James Stuart.

A history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation online

. (page 14 of 52)
Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 14 of 52)
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and ending on the 12th). As many as three sat at one time.
These included the trial of the induna Mamba, whose
people had recently taken up arms. On Miskofeh, a fine
of 100 head of cattle was imposed by McKenzie, on account
of the offence committed by himself and his tribe. Armed
parties of the tribe had been reported as roaming about
the country, whilst Miskofeli himseK had prepared for
trouble by causing his wives and property to be concealed
in precipices and other inaccessible country.

In view of the fact that this man's tribe was intimately

of Miskofeli if it was true his tribe had armed and, if so, for what reason.
Mr. Gibson had an interview with the Chief near Waterfall on the 14th
February, when Miskofeli denied having armed or that he intended
attacking anyone ; he added that he had duly proclaimed the Act about
the poll tax. The visit, carried out with much tact and discretion,
probablj'^ contributed in no small degree to the result referred to in the

^ Also called Ixopo.

2 A remarkable stampede of about 1,100 horses took place one night
whilst the troops were at the village. Owing to its being cold and rainy,
the animals were driven, with some mules, into a paddock near camp.
The mules later on caused the horses to stampede, when the whole
started galloping wildly, en tnasse, round and roimd in a great circle,
part of whose circumference lay within a few yards of the camp. The
thunder of the rush as each time they swept madly by was positively
deafening, much to the dismay of the reclining warriors. Once or twice
they dashed through the picket lines, compelling the sentries to take
refuge helter-skelter in camp for fear of being trampled to death. Not
imtil dawn did the galloping cease, probably owing to sheer exhaustion.
It was found that many of the animals had severely, and some even
permanently, injured themselves by running into barbed-wire fences
in the dark.


connected with another in East Griqualand, the Governor
requested the Government of the Cape Colony, in the
event of force having to be used, to prevent Natives of the
Cape Colony from entering Natal via Union Bridge
(Umzimkulu) to assist their relatives. The Cape Ministers
took steps at once in the direction indicated.

The Government, as already seen in Colonel Bru-de-
Wold's instructions, had intended that a demonstration
should also be made in the direction of Bulwer, but as
order had been quickly restored there, as well as at
Elandskop, the Commandant decided to keep McKenzie
at Stuartstown, with a view to the column being employed
along the coast between Isipingo and Port Shepstone,
particularly at Dumisa and Umtwalume. The Natives
there had recently got out of control of their respective
Chiefs, or else the Chiefs themselves were pretending to
comply with orders, whilst inciting their men to act with

In Alexandra division, on the coast, Charlie Fynn, a
half-caste and Chief of a large tribe, had, on the 20th
February, come with 1,000 men ostensibly with the
intention of paying the poll tax to the Magistrateat Nelson's
Hotel, Umtwalume. The men were, however, armed with
long sharpened sticks (the ends charred so as to harden
them ) and small shields . They came up , " shouting, gesticu-
lating and prancing," and '' striking blows at an imaginary
enemy." Many, as afterwards transpired, had hidden
assegais at a stream close by. The Magistrate (Mr. J. L.
Ejiight) refused to speak until they had laid down their
arms. They moved back to do this, but only to adopt a
most unusual procedure. Instead of being laid down, the
sticks were stuck into the ground, not simultaneously, but
one by one. Then they sat down. After being addressed
and having the law explained, they shouted defiantly in
one decided voice : " We shall not pay ! " Nor did they
do so, at any rate, not on that occasion. Violent behaviour
was exhibited by several as apart from the mass. One of
the leading indunas, Batimane, amidst a general din,
" pushed forward " and " raved like a madman." He


spat and " foamed at the mouth " as he ranted, " picked
up rubbish from the ground, threw it down in front of,
and swore at, the Magistrate " — signs of the grossest
contempt and insubordination. In the course of his
harangue, he threatened to stab European women and
mutilate them in an especially revolting manner. The
fact that none of those present reproved him, showed they
were either afraid or generally concurred in his conduct.
The whole body then rose, marched off triumphantly, and
presently breaking into a war-song, moved on to their
homes. But for the cool and tactful behaviour of the
Magistrate, a serious disturbance must have arisen.^

In the other division (Lower Umzimkulu), other Chiefs
had neglected to comply with orders to attend at the

Leaving Stuartstown at 10 a.m. on the 13th March,
McKenzie moved towards Umtwalume, the scene of the
threatening behaviour of Fynn's tribe. Marching via
Highflats and Dumisa, the village of Umzinto and seat
of magistracy was reached at 3 p.m. on the 15th. Here,
acting upon the advice of the Magistrate, a Chief Jeke
came to the officer commanding to pay his respects. On
the day following, the force moved to Ifafa ; on the 17th,
it camped in the neighbourhood of Chief Charlie Fynn's
kraal. The Natal Pohce Field Force had been detached
from the column at Stuartstown and sent back to head-
quarters. On the column reaching Alexandra County, it
was reinforced by the Umzinto and Port Shepstone troops,

In obedience to the directions of Government, Fynn,
on the 20th March, went to report himself to McKenzie,
accompanied by about a thousand of his adherents. His
indunas and sub-indunas were then placed under arrest, on
accoimt of the seditious and threatening attitude they
had assumed towards the Magistrate, whilst on the tribe
itself, a fine of 1,500 head of cattle was imposed. The men
were, moreover, ordered to bring in all their lethal weapons

1 The foregoing took place although all the efforts of the Chief
himself were on the side of law and order.


*' The above indaba," ^ says McKenzie, " was carried out
with as much ceremony as possible [in order to impress the
Natives]. . . . Two sides of a triangle were formed, with
guns at either flank, and maxims distributed along the
Knes. I was received with a salute, trumpets sounding and
the Union Jack being broken from a flag-staff."

On the 21st, 300 cattle were brought in by Fynn's tribe,
also some old assegais and guns. The Natives were
warned that severe measures would be taken if the
required cattle were not handed over.

Not wishing to subject Natives more than necessary to
the inconvenience of troops being in their midst, the
Government now instructed the Commandant to arrange
for demobilization as speedily as possible. Colonel
Bru-de-Wold visited Umtwalume on the 26th, when de-
mobilization was ordered to take place on the 30th.

After infliction of the cattle-fine, it transpired that,
with the object of evading payment thereof, numbers of
Natives were secretly removing their cattle into country
on the south of the Umzimkulu river, and there placing
them in the custody of various Chiefs and people. Four
squadrons of mounted troops were accordingly sent to
scour the country and collect and bring in all such cattle
as could be found. Of this force, one squadron N.C was
sent across the Umzumbe river, whilst another (B.M.R.)
proceeded to the top of Mgayi hill. Some 200 cattle and
a number of goats were seized. The full amount of the fine
was subsequently handed over by the tribe.

The troops demobihzed on the day arranged, and
returned by train to their respective homes.

The demonstrations, extending as they had done from
10th February to 30th March, had not, of course, been
arranged on the supposition that all Natives whose loca-
tions were visited were disloyal or disaffected, but seeing
that the people in general had, for some time, been show-
ing symptoms of unrest, notably the tribes of Miskofeli,
Faku, Munyu and Mnyamana in Ixopo division, with
Charlie Fynn, Jeke and others on the coast, it was

^ A Zulu word, meaning here ' affair.'


necessary, after the outbreak at Trewirgie had been dealt
with, to restore pubUe confidence and to prove that the
Government was determined and able to enforce its
requirements. For decb'ning to hand over members of
his tribe (charged with sedition), as well as their assegais,
in addition to gross impertinence to the Officer Command-
ing at Richmond, Mnyamana was deprived of a section
of his tribe. This was thereupon placed under the inde-
pendent control of his head induna.

That the action taken by McKenzie's column during
February and March was necessary, was shown by the
altered demeanour of the tribes concerned, and the
absence of all disorder among them during the later and
more critical stages of the Rebellion. The existence of
martial law and the mihtary demonstrations and opera-
tions that took place may, indeed, have caused hardship
in some cases. Although it was necessary to punish dis-
affected tribes as a body, every precaution was taken to
prevent punishment falling on individuals, unless their
conduct had made it desirable to deal with them apart
from the rest of the tribe.

In a report from Stuartstown, dated 25th February,
McKenzie says : " Great unrest has existed . . . caused
by what the Natives consider to be excessive taxation.
There is no doubt that Chiefs have been communicating
with each other with a view to combination. . . . The
mobihzation of this column, consequent on the attack by
Mjongo's party on the poHce (which appears to have been
premature, from the general plan of operations by the
disaffected Natives), has undoubtedly upset the scheme
which was hatching."

After McKenzie left Trewirgie for Richmond, Mveli
continued, as directed, to search the Enon and other
forests for the murderers of Hunt and Armstrong. Some
of the rebels were traced to a thick bush some five miles
from Nel's Rust. Here, strange to say, they, though
greatly outnumbered, made a sortie on MveH's force, when
one of their number, Mjongo, used a rifle with expanding
bullets. Five of Mveli 's force were wounded. The rebels


were driven back into the bush, where three were subse-
quently killed and eight taken prisoners. Among the
latter was Mjongo himself. He had been severely wounded.
Before the sortie was made, Mveli applied to be reinforced
by European troops. Thirty-five European police were
accordingly dispatched from Pietermaritzburg, with a
company of N.R.R. from Richmond. The troops, how-
ever, arrived too late for the fight, though they helped
to surround the bush. Another party of rebels, located
at New Leeds, close to Thorn ville Junction, was also

In recognition of the good services performed by Mveli,
he and twenty of his principal followers were presented
to the Duke of Connaught, His Royal Highness having
arrived at Durban in H.M.S. " Terpsichore " on a visit to
South Africa, on the 21st of the same month.

By the 2nd March the result was that, with the excep-
tion of three men (one of whom was wounded), the whole
of the original party that attacked the police had been
accounted for.

Reference has already been made to the defiance of the
Magistrate, Mapumulo (Mr. R. E. Dunn), by Ngobizembe
and three other Chiefs and their followers. These inci-
dents occurred before that of Trewirgie, though they
were not of so pressing a character. But, being neverthe-
less serious, the Government was determined they should
not be overlooked, particularly as these Chiefs and their
tribes were evidently on the verge of rebelhon. When
McKenzie, therefore, had operated at Trewirgie, and
subsequently marched without untoward incident as far
as Ixopo, it was decided to mobilize a second column to
deal with the Chiefs and people referred to. The additional
forces, which were mobilized on the 24th February, con-
sisted of U.M.R., 250 (Colonel G. Leuchars, C.M.G.) :
N.M.R., 280 (Lieut.-Col. H. Sparks) ; N.N.C., 100
(Commander F. Hoare) ; A Battery, N.F.A. (Major C.
Wilson) ; and two companies, D.L.I. (Lieut.-Col. J. Dick).
The column was placed under the command of Colonel


Leuchars.i The immediate object in view was to support
the Magistrate whilst dealing, under the ordinary law,
with those who had threatened him. In the event of the
offenders not being speedily brought in by their Chief, they
were to be arrested and brought to the Magistrate for trial.

It was further arranged that Mr. (now Sir) C. R.
Saunders, K.C.M.G., Commissioner for Native Affairs in
Zululand, should organize and send across the Tugela to
Mapumulo a strong contingent of Zulus under the com-
mand of European officers. Such assistance appeared
necessary, because of the difficult country in which the
Natives in question were living. This action was deter-
mined on in consequence of Mr. Saunders' contention
that the unrest was practically confined to the Natal
Natives. " So certain are Ministers," observes Sir Henry
McCallum, '' that Zulus are to be trusted at this juncture,
that they have made arrangements with Mr. Saunders for
him to raise at once an impi of 2,000 Zulus under European
command to assist, if necessary, the field force (Mapu-
mulo). ..." 2

Another portion of Leuchars' column was to con-
sist of about 300 Christian Native Scouts, recruited from
Edendale and other parts of the Colony.

The impi referred to above was to be raised from Eshowe
district, which is largely adjacent to that of Mapumulo.
The Commissioner issued the order for those concerned to
get ready, but, on the Commandant requesting and sub-
sequently urging that the impi be sent, he was informed
that, as the men objected to taking part against Natal
tribes, they would have to be forced to comply, if

^ This officer's services were as follows :

South African War, 1899-1902 — In command Umvoti Mounted Rifles.
Operations in Natal, 1899; Relief of Ladysmith, including operations
on Tugela Heights ; operations in Natal, March to Jime, 1900, including
action at Laing's Nek ; operations m the Transvaal, east of Pretoria,
July to October, 1900 ; operations on the Zululand Frontier of Natal,
September and October, 1901.

Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. Queen's medal with
four clasps. King's medal with two clasps. C.M.G.

The Official Army List, 1911. War Office. Wyman «fc Sons, Ltd.,
Fetter Lane, London, E.G.

2 Cd. 2905,'p. 20.


particularly required. As resort to compulsion at such
a time might easily have compHcated an already difficult
situation, the Commandant decided to do without the
men, and advised Leuchars accordingly.

Leuchars' column converged simultaneously on Mapu-
mulo magistracy from Greytown and Stanger. Ngobi-
zembe was ordered by Leuchars, acting on behalf of the
Supreme Chief, to appear before him, accompanied by
those members of his tribe who had treated the Magistrate
with defiance. Delay ensued. On the 2nd March, an
ultimatum was sent intimating that, if the offenders were
not dehvered by 10 a.m. on the 5th, summary punishment
would be inflicted on the tribe. The warning was prac-
tically ignored. Instead of 300, only 20 of the offenders
were dehvered. Leuchars thereupon moved out, shortly
before 11 a.m., with a portion of his force, leaving Dick
within the grounds of the Residency. To begin with, he
caused the Chief's kraal to be destroyed, which was done
by sheU-fire at a range of about two thousand yards, —
after the women and children had been removed to a place
of safety. The mere sound of the guns in a part of the
country never visited by artillery before, as well as the
act of setting the straw huts ablaze at such a distance,
greatly impressed the aborigines, as, indeed, it did the
Europeans. Ngobizembe shortly afterwards surrendered,
together with a large number of the tribe. After being
tried, he was deposed and sent to live in Zululand, over
100 miles from his former ward. A fine of 1,200 head of
cattle and 3,500 sheep and goats was, moreover, imposed
on him and his tribe for the offence committed, as well as
for faihng to hand over the offenders.^ It became neces-
sary for the troops to levy the amount of the fine. As a
result of the firm action taken by Leuchars, a number of
other offenders required of the Chiefs Meseni and Swaimana
were brought in.

1 General authority to administer martial law had, as in the case of
McKenzie, been specially delegated to Leuchars by the Commandant.
The latter had, in his turn, been deputed by the Governor to administer
it. At a later date, the Governor decided to reserve to himself exercise
of the authority granted to the Commandant.


On the 16th, the column was demobilized, except a few
men required for guarding the magistracy, until the 100
Zululand Native Police, then being re-enlisted, could
relieve them.

Prisoners that had been arrested by McKenzie's and
Leuchars' columns were tried by courts-martial appointed
by the respective commanding officers. It was not in
every case that the Commandant, with whom the necessary
authority lay, felt able to confirm the sentences. At such
a time, perhaps, it was not unnatural that the mihtary
ofiicers, swayed by local and not unbiassed feehng, should
have been led away by evidence which, though incrimina-
ting, would in any ordinary court of law have been regarded
as insufficient to secure conviction and, even if sufficient, it
still remained to weigh carefully the degree of punishment
to be awarded. A case of this kind arose at Ixopo, the
sentences in which, on review, the Commandant found
himself unable to confirm as they stood. His decision, as
a matter of fact justifiable from every point of view,
excited surprise and even resentment in the troops who,
for a moment, had overlooked the fact that they were in
the field to carry out orders, not to question the adequacy
or otherwise of action taken by their superiors. Responsi-
bility for the peace of the country rested, not on their
shoulders, but on those of the Government.

Subsequent to the arrest of the Christian Natives who
had murdered Hunt and Armstrong, and to whom belongs
the unenviable distinction of having started the Rebellion,
and started it prematurely, a general court-martial was
appointed to try them. The officers selected were :
Lieut.-Col. J. Weighton, N.C., President ; Lieut.-Col. A.
Hair, N.C.; Major W. Knott, Militia Reserves ; Captain
H. A. Capstick, N.R.R. ; and Captain H. L. Pybus, N.F.A.
The venue was Richmond. The trial began on the 12th,
and ended on the 19th, March. Twenty-four rebels ^ were

1 One of these was Mjongo, but he was miable to attend, not
having sufficiently recovered from his wounds. He was, however, subse-
quently tried by the Supreme Court, convicted and sentenced to death
by hanging ; the sentence was carried out in September.


arraigned by the prosecutor, Captain J. Eraser, N.R.R.,
on three charges, viz. : (i) public violence ; (ii) murder
and assault with intent to murder ; and (iii) being in arms
against the Government and actively resisting constituted
authority, and aiding and abetting rebels against the
Government. As the accused were undefended, a local
attorney and efficient Zulu linguist, Mr. J. F. Jackson,
was appointed by the Government to protect their
interests. After a long and patient hearing, in which the
strongest evidence was adduced, 17 of the 23 were found
guilty of the first charge, 12 of the second, and 16 of the
last. The 12 found guilty of the second charge were found
guilty of the other two as well. In respect of the murder,
sentence of death was passed ; as to the others, the
sentences were of imprisonment, lashes, and confiscation
of property.

It is somewhat surprising that none of the four
daily newspapers in the Colony arranged for publi-
cation of digests of the evidence in this important
trial. No doubt it was partly owing to this omission
that misunderstanding arose as to the justice of the

The proceedings were submitted for approval. By this
time, however, the Governor had withdrawn the delega-
tion to the Commandant of Militia of authority to confirm
or revise sentences imposed by courts-martial. This with-
drawal had occurred, not because of any dissatisfaction
with the manner in which the Commandant had discharged
the duty, but because there then appeared to be no pressing
necessity for the duty to be exercised otherwise than in
the ordinary way.^

The evidence and proceedings were carefully reviewed
by the Govemor-in-Council. As they appeared to be in
order, and as there was no indication of injustice having
been committed, the Governor accepted the advice of his
Ministers that the sentences should be carried into effect.
A cable on these fines was sent to the Secretary of State
for the Colonies on the 27th. Lord Elgin repfied in the

^ Revocation took place on the 16th March.


following terms : " Continued executions ^ under martial
law certain to excite strong criticism here, and as His
Majesty's Government are retaining troops in Colony and
will be asked to assent to Act of Indemnity, necessary to
regularize the action taken, trial of these murder cases by
civil courts greatly to be preferred. I must impress upon
you necessity of utmost caution in this matter, and you
should suspend executions until I have had opportimity
of considering your further observations." In a lengthy
cable to the Secretary of State explaining the position,
Sir Henry McCallum said, inter alia : "On receipt of your
telegram ... I requested Prime Minister ... to order
suspension of executions which had been fixed for to-
morrow pending further instructions from your Lordship.
He replied that he regretted that he could not authorise
suspension of executions which had been confirmed after
full and dehberate consideration. I . . . explained that
this decision would oblige me ... to exercise prerogative
of the Crown . . . and to cancel death warrant which I had
signed. He quite recognised this, but said that, as a most
important constitutional question was involved, he would
feel obliged if I would give him written instructions. This
I did, upon which he wrote me following minute : 'As
your Excellency has thought it necessary to give instruc-
tions to suspend executions which were confirmed by the
Executive Council and appointed to be carried out on
Friday next, I feel that it is impossible for me to continue
in office as Prime Minister, and I beg to tender my resigna-
tion. My colleagues are unanimous in supporting me in
what, under the present circumstances, appears to be most
important constitutional question.' " As, however. Lord
Elgin's direction was that suspension should operate only
until he had had an opportunity of considering Sir Henry
McCallum's further observations, the latter requested the
Ministry to retain office during his further communication
with the Secretary of State. This Mr. Smythe and his
colleagues agreed to do.

1 There had been only two, viz. the two rebels captured by McKenzie's
column on the 13th February.


The action of the Imperial Minister instantly caused a
commotion throughout the length and breadth of Natal.
The press was loud in its denunciation of what was looked
on as unnecessary interference in the internal affairs of a
self-governing Colony, and as seriously undermining local
authority in the eyes of the Natives. Nor was surprise
confined only to the people in the Colony. The Governor-
General of Austraha cabled, in the name of his Ministers,
to Lord Elgin on the 31st : " Since an intervention of His
Majesty's Ministers . . . with the administration of the
self-governing Colony Natal would tend to estabHsh, even
in regard to prerogative of pardon, a dangerous precedent
affecting all states within the Empire, Your Excellency's
advisers desire most respectfully to appeal to His Majesty's
Ministers for reconsideration of the resolution at which
they are reported to have arrived on this subject." The
Governor of New Zealand, too, was requested to " ascer-
tain precise position in respect to action ... in instruct-
ing Governor of Natal to postpone the execution. . . ." ^
Lord Elgin had, however, already cabled (on 30th) to

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 14 of 52)