Images de page
PDF
ePub

one chief or Federal Government, as the different States of the American Union are bound. It has been tried, as we all believe successfully, with British North America. It has been recommended in regard to the Australian Colonies. It has been attempted, not as yet successfully, in the West Indies. It has been talked of and become the cause of very hot feeling in reference to Her Majesty's possessions in South Africa.

I myself have been in favour of such Federation since I have known anything of our colonial possessions. The one fact that at present the produce of a Colony, going into an adjacent district as closely connected with it as Yorkshire is with Lancashire, should be subjected. to Custom duties as though it came from a foreign land, is a strong reason for such union. And then the mind foresees that there will at some future time be a great Australia, and probably a great South Africa, in which a division into different governments will, if continued, be as would be a Heptarchy restored in England. But it is this very feeling,-the feeling which experience and foresight produce among us in England,-which renders the idea of Federation unpalatable in the Colonies generally. The binding together of a colonial group into one great whole is regarded as a preparation for separation from the mother country. It is as though we at home in England were saying to our children about the world;--"We have paid for your infantine bread and butter; we have educated you and given you good trades; now you must go and do for yourselves." There is perhaps no such feeling in the bosom of the special Colonial Minister at home who may at this or the other time be advocating this measure; but there must be an idea that some preparation for such a possible future event is expedient. We do not want to see such another colonial crisis as the

American war of last century between ourselves and an English-speaking people. But in the Colonies there is a sort of loyalty of which we at home know nothing. It may be exemplified to any man's mind by thinking of the feeling as to home which is engendered by absence. The boy or girl who lives always on the paternal homestead does not care very much for the kitchen with its dressers, or for the farmyard with its ricks, or the parlour with its neat array. But let the boy or girl be banished for a year or two and every little detail becomes matter for a fond regret. Hence I think has sprung that colonial anger which has been entertained against Ministers at home who have seemed to prepare the way for final separation from the mother country.

Federation, though generally unpopular in the Colonies, has been welcomed in the Eastern Province of South Africa, because it would be a means of giving if not entire at any rate partial independence from Capetown domination. If Federation were once sanctioned and carried out, the Eastern Province thinks that it would enter the union as a separate state, and that it would have such dominion as to its own affairs as New York and Massachusetts have in the United States.

But there would be various other States in such a Federation besides the two into which the Cape Colony might be divided, and in order that my readers may have some idea of what would or might be the component parts of such a union, I will endeavour to describe the different territories which would be included, with some regard to their population.

At present that South African district of which the South African politician speaks when he discusses the question of South African Federation, contains by a rough

but fairly accurate computation,* 2,276,000 souls, of whom 340,000 may be classed as white men and 1,936,000 as coloured men. There is not therefore one white to five coloured men. And these coloured people are a strong and increasing people,-by no means prone to die out and cease to be either useless or useful, as are the Maoris in New Zealand and the Indians in North America. Such as they are we have got to bring them into order, and to rule them and teach them to earn their bread,- -a duty which has not fallen upon us in any other Colony. The population above stated may be divided as follows:

ESTIMATED POPULATION OF EUROPEAN SOUTH AFRICA.

[blocks in formation]

I must first remark in reference to this table that the district named first, the one containing by far the smallest number of native inhabitants, called the Orange Free State is not a British possession nor, as far as I am aware, is it subject to British influences. It is a Dutch Republic, well ruled as regards its white inhabitants, untroubled by the native question and content with its own position. It is manifest, however, that it has succeeded in making the natives understand that they can live bet

*This is

so far accurate that it certainly does not overstate the coloured population. No doubt the coloured people are more numerous. I have seen as the black population of the Transvaal. But as the limits of the

800,000 stated

territory are not settled, any estimate must be vague.

ter outside its borders, and it has continued by its practice to banish the black man and to rid itself of trouble on that score. My reader if he will refer to the map will see that now, since the annexation of the Transvaal by Great Britain, the Free State is surrounded by British territory, for Basuto land, which lies to the west of the Free State between the Cape Colony and Natal, is a portion of the Cape Colony. This being so I cannot understand how the Orange Free State can be comprised in any political Confederation. The nature of such a Con

federation seems to require one Head, one flag, and one common nationality. I cannot conceive that the Savoyards should confederate with the Swiss,-let their interests be ever so identical,—unless Savoy were to become a Swiss Canton. The Dutch Republic is no doubt free to do as she pleases, which Savoy is not; but the idea of Confederation presumes that she would give herself up to the English flag. There may no doubt be a Confederation without the Orange Free State, and that Confederation might offer advantages so great that the Dutchmen of the Free State should ultimately feel disposed to give themselves up to Great Britain; but the question for the present must be considered as subject to considerable disturbance from the existence of the Republic. The roads from the Cape Colony to the Transvaal and the Diamond Fields lie through the Free State, and there would necessarily arise questions of transit and of Custom duties. which would make it expedient that the districts should be united under one flag; but I can foresee no pretext for compulsion.

In the annexation of the Transvaal there was at any rate an assignable cause,-of which we were not slow to take advantage. In regard to the Orange Free State nothing of the kind is to be expected. The population is

chiefly Dutch. The political influence is altogether Dutch. A reference to the above table will show how the Dutchman succeeds, whether for good or ill,-in ridding himself of the coloured man. The Free State is a large district; but it contains altogether only 45,000 inhabitants,—and there are on the soil no more than 15,000 natives.

I will next say a word as to the Transkeian districts, which also have been supposed to be outside the dominion of the British Crown and which therefore it would seem to be just to exclude were we to effect a Confederation of our British South African Colonies.* But all these districts would certainly be included in any Confederation, with great advantage to the British Colonies, and with greater advantages to the Kafirs themselves who live beyond the Kei. I must again refer my readers to the map. They will see on the South Eastern Coast of the continent a district called Kafraria,-as distinct from British Kafraria further west,-the independence of which is signified by its name. Here they will find the river Kei, which till lately was supposed to be the boundary of the British territories,-beyond which the Kafir was supposed to live according to his own customs, and in undisturbed possession of independent rule. But this, even before the late Kafir outbreak, was by no means the case. A good deal of British annexation goes on in different parts of the world of which but little mention is made in the British Parliament, and but little notice taken even by the British press. It will be seen that in this territory there live 501,000 natives, and it is here, no doubt, that Kafir habits are to be found in their fullest perfection. The red Kafir is here,-the man who

*It must at least have seemed so when the Permissive Bill for South African Confederation was passed. The present disturbance will no doubt lead to the annexation of these districts.

« PrécédentContinuer »