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South Africa—Confederation Of South African Colonies

Volume 220: debated on Tuesday 23 June 1874

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asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, What steps have been taken by the Government of the Cape of Good Hope in regard to the question of confederation of the several Colonies and States of South Africa, and what course of action has been adopted by Her Majesty's Government on the subject; and, what action has been taken by Her Majesty's Government in reference to a Resolution adopted by the Legislative Council of the Cape of Good Hope in the Session of 1872 on the subject of the annexation of the Transkiran Territory, which Resolution his Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, Governor of that Colony, intimated on the 10th of July, 1872, to the Legislative Council he had forwarded to Her Majesty's Government?

Sir, the Government of the Cape of Good Hope does not appear to have taken any active steps for effecting the confederation of the Colonies and States in South Africa. Her Majesty's Government are fully impressed with the great advantages which would result from such a federation. They would be prepared to promote it in any legitimate manner, and in the event of such federation would be willing to secure to the Orange Free State and to the South African Republic suitable positions and representation in it. In the absence of any evidence of a renewed desire for confederation on the part of those more immediately concerned, Her Majesty's Government have not thought that they could with advantage press the question. With regard to the Transkiran Territory, the question of annexation to the Cape has not been revived since the establishment in that Colony of responsible Government, which, of course, places all such questions on a different footing.