The Project Gutenberg EBook of South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 1
(of 6), by Louis Creswicke

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 1 (of 6)
       From the Foundation of Cape Colony to the Boer Ultimatum
              of 9th Oct. 1899

Author: Louis Creswicke

Release Date: December 3, 2007 [EBook #23692]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Brownfox and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: All images apart from the front cover are thumbnails linked to larger images, for faster loading. Images may have been moved to allow the text to flow in the HTML version.

Front Cover. South Africa and the Transvaal War.
An Incident at the Battle of Isandlwana.
Painting by C. E. Fripp.


An Incident at the Battle of Isandlwana.

Painting by C. E. Fripp.

South Africa and the Transvaal War









[Pg v]


In writing this volume my aim has been to present an unvarnished tale of the circumstances—extending over nearly half a century—which have brought about the present crisis in South Africa. Consequently, it has been necessary to collate the opinions of the best authorities on the subject. My acknowledgments are due to the distinguished authors herein quoted for much valuable information, throwing light on the complications that have been accumulating so long, and that owe their origin to political blundering and cosmopolitan scheming rather than to the racial antagonism between Briton and Boer.

L. C.

[Pg vii]


The Growth of the Transvaal13
The Boer Character15
Some Domestic Traits18
The Orange Free State24
The Grondwet26
Transvaal Dissensions29
Zulu Disturbances30
The Political Web33
The Web Thickening36
The Zulu War38
Affairs at Home43
Towards Ulundi49
The Victory57
Sir Garnet Wolseley at Pretoria62
Gladstone out of Office and in Office65
Commencement of Rebellion69
The Fate of Captain Elliot73
Laing's Nek77
The Siege of Pretoria95
The Betrayed Loyalists101
The Conventions106
Mr. Kruger110
Germans and Uitlanders114
Mr. Rhodes118
The Transvaal of To-day136
Accumulated Aggravations138
Monopolies and Abuses143
The Franchise146
The Reform Movement149
The Critical Moment153
The Raid156
After Doornkop172
The Fate of the Miscreants177
The Ultimatum178
APPENDIX—Conventions of 1881 and 1884191, 197

[Pg viii]


Dying to Save the Queen's Colours. An Incident of the Battle of Isandlwana. By C. E. Fripp Frontispiece
Colonel of the 10th Hussars (H.R.H. the Prince of Wales) 16
2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) 32
Officer of the 16th Lancers 64
Drum-Major and Drummers, Coldstream Guards 80
Colour-Sergeant and Private, the Scots Guards 104
Sergeant and Bugler, 1st Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders 140
Colour-Sergeant and Private (in khaki), Gloucester Regiment 172
Cape Town, Devil's Peak, Table Mountain, and Lion's Head, from Table Bay 10
A Kaffir Kraal in the Transvaal 20
Bloemfontein, from the South 26
The Defence of Rorke's Drift. By Alphonse de Neuville 42
The Battle of Ulundi: the Final Rush of the Zulus. By R. Caton Woodville 58
The Orange River at Norval's Pont 74
The Battle of Majuba Hill. By R. Caton Woodville 90
Where Colley Fell. Rough Cairn of Stones on Majuba Hill 92
The Matabele War—Defending a Laager. By R. Caton Woodville 118
"To the Memory of Brave Men." The Last Stand of Major Wilson on the Shangani River, 1893. By Allan Stewart 124
A Matabele Raid in Mashonaland By W. Small 128
Kimberley, as seen from the Rock Shaft 132
Pretoria, from the East 138
South African Natives—Bound for the Goldfields 148
Jameson's Last Stand—the Battle of Doornkop, 2nd January 1896. By R. Caton Woodville 160
Johannesburg, from the North 166
Sir Henry Bartle Frere, Bart 48
General Sir Evelyn Wood, G.C.B., V.C. 96
Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal Republic 112
Right Hon. Cecil John Rhodes, P.C. 144
Dr. Leander Starr Jameson 152
Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, M.P., Secretary for the Colonies 176
Sir Alfred Milner, K.C.B., High Commissioner for South Africa 184
Viscount Wolseley, Commander-in-chief of the British Army 188
Map of British South Africa At Front
Map of the Boer Republics "
Map of Zululand and the Adjoining Portions of Natal 41
Map of Country round Laing's Nek and Majuba Hill 81
Plan of Disposition of Forces on Top of Majuba Hill 89
Map of Matabeleland 121
Map Illustrating the Jameson Raid 163

[Pg ix]


1851.—First Basuto war.

1852.—Sand River Convention, granting independence to Transvaal Boers.

1853.—Province of British Kaffraria created.

Introduction of representative government in Cape Colony.

1854.—Convention of Bloemfontein and Treaty of Aliwal, granting independence to Orange Free State.

Free State abandoned to Dutch.

1855.—Establishment of a Constitution for South African Republic; not completed till 1858.

1856.—Natal created a separate Colony. 2000 German legion and 2000 German labourers arrived.

1858.—War between Orange Free State and Basutos.

1859.—First railway constructed.

1865.—British Kaffraria incorporated with Cape Colony.

War between Free State and Basutos.

1867.—First discovery of diamonds near Orange River.

First discovery of gold in Transvaal.

1868.—Annexation of Basutoland.

1869.—Discovery of diamonds near Lower Vaal River, where Kimberley now stands.

Commercial Treaty concluded between Portuguese Government and the South African Republic, which led to British claims to Delagoa Bay.

1871.—Annexation of Griqualand West (Diamond Fields). Basutoland added to Cape.

1872.—Responsible Government granted to Cape Colony.

Cetchwayo succeeds his father, Panda, as king in Zululand.

1872-75.—Delagoa Bay arbitration.

1874.—Ichaboe and Penguin Islands annexed.

1875.—Delagoa Bay award.

1875-80.—Lord Carnarvon's scheme for making the different colonies and states of South Africa into a confederation with common administration and common legislation in national matters.

1876.—Fingoland, Idutywa Reserve, and No-Man's-Land annexed.

Acceptance by Free State of £90,000 for Griqualand West.

Khama, Chief of Bamangwato, seeks British protection against Boer aggressions.

1877.—Annexation of Transvaal by Sir T. Shepstone, after the country had been reduced to a state of anarchy by misgovernment.

1877-78.—Gaika and Gealika rebellion.

1878.—Walfish Bay proclaimed a British possession.

1879.—Zulu war. Transvaal declared a Crown Colony.

1880.—Basuto war. Sekukuni campaign.

Boer protest against British rule at a mass meeting held in December at Paardekraal (now Krugersdorp).

They seize Heidelberg.

South African Republic established.

December 16.—Kruger, Joubert, and Pretorius proclaimed South African Republic by hoisting flag on Dingaan's Day. Kruger made President on December 17. British treacherously surrounded at Bronkhurst Spruit, December 20, when about 250 of 94th Regiment, after losing nearly all their men, surrendered. Colonel Bellairs besieged in[Pg x] Potchefstroom, but Boers retire when shelled. December 29.—Captain Elliot treacherously murdered while fording the Vaal.

1880-81.—Reinforcements sent out December and January.

Griqualand West incorporated with the Cape.

1881.—Transvaal rebellion. Pretoria Convention, creating "Transvaal State" under British suzerainty.

Sir George Colley takes command of our troops, January. His attack on Laing's Nek repulsed with heavy loss. Colonel Deane and Majors Poole and Hingiston killed.

1881.—Severe engagement near Ingogo River, Feb. 8. British repulsed after 12 hours under fire. Sir E. Wood joined Colley with reinforcements. Orange Free State neutrality declared. Colley and Majuba Hill, Feb. 27; Colley killed with 3 officers and 82 men; 122 men taken prisoners.

Sir F. (now Lord) Roberts sent out, Feb. 28.

Armistice proposed by Boers, March 5; accepted March 23.

Peace proclaimed, March 21.

Potchefstroom surrendered with honours of war in ignorance of armistice, April.

Commission appointed to carry out Treaty of Peace, April 5.

Convention agreed to, ceding all territory to Transvaal, with the Queen as suzerain, and a British resident at Pretoria, Aug. 8.

Convention ratified, Oct. 25.

Evacuation of Transvaal by British troops began on Nov. 18.

1884.—London Convention restoring to the Transvaal the title of "South African Republic."

Annexation of Damaraland by Germany.

Boer Republics of Stellaland and Goshen set up in Bechuanaland.

Boers seize and annex Montsioaland; sanctioned by proclamation; withdrawn on remonstrance.

Ultimatum by Sir H. Robinson, requiring protection of frontiers.

British annexation of Southern, and protectorate of Northern Bechuanaland.

Basutoland made independent.

Port St. John annexed.

British flag hoisted in Lucia Bay, Zululand (ceded to England in 1843, by Panda).

1884-85.—Sir Charles Warren's expedition.

1885.—Annexation of Bechuanaland to Cape Colony.

1885.—British protectorate over Khama's country proclaimed as far as Matabeleland.

Discovery of great goldfields in Witwatersrandt, Transvaal.

1886.—Opening of principal goldfields in Transvaal.

British Government put a stop to Boer raids into Zululand, and confined them to a territory of nearly 3000 square miles; to be known as the "New Republic."

1887.—British annexation of the rest of Zululand.

British treaty with Tonga chiefs, in which they undertook not to make treaties with any other power.

1888.—"New Republic" annexed to South African Republic.

Treaty concluded between British and Lo Bengula, the Matabele king, in which he undertook not to cede territory to, or treat with, any foreign power without British consent.

1889.—Charter granted to British South Africa Company.

1890.—First Swaziland Convention, giving Boers certain rights to a railway to the coast.

British and German "spheres of influence" defined by formal agreement.

1891.—Southern boundary of Portuguese territory fixed by treaty with Great Britain.[Pg xi]

1893.—Responsible government granted to Natal.

Matabele war.

1894.—Malaboch war.

Question of "commandeering" British subjects raised in South African Republic.

Second Swaziland Convention, placing Swaziland under Boer control.

Annexation of Amatongaland.

Annexation of Pondoland.

British subjects exempted from military service by Transvaal Government, June 24.

Protest by British Government against closing the Vaal Drifts, as contrary to Convention; Nov. 3. Agreed to Nov. 8.

1895.—Crown Colony of Bechuanaland annexed to Cape Colony.

Proclamation of Reform movement by Uitlanders in Johannesburg (National Union), Dec. 26.

Jameson Raid—he crossed the frontier with a force from Pitsani Pitlogo, Dec. 29.

Sir H. Robinson telegraphed to Jameson to retire, Dec. 30.

Mr. Chamberlain and Sir H. Robinson sent order to stop hostilities, Dec. 31.

1896.—Dr. Jameson's party, outnumbered and without resources, defeated by Boers near Krugersdorp, Jan. 1.

Fight at Vlakfontein, and surrender of Jameson, Jan. 2.

Johannesburg surrendered unconditionally by advice of British Government, Jan. 2.

Dr. Jameson and other prisoners handed over to Sir H. Robinson, Jan. 7.

1897.—Judicial Crisis in South African Republic.

Annexation of Zululand to Natal.

1899.— Petition of Uitlanders to the Queen, May 24.

Conference, at Bloemfontein, between Sir A. Milner and Kruger, May 30. Terminated without result, June 6.

British Despatch to Transvaal, setting forth demands for immediate acceptance, Sept. 8.

Unsatisfactory reply, Sept. 16.

Troops despatched to Natal, Sept. and Oct.

Insulting Boer Ultimatum, making war inevitable, Oct. 9.

Orange Free State joins with the Transvaal.

Map of the Boer Republics.

[Pg 1]



The Transvaal War—like a gigantic picture—cannot be considered at close quarters. To fully appreciate the situation, and all that it embraces, the critic must stand at a suitable distance. He must gaze not merely with the eye of to-day, or even of the whole nineteenth century, but with his mind educated to the strange conditions of earlier civilisation. For in these conditions will be found the root of the widespread mischief—the answer to many a riddle which superficial observers have been unable to comprehend. The racial hatred between Boer and Briton is not a thing of new growth; it has expanded with the expansion of the Boer settlers themselves. In fact, on the Boer side, it is the only thing independent of British enterprise which has grown and expanded since the Dutch first set foot in the Cape. This took place in 1652. Then, Jan Van Riebeck, of the Dutch East India Company, first established an European settlement, and a few years later the burghers began life as cattle-breeders, agriculturists, and itinerant traders. These original Cape Colonists were descendants of Dutchmen of the lower classes, men of peasant stamp, who were joined in 1689 by a contingent of Huguenot refugees. The Boers, or peasants, of that day were men of fine type, a blend between the gipsy and the evangelist. They were nomadic in their taste, lawless, and impatient of restrictions, bigoted though devout, and inspired in all and through all by an unconquerable love of independence. With manners they had nothing to do, with progress still less. Isolation from the civilised world, and contact with Bushmen, Hottentots, and Kaffirs, kept them from advancing with the times. Their slaves outnumbered themselves, and their treatment of these makes anything but enlivening[Pg 2] reading. From all accounts the Boer went about with the Bible in one hand and the sjambok in the other, instructing himself assiduously with the Word, while asserting himself liberally with the deed. Yet he was a first-rate sporting man, a shrewd trafficker, and at times an energetic tiller of the soil. The early settlements were Rondebosch, Stellenbosch, and Drakenstein, in the valley of the Berg River. Here the Dutch community laboured, and smoked, and married, multiplying itself with amazing rapidity, and expanding well beyond the original limits.

Dutch domination at the Cape lasted for 143 years after the landing of Van Riebeck, but gradually internal dissensions among the settlers resulted in absolute revolt. Meanwhile the Dutch in Europe had lost their political prestige, and the country was overrun by a Prussian army commissioned to support the House of Orange. In 1793, in a war against allied England and Holland, France gained the day, and a Republic was set up under French protection, thereby rendering Holland and her colonies of necessity antagonistic to Great Britain. After this the fortunes of the Cape were fluctuating. In 1795 Admiral Elphinstone and General Craig brought about the surrender of the colony to Great Britain. Later on it was returned to the Batavian Republic at the Peace of Amiens, only to be afterwards recaptured by Sir David Baird in 1806. Finally, in 1814, our claim to the Cape and other Dutch colonies was recognised on payment of the sum of £6,000,000 sterling.

Now for the first time began the real emigration of the British. They settled at Bathurst, near Algoa Bay, but though their numbers gradually swelled, they never equalled the number of the inhabitants of Dutch origin.

At this time South Africa was an ideal place for the pioneer. The scenery was magnificent. There were mountain gorges or kloofs, roaring cataracts, vast plains, and verdant tracts of succulent grasses. There was big game enough to delight the heart of a race of Nimrods. Lions, elephants, hippopotami, rhinoceroses, antelopes, and birds of all kinds, offered horns, hides, tusks, and feathers to the adventurous sportsman. All these things the nomadic Boer had hitherto freely enjoyed, plying now his rifle, now his plough, and taking little thought for the morrow or for the moving world outside the narrow circle of his family experiences. With the appearance of British paramountcy at the Cape came a hint of law and order, of progress and its accompaniment—taxation. The bare whisper of discipline of any kind was sufficient to send the truculent Boer trekking away to the far freedom of the veldt. Quantities of them took to their lumbering tented waggons, drawn by long teams of oxen, and put a safe distance between themselves and the new[Pg 3]-comers. All they wanted was a free home, conducted in their own gipsy fashion—their kraals by the river, their camp fires, their flocks and herds, and immunity from the vexation of monopolies and taxes. And here at once will be seen how the seeds sprang up of a rooted antagonism between Boer and Briton that nothing can ever remove, and no diplomacy can smooth away. The Boer nature naturally inclines to a sluggish content, while the British one invariably pants for advance. The temperamental tug of war, therefore, has been one that has grown stronger and stronger with the progress of years. The principles of give and take have been tried, but they have failed. Reciprocity is not in the nature of the Boer, and without reciprocity society and States are at a standstill. The Boer is accredited with the primitive virtues, innocence, sturdiness, contentment. If he has these, he has also the defects of his qualities. He is crafty, stubborn, and narrow, and intolerant of everything beyond the limits of his native comprehension. Innovations of any kind are sufficient to fill him with suspicion, and those started by the British in their first efforts at Cape government were as gall and wormwood to his untrammelled taste. These efforts, it must be owned, were not altogether happy. There was first a rearrangement of local governments and of the Law Courts; then, in 1827, followed a decree that English should be the official language. As at that time not more than one colonist in seven was British, the new arrangement was calculated to make confusion worse confounded! The disgust of the Cape Dutch may be imagined! The finishing touch came in 1834. By the abolition of slavery—humane though its object was—the Cape colonists were exceedingly hard hit; and though the owners of slaves were compensated to the tune of a million and a quarter (the slaves were valued at three millions sterling), they continued to maintain a simmering resentment. Added to this came the intervention of the missionaries, who attempted to instil into the Boer mind a sense of the equality, in the sight of Heaven, of the black and the white races.

At this time 12,000 Kaffirs had crossed over the border and invaded the settlements, dealing death and destruction wherever they went. They were finally repulsed by the British, and Sir Benjamin D'Urban, the Governor at the Cape, proclaimed the annexation of the country beyond the Keiskamma, on the eastern boundary of the Colony, as far as the Kei. But no sooner had he accomplished this diplomatic move in his wise discretion, than orders came from the British Government to the effect that the land was to be restored to the Kaffirs and the frontier boundary moved back to its original place—Keiskamma. Sir Benjamin D'Urban carried out these orders much to his disgust, for he deemed the[Pg 4] annexation of the province to be necessary to the peace of all the surrounding districts. But this was neither the first nor the last occasion in the history of Cape government on which men of practical experience have had to give way before wise heads in Downing Street arm-chairs.

This action on the part of the Government was as the last straw to the overladen camel. The patience of the Dutch Boers broke down. The introduction of a foreign and incomprehensible tongue, the abolition of slavery, and finally the restoration to the despised Kaffirs of a conquered province, were indignities past bearing. There was a general exodus. Off to the neighbourhood of the Orange and the Vaal Rivers lumbered the long waggon trains drawn by innumerable oxen, bearing, to pastures new and undefiled by the British, the irate Boers and their household gods. It was a pathetic departure, this voluntary exile into strange and unknown regions. The first pioneers, after a long and wearisome journey to Delagoa Bay, fell sick and retraced their steps to Natal only to die. The next great company started forth in the winter of 1836. Some went to the districts between the Orange and the Vaal Rivers—the district now known as the Orange Free State; others went into the country north of the Vaal River—the district now called the Transvaal; while others again went beyond the mountains to the district now named Natal. Here the Boer hoped to lead a new and a peaceful life, to encamp himself by some river course with his kraal for his sheep and his goats, the wide veldt for his carpet, and the blue dome of heaven or the canvas of his waggon for his untaxed roof. But his hopes were of short duration. The poor trekker—to use the vulgar phrase—had fallen out of the frying-pan into the fire. He had fled from the "British tyrant" only to encounter the Matabele Zulu savage. A terrible feud between the Bantu tribes was then causing much violence and blood-spilling, and the Zulu chief Moselekalse, having driven the Bechuanas beyond the Limpopo, had established the kingdom of the Matabele. With this chief, the Boer Potgieter and a party of burghers, on exploration intent, came suddenly into collision. Some of the Boers fled, the rest were promptly massacred. Those who remained alive made plans for self-defence. They lashed their waggons together to form a laager, and within it placed their women and children in partial safety. They then gave the warriors of Moselekalse a warm reception. The fight was maintained with great energy, the Zulus raining assegais over the waggons, while the Boers returned the compliment with their firearms. For these they had plenty of ammunition, and relays of guns were loaded and handed out gallantly by their women from within the laager.[Pg 5] The Boers were victorious. Their aim was true, their pluck enormous, and after a sharp engagement the enemy were forced to retire. The savages were not vanquished, however, till terrible damage had been inflicted on the laager. Not content with the loss of many of their number, their sheep and their cattle, the plucky Boers started forth to punish the Matabele. Though few in number the burghers had the advantage of rifles, and succeeded in triumphing over the enemy and establishing themselves at Winburg, on the Vet River, to west of Harrismith. Later on the Boer farmers prepared to trek into Natal. They had prospected the place and found it entirely suited to their agricultural needs. Water and game were plentiful, and the whole country was fertile as a garden. Here they proposed to settle down. At Port Natal—now known by the name of Durban—was a party of Englishmen with whom the Boer explorers got on friendly terms. Both Englishmen and Boers were aware that the district was under Zulu sway, and it was decided that the chief, Dingaan, should be interviewed as to the approaching settlement of the Boers. The wily Zulu received his late enemies with every show of amity. He offered them refreshments, he made entertainments for their amusement. He finally agreed to cede such territory as was demanded by the Boers, provided they would secure to him certain cattle that had been stolen from him by a chief named Sikonyela. This the Boers agreed to do. They promptly travelled to see Sikonyela, and by threats, persuasions, or other mysterious means, extracted from him his ill-gotten gains. With the restored cattle the whole party of Boers then passed on their way from Drakensberg to Natal, full of the hope of finally making a settlement in a region so well suited to their pastoral instincts.

On again visiting the chief Dingaan, they were again received with honour. More festivities were arranged, and the date of the signing of the treaty was fixed for the 4th of February 1838.

The day came. The burghers arrived in the customary picturesqueness of woollen shirts, round hats, rough coats, and leathern veldt-broeks. Dingaan, amiable to excess, insisted that they should accompany him to his kraal, and there make a formal leave-taking. They were requested to leave their arms outside as an earnest of good faith, and, with some suspicion, they acceded. Their reception was splendid. Their health was drunk, the calabash passed round, and then—then, at a given signal from the chief, the Zulu hordes rushed in, fully armed and raging. In less time than it takes to describe the deed, the defenceless company of Boer farmers were slaughtered in cold blood—slaughtered before they could lift even a fist in self-defence! This horrible act of treachery served to do away[Pg 6] at one fell swoop with the whole Boer party. Their bones, piled in a heap without the kraal, alone remained to tell to their kindred the tale of their undoing. The Zulus then proceeded in their tens of thousands to attack the nearest encampment, and cut down all who came in their way. Men—women—children—they spared none. The tidings being carried to the outer encampments of the Boers, they prepared themselves for the worst. They and their gallant vrows, who fought with as cool and obstinate a courage as their husbands, resisted the onslaught staunchly and successfully; but they paid dearly for their boldness. Their cattle were demolished, and their numbers were miserably thinned. Some thought of retiring from Natal; some contemplated revenge.

The pathetic state of the Boers attracted the sympathy of the Englishmen then in Natal, and they joined hands. Potgieter and Uys then commanded a force, and marched out on the enemy, but unfortunately fell into an ambush and were slain. Among the dead were the commandant Uys and his son.

Then the Englishmen, not to be behindhand in the fray, came to the rescue. Though there were but seventeen of them, they went out accompanied by 1500 Hottentots to meet the enemy. They followed the retreating savages beyond the Tugela, when suddenly they found themselves face to face with a fierce multitude of 70,000 Zulus. A conflict of the most terrible kind ensued: a conflict the more terrible because at the same time so heroic and so hopeless. From this appalling fight only four Englishmen escaped. These had succeeded in cutting their way through the enemy; the rest had been surrounded, and died fighting valiantly, and were almost buried among the dead bodies of their antagonists.

But this was not to be the finale of the Boer resistance to the wild Zulu. The above tragic engagement between the Englishmen and Zulus took place in April 1838. By December of the same year they had gathered themselves under the banner of their fine leader Andries Pretorius, a farmer from the district of Graff Reinet, and started forth again to meet the treacherous Dingaan, and pay him the debt they owed him.

A word or two of this Pretorius, after whom the now notable town of Pretoria was named. He was a born leader of men: he was a Cromwell in his way. At that date he was forty years of age, in the prime of strength and manhood. He was tall, and vigorous in mind as well as in body, calm and deliberating in counsel, but prompt and fiery in action. His descent is traced from one Johannes Pretorius, son of a clergyman at Goeree in South Holland, one of the very early settlers—a pious and worthy man, whose piety and worth had been inherited by several generations.[Pg 7] Like the rest of his countrymen, Pretorius would brook no control. Though he was indubitably brave and immensely capable, he had the conservative instincts of his race. He shrunk from all innovations, he disliked everything connected with civilisation that might in the smallest degree interfere with the personal liberty of the individual. Freedom was as the very breath of his nostrils, and here was the great link between this really exceptional man and the body of his pastoral followers.

Pretorius, bent on the punishment of the treachery of Dingaan, set out, as has been said, with his expedition in the winter of 1838. This expedition has been named by the Boers the Win Commando. He had but three small pieces of cannon and a force composed of about four hundred white men and some native auxiliaries, yet the admirable tactics of Pretorius, the stout hearts and fine shooting of his followers, combined to bring about a victory over the Zulus. These were totally routed, and lost one third of their number.

The bravery and splendid persistence of the Boers filled all hearts with admiration, particularly when, after several well-directed attacks, they eventually succeeded in utterly breaking the Zulu power. Dingaan was dethroned and driven into exile, and his kraal and property burnt. A Christian burial service was read over the place where lay the bones of the assassinated Retief and his companions. The date, the 16th December 1838, on which the Zulu power met its first check from white men, is one ever remembered in Boer history. It goes by the name of Dingaan's Day, and is annually celebrated with great rejoicings throughout the Transvaal.

The Boers had now succeeded in inspiring wholesome awe in the heart of Panda, the new chieftain who occupied the place once held by his brother, the exiled Dingaan. He was not a person of bellicose disposition, and thinking discretion the better part of valour, was ready enough to swear to keep peace with his late enemies. In these circumstances the Boers with prayer and thanksgiving were able to pursue the promptings of their long-checked ambition. Soon several hundreds of waggons drawn by long teams of oxen came lumbering into Natal, for the purpose of establishing there the Republic, which had so often been planned out in imagination and never yet found any but an abortive existence. This ideal State was eventually formed and called the Republic of Natalia, and it enjoyed for several years an independent existence.

As Natal became the first cause of armed conflict between the British and the Boers, its then position in regard to the authorities at the Cape may as well be reviewed. Though the new Republic maintained its perfectly independent existence, its inhabitants were still mentioned by the Governor of Cape Colony as British subjects.[Pg 8] It must be remembered that prior to the occupation of Natal by the Boers, and the formation of their cherished Republic, the Governor of Cape Colony had issued a proclamation announcing his intention of occupying Natal later on, and stating that the emigrants—who were then making active preparations for the attack of Dingaan—- were British subjects. In Great Britain, however, the authorities had not yet decided to follow the advice so often given by their representatives at the Cape. They were still declaring it inexpedient to extend their territory, and likewise their responsibilities, in South Africa. But the incursion of the Boers in the neighbourhood of Port Natal put a new complexion on affairs. The British Government began to open its eyes to the value of a seaport, with two good harbours on the South African coast, as a colonial possession. It could not fail to recognise also that the members of the new State were already bitter foes to the British and their ways; and that it would be dangerous to allow them to establish themselves as an independent power on the coast, and entirely throw off their duty of allegiance. Accordingly Sir George Napier, the then Governor of the Cape, sent troops to occupy Natal. He remained undecided as to the mode of dealing with the emigrant Boers, however, for, while declaring them British subjects, he yet was not prepared to afford them protection from attacks of the natives. It is scarcely surprising that this half-and-half paternity of the Government failed to satisfy the men whose kith and kin had fallen in their numbers at Weenen and the Hill of Blood, and the consequent disaffection of the Boers grew deeper as signs of British authority increased.

But at first, in the rest of their territory outside Natal the Boer Government remained unmolested. Their district was bounded by the sea and the Drakenberg mountains, the Tugela and Umzimubu Rivers, and there for a time things went well. Pretorius was Commandant General in Natal, Potgieter Chief Commandant in the allied Western Districts. The legislative power was in the hands of a Volksraad of twenty-four members, whose ways were more vacillating and erratic than advantageous. "Every man for himself and God for all" seemed to be the convenient motto of this assembly, except perhaps on urgent occasions, when Pretorius and Potgieter were called upon as joint dictators to settle some knotty problem relating to external affairs.

At the close of 1840 this Volksraad commenced negotiations with the Cape Government with a view to getting their independence formally recognised. The Governor at the Cape was again in the old quandary. While he personally desired to put an end to troubles from within and without by establishing a strong government[Pg 9] over the whole country, he was crippled by the Ministry at home, which was consistent in maintaining its policy of inconsistency, and tried to maintain its hold on the Cape, while steadily refusing to increase Great Britain's responsibility in South Africa.

The demands of the Volksraad (presented in January 1841) were scarcely acceptable at headquarters. The nature of them is interesting, and shows the then attitude of people who described themselves as "willing and desirous to enter into a perpetual alliance with the Government of Her Majesty."

They bargained that the Republic of Natalia was to be acknowledged as a free and independent State, in close alliance with the British Government. If attacked by sea by any other power, Great Britain might interpose either by negotiation or arms. If Great Britain were at war, however, the Republic was to remain neutral. Wine, strong liquors, and articles "prejudicial to this Republic," were to be taxed more highly than other things, which would be taxed as for a British Colony. British subjects residing in the Republic would have equal protection, and the same taxes as burghers, while in case of war every assistance would be given to a British or Colonial force marching through the territory. The slave trade would not be permitted, and every facility for the propagation of the Gospel among the neighbouring tribes would be afforded. The Republic guaranteed to make no hostile movements against natives in the direction of the Colony without permission of the Governor, unless circumstances of violence, or the inroad of tribes, rendered immediate action obligatory.

There were other clauses of less importance which need not be specified. Suffice it to say, that while these terms were being considered, a cattle and slave-stealing Boer raid, headed by Pretorius, took place. The excuse for the proceeding was the lifting of certain of their own cattle, but the action served as an object lesson for those in power at the Cape. The Volksraad was politely informed that the Boers were still British subjects, and a letter from the Home Government to Sir George Napier was received, stating that Her Majesty "could not acknowledge a portion of her own subjects as an independent Republic, but that on their receiving a military force from the Colony, their trade would be placed on the footing of the trade of a British possession." But the Boers flouted authority—they refused to accept the situation. They put forth a proclamation appealing against the oppression of man and to the justice of God, with all the fervour of the Old Testament Christians they were.

The arrogance of Pretorius and his crew had now so seriously increased that Sir George Napier, seeing danger ahead, decided to[Pg 10] establish a camp near the border of the State, and Durban was occupied. Captain Smith, in command of some three hundred men, made a rapid march across country to Natal, merely to be informed that the Boers had placed themselves under the protection of Holland.

It may be noted that when this statement reached the ears of the King of Holland, he emphatically repudiated it. He addressed the British Government, saying "that the disloyal communication of the emigrant farmers had been repelled with indignation, and that the King of Holland had taken every possible step to mark his disapproval of the unjustifiable use made of his name by the individuals referred to." Captain Smith, who fortunately had not been imposed upon by what the Boers considered their neat ruse, made preparations to attack them. But he overestimated his own or underrated his adversary's strength. He fell into ambush and lost heavily. He was then driven to entrench himself in Durban. One of his men managed to escape, however, and by riding to Grahamstown through dangerous country, contrived to convey the intelligence of Captain Smith's misfortune, and to bring reinforcements to his aid. These reinforcements arrived in Durban harbour on the 25th of June 1842. At sight of the British frigate and the goodly display of redcoats, the Boers, who had been besieging Captain Smith for a month with three guns and six hundred men, made good their escape, leaving Pretorius no alternative but to make terms. Thus Natal became a British possession.

In 1844 the place was declared to be a dependency of Cape Colony. Many of the emigrants admitted themselves to be British subjects and remained there, but the great majority took to their waggons and lumbered back across the Drakenberg to their old settling-place.

There the original Voortrekkers had scattered themselves on both sides of the Vaal River, and helped to found the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. As may be imagined at this juncture, the natural hostility to the British, which has now become part of the Boer character, was growing apace. The voluntary exiles from Natal, on moving to the north of the Orange River, determined to evade the British, and proclaim the whole of that locality an independent Republic. The authorities at the Cape, however, frustrated the new struggle for independence. They laid claim for Great Britain to the whole territory east of E. long. 22° and south of S. lat. 25°, with the exception of the land already owned by Portugal or by friendly native chiefs.



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen

It may be remembered that one of the causes of the great Trek was the restoration of their province to Kaffirs, thereby according to[Pg 11] the blacks an independence that was not enjoyed by the Boers. No astonishment, therefore, will be felt at the exasperation of the Boers when they found that the Cape Government had entered into treaties with the Griquas—treaties which seemed to them to promise more freedom to the savage than was accorded to themselves. Grievances of many kinds—some real and some ridiculous—continued daily to occur. Things serious and things trivial were liable to cause them equal indignation. According to Livingstone, the ignorant followers of Potgieter—who were posted at Magaliesberg, a thousand miles from the Cape—were moved to wrath merely by the arrival of Herschel's great telescope at the Cape Observatory! What right, said they, had the Government to erect that huge instrument at the Cape for the purpose of seeing what they were doing behind the Kashan mountains?

But of just grievances they had several, and these Pretorius, as spokesman of his people, wished to lay before the Governor at the Cape. Sir Henry Pottinger, who occupied that post in 1847, unfortunately declined the interview; consequently affairs went from bad to worse. In the end of the year Sir Henry Smith arrived as Governor of the colony, and great things were expected of him. He knew the native races, he knew the Boers, and they both knew him. Pretorius, who was arranging a final emigration from Natal, was summoned to confer with the new Governor. Sir Henry wished to gauge the feelings of the farmers prior to issuing a proclamation (dated February 3, 1848), declaring the Queen's sovereignty over the whole country between the Orange and Vaal Rivers to eastward of the Quathlamba Mountains. According to Pretorius, the conference was an unsatisfactory one. He assured the Governor that his people would never consent to it. Sir Henry Smith nevertheless considered himself justified in taking the step, and the Home Government, whose policy it had been to consolidate the peaceful native States along the border, eventually coincided with his view.

No sooner was the proclamation generally known than the horde of Pretorius' followers flew to arms. They swept southward, driving every British official beyond the Orange River. Major Warden, the Resident at Bloemfontein, where a British fort and garrison had been placed some two years before, was forced to capitulate.

Sir Harry Smith, on becoming acquainted with the news, at once offered a thousand pounds for the arrest of Pretorius. He also began a march to the front. The Governor thought that he had but to come, see, and conquer; but he was mistaken. He had tough work before him. The Boers, about a thousand strong, had entrenched themselves in a formidable position. They were superior in point of numbers, horses, and guns to Sir Harry's forces; but he pursued[Pg 12] his way, nothing daunted. He stormed the position, and, after a hard fight, scattered the enemy. They fled from Boomplaats, where the engagement had taken place, and hastened back across the Vaal to their native haunts. The date of the battle was the 29th of August 1848, and the father of President Kruger is said to have been the first man to fire a shot at the British on that occasion!

After this period various dissensions arose in the Boer camp between Pretorius, who styled himself "Chief of the whole united emigrant force," and Potgieter, who looked upon himself somewhat in the light of a rival. While these worthies fell out Sir Harry Smith saw the annexation carried through, and the territory of the modern Free State was united to Cape Colony, under the title of the Orange River Sovereignty. The contumacious Boers took themselves off with their leader across the Vaal, and fresh European settlers came in and established themselves in the fertile plains that were deserted. For some time after this things prospered, and Sir Harry saw before him the prospect of a new self-governing Dutch colony, which would resemble and equal those of Natal and the Cape. But he reckoned without his host, and all that he had taken the trouble to do was ultimately undone. In 1852 the Government at home declared its policy to be the ultimate abandonment of the Orange River Sovereignty. For this pusillanimous policy there were several reasons, the greatest being a fear of a Basuto rising and the trouble it would entail. The British Government therefore decided to maintain its rights over the Transvaal no further, and by the Sand River Convention, signed on the 17th of January 1852, the emigrant farmers beyond the Vaal River were given the right to manage their own affairs, subject only to the condition that they should neither permit nor encourage slavery.

About this time commenced the threatened rise of the Basutos in the neighbourhood of the Orange River territory. The Basutos are a branch of the Bechuana race, who had been formed by their chiefs Motlume and Moshesh into a powerful nation, which could hold its own against Boer or Zulu. With this race the Home Government desired to have nothing to do, and the Colonial Office, viewing the political game as not worth the candle, definitely withdrew from the Orange River Sovereignty, leaving the Free State to come into being, and devise its own plans for overawing its enemies on the other side of the border. Accordingly, in 1854, Sir Harry Smith's programme of annexation was entirely wiped out, British sovereignty renounced, and the Orange Free State left to become a Republic and take care of itself![Pg 13]



Fifty years ago there was no Transvaal. To-day its area is rather larger than Great Britain. It extends over some 75,000,000 acres.

Originally, at the time of the great Trek, a small portion of land was seized from natives who fled before the pioneers, and settled in what is now known as Matabeleland. Other Boers soon joined their comrades, and, by applying the steady policy of "grab and hold" (a policy that, unfortunately, has not been imitated by ourselves), they gained strip on strip and acre on acre of land till the Transvaal became the vast province it now is. It expanded first into a portion of Zululand; later on, lapped over into Swaziland. By degrees it encroached on the British boundaries, and most probably would have gone on encroaching had not active steps been taken to save the north from the invaders.

The original Voertrekkers, or pioneers, came in three detachments. British-born subjects, but discontented with British civilisation, they moved on from Natal, whence they were chased by the Union Jack, and settled themselves first in land captured from King Umziligatze, secondly in Lydenburg and Dekaap, and thirdly in the Zulu country. The history of this Zululand expansion remains to be told. At present it is interesting to follow the geographical growth of the state which has become so troublesome, and whose self-assertion has increased according to its size.

Originally each Boer was entitled to a farm with a minimum of 6000 acres of the "Transvaal," and this custom of apportioning 6000-acre farms lasted as long as the Kaffir lands lasted. The Boers, always working on the principle that "God helps those who help themselves," helped themselves freely, sometimes with bloodshed and sometimes without, until they became owners of vast tracts of country, whose boundaries had never been discussed, far less fixed.

Land was apparently cheap at that time, for trustworthy authorities declare that it was purchasable at from a farthing to a penny per acre.

The area of the Transvaal before the Boers began to migrate[Pg 14] there has been eloquently described as the hunter's Arcadia. Mr. Gordon Cumming gives a graphic account of the scene:—

"It was truly a fair and boundless prospect. Beautifully wooded plains and mountains stretched away on every side to an amazing distance, until the vision was lost among the faint blue outlines of the distant mountain ranges. Throughout all this country, and vast tracts beyond, I had the satisfaction to reflect that a never-ending succession of herds of every species of noble game which the hunter need desire pastured there in undisturbed security; and as I gazed I felt that it was all my own, and that I at length possessed the undisputed sway over a forest, in comparison with which the tame and herded narrow bounds of the wealthiest European sportsman sink into utter insignificance."

The number of elephants and lesser game bagged by Mr. Gordon Cumming after this touching meditation fully bore out his hopes.

But the most interesting account of the Transvaal, before the invasion of white men, is to be found in Captain William Cornwallis Harris's account of his expedition into the interior of South Africa in the years 1836 and 1837. He paints the new country in colours lively and alluring:—

"Instead of the dreary waste over which we had lately passed, we might now imagine ourselves in an extensive park. A lawn, level as a billiard-table, was everywhere spread with a soft carpet of luxuriant green grass, spangled with flowers, and shaded by spreading mokaalas—a large species of acacia which forms the favourite food of the giraffe. The gaudy yellow blossoms with which these remarkable trees were covered yielded an aromatic and overpowering perfume—while small troops of striped quaggas, or wild asses, and of brindled gnoos ... enlivened the scene.

"I turned off the road," he continues, "in pursuit of a troop of brindled gnoos, and presently came upon another, which was followed by a third still larger—then by a vast herd of zebras, and again by more gnoos, with sassaybys and hartebeests pouring down from every quarter, until the landscape literally presented the appearance of a moving mass of game."

Further on he describes the extensive and romantic valley of the Limpopo, "which strongly contrasts with its own solitude, and with the arid lands which must be traversed to arrive within its limits; Dame Nature has doubtless been unusually lavish of her gifts. A bold mountain landscape is chequered by innumerable rivulets abounding in fish, and watering a soil rich in luxurious vegetation. Forests, producing timber of the finest growth, are tenanted by a multitude of birds, which, if not generally musical, are all gorgeously attired;[Pg 15] and the meadows throughout are decked with blossoming geraniums, and with an endless profusion of the gayest flowers, fancifully distributed in almost artificial parterres. Let the foreground of this picture, which is by no means extravagantly drawn, be filled in by the animal creation roaming in a state of undisturbed freedom, such as I have attempted to describe, and this hunter's paradise will surely not require to be coloured by the feelings of an enthusiastic sportsman to stand out in striking relief from amongst the loveliest spots in the universe."

A recent traveller discourses pathetically over the changes that have come over the country, which at that time was described as "the Zoological Gardens turned out to graze." He says the lawyer and financier thrive where in recent years the lion and the leopard fought for food, and townships have sprung up on spots where living Boers have formerly shot big game.

As an instance of the truth of this lament, one may make some quotations from Mr. Campbell's valuable article, "The Transvaal, Old and New." He says, "The advent of British folk and British gold and brains led to a change, and land, by reason of British purchases, became more valuable, and beacons and boundaries became necessary." Here we may see the thin end of the wedge. We may picture the first lawyer and the first financier advancing with Arcadia parchment and bank-note in hand.

The Boers steadily sold their best and surplus lands, and these the British as steadily bought, till the value rose from their original price of one penny an acre to half-a-crown, and then five shillings. Subsequently, in many cases, as much as ten, and even twenty shillings an acre was offered for ordinary raw arable land. But of that time too much has to be said to be recounted here.


In discussing the events of the past with a view to obtaining light on the development of the present, it is needful, and indeed just, to inquire into the character of the Boers as a race. It is a complex character, with multitudinous lights and shades, so subtle and yet so marked, that they are difficult to define accurately. It is therefore necessary that the opinions of many writers on the subject of the Boer temperament should be taken—of writers who have made it their business to look upon the subject with the eye of the historian rather than the eye of the advocate, and who may be trusted to have given their verdict without passion or favour.

But regarding one fact connected with the case, all writers of[Pg 16] practical experience are inclined to agree. They declare that the Boer of the past was a very much finer fellow than the Boer of the present—finer morally and physically; and that in his obstinate determination to resist the march of progress he has allowed himself to suffer deterioration. The reason for this deterioration is not difficult to comprehend. In the first place, as we all know, nothing in creation stands still. We must advance, or we go back. Both in moral and in mental qualities we must maintain our vitality, or practically ossify!

The Boer, from having been essentially a sporting man and a free and a robust tiller of the soil, has come under the influence of schemers, who have played upon his natural avarice, and polished his inherent cunning, till these qualities have expanded to the detriment of those earlier qualities for which the Boer of to-day still gets credit, but which are fast dying out of the national character.

In one respect there has been little change. In the matter of his native piety he remains as he was. The Boer, if one may use a phrase recently coined by Lord Rosebery, is an "Old Testament Christian." No one can describe his race better than the writer who says of the original settlers in 1652, that "they are a mixture in religion of the old Israelite and the Scotch Covenanter." There is some question about Boer hypocrisy, and Dr. Theal says on the subject, "Where side by side with expressions of gratitude to the Creator are found schemes for robbing and enslaving natives, the genuineness of their religion may be doubted." But it must be remembered that in bygone centuries the world's morality differed much from that of the present day, and therefore the Boer, who has not progressed in proportion to the world at large, can scarcely be judged by the ethics of the world at large. To be just, we must look at him as a being apart, and place him always in the frame of the seventeenth century. Some historians declare that the Boer borrowed from the French refugees much religious sentiment. Other authorities—and these, considering the Boer disinclination to expansion, seem to be right—declare that under the French influence he deteriorated.


COLONEL of the 10th HUSSARS.


Photo by Gregory & Co., London.

He was by nature bloodthirsty and cruel, but these qualities always found for themselves a comfortable apology in the Old Testament. The Boer prided himself on his likeness to the Israelite of old, and his enemies to the Canaanite, whom it was doing God a service to destroy. He kept all the rites of the Church with rigid punctuality. He partook of the Communion (the Nachtmaal) once every three months, and the whole community gathered together from great distances to share it. The observances were made the occasion for rejoicing and merrymaking, for the holding of fairs, the[Pg 17] transfer of cattle, the driving of bargains in hide or ivory, or other goods necessary to traders. He has been described by a friend of his people "as, according to his own lights, a citizen pioneer, a rough, God-fearing, honest, homely, uneducated Philistine."

The opinion of his ancient enemy, Cetchwayo, differs, however, from this estimate. Sir Frederick Godson has told us that this potentate informed his brother, who was his captor, that the Boers were "a mean, treacherous people, people who trusted no one, not even each other, and their word was not to be trusted." He had had ample opportunities of forming a judgment by experience. And there are many of us nowadays who are inclined to agree with him. Cetchwayo further asserted that "the British were making the greatest mistake they ever made in befriending them; for if they had not rescued the Boers from him, he would very soon have eaten them all up."

As regards the military organisation of the Boers, it may be described as similar to that of the Republic of Greece or that of mediæval England. Every man, from the age of sixteen to sixty, considered himself a soldier. Every man, when the country demanded his services, was ready to get under arms—to protect his hearth and home in the face of a common enemy.

The country was divided into districts, and these districts were subdivided into wards. To each of these wards was appointed a field-cornet, who had military duties when a commando was called out. The officer who took the chief command of the field-cornets was styled the commandant. This arrangement first originated in the early days of their emigration to the Cape, when the natives, lawless and inimical, were perpetually bursting out without rhyme or reason. Naturally prompt defence became necessary. To many people the Boer appears to be a "first-class fighting man." Certainly he is determined, obstinate, and, in his peculiar fashion, brave. But there are others who can recall events in the battle with Dingaan, in the tragedy of Majuba Hill, which scarcely add to the honour of the Boer as a soldier. It has been said that the Boer prefers to do his fighting without risking his skin, but this may be somewhat unjust. He is ready enough to risk his skin, but he is equally ready that some one shall pay for the risk, and he makes him pay by fair means if he can—if not, by foul.

However, Livingstone knew his man, and thus it was that he wrote of him: "The Boers have generally manifested a marked antipathy to anything but 'long shot' warfare, and sidling away in their emigrations towards the more effeminate Bechuanas, have left their quarrels with the Kaffirs to be settled by the English, and their wars to be paid for by English gold." Obviously their methods[Pg 18] of warfare were, to say the least of it, curious. Sometimes they would drive a battalion of friendly natives or slaves in front of them, and shoot down their enemies from behind the shelter of these advanced guards. Occasionally they employed a method similar to that used against the Zulus of Dingaan. According to Livingstone's essay, written in 1853, and not published till after his death, "the Boers approach the Zulus to within 300 or 400 yards, then fire, and retire to a considerable distance and reload their guns. The Zulus pursuing have by this time come sufficiently near to receive another discharge from the Boers, who again retire as before. This process soon tires out the fleetest warriors, and except through an accident, or the stumbling of a horse or its rider's drunkenness, no Boer ever stands a chance of falling into their hands. The Boers report of themselves that they behaved with great bravery on the occasion." In fact they said that they had killed from 3000 to 5000 Zulus, with the loss to themselves of only six men. Mr. Fisher, in his book on "The Transvaal and the Boers," avers that in the subsequent war with the Griquas—who, being the bastard children of the Boers, possess many of their peculiarities—the two opposing parties kept at such ludicrous distances that the springboks quietly grazing on the plains between were frequently shot instead of the combatants.


For the domestic character of the Boer we will consult the Scandinavian traveller Sparrmann, who gives us one of the earliest sketches of the Boer "at home." Though the illusion that the industrious and cleanly Hollander was merely transplanted from one soil to another is somewhat dispelled, the picture is generally acknowledged to be a true one.

"It is hardly to be conceived," he wrote in 1776, "with what little trouble the Boer gets into order a field of a moderate size ... so that ... he may be almost said to make the cultivation of it, for the bread he stands in need of for himself and his family, a mere matter of amusement.... With pleasure, but without the least trouble to himself, he sees the herds and flocks which constitute his riches daily and considerably increasing. These are driven to pasture and home again by a few Hottentots or slaves, who likewise make the butter; so that it is almost only with the milking that the farmer, together with his wife and children, concern themselves at all. To do this business, however, he has no occasion to rise before seven or eight o'clock in the morning.... That they (the Boers) might not put their arms and bodies out of the easy and com[Pg 19]modious posture in which they had laid them on the couch when they were taking their afternoon siesta, they have been known to receive travellers lying quite still and motionless, excepting that they have very civilly pointed out the road by moving their foot to the right or left.... Among a set of beings so devoted to their ease, one might naturally expect to meet with a variety of the most commodious easy-chairs and sofas; but the truth is, that they find it much more commodious to avoid the trouble of inventing and making them.... Nor did the inhabitants exhibit much less simplicity and moderation; or, to speak more properly, slovenliness and penury in their dress than in their furniture.... The distance at which they are from the Cape may, indeed, be some excuse for their having no other earthenware or china in their houses but what was cracked or broken; but this, methinks, should not prevent them being in possession of more than one or two old pewter pots, and some few plates of the same metal; so that two people are frequently obliged to eat out of one dish, besides using it for every different article of food that comes upon the table. Each guest must bring his knife with him, and for forks they frequently make use of their fingers. The most wealthy farmer here is considered as being well dressed in a jacket of home-made cloth, or something of the kind made of any other coarse cloth, breeches of undressed leather, woollen stockings, a striped waistcoat, a cotton handkerchief about his neck, a coarse calico shirt, Hottentot field-shoes, or else leathern shoes with brass buckles, and a coarse hat. Indeed, it is not in dress, but in the number and thriving condition of their cattle, and chiefly in the stoutness of their draught oxen, that these peasants vie with each other. It is likewise by activity and manly actions, and by other qualities that render a man fit for the married state, and the rearing of a family, that the youth chiefly obtain the esteem of the fair sex.... A plain close cap and a coarse cotton gown, virtue and good housewifery, are looked upon by the fair sex as sufficient ornaments for their persons; a flirting disposition, coquetry and paint would have very little effect in making conquests of young men brought up in so hardy a manner, and who have had so homely and artless an education as the youth in this place. In short, here, if anywhere in the world, one may lead an innocent, virtuous, and happy life."

When viewing this study of rustic indolence, we must remember also the conditions under which it was found. The natural fertility of the country, the demoralising influence of slave-owning, the great heat of the climate, were responsible for the change that so soon came over the primitive Dutch character. Dr. Theal's account of the Boer adds colour to the picture given by the Swede, and shows us that a[Pg 20] certain sense of refinement was lurking in the stolid and not too picturesque disposition:—

"The amusements of the people were few.... Those who possessed numerous slaves usually had three or four of them trained to the use of the violin, the blacks being peculiarly gifted with an ear for music, and easily learning to play by sound. They had thus the means at hand of amusing themselves with dancing, and of entertaining visitors with music. The branches of widely extended families were constantly exchanging visits with each other. A farmer would make his waggon ready regularly every year, when half the household or more would leave home, and spend a week or two with each relative, often being absent a couple of months. Birthday anniversaries of aged people were celebrated by the assembling of their descendants, frequently to the number of eighty or a hundred, at the residence of the patriarch, when a feast was prepared for their entertainment. These different reunions were naturally productive of great pleasure, and tended to cement the friendship and love of those who otherwise might seldom see each other. The life led by the people when at home was exceedingly tame. The mistress of the house, who moved about but little, issued orders to slaves or Hottentot females concerning the work of the household. If the weather was chilly or damp, she rested her feet on a little box filled with live coals, while beside her stood a coffee-kettle never empty. The head of the family usually inspected his flocks morning and evening, and passed the remainder of the day, like his helpmate, in the enjoyment of ease. When repose itself became wearisome, he mounted his horse, and, with an attendant to carry his gun, set off in pursuit of some of the wild animals with which the country then abounded. The children had few games, and, though strong and healthy, were far from sprightly."



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.

A dislike for the English seems to have been felt by the Cape Dutch very early. This dislike later hostilities must have heightened; but as far back as 1816 we learn that even shrewd and sensible farmers were heard to declaim against our methods of scientific agriculture, and resist all efforts at its introduction into their work. One of them, when informed of the saving of time and labour that certain implements would effect, answered with characteristic conservatism. "What," said he, "would you have us do? Our only concern is to fill our bellies, to get good clothes and houses, to say to one slave, 'Do this,' and to another, 'Do that,' and to sit idle ourselves and be waited upon. As to our tillage, or building, or planting, our forefathers did so and so and were satisfied, and why should not we do the same? The English want us to use their ploughs instead of our heavy wooden ones, and recommend other implements[Pg 21] of husbandry than those we have been used to; but we like our old things best."

This preference for the old instead of the new has been the rock on which friendship between Briton and Boer has split. All ideas of reform have been met with suspicion—a kind of suspicion that, though now confined to the Boers, was very prevalent in Europe a hundred years ago. The present writer in extreme youth met here, in advanced England, a grandam of ninety (the mother of a very distinguished politician), who stated that she could "never make a friend of a man who took a bath." It will be seen by this how prejudice may become a matter of habit all the world over.

Mr. Nixon tells a story of an equally conservative Boer. This worthy went to a store at Kimberley with bundles of tobacco for sale. The Boer carefully weighed them out with some scales of his own that were evidently an heirloom. The storekeeper reweighed the bundles, remarking on the antiquity of the scales, and observing that they gave short weight. He suggested the use of the store scales as the standard for computing the price, which was to be fixed at so much a pound. But the Boer would not hear of it. "No," said he, "these were my father's scales, and he was a wise man and was never cheated, and I won't use anybody else's." The storekeeper dryly remarked that he did not desire to press the matter, since he found himself a gainer by £12 in consequence of the Boer's conservative instincts!

Many writers urge that the Boer is naturally uncivil, that he lacks the true feeling of hospitality. The original Boer, before he was seized with a hatred for the British, was more justly speaking lacking in civility than what we term uncivil. He knew nothing of the art of being obliging to his fellow-creatures, merely because they were his fellow-creatures. He would entertain a stranger, and ask nothing in return, but he would do so without courtesy, and would put himself out of the way for no one. The traveller might take him or leave him, conform to his hours and habits entirely, and, to use the vulgar phrase, "like them or lump them" as his temperament might decide. "Africanus," who, in his book on "The Transvaal Boers," writes of them with judgment and without prejudice, gives a very true sketch, which exactly describes the strange blend of piety, indolence, ignorance, and ferocity which we are endeavouring to study. He says—

"The Dutch farmer is in some respects very unlike his supposed counterpart in England. His pursuits are pastoral, not agricultural, for in most parts of South Africa the want of irrigation renders the cultivation of cereals impossible. His idea of a 'farm'[Pg 22] is a tract of at least 6000 acres, over which his flocks and herds can move from one pasture to another. His labourers are all natives, and though, before the advent of storekeepers, he used often to make his own clothes, boots (veld-schoen), and harness, he looks on actual farm-work as a menial pursuit. He was, and is, wont to pass whole days in the saddle, but, to an English eye, his horses seem unkempt and often ill-used. The magnificent herds of game which wandered over South Africa sixty years ago tempted him to become a keen sportsman, but he has never shown much 'sporting instinct,' and the Boer is responsible for the wanton destruction of the African fauna. The unsophisticated Boer is a curious blend of hospitality and avarice; he would welcome the passing stranger, and entertain him to the best of his ability, but he seized any opportunity of making money, and the discovery that hides and skins were marketable induced him to slaughter antelopes without the slightest forethought. That the Boer is no longer hospitable is very largely due to the way in which his hospitality has been abused by stray pedlars and ne'er-do-wells of various kinds. He still retains a sincere and primitive piety, but his belief that he is a member of the chosen people has sometimes tended to antinomianism rather than to strict morality. His contempt and dislike for the Kaffir has preserved the Dutch stock from taint of black blood, and although there is a large Eur-African population, it has sprung partly from the old days of domestic slavery, partly from the laxity induced by the recent influx of low-class Europeans. The Boer has a strong national feeling, and although not exactly daring as a rule, he is perfectly ready to risk his life in what he believes to be a good cause. He fights better behind cover than in the open, and has a profound contempt for soldiers who expose themselves unnecessarily. At the same time, he is capable at times of embarking on a forlorn hope. As regards his private character, his notions of honesty and of truth are lax. But then, from bitter experience, he assumes that the stranger will try to cheat him, and it is not surprising that he should consider a certain amount of finesse justifiable. He is comparatively free from that drunkenness which is the besetting vice of the low-class Englishman in Africa.

"Although he is incredibly ignorant, and very self-satisfied, it is somewhat irritating to notice the way in which the town-bred Englishman is apt to depreciate him. It is not so certain as the latter thinks that an ignorant peasant is necessarily a lower type of man than a 'smart' and vicious shop-boy.

"The most unpleasing trait in the Boer character is his callousness, amounting to brutality, in the case of natives and of animals."

It must always be remembered that in discussing the early Boer[Pg 23] we are discussing the peasant, and that neither his ignorance nor other shortcomings must be viewed in comparison with the failings of persons of a higher social grade. When the Boers left the Cape Colony they had no knowledge of what the word education meant. The state of public education in 1837 was deplorable. There were missionary schools and a few desultory teachers, who had in very few cases the mental or the moral qualities to fit them for the task of instruction. The most they did was to teach the young idea how to read or scribble its name. For this they received trifling fees, but doubtless these fees were no more trifling than the services rendered. Such free schools as existed, and were nominally supported by Government, were so indifferently managed that they were treated with contempt, even by the farmers. So long as they could thumb out their favourite passages of the Psalms, and sign what few documents they required, they were content. Of their ignorance they were even inclined to be proud. Their own notions of geography and history seemed to them infinitely preferable to any that might be offered, and in this state of blissful ignorance they trekked away from Cape Colony to learn no more. When they started forth, some, it is averred, imagined by steadily working north they would reach Jerusalem; others, covered with faith, and armed with gospel and sjambok, sincerely believed that eventually they would reach the Promised Land.[Pg 24]



The young State, almost before it was fledged, found itself engaged in military operations with the Basutos, and an arbitrator nominated by the British Government was appointed. But the good offices of the commissioner were to no purpose; despite the defining of boundaries and the laying down of landmarks, the natives broke out afresh. An engagement followed, and the Basutos were defeated. As a consequence, a large tract of land (the conquered territory) was annexed by the Free State, yet even this was insufficient to quell the fury of the farmer's inveterate foes, and later on they broke out afresh, only to be again overthrown. In the year 1861 they appealed for help to the Governor of the Cape and were declared British subjects. It was then that a definite boundary line between Basutoland and the Orange Free State was laid down. The population of Basutoland is estimated at about 130,000. The people are by nature warlike and energetic. Some authorities declare them to be the most intelligent of the Kaffir tribes. They are a branch of the Bechuana race who were formed by their chiefs, Motlune and Moshesh, and held their country—the Switzerland of South Africa—against both Zulu and Boer. This aggressive and ferocious tribe was devoted to plunder, and remained well-nigh exempt from punishment in consequence of its mountain fastnesses, which were almost impregnable. The Basutos formed a continual menace to the Boers of the Free State until Great Britain assumed their direct control in 1884. It is now governed by a Resident Commissioner under the High Commissioner for South Africa. It is divided into seven districts, and subdivided into wards, presided over by hereditary chiefs allied to the Moshesh family. Laws are made by proclamation of the High Commissioner, and administered by native chiefs. Europeans are not allowed to settle there.

But to return to 1854. The relations between the two Boer States soon became strained. Jealousy commenced and continued to simmer. Then the Boers, alarmed lest the Government would again follow them up, and lest their treatment of the natives should be[Pg 25] investigated and stopped, began to discourage the presence of visitors across the Vaal. Of course missionaries were the most unwelcome of all.

With the terms of the Sand River Convention they had soon become impatient, and to help to an understanding of this impatience some of the Articles of the Convention may be quoted:—

Article 1.—"The Assistant-Commissioners guarantee in the fullest manner on the part of the British Government to the emigrant farmers beyond the Vaal River the right to manage their own affairs, and to govern themselves according to their own laws, without any interference on the part of the British Government, and that no encroachment shall be made by the said Government on the territory beyond, to the north of the Vaal River; with the further assurance that the warmest wish of the British Government is to promote peace, free trade, and friendly intercourse with the emigrant farmers now inhabiting, or who hereafter may inhabit that country, it being understood that this system of non-interference is binding upon both parties."

Article 2 arranges, in case of misunderstanding, for a subsequent delimitation of boundaries.

Article 3.—"Her Majesty's Assistant-Commissioners hereby disclaim all alliances whatever, and with whomsoever of the coloured nations, to the north of the Vaal River."

Article 4.—"It is agreed that no slavery is or shall be permitted or practised in the country to the north of the Vaal River by the emigrant farmers."

Article 5 provides for mutual facilities and liberty to traders and travellers on both sides of the Vaal River.

Article 6 allows the "emigrant Boers" to obtain ammunition in British colonies and possessions, "it being mutually understood that all trade in ammunition with the native tribes is prohibited both by the British Government and the emigrant farmers on both sides of the Vaal River."

Article 7 stipulates for the mutual extradition, "as far as possible," of criminals, and mutual access to courts of justice.

Article 8 validates, for purposes of inheritance in British possessions, certificates of marriage issued by the proper authorities of the emigrant farmers.

Article 9 allows free movement of all persons, except criminals and absconding debtors, between the British and the Boer territories.

As we see, the Convention had declared that slavery would not be practised in the Transvaal, but though the original declaration may have been made in all good faith, the Boer by degrees, and after the lapse of years, found it expedient to acquire native "apprentices," who could not change master nor task without permission.[Pg 26] They began to fear that these natives could not be dealt with, as they were in the habit of dealing with them, without fear of comment from such British visitors as came across them; and they therefore attempted to block up the path of travellers, refusing them a passage through the Republic, and in some instances ordering the expulsion of visitors across the Vaal. About this time one of the most gruesome of all the many massacres in which the Boers were concerned took place. One Potgieter (not the Potgieter who was the rival of Pretorius), in charge of a small party of thirty men, women, and children, went forth to barter ivory unlawfully with Makapau, a Kaffir chief. The Kaffirs, owing the Boers a grudge for many a day, pounced on the whole party, leaving not one behind to give an account of the awful tragedy. The chief Potgieter was flayed alive, and his skin made into a kaross or cloak. The Boers were swift to revenge. President Pretorius, with an army of some four hundred, set himself to track down the assassins. The Kaffirs fled at the approach of the enemy, enclosing themselves in a huge cave, where they hoped to escape detection. This cave was blockaded by the Boers. Here the unhappy blacks went through all the horrors of famine and thirst, and when their agony became unbearable, and they sallied forth in desperation in search of water, they were remorselessly shot down one by one. Nine hundred in all were killed outside the cave. Within was more than double that number who had perished in the frightful agonies of starvation. President Kruger himself was a witness of the terrible scene, and took an active share in his countrymen's revenge. And this was not the first nor the last time in which he figured conspicuously in the bloody records of his country's history. It was only on the occasion of the Jameson Raid that Oom Paul awakened to sentimental qualms regarding the spilling of blood.



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.


To thoroughly grasp the methods of the New South African Republic, it may be interesting to study some of "the Articles" of a Grondwet or Constitution, which superseded those originally adopted by the Potchefstroom Raad. The Grondwet was started in 1857, and was framed entirely to suit the then condition of the Boer community. The ordinary idea of a written constitution was at that time unknown, and the meaning of such words as "rigid" or "elastic" was, of course, beyond their comprehension. These only developed a significance when the judicial crisis of 1897 put a fresh face on Republican affairs.

Article 4 states that "the people desire no extension of territory,[Pg 27] except only on principles of justice, whenever the interests of the Republic render it advisable."

Article 6.—"Its territory is open to every stranger who submits himself to the laws of the Republic; all persons who happen to be within the territory of this Republic have equal claim to protection of person and property."

Article 8.—"The people claim as much social freedom as possible (de meest mogelyke maatschappelyke vryheid), and expect to attain it by upholding their religion, fulfilling their obligations, submitting to law, order, and justice, and maintaining the same. The people permit the spread of the Gospel among the heathen, subject to prescribed provisions against the practice of fraud and deception."

Article 9.—"The people will not allow of any equality between coloured and white inhabitants, either in Church or in State."

Article 10.—"The people will not brook any dealing in slaves or slavery in this Republic (will geen slavenhandel, noch slaverny in deze Republick dulden)."

Before passing on to other sections, Article 10 calls for attention. In spite of its terms, the Boers of that period had a practice which might be described as sailing very near the wind. The "apprenticeship" of children taken prisoners in the native wars was uncommonly like slave-owning. They were called "orphans"—sometimes they had been made orphans by the conquerors—and they were then "apprenticed" to the Boer farmers till grown up. Though opinions differ on this point, it has been asserted by those who know that there was a curious system of "transfer" connected with these so-called apprentices, and that even when grown they seldom gained their liberty save by escape.

Further articles entrust legislation to a Volksraad chosen by vote of the burghers, providing at the same time that the people shall be allowed three months' grace for intimating to the Raad their views on any prospective law, "those laws, however, which admit of no delay excepted." Others constitute an Executive Council, "which shall also recommend to the Raad all officers for the public service"; others refer to the liberty of the press; restrict membership of the Volksraad to members of the Dutch Reformed Congregations; state that "the people do not desire to allow amongst them any Roman Catholic Churches, nor any other Protestant Churches except those in which such tenets of the Christian belief are taught as are prescribed in the Heidelberg Catechism"; and give the Volksraad the power of making treaties, save in time of war or of imminent danger.

The members of the Raad were to be twelve in number at least, and were to be between the ages of thirty and sixty. They must be burghers of the Dutch Reformed Church, residents, and owners[Pg 28] of landed property in the Republic; no native nor bastard was to be admitted to the Raad. At the age of twenty-one every burgher, provided he belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church, was entitled to the franchise. The election of the President to a five years' term of office was in the hands of the burghers, and in this office he was to be supported by an Executive Council consisting of the Commandant-General, two burghers qualified to vote, and a Secretary. All the able-bodied men of the Republic, and if necessary natives, were liable to military service.

No sooner was the Grondwet arranged than Marthinus Wessels Pretorius, the son of the chief Andries Pretorius,—who died in 1853—was elected President of the South African Republic. The next few years were spent in internal dissension, consequent on the ambition of the President and the jealousy of his political rivals. Finally Lydenburg, which had struggled to proclaim itself an independent Republic, yielded, and affairs relating to the government of the country seemed to be mending. Still there were always Messrs. Kruger and Schoeman, two adventurous politicians, who kept things lively in the councils of the State. On the retirement of Pretorius from the Free State Presidency in 1864, and his re-election to that of the South African Republic, Mr. Kruger was appointed Commandant-General, and for the time being his ambitious longings were appeased.

At that period the white population consisted of merely about thirty thousand all told. The native community almost trebled the Dutch. Mr. Bryce, in his "Impressions on South Africa," describes the then state of the affairs of the Republic as anything but satisfactory: "There were hundreds of thousands of natives, a few of whom were living as servants under a system of enforced labour which was sometimes hardly distinguishable from slavery, while the vast majority were ruled by their own chiefs, some as tributaries of the Republic, some practically independent of it. With the latter wars were frequently raging—wars in which shocking cruelties were perpetrated on both sides, the Kaffirs massacring the white families whom they surprised, the Boer commandos taking a savage vengeance upon the tribes when they captured a kraal or mountain stronghold. It was the sight of these wars which drove Dr. Livingstone to begin his famous explorations to the north. The farmers were too few to reduce the natives to submission, though always able to defeat them in the field, and, while they relished an expedition, they had an invincible dislike to any protracted operations which cost money. Taxes they would not pay. They lived in a sort of rude plenty among their sheep and cattle, but they had hardly any coined money, conducting their transactions by barter, and they were too rude to value the benefits which government secures to a civilised people."[Pg 29]


Among other things an attempt was made on the part of the Boers to annex the Orange Free State. President Pretorius crossed the Vaal in 1857, at the head of a large commando, with the intention of seizing on the neighbouring territory. He was doomed to disappointment, however, for his intended raid was stopped by the timely resistance of the forewarned President of the Orange Free State. An encounter was happily avoided through the intervention of Mr. Kruger, and finally the two Republics decided to mutually recognise each other's independent States.

But the ambitions of Pretorius merely smouldered. He still kept a greedy eye on the Orange Free State, and machinated for the union of the two States into a gigantic whole. He therefore refused the Presidency of the Transvaal for that of the Free State, in the hope of gathering into his own hands the reins of both governments. He was again disappointed, however, and in 1864 he returned and was re-elected President of the Transvaal.

The return of Pretorius was the signal for temporary peace. During his second Presidency, however, the little rift within the lute—the rift of insolvency, which eventually wrecked South African independence—began to be observable.

Mr. Nixon, who took great pains to acquaint himself with the true state of the country, says "that the intestine disturbances and the incessant Kaffir wars had well-nigh exhausted the finances of the Republic. The exchequer was only tardily replenished under a loose system of taxation. The Boers have never been good taxpayers, and no Government has been able to enforce the proper payment of taxes due to the State. A decade after its establishment the Republic was practically insolvent. Even as early as 1857 the Government was compelled to issue mandaten, or bills, wherewith to raise money to buy ammunition, and to pay its servants. In 1866 a regular issue of paper money was sanctioned by the Volksraad. This was followed by further issues, until, in 1867, a Finance Commission found that there were more notes in circulation than had been authorised by the Volksraad. Nevertheless, the financial requirements of the State became so pressing that still more issues had to be made, and in 1870 there were over £73,000 worth of notes in circulation. The notes were declared a legal tender, but the Government were unable to keep up their value by artificial methods. They fell to a low ebb, and passed from hand to hand at a discount of about 75 per cent, from their nominal value."

In 1867 occurred two events which served to change the whole[Pg 30] political and financial outlook of the Transvaal. Diamonds were discovered in the district of Kimberley. Gold was unearthed in Lydenburg. From that hour a procession of European miners began slowly to march north from the Cape. A highway was opened up between the two promising districts, and diggers of every race, pioneers bent on the propagation of modern ideas, teachers, missionaries, and traders of all kinds, attracted by the promise of wealth, flocked to the scene and settled themselves among the trekkers.


After this period, when, as stated before, small but promising quantities of gold had been unearthed, it was no longer possible to prevent parties of miners and speculators from trickling into the Transvaal, to the annoyance of its inhabitants. Outside, too, there were troubles, disputes, and skirmishes with the Zulus, and further north was waged a fierce fight between the Boers and the chief of the Bapedi, one Sekukuni, whose father had signed away his independence to the Boers, and who refused in his turn to abide by the conditions of the compact. In this fight Sekukuni was successful, and the Boers, worsted and discontented, and believing that the Almighty was displeased with them and with their President, Mr. Burgers, retired from the campaign. At the same time, in the south, Cetchwayo was itching to be on the warpath, and the general state of affairs suggested a possible annihilation of the Transvaal by an uncontrollable horde of natives. Things went from bad to worse, and in October 1876 Lord Carnarvon remonstrated with the President of the South African Republic regarding the unprovoked barbarity of the Sekukuni war, which had again been renewed. The reason for the interference of Lord Carnarvon is to be found in the following despatch, forwarded by Sir Henry Barkly, the then Governor of the Cape:—

"As Von Schlickman has since fallen fighting bravely, it is not without reluctance that I join in affixing this dark stain on his memory, but truth compels me to add the following extract from a letter which I have since received from one whose name (which I communicate to your lordship privately) forbids disbelief:—

"'There is no longer the slightest doubt as to the murder of the two women and the child at Steelpoort by the direct order of Schlickman, and in the attack on the kraal near which these women were captured (or some attack about that period) he ordered his men to cut the throats of all the wounded! This is no mere report; it is[Pg 31] positively true." And in a subsequent letter the same writer informs me that the statements are based on the evidence, not alone of Kaffirs, but of whites who were present.

"'As regards the even more serious accusations brought against Abel Erasmus' (the Kruger's Post field-cornet), 'as specially alluded to in my letter to President Burgers, on the 28th ult.' (viz. of treacherously killing forty or fifty friendly natives, men and women, and carrying off the children), I beg to invite your lordship's attention to an account derived, I am assured, from a respectable Boer who accompanied the expedition, and protested against the slaughter and robbery of friendly Kaffirs, committed by order of the above-named field-cornet.

"'Should I not shortly receive such a reply from the President to my letters of last month, as to convince me that his Honour has taken effectual steps to check such outrages and punish the perpetrators, I will enter another protest, if only for form's sake.

"'Seeing, however, that Aylward, who is said to boast, whether truly or not, that he took part with his brother Fenians in the murder of the police constable at Manchester, as well as in the attempt to blow up the Clerkenwell prison, had succeeded Schlickman in the command of the Steelpoort Volunteers, I question whether the Government of the South African Republic has the power, even supposing it to have the will, to put a stop to further atrocities on the part of this band of "Filibusters," as they are commonly styled in the newspapers.

"'In my opinion it will be requisite to call in the aid of British troops before this can be done, and I am not without hope that one of the results of the mission on which Sir T. Shepstone is about to start, will be a petition from persons of education and property throughout the country for such an intervention on the part of her Majesty's Government as will terminate this wanton and useless bloodshed, and prevent the recurrence of the scenes of injustice, cruelty, and rapine, which abundant evidence is every day forthcoming to prove, have rarely ceased to disgrace the Republics beyond the Vaal ever since they first sprang into existence.'"

Von Schlickman was an ex-Russian officer, commanding a force of filibusters which had been engaged by the Transvaal Government, and his men being unpaid, were allowed to reimburse themselves by cattle or land seized from the natives.

As a natural consequence, the war assumed a character of unrestrained ferocity. On receiving this information Lord Carnarvon wrote that his Government "could not view passively, and with indifference, the engagement of the Republic in foreign military[Pg 32] operations the object or the necessity of which had not been made apparent."

The quarrel with the chief had originated, as stated, in a Boer claim to his land, and the Boer President in replying urged the natural right of the Boers to all the land of the Transvaal. The chief magistrate at that time was President Burgers, a man who, if report may be believed, was far superior to those with whom he associated. This man, a Cape Dutchman, and sometime minister of the Reformed Church, had been called to the onerous post of President of the South African Republic in 1872. He was bent on the advancement of his nation, and his intelligence was remarkable. He was a man of sterling character, fanciful, enthusiastic, an idealist even, with a horror of slaveholding, and a hankering for the pure life of the humanist. In a measure he was too much in advance of the people with whom he was connected. To them he was something of a Freethinker, a man too ready to judge for himself while the Gospel was at hand to judge for him. Such liberal views were not in accord with peasant limitations. His desire to raise his country to the level of other nations, to bring commerce and railways within touch of his people, savoured of heresy. The appreciation for civilisation was so strong within him that he is even said to have carried it to extremes, to have favoured the prompt and regular payment of taxes, and to have executed an elaborate design for an international coat-of-arms! Now this reformer, like most reformers, was not appreciated among his own people. He had no police to support him, no means of putting pressure on those who should have served his cause. The Conservative party, with Mr. Kruger at their head, did their best to circumvent every innovation and to save themselves and the country from what they believed to be the dangerous inorthodoxy of their President. Mr. Burgers in his posthumous "Vindication" outlines some strange hints regarding the character of his compatriots, which outlines may now be readily filled in by personal experience. He therein asserts that had he chosen to publish to the world a faithful description of the Transvaal Boers, they would have forfeited the appreciation gained from the Liberal party in Europe. Mr. Burgers' reserve is much to be regretted, as a few sidelights thrown on the Boer character at that period might have helped to educate the Liberal party of whom he spoke, and thereby saved much of the vacillation of policy for which the country now has to suffer.




Photo by Gregory & Co., London.

[Pg 33]


Before going further, we must examine the situation between the Governor of the Cape, the President of the South African Republic, and the Home Government.

When we look back at Boer history, we find the details of annexation and restoration repeating themselves with the consistency of the chorus of a nursery rhyme. What the Government of the Cape accomplished the Government at home proceeded promptly to undo, till the problems connected with Boer liberty and British rights became so tangled and so intricate that they could only be solved by the sword.

It may be remembered that in 1854 Sir George Grey, the then Governor of the Cape, applied himself to the puzzle. He started with the best hopes. He saw before him a vista of labour, of argument, of contradiction, but the tangles, he believed, could eventually be smoothed out. In the anxiety to avoid trouble and responsibility, and possibly in an amiable desire to conciliate the parties at home, the Imperial Government had conceded territories and alienated subjects without having made an effort to discover the wishes of the people, or to try a free form of government suited to South Africa. He was in favour of a Federal Union wherein the separate Colonies and States, each with its local government and legislature, should be combined under one general representative legislature, led by a responsible Ministry, specially charged with the duty of providing for common defence. This plan of Federal Union seemed to appeal to the Burghers of the Orange Free State, for the Volksraad decided that "a union of alliance with the Cape Colony, either on the plan of federation or otherwise, is desirable." Sir George Grey was not permitted to pursue his policy, for the British Government decided against the resumption of British sovereignty over the Orange Free State. The same forward and backward movement, the same sort of political chasé et croisé, was again carried on from 1876 and 1877 to 1881. It was decided that a Federal Union should be created between such African Colonies as were willing to join. To further this scheme Sir Bartle Frere, after a long and arduous career in India, was appointed Governor and High Commissioner by Lord Carnarvon, the then Colonial Secretary. But Sir Bartle was too late. Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who had been sent out to the Transvaal on Special Commission to confer with the President on the question of Confederation, had already annexed the Transvaal. The reasons for the annexation were many and excellent. Firstly, the Trans[Pg 34]vaal Republic, vulgarly speaking, was out at elbows. It was bankrupt, helpless, languishing. The sorry sum of 12s. 6d. represented the entire wealth of the Treasury. The Zulu chief Cetchwayo was waiting to "eat up" the Boers, and the Boers were unceasing in their efforts to encroach on Zulu territory. But the deplorable state of affairs is better described by quoting Sir T. Shepstone's letter on the subject.

"It was patent to every observer," writes Sir T. Shepstone, "that the Government (of the Transvaal) was powerless to control either its white citizens or its native subjects; that it was incapable of enforcing its laws or of collecting its taxes; that the Treasury was empty; that the salaries of officials had been and are months in arrear; that sums payable for the ordinary and necessary expenditure of government cannot be had, and that such services as postal contracts were long and hopelessly overdue; that the white inhabitants had become split into factions; that the large native populations within the boundaries of the State ignore its authority and laws; and that the powerful Zulu king, Cetchwayo, is anxious to seize upon the first opportunity of attacking a country the conduct of whose warriors has convinced him that it can be easily conquered by his clamouring regiments." He again writes: "I think it necessary to explain, more at length than I was able to do in my last despatch, the circumstances which seem to me to forbid all hope that the Transvaal Republic is capable of maintaining the show even of independent existence any longer, which induced me to consider it my duty to assume this position in my communications with the President and Executive Council, and which have convinced me that, if I were to leave the country in its present condition, I should but expose the inhabitants to anarchy among themselves, and to attack from the natives, that would prove not only fatal to the Republic, but in the highest degree dangerous to her Majesty's possessions and subjects in South Africa."

The proclamation of the annexation of the Transvaal was issued on the 12th of April 1876, and on the previous day Sir T. Shepstone wrote: "There will be a protest against my act of annexation issued by the Government, but they will at the same time call upon the people to submit quietly, pending the issue. You need not be disquieted by such action, because it is taken merely to save appearances, and the members of the Government from the violence of a faction that seems for years to have held Pretoria in terror when any act of the Government displeased it. You will better understand this when I tell you privately that the President has from the first fully acquiesced in the necessity for the change, and that most of the members of the Government have expressed themselves[Pg 35] anxious for it—but none of them have had the courage openly to express their opinions, so I have had to act apparently against them, and this I felt bound to do, knowing the state and danger of the country, and that three-fourths of the people will be thankful for the change when once it is made."

As a matter of fact the annexation was received with rejoicing all over the country. "God save the Queen" was sung, and special thanksgiving services were held in many of the churches. The Union Jack was run up, the Republican flag hauled down without a dissentient voice. The arrival of British troops—the first battalion of the 13th Regiment—was hailed with curiosity and pleasure, the Boers with their women and children turning out to meet it and hear the band play. The financial effects of the new departure were magical. Credit and commerce were at once restored. Valueless railway bonds rose to par, and the price of landed property was nearly doubled. On the Queen's birthday, the first after the annexation, the 24th of May 1877, the native chiefs were invited to attend, and the Union Jack was formally hoisted to the strains of the National Anthem. This same flag was within a few years ignobly hauled down during the signing of the Convention at Pretoria, and formally buried by a party of Englishmen and loyal natives. But for the time being all seemed pleased with the new state of affairs. As Mr. Haggard says, it is difficult to reconcile the enthusiasm of a great number of the inhabitants of the Transvaal for English rule and the quiet acquiescence of the remainder at this time, with the decidedly antagonistic attitude subsequently assumed. His description of the situation in "The Last Boer War" seems to be more near the truth than any forthcoming: "The Transvaal, when we annexed it, was in the position of a man with a knife at his throat, who is suddenly rescued by some one stronger than he, on certain conditions which at the time he gladly accepts, but afterwards, when the danger is passed, wishes to repudiate. In the same way the inhabitants of the South African Republic were in the time of need very thankful for our aid, but after a while, when the recollection of their difficulties had grown faint, when their debts had been paid and their enemies had been defeated, they began to think that they would like to get rid of us again, and start fresh on their own account with a clean sheet."

In the management of affairs it appears that Mr. Burgers began to set an example of the policy which Mr. Kruger has since followed: the policy of trying to sit on either side of the fence. Mr. Kruger has struggled more and more violently to accomplish this feat as the years advance and he advances in years. He has tried to grab the advantages attendant upon the possession of gold mines and[Pg 36] schemed to acquire a great financial status, and yet at the same time to keep up his affectation of piety and to maintain his pristine condition of bucolic irresponsibility. Brought face to face with Sir T. Shepstone's scheme for annexation, Mr. Burger privately encouraged the proposed action of the Government—he and his colleagues even stipulating for pension and office—while publicly he lifted up his protest against the innovation.

The Boer, with his usual craft, had decided that the British Government should set him financially on his feet, which feet he meant promptly to use for running away from his responsibilities. Some declare that the policy of Sir T. Shepstone was premature, that he should have waited until the Boer had soaked further in the slough of insolvency into which he was fast sinking. But Sekukuni was threatening, and on the south-eastern frontier Cetchwayo, with a force some thirty thousand strong, was waiting his opportunity. The promise of the future was a general holocaust, in which Boer men, women, and children, farms and flocks would be annihilated. Sir T. Shepstone, had he been other than a Briton, might have stayed his hand and waited till the Boers were effectually swept away, but being a Briton he acted as such, doubtless arguing that,

"As we under Heaven are supreme head,
So, under him, that great supremacy,
Where we do reign, we will alone uphold."


It must be remembered that between the Zulus and the Boers no boundary line had ever been fixed, and that for over a dozen years the Zulu chiefs had repeatedly implored the British Governor in Natal for advice and help in their dealings with these aggressors. It had been part of the Dutch policy—if policy it may be called—to force the Zulu gradually to edge further and further from the rich pasture lands sloping eastward of the Drakensberg Mountains, and spreading to right and left into the north and west of Zululand. Little notice had been taken of their petitions, and the Zulus had determined to take the law into their own hands. Cetchwayo, therefore, when the news of our annexation of the Transvaal reached him, was like a wild beast baulked of its prey. He was anxious for an occasion for his young warriors "to wash their spears" in the gore of his enemies, and was naturally disappointed to find them under the protection of the white man. The Natal Government attempted to soothe him—to promote peace. He remained sullen and simmered. He vented his spleen by putting several young[Pg 37] women to death for having refused to marry his soldiers. On being remonstrated with by the Natal Government, he expressed himself with engaging candour. His own words, without comment, describe the character with which we had to deal.

"Did I ever tell Mr. Shepstone," his Majesty cried, "that I would not kill? Did Mr. Shepstone tell the white people I made such an arrangement? Because if he did he deceived them. I do kill; but I do not consider that I have done anything yet in the way of killing. Why do the white people start at nothing? I have not yet begun. I have yet to kill. It is the custom of our nation, and I will not depart from it. Why does the Governor of Natal speak to me about my laws? I shall not agree to any laws or rules from Natal, and by so doing throw the large kraal which I govern into the water. My people will not listen unless they are killed, and while wishing to be friends with the English I do not agree to give my people over to be governed by laws sent to me by them. Have I not asked the English to allow me to wash my spears since the death of my father, Upandi, and they have kept playing with me all the time, treating me as a child?" ... A good deal more followed in this strain. Since his accession the gallant Cetchwayo had decided to "wash his spears" in the blood of his neighbours, and whatever the British might have to say in the matter, wash them he would. It was obvious, therefore, that a ruffian of this kind, backed by a bloodthirsty following, was a permanent danger to our Colony of Natal and to its white inhabitants. Something must be done to remove the disquiet caused by the utterances of the savage. Sir Henry Bulwer (the Governor of Natal)—to conciliate the king and to allay his fears lest his territory, like that of the Boers, should be annexed—proposed that a commission should investigate the rival claims of Boers and Zulus on border questions, and settle them by arbitration. But what Sir H. Bulwer proposed Sir Bartle Frere, High Commissioner in South Africa, disapproved. He felt that Cetchwayo and his host would be a standing menace to the borders of Natal. Nevertheless he agreed to a discussion of the vexed boundary question between Boer and Zulu, in which the commissioners declared unanimously against the claims of the former. Certain land only to west of the Blood River, held by the Boers and unchallenged by the Zulus, was confirmed to the Dutch settlers in their occupation of the same. But to this decision Sir Bartle Frere considered it expedient to add some saving clauses. These demanded, first, that Cetchwayo should adhere to the guarantees he had given and not permit indiscriminate shedding of blood; second, that he should institute from his existing military system the form of tribal quotas; third, that he should accept the presence of a British[Pg 38] Resident; fourth, that he should protect the missionaries and their converts; and lastly, that he should surrender certain criminals and pay certain fines. His Zulu Majesty was given thirty days to consider the subject. Instead of considering he flouted it. The result was war.


According to the opinion of Sir Bartle Frere there was, and for a long time had been, a growing desire on the part of the great chiefs to make this war into a simultaneous rising of Kaffirdom against white civilisation. A spirit of mutiny had been in the air since the terrible events in India in 1857, and there was a general conviction among the native tribes that the authority of Great Britain would eventually be overthrown. Now the most powerful of all the native tribes in South Africa were the Zulus, whose military organisation had long been celebrated, and who had earned a great reputation since the days of Gaika, and more especially in the time that followed when Chaka, who was a born warrior, brought the gigantic army into a state of marvellous efficiency.

A few words regarding the career of this great chieftain may be found interesting, for to him is accorded the credit of the indubitably warlike and brave disposition of his countrymen. This man, who has been at times called the Attila and the Napoleon of South Africa, was born in 1783. He became chief officer to Dingiswayo, a man of remarkable ability, who studied European military systems and modelled on their principle a highly efficient army. Chaka, heir to a chieftainship of the Amazulu tribe (the Zulus proper), took the fancy of Dingiswayo, who elevated him first to a post of high command, and eventually to the vacant Zulu chieftainship. On the death in battle of Dingiswayo, Chaka assumed the command of both tribes, to which he gave his name. The already excellent army he proceeded to improve till it became one of the most efficient military organisations ever originated in an uncivilised country. The whole kingdom was ordered on a military footing, and expanded so wondrously that the original two tribes at first commanded by Chaka became an hundred, each tribe having been defeated in warfare and incorporated in the Zulu nationality. His policy, unlike that of Cetchwayo later on, was not to destroy but to subdue, and thus he soon ruled with undisputed sway over a complete empire covering the desolated regions of Natal, Zululand, and the modern Boer States. His methods of military training were entirely Spartan; his discipline was a discipline of iron. Disobedience was met with the[Pg 39] penalty of death. To tread out a roaring bush-fire, or capture alive a wild beast, were some of the tasks imposed as daily training for his would-be warriors. An order was an order, and this, however dangerous or seemingly impossible, had to be obeyed by individual or regiment on pain of the most horrible forms of death. It may easily be imagined that this stern regime was calculated to create a military following of the most brave and adventurous order. Naturally enough, all the other Kaffir tribes looked to the Zulus as their leaders and champions in the contest. Captain Hamilton Parr tells a tale of an old Galeka warrior who said to a native magistrate, "Yes, you have beaten us—you have beaten us well; but there," pointing eastward, "there are the Amazulu warriors. Can you beat them? They say not. Go and try. Don't trouble any more about us, but go and beat them and we shall be quiet enough." This anecdote serves to describe the general sentiment of disdain for British authority which Sir Bartle Frere detected almost immediately after his arrival among the natives, and to account in a measure for what has been declared to be his high-handed policy. He was convinced that we could never expect peace among the chiefs until we had satisfied them who was master. A lesson was necessary to show that the British Government could govern and meant to govern, and that lesson he felt must be taught sooner or later. For a long time Cetchwayo had been instigating rebellion and preparing for war. As may be seen from Lord Carnarvon's letter of the 24th of January 1878 to Sir Bartle Frere, the Government was fully conscious of the existing necessity to protect the Transvaal and to maintain British prestige in South Africa. The despatch runs: "It seems certain that the Zulu king has derived from his messengers the unfortunate idea that the Kaffirs are able to cope with the Colony on more than equal terms, and this belief has, as was inevitable, produced a very threatening change in his language and conduct towards the Transvaal Government. It is only too probable that a savage chief such as Cetchwayo, supported by a powerful army already excited by the recent successes of a neighbouring tribe over the late Government of the Transvaal, may now become fired with the idea of victory over her Majesty's forces, and that a deliberate attempt upon her Majesty's territories may ensue. Should this unfortunately happen, you must understand that at whatever sacrifice it is imperatively necessary that her Majesty's forces in Natal and the Transvaal must be reinforced by the immediate despatch of the military and naval contingents now operating in the Cape, or such portion of them as may be required. This is necessary not only for the safety of the Transvaal, for the defence of which her Majesty's Government are immediately concerned,[Pg 40] but also in the interest of the Cape, since a defeat of the Zulu king would act more powerfully than any other means in disheartening the native races of South Africa."

On this subject Sir H. Bulwer wrote: "There has been for the last eight or nine months a danger of collision with the Zulus at any moment." And in November 1878 he said: "The system of government in the Zulu country is so bad that any improvement seems hopeless. We should, if necessary, be justified in deposing Cetchwayo."

Consequently, Sir Bartle Frere was not surprised when all efforts to reduce Cetchwayo to yield to British demand failed. As time went by it became clear that enforcement of these demands must be placed in the hands of Lord Chelmsford and the military authorities, and accordingly, on the 10th of January 1879, the Commander-in-Chief of the forces of South Africa crossed the frontier.

As the frontier extended for some two hundred miles, to assume a purely defensive attitude would have been impossible. Our forces so placed would not have been sufficiently strong to resist an attack made at their own time and place by a horde of some ten to twenty thousand Zulus. Lord Chelmsford had no alternative, therefore, but to invade Zululand.


The force under Lord Chelmsford's command was divided into four columns. These were composed partly of British soldiers, partly of Colonists, and partly of blacks. The first column, under Colonel Pearson, crossed the Lower Tugela; the second, under Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford, R.E., consisting of native troops and Natal Volunteers, was to act in concert with column three; the third, under Colonel Glyn—but directed by the General, who assumed all responsibility—crossed the Buffalo River; and the fourth, under Colonel Evelyn Wood, entered Zululand from near Newcastle on the north-west. The plan was for the four columns to converge upon Ulundi, in the neighbourhood of the king's kraal, where fighting might be expected to begin.

Map of Zululand and adjoining Portions of Natal.

Map of Zululand and adjoining Portions of Natal.

The crossing of the Buffalo River was effected without difficulty or resistance, and ten days after the central column formed a camp at the foot of the hill Isandlwana (the Little Hand). On the morning of the 22nd the Commander-in-Chief advanced at daybreak, for the purpose of attacking a kraal some miles distant. The camp at Isandlwana was left in charge of a force of some eight hundred mixed troops—regulars, volunteers, and natives. Strict orders to[Pg 41] defend and not to leave the camp were given, but in spite of these orders portions of the force became detached. Suddenly, unobserved by them, there appeared a dense impi of some twenty thousand Zulus. The savage horde rushed shouting upon the small British detachments, rushed with the swiftness of cavalry, attacked them before they could unite, and swooping down with tremendous velocity, seized the camp and separated the British troops from their reserves of ammunition. In face of this warrior multitude our troops were defenceless. A few moments of wild despairing energy, a hand-to-hand struggle for life between the white man and the bloodthirsty savage, groans of wounded and yells of victory, and all was over. Of the six companies of the 24th, consisting of more than half the infantry engaged, but six souls escaped. The rest died where they fell, with no kindly hand to give them succour, no British voice to breathe a burial prayer. But some before they dropped managed to cut their way through the ring of Zulu spears. Two gallant fellows, Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill, almost succeeded in saving the colours of the first battalion of the 24th Regiment. They made a bold rush, but merely reached the Natal bank of the Buffalo to be struck down. The colours, wrapped[Pg 42] round Melvill's body, were discovered in the river some days afterwards.

The Zulu plan of fighting, in this case so successful, is curious. The formation of their attacks represents the figure of a beast with horns, chest, and loins. While making a feint with one horn, the other, unperceived in long grass or bush, swoops round and closes in on the enemy. The chest then advances to attack. The loins are kept at a distance, and simply join in pursuit.

The news of the disaster spread fast. Sir Bartle Frere, on the morning of the 24th, was awakened by the arrival of two almost distraught and wholly unintelligible messengers. Their report, when it could be at last comprehended, seemed too horrible for belief. That they had escaped some terrible ordeal was evident; that they were members of the company of naval volunteers that formed part of the General's army, their uniform proclaimed. But of the General they could say nothing—he might be dead, he might be missing—all they knew was of their own miraculous escape from a scene of slaughter. Colonel Pulleine they declared was dead, but further news had to be awaited with anxious hearts.

Meanwhile Lord Chelmsford had heard the horrible news. The camp had been seen in the possession of the Zulus. Worn and weary with heavy marching in a baking sun, he and his troops began to retreat. At nightfall, thoroughly jaded, they returned to a grim scene. All around lay the still silent dead—the corpses of the comrades they had parted with but a few hours before. There, amid the pathetic wreckage, were they forced to lay them down to rest!

Fortunately the Zulus, having plundered the camp, had made off, and the British force was able the next day to proceed to the relief of Rorke's Drift. At Rorke's Drift the now world-celebrated defence of Lieutenant Bromhead, of the 24th, and Lieutenant Chard, R.E., took place. These young officers had been left with one hundred and four soldiers to take charge of a small depôt of provisions and an hospital, and to keep open the communication with Natal. Some hours after the disaster of Isandlwana their post was attacked by Dabulamanzi (brother of Cetchwayo) and over three thousand of his finest warriors. The little garrison had made for themselves a laager of sacks of maize and biscuit-boxes, and behind these they defended themselves so stubbornly and so heroically throughout the night of the 23rd, that the Zulu chieftain, discomfited and harassed, eventually retired. For their magnificent pluck the two young officers received the Victoria Cross. Their action had saved Natal from invasion by the enemy. Of the little garrison seventeen fell and ten were wounded. The loss of the Zulus was about three hundred.



Painted by Alphonse de Neuville, Etched by L. Flameng.

Reproduced by special arrangement with the Fine Art Society, London.

[Pg 43]

Colonel Pearson's column, as we said, crossed the Lower Tugela near the sea, with the intention of joining the other columns at Ulundi. On the way thither he was attacked by a Zulu force at Inyesani. This force, though it more than doubled the strength of his own, he drove back with heavy loss, and marched to the Norwegian Mission station, Eshowe. On his arrival there on the 23rd of January, he learnt the awful news of the disaster, and instantly sent his cavalry back to Natal, fortified his station, and waited there the arrival of reinforcements.

The third column, commanded by Colonel Evelyn Wood (consisting of 1700 British soldiers, 50 farmers under Commandant Pieter Uys, and some 300 blacks), reached Kambula in safety, and fortified a post there. Colonel Wood harassed the enemy by frequent sallies, however, and on one occasion the attack on the Zlobane Mountain lost about ninety-six of his men. Among these were Colonel Weatherley, his young son, and Commandant Uys. The following day the British laager was attacked by a horde of Zulus, who were routed. In this engagement Colonel Wood, Colonel Buller, and Captain Woodgate especially distinguished themselves.

Lord Chelmsford, with a force of soldiers and sailors, marched in April from Natal to the relief of Colonel Pearson at Eshowe. He arrived there in safety, after having encountered and beaten back the Zulus at Ginginlova: yet it was not until the 4th of July that the troops eventually reached Ulundi, where the final battle and victory took place. But of this later.


Two days after the arrival of the news of the disaster at Isandlwana, Parliament met. The reverse in Zululand naturally engrossed all thoughts. Questions innumerable were addressed to Government, as to the strength of reinforcements to be sent out—as to the further necessity for war at all—as to the so-called high-handed action of Sir Bartle Frere, and the so-called blunders of Lord Chelmsford. Scapegoats were wanted, and, as a natural consequence, the two most energetic and hard-worked of the Queen's servants were attacked.

A political pitched battle was imminent. The Ministers declined to withdraw their confidence from the Lord High Commissioner, though they passed on him censure for his hasty and independent proceedings. That the members of Government had a high appreciation of his great experience, ability, and energy was apparent, for they declared they had "no desire to withdraw in the present crisis[Pg 44] of affairs the confidence hitherto reposed in him, the continuance of which was now more than ever needed to conduct our difficulties in South Africa to a successful termination." On the 19th of March 1879 the Secretary of the Colonies wrote to Sir Bartle Frere, to the effect that Ministers were unable to find, on the documents placed before them, "that evidence of urgent necessity for immediate action which alone would justify him in taking, without their full knowledge and sanction, a course almost certain to result in a war."

The day for discussion of South African affairs in the Upper House arrived.

Lord Lansdowne moved, on the 11th of March, "That this House, while willing to support her Majesty's Government in all necessary measures for defending the possessions of her Majesty in South Africa, regrets that the ultimatum, which was calculated to produce immediate war, should have been presented to the Zulu king without authority from the responsible advisers of the Crown, and that an offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity or adequate preparation; and the House regrets that, after the censure passed upon the High Commissioner by her Majesty's Government, in the despatch of March 19, 1879, the conduct of affairs in South Africa should be retained in his hands."

A keen debate ensued. The Opposition clamoured for the recall of Sir Bartle Frere, as the example of independent action set by him might be followed by other and more distant representatives of the Crown. The war was ascribed to Lord Carnarvon's impatience for South African confederation and his "incurable greed" for extending the limits of the Colonies, and the annexation of the Transvaal was declared to be a mistake, unless the Government was prepared to send out a large military force to South Africa.

The Government combated these arguments. They denied they had censured Sir Bartle Frere, and stated that they had passed no opinion on his policy, but merely asserted as a principle that "Her Majesty's advisers, and they only, must decide the grave issues of peace and war."

It was argued that war with Cetchwayo was inevitable sooner or later, and that the Lord High Commissioner had thought it advisable to be prompt in the matter. His conduct, it was true, had not the entire approval of the Ministry, but every one knew it was unwise to change horses in crossing a stream, and his action had not been such as to outweigh the many considerations which required the continuance of his service in South Africa.

Lord Beaconsfield, addressing the House, defended Sir Bartle Frere, and expressed opinions on the policy of confederation as opposed to that of annexation, opinions which afford so much[Pg 45] instruction in regard to our relations with the Transvaal that they are best repeated in their entirety.

"I generally find," he said, "there is one advantage at the end of a debate, besides the relief which is afforded by its termination, and that is that both sides of the House seem pretty well agreed as to the particular point that really is at issue; but the rich humour of the noble duke (Duke of Somerset) has again diverted us from the consideration of the motion really before the House. If the noble duke and his friends were desirous of knowing what was the policy which her Majesty's Government were prepared generally to pursue in South Africa, if they were prepared to challenge the policy of Sir Bartle Frere in all its details, I should have thought they would have produced a very different motion from that which is now lying on your lordships' table; for that is a motion of a most limited character, and, according to the strict rules of parliamentary discussion, precludes you from most of the subjects which have lately been introduced to our consideration, and which principally have emanated from noble lords opposite. We have not been summoned here to-day to consider the policy of the acquisition of the Transvaal. These are subjects on which I am sure the Government would be prepared to address your lordships, if their conduct were clearly and fairly impugned. And with regard to the annexation of the province, which has certainly very much filled the mouths of men of late, I can easily conceive that that would have been a subject for fair discussion in this House, and we should have heard, as we have heard to-night, though in a manner somewhat unexpected, from the nature of the resolution before us, from the noble lord who was recently the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the principal reasons which induced the Government to sanction that policy—a policy which I believe can be defended, but which has not been impugned to-night in any formal manner.

"What has been impugned to-night is the conduct of the Government in sanctioning, not the policy of Sir Bartle Frere, but his taking a most important step without consulting them, which on such subjects is the usual practice with all Governments. But the noble lord opposite who introduced the subject does not even impugn the policy of the Lord High Commissioner; and it was left to the noble duke who has just addressed us, and who ought to have brought forward this question if his views are so strongly entertained by him on the matter, not in supporting a resolution such as now lies on your lordships' table, but one which would have involved a discussion of the policy of the Government and that of the high officer who is particularly interested in it.

"My noble friend, the noble marquis (Lord Salisbury), who[Pg 46] very recently addressed the House, touched the real question which is before us, and it is a very important question, although it is not of the expansive character of the one which would have been justified by the comments of the noble lords opposite. What we have to decide to-night is this—whether her Majesty's Government shall have the power of recommending to the sovereign the employment of a high officer to fulfil duties of the utmost importance, or whether that exercise of the prerogative, on their advice, shall be successfully impugned, and that appointment superseded by noble lords opposite. That course is perfectly constitutional, if they are prepared to take the consequences. But let it be understood what the issue is. It is this—that a censure upon the Government is called for, because they have selected the individual who, on the whole, they think is the best qualified successfully to fulfil the duties of High Commissioner. The noble lords opposite made that proposition, and if they succeed they will succeed in that which has hitherto been considered one of the most difficult tasks of the executive Government; that is to say, they will supersede the individual whom the sovereign, in the exercise of her prerogative, under the advice of her Ministers, has selected for an important post. I cannot agree in the general remark made by the noble duke, that because an individual has committed an error, and even a considerable error, for that reason, without any reference either to his past services or his present qualifications, immediately a change should be recommended, and he should be recalled from the scene of his duties.

"I remember myself a case not altogether different from the present one," continued Lord Beaconsfield, alluding to Sir James Hudson, who, when Minister at Turin, had been charged with having expressed himself unguardedly upon the subject of Italian nationality. "It happened some years ago, when I was in the other House. Then a very high official—a diplomatist of great eminence, a member of the Liberal party—had committed what was deemed a great indiscretion by several members of his own party; and the Government were asked in a formal manner, by a Liberal member, whether that distinguished diplomatist had been in consequence recalled. But the person who was then responsible for the conduct of public affairs in that House—the humble individual who is now addressing your lordships, made this answer, with the full concurrence of his colleagues—denied that that distinguished diplomatist was recalled, and said that great services are not cancelled by one act or one single error however it may be regretted at the moment. That is what I said then, with regard to Sir James Hudson, and what I say now with regard to Sir Bartle[Pg 47] Frere. But I do not wish to rest on that. I confess that, so keen is my sense of responsibility, and that of my colleagues, and I am sure also that of noble lords opposite, that we would not allow our decisions in such matters to be unduly influenced by personal considerations of any kind. What we had to determine is this, Was it wise that such an act on the part of Sir Bartle Frere as, in fact, commencing war without consulting the Government at home, and without their sanction, should be passed unnoticed? Ought it not to be noticed in a manner which should convey to that eminent person a clear conviction of the feelings of her Majesty's Government; and at the same time was it not their duty to consider, were he superseded, whether they could place in his position an individual equally qualified to fulfil the great duties and responsibilities resting on him? That is what we had to consider. We considered it entirely with reference to the public interest, and the public interest alone; and we arrived at the conviction that on the whole the retention of Sir Bartle Frere in that position was our duty, notwithstanding the inconvenient observations and criticisms to which we were, of course, conscious it might subject us. And, that being our conviction, we have acted upon it. It is a very easy thing for a Government to make a scapegoat; but that is conduct which I hope no gentleman on this side, and I believe no gentleman sitting opposite, would easily adopt. If Sir Bartle Frere had been recalled—if he had been recalled in deference to the panic, the thoughtless panic of the hour, in deference to those who have no responsibility in the matter, and who have not weighed well and deeply investigated all the circumstances and all the arguments which can be brought forward, and which must be appealed to to influence our opinions on such questions—no doubt a certain degree of odium might have been diverted from the heads of her Majesty's Ministers, and the world would have been delighted, as it always is, to find a victim. That was not the course which we pursued, and it is one which I trust no British Government ever will pursue. We had but one object in view, and that was to take care that at this most critical period the affairs of her Majesty in South Africa should be directed by one not only qualified to direct them, but who was superior to any other individual whom we could have selected for that purpose. The sole question that we really have to decide to-night is, Was it the duty of her Majesty's Government to recall Sir Bartle Frere in consequence of his having declared war without our consent? We did not think it our duty to take that course, and we do not think it our duty to take that course now. Whether we are right in the determination at which we have arrived is the sole question which the House has to determine upon the motion before it.[Pg 48]

"The noble duke opposite (the Duke of Somerset) has told us that he should not be contented without being made acquainted with the whole policy which her Majesty's Government are prepared to pursue in South Africa. If the noble duke will introduce that subject we shall be happy to discuss it with him. No one could introduce it in a more interesting, and, indeed, in a more entertaining manner than the noble duke, who possesses that sarcastic faculty that so well qualifies him to express his opinion on such a matter. I think, however, that we ought to have had rather longer notice before we were called upon to discuss so large a theme, which has now been brought suddenly before us. If the noble marquis who introduced this subject had given us notice of a motion of this character, we should not have hesitated for a moment to meet it. I have, however, no desire to avoid discussing the subject of our future policy in South Africa, even on so general a notice as we have in reference to it from the noble duke. Sir Bartle Frere was selected by the noble lord (Lord Carnarvon), who formerly occupied the position of Secretary to the Colonies, chiefly to secure one great end—namely, to carry out that policy of confederation in South Africa which the noble lord had successfully carried out on a previous occasion with regard to the North American Colonies.

"If there is any policy which, in my mind, is opposed to the policy of annexation, it is that of confederation. By pursuing the policy of confederation we bind States together, we consolidate their resources, and we enable them to establish a strong frontier; and where we have a strong frontier, that is the best security against annexation. I myself regard a policy of annexation with great distrust. I believe that the reasons of State which induced us to annex the Transvaal were not, on the whole, perfectly sound. But what were the circumstances under which that annexation was effected? The Transvaal was a territory which was no longer defended by its occupiers. The noble lord opposite (Lord Kimberley), who formerly had the Colonies under his management, spoke of the conduct of Sir Theophilus Shepstone as though he had not taken due precautions to effect the annexation of that province, and said that he was not justified in concealing that he had not successfully consummated his object. The noble lord said he had not assembled troops enough in the province to carry out properly the policy of annexation. But Sir Theophilus Shepstone particularly refers to the very fact to show, that so unanimous and so united was the sentiment in the province in favour of annexation, that it was unnecessary to send any large force there to bring it about. The annexation of that province was a necessity—a geographical necessity."



Photo by Maull & Fox. London.

[Pg 49]


It may be remembered that Lord Chelmsford's original idea had been for Colonel Pearson's column to march from Eshowe to the chief's kraal at Ulundi. In consequence of the disaster, however, Colonel Pearson decided to remain where he was. He constructed a fort for the protection of the garrison against an army of some 20,000 Zulus lying in wait between Eshowe and Tugela. On the 30th of January all the troops came within this embryo fort, and as tents were forbidden, officers and men had to make the best of what shelter the waggons afforded. The troops spent the time in completing the fort and cutting roads, and early in February excellent defences were completed. Though in hourly expectation of attack they seem to have kept up their spirits, for an officer in Eshowe wrote:—

"The troops inside consisted of three companies of the 99th Regiment, five companies of the second battalion of the 3rd Buffs, one company of Royal Engineers, one company of the Pioneers, the Naval Brigade, a body of Artillery, and nineteen of the Native Contingent, amongst them being several non-commissioned officers, whom we found exceedingly useful, two of them being at once selected as butchers, whilst two were 'promoted' to the rank of 'bakers to the troops.' Others attended to the sanitary arrangements of the garrison, and altogether they were found to be also exceedingly useful. As a portion of the column, the company of Pioneers under the command of Captain Beddoes did a great deal of very important work. This company was composed of ninety-eight natives, one captain, and three lieutenants, and their proceedings in connection with the making of the new road were watched with much interest. They worked with the Naval Brigade, about three companies of soldiers, and several men of the Royal Artillery. This road was found useless, in consequence of the numerous swampy places at the foot of each of the numerous hills which occurred along the route. Very thick bush had to be cut through, and at first but slow progress was made. The road, as is generally known, took a direction towards the Inyezane. Whilst out on one occasion, the road party saw a torpedo explosion which took place about three miles from where the party was working. It had been accidentally fired by Kaffirs, who were unaware of the clangers connected with the implement, and it is believed that several of them were killed. The road was altogether a bad one. The relief column used it on their way up, but only the Pioneers and the mounted men went by that route on[Pg 50] the way back. In fact, it would have been useless to have attempted to use it for the passage of waggons. Whenever the road party went out they were fired on by Kaffirs, but of course shots were returned, and many a Zulu warrior was knocked over whilst the work was being proceeded with. Everything in camp was conducted in a most orderly manner. We were roused at half-past five sharp, and at eight o'clock, sharp, lights were out. For one month we existed very comfortably on full rations, but at the end of that time we were put on short rations, made up as follows:—One pound and a quarter of trek-oxen beef, six ounces of meal, one ounce and a quarter of sugar, third of an ounce of coffee, one sixth of an ounce of tea, one ninth of an ounce of pepper, and a quarter of an ounce of salt.

"Life of course was very monotonous. The bands of the two regiments played on alternate afternoons, and every morning they were to be heard practising outside the entrenchment. The most pleasant part of the day was just after six o'clock, when we used to be enlivened in the cool of the evening by the fife and drum band playing the 'Retreat.' The water with which we were supplied was indeed excellent, and the bathing places, I need not say, were very extensively patronised. The grazing was not nearly sufficient for the cattle, and from the first they must have suffered very much from want of nourishment. You will have heard of the fate of the eleven hundred head of oxen and the span of donkeys which we sent away from the camp in expectation of their reaching the Lower Tugela. They left us in charge of nineteen Kaffirs, but at the Inyezane they were attacked by a large body of Kaffirs. The natives in charge of the cattle decamped and reached the fort in safety, and the enemy got possession of the whole of the cattle, which they drove off. The donkeys were all killed with the exception of one, and this sagacious animal surprised everybody in camp by returning soon after the Kaffirs had come back."

The prices of food at this time were scarcely in keeping with those of the London market. A bottle of pickles fetched 25s., and a ham £7, 10s.! Milk was purchasable for 23s. a tin, and sardines for 12s.

As may be imagined, the arrival of Lord Chelmsford at Eshowe was a matter for general thanksgiving. One who was present records in Blackwood's Magazine the joy on the arrival of the first outsiders: "On the afternoon of the 3rd of April, the column detailed on the 31st of March (about 500 whites and 50 blacks, and the mounted infantry, with one gun) left the fort under General Pearson, to meet the relief column.... A solitary horseman was seen towards 5 p.m. galloping up the new road to the fort. He[Pg 51] had an officer's coat on, and we could see a sword dangling from his side. Who is he?... He proved to be the correspondent of the Standard. 'First in Eshowe,' he said, 'proud to shake hands with an Eshowian.' A second horseman appeared approaching the fort, his horse apparently much blown, Who is he?... The correspondent of the Argus (Cape Town). They had a race who would be first at Eshowe, the Standard winning by five minutes!" Thus ended happily the crushing anxiety under which Colonel Pearson and his party had lived, and the foretaste of the future triumph seemed already to remove the memory of many weeks of bitterness.

Serious differences of opinion soon arose between Lord Chelmsford and Sir Henry Bulwer, the Governor of Natal, but on the intricacies of these it is unnecessary to dwell; suffice it to say, that they were in a measure the cause of Sir Garnet Wolseley's arrival on the scene somewhat later, as Sir Garnet united in his own person both supreme civil and supreme military power.

A complete account of the movements of the various columns during the dreary months that elapsed before the final victory at Ulundi on the 4th of July cannot be attempted here. The history of skirmishes and raids, of daring sorties, of captures of cattle, and gallantry of troops, of hopes and disappointments, of successes and scares, of hardships and horrors, would fill many pages that must be otherwise occupied.

Yet one tragic and memorable event of the war cannot be passed over, for we lost a gallant volunteer whose young life was full of promise and distinction. At the beginning of June the Prince Imperial of France, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, having studied at the Military College at Woolwich, and desiring to see war in all its reality, was attached to the Quartermaster-General's department at General Newdigate's camp. He set out with a reconnoitring party consisting of Lieutenant Carey of the 98th Regiment, six men of Bellington's Horse, and a Kaffir. The place they intended to reach was situated between the camps of Lord Chelmsford and General Wood. Having gained a picturesque spot near a brook which forms a tributary to the Tlyotyozi River, the Prince decided to sketch. He was a clever draughtsman, and had some ability in recognising the capabilities of positions. The party afterwards moved on, examining various empty kraals by the way. At one of these they halted, and the Prince gave orders to "off-saddle" for an hour. The place seemed deserted; there were remains of a recent cooking fire, and a stray dog or two sniffed suspiciously at the strangers. Round this spot near the river tambookie grass about six feet in height formed a screen. The officers made coffee, turned out their[Pg 52] horses to graze, and lay for a short rest in the peaceful security of a complete, or seemingly complete, desolation.

But unknown to them, fifty Zulus, tiger-like, had crawled from ambush and were preparing to spring. It was from the cover of the river vegetation that they eventually burst forth. A hurried order to remount, and the crash of rifles at a distance of twenty yards followed. The tragic scene is well described by Mr. A. Wilmot in his "History of the Zulu War":—

"At this time the party were standing in a line close to their horses, with their backs to the kraal and their faces turned eastward, the Prince being in front and nearest to the Zulus. Then with a tremendous cry, 'Usutu!' and 'Lo, the English cowards!' the savages rushed on. The horses immediately swerved, and some broke away. An undoubted panic seized the party; every one who could spring on his horse mounted and galloped for his life. There was no thought, no idea of standing fast and resisting this sudden attack. The Prince was unwounded, but unable to mount his charger, which was sixteen hands high and always difficult to mount. On this occasion the horse became so frightened by the firing and sudden stampeding as to rear and prance in such a manner as to make it impossible for the Prince to gain the saddle. Many of the others saw the difficulty, but none waited or tried to give the least assistance. One by one they rushed their horses past, Private le Tocq exclaiming as he went by, lying across his saddle, 'Dépêchez-vous, s'il vous plaît, monsieur!' The Prince, making no reply, strained every nerve, but, alas! in vain, to gain the back of his horse, holding his stirrup-leather with his left hand and the saddle with his right. With the help of the holster he made one desperate effort, but the holster partially gave way, and it must have been then that the horse trod upon him and galloped off, leaving his master prostrate on the ground. The Prince then regained his feet and ran after his friends, who were far in advance. Twelve or thirteen Zulus were at this time only a few feet behind him. The Prince then turned round, and, sword in hand, faced his pursuers. From the first he had never called for help, and now died bravely with his face to the foes, fighting courageously to the last.

"It is thought that the Zulus hurled their assegais at him, and that he quickly fell dead, pierced through the eye by a mortal wound."

There is a certain sad satisfaction in remembering that this noble youth, the hope of France, the worthy descendant of a great name, should have died as a soldier and without more than a moment's suffering.

The rest of the party had galloped off at full speed, thinking[Pg 53] each was engaged in the business of getting away. Lieutenant Carey, who has been blamed for not having stood by the Prince in his perilous position, shouted orders and imagined they were followed, and in his hasty retreat had not time to do more than believe the whole party thus surprised were galloping away together.

Arguments regarding this deplorable affair have been so many that it is best to quote the evidence taken at the court-martial and the statement of Lieutenant Carey:—

"The Court is of opinion that Lieutenant Carey did not understand the position in which he stood towards the Prince, and, as a consequence, failed to estimate aright the responsibility which fell to his lot. Colonel Harrison states that the senior combatant officer, Lieutenant Carey, D.A.Q.M.G., was, as a matter of course, in charge of the party, whilst, on the other hand, Carey says, when alluding to the escort, 'I did not consider I had any authority over it after the precise and careful instructions of Lord Chelmsford as to the position the Prince held.' As to his being invariably accompanied by an escort in charge of an officer, the Court considers that the possibility of such a difference of opinion should not have existed between two officers of the same department. The Court is of opinion that Carey is much to blame for having proceeded on the duty in question with a portion only of the escort detailed by Colonel Harrison. The Court cannot admit the irresponsibility for this on the part of Carey, inasmuch as he took steps to obtain the escort and failed in so doing. Moreover, the fact that Harrison was present upon the Itelezi range gave him the opportunity of consulting him on the matter, of which he failed to avail himself. The Court, having examined the ground, is of opinion that the selection of the kraal, where a halt was made and the horses off-saddled, surrounded as it was by cover for the enemy, and adjacent to difficult ground, showed a lamentable want of military prudence. The Court deeply regrets that no effort was made after the attack to rally the escort, and to show a front to the enemy, whereby the possibility of aiding those who had failed to make good their retreat might have been ascertained.—Signed by General Marshall; Colonel Malthus, 94th Regiment; Major Le Grice, R.A."

On this report a court-martial was summoned by Lord Chelmsford for the trial of Lieutenant Carey for having misbehaved before the enemy on the 1st June 1879, when in command of an escort in attendance on the Prince, who was making reconnaissances in Zululand; in having, when the Prince and escort were attacked by the enemy, galloped away, and in not having attempted to rally them or otherwise defend the Prince. The Court, under the presidency of[Pg 54] Colonel Glyn, consisted of Colonels Whitehead, Courtney, Harness, Major Bouverie, and Major Anstruther.

Judge-Advocate Brander prosecuted, and Captain Crookenden, R.A., was for the defence.

When the Court opened the plan of the ground was proved.

Corporal Grubb said the Prince gave the order "Off saddle" at the kraal, and "Prepare to mount." The Prince mounted. After the volley he saw Carey putting spurs to his horse, and he did the same. He saw Abel fall, and Rogers trying to get a shot at the Zulus. Le Tocq passed him and said, "Put spurs to your horse, boy; the Prince is down!" He looked round and saw the Prince under his horse. A short time after the Prince's horse came up, and he (Grubb) caught it. No orders were given to rally.

Le Tocq was called and said: The Prince told the natives to search the kraals, and finding no one there they off saddled. At the volley he mounted, but, dropping his carbine, stopped to pick it up. In remounting he could not get his leg over the saddle. He passed the Prince, and said in French, "Hasten to mount your horse." The Prince did not answer. He saw the Prince's horse treading on his leg. The Prince was in command of the party. He believed Carey and the Prince would have passed on different sides of a hut in fast flight, and it was possible that Carey might have failed to see that the Prince was in difficulties. It was 250 yards from where he saw the Prince down to the spot where he died.

Trooper Cochrane was called and said: The Prince was not in the saddle at the time of mounting. He saw about fifty yards off the Prince running down the donga with fourteen Zulus in close pursuit. Nothing was done to help him. He heard no orders given, and did not tell Carey what he had seen until some time after. He was an old soldier. He did not think any rally could have been made.

The Court then adjourned to the next day. On reassembling, the first witness called was

Sergeant Willis, who stated that he had seen Trooper Rogers lying on the ground by the side of his horse, close to the kraal, as he left the spot. He thought he saw the Prince wounded at the same time that Trooper Abel threw up his arms. He thought the Prince might have been dragged to the place where he was found after death, and that a rally might have been made twenty yards beyond the donga.

Colonel Harrison being called, stated that Carey was senior combatant officer, and must therefore have been in command of the party. Carey volunteered to go on the reconnaissance to verify certain points of his sketch. The Prince was ordered to go to[Pg 55] report more fully on the ground. He had given the Prince into Carey's charge.

Examined by the Court, Colonel Harrison stated that when the Prince was attached to his department he was not told to treat him as a royal personage in the matter of escort, but as any other officer, taking due precaution against any possible danger.

Dr. Scott (the Prince's medical attendant) was then called, and stated that the Prince was killed by eighteen assegai wounds, any five of which would have been fatal. There were no bullet wounds. The Prince died where the body was found.

This closed the case for the prosecution.

The defence called again Colonel Harrison, who testified to Carey's abilities as a staff officer, and said he had every confidence in him.

Colonel Bellairs was also called, and stated that it was in consequence of the occurrence of the 1st June that Carey had been deposed from his staff appointment the day previous to his trial.

Lieutenant Carey here submitted that his case had been pre-judged, and that he had been punished before his trial.

The following is Lieutenant Carey's statement:—

"On the 31st May I was informed by Colonel Harrison, A.Q.M.G., that the Prince Imperial was to start on the 1st June to ride over the road selected by me for the advance of the column, for the purpose of selecting a camping-ground for the 2nd June. I suggested at once that I should be allowed to go with him, as I knew the road and wanted to go over it again for the purpose of verifying certain points. To this Colonel Harrison consented, reminding me that the Prince was going at his own request to do this work, and that I was not to interfere with him in any way. For our escort, six Europeans of Bettington's Horse and six Basutos were ordered. Bettington's men were paraded at 9 a.m., but owing to some misunderstanding the Basutos did not turn up, and, the Prince being desirous of proceeding at once, we went without them. On arriving at the ridge between Itelezi and Incenci, I suggested waiting for them, but the Prince replied, 'Oh no; we are quite strong enough,' or words to that effect. We proceeded on our reconnaissance from there, halting about half-an-hour on a high hill overlooking the Ityotyozi for the Prince to sketch. From here the country was visible for miles, and no sign of the enemy could be discovered. We then descended into the valley, and, entering a kraal, off saddled, knee-haltering our horses. We had seen the deserted appearance of the country, and, though the kraal was to the right, surrounded by mealies, we thought there was no danger in encamping. If any blame is attributable to any[Pg 56] one for this, it is to me, as I agreed with the Prince that we were perfectly safe. I had been over this ground twice before and seen no one, and the brigade-major of the cavalry brigade had ridden over it with only two or three men, and laughed at me for taking so large an escort. We had with us a friendly Zulu, who, in answer to my inquiries, said no Zulus were about. I trusted him, but still kept a sharp look-out, telescope in hand. In about an hour—that is, 3.40 p.m.—the Prince ordered us to saddle up. We went into the mealies to catch our horses, but took at least ten minutes saddling. While doing so, the Zulu guide informed us he had seen a Zulu in the distance, but as he did not appear concerned, I saw no danger. The Prince was saddled up first, and, seeing him ready, I mounted, the men not being quite ready. The Prince then asked if they were all ready; they answered in the affirmative, and he gave the word, 'Prepare to mount.' At this moment I turned round, and saw the Prince with his foot in the stirrup, looking at the men. Presently I heard him say, 'Mount,' and turning to the men saw them vault into their saddles. At this moment my eyes fell on about twenty black faces in the mealies, twenty to thirty yards off, and I saw puffs of smoke and heard a rattling volley, followed by a rush, with shouts of 'Usutu!' There was at once a stampede. Two men rushed past me, and as every one appeared to be mounted, I dug the spurs into my horse, which had already started of his own accord. I felt sure no one was wounded by the volley, as I heard no cry, and I shouted out, 'Keep to the left, and cross the donga, and rally behind it!' At the same time I saw more Zulus in the mealies on our left flank, cutting off our retreat. I crossed the donga behind two or three men, but could only get beyond one man, the others having ridden off. Riding a few hundred yards on to the rise, I stopped and looked round. I could see the Zulus after us, and saw that the men were escaping to the right, and that no one appeared on the other side of the donga. The man beside me then drew my attention to the Prince's horse, which was galloping away on the other side of the donga, saying, 'I fear the Prince is killed, sir!' I immediately said, 'Do you think it is any use going back?' The trooper pointed to the mealies on our left, which appeared full of Kaffirs, and said, 'He is dead long ago, sir; they assegai wounded men at once.' I considered he had fallen near the kraal, as his horse was going from that direction, and it was useless to sacrifice more lives. I had but one man near me, the others being some 200 yards down the valley. I accordingly shouted to them to close to the left, and rode on to gain a drift over the Tombokala River, saying to the man at my side, 'We will keep back towards General[Pg 57] Wood's camp, not returning the same way we came, and then come back with some dragoons to get the bodies.' We reached camp about 6.30 p.m. When we were attacked our carbines were unloaded, and, to the best of my belief, no shots were fired. I did not see the Prince after I saw him mounting, but he was mounted on a swift horse, and I thought he was close to me. Besides the Prince, we lost two troopers, as well as the friendly Zulu. Two troopers have been found between the donga and the kraal, covered with assegai wounds. They must have fallen in the retreat and been assegaied at once, as I saw no fighting when I looked round."

The court-martial condemned Lieutenant Carey, and he was sent home under arrest. But eventually, owing to the intervention of the bereaved Empress, and many sympathetic friends, the unfortunate officer was released. The news of the calamity was received with profound grief throughout the country. Some mourned the death of a Prince, some sighed over the extinction of Napoleonic hopes, officers regretted the loss of a promising comrade, and mothers spent tears of sympathy for the great lady, Empress and mother, who had thus been bereft of her only child.


To return to the progress of the war. On the 26th of June the long-expected junction of the columns was on the eve of being effected. Cetchwayo was pretending to make overtures for peace, though at the same time his people were endeavouring to enter into alliance with rebellious Boers. He even sent the sword of the Prince Imperial as a peace-offering. On the envelope, however, his amanuensis, one Cornelius Vjin (a Dutchman), pencilled the fact that the king had 20,000 men with him. The reply of Lord Chelmsford was as follows:——

"If the Induna, Mundula, brings with him the 1000 rifles taken at Isandlwana, I will not insist on 1000 men coming in to lay down their arms, if the Zulus are afraid to come. He must bring the two guns and the remainder of the cattle. I will then be willing to negotiate. As he has caused me to advance by the great delay he has made, I must now go to the Umvolosi to enable my men to drink. I will consent, pending negotiations, to halt on the further bank of the river, and will not burn any kraals until the 3rd of July, provided no opposition is made to my advance to the position on the Umvolosi, by which day, the 3rd of July, at noon, the conditions must be complied with. If my force is fired on, I shall consider negotiations are at an end, and to avoid any chance of this, it is best[Pg 58] that Mundula come to my camp at daybreak or to-night, and that the Zulus should withdraw from the neighbourhood of the river to Ulundi. I cannot stop the general in command of the coast army until these conditions are complied with."

Of course nothing was seen of Mundula, and preparations were made for the reception of the enemy. Newdigate and Wood laagered their waggons and prepared for the arrival of an impi of some 20,000 Zulus advancing from Ulundi. On the following day a large force under Colonel Buller advanced to Nodwengu kraal, and some stragglers were killed. One of these was struck by Lord William Beresford, who, in the sporting manner characteristic of him, cried, "First spear, by Jove!"

On the morning of the memorable 4th of July the army, crossing Umvolosi River, marched to a higher plateau—where once the Zulus had vanquished the Boers—there to prepare for battle. The Zulus, some 20,000 strong, after many war dances and cries, were marshalled forth by their king to an open plain between the Nodwengu and Ulundi kraals. Our troops were formed up in a hollow parallelogram, in the centre being the native contingent with ammunition waggons. The four sides of this parallelogram were formed of eight companies of the 13th Regiment, five of the 80th Regiment, the 90th, 58th, and 34th Regiments, together with the 17th Lancers and the mounted irregulars. At the corners and centre artillery was placed.

The Zulus advanced steadily, in horn fashion, with their characteristic coolness and courage. The deadly fusillade from our guns had no perceptible effect. On and on they came, surging in a dense brown crescent, till within twenty yards of the British lines, when, with the hail and storm of bullets crashing and blinding them, they hesitated! That moment's hesitation was fatal—their one chance slipped! A few warriors rushed onwards, many wavered, and gradually the powerful horns were broken and disorganised. Then our Lancers with a gallant charge dashed into the fray, plunging into the black swarm that still met fury with fury. Captain Edgell was killed, and many other officers had miraculous escapes. Once the enemy strove to rally, but the effort was hopeless, and the magnificent Zulu warriors were forced at last to turn and flee. Their defeat was signal. Though the enemy numbered 20,000 to 5000 of our troops, the Lancers with the Irregular Horse did splendid work, and ere all was over 1000 Zulus bit the dust.

Then came the final march to Ulundi. This place, wholly deserted, was fired, and while the sky glowed with red and gold reflections of the conflagration, the victorious forces, worn out yet triumphant, returned to the laagered camp they had left at daybreak.



Drawing by R. Caton Woodville.

[Pg 59]

The first news of the victory was carried to the Colony by Mr. Archibald Forbes, the war correspondent of the Daily News, who was himself wounded in the struggle. Starting instantly after the decisive battle, in fourteen hours he rode a distance of 110 miles to the nearest telegraph station at Landman's Drift, on the Buffalo River. In thus exposing his life in the interests not only of his journal but his country, he for ever associated himself with one of the most interesting and thrilling campaigns of the century.

Lord Chelmsford's despatch gives a concise description of the day's work:—

"Cetchwayo, not having complied with my demands by noon yesterday, July 3, and having fired heavily on the troops at the water, I returned the 114 cattle he had sent in and ordered a reconnaissance to be made by the mounted force under Colonel Buller. This was effectually made, and caused the Zulu army to advance and show fight.

"This morning a force under my command, consisting of the second division, under Major-General Newdigate, numbering 1870 Europeans, 530 natives, and eight guns, and the flying columns under Brigadier-General Wood, numbering 2192 Europeans, 573 natives, four guns, and two Gatlings, crossed the Umvolosi River at 6.15, and marching in a hollow square, with the ammunition and entrenching tool carts and bearer company in its centre, reached an excellent position between Nodwengu and Ulundi, about half-past 8 a.m. This had been observed by Colonel Buller the day before.

"Our fortified camp on the right bank of the Umvolosi River was left with a garrison of about 900 Europeans, 250 natives, and one Gatling gun, under Colonel Bellairs. Soon after half-past seven the Zulu army was seen leaving its bivouacs and advancing on every side."

"The engagement was shortly afterwards commenced by the mounted men. By nine o'clock the attack was fully developed. At half-past nine the enemy wavered; the 17th Lancers, followed by the remainder of the mounted men, attacked them, and a general rout ensued.

"The prisoners state that Cetchwayo was personally commanding and had made all the arrangements himself, and that he witnessed the fight from Gikarzi kraal, and that twelve regiments took part in it. If so, 20,000 men attacked us.

"It is impossible to estimate with any correctness the loss of the enemy, owing to the extent of country over which they attacked and retreated, but it could not have been less, I consider, than 1000 killed. By noon Ulundi was in flames, and during the day all military kraals of the Zulu army and in the valley of the Umvolosi were[Pg 60] destroyed. At 2 p.m. the return march to the camp of the column commenced. The behaviour of the troops under my command was extremely satisfactory; their steadiness under a complete belt of fire was remarkable. The dash and enterprise of the mounted branches was all that could be wished, and the fire of the artillery very good. A portion of the Zulu force approached our fortified camp, and at one time threatened to attack it. The native contingent, forming a part of the garrison, were sent out after the action, and assisted in the pursuit.

"As I have fully accomplished the object for which I advanced, I consider I shall now be best carrying out Sir Garnet Wolseley's instructions by moving at once to Entonganini, and thence to Kmamagaza. I shall send back a portion of this force with empty waggons for supplies, which are now ready at Fort Marshall."

All were rejoiced that Lord Chelmsford should have been able to gain this victory before the arrival on the scene of Sir Garnet Wolseley, and there were many among his friends who regretted when he resigned.

The following quotation from the London Gazette explains the most conspicuous of the brave deeds that were done during this campaign, though there were many more which came near to rivalling them, so many, indeed, that it would have been impossible to have given honours to all who deserved them:—

"War Office, June 17.

"The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned officers and soldier of her Majesty's army, whose claims have been submitted for her Majesty's approval for their gallant conduct during the recent operations in South Africa, as recorded against their names, viz.:—

"Captain and Brevet-Lieutenant-Colonel Redvers H. Buller, C.B., 60th Rifles, for his gallant conduct at the retreat at Zlobane on the 28th of March 1879, in having assisted, while hotly pursued, by Zulus, in rescuing Captain C. D'Arcy, of the Frontier Light Horse, who was retiring on foot, and carrying him on his horse until he overtook the rear-guard; also for having on the same date and under the same circumstances conveyed Lieutenant C. Everitt of the Frontier Light Horse, whose horse had been killed under him, to a place of safety. Later on Colonel Buller, in the same manner, saved a trooper of the Frontier Light Horse, whose horse was completely exhausted, and who otherwise would have been killed by the Zulus, who were within eighty yards of him.

"Major William K. Leet, first battalion 13th Regiment, for his[Pg 61] gallant conduct on the 28th of March 1879, in rescuing from the Zulus Lieutenant A. M. Smith of the Frontier Light Horse, during the retreat from Zlobane. Lieutenant Smith while on foot, his horse having been shot, was closely pursued by the Zulus, and would have been killed had not Major Leet taken him upon his horse and rode with him, under the fire of the enemy, to a place of safety.

"Surgeon-Major James Henry Reynolds, Army Medical Department, for the conspicuous bravery during the attack at Rorke's Drift on the 22nd and 23rd of January 1879, which he exhibited in his attention to the wounded under fire, and in his voluntarily conveying ammunition from the store to the defenders of the hospital, whereby he exposed himself to a cross fire from the enemy both in going and returning.

"Lieutenant Edward S. Browne, first battalion 24th Regiment, for his gallant conduct on the 29th March 1879, when the Mounted Infantry were being driven in by the enemy at Zlobane, in galloping back and twice assisting on his horse, under heavy fire and within a few yards of the enemy, one of the mounted men, who must otherwise have fallen into the enemy's hands.

"Private Wassell, 80th Regiment, for his gallant conduct in having, at the imminent risk of his own life, saved that of Private Westwood of the same regiment. On the 22nd of January 1879, when the camp at Isandlwana was taken by the enemy, Private Wassell retreated towards the Buffalo River, in which he saw a comrade struggling and apparently drowning. He rode to the bank, dismounted, leaving his horse on the Zulu side, rescued the man from the stream, and again mounted his horse, dragging Private Westwood across the river, under a heavy shower of bullets."[Pg 62]



Our disaster at Isandlwana caused enormous excitement in Pretoria. Great and unconcealed rejoicing among the Boers took place; work was suspended, all heads were put together to make capital out of Great Britain's misfortunes. Notices were sent out on the 18th of March, summoning the burghers to a mass meeting to be held some thirty miles from the town. These meetings, it must here be noted, were scarcely attended by invitation. A large number of the people appeared on compulsion, brought "to the scratch" by threats. One of the menaces, a favourite one according to Mr. Rider Haggard, was that those who did not attend should be made "biltong" of when the country was given back. Biltong is meat cut into strips and hung in the sun to dry. The result of the notices, backed by threats, was a meeting of some three thousand armed Boers, who evidently meant mischief.

The threatening aspect of the Boers caused the corps known as the Pretoria Horse, a corps raised for the purpose of acting as cavalry on the Zulu border, to be retained for service in and around the capital. While matters stood thus, and the general discontent seemed to portend even further hostilities, Sir Bartle Frere went to Pretoria for the purpose of discussing affairs with the Boer leaders. These all clamoured for their independence. They had gone as far as to assert it by stopping posts, carts, and persons, and sending armed patrols about the country.

Nothing definite resulted from this attitude, however, for before very long the conclusion—the successful conclusion—of the Zulu war appeared imminent, and those in revolt against British authority saw plainly that there would shortly be troops in plenty at hand to restore law and order. Consequently for the time being they subsided. The loyal inhabitants of the Transvaal entertained Sir Bartle Frere prior to his departure, and at the public dinner given on that occasion at Potchefstrom, he took the opportunity to assure them that the Transvaal would never be given back! It may be interesting to some to know, that at a public meeting on the 24th of[Pg 63] April in Pretoria, within a week of the breaking up of the camp which had been threatening its safety, the following resolution was passed:—

"This meeting reprobates most strongly the action of a certain section of the English and Colonial press for censuring, without sufficient knowledge of local affairs, the policy and conduct of Sir Bartle Frere, and it desires not only to express its sympathy with Sir Bartle Frere, and its confidence in his policy, but also to go so far as to congratulate most heartily her Majesty the Queen, the Home Government, and ourselves, on possessing such a true, considerate, and faithful servant as his Excellency the High Commissioner."

Having made allusion to Sir Bartle Frere's departure, it may be as well to explain that before the battle of Ulundi it was arranged that Sir Garnet Wolseley should be sent out from home to supersede Lord Chelmsford in the command of the army, Sir H. Bulwer as Governor of Natal, and Sir Bartle Frere as High Commissioner of the Transvaal, Natal, and all the eastern portion of South Africa. Sir Garnet reached Cape Town on the 28th of June, and proceeded without delay to Natal. But, as we know, before he could reach the seat of war the battle of Ulundi was won.

The fighting was now at an end; the Zulus expressed themselves beaten, and Cetchwayo, after an exciting chase, which space does not permit us to describe, was taken prisoner on the 28th of August. He was afterwards removed to Cape Town, and rooms were given him in the castle. Hostilities having happily terminated in Zululand, Sir Garnet Wolseley then started for Pretoria. He there finally set up the government of a Crown Colony with a nominative Executive Council and Legislative Assembly.

One of his first acts on reaching Pretoria was to issue a notable proclamation. It ran thus:——

"Whereas it appears, that notwithstanding repeated assurances of contrary effect given by her Majesty's representatives in this territory, uncertainty or misapprehension exists among some of her Majesty's subjects as to the intention of her Majesty's Government regarding the maintenance of British rule and sovereignty over the territory of the Transvaal: and whereas it is expedient that all grounds for such uncertainty or misapprehension should be removed once and for all beyond doubt or question: now therefore I do hereby proclaim and make known, in the name and on behalf of her Majesty the Queen, that it is the will and determination of her Majesty's Government that this Transvaal territory shall be, and shall continue to be for ever, an integral portion of her Majesty's dominions in South Africa."

On the same subject Sir Bartle Frere, writing to England, said[Pg 64] that he was very certain "that to give up the Transvaal is as little to be thought of as surrendering Ireland or India." In his opinion the Boer malcontents were few and inconsequential, most of the leaders and instigators being foreigners, who were personally interested in making themselves prominent, owing to the prevailing notion that the country would be given up. As to the effect of the abandonment of the Transvaal on the prospects of confederation he said: "To every colony concerned such a step would appear as a confession of weakness, of infirmity of purpose, and of disregard for solemn pledges and obligations, which would destroy all respect, all wish to belong to a Government which could so behave."

In writing to Sir M. Hicks Beach, in December 1879, Sir Bartle gave his personal impression of the feeling in Pretoria at the time of the annexation:—

"When our power of enforcing the law and upholding the authority of Government were at the lowest, in April last, ... experienced men at Pretoria gave me, through Colonel Lanyon, the following estimate of the strength of parties in the malcontent camp. The educated and intelligent men of influence, who advocated the most extreme measures, or were prepared to acquiesce in them, were reckoned at not more than eight. Three, or perhaps four, were men of property in the Transvaal; the rest foreign adventurers, with no property and little weight beyond that due to their skill as political agitators. Their unflinching and uncompromising followers in the Boer camp were not reckoned at more than eighty. The disaffected waverers who, according to circumstances, would follow the majority either to acts of overt resistance to Government and lawless violence, or to grumble and disperse, 'accepting the inevitable,' were reckoned at about eight hundred at the outside. The rest of the camp, variously estimated as containing from sixteen hundred to four thousand in all, but probably never exceeding two thousand five hundred present at one time, were men brought to the camp by intimidation, compulsion, or curiosity, who would not willingly resist the authority of Government, and would, if assured of protection, prefer to side with it."

Viewed in the light of later events, these opinions are extremely interesting and cannot be disregarded.

OFFICER of the 16th LANCERS.

OFFICER of the 16th LANCERS.

Photo by Gregory and Co., London.

Before passing on, it is necessary to state that during the period from 1878 to 1879, the native chief Sekukuni—Cetchwayo's dog, as the blacks called him—had become obstreperous. He had been engaged in raids into the Transvaal—raids of the same character as those which, as has been already mentioned, had helped to bring about the collapse of the Republic. Colonel Rowland's expedition, which started in November 1878 for the suppression of this ruffian, was baffled by fever and horse sickness. Colonel Lanyon in the following June returned to the attack, and was on the eve of success, when Sir Garnet Wolseley (who arrived late in that month) sent orders to cease operations. These orders he found, on reaching the[Pg 65] Transvaal, to be a mistake. Sekukuni was not a person to be trifled with nor ignored, so the campaign began again in November, with the result that within a period of eight days the chief's stronghold was taken and himself made prisoner. About fifty Europeans and some five hundred Swazi allies were killed or wounded.

Here we see, within one year, how much was done for the protection of the Transvaal at the cost of British money and British blood. Looking back, it is easy to perceive that, but for our intervention, the South African Republic would have been slowly but effectually swallowed up. Cetchwayo and Sekukuni between them would have made a meal of the Transvaal.

The brilliant and complete success of Sir Garnet Wolseley was highly praised, and the names of Colonel Lanyon, Captain Clark, R.A., and Captain Carrington especially mentioned as deserving a share of the credit for the accurate information they had collected during the previous months.

So much having been done for the security of the Boers and for the maintenance of British prestige, it is no marvel that Sir Garnet Wolseley thought himself justified in expressing the trend of British policy in plain terms. At the dinner given at Pretoria on the 17th of December 1879 he took the opportunity of making the British programme well understood. He declared with emphasis that there could be no question of resigning the sovereignty of the country. "There is no Government," he said, "Whig or Tory, Liberal, Conservative, or Radical, who would dare under any circumstances to give back this country. They would not dare, because the English people would not allow them!" At that time it was evident that Sir Garnet had never heard the story of the philanthropic Belarmine, an individual who gave himself to the she-bear to save her and her young ones from starvation. Or, if the tale was known to him, he probably took it for what it was worth, and never foresaw that the British Government would emulate the action of the self-sacrificing lunatic, and spend precious blood for the sole purpose of nourishing and resuscitating the powers of a languishing enemy.


But British speeches and proclamations had ceased to impress the Boers. They had had too many of them, and they began to think the British Government a somewhat knock-kneed institution whose joints had ceased to hold together. Sir Garnet Wolseley, however, with characteristic energy and determination, dealt with the malcontents one by one, converting them, and causing them to[Pg 66] sensibly consider on which side their bread was buttered. Indeed, so diplomatically did he conduct his work, that a sop was given to the aggressive Pretorius, who, instead of being put in prison as he deserved, was offered a seat on the Executive Council, with a salary attached. This he was inclined to jump at, but, at the time, public feeling ran too high to allow of his making a decision. The fact was that the political speeches delivered by Mr. Gladstone in the south of Scotland, during the months of November and December 1879, were putting a new complexion on affairs. They were reprinted all the world over, and they were profusely circulated among the Boers. The Boer leaders and obstructionists at once saw in this British statesman their saviour, and were convinced that, on the return of Mr. Gladstone to power, their independence would be assured. They therefore sent Messrs. Kruger and Joubert as a deputation to the Cape, and these two gentlemen persuaded the Cape Parliament to reject the Confederation Scheme then being proposed by Sir Bartle Frere. Selections from the attacks on the Government, from which the Boers then derived their encouragement and support, are here reprinted in order that the sincerity of Mr. Gladstone's attitude may be examined.

Speaking in Edinburgh, he said of the Government:—

"They have annexed in Africa the Transvaal territory, inhabited by a free European, Christian, Republican community, which they have thought proper to bring within the limits of a Monarchy, although out of 8000 persons in that Republic qualified to vote upon the subject, we are told—and I have never seen the statement officially contradicted—that 6500 protested against it. These are the circumstances under which we undertake to transform Republicans into subjects of a Monarchy."

Now, Sir T. Shepstone's despatches show that the ground on which the Transvaal was annexed was because the State was drifting into anarchy, was bankrupt, and was about to be destroyed by native tribes. He said "that most thinking men in the country saw no other way out of the difficulty," and Carlyle has taught us what is the proportion between thinking men and the general public. He also said, in the fifteenth paragraph of his despatch to Lord Carnarvon of the 6th of March 1877, that petitions signed by 2500 people, representing every class of the community, out of a total adult male population of 8000, had been presented to the Government of the Republic, setting forth its difficulties and dangers, and praying it "to treat with me for their amelioration or removal." He likewise stated, and with perfect truth, that many more would have signed had it not been for the terrorism that was exercised, and that all the towns and villages in the country desired the change.[Pg 67]

Mr. Gladstone went on to say:—

"We have made war on the Zulus. We have thereby become responsible for their territory; and not only this, but we are now, as it appears from the latest advices, about to make war upon a chief lying to the northward of the Zulus; and Sir Bartle Frere, who was the great authority for the proceedings of the Government in Afghanistan, has announced in South Africa that it will be necessary for us to extend our dominions until we reach the Portuguese frontier to the north. So much for Africa."

At Dalkeith he remarked:—

"If we cast our eyes to South Africa, what do we behold? That a nation whom we term savages have, in defence of their own land, offered their naked bodies to the terribly improved artillery and arms of modern European science, and have been mowed down by hundreds and by thousands, having committed no offence, but having, with rude and ignorant courage, done what were for them, and done faithfully and bravely what were for them the duties of patriotism. You may talk of glory, you may offer rewards,—and you are right to give rewards to the gallantry of your soldiers, who I think are entitled not only to our admiration for courage, but to our compassion for the nature of the duties they have been called to perform—but the grief and pain none the less remain."

At Glasgow he continued in the same strain:—

"In Africa you have before you the memory of bloodshed, of military disaster, the record of 10,000 Zulus—such is the computation of Bishop Colenso—slain for no other offence than their attempt to defend against your artillery, with their naked bodies, their hearths and homes, their wives and families. You have the invasion of a free people in the Transvaal, and you have, I fear, in one quarter or another—I will not enter into details, which might be injurious to the public interest—prospects of further disturbance and shedding of blood."

These speeches, as may be imagined, did an incalculable amount of mischief. Besides fanning the smouldering sparks of discontent, they served up catchwords wholesale for that section of the British public whose political machinery is largely fed by catchwords. But, as has been decided by axiom, "any stick will serve to beat a dog with," and the Transvaal difficulty was a convenient weapon for the attack on the Government. The real feeling of the Boer community was an outside matter, and, as we shall presently see, had nothing to do with the case, though in March 1880 Mr. Gladstone had the satisfaction of receiving a letter from a committee of Boer malcontents, wherein "he was thanked for the great sympathy shown in their fate." The thanks were a little premature. In April 1880 the elections took place, and Mr. Gladstone came into power[Pg 68] with a large majority. Then he was asked the great question: Would he maintain his oft-repeated pledge to retain the Transvaal, or would he continue to take up the tone of his Midlothian denunciations?

The riddle was shortly to be solved. In the debate on the Queen's Speech the Prime Minister thus expressed himself: "I do not know whether there is an absolute union of opinion on this side of the House as to the policy in which the assumption of the Transvaal originated. Undoubtedly, as far as I am myself concerned, I did not approve of that assumption. I took no part in questioning it nor in the attempt to condemn it, because, in my opinion, whether the assumption was wise or unwise, it having been done, no good but only mischief was to be done by the intervention of this House. But whatever our original opinions were on that policy—and the opinions of the majority of those who sit on this side of the House were decidedly adverse to it—we had to confront a state of facts; and the main fact which met us was the existence of the large native population in the Transvaal, to whom, by the establishment of the Queen's supremacy, we hold ourselves to have given a pledge. That is the acceptance of facts, and that is the sense in which my right honourable friend, and all those who sit with him, may, if they think fit, say we accept the principles on which the late Government proceeded. It is quite possible to accept the consequences of a policy, and yet to retain the original difference of opinion with regard to the character of that policy as long as it was a matter of discussion."

And shortly after he wrote to Messrs. Kruger and Joubert:—

"It is undoubtedly matter for much regret that it should, since the annexation, have appeared that so large a number of the population of Dutch origin in the Transvaal are opposed to the annexation of that territory, but it is impossible to consider that question as if it were presented for the first time. We have to deal with a state of things which has existed for a considerable period, during which obligations have been contracted, especially, though not exclusively, towards the native population, which cannot be set aside.

"Looking to all the circumstances, both of the Transvaal and the rest of South Africa, and to the necessity of preventing a renewal of disorders, which might lead to disastrous consequences, not only to the Transvaal, but to the whole of South Africa, our judgment is, that the Queen cannot be advised to relinquish her sovereignty over the Transvaal, but, consistently with the maintenance of that sovereignty, we desire that the white inhabitants of the Transvaal should, without prejudice to the rest of the population, enjoy the fullest liberty to manage their local affairs. We believe that this liberty may be most easily and promptly conceded to the Transvaal as a member of a South African Confederation."[Pg 69]


When the Liberal Ministry came into power, it will be observed, Mr. Gladstone's attitude changed, and that he was compelled to abandon the sympathetic tone of his Midlothian speeches. How far he really meant to be bound by the promise made that "the Queen cannot be advised to relinquish her sovereignty over the Transvaal" is not known, for later on, in June 1881, in a letter to the Transvaal loyalists, he explains that there was "no mention of the terms or date of this promise. If the reference be to my letter of the 8th of June 1880 to Messrs. Kruger and Joubert, I do not think the language of that letter justifies the description given. Nor am I sure in what manner, or to what degree, the fullest liberty to manage their local affairs, which I then said her Majesty's Government desired to confer on the white population of the Transvaal, differs from the settlement now about being made in its bearing on the interests of those whom your committee represents."

This letter was a masterpiece of one whose talent for ambiguity was becoming world famous, and a stone in shape of a loaf was thus hurled at the heads of the expectant loyalists.

But to return to the events of 1880. Finding that the Premier was no longer to be the mainstay of their hopes, the Boers began to renew their agitations. These agitations, it will be remembered, during the end of the Zulu war and Sir Garnet Wolseley's arrival in the Transvaal, were merely suppressed, because at that time British ascendency throughout the country seemed to be established. An excellent opportunity for rebellion now suggested itself. The Cape Government was engaged with the Basuto war. Sir Owen Lanyon, who succeeded Sir T. Shepstone in March 1879, had supplied a body of 300 or more volunteers—mostly loyalists—to assist in the military operations, while the only regiment of cavalry had been sent elsewhere by Sir Garnet Wolseley. Big things have often small beginnings, and the Boer rebellion, that has brought so many complications in its train, commenced with a very small incident. A certain Bezeidenhout, having refused to pay his taxes, had, by order, some of his goods seized and put up to auction. This was the signal for the malcontents to attack the auctioneer and rescue the goods. So great became the uproar and confusion, the women aiding and abetting the men in their disobedience of the law, that military assistance was summoned. Major Thornhill, with a few companies of the 21st Regiment, was sent to support the Landrost in arresting the rioters, and special constables were enrolled to[Pg 70] assist him in restoring order. But these united exertions were unavailing. All attempts to carry out the arrests were openly set at defiance. This scene occurred on the 11th of November 1880. On the 26th Sir George Colley—who had relieved Sir Garnet Wolseley as Commander-in-Chief—was applied to for more troops. Sir George, who was daily expecting an outbreak of Pondos, and a possible appeal for help from Cape Colony, merely suggested that the "authorities should be assisted by the loyal inhabitants." This, it must be owned, was hard on the royalists, who from that time to this have had to pay dearly for their allegiance to the Crown. A mass meeting was held at Paade kraal, where Krugersdorp now stands, and the rioters unanimously decided to commit their cause to the Almighty, and to live or die in the struggle for independence. Thereupon Messrs. Kruger, Pretorius, and Joubert were elected a triumvirate to conduct the Government, and on the 16th of December 1880 (Dingaan's Day) the Republic was formally proclaimed, and its flag again hoisted. The proclamation, dealing with the events of the preceding years, and offering terms to her Majesty's Government, was forwarded to Sir Owen Lanyon. The Boer leaders therein expressed their willingness to enter into confederation and to guide their native policy by general rules adopted in concurrence "with the Colonies and States of South Africa," and at the same time declared that they had no desire for war or the spilling of blood. "It lies," they said, "in your hands to force us to appeal to arms in self-defence."

On the very day of the proclamation, however, blood was shed. Commandant Cronjé, with a party of burghers, marched into Potchefstroom for the purpose of printing the proclamation. They promptly seized the printing-office, and Major Clarke, who thought it advisable to interfere, was refused admittance. Soon after a Boer patrol fired on our mounted infantry, who returned the compliment. That was the signal for the opening of hostilities. On this matter it may be urged that Boer reports differ from ours, but Boer veracity may be defined by the algebraic quantity x, and cannot be accepted. Lieutenant-Colonel Winsloe, of the 21st Regiment, who was commanding at a fort outside the village, signalled orders to Major Clarke to begin firing. This officer was fortified in the Landrost's office with a small force of some twenty soldiers and twenty civilians, while the Boers occupied positions in the surrounding houses. The siege lasted two days (during the 17th and the morning of the 18th), and then when one officer (Captain Falls) and five men had been killed and the thatched roof fired, Major Clarke deemed it best to surrender. Colonel Winsloe held the camp throughout the war, surrendering only after an armistice was declared.[Pg 71]

A still more terrible disaster was in store. Mr Rider Haggard, who is perhaps the best authority on the subject, describes it as a "most cruel and carefully planned massacre." Other writers, however, hold that the outrage could scarcely be called a massacre, since Colonel Anstruther had been fully warned of the risks he ran of Boer treachery and Boer artifice. It appears that Colonel Anstruther had received orders from Sir Owen Lanyon to concentrate his forces in Pretoria. Accordingly, he marched from Lydenburg—situated about 180 miles from Pretoria—with such troops as he had at his disposal. These were two companies of the 94th Regiment. They were accompanied by three women, two children, and a ponderous train of luggage-waggons. Their progress was necessarily slow, but the Colonel, in spite of having been warned of Boer ways and Boer tactics, evinced no anxiety. Indeed, from all accounts it appears that he followed the good old British habit of under-estimating the enemy's physical, while over-estimating his moral, qualities. For this reason he probably disregarded the precautions necessary after the warnings he had received on starting. Be this as it may, on the 20th of December he and his long waggon-train were nearing a point called Bronker's Spruit, about thirty-eight miles from Pretoria, when suddenly there appeared a huge crowd of some five hundred mounted Boers. From this crowd a man was seen approaching with a white flag. The column, about half a mile in length, halted; the band ceased; Colonel Anstruther advanced to the parley. The messenger then handed a letter. It was an intimation of the establishment of the South African Republic, and declared that till Sir Owen Lanyon's reply to the proclamation was received, and they were aware whether war was or was not declared, they could not allow the progress of troops. The Colonel's reply was plain. He was ordered to proceed to Pretoria, and proceed he would.

Then, before Colonel Anstruther had rejoined his column, a volley was poured in on them by the farmers, who, emerging from the cover of rocks and trees, had gradually closed round the troops. A vigorous but short resistance followed. The Boers, skilled by long practice in marking their most cherished enemies, picked off the officers one by one. Seven out of nine dropped to their guns, while a perpetual hailstorm of bullets beat over men, women, and waggons. In a few minutes so many were disabled that the Colonel, himself mortally wounded, had to surrender. Out of the party 56 were killed and 101 wounded. One of these was a woman.

A great deal was said at the time by British sympathisers of the kindness of the Boers to the prisoners and wounded of their antagonists; but the opinions of Mr. Rider Haggard and Sir Owen[Pg 72] Lanyon are worth considering. The former, in writing of this engagement, says that "after the fight Conductor Egerton, with a sergeant, was allowed to walk into Pretoria to obtain medical assistance, the Boers refusing to give him a horse, or even allow him to use his own.... I may mention that a Zulu driver, who was with the rear-guard, and escaped into Natal, stated that the Boers shot all the wounded men who formed that body. His statement was to a certain extent borne out by the evidence of one of the survivors, who stated that all the bodies found in that part of the field, nearly three-quarters of a mile away from the head of the column, had a bullet-hole through the head or breast, in addition to their other wounds." The Administrator of the Transvaal in Council thus comments on the occurrence in an official minute: "The surrounding and gradual hemming in under a flag of truce of a force, and the selection of spots from which to direct their fire, as in the case of the unprovoked attack of the rebels upon Colonel Anstruther's force, is a proceeding of which very few like incidents can be mentioned in the annals of civilised warfare."

Sir Owen Lanyon, writing from the scene of action in Pretoria, says—"The Boers were very clever in being kind to our wounded soldiers, for they well knew that such action would obtain sympathy at home. But where it was impossible for their deeds to become known their conduct was far from creditable to them. Poor Clarke and Raaf were kept for two months in a dark room, and were only allowed out twice for exercise. Barlow was robbed of everything, and only left the clothes he stood in. A Hollander, who is secretary to Cronjé at Potchefstrom, is still wearing the rings of poor Captain Falls, who was shot. Englishmen have been murdered, flogged, and robbed of everything. The Boers at Potchefstrom forced the prisoners of war to dig their trenches, and some were shot from the Fort while so employed. Woite and Van der Linden were shot as spies, because they had been in the Boer camp and left it some days before they proclaimed the Republic. Carolus, a Cape boy, was shot by Boer court-martial because he left the Fort when food became scarce. A white man and nine natives were similarly shot without any trial. Explosive bullets were used, notwithstanding that Colonel Winsloe pointed out to the Boer leader in a letter that such was against the rules of war."

There is ample evidence that acts of treachery and barbarity similar to and worse than those mentioned by Colonel Lanyon were perpetrated by the insurgents.[Pg 73]


The sole officer who escaped from the massacre at Bronker's Spruit was Captain Elliot, who was subsequently treacherously murdered while crossing the Vaal. The account of this tragedy was given by Major Lambart in a report to Sir George Colley, and should be read by all who wish to get a fair view of the events of that period, particularly by those who insist on our brother-relationship to the Boers:—

"Sir,—I have the honour to report, for the information of his Excellency, that as I was returning from the Orange Free State on December 18 (where I had been on duty buying horses to mount Commandant Ferreira's men for the Basuto war, and also remounts for my troop of Mounted Infantry and the Royal Artillery), when about thirty miles from Pretoria, on the road from Heidelberg, I was suddenly taken prisoner by a party of twenty or thirty Boers, who galloped down on me (all around), and, capturing the horses, was taken back to Heidelberg. After being there some six or eight days, I was joined by Captain and Paymaster Elliot, 94th Regiment (the only officer not wounded in the attack on the detachment of the 94th Regiment), who arrived with some forty prisoners of war of the 94th Regiment. On the following day (the 24th of December) we received a written communication from the Secretary of the Republican Government, to the effect 'that the members of the said Government would call on us at 3.30 that day,' which they did. The purport of their interview being 'That at a meeting of Council they had decided to give us one of two alternatives. (1) To remain prisoners of war during hostilities in the Transvaal. (2) To be released on parole, d'honneur, that we would leave the Transvaal at once, cross into the Free State under escort, and not bear arms against the Republican Government during the war.' Time being given us for deliberation, Captain Elliot and myself decided to accept No. 2 alternative, and communicated the same to the Secretary of the South African Republic, who informed us, in the presence of the Commandant-General, P. Joubert, that we could leave next day, taking with us all our private property. The following days being respectively Christmas Day and Sunday, we were informed we could not start till Monday, on which day, having signed our parole d'honneur, my horses were harnessed, and we were provided with a duplicate of our parole or free pass, signed by Commandant-General, and escort of two men to show us the road to the nearest[Pg 74] drift over the Vaal River, distant twenty-five miles, and by which P. Joubert personally told us both we should cross, as there was a punt there. We started about 1 p.m. from the Boer camp, passing through the town of Heidelberg. After going about six or eight miles I noticed we were not going the right road, and mentioned the fact to the escort, who said it was all right. Having been 'look-out' officer in the Transvaal, I knew the district well. I was certain we were going wrong, but we had to obey orders. At nightfall we found ourselves nowhere near the river drift; and were ordered to outspan for the night, and next morning the escort told us they would look for the drift. In spanning at daybreak we again started, but after driving about for some hours across country, I told the escort we would stop where we were while they went to search for the drift. Shortly after they returned and said they had found it, and we must come, which we did, eventually arriving at the junction of two rivers (Vaal and Klip), where we found the river Vaal impassable, but which they said we must cross. I pointed out that it was impossible to get my carriage or horses over by it, and that it was not the punt the General said we were to cross. The escort replied it was to Pretorius' Punt that the General told them to take us, and we must cross; that we must leave the carriage behind and swim the horses, which we refused to do, as we should then have had no means of getting on. I asked them to show me their written instructions, which they did (written in Dutch), and I pointed out that the name of Pretorius was not in it. I then told them they must either take us back to the Boer camp again or on to the proper drift. We turned back, and after going a few miles the escort disappeared. Not knowing where we were, I proposed to Captain Elliot we should go to the banks of the Vaal and follow the river till we came to the proper punt. After travelling all Monday, Tuesday, and up till Wednesday about 1 p.m., when we found ourselves four hours, or twenty-five miles, from Spencer's Punt, we were suddenly stopped by two armed Boers who handed us an official letter, which was opened and found to be from the Secretary to the Republican Government, stating that the members were surprised that as officers and gentlemen we had broken our parole d'honneur and refused to leave the Transvaal; that if we did not do so immediately by the nearest drift, which the bearers would show us, we must return as prisoners of war; that as through our ignorance of the language of the country there might be some misunderstanding, they were loth to think we had willingly broken our promise. We explained that we should reply to the letter, and request them to take it to their Government, and were prepared to go with them at once. They took us back to a farm[Pg 75]house, where we were told to wait till they fetched their Commandant, who arrived about 6 p.m., and repeated to us the same that was complained of in our letter of that day. We told him we were ready to explain matters, and requested him to take our answer back to camp. He then ordered us to start at once for the drift. I asked him, as it was then getting dark, if we could start early next morning, but he refused. So we started, he having said we should cross at Spencer's, being closest. As we left the farmhouse, I pointed out to him that we were going in the wrong direction, but he said, 'Never mind, come on across a drift close at hand.' When we got opposite it, he kept straight on; I called to him, and said this was where we were to cross. His reply was, 'Come on.' I then said to Captain Elliot, 'They intend taking us back to Pretorius,' a distance of some forty miles. Suddenly the escort (which had all at once increased from two to eight men, which Captain Elliot pointed out to me, and I replied, 'I suppose they are determined we shall not escape, which they need not be afraid of, as we are too keen to get over the border') wheeled sharp down to the river, stopped, and pointing to the banks, said, 'There is the drift; cross.' Being pitch dark, with vivid lightning, the river roaring past, and as I knew impassable, I asked, 'Had we not better wait till morning, as we do not know the drift?' They replied, 'No; cross at once.' I drove my horses into the river, when they immediately fell; lifted them, and drove on about five or six yards, when we fell into a hole. Got them out with difficulty, and advanced another yard, when we got stuck against a rock. The current was now so strong, and drift deep, my cart was turned over on to its side, and water rushed over the seat. I called out to the Commandant on the bank that we were stuck, and to send assistance, or might we return? to which he replied, 'If you do we will shoot you.' I then tried, but failed to get the horses to move. Turning to Captain Elliot, who was sitting beside me, I said, 'We must swim for it,' and asked could he swim? to which he replied, 'Yes.' I said, 'If you can't, I will stick to you, for I can.' While we were holding this conversation, a volley from the bank, ten or fifteen yards off, was fired into us, the bullets passing through the tent of my cart, one of which must have mortally wounded poor Elliot, who only uttered the single word 'Oh!' and fell headlong into the river from the carriage. I immediately sprang in after him, but was swept down the river under the current some yards. On gaining the surface of the water, I could see nothing of Elliot; I called out his name twice, but received no reply. Immediately another volley was fired at me, making the water hiss around where the bullets struck. I[Pg 76] now struck out for the opposite bank, which I reached with difficulty in about ten minutes; but as it was deep, black mud, on landing I stuck fast, but eventually reached the top of the bank, and ran for about two thousand yards under a heavy fire the whole while. The night being pitch dark, but lit up every minute by vivid flashes of lightning, showed the enemy my whereabouts. I found myself now in the Free State, but where I could not tell, but knew my direction was south, while, though it was raining, hailing, and blowing hard, and bitterly cold, an occasional glimpse of the stars showed me I was going right. I walked all that night and next day till one o'clock, when I eventually crawled into a store kept by an Englishman called Mr. Groom, who did all in his power to help me. I had tasted no food since the previous morning at sunrise, and all the Dutch farmers refused me water, so without hat or coat (which I had left on banks of Vaal), and shoes worn through, I arrived exhausted at the above gentleman's place, who kindly drove me to Heilbron, where I took the post-cart to Maritzburg. I fear that Captain Elliot must have been killed instantly, as he never spoke, neither did I see him again. I have to mention that both Captain Elliot and myself, on being told by South African Republican Government that the soldiers who had been taken prisoners were to be released on the same conditions as ourselves, expressed a wish to be allowed to keep charge of them, which was refused, but we were told that waggons, food, and money should be supplied to take them down country. But when they reached Spencer's Punt over the Vaal were turned loose, without any of the above necessaries, to find their way down country. They met an English transport rider named Mr. F. Wheeler, who was going to Pietermaritzburg with his waggon, which had been looted by the Boers, and who kindly gave them transport, provided them with food, and is bringing them to the city, which, as I passed them at the Drakensburg on Tuesday, they should reach on Sunday next—consisting of one sergeant and sixty-one men, all that remain of our Leydenburg detachment and headquarters of the 94th Regiment.—I have the honour to remain, Sir, your obedient servant,

"R. H. Lambart,

Captain Royal Scots Fusiliers."

Major Lambart's report speaks more eloquently than many descriptions as to the character of the "simple-minded Boer." We discovered to our cost during the Indian Mutiny that the "gentle native" was not all our fancy painted him, and it may be as well to realise that our simple-minded and pious brother in the Transvaal is scarcely so righteous as we have been led to suppose.[Pg 77]



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.


Since we have been tracing the causes of the Boer rebellion, it may be advisable to refer to a letter written on the 28th of December 1880 by Sir Bartle Frere to Mr. F. Greenwood, editor of the St. James's Gazette. He therein throws a most important light on the political position. He wrote: "In 1879, when I was among the Boers in the Transvaal, I found that the real wire-pullers of their Committee were foreigners of various nationalities, notably some Hollanders (not Africanders), imbued with German Socialist Republicanism, and an Irishman of the name of Aylward. I was told he was a man of great natural ability, educated as a solicitor, an ex-Fenian pardoned under another name (Murphy, I think), for turning Queen's evidence against others who had murdered the policeman at Manchester. Emigrating to the Diamond Fields, he was tried, convicted, and suffered imprisonment there for homicide. When he came out of prison he betook himself to the Transvaal and had a command of foreign free lances under Mr. Burgers, then President of the Transvaal Republic, in his unsuccessful attempt to take Secocoeni's stronghold. After the annexation of the Transvaal he came to England and published one of the few readable books on the Transvaal, and went out to Natal during the darkest hours of our Zulu troubles, seeking employment; but he was an impossible man, and was urging the Boers to rise at the same time that he was offering his services to me and Lord Chelmsford. Finally he settled at Pietermaritzburg, where he was, when I last heard of him, as editor of the Witness, writing anti-English republicanism and sedition with much ability, especially when opposing the Cape Government and its governor, whom he never forgave for warning the Boers against following Fenian advice. When I was in the Transvaal and afterwards I found him always connected with any opposition to the English Government. He knew all the leaders of the simple-minded but very suspicious Boers, and had gained their ear, so that he had no difficulty in persuading them to reject any good advice I offered them—'Wait-a-bit' being always the most acceptable suggestion you can offer to a Boer.

"Directly I heard of the attack on our troops in the Transvaal, I felt assured that my old acquaintance was pulling the wires with a view to create a diversion in favour of his old colleagues in Ireland.

"The attack took place apparently near the farm of Solomon Prinsloo, one of the most bitter malcontent Boers, who was always a firebrand, and who, when I visited the Boer camp in 1879, was with difficulty held back by Pretorius and Kruger from directing an attack[Pg 78] upon us in Pretoria. I very much doubt whether, without some such external instigation, the Boers would have broken out....

"The facts I have mentioned and many more about Aylward are on record in Scotland Yard, and in the Colonial Office, and I am anxious you should know the truth and not attribute too much of the blame in this sad business to the unfortunate, misguided Boers, the victims of his bad advice, still less to any fault of Colonel Lanyon's administration."

Sir Bartle was right in his conjecture, for Aylward had joined the insurgents and was one of the acknowledged leaders of Joubert's staff.

Major-General Hope Crealock, in a letter to Sir Bartle, wrote (January 7, 1881): "A young Irishman named S——, who knew Aylward in Natal, and who was under my command in the Natal Pioneers, called on me to-night and told me Aylward formerly used to boast of being a Fenian, and vowed he would pay the English Government off for what he had got, by raising the Boers whenever Ireland was rising; and within the last few days has written to him saying he gloried in being one of the instigators of the present Boer revolt, &c., &c. He wrote from Utrecht...."

It will be seen from these quotations that our relations with the Transvaal, hostile as they may have been, were scarcely true relations—that the real enmity and rancour, the blood-spilling and wretchedness that commenced at this period, and are at the moment of writing still continuing, were due, firstly, to party spirit in Great Britain, and secondly, to the machinations of adventurers, who, having no status elsewhere, put the ignorance of a race of farmers to their own vile uses.

To return to the events of the last chapter. When Sir Owen Lanyon heard of the misfortune that had befallen Colonel Anstruther's troops, he issued a proclamation placing the country under martial law, and Sir George Colley, dreading the results of bad blood raised between Boers and British soldiers by the affair at Bronker's Spruit, caused the following general order to be published:—

"Headquarters, Pietermaritzburg,

December 28th, 1880.

"The Major-General Commanding regrets to inform the troops of his command, that a detachment of 250 men of the 94th Regiment, on its march from Leydenburg to Pretoria, was surprised and overwhelmed by the Boers—120 being killed and wounded, and the rest taken prisoners. The attack seems to have been made while the troops were crossing a spruit, and extended to guard a long convoy. The Major-General trusts to the courage, spirit, and discipline of the troops of his command, to enable him promptly to[Pg 79] retrieve this misfortune, and to vindicate the authority of her Majesty and the honour of the British arms. It is scarcely necessary to remind soldiers of the incalculable advantage which discipline, organisation, and trained skill give them over numerous but undisciplined forces. These advantages have been repeatedly proved, and have never failed to command success in the end against greater odds, and greater difficulties, than we are now called on to contend with. To all true soldiers the loss we have suffered will serve as an incentive and stimulus to greater exertions; and the Major-General knows well he can rely on the troops he has to command, to show that endurance and courage which are the proud inheritance of the British army. The stain cast on our arms must be quickly effaced, and rebellion must be put down; but the Major-General trusts that officers and men will not allow the soldierly spirit which prompts to gallant action to degenerate into a feeling of revenge. The task now forced on us by the unprovoked action of the Boers is a painful one under any circumstances, and the General calls on all ranks to assist him in his endeavours to mitigate the suffering it must entail. We must be careful to avoid punishing the innocent for the guilty, and must remember, that though misled and deluded, the Boers are in the main a brave and high-spirited people, and actuated by feelings that are entitled to our respect. In the operations now about to be undertaken, the General confidently trusts that the good behaviour of the men will give him as much cause for pride and satisfaction as their conduct and gallantry before the enemy, and that the result of their efforts will be a speedy and successful termination to the war."

The proclamation had a good effect, particularly among the Dutch, who, though loyal to the Crown, were much in sympathy with their kinsmen in the Transvaal. On the 23rd of January 1881, General Colley sent an ultimatum ordering the insurgents to disperse. Of this no notice was taken until General Joubert, from Laing's Nek on January the 29th, sent the following reply:——

"To Sir George P. Colley.

"We beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 23rd. In reply, we beg to state that, in terms of the letter, we are unable to comply with your request, as long as your Excellency addresses us as insurgents, and insinuates that we, the leaders, are wickedly misleading a lot of ignorant men. It is nearly hopeless for us to attempt to find the proper words for reply; but before the Lord we would not be justified if we did not avail ourselves of this, perhaps the last, opportunity of speaking to you as the representative of her Majesty the Queen and people of England, for whom we feel deep respect. We must emphatically repeat, we are willing to comply with any wishes of the Imperial Government tending to the consolidation and confederation of South Africa; and, in order to[Pg 80] make this offer from our side as clear and unequivocal as possible,—although we have explained this point fully in all our documents, and especially in paragraphs 36 to 38 of our first proclamation,—we declare that we would be satisfied with a rescinding of the annexation and restoration of the South African Republic under a protectorate of her Majesty the Queen, so that once a year the British Flag shall be hoisted, all in strict accordance with the above-mentioned clauses of our first proclamation. If your Excellency resolves to reject this, we have only to submit to our fate; but the Lord will provide."

Sir George Colley started on the 24th of January from Newcastle for the border. The road from Newcastle to Laing's Nek runs up a precipitous hill for three miles, and thence leads down the steep mountain of Skheyns Hoogte. The movement of the column was slow and laborious, the roads, if roads they could be called, were almost impassable owing to great ruts, mud-holes deep enough to bury a waggon up to the bed-planks, with boulders and other impediments thrown in.

Here, as Laing's Nek is so prominent a feature in our history, it may be well to give Mr. Carter's concise description of the geographical nature of the position:—

"Laing's Nek is the lowest point in an unbroken ridge which connects the Majuba Mountain with hills running right up to the banks of the Buffalo River. A slight cutting, not more than four or five feet deep, forms the waggon road over this ridge; from the waggon road on either side the ground runs up somewhat abruptly, and is stony and irregular. How gentle the rise is to the Nek from the level ground in front of it towards Newcastle (and along which the approach is by the main road), may be judged from the fact that a horse can canter easily up the slope, or for the matter of that, over the two miles of ground which lead to the foot of the slope. From the top of the ridge to the level ground at the base is not more than five hundred yards. The chain of hills, in the centre of which is the Nek, is semicircular, the horns of the crescent pointing towards Newcastle, and offering strong positions for any force intent on defending the only practicable approach to the Nek; but to occupy these flank positions a large body of men would be necessary, as the area from point to point is great. On the reverse, or Coldstream side of the Nek, the ground at the foot of the incline is broken and marshy, a regular drain for all the water running from the surrounding hills."



Photo by Gregory and Co., London.

To return to the troops. While this column was advancing, the Boers were also advancing in a parallel line to the Nek. The following day, 25th, the British column reached the high ground overlooking the Ingogo River, where they encamped (here the engagement of the 8th of February took place). At dawn on[Pg 81] the 26th the column again laboriously mounted the terrible steeps leading to Mount Prospect, and fixed their camp about four miles from the Nek. Owing to the abominable state of the weather the nearing of the Nek was not attempted, and attack was postponed till the following day. The night was passed at Mount Prospect, and a laager made.

Map of Country round Laing's Nek and Majuba Hill

At six o'clock on the morning of the 28th the advance was sounded, and at 9.55 a.m. the guns began shelling the Nek. The Boers were not yet ready. Some took shelter behind the walls of Laing's Farmhouse, while others kept on the heights above, covered by the ridge from shells. Those in Laing's kraals had a warm time when the Naval Brigade began to play on them with their guns, and they soon evacuated the place.

Those on the Nek, after being for twenty minutes under a hot fire, were beginning to think they had had enough of it, when our lines ceased firing, and the mounted squadron advanced to take[Pg 82] a hillock—the most advanced spur of the Boer left flank position. The 58th also prepared to charge. The officers commanding the mounted squadron were Major Brownlow and Captain Hornby, while Colonel Deane, Major Essex (an officer with a charmed life, who survived Isandlwana and the engagement at the Ingogo heights), Major Poole, Lieutenant Elwes, and Lieutenant Inman were in front of the 58th. The leading companies of the 58th having got half-way up the rise—a heavy business considering the slipperiness of the slopes—the first troop of the mounted squadron charged the kopje, going to right and left of the lines taken by the 58th. No sooner were they within sight of the Boers than they were greeted by a heavy fire that emptied half their saddles. Still, those who were left mounted, reformed in a pouring shower of bullets, and again charged.

But gallantry was of no avail, for there was no reserve to back up the charge of mounted troops. Seventeen men were killed and wounded, and thirty-two horses killed.

The repulse of this charge took place just as the 58th gained sight of the foe, who, flushed with triumph, could now turn their attention from the mounted troops to the right flank of the 58th. The men, worn out with their sufficiently arduous task of climbing, crushed together, in consequence of their not having been ordered to deploy before making the ascent, dropped like nine-pins under the heavy fire of the Boers. Before the order to deploy could be carried out, volley after volley was delivered into their ranks, and an enfilading fire was opened by the Boers on their right flank with disastrous results. Meanwhile the Boers were well under cover behind their sheltered trenches, and it was impossible, while the 58th were coming to closer quarters with them, to fire from the plains below without risk to the assailants. As a natural consequence, therefore, the Boers, skilled as they are in marksmanship, were able at their leisure to pick off each man as he approached.

Seeing that the Boers were more than a match for him, Colonel Deane resorted to the bayonet. But, just as the order was being obeyed his horse was shot under him. Rising again on the instant, and crying "I am all right," to encourage his men, he rushed on, heading his regiment, and again fell, this time mortally wounded. Major Hingeston, who then took command, fell also, and his gallant brother officers, Major Poole and Lieutenant Dolphin, shared the same fate. They were at that time within some thirty yards of the enemy. So great was our loss that the charge could not be sustained, and many officers, who still persisted in emptying their revolvers on the enemy, were severely wounded. At last there was nothing for it but to fall back. The Boers, intoxicated with victory, now[Pg 83] boldly came out from cover, and poured volley after volley on the retiring men. But for the guns at the base of the hill, which were now able to play on the enemy, these must have been entirely swept away. So small was the margin between our men and the victors, that but for the nicety of this artillery practice many of the men of the 58th must have been accidentally killed. During the retreat Lieutenant Baillie, carrying the regimental colours, was mortally wounded. Such magnificent deeds of heroism took place on this occasion that of themselves they would form an inspiriting volume. Lieutenant Hill of the 58th earned the Victoria Cross by his repeated deeds of valour in saving soldiers under heavy fire.

The whole force fell back towards the camp, the casualties amongst the 58th being seventy-three killed and one hundred wounded. A flag of truce was sent forward to the enemy, and both parties engaged in the sad work of burying their dead and removing the wounded.

Report says that on this occasion Kaffirs or Hottentots were seen to be fighting among the Boer ranks.

Very pathetic and very manly was the speech addressed by Sir George Colley to the camp on the evening after the fight:—"Officers, non-commissioned officers, and men,—I have called you together this evening, being desirous of saying a few words to you. I wish every one present to understand that the entire blame of to-day's repulse rests entirely upon me, and not on any of you. I congratulate the 58th Regiment for the brave and noble manner in which they fought to-day. We have lost many gallant men, and amongst them my intimate friend, Colonel Deane. (Emotion.) I might say, however, that notwithstanding the loss of many troops to-day, we have not lost one atom of the prestige of England. It is my duty to congratulate Major Brownlow on the gallant charge he made this day. Owing to the loss we have suffered, I am compelled to await the arrival of reinforcements, but certainly we shall take possession of that hill eventually, and I sincerely hope that all those men who have so nobly done their duty to-day will be with me then. Good-night."

Of the mistakes that marked this attack it is unnecessary to write, for they have been freely discussed, and those who were responsible have laid down their lives in payment of whatever errors in judgment they may have committed.[Pg 84]


Life in camp continued as usual until the 7th of February, when an escort proceeding with the post from Newcastle to the General's camp, having encountered the enemy, been fired at, and forced to return, Sir George Colley thought a demonstration in force would be sufficient to deter the Boers from further interference with the line of communication. Consequently the next morning, the 8th of February, he marched with five companies of the second battalion of the 60th Regiment, four guns and thirty-eight men of the Mounted Squadron. The force crossed the river Ingogo, then only knee-deep, and gained a plateau in shape like an inverted L, the base being the side nearest Newcastle. On arrival here an orderly suddenly reported that the enemy, concealed among boulders and large blocks of granite, was waiting in great force. Almost immediately afterwards about a hundred mounted Boers became visible on the right. The order was given to prepare for action, and, just as the guns were on the point of firing, the Boers wheeled round and went off. They galloped away to the bottom of the ravine, followed by a shell which, unfortunately, burst beyond them. The Rifles were also firing, but unsuccessfully, at the retreating riders. Soon it became apparent, however, that the British party was surrounded on all sides by the enemy, who were comfortably screened by the tall tambookie grass and the immense boulders that were to be found in clumps all round the position. Our men were also hiding behind rocks and boulders, and firing whenever a Boer head became visible. Soon after, the engagement opened in earnest. A hot fire was kept up by the 9-pounder in charge of Lieutenant Parsons, R.A., to which the enemy replied, directly the gun was discharged, by a hail of bullets aimed at the gunners while they reloaded.

In order to rout the Boers from their cover, an order was given to the mounted men to charge. At that moment the Boers fired a heavy volley, which incapacitated most of the horses and forced Major Brownlow to retire to the plateau. Fortunately only one of the men was wounded. The artillerymen now suffered considerably, having no shelter but the doubtful shelter of their guns, which afforded a convenient mark for the Boers. As soon as the General, who was going from point to point with his usual coolness, saw the state of affairs—ammunition and even gunners having run short—he sent to Mount Prospect camp for reinforcements. Still the fight continued. The Boers now steadily and surely crept to close quarters, while the British columns became momentarily thinner[Pg 85] and thinner. Yet every man continued to hold his ground till hopelessly struck down. Hopelessly is a word used advisedly, for many who were struck down rose several times and continued to fire till mortally wounded.

Of the splendid gallantry of the force it is impossible to say enough. The fighting continued for six terrible hours through rain that fell literally in torrents, in an arena where wounded and dying lay thick, their despairing cries mingling with the continued growl of thunder interspersed with the roar of artillery. Then a white flag was displayed by the Boers. But, when the Rev. Mr. Ritchie in return displayed the British white flag, he was instantly fired upon. The object of the use of the white flag on the part of the Boers was to enable them to take advantage of the temporary inaction to make rushes to cover nearer to the British lines than that they had previously occupied! The fighting began, and, for the small body of British troops, continued disastrously. At last, when darkness came on, both sides were forced to cease firing. Now and then, only when a flash of lightning lit up the terrible scene, the firing of bullets demonstrated that the Boers were still thoroughly on the alert.

The darkness descended, and in the middle of the pouring rain and the murky obscurity the noble British dead were counted. The wounded were also tended as well as it was possible to tend them when water and restoratives were wanting, and the only relieving moisture had to be sucked from the storm-drenched grass. Finally, the General, viewing the deplorable state of the men, decided to withdraw the force from the field. It was plain that any renewal of attack on the morrow by the reinforced Boers could but mean annihilation or surrender. So the remnants of the force started on their return journey. This was now a terrible task, the Ingogo, which had been crossed at knee-depth, had swollen dangerously; the gentle stream had become a torrent. The bed of the river being full of holes, it was in some places some ten to twelve feet deep.

Of the perils by field and flood it would be impossible to speak at length. Mr. Carter, who was present at the melancholy fight and a witness of all connected with the reverse, gives in his wonderful narrative of the Boer war an interesting description of the misery of that return march:—

"Knowing that moments were precious in the then state of the river, I went ahead with the advance guard and crossed the stream; it was then nearly up to my armpits, and running very swiftly. By holding my rifle aloft, I managed to keep it dry, but every cartridge in my pockets was under water. Only with the greatest care, and thanks to a knowledge of the whereabouts of the treacherous hole[Pg 86] in the drift, did I manage to keep on my legs. On gaining the opposite bank, I scooped up and drained off a helmetful of the precious fluid, and then urging on through the next ford—an insignificant one compared to the first—gained admission at Fermistone's hotel, after being duly cross-questioned through the keyhole of the door. Some hot tea and whisky was recommended by the host, and palatable it was. In a short time the other "Correspondent" arrived, minus his rifle. He had been carried down the stream like a cork, and only saved from drowning by being washed against some reeds at a bend of the river. He decided that he had had enough of the march for that night, and elected to go to bed. Next came in the General, and a gentleman who claimed to be a surgeon (a Transvaal surgeon) escaped from the Boer lines. He had been allowed free access to the camp at Mount Prospect, and had accompanied the Ingogo expedition, but not as a surgeon. From the General I learnt that there had been some men washed down the stream in spite of the precaution adopted of joining hands."

The return to camp was still more trying. The roads were slippery as glass, and men and horses, thoroughly worn out, dropped exhausted by the way. But it is needless to dwell on this melancholy event—an event rendered so much more melancholy by regret for sublime effort wasted in the support of a Government that was at that very moment entertaining the proposals for craven surrender.


On Sunday, the 27th of February, Sir George Colley made his last move. During the afternoon of the previous day the General, who was a great theorist, had been cogitating some scheme which he only communicated to Colonel Stewart, and to one or two others. No sooner had "lights out" been sounded, than an order was passed round for detachments of the 58th, third battalion of the 60th Rifles, Naval Brigade, and Highlanders, to parade with three days' rations. Then the order came that the force was to form up by the redoubt nearest the main road on their left. At ten a start was made, the General and staff riding in front, with the 58th leading, followed by the 60th, and the Naval Brigade in the rear. The direction taken was straight up the Inguela Mountain. Arrived on a plateau about half-way up, the troops proceeded by a path, narrow almost as a sheep path, which winds across the steepest part of the mountain. Great boulders edged the hillside, and masses of rock hung perpendicularly above the surface of the ground. One false step and the climber would have been hurled down some thirty feet,[Pg 87] to be dashed to pieces against the stones, or entangled in the bush. This march was conducted in strict silence, no voice being raised, and indeed not a breath more than was required for climbing expended. Men and officers, all were bent on the one great feat of mounting and gaining the summit. The march continued over loose stones, and boulders and obstacles multifarious—sometimes round wrong tracks, owing to mistakes of the guide, and sometimes over grass and glassy slopes, where a man could make progress merely by means of hands and knees. Thus the force stealthily ascended, creeping up in ones and twos, the General and staff leading the way in ever-increasing darkness and silence.

So heavy was the work of ascent that, when at last they reached the top, the troops almost dropped from exhaustion. It was this exhaustion that is said by some to have influenced the General's plans, but others declare that he was not likely so to be influenced. Instead of attempting at once to throw up a rough entrenchment, he refused to permit it, declaring that the men were already over fatigued. A slight entrenchment might have made all the difference in the sad history of Majuba, but the General gave no orders to entrench, and thus the troops were left open to the enemy.

At early dawn, on looking towards the Nek, it was obvious that a large Boer force was there congregated, while at the base of the mountain was the right flank of the Dutch camp. Gazing down from the great height which had been so perseveringly gained, all hearts warmed with a glow of triumph and of anticipation. The rocket tubes and Gatlings would soon arrive, and then those below would be awakened to the tune of the guns! From their point of vantage it seemed as though the British had the Boers at their mercy.

The hilltop of Majuba was hollowed out basinwise, and there seemed only a necessity to line the rim of it in the event of a rush from the enemy. But the suspicion that the Boers would creep from ridge to ridge, and mount the crest, never dawned on any one. In the dense darkness it was impossible to become acquainted with the nature of all sides of the hill, and the troops imagined them all to be equally impregnable.

Mr. Carter, who was there, says that at this time some twenty Highlanders stood on the ridge watching the lights of the enemy, and pointing to the camp below them, and laughingly repeating their challenge, "Come up here, you beggars." They never imagined it would be possible for them indeed to come! He further states his belief that the reason why no entrenchments were attempted was that every staff officer on Majuba felt certain "that the Boers would never face the hill—entrenchments or no entrenchments on the summit—as long as the British soldier was there." For this[Pg 88] almost fatuous belief in their own security these gallant soldiers were destined to pay heavily.

So soon as daylight served to show our troops standing against the sky-line, the enemy began to advance at the base of the mountain. The first shot on that eventful day was fired at a Boer scout by Lieutenant Lucy of the 58th, but the General, hearing it, sent word to "stop that firing." Silence again reigned. But in the meantime the Boers were crawling cautiously up the hill after leaving their horses safely under cover. About 6 a.m. they opened a steady fire, to which the British troops responded cordially. The Boer bullets, though doubling those of the British, did little damage, as the troops were partially sheltered within the basin of the hilltop. Thus the fight continued till nine, none of the officers at that time even suspecting that the enemy would venture to "rush" their stronghold. No one was wounded, and nothing was to be seen on any side of the hill, as the Boers kept closely under cover. At this juncture many men, worn out and fatigued, laid themselves down to sleep. Suddenly Lieutenant Lucy appeared asking for reinforcements, and saying that the fire was "warming up" in his direction. Some minutes later the General, who was perpetually moving round the line, cool, collected, and calculating as ever, flashed a message to Mount Prospect camp, ordering the 60th Rifles to be sent from Newcastle to his support.

Later the General espied two Boers within 600 yards or so of him mounting the ravine, and pointed them out. He had scarcely done this when Commander Romilly fell. This gallant sailor was deservedly popular, and gloom suddenly spread over the hitherto cheerful force. Still, no one dreamed that the Boers would really get to close quarters. The first awakening came when the firing, which had been till then in single shots, poured upwards in volleys. From the sound it was evident that the enemy was much nearer than had been supposed. The Highlanders, who were facing this unexpected fusillade, were soon reinforced by the reserves which had been ordered to their assistance.


The 58th, 92nd, and Naval Brigade disappeared over the ridge to meet the enemy, and vigorously returned their fire. For one moment that of the Boers appeared to slacken; then suddenly there came a precipitate retreat of our men, the officers shouting, "Rally on the right! rally on the right!" This order was obeyed, the troops describing a semicircle and coming back to the ridge to a point at left of that from which they had been so suddenly driven. But the momentary retreat had been demoralising. At this standpoint the men had become hopelessly mixed up—sailors, Highlanders, and 58th men all in a wild melee. Over this hetero[Pg 89]geneous mass the officers had lost their personal influence. While order was being restored the Boer firing ceased. The pause was just sufficient to allow breathing time, for they almost instantaneously reopened with redoubled vigour. Their shooting was scarcely successful, but a hail of lead from the upturned muzzles of rifles continued to traverse the thirty yards which now separated the foes. The enemy numbered only about 200, but they hoped by rapidity of fire to hold the British in check till their comrades should come to the rescue. Mr. Carter thus graphically describes what was really the last despairing effort of our men:—

"The order was given in our lines, 'Fix bayonets,' and immediately the steel rang from the scabbard of every man, and flashed in the bright sunlight the next second on the muzzle of every rifle.[Pg 90] 'That's right!' cheerily called Major Fraser. 'Now, men of the 92nd, don't forget your bayonets!' he added, with marked emphasis on the word bayonets. It was the bayonet or nothing now, and the officer's words sent quite a pleasant thrill through all. Colonel Stewart immediately added, 'And the men of the 58th!' 'And the Naval Brigade!' sang out another officer, Captain MacGregor, I think. 'Show them the cold steel, men! that will check them,' continued Fraser, whilst volley after volley came pouring in, and volley after volley went in the direction of the enemy. But why this delay? The time we were at this point I cannot judge, except by personally recalling incidents in succession. When the bayonets rang into the rifle-sockets simultaneously with the reopening of the Boers' volleys, I felt convinced that in two minutes that murderous fire would be silenced, and our men driving the foe helter-skelter down hill. After the bayonets had been drawn and fixed, and remained fixed, our men still firing for at least four or five minutes, and no order came to 'charge,' I changed my opinion suddenly."

Here we may imagine the agony—hope, doubt, suspense—that passed like a lightning flash through the minds of all who were present.

The uproar at this time grew appalling. Commands of the officers, the crash of shot, the shrieks of the wounded, all helped to aggravate the din. Boers were fast climbing the mountain sides, and the troops, worn out and almost expended, were beginning to lose the spirit of discipline that hitherto had sustained them. The officers stepped forward boldly, sword in one hand and revolver in the other, but to no purpose. Only an insignificant number of men now responded to the command.



Drawn by R. Caton Woodville, from Notes supplied by Officers present.

The officer to the left, with the glass in his hand, is General Colley, who, to facilitate his ascent of the hill, took off his boots, and, during the engagement, wore only socks and slippers. He, with others, is urging the soldiers to maintain their position. The Highlander with the bandage on his face was wounded, but bravely continued to fight. The Highlander on the right, apparently asleep, was shot dead while taking aim. The officer in the immediate foreground towards the right, to whom the doctor is offering a flask, is Major L. C. Singleton, of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, who died of his wounds. The figure pressing forward on the extreme left of the picture is the Special Correspondent of the Standard newspaper.

Mr. Carter declares that when Lieutenant Hamilton of the 92nd asked Sir George Colley's permission to charge with the bayonet, he replied, "Wait a while." Such humanity was almost inhumanity, for waiting placed at stake many lives that might have been saved. The correspondent says:—

"Evidently Sir George Colley allowed his feelings of humanity to stand in the way of the request of the young officer. We were forty yards at the farthest from the enemy's main attacking party. In traversing these forty yards our men would have been terribly mauled, no doubt, by the first volley, but the ground sloped gently to the edge of the terrace along which the enemy were lying, and the intervening space would be covered in twenty seconds—at all events, so rapidly by the survivors of the first volley, that the Boers, mostly armed with the Westley-Richards cap rifle, would not have had time to reload before our men were on them. I am not sure that the first rush of the infantry would not have demoralised the[Pg 91] enemy, and that their volley would have been less destructive than some imagined. If only a score of our men had thrust home, the enemy must have been routed. At a close-quarter conflict, what use would their empty rifles have been against the bayonets of our men, who would have had the additional advantage of the higher ground? If the bayonet charge was impracticable at that moment, then, as an offensive weapon, the bayonet is a useless one, and the sooner it is discarded as unnecessary lumber to a soldier's equipment the better. It was our last chance now, though a desperate one, because these withering volleys were laying our men prostrate; slowly in comparison with the number of shots fired, but surely, despite our shelter. Some out of the hail of bullets found exposed victims. In a few seconds our left flank, now practically undefended, and perfectly open to the Boers scaling the side of the mountain in that direction, would be attacked with the same fury as our front.

"Looking to the spot Cameron had indicated as the one where the General stood, I saw his Excellency standing within ten paces directing some men to extend to the right. It was the last time I saw him alive."

It is unnecessary to dwell further on the tragic events of that unlucky battle. After midday our troops retreated, and the retreat soon became a rout. At this time Sir George Colley was shot. Dismay seized all hearts, followed by panic. The British soldiers rushed helter-skelter down the precipitous steeps they had so cheerfully climbed the night before, many of them losing their lives in their efforts to escape from the ceaseless fire of the now triumphant enemy.




Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.

Before leaving this sad subject, it may be interesting to note a Boer account of the day's doings which is related by Mr. Rider Haggard in his useful book on "The Last Boer War":—

"A couple of months after the storming of Majuba, I, together with a friend, had a conversation with a Boer, a volunteer from the Free State in the late war, and one of the detachment that stormed Majuba, who gave us a circumstantial account of the attack with the greatest willingness. He said that when it was discovered that the English had possession of the mountain, he thought that the game was up, but after a while bolder counsels prevailed, and volunteers were called for to storm the hill. Only seventy men could be found to perform the duty, of whom he was one. They started up the mountain in fear and trembling, but soon found that every shot passed over their heads, and went on with greater boldness. Only three men, he declared, were hit on the Boer side; one was killed, one was hit in the arm, and he himself was the third, getting his[Pg 92] face grazed by a bullet, of which he showed us the scar. He stated that the first to reach the top ridge was a boy of twelve, and that as soon as the troops saw them they fled, when, he said, he paid them out for having nearly killed him, knocking them over one after another 'like bucks' as they ran down the hill, adding that it was 'alter lecker' (very nice)."

A complete and reliable narrative of affairs on that fateful day in the ridge below Majuba was given in the Army and Navy Gazette. It is here reproduced, as it shows the finale from the point of view of an eye-witness of one of the most lamentable fights known in British history. The correspondent says:—

"As our mysterious march on the night of the 26th February began, two companies of the 60th Rifles, under the command of Captains C. H. Smith and R. Henley, were detached from General Colley's small column, and left on the Imquela Mountain. These companies received no orders, beyond that they were to remain there. The rest of the column then marched into the dark night on their unknown mission, our destination being guessed at, but not announced. The road was rough, and at some places little better than a beaten track, and the men found it hard to pick their steps among the loose stones and earth mounds. But all were cheerful and ready for their work. The ridge at the foot of the heights was reached at about midnight, and here the column made a brief halt, to allow of one company of the 92nd (which had lost its touch) coming up. Here one company of the 92nd Highlanders, under Captain P. F. Robertson, was detailed to proceed with Major Fraser, R.E., to a spot about one hundred yards distant, General Colley himself giving the order that they were to remain there, 'to dig as good a trench as time would permit of,' and further to select a good position to afford cover for the horses and ammunition, &c., that were to be left in charge of the detachment. They were also desired to throw out sentries in the direction of the camp, also a patrol of four men, with a non-commissioned officer, to watch the beaten track along which we had just come, and to act as guides for a company of the 60th Rifles expected from camp to reinforce the Highlanders on the ridge. These orders having been given, the column again moved off, leaving the Highlanders to make their arrangements.

"The men had a brief rest after their walk, and then, assisted by their officers—Captain P. F. Robertson and Lieutenant G. Staunton—began the work of making their entrenchments. At about 5 a.m. the expected company of the 60th Rifles arrived, under the command of Captain E. Thurlow and Second Lieutenants C. B. Pigott and H. G. L. Howard. Surgeon-Major Cornish also accompanied this detachment, with some mules laden with hospital requirements. Captain Thurlow, who had received no orders, and who had brought out his men without either their greatcoats or their rations, joined the Highlanders in their entrenchments. They had to work hard, so as to complete their work rapidly, and consequently the men had little or no rest that night. At about 6 a.m. we were visited by Commissariat-General J. W. Elmes, who was returning to the camp, and promised to send out the 60th their rations. Shortly afterwards a conductor named Field arrived with a led mule, laden with stores, &c., for the staff. He was hurrying on to try and[Pg 93] reach the summit of the hill before day. Doubts were expressed as to the advisability of his going on alone; but he had his orders, he said (about the only man who had that day!), and so he went on his way. About an hour afterwards a shot was heard, and we afterwards learnt that the conductor had been wounded, and he and his mule taken prisoners! By this time the day had quite broken, the heavy curtain of the night had rolled away, and disclosed before us the rugged and precipitous ascent to the Majuba Mountain, which stood directly in front of us, about 1400 yards distant. It stood out in bold relief against a blue-grey sky, and on the summit, and against the sky, the figures of men could be distinctly seen passing to and fro. These were only discernible with the aid of field-glasses, and at that time no great certainty was felt as to their being our own men.

"Away to the south of us, in the direction of the camp, sloped the Imquela Mountain. The glasses were brought to bear on this spot also, where a man was detected signalling with a flag. The officer commanding our party (Captain Robertson, 92nd) then signalled the question, 'Who are you?' and the answer returned was, 'We are two companies of the 60th Rifles, who have been left here all night.' A second message was then sent, asking what their orders were, and the reply returned was, 'None.' Their position was consequently much the same as ours. All the morning our sentries heard occasional shots, and from time to time were seen small bodies of mounted Boers galloping to and fro near our entrenchments, seemingly to reconnoitre our position. At about eleven o'clock we were joined by a troop of the 15th Hussars, who had just come from the camp, bringing with them the rations for the 60th Rifles. This troop was commanded by Captain G. D. F. Sulivan, and accompanied by Second Lieutenant Pocklington and Lieutenant H. C. Hopkins, 9th Lancers, attached. Captain Sulivan, having received no orders, remained with our party, dismounting his men, and placing them under cover on the slope, just in rear of our entrenchment. For an hour or two afterwards all remained perfectly quiet. The distant figures on the summit of the Majuba Hill could still be seen passing and repassing against the grey sky. We had come to the definite conclusion that they were our own men, entrenching themselves on the top of the mountain. They had gained by strategy a strong position; but could they hold it? Even then the question was mooted. All at once, while we were quietly waiting, a continuous and heavy firing broke out on the mountain. We saw the blue smoke rolling across the still sky; we saw an evident stir and excitement among the party on the hill. What was it? Were they attacked, or attacking? Volley after volley rolled forth; it was a heavy and continuous fire, never ceasing for a moment. All glasses were brought to bear on the mountain, and every eye was strained to catch a sight of what was going on. After a few minutes the figure of a man hurrying down towards us was visible—a wounded man, no doubt—and a mounted Hussar was sent out to bring him in. He proved to be a wounded man of the 58th, and from him we learnt something of the disaster which had befallen our column. The General was dead, lying on his back, with a bullet through his head. Our men were nearly all either wounded or taken prisoners. The hilltop was covered with the bodies of the brave fellows, who had fought to the last. Even while he spoke we could see the desperate retreat had begun, and a few desperate figures were seen struggling down among the stones and boulders. Our men were flying, there was no doubt about that now. In a few minutes the enemy would be upon us, but we were prepared for them. I never saw men steadier or more[Pg 94] prepared to fight, although, as I glanced round, I felt how hopeless such a fight would be. My fear, however, did not seem to be participated in by either officers or men, for Captain Robertson (the officer in command) at once began his preparation for a determined resistance. The ammunition boxes were opened, and placed at equal convenient distances all round the entrenchment. Half the entrenchment was manned by the Highlanders, and the other half by Rifles. These preparations were quietly and promptly made. The men were silent, but steady. Looking round, every face was set with a grave determination 'to do,' and there was not a word audible as the orders were spoken and the commands obeyed. The low (and to an experienced eye) fragile turf walls that were to offer shelter seemed but poor defences, now that they were to be tried. They were only about four feet high by two feet thick, with one exit at the rear, and could never have stood before a fire such as was even now pouring down the slope of Majuba. The wounded were now being brought in rapidly by our mounted Hussars, who did their work steadily. Some of the poor fellows were terribly wounded, and though Surgeon-Major Cornish did his best for them unassisted, many had to lie unattended to in their suffering. All brought the same bitter news of defeat and annihilation, not very reassuring to our little force, which was now about to take its part in the day's engagement. As suddenly as it began, the firing as suddenly ceased; and we knew that the dreadful task of clearing the heights was done, and our resistance about to begin. We could see the Boers clustering like a swarm of bees at the edge of our ridge. Every moment we expected a rush and an attack. But they hesitated. They were waiting—waiting for the party of some 600 or 700 mounted Boers, who presently appeared upon our left flank. Our entrenchment was now almost surrounded. The mounted Boers were the first to attack us on our left flank, and their fire was spiritedly replied to by the Rifles. At this moment, and while we were actually engaging our enemy, the order came from the camp desiring Captain Robertson to retreat his force without delay. No such easy matter now, for the order came almost too late; the Boers were within easy range of us, and determined to attack. Nevertheless, in the same orderly and steady manner in which the preparations for defence had been made, the preparations for retreat were begun. Much credit is due to Captains Robertson and Thurlow for the energetic manner in which they helped to load the mules, securing a safe retreat for the ammunition and stores, and then assisting Surgeon-Major Cornish to get off the wounded. All this time we were under fire, and it was while retreating that poor Cornish was killed. When our little entrenchment had been cleared of its stores, the real retreat began, made under a murderous fire, which followed us as we hurried down the steep slope into the ravine below. Captain Sulivan, with his troop of Hussars, was placed on the right flank to try and cover the retreat in that direction. By this time the Boers had partially occupied our entrenchment, having broken down its defences easily enough. And we had scarcely retreated down the steep slope and into the ravine before they occupied the ridge above us in hundreds, sending volley after volley after our retreating men. It was a case now of sauve qui peut, and to me the only marvel is how we lost so few under the circumstances. Our casualties were four killed (including Surgeon-Major Cornish), eleven wounded, and twenty-two prisoners. The Highlanders suffered the most. The officers were the last to leave the ridge. I saw Captain Robertson standing on the crest of the slope giving some final directions just a moment before the ridge was entirely covered by the Boers, and[Pg 95] his escape consequently was almost a miraculous one. I was in the ravine before I heard our artillery open fire upon the Boers. Second-Lieutenant Staunton, 92nd Highlanders, was taken prisoner. We were never joined by the two companies of the Rifles who were left on the Imquela Mountain the night before, nor did I see them under fire at any part of the day. Thus ended our brief battle, and only those who took part in it can tell the bitterness of having to retreat, utterly routed and defeated as we were."


As may be remembered, Sir Owen Lanyon's proclamation announcing martial law was read, and the town handed over to the military government. Colonel Gildea (introduced by Colonel Bellairs) acted as Commandant of the Garrison, Major F. Mesurier, R.E., was in charge of the Infantry Volunteers, and Captain Campbell, 94th Regiment, filled the post of Provost-Marshal. Sympathisers with the Boers were ordered to leave the place on pain of being handed over to the Provost-Marshal to be dealt with by military law.

It was decided to evacuate the town, and form two laagers, one at the camp, and one between the Roman Catholic church and the jail. In the camp the women and children were to be placed, while the Infantry Volunteers garrisoned the convent laager. Within the convent, women and children were packed tightly as sardines, while the nuns turned out on errands of mercy. All night and all day, scarcely stopping to eat a mouthful, men worked, sandbagging windows and doors—building barricades and defences of various kinds. Waggons were sent round to gather all families within the shelter of the camp. Rich and poor, good and bad, some 4000 souls, were herded together in tents for their protection. Here they remained for three months, enduring hardships of the most variegated and worrying kind, and loyally waiting for the relieving column that never came.

Descriptions of the rations served out to each man daily are not appetising: Bread, 114 lb., or biscuit, 1 lb.; coffee, 23 oz.; sugar, 212 oz.; meat, 114 lb.; tea, 16 oz.; and salt, 12 oz. These were reduced as the siege proceeded. The meat was trek beef, a leathery substitute for steak, and the biscuits were veterans, having "served" in the Zulu and Sekukuni campaigns, and now being nothing better than a swarm of weevils. Life in Pretoria was enlivened by occasional sorties against the Boer laagers, where the enemy was supposed to number some 800 strong. The laagers were distributed at distances of four and eight miles from the town, and were connected by a system of patrolling, which rendered communication from within or without almost impossible. A few messengers (natives) occasionally came[Pg 96] into the town, but these were mostly charged with the delivery of delusive messages invented for special purposes by the Boers. There was an ever-present difficulty—that of keeping the natives in check. Many examples of Boer cruelty to these poor blacks are recorded, and they naturally shuddered at the prospect of once more being delivered over to the rule of the sjambok.

Mr. H. Shepstone, the Secretary for native affairs, took immense pains to keep things quiet among the various chiefs. He said he had but to lift his little finger, and the Boers would not hold the field for a couple of days. Almost every native he knew would be in arms, and by sheer weight of numbers would overpower the Boers. Several of the chiefs sheltered refugees, and Montsiwe gathered his force in the hope that he would be allowed to come to the relief of Potchefstroom. Government reports regarding the loyalty of the natives were numerous, and the natives' longing to come to the assistance of the British in fighting their ancient oppressors was obvious. The subsequent desertion of these people whom Great Britain had taken under her wing, is one of the most grievous of the many grievous things that accrued from the exercise of British "magnanimity." Sir Morrison Barlow and Sir Evelyn Wood both agreed that the natives were "British to a man!" They were thoroughly sick of Boer cruelty, and the Kaffirs and Basutos had learnt to look to Great Britain for a reign of peace. Rather than again be ruled by the Boer despots, they were ready to spill the last drop of their blood, and only the high principled, almost quixotic action of the British officials prevented the utilisation in extremity of this massive and effective weapon of defence. Besides the garrison in Pretoria there were other forts defended by soldiers and loyalists, forts which were none of them taken by the enemy. These were Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, Sydenburg, Marabastad, and Wakkerstroom. The fort of Potchefstroom was surrendered during the armistice by fraudulent representations on the part of the Boers.

The absorbing topic of the time was naturally the future of the Transvaal. Hope warmed all hearts and helped every one to keep up a fictitious air of cheerfulness. All thought that the rebellion would serve to strengthen the British in their determination to establish an effectual Government in the country and promote an enduring peace. The suspicion that the territory would be given back would have come on these hoping, waiting, and longing sufferers like a blast from the pole. Fortunately it was not given to them to foresee the humiliating end of their staunch endurance. Anathemas long and deep were sounded at the mention of Dr. Jorissen, who was looked upon as the fuse which set alight the rebellious temper of the Boers.

General Sir EVELYN WOOD, G.C.B., V.C.

General Sir EVELYN WOOD, G.C.B., V.C.

Photo by Maull & Fox, London.

The enemy, however, never directly attacked the town. They contented themselves with attempting to steal cattle and skirmishing, and generally harassing those within. Such fights as these were mainly due to British initiative, and these were not fraught with success to us. Of this period it is pitiful to write. British valour and endurance were exhibited to the uttermost, and many gallant actions at different sorties might be recorded. So also might be given, did space allow, many instances of Boer cunning and Boer treachery—notably the acts of firing on the flag of truce, and on ambulance waggons. There can be no doubt that the firing on the flag of truce by the Boers was intentional. Their own explanation of the cause of this uncivilised proceeding may be taken for what it is worth. It appears that their troops were divided in opinion—that one party wished to continue fighting while another wished to surrender. Hence the exhibition of double-dealing which had so confounding an effect on their enemies, and so convenient a one for themselves. The Boers on the Majuba Hill fired on a flag of truce, the attack at Bronker's Spruit was made under cover of the white flag, and delay at Ingogo, to cover their movement from shelter, was gained by means of the same vile expedient.

When the news of the British reverses at Laing's Nek and Majuba reached Pretoria there was general consternation. But, as yet, none knew of the crushing blow that was still in store. On the 28th, 102 days after the hoisting of the Republican flag at Heidelberg, there came the almost incredible news that a peace had been concluded involving the surrender of the Transvaal to the Boers. At first it seemed impossible that the British Government could have consented to leave its loyal supporters in the terrible position in which they now found themselves. All who had sat patiently through trouble and trial, working with might and main, suffering from endless ills, in peril of their lives, and deprived of property and home, now joined in one heartrending wail of woe and disappointment. The consternation that followed the announcement of the ignoble surrender is thus described by Mr. Nixon, who was an eye-witness and sharer of the general grief and humiliation:—

"The scene which ensued baffles description. The men hoisted the colours half-mast high. The Union Jack was pulled down and dragged through the mud. The distinctive ribbons worn round the hats of the men as badges were pulled off and trampled underfoot. I saw men crying like children with shame and despair. Some went raving up and down that they were Englishmen no longer; others, with flushed and indignant faces, sat contemplating their impending ruin, 'refusing to be comforted.' It was a painful, distressing, and humiliating scene, and such as I hope never to witness again. While[Pg 98] I write, the remembrance of it comes vividly before me; and as I recall to mind the weeping men and women, the infuriated volunteers, and the despairing farmers and storekeepers, half crazy with the sense of wounded national honour, and the prospect of loss and ruin before them, my blood boils within me, and I cannot trust myself to commit to paper what I think. The lapse of two years has but deepened the feeling which I then experienced. The subject may perhaps be only unpleasant to people at home, but to me personally, who have seen the ruin and dismay brought upon the too credulous loyalists, the recollections it stirs up are more bitterly mortifying than words can describe."

Mr. Rider Haggard, who at this time was at Newcastle, has also recorded his experiences on the unhappy occasion. He says:—"Every hotel and bar was crowded with refugees who were trying to relieve their feelings by cursing the name of Gladstone with a vigour, originality, and earnestness that I have never heard equalled; and declaring in ironical terms how proud they were to be citizens of England—a country that always kept its word. Then they set to work with many demonstrations of contempt to burn the effigy of the right honourable gentleman at the head of her Majesty's Government, an example, by the way, that was followed throughout South Africa." Talking of the loyal inhabitants in the Transvaal on whom the news burst 'like a thunderbolt,' he explains that they did not say much—because there was nothing to be said! They simply packed up their portable goods and chattels, and made haste to leave the country, "which they well knew would henceforth be utterly untenable for Englishmen and English sympathisers." Here was another great trek—a pathetic exodus of British loyalists whom Great Britain had betrayed. Away they went, these poor believing and deceived people, to try and make new homes and new fortunes, for as soon as the Queen's sovereignty was withdrawn houses and land were not worth a song, and their chances of earning a living were now entirely over, on account of their mistaken loyalty.

The condition of the town is thus described in a journal of the period:—

"The streets grown over with rank vegetation; the water-furrows unclean and unattended, emitting offensive and unhealthy stenches; the houses showing evident signs of dilapidation and decay; the side paths, in many places, dangerous to pedestrians—in fact, everything the eye can rest upon indicates the downfall which has overtaken this once prosperous city. The visitor can, if he be so minded, betake himself to the outskirts and suburbs, where he will perceive the same sad evidences of neglect, public grounds unattended, roads uncared for, mills and other public works[Pg 99] crumbling into ruin. These palpable signs of decay most strongly impress him. A blight seems to have come over this lately fair and prosperous town. Rapidly it is becoming a 'deserted village,' a 'city of the dead.'"


The Government, through the medium of the Queen's Speech, had announced its intention of vindicating her Majesty's authority in the Transvaal. This was in January 1881. About that time President Brand, of the Orange Free State, formed himself into a species of Board of Arbitration between the contending parties—Boers and British. The reason for this intervention was threefold—first, he genuinely desired to avoid further bloodshed; second, he as genuinely hoped, under a mask of neutrality, to advance the Dutch cause throughout South Africa; and third, he amicably wished to put himself in the good graces of the British Government. Prior to General Colley's death Mr. Brand had urged him to allow peace to be made, and to guarantee the Boers not being treated as rebels if they submitted. General Colley was no quibbler with words. He would give no such assurance. He proposed, in a telegram to the Colonial Secretary, to publish an amnesty on entering the Transvaal to all peaceable persons—excepting one or two prominent rebels. On the 8th of February (the day of the battle of the Ingogo), a telegram was received from home, promising a settlement upon the Boers ceasing from armed opposition. This showed that the Government had early begun to put their foot on the first rung of the ladder of disgrace—it can be called by no other term—and that the "climb-down" policy was already coming into practice. An unfortunate game at cross-purposes seems to have been going on, for Mr. Brand was proposing to Lord Kimberley that Sir H. de Villiers—the Chief-Justice of the Cape, should be appointed as Commissioner to go to the Transvaal to arrange matters, while at the same time Sir George Colley was telegraphing a plan to be adopted on entering the Transvaal, a plan which should grant a complete amnesty only to Boers who would sign a declaration of loyalty.

Lord Kimberley welcomed the suggestion of Mr. Brand, and agreed, if only the Boers would disperse, to appoint a Commission with power to "develop the permanent friendly scheme"; and "that, if this proposal is accepted, you now are authorised to agree to suspension of hostilities on our part." At the same time the War Office informed General Colley that the Government did not bind his discretion, but was anxious to avoid effusion of blood. Lord[Pg 100] Kimberley's telegram was forwarded to Colley and to Joubert. Colley was dumfounded. He telegraphed back: "There can be no hostilities if no resistance is made; but am I to leave Laing's Nek in Natal territory in Boer occupation, and our garrisons isolated and short of provisions—or occupy former and relieve latter?"

Lord Kimberley's reply was characteristically ambiguous. The garrisons were to be left free to provision themselves, but Sir George was not to march to the relief of garrisons or occupy Laing's Nek if an arrangement were proceeding.

Meanwhile President Brand and Lord Kimberley held an unctuous telegraphic palaver, which may diplomatically be viewed as the beginning of the end. This humiliating end was hastened by the fiasco of Majuba on the 27th of February, though before it came to pass Sir Frederick Roberts was despatched with reinforcements to Natal. Sir Evelyn Wood assumed temporary command of the forces after Colley's death. Colonel Wood was asked by Lord Kimberley to obtain from Kruger a reply to a letter General Colley had forwarded before Majuba, requesting a reply in forty-eight hours. The reply, an ingenuous one, came on the 7th of March. Kruger was glad to hear that her Majesty's Government were inclined to cease hostilities, and suggested a meeting on both sides. On the 12th of March Lord Kimberley telegraphed to Sir Evelyn Wood, saying that if the Boers would desist from armed opposition, a Commission would be appointed to give the Transvaal complete internal self-government under British suzerainty, with a British Resident to look after the natives.

The Boers at the same time made a communication. They refused to negotiate on the basis of Lord Kimberley's telegram of the 8th, as it would be tantamount to an admission that they were in the wrong. They would accept nothing short of the restoration of the Republic with a British protectorate. This the Home Government accepted, and thus the "climb down" was complete.

On the 23rd of March 1881, Sir Evelyn Wood, under orders from the Ministry, signed a treaty on behalf of the British, while the Boer leaders did the same on behalf of their constituents. By it, the Boers engaged to accept her Majesty as Suzerain "of the Transvaal, with a British Resident in the capital, but to allow the Republic complete self-government, to operate in six months' time. The Suzerain was to have control over the foreign relations of the Transvaal, and a Royal Commission for the protection of the natives and the decision of the boundary of the Republic would be appointed. Persons guilty of acts contrary to laws of civilised warfare were to be punished; and property captured by either party was to be returned." In conclusion, it was arranged that all arms taken by the[Pg 101] British Government when they annexed the country were to be handed back.

The Commission appointed by her Majesty's Government consisted of Sir Hercules Robinson, who replaced Sir Bartle Frere at the Cape; Sir Henry de Villiers, now Chief-Justice of Cape Colony; and Sir Evelyn Wood; President Brand was present in a neutral capacity. Though nominally under the control of the British Government, its actions were pro-Boer. In justice to Sir Evelyn Wood, it is necessary to state that he did no more than obey orders laid down by his Government. Indeed it is said that when he was required to make the disgraceful peace, he called his officers around him, and asked them to witness that he was merely obeying orders, so that in days to come he might not submit a tarnished name to posterity.

Sir Frederick Roberts, on his arrival at Cape Town, was therefore informed that his services were no longer needed. Sir Evelyn Wood retained a force of 12,000 men in Natal, but the Government had decided on peace at any price, and peace was therefore restored.


Of the sufferings of the loyalists we must say little. Suffice it to picture the breaking up of homes gathered together with much patience after years of steady labour; the insults daily endured from a people who now held Great Britain in contempt; the disappointment and indignation, the wretchedness and despair caused to all who had faithfully adhered to the Crown.

A petition was drafted to the House of Commons, but signatures were comparatively few. Many had no hope of redress from Great Britain, others naturally feared further Boer oppression. Some passages of the petition ran thus:—

"That your petitioners believe that the annexation was acquiesced in by a majority of the inhabitants, and was looked upon as an act calculated to create confidence and credit to the country, a belief which is borne out by the fact that almost all the old officials appointed by the former Government, or elected by the people, remained in office under the new Government; and your petitioners further believe, that if the promises expressed and implied in the annexation proclamation had been carried out fully in the spirit of the proclamation, the whole of the inhabitants would, in time, have become loyal subjects of her Majesty.

"That the annexation was followed by an immediate accession of confidence, and it marked the commencement of an era of progress[Pg 102] and advancement, which has steadily increased up to the present time, despite the numerous drawbacks and disadvantages to which the country has been subjected, and some of which have been the result of Imperial action.

"That, notwithstanding the promises expressed and implied in the annexation proclamation, the country has been governed as a Crown Colony, and no opportunity has been afforded to the inhabitants of controlling the policy which has regulated its administration, and your petitioners are in no way responsible for the late lamentable war, or for the disgraceful peace which has concluded it.


"That the value of property increased at least threefold during the English occupation, and that the increase progressed in a ratio corresponding with the reliance placed on the promises of English officials. Indeed, some of your petitioners are prepared to state, on oath if required, that they invested money immediately after or in direct consequence of a statement by a Governor of the Transvaal or a Minister of the British Crown.

"That the towns are almost exclusively inhabited by loyal subjects, and English farmers and traders are scattered all over the country.


"That most of the loyal inhabitants intend to realise their property, even at a sacrifice, and to leave the country, but that those who are compelled by force of circumstances to remain in it will be deprived of the protection and security afforded by English rule, and they respectfully submit they have a right to ask that the fullest and most substantial pledges be exacted from the contemplated Boer Government for their safety, and for the exercise of their privileges as British subjects."

In reference to the unfortunate natives, and the humiliating peace, Mr. Rider Haggard, who had been Shepstone's private secretary, wrote pathetically to Sir Bartle Frere from Newcastle, Natal:—

"June 6, 1881.

"I do not believe that more than half of those engaged in the late rebellion were free agents, though, once forced into committing themselves, they fought as hard as the real malcontents.... The natives are the real heirs to the soil, and should surely have some protection and consideration, some voice in the settlement of their fate. They outnumbered the Boers by twenty-five to one, taking their numbers at a million and those of the Boers at forty thousand,[Pg 103] a fair estimate, I believe.... As the lash and the bullet have been the lot of the wretched Transvaal Kaffir in the past, so they will be his lot in the future.... After leading those hundreds of thousands of men and women to believe that they were once and for ever the subjects of her Majesty, safe from all violence, cruelty, and oppression, we have handed them over without a word of warning to the tender mercies of one, where natives are concerned, of the cruellest white races in the world.

"Then comes the case of the loyal Boers, men who believed us and fought for us, and are now, as a reward for their loyalty, left to the vengeance of their countrymen—a vengeance that will most certainly be wreaked, let the Royal Commission try to temper it as they will.

"Lastly, there are the unfortunate English inhabitants, three thousand of whom were gathered during the siege in Pretoria alone, losing their lives in a forsaken cause. I can assure you, sir, that you must see these people to learn how complete is their ruin. They have been pouring through here, many of those who were well-to-do a few months since, hardly knowing how to find food for their families."

On this subject Colonel Lanyon, who since the first outbreak had been shut up in Pretoria, also wrote tragically:—

"March 29, 1881.

"Last night the saddest news I ever received in my life came in the shape of a letter from Wood.... After three Secretaries of State, three High Commissioners, and two Houses of Commons had said that the country should not be given back, it seems a terrible want of good faith to the loyals that this decision should have been arrived at. The scene this morning was a heart-breaking one; the women, who have behaved splendidly all through the siege, were crying and wringing their hands in their great grief; the children were hushed as if in a chamber of death; and the men were completely bowed down in their sorrow. Well they might, for the news brought home ruin to many, and great loss to all. I am ashamed to walk about, for I hear nothing but reproaches and utterances from heretofore loyal men which cut one to the very quick.... How I am to tell the natives I know not, for they have trusted so implicitly to our promises and assurances.... One man who has been most loyal to us (an Englishman) told me to-day, 'Thank God my children are Afrikanders, and need not be ashamed of their country!'"

The feelings described by Sir Owen were openly echoed by all sensible men who knew anything of the country: they were certain[Pg 104] that it was not within the power of Boer comprehension to understand "magnanimity" in an opponent. To the Boer, as to many an Englishman, this long-sounding word seemed more neatly to be interpreted by the more ugly but concise term "funk."

Sir Bartle Frere, writing of Sir George Colley in a letter to a friend, expressed his opinion roundly:—

"March 31, 1881.

"Let no one ever say that England lost prestige through Sir George Colley. I do not like the word so much as 'character' or 'conduct' which create it. But no country ever lost real prestige through defeat. Nelson, wounded and repulsed at Teneriffe; Grenvil, overpowered and dying on the deck of the Revenge, did as much for England's prestige as Marlborough at Blenheim or Wellington at Waterloo. Sir George Colley miscalculated his own and his enemy's strength, but he had nothing to do with disgraceful surrender, and I am sure had rather be where he now rests than sign a disgraceful peace, which is the only thing that can injure England's prestige."

Mr. R. W. Murray, of the Cape Times, writing to Sir Bartle Frere, thought bitterly indeed.

"Ask your English statesmen," he wrote, "if, in the history of the world, there was ever such a cruel desertion of a dependency by the parent State. How can England hope for loyalty from South Africans? The moral of the Gladstone lesson is, that you may be anything in South Africa but loyal Englishmen."

These letters, taken haphazard from volumes of correspondence on the melancholy event of the time, serve better than the words of an outsider to show the terrible position in which the "magnanimity" of the British Ministers had placed their countrymen. One more extract and we must pass on.



Photo by Gregory & Co. London.

Colonel Lanyon, writing again to Sir Bartle Frere, said:—

"April 26, 1881.

"The Boers are practically dictators, and have been ruling the country in a manner which is simply humiliating to Englishmen. Active persecution is going on everywhere, and consequently all that can are leaving the country. Thirty families have left Pretoria alone; B—— and M—— have left, having been frequently threatened because of their having been members of the Executive, and those two poor fellows J—— and H—— are completely ostracised for the[Pg 105] same reason. They are both ruined men, practically speaking, and all because they trusted to England's assurances and good faith....

"But hard as these cases are, I feel that the natives have had the cruellest measure meted out to them, and they feel it acutely. The most touching and heart-breaking appeals have come from some of the chiefs who live near enough to have heard the news. They ask why they have been thrown over after showing their loyalty by paying their taxes and resisting the demands made upon them by the Boers during hostilities. They point out that we stopped them from helping us, and that, had we not done so, the Boers would have been easily put down. They say that, as we so hindered their action, it is a cruel wrong for us now to hand them back to the care of a race which is more embittered against them than ever, and who have already begun to harass them because of their loyalty. These points are unanswerable, and I do not see how we can reply to them."[Pg 106]



As may be remembered, Sir Evelyn Wood was ordered to conclude an armistice, whereby the troops that had garrisoned the Transvaal might evacuate it. In the case of Potchefstrom, the execution of this design was treacherously prevented by Commandant Cronjé. This officer, after the armistice had been arranged, withheld the news from the garrison, and prevented supplies from reaching the fort. As a natural consequence, he became a national hero, and led the burghers against Dr. Jameson in 1895 and the forces on the Western frontier in 1899.

The armistice was concluded in March 1881, and in August the Convention of Pretoria was signed. Some form of inquiry was held into the conduct of persons who had been guilty of acts contrary to the rules of civilised warfare, but the whole thing proved to be a mere farce; and, as a matter of fact, not one of the perpetrators of murder and other crimes during the course of the war was brought to justice. The Commission insisted on a definite agreement for the purpose of securing British persons from oppressive legislation, but, as we know, Boer promises were as completely pie-crust as Boer contracts were mere waste paper.

At the beginning of June Mr. Gladstone wrote a letter in answer to that received from the loyal inhabitants. In this he said:—

"Her Majesty's Government willingly and thankfully acknowledge the loyal co-operation which her Majesty's forces received at Pretoria and elsewhere by the inhabitants, and we sympathise with the privations and sufferings which they endured. I must, however, observe that so great was the preponderance of the Boers who rose in arms against the Queen's authority that the whole country, except the posts occupied by the British troops, fell at once practically into their hands. Again, the memorialists themselves only estimate the proportion of settlers not Transvaal Boers at one-seventh. Nearly, though not quite, the whole of the Boers have appeared to be united in sentiment, and her Majesty's Government could not deem it their duty to set aside the will of so large a majority by the only possible means, namely, the permanent maintenance of a powerful military[Pg 107] force in the country. Such a course would have been inconsistent alike with the spirit of the Treaty of 1852, with the grounds on which the annexation was sanctioned, and with the general interests of South Africa, which especially require that harmony should prevail between the white races.

"On the other hand, in the settlement which is now in progress, every care will be taken to secure to the settlers, of whatever origin, the full enjoyment of their property, and of all civil rights."

The pledges conveyed in the last sentence received such fulfilment as they were to have by the insertion in the Convention of the following clauses:—

"Article XII.—All persons holding property in the said State, on the 8th day of August 1881, will continue to enjoy the rights of property which they have enjoyed since the annexation. No person who has remained loyal to her Majesty during the recent hostilities shall suffer any molestation by reason of his loyalty, or be liable to any criminal prosecution or civil action for any part taken in connection with such hostilities, and all such persons will have full liberty to reside in the country, with enjoyment of all civil rights, and protection for their persons and property.

"Article XXVI.—All persons, other than natives, conforming themselves to the laws of the Transvaal State (a) will have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the Transvaal State; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops, and premises; (c) they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject, in respect of their persons and property, or in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or may be imposed upon Transvaal citizens."

The Convention itself is now well known, but brief allusion to it may not be out of place. The preamble is important, and runs as follows:—

"Her Majesty's Commissioners for the settlement of the Transvaal territory, duly appointed as such by a Commission passed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet, bearing date the 5th April 1881, do hereby undertake and guarantee, on behalf of her Majesty, that from and after the 8th day of August 1881 complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty of her Majesty, her heirs and successors, will be accorded to the inhabitants of the Transvaal territory, upon the following terms and conditions, and subject to the following reservations and limitations...."

The new State was to be styled "The Transvaal State." A British Resident was appointed, and the right to move British troops[Pg 108] through the State guaranteed. External relations were to be under British control, and intercourse with foreign Powers to be carried on through her Majesty's diplomatic and consular officers. The independence of Swaziland was guaranteed. Article 4 of the Sand River Convention, forbidding slavery, was re-affirmed in Article 16. Natives were to be allowed to acquire land, and to move about the country "as freely as may be consistent with the requirements of public order." Complete freedom of religion was established. Protection to loyalists was guaranteed by the Triumvirate. The British Resident was given wide authority in native affairs; was, in fact, constituted as an official protector of natives. The boundaries of the State were defined, and it engaged not to transgress them.

The government of the country was handed over to the Triumvirate, who engaged to summon a Volksraad as soon as possible. The Volksraad when it assembled, however, was disinclined to ratify the Pretoria Convention. The burghers wanted the Old Republic of the Sand River Convention, and fretted at the idea that they should have agreed to acknowledge British suzerainty. This acknowledgment was made a condition of the grant of autonomy, and the British Resident in Pretoria was to have large powers in the direction of native affairs. The position of the post of British Resident was to be similar to that held by a British Resident in one of the Native States of India. "Africanus," in his useful book on "The Transvaal Boers," thus describes the practical difference between the status of the two officials: "A Resident in an Indian State, though sometimes exposed to the risk of assassination, or of a general mutiny, is known by the inhabitants to have behind him the enormous military force of the Indian Empire, whereas the unhappy Resident at Pretoria was given no means of enforcing any protests which he might be called upon to make. His only course was to report disobedience to the High Commissioner; and if the disobedience was not of such a character as to force the Imperial Government to undertake military measures, it was sure to be overlooked. Thus the Resident, so far from controlling the policy of the Transvaal, was reduced to the position of counsel holding 'a watching brief.'"

As will be seen, the interests of the Uitlanders were protected, but no provision was made by the Convention for future immigrants. Mr. Kruger, whose assurances at the time were believed to be sound, had promised to place them on equal footing with the burghers as regards freedom of trade. His words were: "We make no difference as far as burgher rights are concerned. There may, perhaps, be some slight difference in the case of a young person who has come into the country," but the term "young[Pg 109] person," it was afterwards explained, had no reference to age, but to time of residence in the country.

Mr. Kruger, as leader of the reactionary section of the Boers, finally became the President. The rival of Mr. Kruger was Mr. Joubert, otherwise known as "Slim Piet," on account of his wily ways, and between them from that day up to the present time considerable jealousy existed. They were always of one accord, however, in struggling to slip or squeeze out of any Conventions with the British. The first contravention of treaty engagements was the return of the State to the old title of South African Republic. The Home Government feebly remonstrated—it was too sunk in the slough of "magnanimity" to do more. As a natural result the Boers snapped their fingers at such remonstrances. After taking an inch they helped themselves to an ell! They had engaged to respect boundaries, but soon they began to lap over into Zululand and Bechuanaland.

The Boer process of expansion is simple and time-honoured. A case of spirits is exchanged for the right to graze on land belonging to an independent chief. The cattle graze, the master locates himself. If the intrusion is resented, a campaign follows, and the stronger ousts the weaker. Sometimes the Boer lends his services in warfare to a petty chief, and those services are rewarded with a grant of land.

When the British annexed the Transvaal and conquered Sekukuni, the other chiefs submitted to the British Government. On the resumption of Boer rule, however, the chiefs were inclined to defy their authority. The territories of the Mapoch, Malaboch, and Mpefu were assigned to the Boers by the Convention of 1881, and consequently quarrels began. In 1883 Mapoch broke out against authority, and there was a campaign to subdue him. Malaboch became obstreperous in 1894, and Mpefu followed his example in 1898. Most of the campaigns arose over the refusal to pay the hut tax. Before the Mapoch campaign in 1883 the Volksraad made a change in the terms of the franchise. It may be remembered that for burgher rights a residence of one year in the country and an oath of allegiance were necessary conditions. It was arranged that in future all candidates for citizenship must have resided and been registered in the Field Cornet's lists for five years, and must pay the sum of £25.

About this time Messrs. Kruger, Du Toit, and Smith travelled to England to agitate for a new Convention. The Transvaal Government had "broken the spirit, and even the letter," of the old Convention, and Lord Derby in the House of Lords expressed his opinion that "it would be an easy thing to find a casus belli in what[Pg 110] had taken place." In spite of all this, Mr. Gladstone in 1884 obligingly agreed to a new Convention. By examination of its terms, it will be seen how far and how ignobly the Government went on the road to concession. By this Convention the British Resident was replaced by a diplomatic agent; the old title of South African Republic was restored; the Republic was allowed to negotiate on its own account with foreign Powers, limitations on treaty-making alone being imposed. Complete freedom of religion was promised, and the Republic agreed to "do its utmost" to prevent any of its inhabitants from making any encroachments upon lands beyond the boundaries laid down. Article 14 will be seen to be verbally similar to Article 26 of the Pretoria Convention of 1881, only the words South African Republic being substituted for Transvaal State. Nothing was said about the preamble to the Pretoria Convention or the question of British "suzerainty." The word was omitted from the new text; but it was supposed to be operative as before. Over this matter there has been so much argument that, unless we can devote a volume to solving the Convention riddle, it is best left alone. We must allow that the ambiguity of an already ambiguous Ministry had here reached its climax! Certain it is that the Transvaal representatives returned to inform the Raad that the suzerainty had been abolished, and that statement they were allowed to maintain without contradiction! As a natural consequence of this indecision and weakness on the part of the then Government, subsequent Governments have been placed in an unenviable quandary. The Boers contend that the omission of the word "suzerainty" in 1884 was intentional, and designed to permit the State to style itself an independent Republic, while all level-headed persons are fully aware that no Republic could have been granted complete independence while under a weight of debt for money and blood spent for years and years to save it from collapse and annihilation. Moreover, the guarantee of independence of the Transvaal was so unmistakably a result of suzerainty that the repetition of the word was unnecessary.


Of the man who now began to play so prominent a part on the political stage, the world at that time knew but little. Even now opinions regarding him are many and varied, and it may be interesting to read, in close juxtaposition, sketches of his character and ways which have from time to time been drawn by those who have come in contact with him.[Pg 111]

Perhaps no more impartial sketch can be presented than that of Mr. Distant, a naturalist, who visited the Transvaal about eight years ago. He said:—"President Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger was born on the 10th October 1825, in the district of Colesburg in the Cape Colony, and is without doubt the greatest and most representative man that the Boers have yet produced. Uneducated, or self-educated, he possesses a very large amount of that natural wisdom so often denied to men of great learning and of literary cultivation. With many prejudices, he is fearless, stubborn, and resolute, and he really understands Englishmen little better than they understand him. In his earlier days he has been a somewhat ardent sportsman and a good shot. He has been engaged and honourably mentioned in most of the Kaffir fights of his time.... Socially, he has always lived in a somewhat humble position, and it is to the credit of his nature as a man that he bears not the slightest trace of the parvenu. Plain and undistinguished in appearance, he combines the advantages of a prodigious memory with a remarkable aptitude for reading his fellow-man, and this last quality would be more valuable were it not leavened by a weakness in resisting flattery and adulation. He is very pious and self-reliant, which is provocative of bigotry and hot temper; and surrounded and approached on all sides by clever and often unscrupulous financiers and speculators, his scutcheon has worn wonderfully well, and his character and reputation passed through many fiery ordeals. He is also a rough diplomatist of no mean rank."

The picture is distinctly interesting, but it does Mr. Kruger an injustice. Mr. Distant says that "he understands Englishmen little better than they understand him." Surely this remark is an insult to Mr. Kruger's great sagacity. He long ago "took the measure" of the Englishman, and he has enjoyed himself immensely in seeing how far it was possible—vulgarly speaking—to "try it on" with the British nation. If Mr. Kruger could be induced to write a book entitled "My Life and Games with the British Government for the last Twenty Years," he might afford our politicians some useful and instructive entertainment.

To Mr. Distant's portrait of the President of the South African Republic another and a later one may be appended. It is drawn by the able pen of Mr. Fitzpatrick, the author of "The Transvaal from Within." "In the history of South Africa the figure of the grim old President will loom large and striking—picturesque, as the figure of one who, by his character and will, made and held his people; magnificent, as one who, in the face of the blackest fortune, never wavered from his aim or faltered in his effort; who, with a courage that seemed and still seems fatuous, but which may well be[Pg 112] called heroic, stood up against the might of the greatest empire in the world. And, it may be, pathetic too, as one whose limitations were great, one whose training and associations, whose very successes, had narrowed and embittered and hardened him; as one who, when the greatness of success was his to take and hold, turned his back on the supreme opportunity and used his strength and qualities to fight against the spirit of progress and all that the enlightenment of the age pronounces to be fitting and necessary to good government and a healthy State.

"To an English nobleman who, in the course of an interview, remarked, 'My father was a Minister of England and twice Viceroy of Ireland,' the old Dutchman answered, 'And my father was a shepherd!' It was not pride rebuking pride; it was the ever-present fact which would not have been worth mentioning but for the suggestion of the antithesis. He, too, was a shepherd, and is—a peasant. It may be that he knows what would be right and good for his people, and it may be not; but it is sure that he realises that to educate would be to emancipate; to broaden their views would be to break down the defences of their prejudices; to let in the new leaven would be to spoil the old bread; to give unto all men the rights of men would be to swamp for ever the party which is to him greater than the State. When one thinks of the one-century history of this people, much is seen that accounts for their extraordinary love of isolation, and their ingrained and passionate aversion to control; much, too, that draws to them a world of sympathy. And when one realises the old Dopper President hemmed in once more by the hurrying tide of civilisation, from which his people have fled for generations—trying to fight both Fate and Nature, standing up to stem a tide as resistless as the eternal sea—one sees the pathos of the picture. But this is as another generation may see it. To-day we are too close, so close that the meaner details, the blots and flaws, are all most plainly visible: the corruption, the insincerity, the injustice, the barbarity—all the unlovely touches that will by-and-by be forgotten, sponged away by the gentle hand of Time, when only the picturesque will remain."

PAUL KRUGER, President of the Transvaal Republic.


President of the Transvaal Republic.

Photo by Elliott & Fry, London.

Mr. Fitzpatrick speaks somewhat more plainly in another place:—

"Outside the Transvaal Mr. Kruger has the reputation of being free from taint of corruption from which so many of his colleagues suffer. Yet within the Republic and among his own people one of the gravest of the charges levelled against him is, that by his example and connivance he has made himself responsible for much of the plundering that goes on. There are numbers of cases in which the President's nearest relations have been proved to be concerned in the most flagrant jobs, only to be screened by his influence; such[Pg 113] cases, for instance, as that of the Vaal River Water Supply Concession, in which Mr. Kruger's son-in-law 'hawked' about for the highest bid the vote of the Executive Council on a matter which had not yet come before it, and, moreover, sold and duly delivered the aforesaid vote. There is the famous libel case in which Mr. Eugene Marais, the editor of the Dutch paper Land en Volk, successfully sustained his allegation that the President had defrauded the State by charging heavy travelling expenses for a certain trip on which he was actually the guest of the Cape Colonial Government."

The light thus thrown on the dealings of Mr. Kruger is not a solitary gleam. It may be remembered that during the period of British rule in the Transvaal he had an appointment under Government. The terms of his letter of dismissal can be found on page 135 of Blue-Book, c. 144, and involving as they do a serious charge of misrepresentation in money matters, are useful when viewed in line with the above quotation.

Mrs. Lionel Phillips imagines that every one must by this time have gauged the nature of the President, as she herself has done. She says:—

"Paul Kruger is so well known from the many portraits and caricatures that have appeared in recent years, as well as descriptions of him, that one from me seems superfluous. His clumsy features, and small cunning eyes, set high in his face, with great puffy rings beneath them, his lank straight locks, worn longer than is usual, the fringe of beard framing his face, even his greasy frock-coat and antiquated tall hat have been pourtrayed times without number. He is a man of quite 75 years of age now, and his big massive frame is bent, but in his youth he possessed enormous strength, and many extraordinary feats are told of him. Once seen he is not easily forgotten. He has a certain natural dignity of bearing, and I think his character is clearly to be read in his face—strength of will and cunning, with the dulness of expression one sees in peasants' faces. 'Manners none, and customs beastly,' might have been a life-like description of Kruger. The habit of constantly expectorating, which so many Boers have, he has never lost. He is quite ignorant of conversation in the ordinary acceptation of the word; he is an autocrat in all his ways, and has a habit of almost throwing short, jerky sentences at you generally allegorical in form, or partaking largely of scriptural quotations—or misquotations quite as often. Like most of the Boers, the Bible is his only literature—that book he certainly studies a good deal, and his religion is a very large part of his being, but somehow he misses the true spirit of Christianity, in that he leaves out the rudimentary qualities of charity and truth."[Pg 114]


It appears that a German traveller, Herr Ernest Von Weber, as long ago as 1875, had cast a loving eye on the Transvaal. He wrote:—"What would not such a country, full of such inexhaustible natural treasures, become, if in course of time it was filled with German immigrants? A constant mass of German immigrants would gradually bring about a decided numerical preponderance of Germans over the Dutch population, and of itself would by degrees affect the Germanisation of the country in a peaceful manner. Besides all its own natural and subterraneous treasures, the Transvaal offers to the European power which possesses it an easy access to the immensely rich tracts of country which lie between the Limpopo, the Central African lakes and the Congo (the territory saved for England by Mr. Rhodes and the Chartered Company). It was this free unlimited room for annexation in the North, this open access to the heart of Africa, which principally impressed me with the idea, not more than four years ago, that Germany should try, by the acquisition of Delagoa Bay, and the subsequent continual influx of German immigrants to the Transvaal, to secure the future dominion over this country, and so pave the way for a German African Empire of the future. There is, at the same time, the most assured prospect that the European power, who would bring these territories under its rule, would found one of the largest and most valuable empires of the globe; and it is, therefore, on this account truly to be regretted that Germany should have quietly, and without protest, allowed the annexation of the Transvaal Republic to England, because the splendid country, taken possession of and cultivated by a German race, ought to be entirely won for Germany; and would, moreover, have been easily acquired, and thereby the beginning made and foundation laid of a mighty and ultimately rich Germany in the southern hemisphere. Germany ought at any price to get possession of some points on the East as well as the West Coast of Africa." Part of Mr. Von Weber's ambition was subsequently realised.

In 1884 the introduction of Germany upon the political scene was successfully accomplished. The hoisting of the German flag at Angra Peguena was due to the unscrupulous and clever machinations of Prince Bismarck. The new German Colony comprised Damaraland and Great Namaqualand, and between it and the Boer Republic lay the Kalari Desert and Bechuanaland.

Now, the Bechuana chiefs were old enemies of the Boers. A[Pg 115] good deal of border fighting took place, and at last the Boers established their authority over a district which they christened "The New Republic," and which was annexed to the Transvaal in 1888. They endeavoured to capture in the same way Stellaland and Vryburg, but on this subject the British Government had something to say, and for once they said it definitely. Sir Charles Warren with a military force took these districts under British protection. This expedition was resented by the Cape Dutch and their English friends, Messrs. Spriggs and Upington, who hastened to Bechuanaland to effect a settlement before the arrival of Sir Charles Warren's force. Owing to the firmness and decision of Sir Charles Warren and his supporters, Sir Charles Dilke, Mr. Chamberlain, and Mr. Mackenzie, their anti-Imperialistic efforts fortunately failed!

It must be remembered that in Cape Colony the Dutch sympathies had, for the most part, been given to the Boers. Racial ties in Africa are strong, and at the time of the war many people, not thoroughly disloyal, felt that there had been aggression on the freedom of the Republicans, and were inclined to admire the efforts of the Boers to repel that aggression. There were others, too, who believed that, owing to fear of rebellion on the part of the Cape subjects, Great Britain had been forced into chicken-hearted surrender, and this belief naturally encouraged the Cape Dutch to assume that, on emergency, the policy of the Empire might be directed by threats of rebellion.

Much of the bad feeling was due merely to political agitation. The association known as the Africander Bond was started as a species of political nursery wherein to expand the ideas of the budding Boer, and "coach" him in his duties as a free-born subject. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," as we all are aware, and it seems to have been the object of this organisation to implant just sufficient knowledge in the mind of the ignorant farmer to foster his hostility to Great Britain, without encouraging him to progress sufficiently to gauge the advantages to himself of peace and goodwill with a sovereign power. Before the existence of this organisation he was contented to choose as his Parliamentary representative some sound and respectable citizen, a British subject, or some colonist who, well versed in the British tongue, could understand the laws at first hand. But machinating politicians conceived the notion that the dissatisfied Boer might be made to dance marionette-wise while they pulled the strings, and they promptly went to work to pretend he could think for himself, and proceeded to inflate his mind with so vast an idea of his own political importance that he even began to conjure up dreams of an entirely Dutch South Africa on an Africander[Pg 116] basis, with the Vierkleur in place of the Union Jack floating bravely over his head!

For his benefit the Cape patois was promoted to the rank of a language. Parliament expressed itself both in English and so-called Dutch, while Blue-Books and official papers were printed in bi-lingual fashion, for the convenience of farmer members, who, for the most part, could neither read, write, nor speak the language of the Netherlands!

The battle-cry of the Bond was "Africa for the Africander" and the "Elimination of the Imperial factor." The Colonists naturally grew to imagine that, as Great Britain was powerless to govern, government on their own behalf would be advantageous. In justice it must be said that the Eastern Province and Natal adhered to the Crown, though the Western Province was led by the nose by the Bond.

From this time Mr. Hofmeyr—a man of great ability, and generally devoted to the Africander cause—became an important factor in the political caucus. Mr. Rhodes also was conspicuous. At that date he was inclined to lean toward Africander principles, but, like all great men on seeing the error of their judgments, he readjusted his theories—with the results we all know.

The expedition of Sir Charles Warren was entirely successful. As has been said, a Protectorate was established over Bechuanaland.

The country south of the Moloppo River, whose chief towns are Mafeking and Vryburg, became a Crown Colony. It was afterwards transferred to the Cape. The territories of Khama, Sebele, and Bathoen still form an Imperial Protectorate.

When gold was first discovered, the fable of "the dog in the manger" began to be enacted in the Transvaal. The Boers were quite incompetent to start mining operations on their own account, and yet were intolerant of the presence of outsiders who were willing to expend their energies in the business. Gradually, however, they agreed to admit foreigners on terms which on the surface were fairly liberal, and became indirectly almost extortionate.

These foreigners—British, Americans, Germans, and Poles—were the antithesis of all that Boer traditions held dear. To begin with, they were progressive; they were also energetic and commercial, and their motto, instead of being "God will provide," was the practical one of "Carpe diem." The dawn of the "golden age" has been described, and there is no reason, therefore, to dwell on the attractions which converted the Transvaal, for many, from a fortune-hunter's goal to a permanent home. Unfortunately these Uitlanders were not bound up in Transvaal politics. The ways of the stolid and the ignorant, the narrow and the bigoted, were not[Pg 117] their ways; they had no sympathy for "masterly inaction," and this the Boers knew.

In 1887, to protect themselves from the outsider, the Republicans arranged that invaders could not be admitted to burgher rights under fifteen years. The Uitlanders agitated for increased privileges, and in 1890 a "Second Raad" was created. For this Chamber it was necessary to take the oath of allegiance, to reside two years in the State before being entitled to vote, and another two before becoming eligible for election.

Upon the scene now came Dr. Leyds, a Hollander of certain ability, a cosmopolitan schemer, and as such naturally opposed to the prestige of Great Britain. He had his ideal of a great Africander Confederation! On the other hand, there was Mr. Rhodes, who had also his ideal—that of a Confederated South Africa stretching to the Zambesi. Fortunately, with Mr. Rhodes went the Cape Dutch. And here we may break off to consider the Colossus, as he has been called. His enemies were many. By some it was asserted that Mr. Rhodes was at heart no Imperialist; by others he was declared to be merely an unscrupulous adventurer. But, as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so must any criticism of this marvellous man be confined to results.[Pg 118]



Of the chief personage in the political and financial history of South Africa it is desirable we should know something definite, though space does not allow of any long appreciation of all he has accomplished for the advancement of the empire. The Right Hon. Cecil John Rhodes was born in 1853. He was the fourth son of the late Rev. Francis W. Rhodes, Rector of Bishop Stortford. In 1871 he went to South Africa, there to join his brother Herbert, who was engaged in cotton-growing in Natal. His constitution was delicate, and it was believed that a journey to the Cape would be beneficial to him. In 1872 he returned in much better health to England, and entered Oriel College, Oxford. While there he contracted a chill, and found himself again under orders to return to South Africa. At that time Herbert Rhodes had forsaken cotton-growing, and had become fascinated by the prospect of wealth offered by the diamond fields in the locality now known as Kimberley. The two youths joined hands, and in 1873 we find the elder brother leaving his claim in charge of the younger, the hard-working, astute, and masterful Cecil, whose name has become almost a household word. The young man, who took his degree at Oxford in the interval of his work, brought to every task he attempted an educated mind and a certain dogged obstinacy, which caused him to surmount all difficulties. He prospered amazingly. But money, instead of numbing his activities, only sharpened them, and he soon began to formulate his ideal—the Utopian dream of an entirely British Africa from the Cape to the Zambesi!



Drawing by R. Caton Woodville.

His most conspicuous financial work was the De Beers Company, of which we have treated elsewhere. From one big venture he went to others more gigantic still. The famous Chartered Company and the splendid province of Rhodesia came virtually into existence as the result of his magnificent foresight. In 1881, in Basutoland, Mr. Rhodes, the newly-elected member for Barkly West, had the good fortune to meet General Gordon, who was[Pg 119] struck at once by the immense ability of the young man. In character, it seems, they were the extremes that meet! These two men, of equally strong personality, had an antagonism of character which, clashing, gave forth a resonance that was vastly inspiriting.

Gordon and Rhodes would take long walks together, and discuss the affairs of nations. The General, who was as dictatorial as his associate, on several occasions severely criticised the opinions of young Rhodes. "You always contradict me," he declared. "I never met such a man for his own opinion. You think your views are always right, and every one else's wrong. You are," he went on to say, "the sort of man who never approves of anything unless you have had the organising of it yourself."

It was a new edition of the pot calling the kettle black, and afforded much amusement to onlookers.

On another occasion Gordon begged him to remain in Basutoland and work with him, but Rhodes refused. He demonstrated that his work lay in Kimberley, and there he would remain. "There are very few men in the world," argued Gordon, "to whom I would make such an offer. Very few men, I can tell you; but, of course, you will have your own way."

Once, when they were together, Gordon related to Rhodes the story of an offer of a room full of gold which had been made to him by the Chinese Government, after the suppression of the Tai-Ping revolt. "What did you do?" asked Rhodes. "Refused it, of course. What would you have done?" said Gordon. "I would have taken it," answered Rhodes, "and as many more roomfuls as they would give me. It is no use for us to have big ideas if we have not got the money to carry them out."

When Gordon went to Khartoum he invited Rhodes to accompany him, but Rhodes refused. He accepted the offer made by the same post of the Treasurer-Generalship in the Scanlin Ministry. In 1884 he became Deputy-Commissioner for Bechuanaland, which, as the key to South Africa, he determined to keep under his watchful eye. He was at the same time Treasurer-General of Cape Colony. In 1889 he became Director of the British South Africa Company and Chairman till the fiasco of 1896, at which time he was Premier of Cape Colony. In addition to holding these posts, his activities have been unending. He has been the moving spirit in every enterprise for the expansion and development of South Africa. He has gained the esteem of the loyal Dutch, and has succeeded in making himself feared if not beloved by the disloyal. His great work of attempting to weld together the two races into one united people is for the nonce suspended, but should life be spared him he[Pg 120] will doubtless see the realisation of his dream. In addition to his other labours Mr. Rhodes was Commissioner of the Crown Lands in 1890-94, Minister of Native Affairs 1894-95, and served in Matabeleland in 1896.


In sketching the history of Rhodesia it is necessary to go at least as far back as our friend Chaka, the great chieftain of the Zulus, whose military prowess has been described. In the days of this warlike personage, Matshobane, who governed the Matabele tribe on the north-west of Zululand, preferred to submit to Chaka rather than to be "eaten up." Matshobane was the grandfather of Lobengula, who is intimately associated with the infant history of this promising country. His son Mosilikatze, however, was not so amenable to Zulu discipline. He broke out, annihilated all men, women, and children who happened to come in his way, and betook himself finally to remote regions where he had no masters save the lions. Later on, in 1837, he conceived the ingenious notion of exterminating all the white men north of the Orange River; but the white men were too much for him, and so he promptly retired to fresh fields and pastures new—in fact, to the country now known as Matabeleland. Its inhabitants were then settled between the Limpopo and the Zambesi. Here he again carried on his fell work of extermination. Of the horrors of his triumphant progress nothing need be said. They are best left to the imagination. It is enough to explain that the tribes of the Makalas, Mashonas, and others that happened to be in the way, were speedily wiped out. The Matabele, reigning in this vast now almost desolate region, soon became the terror of other tribes. The ravagers continued their fiendish operations, and finally set up military kraals and installed their chief in the principal of these at Buluwayo.

How long this state of things would have endured it is difficult to say. Fortunately there appeared on the scene a man—The Man—who conceived in his mighty brain a way to clear this Augean stable and transform it into a comparative fairyland. Mr. Cecil Rhodes came—he saw—and he conquered in all senses of the word. He decided that British civilisation must be extended to this "hinter-land"—as the Boers called it—and, being a keen man of the world and no sentimentalist, he argued, moreover, that British civilisation might be made to pay its way! The idea that Mr. Rhodes is "the walking embodiment of an ideal," without personal ambition in his schemes, is as absolutely absurd as are the reverse pictures[Pg 121] that have been painted of him. He is no angel and no ogre, Mr. Rhodes is one of Nature's sovereigns, who, conscious of his power and the limitations of human life, uses every minute at his disposal to write his name large in the records of his country. And, since his name is large, he wants as a natural consequence a large and clear area to write it in, and that area he means to have!

Map of Matabeleland.


Now, Mr. Rhodes had decided that the British were the best administrators of South Africa, and that if the British shirked the task it would be undertaken by some other nation. He saw the key to South Africa in his hands—he saw the Boer overspreading his borders, he saw Germans and Portuguese intriguing for footholds—there was but one course open, and he followed it. On the 30th[Pg 122] of November 1888, Lobengula, the chief of the Matabele, signed a document giving the British the right to search for and extract minerals in his territory. Upon that the British South Africa Company was started. In 1889 a charter was granted by the Imperial Government. The Company was created with a capital of one million sterling. There were eight directors, three appointed by the Crown, and five elected by the shareholders. Mr. Cecil Rhodes occupied the position of managing director. In a brief space of time the wildernesses and the forests were traversed, roads were made, and a strong protective force installed in the country. Dr. Jameson was appointed administrator at Salisbury. A railroad was planned and forts were built. These were occupied by the Company's police.

While the pioneers were at work prospecting for gold, and improving the country in all manner of ways, Lobengula became cantankerous. It must be remembered that he suffered from gout, for which he was treated by Dr. Jameson. Now, Lobengula without gout was sufficiently savage to cause much apprehension; with it, it is impossible to describe the nature of the alarm he must have occasioned. He fell out first with the Mashonas for trivial reasons, and murders were committed. Dr. Jameson then came to the conclusion that, if the place was to be held at all, Lobengula must be crushed. More commotions followed. The Matabeles and Mashona tribes between them contrived to render the country uninhabitable. The peaceable Europeans would stand it no longer. The Matabele war ensued.

The High Commissioner gave Dr. Jameson permission to protect the country, and the forces advanced in two columns upon Buluwayo. Major Patrick Forbes acted as commander-in-chief, with Major Alan Wilson as next in command. This column, with guns, baggage, and attendant blacks (who assisted as camp-followers), kept as much as possible to open country to avoid surprise. They marched from the Iron-mine Hill, at the source of the Tokwe River.

The second column, commanded by Colonel Goold Adams, was composed in equal numbers of Bechuanaland police and South Africa Company's mounted men. In all they numbered about 450. It was accompanied by some 1500 Bemangwats under their chief.

With Major Forbes's column were Dr. Jameson, Sir John Willoughby, and Bishop Knight Bruce. The advance was carefully managed. The column destroyed all military kraals in its line of march, skirmishing at times, but cautiously providing against attacks of the enemy. One of these attacks took place while the force was in laager, on the 25th of October. A Matabele army, 5000 strong,[Pg 123] made three savage onslaughts, but were driven back on each occasion with heavy loss.

The column still continued to advance, and Lobengula, hearing of its victory and approach, sent forth to meet it a company of pure Zulus, the flower of his army.

The Imbezu and Ingubo in front of the Matabele army then approached the laager that was being formed near the source of the Imbembesi River. They advanced with all their accustomed dash, and a warlike intrepidity worthy of Chaka, their renowned ancestor.

But they could make no stand against the Maxim and machine guns, and in a few hours all was over. Lobengula's day was practically done!

On hearing of the victory he set fire to his kraal himself, and fled towards the Zambesi, leaving his magazine, whenever the flames should reach it, to explode with ferocious uproar.

In November 1893 the Chartered Company's force came into possession of the smoking, deserted region. Messengers were sent in search of the chief. Lobengula was courteously advised to surrender. His personal safety was assured to him by Dr. Jameson, but he refused to listen. Efforts were then made to capture him. After a long and fatiguing march, news was brought in that Lobengula's waggons had been seen on the road the day before.

Major Wilson, with a well-mounted party, went off to follow the spoor, being advised to return before dark. This he did not do. He remained for the night beyond the Shangani River, and by daylight reached the waggons of the chief.

Lobengula's followers immediately attacked the small company of thirty-four Europeans, which was speedily annihilated. Some of these might have escaped, but they preferred, though largely outnumbered, to fight side by side with their comrades till the last!

Very little remains to be told. Lobengula endeavoured to arrange terms with the British force, but his messengers and money never reached their destination. Babyane and four other indunas—followed after a few days by others—came to inquire what terms of peace would be granted. They were required to surrender their arms before returning to their kraals, which they did with alacrity. Most of the natives followed their example, being well satisfied with British rule. The death of Lobengula, of fever and gout, in January 1894 put an end to further complications.[Pg 124]


So far we have seen the establishment of the British in a hitherto absolutely savage arena. It may be interesting to hear what travellers have had to say regarding the region that has recently become our own. Its present aspect, and its prospects for the future, are best learnt from authorities who have personally inspected the place. Mr. Charles Boyd discourses thus on the subject:—

"When you have got out of the train before the corrugated iron building which stands on the edge of the illimitable grey, green veldt, to mark where the great station of the future is to arise, there is one feature of Buluwayo which is making ready to seize hold upon you. It is not, perhaps, the most important feature, but it is conspicuous enough to entitle it to a first place in any jotting of local impressions. It is what a logician might call the differentia of Buluwayo. Put it bluntly it comes to this, that you have arrived in a community of gentlemen. A stranger making his way about the brown streets, neat brick and corrugated iron buildings set down on red earth, and divided into alternate avenues and streets—'little New York,' said a policeman complacently—a stranger pauses to ask himself if he dreams, or if the Household Brigade, the Bachelors' Club, and the Foreign Office have depleted themselves of their members, and sent them, disguised in broad-brimmed hats and riding-breeches, to hold the capital of Matabeleland. Young men of the most eligible sort are everywhere. Some of them are manifestly youthful, others are well on in the thirties, there is even a sprinkling of men of years; but the mass of the population presents the same aspect of physical fitness, that indefinable something besides, which is perhaps not to be expressed save under the single head of 'race.'" In fact, our authority asserts that nowhere can be found a healthier, shrewder, or friendlier set of men. He believes in them, and in the discipline that has toughened them to meet the real needs of life, and kept them alive to a sense of their political and social importance. He says—

"Buluwayo now possesses a population of 5000, a mayor and corporation, daily and weekly papers, and several public buildings, including banks, clubs, and an hospital built as a memorial to Major Wilson.

"The rapid increase in the value of land at Buluwayo is shown by the fact that whilst in 1894 the average price of a town stand was £103, in 1897 it had advanced to £345. By the opening of the railway, in November 1897, it is placed in direct communication with[Pg 125] Cape Town, and a still greater increase in value may be anticipated."




Painting by Allan Stewart.

Reproduced by special arrangement with the Fine Art Society, London.

Things in Rhodesia are as yet expensive, but Mr. Boyd thinks that railroads will have a cheapening influence. He quotes some present prices, which would make the hair of a Londoner stand on end! Imagine the feelings of the comfortable cockney who found himself face to face with a breakfast bill for nine shillings! For this modest sum Mr. Boyd was supplied with tea, ham, eggs, marmalade, and toast, in fact, the little commonplace things that we have come to consider as the natural fixtures of the metropolitan table!

Of the library, whose foundation-stone was laid by Sir Alfred Milner, he speaks in highly favourable terms. He says that in laying the foundation-stone no one seemed more keenly impressed than the High Commissioner himself. He prophesied the foundation of a rich university at Buluwayo to replace that other and easy one which a library is avowed to supply. At this some one smiled. But Sir Alfred rebuked him for the frivolity. He had seen enough, Sir Alfred declared, of the temper of this place, to believe a university at Buluwayo to be a consummation neither fanciful nor impossible. In regard to the agrestic qualities of this new district, Mr. H. Marshall Hole has spoken at some length in an article which appeared in an issue of Colonia, a magazine published by the Colonial College, Hollesley Bay, Suffolk. He declares that "the great advantage of Rhodesia as an agricultural country is the facility with which irrigation can be carried on; the conformation of the land is undulating, and even the so-called 'flats' are intersected in all directions by valleys, each of which possesses its watercourse, so that by the simple expedient of throwing a dam across these valleys, water may be stored and led on to the adjacent fields as required. The soil is in all parts naturally fertile, but the farmer sometimes has great difficulty in reducing it to a proper state for cultivation, owing to the roots and growth which must be exterminated before the seed is sown. The strongest ploughs and the most careful harrowing are required for this work, otherwise the settler will have to face the annoyance and delay of broken ploughshares, and the disaster of a crop choked by tangle-grass and weeds. The crops to which farmers have hitherto most devoted themselves in Rhodesia are mealies (maize) and forage (oat hay). These find a ready market at all times, as they form the staple food of horses. The next most popular crop is potatoes, which do well, are not liable to disease, and are in so great request that they sometimes fetch 1s. 6d., and seldom fall below 3d. per pound in the market. All kinds of English vegetables prosper with very little trouble, beyond careful watering in dry weather, and weeding during the rains; but, for some unexplained[Pg 126] reason, vegetable culture is left almost entirely to the coolies or Indians, who, despite their very primitive methods of irrigation and tillage, make immense profits thereby."

Further on he says that farms of about 3000 acres may be bought at from £250 to £2000, according to their situation as regards neighbouring towns, or the extent of cultivation done on them; and while the farmer will not derive much more than a bare subsistence for the first year or two, he may, by combining dairy-farming and timber-cutting with his more extensive operations, make both ends meet at any rate, and enhance the value of his land without being out of pocket. One with a small capital has, of course, a better chance of immediate profit, and such an one would do well to join some established and experienced man in partnership, or as a pupil, in order to learn something of the business before entering it finally. His advice to adventurous youth is, "By all means go, if you can manage to put together enough money to pay your passage and to keep yourself for two or three months after your arrival."

Of the towns he speaks appreciatively. "We have buildings of a very substantial type, built for the most part of brick. There are blocks of rooms which form bachelor 'diggings' for single men, and small but comfortable suburban houses for families, while the railways on the east and west afford facilities for the importation of excellent furniture. Eight years ago it was so difficult to obtain furniture that every little packing case was carefully treasured, its nails drawn out and straightened, and its boards converted into tables, stools, and shelves. To-day it is no uncommon thing to find pianos and billiard tables in private houses in Buluwayo, and even in Salisbury, which has not yet been reached by the railway, while the club-houses at both places are models of comfort and luxury."

A writer, who signs himself "W. E. L.," in British Africa says of Rhodesia, "That the soil is mostly very fertile; in Matabeleland alone 6000 square miles are suitable for cultivation without any artificial irrigation, or other extensive preliminary work. In 1891, a commission of Cape Colony farmers visited the country, and reported favourably on the land from an agricultural standpoint. Mr. Lionel Decle said, 'I am the first traveller who has crossed Africa from the Cape to Uganda, and I must say the British South Africa Company may certainly boast of possessing the pick of Central Africa on both sides of the Zambesi.'

"Teak forests cover 2000 square miles in North-West Matabeleland; and Mashonaland is very well timbered, mostly with trees of the acacia family.

"The native crops are rice, tobacco, cotton, and india-rubber. All European vegetables can be grown to perfection, especially[Pg 127] cabbages, lettuces, beetroot, turnips, carrots, and onions. There were in 1897 over eighty market gardens in the neighbourhood of Buluwayo, and for the half-year ending September 1897, the value of the produce sold was £9630.

"Fruit orchards are being planted, and nearly all fruit appears to flourish, especially grapes, figs, oranges, peaches, almonds, walnuts, lemons, bananas, quinces, apricots, pomegranates, and apples. All kinds of European cereals can be grown, and maize does well.

"The average rainfall is 30 to 35 inches, 90 per cent. of which falls during the wet season—November to March.

"The temperature rarely touches freezing point, except on the highlands round Salisbury and Fort Charter, and owing to the great elevation (4000 to 5000 feet) of most of the country, rarely exceeds 90° in the shade. In the low-lying Zambesi valley, however, it is very hot from December to March."

Of the mineral wealth, it seems as yet dangerous to prognosticate. Prophecies are many, and there is every reason to believe that the mines will be prolific as those of the Transvaal. In regard to this matter, however, time alone can show.


It may be remembered that in and after 1854, the Boers commenced to block up the path of travellers, and in some cases to cause expulsion of visitors across the Vaal. Doubtless this policy of expulsion originated in the nefarious traffic in "apprentices," which they wished to carry on uninterruptedly, but there was also another reason for their precautions. Stray discoveries of gold had been made from time to time, and gold prospectors began to take an uncomfortable interest in the district. Now the Boers had no desire to open up their country to the mining population, or to run any risks which might interfere with their hardly won independence. After the discoveries of the German explorer Manch, however, they were unable entirely to resist invasion. The ears of the public were tickled. The hint of nuggets in the Transvaal naturally drew thither a horde of adventurous Europeans who would not be denied. The first immigrants betook themselves to Barberton, and some three or four years later to the Witwatersrandt. These appear mostly to have been Scotsmen, for President Burgers christened the earliest goldfields Mac Mac, in consequence of the names of the invaders. Miners and speculators of all kinds commenced to pour into those districts, some to make a fortune as quickly as possible, and rush off[Pg 128] to spend it elsewhere, others to settle themselves in the country and develop schemes for financial outlay, profitable alike to themselves and to the land of their adoption. Now these permanent visitors were scarcely appreciated by the Boers. They foresaw the alien transformed into the citizen, and objected to him. The power which they had acquired, both by long years of hardship and long hours of scheming, they wished to keep entirely in their own hands. With the arrival of further settlers they feared this independence would be materially weakened. In order that further possible citizens might not be attracted to the Transvaal, the Volksraad passed a law calculated to damp their ardour. This law imposed on all candidates for the franchise a residence of five years, to be accompanied by register on the Field Cornet's books, and a payment of £25 on admission to the rights of citizenship.

The first discoverers of the great goldfield are reported to be the Brothers Struben, owing to whose perseverance and patience the Witwatersrandt became the Eldorado of speculators' dreams. In 1886 this locality was declared a public goldfield by formal proclamation, and the South African golden age began.

In a little while the regions north of the Limpopo began to be investigated, and each in their turn to yield up their treasures. In 1888 a concession to work mineral upon his territory was obtained from Lobengula, the Matabele king. A year later the British South Africa Company was founded. The Company having obtained its charter, no time was lost. In 1890, we find the now noted pioneer expedition plying its activities in Mashonaland.

Mr. Basil Worsfold, in a most instructive article in the Fortnightly Review, affords an excellent insight into the energy that characterised the Company's proceedings:—"In the space of three months, a road 400 miles in length was cut through jungle and swamp, and a series of forts was erected and garrisoned by the Company's forces. After the Matabele war, which occupied the closing months of 1893, the prospecting and mining for gold was commenced in Matabele, as well as in Mashonaland, and at the present time Buluwayo, Lobengula's kraal, has become the chief centre of the industry. These operations were checked by the revolt of the Matabele and Mashona in 1896, but since that period gold mining has been steadily progressing. The Buluwayo yield for December 1898 amounted to 6258 oz.: while that of the four last months—September to December—of the same year was 18,084 oz., of the value of about £70,000!"



Drawn by W. Small, from Sketches by A. R. Colquhoun, First Administrator of Mashonaland.

The other fields which yield gold are the Transvaal, Lydenberg, and De Kaap fields, and the Klerksdorp and Potchefstrom fields. The output of these fields continues to grow apace, but how much[Pg 129] longer the growth will be maintained is uncertain. The opinion of Mr. Hamilton Smith, who wrote to the Times on the subject in 1895, is worth consideration. He says, "In 1894 the value of the Randt gold bullion was £7,000,000, and this without any increase from the new deep-level mines; these latter will become fairly productive in 1897, so for that year a produce of fully £10,000,000 can be fairly expected. Judging from present appearances, the maximum product of the Randt will be reached about the end of the present century, when it will probably exceed £12,500,000 per annum."

It is interesting to find that Mr. Smith's maximum figure was already exceeded in the year 1898, when the total yield of gold was 4,295,602 oz., valued at £15,250,000!

The following table, based on Mr. H. Smith's and Dr. Soetbeer's estimates, affords us an opportunity for comparing the South African output with that of other countries, and the world's present supply with that of former years:—

Gold Output for 1894.World's Output.
Value.FromAverage annual value.
United States£9,000,0001700 to 1859£ 2,000,000
Australasia8,000,0001850 to 197525,000,000
South Africa7,000,0001875 to 189020,000,000
Russia (1892)4,000,0001894 (one year only)36,000,000

Of the stimulus given to railway construction by the establishment of the gold industry Mr. Worsfold speaks with authority. He says, "To-day, Johannesburg—built on land which in 1886 was part of an absolutely barren waste—is approached by three distinct lines, which connect it directly with the four chief ports of South Africa—Delagoa Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. Of these lines the earliest, which traverses the Free State from end to end, and links the Randt with the Cape Colony, was not opened until July 1892. The Pretoria-Delagoa Bay line was completed in the autumn of 1894; and the extension of the Randt railway to Charlestown, the connecting-point with the Natal line, was not effected until the following year. These, together with some subsidiary lines, represent a total of 1000 miles of railway constructed mainly under the stimulus of the gold industry in the Transvaal. To this total two considerable pieces of railway construction, accomplished in the interest of the gold industry in the Chartered Company's territories, must be added. Of these, the first extended the main trunk line of Africa from Kimberley successively to Vryburg and Mafeking, in 1890 and 1894, and then finally to Buluwayo in 1897,[Pg 130] and the second, the Beira line, by securing a rapid passage through the 'fly country,' brought Salisbury into easy communication with the East Coast of Africa at the port so named. Taken together, they measure 930 miles. It should be added also that arrangements are already in progress for the extension of the trunk line from Buluwayo to Tanganyika—a distance of about 750 miles. This will form a new and important link in Mr. Rhodes' great scheme of connecting Cape Town with Cairo."

The telegraph advanced more speedily even than railroads, and the population has kept pace with wire and rail. Johannesburg has a population of 120,800 souls, and Buluwayo, a savage desert not long ago, has now an European society of over 5000 persons. It is therefore somewhat questionable if Mr. Froude is justified in his opinion that diamonds and gold are not the stuff of which nations are made. Nations, if they are to expand, must be fed, and while diamond and gold mines give up of their wealth, we are assured of sufficient food to foster expansion. That done, it remains merely with the Government of the flourishing nation to decide whether its work shall be little or large.

It is curious to note that in spite of the disturbance in the Transvaal the mines continued to maintain their position, with the result that the gold output from the Randt for July shows a considerable increase upon previous months. According to the official figures received from the Chamber of Mines, the returns were as follows:—

456,474 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district
22,019 ozs. for the outside district
478,493 ozs.

The production in June 1899 was:—

445,763 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district
21,508 ozs. for the outside district
In all 467,271 ozs.

And in July 1898:—

359,343 ozs. for the Witwatersrandt district
22,663 ozs. for the outside district
In all 382,006 ozs.

This table shows that during the twelve months since July 1898 the production of gold on the Randt has increased by 100,000 ozs. a month—equivalent to 1,200,000 ozs. a year. It will be found that, if these returns are compared with the estimates made by competent[Pg 131] authorities, the actual output is far in excess of all estimates, following is the gold output table, Transvaal, to July 1899:— to date.
Total2,277,6402,281,1753,034,6744,555,0093,193,77721,899,562 ozs.

Government Returns; some additions to be made for Rhodesia.


The discovery of diamonds in South Africa was made by a curious accident. One day a trader travelling along in the neighbourhood north of Cape Colony happened to stop at a farm. While there, he was interested in a small child who was toying with a bright and singularly lustrous pebble. His curiosity was aroused, and he suggested that the thing might be rare enough to be of some value. Thereupon the stone was sent to an expert in Grahamstown, who declared it to be a diamond. The stone weighed twenty-one carats and was valued at £500. From that date search was made in and around the locality, and more diamonds, smaller and of inferior quality, were found. During the years 1867-68 nothing very active was done, though now and again these precious stones were discovered near the Vaal River.

In the month of March, 1869, the world was startled and began to open its eyes. The diamond known as "the Star of Africa," weighing some eighty-three carats in its raw state, was obtained from a Hottentot. This individual had been in possession of the valuable property for some time, and had kept it solely on account of its rarity as a charm. The stone was eventually sold for the sum of £11,000.

The north bank of the Vaal where the discoveries were made was, at that time, a species of "No-Man's-Land." The southern bank[Pg 132] belonged to the Free State, but for the other side there were many claimants, none of whom could prove a title to it. The community of miners which there gathered was consequently lawless and ruffianly, and its mode of government was distinctly primitive.

The various claimants, notably the Griqua Captain, Nicholas Waterboer, commenced disputes regarding the valuable portion of the Free State territory, and finally it was decided to submit to British arbitration. President Brand refused the offer, but President M. W. Pretorius of the South African Republic, who had grievances against the Barolong, Batlapin, and Griqua tribes, agreed. A Court was appointed, the Governor of Natal acting as umpire. The interests involved were many, and on the subject of their rights the various claimants seemed somewhat hazy. The Free State was not represented, and the umpire, acting on the evidence of Mr. Arnot (the agent of Nicholas Waterboer) gave judgment against the South African Republic, and allowed the claim of the Griqua Captain, including in the award the tract claimed by him in the Free State. The complicated situation is thus described by Mr. Bryce in his "Impressions of South Africa":—

"As Waterboer had before the award offered his territory to the British Government, the country was forthwith erected into a Crown Colony, under the name of Griqualand West. This was in 1871. The Free State, whose case had not been stated, much less argued, before the umpire, protested, and was after a time able to appeal to a judgment delivered by a British Court, which found that Waterboer had never enjoyed any right to the territory. However, the new Colony had by this time been set up, and the British flag displayed. The British Government, without either admitting or denying the Free State title, declared that a district in which it was difficult to keep order amid a turbulent and shifting population ought to be under the control of a strong power, and offered the Free State a sum of £90,000 in settlement of whatever claim it might possess. The acceptance by the Free State, in 1876, of this sum closed the controversy, though a sense of injustice continued to rankle in the breasts of some of the citizens of the Republic. Amicable relations have subsisted ever since between it and Cape Colony, and the control of the British Government over the Basutos has secured for it peace in the quarter which was formerly most disturbed.

"These two cases show how various are the causes, and how mixed the motives, which press a great power forward even against the wishes of its statesmen. The Basutos were declared British subjects, partly out of a sympathetic wish to rescue and protect them, partly because policy required the acquisition of a country naturally[Pg 133] strong, and holding an important strategical position. Griqualand West, taken in the belief that Waterboer had a good title to it, was retained after this belief had been dispelled, partly perhaps because a population had crowded into it which consisted mainly of British subjects, and was not easily controllable by a small State, but mainly because Colonial feeling refused to part with a region of such exceptional mineral wealth. And the retention of Griqualand West caused, before long, the acquisition of Bechuanaland, which in its turn naturally led to that northward extension of British influence which has carried the Union Jack to the shores of Lake Tanganyika."



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.

Griqualand West, whose capital is the salubrious Kimberley, was settled in 1833 by the Griquas or Baastards, a tribe of Dutch Hottentot half-breeds. As we have seen, the territory was claimed by the chief, Waterboer, and his claim was allowed by the Governor of Natal. When he subsequently ceded his rights, the province was annexed to Cape Colony, but with independent jurisdiction. In 1881 it became an integral part of Cape Colony. Griqualand East comprises No-Man's-Land, the Gatberg and St. John's River territory, under eight subordinate magistrates.

A word, before passing on, of Kimberley. This town, hitherto known as the City of Diamonds, has now the distinction of being the casket where Mr. Rhodes, with the price of £5000 on his head, was incarcerated. Its real birth dates from 1869-70, when all the world rushed out to win fortune from its soil. Happily at that time Mr. Cecil Rhodes happened to be in the neighbourhood. With his usual gift of foresight, he recognised that some process of amalgamating the various conflicting claims and interests, and merging them in one huge whole, would be necessary if the value of diamonds was to be kept up. He invented a scheme, and succeeded—the great corporation, the De Beers Consolidated Mining Company, limited the output of diamonds to an annual amount such as Europe and the United States were able to take at a price high enough to leave an adequate profit. This arrangement has, in a measure, had the effect of depopulating the place. At least it has thinned it of the crowd of adventurers who previously infested the region and struggled to maintain an independent existence there. In the absence of these loafers the town is civilised, and comparatively refined. There are groves of gum-trees to promote shade, and thickets of prickly pear, which have ever a rural, though touch-me-not aspect. The low-storeyed houses, built bungalow-wise, have an air of capaciousness and ease; and further out, in Kenilworth, there are comfortable dwellings, surrounded with trees, and suggestive of a certain suburban picturesqueness. This region owes its cheerful and well-ordered aspect entirely to Mr. Rhodes, who is[Pg 134] at the same time the parent and the apostle of all progress in South Africa.

The diamonds have their home in beds of clay, which are usually covered with calcareous rock. These beds are the remains of mud pits, due to volcanic action. Mr. Bryce, in his "Impressions of South Africa, says:—

"Some of the mines are worked to the depth of 1200 feet by shafts and subterranean galleries. Some are open, and these, particularly that called the Wesselton Mine, are an interesting sight. This deep hollow, one-third of a mile in circumference and 100 feet deep, enclosed by a strong fence of barbed wire, is filled by a swarm of active Kaffir workmen, cleaving the 'hard blue' with pickaxes, piling it up on barrows, and carrying it off to the wide fields, where it is left exposed to the sun, and, during three months, to the rain. Having been thus subjected to a natural decomposition, it is the more readily brought by the pickaxe into smaller fragments before being sent to the mills, where it is crushed, pulverised, and finally washed to get at the stones. Nowhere in the world does the hidden wealth of the soil and the element of chance in its discovery strike one so forcibly as here, where you are shown a piece of ground a few acres in extent, and are told, 'Out of this pit diamonds of the value of £12,000,000 have been taken.' Twenty-six years ago the ground might have been bought for £50."

To encourage honesty in the miner good wages are given, and ten per cent. is allowed to finders of valuable stones who voluntarily deliver these to the overseer. Apropos of this subject, Mr. Bryce relates an amusing tale, which, if not true, is certainly ben trovato: "I heard from a missionary an anecdote of a Basuto who, after his return from Kimberley, was describing how, on one occasion, his eye fell on a valuable diamond in the clay he was breaking into fragments. While he was endeavouring to pick it up he perceived the overseer approaching, and, having it by this time in his hand, was for a moment terribly frightened, the punishment for theft being very severe. The overseer, however, passed on. 'And then,' said the Basuto, 'I knew that there was indeed a God, for He had preserved me.'"

Before leaving the subject of diamonds, it may be interesting to note the material increase of the products of the mines year by year. The following is a table of statistics of the De Beers Consolidated Mines, Limited, since its formation, 1st April 1888:[Pg 135]


  Year ending Number of Loads of Blue Hoisted. Number of Loads of Blue Washed. Number of Carats of Diamonds Found. Amount Realised by Sale of Diamonds. Number of Carats per Load of Blue. Amount Realised per Carat Sold. Amount Realised per Load. Cost of Production per Load. Number of Loads of Blue on Floors at Close of Year, exclusive of Lumps. Dividends Paid
Amount. Equal to.
          £ s. d.   s. d. s. d. s. d.   £ s. d.  
De Beers and Kimberley Mines March 31, 1889, prior to consolidation 944,706 712,263 914,121    901,818 0 5 1.283 19 25 9 10½ 476,403 188,329 10 0   5 per cent.
March 31, 1890 2,192,226 1,251,245 1,450,605    2,330,179 16 3 1.15   32 37 8 10½ 1,576,821 789,682 0 0 20      "
March 31, 1891 1,978,153 2,029,588 2,020,515    2,974,670 9 0 .99   29 6    29 8 8    1,525,386 789,791 0 0 20      "
[A]June 30, 1892 3,338,553 3,239,134 3,035,481    3,931,542 11 1 .92   25 6    23 5    7 4.3 1,624,805 1,382,134 5 0 35      "
June 30, 1893 3,090,183 2,108,626 2,229,805    3,239,389 8 6 1.05   29 0.6 30 6    6 11.6 2,606,362 987,238 15 0 25      "
June 30, 1894 2,999,431 2,577,460 2,308,463½ 2,820,172 3 9 .89   24 5.2 21 10.6 6 6.8 3,028,333 987,238 15 0 25      "
June 30, 1895 2,525,717 2,854,817 2,435,541½ 3,105,957 15 8 .85   25 6    21 8    6 10.8 2,699,233 987,238 15 0 25      "
June 30, 1896 2,698,109 2,597,026 2,363,437¾ 3,165,382 1 4 .91   26 9.4 24 4.5 7 0.1 2,800,316 1,579,582 0 0 40      "
June 30, 1897 2,515,889 3,011,288 2,769,422¾ 3,722,099 3 3 .92   26 10.6 24 8.6 7 4.3 2,304,917 1,579,582 0 0 40      "
Premier Mine June 30, 1897 271,777 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 271,777 ... ...
De Beers and Kimberley Mines June 30, 1898 3,332,688 3,259,692 2,603,250    3,451,214 15 3 .80   26 6.2 21 2.1 6 7.4 2,377,913 1,579,582 0 0 40 per cent.
Premier Mine June 30, 1898 1,146,984 691,722 189,356¼ 196,659 18 8 .27   20 9.3 5 8.2 2 7.1 727,039

[A] These figures are for a period of fifteen months. Add 10 per cent. for other products.[Pg 136]



We have dealt with the exodus of the trekkers, and with the land that subsequently became the Transvaal. It behoves us now to discuss the difference between that primitive pastoral region of the early century and the busy country that may, for distinction sake, be styled the Transvaal of to-day.

Modern geographers apply the name of the Transvaal to the tract of country between the Limpopo River on the north, and the Vaal River on the south. It is bounded on the east by the Lobombo, and the Drakenberg Mountains, which run parallel to the Natal coast, and on the west by British Bechuanaland. On the east lie Portuguese Territory and British Zululand, on the north Rhodesia, on the west British Bechuanaland, and on the south the Orange Free State and Natal. The important rivers are the Limpopo or Crocodile River, so named in compliment to its reptile inhabitants, and the Vaal, a tributary of the Orange River. This rises among the Drakenberg Mountains, and, curving, flows west as a boundary between the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. The Limpopo rises between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and sprays out north-east, north-west, east, and south-east, reaching the sea in the neighbourhood of Delagoa Bay. After leaving the Transvaal, owing to the presence of a cataract, it is however unsuitable for purposes of navigation. The district of the Transvaal varies in height from 2000 to 8000 feet above the level of the sea. The Hooge Veld, the uplands of the Drakenberg Mountains, rises from 4000 to 8000 feet above the sea, and between them and the outer slopes of the Lobombo range is a vast tract of some 20,000 square miles of arable land, called the Banken Veld. It furnishes a splendid grazing ground, and corn grows in profusion. The Bosch Veld or Bush Country comprises the centre of the country, and runs west into Bechuanaland. This district is largely infested with the tsetse fly, an insect whose sting means death to almost all domestic animals. Besides this, it is the home of malaria and other fevers. The Hooge Veld, which has a drier, colder, and more healthy climate, is[Pg 137] largely used for breeding cattle, and as a grazing ground for sheep and oxen. It is here that, in later days, the gold-mining activity proceeds, as almost everywhere there are believed to be rich auriferous deposits. Its mineral deposits have been the attraction of the Transvaal, for the coal-fields invited the attention of some of the first speculators. In fact, the first railway line of the district ran between Johannesburg and a colliery.

Besides coal may be found silver, copper, and lead. But the great attraction, Gold, has for the last ten years lured all the money from the pockets of the enterprising. Other metals, such as cinnabar, iron, and tin are, for the nonce, like Gray's violet, "born to blush unseen," until some ingenious person discovers in them a subtle attraction.

To show the financial changes which have come over the country within the last ten years, Mr. Campbell, late Vice-President of the Chamber of Mines, Johannesburg, has written a valuable article. In it he gives us the following agrarian position in the Transvaal of the present by areas and by values:—


 Per cent.
Boers' own land65

But land is valuable not by area merely, but by intrinsic value, and the Boers have sold much of their best land, and taken British gold for it, and when we come to the figures in the Government Dues Office at Pretoria, we have—


 Per cent.
Boers' own land33

The net deductions in the Dues Offices are, that the whole of the farms and private lands in the Transvaal, under the mere Boer occupancy, are valued by the outside world at £933,200, whereas to-day, by the addition of the British buyer and holder, they are now valued by the world at ten millions sterling! In figures given above, all land occupied for mining or town sites is excluded.

The current yield of gold is computed at the rate of seventeen and a half millions sterling per annum. This is the vitalising source of African trade and African progress. It pays the interest[Pg 138] on nearly all South African Railways, is responsible for a large portion of the costs of Government in the Cape Colony, Orange States, Natal as well as Pretoria. And yet the working bees—the white British community of Johannesburg—who have helped to enrich the hive containing the whole of South African interests, have been neglected, if not betrayed, by the Mother Country. They have been deprived of arms, of liberties,—they have suffered insult and disdain, and Great Britain, until forced to do so, has moved not a finger in their defence. The Transvaal, one of the richest districts of the world, merely wants good and sustained government—a government that will grant to all respectable white men free and equal rights. When this shall come to pass, its splendid resources will be developed. The Indian Ocean trade will be supplied with steam coal. The country will sustain itself, and will also export food stuffs, and trade in iron, hide, wool, tin, and quantities of other things, whose value has hitherto been ignored. All that is needed is a dignified acceptance of British responsibilities. South Africa was bought by the paramount Power nearly an hundred years ago, and has since then been administered—if not entirely wisely and well—at least administered, by that Power. British sweat has rained on the country, British muscle has toiled in the country, British blood has flowed in streams over its face, and British bones are mixed with the shifting grains of its sand. It now remains for British sovereignty to wield its sceptre and make its presence felt.



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.


Since it is impossible to enter into all the intricacies of foreign political relations with the Transvaal, we will return to the Uitlanders. They became more and more unwelcome as their numbers increased. Many Acts were passed, each serving to render more impossible their chances of obtaining the franchise. The fact was that Mr. Kruger, having brought his State to a condition of bankruptcy almost identical with that which existed when Sir T. Shepstone annexed the Transvaal, was struggling to carry on a divided scheme, that of grabbing with both hands from the Uitlander financialists, while endeavouring to maintain with close-fisted obstinacy the exclusiveness, irresponsibility, and bigotry of the primitive trekker. He knew that if he granted full political rights to the outsiders he would no longer be master of his own misguided house. He said as much, and pointed out that were he to do so there would be no alternative but to haul down his flag. This being the case, there was no resource but to transform[Pg 139] the so-called free Republic into an absolute oligarchy. Much has been said of the "Russian despot," but this century can present no more complete spectacle of despotism than that of Mr. Kruger. The Emperor of Russia, autocrat as he is, is guided by the traditions of his empire and the machinations of his ministers, but Mr. Kruger has allowed himself to be reasoned with and influenced by none, and his word has been in reality the only form of law or justice on which the Uitlanders have had to rely. Such system of government as there was was corrupt. Smuggling flourished under the very eye of the officials, and the Field Cornets, whose business it was to act as petty justices, collect taxes, and register arrivals of new-comers, kept their books in a manner more in accord with their personal convenience than with accuracy. Hence, when it came to the question of the naturalisation of the Uitlanders, the books which should have recorded their registration were either withheld or missing. Settlers in the Transvaal between the years 1882 and 1890, owing to this irregularity, were debarred from proving their registration as the law required. Speaking of this period, Mr. Fitzpatrick, in "The Transvaal from Within," says:—

"In the country districts justice was not a commodity intended for the Britisher. Many cases of gross abuse, and several of actual murder occurred, and in 1885 the case of Mr. Jas. Donaldson, then residing on a farm in Lydenburg—lately one of the Reform prisoners—was mentioned in the House of Commons, and became the subject of a demand by the Imperial Government for reparation and punishment. He had been ordered by two Boers (one of whom was in the habit of boasting that he had shot an unarmed Englishman in Lydenburg since the war, and would shoot others) to abstain from collecting hut taxes on his own farm; and on refusing had been attacked by them. After beating them off single-handed, he was later on again attacked by his former assailants, reinforced by three others. They bound him with reims (thongs), kicked and beat him with sjamboks (raw-hide whips) and clubs, stoned him, and left him unconscious and so disfigured that he was thought to be dead when found some hours later. On receipt of the Imperial Government's representations, the men were arrested, tried, and fined. The fines were stated to have been remitted at once by Government, but in the civil action which followed Mr. Donaldson received £500 damages. The incident had a distinctly beneficial effect, and nothing more was heard of the maltreatment of defenceless men simply because they were Britishers."

Nevertheless the hostility between the two races was growing apace, and every ambition of the Uitlanders was promptly nipped in the bud.[Pg 140]

Reforms were at first mildly suggested. Bridges and roads were required, also a remission of certain taxes, but suggestions, even agitations, were in vain. In regard to the franchise question—the crying question of the decade—Mr. Kruger turned an ear more and more deaf. There are none so deaf as those whose ears are stopped up with the cotton-wool of their own bigotry. This bigotry it is almost impossible for enlightened persons to understand. As an instance of the almost fanatical ignorance and prejudice with which the Uitlanders had to contend, we may quote the letter of Mr. Kruger when requested to allow his name to be used as a patron of a ball to be given in honour of her Majesty's birthday. He replied:—

"Sir,—In reply to your favour of the 12th inst., requesting me to ask his Honour the State President to consent to his name being used as a patron of a ball to be given at Johannesburg on the 26th inst., I have been instructed to inform you that his Honour considers a ball as Baal's service, for which reason the Lord ordered Moses to kill all offenders; and as it is therefore contrary to his Honour's principles, his Honour cannot consent to the misuse of his name in such connection.—I have, &c.,

"F. Eloff,

Private Secretary."

On another occasion, when the question of locust extermination came before the first Raad, the worthies to whom the conduct of the State was confided showed a condition of benighted simplicity that can scarcely be credited.

"July 21.—Mr. Roos said locusts were a plague, as in the days of King Pharaoh, sent by God, and the country would assuredly be loaded with shame and obloquy if it tried to raise its hand against the mighty hand of the Almighty.

"Messrs. Declerq and Steenkamp spoke in the same strain, quoting largely from the Scriptures.

"The Chairman related a true story of a man whose farm was always spared by the locusts, until one day he caused some to be killed. His farm was then devastated.

"Mr. Stoop conjured the members not to constitute themselves terrestrial gods, and oppose the Almighty.

"Mr. Lucas Meyer raised a storm by ridiculing the arguments of the former speakers, and comparing the locusts to beasts of prey, which they destroyed.

"Mr. Labuschagne was violent. He said the locusts were different from beasts of prey. They were a special plague sent by God for their sinfulness."



Photo by Gregory & Co., London.

[Pg 141]

Their deliberate unenlightenment, had it not been so tragic for those who suffered in consequence of it, must have been almost comical. On one occasion the question of firing at the clouds to bring down rain was discussed, and declared to be impious.

"August 5.—A memorial was read from Krugersdorp, praying that the Raad would pass a law to prohibit the sending up of bombs into the clouds to bring down rain, as it was a defiance of God, and would most likely bring down a visitation from the Almighty.

"The Memorial Committee reported that they disapproved of such a thing, but at the same time they did not consider that they could make a law on the subject.

"Mr. A. D. Wolmarans said he was astonished at the advice, and he expected better from the Commission. If one of their children fired towards the clouds with a revolver they would thrash him. Why should they permit people to mock at the Almighty in this manner? It was terrible to contemplate. He hoped that the Raad would take steps to prevent such things happening.

"The Chairman (who is also a member of the Memorial Commission) said the Commission thought that such things were only done for a wager.

"Mr. Erasmus said they were not done for a wager, but in real earnest. People at Johannesburg actually thought that they could bring down the rain from the clouds by firing cannons at them."

These quotations are not offered in the spirit of ridicule. The Uitlander question is too serious for joking. They are reproduced to enable those who have no knowledge of the Boer—his petty tyrannies and annoying and irritating habits, and the vexatious regulations from which the Uitlander continually suffered—to form an idea of the terrible mental gulf which existed between oppressor and oppressed. As the constant dropping of water will wear away stone, so the constant fret of Boer treatment wore out the patience of their victims!

It soon became very difficult for even sons of Uitlanders born in the country to obtain the franchise. The naturalised subject resigned his own nationality, and acquired the duties of the citizen and the liability to be called on for military service, only to find out that he could not even then enjoy the rights of the citizen. He felt much as the dog in the fable, which let drop his piece of meat for the sake of a reflection in the water. New laws and regulations continually came into force for the ostensible purpose of improving the state of the Uitlander—laws which in reality were created to bamboozle him still further. What chicanery failed to accomplish the remissness of officials successfully brought about, and the discomfort of the foreign inhabitants was complete. Beside domestic[Pg 142] there were economic grievances. The position in a nutshell is given by one of the unfortunates:—

"The one thing which we must have—not for its own sake, but for the security it offers for obtaining and retaining other reforms—is the franchise. No promise of reform, no reform itself will be worth an hour's purchase unless we have the status of voters to make our influence felt. But, if you want the chief economic grievances, they are—the Netherland Railway concession, the dynamite monopoly, the liquor traffic, and native labour, which, together, constitute an unwarrantable burden of indirect taxation on the industry of over two and a half millions sterling annually. We petitioned until we were jeered at; we agitated until we—well—came here (Pretoria Gaol); and we know that we shall get no remedy until we have the vote to enforce it. We are not a political but a working community, and if we were honestly and capably governed, the majority of us would be content to wait for the franchise for a considerable time yet in recognition of the peculiar circumstances and of the feelings of the older inhabitants."

Mrs. Lionel Phillips, as the wife of an Uitlander, has also written her plaint. She says:—

"To show that the grievances of the Uitlanders are indeed real, let me call your attention to a few facts. What would women residing in peaceful England say to the fact that one cannot take a walk out of sight of one's own house in the suburbs of Johannesburg with safety? The Kaffirs, who in other parts of South Africa treat a white woman with almost servile respect, there make it a most unpleasant ordeal to pass them, and in a lonely part absolutely dangerous.

"Even little girls of the tenderest age are not safe from these monsters. This is, of course, owing to the utterly inadequate police protection afforded by the Government, the ridiculously lenient sentences passed on horrible crimes, and to the adulterated drink sold by licensed publicans to the Kaffirs on all sides. What would be said if, when insulted by a cab-driver, it was found that the nearest policeman was the owner of the cab in question, and refused to render any assistance or listen to any complaint?

"The educational grievance has been so widely circulated that it is needless to mention it now; but what is to be expected of a Government composed of men barely able to write their own names?

"Of course I, as a woman, do not wish to enter into the larger questions of franchise, monopolies, taxation, &c., but being myself an Africander, and well able to recognise the many good qualities of the Boers, you will quite understand that I do not take a pre[Pg 143]judiced view of the situation, and I am in a position better than that of most people to understand the grave reality of the Uitlanders' grievances."


Of the scandals leading out of the Netherlands Railway concession and the dynamite monopoly it is needless to speak. These monopolies were little more than schemes having for object the diversion of money from the pockets of the British into those either of the Boers or their trusty satellites in the Hollander-German clique. As an instance of the modus operandi, an article relative to the railway monopoly in the Johannesburg Mining Journal may be quoted:

"Railway Monopoly

"This is another carefully designed burden upon the mines and country. The issued capital and loans of the Netherlands Company now total about £7,000,000, upon which an average interest of about 513 per cent.—guaranteed by the State—is paid, equal to £370,000 per annum. Naturally the bonds are at a high premium. The company and its liabilities can be taken over by the State at a year's notice, and the necessary funds for this purpose can be raised at three per cent. An offer was recently made to the Government to consolidate this and other liabilities, but the National Bank, which is another concession, has the monopoly of all State loan business, and this circumstance effectually disposed of the proposal. At three per cent. a saving of £160,000 per annum would be made in this monopoly in interest alone. The value represented by the custom dues on the Portuguese border we are not in a position to estimate, but roughly these collections and the fifteen per cent. of the profits paid to the management and shareholders must, with other leakages, represent at least another £100,000 per annum which should be saved the country. As the revenue of the corporation now exceeds £2,000,000 a year, of which only half is expended in working costs, the estimate we have taken does not err upon the side of extravagance. By its neglect of its duties towards the commercial and mining community enormous losses are involved. Thus in the coal traffic the rate, which is now to be somewhat reduced, has been 3d. per ton per mile. According to the returns of the Chamber of Mines, the coal production of the Transvaal for 1895 was 1,045,121 tons. This is carried an average distance of nearly thirty miles, but taking the distance at twenty-four miles the charges are 6s. per ton. At 1½d. per ton per mile—three times as much as the Cape railways charge—a saving upon the coal rates of 3s. per ton would follow, equal to £150,000 per annum. Again, by the 'bagging' system an additional cost of 2s. 3d. per ton is incurred—details of this item have been recently published in this paper—and if this monopoly were run upon ordinary business lines, a further saving of £110,000 would be made by carrying coal in bulk. The interest upon the amount required to construct the necessary sidings for handling the coal, and the tram-lines required to transport it to the[Pg 144] mines, would be a mere fraction upon the amount; and as the coal trade in the course of a short time is likely to see a fifty per cent. increase, the estimate may be allowed to stand at this figure without deduction. No data are available to fix the amount of the tax laid upon the people generally by the vexatious delays and losses following upon inefficient railway administration, but the monthly meetings of the local Chamber of Commerce throw some light upon these phases of a monopolistic management. The savings to be made in dealing with the coal traffic must not be taken as exhausting all possible reforms: the particulars given as to this traffic only indicate and suggest the wide area covered by this monopoly, which hitherto has made but halting and feeble efforts to keep pace with the requirements of the public. Dealing as it does with the imports of the whole country, which now amount in value to £10,000,000, the figures we have given must serve merely to illustrate its invertebrate methods of handling traffic, as well as its grasping greed in enforcing the rates fixed by the terms of its concession. Its forty miles of Rand steam tram-line and thirty-five miles of railway from the Vaal River, with some little assistance from the Delagoa line and customs, brought in a revenue of about £1,250,000 in 1895. Now that the Natal line is opened the receipts will probably amount to nearly £3,000,000 per annum, all of which should swell the ordinary revenue of the country instead of remaining in the hands of foreigners as a reservoir of wealth for indigent Hollanders to exploit. The total railway earnings at the Cape and Natal together over all their lines amounted to £3,916,566 in 1895, and the capital expenditure on railways by these colonies amounts to £26,000,000. The greater portion of these receipts come from the Rand trade, which is compelled to pay an additional £2,500,000 carrying charges to the Netherlands Company, which has £7,000,000 of capital. Thus, railway receipts in South Africa amount now to £7,000,000 per annum, of which the Rand contributes at least £5,000,000.

"The revenue of the company is now considerably over £3,000,000 per annum. The management claim that their expenses amount to but forty per cent. of revenue, and this is regarded by them as a matter for general congratulation. The Uitlanders contend that the concern is grossly mismanaged, and that the low cost of working is a fiction. It only appears low by contrast with a revenue swollen by preposterously heavy rates and protected by a monopoly. The tariff could be reduced by one-half, that is to say, a remission of taxation to the tune of one and a half million annually could be effected without depriving the company of a legitimate and indeed very handsome profit."



Photo by Elliott & Fry, London.

Perhaps the dynamite monopoly was even more aggravating than the railway one. Mr. Fitzpatrick says it has always been "a very burning question with the Uitlanders. This concession was granted soon after the Barberton Fields were discovered, when the prospects of an industry in the manufacture of explosives were not really very great. The concessionaire himself has admitted that, had he foreseen to what proportions this monopoly would eventually grow, he would not have had the audacity to apply for it. Of course, this is merely a personal question. The fact which concerned the industry was that the right was granted to one man to manufacture explosives, and to sell them at a price nearly 200 per cent. over that at which[Pg 145] they could be imported. It was found, upon investigation after some years of agitation, that the factory at which this 'manufacture' took place was in reality merely a depôt in which the already manufactured article was manipulated to a moderate extent, so as to lend colour to the President's statement that a local industry was being fostered. An investigation, held by order of the Volksraad, exposed the imposition. The President himself stated that he found he had been deceived, and that the terms of the concession had been broken, and he urged the Raad to cancel it, which the Raad did. The triumph was considerable for the mining industry, and it was the more appreciated in that it was the solitary success to which the Uitlanders could point in their long series of agitations for reform. But the triumph was not destined to be a lasting one. Within a few months the monopoly was revived in an infinitely more obnoxious form. It was now called a Government monopoly, but 'the agency' was bestowed upon a partner of the gentleman who had formerly owned the concession, the President himself vigorously defending this course, and ignoring his own judgment on the case uttered a few months previously. Land en Volk, the Pretoria Dutch newspaper, exposed the whole of this transaction, including the system of bribery by which the concessionaires secured their renewal, and among other things made the charge which it has continued to repeat ever since, that Mr. J. M. A. Wolmarans, member of the Executive, received a commission of one shilling per case on every case sold during the continuance of the agency as a consideration for his support in the Executive Council, and that he continues to enjoy this remuneration, which is estimated now to be not far short of £10,000 a year. Mr. Wolmarans, for reasons of pride or discretion, has declined to take any notice of the charge, although frequently pressed to take action in the matter. It is calculated that the burden imposed upon the Witwatersrandt mines alone amounts to £600,000 per annum, and is, of course, daily increasing."

Between the years 1890 and 1895 there were many negotiations over Swaziland. The South African Republic, ever anxious to extend its borders, longed to advance eastward to the sea. Negotiations were started in regard to this arrangement. The Transvaal had recognised the British occupation of Rhodesia, and the British in return agreed to allow the Transvaal to make a railway through Amatongaland to Kosi Bay, and acquire a seaport, if, within three years, it joined the South African Customs Union.

But Mr. Kruger, luckily for Imperial interests, would not entertain the idea. He did not want to come into confederation with the Cape. The Orange Free State, however, joined the Cape system, and the South African Customs Union was started. The advan[Pg 146]tages to the Free State of this arrangement, though unforeseen, were many; the principal being the privilege of importing, unmolested, arms and ammunition over the Cape Government railway lines. Finally, in 1895, the administration of Swaziland was transferred to the South African Republic on certain conditions. It was not to be incorporated with the Republic, European settlers were to have full burgher rights, monopolies were forbidden, English and Dutch languages were to be on an equal footing, and no duties higher than the maximum tariff rates imposed by the South African Republic or by the Customs Union were to be allowed. The territory of Amatongaland was annexed by the British in 1895, and the Transvaal thus lost its one chance of an outlet towards the sea.


The much-vexed question of the Franchise continued to rankle in the hearts of the Uitlanders. Its ramifications had grown so complicated that even lawyers in discussing the matter continually found themselves in error. We may therefore be excused from attempting to examine its niceties, or rather its—well—the reverse. In 1893 a petition, signed by upwards of 13,000 aliens in favour of granting the extension of the Franchise, was received by the Raad with derision. In 1895 a monster petition was got up by the National Union, an organisation formed for the purpose of righting the wrongs of the Uitlanders. During the great Franchise debate in August 1895, Mr. R. K. Loveday, one of the Loyalists in the war, in the course of an address dealing with the subject, expressed himself very definitely and concisely, and in a manner which could not be refuted. He said—

"The President uses the argument that they should naturalise, and thus give evidence of their desire to become citizens. I have used the same argument, but what becomes of such arguments when met with the objections that the law requires such persons to undergo a probationary period extending from fourteen to twenty-four years before they are admitted to full rights of citizenship, and even after one has undergone that probationary period he can only be admitted to full rights by the resolution of the First Raad? Law IV. of 1890, being the Act of the two Volksraads, lays down clearly and distinctly that those who have been eligible for ten years for the Second Raad can be admitted to full citizenship. So that, in any case, the naturalised citizen cannot obtain full rights until he reaches the age of forty years, he not being[Pg 147] eligible for the Second Raad until he is thirty years. The child born of non-naturalised parents must therefore wait until he is forty years of age, although at the age of sixteen he may be called upon to do military service, and may fall in the defence of the land of his birth. When such arguments are hurled at me by our own flesh and blood—our kinsmen from all parts of South Africa—I must confess I am not surprised that these persons indignantly refuse to accept citizenship upon such unreasonable terms. The element I have just referred to—namely, the Africander element—is very considerable, and numbers thousands, hundreds of whom, at the time this country was struggling for its independence, accorded it moral and financial support, and yet these very persons are subjected to a term of probation extending from fourteen to twenty-four years. It is useless for me to ask you whether such a policy is just and reasonable or Republican, for there can be but one answer, and that is 'No!' Is there one man in this Raad who would accept the Franchise on the same terms? Let me impress upon you the grave nature of this question, and the absolute necessity of going to the burghers without a moment's delay and consulting and advising them. Let us keep nothing from them regarding the true position, and I am sure we shall have their hearty co-operation in any reasonable scheme we may suggest. This is a duty we owe them, for we must not leave them under the impression that the Uitlanders are satisfied to remain aliens, as stated by some of the journals. I move amongst these people, and learn to know their true feelings, and when public journals tell you that these people are satisfied with their lot they tell you that which they know to be false. Such journals are amongst the greatest sources of danger that the country has. We are informed by certain members that a proposition for the extension of the Franchise must come from the burghers, but, according to the Franchise Law, the proposition must come from the Raad, and the public must consent. The member for Rustenberg says that there are 9338 burghers who have declared that they are opposed to the extension of the Franchise. Upon reference to the Report he will find that there are only 1564 opposed to the extension. Members appear afraid to touch upon the real question at issue, but try to discredit the memorials by vague statements that some of the signatures are not genuine, and the former member for Johannesburg, Mr. J. Meyer, seems just as anxious to discredit the people of Johannesburg as formerly he was to defend them."

In spite of all that was said and done, however, no progress was made. The debate was closed on the third day, the request[Pg 148] of the memorialists was refused, and they were referred for satisfaction to the existing laws.

About this time the Transvaal came very near to war with Great Britain. As before stated, Mr. Kruger was much bound up with the affairs of the Netherlands Railway Company and its Hollander-German promoters. He attempted to divert the stream of Johannesburg traffic to Delagoa Bay, for the purpose of keeping profit from the pockets of the British. The freights, however, were evaded by unloading the goods at the frontier, and taking them across the Vaal in waggons. It was easy thus to forward goods—between Johannesburg and Viljoens Drift—direct by the Cape Railway.

But Mr. Kruger was not to be defeated. In October 1895, he closed the drifts or fords of the Vaal to all waggon loads of goods from Cape Colony. Unfortunately the President had over-reached himself. The people of Cape Colony and those of the Free State were indignant, and the High Commissioner, Sir Hercules Robinson, and the Cape Premier, Mr. Rhodes, both brought their influence to bear on the President. He was obdurate. Mr. Chamberlain, the new Colonial Secretary, came to the rescue. He put his foot down, and a determined foot it was. He sent an ultimatum to Mr. Kruger announcing that closure of the drifts after the 15th of November would be considered an act of war.

The drifts were reopened. But the Netherlands Railway Company still stuck to their tariffs and their aim of depriving the British Colonies of the custom dues and railway rates on the traffic of Johannesburg. Consequently this thorn in the side of the British Colonists was left to fester.



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.

Day by day the discontent grew, and the cry of "No taxation without representation" became the Uitlanders' motto. They perceived that they were deprived of rights, yet expected to serve as milch cows for the fattening of a State that was arming itself at all points against them, and they came to the conclusion that some strong measures must now be taken for their protection. The Chamber of Mines and the Transvaal National Union had spent some time in advocating purely constitutional methods, the Chamber of Mines exploiting the grievances of the Gold Mining industry, while the National Union struggled for general reforms which should make the conditions of Uitlander life less intolerable than they were. The Reformers, whose chairman was Mr. Charles Leonard, a solicitor of good practice in Johannesburg, were mostly men of the middle and professional classes. The capitalists, being anxious to keep in with the Transvaal Government, were some[Pg 149]what shy of the National Unionists; while the working men on their side were suspicious of the motives of the Reformers, and were chary of lending themselves to any scheme which might conduce to the profit of the millionaires. The National Union clearly expressed its aims in a manifesto which ended with the exposition of the Charter which its members hoped to obtain. It said:

"We want—

1. The establishment of this Republic as a true Republic.

2. A Grondwet, or Constitution, which shall be framed by competent persons selected by representatives of the whole people, and framed on lines laid down by them.

3. An equitable Franchise Law and fair representation.

4. Equality of the Dutch and English languages.

5. Responsibility to the Legislature of the heads of the great departments.

6. Removal of religious disabilities.

7. Independence of the Courts of Justice with adequate and secured remuneration of the Judges.

8. Liberal and comprehensive Education.

9. Efficient Civil Service, with adequate provision for pay and pension.

10. Free Trade in South African products."

The Manifesto wound up with the pertinent question, "How shall we get it?"

The "how" was to have been decided at a public meeting fixed for the 27th of December 1895, and subsequently postponed till January 8th, 1896. But what the National Union proposed the Jameson Raid disposed. The meeting was destined never to take place!


Before 1895 the wealthier members of the community refused to entertain the suggestion of coercive measures, but after the Volksraad in session revealed the real policy of the Government, even they began to perceive that revolutionary action might become obligatory. Though the capitalists were advised by those who knew to avoid spending money on hopeless efforts at reform, and to steer clear, if possible, of the political imbroglio, they eventually joined hands with the Reformers. How the egg of the Jameson conspiracy came to be laid no one exactly knew. Certain it was that those who looked for the hatching of a swan, were[Pg 150] confronted with a very ugly duckling indeed! Arms and ammunition were purchased, and these, concealed as gold-mining impedimenta, were smuggled into the country. Messrs. Leonard and Phillips, two prominent Reformers, consulted Mr. Rhodes as to future affairs, but Mr. Rhodes was in the awkward position of acting at one and the same time as Managing Director of the Consolidated Gold Fields in the Transvaal, Prime Minister of the Colony, and Managing Director of the Chartered Company, and consequently was a little vague in his propositions. After some conversation, he decided that he would, at his own expense, keep Dr. Jameson and his troops on the frontier "as a moral support."

Later on in September Dr. Jameson visited Johannesburg, and made his arrangements in person. It was agreed that he should maintain a force of 1500 mounted men, fully equipped, and that besides, having with him 1500 spare rifles, and some spare ammunition, there should be about 5000 rifles, three Maxims, and 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition smuggled into Johannesburg. The idea was, that the Uitlanders would prepare their revolt, and that should Dr. Jameson's services be needed, Johannesburg, with 9000 armed men and a fair equipment of machine guns and cannon, would be prepared to co-operate: at that time it seemed no difficult matter to seize the fort and magazines at Pretoria for the time being. It was in course of repair, and in charge merely of a hundred men, most of whom could be relied on to be asleep or off duty after nine o'clock at night. The plan of seizing the fort, capturing the ammunition, and clearing it off so as to enforce their views without bloodshed seemed perfectly feasible, and Dr. Jameson readily agreed to lend himself to the scheme for giving such "moral support" as was required by the Uitlander Reformers. Of their part in the affair it is difficult to speak impartially. It appears on the surface that they induced this man, for no personal motive either of financial gain or political power, to lend himself willingly to be the tool of the aggrieved Uitlanders, who, when the time came, were too vacillating between their fear of the Republic and the desire for their own individual good, to support the person whom they had chosen for their champion, and who so disinterestedly was prepared to risk both life and position in their service! It was decided, however, that the Reformers should arrange a revolution, which would have the effect of forcing the hands of the Transvaal Government. The High Commissioner, as they imagined, would come on the scene as a final arbitrator. Dr. Jameson's troops, who had acted so effectively in the Matabele campaign, were to be kept at Pitsani[Pg 151] on the Bechuana border, in order if necessary to come at a given signal to the rescue of the Uitlanders. The idea was not without precedent. Sir Henry Loch, two years before, in dread of a Johannesburg rising, had considered the advisability of placing troops on the border.

So as to justify his action to the directors of the Chartered Company and the Imperial authorities, the following undated letter was sent to Dr. Jameson, Mafeking:—

"Dear Sir,—The position of matters in this State has become so critical, that we are assured that at no distant period there will be a conflict between the Government and the Uitlander population. It is scarcely necessary for us to recapitulate what is now matter of history; suffice it to say, that the position of thousands of Englishmen, and others, is rapidly becoming intolerable. Not satisfied with making the Uitlander population pay virtually the whole of the revenue of the country while denying them representation, the policy of the Government has been steadily to encroach upon the liberty of the subject, and to undermine the security for property to such an extent as to cause a very deep-seated sense of discontent and danger. A foreign corporation of Hollanders is to a considerable extent controlling our destinies, and in conjunction with the Boer leaders endeavouring to cast them in a mould which is wholly foreign to the genius of the people. Every public act betrays the most positive hostility, not only to everything English, but to the neighbouring States.

"Well, in short, the internal policy of the Government is such as to have roused into antagonism to it not only practically the whole body of Uitlanders, but a large number of the Boers; while its external policy has exasperated the neighbouring States, causing the possibility of great danger to the peace and independence of this Republic. Public feeling is in a condition of smouldering discontent. All the petitions of the people have been refused with a greater or less degree of contempt; and in the debate on the Franchise petition, signed by nearly 40,000 people, one member challenged the Uitlanders to fight for the rights they asked for, and not a single member spoke against him. Not to go into details, we may say that the Government has called into existence all the elements necessary for armed conflict. The one desire of the people here is for fair play, the maintenance of their independence, and the preservation of those public liberties without which life is not worth living. The Government denies these things, and violates the national sense of Englishmen at every turn.

"What we have to consider is, what will be the condition of things[Pg 152] here in the event of a conflict? Thousands of unarmed men, women, and children of our race will be at the mercy of well-armed Boers, while property of enormous value will be in the greatest peril. We cannot contemplate the future without the gravest apprehensions. All feel that we are justified in taking any steps to prevent the shedding of blood, and to ensure the protection of our rights.

"It is under these circumstances that we feel constrained to call upon you to come to our aid should a disturbance arise here. The circumstances are so extreme that we cannot but believe that you and the men under you will not fail to come to the rescue of people who will be so situated. We guarantee any expense that may reasonably be incurred by you in helping us, and ask you to believe that nothing but the sternest necessity has prompted this appeal.

"Charles Leonard.

Lionel Phillips.

Francis Rhodes.

John Hays Hammond.

George Farrar."

It was arranged that Dr. Jameson should start from camp on the night of the outbreak at Johannesburg—either on the 28th of December or on the 4th of January—according to notice which would subsequently be given. From this moment, however, doubts began to fill the minds of the Reformers. They were dissatisfied with the quantity of arms they had been able to smuggle into the town; there was a want of cohesion among the different sections, of those interested; they went so far as to disagree as to what flag they were going to revolt under. The Reformers were evidently not all of Dr. Jameson's opinion, that the Union Jack was the one and only flag under which they could hope for justice—they were, as we know, only comrades in suffering but not compatriots, and besides this, many declared that reform and not annexation was what they were anxious to secure.

Dr Leander Starr Jameson.

Dr Leander Starr Jameson.

Photo by Elliott & Fry, London.

Here we have before us what made the complicated riddle of the Raid. Since it has defied all the Œdipuses of the century, we will not endeavour to unravel it. Did the Reformers set all their grievances aside before the paramount question, "Under which flag, Jameson?" or did they make use of the flag argument to cover a series of vacillations which prevented them from acting up to the rules of the conspiracy they themselves had set on foot? Did Mr. Rhodes engage in the plot for the sake of financial gain? Did he do so out of sympathy for the "cause," or did he attempt a magnificent political coup? And lastly—Did that unhappy scapegoat, the gallant Jameson, launch himself on the wild mistaken[Pg 153] escapade to rescue his fellow-countrymen from oppression, to serve his private ends financial or political, or from the sheer spirit of adventure which, in some degree, animates every British heart? Who shall say?


It was arranged, as has been mentioned, that the rising at Johannesburg should take place on the night of the 4th of January. The arsenal at Pretoria was to be seized, and Dr. Jameson with his troops was to make his appearance, assist the Reformers in urging their claims, and, if necessary, save the women and children from possible violence.

"According to the original plan," says Mrs. Lionel Phillips in her "South African Recollections," "what with the smuggled rifles, those in private hands, the spare weapons to be brought by Jameson's men, and those men (the Reformers) themselves, Johannesburg must have mustered a little army of not less than 5000 men, to say nothing of the guns which might possibly be captured in the arsenal. It was believed that with this force the town could be held against any attack that might be made by the Transvaal forces, and that, upon a failure in the first assault, the Boers would have adopted their well-known tactics of cutting off supplies, with a view to starving the town into submission. To meet this contingency the town was provisioned for two months, and it was supposed that the British Government would never sit still and allow the Uitlanders to be forced into capitulation in the face of the wrongs which they had suffered. In November, when Jameson came to Johannesburg, the supporting force had dwindled to 800. The telegrams apprising the Reformers of his advance spoke of 700, and in reality he started with less than 500 men."

But by the time the plot should have neared completion, the conspirators, as has been shown, had ceased to be of one accord on the subject. On Christmas Day Mr. Leonard interviewed Mr. Rhodes in Cape Town, and represented to him the divided state of affairs. Meanwhile the Reformers in Johannesburg desired to make known to Dr. Jameson their change of front, and, to prevent him starting on the expedition, despatched two messengers to Pitsani Camp by different routes. These messages were received on December the 28th, and with them other telegraphic ones from Mr. Leonard and Mr. Rhodes explicitly directing the expedition not to start.

The news that Dr. Jameson had started, in spite of these[Pg 154] messages, came on the Reformers like a thunderclap. They were not ready—they had not sufficient arms to fight with, and they were not of one mind. The doing had been easy enough, and they had fancied the undoing would be as simple. They had laid their gunpowder train without thinking of the number of firebrands that surrounded it! Amazement gave way to indignation, and the Reformers were not slow to hint that Mr. Rhodes or Dr. Jameson had disregarded the messages in order to further their personal ends. The most charitable decided that the Doctor's starting was due merely to misunderstanding. Many rumours of discontent and disturbance were floating about, and it was believed that some of these might have reached the Doctor's ears and influenced his actions. Anyway the Reformers were at sea. All they could do was to arm as many men as possible with a view to defence—to holding the town against any attack that might be made by the Transvaal forces, and to decide to take no initiative against the Boers. No uneasiness was felt regarding Jameson, for it was believed that he was well supported by not less than 800 men, and that the Boers would stand a poor chance against a body so well equipped and trained as his was supposed to be. The position taken up is explained in a notice of the Reform Committee in the Johannesburg Star:—"Notice is hereby given, that this Committee adheres to the National Union Manifesto, and reiterates its desire to maintain the independence of the Republic. The fact that rumours are in course of circulation to the effect that a force has crossed the Bechuanaland border, renders it necessary to take active steps for the defence of Johannesburg and the preservation of order. The Committee earnestly desires that the inhabitants should refrain from taking any action which can be considered as an overt act of hostility against the Government."

The High Commissioner and the Premier of Cape Colony were communicated with and informed that Dr. Jameson, having started with an armed force, Johannesburg was in peril which there was no means to avert. The High Commissioner was further invited to come to Johannesburg to effect a settlement and prevent civil war. Arrangements were then made for the arming of some 2000 men. These preparations and others speedily became known to the Government in Pretoria. No steps, it appears, had been taken to preserve secrecy, as the Committee did not hold themselves responsible for Dr. Jameson's action. The result was the publication of the following Proclamation by the President:[Pg 155]

"Proclamation by his Honour the State President of the South African Republic

"Whereas, it has appeared to the Government of the South African Republic that there are rumours in circulation to the effect that earnest endeavours are being made to endanger the public safety of Johannesburg; and whereas the Government is convinced that, in case such rumours may contain any truth, such endeavours can only emanate from a small portion of the inhabitants, and that the greater portion of the Johannesburg inhabitants are peaceful, and are prepared to support the Government in its endeavours to maintain law and order.

"Now, know you that I, Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, State President of the South African Republic, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, according to Article 913 of its minutes, dated the 30th of December 1895, do hereby warn those evil-intentioned persons (as I do hereby urge all such persons to do) to remain within the pale of the law, and all such persons not heeding this warning shall do so on their own responsibility; and I do further make known that life and property shall be protected against which attempts may be made, and that every peaceful inhabitant of Johannesburg, of whatsoever nationality he may be, is called upon to support me herein, and to assist the officials charged therewith; and further be it known, that the Government is still prepared to take into consideration all grievances that may be laid before it in a proper manner, and to submit the same to the people of the land without delay for treatment."

The High Commissioner also issued a Proclamation calling on Dr. Jameson to return to British territory at once, and this was forwarded to him at different points in order that there might be no mistake and that the invasion might yet be arrested. Meanwhile Mr. Marais (the editor of the leading Dutch paper) and Mr. Malan (the son-in-law of Joubert) were proceeding with a commando for the purpose of fighting for their Government should Dr. Jameson disobey the Proclamation. They excused themselves under the plea "that if from unreasonable action of Johannesburg, fighting should take place between the Government forces and a revolutionary force from Johannesburg, they were in duty bound to fight, and that among their ranks would be found many who had been active workers in the ranks of the Reformers."

It was subsequently decided that a deputation of Reformers should negotiate with the Government for a peaceful settlement on[Pg 156] the basis of the Manifesto. Their programme was somewhat broad. They were to approach the Government pacifically and at the same time insist on their rights and the redress of their grievances—"to avow the association of Dr. Jameson's forces so far as it had existed, and to include him in any settlement that might be made."

They also, in answer to a telegram from the British Agent, refused to repudiate Dr. Jameson, and said, "in order to avert bloodshed on grounds of Dr. Jameson's action, if Government will allow Dr. Jameson to come in unmolested, the Committee will guarantee with their persons if necessary that he will leave again peacefully with as little delay as possible."

Meanwhile the committee remained in the most horrible doubt and suspense. No word came from Jameson. That he had started they knew, and that was the extent of their knowledge. They still trusted that, on ascertaining that there was no necessity for intervention on behalf of the Uitlanders, he and his troops would obey the orders of the High Commissioner, and retire peacefully from the Transvaal.


From all accounts it appears that Dr. Jameson and his party gathered together at Pitsani early in December. He drilled his troops and general preparations were made, without sufficient secrecy however, for the projected invasion. It was unfortunate for the scheme that these plans were publicly spoken of in society in England at the same time as they were merely being discussed in whispers in Johannesburg! On Sunday the 29th of December 1895, Dr. Jameson read aloud to his troops the letter which has been printed, and which, simultaneously with his departure, was sent by Dr. Rutherfoord Harris to the Times, to justify the action which in a few hours would become world famous. This letter the Reformers subsequently declared was treacherously made use of, as they had not had occasion to send the appeal therein mentioned. It is evident that at that time Dr. Jameson believed that his plans were so well arranged that there would be no bloodshed, that, indeed, he would appear in the nick of time to afford the "moral support" he had originally engaged to provide. The troops were to go straight to Johannesburg before the Boers had time to assemble their forces or to take any measures to stop him. The Doctor explained that they were marching to the rescue of the oppressed, and implied that they were going under the auspices of[Pg 157] the British flag. On hearing the latter statement a considerable number of the troops refused to take part in the enterprise, and this may account for the fact that while the Reformers believed Dr. Jameson to be supported by some 800 men or more, he was in reality accompanied by only 480. Here, in order to give the crude facts of the Raid as known to the public, we may copy the report of the affair made by Sir John Willoughby to the War Office:—

"Sir John Willoughby's Report to the War Office

"Official Report of the Expedition that left the Protectorate at the urgent request of the leading citizens of Johannesburg, with the object of standing by them and maintaining law and order whilst they were demanding justice from the Transvaal authorities. By Sir John C. Willoughby, Bart., Lieutenant-Colonel commanding Dr. Jameson's Forces.

"On Saturday, December 28, 1895, Dr. Jameson received a Reuter's telegram, showing that the situation at Johannesburg had become acute. At the same time reliable information was received that the Boers in the Zeerust and Lichtenburg districts were assembling, and had been summoned to march on Johannesburg.

"Preparations were at once made to act on the terms of the letter dated December 20, and already published, and also in accordance with verbal arrangements with the signatories of that letter—viz., that should Dr. Jameson hear that the Boers were collecting, and that the intentions of the Johannesburg people had become generally known, he was at once to come to the aid of the latter with whatever force he had available, and without further reference to them, the object being that such force should reach Johannesburg without any conflict.

"At 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, December 29, everything was in readiness at Pitsani Camp. The troops were paraded, and Dr. Jameson read the letter of invitation from Johannesburg.

"He then explained to the force—(a) that no hostilities were intended; (b) that we should only fight if forced to do so in self defence; (c) that neither the persons nor property of inhabitants of the Transvaal were to be molested; (d) that our sole object was to help our fellow-men in their extremity, and to ensure their obtaining attention to their just demands.

"Dr. Jameson's speech was received with the greatest enthusiasm by the men, who cheered most heartily.[Pg 158]

"The above programme was strictly adhered to until the column was fired upon on the night of the 31st.

"Many Boers, singly and in small parties, were encountered on the line of march; to one and all of these the pacific nature of the expedition was carefully explained.

"The force left Pitsani Camp at 6.30 p.m., December 29, and marched through the night. At 5.15 a.m., on the morning of the 30th, the column reached the village of Malmani (thirty-nine miles distant from Pitsani). Presently, at the same moment, the advanced guard of the Mafeking Column (under Colonel Grey) reached the village, and the junction was effected between the two bodies....

"From Malmani I pushed on as rapidly as possible in order to cross in daylight the very dangerous defile at Lead Mines. This place, distant seventy-one miles from Pitsani, was passed at 5.30 p.m., December 30.

"I was subsequently informed that a force of several hundred Boers, sent from Lichtenburg to intercept the force at this point, missed doing so by three hours only.

"At our next 'off-saddle' Dr. Jameson received a letter from the Commandant-General of the Transvaal demanding to know the reason of our advance, and ordering us to return immediately. A reply was sent to this, explaining Dr. Jameson's reasons in the same terms as those used to the force at Pitsani.

"At Doomport (ninety-one miles from Pitsani), during an 'off-saddle' early on Tuesday morning, December 31, a mounted messenger overtook us, and presented a letter from the High Commissioner, which contained an order to Dr. Jameson and myself to return at once to Mafeking and Pitsani.

"A retreat by now was out of the question, and to comply with these instructions an impossibility. In the first place, there was absolutely no food for men or horses along the road which we had recently followed; secondly, three days at least would be necessary for our horses, jaded with forced marching, to return; on the road ahead we were sure of finding, at all events, some food for man and beast. Furthermore, we had by now traversed almost two-thirds of the total distance; a large force of Boers was known to be intercepting our retreat, and we were convinced that any retrograde movement would bring on an attack of Boers from all sides.

"It was felt, therefore, that to ensure the safety of our little force, no alternative remained but to push on to Krugersdorp to our friends, who, we were confident, would be awaiting our arrival there.

"Apart from the above considerations, even had it been possible to effect a retreat from Doomport, we knew that Johannesburg had[Pg 159] risen, and felt that by turning back we should be shamefully deserting those coming to meet us.

"Finally, it appeared to us impossible to turn back, in view of the fact that we had been urgently called in to avert a massacre, which we had been assured would be imminent in the event of a crisis such as had now occurred.

"Near Boon's store, on the evening of the 31st, an advanced patrol fell in with Lieutenant Eloff, of the Krugersdorp Volunteers. This officer, in charge of a party of fifteen scouts, had come out to gain intelligence of our movements. He was detained whilst our intentions were fully explained to him, and then released at Dr. Jameson's request.

"At midnight (New Year's Eve), while the advanced scouts were crossing a rocky, wooded ridge at right angles to and barring the line of advance, they were fired on by a party of forty Boers, who had posted themselves in this position. The scouts, reinforced by the advanced guard, under Inspector Straker, drove off their assailants after a short skirmish, during which one trooper of the M.M.P. was wounded.

"At Van Oudtshoorn's, early on the following morning (Jan. 1), Dr. Jameson received a second letter from the High Commissioner, to which he replied in writing. At 9.30 a.m. the march was resumed in the usual day formation. After marching two miles the column got clear of the hills, and emerged into open country.

"About this time Inspector Drury, in command of the rear guard, sent word that a force of about one hundred Boers was following him about one mile in rear. I thereupon reinforced the rear guard, hitherto consisting of a troop and one Maxim, by an additional half troop and another Maxim.

"About five miles beyond Van Oudtshoorn's store the column was met by two cyclists bearing letters from several leaders of the Johannesburg Reform Committee. These letters expressed the liveliest approval and delight at our speedy approach, and finally contained a renewal of their promise to meet the column with a force at Krugersdorp. The messengers also reported that only 300 armed Boers were in the town.

"This news was communicated to the troops, who received it with loud cheers. When about two miles from Hind's store the column was delayed by extensive wire fencing, which ran for one and a half miles on either side of the road, and practically constituted a defile.

"While the column was halted and the wire being cut, the country for some distance on both sides was carefully scouted.

"By this means it was ascertained that there was a considerable[Pg 160] force of Boers (1) on the left front, (2) in the immediate front (retreating hastily on Krugersdorp), (3) a third party on the right flank.

"The force which had been following the column from Van Oudtshoorn's continued to hover in the rear.

"Lieutenant-Colonel White, in command of the advanced guard, sent back a request for guns to be pushed forward as a precaution in case of an attack from the Boers in front. By the time these guns reached the advanced guard, the Boers were still retreating some two miles off. A few rounds were then fired in their direction. Had Colonel White, in the first instance, opened fire with his Maxims on the Boers, whom he surprised watering their horses close to Hind's store, considerable loss would have been inflicted, but this was not our object, for with the exception of the small skirmish on the previous night, the Boers had not as yet molested the column, whose sole aim was to reach Johannesburg if possible without fighting.

"At this hour Hind's store was reached. Here the troops rested for one and a half hours. Unfortunately, hardly any provisions for men and horses were available. An officer's patrol, consisting of Major Villiers (Royal Horse Guards), and Lieutenant Grenfell (1st Life Guards), and six men, moved off for the purpose of reconnoitring the left flank of the Boer position, while Captain Lindsell, with his permanent force of advanced scouts, pushed on as usual to reconnoitre the approach by the main road. At the same time I forwarded a note to the Commandant of the forces in Krugersdorp to the effect that, in the event of my friendly force meeting with opposition on its approach, I should be forced to shell the town, and that therefore I gave him this warning in order that the women and children might be moved out of danger.

"To this note, which was despatched by a Boer who had been detained at Van Oudtshoorn, I received no reply.

"At Hind's store we were informed that the force in our front had increased during the forenoon to about 800 men, of whom a large number were entrenched on the hillside.

"Four miles beyond Hind's store the column following the scouts, which met with no opposition, ascended a steep rise of some 400 feet, and came full in view of the Boer position on the opposite side of a deep valley, traversed by a broad 'sluit' or muddy watercourse.

"Standing on the plateau or spur, on which our force was forming up for action, the view to our front was as follows:—

"Passing through our position to the west ran Hind's store—Krugersdorp Road traversing the valley and the Boer position almost at right angles to both lines.



Painting by R. Caton Woodville.

Reproduced by special arrangement with Henry Graves & Co., London.

"Immediately to the north of this road, at the point where it[Pg 161] disappeared over the sky-line on the opposite slope, lay the Queen's Battery House and earthworks, completely commanding the valley on all sides, and distant 1900 yards from our standpoint.

"Some 1000 yards down the valley to the north stood a farmhouse, surrounded by a dense plantation, which flanked the valley.

"Half-way up the opposite slope, and adjacent to the road, stood an iron house which commanded the drift where the road crossed the above-mentioned watercourse.

"On the south side of the road, and immediately opposite the last-named house, an extensive rectangular stone wall enclosure with high trees formed an excellent advanced central defensive position. Further up the slope, some 500 yards to the south of this enclosure, stretched a line of rifle-pits, which were again flanked to the south by 'prospecting' trenches. On the sky-line numbers of Boers were apparent to our front and right front.

"Before reaching the plateau we had observed small parties of Boers hurrying towards Krugersdorp, and immediately on reaching the high ground the rear-guard was attacked by the Boer force which had followed the column during the whole morning.

"I therefore had no further hesitation in opening fire on the Krugersdorp position.

"The two 7-pounders and the 12½-pounder opened on the Boer line, making good practice under Captain Kincaid-Smith and Captain Gosling at 1900 yards.

"This fire was kept up till 5 p.m. The Boers made practically no reply, but lay quiet in the trenches and battery.

"Scouts having reported that most of the trenches were evacuated, the first line, consisting of the advanced guard (a troop of 100 men), under Colonel White, advanced. Two Maxims accompanied this force; a strong troop with a Maxim formed the right and left support on either flank.

"Lieutenant-Colonel Grey, with one troop B.B.P. and one Maxim, had been previously detailed to move round and attack the Boers' left.

"The remaining two troops, with three Maxims, formed the reserve and rear-guard.

"The first line advance continued unopposed to within 200 yards of the watercourse, when it was checked by an exceedingly heavy cross-fire from all points of the defence.

"Colonel White then pushed his skirmishers forward into and beyond the watercourse.

"The left support, under Inspector Dykes, then advanced to prolong the first line to the left; but, diverging too much to his left,[Pg 162] this officer experienced a very hot flanking fire from the farmhouse and plantation, and was driven back with some loss.

"Colonel Grey meanwhile had pushed round on the extreme right and come into action.

"About this time Major Villiers' patrol returned and reported that the country to our right was open, and that we could easily move round in that direction.

"It was now evident that the Boers were in great force, and intended holding their position.

"Without the arrival of the Johannesburg force in rear of the Boers—an event which I had been momentarily expecting—I did not feel justified in pushing a general attack, which would have certainly entailed heavy losses on my small force.

"I accordingly left Inspector Drury with one troop and one Maxim to keep in check the Boers who were now lining the edge of the plateau to our left, and placed Colonel Grey with two troops B.B.P., one 12½-pounder, and one Maxim, to cover our left flank and continue firing on the battery and trenches south of the road.

"I then made a general flank movement to the right with the remaining troops.

"Colonel Grey succeeded in shelling the Boers out of their advanced position during the next half-hour, and blew up the Battery House.

"Under this cover the column moved off as far as the first houses of the Randfontein group of mines, the Boers making no attempt to intercept the movement.

"Night was now fast approaching, and still there were no signs of the promised help from Johannesburg. I determined, therefore, to push on with all speed in the direction of that town, trusting in the darkness to slip through any intervening opposition.

"Two guides were obtained, the column followed in the prescribed night order of march, and we started off along a road leading direct to Johannesburg.

"At this moment heavy rifle and Maxim fire was suddenly heard from the direction of Krugersdorp, which lay one and a half miles to the left rear.

"We at once concluded that this could only be the arrival of the long-awaited reinforcements, for we knew that Johannesburg had Maxims, and that the Staats-Artillerie were not expected to arrive until the following morning. To leave our supposed friends in the lurch was out of the question. I determined at once to move to their support.

"Leaving the carts escorted by one troop on the road, I advanced rapidly across the plateau towards Krugersdorp in the direction of the firing, in the formation shown in the accompanying sketch.[Pg 163]

"After advancing thus for nearly a mile the firing ceased, and we perceived the Boers moving in great force to meet the column. The flankers on the right reported another force threatening that flank.

"Fearing that an attempt would be made to cut us off from the ammunition carts, I ordered a retreat on them.

"It was now clear that the firing, whatever might have been the cause thereof, was not occasioned by the arrival of any force from Johannesburg.


"Precious moments had been lost in the attempt to stand by our friends at all costs, under the mistaken supposition that they could not fail to carry out their repeated promises, renewed to us by letter so lately as 11 a.m. this same day. It was now very nearly dark. In the dusk the Boers could be seen closing in on three sides, viz., north, east, and south. The road to Johannesburg appeared completely barred, and the last opportunity of slipping through, which had presented itself an hour ago when the renewed firing was heard, was gone not to return.

"Nothing remained but to bivouac in the best position available.

"But for the unfortunate circumstance of the firing, which we afterwards heard was due to the exultation of the Boers at the arrival of large reinforcements from Potchefstroom, the column would have been by this time (7 p.m.), at least four or five miles further on the road to Johannesburg, with an excellent chance of reaching that town without further opposition.

"I moved the column to the edge of a wide valley to the right of the road, and formed the horses in quarter column under cover of the slope. The carts were formed up in the rear and on both flanks, and five Maxims were placed along the front so as to sweep the plateau.

"The other three Maxims and the heavy guns were posted on the rear and flank faces.[Pg 164]

"The men were then directed to lie down between the guns and on the side; sentries and Cossack posts were posted on each face.

"Meantime the Boers had occupied the numerous prospecting trenches and cuttings on the plateau at distances from 400 to 800 yards.

"At 9 p.m. a heavy fire was opened on the bivouac, and a storm of bullets swept over and around us, apparently directed from all sides except the south-west.

"The troops were protected by their position on the slope below the level of the plateau, so that the total loss from this fire, which lasted about twenty minutes, was very inconsiderable.

"The men behaved with admirable coolness, and were as cheery as possible, although very tired and hungry and without water.

"We were then left unmolested for two or three hours.

"About midnight another shower of bullets was poured into the camp, but the firing was not kept up for long.

"Somewhat later a Maxim gun opened on the bivouac, but failed to get our range.

"At 3.30 a.m. patrols were pushed out on all sides, while the force as silently and rapidly as possible was got ready to move off.

"At 4 a.m. a heavy fire was opened by the Boers on the column, and the patrols driven in from the north and east sides.

"Under the direction of Major R. White (assisted by Lieutenant Jesser-Coope) the column was formed under cover of the slope.

"Soon after this the patrols which had been sent out to the south returned, and reported that the ground was clear of the Boers in that direction.

"The growing light enabled us to ascertain that the Boers in force were occupying pits to our left and lining the railway embankment for a distance of one and a half miles right across the direct road to Johannesburg.

"I covered the movements of the main body with the B.B.P. and two Maxims under Colonel Grey along the original left front of the bivouac, and two troops M.M.P., under Major R. White, on the right front.

"During all this time the firing was excessively heavy; however, the main body was partially sheltered by the slope.

"Colonel White then led the advance for a mile across the vley without casualty, but on reaching the opposite rise near the Oceanic Mine, was subjected to a very heavy long-range fire. Colonel White hereupon very judiciously threw out one troop to the left to cover the further advance of the main body.

"This was somewhat delayed, after crossing the rise, by the disappearance of our volunteer guide of the previous night.[Pg 165]

"Some little time elapsed before another guide could be obtained.

"In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Grey withdrew his force and the covering Maxims out of action under the protection of the M.M.P. covering troops, and rejoined the main body.

"At this juncture Colonel Grey was shot in the foot, but most gallantly insisted on carrying on his duties until the close of the action.

"Sub-Inspector Cazalet was also wounded here, but continued in action until he was shot again in the chest at Doornkop.

"While crossing the ridge the column was subjected to a very heavy fire, and several men and horses were lost here.

"I detailed a rear-guard of one troop and two Maxims, under Major R. White, to cover our rear and left flank, and moved the remainder of the troops in the ordinary day formation as rapidly forward as possible.

"In this formation a running rear and flank guard fight was kept up for ten miles. Wherever the features of the ground admitted, a stand was made by various small detachments of the rear and flank guard. In this manner the Boers were successfully kept at a distance of 500 yards, and repulsed in all their efforts to reach the rear and flank of the main body.

"In passing through the various mines and the village of Randfontein, we met with hearty expressions of goodwill from the mining population, who professed a desire to help if only they had arms.

"Ten miles from the start I received intelligence from Colonel Grey, at the head of the column, that Doornkop, a hill near the Speitfontein Mine, was held by 400 Boers, directly barring our line of advance.

"I repaired immediately to the front, Colonel White remaining with the rear-guard.

"On arriving at the head of the column, I found the guns shelling a ridge which our guide stated was Doornkop.

"The excellent dispositions for the attack made by Colonel Grey were then carried out.

"The B.B.P., under Major Coventry, who, I regret to say, was severely wounded and lost several of his men, attacked and cleared the ridge in most gallant style, and pushed on beyond it.

"About this time Inspector Barry received the wound which, we have learnt with grief, has subsequently proved fatal.

"Chief-Inspector Bodle at the same time, with two troops M.M.P., charged and drove off the field a large force of Boers threatening our left flank.

"The guide had informed us that the road to the right of the[Pg 166] hill was impassable, and that there was open and easy country to the left.

"This information was misleading. I afterwards ascertained that without storming the Boer position there was no road open to Johannesburg, except by a wide detour of many miles to the right.

"At this moment Dr. Jameson received a letter from the High Commissioner again ordering us to desist in our advance. Dr. Jameson informed me at the same time of the most disheartening news, viz. that he had received a message stating that Johannesburg would not, or could not, come to our assistance, and that we must fight our way through unaided.

"Thinking that the first ridge now in our hands was Doornkop, we again pushed rapidly on, only to find that in rear of the ridge another steep and stony kopje, some 400 feet in height, was held by hundreds of Boers completely covered from our fire.

"This kopje effectually flanked the road over which the column must advance at a distance of 400 yards. Scouting showed that there was no way of getting round this hill.

"Surrounded on all sides by the Boers, men and horses wearied out, outnumbered by at least six to one, our friends having failed to keep their promises to meet us, and my force reduced numerically by one-fourth, I no longer considered that I was justified in sacrificing any more of the lives of the men under me.

"As previously explained, our object in coming had been to render assistance, without bloodshed if possible, to the inhabitants of Johannesburg. This object would in no way be furthered by a hopeless attempt to cut our way through overwhelming numbers, an attempt, moreover, which must without any doubt have entailed heavy and useless slaughter.

"With Dr. Jameson's permission, I therefore sent word to the Commandant that we would surrender provided that he would give a guarantee of safe conduct out of the country to every member of the force.

"To this Commandant Cronjé replied by a guarantee of the lives of all, provided that we would lay down our arms and pay all expenses.

"In spite of this guarantee of the lives of all, Commandant Malan subsequently repudiated the guarantee in so far as to say that he would not answer for the lives of the leaders, but this was not until our arms had been given up and the force at the mercy of the Boers.



Photo by Wilson, Aberdeen.

"I attribute our failure to reach Johannesburg in a great measure to loss of time from the following causes:—

"1. The delay occasioned by the demonstration in front of[Pg 167] Krugersdorp, which had been assigned as the place of junction with the Johannesburg force.

"2. The non-arrival of that force at Krugersdorp, or of the guides to the Krugersdorp-Johannesburg section of the road, as previously promised by Johannesburg.

"3. The delay consequent on moving to the firing of the supposed Johannesburg column just before dark on Wednesday evening.

"I append (1) a sketch-map of the route from Pitsani to Krugersdorp marked A. This distance (154 miles) was covered in just under seventy hours, the horses having been off-saddled ten times. The 169 miles between Pitsani and Doornkop occupied eighty-six hours, during seventeen of which the men were engaged with the Boers, and were practically without food or water, having had their last meal at 8 a.m. on the morning of the 1st January at Van Oudtshoorn's, seventeen miles from Krugersdorp."

(The report concludes with a list of officers engaged in the expedition.)

It will be noted that Sir John Willoughby does not attribute his failure to the bungling of his employés that is said to have taken place. The man that was despatched to cut the telegraph wires failed to do so, with the result that the Boers were provided with the news of the invasion eight hours before the Reform leaders were aware of it; while another man, whose business it was to wrench away the rails between Johannesburg and Krugersdorp, and thus interrupt communication from Pretoria, was reposing in a clubhouse hopelessly drunk, while the train he should have intercepted carried ammunition for use against the invaders.

In order to present a fair picture of the situation, it must be admitted that many of the statements in this report were emphatically contradicted by the Reformers, notably the opening paragraphs, which scarcely tally with the fact that on the 28th (the day referred to) Dr. Jameson received the letters from the Reformers telling him not to start.

The following statement of the four Reform leaders, which was read at their trial, will present the case from their point of view, and those interested may judge for themselves of a question over which many differences of opinion exist:—

"For a number of years endeavours have been made to obtain by constitutional means the redress of the grievances under which the Uitlander population labours. The new-comer asked for no more than is conceded to emigrants by all the other Governments in South Africa, under which every man may, on reasonable conditions, become a citizen of the State; whilst here alone a policy[Pg 168] is pursued by which the first settlers retain the exclusive right of government.

"Petitions supported by the signatures of some forty thousand men were ignored, and when it was found that we could not get a fair and reasonable hearing, that provisions already deemed obnoxious and unfair were being made more stringent, and that we were being debarred for ever from obtaining the rights which in other countries are freely granted, it was realised that we would never get redress until we should make a demonstration of force to support our claims.

"Certain provision was made regarding arms and ammunition, and a letter was written to Dr. Jameson, in which he was asked to come to our aid under certain circumstances.

"On December 26 the Uitlanders' Manifesto was published, and it was then our intention to make a final appeal for redress at the public meeting which was to have been held on January 6. In consequence of matters that came to our knowledge, we sent on December 26 Major Heany (by train via Kimberley), and Captain Holden across country, to forbid any movement on Dr. Jameson's part.

"On the afternoon of Monday, December 30, we learnt from Government sources that Dr. Jameson had crossed the border. We assumed that he had come in good faith to help us, probably misled by some of the exaggerated rumours which were then in circulation. We were convinced, however, that the Government and the burghers would not in the excitement of the moment believe that we had not invited Dr. Jameson in, and there was no course open to us but to prepare to defend ourselves if we were attacked, and at the same time to spare no effort to effect a peaceful settlement.

"It became necessary to form some organisation for the protection of the town and the maintenance of order, since, in the excitement caused by the news of Dr. Jameson's coming, serious disturbances would be likely to occur, and it was evident that the Government organisation could not deal with the people without serious risks of conflict.

"The Reform Committee was formed on Monday night, December 30, and it was intended to include such men of influence as cared to associate themselves with the movement. The object with which it was formed is best shown by its first notice, namely:—

"'Notice is hereby given, that this Committee adheres to the National Union Manifesto, and reiterates its desire to maintain the independence of the Republic. The fact that rumours are in course[Pg 169] of circulation to the effect that a force has crossed the Bechuanaland border renders it necessary to take active steps for the defence of Johannesburg and preservation of order. The Committee earnestly desire that the inhabitants should refrain from taking any action which can be construed as an overt act of hostility against the Government. By order of the Committee, J. Percy Fitzpatrick, Secretary.'

"The evidence taken at the preliminary examination will show that order was maintained by this Committee during a time of intense excitement, and through the action of the Committee no aggressive steps whatever were taken against the Government, but on the contrary, the property of the Government was protected, and its officials were not interfered with.

"It is our firm belief that had no such Committee been formed, the intense excitement caused by Dr. Jameson's entry would have brought about utter chaos in Johannesburg.

"It has been alleged that we armed natives. This is absolutely untrue, and is disposed of by the fact that during the crisis upwards of 20,000 white men applied to us for arms and were unable to get them.

"On Tuesday morning, December 31, we hoisted the flag of the Z. A. R., and every man bound himself to maintain the independence of the Republic. On the same day the Government withdrew its police voluntarily from the town, and we preserved perfect order.

"During the evening of that day, Messrs. Marais and Malan presented themselves as delegates from the Executive Council. They came (to use their own words) to 'offer us the olive branch,' and they told us that if we would send a deputation to Pretoria to meet a Commission appointed by the Government, we should probably obtain 'practically all that we asked for in the Manifesto.'

"Our deputation met the Government Commission, consisting of Chief-Justice Kotze, Judge Ameshof, and Mr. Kook, member of the Executive.

"On our behalf our deputation frankly avowed knowledge of Jameson's presence on the border, and of his intention, by written arrangement with us, to assist us in case of extremity.

"With the full knowledge of this arrangement, with the knowledge that we were in arms and agitating for our rights, the Government Commission handed to us a resolution by the Executive Council, of which the following is the purport:—

"'The High Commissioner has offered his services with a view to a peaceful settlement. The Government of the South African Republic has accepted his offer. Pending his arrival, no hostile step will be taken against Johannesburg, provided Johannesburg[Pg 170] takes no hostile action against the Government. In terms of a certain proclamation recently issued by the President, the grievances will be earnestly considered.'

"We acted in perfect good faith with the Government, believing it to be their desire, as it was ours, to avert bloodshed, and believing it to be their intention to give us the redress which was implied in the 'earnest consideration of grievances.'

"There can be no better evidence of our earnest endeavour to repair what we regarded as a mistake on the part of Dr. Jameson than the following offer which our deputation, authorised by resolution of the Committee, laid before the Government Commission:—

"'If the Government will permit Dr. Jameson to come into Johannesburg unmolested the Committee will guarantee, with their persons if necessary, that he will leave again peacefully as soon as possible.'

"We faithfully carried out the agreement that we should commit no act of hostility against the Government; we ceased all active operations for the defence of the town against any attack, and we did everything in our power to prevent any collision with the burghers, an attempt in which our efforts were happily successful.

"On the telegraphic advice of the result of the interview of the deputation with the Government Commission, we despatched Mr. Lace, a member of our Committee, as an escort to the courier carrying the High Commissioner's despatch to Dr. Jameson, in order to assure ourselves that the despatch would reach its destination.

"On the following Saturday, January 4, the High Commissioner arrived at Pretoria. On Monday, the 6th, the following telegram was sent to us:—

From H.M.'s Agent to Reform Committee, Johannesburg.

"'Pretoria, January 6, 1896.

"'January 6.—I am directed to inform you that the High Commissioner met the President, the Executive, and the Judges to-day. The President announced the decision of the Government to be that Johannesburg must lay down its arms unconditionally as a (condition) precedent to a discussion and consideration of grievances. The High Commissioner endeavoured to obtain some indication of the steps which would be taken in the event of disarmament, but without success, it being intimated that the Government had nothing more to say on the subject than had already been embodied in the President's proclamation. The High Commissioner inquired whether any decision had been come to as regards the disposal of the prisoners, and received a reply in the[Pg 171] negative. The President said that as his burghers, to the number of 8000, had been collected and could not be asked to remain indefinitely, he must request a reply, "Yes" or "No," to this ultimatum within twenty-four hours.'

"On the following day, Sir Jacobus de Wet, her Majesty's Agent, met us in committee, and handed to us the following wire from his Excellency the High Commissioner:—

High Commissioner, Pretoria, to Sir J. de Wet, Johannesburg.

(Received Johannesburg 7.30 a.m., Jan. 7, 1896.)

"'Urgent. You should inform the Johannesburg people that I consider, that if they lay down their arms, they will be acting loyally and honourably, and that if they do not comply with my request, they forfeit all claim to sympathy from her Majesty's Government, and from British subjects throughout the world, as the lives of Jameson and prisoners are practically in their hands.'

"On this, and the assurance given in the Executive Council resolution, we laid down our arms on January 6th, 7th and 8th; on the 9th we were arrested, and have since been under arrest at Pretoria, a period of three and a half months.

"We admit responsibility for the action taken by us. We frankly avowed it at the time of the negotiations with the Government, when we were informed that the services of the High Commissioner had been accepted with a view to a peaceful settlement.

"We submit that we kept faith in every detail in the arrangement with the Government; that we did all that was humanly possible to protect both the State and Dr. Jameson from the consequences of his action; that we have committed no breach of the law which was not known to the Government at the time that the earnest consideration of our grievances was promised.

"We can only now lay the bare facts before the Court, and submit to the judgment that may be passed upon us.


Lionel Phillips.

Francis Rhodes.

George Farrar.

"Pretoria, April 24, 1896."

"I entirely concur with the above statement.


John Hays Hammond.

"Pretoria, April 27, 1896."[Pg 172]


The account given by Sir John Willoughby serves to explain the doings of the Jameson troops. We all know how the raiders were surrounded by the Boers, who had ample time to lay an excellent trap for them, and how, after a plucky charge, they were forced to surrender. Before surrendering, however, Dr. Jameson obtained from Commandant Cronjé, of Potchefstroom notoriety, a guarantee that the lives of the force would be spared.

During this exciting period, when the failure of Jameson became known, the consternation that prevailed in Johannesburg was terrible. Panic-stricken women and children fled to the railway stations, and the Cornish miners scrambled with them for places in the departing trains. In the heat of January the poor refugees started off provisionless, leaving all their worldly goods behind them, their one care to be far away from the horrors that might take place in a besieged town. In the train they were packed like herrings in carriages or in cattle trucks, that would barely accommodate them.

In addition to these miseries an awful accident took place on the Natal line, when a train loaded with refugees ran off the rails. Thirty-eight women and children were killed.

In Johannesburg the Reformers had a harassing time. Their offices were besieged by people clamouring for arms. They had no rest night nor day, and their anxiety for the safety of Jameson and his party was intense. For themselves they were unconcerned, believing that their share in the matter was unknown, and that the Government was without a particle of evidence against them. And here we find that another blunder was made. Major Robert White, one of the raiders, had brought with him a despatch-box containing the key to a cypher, which had been used during the whole of the negotiations, and with it the names of the principal persons engaged in the conspiracy. Of course, this fell into the hands of the enemy, who were not slow to take advantage of their good luck.



Photo by Gregory & Co., London.

On the evening of Jameson's surrender (Thursday), Sir Hercules Robinson (Lord Rosmead), left the Cape for the scene of the disturbance. The train he travelled by met with an accident; he was infirm—his nerves were shaken. The President refused to be interviewed on the Sabbath, and the result of his journey was a single meeting with Mr. Kruger, but the British Resident, Sir Jacobus de Wet, and Sir Sidney Shippard, were deputed to address and pacify[Pg 173] the perturbed multitude in Johannesburg. The Uitlanders, they promised, should get their just rights—that her Majesty's Government would ensure—but they must first give up their arms: the fate of Jameson depended on it! The Reform leaders at this time knew nothing of the terms of the surrender, and the guarantee given by Commandant Cronjé, or, perhaps, they knew too well what Cronjé's guarantees were likely to be worth; and much against their better judgment, believing that their rights would be secured and the safety of Jameson effected, they eventually consented to disarmament.

As we know, the conspirators had been short of arms—they had about 2500 guns in all. When these were given up the Boers were dissatisfied. They had reason to believe that some 20,000 guns were to be supplied as part of the scheme, and suspected that the Reformers were concealing the existence of many weapons. The word of honour of the leaders produced no effect, and energetic search through floors and in the mines was carried on for some months afterwards.

Of course, this disarmament immediately threw the Reformers into the clutches of the Pretoria Government. The authorities made haste to issue warrants for the arrest of sixty-four of the most prominent men of the movement; this in spite of the assurance made to the British agent that "not a hair of their heads should be touched"! Mrs. Phillips has reason to speak very bitterly of the mismanagement of the High Commissioner on this occasion. Having done his gruesome work, she says, "he returned to Cape Town, leaving Johannesburg absolutely at the mercy of the Boers. He actually effected the disarmament of this large town without making one single condition for its safety, and from that day the most signal acts of tyranny and injustice were committed over and over again by the Boer Oligarchy, and there was no one to say them nay. This was a critical event for English supremacy in South Africa, this final act of supreme weakness and folly! Many of her most loyal subjects from that moment have wavered on the brink, and some have gone over to the side of the Africander Bond. It is such actions as these which estrange the Colonists, and which give a little reality to the bondsman's dream of a United South Africa under a Republican flag."

For the benefit of those who may not be acquainted with the negotiations which brought about this unfortunate disarmament, it may be as well to repeat some of the correspondence that passed between Sir Hercules Robinson and Mr. Chamberlain at this critical period.[Pg 174]

Sir Hercules Robinson, Pretoria, to Mr. Chamberlain.

(Telegraphic. Received 1.8 a.m., 6th January 1896.)

"5th January, No. 3. Arrived here last night. Position of affairs very critical. On side of Government of South African Republic and of Orange Free State there is a desire to show moderation, but Boers show tendency to get out of hand and to demand execution of Jameson. I am told that Government of South African Republic will demand disarmament of Johannesburg as a condition precedent to negotiations. Their military preparations are now practically complete, and Johannesburg, if besieged, could not hold out, as they are short of water and coal. On side of Johannesburg leaders desire to be moderate, but men make safety of Jameson and concession of items in manifesto issued conditions precedent to disarmament. If these are refused, they assert they will elect their own leaders and fight it out in their own way. As the matter now stands, I see great difficulty in avoiding civil war, but I will do my best, and telegraph result of my official interview to-morrow. It is said that President of South African Republic intends to make some demands with respect to Article No. 4 of the London Convention of 1884."

Mr. Chamberlain to Sir Hercules Robinson.

(Telegraphic. 6th January 1896.)

"6th January. No. 3. It is reported in the press telegrams the President of the South African Republic on December 30 held out definite hopes that concessions would be proposed in regard to education and the franchise. No overt act of hostility appears to have been committed by the Johannesburg people since the overthrow of Jameson. The statement that arms and ammunition are stored in that town in large quantities may be only one of many boasts without foundation. Under these circumstances, active measures against the town do not seem to be urgently required at the present moment, and I hope no step will be taken by the President of the South African Republic liable to cause more bloodshed and excite civil war in the Republic."

These are followed by further correspondence.

Sir Hercules Robinson, Pretoria, to Mr. Chamberlain.

(Telegraphic. Received 7th January 1896.)

"6th January. No. 2. Met President South African Republic and Executive Council to-day. Before opening proceedings, I[Pg 175] expressed on behalf of her Majesty's Government my sincere regret at the unwarrantable raid made by Jameson; also thanked Government of South African Republic for the moderation shown under trying circumstances. With regard to Johannesburg, President of South African Republic announced decision of Government to be that Johannesburg must lay down its arms unconditionally as a precedent to any discussion and consideration of grievances. I endeavoured to obtain some indication of the steps that would be taken in the event of disarmament, but without success, it being intimated that Government of South African Republic had nothing more to say on this subject than had been already embodied in proclamation of President of South African Republic. I inquired as to whether any decision had been come to as regards disposal of prisoners, and received a reply in the negative. President of South African Republic said that as his burghers, to number of 8000, had been collected and could not be asked to remain indefinitely, he must request a reply, 'Yes' or 'No,' to this ultimatum within twenty-four hours. I have communicated decision of South African Republic to Reform Committee at Johannesburg through British Agent in South African Republic.

"The burgher levies are in such an excited state over the invasion of their country, that I believe President of South African Republic could not control them except in the event of unconditional surrender. I have privately recommended them to accept ultimatum. Proclamation of President of South African Republic refers to promise to consider all grievances which are properly submitted, and to lay the same before the Legislature without delay."

On January 7, Mr. Chamberlain replied:—

"No. 1. I approve of your advice to Johannesburg. Kruger will be wise not to proceed to extremities at Johannesburg or elsewhere: otherwise the evil animosities already aroused may be dangerously excited."

And on the same day Sir Hercules Robinson telegraphed:—

"No. 1. Your telegram of January 6, No. 2. It would be most inexpedient to send troops to Mafeking at this moment, and there is not the slightest necessity for such a step, as there is no danger from Kimberley Volunteer Corps or from Mafeking. I have sent De Wet with ultimatum this morning to Johannesburg, and believe arms will be laid down unconditionally. I understand in such case Jameson and all prisoners will be handed over to me. Prospect now very hopeful if no injudicious steps are taken. Please leave matter in my hands."

It is unnecessarily humiliating to dwell further on the astute[Pg 176] manner in which Mr. Kruger played with the British Government while he kept Jameson and his party in durance vile, and in the agonies of mental suspense—or to dilate upon the treacherous means he employed to induce the Reformers and the town to lay down their arms. The British Agent distinctly promised that "not one among you shall lose his personal liberty for a single hour," and further declared "that the British Government could not possibly allow such a thing."

Yet the British Government calmly looked on while the Reform leaders were arrested and kept in Pretoria Gaol, at the mercy of a fiend in human shape named Du Plessis, whose atrocious conduct and character eventually caused him to be reported to the High Commissioner.

As an example of the way prisoners were treated, Mrs. Lionel Phillips may again be quoted:—

"It is well known," she writes, "that one of Jameson's troopers on the way down, falling ill, was taken prisoner by some Boers, and kept at their farmhouse some days. He was tied up, and forced to submit to all sorts of ill-treatment, being given dirty water to drink, for instance, when half-dying of thirst. But his captor's wife had compassion on him, and at the end of several days, to his surprise, he was told that he was to be allowed to go free. The Boers gave him his horse, mounted him, and informed him the one condition they made was that he was to ride away as fast as he could. He naturally obeyed, and as he galloped off had several bullets put into him, poor fellow. That is a very favourite and well-known method of Transvaal Boer assassination. It gives them the pretext that a prisoner had been trying to escape."

Mrs. Phillips relates also the horrible experiences of her husband, who was one of the Uitlanders conspicuous in the Reform movement.

"Lionel (her husband), George Farrar, Colonel Rhodes, and J. H. Hammond were put into one cell, twelve feet square, without windows, and were locked up there the first three nights for thirteen hours. Then the prison doctor insisted on more space being allotted to them, and the door, which communicated with a courtyard twenty feet square, was left open at night. This was the space in which they were permitted to take exercise. They were not allowed to associate with their fellows at first. In January, in Pretoria, the heat is intense, quite semi-tropical indeed, the temperature varying from 90 to 105 degrees in the shade. As the weather happened to be at its hottest, the sufferings of these men were awful. The cells, hitherto devoted to the use of[Pg 177] Kaffirs, swarmed with vermin and smelt horribly; while to increase their miseries, if that were possible, one of their number was suffering from dysentery, and no conveniences of any kind were supplied. With these facts in mind, any attempt to describe what the prisoners underwent would be superfluous. Add to all these hardships their mental sufferings, and then judge of their state."



Secretary for the Colonies.

Photo by Russell & Sons, London.

Can anything be more pathetic than the description of the state of these men given by the wife of one of them—men who had been driven to hatred and revolt by an inefficient, exclusive, and unscrupulous Government, which was endeavouring to reduce the subjects of a suzerain power to the level—to the, to them, despicable level—of the Kaffirs? Of the fate of these unhappy sufferers we have yet to speak.


Dr. Jameson, as we all know, was sent with his comrades to England to be dealt with by the laws of his country. He and his officers were tried and convicted under the Foreign Enlistment Act. Much sympathy was shown him by the vast British public, and little for the Reformers, who, whatever their part in the affair, had to suffer most. They endured mental torture, and bodily discomfort of all kinds—discomfort so acute that it brought on some active illness, and caused one to commit suicide. A Judge from the Orange Free State—Judge Gregorowski—who took an unctious joy in the proceedings, was imported to try them, and he revived or unearthed an old Roman Dutch law of treason for the purpose of sentencing them to death. This sentence was fortunately not carried out, but it served to keep the Reformers and all connected with them in a state of agonised suspense. Besides these sufferers from the effects of the Raid, there were others. Mr. Rhodes is said to have exclaimed, "I have been the friend of Jameson for twenty years and now he has ruined me!" The statement was somewhat exaggerated, but there is no doubt that Mr. Rhodes, besides having to resign the posts he occupied, lost much of the sympathy of the Cape Dutch. The Uitlanders, also, who had previously enjoyed this sympathy now forfeited it, all the Dutch being inclined to quote the impulsive act of Dr. Jameson as an example of British treachery, and to look upon Mr. Kruger in the light of a hero. Indeed, many of the British, who took merely an outsider's interest in the state of affairs, laboured under the impression that Mr. Kruger was a simple-minded, long-suffering, and magnanimous person. They did not trouble themselves to go deeply[Pg 178] into the incessant annoyances and injustices that for many years had harried the lot of the Uitlanders and caused them at last to lose patience and revolt against oppression. Even now there are people who lean to the belief that the coarse nut of Boer character may possess a sound kernel, people who prefer to hug that belief rather than inform themselves by reading what Mr. Rider Haggard, Mr. Fitzpatrick, and other well-informed men have to say on the subject.

When all efforts to work upon Mr. Kruger failed, the wives of the unhappy men applied to "Tante Sanne," as the President's wife is called, and begged her intervention. She said, "Yes, I will do all I can for you; I am very sorry for you all, although I know that none of you thought of me that night when we heard Jameson had crossed the border, and we were afraid the President would have to go out and fight, and when they went and caught his white horse that he has not ridden for eight years. But all the same I am sorry for you all."

The wives of the Boers are very powerful, and it is possible that Mrs. Kruger may have prevailed in some way over her husband, for at last, after five weary months of imprisonment, after delays, suspenses, and alarms too numerous to be here recounted, the prisoners, on the 11th of June 1896, were released. They were required to pay a fine of £2000, and to sign a pledge not to interfere with politics for three years. It was owing to this pledge that the valuable book, "The Transvaal from Within," which has here been quoted, was not published till affairs therein set forth had come in 1899 to the painful climax of war! Mr. Lionel Phillips, however, was not so wise as Mr. Fitzpatrick. When Sir John Willoughby in 1897 attacked the Reform Leaders of Johannesburg in the Nineteenth Century, Mr. Phillips replied to it in the same Review, August 1897, defending himself and his comrades from the charges made. In consequence of this action Mr. Phillips was considered to have broken his pledge and was condemned by the Transvaal Government to banishment. Doubtless it was without much regret that he shook the dust of that ill-conditioned State from off his shoes.


After the turmoil of 1896 affairs declined from bad to worse. The state of tension between the oppressed Uitlanders and the now suspicious Boers became from day to day and year to year more acute, till at last it was almost unbearable. The incompetence of[Pg 179] the police showed that robbery, and even murder, might at any moment be perpetrated and go unpunished, and alarm on this score was not allayed by the action of a constable in shooting dead a Uitlander named Edgar for having met his insults with a blow.

To thoroughly appreciate the misery and insecurity of the Uitlanders, the atrocity of the Government, and the uncloaked hostility to Great Britain that has existed till now, we may quote a description of the situation given last year by Professor James Liebmann. He wrote:—

"In the Transvaal a state of things reigns supreme which cannot be surpassed by the most corrupt of South American Republics. There the Boer shows his character in its most unpleasant features. Low, sordid, corrupt, his chief magistrate as well as his lowest official readily listens to 'reasons that jingle,' and, like the gentleman in the 'Mikado,' is not averse to 'insults.' He calls his country a republic—it is so in name only. The majority of the population, representing the wealth and intelligence of the country—the Uitlanders—are refused almost every civil right, except the privilege of paying exorbitant taxes to swell an already overgorged treasury. Under this ideal(?) government, which is really a sixteenth-century oligarchy flourishing at the end of the nineteenth, and is, certainly not a land where

'A man may speak the thing he will,'

you have a press censorship as tyrannical as in Russia, a State supervision of telegrams, a veto on the right of public meeting, a most unjust education law, and an Executive browbeating the Justiciary; and, in order to accomplish so much, the Transvaal has closed its doors to its kinsmen in Cape Colony—for you must not forget that the oldest Transvaalers, from President Kruger downwards, are ex-Cape Colonists, and quondam British subjects—and imported a bureaucracy of Hollanders to plait a whip wherewith to castigate her children.

"On the Rand, at present, the Uitlanders are voiceless, voteless, and leaderless, whilst, on the other hand, large quantities of arms have been introduced into the country, and the burghers, every one of them, trained in the use of these weapons. Fortifications have been raised at Johannesburg and Pretoria, to cowe those who are putting money into the State's purse, and for this purpose the President has acquired the services of German military officers who will find congenial employment in thus dragooning defenceless citizens.

"This is the state of affairs in the South African so-called Republic in this year of grace (1898), which, according to the Convention, granted equal rights to Briton and to Boer."[Pg 180]

This being no exaggerated picture of the situation, it is small wonder that at last the Uitlanders determined to bear the burden no longer, but set their grievances before the Queen. Early in the new year the following petition was forwarded to her Majesty:—

"Humble Petition of British Subjects resident on the Witwatersrandt Gold Fields to her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria.

"1. Your loyal subjects on these fields are by law denied the free right of possessing such arms as may be necessary to protect their lives and property, and such obstacles are placed in their way as to render the obtaining of the necessary official permit almost impossible. Consequently the Uitlander population of this State is to all intents and purposes an unarmed community.

"2. On the other hand, the whole of the burgher section of the community, irrespective of age, are permitted to possess and carry arms without let or hindrance, and are, in fact, on application, supplied with them by the Government free of charge.

"3. The police force of this State is exclusively recruited from the burgher element, many of the police being youths fresh from rural districts, without experience or tact, and in many instances without general education or a knowledge of the English language; therefore, as a whole, entirely out of sympathy with the British section of the community, which forms the majority of the population.

"4. The foot police of Johannesburg, in whose appointment and control we have no voice, is not a military force; yet its members not only carry batons, but are also armed with six-chambered military revolvers, invariably carried loaded.

"5. Under these circumstances, given an unarmed community policed by a body of inexperienced rustics carrying weapons of precision and utterly out of sympathy with the community they are supposed to protect, it is not surprising that the power placed in the hands of this police force should be constantly abused.

"6. For years past your subjects have in consequence had constantly to complain of innumerable acts of petty tyranny at the hands of the police.

"7. During the last few months, however, this antagonistic attitude of the police has assumed a much more serious and aggressive aspect. Without warrant they have invaded private houses and taken the occupants into custody on frivolous and unfounded charges never proceeded with; violently arrested British subjects in the streets on unintelligible charges: and generally display towards your Majesty's subjects a temper which undoubtedly tends to endanger the peace of the community. In adopting this[Pg 181] demeanour the police are supported, with but a few honourable exceptions, by the higher officials, as instanced by the continual persecution in the Courts of many of your Majesty's coloured subjects at the very time when negotiations are proceeding between your Majesty's Representative and the Transvaal Government with regard to their status. This feeling is also strongly evidenced in the particular case which we now bring to your Majesty's notice.

"8. The lamentable tragedy which has been the immediate cause of this our humble Petition cannot, therefore, be regarded as incidental, but symptomatic.

"9. This case is that of the shooting of Tom Jackson Edgar, a British subject, by Police-Constable Barend Stephanus Jones, a member of the Johannesburg Constabulary.

"10. From the accompanying affidavits, already published and sworn by eye-witnesses of the tragedy, it would appear that the deceased, while in the occupation of his own house, was shot dead by Police-Constable Barend Stephanus Jones as the latter was in the act of unlawfully breaking into the house of deceased without a warrant.

"11. Police-Constable Barend Stephanus Jones, though in the first instance placed in custody on a charge of murder, was almost immediately afterwards let out on bail by the Public Prosecutor, who, without waiting for any Magisterial inquiry, reduced the charge, on his own initiative, to that of culpable homicide.

"12. The bail on which the prisoner was released was the same in amount—namely, £200—as that required a few days previously from an Uitlander charged with a common assault on a Member of the Government Secret Service, and the penalty for which was a fine of £20.

"13. The widow and orphan of the late Tom Jackson Edgar have been left absolutely destitute through the death of their natural protector.

"14. To sum up: We humbly represent to your Majesty that we, your loyal subjects resident here, are entirely defenceless since—(1) The police are appointed by the Government, not by the Municipality; (2) We have no voice in the Government of the country; (3) There is no longer an independent Judiciary to which we can appeal; (4) There is, therefore, no power within this State to which we can appeal with the least hope of success; and as we are not allowed to arm and protect ourselves, our last resource is to fall back on our status as British subjects.

"We therefore humbly pray: That your Majesty will instruct your Representative to take such steps as will ensure (a) a full and impartial trial, on a proper indictment, of prisoner Police-Constable[Pg 182] Barend Stephanus Jones, and adequate punishment for his offence, if found guilty; (b) proper provision by the Transvaal Government for the needs of the widow and orphan of the deceased Tom Jackson Edgar, killed by their agent; (c) the extension of your Majesty's protection to the lives, liberty, and property of your loyal subjects resident here, and such other steps as may be necessary to terminate the existing intolerable state of affairs.

"And your petitioners will ever pray, &c."

Of course, this move enraged the authorities of the Transvaal, who tried to prove the existence of a plot against the Republic, and even to represent that British military officers were implicated in it. But Sir Alfred Milner exposed the little machinations of the "secret service" people, so that their duplicit efforts were not crowned with the hoped-for success. Mr. Steyn then succeeded Mr. Reitz as President of the Orange Free State, and his appearance on the political scene was the signal for an offensive and defensive alliance between the two Republics. Following the example set by President Brand, Mr. Steyn—in the character of umpire or peacemaker—assisted to promote a meeting at Bloemfontein between Sir Alfred Milner and President Kruger. The Uitlander Council drew up the following declaration:—

"The proposals submitted at the Bloemfontein Conference by his Excellency the High Commissioner were briefly:

"1. That the Uitlanders possessing a certain property or wages qualification, on proving that they had resided five years in the country and on taking an oath of allegiance, be given full burgher rights.

"2. That there should be such a distribution of seats as would give to the new-comers a substantial representation in the First Volksraad, but not such as would enable them to swamp the old burghers.

"All must admit that this scheme is most conservative, because—

"(a). It does not restore to the Uitlanders all the rights of which they have been unjustly deprived since the retrocession.

"(b). Nearly the whole revenue of the country is derived from the taxation of the Uitlanders.

"(c). The Uitlanders form at least two-thirds of the total white population. (This was practically admitted by President Kruger at the Conference.)

"(d). In most new countries one or two years' residence ensures full voting power. There is no reason why there should be more stringent conditions in operation in this State than in Natal or Cape Colony, or than those which existed until quite recently in the[Pg 183] Orange Free State, and which were only changed from one to three years on account of the unhealthy political conditions in the South African Republic.

"Notwithstanding, however, the conservative character of the scheme, the Uitlander Council consider that the proposals of his Excellency the High Commissioner are calculated in no small degree to bring about a practical and permanent settlement. But in the opinion of the Uitlander Council, it is essential at the outset to fix definitely the conditions under which:

"1. All duly qualified persons can get the franchise without any unnecessary expense, trouble, or delay, and without being subjected to any kind of intimidation.

"2. Those who have got the franchise shall be able to use it effectively.

"3. Redistribution of seats shall take place periodically by automatic arrangement, and representation shall bear some definite relation to the number of electors.

"Having regard to the recent history of the Government of this country, and the facility with which even fundamental laws are and may be changed, the Uitlander Council are convinced that no settlement will be of any value unless its permanency is guaranteed by an understanding between the Imperial Government and the Government of the South African Republic.

"Further, knowing by past experience that every effort will be made by means of the existing Government machinery to obstruct and pervert even the smallest measure of reform, and bearing in mind the immense discretionary power accorded by the laws to all Government officials, the Uitlander Council are strongly of opinion that the understanding between the two Governments should provide for such immediate changes in the present laws of the country as would make it possible to carry out Sir A. Milner's scheme, not only in the letter, but also in the spirit.

"The outcome of the understanding between the two Governments should be the inclusion among the permanent and fundamental laws of the South African Republic of a Reform Act embracing, in addition to the clauses providing for naturalisation and redistribution on the lines already indicated, the following among other provisions:

"1. No burgher or alien shall be granted privileges or immunities which on the same terms shall not be granted to all burghers.

"2. No person shall, on account of creed or religious belief, be under any disability whatever.

"3. The majority of the inhabitants being English-speaking, English shall be recognised equally with Dutch as an official language of the State.[Pg 184]

"4. The independence of the High Court shall be established and duly safeguarded.

"5. Legislation by simple resolution (besluit) of the Volksraad shall be abolished.

"6. The free right of public meeting and of forming electoral committees shall be recognised and established.

"7. The freedom of speech and of the press shall be assured.

"8. All persons shall be secured in their houses, persons, papers, and effects against violation or illegal seizure.

"9. The existence of forts and the adoption of other measures intended for the intimidation of the white inhabitants of the country, being a menace to the exercise of the undoubted rights of a free people, shall be declared unconstitutional.

"10. Existing monopolies shall be cancelled or expropriated on equitable conditions.

"11. Raad members must be fully enfranchised burghers and over twenty-one years of age. Any candidate for the Presidency must be a fully enfranchised burgher over thirty years of age, and have been resident in the country for ten years.

"12. All elections shall be by ballot and shall be adequately safeguarded by stringent provisions against bribery and intimidation.

"13. All towns with a population of 1000 persons and upwards shall have the right to manage their own local affairs under a general Municipal Act. The registration of voters and the conduct of all elections shall be regulated by local bodies.

"14. A full and comprehensive system of State Education shall be established under the control of Local Boards.

"15. The Civil Service shall be completely reorganised, and all corrupt officials shall be dismissed from office, and be ineligible for office in the future.

"16. Payments from the public Treasury shall only be made in accordance with the Budget proposals approved by the Raad, with full and open publication of the accounts periodically.

"17. No person shall become a burgher, and no fresh constituency shall be created except in accordance with the lines herein laid down, and officials shall have no discretionary power in this or any other matter affecting the civil rights of the inhabitants of the country."

The Conference was a complete failure. Mr. Kruger obstinately refused to make the proposed concessions, and Sir Alfred Milner would be contented with nothing less.



High Commissioner for South Africa.

Photo by Elliott & Fry, London.

The President afterwards agreed to grant a "seven years'[Pg 185] Franchise" on terms that were scarcely practicable, while the Secretary of State for the Colonies held out for the five years' Franchise at first demanded. The bargaining was pursued for some weeks with considerable animation, and in the end Mr. Kruger offered to allow the five years' franchise on what he knew to be the impossible condition, that the question of suzerainty should be entirely dropped.

The mobilisation of the burghers, which had been secretly on foot for some time, was forthwith carried on apace, and later—much too tardily—British patience gave way, and troops were despatched to South Africa. Then followed, on the 9th of October, an insulting ultimatum from President Kruger, demanding the immediate withdrawal of British troops from the Transvaal border, and an assurance that no more should be landed. In default of this assurance, he declared that at 5 p.m. on the 11th of October a state of war would exist. To such an ultimatum only one answer was possible. British troops at once started for the Cape.

Naturally the whole of Great Britain was in a state of turmoil, and the vast multitude of people—"the men in the street," so to say—were inclined to express surprise that the question of two years' difference in the terms of obtaining the franchise should have been made into a casus belli. To all thinking men it was patent, however, that the quibble about the franchise was merely a Boer ruse to obtain time for the carrying out of a long-concerted scheme for the elimination of the British from the Cape to the Zambezi. These were aware that the military methods of the Transvaal were under process of reorganisation, and indeed had been readjusted gradually ever since 1896, and that the simple methods of 1881 had been superseded by newer and more modern principles of warfare. It was known that great additions had been made to the warlike resources of the Republic, and that the President of the Free State was, if anything, more bitter than Mr. Kruger in his hatred of Great Britain and all things British, and that the two Republics would make common cause with each other against a mutual enemy. It was also known that foreign experts were imported, and foreign stocks of war material—material of the newest and most expensive kind—were prepared in anticipation of war, and that even such a thing as tactical instruction—a thing hitherto ignored among the Transvaalers—had been acquired from accomplished German sources, and all this for one sole purpose—war with Great Britain. In order that there may be no doubt that the Boers were completely prepared and determined to fight long before the insolent Ultimatum was published, it is desirable to read a letter which appeared in the Times of the 14th of October 1899. This epistle, which was appropriately[Pg 186] headed "Boer Ignorance," emanated from a Dutch writer, whose address was in a well-known part of Cape Colony. It runs:—

"Sir,—In your paper you have often commented on what you are pleased to call the ignorance of my countrymen, the Boers. We are not so ignorant as the British statesmen and newspaper writers, nor are we such fools as you British are. We know our policy, and we do not change it. We have no opposition party to fear nor to truckle to. Your boasted Conservative majority has been the obedient tool of the Radical minority, and the Radical minority has been the blind tool of our far-seeing and intelligent President. We have desired delay, and we have had it, and we are now practically masters of Africa from the Zambezi to the Cape. All the Afrikanders in Cape Colony have been working for years for this end, for they and we know the facts.

"1. The actual value of gold in the Transvaal is at least 200,000 millions of pounds, and this fact is as well known to the Emperors of Germany and Russia as it is to us. You estimate the value of gold at only 700 millions of pounds, or at least that is what you pretend to estimate it at. But Germany, Russia, and France do not desire you to get possession of this vast mass of gold, and so, after encouraging you to believe that they will not interfere in South Africa, they will certainly do so, and very easily find a casus belli, and they will assist us, directly and indirectly, to drive you out of Africa.

"2. We know that you dare not take any precautions in advance to prevent the onslaught of the Great Powers, as the Opposition, the great peace party, will raise the question of expense, and this will win over your lazy, dirty, drunken working classes, who will never again permit themselves to be taxed to support your Empire, or even to preserve your existence as a nation.

"3. We know from all the military authorities of the European and American continents that you exist as an independent Power merely on sufferance, and that at any moment the great Emperor William can arrange with France or Russia to wipe you off the face of the earth. They can at any time starve you into surrender. You must yield in all things to the United States also, or your supply of corn will be so reduced by the Americans that your working classes would be compelled to pay high prices for their food, and rather than do that they would have civil war, and invite any foreign Power to assist them by invasion, for there is no patriotism in the working classes of England, Wales, or Ireland.

"4. We know that your country has been more prosperous than any other country during the last fifty years (you have had no civil war like the Americans and French to tone up your nerves and[Pg 187] strengthen your manliness), and consequently your able-bodied men will not enlist in your so-called voluntary army. Therefore you have to hire the dregs of your population to do your fighting, and they are deficient in physique, in moral and mental ability, and in all the qualities that make good fighting men.

"5. Your military officers we know to be merely pedantic scholars or frivolous society men, without any capacity for practical warfare with white men. The Afridis were more than a match for you, and your victory over the Soudanese was achieved because those poor people had not a rifle amongst them.

"6. We know that your men, being the dregs of your people, are naturally feeble, and that they are also saturated with the most horrible sexual diseases, as all your Government returns plainly show, and that they cannot endure the hardships of war.

"7. We know that the entire British race is rapidly decaying, your birth-rate is rapidly falling, your children are born weak, diseased, and deformed, and that the major part of your population consists of females, cripples, epileptics, consumptives, cancerous people, invalids, and lunatics of all kinds whom you carefully nourish and preserve.

"8. We know that nine-tenths of your statesmen and higher officials, military and naval, are suffering from kidney diseases, which weaken their courage and will-power, and make them shirk all responsibility as far as possible.

"9. We know that your Navy is big, but we know that it is not powerful, and that it is honeycombed with disloyalty—as witness the theft of the signal-books, the assaults on officers, the desertions, and the wilful injury of the boilers and machinery, which all the vigilance of the officers is powerless to prevent.

"10. We know that the Conservative Government is a mere sham, and that it largely reduced the strength of the British artillery in 1888-89. And we know that it does not dare now to call out the Militia for training, nor to mobilise the Fleet, nor to give sufficient grants to the Line and Volunteers for ammunition to enable them to become good marksmen and efficient soldiers. We know that British soldiers and sailors are immensely inferior as marksmen, not only to Germans, French, and Americans, but also to Japanese, Afridis, Chilians, Peruvians, Belgians, and Russians.

"11. We know that no British Government dares to propose any form of compulsory military or naval training, for the British people would rather be invaded, conquered, and governed by Germans, Russians, or Frenchmen, than be compelled to serve their own Government.[Pg 188]

"12. We Boers know that we will not be governed by a set of British curs, but that we will drive you out of Africa altogether, and the other manly nations which have compulsory military service—the armed manhood of Europe—will very quickly divide all your other possessions between them.

"Talk no more of the ignorance of the Boers or Cape Dutch; a few days more will prove your ignorance of the British position, and in a short space of time you and your Queen will be imploring the good offices of the great German Emperor to deliver you from your disasters, for your humiliations are not yet complete.

"For thirty years the Cape Dutch have been waiting their chance, and now their day has come; they will throw off their mask and your yoke at the same instant, and 300,000 Dutch heroes will trample you underfoot.

"We can afford to tell you the truth now, and in this letter you have got it.—Yours, &c.,

P. S.

"October 12."

This letter, though false in many particulars, certainly pointed out some "home truths," which it was desirable for the British public to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. It also served to cast aside the thin veil which had covered our political relations with President Kruger and his party, and to show the firm foundations on which the hatred of the Boer for the Briton had been built for years. The question of the franchise was a bagatelle: a soap-bubble would have been pretext enough for war when the right hour and moment arrived. As allowed by this candid writer, whose valuable avowals cannot afford to be ignored, for many years treachery and disloyalty had existed, and the Boers had only bided their time. They "desired delay, and had it," playing their cards so skilfully as to deceive even the British Government, and imply to them and the world that the franchise question and the discontent of the Uitlanders was the main cause of the disagreement.

Before passing on to the terrible drama that, owing to the defiance of Mr. Kruger, was afterwards enacted, we must assure ourselves that the sad climax was bound to have come sooner or later. If the future of South Africa is to be saved, the prestige of Great Britain must be maintained; her citizens must be protected, and the betrayals of Downing Street of 1881 and 1896 must be atoned for. Though darkness reigns at the time of writing, the future of the Transvaal is a bright one. Reactionaries of the Hofmeyer and Kruger stamp will pass away, and we may look[Pg 189] to the twentieth century for a happy settlement of the terrible difficulties which stare us in the face. But the settlement can never be effected by the policy of compromise. It can never be lasting while Conventions are allowed to become the pawns of parties; it can never be noble nor dignified until the petty ambitions of political strife are subdued and the grand whole, Great Britain—not the infinitesimal island, but the immense and populous Empire—is ordered and laboured for with the courage and strength that comes of undoubted unanimity! It remains, therefore, with each individual man and woman among us so to work that the grand result is not unnecessarily delayed.[Pg 190]



Commander-in-Chief of the British Army.

Photo by London Stereoscopic Co.

[Pg 191]




Preamble. Her Majesty's Commissioners for the Settlement of the Transvaal territory, duly appointed as such by a Commission passed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet, bearing date the 5th of April 1881, do hereby undertake and guarantee on behalf of her Majesty, that, from and after the 8th day of August 1881, complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty of her Majesty, her heirs and successors, will be accorded to the inhabitants of the Transvaal territory, upon the following terms and conditions, and subject to the following reservations and limitations:—

Article 1. The said territory, to be herein-after called the Transvaal State, will embrace the land lying between the following boundaries, to wit: [Here follow three pages in print defining boundaries].

Article 2. Her Majesty reserves to herself, her heirs and successors, (a) the right from time to time to appoint a British Resident in and for the said State, with such duties and functions as are herein-after defined; (b) the right to move troops through the said State in time of war, or in case of the apprehension of immediate war between the Suzerain Power and any Foreign State or Native tribe in South Africa; and (c) the control of the external relations of the said State, including the conclusion of treaties and the conduct of diplomatic intercourse with Foreign Powers, such intercourse to be carried on through her Majesty's diplomatic and consular officers abroad.

Article 3. Until altered by the Volksraad, or other competent authority, all laws, whether passed before or after the annexation of the Transvaal territory to her Majesty's dominions, shall, except in so far as they are inconsistent with or repugnant to the provisions of this Convention, be and remain in force in the said State in so far as they shall be applicable thereto, provided that no future enactment especially affecting the interests of natives shall have any force or effect in the said State, without the consent of her Majesty, her heirs and successors, first had and obtained and signified to the Government of the said State through the British Resident, provided further that in no case will the repeal or amendment of any laws enacted since the annexation have a retrospective effect, so as to invalidate any acts done or liabilities incurred by virtue of such laws.

Article 4. On the 8th of August 1881, the Government of the said State, together with all rights and obligations thereto appertaining, and all State property taken over at the time of annexation, save and except munitions of war, will be handed over to Messrs. Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, Martinus Wessel Pretorius, and Petrus Jacobus Joubert, or the survivor or survivors of them, who will forthwith cause a Volksraad to be elected and convened, and the Volksraad, thus elected and convened, will decide as to the further administration of the Government of the said State.

Article 5. All sentences passed upon persons who may be convicted of offences contrary to the rules of civilised warfare committed during the recent hostilities will[Pg 192] be duly carried out, and no alteration or mitigation of such sentences will be made or allowed by the Government of the Transvaal State without her Majesty's consent conveyed through the British Resident. In case there shall be any prisoners in any of the gaols of the Transvaal State whose respective sentences of imprisonment have been remitted in part by her Majesty's Administrator or other officer administering the Government, such remission will be recognised and acted upon by the future Government of the said State.

Article 6. Her Majesty's Government will make due compensation for all losses or damage sustained by reason of such acts as are in the 8th Article herein-after specified, which may have been committed by her Majesty's forces during the recent hostilities, except for such losses or damage as may already have been compensated for, and the Government of the Transvaal State will make due compensation for all losses or damage sustained by reason of such acts as are in the 8th Article herein-after specified which may have been committed by the people who were in arms against her Majesty during the recent hostilities, except for such losses or damages as may already have been compensated for.

Article 7. The decision of all claims for compensation, as in the last preceding Article mentioned, will be referred to a Sub-Committee, consisting of the Honourable George Hudson, the Honourable Jacobus Petrus de Wet, and the Honourable John Gilbert Kotze. In case one or more of such Sub-Commissioners shall be unable or unwilling to act the remaining Sub-Commissioner or Sub-Commissioners will, after consultation with the Government of the Transvaal State, submit for the approval of her Majesty's High Commissioners the names of one or more persons to be appointed by them to fill the place or places thus vacated. The decision of the said Sub-Commissioners, or of a majority of them, will be final. The said Sub-Commissioners will enter upon and perform their duties with all convenient speed. They will, before taking evidence or ordering evidence to be taken in respect of any claim, decide whether such claim can be entertained at all under the rules laid down in the next succeeding Article. In regard to claims which can be so entertained, the Sub-Commissioners will, in the first instance, afford every facility for an amicable arrangement as to the amount payable in respect of any claim, and only in cases in which there is no reasonable ground for believing that an immediate amicable arrangement can be arrived at will they take evidence or order evidence to be taken. For the purpose of taking evidence and reporting thereon, the Sub-Commissioners may appoint Deputies, who will, without delay, submit records of the evidence and their reports to the Sub-Commissioners. The Sub-Commissioners will arrange their sittings and the sittings of their Deputies in such a manner as to afford the earliest convenience to the parties concerned and their witnesses. In no case will costs be allowed to either side, other than the actual and reasonable expenses of witnesses whose evidence is certified by the Sub-Commissioners to have been necessary. Interest will not run on the amount of any claim, except as is herein-after provided for. The said Sub-Commissioners will forthwith, after deciding upon any claim, announce their decision to the Government against which the award is made and to the claimant. The amount of remuneration payable to the Sub-Commissioners and their Deputies will be determined by the High Commissioners. After all the claims have been decided upon, the British Government and the Government of the Transvaal State will pay proportionate shares of the said remuneration and of the expenses of the Sub-Commissioners and their Deputies, according to the amount awarded against them respectively.

Article 8. For the purpose of distinguishing claims to be accepted from those to be rejected, the Sub-Commissioners will be guided by the following rules, viz.: Compensation will be allowed for losses or damage sustained by reason of the following acts committed during the recent hostilities, viz., (a) commandeering, seizure, confiscation, or destruction of property, or damage done to property; (b) violence done or threats used by persons in arms. In regard to acts under (a), compensation will be allowed for direct losses only. In regard to acts falling under (b), compensa[Pg 193]tion will be allowed for actual losses of property, or actual injury to the same proved to have been caused by its enforced abandonment. No claims for indirect losses, except such as are in this Article specially provided for, will be entertained. No claims which have been handed in to the Secretary of the Royal Commission after the 1st day of July 1881 will be entertained, unless the Sub-Commissioners shall be satisfied that the delay was reasonable. When claims for loss of property are considered, the Sub-Commissioners will require distinct proof of the existence of the property, and that it neither has reverted nor will revert to the claimant.

Article 9. The Government of the Transvaal State will pay and satisfy the amount of every claim awarded against it within one month after the Sub-Commissioners shall have notified their decision to the said Government, and in default of such payment the said Government will pay interest at the rate of six per cent. per annum from the date of such default; but her Majesty's Government may at any time before such payment pay the amount, with interest, if any, to the claimant in satisfaction of his claim, and may add the sum thus paid to any debt which may be due by the Transvaal State to her Majesty's Government, as herein-after provided for.

Article 10. The Transvaal State will be liable for the balance of the debts for which the South African Republic was liable at the date of annexation, to wit, the sum of £48,000 in respect of the Cape Commercial Bank Loan, and £85,667 in respect to the Railway Loan, together with the amount due on 8th August 1881 on account of the Orphan Chamber Debt, which now stands at £22,200, which debts will be a first charge upon the revenues of the State. The Transvaal State will, moreover, be liable for the lawful expenditure lawfully incurred for the necessary expenses of the Province since the annexation, to wit, the sum of £265,000, which debt, together with such debts as may be incurred by virtue of the 9th Article, will be second charge upon the revenues of the State.

Article 11. The debts due as aforesaid by the Transvaal State to her Majesty's Government will bear interest at the rate of three and a half per cent., and any portion of such debt as may remain unpaid at the expiration of twelve months from the 8th August 1881 shall be repayable by a payment for interest and sinking fund of six pounds and ninepence per cent. per annum, which will extinguish the debt in twenty-five years. The said payment of six pounds and ninepence per £100 shall be payable half yearly in British currency on the 8th February and 8th August in each year. Provided always that the Transvaal State shall pay in reduction of the said debt the sum of £100,000 within twelve months of the 8th August 1881, and shall be at liberty at the close of any half year to pay off the whole or any portion of the outstanding debt.

Article 12. All persons holding property in the said State on the 8th day of August 1881 will continue after the said date to enjoy the rights of property which they have enjoyed since the annexation. No person who has remained loyal to her Majesty during the recent hostilities shall suffer any molestation by reason of his loyalty, or be liable to any criminal prosecution or civil action for any part taken in connection with such hostilities, and all such persons will have full liberty to reside in the country, with enjoyment of all civil rights, and protection for their persons and property.

Article 13. Natives will be allowed to acquire land, but the grant or transfer of such land will, in every case, be made to and registered in the name of the Native Location Commission, herein-after mentioned, in trust for such natives.

Article 14. Natives will be allowed to move as freely within the country as may be consistent with the requirements of public order, and to leave it for the purpose of seeking employment elsewhere or for other lawful purposes, subject always to the pass laws of the said State, as amended by the Legislature of the Province, or as may hereafter be enacted under the provisions of the 3rd Article of this Convention.

Article 15. There will continue to be complete freedom of religion and protection from molestation for all denominations, provided the same be not inconsistent[Pg 194] with morality and good order, and no disability shall attach to any person in regard to rights of property by reason of the religious opinions which he holds.

Article 16. The provisions of the 4th Article of the Sand River Convention are hereby re-affirmed, and no slavery or apprenticeship partaking of slavery will be tolerated by the Government of the said State.

Article 17. The British Resident will receive from the Government of the Transvaal State such assistance and support as can by law be given to him for the due discharge of his functions, he will also receive every assistance for the proper care and preservation of the graves of such of her Majesty's forces as have died in the Transvaal, and if need be for the expropriation of land for the purpose.

Article 18. The following will be the duties and functions of the British Resident:—Sub-section 1. He will perform duties and functions analogous to those discharged by a Chargé d'Affaires and Consul-General.

Sub-section 2. In regard to natives within the Transvaal State he will (a) report to the High Commissioner, as representative of the Suzerain, as to the working and observance of the provisions of this Convention; (b) report to the Transvaal authorities any cases of ill-treatment of natives or attempts to incite natives to rebellion that may come to his knowledge; (c) use his influence with the natives in favour of law and order; and (d) generally perform such other duties as are by this Convention entrusted to him, and take such steps for the protection of the person and property of natives as are consistent with the laws of the land.

Sub-section 3. In regard to natives not residing in the Transvaal (a) he will report to the High Commissioner and the Transvaal Government any encroachments reported to him as having been made by Transvaal residents upon the land of such natives, and in case of disagreement between the Transvaal Government and the British Resident as to whether an encroachment has been made, the decision of the Suzerain will be final; (b) the British Resident will be the medium of communication with native chiefs outside the Transvaal, and subject to the approval of the High Commissioner, as representing the Suzerain, he will control the conclusion of treaties with them; and (c) he will arbitrate upon every dispute between Transvaal residents and natives outside the Transvaal (as to acts committed beyond the boundaries of the Transvaal) which may be referred to him by the parties interested.

Sub-section 4. In regard to communications with foreign powers, the Transvaal Government will correspond with her Majesty's Government through the British Resident and the High Commissioner.

Article 19. The Government of the Transvaal State will strictly adhere to the boundaries defined in the 1st Article of this Convention, and will do its utmost to prevent any of its inhabitants from making any encroachment upon lands beyond the said State. The Royal Commission will forthwith appoint a person who will beacon off the boundary line between Ramatlabama and the point where such line first touches Griqualand West boundary, midway between the Vaal and Hart Rivers; the person so appointed will be instructed to make an arrangement between the owners of the farms Grootfontein and Valleifontein on the one hand, and the Barolong authorities on the other, by which a fair share of the water supply of the said farms shall be allowed to flow undisturbed to the said Barolongs.

Article 20. All grants or titles issued at any time by the Transvaal Government in respect of land outside the boundary of Transvaal State, as defined, Article 1, shall be considered invalid and of no effect, except in so far as any such grant or title relates to land that falls within the boundary of the Transvaal State, and all persons holding any such grant so considered invalid and of no effect will receive from the Government of the Transvaal State such compensation either in land or in money as the Volksraad shall determine. In all cases in which any native chiefs or other authorities outside the said boundaries have received any adequate consideration from the Government of the former South African Republic for land excluded from the Transvaal by the 1st Article of this Convention, or where permanent improvements[Pg 195] have been made on the land, the British Resident will, subject to the approval of the High Commissioner, use his influence to recover from the native authorities fair compensation for the loss of the land thus excluded, and of the permanent improvement thereon.

Article 21. Forthwith, after the taking effect of this Convention, a Native Location Commission will be constituted, consisting of the President, or in his absence the Vice-President of the State, or some one deputed by him, the Resident, or some one deputed by him, and a third person to be agreed upon by the President or the Vice-President, as the case may be, and the Resident, and such Commission will be a standing body for the performance of the duties herein-after mentioned.

Article 22. The Native Location Commission will reserve to the native tribes of the State such locations as they may be fairly and equitably entitled to, due regard being had to the actual occupation of such tribes. The Native Location Commission will clearly define the boundaries of such locations, and for that purpose will, in every instance, first of all ascertain the wishes of the parties interested in such land. In case land already granted in individual titles shall be required for the purpose of any location, the owners will receive such compensation either in other land or in money as the Volksraad shall determine. After the boundaries of any location have been fixed, no fresh grant of land within such location will be made, nor will the boundaries be altered without the consent of the Location Commission. No fresh grants of land will be made in the districts of Waterbergh, Zoutspansberg, and Lydenburg until the locations in the said districts respectively shall have been defined by the said Commission.

Article 23. If not released before the taking effect of this Convention, Sikukuni, and those of his followers who have been imprisoned with him, will be forthwith released, and the boundaries of his location will be defined by the Native Location Commission in the manner indicated in the last preceding Article.

Article 24. The independence of the Swazies within the boundary line of Swaziland, as indicated in the 1st Article of this Convention, will be fully recognised.

Article 25. No other or higher duties will be imposed on the importation into the Transvaal State of any article the produce or manufacture of the dominions and possessions of her Majesty, from whatever place arriving, than are or may be payable on the like article the produce or manufacture of any other country, nor will any prohibition be maintained or imposed on the importation of any article the produce or manufacture of the dominions and possessions of her Majesty, which shall not equally extend to the importation of the like articles being the produce or manufacture of any other country.

Article 26. All persons other than natives conforming themselves to the laws of the Transvaal State (a) will have full liberty with their families to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the Transvaal State; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactures, warehouses, shops, and premises; (c) they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject in respect of their persons or property, or in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or may be imposed upon Transvaal citizens.

Article 27. All inhabitants of the Transvaal shall have free access to the Courts of Justice for the protection and defence of their rights.

Article 28. All persons other than natives who established their domicile in the Transvaal between the 12th day of April 1877 and the date when this Convention comes into effect, and who shall within twelve months after such last-mentioned date have their names registered by the British Resident, shall be exempt from all compulsory military service whatever. The Resident shall notify such registration to the Government of the Transvaal State.

Article 29. Provision shall hereafter be made by a separate instrument for the mutual extradition of criminals, and also for the surrender of deserters from her Majesty's forces.[Pg 196]

Article 30. All debts contracted since the annexation will be payable in the same currency in which they may have been contracted; all uncancelled postage and other revenue stamps issued by the Government since the annexation will remain valid, and will be accepted at their present value by the future Government of the State; all licences duly issued since the annexation will remain in force during the period for which they may have been issued.

Article 31. No grants of land which may have been made, and no transfer of mortgage which may have been passed since the annexation, will be invalidated by reason merely of their having been made or passed since that date. All transfers to the British Secretary for Native Affairs in trust for natives will remain in force, the Native Location Commission taking the place of such Secretary for Native Affairs.

Article 32. This Convention will be ratified by a newly-elected Volksraad within the period of three months after its execution, and in default of such ratification this Convention shall be null and void.

Article 33. Forthwith, after the ratification of this Convention, as in the last preceding Article mentioned, all British troops in Transvaal territory will leave the same, and the mutual delivery of munitions of war will be carried out. Articles end. Here will follow signatures of Royal Commissioners, then the following to precede signatures of triumvirate.

We, the undersigned, Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, Martinus Wessel Pretorius, and Petrus Jacobus Joubert, as representatives of the Transvaal Burghers, do hereby agree to all the above conditions, reservations, and limitations under which self-government has been restored to the inhabitants of the Transvaal territory, subject to the suzerainty of her Majesty, her heirs and successors, and we agree to accept the Government of the said territory, with all rights and obligations thereto appertaining on the 8th day of August; and we promise and undertake that this Convention shall be ratified by a newly-elected Volksraad of the Transvaal State within three months from this date.[Pg 197]



Whereas, the Government of the Transvaal State, through its Delegates, consisting of Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, President of the said State, Stephanus Jacobus Du Toit, Superintendent of Education, and Nicholas Jacobus Smit, a member of the Volksraad, have represented that the Convention signed at Pretoria on the 3rd day of August 1881, and ratified by the Volksraad of the said State on the 25th October 1881, contains certain provisions which are inconvenient, and imposes burdens and obligations from which the said State is desirous to be relieved, and that the south-western boundaries fixed by the said Convention should be amended, with a view to promote the peace and good order of the said State, and of the countries adjacent thereto; and whereas her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, has been pleased to take the said representations into consideration: Now, therefore, her Majesty has been pleased to direct, and it is hereby declared, that the following articles of a new Convention, signed on behalf of her Majesty by her Majesty's High Commissioner in South Africa, the Right Honourable Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Governor of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, and on behalf of the Transvaal State (which shall herein-after be called the South African Republic) by the above-named Delegates, Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, Stephanus Jacobus Du Toit, and Nicholas Jacobus Smit, shall, when ratified by the Volksraad of the South African Republic, be substituted for the articles embodied in the Convention of 3rd August 1881; which latter, pending such ratification, shall continue in full force and effect.


Article 1. The Territory of the South African Republic will embrace the land lying between the following boundaries, to wit: (Here follows a long description of boundaries).

Article 2. The Government of the South African Republic will strictly adhere to the boundaries defined in the 1st Article of this Convention, and will do its utmost to prevent any of its inhabitants from making any encroachments upon lands beyond the said boundaries. The Government of the South African Republic will appoint Commissioners upon the eastern and western borders whose duty it will be strictly to guard against irregularities and all trespassing over the boundaries. Her Majesty's Government will, if necessary, appoint Commissioners in the native territories outside the eastern and western borders of the South African Republic to maintain order and prevent encroachments.

Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the South African Republic will each appoint a person to proceed together to beacon off the amended south-west boundary as described in Article 1 of this Convention; and the President of the Orange Free State shall be requested to appoint a referee to whom the said persons[Pg 198] shall refer any questions on which they may disagree respecting the interpretation of the said Article, and the decision of such referee thereon shall be final. The arrangement already made, under the terms of Article 19 of the Convention of Pretoria of the 3rd August 1881, between the owners of the farms Grootfontein and Valleifontein on the one hand, and the Barolong authorities on the other, by which a fair share of the water supply of the said farms shall be allowed to flow undisturbed to the said Barolongs, shall continue in force.

Article 3. If a British officer is appointed to reside at Pretoria or elsewhere within the South African Republic to discharge functions analogous to those of a Consular officer he will receive the protection and assistance of the Republic.

Article 4. The South African Republic will conclude no treaty or engagement with any State or nation other than the Orange Free State, nor with any native tribe to the eastward or westward of the Republic, until the same has been approved by her Majesty the Queen.

Such approval shall be considered to have been granted if her Majesty's Government shall not, within six months after receiving a copy of such treaty (which shall be delivered to them immediately upon its completion), have notified that the conclusion of such treaty is in conflict with the interests of Great Britain or of any of her Majesty's possessions in South Africa.

Article 5. The South African Republic will be liable for any balance which may still remain due of the debts for which it was liable at the date of Annexation, to wit, the Cape Commercial Bank Loan, the Railway Loan, and the Orphan Chamber Debt, which debts will be a first charge upon the revenues of the Republic. The South African Republic will moreover be liable to her Majesty's Government for £250,000, which will be a second charge upon the revenues of the Republic.

Article 6. The debt due as aforesaid by the South African Republic to her Majesty's Government will bear interest at the rate of three and a half per cent. from the date of the ratification of this Convention, and shall be repayable by a payment for interest and Sinking Fund of six pounds and ninepence per £100 per annum, which will extinguish the debt in twenty-five years. The said payment of six pounds and ninepence per £100 shall be payable half-yearly, in British currency, at the close of each half year from the date of such ratification: Provided always that the South African Republic shall be at liberty at the close of any half year to pay off the whole or any portion of the outstanding debt.

Interest at the rate of three and a half per cent. on the debt as standing under the Convention of Pretoria shall as heretofore be paid to the date of the ratification of this Convention.

Article 7. All persons who held property in the Transvaal on the 8th day of August 1881, and still hold the same, will continue to enjoy the rights of property which they have enjoyed since the 12th April 1877. No person who has remained loyal to her Majesty during the late hostilities shall suffer any molestation by reason of his loyalty; or be liable to any criminal prosecution or civil action for any part taken in connection with such hostilities; and all such persons will have full liberty to reside in the country, with enjoyment of all civil rights, and protection for their persons and property.

Article 8. The South African Republic renews the declaration made in the Sand River Convention, and in the Convention of Pretoria, that no slavery or apprenticeship partaking of slavery will be tolerated by the Government of the said Republic.

Article 9. There will continue to be complete freedom of religion and protection from molestation for all denominations, provided the same be not inconsistent with morality and good order; and no disability shall attach to any person in regard to rights of property by reason of the religious opinions which he holds.

Article 10. The British officer appointed to reside in the South African Republic will receive every assistance from the Government of the said Republic in[Pg 199] making due provision for the proper care and preservation of the graves of such of her Majesty's forces as have died in the Transvaal; and if need be, for the appropriation of land for the purpose.

Article 11. All grants or titles issued at any time by the Transvaal Government in respect of land outside the boundary of the South African Republic, as defined in Article 1, shall be considered invalid and of no effect, except in so far as any such grant or title relates to land that falls within the boundary of the South African Republic; and all persons holding any such grant so considered invalid and of no effect will receive from the Government of the South African Republic such compensation, either in land or in money, as the Volksraad shall determine. In all cases in which any Native Chiefs or other authorities outside the said boundaries have received any adequate consideration from the Government of the South African Republic for land excluded from the Transvaal by the 1st Article of this Convention, or where permanent improvements have been made on the land, the High Commissioner will recover from the native authorities fair compensation for the loss of the land thus excluded, or of the permanent improvements thereon.

Article 12. The independence of the Swazis, within the boundary line of Swaziland, as indicated in the 1st Article of this Convention, will be fully recognised.

Article 13. Except in pursuance of any treaty or engagement made as provided in Article 4 of this Convention, no other or higher duties shall be imposed on the importation into the South African Republic of any article coming from any part of her Majesty's dominions than are or may be imposed on the like article coming from any other place or country; nor will any prohibition be maintained or imposed on the importation into the South African Republic of any article coming from any part of her Majesty's dominions which shall not equally extend to the like article coming from any other place or country. And in like manner the same treatment shall be given to any article coming to Great Britain from the South African Republic as to the like article coming from any other place or country.

These provisions do not preclude the consideration of special arrangements as to import duties and commercial relations between the South African Republic and any of her Majesty's colonies or possessions.

Article 14. All persons, other than natives, conforming themselves to the laws of the South African Republic (a) will have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the South African Republic; (b) they will be entitled to hire or possess houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops, and premises; (c) they may carry on their commerce either in person or by any agents whom they may think fit to employ; (d) they will not be subject, in respect of their persons or property, or in respect of their commerce or industry, to any taxes, whether general or local, other than those which are or may be imposed upon citizens of the said Republic.

Article 15. All persons, other than natives, who established their domicile in the Transvaal between the 12th day of April 1877 and the 8th of August 1881, and who within twelve months after such last-mentioned date have had their names registered by the British Resident, shall be exempt from all compulsory military service whatever.

Article 16. Provision shall hereafter be made by a separate instrument for the mutual extradition of criminals, and also for the surrender of deserters from her Majesty's forces.

Article 17. All debts contracted between the 12th April 1887 and the 8th August 1881 will be payable in the same currency in which they may have been contracted.

Article 18. No grants of land which may have been made, and no transfers or mortgages which may have been passed between the 12th April 1877 and the 8th August 1881, will be invalidated by reason merely of their having been made or passed between such dates.

All transfers to the British Secretary for Native Affairs in trust for natives will[Pg 200] remain in force, an officer of the South African Republic taking the place of such Secretary for Native Affairs.

Article 19. The Government of the South African Republic will engage faithfully to fulfil the assurances given, in accordance with the laws of the South African Republic, to the natives at the Pretoria Pitso by the Royal Commission in the presence of the Triumvirate and with their entire assent, (1) as to the freedom of the natives to buy or otherwise acquire land under certain conditions, (2) as to the appointment of a commission to mark out native locations, (3) as to the access of the natives to the courts of law, and (4) as to their being allowed to move freely within the country, or to leave it for any legal purpose, under a pass system.

Article 20. This Convention will be ratified by a Volksraad of the South African Republic within the period of six months after its execution, and in default of such ratification this Convention shall be null and void.

Signed in duplicate in London this 27th day of February 1884.

"M. J. SMIT.


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.

Edinburgh & London


General : Both Potchefstrom and Potchefstroom have been used several times. Spellings have been preserved as written.

Page viii: Drummer replaced with drummers to agree with caption of illustration.

        : Removal of additional closing parenthesis after Gloucester Regiment

Page x : Hyphen removed from gold-fields (2 occurrences) to ensure consistency with other uses.

Page 15 : Spelling of attemped revised to attempted.

Page 43 : Added closing parenthesis after ...blacks.

Page 57 : As written. Vjin should probably read Vijn.

Page 68 : Comma after pledge replaced with full stop (period).

Page 75 : Hyphen removed from farm-house to ensure consistency with other uses.

Page 76 : Closing quote added after fusiliers.

Page 78 : Hyphen added to bloodspilling to ensure consistency with other use.

Page 84 : Spelling of tambookee standardised to tambookie.

Page 108 : Hyphen added to reaffirmed to ensure consistency with other use.

Page 113 : Spelling of pourtrayed and dulness left as taken from original quotation.

Page 139 : As written. Reims should probably read riems.

Page 179 : Spelling of cowe left as taken from original quotation.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of South Africa and the Transvaal War,
Vol. 1 (of 6), by Louis Creswicke


***** This file should be named 23692-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Brownfox and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.