Images de page

subject race, and there is therefore no one to judge him or control him. In Natal the Minister for Native Affairs is much more of a Governor than his Excellency himself, for he has over three hundred thousand natives altogether under his hand, while his Excellency has under him twenty thousand white men who are by no means tacitly obedient. Such is the authority of the Minister for Native Affairs in Natal, and among other undoubted powers and privileges is that of sending for any Chief among the Zulu races inhabiting the Colony, and communicating his orders personally. Naturally, probably necessarily, this power is frequently delegated to others as the Minister cannot himself see every little Chief to whom instructions are to be given. As the Secretary of State at home has Under Secretaries, so has the Minister for Native Affairs under Ministers. In 1873 Langalibalele was sent for but Langalibalele would not come.

He had in years long previous been a mutinous Chief in Zulu-land,-where he was known as a "rain-maker," and much valued for his efficacy in that profession;-but he had quarrelled with Panda who was then King of Zulu-land and had run away from Panda into Natal. There he had since lived as the Chief of the Hlubi tribe, a clan numbering about 10,000 people, a proportion of whom had come with him across the borders from Zululand. For it appears that these tribes dissolve themselves and reunite with other tribes, a tribe frequently not lasting as a tribe under one great name for many years. Even the great tribe of the Zulu was not powerful till the time of their Chief Chaka, who was uncle of the present King or Chief Cetywayo. Thus Langalibalele who had been rain-maker to King Panda, Cetywayo's father, became head of the Hlubi tribe in Natal, and lived under the mixture of British law of which I have

spoken. But he became mutinous and would not come when he was sent for.

When a Savage, the only word I know by which to speak of such a man as a Zulu Chief so that my reader shall understand me; but in using it of Langalibalele I do not wish to ascribe to him any specially savage qualities; when a Savage has become subject to British rule and will not obey the authority which he understands,—it is necessary to reduce him to obedience at almost any cost. There are three hundred and twenty thousand Natives in Natal, with hundreds of thousands over the borders on each side of the little Colony, and it is essential that all these should believe Great Britain to be indomitable. If Langalibalele had been allowed to be successful in his controversy every Native in and around Natal would have known it;-and in knowing it every Native would have believed that Great Britain had been so far conquered. It was therefore quite essential that Langalibalele should be made to come. And he did more than refuse to obey the order. A messenger who was sent for him, a native messenger,- -was insulted by him. The man's clothes were stripped from him,at any rate the official great coat with which he had been invested and which probably formed the substantial part of his raiment. It has been the peculiarity of this case that whole books have been written about its smallest incidents. The Langalibalele literature hitherto written, —which is not I fear as yet completed,—would form a small library. This stripping of the great coat, or jazy* as it is called,—the word ijazi having been established as good Zulu for such an article,—has become a cele


I have seen it asserted that this word comes from "jersey"-a flannel under shirt; but I seem to remember the very sound as signifiying an old great coat in Ireland, and think that it was so used long before the word "jersey" was 'introduced into our language.

brated incident. Langalibalele afterwards pleaded that he suspected that weapons had been concealed, and that he had therefore searched the Queen's messenger. And he justified his suspicion by telling how a pistol had been concealed and had been fired sixteen years before. And then that old case was ripped up, and thirty or forty native messengers were examined about it. But Langalibalele after taking off the Queen's messenger's jazy turned and fled, and it was found to be necessary that the Queen's soldiers should pursue him. He was pursued, with terrible consequences. He turned and fought and British blood was shed. Of course the blood of the Hlubi tribe had to flow, and did flow too freely. It was very bad that it should be so;-but had it not been so all Zulu-land, all Kafir-land, all the tribes of Natal and the Transvaal would have thought that Langalibalele had gained a great victory, and our handful of whites would have been unable to live in their Colony.

ment seat.

Then Langalibalele was caught. As to matters that had been done up to that time I am not aware that official fault of very grave nature has been found with those who were concerned; but the trial of Langalibalele was supposed to have been conducted on unjust principles and before judges who should not have sat on the judgHe was tried and was condemned to very grave punishment, and his tribe and his family were broken up. He was to be confined for his life, without the presence of any of his friends, in Robben Island, which, as my reader may remember, lies just off Capetown, a thousand miles away from Natal,—and to be reached by a sea journey which to all Zulus is a thing of great terror. The sentence was carried out and Langalibalele was shipped away to Robben Island.

It may be remembered how the news of Langalibalele's

rebellion, trial and punishment gradually reached England, how at first we feared that a great rebel had arisen, to conquer whom would require us to put out all our powers, and then how we were moved by the outraged philanthropist to think that a grievous injustice had been done. I cannot but say that in both matters we allowed ourselves to be swayed by exaggerated reports and unwarranted fears and sympathies. Langalibalele did rebel and had to be punished. His trial was no doubt informal and overformal. Too much was made of it. The fault throughout has been that too much has been made of the whole affair. Partisans arose on behalf of the now notorious and very troublesome old Pagan, and philanthropy was outraged. Then came the necessity of doing something to set right an acknowledged wrong. It might be that Langalibalele had had cause for suspicion when he stripped the Queen's Messenger. It might be that the running away was the natural effect of fear, and that the subsequent tragedies had been simply unfortunate. The trial was adjudged to have been conducted with overstrained rigour and the punishment to have been too severe. Therefore it was decided in England that he should be sent back to the mainland from the island, that he should be located in the neighbourhood of Capetown, and that his tribe should be allowed to join him.

That was promising too much. It was found to be inconvenient to settle a whole tribe of a new race in the Cape Colony. Nor was it apparent that the tribe would wish to move after its Chieftain. Then it was decided that instead of the tribe the Chieftain's family should follow him with any of his immediate friends who might wish to be transported from Natal. Now Langalibalele had seventy wives and a proportionate offspring. And it

soon became apparent that whoever were sent after him must be maintained at the expense of Government. Moreover it could hardly be that Exeter Hall and the philanthropists should desire to encourage polygamy by sending such a flock of wives after the favoured prisoner. Complaint was made to me that only two wives and one man were sent. With them Langalibalele was established in a small house on the sea shore near to Capetown, and there he is now living at an expense of £500 per annum to the Government.

But this unfortunately is not the end. He has still friends in Natal, white friends, who think that not nearly enough has been done for him. A great many more wives ought to be allowed to join him, or the promise made to him will not have been kept. He is languishing for his wives, and all should be sent who would be willing to go. I saw one of them very ill,-dying I was told because of her troubles, and half a dozen others, all of them provided with food gratis, but in great tribulation,

-so it was said,—because of this cruel separation. The Government surely should send him three or four more wives, seeing that to a man who has had seventy less than half a dozen must be almost worse than none. But his friends are not content with asking for this further grace, but think also that the time has come for forgiveness and that Langalibalele should be restored to his own country. He has still fame as a rain-maker and Cetywayo the Zulu King would be delighted to have him in Zulu-land. The prayer is much the same as that which is continually being put forward for the pardon of the Fenians. I myself in such matters am loyal, but, I fear, hard-hearted. I should prefer that Langalibalele should be left to his punishment, thinking that would-be rebels, whether Zulu or Irish, will be best kept quiet by rigid South Africa, 1.


« PrécédentContinuer »