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Zulu Dawn: General Lord Chelmsford: For a savage, as for a child, chastisement is sometimes a kindness. Sir Henry Bartle Frere: Let us hope, General, that this will be the final solution to the Zulu problem
 
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 Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?

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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:23 pm

Hello all, I would be interested in the opinion of Forum members on this.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:48 pm

Martini-Henry,

Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere was the Commander-in-Chief of British land & sea forces in and around southern Africa, he was Lord Chelmsford's direct superior.

Had Chelmsford in his position as General-Officer-Commanding British land forces refused or questioned Frere's intentions I am sure that he would have followed the same path as his predecessor, Lieutenant-General Arthur Augustus Thurlow Cunynghame, and been replaced.

In my opinion Frere was responsible for his own political and military actions and his subsequent downfall, and any blunders should been placed at his door.

John Y.

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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:53 pm

Thanks for the input, surely though the British Gorvenment's views on a war with the Zulu particularly with a looming crisis in Afghanistan, would it not have been expedient for Lord C to refer back to Westminster for guidance? I am on this forum to learn & I would value opinions
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:24 pm

Martini-Henry,

By 'Westminster' I take it you mean the War Office at Horseguards? Horseguards were already deaf to Chelmsford's requests for reinforcements and a cavalry arm, but any requests would have had to have been submitted through Frere in his guise as Commander-in-Chief any way, Chelmsford could not have bypassed Frere without usurping Frere's authority.

John Y.
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:28 pm

Thanks John - so in essence Chelmsford had no choice?
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:35 pm

I agree with JY that, at the end of the day, Chelmsford had to follow the orders of his political master Frere. But had he a better grasp of the capabilities of the Zulu army he might well have displayed some reluctance until he had an adequate force. It is noteworthy that he was not allowed to proceed with the second invasion until he had a force greater than four times the original one. Of course he had no such doubts in January 1879 and so in fact he proceeded with enthusiasm.

There is a very good overview of the wider African picture in a book called "The Scramble for Africa" by Thomas Packenham. In chapter 4 there is a quote from Disraeli. "If anything annoys me more than another, it is our Cape affairs, where every day brings forward a new blunder of "Twitters" (Lord Caernarvon). The man he swore by was Sir T Shepstone, whom he looked upon as heaven-born for the object in view. we sent him out entirely for Twitters sake and he has managed to quarrel with English, Dutch and Zulus - and now he is obliged to be recalled but not before he has brought on, I fear, a new war. Froude was bad enough and has cost us a million. This will be worse."

In November Hicks Beach, the Colonial Secretary, confessed that to control Frere was beyond him: "I cannot really control him without a telegraph (I don't know that I could with one). I feel it is as likely as not that he is at war with the Zulus at the present moment; and if his forces should prove inadequate, or the Transvaal Boers should take the opportunity to rise, he will be in a great difficulty, and we shall be blamed for not supporting him."

Hicks Beach's comments are prophetic, his forces did prove to be inadequate and the Transvaal Boers did rise in 1880.

Those chapters in Packenham's book also provide some clues about why Durnford was not Frere's favourite following his work on the boundary commission and long before the invasion took place.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:35 pm

Lord Chelmsford was probably aware that the orders that he was given had not been sanctioned by the British Government but this was not unusual when looked at in the context of the time. There have been many examples when repeated instances of disobedience to political authority were carried out by members of the defence establishment and Bartle Frere was no different.

' In 1875 Governor Andrew Clarke RE disobeyed his instructions and established British will in Malaysia through armed mediation. Clarke was sacked but his successor, Colonel William Drummond  Jervois,  went  further  and  started the Perak War without permission. Lord Lytton stretched his instructions to breaking point by starting the 2nd Afghan War in  1878.  George  Colley  did  the same at Majuba in 1881. General Gordon was virtually ordered to disobey his instructions to evacuate the Sudan in 1883.'

I think that given the political climate of the time LC would have taken the view that it 'would not be in his best interests to have done anything other than follow orders'. had Lord Chelmsford raised his objections (if indeed he had any other than, 'I need more men') it would have ended his career.

As it was things didn't turn out to bad for Lord Chelmsford: Promoted to Full General, Awarded the Gold Stick at Court and an appointment of Lord Lieutenant of the Tower of London, with this in mind, LC probably believed that he had made the right decision to fall in line with Bartle Frere's desire for war. LC always had a choice but in my opinion, he placed his career and ambitions ahead of any decent moral behaviour.

Kind Regards  Salute

Waterloo
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:06 pm

I agree, and I don't think he had any objections, he was confident he could wrap it all up very quickly. With QV in his pocket (I don't quite understand what the dear man is telling me but it cannot possibly have been his fault. - or words to that effect), he was sure to land on his feet honours wise. I think the army had him bang to rights though.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:22 pm

Yes I totally agree, a combination of hubris & luck in that after the war he landed on his feet with lucrative posts & honours. The poor old infantry had to pay the, " butchers bill." I think it is highly significant that he never held a command appointment again.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:17 am

Martini- Henry,

So given the above responses to your post, do you think that if LC had been offered the opportunity to relinquish his command without any cost to himself, he would have? or do you think as 'rusteze' suggest LC would have 'proceeded with enthusiasm'?

Regards

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:51 pm

No I think he would have seized the opportunity for glory with relish
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:27 am

LC actually requested another officer should replace him!
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:48 am

Wasn't that after Isandlwana?
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:04 pm

Yes!
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:10 pm

The Governments claim to not knowing about the invasion of Zulu Land is a load of nonsense.
If the Government and wanted to, they could have called a holt to the whole thing. And please, please don't tell me they couldn't.
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PostSubject: Should LC have fallen in line with BF's desire for war    Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:28 pm

John you are spot on ( again ) all Disraeli had to do was ring BF , or certainly drop him an email and the whole campaign would've ceased immediatley ! . Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:10 pm

Message to Lord Chelmsford from Disraeli (Earl of Beaconsfield)

You are hereby ordered to withdraw all forces back to Pietermaritzburg with immediate effect.stop. What the hell do you and that idiot Bartle think your playing at.stop. I am absolutely incandescent with rage.stop. have you any idea what will happen if anything goes wrong.stop.You can forget about any promotions or honours.stop.Your not going to be able to talk your way out of this one Frederick.stop. On behalf of Her Majesty's Government and for the sake of our Soldiers stop please please please stop.stop.


    Benjamin Disraeli
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:02 pm

agree

But sadly Benjamin's telegram got no further than the Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa, such a long way from where Bartle and Frederic were carrying out there plans. And anyway, Benjamin was too late, the message from Bartle hadn't reached him until 25 January, and by then, as we all know children, a lot of poor people had already been killed.

Steve
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:59 pm

But there wouldn't have been a second invasion. Stop!
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:12 pm

We're talking about the first invasion/cock-up.

Reason for first invasion, two Zulu women killed.

Reason for second invasion, Imperial battalion wiped out.

Keep up at the back!

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:26 am

You talk all you like about the first invasion. agree

But remember, Shepstone was asking for reinforcements, along with Frere in 1878.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:48 am

That's right. But he got very little, sufficient to defend Natal - nothing more. No question of an invasion, which was plainly not necessary or desired. The excuse for doing so was manufactured by Frere and Shepstone against government wishes and they knew it.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:58 am

Reading the parliamentary documents, Frere had little of no choice.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:07 pm

OH

Which parliamentary documents are you referring to?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:06 pm

"SIR BARTLE FRERE ON HIMSELF.

SIR BARTLE FRERE is, perhaps, the most conspicuous living example of the class of men who will deliberately conceive and carry out an iniquitous policy, thinking all the while that they are doing God service and conferring benefits even on the victims of their policy. In a pamphlet just published Sir Bartle defends his Afghan and South-African policies with arguments which might be used to justify every auto da fe in the records of the Spanish Inquisition. The pamphlet is, in fact, a vindication of the policy that the end justifies the means. Sir Bartle Frere would, perhaps, deny this, for one of the most curious things in his pamphlet is his incapacity to appreciate the moral significance of his words and acts. The ostensible cause of his apologia is a very courteous reference made to him by Mr. Gladstone in one of his Midlothian speeches. To his and Sir Henry Rawlinson's influence Mr. Gladstone attributed in a large degree the Afghan and Zulu wars. But to Sir Bartle Frere and Sir Henry Rawlinson per- sonally Mr. Gladstone gave high praise. He described them as men " of high character and great ability," "gentlemen of benevolence " also ; but " apt, in giving scope to their benevolent motives, to take into their own hands the choice of means, in a manner those who are conversant with free institutions and a responsible Government never dream of. Sir Bartle Frere's mode of action at the Cape of Good Hope does not tend to credit his advice in Afghanistan." This quotation Sir Bartle Frere makes the text of his pamphlet. It " gave currency," he says, " to the old calumnies and mis- representations of facts and opinion," and tended to " the ruin of the prosperity of a region which might otherwise become a southern home of men of European races, discharging a great duty in civilising, and raising in the scale of humanity the mil- lions of natives of Africa." Sir Bartle Frere has always got some grand scheme of benevolence in his mind to justify the most nefarious policy. But how did Mr. Gladstone's Midlothian speeches ruin Sir Bartle's high policy ? "Because," says Sir Bartle, "large numbers of my countrymen had consequently, in reliance on your testimony, condemned me, and all I had done or proposed to do, in South Africa, before I could be heard in my own defence ; and I was recalled from South Africa at a very critical period in the fortunes of its colonies." Sir Bartle Frere has here fallen into an error of fact. The large majority of his countrymen had con- demned him months before Mr. Gladstone's Midlothian

campaign. Nor was he condemned " before he could be heard in his own defence." In this pamphlet he has added no fact or argument of the slightest value to the defence that he made of himself in voluminous despatches which were pub- lished at the time in the Blue-books, and which were before

the public when his policy was arraigned in both Houses of Parliament. The late Government employed its majorities in, successfully resisting the demand for Sir Bartle's recall ; but, with the exception of Lord Salisbury and Lord Carnarvon, no attempt was made to justify his policy. On the contrary, the late Government rebuked him severely for needlessly precipitating the Zulu war, and soon afterwards superseded him in the region where he had done so much mischief, by the appointment of Sir Garnet Wolseley in his stead. That he "was recalled from South Africa at a very critical period in the fortunes of its colonies" may be true ; for the periods of Sir Bartle Frere's independent rule have generally been critical periods. He was allowed to remain in South Africa till the event proved that he had no influence but for evil. The work which he was sent thither to accomplish was the Confederation of the South-African Colonies, and he was only recalled when that scheme was rejected, and rejected in a way which showed that, if it was ever destined to succeed, Sir Bartle Frere was not the man to bring it about.

We do not propose, nor is it necessary, to examine in detail the line of argument which Sir Bartle Frere has followed in this vindication of his policy. The value of the whole per- formance may be tested by a few typical examples. "The true causes of the Zulu, as of the Afghan, war," says Sir Bartle Frere, " are neglect of neighbourly duties and responsi- bilties, incumbent on a rich and powerful nation, towards poor, barbarous tribes on the borders. We have allowed a noble- people, capable of rapid and permanent advancement in civili- sation, to grow in numbers, whilst they festered in barbarism, till they became a serious danger to us." The " serious danger," in Zululand as well as in Afghanistan, we believe to be purely a creation of Sir Bartle Frere's imagination. The deliberate- conviction of those who had the best means of knowing are dead against him. Dean Green and Bishop Colenso are strongly opposed to each other on other questions, but on this they are agreed. They have spent more than thirty years in Natal, and have an intimate knowledge of the Zulus, and they have both publicly declared that there was not the slightest danger of a Zulu invasion. And this conclusion was entirely justified by facts. After the disaster of Isandlana, Natal lay for some time at the mercy of the Zulus. Yet they took no advantage of their opportunity, and it is now known that Cetywayo's orders to his army were to stand on the defensive.. But Sir Bartle Frere maintains not only that the Zulus would, but that they actually did, invade Natal :—" I have always maintained," he says, " it was not we who made war on Cety- wayo, but he who made war on us." The foundation for this astounding assertion is the following :—Two Zulus, who were guilty of a capital crime according to Zulu law, fled across the Tugela river. They were followed some little distance into British territory, fetched back, and put to death. This is magnified by the heated imagination of Sir Bartle Frere into "two armed violations of British territory by armed bands," who had forcibly taken away two refugees from British territory into Zululand, and there murdered them." There was a time, and not very long ago, when the theft of a handkerchief worth five shillings was a capital offence in England. Is it Sir Bartle Frere's opinion that every king under whom that barbarous law was executed was a murderer ? Or does he think that the crime—that of adultery—for which the Zulu refugees were executed is morally less heinous than petty larceny ? And as for the armed violations of British territory by armed bands," it simply means that two hot-headed youths, relatives of the- runaway culprits, and who were doubtless very ignorant of international law, crossed the British frontier with a few followers in pursuit of the runaways. For this offence Cetywayo apologised, and offered what, according to Zulu customs, he considered an ample atonement. This is Sir Bartle Frere's justification for saying that "it was not we who made war on Cetywayo, but he who made war on us." The truth is, Sir Bartle Frere believed that he had a mission to civilise and evangelise the Zulus, and he seems to think, with the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, that bullets and bayonets are the most effectual instruments for propagating the Gospel of Christianity and civilisation. Bent on the policy of Confederation, he was anxious to propitiate the Boers. With this object in view he virtually set aside the award of his own arbi- trators, and practically adjudged to the Boers valuable territory which rightfully belonged to the Zulus. Nor was this enough; the power of the Zulus must be entirely broken. The trumpery "invasions of British territory," to which we have referred, were greedily seized upon " as unquestionable acts of hostility and virtual declarations of war," and lest the Zulu king should accept Sir Bartle Frere's ultimatum on that point, other con- ditions were added which really meant nothing less than the surrender of the independence of the Zulu King and nation, and the practical annexation of Zululand.

So much for Sir Bartle Frere's policy in South Africa. The obliquity of moral vision which is so evident there is still more conspicuous in Sir Bartle's too successful policy in Afghanistan. "For close on a quarter of a century," he says, "I have per- sistently urged on the Government of India, and through it, on the Government of England the only policy which, as later events have shown, could have prevented the necessity for any military advance into Afghanistan." This policy is fully explained in Sir Bartle's famous Memorandum of June, 1874, which he has republished in this volume, and to which is due the conversion of Lord Beaconsfield's Government to the policy which resulted in the Afghan war. The salient points of that Memorandum are three in number. The first is the occupation of Quetta ; the second, the placing of British officers in the principal towns of Afghanistan ; and the third, the promotion of civil war between Shere Ali and his son Yakoob, who was then governor of Herat. This was a policy which Sir Bartle Frere frankly owns " would give umbrage to the Ameer of Cabul." But if he made any serious objection, the Indian Government was to break off diplomatic relations with him, and "clear for action." Sir Bartle Frere's third recommendation was frustrated by the imprisonment of Yakoob Khan ; but the other two were fol- lowed out to the letter, and were the direct cause of the Afghan war. Yet Sir Bartle Frere says, with transparent sincerity,- " I am no more responsible for the Afghan war than the person who asserts that night and day must follow each other is for the existence of light and darkness. To me the policy of neglect, approved by Mr. Gladstone's Government, has always seemed the immediate and main cause of the Afghan war." Sir Bartle's own policy, on the other hand, he describes as " the advance into Afghanistan of a friend and a neighbour, anxious to cultivate friendly relations and prevent war." Well, the advance was made strictly on the lines of Sir Bartle Frere's Memorandum, and the Afghan war followed as a natural consequence. Sir Bartle Frere disputes this. But he might just as well dispute, to quote his own simile, the sequence of light and darkness as the result of the diurnal revolution of the earth. For forty years the opposite policy to his prevailed in our relations with the Afghans and Zulus, and the result was peace; At the end of the forty years Sir Bartle Frere's policy was tried, in spite of the teaching of experience and the warnings of our wisest statesmen, and the result has been war. Against these stub- born facts Sir Bartle Frere's special pleading is of no avail. In the condemnation of his contemporaries he may read the verdict of history. Mr. Gladstone's policy he denounces as that of one " acting on the principles of Cain," and " following the practice of the cautious priest and selfish Levite, fearing to increase their responsibilities by helping their senseless and wounded neighbour." But surely even " the practice of the cautious priest and selfish Levite " is preferable to that of the robbers who rendered their neighbour " senseless and wounded ;" and it requires very subtle casuistry to distinguish the morality of the Afghan and Zulu wars from the morality of the men who stript the wayfarer on the road to Jericho and left him bleeding and half-dead. We are thankful that a man so fanatically and sincerely colour-blind as to the fundamental laws of political morality, no longer occupies a position of official responsibility."

Source:Spectator Archive
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:35 pm

I rest my case M'lud!

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:43 pm

Ulundi

Thanks for posting this, it's very interesting. This report didn't pull any punches, it almost sounds like a war crime report. Who wrote the report and when was it written?


Cheers

Waterloo.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:17 am

And he was a friend of Rhodes. The British press of the day wrote stories as they were. They are a great source for research.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:38 am

A very interesting post Ulundi. Reminds me of a saying of my old English Teacher " only a complete hypocrite believes that no one will see through him."
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Ulundi

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:33 pm

The Zulu debate in the Commons was continued on Friday

"Night last, and Monday, and ended, early on Tuesday morning, in a division, showing 306 for the Government, and 246 for the Opposition, Government thus triumphing by a majority of 60. On Friday, the principal speakers were Mr. Lowe, who broke down through mislaying his notes ; Sir Robert Peel, who attacked Lord Chelmsford as responsible for the blood shed at Isandlana, and affirmed that, in spite of their public censure, the Cabinet had privately invited Sir B. Frere not to resign ; Sir Henry Holland, who, although a Tory, yet, as an old permanent Under-Secretary in the Colonial Office, understood the question, and therefore made a temperate and able speech against the Government; and the Secretary for War, whose point was that Sir Bartle Frere was only censured for over-zeal. On Monday, the debate was re sumed by Mr. Courtney, who was unusually well received, who traced the Zulu war to the annexation of the Transvaal, advised the Government to " go back," and brought out the astounding fact that Sir Bartle Frere had recommended a Protectorate over all South Africa, up to Lake Ngami ; by Lord Bandon, who maintained that Sir B. Frere, though de- serving of censure, was the fittest man to govern South Africa, and that he could not be recalled without Lord Chelmsford ; by Sir W. Harcourt, who, in a moat amusing speech, exposed the weakness and want of policy of the Government, and called the censure on Sir Bartle "a Parliamentary manoeuvre;" by Lord Harlington, who showed that Government ought to have anticipated the war, but did not; and by Sir Stafford Northcote, who stated that Government had expressed its policy in the despatch of March 20th, considered that Sir Bartle was still required to work out the plan of confederation, and taunted the Liberals with offering no alternative policy, except, indeed, through Mr. Courtney, who would abandon the Transvaal policy it is scarcely possible to con- ceive. If the Zulu War costs less than the Abyssinian, we shall be fortunate indeed. Yet Sir Stafford Northcote evidently hopes to bring"
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:43 am

Is there not a moral component here? Could Lord C not have respectfully declined?
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:59 pm

Martini Henry

Moral Component yes, an ability to decline yes, there was no moral justification for an offensive war. Had LC had the balls to complain about the underhanded methods used by Bartle Frere to justify a war, I now believe he would have had the backing from Government. There was a risk that he could have simply been replaced and this could have potentially damaged his career but as we know, he did quite well out of the whole affair.

Every despatch which we have received during the progress of the war contains the information that our troops had "lifted" so many head of cattle, or killed so many people; that the people ran away, and that their villages were burnt. Is that what you call not making war upon the Zulu people? What is the meaning of "lifting" cattle belonging to the Zulu people, if our quarrel is confined to the Zulu King, and that, too, because he has failed to keep his Coronation Oath? On the 4th of January the whole responsibility devolved upon Lord Chelmsford; and this is the most painful part of the business. Lord Chelmsford accepted the responsibility, although he knew his own weakness.


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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:11 pm

Totally agree - yet there are those who will reject this. Stand by my friend.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:00 pm

"SOUTH AFRICA—THE ZULU WAR—THE DEFEAT AT ISANDULA—GENERAL LORD CHELMSFORD.—NOTICE OF QUESTION.

HC Deb 14 March 1879 vol 244 cc933-4 933
MR. RYLANDS I wish to give Notice that on Monday next I will ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, on February the 24th, General Ponsonby, by direction of Her Majesty the Queen, sent a message to the Secretary of State for War, desiring him to telegraph to Lord Chelmsford that She sympathized with him most sincerely in regard to the painful loss sustained by the British arms, but that She placed entire confidence in him and the troops to maintain the honour and good name of the British Army; and, whether that message from Her Majesty was communicated to Lord Chelmsford by the Secretary of State for War?

COLONEL STANLEY I will answer that Question at once, with your permission, Sir. As to the terms, I have no reason to suppose that the hon. Member for Burnley has mis-stated them in any way. That message was forwarded to me by General Ponsonby from Her Majesty. That message I conceived it to be perfectly consistent with my duty to forward to Lord 934 Chelmsford; and, I venture to add, so far as our humble expression of opinion goes, that it was a very natural expression of sympathy under the distressing circumstances under which that General Officer commanded the troops at the Cape."

QV the highest authority in the land..
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:05 pm

Is that the woman who spent her time doing the twosome tango with her highland gillie?
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:11 pm

The very same.. Everyones entilted to find love after one departs. Even you Frank. Possibly the best Queen this country has ever had..
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:14 pm

A woman utterly insulated by her advisors & isolated from reality,the Widow of Windsor. Not competent to judge on matters military, though her cousin the DOC was singularly unimpressed by Lord C
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:20 pm

so far as our humble expression of opinion goes, that it was a very natural expression of sympathy under the distressing circumstances under which that General Officer commanded the troops at the Cape."

In other words, We have been instructed by the Queen to pass this message on, so don't read to much into it, its a NATURAL expression of sympathy, not an I forgive you.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:30 pm

"Page 8 from 4th December 1841
LORD CHELMSFORD AND SIR BARTLE FRERE.

"THE debate in the House of Lords on Lord LANSDOWNE'S motion of censure upon the Government for not having recalled Sir BARTLE FRERE from his post as High Commissioner in South Africa ended, as might have been anticipated, in its rejection by a large majority. Although the discussion ranged over the whole question of British policy in connexion with the Cape colonies and their relations with the native races, the issue which the House was called upon to decide narrowed itself to the simple question whether the Government were justified in retaining Sir BARTLE FRERE in office after the censure upon his proceedings contained in the recent despatch of the Colonial Secretary. In doing so they have acted upon their responsibility, and we cannot doubt that they have been guided in their decision solely by the consideration of the interests of the public service. In the very serious circumstances of the case it is impossible to conceive that they can have had any other end in view' and the Lords have in our opinion very wisely abstained from an interference with their decision, which could only have had the effect of dividing and weakening the responsibility which now rests entirely upon the Constitutional advisers of the Crown. Notwithstanding the error which the Government believe that Sir BARTLE FRERE has committed, they stilt repose confidence in him, and are in perfect accord with the general principle of the policy which he proposes to carry out. If it were otherwise it would obviously be their duty to recall him. But as the matter stands the question for them to consider was whether a man whose policy they approved, and whose ability to carry it out they did not question, should be dismissed in punishment of an error of judgment. The particular act which they regretted could not be re called. It was fitting that the Government should express to him their disapproval of the precipitancy with which they consider him to have acted, but, that having been done, the question arose what should be the next step in the public interest. The censure of the Ministers did not go beyond the special act to which it referred, and by no means implied that the officer to whom it was addressed had forfeited their confidence, or shown himself unfitted to carry out the important commission which has been confided to him. This is the position taken up by the Ministers in the debate of Tuesday night, and maintained with one accord by Lord CRANBROOK, the Marquis of SALISBURY, and the Prime Minister. They all expressed, not only their confidence in the abilities of Sir BARTLE FRERE, but also their general concurrence in the policy recommended by his great knowledge and experience in South African affairs. In fact the result of the very interesting discussion which took place has been, if not to relieve Sir BARTLE FRERE from the charge of rashness and undue haste, yet to confirm in a remarkable degree the justice of his views, and to show the approximate if not the immediate necessity for such action as he has taken. The speech of the late Secretary for the Colonies must have dispelled any remaining doubts as to the reality of the danger which threatened Natal and the imperative need for the annihilation of the military power of CETEWAYO. That savage potentate had broken all his pledges, and had been a standing menace to our colonies. War with him was justifiable and, inceed, inevitable. And on this point there was among the Lords practically art unanimous opinion. War cru'd not be avoided but it might have been delayed, and ought not, unless under circumctances of absolute necessity,
to have been declared without the sanction of the Home Government.
This is the front of Sir BARTLE FRERE'S offending, and for this a sharp rebuke has been addressed to him by the Colonial Secretary. Unfortunately, the first step of the enterprise thus entered into led to disaster, and the natural result is that the precipitancy of the High Commissioner is more severely criticised than it would have been under other circumstances. It is only fair to him, however, to remember that he had satisfied himself that the forces at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief were adequate to perform the duty imposed upon them, and that he is by no means accountable for errors and mismanagement in the field. When the Opposition, whether in the Lords or the Commons, call upon the Government to displace a man who, though guilty of an error due to excess of zeal, is by common consent singularly and exceptionally competent to discharge the difficult duties imposed upon him by his position, do they consider that it would be necessary to find and commission another equally qualified for the task ? The responsibility of continuing Sir BARTLE FRERE in his post rests upon the advisers of the Crown. They would certainly incur one of equal gravity if, at the present critical moment, they were to entrust to another and a less able or experienced hand the direction of affairs of so much moment. The Government have made their choice, and its wisdom will be judged of by its results. They alone are responsible for it, and we may be sure that they have not arrived at a decision without the most careful and anxious deliberation. The choice of public servants, their appointment and their recall, are among the most important of the functions of a Ministry. We believe that the nation will be well content with the refusal of Parliament to relieve them of the undivided responsibility which the exercise of such a power brings with It. If results show that it is unwisely used, the Ministry so offending will assuredly not escape the public censure.
Although the practical interest of Tuesday's debate centered in the question of the recall of Sir BARTLE FRERE, yet topics were discussed which, though strictly speaking irrelevant to that issue, naturally came to the surface, and, indeed, formed the staple of many of the speeches. It was impossible to debate the question of the conduct of the High Commissioner in the recent proceedings, without considering questions not immediately connected with the present war, and the circumstances under which it was declared. What has hitherto been our policy in relation to our South African colonies? and to what object is it in future to be directed ? These are questions which were dilated on in the valuable speech of Lord CARNARVON, and not altogether passed over by the Ministers of the Crown. One broad principle was laid down by Lord CRANBROOK, and indorsed by the Prime Minister : it is that there is no desire upon the part of the Government to acquire new territory, and that they are opposed to a policy of annexation and in favour of one of confederation. LORD CARNARVON, who speaks with the authority which attaches to official experience and a thorough knowledge of the subject, impressed upon his hearers the necessity of a uniform native policy, and expressed his conviction that the best means of promoting the interests of the European communities and the native States themselves lay, if not in confederation, at least in some union of the States and colonies which would give the only real guarantee against the recurrence of these miserable wars. The public mind is just now too excited by the recent disaster and the expectation of retrieving it to look much beyond the present and the immediate future. But we trust the time is not far distant when the successful termination of the Zulu campaign will allow attention to be directed to the important task which lies beyond it in the establishment on a permanent footing of the' peace and security of our South African colonies.
The Government, which has decided to retain Sir BARTLE FRERE as High Commissioner, has also announced that it is not their intention to supersede Lord CHELMSFORD as Commander-in-Chief. In this matter also they have exercised their undoubted right, and act upon their own very grave responsibility. The terrible disaster which marked the opening of the campaign has necessarily called forth criticism as to the merits or demerits of the General in command. It is impossible to deny that the criticism has been to a great extent unfavourable, and that serious doubts are entertained by many as to his military abilities. 

He has been unfortunate, and the extent of the loss suffered by the army under his command sufficiently accounts for the severity with which his alleged shortcomings have been visited by public opinion. Nevertheless those with whom the responsibility of the decision lies have not lost confidence in him, and believe that he is not only a gallant and zealous soldier, but also one capable of conducting a difficult campaign, and of retrieving the discomfiture which we have suffered. Nothing would give greater satisfaction to the nation than that he should succeed, as we trust he will, at once in restoring the prestige of British arms in South Africa, and in re-establishing his own reputation as a skilful and successful general. It would serve no good purpose to prolong the controversy as to his military capacity. Rather should it be the aim of those who take part in the discussion of public affairs to avoid anything that might tend to diminish the confidence which it is so important should be felt by subordinates towards those in command over them. Since the statement of the Duke of CAMBRIDGE in the House of Lords, on Monday, there can be no excuse for repeating the assertion that Lord CHELMSFORD has himself asked to be relieved of his command. The terms of his despatch did not warrant any such interpretation, and his subsequent communication to the Duke of CAMBRIDGE conclusively establishes that he entertained no such desire or expectation. What he really did ask is now clearly understood, and has been complied with by the Government. Four officers of the rank of Major-General have been despatched with the reinforcements to the Cape ; and the senior among them, Major-General CLIFFORD, who enjoys the advantage of former experience in South African warfare, will be second in command, and would become Commander-in-Chief in the event of Lord CHELMSFORD being obliged by illness or casualty to vacate that position."
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:41 pm

Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:
The very same.. Everyones entilted to find love after one departs. Even you Frank. Possibly the best Queen this country has ever had..

CTSG

You can't call Frank a queen, he deserves more respect than that.

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:49 pm

Ha ha ha ha utterly brilliant!
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:49 pm

You don't know him, Very Happy
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:52 pm

CTSG,

So you do have a sense of humour! Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:57 pm

Waterloo

You beat me to it. Not just a queen Frank, but possibly the best queen this country ever had! Who'd a thunk it Very Happy

Seriously though, it would help greatly to note which side is making these lengthy and impenetrable parliamentary statements. If a Conservative they will generally be supporting Frere/Chelmsford, if a Liberal they will not. QV counts as a Conservative.

Steve
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:01 pm

Some common sense at last. Do political parties ever agreed. So yes agree, which side is saying what?
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PostSubject: Should LC have fallen into line with B.F.'s desire for war    Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:15 pm

ctsg
You call the Durnford - Colenso scenario rubbish , isnt the Queen Victoria & LC relationship basically along the same lines ? .
Queen Victoria may have been an excellent queen ( Frank I'm not sure about ? ) , but she does the hold the record for having England involved in a record number of wars , and I dont think it was because she was the reigning monarch for such a long period of time !
90th scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:12 am

90th can't see what that's got to do with it. Question
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:35 am

I do wonder however if Victoria was influenced by Mr Brown on this issue as much as on others?
CTSG your a pratt. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:16 am

I don't think QV had any influence over political events or any understanding of military affairs. Her German husband was far more influential while he was alive while she played the little wife. When he died she withdrew from public life for decades and only ever thought, "what would Albert have done". What she did do was favour certain people and not others. Hence the support for LC, but she could not re-habilitate him politically or militarily.

The empire was run by private companies for profit, using imperial forces to keep control and politicians (who were generally share holders) to pass the right laws. The aristocracy were on the wain and the business men on the rise (the new money versus the old). The people who did not feature at all were the vast majority of the population who had no vote. Add to that the missionary zeal of the church, the rampant enclosure of common land and the exploitation of labour and you have the Victorian world. QV was irrelevant.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Should Lord Chelmsford have fallen in line with Barle Frere's desire for war?   Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:47 am

Unfortunately, a powerful irrelevance. The rising middle-class wished to ape their aristorcatic "betters," & she held onto the reigns of patronage. Lrd C's family had only been recently elevated. Deference is mercifully not as strong as it was. Sorry for veering off-topic.

Shocked
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