
usual guns, announcing the arrival of the English mails,
would be discontinued for the present, but that three
guns would be fired as a signal for the citizens to go
into the laager within three hours, while four guns
would signify that the danger was urgent, and they
must fly into it at once, taking stores of food, which
they were to have ready beforehand, beside what the
borough council had provided, and they must then
comply with an elaborate series of rules, which was
published in the Government Gazette. So great, in-
deed, was the scare that some of the citizens of ‘Maritz-
burg did actually take refuge one night in the laager,
and others hurriedly left the colony, while many natives,
living near the city, slept out, with their wives and
children, some nights in the open field. On that night,
when terror was at its height, it is said that the bedding
of the Governors and their staff, together with the official
records of Government House, was removed to the
neighbouring gaol, a strong stone building, just under
the guns of Fort Napier, which was chosen as a place of
refuge for their Excellencies. It is also said that Lord
Chelmsford’s horse was kept saddled and bridled all
night ; and a stretcher was placed, by express order,
outside the window of a lady in delicate health, without
her knowledge, so as to be ready in case of emergency


as if a Zulu impi could drop suddenly, at a moment’s
notice, into the middle of the city, the frontier, at the
nearest point, being sixty miles off.

Whether or no the High Commissioner was really in
such a state of alarm as he appeared to be, the existence
of such a scare in Natal would, no doubt, help to support
his policy in the eyes of those at home, as an actual
inroad of Zulus at that time would have still more
effectually justified the charges he had made against
Cetshwayo, and the strong measures he had taken in
invading Zululand, for the good of the Zulus themselves
and the safety of the colony. After the disaster at
Isandhiwana, Sir B. Frere of course reiterates his
charges against the king of intending to invade the
colony (C. 2269). But these charges are sufficiently
answered by the mere fact that although, as Sir B. Frere
himself points out, Natal lay at his mercy for some
months after the disaster, he made no attack whatever
either upon Swazis, Boers, or English. After Isandhi-
wana, if ever, such invasion was to be dreaded, yet not
only was none attempted, but even the Zulus who, in
the flush of victory crossed into Natal at Rorke’s Drift
on the 22nd, were called back by their officers with the
words, ” Against the orders of your king ! ”

In startling contrast to the panic which reigned after
the 22nd January was the ignorance and carelessness
shown by the authorities beforehand. At the very time
of the disaster to No. 3 Column there was a train of
fifteen waggons, with sixty-five boxes of ammunition
each, moving unguarded up to Helpmakaar, upon a road
eight miles from and parallel to the Zulu border !

With the exception of Borke’s Drift, no military


station was at this time more open to attack than
Helpmakaar, distant from it about twelve miles. The
fugitives from Isandhlwana, Captains Essex and Gardner,
Lieutenants Cochrane, Curling, and Smith-Dorrien, with
about thirty others, reached this place between 5 and
6 P.M., and at once set about forming a waggon-laager
round the stores. The garrison of two companies of the
l-24th Kegiment had marched towards Eorke’s Drift
during the day ; but Major Spalding says : ” On reaching
the summit of a hill from which the mission-house is
visible it was observed to be in flames ; this confirmed
the statement of the fugitives that the post had been
captured. This being the case, it was determined to
save, if possible, Helpmakaar and its depot of stores ”
…. and the column reached Helpmakaar by 9 P.M.
(P. P. [C. 2260] p. 88.) Captain Gardner, soon after
reaching Helpmakaar, left for Utrecht, it having occurred
to him to carry the news of the disaster himself to
Colonel Wood. Our loss at Isandhlwana is given as
689 officers and men Imperial troops, and 133 officers
and men of Colonial Volunteers, Mounted Police, and
Natal Native Contingents Europeans (P. P. [C. 2260]
pp. 93-98) ; but the actual loss was slightly in excess of
those numbers.

The Zulu army appears to have consisted of the
following regiments : ‘Kandampemvu (or Umcityu),
‘Ngobamakosi, Uve, Nokenke, Umbonambi, Udhloko,
Nodwengu, and Undi (which comprises the Tulwana,
‘Ndhlondhlo, and Indhlnyengwe), whose full nominal
strength reaches a total of 30,900 men ; but the actual
numbers are estimated at from 20,000 to 25,000.


The Zulus acknowledge to having suffered heavily,
and their loss is estimated at 3000.

Cetshwayo’s youngest brother, Nugwende, who sur-
rendered on 27th April, said he was present at Isandhl-
wana. That the front and left flank attack was beaten,
and fell back with great loss until the fire of the white
troops slackened ; the right flank entering the camp, the
attack was renewed, the English being unable to prevent
their onset from want of ammunition. The Zulu army,
he says, numbered 20,000 of the king’s best troops.

A court of inquiry, composed of Colonel Hassard,
C.B., RE., Lieut. -Colonel Law, K.A., and Lieut.-
Colonel Harness, E.A., assembled at Helpmakaar on
the 27th January, when the following officers gave
evidence: Major Clery ; Colonel Glyn, C.B. ; Captain
Gardner, 1.4th Hussars ; Captain Essex, 75th Kegiment ;
Lieutenant Cochrane, 32nd Kegiment ; Lieutenant Smith-
Dorrien, 95th Regiment; Captain Nourse, Natal Native
Contingent ; and Lieutenant Curling, E.A.

The evidence taken consisted of statements made by
the above officers, not one of whom appears to have been
questioned. The (so-called) inquiry seems to have been
strictly limited to the occurrences at the camp, as we
find Major Clery’s evidence finish abruptly, ” I saw the
column out of camp and accompanied it.” Colonel Glyn
merely corroborated Major Clery ‘s statement; and the
other officers gave their respective versions of the
occurrences at the camp ; Captain Essex giving a
very clear and detailed account of the movements of
the 24th Regiment.

The proceedings were forwarded on the 29th, with


these remarks: ” The court has examined and recorded
the statements of the chief witnesses.

“The copy of proceedings forwarded was made by a
confidential clerk of the Eoyal Engineers.

” The court has refrained from giving an opinion, as
instructions on this point were not given to it.”

The proceedings were forwarded from Durban to the
Secretary of State for War on February 8th by Lord
Chelmsford, who said : ” The court has very properly
abstained from giving an opinion, and I myself refrain
also from making any observations, or from drawing any
conclusions from the evidence therein recorded.”

He regrets that more evidence has not been taken,
and has directed his military secretary ” to append a
statement of the facts which came under his cognizance
on the day in question.” (P. P. [C. 2260] p. 80).

On this officer’s ” statement ” some remarks have
been made in the previous chapter ; and we must now
quote one or two passages from the public prints, which
appeared when Colonel Harness’s share in the proceed-
ings of the 22nd January first came to light.

The Daily News of April 8th, referring to this episode
and the court of inquiry, says : ” Lord Chelmsford seems
to have been as unfortunate in the selection of his staff-
officers as he was in everything else.”

Lieut. -Colonel Crealock’s ” statement ” is stigmatised
as “palpably written to establish a preconceived
theory;” and The Daily News says most justly that
” Colonel Harness should not have sat as member of the
court of inquiry. How it could have been supposed
that an officer who had taken so prominent a part in


the doings of the 22nd January was a fit and suitable
member of a court assembled even to take evidence
merely, is more than we can understand. Besides, the
very fact of his being a member, we are told, precluded
Colonel Harness from giving his own valuable evidence.”

The Natal Witness of May 29th, 1879, makes some
reflections on the same subject, which are very pertinent.
We need not repeat its criticisms on the court of
inquiry, etc. but it says: “It is notorious that certain
members of Lord Chelmsford’s staff there is no need
to mention any name or names came down to ‘Maritz-
burg after the disaster, prepared to make Colonel
Durnford bear the whole responsibility, and that it
was upon their representations that the High Com-
missioner’s telegram about ‘ poor Durnford’s misfortune ‘
was sent.”

How a court of inquiry, assembled without the
power, apparently, of asking a single question, was to
throw much light on the causes of the disaster, does not
appear. Its scope was limited to the doings at the
camp ; and under any circumstances it could not well
criticise the faults of the General. The proceedings of
this court of inquiry can therefore only be considered
as eminently unsatisfactory,

We might here leave this painful subject, were it not
for the undisguised attempts that have been made to
throw the blame on the dead.

In considering the question of blame, we must first
put before us the circumstances in which the camp
defenders found themselves when they were required
/’to defend the camp.”


Now the orders given to Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine are
stated by Major Clery, senior staff-officer of No. 3
Column, thus :

” Before leaving the camp I sent written instructions
to Colonel Pulleine, 24th Kegiment, to the following
effect : e You will be in command of the camp during
the absence of Colonel Glyn ; draw in (I speak from
memory) your camp, or your line of defence ‘ I am not
certain which ‘ while the force is out ; also draw in the
line of your infantry outposts accordingly, but keep
your cavalry vedettes still far advanced/ I told him to
have a waggon ready loaded with ammunition ready to
follow the force going out at a moment’s notice, if
required. I went to Colonel Pulleine’ s tent just before
leaving camp to ascertain that he had got these instruc-
tions, and again repeated them verbally to him.” (P. P.
[C. 2260] p. 81).

As regards the force left to defend the camp, there
were no instructions to form a defensive post ; the
General did not think it necessary, though to him was
the almost prescient remark made : ” We should be all
right if we only had a laager.” He saw no danger; he
was about to move his camp on, and a laager would be
useless work, so he put the suggestion on one side with
the remark : ” It would take a week to make/’ Thus
Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine was left, and he had no reason
to anticipate danger, till, almost without a mtiment’s
warning, he found the camp threatened by an over-
whelming force ; he then, after trying in vain to check
the enemy’s right, endeavoured to hold the donga and
broken ground close in front of the camp, where his


men found some cover ; the camp itself being absolutely
indefensible/” Colonel Durnford, as we have seen,
reached the camp about 10.30 A.M., before which time
Major Chard says : ” The troops were in column. . . .
out of camp,” arid he saw Zulus ” on the crest of the
distant hills,” and several parties moving to the left
towards Eorke’s Drift. Colonel Durnford takes out his
mounted men to (as he thinks) assist his General, and to
see what the enemy is about, t

Again, some assert that the action was brought about
by Colonel Durnford’s Native Horse in the Ingqutu Hills.
Even had it been so, yet this officer’s duty distinctly
was to feel and reconnoitre the enemy, t When the Zulu
army moved forward to the attack, he, with his handful
of men, fell slowly back, gaining all the time possible for
the camp defenders.

Taking the whole of the circumstances of the day,
we may conclude that, had the enemy remained hidden
on the 22nd, we should probably have lost the entire
column instead of part ; but the account given by an
English Officer with one of the troops that first saw the
enemy, and other accounts from Zulus, seem to make it
clear that the Zulus were moving on the camp when
they came in contact with the horsemen. That they

* Some officers who were with the advance column, and who
afterwards visited Isandhlwana, say that they appear to have ” tried
to get the waggons together to form a laager,” but there was not time.

f With respect to this, Lord Chelmsford lays down a principle
(relative to the border raids, but even more strongly applicable here)
that if a force remains ” on the passive defensive, without endeavouring
by means of scouting in small bodies or by raiding in large ones, to
discover what the enemy is doing in its immediate front, it deserves
to be surprised and overpowered.” (P. P. [C. 2318] p. 80).


had no intention of remaining hidden is shown by their
unconcealed movements on the hills throughout the

Now, whether these defenders did or did not take
the best measures ” to defend the camp ” when it was
attacked, the primary causes of the disaster were
undoubtedly these :

1. The fatal position selected for the camp, and the
total absence .of any defensive precautions.

2. The absence of systematic scouting, whereby an
army of upwards of 20,000 Zulus was enabled to approach
Isandhlwana on the 21st, and remained unobserved till the
22nd, although their mounted scouts were actually seen
by the General and staff on the 21st, watching them.

* It is stated that on the previous evening there was no intention
on the part of the Zulus to attack the camp upon the 22nd, which
was not thought by them a propitious day, being that of the new
moon. It is also said that the Zulu army came with pacific intentions,
in order to give up Sihayo’s sons, and the cattle for the fine. In all
probability they left the king with such orders that is to say, to
make terms if possible, but to fight if forced to it, and if the English
intentions were plainly hostile. This hostility was thoroughly proved
before the morning of the 22nd, when the departure of Lord Chelms-
ford’s force from the camp must have been a strong temptation to the
Zulus to attack the latter.

Warning of the Zulu army moving against Xos. 1 and 3 Columns
was received on the border, and communicated to Mr. Fannin, Border
Agent, on January 20th. The warning stated that the whole Zulu
army, over 35,000 strong (except about 4000 who remained with the
king), was marched in two columns, the strongest against Colonel
Glyn’s column, the other against Colonel Pearson ; this was to take
up its position on the 20th or 21st January at the royal kraal near
Inyezane, and the first to approach Eorke’s Drift. The writer com-
plains of the little and inadequate use made of the information, which
might have been communicated from Fort Pearson to Eorke’s Drift
in time to have averted the fearful disaster of the 22nd January.
(P. P. [C. 2308] pp. 69, 70.)


3. The subdivision of the force, and the absence of
proper communications by signalling or otherwise.

4. The neglect of warnings given by the events of
the day, and messages from the camp ; also the with-
drawal of a force actually on the march to the relief of
the camp.

For these principal causes of the disaster, none of
those who fell were responsible.

That Lord Chelmsford was shaken by the tragic
events of January is evident from his letter to the Secre-
tary of State for War, dated ” Durban, Natal, February 9th,
1879,” and which ran as follows: ” I consider it my
duty to lay before you my opinion that it is very
desirable, in view of future contingencies, that an officer
of the rank of major-general shall be sent out to South
Africa without delay. In June last I mentioned privately
to His Royal Highness the Field-Marshal Commanding-
in-Chief that the strain of prolonged anxiety and
exertion, physical and mental, was even then telling on
me. What I felt then, I feel still more now. His
Excellency Sir Bartle Frere concurs in this representation,
and pointed out to me that the officer selected should be
fitted to succeed him in his position of High Commissioner.
In making this representation, I need not assure you
that it will be my earnest desire to carry on my duties
for Her Majesty’s service up to the fullest extent of my
powers.” (P. P. [C. 2260] p. 79).

The exact meaning of this letter has never been made
clear. No doubt Lord Chelmsford was feeling ” the strain
of prolonged anxiety and exertion, physical and mental,”
but His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief said


that he had no previous knowledge of it. Students of
Greek history will note the striking parallelism of this
case with that of Nicias, who, when commanding before
Syracuse in the year 414 B.C., applied to be superseded.
” Such was the esteem which the Athenians felt for this
union of good qualities, purely personal and negative,
with eminent station, that they presumed the higher
aptitudes of command,” and ” the general vote was one
not simply imputing no blame, but even pronouncing
continued and unabated confidence.” Grote’s ” History
of Greece.”

But of all the strange and incomprehensible circum-
stances connected with that sad time, the one which
struck Natal as the strangest was the utter desertion of
the battle-field and the long neglect of the dead who
lay there. On the 4th February Major Black, 2-24th
Eegiment, with a small party, found the bodies of
Lieutenants Melville and Coghill about 300 yards from
the river on the Natal side, near the Fugitives’ Drift,
and they were buried on the spot, the colours which
they had striven to save being found in the river,
and returned next day to the Eegiment at Help-

The fatal field of Isandhlwana was not again seen till
the 14th March, when Major Black, 2-2 4th, with a
small mounted party, paid a flying visit to the spot,
a few shots only being fired at them from a distance.
No attempt was made to bury the dead, and until the
21st of May that ghastly field remained as it was left
on the 23rd of January, although there does not appear
to have been any period since the disaster when a


moderate force might not with perfect safety have done
all that was necessary.

On the morning after the return of Colonel Glyn’s
Column to Korke’s Drift, ” Commandant Lonsdale
mustered the Contingent and called out the indunas,
and told them in the hearing of all that he wanted to
find out the men who were courageous and would stand
by their officers and die with them if necessary, and
that those who were willing to do this were to come
forward. At this time the mounted infantry and
volunteers were moving off to Helpmakaar. The
general reply of the Contingent was that they were
willing to go over to fight along with the white people,
their shield against Cetywayo ; but that now that they
saw their shield going away they would not go over by
themselves, and that no one could say he was not

“They were then dismissed, but in the afternoon
they were all disarmed (of their guns), and their belts
and puggaries and blankets taken from them by
their officers. Each company had a flag, which they
asked to take home with them ; some were allowed to
do so, but others were not. They were then all told
to go home, and to keep together till they reached the
TJmsinga, and then to divide each for his own home.”

On January 24th, Colonel Glyn wrote to Lord
Chelmsford: “The whole of the Native Contingent walked
off this morning. Their rifles were taken from them ;
all the hospital-bearers then went, and now the Native
Pioneers are going. I am now left without any natives.”
* P. P. (C. 2318) p. 12.


The General immediately forwarded Colonel Glyn’s
letter to Sir Henry Bulwer, with the remark : ” Unless
these men are at once ordered back to their regiments,
or punished for refusing to go, the most serious
consequences will ensue” (ibid. p. 3).

Sir Henry Bulwer very properly abstained from
taking any strong measures as to punishing the men
until he had inquired into the causes which led to their
desertion. Eventually, indeed, he discovered that most
of them had not deserted at all, but had been disbanded
by their leader, Commandant Lonsdale. But meanwhile
there was a great deal to be said, and on January 29th
Sir Henry writes, pointing out that ” the great disaster
which happened to our force at Isandhlwana Camp on
the 22nd inst., the circumstances under which these men
passed the night of the 22nd, and the retirement of the
remainder of the column on Borke’s Drift and back into
Natal, were all calculated to have their effect on the
natives who belonged to this column ; ” and proceeds :
“I am told, too, that whilst the European force at
Eorke’s Drift on the night of the 23rd were entrenched,
the Native Contingent was not entrenched ; and further
I am told that, on an alarm being given that night, the
.European officers and non-commissioned officers who
were with the Native Contingent left their men and took
refuge within the entrenchments. On the following
morning, the 24th, the General and his staff left the
camp ; and this circumstance, those acquainted with
the native character tell me, may very probably have
had a further depressing effect upon the natives.”
(P. P. [C. 2318] p, 4).


On February 7th, Sir Henry Bulwer writes again
that he has received answers from the magistrates whom
he had directed to make inquiries into the causes of the
dispersion of the men. These reports speak of the
cheerful spirit and loyal tone of the chiefs, and of very
many of the men having reported themselves to their
magistrates on their return from the front. The accounts
given by the different magistrates are unanimous as to
the causes of the dispersion. Some of the men declared
that officers of the Contingent told them to return home
and await further orders, as provisions were short ;
others, to use their own words, said : ” We saw that
the Government was driven out of Zululand, and the
wind blew us back also.” They thought also that the
Commander -in -Chiefs hasty departure from Korke’s
Drift was a flight from the enemy. Another reason
for their retreat, and to them a very strong one, was the
necessity of going home and performing the rights of
purifying after shedding blood.*'” It was also stated
that some of them were led by their officers in their
retreat. Others saw their officers killed, were left
without control, and fled. Their friends were now
laughing at them, and they were eager to return to
the front under proper guidance.

These, indeed, were ample explanations for the fact
of the dispersion of the 3rd Kegiment Natal Native
Contingent, but they were followed by many and serious
complaints, made by the men and reported by the

* Had Lord Chelmsford been acquainted with this peculiarity of
the Zulus, he might not have thought it necessary to hurry away from
Isandhlwana on the 23rd. There was no fear of the same force
attacking again for some days to come.

Y ‘2


magistrates, of the manner in which the former had
been treated since the campaign began. These com-
plaints comprised insufficiency of food, floggings for
disobedience to orders which they had either never
heard, or had not understood, and bad officers.* These
were the most important items, the rest referring to
their preference for their own methods of fighting, to
which, as we have already shown, there were the
strongest objections.

These reports referred solely to the contingent
attached to Colonel Glyn’s column, with the exception
of one, which was concerning the remnant of the Zikali
men, escaped from Isandhlwana.

It was finally decided that the men of the con-
tingents belonging to No. 1 Column might ” be allowed
to leave in batches, but they must be made to under-
stand that they are required for the defence of Natal.”
(P. P. [C. 2260] p. 22.) The contingent forming No. 2
Column remained steadily serving throughout the war.
Major Bengough’s battalion had a narrow escape of
sharing in the disaster of Isandhlwana, and the men
were somewhat shaken and disheartened at seeing the
contingent of No. 3 Column dispersing ; but this ill-effect
soon passed away.

Colonel Pearson’s remarks on the company of Native
Pioneers belonging to his column are concise and valu-
able. He says : ‘ ( The men worked cheerfully. They
had eyes like hawks, and they did all their scouting to
perfection. It convinced me that the Natal Zulus, under
proper management, would make excellent troops.”
* P. P. (C. 2318) pp. 11-17.



WE have already, in a previous chapter, explained
the circumstances which led to the war between
the Transvaal Boers and Sikukuni, independent chief
of a mixed race of natives commonly called the
Makatisi, more properly the Bapedi, tribe. The im-
mediate cause of the war was a border dispute between
some of the gradually encroaching Boer farmers and
the natives whom they had displaced, which ended in
the latter taking possession of some cattle belonging to
the former.

This affair took place during a temporary absence
of Mr. Burgers (then President of the Republic), who,
on his return, demanded the cattle at the hands of
Sikukuni, and the restraint of his people within the
limits assigned to them by their Boer neighbours.
Sikukuni expressed his willingness to make the required
restitution, but took the opportunity of reminding the
President that he laid claim to a considerable piece of
territory already occupied by Boers, to whom he denied
having ever willingly relinquished it. This reply was
the signal for a declaration of war against Sikukuni on


the part of the President and Volksraad, and a large
” commando/’ or volunteer force, was called out to
attack him early in July, 1876.

This force, consisting of some 3000 Boers and over
4000 of their Swazi allies, made its way through the
country, ravaging and destroying as it went, until it
reached the famous stronghold known as ” Sikukuni’s
Town/’ upon which it made an unsuccessful night attack,
on August 2nd.

A single reverse was sufficient to dishearten the
gallant Boers, who immediately discovered various
reasons which made their return to their homes
absolutely necessary. The commando dispersed, leaving
a force of volunteers composed of stray Englishmen,
Germans, and half-bred natives to occupy a couple of
posts (Fort Burgers and Fort Weber), which they built
for the purpose. From these posts they carried on a
system of raiding expeditions upon Sikukuni’s people,
which effectually prevented the cultivation of their land,
and finally produced a scarcity of food amongst them.
This state of things was too harassing to last, and
Sikukuni sued for peace, which was granted him early
in 1877, conditionally upon his paying a heavy fine in

A month later, and before the fine had been paid,
Sir T. Shepstone had annexed the Transvaal, and, as we
have already described, took over, with the country, its
quarrels and demands. He tried to enforce the fine
imposed by the late Boer Government upon Sikukuni,
while remitting the war-tax levied upon the whites.
After having been subjected to so long a course of


marauding on the part of the Dutch, it is not impossible
that the chief really had some difficulty in procuring, at
a moment’s notice, the 2000 head of cattle demanded by
Sir T. Shepstone.* At all events, the fine was not paid
so promptly as the administrator expected ; and the
whole country being in an unsettled condition, perpetual
disturbances still took place between Sikukuni’s people
and the border farmers, and also between the former and
petty chiefs who had placed themselves under British

The most restless of the independent native rulers
seems to have been a woman, Legolwana, a sister of
Sikukuni’s, who had her own clan, and whose head-
quarters was a mountain stronghold, called Masellaroon.
In February, 1878, her people had a quarrel (nor was it
for the first time) with a neighbouring native chief under
our rule, from whom they took some cattle. Whether
or no there were two sides to the question, the despoiled
chief was our subject, and it so happened that Legolwana’s
people were met in the act of driving off the cattle by a
patrol of Transvaal volunteers, who promptly interfered.
This occurrence led to a general outbreak of hostilities.
Legolwana’s men attacked the two forts simultaneously,
and the officers in command, Captain Clarke and
Lieutenant Eckersley, with their men, escaped from them,
and retired to Lydenburg. From thence Captain Clarke
sent embassies to the Swazi king and another inde-
pendent chief, asking for assistance against Sikukuni.

* Who, it is said, insisted upon the animals being fine and in
good condition, returning some which were sent in below the required


His invitations, however, were politely declined, the
chiefs in question not caring to interfere, although
wishing to remain upon friendly terms with the English.

Having obtained reinforcements from the gold-fields
and Pretoria, Captain Clarke marched back to Fort
Weber, and re-occupied it with a force consisting of
40 mounted volunteers under Captains Van Deventer
and Ferreira, 150 Natal Zulus under Lieutenants Lloyd
and Dacomb, and 300 Bechuanas under Mr. Tainton.

Captain Clarke’s first intentions were to attack
Legolwana and reduce her to submission. Captain
Lacon Hervey, 71st Kegiment, gives the following
description of her stronghold in his account of ” The
Secocceni War ” :

“The town, or kraal, of Legolani consisted of a
number of straw and wattle-and-daub huts, beehive-
shaped, situated at the base and on the terraces of a
mountain of rocks and huge boulders 700 feet high,
covered over with thick clumps of bush. The huts
at the base of the mountain were surrounded by an
impenetrable hedge of prickly pear ; a single entrance,
barricaded with timber, led through an avenue of prickly
pear and cactus into the group of huts surrounded by
palisading, wattle screens, and stone walls. Each group
of huts was commanded by the rocks above ; from behind
these a direct, flanking, and enfilade fire could be poured
on the attacking party, which, on account of the intricacy
of the ground, would be compelled to advance in single
file along the tortuous goat-paths leading up to the
mountain. In addition to the cover afforded by the
caves and fissures in the rocks, schanzes, or low stone


walls, were built up wherever favourable positions
with safe means of retreat presented themselves. The
paths leading from one rock entrenchment, or terrace,
to the one above it, were so concealed by rock and bush
as to be difficult to find. Finally, the Kafirs’ most
valued treasure, the cattle, was placed on the summit
of the mountain, on a level plot of ground, surrounded
by a stone wall.”

This stronghold was attacked by Captain Clarke’s
orders on the 5th April, and, ” after about two hours’
sharp work, the north of the hill was carried.” * The
fighting force, not being sufficient to complete its work,
was ordered to withdraw, after having swept all the
cattle from that side of the hill (277 head of cattle and
211 sheep and goats). A considerable number of
Legolwana’s people are supposed to have fallen in this
assault, the loss on our side being 10 killed and 12
wounded, amongst the latter Captain Van Deventer
slightly, and Lieutenant Lloyd severely. These two
officers are reported as having led the attack with great

The partial success gained by the storming of Masel-
laroon (with the loss of life on our side considerable
under the circumstances) was not such as to encourage
Captain Clarke in the tactics with which he had com-
menced his operations. He therefore abandoned all idea
of seizing the native strongholds, and ” established a
cordon of forts, about twelve miles from each other ….
with a view of harassing the Kafirs by preventing them
from cultivating the Indian corn.”

* Captain Clarke’s report (C. 2144), p. 37.


” Legolwana had sued for peace, but Captain Clarke
would not listen to anything except unconditional
surrender, with the guarantee that all life should be

Thus, with the usual notion that ” no terms can be
made with savages,” which has again and again produced
such disastrous consequences for them and for us, a system
of petty warfare was kept up, tedious, unnecessary, and
by which no good could be done nor honour gained. To
the volunteers, many of whom, says Captain Harvey,
were “gentlemen by birth and education,” there may
have been some amusement in what that officer speaks
of as ” actions of daring individual enterprise,” and which
he describes as follows : ” Volunteers went out and lay
ambuscades at night, to surprise and cut off Kafirs pro-
ceeding from kraal to kraal, or to cultivate their fields,
and ‘ cattle-lifting ‘ expeditions were planned and boldly
carried out;” but the life must have become monotonous
in the extreme before July, when the native auxiliaries
became so discontented with it that some of them were
allowed to return to their homes, while a troop of
mounted infantry was summoned from Pretoria to keep
order amongst those who remained.

It was about this time that Colonel Rowlands, V.C,,
came upon the scene. This excellent officer, of whose
services in 1878-79 so little mention has been made, was
sent out on ” special service,” and was for a short time
attached to the staff of Lord Chelmsford (then General
Thesiger) during the Kaffrarian war. He was subse-
quently sent by the High Commissioner to Pretoria,
* Sir T. Shepstone to Sir H. Bulwer, April 16th, 1878 (C. 2144).


which he reached on May 6th. He employed the two
following months in an inspection of the northern and
eastern frontiers of the Transvaal/” and by dint of con-
siderable personal exertion was enabled to supply
valuable information to head-quarters. Towards the end
of July, Colonel Kowlands was appointed Commandant
of the Transvaal. At this time the regular forces in the
Transvaal consisted only of the 13th Light Infantry, a
few engineers, and departmental staff quite inadequate
for the work required of them ; but the Commander-in-
Chief, in signifying his approval of the manner in which
Colonel Kowlands proposed to distribute the troops
already under his command, informed him that he was
about to reinforce the Transvaal with the 80th Regi-
ment and Frontier Light Horse, with a view to active
operations against Sikukuni.

The promised reinforcements arrived by degrees from
Natal, and meanwhile there were Pretoria, Middleburg,
Lydenburg, and Standerton, where considerable stores of
ammunition, etc. were collected, to be garrisoned, as
well as the cordon of forts, already mentioned, along
the Leolu Mountains, which left no large proportion of
the troops about 800 of the 13th, and under 300
volunteers and Zulu police for service in the field.

However, by the 29th August Colonel Rowlands
found himself in a position to leave Pretoria for the
confines of the Transvaal, and reached Fort Weber on
the 13th September. From thence to Fort Burgers was
a long and tedious march through a difficult and track-
less country. The column was forced to make its own

* Upon the Zulu border.


road as it went, and had several skirmishes with
Sikukuni’s people en route. Eeinforced by the Frontier
Light Horse under Major Buller, and a party under
Major Kussell from Pretoria, Colonel Kowknds at last
reached Fort Burgers, and, after a few days’ halt for
repairs, patrolling, and scouting the country, recom-
menced his march towards ” Sikukuni’s Town,” distant
about twenty-five miles.

On the 3rd October he advanced with 338 mounted
men (Mounted Infantry, Frontier Light Horse, and
Transvaal Volunteers), 130 infantry, and 2 7-pounder
mountain guns ; his intention being to establish himself
before Sikukuni’s town, thoroughly reconnoitre it, and,
should he find that there was a chance of success, and
that the position could be afterwards held, to attack it
when he had brought up reinforcements.

The position was one of extreme difficulty, greatly
increased by the singular drought which was experienced
at the time, both in the Transvaal and Natal.

From Fort Burgers to Sikukuni’s Town, the approach
lay chiefly through a defile commanded by ” kopjes ”
(piles of rock and boulders, often some hundred feet in
height), of which the enemy did not fail to take advan-
tage. The weather was intensely hot, the thermometer
standing daily at over 100 in the shade, and the unusual
drought had dried up the springs and small watercourses
to an extent previously unknown.

The camp was fired into on the night before the force
sighted Sikukuni’s Town, but from a considerable distance,
causing no damage beyond one horse wounded, and a
general stampede of the slaughter cattle ; a determined


advance of the piquets, reinforced by their supports,
quickly driving back the enemy, who did not advance

The stronghold was sighted upon the following day,
but it soon became apparent to Colonel Rowlands that,
while to attempt its capture with the small force at his
disposal would be a mere reckless sacrifice of the troops
under his command, it was equally impossible to carry
out his original intention of establishing himself before
it, under the existing circumstances of absolute want of
water and forage. Deeply disappointing as was this
discovery, Colonel Rowlands was convinced that his only
course under the circumstances was to retire, and, his
opinion being confirmed by the senior officers present,
he reluctantly commenced his return march on the 6th

Encouraged by the retreat of the force, the enemy,
now in large numbers, followed and harassed- it, almost
until it reached the bivouac, eight miles from Fort Burgers.
Thirteen thousand rounds of ammunition were expended
in keeping off the foe during the march, and both man
and beast suffered severely from want of water and the
intense heat of the sun. The force reached Fort Burgers
the following day, with the loss of 1 man wounded ;
5 horses were killed, 10 died of horse sickness, and
4 horses and 1 mule were wounded. Here they
remained for several weeks, in hopes that the summer
rains, which it was natural to expect should fall at this
time of year, would enable them to make a second
advance upon Sikukuni’s Town. Meanwhile mounted
patrols, under Major Buller, Major Russell, Captain


Clarke, and Lieutenant Eckersley (in command of Swazi
levies), swept the country in every direction, harrying
the natives and capturing their cattle, but without
meeting with any armed opposition. Horse sickness now
set in that South African scourge, from which the force
had hitherto suffered but slightly, and in single cases,
but which at this time became an epidemic, deaths
occurring daily, sometimes but a few hours after the
animal was attacked by the disease. This unfortunate
circumstance added greatly to the difficulties of the

After the retreat of the force from before Sikukuni’s
Town, the enemy made several determined attacks upon
the forts in the Mamalubi Valley, especially upon Fort
Faugh-a-Ballagh ; and although these attacks were in
every case successfully resisted, they necessitated the
strengthening of the garrisons of the forts along this

Lord Chelmsford (then General Thesiger) had pre-
viously given notice to Colonel Eowlands that a column
from the Transvaal, under the command of the latter,
would be required to co-operate with the Ama-Swazi in
the invasion of Zululand. The 13th Eegiment, Frontier
Light Horse, and Lieutenant Nicholson’s guns, were all
to be available for that purpose as soon as the Sikukuni
affair (which was then lightly considered) should be
settled. By this arrangement, the 80th Regiment and
volunteers alone were reserved for the defence of the
Transvaal. As the season was now far advanced,
Colonel Eowlands was obliged to make the best arrange-
ments he could for the defence of the border with the


force an absurdly small one, considering the disturbed
state of the country which would be left after the
withdrawal of those intended by the General for the
Zulu invasion. His chief adviser, Captain Clarke, was
of opinion that a precipitate retirement from the valleys
of the Steelport and Speckboom rivers would be unad-
visable. These valleys contained large numbers of Kafir
gardens, and, by holding them a little later, the natives
would be prevented from sowing their crops for another
season, and starvation would ensue. With this object
in view, Fort Burgers was garrisoned with 100 of
the 13th Eegiment, and some 50 mounted volunteers,
while Colonel Eowlands himself retired to Speckboom
Drift, about thirteen miles from Fort Burgers, where he
constructed another fort in such a position as to cover
the junction of four important roadways. Having com-
pleted this work, he determined to attack some native
strongholds in the Steelport Valley, into which he
marched, with 3 guns, 140 mounted men, 340 infantry,
and 250 natives, on the 26th October. Moving before
daybreak the following morning, he commenced the
attack, at 7 A.M., upon a large kraal, built upon a
mountain spur. Here there was some sharp work,
difficult positions seized, and the valley finally cleared.
Several kraals were burnt, about 12,000 Ib. of grain
destroyed, and 100 head of cattle taken. Sixteen of
the enemy were ” accounted for/’ the loss on the side of
the attacking party being 1 killed and 10 wounded. At
10 o’clock the same morning the Commandant returned
to his camp on the Steelport, and, a few days later,
to the new fort at Speckboom Drift. Despatches from


head -quarters awaited him here, instructing him to
withdraw altogether, and as speedily as possible, from
the enemy’s country.

Arrangements were immediately made for the evacua-
tion of Fort Burgers, which was the advanced post on
the direct road to Sikukuni’s Town, the withdrawal of
troops and stores being masked by a strong patrol under
Captain Carrington, composed of mounted volunteers and
native foot levies, who were sent, via Fort Burgers and
Origstaadt Valley, to the Oliphant Eiver. The head-
quarters of the 13th Kegiment (340), Eussell’s Mounted
Infantry (63), and Lieutenant Nicholson’s two mountain
guns, left camp for Lydenburg the whole under the
command of Lieut. -Colonel Gilbert, 13th Light Infantry
immediately ; and in a few days’ time Fort Burgers
was emptied and demolished. Captain Carrington’s patrol
having returned, after capturing 345 head of cattle, and
meeting no enemy except a small guard and the cattle-
herds, Colonel Eowlands marched from Speckboom about
the 7th November, leaving at that fort a sufficient force
to guard the ammunition and stores which remained
there. About thirteen miles from Lydenburg he halted
and constructed a small fort, to cover the principal road
leading to that town, and which he purposed to garrison
with a detachment of volunteers.

Considerable difficulty was now experienced by
Colonel Eowlands in arranging the small force to be left
at his disposal, so as to efficiently protect the great
length of frontier, extending from Fort Mamalubi (under
the west side of the Leolu range, and about twenty-five
miles from Oliphant’s Eiver) to Kruger’s Post on the


east, besides garrisoning Pretoria, Middleburg, and
Lydenburg, in which were large quantities of supplies
and war materiel. His plans were laid with due con-
sideration for the nature of the country and the enerny,
and after careful consultation with those officers who
were supposed to be most fully acquainted with both.
Nevertheless they did not meet with full approval from
head-quarters, from whence Colonel Kowlands finally
received orders to remain where he was, and be responsible
for the arrangements he had made, instead of proceeding
at the head of No. 5 Column to the eastern border for
the invasion of Zululand, as originally intended. Shortly
afterwards Lieut. -Colonel Gilbert was directed to proceed
with the 13th Light Infantry and Lieutenant Nicholson’s
guns to Derby, Lieut. -Colonel Buller having preceded
him to that place, which was now removed from under
Colonel Rowlands’s command and placed under that of
Colonel Wood.

The attention of the former officer was now turned
to the disposition of the force that remained to him, and
to the raising of new corps of volunteers and strengthen-
ing those already formed, which he deemed necessary
for the security of the Transvaal. To this work he set
himself with great energy and considerable success,
stifling thereby the disappointment which it was but
natural that he should feel at being excluded from the
Zulu campaign. Towards the close of the month, how-
ever, he received a letter from the General, asking him
to spare two companies of the 80th Regiment to take the
place of the force under Colonel Gilbert, which had been
moved to Luneburg, and which shortly after joined


Colonel Wood’s column. Somewhat to his surprise, he
was reminded that Derby was in his command, and was
told that the General commanding would be glad if he
would proceed there in person to reassure the Swazis.
That same day the two companies of the 80th, under
Major Creagh, were put in orders to march as directed,
and Colonel Eowlands followed a week later, leaving the
forces defending the northern border under the able
command of Major Carrington, who, however, took such
instructions from Captain Clarke as he considered
necessary to give as Commissioner of that district under
His Excellency the Administrator of the Transvaal.

At Derby there was, not unnaturally, some slight
confusion owing to this double appointment of officers
in command; but having overcome this difficulty, Colonel
Rowlands set himself seriously to consider the situation,
which was by no means a promising one. A force
composed of two companies of Europeans and 250
natives, collected from the neighbouring country, was
clearly useless for any aggressive purposes, while the
Swazis, though ready and willing to co-operate with an
English force large enough to support them, were
evidently far from satisfied with the number collected
at Derby. That town, or hamlet rather, consisting of
but two houses in point of fact, is situated from twenty
to five-and-twenty miles from the Zulu border of a part
of Zululand peopled by some of the most warlike tribes
of that nation, and so small a garrison as the above did
but invite attack and disaster. Upon these considera-
tions Colonel Eowlands determined to reinforce himself
from. Pretoria and Lydenburg. He sent instructions


to Major Tyler, 80th Kegiment, to send him three
companies of the 80th, two Armstrong guns, and a
troop of Weatherley’s Border Horse, but directing him
to consult the colonial authorities as to whether the
troops could be safely spared, before complying with the

At this time, about the middle of January, the
Zulus throughout this northern and thickly-populated
part of the country were perfectly quiet and even
friendly. There was still a possibility that the difficulty
between their king and the English might be settled
without bloodshed, and the people were evidently
anxious to avoid giving cause of offence. Colonel
Kowlands, who employed his time while waiting for his
reinforcements (which would take some weeks to arrive)
in reconnoitring the country, found the roads open
and the inhabitants inoffensive. At this period he also
attempted to organise a frontier force of farmers
Englishmen, Boers, and Germans whom he summoned
to a meeting for consideration of the question. From
fifty to sixty attended, and, after hearing his address,
their spokesman responded to the effect that they were
willing to take service for the defensive object proposed,
but that it was to be clearly understood that by uniting
themselves to a common protective cause (course ?), they
did not thereby acknowledge allegiance to the British
crown. But a committee, subsequently formed to con-
sider details connected with the proposed force, fell out
amongst themselves, and the scheme was abandoned.

On the 26th January, Colonel Kowlands received
from Sir T. Shepstone the news of the disaster at


Isandhlwana ; and from this time nothing but contra-
dictory orders and impossible commands seem to have
reached him at his distant post. He heard of the troops
he had intended for special purposes being ordered else-
where; he was directed by Lord Chelmsford to take
orders from his junior, Colonel Wood ; he received
different instructions, entirely opposed to each other,
concerning the calling out of the Swazi allies ; never-
theless, in spite of the confusion which reigned at that
unhappy epoch, he kept his head, and went steadily on
with the plans he had formed. By the second week in
February he had, with some difficulty, collected a force
of something under a thousand Europeans and natives,
and was prepared to operate. It seemed, however,
impossible to get any distinct orders or definite instruc-
tions from those in command, either military or civil ; and
representations having been made to him by the border
Boers that a Zulu impi was about to attack them from
the Tolaka Mountains, he marched out with a portion of
his force in that direction, leaving Major Tucker (80th)
in command of the rest. While halted at the Assegai
Kiver upon this expedition, he received a despatch from
Colonel Wood, requesting him to march his force from
Derby to Luneburg to his support. Sending a note to
Major Tucker, directing him to start for Luneburg next
morning, he continued his march, attacked and took
the Tolaka Mountain, and then proceeded towards
Luneburg with his own force. He was now about
eighteen miles from where his head-quarters camp under
Major Tucker would be, with a broken and hilly country
to pass through, over which he had great difficulty in


conveying his wounded (fortunately but few), and the
captured women and children. These captives were, on
this account, offered their freedom, but refused to accept
it, which, perhaps, was not unnatural, seeing that their
homes and crops were destroyed, and they had no longer
any means of livelihood.

The force passed through the Intombi Valley, laying
the country waste for miles on either side of the road as
it went, and met on its way messengers from Colonel
Wood, requesting the immediate presence of the mounted
corps. But upon the 23rd February, Colonel Eowlands
received a memorandum to the effect that the Lieut.-
General, by desire of the High Commissioner, wished
him to proceed at once back to Pretoria, to prepare
some defence against the Boers, who had assumed a
threatening attitude. Upon the receipt of this order
he quitted the Luneburg district, and arrived on the
6th of March at the capital of the Transvaal. Here
there were but 200 infantry and some few mounted
volunteers ; but by Colonel Eowlands’s exertions the
number was soon swelled to 600 or 700, by the addition
of city corps and other volunteers.

A considerable number of Boers who had never
willingly accepted the annexation of their country by
the English, had taken the opportunity, offered by the
general confusion which reigned after the disaster of the
22nd January, of endeavouring to regain the inde-
pendence of their state. Mass meetings were held to
discuss the subject, and finally a large body of armed
men formed a camp at no great distance from Pretoria.
The situation appeared a very serious one ; and the


High Commissioner himself travelled to Pretoria to
endeavour by his honeyed words to calm an agitation
which might prove so singularly inconvenient should
the angry feelings of the indignant Boers find vent in
blows. On the 12th of April, just two years from the
day of the annexation, Sir B. Frere met a deputation of
the Transvaal farmers at Erasmus Spruit, about six miles
from Pretoria, and held a long discussion with them
upon the subject of their rights and wrongs. They
repeatedly and plainly asserted that Sir T. Shepstone
had coerced the people into submission by threatening
them with the Zulus, and declared unanimously that
nothing would satisfy them but the recovery of their
liberties. Sir Bartle Frere gave them to understand
in return that this was the only thing for which they
might not hope. He assured them that he looked upon
the voortreJckers as an honour to their race, and that
he felt proud to belong to the same stock. The Queen,
he told them, felt for them ” as for her own children ; ” *
and he hoped to tell her that she had “no better subjects
in her empire,” than amongst them. The committee, how-
ever, retired in complete dissatisfaction, and addressed a
petition to Her Majesty, in which they remark, “unwilling
subjects but faithful neighbours we will be ; ” and more
than hint that they are prepared to ” draw the sword ”
to prove how much they are in earnest. The excitement,
however, calmed down for the time being, and Sir Bartle
Frere departed.

During his stay in Pretoria, he desired Colonel Kow-
lands to make preparations to resume hostilities against
* C. 2367, p. 90.


Sikukuni, and accordingly, by the end of May, that
officer had increased the number of his mounted volun-
teers by 450. He then made a vain attempt to induce
Lord Chelmsford to spare him another regiment of
regular troops; but finding that this was decidedly refused,
and that no operations were likely to take place in the
Transvaal for some time, he accepted the General’s offer
of a brigade in the lower column.

On the arrival of Sir Garnet Wolseley at Port Durn-
ford, he applied to that general for the command in case
operations should be resumed in the Transvaal. To this
he had a strong claim, both on account of his experience
and of his laborious services there ; but the request was




ON January 6th, No. 4 Column, under Colonel Wood,
V.C., C.B. strength previously detailed crossed the
Blood Eiver (the Zulu boundary according to the award
of the Commission) and advanced to Bemba’s Kop.

On the llth, Colonel Wood met the General half-
way to Rorke’s Drift, and received instructions ” to
occupy himself with the tribes on his front and left
flank, notably Seketwayo,” until No. 3 Column was
ready to advance to Isipezi Hill, when he was to proceed
to Ing we, both columns to establish advanced dep6ts,
bring up supplies, and then move forward. Colonel
Wood induced the Zulu chief Bemba to give up his
arms and come in, which he did on the 10th, bringing
with him about eighty of his people and 1000 head of
cattle, sheep, and goats ; they were sent to Utrecht.

On the llth, Colonel Wood, who had advanced with
a portion of the force from Bemba’s Kop towards Rorke’s
Drift to meet the General on his return march, seized
about 2000 head of cattle, the owners of which were


quietly tending them as usual (these were supposed to
be Sihayo’s), and next day attacked a petty chief, who
was said to have ” given considerable trouble to the
Transvaal farmers, with the result of seven Zulus
killed and upwards of 500 head of cattle captured.

Some 2000 to 3000 head of cattle were also taken
from the Sondolosi tribe, * a slight resistance being
offered by the Zulus, of whom one was killed. Colonel
Wood thus endeavoured to induce Seketwayo’s people
to be pacified, and was ” therefore most anxious to
refrain from taking any steps which might discourage
these men from coming in ! ”

The General, on entering Zululand, finding the
difficulties greater than he had anticipated, instructed
Colonel Wood ” to act altogether independently, about
the head waters of the White Umveloosi Eiver ”
(16th January, 1879), and when Seketwayo had either
surrendered or been defeated, to “take up a position
covering Utrecht and the adjacent Transvaal border,
wherever he considers his force can be most usefully
employed,” and not to “attempt to advance towards
the Inhlazatye Mountain until an advance by the other
three columns across the Umhlatoozi River has become
possible.” (P. P. [C. 2252] p. 63.) Colonel Wood, from
Bemba’s Kop, communicated with Uhamo a brother of
Cetshwayo who had asked for a way to be pointed out
by which he might escape.

No. 4 Column now moved towards Intemgeni River,
and encamped there on 18th January, Colonel Wood
reporting ” many of the natives are giving themselves

* Sondolosi, deceased brother of Seketwayo.


up to me ; I have captured about 4000 head of cattle.” On
the previous day a party of Wood’s ” irregulars ” attacked
some Zulus, killing 9, wounding about 20, and taking
5 prisoners and 100 sheep; with a loss to themselves
of 2 wounded (ibid. p. 66). On the 19th and 20th
there were skirmishes with some of Tinta’s people, of
whom about 12 were killed. A prisoner was brought in
by the Native Contingent on the 19th, whom they
gravely asked permission to kill in the evening, ” think-
ing they had done their whole duty in obeying orders
and bringing the man in.”

The column encamped at Tinta’s kraal, on the left
bank of the Umvolosi Eiver, and a stone fort was com-
menced. A reconnaissance across the Umvolosi to
Zinguni Mountain met the Zulus in force, and was
compelled to retire with a loss of two wounded, the
enemy not being checked until the river was recrossed.
January 22nd, the Zinguni Mountain was patrolled by a
strong force, the enemy retiring hastily, and leaving
about 600 head of cattle. In the distance a large force,
estimated at 4000, was seen, and it apparently ascended
the Indhlobane Mountain. The column had a smart
engagement with the enemy on the 24th, and drove
them off with a loss of about fifty killed ; but on receiv-
ing intelligence of the disaster to No. 3 Column, retired
to Fort Tinta.

At Luneburg a laager was formed by the Dutch
farmers, under Commandant Schermbrucker, and Colonel
Wood moved his force to Kambula Hill, to cover Utrecht
and the neighbouring border, and there firmly entrenched
himself. The situation chosen was a commanding and


central position between the Umvolosi and Pevana
rivers on the Jagt-pad (Hunter’s path), covering the
country northward to Luneburg, eastward to the Ama-
qulusi, southward to the Umvolosi, and westward to
Balte’s Spruit and Utrecht.

The Zulus abandoned the open, and remained in the
mountains and broken country, where rocks and caves
afforded them secure positions.

On February 1st, Lieut. -Colonel Buller, with 140
irregular cavalry, made a dash at the Amaqulisini (or
Amaqulusi) kraal, thirty miles distant. This was a
military stronghold, deemed by the Boers to be im-
pregnable. It was situated in a basin at a distance of
nearly two miles from the summit of the rugged heights
by which it was surrounded, and almost hidden from
view, although about 300 yards in diameter and containing
at least 250 huts.

Leaving thirty men as a covering party, Colonel
Buller moved with the remainder down the almost
precipitous slopes, the horsemen frequently obliged to
dismount and lead their horses. However, the kraal
was not occupied in force, and, after a few shots, the
inmates fled. Six Zulus were killed, 270 head of cattle
taken, and the kraal burnt, the force returning from this
daring exploit without casualty, after a hard day’s
work of twenty hours.

A small fort was finished and armed on February 3rd,
and, on the 10th, Lieut. -Colonel Buller, with 400 irre-
gular cavalry, reconnoitred the Indhlobane Mountain,
and, after a slight skirmish, captured 490 head of cattle.

A new fort was commenced at Kambula, about two


miles higher up the spur, and the camp moved to this
spot on the 13th, the fort being garrisoned by two
companies of infantry and two guns.

It was reported that Manyonyoba (an independent
native chief) had been killing and plundering in the
Intombi Valley, so Colonel Buller was sent with a force
to the spot. The Swazi chief Umbilini was also
reported by Commandant Schumbrucker to have raided,
in combination with Manyonyoba, and done much mis-
chief to life and property ; however, a force sent from
Luneburg had a successful skirmish with them.

The king’s brother, Uhamo, came in to Captain
McLeod from the Swazi border with 300 of his people
and 1000 cattle, and reached Derby on February 4th,
his following increased to about 600, and was moved
down to Luneburg, where he arrived on March 7th.

A sad disaster occurred on the Intombi Eiver to a
detachment of the 80th Eegiment on the 12th March.
Captain Moriarty, with 104 men of the 80th, was
escorting a convoy from Derby to Luneburg. On
reaching the Intombi Drift (about four miles from
Luneburg) the river was found to be rising, and by
the time the advanced guard (thirty-five men, under
Lieutenant Harward) had crossed, it was impossible
to take the waggons over. They were therefore
laagered on the river-bank in the shape of a triangle ;
and there they remained next day. About 4 A.M. on
the 12th a shot was fired, and the troops turned out,
remaining under arms for half an hour, when, all being
quiet, they returned to their tents (it transpired after-
wards that the outlying sentries had been surprised and
killed by the enemy). Suddenly the fog lifted, and a


large body of Zulus without any warning rushed on and
took the laager, driving the troops into the river. The
party under Lieutenant Harward, which was encamped
on the opposite bank, opened a brisk fire, but were soon
broken, and obliged to fly towards Luneburg ; Lieutenant
Harward, galloping in, gave the alarm. Only forty-four
men of this detachment survived.

Major Tucker sallied out from Luneburg, when the
enemy slowly retreated. The waggons were saved, and
the bodies of Captain Moriarty and his unfortunate
men buried.

The comparatively quiet time at Kambula was passed
thus : Colonel Wood was up with the first in the early
morning, and often out with the patrols who daily scouted
the country round for miles ; his force securely entrenched;
himself a very strict but kind commander, who had the
full confidence and goodwill of his troops. Sports were
got up for the amusement and occupation of the men. A
band played in the evening, and the singing and laughter
in camp showed that all were in excellent spirits. The
daily business was cutting wood from the mountain-side
some three miles distant, escorts, patrols, and piquet-
duty. One of the night piquets (eight men) posted at
some distance from camp was termed ” the forlorn hope ; ”
its special duty was to give early warning of an enemy’s
approach. But the most unpleasant feature in this camp-
life was the absence of comfort at night. The troops
necessarily ” turned in ” dressed, armed, and ready for
instant work, with the personal discomfort illustrated by
this soldier’s joke that it was ” Cetshwayo outside and
Catch-away-o ! inside.”

Lieut. -Colonel Buller, having returned to Kambula,


patrolled Uhamo’s district, and in the direction of the
Indhlobane range; and on the 16th brought into camp
958 of Uhamo’s people.

On March 28th, a reconnaissance by the whole
cavalry force was made towards Indhlobane. The Zulus
were in possession of the mountain, which was ascended
in skirmishing order as rapidly as possible, the enemy
keeping up a heavy fire from caves and from behind
huge rocks. The summit was reached with the loss of
one officer Lieutenant Williams and serious fighting
was kept up for some time in the endeavour to dislodge
the Zulus from their secure positions. Captain the Hon.
E. Campbell was killed, also Lieutenant von Sticenstron,
and Colonel Wood himself had a very narrow escape.

Whilst engaged in this struggle a Zulu army was
moving up to seize the approaches to the mountain, and
cut off the force from the camp. Immediately on this
being observed a retreat was made in rapid but good
order, until a very steep and stony krantz was reached,
where the men could only move in single file ; here the
enemy got in amongst the troopers, causing utter con-
fusion. The officers did their best to steady their men,
but it became a case of sauve qui pent.

Captain Barton’s troop was sent down the mountain
to recover the body of Lieutenant Williams, and returned,
having been joined by Mr. Uys. On the flats they
came up with Colonel Weatherley’s troop, and found
the enemy in front and on the right and left. Betreat-
ing a short distance they were surrounded, so, opening
out, they charged through the enemy and over the neck,
which was lined with Zulus. But few were enabled to


win their way through this perilous pass, and of those
who did many were overtaken and killed on the plain.
Of Captain Barton’s troop but eight men returned to
camp that night.

The broken force fought its way to the camp,
followed by the enemy for several miles. Many a
man’s life was saved by a comrade halting and taking
him up on his own horse, a personal instance of which
Captain D’Arcy gives. His horse had been killed under
him in the descent of the mountain, and he ran for
his life for some 300 yards, when a man named
Francis caught a horse for him, which, however, he
shortly relinquished to a wounded comrade, running on
himself on foot. Colonel Buller picked him up when
nearly exhausted, but when he recovered his breath he
dismounted ; he was a second time in difficulties, and
assisted by Lieutenant Elaine, and again, a third time,
by Major Tremlett, K.A. Indeed, most of the men got
into camp with comrades mounted behind them. The
loss was 12 officers and 84 non-commissioned officers
and men killed, and also Colonel Wood’s staff-officer,
Captain the Hon. E. Campbell ; Captain Barton, Cold-
stream Guards; and Mr. Lloyd, Political Assistant.
Colonel Wood’s horse was shot under him.

Mr. Piet Uys, the leader of the Burgher force, was
likewise amongst those killed in action this day.

Small patrols were sent out next morning to endea-
vour to find any men who might have escaped.

Warning of an intended attack on Kambula was
brought in by a native one of Uhamo’s men and,
about 11 A.M., dense masses of the enemy were seen in


the distance, when all the force was assembled and
the cattle driven into their laager. At 1.30 P.M. the
action commenced by mounted troops, under Colonels
Buller and Eussell, engaging the enemy on the north of
the camp. They were speedily forced to return into the
laager, followed by the Zulus until they were within
300 yards, when a heavy fire from the 90th Eegiment
checked their advance, and they opened out round the

At 2.15 the right front and rear of the camp were
attacked by heavy masses of the enemy, who, apparently
well supplied with Martini-Henry rifles, occupied a hill
commanding the laager, enfilading it so that the company
of the 13th posted at the right rear of the enclosure had
to be withdrawn. The front of the cattle-laager was,
however, stoutly held by a company of the 13th; but
the Zulus coming boldly on, Major Hackett, with two
companies of the 90th, was directed to clear the slope.
They sallied out into the open, driving the Zulus back
in a gallant manner under a heavy fire, until ordered to
retire by Colonel Wood.

While bringing his men in, Major Hackett was
dangerously wounded.

The two guns in the redoubt were admirably worked
by Lieutenant Nicholson, ! E. A., until he was mortally
wounded ; when Major Vaughan, R.A., replaced him.

Major Tremlett, R.A., with four guns, remained in the
open during the engagement.

The attack began to slacken about 5.30 P.M.,
enabling Colonel Wood to assume the offensive; the
Zulus were driven from the cattle kraal into which they

penetrated, and from the immediate vicinity of the
camp, ^the infantry doing great execution among the
retreating masses.

The pursuit was taken up by the mounted men
under Colonel Buller, and continued for seven miles,
” killing great numbers, the enemy being too exhausted
to fire in their own defence ” (vide Colonel Wood’s
despatch of March 30th). All agreed in admiring the
pluck of the Zulus, who, ” under tremendous fire, never
wavered, but came straight at us.”

The loss of No. 4 Column was 2 officers killed,
5 wounded, and 80 men killed- and wounded. The
strength of the enemy was thought to be about 20,000,
of whom 1000 are supposed to have been killed. Colonel
Wood’s operations at Indhlobane were for the purpose of
“making demonstrations against the enemy,” as directed
by the General, who had reason to believe at that time,
that he should find the whole Zulu army between his
force and Etshowe. (P. P. [C. 2367] p. 35.) One
trooper, a Frenchman named Grandier, had a very
remarkable escape from Indhlobane, of which the follow-
ing is his account : On coming down the mountain we
were met by a large Zulu force, and fell back across the
neck assailed on all sides. I was about the last, having
put a comrade on my horse whilst I ran alongside, when
a Kafir caught me by the legs, and I was made prisoner.
I was taken to Umbilini’s kraal and questioned ; after
which, I passed the night tied to a tree. Next day 1
was taken into the middle of a large “impi,” where I
was threatened with death, but the leader said he would
send me to Cetywayo. Next day I started for Ulundi,

2 A


in charge of four men, who were riding, but I had all my
clothes taken from me, and had to walk, carrying their
food. On the evening of the fourth day we reached
Ulundi, and I was kept tied in the open till about noon
next day, when Cetywayo sent for me, and questioned
me about what the English wanted, where Shepstone
was, etc. A Dutchman acted as interpreter, and I saw
a Portuguese, and an English-speaking Zulu, who could
read.* Cetywayo had a personal guard of about one
hundred men, but I did not see any large numbers of
men at his kraal, but there were two small cannons there.
During my stay I was fed on mealies, and frequently
beaten. At last messengers arrived reporting the death
of Umbilini, and Cetywayo said he would send me to
his Kafirs to kill. On 13th April I started in charge
of two Kafirs, one armed with a gun and both with
assegais. About midday we were lying down, the Kafirs
being sleepy, when I seized an assegai and killed the
man with the gun, the other running away. I walked
all night guided by the stars ; next day I saw an impi
driving cattle towards Ulundi, so had to lie still.
After this I saw no Kafirs, and walked on at night.
On the morning of the 16th I met some of our own
people and was brought into camp. Trooper Grandier,
when brought in, was dressed in an old corduroy
coat, cut with assegai stabs, and a pair of regimental
trousers cut off at the knee; these he had picked
up on the Veldt. He had strips of cloth round his

The independent chief Umbilini, who was such a

* Trooper Grandier’s story of ill-treatment has since been con-
tradicted by this Dutchman.


thorn in the side of the Transvaal, was killed early in
April. Small parties had raided into the Pongolo Valley
from Indhlobane, opposite Luneburg, until they were
said to number some hundreds, when they came upon
two companies of the 2-24th on the march ; these at
once laagered, and the enemy moved on; Umbilini,
Assegai’s son, and four horsemen, going back with
twenty horses. They were pursued by Captain Prior,
80th Regiment, with seven mounted men (80th), and
another European, when Assegai’s son was killed, and
Umbilini mortally wounded.

The raiders were attacked by some parties of natives,
but went off to the Assegai Eiver with several beasts and
sheep. (P. P. [C. 2374] p. 51).

Meanwhile, many attempts were made by the Zulu
king to arrest the tide of invasion, and to bring about a
more peaceable solution of the difficulties between him
and the English Government.

When Lord Chelmsford first crossed into Zululand,
messengers were sent by the king to the column on the
Lower Tugela asking for an explanation of the invasion,
suggesting that hostilities should be suspended, that the
British troops should re- cross the Tugela, and that
talking should commence.’ 5 ” These men did not return
to the king, but remained at the Lower Tugela, Sir
Bartle Frere says by their own desire, since they dared
not return with an unsatisfactory answer.

And Bishop Schreuder narrates on March 3rd that
Two Zulus arrived here yesterday with a message from
the king …. The king says : ‘ Look here, I have taken
care of the deserted mission-stations, and not allowed
* C. 2374, p. 109.


them to be destroyed, thinking that the missionaries in
time would return to them, such as Mr. Kobertson’s at
Kwamagwaza, and Oftibro’s at Ekhowe, but we now see
what use the missionaries make of the station-houses ;
Kobertson has come with an impi (army) to the Ekhowe
mission-station, and there has made a fort of it, the houses
being turned to advantage for our enemies. Seeing this,
my people have of their own accord destroyed the other
mission-stations ; and although I have not ordered this
destruction, still I cannot complain of it, seeing that the
houses on the stations will serve as a shelter for our
present invading enemy. I am in a fix what to do with
your station Entumeni, for it is reported . . . that the
column at Miltongambill is to … march to Entumeni,
turn the station into a fort, like Eobertson has had the
Ekhowe turned into a fort. In that case I will, much
against my wish, be obliged to destroy the house at
Entumeni, as a matter of self-protection, the last thing
I ever thought of doing, as I have no grudge against
you or your station.’ This is the substance of the king’s
message to me with respect to my station, Entumeni ;
it, therefore, now will entirely depend on the decision of
the General Lord Chelmsford, whether the Entumeni
station-houses are to be destroyed or not.” Bishop
Schreuder says : “The messengers also report that the
king has sent, through a certain Ikolwa Klass ; (not
known to me), that copy of Sir T. Shepstone’s report
which I, on behalf of the Natal Government, handed
over to him from Her Majesty Queen Victoria, August,

” Already Umavumendaba had requested the king to
send that book with the deputation that met at Tugela,


llth December, 1878, in order that there might be
proved from that book wherein the king had sinned,
since the English had put forth such warlike demon-
strations ; but Umavumendaba’s request was not then
acceded to. The king now sends this book that from
the contents of it may be proved wherein he has broken
the compact made at his installation, 1st September,
1875 ” [1873]. (P. P. [C. 2318] pp. 35-37).

Bishop Schreuder requested Mr. Fannin, the border
agent, “to receive the message from the messenger’s
own lips, and communicate it to His Excellency.” He
reported that Cetshwayo wished to explain to the
Government that he had never desired war. He had
not, he said, refused the terms proposed at the Lower
Tugela; he had collected 1000 head of cattle to pay
the demand made on him, and would even have delivered
up Sihayo’s sons to the General, but ” any Zulu that
showed himself was immediately, fired upon.” The
attack upon Sandhlwana, he protested, was not made by
his orders, and his induna was in disgrace for having
made it. As regards Inyezane, the king contended
that Colonel Pearson provoked the attack made on him
by burning kraals, and committing other acts of hostility.
He asked that both sides should put aside their arms,
and resume negotiations with a view to a permanent
settlement of all questions between himself and the
Government. He would, he said, have sent in a
message some time since, but was afraid, because the
last time, when he sent eight messengers to the Lower
Tugela, they were detained, whom he now begged might
be sent back to him (ibid. pp. 40, 41).

Mr. Fannin, on the 22nd March, reports the arrival


of the messengers with the book, and says : ” Cetywayo
sends by the messengers the book containing the laws
promulgated at the time of his coronation, and pre-
sented to him by Her Majesty the Queen.

” It will be remembered that this book was handed
to the Zulu king by Bishop Schreuder at the request of
the Natal Government some time after the coronation
took place. The king now returns it, and asks him to
cast his eye over its contents, and say in what way he
has transgressed its provisions ” (ibid. p. 47).

On March 28th Mr. Fannin reports that “three
messengers have arrived with a message from Cetywayo.
Their names are Johannes (a native of Entumeni),
Nkisimana, and Umfunzi. On approaching the ferry
they were fired on by the Native Contingent. . . . The
message is very short ; it is simply to say, Cetywayo sees
no reason for the war which is being waged against him,
and he asks the Government to appoint a place at
which a conference could be held with a view to the
conclusion of peace.” They further brought a message
from Dabulamanzi, that “a few days ago he sent a
white flag with two messengers to Ekhowe, to ask for a
suspension of hostilities, until the result of this mission
was known, but the men have not returned. He asks
that the men may be released/’ Mr. Fannin says :
“Four other Entumeni men have arrived with these
messengers,” and he suggests, “that the Entumeni men
should not be allowed to return to Zululand” (ibid.
pp. 44, 45).

” Owing,” says Sir B. Frere, on June 17th, ” to some
misunderstanding between the various civil and military


authorities, these messengers also were detained for
several weeks, and have only lately been sent back.”

“I do not for a moment suppose/’ he continues,
” that either the civil or military authorities were aware
of this, or could have prevented it by bringing their
detention to notice at an earlier period, but it shows the
difficulties of intercourse on such subjects with the
Zulus, where such things could occur without the
slightest ground for suspicion of bad faith on the part of
either the civil or military authorities.” *

It is not easy to discover what unusual and mys-
terious difficulties the civil and military authorities can
have found in communicating with the Zulu messengers
(men who had been employed for many years in carry-
ing the ” words ” of Government and the Zulu king to
each other), and it is still more inexplicable to whose
notice the said authorities could have brought their
detention. The whole matter is about as comprehensible
as the statement which appeared at the time in the
Natal papers, that when these same messengers a
small party approached our camp, bearing a white
flag, “we fired upon it (i.e. the flag) to test its

The detention of these messengers as prisoners at
Kranz Kop came to the knowledge of the Bishop of
Natal about the middle of April, and he at once brought
the fact to the notice of the civil and military authorities.

* Nevertheless, during the end of March and beginning of April
communications took place between the Lieut. -Governor and the
General commanding, on this subject (C. 2318, p. 45); therefore loth
the military and civil authorities were aware of it.


On the 20th April he saw Lord Chelmsford in Pieter-
maritzburg, and spoke to him on the subject. The
General informed him that he had already ordered them
to go back to Cetshwayo, and to say that he must send
indunas to meet him (Lord Chelmsford) at General
Wood’s camp, to which he was then bound. Neverthe-
less the General’s message, which would take but two
days on the road, had not reached Kranz Kop on the
29th, nor were the men actually released until the 9th
of May. When finally set at liberty they carried with
them a message calculated to discourage any further
attempts on the Zulu king’s part at bringing about a
peaceful issue to the war, being merely that if ” Cety-
wayo sends any more messengers he must send them to
the Upper Column (Dundee).”

Nevertheless on the 12th of June the same two old
men appeared again, brought down, bearing a white
flag, to ‘Maritzburg by policemen from Mr. Fynn,
resident magistrate at the Umsinga. Apparently they
had been afraid to cross at Kranz Kop, where the
“sincerity” of their white flag had been “tested”
before, and were sent, not to the military authorities,
but to the civil magistrate, who sent them down to Sir
Henry Bulwer. He would have nothing to say to them,
and transferred them to General Clifford, who examined
them on the 13th, and sent them off on the following
day to Lord Chelmsford. They had already walked one
hundred and fifty miles from Ulundi to ‘Maritzburg with
their message of peace, and had then still further to go
in order to reach the General, before they could get any
kind of answer. Meanwhile the campaign was prosecuted
without a pause.


General Clifford’s account of this is as follows :
” I began by informing them that I was only going
to ask them such questions as would enable me to judge
whether I should be justified in sending them on to my
Chief, Lord Chelmsford, now in Zululand carrying on the
war. The headman, Umfundi, then made the following
statement : ‘ We are Umfundi and Umkismana, Zulu
messengers from Cetywayo. I am sent here by Cety wayo
to ask for time to arrange a meeting of Chiefs with a
view to arranging peace. We did not go to the head
white Chief, because Fynn at Korke’s Drift, whom I
knew, told me the Great White Chief was in Zululand,
and we had better see Shepstone and the second White
Chief, who were at Pietermaritzburg, so we came on
here advised by Fynn. I have been here about twice a
year for the last six years as King’s messenger, but not
as Chief. I am nothing but a messenger, and I have no
authority from the King to treat for peace, or to do any-
thing besides delivering my message, asking if time will
be given to assemble a meeting of Chiefs. I know
Mr. Shepstone, Mr. Gallway, and Bishop Colenso, and
I have seen Bishop Colenso in this town, and also at his
place in the country, but I do not wish to see him now,
and I have not asked to see him.’ (This, according to
their custom, merely implied that they had no message
for him.) ‘I want to see the Great Chief, as the King
ordered me to do. I only came here to deliver my
message and because Fynn told me. This is the
seventeenth day since I left the King’s kraal. Am an
old man and cannot go so fast as I could when I was
young, and heavy rain detained me three days. The
King told me to hurry on and return quickly. It


will take us seven days to get from here to Ibabamango
Mountain if we go by Eorke’s Drift. We only know
of two other messengers sent by the King; one is
Sintwango, the name of the other we do not know.
They have been sent to the lower column because
Cetywayo thinks there are two Chiefs of equal power,
one with the upper column and the other with the
lower column. They are sent like us to ask for time to
get out by the door. The King does not know the name
of your big Chief, and we do not either. We are the
same messengers the King sent to Fort Buckingham
with the same message we have now. Only then
our orders were not to go to your Chief as now,
but to go to Fort Buckingham and wait for the answer
there. We delivered our message to the military Chief
there, and he sent the message on. The Chief was at
Etshowe fighting, and the answer did not come for two
months ; when it came it was that the great Chief was
surprised we were still there. He thought we had
gone back to the King long ago. The officer at Fort
Buckingham advised us to go to the great white Chief,
but we said : ” No, those are not the Kicg’s orders ;
our orders are to come here, and now we will return
and tell the King ;” and it was half of the third month
when we got back to him. We told him what had
taken place. He consulted his great Chiefs, and then
sent us with the orders we now have to go and see the
great white Chief, and that is now what we are trying
to do. I have no power given me but to ask for time.
The King sends his messengers first, because it is the
custom of the country to do so, and not to send a great


Chief till arrangements have been made where the Chiefs
are to assemble to talk about peace. We have no
power to talk about terms of peace. None but
messengers have yet been sent. The messengers sent
to the lower column went before the fighting began ;
they were detained and did not return to the King’s
kraal till we did.’ I said I was satisfied they ought to
be sent on at once to Lord Chelmsford.

” I would give a letter, written by me to Lord
Chelmsford, to Umfunzi, to be given by him with his
own hand to Lord Chelmsford, and outside the letter
I would say that no one but Lord Chelmsford was to
open it. This appeared to please them much. I said I
would write to the commanding officers along the road
they were going to look after them, and to the officer
at Korke’s Drift to see them safe to ‘ Ibabamango.’
‘ Would a white man be safe going with them ? ‘
* Yes/ they said, ‘ quite,’ and they wished one could
be sent with them ; but still more, the King would be
pleased if a white man was sent to him. I said I would
not send a white man alone into Zululand with them,
because my Chief did not approve, still less could I send
one to the King, because I was only under the big
Chief. Anything they wished to say about peace or
anything else they must say to the big Chief when they
saw him.” (P. P. [C. 2374] p. 111).

At no time during the war, indeed, did we encourage
the Zulu king in his persistent efforts to get peace ; but
more of this hereafter. Here we will only add one
further instance, namely, that of two messengers sent
to Colonel Pearson at Etshowe, who, although brought


blindfold into the camp, were kept as prisoners in irons
until the garrison was relieved. The pretext for this deten-
tion was that they were supposed to be spies ; but officers
present were satisfied that there were no grounds for the
supposition, or for the treatment which they received.

Sir Bartle Frere of course inclines to the opinion
that all Cetshwayo’s messengers were spies, his entreaties
for peace but treacherous pretexts to cover his evil
intentions. Some of the men sent were old accredited
messengers to the Government, whose names are fre-
quently mentioned in earlier Blue-books, yet Sir Bartle
Frere says of them : ” In no case could they give any
satisfactory proof that they really came from the king.”‘

But the High Commissioner’s habit of finding evil
motives for every act of the Zulu king, made the case
of the latter hopeless from the first.

Meanwhile the despatches received from Sir Michael
Hicks-Beach contained comments amounting to censure
upon the High Commissioner’s proceedings in forcing
on a war with the Zulus. He is plainly told that he
should have waited to consult Her Majesty’s Govern-
ment -upon the terms that Cetshwayo should be called
upon to accept, and that “they have been unable to
find in the documents you have placed before them that
evidence of urgent necessity for immediate action which
alone could justify you in taking, without their full
knowledge and sanction, a course almost certain to
result in a war, which, as I had previously impressed
upon you, every effort should have been used to avoid.”

* John Dunn is understood to have come back from his interview
with the last peace messengers, and to have reported that the message
was bond fide, and that Cetshwayo ” means to have peace if possible.”


‘The communication which had passed between
us,” continues the Secretary of State, “as to the objects
for which the reinforcements were requested and sent,
and as to the nature of the questions in dispute with
the Zulu king, were such as to render it especially
needful that Her Majesty’s Government should under-
stand and approve any important step, not already
suggested to them, before you were committed to it;
and if that step was likely to increase the probability
of war, an opportunity should certainly have been
afforded to them of considering as well the time as the
manner of coming to issue should it be necessary to
come to issue with the Zulu king. And though the
further correspondence necessary for this purpose might
have involved the loss of a favourable season for the
operations of the British troops, and might have
afforded to Cetywayo the means of further arming and
provisioning his forces, the circumstances rendered it
imperative that, even at the risk of this disadvantage,
full explanations should be exchanged.”

The despatch from which the above is quoted was
written on the 19th March, and another, dated the
following day, expresses the writer’s “general approval
of the principles on which the boundary award was
based,” as intimated in a previous despatch, but gives a
very qualified assent to Sir B. Frere’s emendations by
which he seeks to secure the “private rights” of settlers
on the wrongfully appropriated land, and remarks that
he is disposed to think that the recognition of these said
private rights of European settlers in the district declared
to be Zulu territory should have been restricted as far
as possible to those cases in which bond-fide purchasers


had improved their farms by building, planting, or other-
wise, which restriction would have limited them to a very
small number indeed. Sir M. Hicks-Beach also reminds
Sir B. Frere that Her Majesty’s Government had dis-
tinctly said beforehand that ” they could not undertake
the obligation of protecting ” the missionaries in Zululand.
His comments upon the terms of the ultimatum, he says,
are intended for Sir B. Frere’s guidance when the time
for once more proposing terms should arrive, and he con-
cludes : ” It is my wish that, as far as possible, you should
avoid taking any decided step, or committing yourself to
any positive conclusion respecting any of them until you
have received instructions from Her Majesty’s Govern-
ment.” (P. P. [C. 2260] pp. 108-111).

Again, upon April 10th, after receiving Sir Bartle
Frere’s explanations, Sir M. Hicks-Beach writes as
follows :

” Since I addressed to you my despatches of the 19th
and 20th March, I have received your two despatches
of February 12th and March 1st, further explaining the
considerations which induced you to decide that the
demands made upon Ketshwayo must be communicated
to him without delay. The definite expression of the
views and policy of Her Majesty’s Government con-
tained in my despatches already referred to, which
will have reached you before you receive this, makes
it unnecessary that I should enter into any examination
of the arguments or opinions expressed in your present
despatches. It is sufficient to say that Her Majesty’s
Government do not find in the reasons now put forward
by you any grounds to modify the tenor of the in-
structions already addressed to you on the subject of


affairs in South Africa, and it is their desire that you
should regulate your future action according to these

” But there is one point alluded to in your despatch
of March 1st which I feel it necessary at once to
notice, in order to prevent any misunderstanding.
You refer, in the thirty-second paragraph of that
despatch, to f much that will remain to be done on the
northern Swazi border and in Sekukuni’s country/ and
to the probability that ‘the Transvaal, the Diamond
Fields, Basutoland, and other parts now threatened
with disturbance, will not settle down without at least
an exhibition of force.’ I entertain much hope that
in each of these cases, including that of Sekukuni, the
troubles now existing or anticipated may disappear,
either independently of or as a consequence of that
complete settlement of the Zulu difficulty which I join
with you in trusting to see speedily effected. But, if
this expectation should unfortunately not be fulfilled,
you will be careful to bear in mind that Her Majesty’s
Government are not prepared to sanction any further
extension, without their specific authority, of our
responsibilities in South Africa; that their desire is
that the military operations now proceeding should be
directed to the termination, at the earliest moment
consistent with the safety of our colonies and the
honour of our arms, of the Zulu question ; and that any
wider or larger action of the kind apparently suggested
in your despatch, should be submitted to them for
consideration and approval, before any steps arc taken
to carry it into effect.” (P. P. [C. 2316] p. 36).



THE first step taken towards preparing for the campaign
and advance of a column on Ulundi by the coast road
was the landing of a “Naval Brigade” from H.M.S.
Active, in November, 1878, under the command of
Commander Campbell, E.N. The “Actives” at once
marched up to Lower Tugela Drift, and commenced
preparations for the crossing of the river. A “pont”
was established, and boats collected preparatory to the
passage of the troops. Fifty men from the Tenedos,
under Lieutenant Kingscote, E.N., joined the Naval
Brigade on January 7th, 1879, but remained at Fort
Pearson and took charge of the pont, etc., when the
” Actives ” moved up with No. 1 Column.

The passage of the Tugela was a difficult and rather
hazardous undertaking, the river being nearly 300 yards
wide, with a strong current flowing. The preparations,
including taking across a wire hawser for the working of
the pont, were conducted in a very business-like and
satisfactory manner by Commander Campbell and the
Naval Brigade.

The Navy had received early notice of impending


hostilities, and, as early as April, 1878, Sir Bartle Frere
had requested Commodore Sullivan, C.B. (the naval
chief), to remain in Natal, “in order to render such
assistance by sea and land as may be practicable,” ” as it
appeared almost certain that serious complications must
shortly arise with the Zulu tribe …. which will
necessitate active operations.” (P. P. 2144, p. 32).

The coast was explored by the Commodore as far as
St. Lucia Bay, and every possible assistance willingly
rendered by him and the force under his command
before and throughout the campaign. Valuable assist-
ance was also given by Captain Baynton, commodore
of the Union Steamship Company’s fleet. The force
detailed for Colonel Pearson’s command styled No. 1
Column concentrated on Fort Pearson, on the Lower
Tugela ; its detail has been previously given.

It was directed that this column should cross the
river and encamp on the Zulu bank, under the guns of
the fort, there to await further orders ; but, from the
flooded state of the river and other causes, the passage
was not effected till the 12th January, when the
principal part of the force crossed and encamped in

The 2nd (Captain Wynne’s) Company Koyal Engineers
arrived at Fort Pearson on the 12th, and crossed on the
13th. It immediately set about the construction of Fort
Tenedos on the left bank, about 600 yards from the river,
to cover the crossing, protect stores, etc.

The Naval Brigade were constantly at work, day and
night, working the boats and pontoon across the river,
with the exception of the night of the 14th, when a

2 13


heavy flood swept away the wharves. Twice the pontoon
was upset, and one of the Actives men was drowned.

Eeconnaissances were made in the Zulu country, and
a few prisoners taken, but there were no signs of any large
body of the enemy. One of John Dunn’s men reported
on the 17th that “the whole of his neighbourhood” was
” now deserted and the cattle driven into the interior.”

Everything being carefully prepared, the advance
was made on the 18th, a strong advanced guard and the
Natal Native Pioneers* preceding the column. Every
precaution was taken to prevent a surprise, extra vigilance
being necessary on account of the long waggon-train
carrying tents, rations for fifteen days, and a large
quantity of food and ammunition destined for an advanced
dep6t to be formed at or near Etshowe.

“We may here say a few words on the extreme diffi-
culties of South African transport difficulties so serious
and full of danger that they should have been eliminated
from the plan of the campaign.

The waggons used were, as a rule, the ordinary South
African ox-waggons, clumsy and heavy to move, each
drawn by a team of fourteen to eighteen oxen. The Zulu
oxen are much superior to the up-country oxen, as they
stand more work, and will swim rivers ; they even swam
the Tugela, whilst the remainder had to be ferried over.

* This company of Native Pioneers (one of those organised by
Colonel Durnford, E.E., “before the war) was raised from the em-
ployes of the Colonial Engineer Department, and commanded by
Captain Beddoes of the same department ; this officer being highly
commended by his chief. The company worked under the super-
vision of Lieutenant Main, R.E., and rendered excellent service. Colonel
Pearson remarked: “The men worked cheerfully. They had eyes
like hawks, and they did their scouting to perfection.”


The pace of the ox-waggon is about a mile and a half

an hour, and drifts and hills cause frequent delays. Take

for instance the train of No. 1 Column : it accomplished

the march to Etshowe, a distance of thirty-seven miles,

in between five and six days from daylight on the

18th to 10 A.M. 23rd having only been detained by

the enemy at Inyezane for about two hours : the train

was necessarily some six miles in length, an element of

the utmost danger had the swift-footed Zulus been a little

more enterprising. Two or three thousand Zulus might

easily have prevented Colonel Pearson reaching Etshowe

with his train, in spite of all the precautions he might

and did take. The commanding officers of the various

columns had no option in the matter of waggon- train,

and as far as they were concerned the transport under

their control worked well.

The difficulty of moving with a long train of waggons
during the summer, or rainy season, can scarcely be
exaggerated. Double spanning over drifts and soft
places, making bad places good with brushwood, oxen
getting tired owing to the length of time they were yoked,
rather than from the distance travelled, all gave endless
trouble and anxiety, and entirely upset all calculations as
to distances to be traversed. The transport duties of
No. 1 Column were admirably carried out by Captain Pelly
Clarke and Assistant-Commissary Kevill Davis. *

The force advanced from the Tugela in two columns
the first crossed the Inyoni and encamped weather
very wet and trying. The second column started on the

* One of the hardest workers in this department was Committal?
J. W. Elmes, who distinguished himself by his untiring zeal and


2 B 2


following day (19th) and joined its leader at Umsundusi.
At this camp the troops remained during the 20th.
The reconnoitring parties had reported the Amatikulu
impassable, and Colonel Pearson pushed forward engineers
(native pioneers), with a strong working-party and guard,
to render the drift practicable, which, after a day’s
hard work, was done. On the 21st the column again
advanced, and, crossing the Amatikulu, encamped in
the evening at Kwasamabela, four miles from Inyezane ;
during the day a reconnoitring party burnt a military
kraal near Ngingindhlovu. Up to this time only a few
of the enemy’s scouts had been seen, and nothing had
occurred beyond an occasional nocturnal alarm.

On the 22nd the column marched at 5 A.M., crossed
the Inyezane Kiver, and halted for breakfast, and to
outspan the oxen for a couple of hours, in a fairly open
spot, though the country round was a good deal covered
with bush. The halt here was unavoidable, as there
was no water for some distance beyond, but the country
had been previously carefully scouted by the mounted
troops under Major Barrow.

At eight o’clock piquets were being placed, and the
waggons parked, when a company of the Native Con-
tingent who were scouting in front, under the direction
of Captain Hart, staff- officer attached to the regiment-
discovered the enemy advancing rapidly over the ridges,
and making for the adjacent clumps of bush. The Zulus
now opened a heavy fire upon this company, and almost
immediately inflicted a loss upon it of 1 officer, 4 non-
commissioned officers, and 3 men killed.

The Naval Brigade (with rockets), under Captain

Campbell, the guns of the Eoyal Artillery, two com-
panies of The Buffs,” and the Native Pioneers were at
once posted on a knoll close by the road, from whence
3 whole of the Zulu advance was commanded. From
knoll the bush near was well searched with shell
rockets, and musketry.

The waggons continuing to close up and park, two
companies of The Buffs,” who moved up with them, were
ordered to clear the enemy out of the bush, guided by
Macgregor, Deputy-Assistant-Quartermaster-
General. This they did in excellent style, driving the
Zulus mto the open, which again exposed them to a
heavy fire from the knoll.

The engineers and mounted troops were now
mabled to move up from the drift, and, supported by a
f company of “Buffs” and a half company of the
tn, sent on by Lieut. -Colonel Welman (99th) from the
rear of the column, cleared the Zulus out of the bush
on the right flank, where they were seriously threatening
the convoy. The Gatling gun also moved up from the
ar, and came into action on the knoU. The enemy
now endeavoured to outflank the left, and got possession
t kraal about 400 yards from the knoll, which assisted
turning movement. This kraal was carried by
Captain Campbell with his Naval Brigade, supported by
a party of officers and non-commissioned officers of the
Natave Contingent under Captain Hart, who were posted
on high ground on the left of the road. Lieut. -Colonel
with a company of “Buffs,” and Captain
Campbell with the Naval Brigade, now attacked some
eights beyond the kraal, upon which a considerable


body of the enemy was still posted. This action was
completely successful, and the Zulus fled in all directions.
About half-past nine the last shot was fired, and the
column was re-formed, and resumed its march at noon.

The loss sustained in this action was 2 privates (” The
Buffs”) killed, 2 officers, 4 non-commissioned officers,
and 4 natives killed, and 1 officer and 15 men wounded.
Colonels Pearson and Parnell had their horses shot under

The enemy’s force was estimated at 4000 the
Umxapu, Udhlambedhlu, and Ingulubi Kegiments, and
some 650 men of the district and their loss upwards of
300 killed. The wounded appear to have been either
carried away or hidden.

Four miles beyond the scene of this engagement the
column bivouacked for the night ; and, moving off at
5 A.M. next day, reached Etshowe at 10 A.M. ; the rear
guard not getting in till the afternoon.

Etshowe was a mission station, abandoned some
months before, but now selected for an entrenched post,
in preference to more open and commanding ground to
the north, in consequence of the necessity of utilising the
buildings for the storage of supplies. The station consisted
of a dwelling-house, school, and workshop, with store-
rooms three buildings of sun-dried brick, thatched ;
there was also a small church, made of the same
materials, but with a corrugated iron roof ; and a stream
of good water ran close by the station. Here the column
encamped, and preparations for clearing the ground and
establishing a fortified post for a garrison of 400 men
were made.


Two companies of ” Buffs,” two companies Native
Contingent, and some mounted men, were sent back to
reinforce Lieut. -Colonel Ely, 99th Kegiment, who, with
three companies of his regiment, was on the march to
Etshowe with a convoy of sixty waggons.

On the 25th, Major Coates was sent down to the Tugela
with a strong escort and forty-eight empty waggons, for
a further supply of stores ; and next day a ” runner ”
arrived with news that a disaster had occurred
on the 22nd. On the 28th a telegram was received
from Lord Chelmsford, hinting at disaster -that he
had been compelled to retire to the frontier that
former instructions were cancelled, and Colonel Pearson
was to hold Etshowe or withdraw to the Tugela, also
that he must be prepared to bear the brunt of an
attack from the whole Zulu army.

Colonel Pearson at once assembled his staff and
commanding officers, when it was finally decided to hold
the post, sending back to the Tugela the mounted
troops and Native Contingent. These marched, unen-
cumbered with baggage, and reached the Tugela in ten
hours a contrast with the upward march ! The various
buildings were loopholed, and the church prepared for
use as a hospital, all tents struck, and the entrench-
ments supplemented by an inner line of waggons. In
the evening Colonel Ely’s convoy arrived safely.

The mounted men were sent back from Etshowe,
because a large proportion of the horse forage consisted
of mealies, which it was thought might be required
for the use of the garrison, as eventually was the


To replace the mounted men, a small vedette corps
was formed under Lieutenant Kowden, 99th Kegiment,
and Captain Sherrington, of the Native Contingent, and
did excellent service.

These vedettes were constantly under fire. One was
killed at his post. Another was attacked by some dozen
Zulus, who crept upon him through the long grass ; he
lost two fingers of his right hand, had a bullet through
each leg and one in his right arm; his horse was
assegaied ; yet he managed to get back to the fort,
retaining his rifle.

The vedettes being much annoyed in the early
morning by the fire of some Zulus from a high hill,
Captain Sherrington and six of the men went out one
night and lay in wait for them, behind some rocks near
the top of the hill, wounding three and putting an end
to the annoyance.

Colonel Pearson felt it to be necessary to reduce the
bread and grocery rations of the troops, but was enabled
to increase the meat ration by a quarter of a pound, as
a large number of cattle had been brought up with
Colonel Ely’s convoy. The waggons of the troops sent
back to the Tugela were officially searched, and a
quantity of food, medicines, and medical comforts thus
added to the stock, the two latter subsequently proving
of the utmost value. All articles of luxury were
eventually sold by auction, and fetched almost fabulous
prices : matches were sold for 4s. a box, bottles of
pickles 15s. each, and tobacco 30s. a pound !

The water supply was excellent, both in quality and
quantity ; and in the lower part of the stream bathing-


places for both officers and men were constructed ; and
all sanitary arrangements most carefully attended to.

A waggon-laager was formed for the cattle, and every
effort made to provide for the security of the fort, as
we may now call it deepening ditches, strengthening-
parapets, erecting stockades all most energetically
carried on under the direction of Captain Wynne, K.E.

So things went on, till, on February 9th, Zulus were
observed to be collecting ; but nothing occurred beyond
an occasional alarm.

On the llth two ” runners” arrived from the Lower
Tugela with a despatch*” from the General, almost
requiring Colonel Pearson to retire with half his force
to the Tugela, leaving the remainder to garrison the
fort. This, after a council of war, was decided not to be
practicable, the country being occupied by the Zulus in
force. A flying column, however, was organised, in case
it became necessary to carry out what the General
seemed to desire.

Having questioned the messengers, and ascertained
that they were willing to return on the following
Saturday, Colonel Pearson sent a despatch, asking for
further instructions, and saying he would be prepared
to start on Sunday night at twelve o’clock if necessary.

This message was twice repeated on different days,
but no reply received.

Alterations and improvements in the defences, to

enable the fort to be held by a smaller garrison, went

steadily on in spite of bad weather ; ranges from 600 to

700 yards were marked round the fort, and trous-de-

* P. P. (C. 2260) p. 104.


loups and wire entanglements formed on the north,
south, and east faces.

On March 1st an expedition was led out by Colonel
Pearson to attack a military kraal (Dabulamanzi’s) six
miles distant ; this was done and the kraal burnt, a
smart skirmish being kept up with the Zulus during the
homeward march.

On the 2nd it was noticed that heliograph signals
were being flashed from the Lower Tugela, but no
message was made out.

Next day further signalling, though vague, was taken
to mean that a convoy was to be expected on the 13th
instant with 1000 men, and that on its approach Colonel
Pearson was to sally out and meet it. A heliograph was
improvised by Captain Macgregor, Deputy-Assistant-
Quarter master- General, by means of a small looking-
glass, and efforts made to flash back signals, but bad
weather ensued, preventing further communication till
the 10th.

A new road to Inyezane, shortening the distance by
about three miles, and avoiding much of the bush, was
commenced, and reported fit for use on the 13th, though
the work had been hindered by very bad weather, and by
the working- parties being constantly under fire. Fortu-
nately no one was hit, except Lieutenant Lewis, of
” The Buffs.”

On March 23rd two Zulus came up with a white
flag, and were brought in to the fort each with a mealie-
bag over his head ; they are said to have come with a
message from the king to the effect that if our force
would return to Natal he would order the officers com-


manding his large armies not to touch it. These men
were detained as prisoners in irons, and interviewed by
Lord Chelmsford on his arrival at Etshowe ; but of
their subsequent disposal nothing appears known.

At first the health of the troops was extremely good,
but before the end of February the percentage of sick had
largely increased, there being 9 officers and upwards of 100
men on the sick-list when it was relieved. The principal
disorders were diarrhoea, dysentery, and fevers, aggra-
vated by the want of proper medicines and medical
comforts, which had been soon exhausted. The church
was used as the hospital, and both officers and men
lived under the waggons, over which the waggon-sails
were spread, propped up with tent-poles ; thus the troops
actually lived at their alarm-posts.

The relief took place none too soon, there being then
but six days’ further supply of reduced rations available
for the garrison.

” From first to last, the men showed an excellent
spirit, the highest discipline was maintained, and the
reduction of the food was never grumbled at or regarded
in any other light than a necessity and a privation to be
borne, and which they were determined to bear cheer-
fully.” (P. P. [C. 2367] p. 39).



LORD CHELMSFORD, having moved down to Durban,
reports (February 8th) that No. 1 Column is secure at
Etshowe ; that he is about to forward troops to the
Lower Tugela ; and that Durban, Stanger, Pietermaritz-
burg, and Greytown are prepared for defence, ” with
garrisons which should prevent panic among those
living around ; ” the frontier quiet, and the road from
Greytown quite open.

The first reinforcement for Natal was brought by
H.M.S. Shah, which chanced to be at St. Helena (on
her voyage home from the Pacific), when the news of the
disaster in Zululand arrived. Captain Bradshaw, R.N.,
immediately decided to proceed to Natal with his ship ;
the Governor, after consultation with the officer com-
manding the troops, Colonel Philips, R.E., arranging to
send in her all the available force that could be spared
from the island. Accordingly she sailed on February
12th, with 3 officers and 52 men of the Royal Artillery,
and 2 officers and 109 men of the 88th Regiment.

H.M.S. Boadicea also arrived on the station,


bringing Commodore Richards, who relieved Rear-
Admiral Sullivan, C.B.

Communications had been established with Etshowe <\
by means of flashing signals, which were conducted by
Lieutenant Haynes, R.E., who, after some failure and ,
discouragement at first, persevered until complete
success was attained.

Previous to this there had been no communications
with Colonel Pearson for a considerable time, but on
March llth a cypher message from him (dated 9th)
said that the flashing signals had been understood, and
that as officers and men were generally sickly, it would
be desirable to relieve the whole of the garrison, and
that any relieving force should bring a convoy and be
prepared to fight. (P. P. [C. 2316] p. 81).

On March 16th the signals from Etshowe were first
made out, and one of the messages received was : ” Short
rations until 3rd April. Breadstuff’s until 4th April.
Plenty of trek oxen. Captain Williams, c The Buffs/
died at Ekowe on 13th March” (ibid. p. 83).

Reinforcements arriving from England, Lord Chelms-
ford determined to effect the relief of Etshowe, and
assembled a strong force on the Lower Tugela for that
purpose. The column to be in two divisions : the first,
under the command of Lieut. -Colonel Law, R.A., com-
posed of the Naval Brigade of Shah and Tenedos,
57th Regiment, 2 companies ” Buffs/’ 5 companies
99th Regiment, mounted infantry, volunteers, and
natives, and 5th Battalion Natal Native Contingent ;
artillery 2 9-pounders, 2 24-pounder rocket-tubes, and
1 Gatling gun ; also 150 of John Dunn’s people as scouts.


The second division Lieut. -Colon el Pemberton, 60th
Eifles, commanding Naval Brigade of H.M.S. Boadicea,
Koyal Marines of Shah and Boadicea, 60th Eifles,
91st Highlanders, and 4th Battalion Natal Native Con-
tingent ; artillery, 2 24-pounder rocket-tubes and 1
Gatling gun ; making a total fighting strength of 3390
white troops and 2280 natives. The Lieut. -General
decided to take command of the column himself, and
directed that it should advance by the coast road, so as
to avoid the bush country ; to advance without tents,
and with only a blanket and waterproof-sheet for each
man. The convoy, taking one month’s provisions for
the garrison and ten days’ supplies for the column, con-
sisted of about 100 waggons and 44 carts. (P. P.
[C. 231 8] pp. 74,75).

The assembling of this column and preparation for
an advance occupied some weeks, and on the 23rd March
Lord Chelmsford assumed the personal command, the
force being assembled on the left bank of the Tugela and
organised in two brigades, as already detailed, by the
28th. Next day, at 6 A.M., the column marched from
the Tugela and encamped at Inyone, reaching next day
the Amatakulu Eiver. Now, profiting by bitter ex-
perience, every precaution was taken, and an entrenched
waggon-laager formed before nightfall at each halting-

The crossing of the Amatakulu Eiver took nine
hours, and the column encamped a mile and a half beyond
it. Nothing had been seen of the enemy until the 31st,
when the scouts noticed small bodies of Zulus near the
Amatakulu bush. Captain Barrow, with a mounted


force, reconnoitred towards the Engoya Forest, and
burnt the kraal of one of the king’s brothers.

On April 1st, the column marched to Ngingindhlovu,
arid about a mile from the Inyezane River a laager was
formed in a favourable position. From this point to
Etshowe, the track, after crossing swampy ground, winds
through a bushy and difficult country for about fifteen
miles, the country covered with high grass, and thus
affording easy cover.

Etshowe could be plainly seen from the laager, and
flash signalling was at once established.

As this laager was destined to be the scene of an
important engagement, we will describe the disposition
of the troops : Front face (north), 60th Kifles ; right
flank, 57th Regiment ; left flank, 99th Regiment and
“Buffs;” rear face, 91st Regiment; the angles manned
by blue-jackets and marines, and armed with the guns,
Gatlings, and rocket-tubes. The night passed without
alarm, and the troops stood to arms at 4 A.M., the
mounted men being sent out scouting as usual at earliest
dawn. From scouts and piquets came reports, at
5.45 A.M., that the enemy was advancing, and at six the
attack commenced on the north front. The Zulus
advanced with great rapidity and courage, taking
advantage of every bit of cover ; they even pushed
forward to within twenty or thirty yards of the
entrenchments, but were checked by the steady fire of
the 60th and the Gatling gun. Lieut. -Colonel Northey,
3-6 Oth Rifles, received a dangerous wound, but cheered
on his men to the end of the engagement.

The attack, checked here, rolled round to the left


face ; and, whilst this was being developed, a fresh force
came up against the rear, probably anticipating that all
the faces of the laager could not be defended at the
same time. Here they obstinately held their ground,
finding cover in the long grass and undulations.

The mounted troops were now sent out, the mounted
infantry and volunteers to clear the front face, and
Captain Barrow to attack the enemy’s right flank. On
their appearance the Zulus commenced to retreat. It
was now 7.30 A.M. ; and the Natal Native Contingent,
clearing the ditch of the rear face, dashed out in pursuit,
which, led by Captain Barrow’s horsemen, was carried
on for several miles.

The loss of the enemy in this engagement is
estimated at 1000: 671 bodies were actually counted.
The attacking force is said to have numbered about
11,000 men.

Colonel Pearson, who had watched the fight through
a glass, telegraphed his congratulations to the General.

The loss of the column was 2 officers and 9 men
killed (including Lieut. -Colonel Northey, 60th Eifles), 5
officers and 57 men wounded.

On the 3rd April, leaving a garrison in the laager,
Lord Chelmsford pushed on to Etshowe with a convoy
of fifty-eight carts with stores. The advance was
unopposed, but the difficulties of the country were such
that it was nearly midnight before the rear-guard had
traversed the fifteen miles and entered Etshowe.

The garrison had suffered severely from sickness
during the preceding month, losing by disease 4 officers
and 20 non-commissioned officers and men ; and when


relieved there were sick in hospital, 8 officers and 44
non-commissioned officers and men, and attending
hospital, 1 officer and 78 non-commissioned officers and
men out of a total force of 53 officers, 1289 non-
commissioned officers and men, and 121 natives.

The constant wet weather and close quarters in the
fort, with little or no shelter, the want of medicines, and
insufficient food, might well have caused even heavier loss.

The General determined to evacuate Etshowe, as he
found it so difficult of approach : future operations
being planned to be carried on by the coast road. On
the 4th Colonel Pearson evacuated the fort he had so
tenaciously held, taking with him his waggons and all his
stores that were of any use ; unserviceable tools and
metal-work were buried, but the fort was not destroyed.

Colonel Pearson’s march to the Tugela was performed
without any interruption from the enemy.

On the 4th a kraal of Dabulamanzi’s on the
Entumeni Hill was destroyed by a patrol from Etshowe,
and on the 5th the relieving column left, and bivouacked
near the Infuchini mission station. Early next morning
an unfortunate alarm occurred, causing the death of three
men. A sentry fired at what he thought was a body
of the enemy, and the piquet on the opposite side of
the entrenchment retired into shelter, together with
native scouts who were out in front. Although it was
a bright moonlight night, and no mistakes should have
been made, fire was opened from the entrenchment, and
five of the 60th were wounded and nine natives
bayoneted as they attempted to gain the shelter of the

2 c


On reaching Ngingindhlovu a new laager was formed,
about a mile from the old one ; this was garrisoned on
the 7th, the column moving on to the Tugela.

The small mounted force under Captain Barrow,
19th Hussars, rendered excellent service, both during
the engagement at Ngingindhlovu, and by the manner
in which the scouting duties were carried out.

A party of Mr. John Dunn’s people (natives), 150
in number, were also of the greatest utility in scouting
and outpost duties. Mr. Dunn himself accompanied the
General ; his knowledge of the country and sound
advice being of much use (ibid. p. 122).

John Dunn was an Englishman, resident in Zululand,
where he had lived for many years and adopted many
Zulu customs. He amassed a considerable property,
and had an extensive following. He invariably received
the greatest kindness and consideration from the Zulu
king, and was frequently employed by him in various
communications with the English Government. When
the danger of war between English and Zulus appeared
imminent, John Dunn appealed to the English for
protection for himself, his property, and people, who
were ready, he said, to fight on the English side. At
the same time Cetshwayo sent him a message to the
effect that he saw the English were going to attack him,
and therefore Dunn had better leave his country, with
his people and cattle, and go to a place of safety. This
John Dunn did, crossing the Tugela about the 3rd of
January, and settling near Fort Pearson.

At the time the General determined to move to the
relief of Etshowe he ” sent secret instructions to


the different commanders along the border, from the
Lower Tugela up to Kambula Hill, requesting them
to make strong demonstrations all along the line, and,
if possible, to raid into Zululand in order to make a
diversion in favour of the relieving column,” thinking
he ” might possibly have to meet the full strength of
the Zulu army/’ (P. P. [G 2318] p. 56).

On the 2nd of April a small force of Native Con-
tingent crossed the Tugela and burnt two large kraals,
no resistance being made. On the next day a force
crossed again and burnt an unoccupied kraal, ex-
changing a few shots with Zulus, of whom a
considerable number were seen at a distance. On the
following day the natives refused to cross, and the
Border Agent, Mr. Fannin, remarks : ” I think it is
fortunate it was not attempted, as the Zulus had
assembled a considerable body of men to resist.”
(P. P. [C. 2367] p. 104).

The reserve native force had co-operated in these
movements by being assembled and placed in position
along the Tugela, but the colonial commander declined
to proceed over the border, or send any of his force into
Zululand, without the sanction of the Lieut. -Governor.

The Government of Natal had placed at Lord
Chelmsford’s disposal a number of natives (over 8000)
for service in the Zulu country. Some of these were
intended for fighting purposes, and formed what we
have already described as the Natal Native Contingent.
The rest were supplied for transport, pioneer, and
hospital-corps services, and all were expected to cross
the border.

2 c 2


But besides these men, native levies were called out,
when the war began, for service in the colony that is to
say, for the defence of the border under colonial district
commanders. These levies were to be used solely as a
border-guard, and were not intended to cross into Zulu-
land at all. Sir Henry Bulwer, in permitting them to
be raised, had been careful to protect as far as possible
the interests of both the white and the native population
of Natal, and had made very proper stipulations as to
the services for which he placed these levies at the
disposal of the General. The latter, indeed, expressed
it as his opinion that every available fighting native in
the colony should be called out ; but Sir Henry, with a
greater comprehension of consequences, demurred to this
rash proposal, and a personal interview between the two
resulted in the above-mentioned arrangement.

Consequently the Lieut. -Governor was not a little
surprised to learn on the 8th April that the native levies
had been ordered, in conjunction with the other troops,
to make raids across the border into Zululand. To this
he objected, writing to the High Commissioner on April
9th in the following terms : ” I venture to suggest for
your Excellency’s consideration the question of the
policy of raids of this kind. The burning of empty
kraals will neither inflict much damage upon the Zulus,
nor be attended with much advantage to us ; whilst acts
of this nature are, so it seems to me, not only calculated
to invite retaliation, but to alienate from us the whole
of the Zulu nation, men, women, and children, including
those who are well disposed to us. We started on
this war on the ground that it was a war against the


king and the Zulu Government, and not against the
nation. . . .”(P. P. [C. 2367] p. 103).

A correspondence ensued between the Lieut. -Governor
and the Lieut. -General, in which the two differed in a
very decided manner. Lord Chelmsford complained that
the action taken by the Lieut. -Governor, ” in refusing to
allow the orders issued by ” him to the native forces to
be carried out, appeared to him “fraught with such
dangerous consequences ” that he considered it necessary
to refer the question to the Home Government. (P. P.
[C. 2318] p. 56.) He implied that this interference had
(in conjunction with the state of the Tugela Eiver)
prevented a general raid being made, which might have
proved an important diversion in favour of the column
relieving Etshowe, and he declared, in behalf of the
raiding system, that “it would be madness to refrain
from inflicting as much damage as possible upon our
enemy” (ibid. p. 56).

It was a well-known fact that the fighting men of
the Zulu nation were with their army, and that the only
occupants of the kraals to be raided were the women,
children, and the infirm and other non-combatants;
therefore the General’s following remark, ” I am satisfied
that the more the Zulu nation at large feels the strain
brought upon them by the war, the more anxious will
they be to see it brought to an end,” was of a highly
Christian, wise, and soldierly nature, hardly to be
matched by anything attributed to the Zulu monarch

Sir Henry Bulwer’s replies were temperate but de-
cided. He pointed out that the statement contained in


Lord Chelmsford’s despatch to the Secretary of State for
War, implying that the Governor’s interference had (or
might have) seriously interfered with the relief of
Etshowe, was erroneous ; Etshowe having been relieved
on the 3rd of April, five days before Sir Henry even
heard of the order for the Natal natives to make raids.
To the General himself he observes that his interference
had been limited to approval of the action of the district
commander, who declined to employ his force in a
manner contrary to the express stipulations under which
they were raised, and concludes : ” The views of this
Government are very strongly against the employment,
under the present circumstances, of the native levies or
native population along the border in making raids into
the Zulu country, as being, in the opinion of the Govern-
ment, calculated to invite retaliation, and also as being
demoralising to the natives engaged in raiding” (ibid.
p. 55).

The Lieut. -Governor’s views were that these native
levies “were called out expressly and solely for service
in the colony, and for the defence of the colony, and
were placed under the colonial district commanders for
that purpose only,” and that no authority had been
given to employ these native levies ” on any service in
the Zulu country ” (ibid. p. 54).

And it seems that raids along the border had been
ordered after the relief of Etshowe was effected.

Sir H. Bulwer writes, 16th April, that he had re-
ceived, on the 7th, a copy of a military telegram written
after the relief of Etshowe, showing that the General
had “ordered raids to be made across the border


wherever feasible,” and, on the following day, a copy of
a memorandum, written from Etshowe by Colonel
Crealock, the Assistant Military Secretary, and addressed
to the officer commanding at the Lower Tugela, and,
among other things, it contained the following instruc-
tion : ” Send word up to the frontier to raid across the
river wherever the river permits.” And the same even-
ing he heard of the native levies having been required
to cross (ibid. p. 53).

The question of the employment of the native levies
in making raids across the border was referred by the
Lieut. -Governor to the Executive Council of Natal,
which, on the 23rd April, expressed itself as ” strongly
opposed to the employment, in making raids into the
Zulu country, of the native levies, who …. have
been called out for the defence of the colony only.”
But, in view of the Lieut. -General’s strongly -expressed
opinions, the Council felt there was no alternative but
that the General ” should have the power of so employ-
ing the native levies on the border. At the same time,
the Council desires …. to record emphatically its
objections to the course proposed, and to such employ-
ment of the levies.” (P. P. [C. 2367] p. 132).

This decision of the Executive Council was commu-
nicated to the General on April 25th by the Lieut. –
Governor, with the remark : ” Your Excellency will
therefore have the power to employ the native levies
across the border in the way named by you, should you
think it imperatively necessary for military reasons.
Your Excellency will not fail to perceive, however, that
such employment of the native levies is against the


decided opinion of this colony as to its inexpediency ”
(ibid. p. 133).

On the 20th May raids were again made into
Zululand from three different points, under Major
Twentyman’s command. One party crossed at the
Elibomvu Drift, and burnt fifteen kraals and large
quantities of grain ; another burnt three kraals and
captured a large herd of cattle ; and the third burnt
two kraals, and then, seeing the Zulus assembling in
force, beat a hurried retreat across the Tugela. (P. P.
[C. 2374] p. 91).

Sir Henry Bulwer, on the 24th May, writes to the

High Commissioner: “Major-General the Hon. H. H.

Clifford, commanding the base of operations …. was

wholly unaware that any such raid was being organised

by Major Twentyman, who, I believe, acted under

general instructions received from head-quarters. . . .

The views of the Government of Natal on the subject

of these raids, your Excellency is already acquainted

with. The material advantage to be gained by the work

of destruction or of plunder of Zulu property can be at

the best but trifling and insignificant, and on every

other account I fear our action will prove positively

injurious to us, to our interests, and to our cause. We

are absolutely provoking retaliation. Already, I am

informed, since the raid reported in these papers took

place, some native huts on the Natal side of the Tugela

have been burned by Zulus ; and to what extent this

work of revenge and retaliation may be carried, with

what losses of property, and even of life, inflicted on

our border natives, it is impossible to say. . . . What


result we have gained to justify even the risk of such
retaliation against us, and of such a sacrifice to our own
native population, I know not” (ibid. pp. 89, 90).

The fears of the Lieutenant-Governor were in some
measure realised on the 25th June, when he writes : “A
raid was made by two bodies of Zulus, numbering, it is
estimated, about 1000, into the Tugela Valley, below
the Krans Kop in this colony. The Zulus destroyed
several kraals, and carried off a number of cattle. I
regret to say also that several of our Natal natives,
including women, were killed, and some women and
children carried off.”

‘ There can be little doubt that this raid has been
made in retaliation for the one that was made into the
Zulu country opposite the Krans Kop by a force under
Major Twentyman, of Her Majesty’s 4th Eegiment, on
the 20th May, and which was reported to you in my
despatch of the 31st of that month.” (P. P. [C. 2454]
p. 150).

Thus the opinions expressed in Sir H. Bulwer’s
despatch of 24th May were to some extent justified, with
the probability of a blood-feud being set up between the
two border populations, and widening the breach between
ourselves and the Zulu people ; and with it the increased
difficulty of obtaining a satisfactory settlement for the



DURING the latter part of March and April reinforce-
ments kept steadily pouring into Natal, and with them
four general officers Major-General the Hon. H. H.
Clifford, V.C., C.B., who was stationed at Pietermaritz-
burg, to command at the base of operations; Major-
General Crealock, C.B., to command No. 1 Division,
concentrating on the Lower Tugela ; Major-General
Newdigate, to command No. 2 Division, head-quarters
Dundee ; and Major-General Marshall, to command the
Cavalry Brigade attached to No. 2 Division ; Brigadier-
General Wood, V.C., C.B., retaining his previous com-
mand to be styled the Flying Column.

By the middle of March the available force consisted
of an effective strength of non-commissioned officers and
men Imperial troops, 7520 ; volunteer cavalry, etc.,
1367; Europeans, attached to native contingents, 495;
making a total of 9382 Europeans, with 5769 natives.
(P. P. [C. 2316] p. 85).

No operations of any consequence took place beyond
concentrating troops and forwarding supplies. On
the 20th April, Lord Chelmsford reported that Major-


General Crealock had taken up his command and, if
transport arrangements permitted, would shortly com-
mence operations. Major-General Newdigate was on
his way to his command.

The reinforcements alone considerably exceeded the
strength of the force with which the war was so rashly
undertaken. They consisted of the 1st Dragoon Guards,
17th Lancers ; 21st, 57th, 58th, 60th, 88th (one com-
pany), 91st, 94th Foot ; two batteries Koyal Artillery,
and detachments from St. Helena and Mauritius ; one
company and half C troop Royal Engineers ; drafts for
various regiments ; detachments of Army Service and
Army Hospital Corps ; etc. etc. ; a total (including the
staff embarked in February from England) of 387
officers and 8901 men.

But even after the arrival of this enormous accession
of strength, further reinforcements of three battalions
were demanded ” for reserve and garrison purposes.”
(P. P. [C. 2367] p. 162).

At the end of April the effective force was :

First Division, Major-General Crealock :

Imperial and irregular troops . . . .6508
Native Contingent (151 mounted) . . . 2707

Second Division, Major-General Newdigate :

Imperial and irregular troops . . . .6867
Natives (243 mounted) 3371

Flying Column, Brigadier-General Wood :

Imperial and irregular troops …. 2285

Natives (75 mounted) 807

Making a total strength of 22,545 men available for the conquest
of Zululand.

On the 14th May, Lord Chelmsford reported: “The
troops are in position, and are only waiting for sufficient


supplies and transport to advance.” (P. P. [C. 2374]
p. 97).

The transport difficulties naturally increased with
the increasing force. The colony did not eagerly press
forward to the rescue, and although transport for
service in the colony could be obtained, that for trans-
frontier work was not procurable in any quantity on any

The colonial view somewhat appeared to be, “No
government has power, either legally or morally, to
force any man to perform acts detrimental to his own
interest.” No doubt the colony felt itself more secure
whilst the troops remained within its borders, and
naturally was not anxious to assist in their departure ;
and it may have thought the war “was an Imperial
concern, brought about by an Imperial functionary ; ”
and therefore the Empire should be left ” to worry out
the affair for itself ; ” as remarked by a colonial paper at
the time.

On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that
the necessities of the troops, during this campaign, taxed
the resources of the colonists to the utmost. If some
profited in a mercantile point of view, and were un-
patriotic enough to try to make every penny they could
out of the army intended for their protection, there were
others who acted in a very different spirit. The sacrifice
and loss of both life and property through the Zulu war
has been as great, in proportion, to Natal as to the mother
country; and if the former was weak -and wicked or
perhaps only thoughtless enough to wish for war, she
has now received a lesson which will prevent her ever


making so great a mistake again. While upon the one
side we hear stories of transport riders and others who
lost no opportunity of fleecing at every turn both
Government and military in their necessity, on the other
hand we have equally well-authenticated accounts of
strict honesty, and even generosity, on the part of other
Natalians. One story is told of a transport rider who
had earned the sum of 1500, which was to be paid by
instalments of 500 each : after he had received two of
these the officer who paid him was removed, and his
successor, unaware of previous payments, handed over
to the transport rider’s messenger the whole 1500.
The honest fellow at once returned the 1000 overpaid.

It is also a well-known fact that many of the
principal tradesmen permitted their shopmen to join
the volunteer corps to which they belonged, still con-
tinuing to pay them their respective salaries during their

The colony was not revelling in a shower of gold,
as some at home imagine : a few individuals, doubtless,
thought to “make hay while the sun shines,” but
to the population at large the war was certainly nob
advantageous. For some months fresh provisions were
almost at famine prices, or even unattainable by
private persons.

Many farmers were with the army, either as volunteers
or with the transport train ; others again had sold their
waggons and oxen, and thus had no means of bringing
in their produce. The market supply was consequently
very small, and generally at once bought up for the


Transport difficulties, we have said, increased with
the increasing force. The 9000 Imperial troops sent as
reinforcements had to be fed, and their food con-
veyed to where they were stationed. Three or four
thousand horses and mules also had to be fed in a
country from which grass was disappearing, and in
which supplies of forage were small. The larger part of
the troops and horses were sent up-country some two
hundred miles from the coast where winter grass fires
might be expected, and nature’s stores were certain soon
to be exhausted ; and thus arose the terrible strain in
the transport resources of the country.

But much more was required than was necessary.
In place of the ponderous train accompanying each
column a fruitful source of difficulty and danger on the
inarch by day, if a protection when halted at night
the advance should have been made from entrenched
depots in the lightest possible order. A rapid advance
on the king’s kraal in compact formation, and, where-
ever the enemy might stand, a decisive battle fought
the result of which, with the most ordinary care, could
not be doubtful and the war would be virtually over.
There need have been no weary inactivity, with its
following of disease and death, and the saving to the
country would have been enormous.

Supplies were pushed forward from the Lower
Tugela to the Inyezane, where a fort was constructed
(Fort Chelmsford) ; and from the base up to Conference
Hill the supplies required by Lord Chelmsford before
an advance could be made being two months’ with the


forces advancing, and one month’s at the advanced

But little further was done through this period of
indecision and vacillation, in which plans were made
only to be changed, and orders given one day to be
countermanded the next. Sickness laid its heavy hand
on many a man exposure and inaction in the first place,
then want of proper care and nursing, gradually swelling
the death-roll. Before the war, and throughout its course,
a body of ladies of Natal were most anxious to place them-
selves under the orders of the medical staff as nurses for
the sick and wounded ; but their offers, though repeatedly
pressed upon the authorities, were declined.

It was at this period that the following message was
telegraphed by Lord Chelmsford to the High Com-
missioner :

“May 16th, 1879. General Crealock telegraphs:
Messengers from king are at his advanced post. King
sues for peace. John Dunn sent to see them. Message
as follows : ‘ White man has made me king, and I am
their son. Do they kill the man in the afternoon whom
they have made king in the morning ? What have I
done ? I want peace ; I ask for peace/ King asks for
a black man or white man to return with his messengers
to say message delivered rightly. Undwana, one of the
messengers, states that he has sent to Dabulamunzi to
order him to go to the king. Message had been de-
livered to him by Undwana, and he ought to have
reached king yesterday. All principal chiefs have been
* P. P. (C. 2374) p. 115.


sent for to the king. He says army is dispersed. Chiefs
have been urging peace on king. General C. has only
informed Clifford and Lieutenant- Governor of the above.
I have telegraphed back to Crealock : ‘ Tell messengers
I informed king’s messenger at Etshowe that any message
must be sent to me at Colonel Wood’s camp. I am ready
to receive any messenger under flag of truce. Tell them
something more than words will be required. Supply
them with flag of truce ; relax no preparations or pre-
cautions.'” End of quotation. “I shall be glad to
receive your Excellency’s early instructions. I consider
the king should not be allowed to remain on the throne,
and that the terms of peace should be signed at Ulundi
in presence of British force. I shall not make any
change in my arrangements in the meantime.” (P. P.
[C. 2374] pp. 100, 101).

To Major-General Marshall belongs the credit of per-
forming the long-neglected duty of revisiting the fatal
battle-field of Isandhlwana, and burying as many as
possible of those that fell there. With General Newdi-
gate’s permission, the Cavalry Brigade under General
Marshall made a reconnaissance of the Bashi Valley
and Isandhlwana, having moved down to Eorke’s Drift
for that purpose.

The left column of the brigade proceeded up the
Bashi Valley, and moving round the Ingqutu range,
joined the right column at Isandhlwana.

The reconnaissance was proposed to include bury-
ing the dead, bringing away the waggons, etc. ; but an
order was received prohibiting touching the 24th, who
were to be interred by their own comrades.


The battle-field was a fearful sight though softened
much by the kindly hand of nature. There plainly lay
revealed the widely-spread camp (or rather line of
camps), the hopeless position in which it was placed ;
the absolute impossibility, circumstanced as it was, of
any result but the sad one we have already chronicled.
And there, too, were the evidences of a gallant resistance,
and a stand made by men ” faithful unto death.”

‘ It was well said: ” The field of Isandhlwana is begin-
ning to give up its secrets ; the mists of fiction are being
dispersed by the dry light of fact. It has not been
through mere idle curiosity that there has been a desire
to know what passed during the final moments of that
fatal struggle. There were difficulties to be explained,
reputations to be cleared, allegations to be contradicted.
There was the desire to know how those who were lost
had died. To be sure that they died with their faces to
the foe ; to be satisfied that their death was not attended
with any excess of cruelty or suffering. And there can
be little doubt that it is the very anxiety to be assured
of all this that stands responsible for the numerous
fictions as we must now hold them to be which have
been circulated with regard to what passed on that
memorable day.” Natal Witness, 29th May, 1879.

A short description of the spot, taken from that
written by Mr. Archibald Forbes, may be of interest :
At the top of the ascent beyond the Bashi we saw,
on our left front, rising above the surrounding country,
the steep, isolated, and almost inaccessible hill, or
rather crag, of Isandhlwana ; the contour of its rugged
crest strangely resembling a side view of a couchant

2 D


lion. On the lower neck of the high ground on its

right were clearly visible up against the sky-line the

abandoned waggons of the destroyed column. Now we

crossed the rocky bed of the little stream and were

cantering up the slope leading to the crest on which

were the waggons, and already tokens of the combat

and bootless flight were apparent. The line of retreat

towards Fugitives’ Drift, along which, through a gap in

the Zulu environment, our unfortunate comrades who

thus far survived tried to escape, lay athwart a rocky

slope to our right front, with a precipitous ravine at its

base. In this ravine dead men lay thick. All the way

up the slope could be traced the fitful line of flight.

Most of the dead here were 24th men ; single bodies

and groups where they seemed to have gathered to

make a hopeless gallant stand and die. On the edge of

a gully was a gun-limber jammed, its horses hanging in

their harness down the steep face of the ravine ; a little

farther on a broken ambulance- waggon, with its team of

mules dead in their harness, and around were the bodies

of the poor fellows who had been dragged from the

intercepted vehicle. Following the trail of bodies

through long grass and scattered stores, the crest was

reached. Here the dead lay thick, many in the uniform

of the Natal Mounted Police. On the bare ground on

the crest itself, among the waggons, the dead were less

thick ; but on the slope beyond, on which from the crest

we looked down, the scene was the saddest and more

full of weird desolation than any I had yet gazed upon.

There was none of the horror of a recent battle-field ;

nothing of all that makes the scene of yesterday’s battle


so rampantly ghastly shocked the senses. A strange
dead calm reigned in this solitude ; grain had grown
luxuriantly round the waggons, sprouting from the seed
that dropped from the loads, falling on soil fertilised by
the life-blood of gallant men. So long in most places
had grown the grass that it mercifully shrouded the
dead, whom four long months to-morrow we have left
unburied. In a patch of long grass, near the right
flank of the camp, lay Colonel Durnford’s body, a
central figure of a knot of brave men who had fought
it out around their chief to the bitter end. A stalwart
Zulu, covered by his shield, lay at the Colonel’s feet.
Around him lay fourteen Natal Carbineers and their officer,
Lieutenant Scott, with a few Mounted Police* (twenty).
Clearly they had rallied round Colonel Durnford in a
last despairing attempt to cover the flank of the camp,
and had stood fast from choice, when they might have
essayed to fly for their horses, who were close by their
side at the piquet-line. With this group were about
thirty gallant fellows of the 24th. In other places the
24th men were found as if fallen in rallying square, and
there were bodies scattered all along the front of the

The fallen were roughly buried, except those of the
men of the 24th Regiment. These were ordered to be

* Mr. Mansel, the officer commanding this troop of Natal
Mounted Police, says : ” When we went out the morning before
the fight we left thirty-one men behind, men whose horses had sore
backs, etc. These men were in charge of only a corporal. Seven
men escaped, and we buried all of the twenty-four that were killed.
Twenty were killed just around Colonel Durnford. Three about two
hundred yards away, and one at the Fugitives’ Drift.

2 D 2


left untouched. General Marshall had nourished a
natural and seemly wish to give interment to all the
dead who so long had lain at Isandhlwana, but it
appeared that the 24th desired to perform the ceremony
themselves in presence of both battalions. One has much
sympathy with the regiment, but General Marshall
offered to convey a burial-party with tools from Korke’s
Drift in waggons, and it seemed scarcely right to post-
pone longer than absolutely necessary what respect for
our honoured dead required. Thus, the Zulus, who have
carefully buried their own dead, will return to find we
visited the place, not to bury our dead, but to remove a
batch of waggons !

In the desolate camp were many sad relics, and the
ground was strewn with them and the spoil of the
plundered waggons. Scarcely any arms were found, and
no ammunition a few stray rusted bayonets and
assegais only were to be seen.

Teams of horses were hitched on to the soundest of
the waggons, till forty fit to travel were collected on the
crest, and sent under escort to Eorke’s Drift, and mean-
time scouting-parties had fired the kraals around, but
found no Zulus.

“I shall offer few comments on the Isandhlwana
position. Had the world been searched for a position
offering the easiest facilities for being surprised, none
could have been well found to surpass it. The position
seems to offer a premium on disaster, and asks to be
attacked. In the rear laa,gered waggons would have
discounted its defects ; but the camp was more defence-
less than an English village. Systematic scouting could


alone have justified such a position, and this too clearly
cannot have been carried out.” Daily News, 20th June,

On the 20th, 23rd, and 26th June the burial of the
remainder of those who fell at Isandhlwana was com-
pleted by a force under the command of Lieut. -Colonel
Black, 24th Eegiment. He carefully noted the signs of
the fight, and reported that the bodies of the slain lay
thickest in the l-24th camp, in which 130 dead lay (in
two distinct spots), with their officers, Captain Wardell,
Lieutenant Dyer, and a captain and a subaltern not re-
cognisable ; close to the place where the bodies of Colonel
Durnford, Lieutenant Scott, and other Carbineers, and men
of the Natal Mounted Police were found. This is described
as being a ” centre of resistance,” as the bodies of men
of all arms were found converging as it were to the spot.
About sixty bodies, with those of Captain Younghusband
and two other officers, lay in a group under the southern
precipice of Isandhlwana, as if they had held the crags
and fought till ammunition failed. The proofs of hand-
to-hand fighting were frequent. The fugitives’ track,
too, told its tale : ” Here and there around a waggon,
here and there around a tree, a group had formed and
stood at bay ; shoulder to shoulder they fired their last
cartridge, and shoulder to shoulder they plied the steel ;
side by side their bones are lying and tell the tale.”

Eight hundred yards from the road the guns had
come upon ground no wheels could pass, and from here
the bodies were more and more apart till, about two
miles from camp, the last one lies and marks the limit
reached by white men on foot.


The fatal trail again began near the river’s bank,
where Major Smith, R.A., and others rest, a river’s
breadth from Natal ; across the river it runs until the
graves of Melville and Coghill nearly mark its end.

The Standard and Mail of September 16th says :
“It is a noticeable fact that Cetywayo declares that his
men were completely disheartened by Isandula, and that
as a matter of fact he was never able to get them
thoroughly together again after that event. He says
that a large part of the forces engaged on that occasion
were actually retreating when another part made the
fatal rush. … Of course these statements are of in-
terest as showing what Cetywayo said, but they must
be accepted with reservation, as he has throughout taken
up the theory that he and his men had no intention of
inflicting so much injury upon us as they did.”

Bishop Schreuder, on the 3rd March, says : ” The
Zulus’ version of the Isanlwana story tells us some
most remarkable things with respect to the battle and
the effect of it on the Zulus. The Zulus, after
having ransacked the camp, bolted off with the booty as
fast as they could when the English army was seen
returning to the camp, even at a great distance. The
detachment of the Zulu army seen by Glyn’s column
on its way, the 23rd January, back to Eorke’s Drift,
was a part of the Undi corps and Utako (Udhloko)
retreating from the unsuccessful attack on the Com-
missariat stores at Eorke’s Drift. Among the horsemen
was Udabulamanzi, who says that they were so tired,
and glad that Glyn’s column did not attack them, for if
attacked they would have bolted every one. Compara-


tively few and inferior oxen were brought to the king,
as the izinduna appropriated to themselves the best and
most of the captured oxen ; Udabulamanzi, for instance,
took home twenty good oxen. The Zulus say that the
affair at Isan’lwana commenced with a victory and
ended with a flight, for, as it is the case after a defeat,
the whole army did not return to the king, but the
soldiers dispersed, making the best of their way with
what booty they had got to their respective homes, and
to this day they have not reassembled to the king,
who is very much displeased with his two generals,.
Umnkingwayo (Tsingwayo) and Umavumengwane
(Mavumengwana), and other izinduna.” (P. P. [C.
231 8] p. 37).

Some of the Zulu and native accounts of Isandhlwana
are worth noticing. One says the engagement ” lasted
till late in the afternoon/’ (P. P. [C. 2374] p. 24.)
Another speaks of the fighting when the 24th retired
on the tents, and of their ammunition failing. Another
(Nugwende, a brother of Cetshwayo) says that the main,
or front and the left flank attack of the Zulu army
were beaten and fell back with great loss until the fire
of the white troops slackened. The right flank entering
the camp, the main body was ordered to renew the
attack, which the English were unable to prevent from
want of ammunition.

The following ” Statement of a Zulu Deserter regard-
ing the Isan’lwana Battle ” was taken by Mr. Drummond,
head-quarter staff :

The Zulu army, consisting of the Ulundi corps, about 3000
strong; the Nokenke Kegiment, 2000 strong; the Ngobamakosi


Regiment, including the Uve, about 5000 strong; the Umcityu,
about 4000 strong; the Nodwengu, 2000 strong; the Umbonambi,
3000 strong; and the Udhloko, about 1000 strong, or a total of
about 20,000 men in all, left the military kraal of Nodwengu on the
afternoon of the 17th of January. It was first addressed by the
King, who said :

“I am sending you out against the whites, who have invaded
Zululand and driven away our cattle. You are to go against the
column at Rorke’s Drift, and drive it back into Natal ; and, if the
state of the river will allow, follow it up through Natal, right up
to the Draakensburg. You will attack by daylight, as there are
enough of you to ‘ eat it up,’ and you will march slowly, so as not to
tire yourselves.”

We accordingly left Nodwengu late in the afternoon, and marched
in column to the west bank of the White Umfolosi, about six miles
distant, where we bivouacked for the night. Next day we marched
to the Isipezi military kraal, about nine miles off, where we slept
and on the 19th we ascended to the table -land near the Isihlungu
hills, a march of about equal duration with that of the day previous.
On this day the army, which had hitherto been marching in single
column, divided into two, marching parallel to and within sight of
each other, that on the left consisting of the Nokenke, Umcityu, and
Nodwengu Regiments, under the command of Tyingwayo, the other
commanded by Mavumingwana. There were a few mounted men
belonging to the chief Usirayo, who were made use of as scouts. On
the 20th we moved across the open country and slept by the Isipezi
hill. We saw a body of mounted white men on this day to our left
(a strong reconnaissance was made on the 20th, to the west of the
Isipezi hill, which was probably the force here indicated). On the
21st, keeping away to the eastward, we occupied a valley running
north and south under the spurs of the Ngutu hill, which concealed
the Isandlana hill, distant from us about four miles, and nearly due
west of our encampment. We had been well fed during our whole
inarch, our scouts driving in cattle and goats, and on that evening we
lit our camp-fires as usual. Our scouts also reported to us that they
had seen the vedettes of the English force at sunset on some hills
west-south-west of us (Lord Chelmsford with some of his staff rode up
in this direction, and about this time, and saw some of the mounted
enemy). Our order of encampment on the 21st of January was
as follows : On the extreme right were the Nodwengu, Nokenke,
and Umcityu ; the centre was formed by the Ngobamakosi and
Mbonambi ; and the left, of the Undi Corps and the Udhloko


Regiment. On the morning of the 22nd of January there was no
intention whatever of making any attack, on account of a superstition
regarding the state of the moon, and we were sitting resting, when
filing was heard on our right (the narrator was in the Nokenke
Regiment), which we at first imagined was the Ngobamakosi engaged,
and we armed and ran forward in the direction of the sound. We
were, however, soon told it was the white troops fighting with
Matyana’s people some ten miles away to our left front, and returned
to our original position. Just after we had sat down again, a small
herd of cattle came past our line from our right, being driven down
by some of our scouts, and just when they were opposite to the
Umcityu Regiment, a body of mounted men, on the hill to the west,
were seen galloping, evidently trying to cut them off. When several
hundred yards off, they perceived the Umcityu, and, dismounting,
fired one volley at them and then retired. The Umcityu at once
jumped up and charged, an example which was taken up by the
Nokenke and Nodwengu on their right, and the Ngobamakosi and
Mbonambi on the left, while the Undi Corps and the Udhloko formed
a circle (as is customary in Zulu warfare when a force is about to be
engaged) and remained where they were. With the latter were the
two commanding officers, Mavumingwana and Tyingwayo, and several
of the king’s brothers, who with these two corps bore away to the
north-west, after a short pause, and keeping on the northern side of
the Isandlana, performed a turning movement on the right without
any opposition from the whites, who, from the nature of the ground,
could not see them. Thus the original Zulu left became their extreme
right, while their right became their centre, and the centre the left.
The two regiments which formed the latter, the Ngobamakosi and
Mbonambi, made a turning along the front of the camp towards the
English right, but became engaged long before they could accomplish
it; and the Uve Regiment, a battalion of the Ngobamakosi, was
repulsed and had to retire until reinforced by the other battalion,
while the Mbonambi suffered very severely from the artillery fire.
Meanwhile, the centre, consisting of the Umcityu on the left centre,
and the Nbkenke and Nodwengu higher up on the right, under the hill,
were making a direct attack on the left of the camp. The Umcityu
suffered very severely, both from artillery and musketry fire ; the
Nokenke from musketry fire alone ; while the Nodwengu lost least.
When we at last carried the camp, our regiments became mixed up ;
a portion pursued the fugitives down to the Buffalo River, and the
remainder plundered the camp ; while the Undi and Udhloko Regi-
ments made the best of their way to Rorke’s Drift to plunder the post


there in which they failed, and lost very heavily, after fighting all
the afternoon and night. We stripped the dead of all their clothes.
To my knowledge no one was made prisoner, and I saw no dead body
carried away or mutilated. If the doctors carried away any dead
bodies for the purpose of afterwards doctoring the army, it was done
without my knowing of it ; nor did I see any prisoner taken and
afterwards killed. I was, however, one of the men who followed the
refugees down to the Buffalo Eiver, and only returned to the English
camp late in the afternoon. (This portion of the prisoner’s statement
was made very reluctantly.) The portion of the army which had
remained to plunder the camp did so thoroughly, carrying off the
maize, breadstuff’s (sic), and stores of all kinds, and drinking such
spirits as were in camp. Many were drunk, and all laden with their
booty ; and towards sunset the whole force moved back to the en-
campment of the previous night, hastened by having seen another
English force approaching from the south. Next morning the greater
part of the men dispersed to their homes with their plunder, a few
accompanying the principal officers to the king, and they have not
reassembled since. The Times, March 22nd, 1879.

Another account, taken by the interpreter of one of
the column commanding officers (a version of which has
appeared in the columns of The Army and Navy Gazette,
of llth October 1879, and is described as a “full and
accurate account “), is selected as being corroborated in
all main points by survivors of the British force, and
by the battle-field itself. It is the story of Uguku, a
Zulu belonging to the Kandampenvu (or Umcityu)
Kegiment, who says : ” We arrived at Ingqutu eight
regiments strong (20,000 to 25,000 men) and slept in
the valley of a small stream which runs into the
Nondweni river to the eastward of Sandhlwana. The
regiments were Kandampenvu (or Umcityu), Ngoba-
makosi, Uve, Nokenke, Umbonambi, Udhloko, Nod-
wengu (name of military kraal of the Inkulutyane
Kegiment), and Undi (which comprises the Tulwana,
Ndhlondhlo, and Indhluyengwe): The army was under


the joint command of Mavumengwana, Tsingwayo, and
Sihayo. It was intended that Matshana ka Mondisa
was to be in chief command, but he having been a
Natal Kafir, the other three were jealous of him, and
did not like him to be put over them ; they therefore
devised a plan of getting him out of the way on the
day of the battle. They accomplished this plan by
getting him to go forward with Undwandwe to the
Upindo to reconnoitre, and promised to follow. As soon
as he had gone they took another road, viz. north of
Babanango, while Matshana and Undwandwe went
south of it, being accompanied by six mavigo (com-
panies). It was our intention to have rested for a day
in the valley where we arrived the night before the
battle, but having on the morning of the battle heard
firing of the English advance guard who had engaged
Matshana’s men, and it being reported that the Ngoba-
makosi were engaged, we went up from the valley to
the top of Ingqutu, which was between us and the
camp ; we then found that the Ngobamakosi were not
engaged, but were quietly encamped lower down the
valley. We saw a body of horse coming up the hill
towards us from the Sandhlwana side. We opened fire
on them, and then the whole of our army rose and came
up the hill. The enemy returned our fire, but retired
down the hill, leaving one dead man (a black) and a horse
on the field. The Uve and Ngobamakosi then became en-
gaged on our left with the enemy’s skirmishers, and soon
afterwards we were all engaged with the skirmishers of
the enemy. We were not checked by them” (i.e. stopped),
” but continued our march on the camp until the artillery


opened upon us. The first shell took effect in the ranks
of my regiment, just above the kraal of Baza. The
Nokenke then ran out in the shape of a horn towards the
kraal of Nyenzani on the road between Isandhlwana and
Korke’s Drift (the continuation of the road, to the east-
ward of the camp). The engagement now became very
hot between the Mangwane (mounted natives) and us, the
Mangwane being supported by the infantry, who were
some distance in their rear. We were now falling very
fast. The Mangwane had put their horses in a donga,
and were firing away at us on foot. We shouted
‘ Izulu ! ‘ ( f The heavens ! ‘ )* and made for the donga,
driving out the Mangwane towards the camp. The
infantry then opened fire on us, and their fire was so
hot, that those of us who were not in the donga retired
back over the hill. It was then that the Nokenke and
Nodwengu regiments ran out towards Nyenzani’s kraal.
We then shouted ‘ Izulu ! ‘ again, and got up out of the
dongas. The soldiers opened fire on us again, and we
laid down. We then got up again, and the whole of my
regiment charged the infantry, who formed into two
separate parties one party standing four deep with their
backs towards Sandhlwana, the other standing about
fifty yards from the camp in like formation. We were
checked by the fire of the soldiers standing near Sandhl-
wana, but charged on towards those standing in front of
the camp, in spite of a very heavy fire on our right flank
from those by Sandhlwana. As we got nearer we saw
the soldiers were beginning to fall from the effects of
our fire. On our left we were supported by the Umbo-
* Properly Uzulu the Zulu nation.


nambi, half the Undi, Ngobamakosi, and Uve. Behind
us were the other half of the Undi and Udhloko, who
never came into action at Sandhlwana, but formed the
reserve (which passed on and attacked Korke’s Drift).
As we rushed on the soldiers retired on the camp, fight-
ing all the way, and as they got into the camp we were
intermingled with them. It was a disputed point as to
which of the following regiments was the first in the
English camp, viz.: Undi, Kandampenvu, Ngobamakosi,
and Umbonambi; but it was eventually decided that the
Umbonambi was the first, followed by Undi.

“One party of soldiers came out from among the tents
and formed up a little above the ammunition- waggons.
They held their ground there until their ammunition failed
them, when they were nearly all assegai ed. Those that
were not killed at this place formed again in a solid
square in the neck of Sandhlwana. They were com-
pletely surrounded on all sides, and stood back to back,
and surrounding some men who were in the centre.
Their ammunition was now done, except that they had
some revolvers which they fired at us at close quarters.
We were quite unable to break their square until we had
killed a great many of them, by throwing our assegais
at short distances. We eventually overcame them in
this way.” *

* The above is corroborated on all main points by Mehlokazulu,
son of Sihayo, who states that he was sent with three other indunas
(mounted), on the morning of the 22nd, to see what the English were
doing. On reporting to Tshingwayo, he said, ” All right, we will see
what they are going to do.” ” Presently,” says Mehlokazulu, ” I
heard Tshingwayo give orders for the Tulwana and Ngyaza regiments
to assemble. When they had done so, he gave orders for the others


When all we have narrated was known in Natal, the
question was asked in the public prints : ” Who, in the
light of these recently- discovered facts, were the real
heroes of that day ? Surely the two officers who com-
manded in that narrow pass at the rear of the camp. . . .
Surely, too, no smaller heroism was that of the fourteen
carbineers …. who, mere boys as they were, gave their
lives away in order to afford their comrades-in-arms a
chance of retreat. . . . Any one of these men might have
had a chance for his life, had he chosen to follow the
example set by so many. They remained, however, and
they died, and only after four months of doubt, contra-
diction, and despatch- writing, is it made known to the
world who they were who have most deserved the
coveted decoration ‘ For Valour/ >:

” ‘ The dead shall live, the living die ! ‘ Never was
this well-known line of Dryden’s more strikingly illus-
trated than by the events of the past fortnight,” writes
The Natal Witness of June 7th, 1879. ” ‘ The dead shall
live/ the mists of doubt, overclouding many a reputa-

to assemble and advance in the direction of the English camp. We
were fired on first by the mounted men, who checked our advance for
some little time.” He says the soldiers were at first u in loose order,”
but afterwards he saw them ” massing together,” when ” they fired at
a fearful rate.” When the Zulus broke the infantry and closed in,
they ” came on to a mixed party of mounted men and infantry men,”
about one hundred, who ” made a desperate resistance, some firing
with pistols and others using swords, and I repeatedly heard the word
‘ Fire ! ‘ given by someone. Eut we proved too many for them, and
killed them all where they stood. When all was over I had a look at
these men, and saw a dead officer, with his arm in a sling and a big
moustache (Colonel Durnford, E.E.), surrounded by dead carbineers,
soldiers, and other men whom I did not know.” Vide R. E. Journal,
Feb. 1880.


tion, have been cleared up by a visit to the now sacred
field of Isandhlwana.

” ‘ The living die : ‘ the hopes of a large party in an
European nation have been extinguished by the assegais
of a mere handful of savages.” (Alluding to the death of
the Prince Imperial of France.) ” The two events stand
side by side in startling contrast, and suggest thoughts
which even the wisest might with advantage ponder.
Turn, for instance, to the story of the field of
Isandhlwana, as now told in plain though interrupted
and awful characters by the remains found resting
near the ‘neck.’ Could it have been guessed that,
while human recollection and human intelligence failed
so utterly to convey to the world a history of the events
of that too memorable day, Nature herself would have
taken the matter in hand, and told us such a story as no
one who hears it will ever forget ? Four months, all but
a day, had elapsed since the defenders of the field stood
facing the Zulu myriads four months of rain and sun,
of the hovering of slow-sailing birds of prey, and of
the predatory visits, as it might well be deemed, of
unregarding enemies. Four months ! and during all
that time, while the world was ringing from one end to
the other with the news of a terrible disaster, while
reinforcements were crowding on to our shores, and
special correspondents were flooding the telegraph-wires
with the last new thing, all through those four months
the dead slept quietly on, waiting almost consciously, as
one might think, for the revelation which was to
establish their fame, and, where necessary, relieve their
unjustly sullied reputation. For four months was there


a sleep of honour slept upon that bitter field a sleep
unbroken by any of the noise of the war that rolled both to
southward and to northward. The defeat of Indlobane
had been suffered ; the victory of Kambula had been
gained; the defenders of Korke’s Drift had been re-
warded, at least with a nation’s praise ; the imprisoned
column had been released from Etshowe ; all the roads
in Natal had rung to the tread of men and the rolling of
waggon- wheels, as the force which was to “wipe out”
the disaster of Isandhlwana moved up to the front. Yet
still the honoured dead slept in silence. Only the grasses
that waved round them in the autumn breeze murmured
to them of their coming resurrection ; only the stars that
looked down on them, when the night wind even had
ceased, and the hills loomed black and silent in the
morning hours, bade them be patient and wait. There
were many and varied fates entwined in that quiet
group : there was the trained officer, there was the
private soldier, there was the man who had come to find
employment in a colonial service, there were the lads
from the colony itself; all these were there, waiting till
the moment should come when their heroism should be
recognised, when the vague slanders of interest or of
cowardice should be dispelled, and the wreath of un-
dying fame hung round each name in the historic
temple. And the moment, long waited for long
promised, as it might almost seem, by the beneficent
hand of Nature herself, who held firmly to some unmis-
takable tokens of recognition the moment at last
arrived. There could be no mistake about it. Those
lying here were those who had often been called by


name by those who found them. If one means of re-
cognition was absent, another took its place. If the
features were past identification, there was the letter
from a sister, the ornament so well known to com-
panions, the marks of rank, the insignia of office.
Ghastly tokens, it will be said, making up the fore-
ground of a ghastly scene. Yes, ghastly tokens, but
glorious tokens also tokens enabling many a family to
name those that died with a regret no longer mingled
with doubt or with pain ; tokens that will long be
cherished, and which will be shown to children as pre-
serving the memory of lives that are to be imitated. A
black cloud has, by these revelations, been lifted from
the rocks of Isandhlwana, and many whom we deemed
dead are living again living as examples, never to be
defaced, of the honour which tradition has so fondly
attached to a British soldier’s name.”



EARLY in April the South African community was
greatly impressed and interested by the arrival of the
young Prince Imperial, who came out to Natal to take
his share in the fortunes of war, and to see something
of active service against the Zulus. The colonists were
not a little gratified by the fact of this young hope of
an illustrious house having come to fight for and with
them against their dreaded foes ; yet amongst them all
there was hardly one, great or small, gentle or simple,
whose second thought was not one of sincere regret that
he, who, besides being of such importance in the future
of Europe, was also his widowed mother’s only son and
sole comfort, should be allowed to risk his life in a
savage warfare. Many a thought of kindly sympathy
was directed from Natal towards that royal mother for
whom English men and women have always had so
sincere a feeling, whether in prosperity or adversity ;
and many a warm-hearted woman’s eyes filled with
tears at the sight of the gallant youth, and at the very
thought of what his loss would be to her who remained
to pray for him at home, the home which she had found


amongst our countrymen in England. On every side
anxious hopes were expressed that the Prince would be
carefully guarded from danger, and not allowed need-
lessly to throw away his precious young life ; all these
hopes and anxieties were redoubled when he arrived,
and, by his winning ways and gallant bearing, won the
hearts of all who came in contact with him. Had Natal
been asked, he would have been sent straight home
again instead of across the borders, and yet it would
have been hard to resist and thwart the eager wish to
be of use, to work, and to see service which characterised
him throughout his short campaign, and which, com-
bined with gentleness and humanity as it was, proved
him to be a true soldier to the heart’s core.

Since he had come to Natal he could not, of course,
be kept away from the front, and the day he left
‘Maritzburg good wishes from all classes attended him
along the road. It was thought, indeed, that in all human
probability he was safe, except in the event of some
such battle as would make the chances equal for all,
from general to drummer-boy. “At all events,” it was
said, ” Lord Chelmsford will keep him by his side.”
Others, again, opined that the General would find it no
easy task to restrain the eager young spirit that scorned
to be treated with more care than others of his age.
But this doubt was answered by one who knew the
Prince, and who said that he was too good a soldier ever
to disobey an order. Throw himself in the way of
difficulty and danger he might wherever possible, but
any distinct order would be promptly and fully obeyed.

For some little time the Prince acted as extra aide-de-

2 E 2


camp to Lord Chelmsford, and accompanied him in that
capacity to Colonel Wood’s camp at Kambula, and back
to Utrecht. Colonel Harrison, B.E., was also of the
party, and during the journey very friendly relations
were established between him and the Prince, which
lasted to the end, and were drawn closer by the former’s
careful attendance during an indisposition which befell
the latter.

Whilst at Kambula the General reconnoitred the
Indhlobane Mountain on May 4th, and on return to
camp was joined by the Prince Imperial, when, to show
him the defence of a laager, the alarm was sounded. In
three minutes every man was at his allotted post, and
an inspection of the camp, with its double tier of rifles
ready for work, was made by the General and staff.
Next day the camp was broken up, and the column
moved to about a mile from the White Umvolosi, near
the Zinguin range Lord Chelmsford and staff, with
the Prince, proceeding to Utrecht.

On May 8th, the General, having appointed Colonel
Harrison, K.E., Assistant-Quartermaster-General of the
army, and Lieutenant Carey, 98th Eegiment, Deputy-
Assistant-Quartermaster-General, requested the former
” to give some work to the Prince Imperial, as he was
anxious for it, and did not find enough to do in the
duties of an extra aide-de-camp.” This request was a
verbal one, and the words used may not be letter for
letter, but of the purport there is no doubt ; and such a
request from the Commander-in- Chief was, of course,
an order which was immediately carried out. The
Prince was directed to collect and record information


respecting the distribution of troops, location of depots,
and the like, and he worked hard at this for some
days. Lord Chelmsford shortly afterwards left for
Newcastle, but before his departure Colonel Harrison
suggested that it would be advisable, during his lord-
ship’s absence, to make a reconnaissance into Zululand,
on the borders of which they had been hovering so long,
so as to determine the exact line of route which the
columns ought to take in the impending invasion.

Lord Chelmsford accepted the suggestion, asking
Colonel Harrison to take the Prince with him on the
expedition, and appointing an intelligent officer to
accompany them. The reconnoitring party started with
a strong escort, and reached Conference Hill on May
13th. Here they were joined by Colonel Buller and 200
horsemen, and were engaged on their reconnaissance till
May 17th, bivouacking at night with horses saddled
and bridled, and marching at dawn, scouring the
country, and sweeping Zulu scouts before them. The
Prince was delighted with the life, the simple fare of
the officers his comrades cooked by themselves at
their camp-fire, the strange country, the sight of the
enemy, the exhilarating gallops over the grass up hill
and down dale after fleet Zulu spies, the bivouac under
the star-lit heavens. All this pleased him immensely ;
as he told Colonel Harrison : ” Made him feel that he
was really doing soldiers’ work such as he had never
done before.” Always anxious to be of use, he made
most careful and copious notes and observations on all
they saw or did.

On the 17th the party returned to Conference Hill,


Colonel Harrison and Colonel Buller having arranged
for a combined and further reconnaissance of the
country from that place and Brigadier-General Wood’s
camp ; but as the special duty to which the Prince and
the intelligence officer had been assigned was over,
Colonel Harrison would not allow them to accompany
him farther, but directed them to return to Utrecht.
They obeyed; but, on the 18th, after Colonel Harrison
had started on his expedition and was already in Zulu-
land, he was surprised by the appearance of the Prince
Imperial, who had galloped all the way from Balte
Spruit by himself to overtake him, bringing with him
the permission, for which he had sent a messenger to
Lord Chelmsford, to go on the new reconnaissance. The
party now consisted of Colonel Harrison, the Prince,
Lieutenant Carey, one officer and five men Bettington’s
Horse, and one officer and twenty men Natal Native
Horse (Basutu). The escort would have been stronger,
but that the junction with Colonel Buller from Wood’s
camp was looked for to add to it. The first day was
occupied in searching the country as before, and in
looking out for Buller; and the party bivouacked at
night with vedettes and sentries posted all round, as
Zulus had been seen on the hills, although they did not
molest the reconnoitring party.

On the following day (the 19th), whilst exploring a
deep rough valley, the party was suddenly confronted
by a number of Zulus, who came down the hill at one
side of the donga, and spread out in the usual way in
two wings or horns, in order to overlap or outflank it,
firing as they advanced. The officer in command of the


advance at once put spurs to his horse and rode straight
up the hill at the weak centre of the Zulu detachment,
followed by the rest of the party. They pushed right
through the centre of the Zulus, and the horns at once
broke away, and escaped among the rocks with some loss.
Smaller bodies of Zulus were met w r ith subsequently, but
did not attempt to try conclusions with the horsemen,
who were obliged to keep on the move the greater part
of the night, as the enemy was all around them.

Next morning they reached Conference Hill, without
meeting Colonel Buller ; Colonel Harrison and the Prince
proceeding to Utrecht to report to Lord Chelmsford.

Lord Chelmsford now informed Colonel Harrison
that “He was to consider the Prince Imperial as attached
to the Quartermaster-General’s staff for duty, but it was
not put in orders, in consequence of the Prince not
being in the army.” The Prince lived, as before, with
the General’s personal staff, and Colonel Harrison, there-
fore, only saw him when he came for work or orders,
which was very frequently.

On May 25th the head-quarters having been
established at Landman’s Drift the Prince, having called
for work as usual, was directed to prepare a plan of a
divisional camp. That evening Colonel Harrison was
spoken to by Lord Chelmsford, because the Prince
Imperial had gone outside the lines without an escort,
but replied ” That the work he had given the Prince to
do referred to the camp inside the outpost lines.” The
General then told Colonel Harrison “To take care that
the Prince was not to go out without an escort when
working for him, and in the matter of escort to treat


him, not as a royal person, but the same as any other
officer, taking all due precautions.”

Colonel Harrison then said that ” He would see the
Prince, and tell him he was never to leave the camp
without a suitable escort, and that he was to apply to
him for one when it was wanted ; ” and Lord Chelmsford
replied that “That would do.”

The same day Colonel Harrison saw the Prince, and
told him this, and to make the matter quite sure, he
then and there gave him the instructions in writing.

He next directed him to make a map of the country,
from the reconnaissance sketches of Lieutenant Carey
and others. This work the Prince executed very well,
and so eager was he for employment, so desirous to be
always up and doing, that he went, not once or twice,
but often every day to Colonel Harrison’s tent asking
for more.

On the 28th of May, head-quarters were at Kopje
Allein, and on that and the two following days recon-
naissances were pushed far into the enemy’s country,
but no enemy was seen. Small parties, even single
officers, rode about unmolested all over the district
round, and went beyond the spot where so sad a scene
was shortly afterwards enacted.

On the 31st of May the Prince went to Colonel
Harrison’s tent with a report which he had written, and,
as usual, asked for some more work. He was told that
the army was to march next day, and that he might go
out and report on the roads and camps for the day
following ; with which instructions the Prince was
greatly pleased. Next day the 2nd Division (with


which were Lord Ohelmsford and the head-quarters’
staff) were ordered to march towards Ulimdi ; Wood’s
column being in advance some miles, on the other side
of the Blood Kiver, on a road which would take it out
eventually on the line of march of the head-quarters’
column. Lieutenant Carey, whilst conversing on duty
matters with Colonel Harrison, expressed a wish to go
out with the Prince, as he desired to verify a sketch he
had made on the previous day ; and, although Colonel
Harrison had intended to ask one of the General’s
personal staff to accompany the Prince, he said, when
Lieutenant Carey volunteered to go : ” All right ; you
can look after the Prince ! ” At the same time he
told Lieutenant Carey to let the Prince do the work
for which he was going out, namely, a detailed report
on the road and the selection of a site for the camp.
Lieutenant Carey was known to Colonel Harrison as a
cautious and experienced officer, who had been frequently
out on patrol duties with Colonel Buller and others, who
was acquainted with the nature of the work he had to
do, the precautions to be taken, and the actual ground
to be gone over ; and there was every reason to believe
that he thoroughly understood his position, and would
make, as he had done before, the proper arrangements
for an escort.

On the morning of the 1st, Colonel Harrison, hearing
that no escort had arrived at the hour fixed for the
departure of the reconnoitring party, went over to
General Marshall’s tent, and obtained from him the
order for the number of men he thought sufficient
” six Europeans and six Basutos ; ” and, having informed


Lieutenant Carey of this, he rode off to attend to his
own duties superintending the march of the army,
inspecting the fords, and moving on in advance (in
company with Major Grenfell) to select the site for
watering-places and the next camp. On a ridge in front
of the column Colonel Harrison and his companion
presently found the Prince arid Lieutenant Carey halted
with the European troopers only, and heard from them
that they were waiting for the Basutos, who had not
joined them in camp ; but some were now in sight on
the hillside flanking the line of march, and moving in a
direction which would bring them upon it a little in
advance of the spot where the party was waiting.

As Lieutenant Carey had been already over the
country, he was asked by Colonel Harrison to point out
the place where the water supply for the next camp was,
and the whole party rode slowly along a donga towards
the supposed stream or ponds. Colonel Harrison did
not think the water sufficient for their purpose, and rode
back to the high ground, where he was rejoined by Major
Grenfell, who told him that the Prince’s party had just
discovered a better supply a little farther on. There
was a ridge in front of them which they considered
marked the end of the day’s march, and the officers
dispersed to attend to their own duties, not imagining
for an instant that the reconnoitring party would go on
without the Basutos, who, from their wonderful power
of sight and hearing, and quickness at detecting the
approach of danger, were always regarded as essential to
an escort.

Unhappily, however, such was the case. The party


rode on until they came to a deserted kraal, situated
some 200 yards from the river, and consisting of
five huts, one with the usual small cattle enclosure.
Between the kraal and the river stretched a luxuriant
growth of tambookie grass, five or six feet in height,
with mealies and Kafir corn interspersed. This dense
covert, however, did not completely surround the kraal,
for in front there was an open space, apparently used by
the Zulus, judging from the ashes and broken earthen-
ware strewn about, as a common cooking-ground.

Here the party halted, and the Prince, having first
sent a native guide to make sure that the huts were all
uninhabited, gave the order that the horses should be
off-saddled and turned out to graze. Some of them lit a
fire and made coffee, while the Prince and Lieutenant
Carey, after the latter had taken a look round with his
glass, proceeded to make sketches of the surrounding
country. It is said that the Prince’s talent with pen
and pencil, combined with his remarkable proficiency in
military surveying that great gift of recognising at
once the strategic capabilities of any spot which dis-
tinguished the First Napoleon made his contributions
to our knowledge of the country to be traversed of great
value ; and he never lost an opportunity of making
himself of use in this and every other way.

It was about 3 P.M. when the party halted at this
deserted kraal, the Prince deciding that they should
leave again in an hour’s time. That the Zulus had been
upon the spot not long before was apparent from signs
of freshly-chewed imfi (native sugar-cane) upon the
ground, while a few dogs lingering about might have


suggested that their masters were not far off. Before
the hour was over, however, the native guide came in
to report that he had seen a Zulu coming over the
hill, and it was now thought prudent to retire, the
Prince giving directions to collect and up-saddle the
horses, followed by the order to “Mount.”

Some of the men were already in the saddle, others
in the act of mounting, when a sudden volley fired upon
them from amongst the tall stalks of the mealies (Indian
corn) which grew on every side, betrayed the presence
of a numerous armed foe, who had returned unseen to
those who were in temporary occupation of their kraals.
The distance was not twenty yards, and the long grass
swayed to the sudden rush of the Zulus, as with a
tremendous shout, they charged towards the Prince and
his companions. The horses all swerved at the sudden-
ness of the tumult, and one broke away, its rider being
shot before he could recover it and mount. The young
Prince was riding a fine gray charger, a gray of sixteen
hands, always difficult to mount, and on this occasion,
frightened by the firing, it became restive and could not
be controlled. Lieutenant Carey, apparently, had at
this moment been carried by his horse in a direction
which brought one of the huts between him and the
Prince, of whose difficulties he was therefore unaware.
From the moment of the attack no man seems to have
known much of what the rest were doing; to gallop
away was the only chance for life, and all hurried off,
the Prince in vain endeavouring to mount his restive
steed unaided. He was passed by Trooper Letocq :
“Depechez vous, s’il vous plait, Monsieur! “he cried,


as he dashed past, himself only lying across his saddle,
but the Prince made no answer ; he was already doing
his utmost, and in another minute he was alone. He
was seen endeavouring to mount his rearing charger, as
it followed the retreat, while he ran beside it, the enemy
close at hand. He made one desperate attempt to leap
into the saddle by the help of the holster-flap ; that gave
way, and then he fell. The charger dashed riderless
past some of the mounted men, who, looking back, saw
the Prince running after them on foot, with the Zulus but
a few paces behind him. Alas ! not a man turned back,
they galloped wildly on, and carried back to camp the
news that the gallant young Prince, for or with whom each
of them should have died that day, lay slain upon the
hillside where he had made his last brave stand alone.
Two troopers fell besides one was struck down by a
bullet as he rode away ; the other was the man who had
lost his horse, Trooper Eogers, and who was last seen
in the act of levelling his carbine at the enemy. The
native guide was killed as well, after a hard fight with
the foe, witnessed to by the blood-stained and broken
weapons found. by his side next day. The fugitives rode
on for some distance, when they met General Wood and
Colonel Buller, to whom they made their report. From
the brow of an adjacent hill these officers, looking
through their glasses, could see the Zulus leading away
the horses they had taken the trophies of their successful

That evening Colonel Harrison was in his tent,
engaged in writing orders for the next day’s march,
when Lord Chelmsford came in to tell him ” The Prince


is killed ! ” and Lieutenant Carey soon after confirmed
the dreadful, well-nigh incredible news. He said
they were off-saddled at a kraal, when they were sur-
rounded and fired into, and that the Prince must have
been killed, for no one had seen him afterwards.

Colonel Harrison asked the General to let him take a
few men to the kraal, and see if, by any chance, the
Prince were only wounded, or were hidden near at hand,
but his request was not granted, and the testimony of
the survivors extinguished all hope.

Next day General Marshall, with a cavalry patrol,
went out to search for the Prince, being assisted by
scouts of the Flying Column. The bodies of the
troopers were soon found, and shortly afterwards that
of His Imperial Highness was found by Captain
Cochrane, lying in a donga about 200 yards from the
kraal where the party had halted. The body was
stripped with the exception of a gold chain with
medallions attached, which was still round his neck.
Sword, revolver, helmet, and clothes were gone ; but in
the grass were found the Prince’s spurs and one sock.

The body had eighteen assegai wounds, all in front,
and the marks on the ground and on the spurs indicated
a desperate resistance.

The two white troopers were laid together beside a
cairn of stones, which was erected to mark the exact
spot where the Prince was found, and later in the day
they were buried there, the chaplain on duty with the
column performing the funeral service.

But for the Prince himself a true soldiers’ bier was
formed of lances lashed together and horse blankets,


and, borne thus, the body of the noble lad was carried
up the hill towards the camp which he had left the
previous day so full of energy and life.

The melancholy news was telegraphed throughout
the colony, causing universal grief and consternation.
Every heart was wrung with sympathy for the mother ;
and even those to whose homes and hearts the war had
already brought desolation, felt their own grief hushed
for awhile in the presence of a bereavement which
seemed to surpass all others in bitterness and depth.

What citizen of ‘Maritzburg will ever forget the
melancholy Sunday afternoon, cold and storm-laden,
when, at the first distant sound of the sad approaching
funeral music, all left their homes and lined the streets
through which the violet-adorned coffin passed on its
way to its temporary resting-place.

In Durban, too, the solemn scene was repeated ; the
whole colony being deeply moved at the sad and un-
timely death of the gallant Prince. H.M.S. Boadicea,
flag-ship of Commodore Kichards, had the honour of
conveying the body to Simon’s Bay, when it was trans-
ferred to H.M.S. Orontes with every possible mark of
respect for conveyance to England.

A court of inquiry was at once assembled by Lord
Chelmsford, and reported that Lieutenant Carey had
not understood the position in which he stood towards
the Prince, and, as a consequence, failed to estimate
aright the responsibility which fell to his lot ; also that
he was much to blame for having proceeded on the
duty in question with a portion only of the escort ;
and that the selection of the kraal where the halt was


made, surrounded as it was by cover for the enemy, and
adjacent to difficult ground, showed a lamentable want
of military prudence. And, finally, the court deeply
regretted that no effort was made after the attack to
rally the escort and to show a front to the enemy,
whereby the possibility of aiding those who had failed,
to make good their retreat might have been ascertained.

Lieutenant Carey was then tried by court-martial
and found guilty. The home authorities decided, how-
ever, that the conviction and sentence could not be
maintained, and consequently ordered this officer to be
released from arrest and to return to his duty.

In justice to Lieutenant Carey it must be said that
the Prince appears to have been actually in command
of the party ; Lieutenant Carey accompanied it, by
permission, for the purpose of completing some of his
own work, taking advantage of the protection of the
escort to enable him to do so ; he received no order
about the command of the escort, or other instructions
beyond the words, “You can look after the Prince,”
which were evidently interpreted as advise him, but
could scarcely warrant controlling his movements.

The Prince’s written instructions from Colonel
Harrison were lost with him.

On dangerous duties pertaining to the Quarter-
master-General’s Department in an enemy’s country
the Prince Imperial should never have been employed ;
as long as he remained with the British forces he should
have been retained on the personal staff of the General



BEFORE entering on the history of the advance of the
main column on Ulundi, we will glance at the doings of
No. 1 Division, which was to operate against Ulundi
from the eastward.

During May entrenched posts had been established
Fort Crealock, on the left bank of the Amatikulu Eiver
and close to John Dunn’s Road, about fourteen miles from
Fort Pearson, on the Tugela ; Fort Chelmsford, on the
right bank of the Inyezane, also on John Dunn’s Road,
and eight miles from Fort Crealock ; and, in June, Fort
Napoleon, on the left bank of the Umlalazi River, between
Fort Chelmsford and Port Durnford, where a landing-
place was established a brief account of which may be
interesting. The spot is described as a straight sandy
coast near the mouth of the Umlalazi River, always
having a boiling surf rolling in on the beach. The land-
ing operations were carried out by means of large decked
surf-boats of about forty tons burden each.

The mode of working them was as follows : One end
of a long hawser was made fast to an anchor dropped
some distance outside the surf, and the other end taken

2 F


on shore by a small line, hauled taut, and secured to
shore moorings.

By means of this ” warp ” the surf-boat travels to
and from the beach. Having picked up the warp by
the buoy-rope, it is placed in grooves in the bow and
stern of the boat, and there retained by pins. The roll
of the surf takes the boat in, large rope-stoppers being
used to check her should she be going too fast.

In this way some 3000 tons of stores were landed,
at a very great saving of expense over land transport.
The landing operations were at all times difficult, some-
times impossible ; they were conducted by Commander
Caffin, E.N., and to him and the Naval Brigade there
stationed is due the entire credit of the excellent work

Forwarding supplies and bridging the Tugela was
the work of the 1st Division through May and well into
June ; everything military, except convoy duty, appeared
at a standstill. There was a great deal of sickness
amongst the troops, but General Crealock did much in
providing proper hospital accommodation and improving
sanitary arrangements.

Fort Pearson was converted into an extensive
hospital, where there were as many as 400 patients
at times, and whose garrison, after the advance of
the division, was composed of the convalescents. At
this hospital some wily patients managed to appropriate
5000 of the public moneys ; but this fortunately was
all recovered, except about 33.

Telegraphic communication was established by the
Koyal Engineers between Fort Chelmsford and the


Lower Tugela ; and Colonel Walker, C.B., Scots Guards,
was appointed to the command of this portion of the
base, and stationed at Fort Pearson.

On the 18th June the long-expected move was made
by No. 1 Division, and General Crealock, with the
advanced portion of the force, left Fort Pearson and the
Lower Tugela. Moving by Fort Chelmsford, he reached
the Umlalazi Eiver on the 22nd. The river was bridged
by the train under Captain Blood, K.E., and a work
commenced on the left bank called “Fort Napoleon.”

The General was engaged reconnoitring on the 23rd
and following days, capturing a few cattle, one of which
appeared to resent its capture, charging the General, and
severely injuring his horse. On the 28th the force
encamped near Port Durnford.

But little interest attaches to this division, which had
great opportunities before it. An earlier advance and a
little dash would have given the laurels of the second
campaign to the 1st Division, which at the beginning of
May consisted of upwards of 9000 men 6500 being
Europeans a sufficient force to have accomplished the
destruction of Ulundi with ease ; but it was not to be.

Many absurd stories are told as to causes of delays,
one being the want of so many rations of pepper ; and
the whole ending in the well-known telegram, ” Where
is Crealock ? ”

We may here devote a few remarks to the Naval
Brigade, which rendered such good service throughout
the campaign ; and, had opportunity offered, would have
largely added to the laurels it won.

After the relief of Etshowe, the Naval Brigade was

2 P 2


divided between Lower Tugela and Fort Chelmsford,
Commander Brackenbury in command at the latter post,
Captain Campbell in chief command. The main force
advanced with General Crealock 545 officers and men
of Active, Boadicea, and Shah, with 3 9 -pounder guns,
6 rocket-troughs, and 5 Gatling guns. At Port Durn-
ford they remained disembarking stores till July 21st,
when, after being reviewed by Sir Garnet Wolseley,
the Active’s and Shah’s men embarked, leaving the
Boadicea’s to continue temporarily the duties of the
landing station.

Captain Bradshaw of the Shah, and Captain Adeane
of the Tenedos, rendered good service at Durban and
Simon’s Bay respectively.

The Koyal Marines of the squadron served with the
Naval Brigade. Lieutenant Dowding, E.M.L.I.,was at first
the senior officer, and advanced with Colonel Pearson’s
column to Etshowe, remaining there until its relief.
Captain Phillips, K. M.L.I., and Captain Burrowes,K.M.A.,
were landed from H.M.S. Shah, the former senior
officer, and in command of the Marines at the battle of

We must now return to the 2nd Division and Flying
Column, which at last began to move in the right direc-
tion. Zululand had been carefully reconnoitred to the
Babanango Mountain by Colonel Buller, and the advance
of the 2nd Division, with the head-quarters, in this
direction was covered by the Flying Column, which was
always within striking distance.

The troops now were carefully protected at night by
laagers ; the ordinary form being a rectangle in three


compartments, with a shelter trench two yards outside
the waggons, so that there might be a second line of
fire from the top of the waggons, without risk to the
defenders of the shelter trench.

The Flying Column bore the brunt of work in the
advances, scouting the country in every direction, the
most reliable “eyes and ears” of the force the ” Natal
Native Horse,” then commanded by Captain Cochrane.
These men (Edendale men and Basutu) in small numbers
crowned the summit of every hill right and left of the
route, and miles in front they were pushed to feel the
way. On the 4th June the scouts reported a consider-
able number of the enemy, these, after the exchange of a
few shots, Colonel Buller tried to draw towards the camp,
but in vain, and the patrol, not being strong enough to
risk an engagement, returned to camp. There three
messengers from Cetshwayo were being received by Lord

They were sent back on June 6th with the following
message : ” He must at once give proof of being earnest
in desiring peace, proof to be 1st. Two 7-pounder
guns, and the oxen now with him taken from us to be
sent in with the ambassadors. 2nd. A promise from
Ketch wayo that all the arms taken during war, etc., when
collected shall be given up. 3rd. One regiment to come
to my camp and lay down its arms as a sign of
submission. Pending Cetywayo’s answer, there will
be no military operations on our part; when he
has complied with them, I will order cessation of hos-
tilities pendiDg discussion of final terms of peace. “-
(P. P. [C. 2374] p. 107).


On the previous day (5th June), Colonel Buller took
a force of about 300 men to reconnoitre the proposed
route. The Zulus seen the day before came out from
their kraals, and formed as if for an attack. The ground
in their rear was broken and covered with thorny bush,
the kraals large, apparently belonging to a chief ; and
beside one of them were four waggons, evidently taken
from Isandhlwana. Colonel Buller determined to burn
the kraals, but as he approached the enemy broke and
retired into the cover, opening a heavy fire. A portion
of the force engaged the Zulus from the edge of the bush
whilst the remainder set fire to the kraals, which was
accomplished with the loss of two men wounded.

Major-General Marshall came up with a portion of
the Cavalry Brigade, and, with a view to ensuring the
safety of Colonel Buller’s retreat, advanced three troops
of the 17th Lancers under Colonel Drury-Lowe to hold
the enemy in check.

The enemy was found to be very strongly posted in
the thorns, and the ground being impracticable for
cavalry, the Lancers were ordered to retire. Their
Adjutant, Lieutenant Frith, was in this fruitless skirmish
shot through the heart.

During this affair an incident occurred (told by an
officer present at the time), showing the individual
bravery of the Zulus : A single warrior, chased by several
Lancers, found himself run down and escape impossible.
He turned and faced his enemies ; spreading his arms
abroad he presented his bare breast unflinchingly to the
steel, and fell, face to the foe, as a brave soldier should.

On the 6th a post called Fort Newdigate was estab-


lished, and on this evening the warmth of the double
line of fire from the laager of the 2nd Division was
unpleasantly experienced by the 5th Company Royal
Engineers. This company had marched up that after-
noon in advance of the Flying Column (which was going
down-country for supplies), and had camped close to one
of the unfinished redoubts outside the laager ; an alarm
was given in the laager, and a heavy fire opened there-
from. The Engineers coolly lay down flat on the ground,
and waited till the excitement was over. It was due
entirely to their own steadiness that the casualities were
not greater ; as it was, one sergeant was wounded and
two horses killed,

On the 7th, the division advanced, clearing the
country of Zulus and burning their kraals, and encamped
at the Upoko Eiver ; remaining there till the arrival of
Brigadier- General Wood’s Column with a large convoy of
supplies for which it had been sent. The time was
usefully employed in reconnoitring, examining the road
in advance, making drifts practicable, etc.

A line of telegraph was laid by the half Telegraph
Troop (C) Royal Engineers, from Quagga’s kraal (on the
road between Newcastle and Ladysmith), where it joined
the colonial line to Doornberg vid Dundee and Landt-
mann’s Drift, thus placing head-quarters in communica-
tion with Pietermaritzburg, etc. ; flag-signalling being
employed to communicate with Doornberg.

On the 16th June the correspondent of The Times
wrote : ” We are wandering towards Ulundi much as
the Children of Israel wandered towards Canaan, with-
out plans, or even definite notions for the future. It


would seem not impossible to form some plan of cam-
paign something, at any rate, more definite than the
hand-to-mouth manner in which we are now proceeding.
Deep science and tactical skill are not necessary to
contend with savages ; a simple method and plain
common-sense suffice, if backed by energy, decision, and

The intelligence now telegraphed that Sir Garnet
Wolseley was on his way to Natal to unravel the various
tangled skeins of civil and military policy, doubtless
acted as the ” spur in the head ” which expedited Lord
Chelmsford’s movements.

On the 17th, Brigadier-General Wood arrived with
the supplies, and next day the force advanced to the
Upoko River, where the road from Rorke’s Drift to
Ulundi crosses it. Here there was a halt for a clay, and
a depot formed, called Fort Marshall. Colonel Colling-
wood was left in charge of the two posts, Forts
Newdigate and Marshall ; and the whole line of com-
munication in the enemy’s country, and such of the
garrison as were left in frontier-posts for the purpose of
patrolling, were placed under the command of Major-
General Marshall.

Fort Marshall was about twenty-five miles from
Rorke’s Drift, and sixteen from Fort Newdigate ; from
this post to Koppie Allein (on the Blood River) the
distance was twenty-one miles.

Having struck down into this road, which runs into
Zululand in an easterly direction, a glance at the map
will show how needless was the waste of time and money
spent in concentrating stores at Conference Hill so


far removed from the line of communications with

The combined column reached the Umhlatusi River
on the 21st, having traversed difficult and mountainous
ground, where in many places the train was obliged to
pass by single waggons.

The Zulus took no advantage of the many oppor-
tunities for attack that presented themselves, and the
march to Ulundi was practically unopposed. At this
halting-place Fort Evelyn was built ; and on the 24th
the march was resumed.

Cetshwayo’s messengers, ‘Mfunzi and ‘Nkisimane,
came up from Pietermaritzburg on the 24th, and next
morning were sent to the king with Lord Chelmsford’s
reply to his message.

A very awkward drift on the Uvulu River was
passed by the column, after crossing which a day’s halt
was made, when a cavalry patrol was sent out to destroy
some military kraals. Two more indunas came in to
ask for peace, and were sent back to Ulundi in the
evening. On the 27th the force arrived at Entonjaneni,
where the arrangements for the final advance on Ulundi
were made, tents and all unnecessary baggage left
behind, and a strong post formed with the aid of
waggons. Four hundred waggons, 6000 oxen, and 800
mules were left entrenched here ; the remaining 200
waggons, with ten days’ provisions, accompanying the
advancing force. This evening two more messengers came
in from the king with elephant tusks, some hundred
head of oxen, and two trunks, the property of Lord
Chelmsford. The messengers were sent back next day.


The Natal Colonist of June 28th says : ” Again
we hear that Ketshwayo has sent to Government, asking
why Lord Chelmsford continues to advance. He (the
king) hopes the General will not persist in advancing, as
in that case he will be forced to fight, and what he
wants is peace. This, we believe, makes the eleventh
message he has sent in to the same effect. The General
affects to doubt his bona fides. How is this to be
established ? Can his lordship think of no better
guarantee than one which the most vigorous supporters
of the war cannot term anything but childish ? ” This
latter question is explained in another issue of the same
paper, in which the editor remarks : ” It is argued that
the Zulus or the Zulu king cannot be sincere in desiring
peace, because when the chance offers our troops are
fired upon. If people would but consider for a moment,
that until there is a truce or armistice agreed on we are
living in a state of war ; that our troops are in the Zulu
country, making war upon its inhabitants, missing no
opportunity of inflicting damage and injury upon them,
burning their kraals, destroying their grain, ravaging
their gardens, and firing on the natives themselves at
every chance, what right, they would ask themselves,
have we to expect that the Zulus should refrain from
retaliation, however desirous they may be of seeing
peace restored, and an end put to all the devastation
and horror of prolonged warfare ? We do not profess
to be otherwise than desirous of peace peace with
honour and security for the future and yet are we not
invading their country, and almost vaunting that we
shall dictate its terms only when our invading columns


have met at Ulundi, and planted the English flao-
there ? ”

On the 30th the descent into the valley of the White
Umvolosi was commenced, through a country covered
with scattered bush and aloes. Two indunas were
escorted in during the day, one bearing a letter from
Cetshwayo to Lord Chelmsford,* and the other the
sword of the Prince Imperial, which the king sent in
immediately on learning the value attached to it.t

Sir Garnet Wolseley having been ordered out to
Natal as Governor of Natal and the Transvaal, and Her
Majesty’s High Commissioner for the eastern portion of
South Africa landed at Durban on the 28th June.
On the 30th Lord Chelmsford sent him the following
message : ” Five miles from Entonganini ; ten miles
from Umvolosi River. King’s messengers have just left
with message from me. I must advance to position on
left bank of river. This I do to-morrow, but will
stop hostilities, pending negotiations, if communicated
demands are complied with by 3rd July, noon. There
are indunas come with cattle and guns. I have con-
sented to receive 1000 captured rifles instead of a
regiment laying down its arms. As my supplies will
only permit of my remaining here until the 10th July, it

* Written for him by a Dutch trader, residing with him.

t This information he obtained through his messengers ‘Mfunzi
and ‘Nkisimane, who were in Pietermaritzhurg in June. The
message (sent by Mr. Colenso) being, that the young officer
killed at the Styotyozi river was a Prince; that his sword would
be desired by his family, and that if Cetshwayo wanted to make
peace he had better return it. The result was that, as soon as
the king received the message, he sent the sword on to Lord


is desirable I should be informed by you of the con-
ditions of peace to be demanded. “White man with
king states he has 20,000 men. King anxious to fight ;
Princes not so. Where is Crealock’s column ? Signal.”

On the 1st July the Flying Column and General
Newdigate’s division reached, without opposition, the
southern bank of the White Umvolosi, within five or
six miles of the royal kraals of Ulundi. Defensible
laagers were at once formed, and the position made
secure before night. Large bodies of Zulus were seen
in motion at Ulundi. Next day the 2nd Division closed
up their laager to that of the Flying Column, and a
stone redoubt was erected on knoll in rear ; so that a
small garrison might hold the post, leaving the main
force unencumbered to operate as desired. The Zulu
army was not seen, and no messengers arrived from the
king ; but a large herd of white (royal) cattle was
observed being driven from the king’s kraal towards the
camp, and shortly afterwards driven back again.

On the 3rd, as the Zulus were firing on watering-
parties at the river, and no message had come in, a
reconnaissance on the farther side was ordered. At
noon, the cattle, sent in with the last messengers from
the king, were driven back across the river, and about
the same time Colonel Buller crossed lower down with
the mounted men of the Flying Column to reconnoitre
towards Ulundi. Detaching parties to cover his flank,
he advanced rapidly to within about 200 yards of the
Ulundi river, and about three-quarters of a mile from
Ulundi, when he came upon about 5000 Zulus con-
cealed in the river-bed, who at once opened fire, while


large bodies of the enemy, moving down on each flank,
endeavoured to cut off his retreat.

Colonel Buller, having effected the purpose for which
he had gone forward feeling the enemy and recon-
noitring the ground retired with a loss of three men
killed and four wounded. Many officers distinguished
themselves in endeavouring to save the men who were
lost, as well as in bringing in dismounted men : Com-
mandant D’Arcy, Lieut. -Colonel Buller, Captain Prior,
Lord William Beresford, Lieutenant Hayward, and also
Sergeant Kerr are mentioned.

On the 4th, at 6.45 A.M., the force crossed the river,
leaving the camp garrisoned by the 1-2 4th Regiment, a
company of Engineers, and casualties (about 900 Euro-
peans, 250 natives, with one Gatling gun).

Lieut. -Colonel Buller, with the light cavalry of the
Flying Column, crossed in advance, and occupied the
high ground in front without opposition ; the main body
following, marched up the broken ground out of the
valley, and formed a hollow square, the ammunition-
carts, etc., in the centre, and the guns in position ready
to come into action without delay. The Flying Column
formed the front half, and the 2nd Division the rear half
of the square ; front, flanks, and rear covered by the
cavalry. In this formation the troops advanced to the
spot selected by Colonel Buller, which was about 700
yards beyond the Nodwengo kraal, and about the sa:
distance from a stream that crossed the road halfway to
Ulundi ; high ground, commanding the adjacent country,
and with little cover beyond long grass, near it.

The guns were posted in the angles and in the centre


of each face of the square, and each face had a company
of infantry in reserve.

Large numbers of Zulus were now seen coming from
the hills on the left and left front, and other masses on
the right, partly concealed by the mist from the river,
passed the Nodwengo kraal to surround the square.

The cavalry on the right and left became engaged at
8.45 A.M., and, slowly retiring as the enemy advanced,
passed into the square, which immediately opened fire.

The Zulu advance was made with great determina-
tion, but their movements appeared to be without order.
Some individuals managed to reach within thirty or
forty yards of the rear face, where there was some cover,
but the main advance on all sides was checked at some
distance by the heavy artillery fire and steady volleys of
the infantry. These were so effective that within half
an hour the enemy wavered and gave way, when the
cavalry dashed out to complete their discomfiture.
Passing out by the rear face of the square, Colonel Drury-
Lowe (who had been already wounded) led the 17th
Lancers in the direction of the Nodwengo kraal, dis-
persing the enemy and killing those that could not reach
the shelter of the kraal or the bush below ; then wheeling
to the right, he charged through the enemy, who were
endeavouring to reach the mountains beyond.

In this manner the whole of the level ground was
cleared. Lieut. -Colonel Buller’s command also took up
the pursuit, doing much execution until the enemy
mounted the slopes of the hills and were beyond their
reach. But even then a place of safety was not gained,
for some guns were moved out from the square, and got


the range of the enemy retreating over the hills. The
brunt of this day’s work fell on the cavalry. Even in
the pursuit the greater part of the Zulus turned and
fought for their lives. Overtaken by a Lancer, a Zulu
would stop just before the fatal thrust was delivered,
and, dodging like lightning, evade the lance, sometimes
seizing it and holding on till the Lancer was relieved by
a comrade.

The Irregular Horse, Mounted Infantry, and Native
Horse (Captain T. Shepstone’s Basutu and the Natal
Native Horse under Captain Cochrane), thoroughly
searched the ground, disposing of the enemy who had
taken refuge in dongas, bush, and long grass. 600 Zulus
are said to have fallen before the cavalry alone 150 of
them being credited to the Lancers.

Thus was fought the battle of Ulundi.

It was impossible for the ill-armed enemy to pass the
belt of fire that encircled the square, even had they not
been shaken by the accurate artillery fire whilst yet at
a distance.

The ease with which the attack was repelled may be
gathered from the fact that the average number of
rounds fired by the infantry actually in the ranks was
less than six-and-a-half rounds per man (6*4 rounds).

The troops certainly were very steady, and the firing
generally volley-firing by sections was as a rule
under perfect command.

We have heard of an officer calmly smoking his
pipe whilst in command of his company during the

As soon as the wounded had been attended to, the


force advanced to the banks of the stream near Ulundi,
whilst the cavalry swept the country beyond. Ulundi
was fired at 11.40 A.M., and the adjacent kraals shortly
afterwards. At 2 P.M., the return march to the camp
commenced. Every military kraal in the valley that
had not previously been destroyed was in flames ; and
not a sign of the Zulu army was to be perceived.

The British force engaged consisted of 4062
Europeans and 1103 natives, with 12 guns and 2
Goatlings. The loss : killed, 2 officers (Captain Wyatt-
Edgell, 17th Lancers, and the Hon. W. Drummond, in
charge of the Intelligence Department), 13 non-com-
missioned officers and men, and 3 natives; wounded,
19 officers, 59 non-commissioned officers and men, and
7 natives.

The Zulu force is estimated variously ; some put it
at 12,000, some at 20,000. Being scattered over a large
extent of country, and some of the regiments engaged
having already suffered heavily, it is not easy to arrive
at a reliable conclusion. It is probable that the correct
number lay between 15,000 and 20,000.

As regards the Zulu loss, Lord Chelmsford says :
” It is impossible to estimate with any correctness
the loss of the enemy, owing to the extent of country
over which they attacked and retreated ; but it could
not have been less, I consider, than 1000 killed. “-
(Despatch, 4th July).

Using the same reasoning on the 6th, Lord Chelms-
ford says : ” But judging by the reports of those
engaged, it cannot be placed at a less number than
1500 killed.”


From the statements of prisoners it would seem that
the attacking force was about 15,000 strong, 5000
being in reserve. At a meeting of the Zulu Council
on the 2nd July, it appears that it was resolved by the
King to send in the royal coronation white cattle as a
peace-offering ; but as they were being driven towards
the English camp on the 2nd, they were turned back at
Nodwengo by the Umcityu Regiment, who refused to
let them pass, saying, as they could not fulfil all the
demands, it was useless to give up the cattle, and
therefore they would fight. The king was then at
Ulundi ; he said that c f as the Inkandampemvu (Umcityu)
Regiment would not let the cattle go in as a peace-
offering, and as we wished to fight, the white army
being now at his home, we could fight, but we were to
fight the white men in the open, and attack before the
Nodwengo and Ulundi kraals, where we were on the
day of the fight. … The army is now thoroughly
beaten, and as it was beaten in the open, it will not
reassemble and fight again. No force is watching the
lower column, and none has been sent there. How
could there be, when all were ordered to be here to-day ?
We mustered here by the king’s orders at the beginning
of this moon, about ten days ago. We have not been
called out before.”

The natives belonging to the British force were
exceedingly struck at the idea of their being brought
into the square, whilst the soldiers formed ” a laager ”
of their bodies round them.

The special correspondent of The Daily News,
Mr. Archibald Forbes, performed a very gallant act

2 a


after the battle of Ulundi. Finding that no despatch
was being sent off by the General to announce the
victory, he determined to take the news himself, and,
” taking his life in his hand/’ set out alone to ride right
through the Zulu country. This he did, riding the
whole night, having frequently to dismount and actually
feel his way the tracks of the waggons on the upward

Next day, after a ride of nearly a hundred miles,
he reached Landtmann’s Drift (in fifteen hours), and was
enabled to telegraph to Sir Garnet Wolseley the news of
the victory of the 4th.

A few brief remarks on the return march are all
that are necessary. The day after the battle of Ulundi
(5th July) the whole force retired to Entonjaneni, and
remained there till the 9th, when the Flying Column
moved on the road towards the coast to Kwamagwasa,
en route to meet Sir Garnet Wolseley.

On the 10th the 2nd Division marched from Enton-
janeni, and arrived at the Upoko Eiver on the loth.

Lord Chelmsford accompanied the Flying Column.
We cannot leave Brigadier-General Wood’s command
without a word of notice. From the beginning to the
end of the campaign its work was done in a thoroughly
soldierlike manner, leaving little or nothing to be desired.
There was a thorough reciprocal confidence between
commander and men, and a total absence of those
‘ ‘ scares ” which were occasionally heard of during the

Where all did well, it may seem a little invidious to
single one out for mention, but we will quote the con-


eluding words of Brigadier-General Wood’s despatch of
5th July, referring to Lieut. -Colonel Eedvers Buller, not
only on account of this officer’s merit, but “to point
the moral” as to where was the neglect which led
primarily to the disaster to the Head-quarter Column in
January :

” He has never failed to cover the column with his
mounted men, for from ten to twelve miles in front, and
on the flanks.

” Constitutionally fearless, he is prudent in counsel,
and though resolute, is very careful of the lives of his
troops in action. He possesses, in my opinion, all the
attributes of a perfect leader of light cavalry.”

It is stated (Standard, August 22nd, 1879) that,
on reaching the White Umvolosi, despatches arrived
from Sir Garnet Wolseley, requesting Lord Chelmsford
to fall back and meet him at Kwamagwasa a mission
station, where it had at one time been proposed that the
1st and 2nd Divisions should effect a junction.

On the 4th, Lord Chelmsford sent a despatch to
Sir Garnet Wolseley, in which he said : “As I have
fully accomplished the object for which I advanced, I
consider I shall now be best carrying out Sir Garnet
Wolseley’s instructions by moving at once to Entonja-
nini, and thence to Kwamagwaza.”

Why the blow struck at Ulundi was not followed up
it is difficult to say. If Lord Chelmsford’s instructions
permitted him to advance and engage the enemy, they
would be sufficiently elastic to enable him to follow up
the victory. The king was known to have a new kraal in
a strong position at the junction of the White and Black

2 G 2


Umvolosi Elvers, within a day’s march, of Ulundi ; the
Zulu army was thoroughly beaten and dispersed, and
there was absolutely nothing to prevent an advance for
the destruction of this stronghold, the moral effect of
which on the native mind would have been very great.
There was an ample force, willing hearts, and no lack of
supplies. The solution of the problem must be sought in
Lord Chelmsford’s words : ” I have fully accomplished
the object for which I advanced.” He withdrew at
once from the scene of his victory, and resigned his



SIR BARTLE FRERE, whose continued popularity spoke
somewhat of colonial approval of the war, had returned
to the Cape in June, and his reception at Cape Town
“capped the climax of an uninterrupted triumph,”
according to The Natal Mercury. That he thought
himself deserving of the honours due to a conqueror
returning home in triumph we may gather from the fact
that he sent no instructions to suppress any demonstra-
tions of delight at his return, although at that very time
the latest and perhaps the saddest tragedy of all the sad
results of his policy had just been enacted, and Natal,
as with one voice, was lamenting the Prince Imperial’s

” So be it,” says The Natal Witness of June 12th,
1879, commenting upon this text: “Sir Bartle Frere’s
reception capped the climax of an uninterrupted triumph.
We are quite ready to believe this, and, as we have said,
we are glad at last to have so decided an intimation of
what Sir Bartle Frere has intended to do. There are
triumphs of various kinds. There is the triumph which
surrounds the statesman, who, by gentle persuasion, by


cautious reforms, by a personal example of uprightness
and unselfishness, has reduced threatening elements of
danger, and evolved peace and security out of storm
and terror. There is the triumph which is his who,
impressed with a deep sense of the value of human
life, lays his head upon his pillow every night in the
happy confidence that never through his means, either
directly or indirectly, has a human life been needlessly
sacrificed. There is the triumph of the philanthropist,
who, feeling deep in his heart the claims of an aboriginal
people to the consideration of a civilised power, has, in
his dealings with that people, been careful rather to
strain doubtful points in their favour, than to take
advantage of their presumed simplicity. There is the
triumph of the Christian legislator, who regards the
authority entrusted to him as entrusted with a solemn
injunction to use that authority in the name of his
divine Master, for the purpose of spreading and confirm-
ing the kingdom of peace and good will. There is the
triumph of the diplomatist, who, in respect of his deal-
ings with state questions, can lay his hand upon his
heart, and affirm that he never misled his superiors,
. . . . never wrote a line which he did not believe
to be true. All these triumphs we doubt not will be yet
achieved by Sir Bartle Frere, if only the fatigue caused
by his ‘ troubles and journeying’ does not suggest an
early return to Europe.”

Would Sir Bartle Frere be supported by the Home
Government ? and would Lord Chelmsford be upheld
by his military superiors in England ? Such were the
questions perpetually asked in the colony, to which


there seemed no full and sufficient answer. True, both
had received messages of sympathy and confidence ; but
these were sent palpably on the spur of the moment, and
long before all the facts of the case had been brought to
light ; and, on the other hand, Sir Bartle Frere had re-
ceived a very severe rebuke in the despatches mentioned
in Chapter XII. Still the tide of events was per-
mitted to flow on, and many doubted the reality of the

From the time of the disaster at Isandhlwana, pro-
phecies were current that Lord Chelmsford would be
recalled, and as misfortune pursued our arms the
prophecies were renewed. Many were the conjectures
as to who would be sent to replace Lord Chelmsford
should he be recalled, and a general idea was prevalent
that the sprightly Sir Garnet Wolseley and his ” bril-
liant staff” would once more grace the shores of Natal.
The despatch announcing his approach reached the
colony in the middle of June, and the telegram to Lord
Chelmsford announcing his appointment ran as follows :
” Her Majesty’s Government have determined to send
out Sir Garnet Wolseley as Administrator in that part
of South-Eastern Africa in the neighbourhood of the
seat of war, with plenary powers, both civil and military.
Sir Bartle Frere, instructed accordingly by Colonial
Office. The appointment of a senior officer is not
intended as a censure on yourself, but you will, as in
ordinary course of service, submit and subordinate your
plans to his control. He leaves this country by next
mail” (sent vid St. Vincent, 29th May, 1879).

Sir Garnet Wolseley landed at Durban on the 28th


June, and proceeded direct to Pietermaritzburg, where
he was the same day sworn in as Governor of Natal.
Certainly Sir Garnet did not let the grass grow under
his feet. On Sunday, the 29th, he telegraphed to
Colonel Walker at Fort Pearson : ” Send back Zulu
messengers immediately to the king with following
message from me: ‘If the king wants peace he must
send TJmnyamana, Umf ana wend hela, and Vumandaba
to General Crealock’s column, where I will depute an
officer of rank to hear what the king has to say. I
alone have power to make peace. All the other
Generals are under my orders.’ Explain to the mes-
sengers who I am. They are to tell the king, and
remind him that I was here as Governor before, and
had many communications with him then.” (P. P.
[C. 2454] p. 149).

The message from Cetshwayo was delivered by two
Zulu messengers at the Lower Tugela, on June 25th,
to Mr. Fynney, Administrator and Border Agent.

“We are sent by the king straight to you, We
were ordered not to go to the troop at the Umlatazi,
as other messengers (Sintwangu) will go there. . . .
The king asks you to speak to the great white Chief
with the Upper Column, and ask to stay the advance of
the troops till he (the king) can hear plainly what he
has done, what great sin he has committed. If he ever
killed a white man or white woman, or ever took cattle
from a white man before the war ? Did he ever walk
over the words spoken at the Umlambongwenya Kraal
by Somtseu ? (Sir T. Shepstone). The king wished us to
say if he is to be destroyed he could die happy if he


knew first really what wrong lie had done. The king
begs you will speak to the great white Chief with the
Upper Column to stay a further advance till chosen
representatives from both sides can meet and hear
really the cause o the war, and what wrong he has
done. The king does not ask for favour if it is
proved he has been wrong. He wants to hear, and he
wishes the troops not to advance till he can hear ; for
if they do he cannot help fighting, as there will be
nothing left but to try and push aside a tree if falling
upon him.”

” This is our message from the king to you, and he
ordered us to tell you that it is from himself ; even the
indunas do not know he has sent it ” (ibid. p. 154).

On the same day (29th) Sir Garnet sent the following
ordbt to Captain McLeod : ” Make arrangements at once,
with Swazis, for massing north of Pongolo Eiver, with
view to invading Zululand. Spread abroad news that
the invasion will take place immediately, but do not let
them cross river without my orders. When they are
ready to cross let me know, and I will send yon further
instructions. Impress urgently upon them that women
and children must not be murdered, but promise them
all cattle they take. This promise to be made as public
as possible. I am now High Commissioner, with full
powers to decide all terms of peace. All reports must
be sent to me, care of General Clifford, ‘Maritzburg ”
(ibid. p. 150).

The object of this message was “to establish a stand-
ing menace, and to bring formidable pressure to bear in
that quarter upon the Zulus.”


The barbarity of the Swazis in warfare, and the keen
delight with which they would have found themselves
let loose upon their hereditary enemies the Zulus, whose
army was either scattered or destroyed, was a well-
known fact, and many wondered that such a course
should be proposed.

Captain McLeod, a hardy soldier and brave man,
had been for many months in about as unenviable a
position as can well be imagined in an unsettled border
district in war time, threatened both by Boers and
Zulus. He had been posted at Derby, to guide and
control the movements of our ally the Swazi king, who,
it was imagined, would be stanch to us or not, according
to the fortunes of the Zulu war.

Captain McLeod knew the Swazis well, and how
little chance there would be of keeping them under
control if once let loose upon the helpless Zulu people ;
he therefore begged that they might be used only as a
last resource.

With the view of still further spreading alarm
through the Zulu country, Sir Garnet sent a message to
the Amatongas that he might “possibly ascend the
Maputa Eiver with a force and use their territory as a
base of operations against the Zulus from the north”
(ibid. p. 149).

On the 30th, after a long conference with General
Clifford and Commissary- General Strickland, Sir Garnet
Wolseley had an interview with about seventy Natal
native chiefs, who had been assembled at his request,
and addressed them, through an interpreter, to the effect
that the great English Queen had sent him to carry on


the war against Cetshwayo, and to thank them for what
they had already done. That the chiefs need have no
fear but that the Queen would send as many armies as
are necessary, if the troops sent were not sufficient.
” They may depend upon it, and the past history of our
nation is a guarantee thereof, that when we give a pro-
mise we will perform it. Our war is not against the
Zulu people, but against Ketshwayo, who has broken all
his promises. We have no wish to rob the Zulu people of
their property or their land ; but tell the chiefs this, that
I say this war is going to be finished by us, and finished
in a satisfactory manner. The Queen is most anxious
that the war in Natal should be finished.” Then (as
there was a scarcity of grass for draught- oxen) Sir
Garnet requested the chiefs to furnish a certain number
(2000) of their young men to carry provisions for the
troops ; the men to carry their arms whilst so employed,
and to be paid and fed by him.

Once more, then, we hear the words : ” Our war is
not against the Zulu people ! ”

These ” carriers :> were taken from the Tugela Valley,
which had lately suffered from the Zulu raid, and where
many of the men had belonged to the native levies
raised for the defence of the border ; they naturally did
not appreciate an employment which removed them
from the protection of their families, and which was at
variance with their customs 4 ‘ and prejudices.

* Amongst the wild natives of South Africa it is thought that
the carrying of burdens is not a manly task. In a family of travelling
Zulus the women and lads perform the duties of carriers, while the
man of the party marches ahead, unencumbered except by his weapons,


There was not much work for these “carriers” after all;
they were assembled at the Lower Tugela, and marched
up to Fort Chelmsford, each man with a fifty-pound
mealie-bag on his head.* Their commander, Major
Schwabe, left the loads there, and took the men on to
Port Durnford, where they were employed as required.
Having, after some time, received their pay, the
” carriers ” quietly walked off to their homes.

The Commander-in-Chief remained but two days in
Pietermaritzburg, returning to Durban on the 1st of
July. The same evening he embarked on board H.M.S.
Shah, intending to land at Port Durnford, and thus
reach the scene of action. For once in his life Sir
Garnet’s good fortune deserted him ; the heavy surf
on the beach prevented his landing, and the Shah
brought him back to Durban. Here he received the

ready if necessary to defend his flock against the attack of man or
beast. An officer, travelling in the eastern province some years ago,
met and questioned a party proceeding in this fashion. ” “Why,” he
asked the leader of the little band, ” do you allow these women and
girls to carry heavy loads, while you, a strong able-bodied man, have
nothing but your assegais and knob-kerries in your hand 1 ” Such
questions are not seldom resented when they touch on native customs,
and are asked in an overbearing manner. This officer was uniformly
kind and courteous to the natives, and the man smilingly replied,
” It is our custom, and the women prefer it ;” referring his questioner
to the women themselves for their opinion. The chief of these latter
thereupon replied, with much grace and dignity : ” Does the white
chief think we would let our man do woman’s work 1 ? It is our
work to carry, and we should not like to see him do it.”

* The appearance of the native carrier on the march was very
ludicrous. Picture a stalwart Kafir carrying his sleeping mats, pro-
visions, cooking-pot, drinking-gourd, shield, bundle of assegais and
knob-kerries, and perched on top of all, on his head, a fifty-pound
mealie-bag ; the result was likened to a Christmas-tree.


news of the battle of Ulundi, telegraphed to him by
Mr. Archibald Forbes.

No one quite knew what Lord Chelmsford was
about, but everyone understood that he would try and
end the war before he was superseded ; and the general
feeling in the colony was certainly one of hope that
” poor Lord Chelmsford ” might get a chance, win a
battle, and have his bonfire in the enemy’s city of straw.
Some few, indeed, argued that as Lord Chelmsford could
not possibly, in the time left him, settle the Zulu ques-
tion by the sword, it might occur to him at last to pay
some attention to the hard-pressed Zulu monarch’s re-
peated messages imploring peace, and propose some
conditions possible for Cetshwayo to accept and fulfil.
Without further bloodshed an honourable peace might
thus have been concluded before Sir Garnet Wolseley
could step upon the scene.

We left the 1st Division at the Umlalazi Eiver, close
to the landing-place, Port Durnford. There the force
remained, General Crealock occupied in receiving the
submission of the neighbouring Zulus, wBo were flocking
in from every direction.

But whilst Lord Chelmsford, on his approach to
Ulundi, was inquiring, ” Where is Crealock ? ” Crealock
was quietly established near the coast, his military
activity being displayed in the burning of Empangeni
and other kraals north of the Umlatuzi River. As the
Zulus all round were coming in, and no “impi” was
even heard of, the object of this exhibition of force
seems a little doubtful. As was remarked by TJie Cape
Times : ” Why the British soldier was ordered to destroy


the shelter, and, with the shelter, the store of grain food
of some thousands of poor women and children whose
husbands and fathers were making their submission, we
can no more understand than we can comprehend the
strategy by which a large British force was held back for
months at the edge of the enemy’s country, while com-
missariat supplies were accumulating sufficient to support
a long campaign, the whole work before them being to
march a hundred miles, and with one fight close up the
war. If they were beaten they could fall back on the
base ; but with caution and generalship defeat was out
of the question/’ However, Major-General Crealock
must have the credit of quieting the eastern portion of
Zululand before the termination of the war. From his
despatches of the 5th July we gather that the ” district
people are all wanting to come in,” that he was ” sending
back the people to their districts ; difficulty of feeding
them would be great.” His division paraded under arms
to receive the ” official submission ” of ” Mabilwana,
Manyingo, and other chiefs/’ who, with some 250 men,
double that number of women and children, and their
cattle, etc., had come in these people belonging to
the coast district, but were not strictly speaking warriors,
or necessarily belonging to the Zulu army; nor could
their submission be looked upon as any desertion of
their king by the fighting-men of the nation. They
were told that the General accepted their submission,
and should look to them in future to keep peace in that
district. If any Zulus were found in arms, their chief
or headman would suffer; but, if they behaved them-
selves well, he would give them back their cattle and


his protection. The men then received passes (or tickets)
and were permitted to return to their districts.””’

Sir Garnet Wolseley crossed the Tugela with his
staff and escort on July 6th, and proceeded to the
head-quarters of the 1st Division, near Port Durnford,
which he reached on the 7th. He at once set to work
” to reduce the excessive rate of expenditure which has
so far been maintained in connection with this war,” and
” arranged with the Commodore to embark the Naval
Brigade at the earliest opportunity,” and also ” dispensed
with the services of some of the colonial troops.” Ke-
inforcements of all kinds were stopped, including a fine
battalion of Marine Infantry and strong detachment of
Marine Artillery, just arrived at the Cape in H.M.S.

On July 10th, Sir Garnet also put on one side “the
plan of a Swazi invasion.” (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 163.)
All the chiefs up to St. Lucia Bay tendered their
submission, and sent in their arms.

Sir Garnet Wolseley and Lord Chelmsford met at
St. Paul’s on the 15th July, the latter arriving with
Brigadier-General Wood’s Flying Column. This Sir
Garnet inspected on the following day, taking the
opportunity of decorating Major Chard, E.E., with the
Victoria Cross, awarded him for his gallantry at Korke’s

Lord Chelmsford left St. Paul’s on the 17th, on his

* A splendid elephant’s tusk (the Zulu emblem of international
goodwill and sincerity) had been sent by Cetshwayo, with one of his
messages, to General Crealock ; this Sir Garnet Wolseley sent home
to the Queen, who thus has received a valuable present from her
dusky antagonist.


way home. His ” brilliant victory” had turned the tide
of popular favour somewhat in his direction, and he
found that (as he said) ” nothing succeeds like success.”

In Durban he was accorded a reception which must
have been highly gratifying to his feelings. One of his
last remarks in Natal, in reply to a speech made as he
was about to embark, was to the following effect : “I
think I may say confidently that we have now seen the
beginning of the end of this campaign, and any success
which has attended my efforts, I feel, is due to the
prayers of the people, and the kindly ordinations of
Divine Providence ; for I am one of those who believe
firmly and implicitly in the efficacy of prayer and in the
intervention of Providence.”

In this comfortable frame of mind Lord Chelmsford
passes from the scene.

Sir Garnet Wolseley completed the chain of forts
across Zululand, commencing with St. Paul’s, an English
mission station on the coast road a little north of where
it crosses the Umlatusi. Fifteen miles west of this is
Kwamagwasa. Twenty miles a little south of west lies
Fort Evelyn, on the road from Korke’s Drift to Ulundi.
Fort Marshall about twenty miles west-south-west of
Fort Evelyn, Fort Newdigate, twelve miles north-west
of Fort Evelyn, and a fort on Itelezi Hill completes the
chain to the Blood Eiver. Some of these forts were
constructed on the upward march of the 2nd Division
and Flying Column, to keep open their communications.
In addition to these, Fort Cambridge was built near
where the road from Conference Hill crosses the “White
Umvolosi ; and a little later an entrenched post (Fort


George) was thrown up near Enhlongana mission station,
thus thoroughly, by these detached posts, commanding
the country.

Patrols were pushed out in various directions, by one
of which the two guns lost at Isandhlwana were found
between Ulundi and Maizekanye. They had not been
spiked, but the Zulus had screwed rifle-nipples into the
vents, and had also apparently tried to load the guns
by ramming home shells, but without cartridges.

The Cavalry Brigade was broken up, and a fresh
disposition of the troops made. Sir Garnet visited
various posts, interviewing the Zulu chiefs who had
surrendered themselves. Some of the most important,
however, of those who came in, and were supposed to
have submitted and deserted their king, had, in point of
fact, no such intention, appearing merely to make their
often and vainly repeated attempt at procuring ” terms”
for Cetshwayo and themselves. It had always been
prophesied that the Zulu nation would desert their king.
Before the war began, some of those who professed to
understand the people best, declared that they would be
thankful to throw off the yoke of one whom, it was
alleged, they regarded with fear and hatred, and would
side with the English as soon as the latter crossed their

The fallacy of this idea was discovered to our cost.

It was then asserted that the Zulu army had given a
temporary strength to the authority of their king, which
would last until we had beaten his troops and proved
our superiority, and this assertion was used by those
who insisted that no peace must be made, however

2 H



earnestly desired by the Zulus, until we had beaten them
and shown them that we were their masters.

After Ulundi, it was argued that the people would
be glad to procure peace by giving up their king, whose
unconditional submission, or capture, was announced by
us to be the only possible conclusion to the war.

The Zulus had ceased to struggle with their powerful
conquerors, and it now only remained to find Cetshwayo,
who was said to be north of the Black Umvolosi River,
with a very small following. A flying column, under
Lieut. -Colon el Baker Russell, was sent out from Fort
Newdigate early in August, but his patrols were not

On August 14th, a cavalry force under Major Barrow,
with Lord Gifford, started from Ulundi to try and find
Cetshwayo, who had hitherto eluded all attempts to
capture him. Day after day it was reported that the
pursuers were close upon the fugitive : they had come to
a kraal where he had slept the previous night, they
reached another where he had been that very morning,
and then they lost ” the scent/’ and for some time could
trace him no farther. They tried in vain to persuade
his people to betray him, but this ” hated tyrant/’
although beaten and powerless, flying through the land
now in the possession of his conquerors, had still such a
hold over the loyalty and affection of his people, that
they were true to him in his adversity, and refused to
give him up or to set his enemies on his track.

Severe measures were taken to procure by force the
information which could not otherwise be obtained.
Orders were given to one party of the pursuers that at


each kraal they reached, if the inhabitants refused to
speak, so many huts should be burnt, so many principal
men and women taken prisoners, and all cattle con-
fiscated. Many kraals were thus treated, and so many
prisoners collected in this manner, that the number to be
taken at each kraal had to be reduced from eight to four,
then to two, and at last to one of each sex ; thus proving
how steadfast were the people generally in their loyalty to
their king. On approaching some of these kraals, the
headmen came out and offered the passes or papers
promising protection, given them on surrendering their
arms ; but the unhappy people received another lesson
on the text, ” When we give a promise we will perform
it,” and were told that their papers were worthless now ;
they must tell where the king was, or suffer like the rest.
One of the officers concerned in carrying out these orders,
exclaimed at the time with natural indignation : ” I don’t
care what may be said of the necessity of catching
Cetshwayo ; necessary or not, we are committing a crime
in what we are doing now ! ”

These measures proving useless, five prisoners were
flogged to make them speak yet they held their peace.
An interpreter, who accompanied Major Barrow’s party,
writes : ” I had been a long time in Zululand. I knew
the people and their habits, and although I believed they
would be true to their king, I never expected such
devotion. Nothing would move them. Neither the
loss of their cattle, the fear of death, or the offering of
large bribes, would make them false to their king.”

For many days this work of trying to persuade or
force the people to betray their king was continued, and,

1 II L’


at last a woman was frightened into giving a clue,
which resulted in taking prisoners three brothers, at
whose kraal the king had slept the night before.
“They were questioned/’ says the interpreter, “but
denied in the most solemn way that they knew any-
thing about the king. We threatened to shoot them,
but they said : ‘ If you kill us we shall die innocently.’
This was about nine o’clock at night, a beautiful moon-
light night, and the picture was rather an effective one.
There were all our men sitting round at their fireplaces,
our select tribunal facing the three men, who were calm
and collected, whilst we, as a sort of inquisition, were
trying to force them to divulge their secret. As a last
resource we took one man and led him away blindfolded
behind a bush, and then a rifle was fired off to make
believe that he was shot. We then separated and blind-
folded the remaining two, and said to one of them : ‘ You
saw your brother blindfolded and led away ; we have shot
him. Now we shall shoot you. You had better tell the
truth.’ After a good deal of coaxing (?) one told us
where the king had slept the night before, and which was
about fifteen miles away, and also where he had seen him
that very morning …. it was now eleven o’clock.
Lord Gifford gave orders for our party to saddle up,
which was smartly done, and we started off with the
two brothers as guides. We left the one brother behind
so as to keep on the screw, to make the two believe he
had been shot. They took us over as ugly a piece of
country as ever horse crossed, and at daybreak we sur-
rounded the kraal. But disappointment was again in
store for us, for our bird had flown about twelve hours


The direction he had taken being pointed out, the
party followed until they got within four or five miles
of a kraal, where the king had halted for the day.
Lord Gifford sent off a note addressed to Captain
Maurice, saying he was on the track and hoped for
speedy capture ; and, finding the kraal could not be
approached without his being seen, seems to have made
up his mind to wait till nightfall. It is perhaps fortu-
nate that this arrangement was not carried out, as, in
the darkness and hurry of a night attack, it is possible
that we might have had the additional wrong laid upon
us of having shot the Zulu king.

Amongst other patrols sent out to look for Cetshwayo
was one under Major Marter, King’s Dragoon Guards,
consisting of one squadron Dragoons, ten men Mounted
Infantry and Lonsdale’s Horse, and one company Natal
Native Contingent, their orders being to get on the
king’s track and capture him, if possible, and to recon-
noitre the Ngome Forest, and report if it could be

This force started on the 27th August, Major Marter
sending two natives on in the direction of the Ngome to
impress upon the people that until the king was captured
they could not have rest, as troops would be constantly
on the move amongst them, and require supplies, etc.,
and to suggest it would be to their advantage to give
him some hint or sign about the king. He had found
the natives friendly, but they said frankly that if they
knew the king to be close by they would not tell him ;
he, therefore, remembering the language of symbols was
pleasant to the native mind, endeavoured, by indirect


means, to obtain the information he sought. Having
got over about twenty-four miles of rough country, the
little column halted on the summit of the Inenge
Mountain, arid, starting at daylight next morning, had
crossed the Ibuluwane Kiver about ten o’clock, when a
Zulu came from the hill in front, sent by a headman to
whom the scouts had been, and began to talk on indifferent
subjects, not appearing to wish to speak about the king.
After some time he casually remarked : “I have heard
the wind blow from this side to-day/’ pointing to the
Ngome Forest, ” but you should take that road until
you come to Nisaka’s kraal,” showing a track leading
upwards and along the side of the range.

About half an hour afterwards a native brought a
note addressed to Captain Maurice. As this officer was
out in another direction on the same service, Major
Marter opened and read it. It was from Lord Gifford,
who said he was on the track again and hoped for a
speedy capture of the king, but gave no information as
to where either the king or Lord Gifford were. Sending
the man on in Captain Maurice’s direction, Major Marter
proceeded to Nisaka’s kraal, some distance up the
mountain. After some talk a suggestion of guides
was made to Nisaka, who said they had better go
to his brother’s kraal on top of the mountain, and
called two men to go as guides. On reaching this
kraal the guides made signs for the party to halt
where trees hid them from being seen from below,
and then took Major Marter on to the edge of the
precipice, crawling along on hands and knees ; they
then stopped, and told him to go to a bush a little


farther on and look down. He did so, and saw a kraal
in an open space about 2000 feet below, in a basin, three
sides of which were precipitous and covered with dense
forest. He considered it would be useless to approach
the kraal from the open side, as one minute’s warning
would enable the king to escape to the nearest point of
the forest ; and therefore decided to venture down the
side of the mountain under cover of the forest, feeling
that the importance of the capture would warrant the

Having rejoined his men, Major Marter ordered the
natives to take off their uniform, and, with their arms
and ammunition only, pass down the precipitous moun-
tain to the lower edge of the forest nearest to the kraal,
and remain concealed till the cavalry were seen coming
from the forest on the other side ; they were then to
rush out towards the open side of the kraal and surround
it. The cavalry left led horses, pack-animals, and
every article which could make a noise or impede their
progress, and followed Major Marter, leading their
horses down the descent in single file. They left the
upper part of the mountain at 1.45 P.M., and, after
a scramble over rocks and watercourses, floundering in
bogs, and hampered everywhere by trees and gigantic
creepers, reached the foot about three o’clock, having lost
two horses killed in the descent, and one man having
his arm badly hurt. In a little dell they mounted, and
at a gallop dashed out one troop to the right, one to the
left, the irregulars straight to the front over boulders,
through high grass and every impediment, up to the
kraal ; the natives reaching it at the same moment.


Seeing that the men in the kraal were armed with
guns as well as assegais. Major Marter desired his in-
terpreter to call out that if any resistance were offered
he would shoot down every one and burn the kraal ; and
then dismounting, with a few of his men, he entered the
enclosure, which was strongly stockaded. A chief
Umkosana met him, and was asked where the king
was ; after some delay, seeing it was a hopeless case, he
pointed out a hut on the farther side of the enclosure.
Major Marter called on the king to come out, but he
insisted the officer should go in to him. A threat of
setting fire to the hut was then made, when the king
asked the rank of the officer, and, after some further
parley, came out and stood erect and quite the king,
looking at Major Marter, saying : “You would not have
taken me, but I never thought troops could come down
the mountain through the forest.”

Besides the Chief Umkosana, there were with Cetsh-
wayo seven men and a lad, five women and a girl, of his
personal attendants.

There were twenty guns in the kraal, four of them
rifles that had belonged to the 24th Eegiment, much
ammunition, some belts of the 24th, and many assegais,
cjne of which the king’s was sent by Sir Garnet
Wolseley to the Queen.

Taking the most open line of country, the party set
out for Ulundi, Major Marter taking personal charge of
the king, who was in good health, and showing no signs
of over- fatigue.

On the evening of the second day three men and a
woman sprang suddenly into the thick bush through
which they were passing and tried to escape ; but two


of the men were shot. They had been repeatedly
warned that anyone trying to escape would be shot.

On the morning of the 31st August, Major Marter
safely reached the camp at Ulundi with Cetshwayo ;
who is described by his captor as ” a noble specimen of
a man, without any bad expression, and the king all
over in appearance and manner.”

Sir Garnet Wolseley did not receive the fallen king
himself, or accord him any of the signs of respect to
which he was entitled, and which at least generosity
demanded. That this was deeply felt is apparent from
the words of an eye-witness, the interpreter attached to
Major Barrow’s force. ” Cetywayo,” he says, “who
appreciates nicely the courtesies due to rank as those
who knew him tell me felt this keenly. Sir Garnet
Wolseley did not see him at all, and Mr. John
Shepstone only had an interview with him to tell him
that he would leave under the charge of Major Poole,
K.A., for no one knew where. The instructions to the
Major were, on leaving Ulundi, to proceed to Pieter-
maritzburg vid Korke’s Drift, but the camp had not
been left many miles behind before a messenger to the
Major from the General gave Port Durnford as the port
of embarkation.

” Cetshwayo spent less than three hours amidst the
ruins of Ulundi, and when he left them he was not
aware of his destination. His hope was that he was
going to Pietermaritzburg. . . . This he believed was
where he was going until he came to Kwamagwasa, and
he said, ” This is not the way to the Tugela.” He grew
moody after this, and used to moan, ” It was better to
be killed than sent over the sea.”


The party reached Port Durnford on the 4th Sep-
tember, and was immediately embarked for Cape Town.
There the king met with a fitting reception, and was
conveyed to* the castle, where he remained under strict
surveillance in the custody of Colonel Hassard, C.B., E.E.,
Commandant at Cape Town.

One peculiarity regarding the treatment of Cetshwayo
may be illustrated by the following personal anecdote :

A son and daughter of the Bishop of Natal, on their
way to England, called at Cape Town on board a steamer
at the time of the king’s arrival. They asked permission
to see him, feeling that if anything could be a solace to
the captive it would be an interview with members of a
family which he knew had kindly feelings towards him.’*
This request was refused by Sir Bartle Frere, who
regretted that he could not ” at present give anyone
permission to visit Cetewayo,” and said that ” all inter-
course with him must be regulated by the orders of the
General Commanding H. M. Forces in the Field, to whom
all applications to communicate with the prisoner should
be referred.” After this communication, it was rather
surprising to find that several of the passengers on
board the mail-steamer, leaving the Cape the next day,
had not only seen the king, but had found no difficulty
in so doing. t

* Mr. Colenso was acquainted with, him, having, as already
related, paid him a visit in 1877.

/ t At the same time many residents in Cape Town obtained, from
mere motives of curiosity, that interview which, to those who had
desired it for humanity’s sake, had been refused, while all who know
his language, or are likely to sympathise, are rigidly excluded. Orders
were given afterwards that the name of the Bishop of Natal should
not be mentioned to Cetshwayo, ” because it excited the prisoner.”


THE fall of Ulundi was looked upon by some as the
finishing touch to the Zulu power and the end of the
war, while others considered peace ensured only and
completely by the capture of the king. Much, however,
remained to be done before Natal could be thought of as
at peace with her neighbours and herself, and what has
been commonly called the ” Settlement of Zululand,”
was a task which required the gravest consideration and
the most careful handling.

Sir Garnet Wolseley’s first act in this direction was
to call together as many of the principal Zulu chiefs
and officials as could be found, and to address them
upon the situation. This meeting took place at Ulundi
on the 1st of September, the day after the captive
king’s departure for Port Durnford. About 200 Zulus,
including two of Cetshwayo’s brothers, and his prime
minister Mnyamana, had responded to the summons ;
and seating themselves in rows four deep, with the
principal chiefs in front, a few paces from the flagstaff
at Sir G. Wolseley’s tent, waited in perfect silence.
When Sir Garnet, with his staff, at last appeared, he
addressed the assembled chiefs through Mr. John


Shepstone, who accompanied him as interpreter. He
informed them that it was six years that very day since
Ce^tshwayo was crowned king of the Zulus, and that he
[/was now carried away never to return. This, he told
them, was in consequence of his having broken his
coronation promises, and having failed to make and
keep such laws amongst his people as the Queen of
England could approve, therefore his kingdom was
taken from him ; and would now be divided amongst
a number of chiefs, who would be expected to rule
with justice. In future no life was to be taken
without trial, and trivial offences were to be punished
by fines ; no standing army would be allowed, nor the
possession of guns and ammunition by any Zulu ;
nor would any stores be permitted to be landed on the
Zulu coast, in case, under the guise of merchandise,
arms should be brought into the country. The young
men would be allowed to marry when and whom they
pleased, provided they had sufficient for the support of a
wife, and could obtain the consent of the girl’s parents,
and ” smelling out” for witchcraft was to be put down.
Nevertheless, the Queen had no wish to force our laws
and customs upon them. By their own rules of war and
conquest, Zululand now belonged to her; but she had
already enough land in Africa, and had therefore no
intention of depriving the Zulus of theirs. Finally, the
missionaries were not to be forced upon them, and the
Zulus were even forbidden to encourage their settling
amongst them.

To secure the fulfilment of all these commands,
Sir G. Wolseley told the chiefs that he intended to


leave an English officer as resident, to be the eyes and
ears of England, to watch over the people, and to see the
laws observed and that the chiefs ruled with justice and
equity. “With what machinery the officer in question
was to perform so wide a task does not appear. Whether
his position is to be a real one, requiring several British
regiments to support it, or whether it is to be a mere
farce, a fine -sounding pretence, remains yet to be

At the conclusion of the General’s discourse he pro-
duced a document, the purport of which, he said, he had
now told them, and which was to be signed by all the
chiefs whom he had chosen as rulers of the land, to each
of whom a duplicate copy would be given, while he
retained a similar one himself.

The first to sign his name was Mr. John Dunn,
whose chieftainship was by far the largest; and after him
the Zulu chiefs touched the pen while Mr. Shepstone
made their crosses for them, in place of the signature
which they could not form.

For once in the history of Natal, all classes, from
whatever widely differing motives, were united in con-
demning the arrangement.

” The so-called settlement of Zululand,” says The
Cape Times, on September 16th, “is regarded with any-
thing but satisfaction in Natal, if we may accept the press


of that colony as representative of public opinion. Sir
Garnet Wolseley was probably acting under instructions
in making peace on a barbarian basis ; such a peace,
however, has no guarantee for continuance, but on the
contrary an inherent weakness, forbidding any hope of


permanence. A savage nation is now divided into a
number of savage nations, each leaning to the other with
all the force, of common blood and common traditions,
while to check the impulses of that force there is
absolutely nothing beyond the influence of two or three
British residents, unsupported by any armed retinue,
and clothed with no more than a shadow of authority.
And as the embodiment of British civilisation, and as
Her Majesty the Queen’s own representative in Zululand,
is placed Mr. John Dunn. . . . But whatever John
Dunn’s merits may be, his appointment as Chief Eesident
in Zululand is a shock to civilisation. His ways are
Zulu ways ; his associations, Zulu associations ; his very
habits of thought imbued with the Zulu character. A
white man who for twenty years or more has lived the
Zulu life, wedded Zulu wives, and chosen their society in
preference to that of such women as a white man should
love and honour, is not the man to represent the Queen
of England in a nation of savages. The settlement of

O o

Zululand means simply the appointment of a dozen
Cetywayos, with a white man to look after them, who is
a Cetywayo in all but colour. And now Sir Garnet
“Wolseley skips off in his light and airy fashion to the
Transvaal, ‘flattering himself that he has made things
pleasant in Zululand. It is a miserable delusion. …”

The ” engagements ” into which the Zulu chiefs
entered are :

” 1. I will observe and respect whatever boundaries
shall be assigned to my territory by the British Govern-
ment through the Eesident of the division in which my
territory is situated.


“2. I will not permit the existence of the Zulu
military system, or the existence of any military system
of organisation whatever, in my territory, and I will
proclaim and make it a rule that all men shall be
allowed to marry when they choose and as they choose,
according to the good ancient customs of my people,
known and followed in the days preceding the establish-
ment by Chaka of the system known as the military
system ; and I will allow and encourage all men living
within my territory to go and come freely for peaceful
purposes, and to work in Natal and the Transvaal and
elsewhere for themselves or for hire.

” 3. I will not import or allow to be imported into
my territory by any person, upon any pretext or for any
object whatever, any arms or ammunition from any part
whatsoever, or any goods or merchandise by the sea-coast
of Zululand, without the express sanction of the Resident
of the division in which my territory is situated ; and I
will not encourage or promote, or take part in, or
countenance in any way whatever, the importation in
any other part of Zululand of arms or ammunition from
any part whatever, or goods or merchandise by the
sea-coast of Zululand, without such sanction, and I will
confiscate and hand over to the Natal Government all
arms and ammunition, and goods and merchandise, so
imported into my territory, and I will punish by fine or
by other sufficient punishment any person guilty of or
concerned in any such unsanctioned importation, and
any person found possessing arms or ammunition, or
goods or merchandise, knowingly obtained thereby.

” 4. I will not allow the life of any of my people to


be taken for any cause, except after sentence passed in a
council of the chief men of my territory, and after fair
and impartial trial in my presence and after the hearing
of witnesses ; and I will not tolerate the employment
of witch-doctors, or the practice known as smelling-out,
or any practices of witchcraft.

” 5. The surrender of persons fugitive in my territory
from justice, when demanded by the government of any
British colony, territory, or province, in the interests of
justice, shall be readily and promptly made to such
government ; and the escape into my territory of
persons accused or convicted of offences against British
laws shall be prevented by all possible means, and every
exertion shall be made to seize and deliver up such
persons to British authority.

” 6. I will not make war upon any chief or chiefs, or
people, without the sanction of the British Government,
through the Eesident of the division in which my
territory is situated.

” 7. The succession to the chieftainship of my territory
shall be according to the ancient laws and customs of
my people, and the nomination of each successor shall
be subject to the approval of the British Government.

” 8. I will not sell, or in any way alienate, or permit,
or countenance any sale or alienation of any part of the
land in my territory.

” 9. I will permit all people residing in my territory
to there remain, upon the condition that they recognise
my authority as chief, and any persons not wishing to
recognise my authority and desiring to quit my territory
I will permit to quit and to pass unmolested elsewhere.


: ‘ 10. In all cases of dispute in which British subjects
are involved I will appeal to and abide by the decision
of the British Eesident of the division in which my
territory is situated. In all cases when accusations of
offence or crime committed in my territory are brought
against British subjects, or against my people in relation
to British subjects, I will hold no trial and pass no
sentence except with the approval of such British

“11. In all matters not included within these terms,
conditions, and limitations, and in all cases provided for
herein, and in all cases when there may be doubt or
uncertainty as to the laws, rules, or stipulations applicable
to matters to be dealt with, I will govern, order, or
decide in accordance with the ancient laws and usage of
my people.”

The following letter, addressed to the Eight Hon.
W. E. Gladstone, and published in The Guardian of
December 10th, 1879, by the Dean of ‘Maritzburg,
contains such valuable and important matter that we
quote it verbatim :


Sept&nilcr 27th, 1879.

SIR, Though I have not the honour of being known to you,
yet, as the affairs of South Africa must necessarily engage the atten-
tion of Parliament when it next meets, I venture to hope you will not
consider it an intrusion if I lay before you some of the conclusions
I have arrived at after thirty years’ residence as a clergyman in
Natal. I do so as I know from experience how extremely difficult
it is for those who have passed their lives in the midst of a highly
organised society, to realise the conditions of a colony, and especially
of one which is brought into contact with the undeveloped races of
South Africa. The first question that presents itself is, What is the

2 i


meaning of the apparent antagonism of the native races, at the present
time, to the white man ? I attribute it immediately to the natives
suddenly and unexpectedly finding themselves in the possession of
firearms. When the Diamond Fields were first opened out, no
restrictions were placed on the gun-trade by the Cape Government,
and so soon as this became known the natives nocked there in
thousands from all parts of South Africa, hiring themselves out to
work, and stipulating to be paid in rifles. Young men everywhere
will arm themselves if they can, and especially in a country in which
there is abundant room for hunting, and still more so when the young
men are savages, and know of no distinction except that which comes
from exhibiting prowess in war. I do not myself think they were
influenced by any feelings of hatred to the white man, or that there
existed any deep-seated conspiracy amongst the chiefs or old men.
But the young men suddenly discovered they could obtain firearms,
so got them ; and having got them, they then desired to use them.
Everywhere they were armed, and so everywhere they began to talk
of fighting ; the leaven had been put in and the whole lump worked.
The war which arose is now over, and the Cape Government is
engaged in steadily disarming the natives under its rule ; its loyal
subjects, the Fingoes and the Basutos, as well as the recently con-
quered tribes. Sir Garnet Wolseley told the Zulus also to bring
in their guns ; but they have treated his order with contempt, and
he has made no attempt to enforce it ; the Zulus themselves, I am
afraid, will soon adduce this as evidence that they were not beaten.
I may say, also, the Natal Governor always placed restrictions on
the natives possessing firearms, and, so far as he could, enforced
those restrictions on his own natives returning from the Diamond
Fields, and they have proved perfectly loyal. Whilst at the time
I deprecated the reckless trade allowed by the Cape Government,
still it seems to me rather hard, after having allowed the natives to
purchase guns, to set to work to disarm them. The wisest course I
consider would be to impose a tax on the possession of firearms
generally, granting privileges to members of volunteer corps, etc. In
that way, without drawing invidious distinctions between white and
coloured, our own young men would be exempted from paying by
serving as volunteers ; and if the tax were a heavy one the natives
would be deterred from keeping guns, and, further, the Government
would know exactly to what extent they were armed.

To leave, however, the native races in general, and to confine
ourselves to the Zulus. They never went to war with us, but we
with them ; they have always been excellent neighbours ; for thirty


years they have never been accused of stealing a sheep, or an ox,
or a horse from the Natal side. Natal had no quarrel with them
nor Cetywayo with us ; it has been our misfortune that it has been
found convenient to carry on the war from Natal ; but Sir H. Bulwcr,
our Governor, has been true to the colony in insisting that it was no
war of ours. If there was any justification of the war, it must be
sought in the interests of Transvaal, and then it can only be accepted
as a judgment. The Crown had not a shadow of right to annex the
Transvaal. True, they were not governing themselves very well
in that State ; neither, perhaps, is Germany, but we do not annex
Germany. We did take over the Transvaal, however, in direct
violation of engagements which had been entered into with the
Dutch Boers. Shepstone, in his proclamation, was obliged to say
that we must read between the lines of that engagement i.e. the
promises of the British Government were worth nothing. The simple
fact was that the Cape and Transvaal merchants had been over-
trading in that republic; it was bankrupt, so many of them were on
the brink of insolvency. I cannot say more without mentioning
names, but there was no difficulty in seeing what influences were
brought to bear on Lord Carnarvon. The Republic was annexed;
farms were accepted at a nominal price in payment of debts, and
resold again in London, say at sixpence per acre, which amply repaid
the merchant, who thus saved himself, whilst the Boers were left
without their independence, and poorer than ever. Had we stayed
our hand, finding themselves hopelessly bankrupt, in a few months
they might probably have sought our assistance, and then we could
have annexed them without their having a grievance ; as it is they
cannot forget it. I am sorry for them, for they are a simple people.
Shepstone went up as Governor, and Cetywayo at once asked to have
his old disputes with the Boers arranged in former days both he
and his father, whenever they had had any difference with the Trans-
vaal, always sent messengers in to the Natal Government to advise
with it and Shepstone, the Secretary for Natal Affairs, according to
his wont, always temporised, admitting in a half-and-half way that
they were right, but advising patience. When, however, he found
himself at the Transvaal he suddenly sided with the Dutch, and
Cetywayo became greatly incensed and declared himself betrayed.
I believe he would at once have invaded the Transvaal, but from
fear of us in Natal. He hesitated, however, and according to the old
maxim, he who hesitates does not fight ; but before he had quieted
down Sir B. Frere interfered with his ultimatum, and Cetywayo stood
grandly on the defensive. He is a savage, and his ambition was to


be a great savage : I do not mean a cruel one, but a powerful, influen-
tial savage. He was ambitious, but disliked progress, and such men
must fail ; so he has fallen, but with dignity. He has never attacked
a neighbour, white or black ; he has defended his country bravely,
and has been guilty of no excesses. It has been our war, not his.
Sir B. Frere says most truly that almost everyone he spoke to
encouraged him to go to war ; but I am afraid he avoided those who,
he was told, were against war and when will not Englishmen advise
war 1 No argument was used, except the one that Cetywayo might
overrun Natal at any moment ; but he had never shown a disposition
to do so, and we were stronger than men would allow. Men who do
not trust in the arm of God do not see the defences which surround
them. The Tugela, the river which separates Natal from Zululand,
was a great protection, as in summer-time, even if fordable, the Zulus
would not cross it, lest it should rise in their rear ; and in the winter,
our dry season, they cannot keep the field, as their naked bodies are
quite unable to bear exposure to the cold nights. Moreover, though
our own army will never acknowledge it, Cetywayo’s force did not
exceed 30,000 naked savages. Of course we are told they were
60,000 or 80,000 strong ; but if you casually inquire of any officer
who has been in Zululand whether the kraals were thickly dotted
over the country, he will tell you artlessly, ” No, quite the contrary.”
I have again and again inquired of traders as to the density of the
population relative to Natal. I have inquired of those who have
lived at Ulundi, and have seen Cetywayo’s regiments mustered, and
I am confident that 30,000 is the very outside at which the Zulu
force could be put. I may return to this. I mention it now to show
why I do not agree with Sir Bartle in his view of our position ; and
certainly I cannot admit, because a neighbour is powerful, that there-
fore we are justified in going to war with him.

But, now that we have been at war, on what terms is peace to be
arranged? In the Cape Colony the natives as the Basutos, llio
Fingoes, and others live in districts to themselves, not intermingled
with the white man. The young men leave their homes, and go into
the colony, and work for a time in the towns or on the farms ; but
their home is in Basutoland, Fingoland, etc. The same holds good in
the Transvaal. The natives there are on the border ; but Natal is the
one exception to this rule ; in this colony we live intermingled ; and
a few years ago we were regarded as living in the crater of a volcano.
It was thought that the Natal natives, who outnumber the European
settlers eighteenfold, might at any moment overwhelm us, so that
Cape politicians and others refused to be connected with this colony.


In 1876, however, before the rising of the natives on the frontier, I
was bold enough to point out to my fellow-colonists that our supposed
weakness was in reality our strength. And so it has proved. During
the last two years Natal has been the oasis of South Africa ; every-
where else the natives have either been in arms, or shown themselves
disaffected, if we except the Fingoes ; but the position in which they
stand to the Kafir tribes around them compels them to be loyal, so
they are scarcely to be taken into account.

Whilst, then, throughout South Africa the natives have been a
source of uneasiness, the overwhelming native population of Natal
(360,000, against 22,000 whites) has been perfectly true to the
Government, and the grounds of their loyalty are now, I think, re-
cognised in Natal. They are these : 1. The natives are not, like
Englishmen, self-reliant, but naturally dependent ; consequently, they
use the machinery of Government much more than we do. An
Englishman dislikes appealing to a magistrate, as it implies a want
of power to take care of himself or to govern his dependents. Not
so the native ; he habitually leans upon the magistrate. Thirty years
ago in Natal the native leant upon his chief; now he has become
familiar with the magistrate, who has become a necessity to him. I
argue, therefore, that a people will not plot or even desire to throw
off an authority which enters into their daily life. 2. Natives who
have resided amongst white men feel the need of their presence. The
native races cannot develop themselves nor, when in some degree
developed, can they stand by themselves as their wills are weak,
and intellectually they are lawyers, fond of argument, but without
imagination ; so they can neither plan nor construct. In their inde-
pendent state they have no criminal law, no commercial code, no
municipal one, no law of tenure of landed property ; they possess
only a few customs regulating marriage and the division of their cattle
amongst the family ; but, scattered amongst white men, they are able
to expand. The effect is seen in many ways amongst others, in the
increase of their families. 3. They are naturally fond of trading.
In many ways they may be compared to the Celtic race, as they
cannot rise above the tribal organisation ; but, unlike the Celt, they
are not intellectual ; and, unlike him, their natural bent is towards
trading. They are good soldiers, but they prefer trading to every-
thing; consequently, on this account, they are unwilling to separate
from the white man. 4. The natives never go to war unless they can
iirst send their cattle to the rear ; but this they cannot do when dis-
tributed amongst the Europeans, and this operates alone as a great check.
During the thirty years I have been in Natal we have only had three-


chiefs give the slightest trouble, and these three have all been on the
borders, and so have been able to send their cattle away. I am con-
vinced, therefore, that, if the Government wishes to maintain peace
and to develop the native races, it should intermingle them with the
Europeans. The Aborigines Society at home will probably object.
It is easy to say the white man seeks only to dispossess the native,
but whatever the individual motive, the white man is the benefactor
by his presence. He may have hunted down the North American
Indian and the Aborigines of Australia, but not so in South Africa.
Here not only does the magistrate protect him, but the Kafir is a
worker, which the North American Indian and the native of Australia
is not. The white man wants the Kafir’s labour, and to secure it has
to be just and kind. A farm-servant in England is by no means so
independent as a Kafir out here. Mix up the races therefore, and to
some extent at least the problem of governing and improving the
native race is solved. After the defeat at Isandhlwana, new-comers
like the military thought our natives might rise; but their wives,
children, waggons, cattle, etc., were in the colony, so they made
common cause with us, and showed themselves zealously loyal. I
consider it, therefore, to be most foolish to try and keep the races apart ;
we must intermingle them. It was Alexander’s principle and the
Roman rule; the present European families have been founded on
this method so we must go on mingling, not separating.

I send you a copy of Sir Garnet Wolseley’s conditions of peace,
as published in The Natal Witness. They are universally condemned
here. 1. The chiefs are to be under British Residents, and they must
be supported by a force. But who is to pay 1 It is said the Zulus
are not to be taxed, as that would amount to annexation ; or, rather,
it would test Sir Garnet’s arrangements. If he is afraid to tax the
Zulus the Residents will be afraid to control them. The test of
defeat with Kafirs is the loss of cattle they do not estimate the loss
of life; but we have not taken cattle. Indeed, the balance is on
their side : they have carried off more than we have.* The test of
submission is obedience, and they have with one accord disobeyed the
order to give up their guns. The test of the Queen’s authority in
South Africa is the payment of taxes. Even Cetywayo offered to
pay a hut-tax ; and if Sir Garnet does not impose one, all the young
men in Zululand, before a year is over, will point to their cattle, their
guns, and their immunity from taxes, and boast that they were not
beaten. If the Zulus are to be controlled by British Residents they

* We think this statement is hardly correct.


should pay a hut-tax. Our natives pay a hut-tax of Us. per hut.
I have understood that the Cape Government wish it to be uniform
throughout South Africa, and to be fixed at 1. We estimate the
population at three-and-a-half persons to a hut, and at 14s. it amounts
to 4s. per head. Besides that the natives on farms pay rent to the
farmer, and the more they adopt our habits the more do they pay
through the Customs. The Zulus could readily pay 1 per hut, or,
say 36,000 per annum. Cetywayo’s Government was an expensive
one. His commissariat alone was a heavy drain upon the resources
of the people. Savages, as well as civilised persons, understand that
they must support their Government ; the Zulus, therefore, would
recognise the justice of being taxed ; and not to tax them is, I con-
sider, to abandon one of the duties of Government. Moreover, it is
said we are to be taxed to pay our quota of the recent expenditure.
But our natives will hardly understand first fighting the Zulus, and
then having to pay for it. It will seem to them as if they were the
offending party, if they, and not the Zulus, are taxed. 2. The con-
ditions discourage trade. It ought to be encouraged to the utmost.
Instead of forbidding importation by sea, a Custom-house should be
established at the one port or landing-place, 3. The alienation of
land is forbidden, in order to keep out the white man ; but he should
be encouraged to enter, and so long as the land is held in common by
the whole tribe there will be no improvement in agriculture. Or, to
take the conditions in order 2 is impossible ; the young men will
be quarrelling with one another at weddings and other gatherings,
tribal fights will ensue, and the chiefs must have a force at their
command. 3 I have touched upon. 4 is nugatory ; if a chief
wishes to put to death he can give a man a mock trial and have
done with it. 6 overlooks that wars often do not begin with the
chiefs ; the young men bring them about. 8 I have touched upon.
The whole implies the active and constant superintendence of the
Eesident, and that will be resisted: some kraal or kraals will be
disobedient to orders, the chief will be unable or unwilling to enforce
obedience, and the Resident must call in other assistance at great
expense ; and at whose ? There is nothing enduring, nothing practical
in this settlement, if it deserves to be called such. It is not likely to
last, and everyone expects, after a short interval, more bloodshed
and more reckless expenditure. The burden cannot be thrown on
the Colony, as the Government has not been consulted on the terms
of peace. The whole thing is a cruelty to the Zulus, to the colonists,
and to the suffering home population, for there will be another
3,000,000 or more to be voted yet ; but during the whole tim>


meat was 8d. and bread 4d. per pound. Is. 6d. per diem was con-
sequently ample allowance for the keep of a soldier ; of course I am
aware there were numerous other sources of expenditure, but it is
extreme folly to send an army out to a distant place, with power to
draw upon the Treasury at will ; it is too great a trial for human
nature. As a blind, all sorts of things are said about the colonists ;
a great deal or even all may be true, but it does not explain half.
That, however, is by the way ; but I must mention, before concluding,
that one of the newly-appointed chiefs is a white man named John
Dunn. He left home when about fifteen or sixteen, and has since
lived with the Zulus, taking to himself a number of wives. This
appointment is looked upon as an outrage to public morals and as an
insult to the colonists. I say nothing about the missionaries, as I do
not wish that they should lean upon the civil power ; the Church
must do her proper work in her proper way. I simply write as an
Englishman, to one who largely guides the counsels of the nation, to
lift up my voice against what has been done, and is being done,
in this part of the empire. Trusting you will excuse rny thus
trespassing upon your time, believe me to remain yours most



Dean of ‘Maritzbiirg.

But at all events we had gained one definite result
by all the blood and money spent in the Zulu war. The
most important and earnestly insisted on immediate
cause of our attack upon Zululand was the invasion of
our soil, and the violation of our sanctuary, committed
by Mehlokazulu and his brother, sons of Sihayo, when
they seized and carried off two women who had taken
refuge in Natal. We ” requested ” the Zulu king to
deliver up the young men to us for judgment and for
punishment, and he begged us to accept a fine in lieu of
the persons of the offenders. We declined this proposal
and repeated our request, which suddenly became a
” demand ” when it appeared in the ultimatum, and as
such remained.


It was said at the time that, had the young men
been given up even after the troops had crossed the
border, hostilities would have been suspended until the
rest of the demands could be complied with. But they
were not, so we went to war.

And now, at last, the war was over, one of Sihayo’s
sons had fallen in battle, and Mehlokazulu, the other,
was in our hands. Here was what we had fought for,
and obtained ! What would be done with him ? By
the military authorities he could only be treated like any
other prisoner of war, and released unharmed amongst
the other Zulus. He was therefore handed over to the
civil authorities at Pietermaritzburg to be tried by them,
although he was denied the same advantages of counsel
which are accorded by law to other civil prisoners.

This denial was commented upon unfavourably by
those who desired justice to be done, but, apparently,
Mehlokazulu required no counsel, for he was not tried.
He had committed no offence on British soil punishable
in a Zulu subject by British law. His own king could
have punished him by our request, but we had deposed
and transported that king, and there was no law by
which we could have inflicted anything beyond a trifling
fine for trespass upon the man whom we had compassed
heaven and earth, and shed so much of England’s
noblest blood, to seize. The magistrate declined to
commit him for trial, and Mehlokazulu was permitted
to return to his home. ” Doubtless,” remarks TJie
Natal Colonist of October 27th, “the legal adviser
of the Crown was concerned in the case, and framed
the charge which there was the best chance of being

2 K


substantiated. And this is the result ‘there was
no evidence to maintain the charge/ . . . It is a
miserable conclusion to a most miserable affair. . . .
The charge which, as we have seen, is almost made the
chief occasion of the war which has desolated so many
homes, and cost millions of money, completely breaks
down when brought to the test of legal trial, and the
prisoner is, of necessity, set at liberty. We never
believed much in the other pretexts for the war put
forward by Sir Bartle Frere, but we confess that we
always thought the outrage by Sihayo’s sons was one
to be visited with condign punishment, whether it
was one which would justify war or not; and even though
we knew it was only a pretext, seeing that it only took
place long after war had been determined on, and
preparations for it had been begun to be made.”

“But the ultimatum and its demands are things of
the past. Eivers of blood have flowed to enforce these
demands, and now they are put on one side as utterly
valueless, both by the settlement of Zululand and the
release of Sirayo’s son.”‘”

With this humiliating fact we must close our record
of the Zulu War. In doing so, we feel that too many of
the circumstances which we have thus recorded reflect
no credit on the name of England that name which as
English men and women we most desire should be
honoured by the world at large ; and we realise with pain
that, so far as our work may be perused by dwellers
upon other shores, so far have we lessened the glory
of our motherland in their eyes. But, however much
* The Daily News, 30th October, 1879.


we may regret the necessity, we do not therefore think
it a less imperative duty to bring to the light as much
as possible whatever wrong and injustice has been com-
mitted and concealed by those to whom England has
entrusted her power and her fame. That the light of
publicity should be thrown upon them is the first step
towards their cure, or at least towards the prevention of
any further wrong, and it is with the truest loyalty to
our Sovereign, and the deepest love and reverence for
our country, that we have undertaken the task now



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WAY ; also an Essay on the Portraits
of John Knox, with Illustrations. Small
crown 8vo. Bound up with the
Index and uniform with the “People’s



In Demy 8vo.

by S. L. Fildes, and a Portrait engraved by Baker. Cloth, -js. 6d.

OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. With Forty Illustrations by Marcus

Stone. Cloth, 1 is.

THE PICKWICK PAPERS. With Forty-three Illustrations

by Seymour and Phiz. Cloth, i is.

NICHOLAS NICKLEBY. With Forty Illustrations by Phiz.

Cloth, i is.

SKETCHES BY BOZ.” With Forty Illustrations by George

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MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. With Forty Illustrations by Phiz.

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With all the original Illustrations. Cloth, 125.


volume. Cloth, i 1$.

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%* The remainder of Dickens’ s Works were not originally printed in Demy 8w.





In Post 8z>o. With the Original Illustrations, 30 vols., cloth) 12.

















CHRISTMAS STORIES from ” Household Words,” &c.

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43 Illustrations, 2 vols.

16 o

39 ,, 2 vols.

16 o

40 ,, 2 vols.

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36 ,, 2 VOls.

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36 ,, 2 VOls.

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40 ,, 2 VOls.

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16 o



16 o



8 o

2 4 >,


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8 o



8 o



8 o



8 o



8 o

8 ‘


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12 ,,


8 o



8 o

;TER. A New Edition.



In Croivn 8v0. In 21 vols., cloth, with Illustrations, ^3 $s. 6d.

8 Illustrations

s. d.

3 6

3 6











CHRISTMAS STORIES, from “Household Words”.









THE LIFE OF CHARLES DICKENS. Uniform with this Edition, with numerous
Illustrations. 2 vols. -js.




Complete in 30 Volumes. Demy Svo, los. each; or set, ^15.

This Edition is printed on a finer paper and in a larger type than has been
employed in any previous edition. The type has been cast especially for it, and
the page is of a size to admit of the introduction of all the original illustrations.

No such attractive issue has been made of the writings of Mr. Dickens,
which, various as have been the forms of publication adapted to the demands
of an ever widely-increasing popularity, have never yet been worthily presented
in a really handsome library form.

The collection comprises all the minor writings it was Mr. Dickens’s wish
to preserve.

SKETCHES BY ” BOZ.” With 40 Illustrations by George Cruikshank.
PICKWICK PAPERS. 2 vols. With 42 Illustrations by Phiz.
OLIVER TWIST. With 24 Illustrations by Cruikshank.
NICHOLAS NICKLEBY. 2 vols. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz.

OLD CURIOSITY SHOP and REPRINTED PIECES. 2 vols. With Illustrations by

Cattermole, &c.

BARNABY RUDGE and HARD TIMES. 2 vols. With Illustrations by Cattermole, &c.
MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 2 vols. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz.
AMERICAN NOTES and PICTURES FROM ITALY, i vol. With 8 Illustrations.
DOMBEY AND SON. 2 vols. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz.
DAVID COPPERFIELD. 2 vols. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz.
BLEAK HOUSE. 2 vols. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz.
LITTLE DORRIT. 2 vols. With 40 Illustrations by Phiz.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES. With 16 Illustrations by Phiz.
THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELLER. With 8 Illustrations by Marcus Stone.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. With 8 Illustrations by Marcus Stone.
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, s vols. With 40 Illustrations by Marcus Stone.
CHRISTMAS BOOKS. With 17 Illustrations by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., Maclise,

R.A., &c. &c.

HISTORY OF ENGLAND. With 8 Illustrations by Marcus Stone.
CHRISTMAS STORIES. (From “Household Words” and “All the Year Round.”)

With 14 Illustrations.
EDWIN DROOD AND OTHER STORIES. With 12 Illustrations by S. L. Fi




This Edition consists of 22 Volumes, containing nearly 900 Illustrations by
F. Barnard, J. Mahony, F. A. Fraser, C. Green, &c. Price ^3 14^. 6d. in
cloth ; and 2 i$s. in paper binding.

OLIVER TWIST, with 28 Illustrations, cloth, zs. 6d. ; paper, is. gd.
MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT, with 59 Illustrations, cloth, 4*. ; paper, 3*.
DAVID COPPERFIELD, with 60 Illustrations and a Portrait, cloth, 4*. ; paper, 35.
BLEAK HOUSE, with 61 Illustrations, cloth, 4 s. ; paper, 3*.
LITTLE DORRIT, with 58 Illustrations, cloth, 4 j. ; paper, y.
PICKWICK PAPERS, with 56 Illustrations, cloth, 4 s. ; paper, 3*.
BARNABY RUDGE, with 46 Illustrations, cloth, 4*. ; paper, 3*.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES, with 25 Illustrations, cloth, zs. 6d. ; paper, is. gd.
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, with 58 Illustrations, cloth, 45. ; paper, 3 s.
NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, with 59 Illustrations, cloth, 4*. ; paper, y.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS, with 26 Illustrations, cloth, 2S. 6d. ; paper, is. gd.
OLD CURIOSITY SHOP, with 39 Illustrations, cloth, 4 j. ; paper, y.
SKETCHES BY ” BOZ,” with 36 Illustrations, cloth, zs. 6d. ; paper, is. gd.
HARD TIMES, with 20 Illustrations, cloth, as. ; paper, is. 6d.
DOMBEY AND SON, with 61 Illustrations, cloth, 4.9. ; paper, 3*.
UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELLER, with 26 Illustrations, cloth, as. 6d. ; paper, is. gd.
CHRISTMAS BOOKS, with 28 Illustrations, cloth, zs. 6d. ; sewed, is. gd.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND, with 15 Illustrations, cloth, zs. 6d. ; paper, is. gd.
AMERICAN NOTES and PICTURES FROM ITALY, with 18 New Illustrations, cloth,

zs. 6d. ; paper, is. gd.
EDWIN DROOD; REPRINTED PIECES; and other STORIES, with 30 Illustrations,

cloth, 4$. ; paper, 3^.

CHRISTMAS STORIES, with 23 Illustrations, cloth, 4*. ; paper, 35.
THE LIFE OF DICKENS. By JOHN FORSTER. With 40 Illustrations. Cloth, 4*. 6d. ;

paper, y. 6d.

Messrs. CHAPMAN & HALL trust that by this Edition they will be enabled
to place the works of the most popular British Author of the present day in
the hands of all English readers.


30 vols., small fcap. Svo, 2 $s.


Fcap. 8vo. sewed.



GAMP. is.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, with the Original Coloured Plates;

being a reprint of the Original Edition. Small 8 TO, red cloth, gilt edges, 5$.





In 17 vols. Demy %vo. Cloth, 6s. each.


Fancy boards, 2s. 6d.




Fancy boards, 2s.




Also in sets, 27 vols., cloth, for 4 $s>


Boards, 2s. 6d. ; cloth, 3*. 6d.








Boards, 2s.; cloth, 3-r.





















Published for the Committee of Council on Education.


Illustrated. Large crown Svo, 4.?.

GLASS. By ALEXANDER NESBITT. Illustrated. Large Crown

8vo, 2S. 6d.


FORD POLLEN. With numerous Woodcuts. Large crown 8vo, 25. 6d.

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Oxon. Large crown 8vo, sewed, 6d.

ANIMAL PRODUCTS : their Preparation, Commercial Uses

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FOOD : A Short Account of the Sources, Constituents, and

Uses of Food ; intended chiefly as a Guide to the Food Collection in the Bethnal
Green Museum. By A. H. CHURCH, M.A., Oxon. Large crown 8vo, 3$.

SCIENCE CONFERENCES. Delivered at the South Ken-

sington Museum. Crown 8vo, 2 vols., 6s. each.
VOL. I. Physics and Mechanics.

VOL. II. Chemistry, Biology, Physical Geography, Geology, Mineralogy, and


APTERA. With numerous Illustrations. Large crown 8vo, 7$. 6d.


of Scientific Apparatus. Large crown 8vo, 3$.

THE INDUSTRIAL ARTS : Historical Sketches. With 242

Illustrations. Demy 8vo, js. 6d.


With numerous Woodcuts. Large crown Svo, 2s. 6d.


MASKELL. With numerous Woodcuts. Large crown Svo, 23. 6d.


By JOHN HUNGERFORD POLLEN. With numerous Woodcuts. Large crown Svo,

2S. Id.


numerous Woodcuts. Large crown Svo, 25. 6d.


Woodcuts. Large crown Svo, 2J. dd>

MANUAL OF DESIGN, compiled from the Writings and

Woodcuts. Large crown Svo, 25. 6d.


Edition. With Additional Illustrations. [/ the Press.

FREE EVENING LECTURES. Delivered in connection with

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Issued under the Authority of the Science and Art Department,
South Kensington,

dfrr tf;e u$e of ^djoofe mttf &rt autf Science



TWELVE SHEETS. By JOHN DREW, Ph. Dr., F.R.S.A. Prepared for the Com-
mittee of Council on Education. Sheets, 2 8s. ; on rollers and varnished, .4 4-r.


NINE SHEETS. Illustrating a Practical Method of Teaching Botany. By Professor
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Dicotyledon . .


TEN SHEETS. By WILLIAM J. GLENNY, Professor of Drawing, King’s College.
In sets, j. is.


Sheet, 4$. ; on roller and varnished, 7$. (>d.




8 Diagrams, highly coloured on stout paper, 3 feet 6 inches by 2 feet 6 inches.
Sheets i per set ; mounted on rollers, 2.

SHELLEY. Stout paper, 40 inches by 27 inches, highly coloured.
Sets of 41 Diagrams (52^ Sheets), 6 6s. ; varnished and mounted on rollers,


/Thalamifloral .




J Calycifloral .
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I. Incomplete





C Superior .
‘ ‘ ( Inferior





MACHINE DETAILS. By Professor UN\VIN. 16 Coloured Diagrams. Sheets,
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TEN SHEETS. Illustrating the Classification of Animals. By ROBERT PATTERSON,

2 ; on canvas and rollers, varnished, 3 ioy.
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Edited by JOHN MORLEY.

H^HE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW is published on the ist of
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completed every Six Months.

The following are among the Contributors:





























&c. &c.

THE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW is published at zs.



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LD21 A-40m-12,’74

General Library

University of California




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