Title: Origin of the Anglo-Boer War Revealed: The Conspiracy of the 19th Century Unmasked
Author: C. H. Thomas
Release date: February 18, 2005 [eBook #15106]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020
Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Garrett Alley, and the Online Distributed
of Belfast Transvaal formerly Orange Free State Burgher
LONDON: HODDER AND STOUGHTON
27 PATERNOSTER ROW MCM
Butler & Tanner The Selwood Printing Works Frome and London
The present book had been intended for publication in South Africa before the end of 1899, with the object of laying bare the wicked and delusive aims of the Afrikaner Bond combination, to which the Anglo-Boer war alone is attributable, and to counteract its disastrous influences so far as then still possible. But until quite lately circumstances had conspired so as to prevent the writer from leaving the Transvaal, and when he at last obtained the required passport to Lourenço Marques he was there denied a permit to visit a colonial port. He therefore sailed for London in order to publish this book without more loss of time. Though too late to serve as a deterrent, the contents may be effective towards showing up the really guilty parties—the instigators and seducers of the deluded Boer nation, and so pave and widen the avenue of peace and of conciliation between Boer and Briton who were duped and victimized alike.
The exposure of the actual culprits and originators should also operate favourably, and in mitigation in behalf of the much less guilty Boers, so as to dispose the victors to the exercise of magnanimous consideration. In exposing the villainy of the Dutch coterie in Holland, the writer is far from impugning the honourable character of that nation, the better part of whom, when once undeceived, will be the first to reprobate and disown those arch-plotters who sacrificed the peace of South Africa for personal and national advantage.
Some other information regarding the Boers and South Africa will be found interspersed in this study, which will be found of use to the uninitiated and to intending emigrants to that sub-continent. As the reader proceeds with the examination of this book it will suggest comparisons and even analogies which may commend themselves as singularly apposite and instructive in relation with the study of the presently budding Eastern question.
NOTE TO SECOND EDITION
The issue of a Second Edition has afforded an opportunity to correct a few linguistic blemishes, but the work has only been very slightly revised.
|CURSORY HISTORY OF THE BOER NATION||6|
| PROSPERITY OF BOERS AND POLITICAL RELATIONS WITH ENGLAND|
UP TO 1881
|TREATMENT OF UITLANDERS—FRANCHISE||25|
|MONSTER PETITION—JAMESON INCURSION—ARMAMENTS||37|
|BLOEMFONTEIN FRANCHISE CONFERENCE—BOER ULTIMATUM||43|
|THE DUTCH COTERIE: ITS SEAT IN HOLLAND||57|
|AFRIKANER BOND—OUTLINES AND PROGRAMME||62|
|PACIFIC POLICY OF GREAT BRITAIN||70|
|BOND PRESS PROPAGANDA—SECRET SERVICE—TRADE RIVALRIES||72|
|DISLOYALTY OF COLONIAL BOERS||82|
| PORTUGUESE TERRITORY—TRANSVAAL LOW VELDT—MALARIA—HORSE|
|CLIMATE AND TOPOGRAPHY||95|
|BOER PREPAREDNESS FOR WAR||108|
|ALLIANCE OF ORANGE FREE STATE WITH TRANSVAAL—SUZERAINTY||115|
|THE TRANSVAAL DYNAMITE AND EXPLOSIVES MONOPOLY||122|
|BOND FIGHTING STRENGTH IN BEGINNING OF 1899||124|
|AN OLD FREE STATER'S ADMONITION||137|
|MODUS VIVENDI SUGGESTED BY OLD FREE STATER||143|
|MR. CHAMBERLAIN'S POLICY TO AVERT WAR||150|
|AFRIKANER BOND GUILT IN GRADATIONS||155|
|THE BOERS' NATIVE POLICY||167|
|ENGLAND'S NATIVE AND COLONIAL POLICY||172|
|OCCULT OPERATIONS AND AGENCIES||178|
|PHYSIQUE AND HABITS||193|
Apart from the progress of the present Anglo-Boer war a world-wide interest has been excited also upon the question of its actual origin. Much disparity of opinion prevails yet as to how it was provoked and upon which side the guilt of it all lay.
English statesmen of noblest character and best discriminating gifts are seen professing opposite convictions; one party earnestly asserting the complete blamelessness of their Government, whilst the other, with equally sincere assurance, denounces the responsible Ministry for having provoked a most unjust war against a totally inoffensive people, whose only fault consisted in asserting its love of freedom, and for thus plunging the entire British nation into blackest guilt deserving universal reprobation, a blot and stigma upon Her Majesty's reign.
In following the course of the arguments which have led to those opposing verdicts, one is impressed with the paucity and the clashing character of the information adduced. The marked reticence on the part of the British Cabinet in regard to its diplomatic proceedings tends further to mystify the inquirer, and leaves the bulk of the British nation in a painful state of suspense without conclusive data for judging whether the war is really justifiable or not.
Nor do the various pamphlets and Press articles furnish sufficient light for exploring the maze and producing an approximate unanimity of conviction.
It is hoped that the succeeding pages will be found to supplement the material so essential for diagnosing those grave questions with some degree of certainty, and to locate the guilt more precisely.
Since my youth I have passed nearly forty years in uninterrupted and intimate intercourse with all classes of Boers, resulting in a sincere attachment to that people, with no small appreciation of its many good traits and character. Besides making myself familiar with the earlier portion of that nation's history, I have had leisure and opportunities to closely follow up its later interesting phases up to the present moment. These presented a more perplexing aspect during the last decade, adding a zest to my endeavours for unravelling them, and happening to be a good deal in the know I felt that I might not remain quiet.
Being anything but anti-Boer, nor an Englishman, but a foreigner, born of continental parents and brought up in Europe, these facts should exempt me from a supposition of bias in exonerating England. It is with real grief that I must record my convictions against the Boer nation as solely and entirely guilty, but with this qualification, that its responsibility is much attenuated by the fact, as I will endeavour to show, that the bulk of that people has been unconsciously decoyed as tools of a gigantic intrigue, a conspiracy which was originated some thirty years ago by an infamous Hollander coterie, and operated since by its product and engine, the now well-known "Afrikaner Bond Association," with its significant motto of "Afrika voor Afrikaners"—its object being no less than the eviction of all that is English from South Africa, and to substitute a federation of all South African States into one free and independent Republic, the affiliation to be with Holland instead, and Dutch the common and official language, other nations, in return for afforded aid, to participate in the trade and other advantages wrested from England.
I only regret that my ability falls so much short for the task of demonstrating all this in an approved style—for doing justice to the subject. Its investigation embraces a wider range of details to serve as evidence than may, upon first thought, be held as relevant; but I believe that a willing study will show their connection as serviceable for arriving at an independent and unhesitating verdict.
A very strong and convincing case is indeed needed for remodelling opinions where there is preconceived Boer partisanship, and where party spirit or else foreign jealousy have already warped judgment and established bias.
It would be no small relief to every honest-minded person, especially in England, to be clear upon the subject that England is free of guilt—equally so to the soldier who is called upon to fight her battles. But other objects of no less importance are in view, viz., to open the eyes of the misguided Boer people to the wicked artifices by which it has been seduced from friendly relations with England into an unjustifiable war, to deter the still wavering portion from joining the ranks of sedition, and, lastly, the grounds for palliation being recognised, to pave the way to an early termination of the war by adjustments which could restore mutual goodwill and respect between the contending parties, and so bring about a speedy return of South African prosperity and progress.
The writer is fully prepared to give data and names of the incidents adduced in this paper in support of their authenticity.
 Africa for white African citizens.
The two principal elements of the Boer nation were the settlers of the Dutch trading company at the Cape of Good Hope, sturdy farmers and tradesmen belonging to the proletarian class of Holland, and a subsequent contingent of French Huguenot refugees and their families who joined as colonists soon after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. I mention below the names still existing which form a large proportion of the present Boer nation of Huguenot descent:—
Billion Blignaut Bisseux Delporte
Du prez Du Toit De la Bey Durand
Davel De Langue Duvenage Fourie
Fouché Grove Hugo Jourdan
Lombard Le Roux Roux Lagrange
Labuscaque Maré Marais Malan
Malraison Maynard Malherbe De Meillon
De Marillac Matthée Naudé Nortier
Rousseau Taillard Theron Terblanche
De Villiers Fortier Lindeque Vervier
Vercueil Basson Pinard Duvenage
Celliers de Clercq Leclercq Devinare
Men of the best French stock, noted for honour, energy and perseverance, rather than recant their Protestant faith, abandoned seigneurial homes, high positions and lucrative callings to carve out fresh careers, and even to become humble farmers wherever they found asylums and tolerance, men who became very valuable accessions to the nations who received them and a correspondingly significant loss to France. To those two main elements were added sparse accessions from other nations at later intervals, and also a strain of aboriginal blood, of which a more or less faint tinge is still discernible in some families, an admixture which many deplore and others consider as most serviceable, supplying a subtle piquancy for perfecting the general stock.
The early Cape Governors aimed at the prompt assimilation of those French people with their own colonists—to make Dutchmen of them. Among other drastic enactments to enforce that object, no other language but Dutch was permitted to be used in public of pain of corporal punishment. Not a few noble Frenchmen were subjected to that indignity for inadvertent breaches of that draconian law, but, as conscientious observers of biblical commands which enjoin subjection to all governmental rule, they willingly submitted and obeyed. Intermarriages with their Dutch fellow-colonists further promoted assimilation into one cohesive community. At the same time the Huguenot faith was transmitted to their descendants, and had a marked influence in sustaining common religious fervour and consistency. They did not look for a reward or compensation for the sacrifices endured, for the sake of faith, by those refugees, though a gracious providence, as the sequel showed, held in store a most ample restitution—magnificent heirlooms for their later descendants, heirlooms which are now unhappily staked in this present war.
In 1814 a payment of six millions sterling received by the Prince of Orange closed the transfer of the Dutch Cape settlement to Great Britain. Immigration of English settlers followed and the area of the colony soon largely extended. As under the Dutch régime, the practice of slavery had continued until its abolition in 1833 by the ransom payable by the English Government to the owners of slaves. The Boer colonists deeply resented that act, and especially the next to impracticable condition which provided that payments could only be received in England instead of on the spot. Many were cheated of all their emancipation money by their appointed proxies or agents, or else had to submit to exorbitant charges and commissions; a great number voluntarily renounced all in disgust.
By that time the existence had become known of promising tracts of country lying north of the Orange River beyond the confines of the British colonies, and a large number of Boers combined with the intention of establishing an independent community northwards free from British restraint.
The British authorities appeared at that time not to fully realize that that movement was rife with future dangers and complications to their own colonial interests, that it meant the creation of a nucleus of a people openly averse to the English, and who would independently carry out practices in near proximity, especially in dealing with aborigines, which would seriously compromise them and become a standing menace against peaceful expansion and civilization.
It was, on the other hand, anticipated that the movement could only end in disaster, the people being too few to make a successful stand against the numerous hostile Kaffir tribes. The Government, therefore, refrained from preventive measures, and confined its efforts to discouraging the emigration and to reconcile the malcontents. Those efforts, however, proved fruitless; the people held to their project with resolute fearlessness and self-confidence, and were even content to sacrifice their farms and homesteads, their sale being in some cases forbidden by special enactment.
The terms of "Boer" and "Boer nation" do not convey or mean anything disparaging, rather the contrary. Boer simply means farmer, as a rule the proprietor of a farm of about 3,000 to 10,000 acres, who combines stock-breeding with a variety of other farming enterprises as well, according to the soil and locality. As a national designation, the term "Boer" conveys the distinction from the recently arrived Dutchman, who is called "Hollander." Hollanders, again, delight of late to claim the Boer nation as their kith and kin, but prefer to ignore the existence of the French Huguenot factor.
The great "trek," with families and movables, as the emigration movement is called, occurred in 1836; some families started even before, and other contingents followed shortly afterwards. After many vicissitudes and nearly twenty years of wanderings, and a nomadic life attended with untold hardships and dangers, intermittent conflicts with native tribes, and at times also contests with British forces, they were eventually permitted, under treaty with England, to settle down and to constitute the independent Orange Free State and Transvaal Republics. That was in 1854 and 1852 respectively.
But, until then, progress in the British colonies and peaceful relations with the several Kaffir nations had at times been sadly impeded by the aggressive native policy pursued by the Boers after the pattern adopted from the previous Dutch régime, which admitted of slavery, whilst English law had abolished and forbade that practice as contrary to a soundly moral method of civilizing natives and inimical to prosperous and peaceable colonial progress. Broils and wars between Boers and Kaffirs had been almost incessant, and intervals of peace only proved their mutually latent hostility. Besides being occasionally engaged in unavoidable wars with neighbouring tribes themselves, it became frequently incumbent upon the British military authorities to intervene in conflicts induced by the Boers, alternately protecting them against natives and natives against the Boers, and all that at the unnecessary expenditure of much blood and treasure.
The Boer occupation of Natal was found to be wholly prejudicial to British interests on aforesaid accounts, and was, besides, contrary to the express declaration of the Boer emigrants at the time of their exodus from the Cape Colony, which was that their new settlements should be located north of the Orange River. Stepping in to the eastward and claiming part of the littoral constituted a rivalry in conflict with that understanding, and England therefore considered it within her rights to expel the Boers from Natal, and to proceed with the colonization there with British settlers instead. That temporary occupation of Natal had been fraught to the Boers with most stirring episodes—some of the most melancholy description, and others representing records of really unsurpassed heroism, which can but arouse deepest emotions and admiration in any reader of their history. There was the treacherous massacre of Retief and Potgeiter and his party by the Zulu king Dingaan at his military kraal, followed by other wholesale massacres of men, women, and children at Weenen and other Boer camps in Natal. Then came the punitive expedition of 450 Boers, armed with flint-locks only, who utterly defeated Dingaan's most redoubtable impi of 10,000 warriors, and resulted in the complete overthrow of that Zulu monarch.
When that punitive Boer commando was about to start upon its mission it was solemnly vowed to observe a day of national thanksgiving each year if Divine aid were vouchsafed to accomplish the object. That brilliant victory had occurred on the 16th December, 1838, and the day has ever since been religiously observed as had been vowed. The celebrations in the Transvaal take place at Paarden-kraal, near Johannesburg, and some other accessible and central camping grounds, where the burghers with their families congregate in thousands—a sort of feast of tabernacles, lasting three days, undeterred by the most boisterous weather. The declaration of independence fell on that same date at Paarden-kraal in 1879, and it was also in December of the succeeding year that the Boers proved victorious over the British troops in Natal, after which the Transvaal had its independence generously restored by the Gladstone Ministry (subject to treaty 1881).
On those anniversaries stirring speeches would be made by the elder leading men, rehearsing the events of the nation's history so as to grave them upon the minds of the younger, and to revive the thankful memories of the elder people. It is only in human nature that unsympathetic feelings against the English would intrude upon the thanksgivings on those occasions, especially as it continues yet to be averred that the British authorities had incited the Zulu king Dingaan to those massacres. Nevertheless, except in instances of implacable natures, the predominant sentiments at those gatherings were those of gratitude to the Almighty and good-will towards all men. After the peace of 1881, it used to be publicly recognised that the English were entitled thenceforth to a first place in the nation's friendship, and that the retrocession put a term to all recriminations applying to previous dates.
The sequel has shown that soon afterwards another spirit was allowed to intrude to displace those good and just sentiments, and that without any reason or provocation and despite a persistently loyal and sincere attitude of friendship and confidence observed towards the Boers by the, British Government and the English people in South Africa. As instances may be cited: (1) England's conceding spirit in assenting to a modification of the convention of 1881 and agreeing to that of 1884; (2) genial treatment of the colonial Boers on perfect equality with English colonists, sharing in the privileges of self-government, the Dutch language also raised to equal rights with English; (3) most harmonious relations with the Orange Free State; (4) reduction of transit duties for goods to the Republics to 5 per cent, and later to 3 per cent.; (5) unrestricted privilege for the importations of arms and ammunition to both Republics. In lieu of friendly reciprocity the return began to be rancorous mistrust and revival of hatred.
In the course of our study to account for this sad and unwarrantable change on the part of the Boers we will be following the trail of the serpent and track it right up to its Hollander lair and to its at first unsuspected product, the Afrikaner Bond.
A period of about twenty-five years following the establishment of the Orange Free State and Transvaal Republics was marked with much progress and prosperity in the Cape Colonies and Natal, both Republics also having cause to rejoice over similar advancement.
The evil influence which aimed at rending good relations between Boer and English became more apparent after 1881. During the preceding era the two races actually had been in a fair way towards friendly assimilation. Mutual appreciation was further stimulated by the reciprocal benefits arising from trade and economic relations. Intermarriages became more frequent under such friendly intercourse, a respectable Englishman being truly prized in those days as a Boer's son-in-law. The English language also largely advanced in favour and prestige not only among the Cape Colonial and Natal Boers, but also in both Republics, and anti-English sentiments were fast being supplanted by amity and goodwill.
The principal event in the Orange Free State during that period was a three years' exhaustive war with the Basuto nation, which ended in the latter's defeat in 1867. Their chief Moshesh then appealed for British intervention. The Basutos thus came under England's protection, and a peace resulted which has ever since continued, through British prestige and authority as well as good government. The Orange Free State gained a large tract of the territory conquered by that State, but had to renounce the rest.
Then, in about 1870, came the discovery of the diamond-fields, situated on the then still ill-defined western limits of the State. According to a boundary line claimed by Great Britain, those diamond-fields fell outside Free State territory. That State received £90,000 compensation for improvements and expenses incurred during its short occupation of that disputed strip of diamondiferous ground. The diamond-fields at Jagersfontein and Koffyfontein were subsequently discovered and lie deep within the confines of the State. President Brand had proved his sagacity and discretion in concluding the negotiations with England upon the question of the peace with the Basutos and then again in submitting to the boundary delimitations, it being contended even yet that the Orange Free State had the weightier arguments in its favour in both instances.
The people of that Republic proved however to be the ultimate gainers in those adjustments; they did not miss the more solid advantages attending the discovery of the diamond-fields. Believed of the grave responsibility involved in governing a turbulent population of foreign diggers, the geographical position of the Kimberley fields secured to the Free State farmers an almost entire monopoly in the supply of products; trade also flourished apace, all tending to enrich the inhabitants and the State revenue as well.
But the Orange Free State derived a permanent advantage, quite unique and more than compensating the apparent set-back suffered by the loss of the diamond-field territory and by British intervention in the Basuto war matter, in that the method of those procedures saddled England with the responsibility of guaranteeing the internal safety of the State from those hitherto unprotected borders "altogether at her own cost." The Keate award completed the British cordon around the Free State, excepting only in regard to the Transvaal frontier. No need thenceforth for costly military provisions for the protection of the State—it was, as it were, walled and fenced in at British expense, and the State revenue was thus for ever relieved of a very heavy item of expenditure, which could be devoted to the increase of the national wealth instead—a peaceful security accompanied with an intrinsic gain constituting a veritable and permanent heirloom for the people of that State.
It is notable that the position of the Orange Free State, without any other access to the sea-board than from colonial ports, made its status and welfare entirely dependent upon the friendly and loyal good faith of England. Up to the present unhappy war that State enjoyed unaltered the best relations without being ever subjected to even a trace of chicanery from the part of Great Britain.
By what illusion, it may well be asked, could that hitherto friendly people have been deluded to risk all in a disloyal breach with England by joining the Transvaal in a "Bond" issue against her best friend? Towards the Transvaal also had England proved her earnest desire to maintain an intercourse on the basis of sincere amity, desirous only of reciprocity, which indeed could be expected in willing return, seeing that England took upon her own shoulders to provide for the protection and welfare of the entire area of South Africa by sea and land, whilst both Republics freely participated in all the great benefits so derived. These considerations should substantially disprove the wicked aspersion lately made that British policy aimed at the subversion of republican autonomy in those two States. All that Great Britain needed and confidently expected in return for her goodwill was friendly adhesion, and a willing recognition of her paramountcy in matters affecting the common weal of South Africa as a whole, and also such reciprocity and mutual concern in the welfare of all as consistently comport with common interests. How fell and malignant the "influence" which operated a treacherous ingratitude and hostility instead!
The references made to the history of the Transvaal so far reach up to the rehabilitation of its independence and the convention of 1881. Some of the conditions of that treaty, especially the subordinate position imposed by the suzerainty clause, were found to be repugnant to the burghers. Delegates were therefore commissioned to proceed to England in order to get the treaty so altered as to place the State into the status provided by the Sand River convention, which conceded absolute independence. Mr. Jorrison, a violent anti-English Hollander, was the chief adviser of the members of that delegation.
To that the English Ministry could not assent, but sought to meet the wishes of the people by agreeing to certain modifications of the convention of 1881. This was effected with the treaty of 1884. The delegates had specially urged the renunciation of the suzerainty claim, but that claim appears not to have been abandoned, to judge from the absence of such mention in the novated treaty. Had its renunciation been agreed to, as has been since averred, it is quite certain that the delegates would not have been content without the mention in most distinct terms of that, to them, so important point. It may therefore be assumed as a fact that the negotiations did not result in an active suspension of the relations as set forth in the convention of 1881, and that the Transvaal continued in a status of subordinacy to England, but only with a wider range in regard to conditions of autonomy. To most lay minds it therefore appears perfectly clear that the Transvaal delegates had well understood and accepted, and so had also their Government, that the convention of 1884 was de facto a renewal of that of 1881, with the only difference that it provided an enlarged exercise of autonomy, but without in the least abrogating the principles of respective relations, which were left intact, or at least latent.
It has been averred and a strong point made in the theory of repudiating suzerainty or over-lordship that Lord Kimberley had given the assurance that the right of Transvaal autonomy and independence was meant to equal that of the Orange Free State. This need not be contested, as that Minister obviously relied upon a similar observance of staunch adhesion towards England which that State had shown during a period of thirty years previous; the fact that the Transvaal was quite differently situated as to adjoining territory imposed the necessity, if only as a matter of form, to preserve the written conditions of Transvaal vassalage.
Lord Kimberley, in 1889, intimated the readiness of his Government to afford advisory and other co-operation with the Transvaal Government in order to cope with the new element of foreign immigration, resulting from the discovery of the rich gold-fields, and to provide appropriate relations with a new floating population, without materially altering the status of Transvaal authority, or the methods of government then in practice.
The Transvaal Government, however, preferred to ignore that loyal offer, and to be guided by Bond principles instead. That circumstance affords another proof that England did not then see the necessity, as has subsequently been the case, of strengthening her position against Bond aggression by imposing a demand of general franchise for Uitlanders.
One aspect of the prolonged controversy re suzerainty forced upon England would be to denote a lack of honour, which is not of unfrequent occurrence when one party to a contract seeks by cavil and legal quibble to evade compliance with some of its conditions, simply because the written terms appear to afford scope for doing so. But the principal reason of the Transvaal contention proceeded from the project of gaining over some strong foreign ally who would see an obstacle, if not scruples, in joining common cause whilst England's claim of over-lordship remained unshaken. But for that consideration the Transvaal Government inwardly viewed the whole of the treaties as waste paper, since it was not only intended to violate them all, but also to bring about, at an opportune moment, a hostile severance from England. In the meantime, the academic squabble was to serve as a decoy to hide Transvaal identification with any such sinister objects, and to divert attention and suspicion.
To resume the cursory history of the Transvaal. Mr. Burger, during his Presidency in the early seventies, went to Europe with the mission of attracting capital to the development and exploitation of gold, etc., then already authentically discovered; also, to provide for the building of a railway connecting with Delagoa Bay. The Transvaal Boers were at that time exceedingly poor, and without a sufficient revenue for properly maintaining the administration. Beyond creating a lively interest, his success was confined to an agreement with a company in Holland for building a section of that railroad, which, however, fell through, because the Transvaal proved ultimately unable to furnish its quota of the necessary funds. The present President fared better. A Dutch company styled "The Nederlandsch Zuid Afrikaansche Spoorweg Maatschappy," abbreviated "Z.A.S.M.," undertook the work and completed it in 1887, from the Portuguese border to Pretoria. The line from Pretoria to the Natal border was soon after built, as also several extensions around the Wit-waters Rand, and that from Pretoria to Pietersburg. The section connecting Delagoa Bay as far as the Transvaal border had previously been completed by McMurdo, and is the subject of the present Berne arbitration.
The contract conferred to the Dutch Company a monopoly, and most advantageous financial terms as well. By that time great strides had been made in the development of the Transvaal gold-fields, especially at the Wit-waters Rand (Johannesburg); and immigration on a large scale from all parts of the world had set in, and was constantly increasing with vast amounts of investments in mercantile and other enterprises, as well as in mining industries. At first, equitable laws governed burghers and Uitlanders alike, administered by an independent judiciary. All desirable security was afforded for person and property, with confidence in the safety of investments, and great general prosperity kept pace with ever-increasing activities and enterprise.
It was a great satisfaction to Uitlanders that the peace of 1881, and the reinstatement of Transvaal independence, had restored harmony between Boer and English, and that a policy was being followed to preclude friction between the respective Governments. Those facts largely stimulated investments and enhanced confidence. By 1887 the alien population had already exceeded 100,000, and the capital investments £200,000,000 sterling, and the desire so ardently entertained by the people of the land, for twenty years back, was gratified at last. The burghers shared in the prosperity to a very large degree, and in lieu of former poverty, competence and wealth became the rule, and many of them became exceedingly rich. It was not unusual to hear Boers expressing undisguised gratitude, not merely for the natural gold deposits, but specially also that people had come to prospect and to invest capital, without which the wealth of the land would have remained unexploited and lain fallow. Harmony and cordiality were the proper outcome between foreigners and Boers. The influx of capital and of immigrants continued to increase, but not so the happy conditions. These were gradually getting marred by a spirit of variance, no one seemed to know how. The study of this paper will reveal it. The variance between Boers and Uitlanders began to be specially discernible from 1887 and had been increasing like a blight ever since. This was noticeably coincident with the numerous arrivals of educated Hollanders employed for the railways and the Government administration.
In the earlier period of the Transvaal Republic, one year's residence was first held sufficient for acquiring full franchise or burgher rights and voting qualifications. The condition was successively raised to two, three, and five years; but in 1890 laws were passed which required fourteen years' probation, with conditions which virtually brought the term to twenty-one years, and even then left the acquisition of full franchise to the caprice of field-cornets and higher officials. Englishmen and their descendants were at one time totally and for ever excluded and disqualified just merely because of their nationality whilst Hollanders were admitted in very large numbers without having to pass any probation at all or only comparatively short terms. The English language became a target for hostility and as good as proscribed; impracticable and ludicrous attempts even were made to exclude its use in Johannesburg, where hardly any Uitlander understood Dutch, whilst every Boer official was well versed in English: market and auction sales were to be conducted only in Dutch; bills of fare at hotels and restaurants were also to be in full-fledged Dutch only—and all this, it must be remembered, some years before the Jameson incursion took place.
The judiciary, which, according to the "Grondwet" (Constitution), was the highest legal authority, was by one stroke of enactment rendered subservient and subordinate to the First Volksraad. The then Chief Justice (Kotzee) was ignominiously deposed for honourably contending against the grave departure from right and justice in subverting the sacred prerogative due to the highest tribunal, which Boer and Uitlander alike relied upon for independent justice.
A new system of education was next introduced which admitted only High Dutch as the medium of instruction in public schools. As only Hollander children could benefit by such tuition, and whereas those of other immigrants could not understand that language, the effect was that parents of English and other nationalities had to combine in establishing private schools or else to employ private teachers at their own expense—whilst paying, in the way of taxation, for Hollander public schools as well. That oppressive system was subsequently somewhat modified in a manner which admitted the English language as a medium for a portion of the school hours, the proportion so accorded being larger in Johannesburg and other such wholly English-speaking centres than in other parts of the State; but the amelioration did not take place until after much irritation and expense had been occasioned, nor did it meet the case of hardship more than half-way. I may here place the remark that the public educational department is conducted without stint of expenditure in providing from Holland the amplest and best school equipments and highly salaried Dutch professors and teachers.
Irritating class legislation began to be systematically resorted to, to the prejudice of Uitlanders (the majority of whom, it will be borne in mind, were English), which painfully pointed to a fixed determination on the part of the Boers to lord it over them as a totally inferior class, allowing them no representation, and to treat them, in fact, just as a conquered people placed under tribute and proper only to be dominated and exploited.
Boers could walk or ride about armed to the teeth, whilst Uitlanders were forbidden to possess arms under penalty of confiscation and other punishments (except sporting-guns under special permit). The like irritations became rampant by 1890 already.
The alien population were at first too much occupied with their prosperous vocations to combine in the way of protesting against such prevailing usage. The Press was, however, eventually employed, and the Government was approached with respectful petitions praying for redress of the most glaring causes of discontent; but those were invariably either disdainfully rejected or ignored, or, if some matter was relieved, other more exasperating enactments were defiantly substituted. They were cynically told that they had come to their (the Boer's) country unasked, and were at liberty, and in fact invited, to leave it if the laws did not please them. This was said, well knowing that to leave would involve too great sacrifices of homes and investments. The Uitlanders could not, however, be brought to the belief that the Government of a conscientious people could persist in dealing with them as if a previous design had existed—first to inveigle them and their capital into their midst, with the object of goading and despoiling them afterwards. The course of petitioning and respectful remonstrances was therefore persevered in, but all to no purpose. Indignation and resentment were the natural result of those failures. There appeared no alternative but to submit or else to abandon all and leave the country.
It is true that numerous Uitlanders acquired competences, and some were amassing fortunes, but such prizes were comparatively few. The majority just managed, with varying success, to reap a reasonable return for their outlays and energies, or only to live more or less comfortably. The fashion of luxurious and unthrifty living, so prevalent among the "nouveaux riches" and the section who vied with them, impressed the Boers with the notion that all were getting rich, and that soon there would be nothing left for them in the race. In their Hollander Press they were reminded that the gold, in reality belonging to them, was rapidly being exhausted, and the wealth appropriated by aliens, whose hewers of wood and drawers of water they would finally become. All this galled them to the heart, and the Government readily lent itself to proceedings intended to balance conditions in favour of their burghers, as the process was described. I will adduce a few instances. As is well known, it is only burghers and some privileged Hollanders who are employed in Government service, from President down to policeman. There are very few exceptions to this rule, which also applies to the nominations of jurymen, who are well paid too. The salaries of all, especially in the higher grades, had been largely augmented; the President receiving £8,000 per year, and so on downwards.
For Government supplies and public works the tenders of burghers only, and perhaps of some privileged persons, are accepted. In many instances the tenderers are without any pretence of ability for the performance of the contract, but are nevertheless accepted, performing only a sub rosa rôle. One such instance occurred some years ago when a burgher who did not possess £100—a simple farmer and a kind of "slim" speculator—received by Volksraad vote the contract for building a certain railway. The price included a very large margin to be distributed in places of interest—as douceurs of £1,000 to £5,000 each, and £10,000 for the pro forma contractor and his Volksraad confederates; all those sums were paid out by the firm for whom the contract was actually taken up.
Similarly in contracts for road making, repairing, and making streets, etc., etc. On one occasion a rather highly placed official obtained a contract for repairing certain streets in Pretoria for £60,000. The work being worth £20,000 at most, the difference went to be shared by the several official participants.
One of the first instances of glaring peculation occurred about fifteen years ago in relation with the Selati railway contract obtained by Baron Oppenheim. The procedure was publicly stigmatized as bribery. It had transpired that nearly all the Volksraad's members had received gifts in cash and values ranging each from £50 to £1,000 prior to voting the contract, but what was paid after voting did not become public at the time of exposure.
The acceptance of those gifts was ultimately admitted, in the face of evidence adduced in a certain law case; denial became, in fact, impossible. The plea of exoneration was that those gifts had been freely accepted without pledging the vote. The President publicly exculpated the honourable members, expressing his conviction that none of them could have meant to prejudice the State in their votes for the contract; and as there had been no pledge on their part, the donor had actually incurred the risk of missing his object. From that time the practice of obtaining and selling concessions or of sinecures and other lucrative advantages grew quite into a trade; and receiving douceurs became a hankering passion from highest to lowest, but happily with not a few exceptions where the official's honour was above being priced.
There was nothing shocking in all this venality to the bulk of the Johannesburg speculator class and others of that category. The rest assessed official morality at a depreciated value, but hoped the blemishes might be purged out with other and graver causes for discontent, if Uitlanders, were only granted some effective representation in public matters. That appeared to be the only constitutional remedy. But this continued to be resentfully refused, even in matters which partook of purely domestic interest, such as education, municipal privileges, etc. The latter were opposed upon the specious argument that such extended rights would constitute an imperium in imperio, and thus a condition incompatible with the safety and the conservation of complete control.
In the usual intercourse with burghers and officials a great deal of exasperating and even humiliating experiences had often to be endured, Uitlanders being treated as an inferior class, with scarcely veiled and often with arrogant assumption of superiority.
I witnessed a field cornet enjoying free and courteous hospitality at a Uitlander's house, while being entertained by his host and others in the vernacular Dutch, peremptorily object to the conversation in English in which the lady of the house happened to be engaged with another guest at the further end of the table. His remark was to the effect "that he could not tolerate English being spoken within his hearing"; this was in about 1888.
No wonder that under such conditions and ungenial usage Englishmen and other Uitlanders were put in a resentful mood, and many of them bethought themselves of methods other than constitutional to improve their position.
Identification was resorted to with the Imperial League, a political organization called into being in the Cape Colony to stem Boer assertiveness there and to restrain Bond aspirations. It was also seriously mooted to obtain the good offices of Great Britain as an influence for intervention and remonstrance.
It was not that the Transvaal Government was unaware of its duty and responsibility to remove causes which produced discontent and resentment among by far the larger section of the people under its rule. It seemed rather that the Uitlanders were provoked with systematic intention.
 The Berne award has, as is well known, since been given.
 The Ermelo-Machadodorp branch.
 These very details were since made public in the Belgian Law courts in the recent cause célèbre of "The Government of the South African Republic versus Baron Oppenheim."
It was at this stage in May, 1894, that a monster petition with some 25,000 signatures was presented to the Volksraad, setting forth the entire position, and praying for a commission to be appointed to examine the merits of the Uitlander complaints, and to frame a programme of reforms, the interests of the mining community needing such in a most urgent degree, not only for the sake of its own prosperity, but for the welfare of the entire State. A commission was indeed appointed, who reported in favour of the petitioners, and suggested a series of reforms; but the final Volksraad vote resulted in an angry rejection of the petition and denunciation of its organizers.
As on the occasion of previous memorials, some few abuses were redressed, but those benefits were made worse than nugatory by enactments in other directions of a still more galling nature. The petitioners found themselves snubbed and in the position of humiliating defeat.
Treatment of Coloured British Subjects
A glaring instance of oppression practised by the Transvaal Government was its cruel treatment of coloured British subjects who had been admitted into the State. Among these figured some thousands of educated Asiatic traders, including numerous cultured Indian and Parsee merchants with large stakes in the State and well-appointed residences, people whose very religion exacted the most scrupulous cleanliness and who had all proved themselves obedient and law-abiding. These were classed under one rubric with the vastly inferior coolie labourer, with Kaffirs and Hottentots, and actually compelled to abandon their stores and residences to reside in one common ghetto upon the outskirts of the towns, a measure which entailed great losses apart from the gratuitous humiliation—to many it involved ruin and in fact meant their expulsion.
It will be remembered that some years before already the English Government had felt it incumbent to advocate the cause of coloured British subjects and to remonstrate against their ill-usage. The matter was ultimately submitted to arbitration at Bloemfontein, under the umpireship of Sir Henry de Villiers, whose award, contrary to expectation, was adverse to the coloured people. Here was indeed a unique occasion for the Transvaal Government to exercise geniality upon a point sorely felt by the British Government; but the very contrary course was adopted under the ægis of that notorious award, and upon the untenable plea that sanitation and regard to public health necessitated that measure of segregation.
Despite the fact that no royalty was yet exacted upon the gold output, probably to please French, American, and German investors, there seemed to exist a veiled hostility against the representatives of mining capitalists, as if the Government regretted to have allowed the exploitation of the mines to fall into private hands and would welcome an opportunity to take them under State control altogether.
The Uitlander Press vented public sentiment and denounced the Government attitude in unmistakable terms; there were besides some angry public demonstrations. It was an alarming time of impending crisis, rife with signs of open revolt; the Government looking calmly on awaiting developments. It was then that the President's since famous saying was pronounced, viz., "that the tortoise must first be allowed to put out its head before it could be struck off, and that he was ready for any emergency."
The situation had a truly anomalous aspect. More discoveries of gold and even of diamonds followed apace, and the scope for mining, commercial and industrial enterprises expanded to an incalculable magnitude. All that was needed was a stable and good Government to encourage the needful investments. A most tantalizing picture indeed, based upon undeniably well-grounded facts.
As it was, the situation was one of alarm for capital already invested—a stake then of over 300 millions sterling in a country where more than half of the population were in almost open revolt against a Government commanding very large repressive forces, and resolved to maintain its stand.
British intervention appeared to be the only means of salvation to restore security, and to give a fillip to the brilliant prospects of the country, for the good of the burgher estate as well as for the sake of Uitlanders.
As the Government continued deaf and obdurate to representations, other means were sought for. No wonder the Uitlanders longed for a change, not by any means with the object of altering the style of Republican status, but to get the Augean stable of misgovernment cleansed, to escape oppressive and rapacious Boer domination.
The farcical failure of Dr. Jameson was the outcome of those endeavours. The unspeakable cowardice of his Johannesburg confederates was the chief feature of that puny attempt. Laurels, like those gained by Lord Peterborough, Warren Hastings, or Lord Clive, were not decreed to that ill-advised emulator.
Nothing could have been more propitious than that very Jameson incursion to fan race hatred and to advance the projects of the Afrikaner Bond—"Afrika voor de Afrikaners," for, whilst no one acquainted with the facts can for a moment doubt the guilt of the Transvaal Government for having systematically provoked that attempt at revolution, "Bond" propaganda and paid journalism had a rare chance to set up the theory that annexation on behalf of Great Britain had been foully planned—the Prince of Wales even being an abettor of the attempted coup d'état purely to gratify the lust of greed for the gold and diamonds of the poor innocent Boers. No terms were too vituperative to denounce the enormity. Millions of honest persons all over the world were deluded—there was a bitter cry of almost universal indignation. The Boer Government posed as innocent; the designs of the Afrikaner Bond were not even suspected—its ranks, in sympathy with those delusions sped on filling up faster than ever, and the father of lies was scoring another very sensible triumph.
In lieu of reforms, Bond projects and armaments were secretly pursued with redoubled vigour towards the climax which should install Afrikanerdom supreme in South Africa, financially as well as politically.
Capitalists had already begun to feel nervous about the final security of their investments; operations and credit became restricted, fresh projects were abandoned and a persistent withdrawal of capital set in. Trade and prosperity were progressively waning, accompanied with still more ominous portents for the Uitlanders' future. It all meant a very extensive weeding out of investments under enormous losses, except such as stood in relation with dividend-paying mines. England, though apparently apathetic and inactive, was not inattentive to the situation. Whoever had a stake, whether in South Africa or abroad, looked to Great Britain as the Power upon whom the duty devolved to provide a peaceable remedy. The suzerainty controversy was then followed by other questions of diplomatic difference, among which that of the franchise reform. Upon this matter English intervention took an insistent form. It clearly turned all upon that—and once it were satisfactorily arranged, the amicable solution of other questions might in turn be expected to follow. As to suzerainty, that claim appeared relegated to remain in abeyance. A conference was convened at Bloemfontein early in June, 1899, for the discussion of those topics between the Colonial Governor, Sir Alfred Milner, and the Presidents of the two Republics. The outcome was a final demand for the right of representation of the Uitlander interests in the legislative bodies of the Transvaal, amounting to one-fifth of the total aggregate of members, the voting qualifications to consist in the usual reasonable conditions and a residence in the State of five years, operating retrospectively.
We may here consider whether such a demand contained any real feature of unfairness to warrant refusal.
Three-fifths of the entire white Transvaal population were Uitlanders, the majority of them English. They own four-fifths of the total wealth invested in the State. About half of them have been domiciled, with house and other fixed property, for periods of from five to ten years and more.
The preponderance is not only in numbers and wealth, but also in intelligence and in contributing at least four-fifths of the total State revenues.
Is it right or prudent to exclude such interests and such a majority from legislative representation?
Could a minority of one-fifth, that is to say, twelve Uitlander members against forty-eight Boer members, be said to constitute a menace to the status or to the conservative interests of State?
Do Uitlanders not deserve equal recognition with the burghers in respect to intrinsic interest in the land, seeing that the former supplied all the skill and the capital to explore and exploit the mine wealth, all at their risk, and without which it would all have remained hidden and the country continued fallow and poor?
Though one-fifth would be so small a minority, it would at least have afforded the constitutional method of declaring the wishes of Uitlanders, and have done away with the disquieting and less effective practices of Press agitations, public demonstrations, and petitions. The measure could also have been expected to open up the way towards reconciling relations between the English and Boer races, beginning in the Transvaal, where it was hoped that the burghers would be gained over as friends, and so to stand aloof from the Afrikaner Bond. These were the supreme objects for peaceful progress and not for annexation. Solemn assurances from highest quarters were repeatedly given that no designs existed against the integrity of the Republic, that nothing unfriendly lurked behind the franchise demand, but that necessity dictated it for general good and the preservation of peace. Nor were other diplomatic means left unemployed to ensure the acceptance of the franchise reform. In addition to firmness of attitude and a display of actual force, most of the other Powers, including the United States of America, were induced to add their weight of persuasion in urging upon the Transvaal the adoption of the measures demanded by England for correcting the existing trouble. It may be urged that the display of force in sending the first batches of troops would have afforded grounds for exasperation, and be construed by the Transvaal as a menace and actual hostility, tending to precipitate a conflict which it was so earnestly intended to avoid. To this may be replied that the 20,000 men sent in August were readily viewed as placing the hitherto undermanned Colonial garrisons upon an appropriate peace effective only; but not so with respect to the army corps of 50,000 men despatched in September—this was felt as an intended restraint against "Bond" projects, to enforce the observance of any agreement which the Transvaal might for the nonce assent to, and above all it was tending, unless at once opposed by the Bond, to weaken its ranks by producing hesitation and ultimate defection from that body; the die was thus to be cast, duplicity appeared to be played out—the ultimatum of 9th October was the outcome; and England, though unprepared, could not possibly accept it otherwise than as a wilful challenge to war.
As the pursuit of our study will show, the success of Mr. Chamberlain's diplomacy to avert war depended upon the very slender prospects that the Transvaal Government might have been induced to waver, and finally to break with the Afrikaner Bond—a forlorn hope indeed, considering the perfection which that formidable organization had reached. Its cherished objects were not meant to be abandoned. The advice of "Bond" leaders prevailed. War was declared and the Rubicon crossed in enthusiastic expectations of soon realizing the long-deferred Bond motto: "The expulsion of the hateful English."
It is true the Transvaal had made a show of acquiescence to British and foreign pressure. This first took the shape of an offer of a seven years' franchise, and then one of five years, exceeding even Mr. Milner's demands as to the number of Uitlander representation. That of seven years was so fenced in with nugatory trammels and conditions that it had for those reasons to be rejected; whilst that at five years was coupled with the equally unacceptable conditions that the claim of suzerainty should be renounced, and that in all other respects the Transvaal should be recognised as absolutely independent in terms of the Sand River Convention of 1852.
Those offers could hardly have been made in sincerity, but rather as a temporary device and to meet the susceptibilities of the advising Powers, for all the time preparations for war were never relaxed for a moment, but were pushed on with extreme vigour. On the other hand, the British programme seeking to ensure peace by the franchise expedient had been strictly followed without deviation. When the Transvaal Government professed irritation over the disposition of some British troops too near the Transvaal border, they were promptly removed to more remote and less strategic positions, rather than incur the risk of rupture. During the month preceding the outbreak of the war, some large continental consignments of war munitions were, as usual, permitted to reach the Republics unhindered through several Colonial ports, portions being actually smuggled over the Colonial railways as merchandise addressed to a well-known Pretoria firm, but on arrival were secretly delivered, under cover of night, at the various forts and arsenals. These proceedings were carried out with the connivance of the Colonial Bond authorities, and though known to the British Governor, it was all winked at rather than hazard the momentous objects of peace by the introduction of another knotty subject. To sum up the situation, it was a diplomatic contest on the part of Great Britain aiming at peace and to safeguard her possessions and prestige, while the Afrikaner Bond, on the other part, continued active in the work of sedition and preparing for a war of usurpation. Every one must admit that the demand of the British Ministry for an immediate and adequate representation proceeded from the necessity and the desire to overcome the South African crisis in a just and pacific way. The measure was counted upon to effect conciliation between the Uitlander and burgher elements, and as a further result was earnestly hoped to bring about the secession of the Transvaal from the Afrikaner Bond, and so reduce that dangerous confederacy to a somewhat negligible impotence. To discover other objects of a sinister sort lurking behind needs a more than inventive genius. A united Afrikaner Bond, persistent to carry out its fell project, definitely meant war sooner or later. Its first step in launching out to it was that notorious ultimatum, which was tantamount to snatching back the feigned offers of the seven and five years' franchise. According to original programme, the very next step to accomplish the coup d'étatwas the immediate seizure of all Colonial ports, and to complete a general and irrevocable Boer rising all over the Colonies.
All the while the old device had been put into practice of hiding Bond guilt by accusing England of designs against the integrity of the Boer Republics. But directly after, in the exultation of victorious invasions, the mask was shamelessly dropped, and Boerdom stands out defiantly and nakedly self-confessed, aiming at conquest and supremacy over all South Africa. Will the ensuing century have in store an instance to match that record plot of artifice and dissimulation, and see half the world duped into partisanship with it—by journalistic craft?
It may well be imagined that Mr. Chamberlain and his noble colleagues had anything but beds of roses whilst pursuing the diplomacy adopted to checkmate the Bond. They had to gain national support without divulging their own proceeding, and were at the same time reduced to a situation which imposed a spartan fortitude in concealing and repressing involuntary perturbation in the presence of an impending national crisis, and also the stoical endurance of bitter recriminations on the part of an opposition comprising a large and honourable but poorly informed section of the English nation.
We come now to the topic of language, which will be found relevant, showing Hollander and Bond influence in using that also as a hostile weapon. What the Boers still speak is a vernacular or dialect so far removed from High Dutch as to be unintelligible to the uninitiated Hollander. It took its form from the dialects brought to the Cape of Good Hope by unlettered Dutch colonists and a large admixture of locally produced idioms, with a slight trace of the structure of the French language in expressing negations. In the two Republics High Dutch rules for official purposes, but in common intercourse the vernacular Dutch is still about the same as it had been a hundred years ago. For an English-Dutch interpreter the thorough knowledge of the vernacular is essential. Preachers and teachers have to adapt their speech by combining High Dutch with the dialect, the one or the other predominating according to the capacity of the hearers. Hollanders follow the same method when learning the vernacular Dutch.
In towns and villages, not only in the Colonies, but also in both Republics, English is almost exclusively used. The Boers, and especially the younger generation, have a much greater aptitude and penchant for learning English than for High Dutch; and generally it has been held more important by the parents that their children should become proficient in English, that language being more easily acquired and of vastly greater use than Dutch. The latter, it was truly averred, would be learnt as they grew up quite sufficiently for all purposes.
The feeling thus existed some twenty years ago that English would become general, and ultimately oust both Dutch and the vernacular. Numerous Boer patriots then devised the remedy of preserving the vernacular by raising it to the standard of a written and printed language for official as well as common use. The Rev. du Toit, later appointed Minister (or Superintendent) of Education in the Transvaal, worked tenaciously towards making that movement a national success. He had the co-operation of many other educated patriots likewise. The Paarl Patriot, a journal published in the vernacular, is one of the surviving efforts. Vocabularies, school books, etc., etc., were printed in that dialect, and the translation of the Bible had also been brought to an advanced stage, when the project had to be abandoned, principally through Hollander influence, aided by some of the Republican leaders and Bond men. Dr. Mansfeld, the present Superintendent of Education in the Transvaal, was subsequently appointed—a very able Hollander, but also a very strong advocate in the general Hollander Bond movement for proscribing the use of the English language, and making High Dutch the compulsory medium of instruction. Since then, and during the past ten years, considerable progress has been made by the average Boer children, and even the grown-up people, in approaching a better knowledge of High Dutch. Before 1880 hardly any Boer cared to read a newspaper except, perhaps, the Paarl Patriot, the vernacular journal referred to. High Dutch and English papers were equally beyond his ready knowledge, but since then the interest in politics gave an impulse to a reading tendency, and at this moment the majority of the Boers manage to read and understand fairly well what is presented in simply written High Dutch by the local Press. They also are fond of simply written books of travels, and especially of narratives of a religious trend. With the Bible they are most familiar from childhood, but literature in High Dutch is beyond them as yet. Greater pains have of late years been taken to qualify Boer sons for the administrative service of the Republics, where imperfect knowledge of High Dutch is an obvious bar to advancement, and Hollanders would otherwise continue to monopolize the better positions.
Taking the fairly educated Free State and Transvaal youth, the average proficiency in English compared to that in High Dutch is as two to one, whilst many possess even a literary mastery in English whilst quite poor in the other language.
In the Cape Colony the above comparison among the Boer section is still more in favour of English.
It may be judged what an important rôle the educated Hollander group can take in those Republics, and are yet aiming at in the Colonies.
It is also worthy of reflection why and how the Dutch language has been raised to equality with English in the Cape Colony, seeing English was more generally understood by the Boers there than High Dutch, and none of the Boer legislators or members of Parliament even now know more than the Dutch vernacular, the High Dutch language having actually yet to be learnt by the Boer population—an important step thus gained by Afrikanerdom under the indulgent ægis of self-government, the thin end of another wedge to nurse sedition and treason introduced by that odious Bond under pretence and veil of Boer patriotism and loyalty.
As one of the world's languages, Dutch figures under a very sorry rôle indeed. It had been ignored everywhere outside of Holland and her distant Colonies. The consequence to Hollanders is that they are of necessity subjected to the ordeal of learning several other continental languages for commercial intercourse, and in order to keep at all abreast with the progress of science, literature, and culture. Dutch is in the moribund stage; its salvation from imminent extinction consists in the expansion of its sphere. Boer successes in South Africa would just accomplish that.
As has been shown, the conditions of the two Boer Republics, with High Dutch as the official language, lent themselves to favour the immigration into those States of educated Dutchmen (Hollanders, as they are styled, to distinguish them from the old-established Boer Dutchmen). These were indeed indispensable, as none of the Boers possessed the competence in High Dutch requisite for the conduct of the more important portion of the clerical work in the administration. The professional branches were recruited from Holland likewise, in natural sequence. They were men of high attainments and possessed of energy and astuteness and of various qualifications—doctors, lawyers, editors, clergymen, teachers. Those who did not receive Government appointments quickly found lucrative positions in their vocations. The scope increased as time went by and as those States developed with the growth of the populations and the establishment of numerous towns and villages, especially after the discovery of the diamond-fields in 1870. Every year brought fresh contingents from Holland, including also the commercial class, artisans, and even servants of both sexes, and agriculturists. Preserving a constant intercourse with their native country, those Hollanders also maintained cohesion and clanship among themselves in their newly-adopted homes. Nor did Holland fail to realize the great advantages accruing to that country and its people from the new South African outlets—regular preserves with almost unlimited scope for further extension and for increasing permanent, profitable connections. A formidable barrier presented itself in the gradually ascendant tendencies of the English language and English trade, with corresponding neglect of the Dutch factors. Regretful forebodings aroused energetic efforts to check rival interests. The prize was too valuable, and increasing each year in importance. A dyke needed to be erected to stem the English encroachments and to preserve and consolidate the Hollander position of vantage. The ablest men in Holland and South Africa exercised themselves with that task with an ardour impelled by jealous hatred against the English and intensified by successive revelations of more startling discoveries of gold and other mineral wealth in the Transvaal. It was then, about thirty years ago, that a well-informed, influential and unscrupulous coterie in Holland devised the fell projects which developed into that potential association since known as the Afrikaner Bond.
The building of the Transvaal railway lines brought other large accessions of educated Hollanders, and as they were completed some thousands more were added to serve as permanent staff. Dutch influence was thus attaining strength to assert and consolidate its interests with an expanding impulse. The monopolized railway company promoted immigration from Holland by largely increasing the salaries to such of the staff who were married. The Transvaal Government, under the advice of their educational chief, Dr. Mansfeld, provided similar premiums to secure married teachers from Holland and by raising the salaries of married Hollander officials already placed. The Hollander population attracted to the Transvaal since 1850, and which did not number above 500 in 1870, had increased by 1898 to fully 12,000, representing, as ranged with the Boers, by far the largest factor of educated intelligence, attached to and dependent upon the Government and its staunch allies. The men received full burghership as a rule soon after arrival, exempt from the formalities and probation prescribed by law.
Holland being the locality of the inception, I may say the ingestion, of the Afrikaner Bond, one's thoughts are apt to retrace, by way of contrast, that little nation's creditable past. The view presents those dykes, monuments of labour's heroism; then that glorious resistance against the mighty persecutor of religion, those unsurpassed performances in the arena of culture, arts, and sciences, and that long epoch of success in exploits of colonization, finance, and commerce.
One notes the placid landscapes intersected by those still but deep-flowing rivers and canals, scenes so conducive to mental exercise—the Dutch patriot mourning over the transition of former national prestige to present condition of decadence presaging complete national submersion, but at the same time courageously employing his fertile brain in devising far-reaching projects of remedy over distant perspectives so as to stem that tide of decadence and declension and to erect a firm barrier against that menace—to gain (by inspiration from the titular genius of commerce and craft so conspicuous in that famed art representation exhibited in his Bourse) a dazzling prize for his nation by one fell swoop and, so to say, with folded arms, just by pitting against the English his almost forgotten and long-neglected clan, the Boer nation, inciting them to usurp Great Britain in South Africa, Holland sharing the spoils. See here the master mind exulting in the conception, gestation, and birth of the Afrikaner Bond conspiracy; note the Hollander patriot's glitter of satisfaction at the vista of realizing the restoration of Holland to a position excelling its former glory, of a moribund language revived to significance, and of witnessing besides a sweet vendetta operated upon England, the old enemy and despoiler of his nation, to compass the humiliation and disintegration of the British Empire. Patience, dear reader; preserve judicial composure. Evidence is following on the heels of the charge.
 This is of course not directed against the nation as a whole. See also notice, page vi.
 Oil painting in the Amsterdam Exchange building representing Mercurius.
The late Mr. Jan Brand, that noble President who was succeeded by Reitz and now by Steyn in the presidency of the Orange Free State, appeared to have had early intimations, or at least presages, as to the true nature of the Afrikaner Bond, for during the early eighties that association had yet posed as a harmless body, intended to preserve old Boer traditions upon perfectly constitutional lines. President Brand and some others then already suspected more, as the following incident will show. In 1883 President Brand officially opened the new wagon-road bridge over the Caledon River at Commissie drift, near Smithfield, Orange Free State. Towards the conclusion of the ceremony, one of the other speakers, Mr. Advocate Peeters, member of the Volksraad for Smithfield district, in the course of his speech formally suggested that President Brand should accept the leadership of the Orange Free State section of the Afrikaner Bond. The President, addressing the burghers and all present, replied in about the following terms: The proposal just then made by Advocate Peeters had pained and offended him; the festive event would be marred by that incident were it not that it afforded him the opportunity, which he otherwise would have missed, of telling them all what he thought of the Afrikaner Bond—that it was an evil thing; he could not find terms strong enough to warn the people against its subtle seductions. The Afrikaner Bond professed its objects to be peace and harmony, but it really contained the pernicious seeds of division and strife, to set up enmity between English Afrikaners and Boer Afrikaners. He pointed out the sincerity of friendly relations on the part of England towards both the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republics. The peace which restored to the Transvaal its independence a few years before was one big proof; his Government had many proofs of England's good will, too. It suited both parties to maintain harmony—it behoved every Afrikaner to be one-minded in friendly reciprocation. Through a gracious Providence both Republics were prosperous and enjoyed independence. All over the world the prosperity of States depended upon good relations with their neighbours—this was especially so as regards the Orange Free State. They knew what kind of bond the Bible enjoined. It was the bond of peace and concord; and he concluded by declaring his well-grounded fears that the Afrikaner Bond was a device of the devil directed against the well-being of the entire Afrikaner nation. Instead of being encouraged, it should, like the "Boete Bosch" (Xanthium spinosum, burr weed), be extirpated from the soil of South Africa.
MEMORANDA OF BOND PROGRAMME, EMANATING FROM HOLLAND (TRANSLATION FROM GLEANINGS).
The Afrikaner Bond has as final object what is summed up in its motto of "Afrika voor de Afrikaners." The whole of South Africa belongs by just right to the Afrikaner nation. It is the privilege and duty of every Afrikaner to contribute all in his power towards the expulsion of the English usurper. The States of South Africa to be federated in one independent Republic.
The Afrikaner Bond prepares for this consummation.
Argument in justification:—
(a) The transfer of the Cape Colony to the British Government took place by circumstances of force majeure and without the consent of the Dutch nation, who renounce all claim in favour of the Afrikaner or Boer nation.
(b) Natal is territory which accrued to a contingent of the Boer nation by purchase from the Zulu King, who received the consideration agreed for.
(c) The British authorities expelled the rightful owners from Natal by force of arms without just cause.
The task of the Afrikaner Bond consists in:—
(a) Procuring the staunch adhesion and co-operation of every Afrikaner and other real friend of the cause.
(b) To obtain the sympathy, the moral and effective aid of one or more of the world's Powers.
The means to accomplish those tasks are:—
Personal persuasion, Press propaganda, legislation and diplomacy.
The direction of the application of those means is entrusted to a select body of members eligible for their loyalty to the cause and their abilities and position. That body will conduct such measures as need the observance of special secrecy. Upon the rest of the members will devolve activities of a general character under the direction of the selected chiefs.
One of the indispensable requisites is the proper organization of an effective fund, which is to be regularly sustained. Bond members will aid each other in all relations of public life in preference to non-members.
In the efforts of gaining adherents to the cause it is of importance to distinguish three categories of persons—
(1) The class of Afrikaners who are to some extent deteriorated by assimilative influences with the English race, whose restoration to patriotism will need great efforts, discretion, and patience.
(2)The apparently unthinking and apathetic class, who prefer to relegate all initiative to leaders whom they will loyally follow. This class is the most numerous by far.
(3) The warmly patriotic class, including men gifted with intelligence, energy, and speech, qualified as leaders and apt to exercise influence over the rest.
Among those three classes many exist whose views and religious scruples need to be corrected. Scripture abounds in proofs and salient analogies applying to the situation and justifying our cause. In this, as well as in other directions, the members who work in circulating written propaganda will supply the correct and conclusive arguments accessible to all.
Upon the basis of our just rights, the British Government, if not the entire nation, is the usurping enemy of the Boer nation.
In dealing with an enemy it is justifiable to employ, besides force, also means of a less open character, such as diplomacy and stratagem.
The greatest danger to Afrikanerdom is the English policy of Anglicizing the Boer nation—to submerge it by the process of assimilation.
A distinct attitude of holding aloof from English influences is the only remedy against that peril and for thwarting that insidious policy.
It is only such an attitude that will preserve the nation in its simple faith and habits of morality, and provide safety against the dangers of contamination and pernicious examples, with all their fateful consequences to body and soul.
Let the Dutch language have the place of honour in schools and homes.
Let alliances of marriage with the English be stamped as unpatriotic.
Let every Afrikaner see that he is at all times well armed with the best possible weapons, and maintains the expert use of the rifle among young and old, so as to be ready when duty calls and the time is ripe for asserting the nation's rights and be rid of English thraldom.
Employ teachers only who are animated with truly patriotic sentiments.
Let it be well understood that English domination will also bring religious intolerance and servitude, for it is only a very frail link which separates the English State Church from actual Romanism, and its proselytism en bloc is only a matter of short time.
Equally repugnant and dangerous is England's policy towards the coloured races, whom she aims, for the sake of industrial profit, at elevating to equal rank with whites, in direct conflict with scriptural authority—a policy which incites coloured people to rivalry with their superiors, and can only end in common disaster.
Whilst remaining absolutely independent, the ties of blood relationship and language point to Holland for a domestic base.
As to commerce, Germany, America, and other industrial nations could more than fill the gap left by England, and such connections should be cultivated as a potent means towards obtaining foreign support to our cause and identification with it.
If the mineral wealth of the Transvaal and Orange Free State becomes established—as appears certain from discoveries already made—England will not rest until those are also hers.
The leopard will retain its spots. The independence of both Republics is at stake on that account alone, with the risk that the rightful owners of the land will become the hewers of wood and drawers of water for the usurpers.
There is no alternative hope for the peace and progress of South Africa except by the total excision of the British ulcer.
Reliable signs are not wanting to show that our nation is designed by Providence as the instrument for the recovery of its rights, and for the chastisement of proud, perfidious Albion.
 Literally "bush of fines" (fines imposed on landowners where the burr weed was not eradicated).
 Africa for the African citizen or African-born whites.
 It is notorious that from about 1890 such marriages were denounced from the Boer pulpits and on the occasions of the Independence day anniversaries (16th December).
During the period of, say, twenty-five years after the inception of the Afrikaner Bond, and while its organization and development were secretly kept at full pace with occurring events, the British Government consistently and openly pursued the policy of bringing about the unification of South Africa. Mr. Froude, a speaker of rare gifts, was sent to lecture upon the topic: this was in about 1873. The Colonial Governor, Sir Bartle Frere, strenuously advocated that union. The lines suggested were a general federation under one protective flag, self-government in the Colonies, and the continuance of uncurtailed autonomic independence in the two Republics. The benefits which such a coalition promised to all concerned in South Africa are obvious. It would guarantee harmony between the two white races without involving the least sacrifice of liberty with any party—it simply meant coincident peace, prosperity and security, and would relieve England of a considerable burden of anxiety. The scheme promised to find all-round acceptance, but, unaccountably, except to Bond men, its greatest opponents were the Cape Colonial Boers. It was, however, confidently hoped that, with patience, opposition and indifference would be overcome, and in view of this no opportunity was lost to prove England's loyal sincerity by genial treatment, by conciliating the various interests, and gratifying the wishes of the Boer communities, and so to ensure the desideratum of complete rapprochement between the white races.
Conferences were convened with the objects of coming to agreements for the establishment of a general South African Customs Union, and for adjusting railway tariffs upon fair bases and a more reliable permanency of rates suggesting reciprocal terms advantageous to the Republics. These efforts also proved fruitless through similar opposition.
The Afrikaner Bond party, as the reader will understand, had ranged itself against all such attempts, whilst successfully masking its own object all the time.
Other differences, which, with a friendly and united spirit, were capable of easy adjustment, were welcomed by that party as grist to its mill in order to widen the gulf and to increase the tension.
Besides the chagrin over the failure of its peace policy, the British Cabinet had finally to admit itself confronted with a very real and ominous national peril, face to face with the South African Medusa, Afrikanerdom, defying Great Britain in preconcerted aggression and revolt. That apparition was all the more startlingly disquieting because of the suddenness with which the magnitude of the menace and its wide perspectives had begun to expand into clearer view. It was interesting to note how the English ministry responded to the call upon its fortitude; the terrifying apparition did not seem to petrify that body of men, despite the galling handicapping consequences through the opposition of part of the nation, which was indeed tantamount to encouraging South African rebels and usurpers.
The Bond leaders in Holland and South Africa had at an early stage acted upon Stuart Mill's recognised saying, "that conviction in a cause is of more potent avail than mere interest in it." Among those leaders there was no lack of men of erudition and of psychological science, than whom no one knew better the prime importance of ensuring uniformity of convictions among the Boers and their partisans, and that the public mind needs to be framed and trained so as to view the Boer cause as just and that of the English as odiously wicked. They knew how indispensable the Press is for attaining those objects, how journalism is capable of plausibly representing black as white and to convince people so—that, in fact, it is on occasion an agency of persuasion more potent than armies are. Its needs are unscrupulous pens and ample payments. For money is the sinews of journalism as well as of war, whether the projectiles be charged with lyddite or with lies, whether it is bullets or throwing dust into people's eyes.
We have seen how a few articles (for which a leading French paper received £100,000) were instrumental in enabling the Panama Canal Co. to swindle the French public of forty million pounds sterling, and more recently, where through Press agency it became feasible to a combination of Jesuitism and militarism to seduce by far the greater portion of the noble French nation into frenzied agitation and anti-Semitic excesses, and load the entire people with almost ineffaceable guilt in the matter of that unfortunate Dreyfus. In its Press campaign the Afrikaner Bond employed several leading Colonial organs—the Bloemfontein Express, the Pretoria Volksstem, the Standard and Diggers' News of Johannesburg, and numerous papers of note abroad as well. These were coached, in the usual masterly manner, sophisticating and perverting truth. Whenever a lull occurred in treating one or other of the more salient questions, those South African papers would invariably contain—especially in their Dutch columns—aspersive articles, coupled with invective comments to prejudice the Boer mind and to reawaken anti-English sentiments. It is notable as a proof that the Bond party lacked all occasions for recriminations, so that those papers had to resort for material for their vituperation to distorted incidents of Transvaal history prior to the peace of 1881. There would, for example, be dished up falsely rendered and dramatically coloured and perverted selections, such as the treacherous massacre of Retief's party in 1838, averring that the Zulu king, Dingaan, had been incited thereto by the British authorities; tragic descriptions of events, coupled with the massacres by Zulu impis soon after at Weenen and Blaauwkrantz, averred also to have taken place at the instance of the English Government, and ever and anon references and full tragic descriptions of the Slachtersnek execution in 1816, omitting to state that the Boer culprits were hanged after fair and open trial and conviction by a "Boer" jury for high treason in conspiring with Kaffirs against the Government, which crime had led to bloodshed, and that their relatives had been ordered to witness the execution because they had been abettors and privy to the crime.
Books teaching the history of South Africa were adapted for school use wherein denunciations against the English appear in almost every chapter. Poetry in the vernacular Dutch and pamphlets teeming with like burdens and calumnies also did their share in inspiring race hatred.
Pro-Boer journalism in England and elsewhere abroad had assumed such dimensions, especially during the past decade, as to bring the Secret Service expenditure on that head during recent years to over £100,000 per annum. Dr. Leyds, the Transvaal ambassador, now (December, 1899) in Europe, is known to some to have with him some £250,000 to defray Press expenditure, etc., apart from the millions to which he is authorized to engage his Government in diplomatic projects, such as procuring allies, or to create embroilments and diversions to the prejudice of England.
To sum up the success achieved by anti-English propaganda, we find the Boer nation, from the Zambesi to the Cape, unanimous in convictions as to their fancied claims, their own absolute innocence, and the immeasurable guilt of the British Government, abetted by capitalism—guilt which cries to heaven for retribution; and those convictions take with each man the form of a resolute patriotism wherein mingled fanaticism and religious fervour in their cause form a powerfully sustaining part.
Partisanship outside of Africa counts by millions of individuals and entire peoples; with these it is not so much conviction, but rather persuasion induced by political hatred and the souring effects of jealousy and unsuccessful rivalry. This feature is, of course, most accentuated in Holland, where, with the eyes set upon the loaves and fishes in South Africa, that nation has for some time been "publicly praying" for Boer victory over England. These are instances of mere interest in lieu of genuine convictions. In England the spectacle is more varied. There we see interest where there are paid agencies, and persuasion more or less pronounced induced by political party spirit and also by real convictions. It is in regard to the latter category where perverted journalism triumphs most and stabs deepest, where men of honour and patriotism have adopted views which clash against public interest, and convictions which torture their own minds with grief and shame under the supposed idea of England's unjust attitude towards the Boer people, assuming that a Government majority allows itself to be actuated by base motives.
Is it not attributable in a large proportion to misguided as well as to venal journalism that the Boer cause has so heavily scored?
Was all this not manifest in the divisions of England's counsels, in the hampered progress of her diplomacy, her fateful hesitancy and delay in providing appropriate preventive and protective measures in South Africa?
And as regards the tenacity of those convictions, it is with them as it is in plant life. The longer a tree is in maturing, the harder is it to uproot it.
The activities of Bond propaganda have been in continuance for many years, and the prejudices fostered so long are correspondingly deep-rooted.
Bond patriotism was not long subjected to the strain of individual contributions and unpaid performances. When the Transvaal revenues advanced with such giant strides the Afrikaner Bond leaders in that State contrived arrangements by which the financial requirements were supplied from State receipts. Nor was the least compunction felt in doing so. Was the revenue of the State not chiefly derived from the Uitlander element—from Uitlander investments, which all throve from the nation's own buried gold wealth? No scruples existed to provide from those sources the armaments and all else needed for the common cause of conquest.
A secret service fund of some £40,000 per year only was placed upon the budget list. But this amount was vastly exceeded by the growing requirements of the Afrikaner Bond for expenditure in South Africa alone. It was easily contrived to divert, sub rosa, large State receipts to supply the remaining financial needs. Among these figured, besides the heavy outlays in journalism abroad, gratuities, etc., a large bill also for secret agencies, spies, and the like.
The entire expenditure was under the direction of a few only of the trusted leaders and audited by the chiefs, all being kept otherwise undivulged.
The Transvaal thus became the treasury as well as the arsenal of the entire Afrikaner Bond.
Hundreds of agents were in constant employ in the Cape Colonies and Natal suborning the Boer colonists; many of them occupied positions in various branches of the Colonial Government, and were able to supply information upon any subject and even to influence elections.
There were numerous permanent agents drawing large emoluments in Europe also, and emissaries to different places abroad, some touring in America, England, and the Continent, as the Rev. Mr. Bosman did recently, and also the P.M.G., Isaac van Alphen.
Much energy and money were also devoted to electioneering campaigns, as had notoriously been done in the Cape Colony towards bringing in a Bond majority. Large sums are spent in the diplomatic arena in Holland to propitiate foreign statesmen, soliciting sympathy, and in coquettings for Transvaal allies. One of these attempts that failed had been with Germany. It would appear that some progress had been feasible some years ago in temporarily luring Emperor William to favour a Holland-Transvaal combination, but when that sovereign had at last penetrated the infamous business that lay behind it all, he, as a true "Bayard" promptly washed his hands clean of it, preferring to forego obvious brilliant advantages for his people than to sully Germany's fair fame in a connection amounting to no less than abetting a foul conspiracy.
The readers of the Johannesburg Standard and Diggers' News will remember among the staple attacks upon capitalism quite a series of articles intended to decoy mining artisans and operatives to Boer views. Secret agents were also employed for that purpose, and to induce the belief that the Government was the enemy of capitalism, and would champion its victims (the mining operatives) in the State. It would support miners and the working class generally against attempts to curtail the just rights of labour, and to parade its sincerity actually passed a law constituting eight tours a legal day's labour. With such coquettings it was hoped to gain the miners' confidence and adhesion. Those men were, however, not to be taught by quasi-socialistic professions of concern, and when, some months later, the exodus prior to the war occurred, they nearly all left, much to the disgust and discomfiture of the Government, which had counted upon them to stay to work the mines for its own account when the moment should arrive.
The appropriation of gold mines and their exploitation for Government benefit bring about a singular anomaly for a nation engaged in war, viz., that of a plethora of gold and a scarcity of paper currency, the Transvaal mint coining the sinews of war at the expense of its victims, but the plundered gold after all not equalling commercial paper values.
In connection with the foregoing remarks the following may also be said. States professing neutrality still permit themselves to trade with the Transvaal to a large extent. It is notorious that that State possesses no funds available for payments except the gold derived from the misappropriated mines. The output is seized in its entirety, and not limited to the extent accruing to British scrip holders only. The hustling rivalry of doing business with the Transvaal thus involves receiving stolen money in payment of trade accounts. We see the receivers eager to stand upon the same platform as the thief, thus not only as his political partisans, but also as his accomplices.
The Boer section in the Cape Colonies represents nearly one-half of the white population there. Their representatives in the administration were ever profuse and assertive in professions of loyalty to the Queen and to the English Government, and any aspersions to the contrary were always indignantly and stoutly repelled. The Afrikaner Bond was averred to include nothing to clash with loyal sentiments, no severance from England, but, on the contrary, that its principal objects were to strengthen the lines of amity and joint solidarity in view of a general federation of South Africa upon Imperial bases. In support of such sentiments one of the first acts of the Bond party when recently come into power was a vote of £30,000 per year towards British naval outlays, and in grateful recognition of naval protection; it was at the same time mooted, in fact almost pledged, that the Transvaal would similarly offer £12,000 as well.
The sequel has proven these to be Athenian gifts, for no sooner had the Republican commandoes invaded the Cape Colonies in November last than those identical men enthusiastically welcomed the Queen's enemies as their friends and deliverers from hateful English dominion. There they stood—self-avowed and unmasked traitors. Members of the Legislative Assembly met those Boer invaders with addresses and speeches, assuring them of their own and of every other true Afrikaner's aid and fidelity in their common cause. "The star of liberty," they said, "had arisen at last—it had been the nation's desire and prayers during the past fifteen years." "He could thank God with tears of joy for having granted those prayers." Such were the words of Mr. van der Walt, M.L.A., uttered at Colesberg. Mr. de Wet, M.L.A., Mr. van den Heever, M.L.A., and other colonial notables were spokesmen in similar terms of enthusiasm on other occasions as the invasion advanced. All this is sadly notorious, but still it seems a hard task to convince people who prefer to remain blind or only see a presumptuous adversary in any one who seeks to enlighten them upon this glaring and premeditated treachery.
October and November were months of unrestrained exultation to the Boer party, to judge from letters and articles which appeared in the Standard and Diggers' News, Johannesburg, dated 22nd November, 1899, and in the Pretoria Volksstem, dated 20th November, 1899. There one sees the mask off, in language of defiant insult and of scurrilous mendacity against all that is English, avowing that the present Anglo-Boer War has been the outcome of preparations during the past thirty years. That letter is not all suitable reading for the tender sex, but should serve as evidence to the still unconvinced sceptic that the Boers are fighting for something more than their mere independence and liberty, viz., for conquest and the domination of Afrikanerdom. His Excellency Dr. Leyds may deny all those too previous intentions with his placid effrontery of assumed innocent calm. He may denounce Mr. Chamberlain, Rhodes, Jameson, and even the Prince of Wales, and he may use the old device of posing as innocent by accusing others. The detected robber, however, does not always escape with his booty by running off himself, whilst shouting "Stop, thief!"
Something refreshingly analogous to such attempts of screening and exculpation has been extemporized in Cape journals of late. There, in an ingeniously pretended dissertation, it is invented how ill founded the aspersions are against Mr. Premier Schreiner, and that the acts, upon which he was so wrongly suspected as an amphibious helmsman, are really attributable to another person—by the way, to one at a safe distance, viz., to Mr. F.W. Reitz, the Transvaal State Secretary; whilst this gentleman again, when lecturing at Johannesburg in July last, naively deplored the confusion of people's ideas who see anything wrong in the Afrikaner Bond, adding: "Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do or talk about."
"The peace of South Africa is only possible under Boer supremacy," is the Bond shibboleth. The end justifies the means, even to sedition, to a war of conquest and the wholesale plunder of investors.
Many of the younger Boers in the Cape Colony and Natal had shown a singular ardour in joining the several volunteer corps. They were equipped with uniforms and best weapons, were drilled into efficiency, received pay, and all went on well until the oath of allegiance was to be tendered. This they refused, preferring to resign and to provide arms from other sources—Mauser rifles by preference. This happened some considerable time before the outbreak of the war.
Boer Arguments Denying Uitlanders' Complaints
Many plausible arguments are proffered to prove that Uitlanders' grievances and irritations are purely fictitious, but few, I venture to say, will bear examination. Taxation, for example, is stoutly averred to fall alike upon burgher and Uitlander, but a glance at the long rubric of articles specially taxed will show that the selection is contrived to hit the latter and to spare, or even to protect and benefit, the burgher section.
The gold industry is not charged with a royalty as is customary in other gold-producing countries, but with 5 per cent. only upon the net profits; but here an intolerant and corrupt domination proves much more prejudicial than a heavy royalty would be.
Proper representation would be the remedy and afford contentment, even with higher taxation, but that is refused upon Bond principles.
The Anglo-Boer War is attributed to base motives on the part of the British Government, operating in collusion with capitalism—to England's passion for annexation, her rapacious greed for the Transvaal gold, her inordinate ambition to universal commercial supremacy, etc. What a confusion of assertions and of self-refuting contradictions!
Would England really acquire the Transvaal gold by the annexation of that State, seeing that its mines are already capitalized and as good as expropriated in favour of the host of shareholders, some of whom are English, but the greater portion German, French, and of other nations?
What advantage would accrue to shareholders? Would England, in case of forcible annexation, not be under the necessity of incurring a heavy charge in the increase of her South African garrisons, and so be justified in levying a considerable royalty upon the output, which would materially reduce the dividends? What advantage would arise to England by substituting an unproductive and costly war in South Africa for conditions of peace and prosperity, which alone can yield her commerce profit? England can only derive profit from wars waged between other peoples. And as to the incentive of commercial supremacy, England, while possessing that to a large extent already, freely and voluntarily allows all comers from other nationalities to share the benefits with her by her principle of free trade.
 Extract from Pretoria Volksstem, 20th November, 1899, from a long letter averred to have appeared in the London Times, dated 12th October, 1899, said to have been signed by a well-known Cape Boer, then in England:—
"We have desired delay, and we have had it, and we are now practically masters of South Africa from the Zambesi to the Cape. All the Afrikaners in the Cape Colony have been working for years past for this end.
"For thirty years the Cape Dutch have been waiting their chance, and now their day has come; they will throw off their mask and their yoke at the same instant, and 200,000 Dutch heroes will trample you tinder foot. We can afford to tell you the truth now, and in this letter you have got it."
Between the north-eastern borders of the Transvaal and the coast lies the Portuguese colony Mozambique. Its frontier railway station, Ressario Garcia, is near that of the Transvaal, viz., Komati poort, which is 53 miles from Delagoa Bay. A low-lying country extends from the coast about 100 to 200 miles inland, and is tropical. Except some elevated spots, the whole of it is almost uninhabitable in summer by whites on account of malaria. During some specially bad seasons natives even succumb to that malady. The only comparatively safe months are from June to November. Marshy localities, and wherever there is shaded rank vegetation in low-lying parts, are dangerous all the year round; in such places the water is deadly at all times unless first boiled.
This malarial poison is distinct from that which produces yellow fever in America, and is so far unlike it as it is not contagious. The theory is that the poison is produced below the surface by decaying vegetable matter in low and dank parts during the more inactive but still warm and sunny winter season and during the hot months preceding the summer rainfall. Upon the first rains the malarial poison escapes through the then softened crust in the shape of vapoury miasms. This happens during the night, after the surface of the earth has been cooled off. Those miasms are dissipated or neutralised by the action of the sun. The dewy grass retains the poison until it is thoroughly dried to the root. All surface water is liable to that poisonous impregnation. Malarial manifestations occur all over South Africa, but in progressive degrees of virulence with the advance to warmer latitudes, and with the descent from the high table-lands to the coast levels. On the Transvaal high veldt, for example, a mild form is developed which, in midsummer, to a small extent, affects and kills sheep. It is called blaauwtong, and does not affect horses. Descending further, this danger to sheep increases and begins earlier. Below 5,000 feet altitude in the Transvaal the summer season is dangerous to sheep, and horses and mules are subject to horse sickness; whilst lower still the same malaria attains sufficient virulence to attack human beings, and becomes very deadly upon levels nearing the coast. Komati poort, the frontier railway station already mentioned, is dreaded as a still worse death-trap than even Delagoa Bay, where it is very unsafe, say, from December to end of April. The season of horse sickness terminates upon the appearance of the first sharp frost in May. The safeguards for human beings consist in avoidance at night and early morning of low-lying localities, or such elevated places even which are subject to be invaded by miasmatic emanations produced on and wafted from dangerous lower levels. Drink no unboiled water except that from deep wells or rain-water; maintain careful and moderate diet, active habits, but avoiding extreme exertions and excitements; a very sparing use of alcoholic drinks, preferably taken with the regular meals, is admissible.
Donkeys, horned cattle, and goats are exempt from malarial risks.
For horses and mules no certain remedy appears as yet to be known. The best research, on behalf of the Transvaal Government, by specially requisitioned French bacteriologists, assisted by that famous microbe-hunter, Dr. Theiler (Dr. Theiler is the Transvaal veterinary surgeon and chief of the Medical Laboratory, Pretoria, a noted Swiss savant, who, with the aid of the said French experts, discovered the rinderpest inoculation remedy), has failed to find the bacillus of horse sickness. Barely five per cent, of the horses attacked recover, and about ten per cent, of mules. These are then called salted, and are immune from horse sickness; they can after that be safely used in the worst localities, and are correspondingly more valuable. They are, however, liable periodically to light after-attacks, when it is safer to exempt them from work for a day, or for a few hours at least.
Some proprietors of mail coaches are in the habit of administering doses of arsenic to their horses and mules, which are said to operate in lessening the death rate and to favour the salting process.
As safeguards for horses and mules, the following rules have been found to minimise losses in dangerous tracts where the low clinging miasmatic vapours are so deadly during the night and earlier parts of the morning. (During rainfall there is hardly any danger, nor is there after a night's rain for the day following):—
Do not traverse low suspicious tracts during the hours between 9 p.m. and, say, two hours after sunrise, lest poisonous vapours be encountered and inhaled by man or horse.
Choose the most elevated spots for camping out at night. No grazing to be allowed from 10 p.m. to about 10 or 11 a.m., unless it is raining. Dewy grass is fatally poisoned; the heavy moist air close to the surface is also suspected. Grazing is only safe after the soil and grass are dried of all dewy moisture.
Avoid all water of at all a stagnant nature; rather let the animals remain thirsty.
If the animals have been fed with dry fodder during the night, let the first morning stage be moderate and not exhausting. With empty stomachs the task might be somewhat increased, but even then it should be less than any other succeeding stage. When the first symptoms of sickness are noticed they may pass over if the animal is at once freed from work and allowed to rest, or is at most led when marching. Among the most dangerous places for horse sickness and for fever to human beings are the luxurious dongas, ravines, and valleys which abound along the long stretches of mountains and broken country immediately below the high plateaux.
The passes leading up to the high veldt are few in number, and so precipitous as to be almost impracticable for vehicles. Of late years those roads have been allowed to fall into disrepair, in order, it may be supposed, to check wagon traffic and to promote that by railway; apart from the railway, communication with Delagoa Bay would now be impossible. What with the fever climate in summer, and the formidable mountain barriers, the Transvaal high veldt is well protected from aggression from the direction of Delagoa Bay. A few thousand men distributed at the few mountain passes, blocking the tunnel at one of these (at Waterval Boven), and breaking up some few bridges, would effectually arrest the progress of any invading force.
From the tropical Zambesi regions and the torrid Kalahari plains, down to the 34th parallel at Cape point, a great diversity of climatic conditions is met with. To the north and north-east are the steaming, death-breeding low lands, abounding with dank virgin forests and scrubby stretches; and to the north-west extend the arid, sandy, and stony levels. There are the temperate and fruitful inland reaches along the southern and south-eastern littoral, and again further inward the vast plateaux at 2,000 to 6,500 feet elevation, which represent nearly one-half of the sub-continent with quite other climatic aspects. In the southern and western provinces of the Cape Colony the rainy season occurs during the winter months, probably because of the proximity to the trade wind influences prevailing over the South Atlantic; over the rest of South Africa the winters are dry and sunny, the rains falling in summer, most copiously in December and January, the effect being that there are hardly any winter rigours, and the heat of summer is minimised. The most agreeable climate is that on the higher plateau levels: never hot nor altogether cold, and yet virile and bracing; something like the climate on sunny days found in the higher Alpine regions in summer and in the mild Algerine winters. This climate is found from the Queenstown district at about 3,000 feet elevation, extending north and westwards over the Stormberg, the Orange Free State, and along the lordly Drakensberg range and its spurs some 200 to 300 miles into the Transvaal, where the highest plateau levels occur between Ermelo and to near Lydenburg, viz., 6,500 feet. The Harrismith district near that mountain range is at a similar altitude with an identical climate.
These high tracts are called hoogeveldt or highlands. Their altitude rises steadily with the advance northwards towards warmer latitudes, and with the compensating effect that the climate in the Queenstown district, Bontebok Flats for example, at 3,000 feet elevation, is exactly similar to that in the eastern portions of the Orange Free State at 5,500 feet, right up to near Lydenburg at 6,500 feet altitude, and being some six degrees further north than Queenstown. The northern half of Natal also partakes of that character, though there, as well as over the rest of the eastern slopes of the Drakensberg mountains, the country is more broken and hilly than on the western side. The Cape Colonial high veldt near the Drakensberg range is intersected by high continuations or spurs, but north and westwards those plateaux assume more the real aspect of continuous high plains. There is a gradual descent to the west; from occasional hilly ranges those dwindle to kopjes, and to still less elevated "randjes" occurring in clusters more and more apart, until yet further westwards one gets to the merely undulating sterile approaches of the Karoo and the plains around and beyond Kimberley, which merge at last in the still lower Kalahara desert.
Within 200 or 300 miles from the Drakensberg slopes the country is well-watered, and the rainfall ample and generally regular, but westwards this abundance progressively decreases with a more tardy and precarious rainy season, occasioning at times severe droughts accompanied with correspondingly protracted and very hot weather.
Those high plains make up one vast green sward from the time of the spring rains in September to April. From May the absence of rain, together with the night frosts, shrivel up the herbage, giving the country a pale-brown aspect. This continues until the return of spring, varied with large expanses of black, caused by accidental or intentional grass fires, and here and there a few green spots in specially sheltered and moist localities.
Those burnt spaces may extend for miles, and are for the time veritable deserts. The landscape being quite black and the atmosphere generally very clear, it is obvious that objects of any lighter colour would be conspicuous at very long distances: an ideal background for khaki targets.
Most of the land is well suited for agriculture, but by far the largest proportion is as yet used only for raising sheep, horses and cattle. Angora goats also thrive in the hillier parts. About forty years ago the Karoo plains, the Orange Free State, and Transvaal were, so to say, monopolised by milliards of game. Standing upon an eminence or a swell one could see in all directions, as far as the eye could reach, innumerable herds of all sorts of game grazing, resting or gambolling; the different kinds would be ranged in separate groups and could be distinguished by their special colours—the black-looking wildebeest (gnu) next to the striped quag-gas, the white-flanked springbocks, blesbocks with a blaze on their foreheads, the larger elands and other kinds of the antelope species. Almost all those vast herds have disappeared since, having been killed off by natives and Boers for their hides and for food, or else scared away farther north, where rinderpest extirpated nearly all the rest in 1895-1897.
In the earlier days, and even not so long ago in some parts, the farmers' crops required guarding during the night against the depredations of game. This is still so in the north-western plains of the Cape Colony, as already remarked. In May most of the Harrismith district farmers and those of the Transvaal high veldt move their sheep, horses and cattle to winter in Natal, Swaziland, and to the other extensive low lands most adjacent, to return after the spring rains in September or October. Sheep and horses could not with safety remain longer in those warm regions, as then the fatal malarial blaauwtong begins there to attack sheep, and horse sickness becomes virulent as well. The high veldt, as said before, is exempt from that danger.
Some of the wealthier farmers can arrange it so that they and their families can winter at their comfortable high-veldt homes and send attendants with their cattle to the low veldt, while others, not so well favoured, must close up their houses and accompany their flocks to winter in the warm tracts, where they live in their wagons and tents and escape the outlay for winter clothing.
Owing to the scarcity of wood on the high veldt, kraal fuel used formerly to be the staple substitute. This would be obtained by penning up sheep over-night. The deposits were after a month or two dug out in thick flags, which, after being stacked and dried over the kraal wall, would burn nearly as well and as brightly as wood. The discovery of coal beds in so many accessible places in the Cape Colony, Natal, and in the two Republics has since superseded that sort of fuel to a great extent.
The small divergence between summer and winter temperature upon the high table lands will be seen from the following table taken from observations at 5,500 to 6,000 feet altitude in the Transvaal:—
In winter—28° to 40° at night; 35° to 70° by day in the shade. In summer—40° to 60° at night; 50° to 90° by day in the shade.
It is not often that 85° is reached, and rarely above. This applies equally to the more southern and thus colder latitudes of Queenstown, at 3,000 feet elevation, and to the eastern half of the Orange Free State, at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, the warmth increasing, as said before, proportionately with the descent in altitude, and on occasions of tardy summer rains.
The winter is the most enjoyable of the seasons, being an almost uninterrupted continuation of fine sunny weather. On occasions there would be spells of boisterous weather with a rather sudden and inclement decrease of temperature, brought on by cold south-east winds; if these are accompanied with rain in winter, which, however, rarely happens, it would sometimes turn to sleet or even snow, or else to hard freezing at night. The snow would, however, thaw with the warmth of the sun, and so restore the temperature as before. The bracing quality of the climate mostly consists just in those variations of cool nights and warm days, and the occasional days of comparatively cold, boisterous weather. The latter must indeed be provided against, for even in December—that is to say, in the middle of summer—it would be imprudent to travel without great-coats as well as waterproofs, so as to be protected against unexpected changes, from say, 100° in the sun, almost suddenly to 40° with a driving wind, accompanied perhaps with rain. Such transitions are trying in the open, even if one is well clad, and the blustering weather is sometimes so severe, if it happens in winter or early spring, as to approach the character of a blizzard. One such lasted about thirty hours in the early spring of 1881. It swept over the entire South African plateaux and destroyed great numbers of sheep and cattle. These fell exhausted in their flight before they could reach some sheltering hills or ravines. In situations where such protections from the cold south-east wind were far apart the veldt was on the following day found strewn with their carcases, and upon the still more extensive and unbroken plains antelopes even perished in enormous numbers simply from exhaustion in trying to escape and find shelter from the cold wind.
I will just describe one of those occurrences, the severest in my experience and well remembered by the Free State and the Transvaal Boers—it was, I think, in 1881. One sunny day, early in August (spring time), at a place about twenty miles east of Reddersburg, in the Orange Free State, the wind veered to the south-east, and by afternoon had begun to blow fairly hard and cold, about 35° Fahrenheit—that is to say, about 35° below the temperature of a few hours previously. I had managed to get some milch cows driven near to the kraal, where there would have been very fair shelter for them, but luckily, as the sequel proved, they refused to enter, and rushed past in a scared way, just snatching up one mouthful of forage which had been thrown down to entice them to stay, and making off as hard as they could. The wind did not abate till the day after, when tales kept pouring in of terrible losses of sheep and cattle killed by the cold wind; sheep in open plains had suffered most, and cattle which had been kraaled were nearly all dead, whilst the herds of cattle and horses which had been left grazing out had been driven away and were also believed to have died. At the farm of a certain Andries Bester, near by, some seventy head of cattle in very good condition were found dead, piled up to the level of one of the kraal walls, showing the struggle which some thirty others had in escaping over the mound of dead cattle to the outside of the kraal.
The next day all those thirty head were found grazing some fifteen miles westwards under the lee of hills near Reddersburg, where they had found safe shelter. Everybody's cattle were recovered which had not been kraaled, including mine. This was the case as well with cattle which had been tethered to their transport wagons and which succeeded in breaking loose, whilst the rest were found dead where they had been tied.
There was no possibility of restraining cattle or horses from stampeding—they did it from the instinct of self-preservation, for, whilst running with the wind, its force of driving cold was proportionately lessened, and some loss of heat was made good by the exertion of running, which they had to keep up till in safe shelter of hills or ravines.
Had such a cold storm overtaken an army or patrol, the situation would have been exactly similar, and would have been an ordeal even to experienced Boers or Colonial farmers, and if an enemy had been located near Reddersburg, all the cattle and horses would simply have fallen into his lap.
The obvious safeguard would be a rug for each horse and mule, and for oxen the erection of a shelter against the wind, consisting of all available wagons and stores, or else, if practicable, to move at once to a sheltered locality and always provide a good reserve supply of forage or other provender. That sort of boisterous, cold weather continues sometimes, with more or less severity, two or three days. The want of food and inclemency besides would result in killing the weak cattle and weaken the rest so as to be incapable of work for some days after. The difficulty consists in that such inclement changes occur so suddenly, and that their severity and duration cannot be forecasted.
Upon other much less severe occasions entire gangs of 20-50 Kaffirs, travelling from the warm north to the diamond-fields or gold-mines, and not sufficiently provided with blankets, would be found at their camping places huddled together, nearly all numbed to death. The months when such surprise weather is most liable to occur are from "July to October," before and during the earlier spring rains. It is then, and even up to December at times, that the Drakensberg and other mountains resume their snow-capped winter decorations for some days. There is a saying which fairly well applies to the high-veldt climate, i.e., that cold and inclement weather is not met with until well in towards summer, especially about the time of spring rains, and that hot weather of any considerable continuance mostly occurs in spring. This will be understood upon considering that the midsummer months, December to February, are cooled by very frequent and copious rains, whilst the heat accumulates more during the preceding sunny spring months, which are interrupted at rarer intervals by short showers only.
Upon the whole, and despite the few eccentricities mentioned, the high veldt is favoured with a climate which, for genial comfort all the year round, exempt from prolonged winter rigours and excessive summer heat, is not found anywhere else in the world, or only in rare privileged spots. It is withal most healthy, promoting the highest possible physical development and even longevity.
Under such favoured conditions the hand of man only is needed in providing good habitations, planting trees, in the culture of the soil, and some irrigation labour, to transform nearly every little farm within five to ten years from a bare pastoral monotony to a really idyllic spot. There are many such already in Basutoland, the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal, as well as in the Cape Colonies and Natal—veritable Eden-like places, as it were bits dropped from heaven. With a continuance of peace these could be multiplied to any extent each year, thus rendering those sparsely inhabited tracts the most beautiful areas in the world, with a prosperous self-sustaining population, quite apart from considerations of mineral wealth.
The foregoing description of the high-veldt climate points to clothing composed of woollen fabrics as the only rational and safe attire for men travelling or taking the field. No constitution could be expected to hold out against the ever-changing temperature and weather if depending upon being clad, for example, in a cotton suit; this would only do on warm days for men who are certain of being safely housed at night and sheltered during rainy weather. Horses and mules in the open should be provided with woollen rugs during winter and spring.
The ultimatum cabled to England had no sooner expired at 5 p.m. on the 11th October last than the same evening and on the very next and succeeding days appeared, published all over the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, "Government Gazettes extraordinary," filling scores of pages, comprising proclamations of martial law, and the hundred and one enactments and provisions regulating that new condition. Their preambles stated: Whereas in secret session on such and such dates (that is to say, months previous) the honourable First Volksraad had passed this or that law—or whereas the two Volksraads, assembled in secret session, had authorized the Government to frame such and such laws, to come into force immediately after publication. This shows at least a studious purpose months beforehand to be in complete readiness, for it obviously took no little time to prepare all those laws, and have them ready in type for despatch and publication as had been done. It accords with the assumption that war had been predetermined, and this is further confirmed by numerous statements, publicly made by Volksraad members, and also by President Steyn's famous and now historic message to President Krüger some short time before, in the laconic and oracular words, "We are ready."
That the Afrikaner Bond had been for years past preparing for its coup d'état is further shown by the following incidents which can be substantiated by the writer:—
During the days of the Jameson raid a very prominent Transvaal Boer, holding office and who had two sons at the scene of the disturbance, remarked at a public place in conversation with other burghers:—
"England just wants to annex the Transvaal, and no doubt the Orange Free State too. This we know; but what she does not know is, that we can at this moment reverse the tale—we can seize in one day Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, and Durban, and within a very short time turn every Englishman out of the Colonies, out of the land which England has robbed us of."
Those words were spoken by a Bond man who is known to rarely speak in public. When asked by a Uitlander how it could be done, he relapsed into his usual prudent reticence, and merely remarked grimly, "We can do it."
But for subsequent revelations and the present sequel those words would have been forgotten, and were at the time attributed by some to mere boastful exuberance.
In July last the topic was discussed by some Boers at the house of a highly placed military official, about the five per cent. tax upon the profits of the gold industry. One said it should be raised to twenty-five per cent. for the benefit of the burgher estate. That official, who, by the way, had just returned from a gathering of country officials at Pretoria, sententiously replied "that it was no more a question of any tribute, but of taking the mines altogether out of the capitalists' hands"; and when another burgher interposed a doubt as to the fairness of such a proceeding, that official continued by saying, "Fairness indeed! it is we who have submitted to unfairness only too long—ons wil nou Engelse schiet (we want now to go on the battue of Englishmen)."
When the Transvaal Government had secured the assent of both Volksraads to the seven years' franchise measure it was thought desirable, as a matter of form and to gain time, to defer the formal passing of the law until after it had been referred to the burghers. This was not done till August last. A large section of the people were known to be against extending the franchise, but the Government had no misgivings about the result, counting upon the persuasive influence of the Volksraad members who were to preside at the plebiscite meetings, and had before been drilled up to their task. Their success was as desired, and the measure became law in due course. Those meetings in the different districts and wards of the State were characterised by almost uniform proceedings, so that the description of one of them can serve for all.
The burghers assembled on the appointed day at the local Government Office. The Landdrost, or chief official of the ward, took the chair. There were four Volksraad members, who each in turn recommended the adoption of the seven years' franchise measure. The burghers were invited to express their views. The majority appeared dead against it, but were gradually appeased, and they finally assented to a motion of approval presented by the chairman, which also conveyed full confidence in the Government and their representatives to deal with the enactment and to modify it as they might consider appropriate.
One of the burghers had in his speech stated in passionate terms that no dictation on the part of Uitlanders could be tolerated; they must either obey the laws or leave the State. The function and prerogative of making laws belonged to the burghers. They had been ill-used enough by the English; it would be still worse, he said, if they were invested with legislative rights. "On the contrary, it is the Boer nation which is entitled to supremacy, not only in the Transvaal but right to the sea. The Cape Colonies," he continued, "are ours by divine right, and so is Natal, and no Afrikaner may rest until we are reinstated." General approbation and stamping of feet followed that passionately rendered speech. Not a word of restraint or censure from any of the four Volksraad members. Some of these had addressed the meeting already, and the others in turn followed. Their speeches had one import, viz., "Burghers! The Government and the two Volksraads have carefully and prayerfully weighed this seven years' franchise measure. You may safely approve of it; it can result in no harm; it will strengthen our cause. We know that England wants our land because of the gold in it; but this law will contribute to thwart her, though it will not avert war. We were a small nation when our fathers trekked to this side of the Orange River; we have become united and strong since. It will be soon seen that our people have to be reckoned with among the other nations of the earth; we have right on our side, and, with God's help, we are certain to prevail. Burghers, you may trust us as your representatives; we are all of one mind with you; you may safely approve of the proposed franchise law, and leave possible modifications in the hands of the Government." Then followed tumultuous approval from the great majority, motions of confidence and of thanks. Those burgher meetings were convened during July and August.
President Krüger is famous for employing clever and original similes in order to illustrate a policy as he wants his people to understand it.
It has already been noted that the Franchise Law of 1890 excluded Uitlanders from full burgher rights until after twenty-one years' probation. The reduction to seven years was proclaimed to be a concession to meet Mr. Chamberlain's demand. The simile, as addressed to the Volksraad and published in the journals, ran as follows:—
"First my coat was demanded of me, which I gave; next were asked my boots, vest, and trousers. I surrendered these as well; and now, as I stand in my bare shirt, my limbs are wanted besides."
The people were thus led to be unanimous in the resolve to oppose any further concession, and to view Sir Alfred Milner's unconditional insistence for a five years' franchise as a conclusive proof that England in reality wanted no less than the country itself. In this way the Boer mind was designedly fashioned into the conviction that war was inevitable, and that both President and people were absolved from all responsibility in it. Had the offered franchise of seven years and the subsequent one of five years been honestly meant, there should, indeed, have been little difficulty for adjusting in the one case the difference of two years; but it being so surrounded by impossible trammels that what purported to be an egg proved more like a stone, and even that was not intended to be given, it was a mere subterfuge to gain time for carrying out Bond designs.
The project of alliance between the Transvaal and the Orange Free State had been mooted before 1890. After that came conferences between the respective Presidents and delegates for closer union as it was then styled. Mr. John G. Fraser, one of the noblest and most distinguished Orange Free State statesmen, was conspicuous among the few opponents. His arguments against federation were so logical and conclusive that it seemed for a while that the idea would have to be renounced. Among other grounds adduced against that alliance was the fact that England possessed claims of suzerainty over the Transvaal, and, the Orange Free State itself being entirely independent, the incongruity and incompatibility were obvious of joining a vassal State. There was trouble if not danger lurking behind it, if such two States were to join in an actual federation. Whatever was desirable for mutual advantage might be attained without offensive and defensive alliance. The two Governments, however, knew how to manipulate matters. The closer union scheme was carried through before the Jameson incursion, and soon after that event an offensive and defensive alliance completed the federation. The Afrikaner Bond then had advanced another important stage.
Mr. John G. Fraser's persistent objections to federation, upon the ground that the Transvaal stood under British suzerainty, had given that question a prominence operating against the Afrikaner Bond project, viz., that of gaining a strong Power as ally to its cause. It was felt that no Power could, with decency, enter into a connection with that State while such a claim was maintained. To overcome that obstacle the Transvaal Government proceeded to raise a controversy with England, taking up the position of repudiating the claim of suzerainty, and averring the complete independence of the State, subject only to the one clause re treaties with foreign nations. Another object would be gained, viz., of diverting England from Bond aims by that and similar controversies. To make a show of sincerity about it all, the opinions (foregathered, of course) of certain eminent jurists in England and Holland were obtained, who refuted the claim in elaborate disquisitions and with that readiness of apparent conviction so peculiar to some advocates' affected faith in their clients' cause. Thus England was decoyed into a protracted tournament of words and phrases without any practical result, but gratifying and inspiring no doubt to certain well-paid soi-disant champions of the principle defined as the "perfection of justice," who revel in a display of forensic erudition, which, however, only illustrates to the unedified lay mind how speech is adaptable to veil inward conviction, and how a mass of rhetoric can be employed to justify the breach of simple and well-understood engagements.
It continues to be clumsily insisted upon in official and paid Press organs how the need of providing Transvaal armaments became realized only with that Anglo-capitalistic plot of 1895-96 against Boer independence, and that, in fact, Dr. Jameson was worthy of the Boer nation's lasting gratitude for opening their eyes to their helplessly unarmed and unprepared condition up to that time. In those papers it is declared with unblushing inexactness how the Transvaal at that epoch possessed only two hundred and fifty inefficient and ill-equipped artillerists, with only a few cannons of various antiquated types, and how the burgher element had, up to that time, continued unarmed and in unsuspecting insecurity. To stamp these misstatements as false, it needs only to be considered that from the time of the Boer trek in 1835-38 every Boer had been a hunter and guerilla soldier possessed of the best firearms then extant, ready at any sacrifice to provide still more effective weapons as inventions in arms of precision in turn progressed. His passion to be well armed only equalled that of his love for land. From 1881 every Transvaal and Orange Free State Boer without exception had, and was obliged to have, his Martini-Henry rifle. The Government arsenals were supplied with reserves of that up to recently unsurpassed weapon and with large stores of ammunition. The authorities supplied that rifle at £4 each, and even gratis in the case of indigent burghers. At the frequent reviews (wapenschouwingen) each burgher had to appear mounted, with his Martini-Henry rifle and thirty rounds ammunition. To maintain proficiency in rifle practice, prizes and honours were distributed at Government expense in each ward, whilst there was plenty of private emulation encouraged among young and old in the science of sharp-shooting, the Governments of both Republics contributing ammunition at below cost price.
In about 1893 the Transvaal Government introduced about 10,000 new rifles of the Guede pattern, firing a steel-pointed bullet, but the issue did not become general, as the Martini-Henry rifle continued to be held more effective for game and for war. The Mauser rifle was only provided, after long hesitation and much diffidence, for its rapid-firing quality in war, whereas for game it is still considered inferior to the larger bored Martini-Henry.
On the occasion of the Jameson incursion, the Transvaal had in readiness extensive parks of the most modern quick-firing Maxims and Nordenfeldts of various calibres, and breech-loading field artillery of the Krupp make. The Orange Free State hurried to their assistance with similar artillery, each burgher armed with a Martini-Henry rifle. Besides all that, there was the dynamite and explosives factory equipped to manufacture all sorts of modern ammunition as it does now, and this is why President Krüger described that factory as one of the corner-stones of Boer independence. In the face of these facts it is a most singular departure to say that the Transvaal only thought of arming when becoming alarmed for the future by the Jameson attempt, and that statement could only have been intended to mislead the uninformed at a distance. "Qui s'excuse s'accuse" is applicable in this as well as in other ruses for hiding those sinister Bond aims and to pose as the guileless and victimized Boer nation. It was just the other way about—it was England who was unprepared and exposed to imminent risk of aggression on the part of the Boer combination.
What had amazed and actually exasperated many Boers was the ludicrously puny attempt made by Jameson and the Johannesburg revolutionary concert. It was at the time thought that the invasion of some 700 men was only a first installment, and that much larger developments were in preparation to attack the State. It was for that reason that only a few batteries of artillery were despatched at a late moment to Doornkop under Commandant Trichaart to operate against Jameson's party, while the bulk was held in reserve with an extensive mobilization of burghers to resist other supposed opposition of an altogether more formidable but yet undefined character. When nothing further transpired, the feeling uppermost with the people was unbounded derision at that impotent fiasco, and a loathing contempt for the cowering Johannesburg rabble who betrayed and sacrificed the insensate doctor. It was loudly asserted that the combined forces of the two Republics were competent to resist an invasion a hundred times stronger than the one so foolishly attempted; but, with cooler counsels, it was resolved to adopt the appealing attitude of the deeply injured party who miraculously and providentially escaped a great national peril. Upon these lines the raid incident afforded an immense advantage to Afrikaner Bond tactics, and an impulse to Bond propaganda which enormously increased Boer partisanship, inflicting at the same time a fatal check upon the diplomacy of England and upon the essential peace-preserving measures for safeguarding her South African interests. The circumstances, however, served to embolden many hitherto undecided sympathisers into openly declared and vehement Boer partisans, revealing the singular spectacle, among English people even, of a morbid cult apparently ready to sacrifice their nation just to vindicate their judicial dicta about Boer innocence and to parade their own darling sense of shocked and violated national honour.
Quite other and more emphatic terms apply to the revolting sewerage such as the socialistic platform and other purulent nurseries for breeding wilful and hypocritical abettors, at so much a score, of misguided and treason-hatching Afrikanerdom.
The factory pertaining to this enterprise, situated near Pretoria, is recognised to be the most extensive and best equipped of its kind in existence. It is capable of turning out all the dynamite and similar blasting material needed for the gold and other mines of the State, also every description of explosive needed for modern ammunition.
Its equipments include ateliers and laboratories under the conduct of eminent scientists and men of most advanced technical proficiency. The site is a farm named Modderfontein of about 8,000 acres near Pretoria. The industry provides employment for over 5,000 persons. In connection with this factory is a foundry at Pretoria for casting shells, etc. The various ingredients, such as sulphur, guhr, saltpetre, etc., are believed to be plentiful in the State, but their exploitation is found to be more costly than it is to import the pure articles from Europe.
The investment is represented mostly by French and German shareholders, the Transvaal Government also possessing a portion of the shares. The contract with the State conveys a complete monopoly for the manufacture and importation of all descriptions of explosives, and is so framed as to base its subsistence upon international rights. One of the conditions is that the issue of ammunition is relegated to State control. In this manner burghers only get supplies, whilst Uitlanders are limited to very small quantities for sporting purposes by special permits.
Efficiently Mounted Infantry. At least about 142,000 trained.
15,000 Orange Free State, between 18-50 years 20,000
25,000 Transvaal, between 18-50 years 30,000
40,000 Cape Colonies, between 18-50 years 60,000
2,000 Natal and elsewhere, between 18-50 years 2,000
18,000 Of above, aged 16-18 and 50-60 30,000
------- ------- 100,000 Artillery 2,000
600 Orange Free State, including trained reserves 600
1,400 Transvaal 1,400
------- ----- -------
102,000 Total at least about 144,000
102,000 highly efficient, and 42,000 partly trained.
The mounts are docile, hardy and nimble, with large reserves available. The above includes 500 Johannesburg Mounted Police, a picked body of men armed with carbine, revolver, and sabre.
Small Arms About 250,000
Martini-Henry rifles in Orange Free State } } 100,000 " " " in Transvaal } Guede rifles in Transvaal . . . . . . . . 10,000
Mauser rifles in Transvaal . . . . . . . . 120,000
Revolvers in both States . . . . . . . . . 20,000
Artillery, both Republics 140
Maxims and Nordenfeldts, modern 50
Field cannon and Howitzers " 70
Siege and heavy guns " 20
Rudyard Kipling truly said "the Boers are the most conservative people on earth." Habits and views which had prevailed two hundred years ago with their forefathers are still tenaciously preserved by them. We see this in matters of language, religion, in certain antipathies, and even in attire. They are justly famed for hospitality, not only amongst themselves, but also towards strangers, and a very pleasing trait, no doubt handed down from the seigneurial Huguenots, is the genial politeness which a stranger will receive in an otherwise wholly uncultured Boer family.
On his farm the Boer is chief and supreme after the patriarchal fashion—no thought of tolerating an equal or a rival in authority. Collectively also, as in governmental representation, he is extremely averse to the introduction of any foreign element; such a factor would meet with his undisguised suspicion and jealousy. It must be Boer supremacy, and to this strangers must submit; the Boers to figure as the only caste or military aristocracy privileged to carry arms, very much like the Samouris nobles of Japan, who from of old until recently had represented the feudal estate, and had made quite a famous cult of personal bravery, chivalry and devotion to their Mikado and for their independent caste. Long intercourse and inter-marriage with a Boer family would ultimately remove the barrier. With such rooted exclusiveness it is only in accord with Boer nature to be reluctant in admitting Uitlanders to burgher franchise, and the greater their numbers and influence of wealth the more would they be viewed as an innovating menace and their admittance to political equality be resisted.
Upon newly occupied farms a Boer will always seek to locate one or more squatters of his own nation upon allotments ultimately intended for the occupation of some of his own children as soon as they are grown up. The usual conditions for privileges of residence, grazing, and cultivation are that the squatter builds a dwelling and does all the other permanent improvements at his own cost, that he accounts to the owner for half or one-third of all products raised, and that he and his family should render services whenever required. When the squatter acquires land of his own he will in turn adopt similar feudal methods to get it improved and to obtain services without expense. Should the conditions accorded to the squatter result in advantages which prove any way lucrative to him, the owner would in nine cases out of ten immediately impose more exacting conditions, upon the plea of making provision for his own children. Such dependants are otherwise treated with familiar equality, as are also other white employees, and are admitted at the common table like any of the family, but below the salt.
To acquire farms is a Boer's greatest ambition. The love of land is his special passion, so that his children also may be independent owners of farms. Formerly such land acquisitions were made by encroachments upon the possessions of natives or by purchases from them and by barter, and failing those means, by conquest. Since 1885, however, the stipulations in connection with the Anglo-Swaziland settlement effectually barred expansion and encroachments in any direction. The Boers resent this check as an exceedingly sore point. There is not enough land for the sons who have since grown up. These cannot possibly compete with the educated Hollanders in quest of good positions, nor are they taught any handicrafts, and the galling prospect is inevitable that they will have to content themselves with very humble stations in life, dependent even upon the more prosperous Uitlanders. No wonder these Boers fell an easy prey to the seductions and deceptive fallacies of the Afrikaner Bond doctrine of conquest, for dispossessing England of her Colonies, and to resume a free hand for expansion northwards as well.
In connection with the stated inadequacy of spare land it is well to note that, of the two Republics, the Transvaal only possesses undeveloped Government reserve land. This is all situated in more or less low-lying and fever-stricken parts, large tracts being absolutely uninhabitable for that reason, especially in summer. Some of the rest is occupied on terms of lease by burghers, and has up to the present afforded scope for some of the less aspiring class. About one-quarter of the aggregate Transvaal farms are owned by Uitlander individuals or by companies who are mostly English. But the bulk of the land owned by burghers in both States has gradually become cut up by the process of succession into holdings so small as to admit of hardly any further division. There are, of course, numerous exceptions of wealthy farmers who can still bequeath to each of their sons a whole farm of 6,000 acres, or half a farm. In the face of these restrictive circumstances a scheme has been in preparation during the past years, promoted by the Bond coterie in Holland and the Governments of the two Republics, to effect a large emigration from Holland to those States. A company has thus been formed, called "Nederlandsche Emigratie Maatschappy voor Transvaal en Oranje Vry Staat." The prospectus describes the objects as agricultural, pastoral, and industrial, but, as "members," only such are invited as are disposed to join hands with the Boer cause. That scheme came into operation before the outbreak of the war. What else does it reveal but a thinly veiled recruiting device for auxiliaries against England?
What has been said about the ignorance and illiteracy of the Boers may be admitted to apply to the great majority of the grown-up and of the more maturely aged population; those of youthful age have of late years had the benefit of a better education than had before been possible to provide. But the great drawback consists in the still very imperfect knowledge of High Dutch, and it will take many years yet before a more general proficiency in that language will qualify the youth for more than purely elementary studies. There are numerous exceptions, however, of very creditably educated Boers, whose parents have been able to get them taught at Colonial schools, such as the Stellenbosch seminary, and even in Holland. Besides this, there are the children and grandchildren of the many educated Hollanders who have continued to stream into the Republics since 1854, and who had the advantage of learning High Dutch from their parents. Those, as a rule, bestowed great attention to their children's education, and in many cases sent them to Holland to complete their studies. The greatest factor of the educated Dutch element in South Africa consists of the mass of Hollanders itself, who have made their way to the Republics, and especially to the Transvaal, during the past eighteen years, among whom are many of highest European attainments, so that altogether a big muster is made up of well-instructed people, comparing well enough with other nations, and ample to meet all the exigencies of the two rapidly developing Republics. This educated contingent is being continuously supplemented by like arrivals from Holland, including eminent technical experts and scientists. It is a well-known feature that many chief posts of the administration are filled by aged, uneducated burghers who are altogether without the qualification required for the exercise of their function, but this drawback is effectually remedied by the expedient of providing proficient Hollanders as working adjuncts and secretaries, in which manner all the branches of the administration are nevertheless efficiently and most creditably served. Hundreds of young Boers are admitted as supernumeraries into the various offices to prepare them for responsible positions later on.
Dundee Secret Dossier
The greatest stir was made upon the discovery of secret documents left behind by the British military at the hurried evacuation of Dundee (Natal).
It was made public that those documents contained all the details of a plan of invading the Orange Free State, and that it furnished most incontestable proofs of British designs as early as 1896 against the independence of both Republics. It was promised to publish those details, but this has not yet been done. It appears, however, that no incriminating details exist. Nevertheless, the matter has been made to serve calumniating reports on a considerable scale in the pro-Boer Press abroad, declaring that those documents conveyed absolute proofs of England's perfidious intentions of attacking the Orange Free State unawares, whilst all the time professing friendly relations and undertaking to respect the complete integrity of the Republican status of both States. What actually has transpired is that the whole thing was a mare's nest, simply and nothing more than military information under cover marked "secret," giving topographical and other details upon the Orange Free State—a proceeding which is carried out by all military authorities of any pretensions to prudent activity in the information department, and no more construable into actual hostile intentions than are other geographical surveys for general instructions or for school use.
The incident again shows the absence of tangible grounds for accusations against England when a foolish invention as the one cited must do duty for such, and to rekindle race hatred.
The interest and the manipulation devoted to that fabrication by the pro-Boer Press have, however, scored another success to Bond propaganda in fixing the belief with Boer partisans, of England's really predetermined designs to annex both Republics. Every Boer has since been more than ever so persuaded, the conviction fanning the fervour of patriotism and stimulating his eagerness to resist the would-be ravishers of his country.
Considering, on the other hand, that the English Government had known much about the Afrikaner Bond menace, it is singular that precautionary measures had halted with that bare effort of making military observations. The only way to account for this apparent lethargic inaction is the assumption that a persevering patience and friendly attitude was expected in time to effectually dissipate all trouble in South Africa, and that a display of anxiety or of force would have frustrated such peaceable tactics. In refutation of the aspersion against England, it may be sufficient to point to the fact that during those very years (1896-7) both Republics were in a condition of complete helplessness through the rinderpest scourge which was then raging. If any hostile designs had in reality existed they could have been carried out with utmost ease then, as that scourge presented no obstacle to England. But it was the programme of peace which was pursued as undeviatingly then as since, with a constancy which refused to be foiled.
Pamphlet entitled A Hundred Years of Injustice
A mass of so-called proof against England of her guilt in provoking the present war and justifying the Boer attitude was presented to the public in South Africa and abroad in November last in the shape of a voluminous pamphlet entitled A Hundred Years of Injustice (published both in English and Dutch, and later even translated into French). That production covers Boer history and its troubles with England up to 1881. It then travels over the diplomatic appeals of the Transvaal delegation, which resulted in the renewed convention of 1884. Then it wades through all the mire of academic squabble re suzerainty, etc. After exhausting the Jameson episode with bitter invective, and seeking applause for the Transvaal Government for its professed desire to conciliate and to propitiate England by the offer of a seven years' franchise, the reader is, in conclusion, 'treated to a literary display of pyrotechnic denunciations and prophetic burdens against wicked Albion, with appeals to divine justice for righting the cause of an innocent nation so foully driven to a war of pure self-defence.
Lest he be taken unawares the reader of that pamphlet would do well to note the significant fact in connection with those preferred accusations and aspersions that not a single act construable to the prejudice of England is adduced dating after the Anglo-Transvaal peace of 1881, that peace which had been mutually understood to close up all by-gones. But the recriminations all revert to previous history, nothing having occurred since 1881 to form real grounds for accusations. There had, on the contrary, been an exhibition of unwearied friendly endeavours on the part of Great Britain to maintain loyal peace with an ever-shifty and truculent Government, and to induce it to desist from scandalous intrigue against imperial interests in South Africa, and to adopt a more rational attitude towards Uitlanders, which in itself would have precluded troubles like that of the Johannesburg revolt and the Jameson raid.
The doctrines of the Afrikaner Bond coterie have been so assiduously and deeply instilled into the Boer mind that demonstrations are utterly futile in shaking the national conviction of the divinely approved justice of his cause. The first occasion when I saw this illustrated, and also the people's unreasoning adherence to their leaders' opinions, happened about ten years ago at burgher meetings which had been convened to discuss the then projected law for restraining Uitlanders from admission to Transvaal franchise and other political topics.
An old Free State burgher was led then and subsequently to express his views upon the subject in about the following strain: "It is our duty to guard our nation against being swamped out or supplanted by strangers; they are in great force already, and their number will constantly increase, yet what attracts them, as you know, is our gold. That will give out eventually, when the majority will again depart. Those strangers, who then elect to remain with us, might be admitted to full burgher rights. In the meantime it behoves us to reserve the full franchise, nor will many aspire to it if they are only treated well as strangers should be, as we should wish to be treated if we were in their place. This is what they expect from us, and it can well be done without giving full franchise, which they indeed do not need and will then not claim. They will be content if their own interests are not hampered or interfered with, and will be satisfied with such rights and privileges as are reasonably due to guests, and we may say welcome guests (for it is plain that the land is also largely benefited by their presence). In other respects let us support law and order to suppress evil, which they desire as well as we do.
"Does the Bible not say, 'The Lord loveth the stranger?' so also then must we; and again, 'Thou shalt not devise mischief against the stranger who dwelleth in peace with thee.' We are reputed as a God-fearing people. Is it not well that we should take great care to act in accordance? But I have observed with shame that instead of love and peace a spirit of hatred and strife has been allowed to gain upon us. Let us strive to expel that evil, lest we fall under God's displeasure and forfeit His favour. We cannot afford to lose that."
At this stage the speaker was interrupted by violent remarks about England's incurable perfidy and the like, when he added, prolonging his speech more than he had probably intended: "Yes, we may not trust England, but what we must do is to trust in God. Did God not pull us through all along? was it not He who provided the peace of 1881 which restored our independence? And can that gracious Lord, if we only let Him act, not also protect us against any wiles and dangers if such should occur in the future? As yet none such have arisen. The Lord was with us in our battles for liberty; He was equally present and prompted the sense and conditions of that very convention of 1881, which the people were subsequently dissatisfied with and in their own wisdom sacrificed for that of 1884. It is just possible that that presumptuous act of wanting to improve upon the Lord's work will result in trouble and prove to our sorrow that we have simply tampered and tinkered with a good thing and spoilt it to our hurt.
"'Thou shalt not provoke thy children to wrath lest they be discouraged and be tempted to do evil,' applies specially also to the duties of Governments. Our rulers need wisdom in this direction, and will be responsible if our strangers are subjected to unfair laws. The older people here will call to mind, when the old voortrekkers were obliged to go hundreds of miles, as far as Pietermaritzburg, for their supplies, that we prayed for shopkeepers in our land so that we might be spared those long journeys. What was done soon after we had attracted strangers to establish businesses with us? We were seduced to deliberately attempt their ruin by starting those nationale Boerenwinkels (national Boer stores), supported by our own capital, but governed by Hollanders who eventually squandered our money. Was that dealing fairly by confiding strangers? Later on, again in response to our prayers, we got railways; skilled men and much capital from foreign countries, first to prospect for gold and then to develop and exploit the mines. Their labour and hard-earned money were risked when the return was still problematic. Shall we begrudge them their successes now, seeing that our whole land is equally enriched at the same time, and but for them and their enterprise the gold would still be lying uselessly hidden in the depths of the ground? There are now, in 1890, over 100,000 such strangers in the land, and probably over 200 millions capital invested. Shall they be treated in a manner to justify the accusation that they were inveigled into our land with the object of despoiling them afterwards after the style of 'Come into my parlour, says the spider to the fly'? These people count upon our honest friendship, especially the many English among them who ground that confidence upon the honourable peace accorded us in 1881. Shall we deceive them? May we hate them for old questions which that peace was intended to bury for ever? Think of the Lord's dealings with our people—poor, wandering, and despised at first. He had blessings in store for the tried voortrekkers and their children. 'The beggar was raised from the dunghill [asch-hoop, i.e., ash-heap, was the word he used] to sit with princes'—'a table laid for us in the sight of our enemies.' All this is literally fulfilled. Our President and others representing us have been to Europe and sat with princes, and we have a country full of riches enough to make any enemy to rage with jealousy at the sight. Who else but the devil is that enemy? It is he who persecuted our Dutch and Huguenot ancestors for their faith, and is pursuing us since. It is he and his army that rage the most at our unexampled blessings. It is he who wants us to forfeit them all and the Lord's favour as well. It emanates from the evil one that so many among us are seduced into wicked political plans to subvert authority installed by God, to incite our brethren to sedition in the Colonies, wanting to dispossess the English. For the Queen's Government there is as much from God as are the authorities over us here and in the Orange Free State.
"God saith by Solomon (Prov. xxiv. 21-22): 'My son, fear thou the Lord and the king; and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the destruction of them both?'" and he finally warned them of the risk they incurred, after having been advanced and blessed in an unexampled way, of being flung back to their previous ignoble position upon the ash heap. There are plenty of respectable Boers in whose ears those expressions still tingle.
The man, who is no speaker, was, nevertheless, apt to grow warm and impressive, drawn out probably by interruptions and opposing views. The speeches terminated on one occasion by one of the party saying in violent Bond fashion: "The English hired the Zulus to massacre our people. They robbed us of Natal, and drove us from the Colonies. There can be no peace with them until we have our own. God helps them who help themselves. Whoever takes their part is against us and against every true Afrikaner."
As is known, the conference between Sir Alfred Milner and President Krüger, assisted by President Steyn, took place at Bloemfontein during the first days of June last (1899), and resulted in the refusal to a demand of a five years' franchise made on behalf of the Transvaal Uitlanders, which refusal was some time later modified by enacting a law admitting them to full burgher rights after a probation of seven years, but coupled with restrictive forms and conditions which made that measure unacceptable. Some time before that conference the old Free Stater already mentioned obtained several prolonged interviews with the hon. State Secretary Reitz, at Pretoria, with the object of dissuading the Transvaal Government from conferring with Sir Alfred Milner while as yet no sufficient friendly rapprochement had been reached and no advance had been made as to mutually approved bases upon which to confer. He strongly deprecated the idea of granting "full" burgher rights to Uitlanders, but held that their needs and wishes could be met by allowing their interests to be amply represented without impinging upon the special privileges which should be reserved for the burgher status proper. He was finally invited by Mr. Reitz to submit his scheme in writing, with the promise that it should receive careful consideration. That old Free Stater complied, and supplied President Krüger with a duplicate separately as well. The scheme ran in substance as follows:
The population of the Transvaal to be divided into two classes, pending the continued presence of the large floating portion consisting of Uitlanders who derive their subsistence from the mining industries, viz.:—
1st Class.—The fixed or burgher estate.
2nd Class.—The floating or alien estate or Guests.
The 1st Volksraad to be elected by burghers only, and to represent the highest legislative and administrative powers.
The 2nd Volksraad to be elected by Uitlanders and burghers, and to be vested with all such reasonable legislative powers as will cover the domestic, industrial, and vocative interests of both burghers and guests.
The Uitlander franchise shall be limited to representation in the 2nd Volksraad, and be extended under usual fair conditions of eligibility to all white persons after two years' residence, retrospectively reckoned.
Aliens may be admitted to full burgher rights and vote for 1st Volksraad, President, and Commandant-General, after five years' residence, if approved of by two-thirds of the burghers of his ward, possesses landed property to the value of £1,000, and has not been convicted here or elsewhere of any degrading crime.
Members of both Volksraads and for public service shall be eligible without respect of creed.
The exploitation of mines shall be subject to a tax of 25 per cent., reckoned upon the yearly net profits, such revenue to be applied at the discretion of the 1st Volksraad solely for the benefit of the burgher estate—schools, hospitals, universities, pensions, by means of permanent endowments.
The Government of the Transvaal undertakes:—
1. There shall be no identification or co-operation permitted, on the part of any of the Transvaal people, with the association known as the Afrikaner Bond, or any such-like political complot.
2. The recognition of British paramountcy over South Africa, including the Transvaal, in so far as it does not clash with the intentions and provisions set forth in the conventions of 1881 and 1884, and does not extend to interference with or curtailment of complete internal autonomy.
3. Renunciation of indemnity claim re Jameson incursion.
4. To regulate the question of coloured British subjects resident in the Transvaal upon a genial basis, irrespective of the Bloemfontein arbitration award upon that subject.
5. Poll and war taxes shall be abolished.
6. Dual rights equal with the Dutch language shall be accorded to the English language, similarly as is done in the Cape Colony for Dutch.
7. The railways and dynamite factory to be expropriated as soon as possible—the loans required thereto to be amortized within twenty years, and pending those expropriations the freights upon coal and oversea goods shall be reduced 10 per cent, and the price of explosives 20s. per case, these reductions to be met from the revenue accruing to the burgher estate from the tax upon mining profits.
8. To join a general Customs union upon equitable conditions.
9. Restore the High Court to independent power in terms of constitution.
The sequel has shown that Bond counsels prevailed over the suggestions of that old Free Stater. As to the seven years' franchise offered under the pretence and colour of meeting Sir Alfred Milner's demand, it had clearly been intended to serve as a decoy and stop-gap pending the contemplated war of conquest, and to mask Bond duplicity while further preparations were to be completed in diplomacy abroad and in the seditious conspiracy in the Colonies. Natal was at that time swarming with Boer emissaries, and Transvaal artillery officers with Hollander engineers in disguise were seen inspecting Laing's Nek tunnel and other strategic points in that colony.
Not knowing at the time that State Secretary Reitz was an inveterate Bondman, that old Free State patriot had roundly denounced to him the wickedness of Bond aims, and added the remark that the establishment of a united Boer Republic apart from British supremacy in South Africa was a deceptive dream. England has a mission in Africa—that of the Boers can only be subordinate to it. It would need the aid of a powerful maritime combination to supplant England. The case of America does not present an analogy; there England only was actually interested, but here various other nations were concerned in their respective huge investments. They would have a voice in the business. Armed intervention would lead to a big European war and extreme misery to entire Africa—just what the devil wants, but not the investor. Indiscriminate franchise will cause the loss of national independence, and so might ultimately cosmopolize and obliterate their distinctive nationality, but so would also a war with England, with the total sacrifice of their independence into the bargain. Let the Government rather prove to England its sincere friendship and agree to deal well by the Uitlanders, treating them as privileged guests, then the unhappy strain in relations will cease. Above all, renounce that wicked Afrikaner Bond with its motto of conquest. The demand for franchise is England's device of self-protection against Bond designs. England will desist from that demand if we renounce the Bond and prove our friendship.
That old Free Stater had moreover expressed his most earnest conviction that a modus vivendi upon the lines suggested would find ready consideration as an alternative to the five years' franchise demand, and that the British Government would hail with the utmost satisfaction and relief any tentative towards a sound rapprochement based upon the contentment of the Boer people within the areas of their Republics and which would terminate Bond aspirations for Boer supremacy in South Africa. Had he been permitted, the old Free Stater would gladly have called upon the British agent at Pretoria, Mr. Conyngham Greene, and felt confident that the modus vivendi would lead finally to a complete cessation of British interference and to best relations and prosperous conditions for all instead. He also cautioned the Government at Pretoria, giving chapter and verse, against counting upon "the arm of man." They would find they had trusted on reeds—it would be so in regard to any foreign help, and even in regard to men of their own nation in the Cape Colony.
During one of the interviews Mr. Reitz had remarked that he had a special theory in regard to the situation; but it varied from that of the President, who, in reality, was King, and whose will overcame all opposition.
Seeing that twenty years of patient, loyal endeavours and friendly conciliatory proceedings following upon the rehabilitation of the Transvaal independence had utterly failed in advancing the object of uniting the English and Boer races, and that instead the existing gulf was ever widening through the spread of those fell Afrikaner Bond doctrines, it had become imperative, on the part of British statesmen, to employ special efforts to overcome the serious menace hanging over South Africa. The critical situation designedly brought about by the action of the Transvaal Government and by the influence of the Bond party indicated the remedy. A liberal franchise in favour of the Uitlanders would at one stroke correct that evil, and counteract the other impending danger as well. With a large accession of legitimized voters working in accord with England's desire for peace and progress, that good influence would be potent, first to shackle Bond action and ultimately to reduce it to Colonial limits. The Transvaal would then no longer be the giant ally, the arsenal, and the treasury of the Afrikaner Bond, and that organisation would then be checkmated into impotence for evil.
The success of such a remedial and defensive measure would naturally depend upon the adequacy of the franchise aimed at. Mr. Chamberlain and his colleagues were not a little sanguine in expecting that a five years' qualification for voting and a representation equal to one-fifth of the total number of seats in the Legislature would be effective for all that which was needed; nor could it be averred that the Transvaal burghers would be swamped out thereby.
The Bond chiefs did not fail to at once penetrate the object when the demand for a five years' franchise was made, and in vain did Sir Alfred display that firm attitude and exhaust his arguments at the historic Bloemfontein conference. He had pointed out to President Krüger in a rudimentary fashion which was no doubt convincing enough—that it was incompatible with professions of concord and desire for peace while persisting in excluding from representation a large majority of the population accustomed to and expecting liberal treatment, and which, moreover, held four-fifths of the wealth invested in the State. There could be no other result than a dangerous tension and alienation from the Government, instead of the peaceful co-operation so essential to security and progress. In these days of advanced ideas of personal and political liberty people will resist domination by a minority. They want to be consulted, and to have at least the opportunity of making their wishes known by means of representation. The right of petitioning could not meet that need, and in fact implied the recognition of an inferior status so repugnant to any one's sensibility. When people are ignored they resent even light impositions and taxes, but if allowed a voice will cheerfully submit to heavy burdens, because they then become, in a manner, self-imposed. Representation is the panacea against popular disaffection and for assuring governmental stability. To concede to Uitlanders one-fifth of the seats in the Legislature could not operate to the prejudice of burgher interests, but less would not meet the case.
It was, however, not President Krüger alone who had to decide—it affected the Bond as a whole. The diplomatic contest so far proved just the thing to ripen conditions for the meditated Bond coup d'état. An alternative offer of a seven years' franchise was interposed as a mere ruse. Never for a moment did the Afrikaner Bond leaders waver or quail in the face of resolute firmness, display of force, or even of moral pressure and notes of advice from imposing quarters, as Mr. Chamberlain had at first still fondly hoped. To the Bond it had all resolved itself to a mere question of time, of choosing the most opportune moment when to assume the aggressive. British attitude had only hastened the issue. Mr. Jan Hofmeyer had indeed been sent for from the Cape so as to assure that section of the Bond of Transvaal firmness, but he found no sign of flinching or of renouncing the common object laboured for so long and then so near fruition. The only difficulty was that British action had hastened the issue somewhat too fast. Hence the repeated hurried visits of the Bond leaders—Jan Hofmeyer, Abraham Fisher, and others—the frequent caucus meetings of the Executive in consultation with those delegates, the secret midnight sessions of the combined Volksraads and Executive, the prolonged telegraphic conferences between the two Presidents, and the final resulting word of "ready" which preceded the fatal war ultimatum. The Gordian knot had been in evidence many years ago; it is now recognised with regret that England had deferred action for cutting it much too long.
But why not agree to arbitration, it will be asked, that peaceable method so strenuously appealed for by the Transvaal Government and advocated by her partisans, to adjust all differences, of which the suzerainty claim and the Uitlander question appeared to be the principal ones? The reply is not that England was unwilling, but because the Transvaal was insincere, and the request was a cover for shameless duplicity, for, while it had been declared by the former that the claim to suzerainty would be left in abeyance and that infractions of convention which had been committed by the latter would be overlooked in consideration of future friendly relations and co-operation, the Transvaal Government in reality never for a moment meant to be content with less than British overthrow and complete Boer supremacy in South Africa, and efforts and intrigues were never relaxed, in concert with the Bond, to compass those objects.
The promiscuous details and incidents, together with the circumstantial and primâ facie evidence thus far adduced in arraigning the Afrikaner Bond combination, point mostly to conditions existent before the war broke out. We had the smoke before the conflagration—it is a wonder how people could manage to ignore the menace. Now the war torch is over us in its full luridness.
Ordinary fires, if not kindled, originate either from accident, spontaneous combustion, or incendiarism. With war the origin may be traced to similar causes either singly or in combination, or, when we cannot hit the exact diagnosis, we explain it with a handy word and call it evolution, as we may do in the case of the present Anglo-Boer conflict.
We may for a moment review the material and then also the agencies and incentives which operated that evolution against harmony and peace, and to which the conflagration is due. We have noted the legal acquisition of the Cape Colonies by Great Britain, the equally recognised occupation under treaties with England of the two Boer Republics, the English and Boer races in progress of friendly assimilation and in happy prosperity all over South Africa. This was essentially the position in 1881, until it became gradually marred by an invidious element. We have further noted the declining condition of Holland, its moribund language, and finally the prospects which South Africa presented for that nation's restoration to powerful significance, the English factor only standing in the way.
The next aspect brings out the marring manifestations: greed of land and of conquest with the Pretoria-Bloemfontein combination; malignant sedition in the Cape Colonies, urged by lust to participate more directly in the wealth of gold and diamonds in the north and to share general plunder—both categories of covetousness merged into one purulent fester by men of conceited ambition, all cemented with collusion, but the whole of it devised, engineered, and operated by the most malignant agencies from Holland under the coaching of the evil one himself.
The reader may be able to assess the degrees of guilt of each category—of the Republican Boer aspirant for land, the Colonial Boer rebel seeking his particular profit, the accomplices who for ambitious ends lead the first two, and the insidious Hollander intriguers who seduced and actuated all in order to seize the lion's share of the spoliation.
To sum up, the respective rewards which lured them all are: Plunder for the Boers and rebels, laurels and "fat" places for the Bond leaders, and a substantial harvest for entire Holland, with pæans of praise for the coterie and Dr. Leyds from a grateful people for successfully restoring the good fortunes of the Dutch nation, and for effecting a retributive vendetta upon England, all under world-wide, gloating acclaims of gratified and vindictive jealousy.
The Hollander coterie may plead patriotism which pointed to the duty of using the tempting opportunity presented in South Africa in saving Holland from national submersion and political extinction by means of the Boer nation, but against this stands the unparalleled vileness of expedients and the treacherous deceptions employed to attain that object. It involved the wholesale seduction of one section of that nation into sedition and rebellion against a most beneficent and just Government under which they prospered and enjoyed the highest conceivable degree of liberty and even special privileges, and of pitting the other section into hostility and war against a Power which meant nothing else than peace and amity towards them, thus placing both into a position of risk to forfeit all their prosperity, apart from the inevitable horrors of a war evoked by their rapacious and murderous Hollander malice.
The Bond scientists in Holland had fully persevered in their craftily laid programme. After having succeeded in producing race hatred between Boer and English, the next step had been to convince the Boer leaders and the people of the inevitableness of a contest for ensuring the supremacy of the Afrikaners, coupled with the absolute necessity of the complete expulsion of the entire British element. As arguments were adduced that the British element had proved itself unassimilable and irreconcilable, its retention in South Africa would necessitate continuous provisions to keep it in a state of subjection. The existence of such conditions would be inconsistent and incompatible with the true ideal liberty as intended for the whole of South Africa, and which must be linked with all-round equality and fraternity. The presence of a British factor would be an unsurmountable bar to that consummation, hence the necessity of its total removal.
The Bond leaders are the next in guilt; with these the incentive is principally ambition, which, by degrees, became mis-shaped into a specious patriotism. It is known how an ardently desired object pursued for a long period is apt to so monopolize and infatuate the mind as to totally vitiate and pervert the sense of discernment between right and wrong, both as to the legitimacy of the object and the means to be employed for its attainment. As the realization remains deferred and the efforts are increased, the object from being considered legitimate is by degrees invested with merit, a halo of virtue is added to the aspect, its pursuit is viewed as a duty by fair or by questionable means, the end justifying the latter. All, it is said, is fair in love and warfare. This diagnosis appears particularly applicable to President Krüger and State Secretary F.W. Reitz, both men of sincere piety (perhaps also to Mr. Schreiner), who would have abandoned their project and renounced and repudiated the Afrikaner Bond if ever they had doubted its legitimacy of principle. So also with most of the other Boer leaders and their clergy too. The agencies must have been exceedingly subtle, and the jugglery and artifice superhuman, to operate such processes of reasoning, such deception and aberration in honest-minded and even godly persons.
As to the bulk of the Boer people, they are simply led by their chiefs and superiors, in whom they repose unquestioning confidence. They go unreasoningly with the stream of opinion under the firm belief that all is divinely sanctioned, including rebellion and violence, and blindly obey their call, considering their cause analogous to that of the Jews of old, who were enjoined to spoil the Egyptians and then to pass over and conquer their land of promise. No papal bull of indulgence ever freed people's consciences more than the Boer people now feel in regard to the warfare in which they are engaged.
The Boers in the Cape Colonies have been prospering in a marked degree since the British accession in 1814, enjoying ideal liberty and good government upon perfect equality with the English colonists.
The people of the Orange Free State fared equally well under best relations with the British Government up to the outbreak of the present war.
In the Transvaal the Boers were more handicapped, being furthest removed from profitable Cape connections, and having to cope with powerful hostile tribes within their border. The most redoubtable, under Secoecoenie, was subdued during the British occupation in 1878. Then followed the short war of 1880, with the voluntary retrocession and peace of January, 1881. All appeared to progress remarkably well for about ten years after, until the irrational treatment by the Boers of British subjects in the Transvaal furnished the first cause of friction, and engendered at last the Johannesburg crisis with the Jameson incursion, followed by four years' vain attempts on the part of England to bring about satisfactory and peaceful relations.
The Afrikaner Bond had been inaugurated some thirty years ago, under the mask of a constitutional organization, professing loyalty to England; that body had succeeded in hiding its object, which was no less than the expulsion from South Africa of all that is English, and which object was brutally avowed since the outbreak of the war by declarations in the Press and by incendiary speeches of Colonial Bond leaders and members of the Cape Parliament.
The British Government did not view very seriously the information it received regarding the Bond menace until the definite action of the Transvaal Government partially opened its eyes prior to the Johannesburg revolt. The hope was, however, still clung to in an undefined way that patience and forbearance would yet overcome Boer prejudice and disperse racial antipathies, and with characteristic self-confidence as well, things were allowed to drift rather out of hand.
The two Republics had been de facto allied some time before the Johannesburg crisis in 1895. Both were then already provided with very abundant armaments of up-to-date types, with equipments and preparations far and away above any conceivable needs except indeed for a coup d'état against British supremacy and to sustain a Colonial revolt.
On the occasion of the Jameson incursion the Orange Free State promptly appeared near the scene with best equipped mounted Boer commandoes and artillery to assist the Transvaal if needed.
Before 1881 and some time subsequently there had been continued progress towards the assimilation of the English and Boer races in South Africa. This was marred by Afrikaner Bond doctrines and intrigues proceeding from a Hollander coterie, the formula being "Afrika voor de Afrikaners"—the aims including the usurpation of British authority in the Colonies, supremacy of the Boer nation under one great Republican federation, and an affiliated status with Holland which should restore that people, all to the prejudice of England, to a political and economic significance and power surpassing its former epoch of European and Colonial eminence. As to the incentives to the Boer nation, these were principally the plunder of capital investments and land conquests, which the people had learnt to consider legitimate and in fact incumbent as a duty to themselves and descendants.
The means employed in that conspiracy were a subtle, so to say, occult propaganda to seduce a simple people to false convictions, to induce the creation of gigantic armaments, a secret service employing at a vast cost journalism, emissaries, and agencies, to gain partisans and allies outside South Africa, the Transvaal mint to coin the sinews of war from the appropriation of the mines and their output, the dynamite factory (that Bond corner-stone for manufacturing ammunition), a system of immigration from Holland towards supplanting the English factor and to introduce auxiliaries. Other such means were: laws for admitting auxiliaries to immediate full burgher rights and privilege to carry arms, from which Uitlanders were rigorously excluded, the rabid campaign proscribing the English language and fostering High Dutch instead (which was much less understood by the entire Boer people, and much harder for them to learn than English). To the above list of devices came the exhaustive efforts to obtain an independent seaport for the Transvaal, first at St. Lucia Bay, then at Delagoa Bay (ostensibly with a German syndicate, and since by subsidizing Portugal or suborning Portuguese notables and officials).
The climax of duplicity is reached when it is averred that the pursuit of such an organized programme during the past twenty years and more had meant peace only, never a thought of conquest, as Ambassador Leyds so innocently declared after failing to gain abroad the hoped-for support for the monstrous Bond enormity.
The Afrikaner Bond leaders would have preferred the war to have been deferred a little longer—preferably to a moment when England might be embroiled elsewhere. It was also thought of importance that the Transvaal should first realize the auriferous "underground rights" situated around the Johannesburg mines, which Government asset was expected to net at least fifty million pounds sterling. The sales had already been advertised, and were in preparation when the outbreak of the war intervened. Upon the word "ready," flashed from Bloemfontein, followed at once the fateful Pretoria ultimatum. The proceeds of those underground rights must now come in afterwards to defray the war bill.
 President Krüger's reference to that factory is well known, styling it as one of the corner-stones of Boer independence.
Boer views regarding coloured peoples are those retained from Dutch practices of a hundred and more years ago, when the Cape of Good Hope still belonged to that nation. Servitude, if not absolute slavery, was then generally recognised as the proper status for coloured aborigines, and that principle of differentiation continues to be upheld and applied in a modified form, it must be admitted, in all the Colonial possessions of Holland. The authority for this stand is sought from ancient biblical history, where the descendants of Ham appear marked out for servitude, and from that basis it is interpreted that people so marked are not designed for tuition or evangelization until after they have been subjugated. According to such a doctrine the injunction to preach the Gospel to every creature would be limited to civilized whites, and might only be extended to such coloured peoples who have been fitted, as is said, for the reception of the Christian faith by being placed under the subserviency of whites, as their sponsors if not their actual masters, and requiring mundane tuition and education as essential bases to precede conversion.
For the refutation of such monstrous doctrines it may be urged that, according to Scripture, savage as well as cultured peoples have a consciousness of guilt towards the Divine Judge. The object of the Gospel is to end the history of the culprit as such and to place him upon a new standing—"the wind bloweth as it listeth": a new birth operated by the acceptance of the Gospel proclamation addressed to every creature, black as well as white. Growth and moral amendment properly "follow" that spiritual birth; neither is conceivable before, except purely human education, which is incapable of effecting a change, and in fact tends only to fortify the natural man in his implacable hostility against the newly implanted element, each lusting against the other.
History records how the Spanish and other early explorers operated with the aborigines in the regions discovered by them. The territories with their inhabitants were declared possessions accruing to their respective sovereigns, whose main policy was the exploitation of all the wealth possible. The aborigines were dispossessed, treated as conquered peoples, and forced to do the exploiting labour. No other results could follow than the gradual diminution and final exhaustion of all the wealth and the partial, if not total, extinction of the aboriginal races.
What retribution overtook those nations is also on record. Those enslaved peoples were forced to accept the religion of their conquerors. Can true converts be made to order by constraint, motives of self-interest, or by baptizing them en bloc? What else but deepest aversion and mistrust could a religion inspire which is professed and taught by a people who practise spoliation, murder, and other descriptions of wickedness abhorrent even to a savage mind? The aborigines would daily behold their own land and possessions enjoyed by usurpers and "would be teachers," who subjected them besides to slavery and abject misery. Could the religion of such teachers ever find favour with their victims? How could doctrines of righteousness and love be understood when so glaringly violated by their preceptors?
It presents a sad paradox to see that the Boers, who are in many respects consistently religious and even exemplary, could uphold principles which place coloured people out of caste, not only in regard to political rights but also as to the common religious standing before the Creator. It would be unjust to charge the Boers with actually barbarous practices towards the natives—what they do enforce is their submission to the condition of servants.
The Boer people ever chafed against the restraining action of the British Government as to their practice of slavery, and they have not hesitated either to exhibit their hostility to missionary enterprise. The confiscation of Protestant mission sites in the Orange Free State is one of the instances; another was exemplified in a raid perpetrated about forty years ago by the Transvaal Boers upon the inoffensive Bechuana tribe, whose chief and many of his people had accepted the Christian faith through the teaching of Moffat, David Livingstone, and other evangelists. The pretext for that raid was a lying report that that Bechuana chief had bartered some 400 guns from traders to fight the Boers with. The Boers sent an ultimatum requiring the surrender of those weapons. Despite the protestation of the chief and his people that not more than eight guns had been bartered for hunting, which had later proved true, a commando was sent against them under Commandant Paul Krüger, now President Krüger. Many of the natives were slain, their villages burnt, their cattle seized, and great numbers of the tribe taken captive for distribution as servants among the Boer farmers in the Transvaal. That raid was further signalized by the total destruction of Moffat's mission station—church, school buildings, and industrial shops. These, after being looted, were all consigned to the flames, as also the missionary dwellings, among which was that of David Livingstone, with his furniture, books, and belongings. There are abundant records, besides that of the Bechuana nation, that barbarous and idolatrous peoples are amenable to Christianity without the prior influences of civilization or individual education, or that they should be subjugated first, as the Boers would have it. What indeed is of immense aid for moral and economic advancement is the operation of civilized and liberal governmental authority, repressing slavery, under which proprietary rights and justice are equally afforded to black and white, and where the Gospel might have a free course without constraint and without inducements of material advantages.
It seemed that such conditions were on the eve of eventuating for the rescue and disenthralment of darkest Africa. This is what Moffat, Livingstone, Coillard, and many other devoted servants of the Gospel had prayed for all their lives, what has been and still is the burden of the prayers (no doubt all inspired) of millions of Christians. The interior is no more a blank on the map. Much is done for the suppression of slavery. The whole continent is parcelled out among different nations, who have assumed the task of civilizing their respective spheres. The world's energy and capital stand available for the object, and it appeared that many souls were being seriously aroused to the responsibility of obeying the charge pronounced in Ezekiel xxxiii. 1-11. But sinister influences have not failed in attempts to bar beneficent dispensations. We have seen fanaticism resulting in the fierce revolt of Mahdism in the north, and are now awaiting the issue of the war brought on by Afrikaner Bondism in the south.
 Another has aptly illustrated the change by comparing such a man's new condition to a hotel that has come under totally different and perfectly new management and controlling proprietorship.
Until the earlier parts of this nineteenth century England has been conspicuous among other nations in tolerating slavery in some of her possessions, and in permitting her people to engage in systematic man-hunts, with the accompanying atrocities and horrors of a regular slave trade. Manifestations of national abhorrence and condemnation of that inhuman traffic and of slavery in general appeared during the first quarter of this century. The nation hid its shame and contrition in acts towards remedying its share of the evil committed. These took the shape of expending some twenty million pounds sterling towards the emancipation of slaves and various other costly measures to repress the trade in human beings, and in proclaiming personal freedom for all slaves in her dominions. The desire to do justice to coloured races was further exemplified in the adoption, dating some fifty years back, of a totally altered colonial and native policy. Up to then the practice with all colonizing Powers had been to utilize their foreign dominions as preserves for financial exploitation, involving the most crying injustice to aborigines. The departure then effected consisted in a policy of just laws instead, directed to ensure to those people equitable treatment and a recognition of their rights to fixed property and to a position before the law equal with that of white inhabitants. The revenues produced by the Colonies were thenceforward all to be devoted to the advancement of their own local prosperity. Free trade followed that régime of liberty and equity, and, as intended, such Colonial dominions began to partake of the character and were constituted off-shoots of the mother country, with a like status of liberty and enjoying the benefit of British protection at the same time. Many were the auguries that the experiment would result in political and economic failure, but the good results to all concerned proved to be so far-reaching as to startle even its most sanguine advocates. The extension of privileges and rights operated upon the natives as a magical incentive to labour and emulation for the improvement of their economic condition; people who had before preferred an indolent, semi-nomadic existence betook themselves more to agricultural and sedentary habits, living in much greater comfort and steadily increasing in wealth.
Civilization went on apace, and with it the moral improvement of the aborigines, paving the way as well for the spread of Christianity. All this was accompanied with an immense and ever-advancing expansion of trade with England and the recognition of British prestige as a successful colonizing power.
Numerous other principalities courted the privilege of coming under the ægis of the English flag, their potentates and people readily submitting to the abolition of practices which were not in accord with humane and civilized usages and eager to share the benefits and advancement of civilization which were enjoyed under British rule. In not a few instances it was, however, not feasible to extend the protectorate so coveted.
While other nations were engaged in wars during the past half-century, England had opportunities to largely expand and consolidate her Colonial dominions. At the same time British trade, industries and shipping advanced with gigantic strides, and that nation has since gained the foremost rank as a commercial and Colonial empire, governing over the choicest portions of the globe some four hundred millions of loyal and contented subjects, who enjoy liberty and a degree of prosperity unequalled elsewhere as yet, the whole being protected by a navy which constitutes England as champion on sea as well.
All this national success and example of liberal government have had a salutary influence upon the rest of the world in evoking wholesome competition and emulation. But another and very untoward effect is that widespread and deep-rooted envy and jealousy have also been aroused, which on occasion are apt to develop into pretexts for actual hostility, or hostile partisanship as is now the case.
What signalises the beneficent reign of Queen Victoria more than anything else is the peculiarly devoted manner in which that august lady has personally acquitted herself of her duty and responsibility in regard to the elevation and rehabilitation of the hitherto socially enslaved condition of womanhood in her Indian empire; for it is well known how the philosophic religions of the East have been subtly adapted for establishing the political and social pre-eminence of certain classes of a population over its majority, at the same time dooming womanhood generally to the lowest rank of drudges, perpetual contempt and ignorance, refusing them education (as had been done in the case of the Roman slaves)—specially despised if without a husband, and if a widow, immolated at last upon her husband's funeral pyre.
Step by step, by means of strenuous and disinterested exertions, employing prestige and encouragements, by legislation and otherwise, a breach was effected which bids fair to break down that caste-fenced and chained thraldom, and to raise over a hundred millions of her humble subject sisters from unnatural degradation to occupy the honourable and responsible rank assigned by the Creator to woman as man's social help, meet for him, and to whom honour is due as to the weaker vessel. Millions of women have already found emancipation and recognition of their right position, to man's reciprocal joy and to the felicity of their families. Their sons and daughters in turn now form armies to complete the mission of liberty so zealously inaugurated by their beloved Empress, their own peculiar star of India.
Maybe this and similar earnests evinced during that noble Queen's reign, among which the shelter afforded to the Jewish people, will come into remembrance in mitigation of visitations deserved by the nation for its previous complicity in the hideous traffic in African souls of men.
It throws a light upon the credulity and simplicity of the bulk of the poor deluded peasant Boers when, in the face of most genial rule and almost an excess of liberty and privileges, Bond artifice could succeed in conjuring up contrary notions, and to poison them into the monstrous belief that they, the Boers, were an oppressed people, whose downfall was designed by rapacious England, and that no other remedy existed for preserving independence, religion and homes than to expel that wicked English people from African soil. This is, then, what Bond artifice effected in the absence of actual cause and in order to dissimulate its own nefarious objects. It was the work of twenty years' sedulously applied deception and calumnious machinations.
The Hollander coterie has at last succeeded in its ardently desired purpose of pitting the Boer nation against England, and to bring about the present war. What is even more astounding is the success of those villainous artificers upon intelligent partisans of the Boer cause outside of Africa and in England even.
Will it be considered the mere fancy of enthusiasts, which admits the thought of occult forces of a sinister kind set in array to overturn beneficent dispensations, that the evil one, the father of lies, has been active in all this marring of peace? Had that personage or evil principle, if this term is more acceptable, not scored with his malignant skill of deception 6,000 years ago, and been walking up and down his domain ever since, intent upon undoing redemptive provisions and counteracting all endeavours to ameliorate the miseries of humanity? His malice would seem discernible against the Boer nation, the people who continued in the simple faith which had been kept by their ancestors despite the persecutions heaped upon them in France and by the oppressor of Holland; he must have viewed with growing rage the designs of a gracious Providence surrounding that very people with the blessings of security and peace and accumulations of unparalleled riches, all construable as in compensation for the sacrifices so willingly submitted to by their forefathers and for their own fidelity to the faith. Would he tamely brook that—and not bend on all his artifices to reverse those provisions and to divert those rich dispensations in favour of his own devotees instead, or else rather cause them to be devoured by wasting war? He has so far succeeded in instigating the Boer nation to acts which involve the forfeiture of their special heirlooms. He would also thwart the programme of the world's nations for the civilization of Central Africa, and would gratify his malice against the people to whom is largely attributable the spread of governmental principles of equity and liberty. He would seek to stamp with failure those hitherto successful and self-rewarding methods, and so strike an effective blow against their further adoption as being goody-goody, weak and inefficient.
We see civilized humanity congested with over-population, excess of energy and of production and suffering from a plethora of capital, the entire condition rife on the one hand with prodigal waste and on the other fraught with the cruel want of toiling and jostling millions vainly fighting for space and the most modest means of existence—conditions which presage an inevitable and universal crash unless checked by a Malthusian or else by a beneficent and humane remedy. We know the right remedy for at least staving off the impending universal crisis lies in the manifold opportunities of creating outlets. These exist to the full in the vast fallow regions of Africa, and in the scope for industries and commerce in Asia and elsewhere. Each well-devised colonizing scheme, every railway built, and every other new investment would afford improved employment and relieve the general strain; every true convert gained by the spread of Christianity would become an obedient and reliable unit towards the menaced stability of authorized Governments. We see capital impelled to vast enterprises, as it were by secret forces; we are aware of the activity of nations singly and in co-operation in promoting and sustaining such projects. All those efforts and outlets would serve as safety-valves for the discontent of the ill-provided masses, and their success would render them governable at a lesser cost, and even admit the reduction of standing armies and other objects treated by the recent Peace Conference at the Hague. The essential thing, indeed, is peace, and that in turn would consolidate security and progress. But the enemy is interested exactly the other way. His ascendancy is coincident, not with the mitigation of the conditions of human existence, but in accentuating the misery of the masses, driving them to desperation and to embrace illogic and deceptive maxims of socialism and violent anarchy. It is with those forces that he intends to uproot and usurp divinely instituted authority expressly set up to repress evil and to protect person and property. He wants by licence and not liberty to hasten the advent of that murderous political power prophetically depicted with the statue standing upon feet of clay and iron: supreme authority vested in the world's proletariat in unstable and uncohesive union with militarism, Satan himself the actual lawless animator. As to the scope for outlets in the East, it is more restricted to industries and commerce, but those enterprises, however brilliantly promising, are fraught with the risks incidental to hostile rivalries and political complications, while in Africa the openings are at least as vast and inviting immigration on a huge scale as well, but all with much greater security, inasmuch as the spheres of operation are definitely apportioned to various nations, and where in the nature of things the success of each would be promoted by joint-solidarity, and thus afford a guarantee for the peaceable and prosperous development of the whole continent. Our common enemy would fain frustrate it all with his Afrikaner Bond device, and then finally gloat over the accomplished ruin of his deluded Boer victims.
Africa has for some thousands of years been the enemy's favourite and undisturbed haunt for his gory orgies, for the hecatombs of millions of immolated victims each year, the teeming recruiting preserve for his contingents.
Is he likely to surrender it all to an invading beneficent operation? Will he not rather continue a most determined and desperate resistance and oppose the most advanced of his subtle devices? The malignant power of his agencies is ever and anon manifest—if restrained in one direction his sway is doubly asserted in another. While the Boer war is proceeding a diversion upon a large scale is being effected in Asia which may result in deferring progress in Africa, or history may be brought to repeat itself by the production of some African Attila or Grenseric or a Saladin or another Moselikatse or Mahdi, whose overrunning hordes will efface all the good work thus far done and restore conditions in accord with his murderous sway, whilst at the same time revelling over the ominous developments looming in Europe and America for the production of giant strikes and other imminent socialistic outbursts which could all be prevented, or at least staved off for a long time, if the existing immense spheres for civilizing outlets could only be peaceably utilized.
 One of those enterprises is the railway which is to connect the Cape with Cairo.
 Pro-Boer Propaganda is persisting in designating England as answering to that prophetic image destined to signal destruction.
The old voortrekkers who emigrated from the Cape Colony all belonged to the Dutch Reformed Protestant persuasion. With very little learning, the Bible, catechism, and the orthodox "psalm and hymn-book" constituted their sole means for building up their faith. The scope of their education was likewise limited to these simple aids during their chequered wanderings for nearly twenty years, proving ample, however, in preserving themselves and children from the tendencies of receding into barbarism. The Bible was the recognised reference and guide in private and public affairs, and it is so still. It is, indeed, notable with what wisdom and prudence those simple people managed to frame their treaties with native potentates, their conventions with the Portuguese and the British Governments, and, finally, in compiling their own constitutions. Their experiences teem with incidents of extreme sufferings, dangers, and reverses, and also with many signal deliverances, which all operated in deepening religious fervour and dependence upon the Almighty.
Their vicissitudes led them to make analogous comparisons with ancient Jewish history. This practice resulted in some erroneous conceptions, notably in regard to their relations with aborigines and general native policy, as referred to in previous chapters. It also imperceptibly fostered sentiments confounding legality with grace, and the by-product of that subtle corrupting leaven which is apt to see a splint in the eye of another whilst unmindful of the beam in one's own.
Upon the whole, the religious status of the Boers may be fairly compared to that of the old American pilgrim fathers, only much less intolerant, fairly strict sabbatarians, and jealous in maintaining national and individual morality. About forty years ago a small group seceded from the Dutch Reformed Church and formed a separate connection under the name of "Enkel gereformende Kerk" (simply reformed Church), more generally known under the sobriquet of "Doppers." This cult is identical with the parent Church, and differs only in a somewhat stricter church discipline and the rejection of the hymns from the common psalm and hymn-book upon the ground that many of them are tainted with dangerously anti-scriptural doctrine. These Doppers are really very worthy people, but noted for their strong conservatism and adherence to old habits and customs, even in the matter of dress. President Krüger is one of their prominent members and so is General Piet Cronjé.
The devotional habits of the Boers form one of their national characteristics. The family collect at dawn for morning worship, led by the parent or else by the tutor—it consists of a hymn, Scripture-reading, and prayer—similarly before retiring at night, devout grace before and after each meal. These practices are not relaxed when travelling with their wagons or when in the field. On Sundays an extra (forenoon) service is added. Strangers and travellers receiving hospitality are always courteously and unostentatiously admitted to those family devotions. One may thus meet with one or more wagons camped in the wilderness and find a cluster of men, women, and children engaged in happy devotions and singing psalms or hymns in the familiar old "Herrenhut" melodies, or one may come upon a scene where men just returned to camp, begrimed and still perspiring from a day's hunt or battle, join with husky voices an already assembled group in the customary service.
Such practices of piety cannot fail to have a salutary effect upon the young, nor can it be with justice said that the bulk of the people are inconsistent in their conduct, though formality and insincerity are sadly frequent enough, and in late years a decadence in seriousness and an increase of frivolity instead have marked the present epoch, especially among those who are exposed to the pernicious influences and contaminations incidental to town life. The old Free Stater mentioned before expressed the expectation that the present war and trials will tend to check that declension, and in that way prove to have a compensating character for good. During my frequent travels it had been my privilege as a guest to make the acquaintance of numerous truly Christian Boer families, both well-to-do and poor. On one occasion I had to accept the hospitality at a farmhouse of one named Brits, nicknamed "vuil" or dirty Brits. This was an old blind widower; his household was composed, besides himself, of an old brother, also a widower, and the family of a son-in-law. After the evening meal the service was led by the blind man, the daughter reading some chapters in the Bible indicated by him. The two old men and I occupied separate cots in one small side room. Happening to wake up at dawn the following morning, I saw those old men sit up facing each other, with their feet upon the floor, and begin their morning hymn of praise, after which the house resounded with younger voices from the other end with a similar song. I do not call to mind any special untidiness at that poor blind man's house to warrant his sobriquet; my recollections are, on the contrary, of the happiest, and I mentally called him clean Brits, clean every whit. In another part of the country I was privileged to meet with a family, which included a grown-up blind daughter,' who had St. John's Gospel in raised letters. While reading with her fingers her upturned face would shine with joy when repeating some of the salient, consoling, and sustaining verses. And how common are the records among those simple Boers of happy and triumphant death-bed scenes of old and young, softening the grief of the bereaved believers. Frivolous education and advanced surroundings are accountable for a certain waning of the original habits of serious piety; this is to some extent more the case among the Cape Colonial and Orange Free State Boers, the declension appearing greatest with those residing in or in close proximity to towns. Among the men of exemplary and consistent piety in the Transvaal are conspicuous: President Krüger, State Secretary Reitz, Commandant-General Joubert, General Piet Cronjé, and others holding highest positions, and also many of the Volksraad members, including the late General Kock.
Upon the occasion when the Transvaal Executive, with the assembled Volksraads, finally determined upon war, and the momentous matter had been considered of handing over the passports to Mr. Greene, the British agent, just before signing them, President Krüger was observed occupied in silent prayer for a few moments, while many of the others bowed their heads similarly engaged, after which the documents were firmly completed. When the first commandoes were about to depart for the field, the President addressed a farewell to the burghers, assuring them that God's aid could confidently be implored for their just cause; he also quoted part of the Verse, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it," intending it as an exhortation for the timorous, warning them of the greater danger incurred by retreat or flight than when maintaining a manful stand. (The reader will know that the above quotation does not complete the verse, the rest being, "But whosoever shall lose his life for my sake or for the Gospel shall preserve it.")
It points to the operation of most persevering and subtle agencies and potent illusions that could mislead and carry away the chief men and the most intelligent of the Boer nation so far as to engender the erroneous convictions which caused them to court the present war and to consider it just. As to the bulk of the people, they are in turn led astray by their leaders' example and opinions as victims of the general delusion.
These convictions, together with the acceptance of Afrikaner Bond doctrines, have developed into quite a national infatuation, a kind of Boer Koran, invested with similar fanaticism. Analogies are assumed as existing between the case of the Israelites brought by Moses through the wilderness, and led by Joshua into the conquered possession of their promised Canaan. Following those prototypes, Paul Krüger is held as having guided the Boer nation thus far through the mazes of political troubles, and so also is General Joubert, now their leader in the conquest, South Africa in its entirety being considered as rightfully belonging to them. The Orange River stands for Jordan, dividing as yet the possessions of the people, and the analogy only needs completion by a Pisgah for President Krüger. That such hallucinations have taken deep root appears from the fact that the wife of President Krüger dreamt of the accomplishment of such a typical history, and that her husband had died at an early stage of the conquest. Such complete faith is attached to the prophetic import of that dream that the President was prevailed upon to permit its publication in full detail some time in November last. The President's death was anticipated within two months after. (I am far from referring to those incidents in a mocking mood, but rather to show the intense sincerity of Boer convictions, confounding the Christian's exalted calling with one which is temporal; and I fancy that those very Boers, if equally well instructed, might sadly eclipse some of us who have the privilege and also the responsibility of enjoying correct teaching.)
The writer has endeavoured to represent in a true light both the character of the Boer nation and its responsibility in regard to the origin of the present deplorable war. The reader will be able to judge whether that people is wilfully guilty, or whether the circumstances admit of generous, mitigating condonement, always considered apart from that horrible Hollander element which has been the root and instigating cause of all the evil.
 Some readers will recognise the significance, the protective competence, the keen and reliable instinct which enable untutored believers to discern and detect doctrinal leaven insidiously concealed in the garb of worship.
 At Modder River, on the road between Bloemfontein and Kimberley.
 At the time, December, 1899, when this was intended for publication.
We have noted in former pages that the Boers' ancestry some two centuries ago was composed of about two-thirds of sturdy Dutch peasants, artizans, etc., while the other third consisted mostly of French Huguenots.
It is known that the immigrant class, though generally somewhat poor, are uniformly men and women endowed with an adventurous, self-reliant spirit and with unimpaired health. Naturally none but robust persons were permitted to join the Dutch settlement at the Cape of Good Hope.
We see in that combination the patient, resolute quality prevailing in Holland and the more ardent, vivacious, and chivalrous character found with the French people. The Huguenot refugees belonged undisputably to the cream of that impulsive nation—intellectual, educated, and fearless—whilst both portions were pervaded with deep-rooted religious fervour and habituated to moral and temperate lives.
Those combined qualities and habits would naturally be transmitted to the progeny; prosperity and splendid climatic conditions tended still further to develop a virile physique of first order. The moral and physical standards were maintained by the practice of men and women marrying early in life, and by occupations which required the people to pass most of their time in the open. Educationally, there was unavoidably some retrogression, but there is always plenty of scope in the existence of colonists in a new country for the exercise of a vigorous mind in the study of nature, in overcoming difficulties and in cultivating the faculty of resourcefulness.
Whilst missing the intellectual benefits of advanced civilization, the people escaped the dangers of its vitiating tendencies, thus preserving a healthy mental calibre as well as robust physical health. In addition may be mentioned a very notable fecundal power, which accounts for the phenomenally rapid increase of the people. All those conditions have continued to be maintained with the successive generations up to now.
Those who joined in the exodus north of the Orange River in 1835 and the years following comprised the most indomitable and best endowed of that stalwart race. Twenty years of a nomadic life after that and until they got somewhat settled down served to weed out the weaklings among them; since then their mode of life accorded well to keep up the highest physical standard, not pampered with many comforts, inured to hardships and to out-of-door exercise, with a diet consisting very largely of meat and venison, coupled with energetic exercise of mind and body (the women sharing in the less arduous duties). All this constituted a regimen and training which did not fail to keep the people in a constant condition of high efficiency and equipoise for the performance of tasks and for surmounting difficulties needing more than usual strength, endurance, and fortitude.
The rough labour all over South Africa is done mostly by Kaffirs and other coloured people. A Boer farmer will have from two to ten or more Kaffirs (men and women) employed for out-of-door work and for domestic drudgery. Often absent from home on hunting trips and sometimes on commando, the men entrust their work on such occasions (as is now the case during the present war) to the care of their wives and daughters, assisted by some younger sons, if the family includes any, or else simply with the aid of Kaffir servants. Sometimes they are without any such help, when they take a pride in doing it alone.
Girls as well as boys learn to ride on horseback when quite young. It is quite a usual thing to see women riding astride fashion, collecting sheep and cattle, or driving their horse carts and spiders (carriages), unattended by males, over distances of over twenty and thirty miles—women spanning in ox-teams to their travelling wagons, driving them with long whips on journeys occupying one or more days. During the Kaffir wars the Boers used to trek (travel) in bodies with their wagons, which would serve to form a laager or fort, their families and belongings being placed in the centre. During an attack the women would attend to the men's wants, reload their rifles, and even take a more active part in repelling the enemy, many of them being also crack shots. The above-stated efficient and hardy habits with men and women apply more to the people in the two Republics, and particularly so to those of the Transvaal, while the Colonial Boers on the whole have had no such experience, but instead have lived in uninterrupted peace and comfort for generations, and may be classed with farmers of any other well-governed and protected country or colony. The Boer farmers in the northern portions of the Cape Colony, however, approximate to those of the Orange Free State in hardy habits and ability to fend for themselves when in difficulty. But with the Transvaal Boers the training incident to wars, hunting, and nomadic movements has been more sustained, and they are thus in best form and fitness of efficiency compared with all the rest.
In the Orange Free State nearly every man above fifty years of age has had the experience of the three years' Basuto war in 1865-67, and almost all above forty are very expert huntsmen and crack shots. Quite a good number have also taken part in the Transvaal war against the English in 1880; the rest have been trained by the elder veterans, and, though not so well seasoned, are good horsemen, expert with the rifle, and competent in the field. As to the Transvaalers, the men have all had plenty of field practice before the previous war with England and since, in subduing formidable Kaffir rebellions, the last being the operations against the Magato chief, which terminated just before the outbreak of the present Anglo-Boer war.
Besides this, game had continued longer in abundance in the Transvaal, and is still hunted with success in the northern low veldt and in the adjacent Portuguese territory. Added to this, the young Boers in the Cape Colony, Natal, Orange Free State, and Transvaal have been encouraged to attain proficiency in rifle practice and competence in the field, ostensibly for the gratification of keeping up old traditions, but in reality to be prepared for the struggle against England meditated by the Afrikaner Bond.
About thirty odd years ago the Orange Free State and Transvaal were still swarming with all sorts of game. Venison was the staple diet. Lions and leopards also infested those States, but these and the game have been pretty well extirpated since, except in some of the lower parts of the Transvaal. In the earlier days ammunition was costly and hard to procure, and the use had to be husbanded accordingly. It became thus a practice never to pull a trigger unless with intense aim and the certainty of an effective shot. A man would go out stalking for an hour or so with perhaps but one or two charges, and would rarely fail in bringing home the kind of game wanted—either a springbock, blesbock, or wildebeest (gnu). In hunting lions, the lads would form part of the company for the purpose of being taught. The boys would learn that if a lion meant to attack he would approach to within twenty or thirty yards, and then straighten himself up before making the final charge. It was during that short halt that the disabling or killing shot would have to be delivered. Father and son would then be standing ready—the son to fire first; if unsuccessful, the animal would be brought down by the father. If there were a larger party and the lions numerous, the lessons would be learnt so much better by way of emulation. The boys soon realized that a lion, means business only when he advances silently and with smoothed gait, but that bristling up and roaring is a sure prelude to his skulking off. What we read of the terror-inspiring roar is to the Boer stripling pure romance and non-sense; but what he does realize is that he must hit the animal in a vital spot at the right moment or else run the risk of being clawed and bitten. The confidence, however, which he has in his gun gives him all the requisite nerve, and mishaps are of very rare occurrence. Those lion hunts used to be very profitable, not only for the valuable skins, but especially when a number of young cubs were also caught, which would realize considerably high prices from menagerie purveyors.
At the age of about eight years a boy would be taught to ride on horseback; when twelve years old he would be an expert horseman and a deadly rifle shot as well; at sixteen he would be able to perform all farm duties and rank with pride and confidence as an efficient burgher to take the field against any enemy. His brain is not addled with school lore, but is thoroughly versed and taught from nature's book. Hardened to the fatigue of long rides over unfamiliar country in search of stray cattle, the Boer youth has often to subsist upon a bit of dried biltong (junked beef or venison), endure at intervals scorching heat and drenching rains, swim rivers, and pass the night with a stone for a pillow and his saddle as the only shelter, while his horse, securely hobbled, feeds upon the grass around. Never will he lose his way; if landmarks fail him and clouds hide moon and stars, he is guided by wind, the run of water or his horse's instincts. Accustomed to wide horizons, he can promptly distinguish objects at a distance, which, to an ordinarily good eyesight, would need careful scanning through a field-glass.
He is expert in finding and following any trail, and can promptly tell the imprint from whatever animal it might be, or of whatever human origin; an ideal scout and unsurpassed as a pioneer. When travelling over roadless country the Boer's instinct will direct him in tracing the most practicable route for his wagons, and with his experience he can foretell what kind of topography he will in succession have to traverse, avoiding unnegotiable spots and unnecessary detours, and when about to halt, a surveying gaze will locate the safest and most suitable position for his temporary camp. Such capacities serve with obvious advantage in defensive and offensive war tactics. Prompt in seizing an advantage and in avoiding danger, he has also learnt to be an adept in ruses to decoy and mislead an enemy, and as for self-help and resourcefulness, there is hardly a situation or difficulty conceivable which will not be successfully surmounted. The usual Boer can also fend for himself and cope with the minor perplexities of every-day life in the field, which would strand a less initiated man. He can cook, bake bread, mend clothes, make boots, repair saddles, harness, and vehicles, and is full of expedients and able to make shift. Most of them know how to shoe their horses, whilst many of them are expert also in working wood and metals and similar handicrafts. In short, the Boers make ideal scouts and are unique as colonizing pioneers. In their nomadic wanderings and frequent wars, the Boers have gained much useful experience in tactics, strategy, and in the wiles of diplomacy too. They also learnt to adopt methods of organization, of cohesion, combined action, and a certain amount of discipline among themselves.
They elect as subordinate and chief leaders men whose abilities and influence have commended them for such responsible appointments. Before committing themselves to any very important step these leaders would first confer with the people, who in turn would generally be easily swayed to their opinions, and who found by experience that it was safest to follow their judgment. It thus also became a habit to leave the main thinking over to those leaders, which enhanced unanimity and led to a self-imposed obedience and discipline recognised as necessary for the common welfare and also indispensable for common safety.
So prevalent had the practice become of deferring to the opinions of their leaders that it engendered an apathy among the people against considering political and public matters which were not altogether of engrossing importance. Public meetings would be poorly attended, and at elections not half the votes were recorded. "Let the elected heads see to it; they are paid for doing the controlling and thinking work"—that used to be the general feeling. But during the past twenty years public interest has by degrees been successfully aroused by the activities of the Afrikaner Bond; the former apathy and distaste to the consideration of public concerns have given place to a more lively identification even with politics, but the tendency of being swayed by men of influence of their own kind remains unchanged.
The Boers are great smokers—tobacco appears to have no hurtful effects whatever upon them, but seems rather to serve as a grateful sedative. The first thing offered on meeting a Boer is his tobacco pouch, and if one is a guest at his house, this is followed by one or more cups of coffee. This is drunk by men and women in large quantities, often without sugar, but very weak. The people are justly famed for cordial hospitality to strangers, and the pleasing tact and unostentatious correct politeness met with from the most ordinary and uneducated Boer are only accountable for on the theory that that particular culture of manners has been transmitted from his noble French ancestry of a couple of hundred years ago.
In stature the men near the average of six feet (say five feet ten inches)—full-bearded, brawny-limbed, and of stalwart build, suggesting a homeric capacity for aggression and resistance. They present a standard of sturdy and active manhood, which would have delighted the critical eye of Frederick the Great for the formation of his very best regiments. What is really singular is the infinitesimally small proportion of ineffective and sickly men found left behind when all the commandoes are called out, and also the considerable number of hale old men above sixty who voluntarily join the field. And when the hardy training and general high efficiency are considered down to the youth of sixteen, one may estimate the formidableness of such a foe, all well mounted on tough and nimble horses, well provisioned and provided with the best weapons extant, guided by very competent chiefs and European advisers—withal self-reliant and conscious of a superior aggressive and defensive capability for repeating their splendid ancestral records of prowess. Add to this inbred patriotism stimulated to an enthusiasm approaching fanaticism by a mind fashioned to the belief that their war is against an unjust usurper destined to be overthrown; it all sums up a long way towards balancing numerical inferiority and inexperience in the science of modern warfare. As to military science, they are apt to become quickly tutored into proficiency by daily observation and experience, and by the coaching of the numerous military officers who have joined their ranks.
Another advantage upon the Boer side consists in complete acclimatization and perfect knowledge of the country. Lastly, but by no means less important, is the rational practice of always going as light and unencumbered as at all possible, preferably with stripped saddle, and to subsist mostly upon meat when in the field, both serving to enhance staying power and to provide a reserve of stamina and of energy for occasions of supreme effort, which often decide the fate of battle against combatants, however courageous, who are fagged out with marching on foot, and through being overladen with accoutrements and pack and a lumbersome diet as well. What can such panting, unsteadied men do in conflict with Boers who are fresh and in well-preserved form, and whose steady sharp-shooting simply results in Calvaries for their opponents, however brave, disciplined and well equipped they may be?
Yet to be noted is the small commissariat needed for Boer horses and mules. These are accustomed to subsist altogether on grass, and when it is plentiful, during summer and fall, to keep in good condition, working six to ten hours daily, if only allowed to graze during the rest of the time. They are then usually knee-haltered, i.e., one foreleg tied to the halter, with about eighteen inches space between. A few feeds of dry mealies (maize) will be amply supplementary when the pasture is inferior, or if the animals have to be picketed much.
As said before, alcoholism does not prevail among the Boers, and any tendency to it is sedulously checked by legislation and public reprobation. President Krüger is an absolute abstainer from intoxicants, and even at banquets he will sip water only when joining in a toast. His contention is that the effects generally go beyond a harmlessly exhilarating point; the action of alcohol unbalances the nervous equilibrium, producing in most cases an excitement above the normal level, followed by a corresponding depressive reaction below it, creating an appetite for repeating the potation, with exactly similar and progressively aggravated results. Then man's moral standard and general efficiency and dignity become impaired, to the serious damage of his own welfare and involving the common weal as well. When at the outbreak of the war the sale of intoxicants became totally prohibited the measure was received with willing submission and hailed with general approval, which speaks volumes for the burgher population and without doubt also tends to preserve their efficiency and stamina.
Stephanus Johannes Paulus Krüger is about the most accessible President on record. Every morning—except Sundays and holidays, after family worship, that is to say, from 5.30 in summer and 6 in winter to 8 o'clock—he gives audience to Boer and Uitlander, rich or poor alike, and also on each afternoon, from 4 to 6 and even later. His residence in the west end of Church Street, Pretoria, is quite an ordinary modest building of the bungalow type. The only distinction observable is two crouching lion figures, life size, on pedestals about three feet high, at the balustrade entrance to the front verandah. A lawn of about thirty feet across extends to the street limit, where at a very unpretentious gate two armed burgher guards are constantly stationed. These will receive an intending visitor's name, an unarmed domestic guard will then come forward, who, after a short scrutiny, if the person is a stranger, will report to the President and will immediately return to conduct you to that dignitary, who may be sitting under the front verandah or in the adjoining reception-room. There the President will readily shake hands and point to a chair, rather near by because he is slightly hard of hearing, the domestic guard standing or sitting between, but a good way back. By his questions and final remarks one feels assured that the topic introduced has been attentively listened to and fully grasped. While conversing, other audience-seekers would drop in, and, while waiting their turn, coffee would usually be served to all. The manners observed are devoid of any stiffness of etiquette, but rather marked with a cordial decorum approaching intimacy, most assuring to the simplest and humblest visitor.
The only leisure the President enjoys is the interval from 12 to 2, between his official labours at the Government buildings, which are about half a mile distant from his house. He drives there and back in a modest carriage attended by a guard of mounted policemen. His Honour is invariably dressed in black cloth, with the usual tall silk hat. Six feet high, with a slight stoop, broad shouldered, deep-chested, with well-developed limbs, arms rather long, the President presents a stately, burly figure, portly without obesity. When younger he was noted, as something like a Ulysses, for personal strength and prowess as well as for sagacity. Although seventy-five years old now, Mr. Krüger has still a remarkably hale bearing and an intellect of undiminished quality. His eyesight, however, has been suffering of late, rendering the attendance of an oculist necessary. His Honour is in his fifth term of presidency, and has held the office twenty-two years. His salary is £8,000 per annum, of which he probably does not expend £1,000, his habits being exceedingly simple and frugal, Mrs. Krüger being equally conservative and thrifty, preferring rather to expend money for her children and in unostentatious benevolence than in superfluities.
President Krüger is an exemplary Christian, an earnest student of the Bible since his youth, ever ready to employ his gifts to strengthen the faith of his people and to maintain their religious standard. He often occupies the pulpit, and on other occasions gives exhorting discourses. Upon the completion of the imposing Johannesburg synagogue his Honour was requested to preside at its dedication. It was an impressive function, and withal so anomalous and unrabbinical a departure—the head of the State, a devout Christian, opening the edifice for Jewish worship and addressing a discourse to the thousands of assembled Israelites. In his zeal and concern Mr. Krüger could not refrain from adverting to their blessed Messiah, the God-man of Jewish stock, rejected through ignorance by their forefathers, exalted since, but who loved His people nevertheless, as typified by Joseph's narrative when he revealed himself to his brethren in Egypt. He adjured them to a prayerful reading of their Old Testament, and he invoked God's mercy to remove the veil which obscured from their eyes their own and also the Gentiles' glorious Immanuel. The ceremony was concluded with perfect decorum, despite the surprise that the address had drifted into an impassioned Gospel sermon.
This grand old Boer is the very personification of noble patriotism and devoted concern for the welfare of his nation. While admiring and loving the man, what sorrow on the one side and indignant execration on the other do not overwhelm one, seeing that such a pattern and leader of men should have become the victim of that heartless Hollander coterie! One cannot but marvel at the same time at the alert skill and wily patience which must have been employed during the many years past to hold President Krüger with State Secretary Keitz and President Steyn in the Afrikaner Bond leash ready to let loose with unshaken convictions upon the supreme contest designed for them and their people by the machinations intended for upraising Holland at the risk of immolating the victimized Boer nation.
Upon this topic a few remarks may be placed under the assumption that the arch enemy's triumph in the present war will be circumscribed by the havoc and the bereavements created by it, and by the forfeiture inflicted upon the poor deluded Boers of their special heirlooms. One of the considerations would be the war cost and its recoupment, and another important one is the measures needful to prevent a repetition of a Bond revolt.
As to the war indemnity: it is well understood on all hands that the supremacy of Great Britain, when once established as the result of the war, will greatly enhance the value of all existing capital investments—10 to 50 per cent., and many even 100 per cent. It is not to be denied that capitalism has evinced decided eagerness that English supremacy should be asserted, and it is in a manner amenable together with the Afrikaner Bond, for secretly striving to bring about the contest each independently in its own way, but without the least concert with each other. It appears therefore equitable that capital should become contributable to the cost of the war which will eventually result in so largely enhancing its invested values.
A tax of 2-1/2 per cent. upon the aggregate investment values and a royalty upon the mining industries of 25 per cent. of the net profits would appear reasonable.
The 2-1/2 per cent. tax might bring a sum of 15 millions The royalty could be reckoned at capitalized value 50 " The confiscations might reach 10 " And the underground rights around the Johannesburg mines might realize 50 "
Thus together 125 millions, possibly not sufficient to cover the entire war cost if pensions are to be included. It is a sad reflection to note that the entire wealth which constituted the national heirloom of the Transvaal will have been wasted, and comes far short to cover the actual war expenditure. In regard to preventive measures against another Bond war, nothing appears clearer than the necessity of applying the lex talionis upon the Hollander element in South Africa (though not in that inhuman fashion as was practised upon the English refugees before and at the commencement of the war).
Whilst not so guilty to the same extent of enormity as the coterie in Holland, who devised all the Bond mischief at a safe distance, the Hollanders in South Africa were nevertheless their eager abettors and sedulous henchmen. It will be remembered that the Bond cry had been "Drive the English into the sea, out of Africa," and that the first earnest in carrying out that fiat was practised some months before the outbreak of the war upon the unaggressive coloured British subjects, traders, merchants, etc., whose removal from their residences and businesses to ghettos outside the towns practically compassed their ruin and expulsion from the Transvaal. This was followed, first by a voluntary and afterwards by the forced exodus of Uitlanders at the rate of thousands per day—men, women, and children packed in uncleansed coal and cattle trucks, together with Coolies, Kaffirs, and Hottentots, and hustled over the Portuguese border, dumped down at that death-trap Komati Poort if unable to pay the railway fare for fifty-three miles further to Delagoa Bay. Those refugees were obliged to abandon or sacrifice their belongings—they had no time allowed to realize them; it meant their financial ruin.
That Hollander element comprises the most insidious menace, and, like a cancer, must be unsparingly excised from South Africa, unless encouragement is intended to be given for an attempt to go one better next time, with a repetition, or rather an aggravation, of the horrors of war and the cost in life and treasure, turning the sub-continent into a second vast Algeria, with perhaps such another "Abd El Kadr" to subdue, and without any reserve asset, as now, to fall back upon towards reimbursing the expense. Their expulsion should, however, not be effected without giving some fair notice affording them time for the realization of their estates. As to the Dutch language, it will not entail any excessive hardship if it is equally banished as an official language, seeing that English is on the whole not more unfamiliar to the bulk of the Boer people than pure High Dutch is, and seeing that the dual right was accorded to Dutch as an official language under this almost inconceivable feature, that it admittedly had yet to be learnt to become of any practical use or utility other than as an instrument for keeping the races apart and to facilitate the Bond objects of usurpation and revolt.