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Sir Hercules Robinson's Policy.

The art of telegraphic misrepresentation (says the Wellington ' Post') seems to be we'll understood at tho Cape. On the 28th April Sir Hercules Robinson was entertained at a farewell banquet at Capo Town, prior to his departure lor England. The gathering was a most representative one, and the proceedings testified to thcGovernor'a great personal popularity. Of course he made a epcech in acknowledging tho toast of his health, and in this speech he entered pretty fully into South African polities. A strangely garbled version of some of his remarks was cabled to England, and created no small sensation there, as they represented Sir Hercules as entertaining republican and disloyal sentiments. Tiicso statements were, of course, re - cabled to the colonies, and both in Australia and New Zealand they created the utmost astonishment, as being apparently quite inconsistent with Sir Hercules ltobiuson's character as it was understood here. The alleged statements were of such a serious character that we believe an oflicial explanation was demanded by the Colonial Oflice. Probably no one was more surprised than Sir Hercules himself at the statements and views attributed to him. Wo have now beforo ua, in tho Cape 'Times' of Ist May, a full report of the Governor's speech. It was, a3 might havo been expected, a very able, one, uud contained nothing whatever objectionable. There was certainly uo tuiut of either disloyalty or republicanism irr it, or the fact would undoubtedly havo been resented by Rear-admiral Wells or Lieutenant-general 11. A. Smytbe, Commander of the Forces in South Africa, both of whom were present aud took part iir the proceedings. Sir Hercules began by giving air emphatic coutradiVtion to tho rumor circulated at Home, that he had nrado a largo fortune by speculations iu diumond shares and gold mining concessions in South Africa. His only transaction of the kind was an early investment, through his banker, iu De Beer's Consolidation Mining shares, which he had bought when low, and which had since yielded about 12 per cent, interest, but ho had neversold a siuglo share or in uuy way speculated or trafficked in them. Ho declined to review tho history of his eight years' administration of tho Cape Government, contenting himself with saying that us the Governor of a self-governing colony he had endeavored to walk within tho lines of the Constitution, while, as Her Majesty's High Commissioner for South Africa, he had, while striving to act with equal justice and consideration to the claims and sensibilities of all classes and races, endeavored at tho same time to establish, on a broad and seoure basis, British authority as the paramount authority iu South Africa. He then went on to use the expressions which were so curioudy twisted and misrepresented by the telegraphic correspondents. Ho said : '' The true British policy for South Africa seems to me to be what may bo termed colonisation through Imperialism—in other words, colonial expansion through Imperial aid, the Home Government doing what tho colonies cannot do for themselves, having constitutionally no authority beyond their borders. There are three competing influences at work in South Africa —they arc Colonialism, Republicanism, and Imperialism. As to the last, it is a diminishing quantity, there being now no permanent place in the future of South Africa for direct Imperial rule on any large scale. With responsible government in tho Cape, with Natal soon likely to attain that status, with tho independent Republics of tho Orange Free State and the Transvaal, and with Germany on tho West Coast and Portugal on the East, the idea of the nermanont presence of the Imperial factor in the interior —of a South African India in the Kalahari—is simply an absurdity, ' Tho GovernorGeneral in Embryo,' of whom we have heard, who is to administer, as in India, a system of personal as distinguished from Parliamentary rule, and round whom the several colonies and States are to rally, will, I venture to think, remain permanently ' in embryo.' All the Imperial Government can do now in South Africa is by means of spheres of influence, protectorates, and Crown colonies, to gradually prepare the way for handing Native territories over to the Cape and Natal, so soon as such transfers can be made with justice to tho Natives and advantage to all concerned." Further on he said :—" There being, then, as I have shown, no longer any permanent place in South Africa for direct Imperial rule, and viewing it simply as an aid to colonial expansion, there remain only the permanently competing influences of colonialism and republicanism. Whether these will always retain as at present their separate organisms, or whether one will, like Aaron's rod, absorb the other, is a problem which I will not attempt to discuss ; but I venture to think that British colonialism is very heavily handicapped in the raco by the well-meant but mistaken interference of irrespousibleand ill-informed persons iu England.—(Cheers.) The tendency of such amateur meddling, to my nrind, is injurious irr the long run to the Natives, whilst it makes every resident in the Republics—English as well as Dutch—rejorco in their independence, and converts many a coloni-t from an Imperialist into a Republican." Sir Hercules Robinson concluded his ablo and eloquent speech as follows:—"My pen and voico will always bo ready to advocate South Africa being allowed to work out its own political future, unassisted and unhindered by irresponsible Imperial interference from outside ; aud my constant prayer will be that the Almighty will pour down on this country, and upon its generous aud warmhearted inhabitants, an abundant sharo of tho choicest blessings which lie at His right hand." The cheoring with which his word 3 were received was immense, and tho enthusiasm was such that the whole assemblage rose in order to give more emphatic expression to their feelings,

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890618.2.30

Bibliographic details

Sir Hercules Robinson's Policy., Issue 7936, 18 June 1889

Word Count
968

Sir Hercules Robinson's Policy. Issue 7936, 18 June 1889

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