Natal and the Zulu Wars.
[Sidenote: Population, Climate, Resources, etc.]
During these varied ups and downs of racial life and rivalry the progress of Natal had not been very great. Like Zululand, to the east, it lies on the sea-slope of a mountainous range and is undulating in surface with an alternation of hills and valleys. The latter have numerous and permanent streams, grass is plentiful, and in the coast region there is abundance of wood. It is much more favoured by nature than Cape Colony and, as a whole, its soil may be described as rich, its appearance as charming and its climate as temperate. Yet, at the end of the century, Natal has not more than 50,000 white residents within its bounds, although before the War of 1899 commenced it was making new and vigorous progress. Durban has become a beautiful, well managed and growing town of 30,000 people--half natives and coolies from India--while Pietermaritzburg is a small but pleasant capital with a cultivated society and agreeable natural surroundings. The population of the Colony includes nearly half a million Zulus, who are increasing in number by leaps and bounds; 50,000 immigrants from India of the coolie and artisan type, with an intermixture of Mohammedan traders from Bombay or Zanzibar who conduct a prosperous retail business with the natives; and about the same number of whites, of whom some nine or ten thousand are Dutch.
[Sidenote: Progress of Natal]
The progress latterly visible in Natal dates from the close of the Zulu war of 1879. Prior to that time the discovery of the Kimberley diamond fields had drawn away many of its more active spirits and, afterwards, the shadow of Cetywayo for some time loomed large upon the eastern border. After that cloud was dispelled the Transvaal War took place, and in 1886 the phenomenal growth of the Witwatersrand gold mines again drew away from the English population. As a whole, however, the people of the Colony have been very comfortable in their circumstances, and the bulk of the white settlers, outside of the villages, occupy large and prosperous cattle farms in which little of the soil is cultivated, and where the work is largely performed by coloured labourers. Sugar and tea plantations are, however, growing in numbers of late years. Politically, the Colony was governed directly from London during the years immediately following its British occupation in 1842 and latterly its Governor has had a curiously complicated position in relation to the Colonial Office and the High Commissioner for South Africa who dwells at Cape Town and acts as Governor of Cape Colony. [Sidenote: Self-Government given to the Whites] In 1893, with some hesitation and natural doubtfulness, the 15,000 adult white males of Natal were given self-government with almost complete control over hundreds of thousands of natives. There is now a Cabinet of five members, a House of Assembly and Legislative Council--the former elected for four years and the latter appointed by the Governor for ten years. It is greatly to the credit of these new institutions and the electorate generally that no trouble has occurred with the surrounding Zulus; that the law is easily enforced and thoroughly respected; and that the loyalty of the tribes has been pronounced and sincere.
But in 1876 this latter condition had hardly begun to develop, the natives were still a source of fear and natural suspicion, the Zulu impis of Cetywayo were darkly threatening, and the country was held back from settlement and progress by the encircling shadow of savage life. In the year 1877 Sir Bartle Frere, as Cape Governor and High Commissioner, had received a genial and not uncommon welcome to South Africa by a Kaffir war on the eastern frontier where two Kosa chiefs, Sandilli and Kreli, had revolted. Owing to the prompt action and wise measures taken the area of disturbance was limited and Cape Colony saved from those horrors of savage border warfare to which it had been so accustomed in the past. Satisfied with the result, Sir Bartle Frere turned to the northeast and found himself face to face with the menacing Zulu question and with the growth of a native power which had been practically encouraged by British policy to develop itself along the frontier of Natal.
[Illustration: THE DEATH OF COLONEL CHISHOLME AT ELANDSLAAGTE. As the daring officer fell from his horse at the head of his men, he shouted, "Splendid, Lads!]
[Illustration: GENERAL SIR REDVERS BULLER ON HORSEBACK. MAJOR-GENERAL SIR A. HUNTER, K.C.B., Chief of Sir George White's Staff. LIEUTENANT-COLONEL T. SHERSTON, Killed in Battle of Glencoe]
[Sidenote: Cetywayo; his Power and Character]
Since the struggle with his brother in 1856, and the slaughter of the latter with about one-fourth of the Zulus of that time, Cetywayo had been the real ruler of his nation. In 1872, upon the death of Panda, he succeeded also to the nominal government and was approved by the British authorities. In appearance the great Zulu chief was, in these earlier years, handsome and dignified, besides being possessed of undoubted mental gifts. He was, however, pitiless and cruel in the extreme, as hard of heart as a piece of steel, and as regardless of human life as a lion or tiger in its native fastnesses. In organizing power he had the genius of Tshaka, and he brought out all that was best and all that was worst in the Zulu race--the most intelligent, fearless and active of South African Kaffirs, or Bantu. As time went on and Cetywayo drilled and exercised and trained his impis, it became evident that unpleasant results must follow and that, hemmed in as they were by the Transvaal, Natal and the sea, there were only two possible outlets for the fiery spirits of the growing Zulu force. Cetywayo would have found it hard to control them had he desired to do so. Like all native armies, and especially with such disciplined and ambitious soldiers as he now had, they were more than anxious to test their power, to "wash their spears" in blood and to taste of the fierce pleasures of war. In this connection Sir Bartle Frere wrote with vigor in a dispatch of January, 1879, justifying his instructions to Lord Chelmsford to advance into Zululand:
"Whether his (Cetywayo's) young men were trained into celibate gladiators as parts of a most efficient military machine, or allowed to become peaceable cattle herds; whether his young women were to be allowed to marry the young men, or to be assegaied by hundreds for disobeying the king's orders to marry effete veterans, might possibly be Zulu questions of political economy with which the British Government were not concerned to meddle; but they were part of the great recruiting system of a military organization which enabled the King to form, out of his comparatively small population, an army, at the very lowest estimate, of 25,000 perfectly trained and perfectly obedient soldiers, able to march three times as fast as we could, to dispense with commissariat of every kind and transport of every kind, and to fall upon this or any part of the neighboring colony (Natal) in such numbers and with such determination that nothing but a fortified post could resist them; making no prisoners and sparing neither age nor sex."
[Sidenote: War Clouds Gathering]
Demonstrations of aggressiveness were frequent. About the time when Sir Bartle Frere arrived at Cape Town a powerful Zulu force had, in the most menacing manner, paraded along the Natal frontier, and, in response to protests, was described as merely a hunting party. British officials, who had been sent into Zululand from time to time as envoys, were treated in the most contemptuous manner by the Zulu Idunas. On one occasion (in 1876) two native women were captured on Natal soil and carried back to punishment, which, in this case, meant death. Proofs were not wanting of Zulu attempts to create disturbance amongst other Bantu tribes in distant parts of the country, and, on December 10, 1878, Sir Bartle Frere wrote to the Colonial Secretary that: "Whenever there has been disturbance and resistance to the authority of the Government between the Limpopo and the westernmost limits of Kaffir population, there we have found unmistakable evidence of a common purpose and a general understanding." The first embodiment of this fact was the Kaffir war already mentioned. Sandilli, leading the Gaika tribe, and Kreli the Galekas, had revolted in August, 1877, and only prompt military measures had saved the neighboring colonists from much suffering. As it was the tribes were not entirely subjugated until eight months after their first hostile action. The general effect, of course, was to still further encourage Cetywayo and his warriors in their aggressive ambitions.
[Sidenote: The Zulus and the Boers]
An additional factor to this end was the British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877. By placing their most hated enemy, the Boer, under British control it transferred the expression of that hatred to the new Government and the English people. A part of the general restlessness of the natives in the year of the annexation had been expressed in the war between Sekukuni, a Kaffir chief to the northeast, and the Boer Republic. The chief in question was a tool of Cetywayo's, and there is little doubt was egged on by him to hostilities which the latter intended as preliminary to a general attack upon the Transvaal; in which he was further encouraged by the defeat of the Boers and the retirement of President Burgers from his invasion of Sekukuni's territory. But the British annexation temporarily averted the attack and the whole burden of Zulu hostility was practically assumed by the British; as well as the subsequent brunt of Zulu attack. The situation, therefore, was not a pleasant one for Sir Bartle Frere any more than it was for the colonists of Natal, or for the Boers of the Transvaal prior to their annexation. It had been anticipated by Sir George Grey, a quarter of a century before, when he had urged that the growth of the Zulu power be checked by the establishment of a protectorate, or watched by the placing of a permanent Resident at its capital. [Sidenote: Zulu Declaration] But his advice was disregarded, and, in 1876, when Sir Henry Bulwer, Governor of Natal, protested against some Zulu act of force upon the frontier, Cetywayo was able to reply with a temerity born of the possession of a splendidly developed fighting machine of many thousand men: "I do kill; but do not consider yet I have done anything in the way of killing. Why do the white men start at nothing? I have not yet begun. I have yet to kill. It is the custom of our nation, and I shall not depart from it." In a dispatch to the Colonial Office on December 2, 1878, Sir Bartle Frere declared plainly that, as a result of these and other more practical manifestations, "no one can really sleep in peace and security within a day's run of the Zulu border, save by sufferance of the Zulu Chief."
In the end the war really came as a result of the Transvaal annexation, and, in the main, because of the bitter feeling between the Boers and the Zulus. During the month of September, 1878, Sir Bartle Frere, as High Commissioner for South Africa, visited Natal, and examined some territory in dispute between the Transvaal (then a British dependency) and Zululand. Finally he gave his decision as arbitrator in favor of the Zulu claim; but with a view to the general well-being of South Africa attached certain requirements to the announced Award. These included the disbandment of his army by Cetywayo, the reception of a British Resident at his capital of Ulundi, the surrender of certain persons guilty of an offence upon Natal territory, and the giving of specific guarantees for the better government of his people. The proposal obviously involved the establishment of a protectorate over Zulu territory, and the only possible alternative to its refusal was war. Knowing the ambitions of Cetywayo and his army, as Sir Bartle Frere did, he could hardly have expected the acceptance of these propositions or have supposed that there could be any other result than immediate hostilities. [Sidenote: Advance into Zululand] As a matter of fact no reply was received, and on January 10, 1879, Lieutenant-General Lord Chelmsford, who had commanded in the Kaffir War of the preceding year, crossed the Lower Tugela with a force which was small, but generally deemed sufficient, and marched into Zululand toward a place called Isandlhwana, where camp was formed for a few days. Colonel Pearson, with a flying column of 2,000 white troops and a similar number of blacks, marched on toward Ulundi, and got as far as Etshowe, after beating back a Zulu army of about his own number. A third column under Colonel Evelyn Wood marched from another direction toward the same objective point, reached a post called Kambula, and remained there for some time after duly fortifying it and defeating a persistent attack from a large Zulu army. Incidentally, one of his patrols was surprised by the enemy, and ninety-six of the party killed, including Colonel Weatherley and his son.
[Sidenote: A Large Force Slaughtered]
Meanwhile Lord Chelmsford had moved the main body of his forces to the capture of a large kraal near Isandlhwana, leaving about a thousand British, Colonial and native troops to guard the camp. Despite the warnings of some Dutch farmers, no attempt had been made at protecting the place by trench, or embankment, or even by the traditional and easy laager of wagons. Danger was hardly dreamed of until, on January 22d, the horns of a Zulu army of twenty thousand men were found to be closing around the devoted troops. There was practically nothing to do but to die, and this the soldiers did with their faces to the foe, fighting as long as their ammunition lasted and killing over a thousand Zulus. A few irregular mounted troops escaped, as did the bulk of the natives; but seven hundred British regulars and over a hundred Colonial troops were slaughtered by an enemy who gave no quarter and from whom none was asked or expected. Not far away from this camp, on the Natal frontier and guarding the line of communication, was a small depot for provisions and hospital work under the charge of Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead with 130 soldiers. In the afternoon of the fateful day at Isandlhwana this little post of Rorke's Drift was attacked by a picked Zulu army of four thousand men, and for eleven hours was defended so desperately, behind hastily improvised fortifications of biscuit boxes and grain bags, that the enemy retired after leaving over 300 men dead on the field. The little garrison was saved, and, more important still, Natal was saved from a sweeping and devastating raid of savage warriors. Lord Chelmsford at once fell back upon his base of supplies in the Colony, and the other columns at Etshowe and Kambula, respectively, proceeded, as already stated, to fortify themselves and await events. Further movements were slow in arrangement and reinforcements slow in coming, but, finally, Lord Chelmsford advanced again into Zululand with 4,000 British and Colonial troops and a thousand natives, and on July 4th, after relieving Etshowe and beating back the enemy at Gungunhlovu, reached Ulundi, where he defeated a Zulu army of 20,000 men.
[Sidenote: Death of Prince Imperial]
Meantime Sir Garnet Wolseley had been sent out to supersede Lord Chelmsford and to administer the regions affected by the war. He arrived on the scene very soon after this decisive conflict, and was able to report to the War Office that Zululand was practically at peace again. A few months later Colonel Baker Creed Russell went to the further rescue of the Boers in their seemingly hopeless struggle with the Bapedis, and, on November 28th, stormed and captured Sekukuni's stronghold. One of the melancholy incidents of a most unpleasant "little war" was the death of the Prince Imperial of France. The Zulus must have lost ten thousand men, all told, and their power was absolutely shattered. Cetywayo, after remaining in concealment for a time, was eventually captured and sent to live in guarded comfort near Cape Town. A little later he was allowed to visit England, where he was well received, and proved himself a dignified savage, and in 1883 was re-established in Zululand after the practical failure of Sir Garnet Wolseley's attempt to govern that region through thirteen semi-independent chiefs. Civil war followed, Cetywayo died, his sons kept up the internal conflict, the Transvaal annexed what is now called the District of Vryheid, and in 1887 what remained of the country was proclaimed British territory. Thus, and finally, was settled a question which threatened the very existence of the thirty thousand white people of Natal--surrounded within their own territory by three hundred thousand Zulus and faced upon their border by a strong Zulu nation and its army of 25,000 to 40,000 men.
[Sidenote: Redress Necessary]
Sir Bartle Frere was vigorously denounced for the war, for the disaster at Isandlhwana, and for everything connected with the matter. Yet it seems to the impartial judgment of later days that he only did what was wise in a most difficult and dangerous situation. There appears to be no doubt that Cetywayo was simply awaiting his chance to over-run the Transvaal and Natal. In writing to the Colonial Office, on March 1, 1879, Sir Bartle Frere pointed out the necessity of taking immediate action, and the difficulty, or worse, of waiting two months--in days prior to cable communication--for exact authority to move in the matter of compelling redress, and added: "The Zulus had violated British territory, slain persons under English protection, and had repeatedly refused the redress we demanded. Could a final demand for redress on this account be postponed? It seems to me clearly not, with any safety to Natal and its inhabitants." In another despatch to the Colonial Office, on January 13, 1880, the High Commissioner replied to some attacks from Mr. Gladstone by declaring that "in the judgment of all military authorities, both before the war and since, it was absolutely impossible for Lord Chelmsford's force, acting on the defensive within the Natal boundary, to prevent a Zulu impi from entering Natal and repeating the same indiscriminate slaughter of all ages and sexes which they boast of having effected in Dingaan's other massacres of forty years ago." He defended Lord Chelmsford, and incidentally stated that the disaster at Isandlhwana was due to disregard of orders. South Africa was for a time, however, the grave of Sir Bartle Frere's reputation, both in this connection and that of the Transvaal, and his recall followed a few months after the writing of the above despatch. But historical retrospect is wiser than political opinion, and time has now revived the fame of a great man and a wise statesman, and declared that there was practical truth and justice in the farewell address presented to him by the people of Albany in the Colony of the Cape:
"We have watched with the most anxious interest your career during that eventful period when the affairs of the neighboring Colony of Natal were administered by you; we perfectly understand that at that crisis the deep-laid plans and cruel purposes of the savage and bloodthirsty king of the Zulus were just reaching their full development, and that his inevitable and long-expected encounter with the British power could no longer be averted; it was, no doubt, fortunate for that colony, and for the honor of the British name, that you were on the spot ready to sacrifice every personal consideration, and to undertake one of the heaviest and most tremendous responsibilities ever undertaken by a servant of the Crown. Your excellent plans, your steady determination, your unflagging perseverance, led to the downfall of a barbarous tyrant, the break-up of a most formidable and unwarrantable military power, and the establishment of peaceful relations, which, properly managed, might have ensured the lasting peace and prosperity which you have systematically desired to secure for South Africa."
[Sidenote: Order in Natal and the Transvaal]
With the ending of this war and the temporary settlement of the Transvaal troubles there came to Natal a period of progress in both constitutional and material matters. The natives of the Province had always been well treated by the Imperial authorities, and there were none of the complexities of dual control so noticeable at the Cape; while the small number of Dutch settlers who remained after the "forties" were not important enough to create racial friction or to seriously antagonize the surrounding Zulus. The many privileges and immunities of the latter, and the possession of large tracts of land given and secured to them by the Colonial Office, seem to have made them a fairly satisfied people and to have prevented any organized effort at any time to join hands with their kin under Panda or Cetywayo. The experience of Englishmen with the Maori, the Red Indian, or the Kaffirs to the west of Natal, have not been repeated in that little Colony, and the small population of whites has lived in comparative security, though not without frequent fear, amidst the ever-increasing numbers of a savage race. Something of this has been due to the wise administration of the Colonial Governors and to their reasonable immunity from the influences which controlled the Cape and dragged the Colonial Office first one way and then the other. The local whites were also too few to claim constitutional government, to assert a right to control the natives, or to do more than occasionally protest against incidents such as the Transvaal slave-raids upon Kaffir tribes or hostility towards its general system of "apprenticeship."
In 1845 the first Lieutenant-Governor, under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Cape Colony, had been appointed in the person of Mr. Martin West. He was succeeded, in 1850, by Mr. Benjamin Pine, and, in 1856, by Mr. John Scott, who brought with him a Royal charter constituting the Colony, separating it from the Cape, and giving it an appointive Council. In 1866 an Assembly was created, with the same limitations as to responsible government which characterized all the Colonial Assemblies of that time. Mr. John Maclean, C.B., was appointed Lieutenant-Governor, and Mr. R. W. Keate became the first Governor of Natal in 1867. His successors were as follows, and their names mark several important incidents in South African history:
1872, Sir Anthony Musgrave, K.C.M.G.
1873, Sir Benjamin Pine, K.C.M.G.
1875, Major-General Sir Garnet Wolseley, B.C.
1875, Sir Henry E. Bulwer, K.C.M.G.
1880, General Sir Garnet Wolseley, G.C.B.
1880, Major-General Sir G. Pomeroy Colley.
1881, Brig.-General Sir H. Evelyn Wood.
1881, Lieut.-Colonel C. B. H. Mitchell, C.M.G.
1882, Sir Henry E. Bulwer, K.C.M.G.
1885, Sir Charles B. H. Mitchell, K.C.M.G.
1886, Sir Arthur E. Havelock, K.C.M.G.
1889, Sir Charles Mitchell, K.C.M.G.
1893, Sir W. F. Hely-Hutchinson, G.C.M.G.
[Sidenote: An Uprising Threatened]
Under the régime of Sir Benjamin Pine occurred one of those native wars which illustrate at once the precarious tenure of peace with savage tribes and the danger of a Governor falling between the two stools of a weak white population demanding protection against the serried masses of native races and a Colonial Office controlled, to some extent, by missionary and religious influences with sympathies wider than their statecraft or knowledge. Langalibalele, Chief of the Hlubis in Natal--a tribe which was great and powerful in the days preceding Tshaka--had gradually strengthened his people in numbers and in training until he thought himself able to defy the Natal Government, and to send his young men into neighboring communities to purchase guns and ammunition in defiance of the regulations of the Colony. Messages were in vain sent from Pietermaritzburg demanding an account of the matter and his presence at the capital. Finally, a small party of volunteers was sent to compel his obedience, and met with the usual preliminary repulse. Then upon a thread seemed to hang the peace of South Africa. Langalibalele was known to be held in high respect by Kaffir tribes from the Caledon to the Fish River, and it was afterwards proved that he really had tried to effect a general rising. Prompt measures were taken, however, by all the Governments--even those of the Republics offering aid--and the Chief was surrounded by a large force of Natal and Cape Mounted Police, captured, tried by a special Court and sentenced to imprisonment for life. Meantime the influence of Bishop Colenso and the Aborigines Protection Society had made the Colonial Office doubtful of the justice of these steps. The Governor was recalled, sentences were commuted, and compensation was given from the Imperial Treasury to a tribe which had suffered through expressing sympathy with the rebels.
[Sidenote: Gen. Wolseley Arrives in State]
The coming of Sir Garnet Wolseley, in 1875, amid much glitter of state and ceremony, marked the attempt of Lord Carnarvon to promote the federation of the Colonies; and the despatch of the same distinguished soldier, in 1880, was an effort to gather up the threads of military organization after the reverses and successes of the Zulu War. The death of Sir George Pomeroy Colley at Majuba Hill and the accession of Sir Evelyn Wood, with instructions to make peace with the Transvaal, are landmarks in the annals of the whole region; while the coming of Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson in 1893, with extended powers as Governor of Natal and Zululand, marks the grant of complete responsible government to this miniature Colonial India, twenty years after it had been given to Cape Colony, and nearly fifty years after Canada had received it. [Sidenote: Government of Natal] Under this constitution there is now a Legislative Council of eleven members, nominated by the Governor-in-Council and appointed for ten years, and a Legislative Assembly of thirty-seven members, elected by popular constituencies--mainly white--for four years. The Ministry holds office by the same Parliamentary tenure as do all British Governments under free institutions, and, since 1893, the Prime Ministers have been Sir John Robinson, K.C.M.G., who held office until 1897; the Right Hon. Harry Escombe, P.C., who succeeded him and participated in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee; Sir Henry Binns, K.C.M.G., who died in 1899; and the present occupant of the position, Lieut.-Colonel Albert Henry Hime, C.M.G. The franchise of the Colony is liberal, and every European who is a British subject and possesses real property worth $250, occupies such property at an annual rental of not less than $50, or is in receipt of an income of $480 and upwards, can vote. He must, however, have resided in the Colony for three years. Natives are entitled to vote under the same conditions after seven years' voluntary exemption from the action of the special native laws and the tribal system.
One of the curious conditions of Natal, and which entitles the Colony to consideration as a sort of miniature India, has been elsewhere casually referred to. It was thought, at first, that in a country which combined tropical vegetation with a healthful climate and with a great reserve force of natives for local labor, immense development of production might be possible. Coffee, sugar, arrowroot, cotton and tea were all found to thrive in its fruitful soil. But European workers did not come in any number, and it was soon found that the natives would not work with the least bit of persistence or dependence. In this difficult situation planters and capitalists turned to the Eastern Empire, and coolies were engaged under contract for a term of years. And, when their term was up, these hired immigrants, as a rule, showed no desire to return, and settled down for good in a land which seemed to their minds greatly superior to the one they had left. Naturally, too, Indian traders followed, and, in time, a small but steady stream of immigrants flowed in from India, and through their cheap mode of living soon captured the bulk of retailing trade in the country, while also doing most of the cheaper labor. Of this class of settlers, now nearly equal in numbers to the white population, there were 17,000 in 1879, 41,000 in 1891 and 53,000 in 1898. They do not, through taxes, add greatly to the revenues of the country, or in any sense to its military strength, but they do add appreciably to its productive and industrial capabilities.
[Illustration: FIRST SERIOUS BOER-BRITISH BATTLE, MAJUBA HILL, 1881. In which the Boers defeated the English and gained internal independence.]
[Illustration: BATTLE BETWEEN THE ENGLISH AND THE ZULUS, SOUTH AFRICA, 1879]
[Sidenote: Resources of Natal]
In this latter connection there were, in 1892, over four million dollars invested in the sugar industry, including 36 factories, with an output of 15,000 tons and employing 6,000 coolies. But, although great possibilities exist in this and other industrial directions, serious development had only just commenced when the present war broke out, and the central resource of the Colony was still sheep and cattle raising, together with a fair amount of straight agricultural work such as the cultivation of maize, oats, barley, potatoes and vegetables of various kinds. Fruit, such as pineapples, oranges, lemons, bananas, peaches, etc., were, of course, grown to any extent desired. That the general progress of production was fair is seen from the fact that the Natalian exports rose from $6,200,000 in 1893 to $8,100,000 in 1897. Other conditions were good. The imports, chiefly from Great Britain, advanced during the same period from $11,000,000 to $29,900,000, and the revenue from five millions to eleven millions. Durban became the port for a large transit trade to the interior States. The population as a whole grew from 361,000 in 1867 to 543,900 in 1891, and 829,000 in 1898--four hundred thousand of this increase being amongst the natives. Educational progress was excellent. In 1892 the regular attendance at Government and inspected schools was 6,000, while 2,200 attended private schools, and only some 200 children were reported as receiving no education. There were 74 schools for natives, with a total attendance of 4,050, and 24 schools for Indian children, with an attendance of 1,402. In 1897 there were 7,685 in regular attendance at Government and inspected schools, and 1,600 at the private schools. There were 159 native schools with an attendance of 8,542, and 30 Indian schools with 1,961 pupils.
[Sidenote: England's Wise and Generous Policy]
Upon the whole, the historic life of Natal since the days of Dutch and native turmoil has not, with the exception of the eventful period of 1876-81, been a stormy one. The Dutch are too much in the minority to cause much trouble, and a fair measure of good feeling seems to have prevailed locally. The whole white population are fairly well agreed upon franchise questions as the free British principle works out in the practical exclusion of the ignorant and tribal savage. They are at one upon tariff matters, and the present system is for revenue only and is very low--the ordinary ad valorum rate being five per cent. Politics have not been as bitter as in Cape Colony, owing to a practical, though not always expressed, recognition of the fact that good reasons existed for not giving complete control over an immense black population, involving in its results at times the whole Imperial policy and system in South Africa, into the hands of thirty, forty, or fifty thousand white men, women and children, all told. The wise handling of the native problem, the conciliation of the Kaffir and the careful local laws, did, however, make this finally possible, and the Government of the Colony since 1893 has been all that could be reasonably desired. There is some rivalry with Cape Colony, owing to the latter's annexation of Griqualand East and Pondoland which Natal had hoped to acquire, and also, in some measure, to the railway competition of the richer and stronger Colony. But Natal has been allowed to absorb Zululand and Tongaland on its eastern border, and to thus reach up to Portuguese territory. The people have also led an easy and tranquil life, and are as a rule comfortably off. Now, of course, this is all changed, and the little Colony is the scene of an Empire-making strife, while its fruitful soil, or beautiful valleys and picturesque hills, resound with the march of armed men and echo with the roar of artillery. A tardy measure of healthful progress has thus been suddenly and summarily arrested; but in the end it is probable that good will come of evil and the natural riches of a splendid region be more generally recognized and developed.