SECOND ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING.
The Second Ordinary General Meeting of the Session was held at " the “Pall Mall,” on Tuesday, 16th December, 1879, His Grace the Duke of Manchester, K.P., Chairman of Council, in the chair.
Amongst those present were the following:—Sir Rutherford Alcock, K.C.B.; Lieut.-Col. C. Warren, R.E., C.M.G. (Lieut.-Governor of Griqua land West); Captain J. C. R. Colomb, R.M.A.; Dr. Gordon (Natal); Rev. C. F. Stovin; Messrs. H. J. Jourdain, Alexander Staveley Hill, Q.C., M.P.; W. M. Fraser (Ceylon), W. M. Farmer, M.L.A. (Cape Colony), A. White, Robert White (Cape Colony), John Cogdon (Victoria), J. L. Bradfield, M.L.A. (Cape Colony), G. Molineux, T. B. Payne (Melbourne), F. W. Payne (Melbourne), J. D. Thomson (Cape Colony), J. Harrison Watson, J. R. Hough Thomson, Horace Young (H.B.M.’s Consul, Bilbao), F. P. Labilliere, A. R. Campbell-Johnston, Hastings C. Huggins (British Guiana), Bradman J. M. Naught, Walter Peace (Belgian Consul, Natal), Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Young, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Jones (Melbourne), Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Andrew; Messrs. George White Cooper, W. Walker, R. Staunton Bunch, W. H. Maturin, C.B. (South Australia), Mr. and Mrs. Mathie; Messrs. H. J. B. Darby, E. H. Gough, Phillip de Bosson, J. A. Fairfax (Sydney), Trelawny Saunders, E. Hutchinson, J. L. Clifford Smith, Steuart S. Davis (West Indies), E. E. Turnbull (Jamaica), Joseph Hilbert, Julius Jameson (Cape Colony), George Fraser, George W. Syms, H. R. Leitch, J. H. Greathead (Cape Colony), W. Miller (Canada); Mrs. Jameson, Miss Hoole; Dr. P. Sinclair Laing (Canada), Sir John Coode; Messrs. A. M. Mawby (Transvaal), J. V. Irwin, Charles Brown (Cape Colony), W. S. Wetherell, Charles Dunckley (Victoria), J. E. Smith, Edward Cooper (New Zealand), J. Price, John Paterson, M.L.A. (Cape Colony), H. B. Halswell, A. Focking (Cape Colony); Mrs. Lister, Miss Palmer; Messrs. Henry Bisney, H. B. Littlewood (Natal), E. A. Wallace, Purvis Russell (New Zealand), H. F. Shipster; Drs. Reuner, Baxter (Cape Town); Captain William Parfitt; Messrs. John Marshall, B. J. Cousens; Mr. and Mrs. P. G. Leeb (Cape Town), Mr. and Mrs. A. Fell; Messrs. W. L. Shepherd (New Zealand), J. Leeb (Cape Colony), George Peacock (Cape Colony), George Dibley (Cape Colony), W. Agnew Pope, Angas Jennings, W. Jeffries, Colonel Yule, C.B., and Mrs. Yule; Messrs. Atlee (West Indies), Murrell R. Robinson (Cape Colony), M. M. Tait (Cape Colony), W. Manley, W. C. Manley, Thomas Jones, W. L. Jones, Douglas McLean (New Zealand), J. G. Poole (Griqualand West), W. Chisholm (Griqualand West), Robert Gillespie (Canada), Captain P. N. Colomb, R.N.; Rev. J. E. Carlyle (Natal), Captain Francis Stanley (Cape Colony), Rev. Brymer Belcher; Messrs. Thomas Gill (South Australia), W. C. Morgan, J. Duffus, J. Jackson, Thomas Learmouth, A. M. Waite, J. B. Taylor, W. Duff, C. W. Plummer, Frederick Young (Hon. Secretary), and Miss Ada Mary Young.
Resident Fellows:–James Gilchrist, Esq., Alexander Donaldson, Esq., Robert Faithfull, Esq., M.D.; S. Hoffnung, Esq., James Williamson, Esq., H. W. D. Saunders, Esq., F. J. Partridge, Esq., G. S. Baden Powell, Esq., A. M. Aitken, Esq.
Non-Resident Fellows:—Andrew Lyell, Esq., M.L.A. (Victoria), Edmund Field, Esq., J.P. (Demerara), John Wilks, Esq., J.P. (Melbourne), James Bull, Esq. (New Zealand), John Lees, Esq. (New Zealand), Dr. Ford (Melbourne), W. H. Jones, Esq. (Barbados), W. S. Turner, Esq. (Demerara), F. W. Bompas, Esq. (Cape Colony), Wellesley Bourke, Esq. (Jamaica), William Howatson, Esq. (Trinidad), D. P. Nathan, Esq. (Jamaica), J. E. Martin, Esq. (Jamaica), F. W. Hyde, Esq. (Kaffraria), E. P. S. Sturt, Esq. (Melbourne), Joseph Dougal, Esq. (Melbourne).
It was announced that donations, presented to the Library, had been received from the following:—
By the Government of Ceylon:
Blue Book, 1878.
By the Royal Geographical Society:
Journal of the Society, vol. xlviii., 1878; Proceedings of the Society, December, 1876.
By the Royal Engineer Institute, Chatham:
Occasional Papers, vol. iii., No. 10.
By Dr. R. Schomburgh:
On the Urara, the deadly Arrow Poison of the Macusis, an Indian Tribe of British Guiana, 1879; On the Naturalised Weeds and other Plants in South Australia, 1879.
By Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller, K.C.M.G.;
Eucalyptographia, a Descriptive Atlas of the Eucalypts of Australia, and the adjoining Islands. Third decade, 1879.
By William Westgarth, Esq.:
Statistics of the Colony of Tasmania, 1878.
By Abraham Hyams, Esq.:
Report of the Inspector of Schools for 1878, Jamaica.
By the Hon. Virjile Naz, M.L.C., C.M.G., Mauritius:
Annual Report of the Protector of Immigrants, 1878.
By Robert Winton, Esq.:
Geological Survey of Newfoundland, Report of Progress, 1878.
By J. Watherston, Esq.:
Our Railways: Should they be Private or National Property?
By Henry Hall, Esq.:
The Cape and its People, 1869; The Cape Colony, 1875.
The Chairman then called upon Dr. Holub to deliver the following lecture on:—
THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE TRADE OF THE CAPE COLONIES WITH CENTRAL AFRICA.
Dr. Holub (who, on rising, was received with loud applause) said: During my frequent travels I paid especial attention to the trade of the countries which I traversed. I may say that it was a part of my programme to explore the less known parts of South Africa and parts of Central Africa as far as I could penetrate. Shortly I hope to have the pleasure of bringing my small geographical researches before the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain. The small attempts I made in zoology, &c., I brought before the public of Austria, in an Exhibition which I opened in the city of Prague. My researches in medical science I brought a few days ago before the Medical Faculty of Prague, and my little experience about the trade of these parts I take the liberty of bringing this evening before this noble Institute. But, before going into the details, allow me to give a few outlines of the nature of my lecture. I will say a few words about those countries which I have traversed. Then I will speak of the different roads which lead into the interior of Africa—both South and Central Africa, and I will then pass a few remarks on the traders, Those will be the general remarks which I shall make, and then I will draw a comparison between the past and the present trade; and I will mention the names of the tribes with whom we have been trading in former times and with whom we are trading now. I will mention the articles which have been brought in along with these tribes and which we bring in now, and the articles which we got from the natives in former times compared with what we receive now. Also the trading stations as they were established in former times and as they yet exist at the present moment. And after I give this comparison, I will draw another comparison between our trade—you will excuse the use I make of the word “our”; but I have been living seven years in South Africa, and I cannot help using it, for I feel more like a colonist—(hear, hear)—our trade and the rival trade, the trade of the Portuguese from the East and the West coast. I intend to describe their ways of trading, their routes into the interior, and the articles which they bring in and receive instead; and after which I have to confess that our trade in these parts has decreased, and then I will speak of the reasons for the collapse of our trade, and mention, as it is most necessary, how best we can multiply and increase the trade again, and with a few words about the opening up of Central Africa will close my address. I will commence by describing the parts of this interior about which I intend to speak—I mean those parts of South Africa which are called the uncivilised parts. This part here dotted on this black board is in the civilised part of South Africa. It is the Cape Colony, Natal, Griqualand West (the land of the diamond), the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State. The uncivilised parts are inhabited, with the exception of a few missionaries, traders, and hunters, by natives alone. I made acquaintance with most of the native tribes living between the Waal and Zambesi rivers, and I have good and true information about parts like those lying between Limpopo, which I did not visit myself; but I visited also the southern part of Central Africa. At first we pay our attention to South Africa. Iconsider the Zambesi as the demarcation line between South and Central Africa. The parts between the Orange and Vaal rivers and the Zambesi are inhabited by a race called the Bechuanas, who live in six independent kingdoms, and form the heart and centre of South Africa. Going from south to north among the Bechuanas we meet first the Batlapins (King Mankuruane), the next to the north is the kingdom of the Barolongs (King Montsiwe), then the kingdom of the Banguaketse, and farther to the north the kingdom of the Bakwena. The boundary line between these show that these different countries form parallelograms. Their largest extent goes from west to east. The Bechuanas of these kingdoms (as named just now) live in the eastern parts, where water is more plentiful, towards the Limpopo, the Marico, and Harts rivers; and on the Molapo, in the western parts, the so-called Kalahari Desert, but which is not a desert at all; it is a large tract of land, covered with trees and plenty of grass, and only has great scarcity of water, and is inhabited by two tribes, the Makalahari and Madenassana. These are the slaves of the Bechuanas. Those natives (the Bechuanas) who come down to the diamond fields to work, every one of them has a master, and twenty or thirty of them have to stay in those dry countries and hunt ostriches for their masters. Going farther from south to north one meets, north of the Bakwenas, two tribes of the Bamangwato—the Eastern and the Western Bamangwato, or as I call the Eastern according to their capital, Shoshong, the Shoshong Banmangwato, and the Western ones, which I call, on account of the residence of their king lying near to the Lake N’Gami, Bamangwatos. Besides these native kingdoms we have yet two more in South Africa, lying between Limpopo and the Zambesi, they are the kingdom of Matabele and those of the Mashonas—and please to keep those countries in mind during my address. With regard to Central Africa, I recognise three kingdoms of the Bamashi between the Tshobe and the Zambesi. Then from the Central Zambesi, about 400 miles extending to the north, and from east to west extending about 450 miles, is the Martitse-Mabunda empire, which has been established upon the ruins of the Makololo empire, which does not exist any more. I divide these whole tracts of land into five sections. . These divisions I make not on account of any geographical reasons, or because the tribes would belong to different races, but only with reference to the trade alone. Thus I divide these different tribes and countries into five divisions, according to the different articles of barter which the trader brings into them, and according to the different articles which he gets instead. The first division comprehends the four most southern kingdoms of the Bechuanas, and one of the Batlapins, Barolongs, Banguaketse, and Bakwena. The second division comprehends the two Bamangwato kingdoms; the third division, the Matabele and Mashona kingdoms; the fourth division, the kingdom of the Marutse; and the fifth division, comprehends tribes which live to the east of the Marutse, and which pay tribute to them.
With regard to the different roads which lead into the interior, I may mention that in the first division we have three different roads; those roads unite together towards the north in the town of Shoshong, in the country of the Eastern Bamangwato. They start from two points, from the Diamond Fields and from Hope Town, while one from this place leads to Griqua Town, then from there to Kuruman, then Morokwene to Lothlakane, the residence of the king, Montsua (Montsiwe), and from there to Molopolole, the new residence of the king, Sechele (the same man that Livingstone mentions in his book of South African travels). And from there into Shoshong; the second goes from the Diamond Fields into Taung, the residence of the king of the Batlapins, and so on to Molemas Town and Kanja, the residence of the king of the Banguaketse, and then into Shoshong. The third, or eastern route, goes from the Diamond Fields, through the western provinces by the Transvaal Colony. These three different trading roads unite in Shoshong. From that we can already see the importance of this place; but we shall see it still more if we consider the different roads which go from there into Central Africa. We have again three main roads: the first one straight to the north, which goes already so far as eleven miles up to the junction of the Tshobe and the Zambesi, and as these rivers must be considered the demarcation lines between Central and South Africa, I suppose this must be considered the best point to reach Central Africa, and for reasons which I will mention further on. The second, the eastern road into the interior from Shoshong, leads into the Matabele and Mashona countries. The third, the so-called western road, leads into the Lake N’Gami Bamangwato country. From this, the more we can see the great importance of the town of Shoshong; and we must cherish really the fact that this country is inhabited by a tribe, not only very peaceful and very good-natured (I know them well, having practised months and months amongst them as a medical man), and they are ruled by a man who, of all South African chiefs, is the best ruler I ever made acquaintance with. He is Khama, the son of Seklomo. The extent of his kingdom is about equal to the four other southern kingdoms in size.
Allow me now to say a few words about the traders, only a few general remarks. Those trading in these parts of the interior were mostly Englishmen, but a few also born in South Africa. I have no time to describe their manners and ways of trading, this subject alone would be sufficient for one lecture of itself. The way in which they convey their goods into the interior is with bullock waggons; and where, owing to a poisonous insect (the Tsetse, which destroys the cattle), the use of waggons is impossible, they utilise the Zambesi, and bring their goods into the interior with canoes and carriers. We will now make an attempt to draw a parallel between our past and our present trade. I said we have always to keep in mind these five divisions, in which I divide the interior with regard to our trade with those parts. We trade with the tribes only of the first and second division between the Tshobe and the Zambesi; but, with regard to the third division, we trade at present with the Matabele alone, and not at all with the Mashonas, which you will be surprised to hear is the richest and the most fertile country in the whole of South Africa. Going farther into the interior, we come to the Marutse. We have been trading with the Marutse, but are trading no more ; and, with regard to the fifth division, we are trading still in a limited way with the tributary tribes. Therefore the number of native tribes with whom we trade at the present time has decreased. We will seeabout the articles which are brought into those parts. In former times we brought into the first division guns, shooting material, soft goods, a little ironmongery, stoneware, a little wearing apparel, but very little indeed. And we bring now no guns, no shooting material, and only soft goods, but ploughs. That is a great difference between former times and now. (Hear, hear.) Approaching the second division, we traded in guns, shooting material, wire, and beads. Now no guns and shooting material, but soft goods, beads, and wire. With regard to the third division, we brought in guns and shooting material, calico, beads and wire at present the last three articles alone. With respect to the fourth division, before, shooting material, guns, calico, beads, soft goods, and a little ironmongery and horses; but nothing now. With regard to the fifth division (the tributary tribes of the Marutse), shooting material, soft goods, and beads have been sold; and at present only calico, beads, and ware. So those are the articles which we brought in in former times, and which we bring in now. Do we again, on the other hand, consider the articles which we got from the natives in exchange? We will observe that we got from the natives in the third division, cattle, skins, karosses, and a quantity of ostrich feathers; at present we get grain, cattle, skins, and a small quantity of ostrich feathers; in former times a large quantity, but a larger quantity of Indian corn and another kind of grain. So we have decreased in ostrich feathers and other things. With regard to the second division, we have got hides, ostrich feathers, ivory, and cattle. At present hides and cattle, very little ostrich feathers, and very little ivory. With regard to the third division, matters vary very much. We got in former times ivory, rhinoceros horn, ostrich feathers, and skins; but at present only a small quantity of feathers, a small lot of ivory, no rhinoceros horn, and only a few skins. With regard to the fourth division, we got in other times a very large quantity of ivory and a large quantity of otter skins and corn; at present nothing, only a little corn; and from the fifth division we received ivory and grain, at present a little of ivory and grain. Certainly a great difference, when we consider the articles we got in former times and those now. Allow me to speak of the reasons of this deplorable collapse of our trade. With regard to the trading stations I may yet say that we have less trading stations than in former times. We lost all those among tribes with whom we do trade no more; we have kept Kuruman, Marokwene, Taung, Mamuse, Moshaneng, Kanje, Molopolole, Shoshong, Tati, and Gubuluwajo; we lost Shesheke, Pandama-Tenka—further, the one opposite to Wankes Town, on the Central Zambesi.
Before I say anything about the reasons for the decrease of our trade, it might be of some interest to hear of certain laws which are in force amongst the different tribes, under which the native is allowed to trade with the white man. Among the Bechuanas, in those six independent kingdoms, one tusk of ivory goes to the king, and the other is kept by the native hunter. The one from the side on which the elephant falls to the ground belongs to the king and the tusk on the other side to the native. The white and best feathers of all ostriches shot have to be given to the king, and all the other feathers the man can keep. In the country of the Matabele (in the third division) all ivory belongs to the king, and no man is allowed to sell or keep a single feather. But the natives are allowed to sell their cattle, rhinoceros horn, skins, carcases, and grain to tradesmen. In the Marutse empire the king buys all the things brought into the country, all the calico, beads, &c.; and, again, he gets all the ivory of his people, and distributes all the calico amongst his people, and lends them the guns which he buys. He has a chief, who has to remember how many of them has been given to the people, and he says he only lends them these weapons that they might slay the elephants for him. The king then buys all the goods which the traders bring into his empire, and does not allow anyone to sell ivory. All the more important articles, as ivory, skins of a certain kind of lemur, &c., all have to be handed over to the king.
If we now consider the trade of the Portuguese, we see that their roads go into South Africa from Delagoa Bay, then from different parts of the East coast farther to the north, and up the river in the valley of the Zambesi, up to 300 or 450 miles from its mouth. But from the West coast they are trading as far as the great lakes. I was really astonished , when I came into those parts of Central Africa, to see all those parts which have been considered by the people in Europe as a terra incognita; as such , I found, to my astonishment, that most of those parts between the West coast and the great lakes and the River Congo are well known to the Portuguese traders. I was astonished, when I met Portuguese traders who came down as far as 150 miles eastward of the Victoria Falls of the Zambesi, that they came from the lakes, traversing the continent from Loanda, Benguela, and Mosamedes, and appear in the vicinity of Shesheke. Those men know every tribe and river, and the peculiarities of the different tribes, in those tracts so well that they should be able to write a book on those parts. A very lively trade is going on in the interior towards the West coast. The nationality of these traders is to a certain extent Portuguese, but about seventy per cent. are called Mambari. These are a mixed race. They have the whole trade in their hands. These Mambari penetrate to the interior with carriers; they go in to the number of 100 to 200 men with their articles. Mostly what they bring are old-fashioned flint muskets—I suppose, which have been in use amongst the Portuguese about 100 years ago—with iron bullets to load them with. Then they bring in the worst quality of soft goods, rough gunpowder, and beads; and the articles they get in return are ivory and skins. I saw with regret, and I hope the practice no longer exists, that these Mambaris took slaves as barter. The Portuguese trade in the interior has decreased since the year 1872. In that year the English traders from the South penetrated into Central Africa by crossing the river Zambesi. Since that time the Portuguese trade has decreased. Those parts were ruled by a very cruel king, called Sepopo. He was living in the western parts of his empire, in his very fertile mother-country, Barotse. He was dissatisfied with the articles which the Portuguese brought from the East coast; and as one of his natives brought him two guns and good blankets which he had got from some English traders, and he took a fancy to those things, and on account of that he changed his residence, and he came down from the Barotse, and took up his abode in Shesheke (district of the Masujna), a village of which Livingstone makes mention. It is a country inhabited by a poisonous insect, where people cannot breed cattle, excepting in the next neighbourhood of Shesheke, and he preferred those parts only to be nearer to our traders. But Sepopo was killed in 1876, and the people who came from the West coast and had great influence with the advisers and counsellors of the new king, recommended the new man not to deal with our traders, and since that time our trade has decreased. We had such a lively trade with those parts, that between the years 1872–76, not less than £60,000 worth of ivory had been brought out from the one empire alone; in the year 1877 only about £2,000; and since that time nothing. But we have to see about the reasons of the decrease and collapse of our trade in the first, second, and third divisions. We have had the opportunity to observe that this decrease happened through circumstances which would have occurred sooner or later. It was a trade mostly with ivory and ostrich feathers, and as was to be expected, with the progressing extirpation of these animals, the trade would decrease and cease entirely. The time when the trade was opened, there were only a few traders who traded in those parts. Those men made a good business, on account of which their numbers multiplied, and instead of five we observe, in the latest years, about seventy traders. In former times game was plentiful in the first and second divisions, consequently no trouble for a single man to kill twenty or thirty elephants in one season; but during late years since the natives got possession of guns they have begun to use them themselves, frequently decimating these animals, like the white hunters, whose numbers have increased like those of the traders. The natives do not show to the white man the roads into the thickets where elephants were plentiful, but keep them a secret to themselves. Their chiefs impose, at present, taxes upon elephant-hunting, or do not longer permit these animals to be killed by white hunters, and in this way we see every year the decrease of the export of ivory, and that, at the present moment, hardly a tenth part of the number of elephants are killed as in former times. The elephants are entirely extirpated from the country to the south of Bamangwato. In the land of the Bamangwato the elephants became scarce, and in the Matabele they also decreased, in numbers; but in the country of the Marutse and in the fifth division they are still very plentiful. Now this decrease in ivory has caused a great collapse in our trade with these parts. Certainly the natives as well as the traders never thought of new articles of barter to revive trade. In the latest time some measures have been taken by the Governors of the different provinces of South Africa which will influence the trade with those parts to a great extent. It was made a law that no guns, and ammunition should be brought among the natives, and I believe that if this law had been passed ten years ago, or if it had been strictly obeyed during the last eighteen or twenty months, the trade would not have collapsed in such a way as it has. You will find the game very plentiful still in parts where the natives had not any or only a few guns. At the present moment we see that the natives, who were accustomed to imitate the white man in his garment and to dress themselves in European clothing, begin to imitate also the white man in other ways, like to build houses as white men do; and those natives who gained before by killing ostriches and elephants, have no more the means to do all this. In other times, as long as the native possessed a gun or the necessary shooting material, he went into the forest and killed elephants, sold one tusk to the trader, and with what he got for one tusk he lived for two or three months and did nothing, his wives planting a little corn, and that was all the work he did. At the present moment, when game is scarce and when he cannot acquire any shooting material, he is obliged to take to agriculture, of which he never thought before. He cannot leave his new customs to imitate the white men, as mentioned. He is obliged now to work, and that is the reason why I believe we have already now an increase of exports from those parts in Indian corn, &c. I believe from what I saw and know at present from the Bechuanas and a native tribe on the Transvaal border, that this will increase from year to year; and what we have to do is to send men amongst those tribes who were peaceful; but some became warlike only because they got into the possession of guns. It needs only to send men among them to teach them the proper way of agriculture, and you would see that those countries which gave us in former times large quantities of ivory, and very little of it at present, would produce a great many articles, and our trade must increase. There are many parts of this interior which for twenty or forty miles are nothing but one fertile humus soil, the best soil to be wished for. We tried rice, &c., and we could observe that it would grow in those parts, with the best success; so it needs men to preach among natives how to rear these different articles, rice and cotton, and we should see in a few years the crops we should have, and a large export of those articles towards the South African Colonies and this country. But the law passed that no guns should be brought in, I believe had still more than these material advantages. I believe it was not the proper way to hunt the elephant down and extirpate that useful animal; and I believe now where the native has not the opportunity to kill an elephant, that he cannot do that, for he cannot do that with his assegai as he did in former times, and the best thing is to give them the chance of showing to the kings how they can get the elephants and how they can be tamed. In former times, when they had guns, there was no hope that something similar would take place. If that law had not been settled and they had still guns it was to be expected that the trade must collapse, as the elephants would soon have been extirpated. Yes, as it is in the first, it would have taken place in the second and third divisions; and, if the killing of useful animals had been going on as it was in former times, in two or three years there would have been none left in all those parts of the interior, and for this reason we must have recourse to this law. Through this law the natives are also obliged to work and to take to agriculture; and, by doing so, we may be sure that the trades of the parts will increase. (Hear, hear.) In the fifth division there are elephants plentiful still. I did not find any ostriches in the Marutse country; they commence again about 500 miles to the north. Since the death of King Sepopo and since our trade collapsed, the Portuguese are there again very successful. It would be good to give them the advice to take more care of their elephants, that they should not go and extirpate them; that also there they might be tamed—they would prove so very important as carriers in the limits of the tsetse-fly. All this has to be taken in hand as soon as possible. A great deal can be done. I observed alike among the tributary tribes of the Marutse empire that they could cultivate cotton; and I brought with me a very beautiful, and a very good, blanket which the people make themselves. There needs not much to encourage these people to make in a few years cotton as an export article. But, besides this, the country contains a great many vegetables, india-rubber, arrowroot, cannabis, splendid fibre for texture, and other products which, when brought into the market, would soon be sold. I brought a few of those articles with me, and I was sorry, when I came from the Exhibition of Prague, that I could not take them out, and bring them over here to show them. I found there whole forests of trees. One tree, called Mapani, contains oil, the leaves themselves, in a fresh state, will burn beautifully. So, I believe, we shall be able to make use of these and extract this oil. Besides this, the natives can cultivate different kinds of corn and beans which, I believe, will be very useful. Then there is a beautiful fruit there. I found some which had the same quality and flavour as the South American vanilli (contained in the pulpa), and contains a good deal of the elements of a vegetable marrow; and the natives use it like corn. They let it rest under the sun for a certain time to dry, and then they open the stone and grind the pippins to make bread and porridge of it, and use it for corn and meat. Besides that, these parts are very rich in fruits, &c., of healing properties. It is well known that gold is found along the banks of the Tati River. There are places where we find seven ounces of gold in one ton of quartz; but there are places where we find twenty-four ounces of gold in one ton of quartz. But those parts belong to the king of the Matabele (a Zulu king). This kingdom is very rich indeed, but still richer is that of the Mashonas. The Matabele are a Zulu tribe. The founder of this empire came up into these countries, which are at present occupied by the Matabele, from Zululand; he came among the Makalaka, who were peaceful husbandry-men, and there gained ascendency of this tribe, disturbed the villages at night and burned them, killed men and women taken as prisoners, the boys to be educated for Matabele warriors; and in this way, with forty warriors, a kingdom has been established which at present extends between the Limpopo and the Zambesi, and is about 450 miles broad from the south to the north. To the east of this country, the richest country in the whole of South Africa, lies the Mashona country, a land where the natives cultivated cotton and rice for many years, and which is also rich in alluvial gold. But we never could explore it to any extent worth speaking of; the king of the Matabele would never allow, excepting to a very few, explorers and white traders to go into those parts, he was frightened that we should. He is continually at war, and every year sends two or three of his regiments to rob and kill the Mashonas, and to bring guns into the Mashona country would make them become strong enough to oppose his depredatory incursions which he every year makes into that country. But I believe at the present moment the situation is changed a little. It was about three years ago, when a certain number of Dutchmen who left the Transvaal, and who were going into the Damara country to establish a new republic, intended to take possession of the Matabele-land, that I saw an opportunity to get permission of a free access to the Mashonas. The Matabele king, La-Bengula, asked our Government to restrain the Dutch to come into his kingdom, and so I thought if we could prevent them from their intention, the king would do our wishes regarding Mashona-land. But the Dutch changed their opinion, and did not go to the Matabale country, but into the Damara country, and since then we have lost every hope of doing trade with that country. But lately, since the affairs in Zululand, the king has changed a great deal his opinion of us. He is once more willing to hear our sound words of reason, and I believe, under present circumstances, we gained so much esteem in Gubuluvajo (the king’s residence) that when requested the king would not stop our going in and our trading with the Mashonas, and our cultivation of that part of South Africa also, as he knows we do not bring in any more guns and shooting material amongst the tribes.
This is only a very rough sketch—(cheers)—and I feel sorry to say that I am unable to express myself as I wish to do. During my stay in South Africa I have been so busy amongst the natives that I have not had the opportunity to acquire the English language in such a way as to deliver a proper lecture. (“No, no.”) Therefore I must be pardoned for many mistakes made during this lecture. I wished very much to make good use of all the influence I could amongst the chiefs, as I went amongst them as their friend. I went amongst them as a medical man; I did not go as a missionary, nor as a trader. I went to help them, and in that way I had opportunities of observing in every way those tribes, and, having their confidence, I often saw behind the curtain. I gained the knowledge that we can put all our confidence in most of the Bechuana tribes and most of the Bechuana chiefs between the Waal river and the Zambesi. They are one race, but different tribes, with regard to their mental capabilities, their customs, &c. Mankwenune, the chief of the Batlapins, proved a man to whom we can not well trust; but through recent events he has become a better man. Another chief, Montzua, is a man whom we can trust in every way; to a certain extent, to King Katsitsine. Lechel, the King of the Bakwena, is the same man whom Livingstone mentioned in his book; but he is a Tartuffe. I perceived this when I made his acquaintance on the first occasion, and when I saw him I was impressed with the idea that he was a man whom we could not depend on. But when he talks to you, please do not believe one word in ten. I will mention only one circumstance when I saw him. When I was introduced to him he paid me a very nice compliment, and I was very astonished, I had never heard anything similar of a chief before; but when at the same moment he paid me the compliment he was talking to his officer, and with his right eye he was making fun of me. So I was careful about him. That man lives in a villa similar to one of our villas here. If a traveller came and saw him, he invites him to tea, and he has a silver service in which he takes tea. When he invited me to take tea with him, the King sat at the head of the table, to his left sat his Queen, and next to him two missionaries (Rev. Price and Rev. Williams), and I was third on the right. He was talking to these two gentlemen, who were translating to him, and he asked me about my home. I told him I was an Austrian, and he would not believe this; natives only know two nations, the Dutch and English. If I said I was an Austrian that could not be. If I had said a Frenchman or Italian—no, he said, I must be an Englishman or a Dutchman. I remember when a boy of thirteen, reading a story of him in Livingstone’s book, which I told him I had done, and added that I never thought when reading the story of him that I should ever have the pleasure of meeting him; and I observed that the Queen did not find a great interest in our talk, for she was a little dozing. At the moment when I told him her Majesty came so deep down with her head that she nearly touched her cup, and the King answered me at once and raised his eyes towards the ceiling, and said, “The ways of Providence are wonderful,”—and at the same moment he gave the Queen to understand below the table with his foot that it was not good breeding to sleep in the presence of strangers; but he did it in such a gentle manner that she nearly fell down on the table. He did that when he told me “The ways of Providence are wonderful.” (Laughter.) So that during the war between Khama and the present ruler—who, I may mention, is one of the best rulers we find in the interior—when he was at war with his cruel father, Sekhomo, Sechele sent 2,000 of his warriors against Khama to Sekhomo, and when engaged in fight with him sent messengers to Khama. He can send a good many warriors also to him, if he would give him many head of cattle, and ivory and feathers. My idea is that, as we have to deal with peaceful natives who were peaceful, only a few of them became high spirited since they got guns, but who are obliged now again to take to their old more peaceful habits and become in reality peaceful people, and as thus our way into the interior leads through peaceful people, this is one of the good reasons for opening up Central Africa from the south. If we consider the east coast, our way leads through tribes of whom we do not know how they will behave; if they see large quantities of European goods pass through their territories into the interior they become jealous, and the consequence of it will be that they kill our traders, and, shortly, we have no guarantee that the native tribes therein will behave friendly for the future, as we have it among the Bechuanas more than among any other tribes in South Africa. Besides this, there is another obstruction. My experience tells me that on the East and West coast malaria fever is so bad that it kills 50 per cent. of all white men that come there; but my experience between the Waal River and the Zambesi is that malaria kills 8 to 5 per cent. of those who go there. That is a great difference. This part is more healthy. Undisputably the access from the south is yet the healthiest way into the heart of Africa. Mashona country, the most fertile part of South Africa, is unhealthy, but the neighbouring Matabele land is very healthy. We can trade and cultivate in the former there for months, and we can live in the latter during the unhealthy season. There are more reasons which make me believe that really the south is the proper way to come into the interior, and not by the other routes. We go also into the interior through our Colonies; the money spent for the great enterprise to open Central Africa benefits your brethren; gentlemen, not so in your trial from the East. Only the chiefs living on the East coast get the benefit (and also along the West coast), and natives who never have been and never will be so friendly to you like the Bechuanas in Central South Africa. These chiefs on the East coast are at first willing when ivory is plentiful in their lands, and as long as they can buy lots of our goods; but when they have killed their last elephant and have nothing more to build with and deal with, and they see our traders going into the interior with waggons and waggons of goods, they become jealous, and we have no guarantee that these chiefs will be reliable. I went up the Zambesi River, and I believe it will facilitate our trade towards the north-west. Then remember that our waggons can now already penetrate up to fifteen miles to the Zambesi and Tshobe junction; we are thus already at the heart of Africa, and are on the demarcation line of Central Africa from the Zambesi valley (right and left of the Victoria Falls); we can then open several trading stations. But how to keep open communications between the Colonies and the Zambesi? I would propose that in these different Bechuana native kingdoms small Colonies should be established. I do not say that I would like to take possession of these native kingdoms, not at all; we leave them as they are, entirely at their liberty; but I am sure of it that they will have nothing to say against it. If I go to-day to Montsua and say, “You cannot get more guns, but you are anxious to get possession of all the other things of the white man , for which your heart has taken fancy , therefore, you must produce a hundred times more corn and mealies than you do now. I know parts in your countries which are fertile, but which are not considered so. But I will send you ten or twenty white men who will teach you agriculture. You grant them land and leave them peacefully,” &c. In that way I believe the natives would reap great benefit from the white man, and vice versâ, and I am sure that there are many hundreds of families to be found who like to work—not emigrants or adventurers who only go in to enrich themselves within a few years, and such men are not the proper men to establish small Colonies in these kingdoms, and those colonists would form a kind of chain between our Colonies and the interior of Africa. It would be a kind of resting-place when the traders go in, which they have not at present; and when they go in they have simply to die, and often to suffer the greatest hardship. All these difficulties would be met if there were resting stations; and in the same way I believe that if the question could be put to Zubago, with regard to opening up Central Africa, and if we could get a footing in the Mashona country, I believe the present ruler of the Matabele would take it into consideration, and would not cause so many troubles as he has done. The Matabele do not care for agriculture, but only for fighting; but when they see all these nations around them enriched through agriculture and united by their peaceful operations, they (I believe) will give way to better intentions, and improve gradually, the more as the warlike spirit of the Zulu Matebele has suffered the greatest defeat through the subjugation of the Zulus. I would advise for only gaining this to hold a meeting of the chiefs of the different countries, and bringing this matter before them. I believe that they would assemble. I believe that, in a few years to come, we might see these lot of men living between the Vaal and the Zambesi—a lot of good husbandry men, who would supply the civilised parts of Africa with the necessary quantity of grain and other necessary products. During late years we were obliged to import grain. Now , if these natives, of whom thousands at the present moment only await the opportunity, were to take to agriculture, we could, I suppose, export in a few years grain, cotton, rice; instead of importing them, and I believe that in another way we would again benefit these Colonies. Besides these, I observe that agriculture exercises a beneficial and great influence upon all the tribes—if we mention only one, it improves the position of the women among those tribes. Among the Bechuanas we find the following. A man marries two or three wives, only for the reason that they should work for him, and he should do nothing. Among the Matabele a woman is not considered as a human being, and she is not allowed to talk in the presence of the men. But among the Marutse a woman is esteemed, and we find that most of the rulers are queens, and not kings. (Hear, hear.) But, with regard to husbandry, which we should introduce to the Bechuanas, this would change the position of the women in this way. The men do not allow the women to touch the ploughs. He himself says that is his work—(cheers)—and I observed the proof of it in one town, the inhabitants of which are the subjects of the Transvaal Colony, called Linokana, where there are about 800 male adults. They have about 200 ploughs. A man goes out every year and sees the new imports, and increases the value of his property, and the woman dresses in European clothes. She fetches the wood to build a hut, &c., and does small work; but the man takes to the plough, looks after the cattle, and does the heaviest work. And I am sure, as I know the Bechuanas, that they all will become as such. Now, the single town of 800 adults or that, produces several thousands of bags of Indian corn, which they bring round to the Diamond Fields for sale, but between the Zambesi and the Waal River numerous such towns exist. The quantity of corn which they could produce would be enormous. Very often the natives have built towns in the wrong places, where water is scarce. But it is only simply necessary for a man to go and say, “We will build our houses here.” They build a house made of bushes, clay, and grass, in two days. They can move their towns, and in this way, I believe, for I saw the town of Shesheke, a town with 2,000 houses, built up in two months. It was burnt down in 1875, and it was built up in the months of October and November, so that the changing of a residence among the South African tribes is not a great difficulty for them—excepting for those who commence to imitate our houses; but they, again, have generally built these where water is plentiful, and land-cultivation has been started in the true sense of the word. Like the Baharutse in Linokana, like the Batlapins at Kuruman, and the Barolongs at Molemas Town, I believe that all the tribes can become agriculturists, and some planters of valuable tropical produce; and if we take the matter up and see, we come always to the same conclusion, that we could not wish better than the above measures taken, that no guns or shooting material should be brought into those parts. These are only a few words, and certainly a great deal remains to be done yet. These are only a few outlines. I could not mention it in a different way, only as a rough sketch. But all these points that I mention to-day, they can so be deferred, if wished for, to another occasion; and I hope in about ten months to have done all the work which I intend to do in Europe, and resume my explorations further into the interior. And I shall go with the greatest pleasure, as I know the chiefs, and will do my best to bring those plans which I explain to-day into execution, (Loud cheers.)
Sir Rutherford Alcock, K. C. B.: My lord duke, ladies, and gentlemen,—I really have no pretensions to speak on this matter of South Africa from any intimate knowledge of the circumstances, nor from any personal observation, as some gentlemen here have; but I have had the pleasure of some conversation with Dr. Holub, and I have been impressed by the intelligence, and the single heartedness, and entire disinterestedness with which he has devoted many years of his life to this task of exploration, without the slightest assistance from any Government or public body. (Hear, hear.) He is a medical man, and in the practice of his profession. When he had realised a certain sum, he went on to that for which he had a decided vocation—exploration among the African tribes; and when his health or his resources failed him, he turned back to one of the Colonies and practised again until he got together sufficient funds to recommence his work. I do not know another instance in the history of explorations in which there has been such abnegation and self-denial in the work. (Hear, hear.) I think for that reason , Dr. Holub—who made some apologies for his English, which were totally unnecessary, for I wish all Englishmen could speak foreign languages as well as he, a native of Bohemia, speaks and writes—(hear, hear)—I think that he has shown us an example that any of us may be proud to follow. His disinterested course of explorations, ably and energetically prosecuted, with no other view than that of extending our knowledge and improving the condition of these tribes in South Africa, is worthy of great praise, and for that reason I am glad to say a few words on the subject. (Hear, hear.) He has travelled over so wide a field this evening, as previously on foot during his years of travel, that it is very difficult to make any brief observations calculated to cover the ground which he has traversed. But I have been struck by two or three points on which he has dwelt more especially. And, first, in reference to the geographical and physical features of the territory in South Africa. I have been more accustomed to consider these in their bearing on exploration and its difficulties. But Dr. Holub has taken for his guide the description of the country traversed as suggested by the occupation of different tribes and the products they could supply for commerce as cultivators of the soil, which is a useful and novel mode of regarding the country between our Colonies and the Waal and the Zambesi. He has drawn our attention to this chiefly this evening. He has not dwelt upon the great desert which borders on the western side, but has opened to us an entirely new view as to the facilities for exploration in these regions, and as to the best means of penetrating into Central Africa from the south. When Stanley was in this country I had some opportunity of discussing with him the best mode of opening Central Africa, and he was strong in the opinion that the best mode of penetrating the great continent was from the West coast. On the other hand, the tendency of the Geographical Society and many interested in the question has been to believe that the East coast supplies the best starting-point, although there is certainly a coast district, some 150 miles in width, which is beset with fevers and many other difficulties to be overcome. The best road towards the great central lakes, and that which gives us the best hope of ultimate success in gaining access to the land and the people, for the purposes of commerce and civilisation together throughout the whole of Central Africa, is a problem of great interest and importance. I think in reference to this and other subjects Dr. Holub has this evening brought before us many observations which must impress us with their importance. And as to the facility with which, through these agricultural races and the chiefs of the Basuto tribes, we may penetrate more readily into Central Africa from the Zambesi than we can from the East or West coast, his views deserve careful consideration. (Hear, hear.) At all events, it is an important view which he has laid before us—and with a great deal of personal experience—and I am sure it will meet with due attention from those interested in the progress of civilisation in Central Africa. (Hear, hear.) I have no pretension to take up the time of this Society by any lengthened observations on the subject. Dr. Holub has himself entered fully into the grounds for his suggestions that endeavours should be made to advance through the districts and regions occupied by agricultural races—races given to agriculture rather than war—and not to conclude, as our late experience of the Zulu and other kindred tribes would rather tend to make us believe, that all Africans were so addicted. We are glad to learn on such good authority that many tribes exist in South Africa inclined to settled pursuits of agriculture, and the possibility, with their consent and concurrence, of forming certain stations in their midst that would form points in which in any attempts to push commerce through to the Zambesi there would be means of assistance and information for all who might seek such aid. That is, in effect, what the King of the Belgians is now attempting to do with such munificent spirit in a line across Central Africa; with an unstinted expenditure of money and earnest efforts, he is endeavouring to establish a chain of permanent stations from the East coast to the West, and from the Congo to Zanzibar, to act as places of refuge for travellers, whether geographers, merchants, or missionaries, and supply the means of restoring their energies when exhausted by long and toilsome explorations or travels, places of rest and of safety to all attempting to traverse the great continent of Africa. And although we have been told that it is desirable to consult large maps for political reasons—and we have got a very fairly large one here this evening—yet even this, I believe, gives no adequate idea to the mind at first of the distances which separate one point from another, or the vast spaces to be traversed over on foot for the most part. But when we talk of explorers going across Africa, it is thousands of miles we are contemplating. And as to any advance from these southern Colonies of ours up to the Zambesi river, there are spaces as large as European kingdoms to pass through that are covered with tribes of savages, not always safe to deal with, to be constantly borne in mind if we would judge rightly of the efforts required to extend commerce or civilisation among the native tribes. (Hear, hear.) I will not take up further time of this meeting in reference to the chief points which struck me as Dr. Holub proceeded. I hope he is right, and that by the encouragement of these agricultural tribes we may improve the condition of their women. I am sure there will not be any real improvement in the civilisation of these tribes until they give to women their proper place as helpmates, and not as slaves. One of the blessings which Christianity brought with it has been the elevation of womankind to the same position as men, and with equal claims under the same dispensation. (Hear, hear.) I confess I am not so sanguine as he is as to the time this revolution may take. I am old enough to remember the time when, in passing through France, I have seen a woman and a donkey yoked to the plough together which the man was guiding. If this division of labour could exist in a Christian country in the nineteenth century, we must not be too impatient with the Africans. No doubt such drudgery no longer exists in France or elsewhere in Europe in these enlightened days, and we may perhaps hope that the progress of civilisation and of agriculture and commerce may make more rapid strides than heretofore, and have the effect, with the aid of Christianity, of giving women their proper place; and I am sure that the men will never be either Christianised or civilised until this is so. (Hear, hear.) We are much indebted to Dr. Holub for the interesting information he has given on the many points connected with South Africa and its inhabitants, among whom he has dwelt so many years. While as to the extension of commerce and the best mode of approaching Central Africa and making progress by the arts of peace instead of war, all that he has said is deserving of the attention of this Society; and I congratulate Dr. Holub on the effective manner in which he has brought the subject before us. (Cheers.)
Col. C. Warren, R.E., C.M.G. (Administrator of Griqualand West): I have great pleasure in being able to bear testimony to the good work Dr. Holub has done in South Africa, and of the good will he has obtained at the hands of the people, both white and native. I know personally that, although a poor man, he has, through his constant perseverance and exertions, gained his valuable information and experience which is now laid before you. I know that frequently while he has been in South Africa he has been obliged to stay at various towns, and practice as a physician, in order to obtain sufficient money to proceed. It was mentioned just now that it was from his superfluities he was able to do this work; but I can assure you he had a hard task, and had to make the money as a physician, and then with that money go into the interior and come back penniless. I quite concur with Dr. Holub in thinking that the Kalahari Desert is no desert at all. I have been through a portion of it, and it is a plain covered with beautiful grass at certain seasons of the year. There is no doubt that there is water to be found over great portions of it; but the natives are in the habit of closing up any springs that exist, and keeping a few only here and there, so that they may the more readily be able to kill the game when they come to water. Very few Europeans have entered the Kalahari Desert, and little is known of it; but I have no doubt of it myself, that in the future it is the site of valuable sheep farms. Recently the absence of gunpowder among the natives has made a very great change in their midst, and during the last two years ostriches have increased to a great extent in the Kalahari, and one or two enter prising people about Griqualand West have proposed, that instead of sending out to kill the ostriches, they should in future capture the young ones, and bring them in and herd them among the villages of Griqualand. If that is done, a most valuable industry will be created among the natives themselves. (Hear, hear.) To give you some idea of the way in which agriculture is carried on among the natives at the present time, I may mention that at one station alone in Griqualand West, towards the north, they were selling at the rate of one plough a day. The Bechuanas have been mentioned as being among the uncivilised races, but they have very far advanced towards civilisation. They have among them a Raad, whom the chiefs consult, in fact, something like a small House of Parliament, with each tribe; and I am under the impression that the Bechuanas would be the first native race to be thoroughly civilised, and that they have advanced greatly towards that end. (Cheers.) The matter which strikes one at first in visiting South Africa is the entire absence of manufactures among the natives; but that manufactures can be introduced I think there is no doubt. It is only necessary to look at the beautiful way in which the skins are sewn together to show the power of the natives in that direction, and those skins are sewn for the most part by the men. Also, if you examine the spears, and the assegais and other articles, you will see the workmanship is very beautiful, so that there is no doubt whatever that if the native races are induced to acquire the luxuries which to a great extent are the causes of manufactures among white people, that there will be a great trade in the future in the northern parts of South Africa. I can endorse what has been said with regard to the question of ploughs and the women, because I remember in one case where after the war the natives were transferred to another part of the country, they had no ploughs, and they were in great difficulty because the women refused to go into the fields to hoe the ground, having been accustomed so long to sit at home and let the men use the ploughs, and the men thought it degrading to go out, and I at last had to get some ploughs, so as to make a commencement, for I was afraid there would be a famine among them during the ensuing year. No doubt a vast change is taking place among the natives as to the treatment of women, and I ascribe this in a great measure to the good work that has been done by missionaries out there. The Rev. John Mackenzie has taught a large number of natives—I believe Khama was one of his pupils—and he has, through his care, elevated the minds of many of the higher class of natives, and induced them to copy the better virtues of the white people. I have no doubt whatever that when this war is over—this war epidemic which has spread like a contagious disease over the fair land of South Africa—that a new spirit will be invoked among the people. The natives are quite changing in many respects since the war, they are taking to agricultural pursuits, and I have little doubt that after it is over trade will be much developed in the northern portion of South Africa, especially in Bechuana land. (Applause.)
Mr. John Paterson, M.L.A., Cape Colony: I had great pleasure in meeting Dr. Holub at Cape Town, where I enjoyed half an hour’s interview with him. It was one of the most interesting interviews I have ever had with any individual. He then related to me his experiences of his travels in such a graphic way that one could sea the objects before him through which he had passed, and the class of people among whom he had mixed. I certainly thought, as I then listened to him, that he had the material in him of what we call a traveller in the best sense of the term. He was self denying, full of life, strong and healthy, and capable of going through any amount of hardship and trial, and I trust his life will long be spared to carry out what he seems to have made the purpose of his life, and if so, then I am sure he will be one of the most distinguished travellers we have ever had in South Africa. (Hear, hear.) But I came here myself to-night to hear a little more about Cape Colonial progress than he has given, for I knew that Dr. Holub was a very close observer, and I desired to hear his impressions of Cape Colony itself and its people. However, he has travelled over so much ground in his other experiences in Southern Africa, that one is surprised that he has been able in the short space of an hour to go over so much description as he has done, and throughout be able to make us realise what he has seen and what he has done. On the great work of progress going on silently but steadily in South Africa, I agree with him. Nay, I go further than he does, and add that that progress is more rapid and thorough than he has sketched it, extending from the British Colonies up to as far as Zanzibar and beyond. And if I should not be wearying this assembly, I would give some illustrations in argument for this view, derived from my own long experience of South Africa itself. Twenty years ago, for instance, I came home from that Colony, and the steamer service then was a monthly service performed in vessels of from 500 to 700 tons. At the present time there are two steamers leaving every week, or eight steamers a month. One of these large steamers of 3,000 to 4,000 tons will carry nearly as much as all the twelve steamers in a year that met all the wants of South Africa twenty years ago. And the progress indicated in that single illustration is something too vast to be explained by the mere doings of the limited European population there; the native populations who are being awakened to the new and better life of industrial occupations, are undoubtedly largely contributory to it, and through their contributions, and through that alone, it is that Cape Colony has thus during the period named outrun in progress any other British Colony perhaps to be named. Colonel Warren has referred to the importation of ploughs into the part of the country where he has been, and he is well acquainted with what is going on in what I may term his own country—namely, Griqualand West; but from what I have witnessed, as one long stationed at what Imay term the great door of entrance to South Africa—I mean Port Elizabeth—I know that other native territories, even yet more than Griqualand, have been going in for the plough, and that to-day the importations of ploughs are in thousands where formerly they were not in hundreds when I first (some thirty years ago) opened up that trade. You cannot travel along a single road into the interior from Port Elizabeth without seeing waggon-load after waggon-load of ploughs destined for native use. (Hear, hear.) What does all that mean? Why, that our colonisation in South Africa is stimulating the whole native populations there into the better life, as I have described it, of industrious, peaceful, prosperous communities. Go not only to the Griquas, but also to the Basutos, and see there in Basutoland ranges of country waving with corn, and to such continuous extent as would astonish even people accustomed to the wide cornfields of the mother-country, and they are increasing the cultured areas day by day. (Hear, hear.) Another illustration of South African progress I will give you. At the present time the customs dues of the Cape Colony alone are at the rate of a million sterling a year. These dues are on an average ten per cent. on the value of the imported goods; and a million a year, therefore, of customs dues you may consider represents roughly importations approaching ten million pounds sterling per annum into Cape Colony alone. Now nine tenths of the whole of those goods come from Great Britain; and the lesson I wish to impress upon the meeting from this fact is, the untold value to the mother-country of our Colonial possessions in the demand which they make for the goods the manufacture of which gives such profitable employment to the teeming myriads of the old country. You have sent to South Africa not a third of a million of Europeans, all told, and these have awakened an industry there which finds the means of paying for nearly ten millions sterling a year on imported goods, and nearly all from England, because, as the Right Hon. Mr. Forster so well said at your last meeting, trade follows the flag. Think what the trade from Britain to the United States would have been to-day if England’s flag had still floated there. Not forty-five millions sterling only, as by last year’s statistics, but many times that amount, judging by the doings of Cape Colony as an importing country. (Hear, hear.) It is this that makes me and other colonists feel so keenly the deprecatory strain in which some would be leaders of public opinion here speak of our Colonial dominions as possessions the growth of which is rather to be checked than encouraged. They tell you that it is as good to have the United States as our own Colonies to which our superabundant population may swarm off. Well, for those who go abroad it may be conceded perhaps that it may be so; but for those who remain behind in the old country it certainly is not so. In Cape Colony, as I have already said, every man, woman, and child—white and black—takes from you ten pounds’ worth of goods, and gives all the employment to your people implied thereby. In the United States all that each man, woman, and child requires there of your goods is only one pound’s worth per head—a very different thing. The Colonies are your strength. They are not your weakening, but your strengthening and your making. They are joined to you by sentimental ties, which wise statesmanship will never seek to disrupt. The strength of that sentimental tie is shown in the language in which every colonist, of whatever national origin, speaks of the old country. He even calls it home, never speaking of it by any other name. It is far different with those who go to the United States. Home is not the endearing term in which they speak most frequently of England. What, then, is the conclusion of all this but that English politicians should learn to cherish our Colonial dominions, and to glory in their extension. When they have ceased to grow and extend, death and decay have begun to attack the Empire nearer the heart thereof than in the distant Colonial possessions. We could not long exist without that free and illimitable field for our enterprising population which our Colonial possessions offer. You have heard of Nihilism in Russia—the worship of the spirit of destruction which is being set up there. If some great catastrophe were to occur to-morrow by which at one swoop England’s Colonial possessions should all be cut off from here, and there should be then no longer that free field for her superabundant population to swarm off to, I fear that the spirit of Nihilism—the spirit of destruction —would soon be invoked here, too, by our discontented, suffering, over-crowded classes; and is that an issue which those who rant against Colonial growth and Colonial extension desire to see brought about? (Hear, hear.) I believe that nothing tends so much to keep our people so contented with their situation as they are as the free field offered to all its adventurous spirits in our wide Colonial dominions. (Hear, hear.) I will add another reflection here. Not merely does the colonist become the best of all consumers for the productions of the old country, and thereby add to the general wealth and well-being of the population he has left behind him when he has gone abroad, but he becomes to his own particular circle of relatives and friends the helping brother, the helping relative, the helping friend, and his whole connection feels itself rising with his success and his rise. This I have witnessed in South Africa to a most wonderful and pleasing extent, how from one solitary member of a family who has gone abroad to the Cape there has been diffused, from his success, through his whole family connection, improved well-being, new hopes, higher aspirations, and the whole family has risen, not merely in what may be named comfort, but even in habit and character as well. Is not that worth taking into account when the Colonial question is being discussed? (Hear, hear.) But I have gone away from the subject of this evening’s discussion; yet things were uttered by the lecturer suggestive of these reflections in the great work of progress referred to by him as at present going on and to be greatly stimulated among the population of South Africa. (Hear, hear.) We have now passed through there, what Colonel Warren has so well described as the war epidemic, and with the convalescence of peace, it is well to dwell a little on the hopes for the old country which a period of healthy development of the teeming resources of South Africa may bring to its people. The home people with the colonists will share in the advantages. Great things are yet to be done in South Africa. Its native populations, although spoken of here as only a race of Savages, have many estimable qualities in their nature. They are in many respects most trustworthy. Their very devotion. to their chiefs, which in past times has given us so much trouble, is but one of the many forms of faithfulness which it is customary to admire; and business men of South Africa will all join with me in testifying to the trustworthiness with which a very useful class of natives—I mean Kafir and Fingo waggoners—carry goods for merchants any distance. During the many years I have been connected with South Africa, I do not remember but one case of a native carrier who ever made away with a single package of goods entrusted to his charge; and yet these native transport-riders convey many hundreds of thousands of value of goods every year from Port Elizabeth into far interior towns. The native may not be able to sign his name for receipt of the goods; you may feel, as you are loading up your goods with him, that if he made away with them you would not be able to recognise him from any other native, so like do they all seem to one another; but his trustworthiness as a carrier is so established by long experience that, without misgiving, you entrust to him your goods, and if he has to carry them many hundreds of miles, in due course they are all honestly and faithfully delivered. With such a native population there is something to be done—much to be done—and surely Dr. Holub this evening has not over-painted the development and progress which may be predicated of South Africa in the future. I individually thank him very much for his interesting sketch given to us this evening, and I am sure I am right in assuming that all here will join with me in our warmest acknowledgments for his admirable paper, and in wishing him God-speed in the good work to which he has shown us this evening he is desirous of consecrating his life. (Hear, hear, and cheers.)
Mr. J. L. Bradfield, M.L.A., Cape Colony: At this late hour of the evening I should be consulting the convenience of this assembly by making my observations as brief as possible. I quite believe that the scheme propounded by the lecturer this evening is fairly practicable now, and that a few years ago such an idea would have been regarded as almost insane; but since we have seen the wonderful progress made at the Diamond Fields, and the progress and civilisation extended by that means, I think we can come to that conclusion safely.
Dr. Charles Gordon: I shall make my address very brief. Dr. Holub has stated that during the last two years, owing to a law having been passed to prevent guns, arms, powder, and ammunition being imported into the interior of South Africa, great benefit has been done to the country and the people. Perhaps, not having resided long in the country, he may not know, too, that there were laws previous to that time prohibiting the natives receiving arms and ammunition. I do not know the laws of Cape Colony, but I give it the credit of having passed a law to prevent the introduction of arms and ammunition; as also other States of South Africa, including the Orange Free State, the Transvaal, Natal, and others, many years ago. It is to be regretted that during the years 1870, 1871, and 1872, those laws were very much relaxed, in what manner I cannot say; but there is no doubt that an immense number of guns and munitions of war were introduced into the interior of Africa. What I wish to state more especially is, that there were States which had these laws altered during those years, in which it was a very profitable thing to sell guns and ammunition in the interior of Africa. The Orange Free State resisted the introduction of arms and ammunition. Questions arose between the Transvaal and the Orange Free State on account of the introduction of arms, and the Natal Government steadily resisted during those years, and up to the present day, the introduction of arms for any other purpose than for the use of the white man. I was for many years a resident in Africa, and I have had great pleasure in hearing the lecture of Dr. Holub. A good deal of it has been interesting to me, and I have learnt much that I did not know before. I only hope and trust that Dr. Holub’s health will be such that he may be enabled to do greater work still. (Hear, hear.)
Captain J . C . R . Colomb: One observation I would wish to make with regard to the conclusion to which Dr. Holub has so forcibly drawn your attention to-night, and that is as to the very great apparent advantage that would be gained if his proposals were carried out, and even without further investigation, if they were found to be absolutely correct. It is on broad grounds that I altogether differ from the theory that would suppose British enterprise and industry choosing the eastern coast of Africa as a starting point to open up Africa. My broad grounds are simply these—that I would rather do it from any other point of the coast than from the east coast; for the simple reason that I think we are already hard pressed to get the commerce we already possess through the Suez Canal; and I object to adding to this traffic in times of peace, for the difficulties which it would create in times of war. Therefore I think Dr. Holub’s explorations and the conclusions at which he has arrived are a very material gain to our British possessions, not only with reference to South Africa- for I decline to take in a detailed view of it—but our British possessions as a united Empire. I contend it is of the greatest possible advantage that we should use that base which our fathers have gained for us—the base of the southern extremity of Africa—to open up the central part of that continent. Another remark I would further make is this—that I wish those who have been clamouring during the past year or two for stimulating British progress in South Africa could have heard the lecture to-night—(hear, hear)—because we are accustomed to hear, on the one hand, of magnificent philanthropic schemes of British enterprise being undertaken to civilise all the world, and the same people are too apt when difficult emergencies arise, as they have done in South Africa, to wish to wash their hands of them, or to convert the British Empire into a limited liability company. (Laughter.) Therefore I do hope that the admirable lecture and description we have had to-night will have a very wide circulation, and will not be without its influence when this South African question attracts the attention of what we call the Imperial Parliament—(laughter)—because I think it would open people’s eyes to see that by playing the old English part of a manly, straightforward course of facing our responsibilities, and looking to the future for our reward, we need not be afraid of meeting those responsibilities; and if we do so boldly and courageously, most assuredly we shall get our reward. I trust that this lecture will not be without its influence, and that the future development of the civilisation of South Africa will not be thrown away by the ignorance of the British people at home. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Hutchinson (Church Missionary Society): I feel a great difficulty in following all the subjects touched upon this evening. I came merely to hear Dr. Holub’s lecture with reference to the opening up of Central Africa from the Cape Colony, which he seems to promise as an event of no distant date. I have given a good deal of attention to the best routes for penetrating Central Africa. We have attempted the routes by the Nile and from the East coast, and are hoping to open up a route from the Upper Niger. I listened with great pleasure to the views expressed by Dr. Holub as to the route from the south. But the conclusion I draw is this—that unless under the auspices of such a man as the King of the Belgians, no available route will be established from the Colony to the interior of Central Africa through the Bechuana country, because there is really no long distance traffic that will pay. I gathered from the lecture that the small local traffic had rather fallen off, and also that the Bechuanas were improving their agricultural prospects, and might export grain to the South, taking in return such manufactured goods as they might need. But this exchange would not create long distance traffic from Central Africa, without which this scheme could never be a great highway for reaching the interior of Africa. There is another difficulty in the way, and that is with respect to the Portuguese concession. I suppose that Dr. Holub knows that within the last eighteen months there has been started a large Company in France, to whom the Portuguese Government have given a concession over the forests and mines, extending along the whole course of the Zambesi. I quite agree with what Dr. Holub has said as to the thorough grasp at one time held by Portugal of the continent from Congo to Mozambique. Their records, if we choose to investigate them, show a knowledge of the continent which extends back as far as the year 1591; a knowledge, too, which shows that they thoroughly understood and knew all the geographical features of the continent. Well, the Portuguese holding this strong frontier line, I do not think they will step out of the way to allow the commerce of South Africa to go across their line into the interior. A further difficulty in the way of utilising the route mentioned by Dr. Holub is the most unhealthy and malarious character of the Barotse Valley, which is flooded for half the year. I have always held, and still think, that it is better to say out what one thinks of the prospect of large commercial enterprise in Central Africa. I believe the time is far off when any large amount of new traffic will find its way from the East coast, or by any other route to the interior. I do not think the gentleman who spoke last need fear the Suez being blocked by Manchester goods finding their way into the Canal for Central Africa. I have listened with interest to what has been said as to the progress of the Cape Colony; though I have not been there for some years, I have a sincere interest in the Colony, and I have listened with great pleasure and interest to all that has passed; and particularly do I join in the hope that, along with the gradual expansion and development of traffic, and the gradual growth and consolidation of the Colonial power, there will be the improvement in every way of those tribes of whom Dr. Holub has spoken.
The Noble Chairman: I have now to propose a vote of thanks to Dr. Holub for his interesting lecture.
We all were astonished lately at the energy displayed by a great public man in travelling in very cold weather and making a succession of brilliant orations. We admired his physical powers and his enormous energy; but I think we have here an instance almost as great, for Dr. Holub has come all the way from Prague on purpose to deliver this address. He has left the exhibition of articles which he has brought from Central Africa, and which he is exhibiting there, at which his presence is much desired by the trains-full of people who come to visit it. He has come, at Mr. Young’s request, to address us and give us this most interesting information, and returns to-morrow night to Prague. (Hear , hear.) I think we may admire his energy as much as we have admired Mr. Gladstone’s, and , for my part, I thank him more for it. (Laughter.) Dr. Holub apologised, notwithstanding the able, distinct, and well-arranged speech we have heard, for not talking good English. But I think we should find it difficult to comply with his request for forgiveness, because there is none to be accorded to him in that respect. (Hear, hear.) I am also grateful to him that he, although born an Austrian, should show the sympathy with us and with the British Colonies which he has done in the course of his address ; for he has spoken of our interests and trade as if they were his own. I am proud that British colonists should have been able to earn as much sympathy from one who was not born an Englishman—(cheers)—and I am proud also to hear from him the assurance which he has given of the benefits which British colonisation has been conferring on the natives of Africa. I really was not aware that so much advance had been already made by those natives as appears to be the fact from Dr. Holub’s description. With regard to what Mr. Hutchinson has just said, I should imagine from Dr. Holub’s description, and talking as he did of the power of producing corn and cereals and cotton, that the means of carriage would be so cheap, perhaps on the part of the natives themselves, as to enable those articles to be transported from great distances. But he also mentioned another thing, which led to the occupation and colonisation of California, as we know, and that was gold. Now, if there is any country where there is quartz to the extent of twenty-eight ounces per ton, that must be far richer than any gold district existing in the world. I believe there is no hotter country where there is such a large proportion of gold to the ton of quartz; and that alone, if the country once became open, if gold miners could go there with any facility, would, I think, lead to enormous development of the country. (Hear, hear.) I only hope that Dr. Holub’s most interesting and wise suggestions may on some occasion be carried out, and that he may live to see still further progress on the part of those countries which he has so ably described.
The proposed vote of thanks was passed unanimously to Dr. Holub.
Dr. Holub, in reply, said: I must confess that I really cannot describe my feelings, as your expressions of gratitude have over powered me so for the great and, as I believe, undeserved kindness which you have shown. But before I depart, I think it is my duty to make a few remarks on the suggestions made by Mr. Hutchinson.
I believe it is quite right that every important question should be properly ventilated, and many a suggestion heard and answered. I will answer only with a very few words. First, whether the Portuguese had a right to give away and grant the valley of the Zambesi, as they in reality possess only here and there a fort or an earthwork. On all maps we find the Portuguese territory of great extent; but on many places on the East coast near to Delagoa Bay, the Portuguese power goes no further in the mainland than a bullet goes from the gun. When, about eighteen months ago, the natives around Lorenzo Marques became a little threatening, the Portuguese took refuge on an island. How are they to grant the Zambesi valley, which to nine-tenths belongs to free natives? Yes, to give them away, that the one who has been presented with it had first to fight for it; but that is not my way of colonisation. The colonisation must go in peace forward, and then we shall get strong. Then, with regard to our trade, they ought to suggest to the King of Portugal that these Colonies are useless to Portugal. If those in Portugal would abandon their eastern ports for the benefit of Great Britain, we will promise if we go over the Zambesi not to go over the western bank of it, which would for ever leave the west coast to the Portuguese for their own. If we successfully cross the Zambesi, and again, like under Sepopo, gain the trade with the Marutse, the whole trade of the proper heart of Africa will fall into our hands by itself, our traders and goods being always preferred to those of the Portuguese traders as often as they accidentally come on the same market in South and Central Africa. Look back, gentlemen, at what I have already said; remember Sepopo: he changed his residence to be nearer the English traders, to deal with the English, so that if we bring in the Portuguese they are nowhere. Besides this, remember the whole way of Portuguese trading. I know their mode of trading, and how they bring their goods in, and all that is connected with some of the difficulties of the situation with the natives. They bring in their goods by carriers, and if I can bring about £5,000 worth of goods up with a single waggon into the Marutse empire, the Portuguese trader has to make use of 800 carriers before he can bring the same quantity in those parts; and then easily we may soon compete with him. With regard to the malaria fever, I must say that in October, November, and December there is intermittent dysentery, and in January, February, and March there is malaria fever. I know that fever well; I have been ill for sixteen months with that fever. I was taken ill on December 3rd, and on December 4th one of my canoes, containing my medical things and provisions, capsized, and thus I lost all my medicine. We must take this into consideration; and if we ever penetrate into those parts there are lots of things to be done, and specially two questions must be solved: one is the malaria, and the one of the tsetse secret. I have considered that in these parts it is said that this poisonous fly is the cause of death of our domestic animals. I consider that to be a cause, because only I could not find another cause for their death. I am not sure that I can give you the whole reason which kills the domestic animals, and stops our approach into the interior. We must get at the bottom of this mystery, take it in hand, and to do it in this way, that two very skilful veterinary surgeons from home must be sent out to a spot like Delagoa Bay, and then certain domestic animals must be sacrificed and brought into the stables and in contact with tsetse flies, and in this way we must close the doors and see by observation whether it is poison, and what is the proper medicine to use against animal poisoning. With regard to the second obstacle, the malaria fever, I have another opinion. I would propose that the Government should call a congress of medical men who have had experience about malaria fever from the West Indies, East Indies, and from all parts where malaria fever is so very destructive, and that everyone brings forward his best experience on the subject. They shall sit together to consider the subject in a proper and scientific way, and to ascertain the best possible treatment, which shall be printed in a pamphlet and given to the people in those parts, whom we like to bring into the interior as the pioneers of colonisation. Gentlemen, I repeat, all what I have said is a mere rough outline-sketch; the subject was so large that I was not able to go into details, but every point can be, at any time it pleases you, “in minimum” ventilated. (Loud applause.)